Anonymous Olde English


Gil Morrice. A Scottish Ballad - Poem by Anonymous Olde English

Gil Morrice was an erles son,
His name it waxed wide:
It was nae for his great riches,
Nor zet was mickle pride;
Bot it was for a lady gay,
That livd on Carron side.

'Quhair sall I get a bonny boy,
That will win hose and shoen;
That will gae to Lord Barnard's ha',
And bid his lady cum?
And ze maun rin my errand, Willie,
And ze may rin wi' pride;
Quhen other boys gae on their foot,
On horse-back ze sall ride.'

'O no! O no! my master dear!
I dare nae for my life;
I'll no gae to the bauld barons,
For to triest furth his wife.'
'My bird Willie, my boy Willie,
My dear Willie,' he sayd:
'How can ze strive against the stream?
For I shall be obeyd.'

'Bot, O my master dear!' he cry'd,
'In grene wod ze're zour lain;
Gi owre sic thochts, I walde ze rede,
For fear ze should be tain.'
'Haste, haste, I say, gae to the ha',
Bid hir cum here wi speid:
If ze refuse my heigh command,
Ill gar zour body bleid.

'Gae bid hir take this gay mantel,
'Tis a gowd bot the hem;
Bid hir cum to the gude grene wode,
And bring nane bot hir lain:
And there it is, a silken sarke,
Hir ain hand sewd the sleive;
And bid hir cum to Gill Morice,
Speir nae bauld barons leave.'

'Yes, I will gae zour blacke errand,
Though it be to zour cost;
Sen ze by me well nae be warn'd,
In it ze sall find frost.
The baron he is a man of might,
He neir could bide to taunt;
As ze will see before it's nicht,
How sma' ze hae to vaunt.

'And sen I maun zour errand rin
Sae sair against my will,
I'se make a vow and keip it trow,
It sall be done for ill.'
And quhen he came to broken brigue,
He bent his bow and swam;
And quhen he came to grass growing,
Set down his feet and ran.

And quhen he came to Barnards ha',
Would neither chap nor ca';
Bot set his bent bow to his breist,
And lichtly lap the wa'.
He wauld nae tell the man his errand,
Bot straiht into the ha' he cam,
Quhair they were set at meit.

'Hail! hail! my gentle sire and dame!
My message winna waite;
Dame, ze maun to the gude grene wod,
Before that it be late.

'Ze're bidden tak this gay mantel,
Tis a' gowd bot the hem:
Zou maun gae to the gude grene wode,
Ev'n by your sel alane.

'And there it is, a silken sarke,
Your ain hand sewd the sleive:
Ze maun gae speik to Gill Morice;
Speir nae bauld barons leave.'
The lady stamped wi' hir foot,
And winked wi' her ee;
Bot a' that she coud say or do,
Forbidden he wad nae bee.

'Its surely to my bow'r-woman;
It neir could be to me.'
'I brocht it to Lord Barnards lady;
I trow that ze be she.'
Then up and spack the wylie nurse,
(The bairn upon hir knee):
'If it be cum frae Gill Morice,
It' deir welcum to mee.'

'Ze leid, ze leid, ze filthy nurse,
Sae loud I heird ze lee;
I brocht it to Lord Barnards lady;
I trow ze be nae shee.'

Then up and spack the bauld baron,
An angry man was hee;
He's tain the table wi' his foot,
Sae has he wi' his knee,
Till siller cup and 'mazer' dish
In flinders he gard flee.

'Gae bring a robe of zour cliding
That hings upon the pin;
And I'll gae to the gude grene wode,
And speik wi' zour lemman.
'O bide at hame, now, Lord Barnard,
I warde ze bide at hame;
Neir wyte a man for violence,
That neir wate ze wi' nane.'

Gil Morice sate in gude grene wode,
He whistled and he sang:
'O what mean a' the folk coming?
His hair was like the threeds of gold,
Drawne frae Minerva's loome;
His lipps like roses drapping dew;
His breath was a' perfume.

His browe was like the mountains snae
Gilt by the morning beam;
His cheeks like living roses glow;
His een like azure stream.
The boy was clad in robes of grene,
Sweete as the infant spring;
And like the mavis on the bush,
He gart the vallies ring.

The baron came to the grene wode,
Wi' mickle dule and care,
And there he first spied Gill Morice
Kameing his zellow hair
That sweetly wavd around his face,
That face beyond compare;
He sang sae sweet, it might dispel
A' rage but fell despair.

'Nae wonder, nae wonder, Gill Morice,
My lady loed thee weel;
The fairest part of my bodie
Is blacker than thy heel.
Zet neir the less now, Gill Morice,
For al' thy great beautie,
Ze's rew the day ze eir was born;
That head sall gae wi' me.'

Now he was drawn his trusty brand,
And slaited on the strae;
And thro' Gill Morice' fair body
He's gar cauld iron gae.
And he has tain Gill Morice' head
And set it on a speir:
The meanest man in a' his train
Has gotten that head to bear.

And he has tain Gill Morice up,
Laid him across his steid,
And brocht him to his painted bowr,
And laid him on a bed.

The lady sat on castil wa',
Beheld baith dale and doun;
And there she saw Gill Morice' head
Cum trailing to the toun.

'Far better I loe that bluidy head,
Both and that zellow hair,
Than Lord Barnard, and a' his lands,
As they lig here and thair.'
And she has tain her Gill Morice,
And kissd baith mouth and chin:
'I was once as fow of Gill Morice,
As the hip is o' the stean.

'I got ze in my father's house,
Wi' mickle sin and shame;
I brocht thee up in gude grene wode,
Under the heavy rain.
Oft have I by thy cradle sitten
And fondly seen thee sleip;
But now I gae about thy grave,
The saut tears for to weip.'

And syne she kissd his bluidy cheik,
And syne his bluidy chin:
'O better I loe my Gill Morice
Than a' my kith and kin!'
'Away, away, ze ill woman,
And an il deith mait ze dee:
Gin I had kend he'd bin zour son,
He'd neir bin slain for mee.'

'Obraid me not, my Lord Barnard!
Obraid me not for shame!
Wi' that saim speir, O pierce my heart!
And put me out o' pain.
Since nothing bot Gill Morice' head
Thy jealous rage could quell,
Let that saim hand now tak hir life
That neir to thee did ill.

'To me nae after days nor nichts
Will eir be saft or kind;
I'll fill the air with heavy sighs,
And greet till I am blind.'
'Enouch of blood by me's bin spilt,
Seek not zour death frae me;
I rather lourd it had been my sel
Than eather him or thee.

'With waefo wae I hear zour plaint;
Sair, sair I rew the deid,
That eir this cursed hand of mine
Had gard his body bleid.
Dry up zour tears, my winsome dame,
Ze neir can heal the wound;
Ze see his head upon the speir,
His heart's blude on the ground.

'I curse the hand that did the deid,
The heart that thocht the ill;
The feet that bore me wi' sik speid,
The comely zouth to kill.

I'll ay lament for Gill Morice,
As gin he were mine ain;
I'll neir forget the dreiry day
On which the zouth was slain.'


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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, April 7, 2010



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