Rare Willie Drowned in Yarrow, or, The Water o Gamrie
No: 215; variant: 215H
- THEY were saddled a’, they were briddled a’,
Bridegroom and a’ was ready;
‘Stop,’ says he, ‘My nobles a’,
For I’ve left something behind me.
- ‘It is your blessing, mother dear,
To bound [to] the bride-styl with me:’
‘God’s blessing now, my son,’ says she,
‘And mine and a’ gang wi ye!
- ‘For ye are scarce nineteen years of age
When ye met in wi bonny Maggie,
And I’m sure, my dear, she’ll welcome you
This day in the kirk o Gemrie.’
- It’s they have ridden up, it’s they have ridden down,
And joy was in their gallant company;
It’s they have ridden up, and they have ridden down,
Till they came to the water o Gemrie.
- When they came to the water, it was flooded;
In the middle Sweet William he fell;
The spray brook over his horse’s mane,
And the wind sang his funeral knell.
- ‘O much is the pity! O much is the pity!’
Cried that joyful company;
‘O much is the pity! O much is the pity!’
But alas! now are woeful and wae.
- Hame and hame came his stead,
And ran to its ain stable;
They’ve gien it corn and hay to eat,
As much as it was able.
- His mother she was a waefu woman,
As dung as woman could be;
‘My son,’ says she, ‘is either hurt or slain,
Or drowned in the waters of Gemrie.’
- It’s up and spak her daughter Ann:
‘What needs be a’ this mourning?
He’s lighted at yon bonny kirk-style,
And his steed has run away from him.’
- ‘O had yer tongue, my daughter Ann,
Nor scold na me about mourning;
Hadna my son there men enew
To hae taken his steed from him?’
- They’ve ridden up, they’ve ridden down,
Till they came to the kirk o Gemrie;
There they saw his winsome bride,
Alone at the kirk-style standing.
- ‘Where away is the man,’ says she,
‘That promised me fair wedding?
This day he vowd to meet me here,
But O he’s lang o coming!’
- Up and spak his brother John,
Says, ‘Meg, I’ll tell ye plainly;
The stream was strang, and we rade wrang,
And he’s drownd in the water o Gemrie.’
- She’s torn the ribons frae her hair,
That were baith thick and many;
She’s torn them a’, lettin them fa’,
And she’s away to the waters o Gemrie.
- She[’s] sought him up, she’s sought him down,
Until that she’s gotten his body,
And she’s laid it on the green, green grass,
And flung her mantle oer him.
- ‘O Willie was red, but O now he’s white!
And Willie was wondrous bonny,
And Willie said he’d marry me,
Gin ere he married oney.
- ‘He was red, he was white, he was my delight,
And aye, aye I thought him bonny;
But now since Willie has dy’d for me,
I will sleep wi him in the same grave at Gemrie.’