The Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border, by Walter Scott

Fause Foodrage.

King Easter has courted her for her lands,

King Wester for her fee;

King Honor for her comely face,

And for her fair bodie.

They had not been four months married.

As I have heard them tell,

Untill the nobles of the land

Against them did rebel.

And they cast kevils them amang,

And kevils them between;

And they cast kevils them amang,

Wha suld gae kill the king.

O some said yea, and some said nay,

Their words did not agree;

Till up and got him Fause Foodrage,

And swore it suld be he.

When bells were rung, and mass was sung,

And a' men bound to bed,

King Honor and his gaye ladye

In a hie chamber were laid.

Then up and raise him, Fause Foodrage,

When a' were fast asleep;

And slew the porter in his lodge,

That watch and ward did keep.

O four and twenty silver keys

Hang hie upon a pin;

And aye, as ae door he did unlock,

He has fastened it him behind.

Then up and raise him, King Honor,

Says —“What means a' this din?

Or what's the matter, Fause Foodrage,

Or wha has loot you in?”—

—“O ye my errand weel shall learn,

Before that I depart.”—

Then drew a knife, baith lang and sharp,

And pierced him to the heart.

Then up and got the Queen hersell,

And fell low down on her knee;

—“O spare my life! now, Fause Foodrage,

For I never injured thee.

“O spare my life! now, Fause Foodrage,

Untill I lighter be;

And see gin it be lad or lass,

King Honor has left me wi'.”—

—“O gin it be a lass,” he says,

“Weel nursed it shall be;

But gin it be a lad bairn,

He sall be hanged hie.

“I winna spare for his tender age,

Nor yet for his hie, hie, kin;

But soon as e'er he born is,

He shall mount the gallows pin.”—

O four and twenty valiant knights

Were set the Queen to guard;

And four stood aye at her bour door,

To keep both watch and ward.

But when the time drew near an end,

That she suld lighter be,

She cast about to find a wile

To set her body free.

O she has birled these merry young men

With the ale but and the wine,

Untill they were as deadly drunk

As any wild wood swine.

—“O narrow, narrow, is this window,

And big, big, am I grown!”—

Yet, thro' the might of Our Ladye,

Out at it she has gone.

She wandered up, she wandered down,

She wandered out and in;

And at last, into the very swine's stythe,

The Queen brought forth a son.

Then they cast kevils them amang,

Which sould gae seek the Queen;

And the kevil fell upon Wise William,

And he sent his wife for him.

O when she saw Wise William's wife,

The Queen fell on her knee;

—“Win up, win up, Madame!” she says:

“What needs this courtesie?”—

—“O out o' this I winna rise,

Till a boon ye grant to me;

To change your lass for this lad bairn,

King Honor left me wi'.

“And ye maun learn my gay goss hawk

Right weel to breast a steed;

And I sall learn your turtle dow

As weel to write and read.

“And ye maun learn my gay goss hawk

To wield baith bow and brand;

And I sall learn your turtle dow

To lay gowd wi' her hand.

At kirk and market when we meet,

We'll dare make nae avowe,

But —“Dame, how does my gay goss hawk?”—

—“Madame, how does my dow?”—

When days were gane, and years came on,

Wise William he thought lang;

And he has ta'en King Honor's son

A hunting for to gang.

It sae fell out, at this hunting,

Upon a simmer's day,

That they came by a fair castell,

Stood on a sunny brae.

—“O dinna ye see that bonny castell,

Wi' halls and towers sae fair?

Gin ilka man had back his ain,

Of it ye suld be heir.”—

—“How I suld be heir of that castell

In sooth I canna see;

For it belangs to Fause Foodrage,

And he is na kin to me.”—

—“O gin ye suld kill him, Fause Foodrage,

You would do but what was right;

For I wot he kill'd your father dear,

Or ever ye saw the light.

“And gin ye suld kill him, Fause Foodrage,

There is no man durst you blame;

For he keeps your mother a prisoner,

And she darna take ye hame.”—

The boy stared wild like a gray goss hawk:

Says —“What may a' this mean?”—

—“My boy, ye are King Honor's son;

And your mother's our lawful Queen.”—

—“O gin I be King Honor's son,

By Our Ladye I swear,

This night I will that traitor slay,

And relieve my mother dear!”—

He has set his bent bow to his breast,

And leaped the castell wa';

And soon has he seized on Fause Foodrage,

Wha loud for help 'gan ca'. —

—“O haud your tongue, now, Fause Foodrage!

Frae me ye shanna flee.”—

Syne, pierc'd him thro' the fause, fause, heart,

And set his mother free.

And he has rewarded Wise William

Wi' the best half of his land;

And sae has he the turtle dow,

Wi' the truth o' his right hand.

Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 12:00