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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' O I sleep saft, and I wake aft;
It 's lang since sleeping was fley'd frae me! Gie my service back to my wife and bairns,
And a' gude fellows that spier for me.'
The Red Rowan has hente him up, The starkest man in Teviotdale—
' Abide, abide now, Red Rowan,
Till of my Lord Scroope I take farewell.
' Farewell, farewell, my gude Lord Scroope !
My gude Lord Scroope, farewell! ' he cried; ' I'll pay you for my lodging mail,
When first we meet on the Border side.'—
Then shoulder high, with shout and cry, We bore him down the ladder lang ;
At every stride Red Rowan made,
I wot the Kinmont's aims play'd clang !
' O mony a time,' quo' Kinmont Willie, ' I have ridden horse baith wild and wood ;
But a rougher beast than Red Rowan I ween my legs have ne'er bestrode.
' And mony a time,' quo' Kinmont Willie, ' I've prick'd a horse out oure the furs;
But since the day I back'd a steed, I never wore sic cumbrous spurs !
fley'd] scared.        spier] inquire.         mail] rent.         woo
mad.          furs] furrows.
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