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O, I Forbid You Maidens A'

 

Burns Original

Standard English Translation

O, I Forbid You Maidens A'
1.
O, I forbid you maidens a',
That wear gowd on your hair,
To come or gae by Carterhaugh,
For young Tam Lin is there.
2.
There's nane that gaes by Carterhaugh
But they leave him a wad;
Either their rings, or green mantles,
Or else their maidenhead.
3.
Janet has belted her green kirtle
A little aboon her knee;
And she has broded her yellow hair
A little aboon her bree;
And she's awa to Carterhaugh
As fast as she can hie!
4.
But when she cam to Carterhaugh,
Tam Lin was at the well,
And there she fand his steed standing,
But away was himsel.
5.
She hadna pu'd a double rose,
A rose but only twae,
Till up then started young Tam Lin
Says, 'Lady thou's pu' nae mae.
6.
'Why pu's thou the rose, Janet,
And why breaks thou the wand!
Or, why comes thou to Carterhaugh
Withoutten my command?'
7.
'Carterhaugh it is my ain;
My daddie gave it me,
I'll come and gang by Carterhaugh,
And ask nae leave at thee.'
8.
Janet had kilted her green kirtle
A little aboon her knee,
And she has snooded her yellow hair
A little aboon her bree,
And she is to her father's ha'
As fast as she can hie.
9.
Four and twenty ladies fair
Were playing at the ba',
And out then cam the fair Janet
Ance the flower amang them a'.
10.
Four and twenty ladies fair
Were playing at the chess,
And out then cam the fair Janet
As green as ony glass.
11.
Out then spak an auld grey knight
Lay o'er the castle wa';
And says; 'Alas! fair Janet for thee
But we'll be blamed a'.'
12.
'Haud your tongue, ye auld fac'd knight,
Some ill death may ye die,
Father my bairn on whom I will,
I'll father nane on thee.'
13.
Out then spak her father dear,
And he spak meek and mild,
'And ever alas! Sweet Janet,' he says -
'I think thou gaes wi' child.'
14.
'If that I gae wi' child, father,
Mysel maun bear the blame,
There's ne'er a laird about your ha',
Shall get the bairn's name.
15.
'If my love were an earthly knight,
As he's an elfin gray,
I wadna gie my ain true-love
For nae lord that ye hae.
16.
'The steed that my true-love rides on
Is lighter than the wind;
Wi' siller he is shod before,
Wi' burning gowd behind.'
17.
Janet had kilted her green kirtle
A little aboon her knee,
And she has snooded her yellow hair
A little aboon her bree,
And she is to her father's ha'
As fast as she can hie.
18.
But when she cam to Carterhaugh,
Tam Lin was at the well,
And there she fand his steed standing,
But away was himsel.
19.
She hadna pu'd a double rose,
A rose but only twae,
Till up then started young Tam Lin
Says, 'Lady thou's pu' nae mae.
20.
'Why pu's thou the rose, Janet,
Amang the groves sae green,
And a' to kill the bonie babe
That we gat us between?'
21.
'O, tell me tell me, Tam Lin,' she says,
'For's sake that died on tree,
If e'er ye was in holy chapel,
Or Christendom did see.'
22.
'Roxbrugh he was my grandfather
Took me with him to bide,
And ance it fell upon a day,
That wae did me betide.
23.
'And ance it fell upon a day,
A cauld day and a snell,
When we were frae the hunting come
That frae my horse I fell.
24.
'The Queen o' Fairies she caught me
In yon green hill to dwell,
And pleasant is the fairy-land: -
But, an eerie tale to tell!
25.
'Ay, at the end o' seven years
We pay a tiend to hell!
I am sae fair and fu' o' flesh
I'm fear'd it be mysel.
26.
'But the night is Hallowe'en, lady,
The morn is Hallowday;
Then win me, win me, an ye will,
For weel I wat ye may.
27.
'Just at the mirk and midnight hour
The fairy folk will ride;
And they that wad their true-love win
At Milecross they maun bide.'
28.
'But how shall I thee ken, Tam Lin,
Or how my true-love know,
Amang sae mony unco knights
The like I never saw.'
29.
'O first let pass the black, lady,
And syne let pass the brown;
But quickly run to the milk-white steed,
Pu' ye his rider down.
30.
'For I'll ride on the milk-white steed,
And ay nearest the town,
Because I was an earthly knight
They gie me that renown.
31.
'My right hand will be glov'd, lady,
My left hand will be bare,
Cockt up shall my bonnet be
And kaim'd down shall my hair;
And thae's the tokens I gie thee -
Nae doubt I will be there:
32.
'They'll turn me in your arms, lady,
Into an esk and adder,
But hold me fast and fear me not -
I am your bairn's father.
33.
'They'll turn me to a bear sae grim,
And then a lion bold;
But fear me fast and fear me not,
As ye shall love your child.
34.
'Again they'll turn me in your arms
To a red het gaud of airn;
But hold me fast and fear me not,
I'll do to you nae harm.
35.
'And last they'll turn me in your arms
Into a burning lead:
Then throw me into well water;
O! throw me in wi' speed.
36.
'And then I'll be your ain true love,
I'll turn a naked knight;
Then cover me wi' your green mantle,
And cover me out o' sight.'
37.
Gloomy, gloomy was the night,
And eerie was the way,
As fair Jenny in her green mantle,
To Milecross she did gae.
38.
About the middle o' the night,
She heard the bridles ring;
This lady was as glad at that
As any earthly thing.
39.
First she let the black pass by,
And syne she let the brown;
But quickly she ran to the milk-white steed,
And pu'd the rider down.
40.
Sae weel she minded what he did say
And young Tam Lin did win;
Syne cover'd him wi' her green mantle,
As blythe's a bird in Spring.
41.
Out then spak the queen o' fairies,
Out of a bush o' broom;
'Them that has gotten young Tam Lin
Has gotten a stately groom.'
42.
Out then spak the queen o' fairies,
And an angry queen was she:
'Shame betide her ill-far'd face.
And an ill death may she die,
For she's taen awa the boniest knight
In a' my companie.
43.
'But had I kend, Tam Lin,' she says,
'What now this night I see,
I wad hae taen out thy twa green een,
And put in twa een o' tree.'

