Child has versions (A-H) of Rare Willie Drowned in Yarrow, or, The Water o Gamrie

[ A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H ]

Version A

Name: 'Willy 's rare and Willy 's fair'

Note: Thompson's Orpheus Caledonius, II, 110, 1783.

1 'WILLY's rare, and Willy 's fair,
And WillY'S wondrous bony,
And Willy heght to marry me,
Gin eer he marryd ony.

2 'Yestreen I made my bed fu brade,
The night i'll make it narrow,
For a' the live-long winter's night
I lie twin'd of my marrow.

3 '0 came you by yon water-side?
Pu'd you the rose or lilly?
Or came you by yon meadow green?
Or saw you my sweet Willy?'

4 She sought him east, she sought him west,
She sought him brade and narrow;
Sine, in the Clifting of a craig,
She found him drownd in Yarrow. 

Version B

Name: None

Note: a. Croinek's Select Scotish Songs, 1810, II, 196.
b. Stenhouse, Musical Museum, 1853, IV, 464. 

1 SHE sought himeEast, she sought him west,	
She sought him braid and narrow,
Till in the clintin of a craig
She found him drownd in Yarrow.

2 She's taen three links of her yellow hair,
That hung down lang and yellow,
And she's tied it about sweet Willie's waist,
An drawn him out o Yarrow.

Version C

Name: 'The Dowie Dens o Yarrow'

Note: Gibb MS., No 7, p. 87; from recitation. "Traced to
Eppie Fraser, daughter of a tramp, and unable to read, circa 1840."

1 'WILLIE's fair, an Willie's rare,
An Willie's wondrous bonny,
An Willie 'a promised to marry me,
If eer he marry ony.'

2 '0 sister dear, I've dreamed a dream,
I 'm afraid it's unco sorrow;	
I dreamed I was pu'in the heather green,
In the dowie dens o Yarrow.'

3 '0 sister dear, I'11 read your dream,	
I'm afraid it will be sorrow;
Ye'11 get a letter ere it's een
Your lover's drowned in Yarrow.'

4 She socht him up, she socht him doun,
In mickle dule an sorrow;
She found him neath a buss o brume,
In the dowie dens o Yarrow,

5 Her hair it was three quarters lang,
Its colour it was yallow;
She tied it to his middle sma,
An pu'ed him oot o Yarrow.

6 'My bed it was made wide yestreen,
The nicht it sall be narrow;
There's neer a man lle by my side
Since Willie's drowned in Yarrow.'

Version D

Name: None

Note:  Skene MS., p. 47; taken down from recitation in the
north of Scotland, 1802-3

1 'WILLIE'S fair, and Willie's rare,
An he is wondrous bonnie,
An Willie has promist to marry me,
Gin ever he marry ony.'

2 'Ye's get Jammie, or ye's [get] Johnnie,	
Or ye's get bonny Peter;
Ye's get the wale o a' my sons,
But leave me Willie the writer.'

3 'I winna hae Jamie, I winna hae Johnie,
I winna hae bonny Peter;
I winna hae ony o a' your sons,	
An I get na Willie the writer.'

4 .     .     .     .
 .     .     .     .
There was threescore and ten brisk young men
Was boun to briddal-stool wi him:

5 'Ride on, ride on, my merry men a',
I forgot something behind me;
I forgat my mither's blessing,
To hae to bride-stool wi me.'

6 'God's blessin an mine gae wi ye, Willie,
God's blessing an mine gae wi ye;
For ye're nae ane hour but bare nineteen,
Fan ye're gauin to meet your Meggie.'

7 They rode on, and farther on,
Till they came to the water of Gamrie,
An they a' wan safe through,
Unless it was sweet Willie.

8 The first ae step that Willie's horse steppit,
He steppit to the bridle;
The next ae step that Willie's horse steppit,
Toom grew Willie's saddle.

9 They rod on, an farther on,
Till they caine to the kirk of Gamrie.
.      .      .      .
.      .      .      .

10 Out spak the bonny bride,
.     .     .      .
'Whar is the man that's to gie me his han
This day at the kirk of Gamrie?'

11 Out spak his brother John,
An 0 bat he was sorrie!
'It fears me much, my bonny bride,
He sleeps oure soun in Gamerie.'

12 The ribbons that were on her hair -
An they were thick and monny -
She rive them a', let them down fa,
An is on[to] the water o Gamerie.

