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O they rade

on,

and farther on,
The steed gaed swifter than the wind :
Until they reach'd a desert wide,

And living land was left behind.

Light down, light down now, true Thomas,
And lean

your
head

upon my knee :
Abide and rest a little space,
And I will show

you

ferlies three.

' O see ye not yon narrow road,

So thick beset wi' thorns and briers ?
That is the Path of Righteousness,

Tho' after it but few enquires.

' And see ye not that braid braid road,

That lies across yon lily leven ? That is the Path of Wickedness,

Tho' some call it the Road to Heaven.

* And see ye not that bonny road

That winds about the fernie brae ? That is the Road to fair Elfland,

Where thou and I this night maun gae.

'But, Thomas, ye sall haud your tongue,

Whatever ye may hear or see : For if ye speak word in Elfyn-land,

Ye 'll ne'er get back to your ain countrie.'

O they rade on, and farther on,

And they waded thro' rivers abune the knee : And they saw neither sun nor mune,

But they heard the roaring of the sea. lily leven] flowery lawn. brae) hillside. abune) above.

It was mirk mirk night, there was nae sternlight,

They waded thro' red blude to the knee : For a' the blude that's shed on earth

Rins thro' the springs o' that countrie.

Syne they came to a garden green,

And she pu'd an apple frae a tree : * Take this for thy wages, true Thomas ;

It will give the tongue that can never lee.'—

'My tongue is mine ain (true Thomas said) :

A gudely gift ye wad gie to me! I neither dought to buy nor sell

At fair or tryst where I may be.

'I dought neither speak to prince or peer,

Nor ask of grace from fair ladye!'-
Now hold thy peace, Thomas (she said),
For as I say, so must it be.'

He has gotten a coat of the even cloth

And a pair o' shoon o' the velvet green : And till seven years were gane and past,

True Thomas on earth was never seen.

56*

The Wife of Usher's Well

THERE lived a wife at Usher's well,

And a wealthy wife was she ;
She had three stout and stalwart sons,

And sent them o'er the sea.

mirk] dark.

dought] could.

even) smooth.

They hadna been a week from her,

A week but barely ane,
When word came to the carline wife

That her three sons were gane.

They hadna been a week from her,

A week but barely three,
When word came to the carline wife

That her sons she'd never see.

‘I wish the wind may never cease,

Nor fashes in the flood, Till my

three sons come hame to me In earthly flesh and blood !'

It fell about the Martinmas,

When nights are lang and mirk, The carline wife's three sons came hame,

And their hats were o' the birk.

It neither

grew in syke nor ditch, Nor yet in ony sheugh; But at the gates o' Paradise

That birk grew fair eneugh.

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L
Blow

up the fire, my maidens !
Bring water from the well!
For a' my house shall feast this night,

, Since

my

three sons are well.'

And she has made to them a bed,

She 's made it large and wide ;
And she's ta'en her mantle her about,

Sat down at the bedside.

carline] stout old woman.
birk] birch.

fashes] troubles.
syke] ditch.

Martinmas]*
sheugh) trench.

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Up then crew the red, red cock,
And

up
and crew the

gray ; The eldest to the youngest said,

'Tis time we were away.'
The cock he hadna craw'd but once,

And clapp'd his wings at a',
When the youngest to the eldest said,

* Brother, we must awa'.
* The cock doth craw, the day doth daw,

The channerin' worm doth chide ; Gin we be miss'd out of our place,

A sair pain we maun bide.'
' Lie still, lie still but a little wee while,

Lie still but if we may ;
Gin my mother should miss us when she wakes,

She 'll go mad ere it be day.'
* Fare ye weel, my mother dear! (

Fareweel to barn and byre ! And fare ye weel, the bonny lass

That kindles my mother's fire!'

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57

Helen of Kirconnell

I wish I were where Helen lies,
Night and day on me she cries :
O that I were where Helen lies,

On fair Kirconnell lea!

Curst be the heart that thought the thought,
And curst the hand that fired the shot,
When in my arms burd Helen dropt,

And died to succour me !

channering) fretting. burd] maiden, lady.

gin) if.

byre] cowhouse.

O think na ye my heart was sair,
When

my Love dropt and spak nae mair ? There did she swoon wi' meikle care,

On fair Kirconnell lea.

As I went down the waterside
None but my foe to be my guide,
None but my foe to be my guide,

On fair Kirconnell lea;

I lighted down, my sword did draw,
I hacked him in pieces sma',
I hacked him in pieces sma’,

For her sake that died for me.
O Helen fair beyond compare !
I 'll make a garland of thy hair,
Shall bind my heart for evermair

Until the day I dee.
O that I were where Helen lies!
Night and day on me she cries;
Out of my bed she bids me rise,

Says, ' Haste and come to me.'
O Helen fair! O Helen chaste !
If I were with thee I were blest,
Where thou lies low, and takes thy rest

On fair Kirconnell lea.

I wish my grave were growing green,
A winding sheet drawn owre my een,
And I in Helen's arms lying

On fair Kirconnell lea.

I wish I were where Helen lies!
Night and day on me she cries :
And I am weary of the skies
For her sake that died for me.

meikle] much, also mickle, muckle.

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