Ballad of the Monk

I wandered in the woods my lane;
I heard a wind did sab and mane.

A dowie wind passed me by,
Yet there was nae wind in earth or sky.

I sat me doon beside a tree;
The eerie ghaist shak waefully.

It soomed the swounding air upon;
It was a snaw-white skeleton.

It picked its banes oot ane by ane,
And cast them doon wi' sab and mane.

It cast and cast them dreamfully,
Like light leaves frae a late hairst tree.

It cast them doon fell and fast,
As it wad lose its banes at last.

But the sma' banes were fu' o' grace;
They moved each to his rightfu' place.

They gathered like a rank o' men;
They knit themsels in ane again.

They claithed themsels in dowie flesh,
Weel-woven like a wabster's mesh.

They covered the heid wi' close-weaved hair;
They set twa eyes to blink and stare.

And the puir clay to move began:
It was a coal-black naked man.

It cam' and stood before the tree,
And spak, the tear fell frae its e'e:

" I was a monk o' the order white,
But noo I'm black as the midmost night.

" I gave my lands, I gave my board,
And a' that blythe sinners sweetly hoard.

" And my eternal part I gave,
For I was minded my saul to save.

" But my fause flesh I couldna gi'e,
And I maun live anither day,

" And I maun live forevermair! "
It lap awa' through the mirky air.
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