O Rose the Red and White Lilly,
Their mother dear was dead,
And their father married an ill woman,
Wishd them twa little guede.
Yet she had twa as fu fair sons
As eer brake manis bread,
And the tane of them loed her White Lilly,
And the tither lood Rose the Red.
O, biggit ha they a bigly bowr,
And strawn it oer wi san,
And there was mair mirth i the ladies’ bowr
Than in a’ their father’s lan.
But out it spake their step-mother,
Wha stood a little foreby:
“I hope to live and play the prank
Sal gar your loud sang ly.”
She’s calld upon her eldest son:
“Come here, my son, to me;
It fears me sair, my eldest son,
That ye maun sail the sea.”
“Gin it fear you sair, my mither dear,
Your bidding I maun dee;
But be never war to Rose the Red
Than ye ha been to me.”
“O had your tongue, my eldest son,
For sma sal be her part;
You’ll nae get a kiss o her comely mouth
Gin your very fair heart should break.”
She’s calld upon her youngest son:
“Come here, my son, to me;
It fears me sair, my youngest son,
That ye maun sail the sea.”
“Gin it fear you sair, my mither dear,
Your bidding I maun dee;
But be never war to White Lilly
Than ye ha been to me.”
“O haud your tongue, my youngest son,
For sma sall be her part;
You’ll neer get a kiss o her comely mouth
Tho your very fair heart should break.”
When Rose the Red and White Lilly
Saw their twa loves were gane,
Then stopped ha they their loud, loud sang,
And tane up the still moarnin;
And their step-mother stood listnin by,
To hear the ladies’ mean.
Then out it spake her, White Lily;
“My sister, we’ll be gane;
Why shou’d we stay in Barnsdale,
To waste our youth in pain?”
Then cutted ha they their green cloathing,
A little below their knee;
And sae ha they their yallow hair,
A little aboon there bree;
And they’ve doen them to haely chapel
Was christened by Our Ladye.
There ha they changed their ain twa names,
Sae far frae ony town;
And the tane o them hight Sweet Willy,
And the tither o them Roge the Roun.
Between this twa a vow was made,
An they sware it to fulfil;
That at three blasts o a buglehorn,
She’d come her sister till.
Now Sweet Willy’s gane to the kingis court,
Her true-love for to see,
And Roge the Roun to good green wood,
Brown Robin’s man to be.
As it fell out upon a day,
They a did put the stane;
Full seven foot ayont them a
She gard the puttin-stane gang.
She leand her back against an oak,
And gae a loud Ohone!
Then out it spake him Brown Robin,
“But that’s a woman’s moan!”
“Oh, ken ye by my red rose lip?
Or by my yallow hair;
Or ken ye by my milk-white breast?
For ye never saw it bare?”
“I ken no by your red rose lip,
Nor by your yallow hair;
Nor ken I by your milk-white breast,
For I never saw it bare;
But, come to your bowr whaever sae likes,
Will find a ladye there.”
“Oh, gin ye come to my bowr within,
Thro fraud, deceit, or guile,
Wi this same bran that’s in my han
I swear I will thee kill.”
“But I will come thy bowr within,
An spear nae leave,” quoth he;
“An this same bran that’s i my ban,
I sall ware back on the.”
About the tenth hour of the night,
The ladie’s bowr door was broken,
An eer the first hour of the day
The bonny knave bairn was gotten.
When days were gane and months were run,
The ladye took travailing,
And sair she cry’d for a bow’r-woman,
For to wait her upon.
Then out it spake him, Brown Robin:
“Now what needs a’ this din?
For what coud any woman do
But I coud do the same?”
“Twas never my mither’s fashion,” she says,
“Nor sall it ever be mine,
That belted knights shoud eer remain
Where ladies dreed their pine.
“But ye take up that bugle-horn,
An blaw a blast for me;
I ha a brother i the kingis court
Will come me quickly ti.”
“O gin ye ha a brither on earth
That ye love better nor me,
Ye blaw the horn yoursel,” he says,
“For ae blast I winna gie.”
She’s set the horn till her mouth,
And she’s blawn three blasts sae shrill;
Sweet Willy heard i the kingis court,
And came her quickly till.
