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Sir James, the Rose Of all the northern Scottish Chiefs That live as warlike men, The bravest was Sir James, the Rose, A knight of muckle fame. His growth was like the thrifty fir That crowns the mountain's brow And wavering o'er his shoulders broad Bright locks of yellow flow. Three years he fought on bloody fields Against their English king. Scarce two and twenty summers yet This fearless youth had seen. It was fair Mathildy that he loved That girl with beauty rare, And Margaret on the Scottish throne With her could not compare. Long he had wooed, long she'd refused It seemed, with scorn and pride But after all confessed her love; Her faithful words, denied. My father was born a cruel lord. This passion does approve. He bids me wed Sir John a Grame And leave the one I love. My father's will I must fulfill, Which puts me to a stand Some fair maid in her beauty bloom May bless you with her hand. "Are those the vows, Mathildy dear," Sir James, the Rose, did say, "And would Mathildy wed the Grame When she's sworn to be my bride?" "I only spoke to try thy love. I'll ne'er wed man but thee. The grave shall be my bridal bed Ere Grames my husband be." "You take this kiss, fair youth," she said, "In witness of my love, May every plague down on me fall The day I break my vows." Ere they had met and there embraced, Down by a shady grove, It was on a bank beside a burn A blooming shelltree stood. Concealed beneath the undie wood To hear what they might say, A brother to Sir John the Grame And there concealed he lay. Ere thcy did part the sun was set. At haste he then replied, "Return, return, you beardless youth" He loud insulting cris. "O it's of my brother's slight love Rests softly on your arm." Three paces back the youth retired To save himself from harm. Then turned around the beardless youth And quick his sword he drew And through his enemy's crashing blows His sharp-edged weapon drew. Grame staggered back. He reeled and fell A lifeless lump of clay. "So falls my foes," said valiant Rose, And straightly walked away. Through the green woods he then did go Till he reached Lord Bohan's Hall And at Mathildy's window stood And thus began to call: "Art thou asleep, Mathildy dear? Awake, my love, awake. Your own true lover calls on you A long farewell to take." "For I have slain fair Donald Grame. His blood is on my sword And distant are my faithful men. They can't assist their lord." "To the Isle of Skye, I must awa' Where my twa brothers abide. I'll raise the gallyants of that Isle. They'll combat on my side." "Don't do so," the maid replied, "With me 'til morning stay, For dark and rainy is the night And dangerous is the way." "All night I'll watch you in my park. My little page I'll send He'll run and raise the Rose's clan Their master to defend." She laid him down beneath the bush And rolled him in his plaid. At a distance stood the weeping maid; A-weeping for her love. O'er hills and dales, the page he ran, Till lonely in the Glen, 'Twas there he met Sir John the Grame And twenty of his men. "Where art thou going, my little page? What tidings dost thou bring?" "I'm running to raise the Rose's clan Their master to defend." "For he has slain fair Donald Grame. His blood is on his sword, And distant are his faithful men They can't assist their lord." "Tell me where he is, my little page, And I will thee well reward." "He sleeps now in Lord Bohan's Hall. Mathildy, she's his guard." He spurred his horse at a furious gait And galloped o'er the lea Until he reached Lord Bohan's Hall At the dawning of the day. Without the gate, Mathildy stood To whom the Grame replied, "Saw ye Sir James, the Rose, last night, Or did he pass this way?" "Last day at noon fair James, the Rose, I seen him passing by. He was mounted on a milk-white steed And forward fast did fly. "He's in Edinborotown now by this time If man and horse proves good." "Your page now lies who said he was A-sleeping in the wood." She wrung her hands and tore her hair Saying, "Rose, thou art betrayed, Thou art betrayed all by those means I was sure you would be saved." The hero heard a well-known voice; This valiant knight awoke, Oh, he awoke and drew his sword As this brave band appeared. "So you have slain my brother dear; His blood as dew did shine And by the rising of the sun Your blood shall flow or mine." "You speak the truth," the youth replies, "That deeds can prove the man. Stand by your men and hand to hand You'll see our valiant stand." "If boasting words a coward hide, It is my sword you fear, It's seen the day on FIodden's Field When you sneaked in the rear." "Oh, at him, men, and cut him down Oh, cut him down in twain. Five thousand pounds onto the man Who leaves him on the plain." Four of his men ---the bravest four--- Fell down before that sword, But still they scorned that mean revenge And sought the cowardly Lord. Till cowardly behind him stole the Grame And wound him in the side. Out gushing came his purple gore And all his garments dyed. But ne'er of his sword did he quit the grip Nor fell he to the ground Till through his enemy's heart his steel Had pierced a fatal wound. Grame staggered back. He reeled and fell A lifeless lump of clay Whilst down beside him sank the Rose That fainting, dying lay. O when Mathildy seen him fall, "O spare his life," she cried, "Lord Bohan's daughter begs his life. She shall not be denied." The hero heard a well-known voice And raised his death-closed eyes And fixed them on the weeping maid, And faintly this replies, "In vain, Mathildy, you beg my life. By death's, it's been denied ; My race is run. Good-bye, my love," He closed his eyes and died. She drew his sword from his left side With frantic hands, she drew. "I come, I come, brave Rose," she cried, "I'm going to follow you." She leaned the hilt upon the ground And pressed her snow-white breast; Laid down upon her lover's face And endless went to rest. So come all indulging parents, By this warning take And never encourage your children dear Their sacred vows to break. Child #213 From Ballads Migrant in New England, Flanders Collected from Hanford Hayes, Staceyville, ME 1940 RG
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