The Oxford Book of Ballads - online book

A Selection Of The Best English Lyric Ballads Chosen & Edited by Arthur Quiller-Couch

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The Great Silkie of Sule Skerrie
i
AN earthly nourrice sits and sings, And aye she sings, ' Ba, lily wean ! Little ken I my bairn's father,
Far less the land that he staps in.' II Then ane arose at her bed-fit,
An' a grumly guest I'm sure was he: ' Here am I, thy bairn's father, Although that I be not comelie. in I am a man, upo' the Ian', An' I am a silkie in the sea; And when I'm far and far frae Ian', My dwelling is in Sule Skerrie.'
IV
' It was na weel,' quo' the maiden fair, ' It was na weel, indeed,' quo' she,
' That the Great Silkie of Sule Skerrie
Suld hae come and aught a bairn to me.' v Now he has ta'en a purse of goud,
And he has pat it upo' her knee, Sayin', ' Gie to me my little young son,
An' tak thee up thy nourrice-fee.
VI
' An' it sail pass on a simmer's day,
When the sin shines het on evera stane, That I will tak my little young son, An' teach him for to swim his lane.
nourrice] nurse.        silkie] seal. aught] own. his lane]
alone, without assistance.
'5S
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