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Poem by Andrew Lang

Young Benjie

Of all the maids of fair Scotland,
The fairest was Marjorie;
And young Benjie was her ae true love,
And a dear true love was he.

And wow but they were lovers dear,
And lov'd full constantlie;
But aye the mair when they fell out,
The sairer was their plea.

And they ha'e quarrell'd on a day,
Till Marjorie's heart grew wae;
And she said she'd chuse another luve,
And let young Benjie gae.

And he was stout and proud-hearted,
And thought o't bitterlie;
And he's gane by the wan moonlight,
To meet his Marjorie.

'Oh, open, open, my true love,
Oh, open and let me in!'
'I darena open, young Benjie,
My three brothers are within.'

'Ye lee, ye lee, ye bonnie burd,
Sae loud's I hear ye lee;
As I came by the Louden banks,
They bade gude e'en to me.

'But fare ye weel, my ae fause love,
That I have lov'd sae lang!
It sets ye chuse another love,
And let young Benjie gang.'

Then Marjorie turn'd her round about,
The tear blinding her e'e;
'I darena, darena let thee in,
But I'll come down to thee.'

Then salt she smil'd, and said to him--
'Oh, what ill ha'e I done?'
He took her in his arms twa,
And threw her o'er the linn.

The stream was strong, the maid was stout,
And laith, laith to be dang;
But ere she wan the Louden banks,
Her fair colour was wan.

Then up bespake her eldest brother--
'Oh, see na ye what I see?'
And out then spake her second brother--
'It is our sister Marjorie!'

Out then spake her eldest brother--
'Oh, how shall we her ken?'
And out then spake her youngest brother--
'There's a honey mark on her chin.'

Then they've ta'en the comely corpse,
And laid it on the ground;
Saying--'Wha has kill'd our ae sister?
And how can he be found?

'The night it is her low lykewake,
The morn her burial day;
And we maun watch at mirk midnight,
And hear what she will say.'

With doors ajar, and candles light,
And torches burning clear,
The streekit corpse, till still midnight,
They waked, but naething hear.

About the middle of the night
The cocks began to craw;
And at the dead hour of the night,
The corpse began to thraw.

'Oh, wha has done thee wrang, sister,
Or dared the deadly sin?
Wha was sae stout, and fear'd nae dout,
As throw ye o'er the linn?'

'Young Benjie was the first ae man
I laid my love upon;
He was sae stout and proud-hearted,
He threw me o'er the linn.'

'Shall we young Benjie head, sister?
Shall we young Benjie hang?
Or shall we pike out his twa gray een,
And punish him ere he gang?'

'Ye maunna Benjie head, brothers,
Ye maunna Benjie hang;
But ye maun pike out his twa gray een.
And punish him ere he gang.

'Tie a green gravat round his neck,
And lead him out and in,
And the best ae servant about your house
To wait young Benjie on.

'And aye at every seven years' end,
Ye'll take him to the linn;
For that's the penance he maun dree,
To scug his deadly sin.' 

Andrew Lang

Andrew Lang's other poems:
  1. In Ithaca
  2. Les Roses de Sâdi
  3. Ballade of the Tweed
  4. Ballade of His Books
  5. Dizain

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