"True Thomas"

Vernon Hill

Ballads Weird and Wonderful (1912)




Full Image

Single Greeting Card (with matching Envelope)

Code: VH BWW M14 SGC
Price: US$5.00

Detail (for reference)

Reproduction on 8x12'' sheet

Code: VH BWW M14 8x12
Price: US$30.00

Reproduction on 12x18'' sheet

Code: VH BWW M14 12x18
Price: US$60.00



True Thomas



True Thomas lay on Huntly bank,

A ferlie he spied wi' his ee,

For there he saw a lady bright,

Come riding down by the Eildon Tree.


Her skirt was o' the grass-green silk,

Her mantle o' the velvet find,

At ilka tett of her horse's man

Hung fifty siller bells and nine.


True Thomas, he pu'd aff his cap,

And louted low down to his knee:

"All hail, thou mighty Queens of Heaven!

For thy peer on earth I never did see."


"O no, O no, Thomas," she said,

"That name does not belong to me;

I am but the Queen of fair Elf-land,

That am hither come to visit thee.


"Harp and carp, Thomas," she said,

"Harp and carp along wi' me;

And if you dare to kiss my lips,

Sure of your body I will be."


"Betide me weal, betide me woe,

That weird shall never daunton me."

Syne he has kiss'd her rosy lips,

All underneath the Eildon Tree.


"Now ye maun gae wi' me," she said,

"True Thomas, ye maun gae wi' me;

And ye maun serve me seven years,

Thro' weal or woe as may chance to be."

She mounted on her milk-white steed;

She's ta'en True Thomas up behind;

And aye, whene'er her bridle rang,

The steed flew swifter than the wind.


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 nearrow road,

So thick beset with thorn and brier?

That is the path of righteousness,

Though after it be few enquire.


"And see ye not that braid, braid road,

That lies across the lilly leven?

That is the path of wickedness,

Though some call it the road to heaven.


"And see ye not that bonny road,

That winds about the ferny brae?

That is the road to fair Elf-land,

Where thou and I this night maun gae.


"But, Thomas, ye maun haud your tongue,

Whatever ye me hear or see;

For, if ye speak word in Elfin-land

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

And they rade on, and farther on,

And they waded through rivers aboon the knee,

And they saw neither sun nor moon,

But they heard the roaring of the sea.


It was mir, mirk night, there was nae star-light,

And they waded through red blude to the knee;

For a' the blude that's shed on earth,

Rins through 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 thee the tongue that can never lee."


"My tongue is mine ain," True Thomas said,

"A goodly 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 ladie."

"Now haud thy peace! the lady said,

"For as I say, so must it be."


He has gotten a coat of the even cloth,

And a pair o' shoon of the velvet green;

And till seven years were gane and past,

True Thomas on earth was never seen.