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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There were five and five before them a', Wi' hunting-horns and bugles bright:
And five and five came wi' Buccleuch, Like Warden's men, array'd for fight.
And five and five, like a mason-gang, That carried the ladders lang and hie ;
And five and five, like broken men ;
And so they reach'd the Woodhouselee.
And as we cross'd the Bateable Land, When to the English side we held,
The first o' men that we met wi',
Whae sould it be but fause Sakelde ?
' Where be ye gaun, ye hunters keen ?'
Quo' fause Sakelde ; ' come tell to me ! '
' We go to hunt an English stag,
Has trespass'd on the Scots countrie.'
' Where be ye gaun, ye marshal men ?
Quo' fause Sakelde ; ' come tell me true ! ' ' We go to catch a rank reiver,
Has broken faith wi' the bauld Buccleuch.'
' Where be ye gaun, ye mason lads, Wi' a' your ladders, lang and hie ?'
' We gang to herry a corbie's nest,
That wons not far frae Woodhouselee.'
Kateable Land] debateable land; a stretch of frontier between the Solway Frith and Scots Dyke, claimed by both nations.
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