Reiver's Wedding, The: a Fragment


O, will ye hear a mirthful bourd?
Or will ye hear how a gallant lord
Was wedded to a gay ladye?

" Ca' out the kye," quo' the village herd,
As he stood on the knowe,
" Ca' this ane 's nine and that ane 's ten,
And bauld Lord William's cow."

" Ah! by my sooth," quoth William then,
" And stands it that way now,
When knave and churl have nine and ten,
That the lord has but his cow?

" I swear by the light of the Michaelmas moon,
And the might of Mary high,
And by the edge of my braidsword brown,
They shall soon say Harden's kye."

He took a bugle frae his side,
With names carved o'er and o'er —
Full many a chief of meikle pride
That Border bugle bore —

He blew a note baith sharp and hie
Till rock and water ran around —
Threescore of moss-troopers and three
Have mounted at that bugle sound.

The Michaelmas moon had entered then,
And ere she wan the full
Ye might see by her light in Harden glen
A bow o' kye and a bassened bull.

And loud and loud in Harden tower
The quaigh gaed round wi' meikle glee;
For the English beef was brought in bower
And the English ale flowed merrilie.

And mony a guest from Teviotside
And Yarrow's braes was there;
Was never a lord in Scotland wide
That made more dainty fare.

They ate, they laughed, they sang and quaffed,
Till naught on board was seen,
When knight and squire were boune to dine,
But a spur of silver sheen.

Lord William has ta'en his berry-brown steed —
A sore shent man was he;
" Wait ye, my guests, a little speed —
Weel feasted ye shall be."

He rode him down by Falsehope burn,
His cousin dear to see,
With him to take a riding turn —
Wat-draw-the-Sword was he.

And when he came to Falsehope glen,
Beneath the trysting-tree,
On the smooth green was carved plain,
" To Lochwood bound are we."

" O, if they be gane to dark Lochwood
To drive the Warden's gear,
Betwixt our names, I ween, there 's feud;
I 'll go and have my share:

" For little reck I for Johnstone's feud,
The Warden though he be."
So Lord William is away to dark Lochwood
With riders barely three.

The Warden's daughters in Lochwood sate,
Were all both fair and gay,
All save the Lady Margaret,
And she was wan and wae.

The sister Jean had a full fair skin,
And Grace was bauld and braw;
But the leal-fast heart her breast within
It weel was worth them a".

Her father 's pranked her sisters twa
With meikle joy and pride;
But Margaret maun seek Dundrenuan's wa' —
She ne'er can be a bride.

On spear and casque by gallants gent
Her sisters' scarfs were borne,
But never at tilt or tournament
Were Margaret's colors worn.

Her sisters rode to Thirlstane bower,
But she was left at hame
To wander round the gloomy tower,
And sigh young Harden's name

" Of all the knights, the knight most fair
From Yarrow to the Tyne,"
Soft sighed the maid, " is Harden's heir,
But ne'er can he be mine;

" Of all the maids, the foulest maid
From Teviot to the Dee,
Ah!" sighing sad, that lady said,
" Can ne'er young Harden's be."

She looked up the briery glen,
And up the mossy brae,
And she saw a score of her father's men
Yelad in the Johnstone gray.

O, fast and fast they downwards sped
The moss and briers among,
And in the midst the troopers led
A shackled knight along.
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