Then up it started Brown Robin,
An an angry man was he:
“There comes nae man this bowr within
But first must fight wi me.”
O they hae fought that bowr within
Till the sun was gaing down,
Till drops o blude frae Rose the Red
Cam trailing to the groun.
She leand her back against the wa,
Says, “Robin, let a’ be;
For it is a lady born and bred
That’s foughten sae well wi thee.”
O seven foot he lap a back;
Says, “Alas, and wae is me!
I never wisht in a’ my life,
A woman’s blude to see;
An ae for the sake of ae fair maid
Whose name was White Lilly.”
Then out it spake her White Lilly,
An a hearty laugh laugh she:
“She’s lived wi you this year an mair,
Tho ye kenntna it was she.”
Now word has gane thro a’ the lan,
Before a month was done,
That Brown Robin’s man, in good green wood,
Had born a bonny young son.
The word has gane to the kingis court,
An to the king himsel;
“Now, by my fay,” the king could say,
“The like was never heard tell!”
Then out it spake him Bold Arthur,
An a hearty laugh laugh he:
“I trow some may has playd the loun,
And fled her ain country.”
“Bring me my steed,” then cry’d the king,
“My bow and arrows keen;
I’ll ride mysel to good green wood,
An see what’s to be seen.”
“An’t please your grace,” said Bold Arthur,
“My liege, I’ll gang you wi,
An try to fin a little foot-page,
That’s strayd awa frae me.”
O they’ve hunted i the good green wood
The buck but an the rae,
An they drew near Brown Robin’s bowr,
About the close of day.
Then out it spake the king in hast,
Says, “Arthur look an see
Gin that be no your little foot-page
That leans against yon tree.”
Then Arthur took his bugle-horn,
An blew a blast sae shrill;
Sweet Willy started at the sound,
An ran him quickly till.
“O wanted ye your meat, Willy?
Or wanted ye your fee?
Or gat ye ever an angry word,
That ye ran awa frae me?”
“I wanted nought, my master dear;
To me ye ay was good;
I came but to see my ae brother,
That wons in this green wood.”
Then out it spake the king again,
Says, “Bonny boy, tell to me,
Wha lives into yon bigly bowr,
Stands by yon green oak tree?”
“Oh, pardon me,” says Sweet Willie,
“My liege, I dare no tell;
An I pray you go no near that bowr,
For fear they do you fell.”
“Oh, haud your tongue, my bonny boy,
For I winna be said nay;
But I will gang that bowr within,
Betide me weal or wae.”
They’ve lighted off their milk-white steeds,
An saftly enterd in,
And there they saw her White Lilly,
Nursing her bonny young son.
“Now, by the rood,” the king coud say,
“This is a comely sight;
I trow, instead of a forrester’s man,
This is a lady bright!”
Then out it spake her, Rose the Red,
An fell low down on her knee:
“Oh, pardon us, my gracious liege,
An our story I’ll tell thee.
“Our father was a wealthy lord,
That wond in Barnsdale;
But we had a wicked step-mother,
That wrought us meickle bale.
“Yet she had twa as fu fair sons
As ever the sun did see,
An the tane of them lood my sister dear,
An the tother said he lood me.”
Then out it spake him Bold Arthur,
As by the king he stood:
“Now, by the faith o my body,
This shoud be Rose the Red!”
Then in it came him Brown Robin,
Frae hunting O the deer;
But whan he saw the king was there,
He started back for fear.
The king has taen him by the hand,
An bide him naithing dread;
Says, “Ye maun leave the good greenwood,
Come to the court wi speed.”
Then up he took White Lilly’s son,
An set him on his knee;
Says–“Gin ye live to wield a bran,
My bowman ye sall bee.”
The king he sent for robes of green,
An girdles o shinning gold;
He gart the ladies be arrayd
Most comely to behold.
They’ve done them unto Mary kirk,
An there gat fair wedding,
An fan the news spread oer the lan,
For joy the bells did ring.
Then out it spake her Rose the Red,
An a hearty laugh laugh she:
“I wonder what would our step-dame say,
Gin she his sight did see!”



Other Poems by Andrew Lang

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