It was in the Mid-Lothian Country
Up near the Pentland hills
Two brothers met one summer's day
To test their strength and skill
Edward was the eldest one
And John was the younger man
They were equally matched in every way
To try what valor can
"Shall we go to the school grounds?
Or will we remain at the Hall?
But, better we go to the greenwood
To see which of us must fall"
"No, we'll not go to the school grounds
Nor will we remain at the Hall
But we will go to Roslyn woods
To see which of us will fall"
They struggled long for the mastery
'Till shadows told the end of the day
When Edward waxed wroth at his failure
And with his sword did his brother slay
"Brother, raise me up and help me to walk
Take me to yon stream so fair
Wash the blood from out my wounds
So they will bleed no more"
He raised his brother upon his feet
And helped him to the stream so fair
Frantically he bathed his bloody wounds
But they bled more and more
"Now Brother, I know that I must die
And I conjure you ere I go
That you will not tell the folks at home
How this happened, nor let them know
"Now lift me up upon your back
And take me to the churchyard fair
Dig my grave both broad and deep
And lay my body there
"You will place my arrows at my head
My bow put at my feet
My sword and buckler at my side
As though I were asleep
"When you go home to my true love
She'll ask for her lover John
Say you left me in the churchyard fair
But you fear I'll never come home
"When you go home to our sister
She'll ask for her brother John
Tell her I've gone to Stirling Carse
To see the King upon his throne
"When you go home to our parents
They'll ask you, 'Where is John?'
Tell them I'm at the Abbot's house
Studying there alone"
When he came home to John's true love
She asked for her lover John
He said, "I left him in the fair churchyard
And I fear he will never come home"
When he came home to his sister
She asked for her brother John
He told her he had gone to the Carse of Stirling
To the king upon the throne
When he came home to his parents
They asked for their son John
"I left him at the Abbot's school
To study there alone"
"What blood is that on thy coat front, Edward?
It's as red as it can be"
"It's the blood of my great hawk
That uncle gave to me"
"Hawk's blood was never so red, son
Come and tell the truth to me"
"It is the blood of my greyhound, mother
He would not run for me"
"That's not the blood of a hound, son
That is very plain to see
Is it not the blood of thy brother John?
Come and tell the truth to me"
"It is the blood of brother John
Oh mother, woe is me
I slew him in a fit of rage
Now the truth I have told to thee
"You have always told me, mother
Eldest sons must ne'er give in
The family name and title
Must always be sure to win"
"What penance will you do, son
To wipe away the stain?"
"I'll sail away across the seas
And never come home again."
"What will you leave your wife and son
If you sail beyond the sea?"
"I'll leave them my towers and hall, mother
Which mean nothing now to me."
"What will you leave your mother, Edward
Who has been so fond of thee?"
"I'll leave with her the memory of
Wrong counsel given me."
"When will you return, my son?
I shall long thy face to see."
"When the sunlight and moonbeams meet on the green
And that will never be."
Collected by Helen H. Flanders from George Edwards of Burlington,
VT. This has portions of Child numbers 12, 13, 49, and 51.