13 She sought it up, she sought it down,
She sought it braid and narrow;
An in the deepest pot o Gamerie,
There she got sweet Willie.

14 She has kissd his comely mouth,
As she had done before [0]:
'Baith our mithers sall be alike sorry,
For we's baith sleep in Gamery.'

Version E

Name: None

Note: Buchan's Ballads of the North of Scotland, I, 245.

1 '0 WILLIE is fair, and Willie is rare,
And Willie is wondrous bonny,
And Willie says he 'll marry me,
Gin ever he marry ony.'

2 '0 ye 'se get James, or ye'se get George,
Or ye 's get bonny Johnnie;
Ye'se get the flower o a' my sons,
Gin ye'11 forsake my Willie.'

3 '0 what care I for James or George,
Or yet for bonny Peter?
I dinna value their love a leek,
An I getna Willie the writer.

4 '0 Willie has a bonny hand,
And dear but it is bonny!'
'He has nae mair for a' his land;
What woud ye do wi Willie?'

5 '0 Willie has a bonny face,
And dear but it is bonny!'
'But Willie has nae other grace;
What woud ye do wi Willie?'

6 'Willie's fair, and Willie's rare,
And Willie's wondrous bonny;
There's nane wi him that can compare,
I love him best of ony.'

7 On Wednesday, that fatal day,
The people were convening;
Besides all this, threescore and ten,
To gang to the bride-steel wi him.

8 'Ride on, ride on, my merry men a',
I've forgot something behind me;
I've forgot to get my mother's blessing,
To gae to the bride-steel wi me.'

9 'Your Peggy she's but bare fifteen,
And ye are scarcely twenty;
The water o Gamery is wide and braid;
My heavy curse gang wi thee!'

10 Then they rode on, and further on,
Till they came on to Gamery;
The wind was loud, the stream was proud,
And wi the stream gaed Willie.

11 Then they rode on, and further on,
Till they came to the kirk o Gamery;
And every one on high horse sat,
But Willie's horse rade toomly.

12 When they were settled at that place,
The people fell a mourning,
And a council held amo them a',
But sair, sair wept Kinmundy.

13 Then out it speaks the bride hersell,
Says, What means a' this mourning?
Where is the man amo them a'
That shoud gie me fair wedding?

14 Then out it speaks his brother John,
Says, Meg, I'll tell you plainly;
The stream was strong, the clerk rade wrong,
And Willie's drownd in Gamery.

15 She put her hand up to her head,
Where were the ribbons many;
She rave them a', let them down fa',
And straightway ran to Gamery.

16 She sought it up, she sought it down,
Till she was wet and weary;
And in the middle part o it,
There she got her deary.

17 Then she stroakd back his yellow hair,
And kissd his mou sae comely:
'My mother's heart's be as wae as thine!
We'se baith asleep in the water o Gamery.'

Version F

Name: 'The Water o Gamery'

Note: Buchan MSS, II, 159.

1 WHAN Willie was in his saddle set,
And all his merry men wi him,
'Stay still, stay still, my merry men all,
I've forgot something behind me.

2 'Gie me God's blessing an yours, mither,
To bae me on to Gamery;
Gie me God's blessing an yours, mither,
To gae to the bride-stool wi me.'

3 'I'll gie ye God's blessing an mine, Willie,
To bae you on to Gamery;
Ye's hae God's blessing an mine, Willie,
To gae to the bride-stool wi you.

4 .     .     .     .     .     .      .
.     .     .     .     .     .      .
But Gamery it is wide and deep,
An ye'll never see yonr wedding;'

5 Some rede back, an some rede fore,
An some rede on to Gamery;
The bonniest knight's saddle among them all
Stood teem in the Water o Gamery.

6 Out it spake the bride hersell,
Says, What makes all this riding?
Where is the knight amongst you all
Aught me this day for wedding?

7 Out it spake the bridegroom's brother,
Says, Margaret, I 'll tell you plainly;
The knight ye should hae been wedded on
Is drownd in the Water o Gamery.

8 She's torn the ribbons aff her head -
They were baith thick an mony -
She kilted up her green claithing,
And she has passed the Gamery

9 She's plunged in, so did she down,
That was baith black an jumly,
And in the middle o that water
She found her ain sweet Willie.

