"Lord Thomas and Fair Annet"

Vernon Hill

Ballads Weird and Wonderful (1912)

 

 

 

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Lord Thomas and Fair Annet

 

   

Lord Thomas and fair Annet

Sat all day on a hill;

When night was come, and sun was set,

They had not talk'd their fill.

 

Lord Thomas said a word in jest,

Fair Annet took it ill:

"I winna wed a tocherless lass

Against my ain friends' will."

 

"If ye will never wed a wife,

A wife will ne'er wed ye."

Sae he is hame to tell his mither,

And knelt upon his knee.

 

"O rede, O rede, mither," he says,

"A gude rede gie to me;

O, shall I take the nut-brown bride,

And let fair Annet be?"

 

"The nut-brown bride has gowd and gear,

Fair Annet she's gat nane;

And the little beauty fair Annet has,

O, it will soon be gane."

 

And he has to his brother gane:

"Now, brother, rede ye me;

O, shall I marry the nut-brown bride,

And let fair Annet be?"

 

"The nut-brown bride has owsen, brother,

The nut-brown bride has kye;

I wad hae ye marry the nut-brown bride,

And cast fair Annet by."

 

"Her owsen may die i' the house, billy,

And her kye into the bure;

And I shall hae nothing to mysell,

But a fat fadge by the fire."

 

And he has to his sister gane:

"Now, sister, rede ye me;

O, shall I marry the nut-brown bride,

And set fair Annet free?"

 

"I'se rede ye take fair Annet, Thomas,

And let the brown bride alane;

Lest ye should sigh and say, 'Alas!

What is this I had brought hame?'"

 

"No, I will take my mither's counsel,

And marry me out o' hand;

And I will take the nut-brown bride

Fair Annet may leave the land."

 

Up then rose fair Annet's father,

Twa hours or it were day,

And he is gane into the bower,

Wherein fair Annet lay.

 

"Rise up, rise up, fair Annet," he says,

"Put on your silken sheen;

Let us gae to St Mary's kirk,

And see that gay weddin'."

"My maids, gae to my dressing-room,

And dress to me my hair;

Where'er ye laid a plait before,

See ye lay ten times mair.

 

"My maids, gae to my dressing-room,

And dress to me my sark;

The ae half is o' the holland fine,

The ither o' needle-wark."

 

The horse fair Annet rode upon,

He amblit like the wind;

Wi' siller he was shod before,

Wi' burning gowd behind.

 

Four-and-twenty siller bells

Were a' tied to his mane;

Wi' ae tift o' the norland wind

They tinkled ane by ane.

 

Four-and-twenty gay gud knights

Rode by fair Annet's side,

And four-and-twenty fair ladies,

As if she had bee a bride.

 

And when she came to Mary's kirk,

She sat on Mary's stean:

The cleeding that fair Annet had on,

It skinkled in their een.

 

And when she came into the kirk,

She shimmer'd like the sun;

The belt that was about her waist,

Was a' wi' pearls bedone.

 

She sat her by the nut-brown bride,

And her een they were sae clear,

Lord Thomas he clean forgat the bride,

When fair Annet she drew near.

 

He had a rose into his hand,

And he gave it kisses three,

And reaching by the nut-brown bride,

Laid it on fair Annet's knee.

 

Up then spake the nut-brown bride,

And she spake w' mickle spite:

"And where gat ye that rose-water,

That does make ye sae white?"

 

"O, I did get the rose-water

Where ye will ne'er get nane,

For I did get that very rose-water

Into my mither's wame.

 

"Tak' back and wear your rose, Thomas,

As lang as it will last;

For, like your love, its sweetness a'

Will soon be gane and past."

 

When night was come, and day was gane,

And a' were bound' to bed,

Lord Thomas and the nut-brown bride

In chamber they were laid.

They were na weel lain down,

And scarcely fa'n asleep,

When up and stands she, fair Annet,

Just at Lord Thomas' fet.

 

"Weel brook ye o' your nut-brown bride,

Between ye and the wa';

And sae will I o' my winding-sheet,

That suits me best ava.

 

"Weel brook ye o' your nut-brown bride,

Between ye and the stock;

And sae will I o' my black, black kist,

That has neither key nor lock!

 

"Weel brook ye o' your nut-brown bride,

And o' your bridal bed;

And sae will I o' the cauld, cauld mools,

That soon will hap my head."

 

Lord Thomas rase, put on his claes,

Drew to him his hose and shoon;

And he is on to Annet's bower,

By the lee light o' the moon.

 

The firsten bower that he came to,

There was right dowie wark;

Her mither and her three sisters

Were makin' to Annet a sark.

 

The neisten bower that he came to,

There was right dowie cheer;

Her father and her seven brethren

Were makin' to Annet a bier.

 

The lasten bower that he came to,

O, heavy was his care,

The dead candles were burning bright,

And fair Annet streekit there.

 

"It's I will kiss your bonny cheek,

And I will kiss your chin;

And I will kiss your clay-cauld lip,

But I'll ne'er kiss woman again.

 

"This day ye birl at Annet's wake,

The white bread and the wine;

Before the morn at twal o'clock,

They'll birl the same at mine."

 

The tane was burried in Mary's kirk,

The tither in Mary's quire,

And out o' the tane there grew a birk,

And out o' the tither a brier.

 

And aye they grew, and aye they drew,

As they would fain be near,

And by this ye may ken right wee,

They were twa lovers dear.