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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He has broke three ribs in that ane's side,
But and his collar bane ; He's flung him twa-fald owre his steed,
Bade him carry the tidings hame . . .
' Is there no a bird in a' this forest
Will do as mickle for me As dip its wing in the wan water
And straik it on my e'e-bree ?
' Is there no a bird in a' this forest
Can sing as I can say, Can flee away to my mother's bower
And tell to fetch Johnnie away ?'
The starling flew to her window-stane,
It whistled and it sang; And aye the owre-word o' the tune
Was, Johnnie tarries langl
They made a rod o' the hazel-bush, Another o' the slae-thorn tree,
And mony, mony were the men At the fetching our Johnnie.
Then out and spak' his auld mother,
And fast her tears did fa': ' Ye wadna be warn'd, my son Johnnie,
Frae the hunting to bide awa'!'
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