Child's Ballads/14

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Child's Collected Ballads by Francis James Child
Babylon or The Bonnie Banks o Fordie, no. 14
For more information, see Wikipedia: Babylon or The Bonnie Banks o Fordie.

Contents

A[edit]

THERE were three ladies lived in a bower,
      Refrain: Eh vow bonnie
And they went out to pull a flower.
      Refrain: On the bonnie banks o Fordie

They hadna pu'ed a flower but ane,
When up started to them a banisht man.

He's taen the first sister by her hand,
And he's turned her round and made her stand.

"It's whether will ye be a rank robber's wife,
Or will ye die by my wee pen-knife?"

"It's I'll not be a rank robber's wife,
But I'll rather die by your wee pen-knife."

He's killed this may, and he's laid her by,
For to bear the red rose company.

He's taken the second ane by the hand,
And he's turned her round and made her stand.

"It's whether will ye be a rank robber's wife,
Or will ye die by my wee pen-knife?"

"I'll not be a rank robber's wife,
But I'll rather die by your wee pen-knife."

He's killed this may, and he's laid her by,
For to bear the red rose company.

He's taken the youngest ane by the hand,
And he's turned her round and made her stand.

Says, "Will ye be a rank robber's wife,
Or will ye die by my wee pen-knife?"

"I'll not be a rank robber's wife,
Nor will I die by your wee pen-knife.

"For I hae a brother in this wood,
And gin ye kill me, it's he'll kill thee."

"What's thy brother's name? come tell to me."
"My brother's name is Baby Lon."

"O sister, sister, what have I done!
O have I done this ill to thee!

"O since I've done this evil deed,
Good sall never be seen o me."

He's taken out his wee pen-knife,
And he's twyned himsel o his ain sweet life.

B[edit]

THERE wond three ladies in a bower,
      Refrain: Annet and Margret and Marjorie
And they have gane out to pu a flower.
      Refrain: And the dew it lyes on the wood, gay ladie

They had nae pu'd a flower but ane,
When up has started a banished man.

He has taen the eldest by the hand,
He has turned her about and bade her stand.

"Now whether will ye be a banisht man's wife,
Or will ye be sticked wi my pen-knife?"

"I will na be ca'd a banished man's wife,
I'll rather be sticked wi your pen-knife."

And he has taen out his little pen-knife,
And frae this lady he has taen the life.

He has taen the second by the hand,
He has turned her about and he bad her stand.

"Now whether will ye be a banisht man's wife,
Or will ye be sticked wi my pen-knife?"

"I will na be ca'd a banished man's wife;
I'll rather be sticked wi your pen-knife."

And he has taen out his little pen-knife,
And frae this lady he has taen the life.

He has taen the youngest by the hand,
He has turned her about and he bad her stand.

"Now whether will ye be a banished man's wife,
Or will ye be sticked wi my pen-knife?"

"I winnae be called a banished man's wife,
Nor yet will I be sticked wi your pen-knife.

"But gin my three brethren had been here,
Ye had nae slain my sisters dear."

  • * * * *

C[edit]

THERE were three sisters on a road,
      Refrain: Gilly flower gentle rosemary
And there they met a banished lord.
      Refrain: And the dew it hings over the mulberry tree

The eldest sister was on the road,
And there she met with the banished lord.

"O will ye consent to lose your life,
Or will ye be a banished lord's wife?"

"I'll rather consent to lose my life
Before I'll be a banished lord's wife."

"It's lean your head upon my staff,"
And with his pen-knife he has cutted it aff.

He flang her in amang the broom,
Saying, "Lye ye there till another ane come."

The second sister was on the road,
And there she met with the banished lord.

"O will ye consent to lose your life,
Or will ye be a banished lord's wife?"

"I'll rather consent to lose my life
Before I'll be a banished lord's wife."

"It's lean your head upon my staff,"
And with his pen-knife he has cutted it aff.

He flang her in amang the broom,
Saying, "Lie ye there till another ane come."

The youngest sister was on the road,
And there she met with the banished lord.

"O will ye consent to lose your life,
Or will ye be a banished lord's wife?"

"O if my three brothers were here,
Ye durstna put me in such a fear."

"What are your three brothers, altho they were here,
That I durstna put you in such a fear?"

"My eldest brother's a belted knight,
The second, he's a . . .

"My youngest brother's a banished lord,
And oftentimes he walks on this road."

  • * * * *

D[edit]

THERE were three sisters, they lived in a bower,
      Refrain: Sing Anna, sing Margaret, sing Marjorie
The youngest o them was the fairest flower.
      Refrain: And the dew goes thro the wood, gay ladie

The oldest of them she's to the wood gane,
To seek a braw leaf and to bring it hame.

There she met with an outlyer bold,
Lies many long nights in the woods so cold.

"Istow a maid, or istow a wife?
Wiltow twinn with thy maidenhead, or thy sweet life?"

"O kind sir, if I hae't at my will,
I'll twinn with my life, keep my maidenhead still."

He's taen out his we pen-knife,
He's twinned this young lady of her sweet life

He wiped his knife along the dew;
But the more he wiped, the redder it grew.

