The Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border, by Walter Scott

King Henrie.

The Ancient Copy.

Let never man a wooing wend,

That lacketh thingis thrie:

A rowth o' gold, an open heart,

And fu' o' courtesey.

And this was seen o' King Henrie,

For he lay burd alane;

And he has ta'en him to a haunted hunt's-ha',

Was seven miles frae a toun.

He's chaced the dun deer thro' the wood,

And the roe doun by the den,

Till the fattest buck, in a' the herd,

King Henrie he has slain.

He's ta'en him to his hunting ha',

For to make burly cheir;

When loud the wind was heard to sound,

And an earthquake rocked the floor.

And darkness cover'd a' the hall,

Where they sat at their meat:

The gray dogs, youling, left their food,

And crept to Henrie's feet.

And louder houled the rising wind,

And burst the fast'ned door;

And in there came a griesly ghost,

Stood stamping on the floor.

Her head touched the roof-tree of the house;

Her middle ye well mot span:

Each frighted huntsman fled the ha',

And left the king alone.

Her teeth were a' like tether stakes,

Her nose like club or mell;

And I ken nae thing she appeared to be,

But the fiend that wons in hell.

—“Sum meat, sum meat, ye King Henrie;

Sum meat ye gie to me.”—

—“And what meat's in this house, ladye,

That ye're nae wellcum tee?”—

—“O ye's gae kill your berry brown steed,

And serve him up to me.”—

O when he killed his berry brown steed,

Wow gin his heart was sair!

She eat him a' up, skin and bane,

Left naething but hide and hair.

—“Mair meat, mair meat, ye King Henrie;

Mair meat ye gie to me.”—

—“And what meat's i' this house, ladye,

That ye're na wellcum tee?”—

—“O ye do slay your gude gray houndes,

And bring them a' to me.”—

O when he slew his gude gray houndes,

Wow but his heart was sair!

She's ate them a' up, ane by ane,

Left naething but hide and hair.

—“Mair meat, mair meat, ye King Henrie;

Mair meat ye gie to me.”—

—“And what meat's i' this house, ladye,

That I hae left to gie?”—

—“O ye do fell your gay goss-hawks,

And bring them a' to me.”—

O when he felled his gay goss-hawks,

Wow but his heart was sair!

She's eat them a' up, bane by bane,

Left naething but feathers bare.

—“Sum drink, sum drink, ye king Henrie;

Sum drink ye gie to me.”—

—“And what drink's in this house, ladye,

That ye're nae wellcum tee?”—

—“O ye sew up your horse's hide,

And bring in a drink to me.”—

O he has sew'd up the bluidy hide,

And put in a pipe of wine;

She drank it up a' at ae draught,

Left nae a drap therein.

—“A bed, a bed, ye king Henrie;

A bed ye mak to me.”—

—“And what's the bed i' this house, ladye,

That ye're nae wellcum tee? —

—“O ye maun pu' the green heather,

And mak a bed to me.”—

O pu'ed has he the heather green,

And made to her a bed;

And up he has ta'en his gay mantle,

And o'er it he has spread.

—“Now swear, now swear, ye king Henrie,

To take me for your bride.”—

—“O God forbid,”— king Henrie said,

“That e'er the like betide!

That e'er the fiend that wons in hell,

Should streak down by my side.”—

When day was come, and night was gane,

And the sun shone through the ha',

The fairest ladye, that e'er was seen,

Lay atween him and the wa'.

—“O weel is me!”— king Henrie said;

“How long will this last wi' me?”—

And out and spak that ladye fair —

—“E'en till the day ye die.

“For I was witched to a ghastly shape,

All by my stepdame's skill,

Till I should meet wi' a courteous knight,

Wad gie me a' my will.”—

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Last updated Wednesday, March 5, 2014 at 22:29