The Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border, by Walter Scott

The Cruel Sister.

There were two sisters sat in a bour;

Binnorie, O Binnorie;

There came a knight to be their wooer;

By the bonny milldams of Binnorie.

He courted the eldest with glove and ring;

Binnorie, O Binnorie;

But he lo'ed the youngest aboon a' thing;

By the bonny milldams of Binnorie.

He courted the eldest with broach and knife;

Binnorie, O Binnorie;

But he lo'ed the youngest aboon his life;

By the bonny milldams of Binnorie.

The eldest she was vexed sair;

Binnorie, O Binnorie;

And sore envied her sister fair;

By the bonny milldams of Binnorie.

The eldest said to the youngest ane,

Binnorie, O Binnorie;

—“Will ye go and see our father's ships come in?”—

By the bonny milldams of Binnorie.

She's tae'n her by the lilly hand,

Binnorie, O Binnorie;

And led her down to the river strand;

By the bonny milldams of Binnorie.

The youngest stude upon a stane,

Binnorie, O Binnorie;

The eldest came and pushed her in;

By the bonny milldams of Binnorie.

She took her by the middle sma',

Binnorie, O Binnorie;

And dashed her bonnie back to the jaw,

By the bonny milldams of Binnorie.

—“O sister, sister, reach your hand,

Binnorie, O Binnorie;

And ye shall be heir of half my land.”—

By the bonny milldams of Binnorie.

—“O sister, I'll not reach my hand,

Binnorie, O Binnorie;

And I'll be heir of all your land:

By the bonny milldams of Binnorie.

—“Shame fa' the hand that I should take,

Binnorie, O Binnorie;

It's twin'd me, and my world's make.”—

By the bonny milldams of Binnorie.

—“O sister, reach me but your glove,

Binnorie, O Binnorie;

And sweet William shall be your love.”—

By the bonny milldams of Binnorie.

—“Sink on, nor hope for hand or glove,

Binnorie, O Binnorie;

And sweet William shall better be my love.”—

By the bonny milldams of Binnorie.

—“Your cherry cheeks and your yellow hair,

Binnorie, O Binnorie;

Garr'd me gang maiden evermair.”—

By the bonny milldams of Binnorie.

Sometimes she sunk, and sometimes she swam,

Binnorie, O Binnorie;

Untill she came to the miller's dam,

By the bonny milldams of Binnorie.

—“O father, father, draw your dam!

Binnorie, O Binnorie;

There's either a mermaid or a milkwhite swan.”—

By the bonny milldams of Binnorie.

The miller hasted and drew his dam,

Binnorie, O Binnorie;

And there he found a drowned woman,

By the bonny milldams of Binnorie.

You could not see her yellow hair,

Binnorie, O Binnorie;

For gowd and pearls that were sae rare,

By the bonny milldams of Binnorie.

You could na see her middle sma',

Binnorie, O Binnorie;

Her gowden girdle was sae bra';

By the bonny milldams of Binnorie.

A famous harper passing by,

Binnorie, O Binnorie;

The sweet pale face he chanced to spy;

By the bonny milldams of Binnorie.

And when he looked that ladye on,

Binnorie, O Binnorie;

He sighed and made a heavy moan;

By the bonny milldams of Binnorie.

He made a harp of her breast bone,

Binnorie, O Binnorie;

Whose sounds would melt a heart of stone;

By the bonny milldams of Binnorie.

The strings he framed of her yellow hair,

Binnorie, O Binnorie;

Whose notes made sad the listening ear;

By the bonny milldams of Binnorie.

He brought it to her father's hall;

Binnorie, O Binnorie;

And there was the court assembled all;

By the bonny milldams of Binnorie.

He laid this harp upon a stone,

Binnorie, O Binnorie;

And straight it began to play alone;

By the bonny milldams of Binnorie.

—“O yonder sits my father, the king,

Binnorie, O Binnorie;

And yonder sits my mother, the queen;

By the bonny milldams of Binnorie.

“And yonder stands my brother Hugh,

Binnorie, O Binnorie;

And by him my William sweet and true.”—

By the bonny milldams of Binnorie.

But the last tune that the harp play'd then,

Binnorie, O Binnorie;

Was “Woe to my sister, false Helen!”—

By the bonny milldams of Binnorie.

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