"Alison Gross"

Vernon Hill

Ballads Weird and Wonderful (1912)




Full Image

Single Greeting Card (with matching Envelope)

Price: US$5.00

Detail (for reference)

Reproduction on 8x12'' sheet

Code: VH BWW M5 8x12
Price: US$30.00

Reproduction on 12x18'' sheet

Code: VH BWW M5 12x18
Price: US$60.00



Alison Gross



O Alison Gross, that lives in yon tower,

The ugliest witch in the north countrie,

She trysted me ae day up to her bower,

And mony fair speeches she made to me.


She strok'd my head, and she kemb'd my hair,

And she set me down saftly on her knee;

Says, "Gin ye will be leman sae true,

Sae mony braw things I will you gie."


She show'd me a mantle o' red scarlèt,

Wi' goden flowers and fringes fine;

Says, "Gin ye will be my leman sae true,

This goodly gift it shall be thine." –


"Awa', awa', ye ugly witch!

Haud far awa', and let me be;

I never will be your leman sae true,

And I wish I were out o' your companie."


She neist brought a sark o' the saftest silk,

Weel wrought wi' pearls about the band;

Says, "Gin ye will be my ain true-love,

This goodly gift ye shall command."

She show'd me a cup o' the good red gowd,

Weel set wi' jewels saw fair to see;

Says, "Gin ye will be my ain true-love,

This goodly gift I will you gie."


"Awa', awa', ye ugly witch!

Haud far awa', and let me be;

For I wadna ance kiss your ugly mouth,

For all the gifts that ye could gie."


She's turn'd her right and round about,

And thrice she blew on a brass-green horn;

And she sware by the moon, and the stars aboon,

That she'd gar me rue the day I was born.


Then out has she ta'en a silver wand,

And she turn'd her three times round and round;

She mutter'd sic words, that my strength it fail'd,

And I fell down senseless on the ground.


She turn'd me into an ugly worm,

And gar'd me toddle about the tree;

And aye, on ilka Saturday night,

Auld Alison Gross, she came to me,

With silver basin and silver kame,

To kemb my headie upon her knee;

But, ere I'd kiss'd her ugly mouth,

I'd ha'e toddled for ever about the tree.


But it fell out last Hallowe'en,

When the seely court was ridin' by,

The queen lighted down on a bowany bank,

Nae far frae the tree where I wont to lie.


She took me upin her milk-white hand,

And she strok'd me three times o'er her knee;

She changed me again to my ain proper shape,

And I nae mair toddle about the tree.