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Minstrelsy of the Scottish Borders

The following is from the Minstrelsy of the Scottish Borders by Sir Walter Scott:

Brown Adam

There is a copy of this Ballad in Mrs Brown’s Collection. The Editor has seen one, printed on a single sheet. The epithet, "Smith," implies, probably, the sirname, not the profession, of the hero, who seems to have been an outlaw. There is, however, in Mrs Brown’s copy, a verse of little merit here omitted, alluding to the implements of that occupation.

O wha wad wish the wind to blaw,
Or the green leaves fa' therewith?
Or wha wad, wish a lealer love
Than Brown Adam the smith?

But they hae banished him, Brown Adam,
Frae father and frae mother;
And they hae banished him, Brown Adam,
Frae sister and frae brother.

And they hae banished him, Brown Adam,
The flower o' a' his kin;
And he's bigged a hour in gude green-wood
Atween his ladye and him.

It fell upon a summer's day,
Brown Adam he thought lang;
And, for to hunt some venison,
To green-wood he wald gang.

He has ta'en his bow his arm o'er,
His bolts and arrows lang;
And he is to the gude green-wood
As fast as he could gang.

O he's shot up, and he's shot down,
The bird upon the brier;
And he's sent it hame to his ladye,
Bade her be of gude cheir.

O he's shot up, and he's shot down,
The bird upon the thorn;
And sent it hame to his ladye,
Said he'd be hame the morn.

When he cam to his ladye's bour door
He stude a little forbye,
And there he heard a fou fause knight
Tempting his gay ladye.

For he's ta'en out a gay goud ring,
Had cost him mony a poun',
"O grant me love for love, ladye,
"And this shall be thy own."

"I lo'e Brown Adam weel," she said;
"I trew sae does he me:
"I wadna gie Brown Adam's love
"For nae fause knight I see."

Out has he ta'en a purse o' gowd,
Was a' fou to the string,
"O grant me love for love, ladye,
"And a' this shall be thine."

"I lo'e Brown Adam weel," she says;
"I wot sae does he me:
"I wad na be your light leman
"For mair than ye could gie."

Then out he drew his lang bright brand,
And flashed it in her een;
"Now grant me love for love, ladye,
"Or thro' ye this sall gang!"
Then, sighing, says that ladye fair,
"Brown Adam tarries lang!"

Then in and starts him Brown Adam,
Says--"I'm just at your hand."
He's gar'd him leave his bonny bow,
He's gar'd him leave his brand,
He's gar'd him leave a dearer pledge--
Four fingers o' his right hand.

Jellon Grame


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