The second of them she's to the wood gane,
To seek her old sister, and to bring her hame.

There she met with an outlyer bold,
Lies many long nights in the woods so cold.

"Istow a maid, or istow a wife?
Wiltow twinn with thy maidenhead, or thy sweet life?"

"O kind sir, if I hae't at my will,
I'll twinn with my life, keep my maidenhead still."

He's taen out his we pen-knife,
He's twinned this young lady of her sweet life.

He wiped his knife along the dew;
But the more he wiped, the redder it grew.

The youngest of them she's to the wood gane,
To seek her two sisters, and to bring them hame.

There she met with an outlyer bold,
Lies many long nights in the woods so cold.

"Istow a maid, or istow a wife?
Wiltow twinn with thy maidenhead, or thy sweet life?"

"If my three brethren they were here,
Such questions as these thou durst nae speer."

"Pray, what may thy three brethren be,
That I durst na mak so bold with thee?"

"The eldest o them is a minister bred,
He teaches the people from evil to good.

"The second o them is a ploughman good,
He ploughs the land for his livelihood.

"The youngest of them is an outlyer bold,
Lies many a long night in the woods so cold."

He stuck his knife then into the ground,
He took a long race, let himself fall on.

E[edit]

THE Duke o Perth had three daughters,
      Refrain: Elizabeth, Margaret, and fair Marie;
And Elizabeth's to the greenwud gane,
      Refrain: To pu the rose and the fair lilie.

But she hadna pu'd a rose, a rose,
      Refrain: A double rose, but barely three,
Whan up and started a Loudon lord,
      Refrain: Wi Loudon hose, and Loudon sheen.

"Will ye be called a robber's wife?
Or will ye be stickit wi my bloody knife?
      Refrain: For pu'in the rose and the fair lilie,
For pu'in them sae fair and free."

"Before I'll be called a robber's wife,
I'll rather be stickit wi your bloody knife,
      Refrain: For pu'in," etc.

Then out he's tane his little pen-knife,
And he's parted her and her sweet life,
And thrown her oer a bank o brume,
There never more for to be found.

The Duke o Perth had three daughters,
      Refrain: Elizabeth, Margaret, and fair Marie;
And Margaret's to the greenwud gane,
      Refrain: To pu the rose and the fair lilie.

She hadna pu'd a rose, a rose,
      Refrain: A double rose, but barely three,
When up and started a Loudon lord,
      Refrain: Wi Loudon hose, and Loudon sheen.

"Will ye be called a robber's wife?
Or will ye be stickit wi my bloody knife?
      Refrain: For pu'in," etc.

"Before I'll be called a robber's wife,
I'll rather be stickit wi your bloody knife,
      Refrain: For pu'in," etc.

Then out he's tane his little pen-knife,
And he's parted her and her sweet life,
      Refrain: For pu'in, etc.

The Duke o Perth had three daughters,
      Refrain: Elizabeth, Margaret, and fair Marie;
And Mary's to the greenwud gane,
      Refrain: To pu the rose and the fair lilie.

She hadna pu'd a rose, a rose,
      Refrain: A double rose, but barely three,
When up and started a Loudon lord,
      Refrain: Wi Loudon hose, and Loudon sheen.

"O will ye be called a robber's wife?
Or will ye be stickit wi my bloody knife?
      Refrain: For pu'in," etc.

"Before I'll be called a robber's wife,
I'll rather be stickit wi your bloody knife,
      Refrain: For pu'in," etc.

But just as he took out his knife,
To tak frae her her ain sweet life,
Her brother John cam ryding bye,
And this bloody robber he did espy.

But when he saw his sister fair,
He kennd her by her yellow hair;
He calld upon his pages three,
To find this robber speedilie.

"My sisters twa that are dead and gane,
For whom we made a heavy maene,
It's you that's twinnd them o their life,
And wi your cruel bloody knife.

"Then for their life ye sair shall dree;
Ye sall be hangit on a tree,
Or thrown into the poisond lake,
To feed the toads and rattle-snake."

F[edit]

There were three sisters going from home,
      Refrain: All in a lea and alony, oh

They met a man, and he made them stand,
      Refrain: Down by the bonny banks of Airdrie, oh.

He took the first one by the hand,
He turned her round, and he made her stand.

Saying, Will you be a robber's wife?
Or will you die by my penknife?

"Oh, I wont be a robber's wife,
But I will die by your penknife."

Then he took the second by her hand,
He turned her round, and he made her stand.

Saying, Will you be a robber's wife?
Or will you die by my penknife?

"Oh, I wont be a robber's wife,
But I will die by your penknife."

He took the third one by the hand,
He turned her round, and he made her stand.

Saying, Will you be a robber's wife?
Or will you die by my penknife?

"Oh, I wont be a robber's wife,
And I wont die by you penknife.

"If my two brothers had been here,
You would not have killed my sisters two."

"What was your two brothers names?"
"One was John, and the other was James."

"Oh, what did your two brothers do?"
"One was a minister, the other such as you."

"Oh, what is this that I have done?
I have killed my sisters, all but one.

"And now I'll take out my penknife,
And here I'll end my own sweet life."