"Tamlane"

Vernon Hill

Ballads Weird and Wonderful (1912)

 

 

 

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Code: VH BWW M16 SGC
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Reproduction on 8x12'' sheet

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Reproduction on 12x18'' sheet

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Tamlane

 

   

"O I forbid ye, maidens a',

That wear gowd on your hair,

To come or gae by Carterhaugh,

For young Tamlane is there."

 

But u then spake her, fair Janet,

The fairest o' a' her kin:

"I'll come and gang to Carterhaugh,

And ask nae leave o' him."

 

She has kilted her green kirtle

A little aboon her knee;

And she has braided her yellow hair

A little aboon her bree.

 

She's prink'd hersell, and preen'd hersell,

By the ae light o' the moon,

And she's awa' to Carterhaugh,

To speak wi' young Tamlane.

 

And when she came to Carterhaugh,

She gaed beside the well,

And there she fand his steed standing,

But he wasna there himsell.

 

She hadna pu'd a red, red rose,

A rose but barely three,

When up and starts a wee, wee man,

At Lady Janet's knee.

 

Says  "Why pu' ye the rose, Janet?

What gars ye break the tree?

Or why come ye to Carterhaugh

Without the leave o' me?" 

 

"This Carterhaugh it is mine ain,

My daddy gave it me;

I'll come and gang to Carterhaugh,

And ask nae leave o' thee."

 

He's ta'en her by the milk-white hand,

Amang the leave sae green;

And sair and mickle was the love

That feel the twa between.

 

He's ta'en her by the milk-white hand

Amang the roses red;

And they hae vow'd a solemn vow

Ilk ither for to wed.

 

"The truth ye'll tell to me, Tamlane,

A word ye maunna lee:

Gin e'er ye was in holy chapel,

Or sain'd in Christentie?" 

 

"The truth I'll tell to thee, Janet,

A word I winna lee:

A knight me got, and a lady me bore,

As well as they did the..

 

"Randolph, Early Murray, was my sired,

Dunbar, Earl March, is thine;

We lov'd when we were children small,

Which yet you well may mind.

"When I was a boy just turn'd of nine,

My uncle sent for me,

To hunt, and hawk, and ride wi' him,

And keep him companie.

 

"There came a wind out of the north,

A sharp wind and a snell;

And a dead sleep came over me,

And frae my horse I fell.

 

"The Queen of Fairies keppit me

In yon green hill to dwell;

And I'm a fairy, lithe and limger 

Fair lady, view me well.

 

"And I would never tire, Janet,

In Elfin-land to dwell;

But aye, at every seven years,

They pay the teind to hell;

And I'm sae fat and fair o' flesh,

I fear 'twill be mysell.

 

"This night is Hallowe'en, Janet,

The morn is Hallowday;

And, gin ye dare your true-love win,

Ye hae nae time to stay.

 

"The night it is gude Hawllowe'en,

When fairy folk do ride,

And she that wad her true-love win,

At Miles Cross she maun bide." 

 

"But how shall I thee ken, Tamlane?

Or how shall I thee knaw,

Amang sae many unearthly knights,

The like I never saw?" 

 

"The first company that passes by,

Say na, and let them gae;

The neist company that passes by,

Say na, and do right sae;

The third company that passes by,

That I'll be ane o' thae.

 

"First let pass the black, Janet,

And syne let pass the brown;

But grip ye to the milk-white steed,

And pu' the rider down.

 

"For I ride on the milk-white steed,

Wi' a gowd star in my crown;

Because I was a christen'd knight,

They gie me that renown.

 

"My right hand will be gloved, Janet,

My left hand will be bare;

And thae's the tokens I gie thee 

Nae doubt I will be there.

 

"They'll turn me in your arms, Janet,

An ask and then an adder;

But haud me fast, let me not pass,

I'll be your bairnie's father.

"They'll shape me in your arms, Janet,

A toad and then an eel;

But haud me fast, nor let me gang,

As you do love me weel.

 

"And next the'll shape me in your arms

A dove, a then a swan;

And last they'll shape me in your arms

A mother-naked man:

Cast your green mantle over me,

I'll be myself again."

 

Gloomy, gloomy was the night,

And eerie was the way,

As fair Janet, in her green mantle,

To Miles Cross she did gae.

 

About the dead hour o' the nigth,

She heard the bridles ring;

And Janet was as glad o' that

As any earthly thing.

 

And first gaed by the black, black steed,

And then gaed by the brown;

But fast she gript the milk-white steed,

And pu'd te rider down.

 

She pu'd him frae the milk-white steed,

And loot the bridle fa';

And up there rase an elritch cry:

"He's won amang us a'!"

 

They shaped him in fair Janet's arms,

An ask, and then an adder;

She held him fast in every shape

To be her bairnie's father.

 

They shaped him in her arms at last

A mother-naked man;

She cast her mantle over him,

And sae her true-love wan.

 

Up then spak' the Queen o' Fairies,

out o' a bush o' broom:

"She that has borrow'd young Tamlane

Has gotten a stately groom.

 

"But had I keen'd, Tamlane," she says,

"A lady wad borrow thee,

I wad hae ta'en out they twa drey een,

And put in twa een o' tree.

 

"Had I but kenn'd, Tamlane, she says,

Before ye cam' frae hame,

I wad hae ta'en out your heart o' flesh,

And put in a heart o' stane.

 

"And had I but had the wit yestreen

That I hae coft this day,

I'd paid my teind seven times to hell

Ere you had been won away!"