383    Clerk Saunders

CLERK SAUNDERS and may Margaret
   Walk’d owre yon garden green;
And deep and heavy was the love
   That fell thir twa between.

‘A bed, a bed,’ Clerk Saunders said,
   ‘A bed for you and me!’
‘Fye na, fye na,’ said may Margaret,
   ‘Till anes we married be!’

‘Then I’ll take the sword frae my scabbard
   And slowly lift the pin;
And you may swear, and save your aith,
   Ye ne’er let Clerk Saunders in.

‘Take you a napkin in your hand,
   And tie up baith your bonnie e’en,
And you may swear, and save your aith,
   Ye saw me na since late yestreen.’

It was about the midnight hour,
   When they asleep were laid,
When in and came her seven brothers,
   Wi’ torches burning red:

When in and came her seven brothers,
   Wi’ torches burning bright:
They said, ‘We hae but one sister,
   And behold her lying with a knight!’

Then out and spake the first o’ them,
   ‘I bear the sword shall gar him die.’
And out and spake the second o’ them,
   ‘His father has nae mair but he.’

And out and spake the third o’ them,
   ‘I wot that they are lovers dear.’
And out and spake the fourth o’ them,
   ‘They hae been in love this mony a year.’

Then out and spake the fifth o’ them,
   ‘It were great sin true love to twain.’
And out and spake the sixth o’ them,
   ‘It were shame to slay a sleeping man.’

Then up and gat the seventh o’ them,
   And never a word spake he;
But he has striped1 his bright brown brand
   Out through Clerk Saunders’ fair bodye.

Clerk Saunders he started, and Margaret she turn’d
   Into his arms as asleep she lay;
And sad and silent was the night
   That was atween thir twae.

And they lay still and sleepit sound
   Until the day began to daw’;
And kindly she to him did say,
   ‘It is time, true love, you were awa’.’

But he lay still, and sleepit sound,
   Albeit the sun began to sheen;
She look’d atween her and the wa’,
   And dull and drowsie were his e’en.

Then in and came her father dear;
   Said, ‘Let a’ your mourning be;
I’ll carry the dead corse to the clay,
   And I’ll come back and comfort thee.’

‘Comfort weel your seven sons,
   For comforted I will never be:
I ween ’twas neither knave nor loon
   Was in the bower last night wi’ me.’

The clinking bell gaed through the town,
   To carry the dead corse to the clay;
And Clerk Saunders stood at may Margaret’s window,
   I wot, an hour before the day.

‘Are ye sleeping, Marg’ret?’ he says,
   ‘Or are ye waking presentlie?
Give me my faith and troth again,
   I wot, true love, I gied to thee.’

‘Your faith and troth ye sall never get,
   Nor our true love sall never twin,2
Until ye come within my bower,
   And kiss me cheik and chin.’

  By PanEris using Melati.

Previous chapter/page Back Home Email this Search Discuss Next chapter/page
Copyright: All texts on Bibliomania are © Bibliomania.com Ltd, and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission. See our FAQ for more details.