10 She's taen him in her arms twa
And gied him kisses many:
'My mother's be as wae as thune!
We'll baith lie in the Water o Gamery.'

Version G

Name: 'The Waters o Ganrie'

Note: Motherwell's MS., p. 637; from the recitation of the wife
Of James Baird, forester at Dalrymple.

1 '0 STAY at hame, my ain son Willie,
And let your bride tak Jobnie!
- 0 stay at hame, my am son Willie!	
For my blessing gaes not wi thee.'

2 'I canna stay, nor I winna stay,
And let my bride tak Johnie;
I canna stay, nor I winna stay,
Though your blessing gaes na wi me.

3 'I have a steed in my stable
That cost me monie a pennie,
And on that steed I winna dread
To ride the water o Genrie.'

4 The firsten step that Willie stept,
He steppit to the belie;
The wind blew loud, the stream ran proud,
And awa wi it gaed Willie.

5 And when the bride gaed to the kirk,
Into the kirk o Ganrie,
She cuist her ee among them a',
But she sawna her love Willie.

6 Out and spak her auld brither,
Saying, Peggie, I will tell thee;
The man ye should been married till
Lyes in the water o Genrie.

7 She tore the ribbons aff her head,
That were baith rich and manie,
And she has kiltit up her coat,
And ran to the water o Ganrie.

8 She's sought him up, sae did she doun,
Thro a' the water o Ganrie;
In the deepest weil in a' the burn,
Oh, there she fand her Willie!

9 She has taen him in her arms twa,
Sae fondly as she kisst him!
Said, 'My mither sall be wae as thine,'
And she's lain doun aside him.

Version H

Name: 'The Water o Gemrie' 

Note: Campbell MSS, II, 78.

1 THEY were saddled a', they were briddled a',
Bridegroom and a' was ready;
'Stop,' says he, 'my nobles a',
For I've left something behind me.

2 'It is your blessing, mother dear,
To bound [to] the bride-styl with me:'
'God's blessing now, my son,' says she,	
'And mine and a' gang wi ye!

3 'For ye are scarce nineteen years of age
When ye met in wi bonny Maggie,
And I'm sure, my dear, she'11 welcome you
This day in the kirk o Gemrie.'	

4 It's they have ridden up, it's they have ridden down,
And joy was in their gallant company;
It's they have ridden up, and they have ridden down,
Till they came to the water o Gemrie.

5 When they came to the water, it was flooded;
In the middle Sweet William he fell;
The spray brook over his horse's mane,
And the wind sang his funeral knell.

6 '0 much is the pity! 0 much is the pity!'
Cried that joyful company;
'0 much is the pity! 0 much is the pity!'
But alas! now are woeful and wae.

7 Hame and hame came his stead,
And ran to its ain stable;
They've gien it corn and hay to eat,
As much as it was able.

8 His mother she was a waefu woman,
As dung as woman could be;
'My son,' says she, 'is either hurt or slain,
Or drowned in the waters of Gemrie.'

9 It's up and spak her daughter Ann:
'What needs be a' this mourning?
He's lighted at yon bonny kirk-style,
And his steed has run away from him.'

10 '0 had yer tongue, my daughter Ann,
Nor scold na me about mourning;
Hadna my son there men enew
To hae taken his steed from him?'

11 They've ridden up, they've ridden down,
Till they came to the kirk o Gemrie;
There they saw his winsome bride,
Alone at the kirk-style standing.

12 'Where away is the man,' says she,
'That promised me fair wedding?
This day he vowd to meet me here,
But 0 he's lang o coming!'

13 Up and spak his brother John,
Says, 'Meg, I'11 tell ye plainly;
The stream was strang, and we rade wrang,
And he's drownd in the water o Gemrie.'

14 She's torn the ribons frae her hair,
That were baith thick and many;
She's torn them a', lettin them fa',
And she's away to the waters o Gemrie.

15 She['s] sought him up, she's sought him down,
Until that she's gotten his body,
And she's laid it on the green, green grass,
And flung her mantle oer him.

16 '0 Willie was red, but 0 now he's white
And Willie was wondrous bonny,
And Willie he said he'd marry me,
Gin ere he married oney.

17 'Re was red, he was white, he was my delight,
And aye, aye I thought him bonny;
But now since Willie has dy'd for me,
I will sleep wi him in the same grave at Gemrie.'