O, I Forbid You Maidens All

O, I forbid you maidens all,
That wear gold on your hair,
To come or go by Carterhaugh,
For young Tam Lin is there.

There is none that goes by Carterhaugh
But they leave him a bundle;
Either their rings, or green mantles,
Or else their maidenhead.

Janet has belted her green short skirt
A little above her knee;
And she has braided her yellow hair
A little above her brow (forehead);
And she is away to Carterhaugh
As fast as she can hasten!

But when she came to Carterhaugh,
Tam Lin was at the well,
And there she found his steed standing,
But away was himself.

She had not pulled a double rose,
A rose but only two,
Till up then started young Tam Lin
Says, 'Lady you will pull no more.

'Why pulls you the rose, Janet,
And why breaks you the stem!
Or, why comes you to Carterhaugh
Without my command?'

'Carterhaugh it is my own;
My father gave it me,
I will come and go by Carterhaugh,
And ask no leave at you.'

Janet had tucked up her green petticoat
A little above her knee,
And she has tied with ribbons her yellow hair
A little above her brow (forehead),
And she is to her father's hall
As fast as she can hasten.

Four and twenty ladies fair
Were playing at the ball,
And out then came the fair Janet
Once the flower among them all.

Four and twenty ladies fair
Were playing at the chess,
And out then came the fair Janet
As green as any glass.

Out then spoke an old grey knight
Lay over the castle wall;
And says; 'Alas! fair Janet for you
But we will be blamed all.'

'Hold your tongue, you old faced knight,
Some ill death may you die,
Father my child on whom I will,
I will father none on you.'

Out then spoke her father dear,
And he spoke meek and mild,
'And ever alas! Sweet Janet,' he says -
'I think you goes with child.'

'If that I go with child, father,
Myself must bear the blame,
There is never a laird about your hall,
Shall get the child's name.

'If my love were an earthly knight,
As he is an elfin gray,
I would not give my own true-love
For no lord that you have.

'The steed that my true-love rides on
Is lighter than the wind;
With silver he is shod before,
With burning gold behind.'

Janet had tucked up her green petticoat
A little above her knee,
And she has tied with ribbons her yellow hair
A little above her brow (forehead),
And she is to her father's hall
As fast as she can hasten.

But when she came to Carterhaugh,
Tam Lin was at the well,
And there she found his steed standing,
But away was himself.

She had not pulled a double rose,
A rose but only two,
Till up then started young Tam Lin
Says, 'Lady you will pull no more.

'Why pulls you the rose, Janet,
Among the groves so green,
And all to kill the lovely baby
That we got us between?'

'O, tell me tell me, Tam Lin,' she says,
'For His sake that died on tree (on the cross),
If ever you was in holy chapel,
Or Christendom did see.'

'Roxbrugh (Roxburgh) he was my grandfather
Took me with him to dwell,
And once it fell upon a day,
That woe did me befall.

'And once it fell upon a day,
A cold day and a biting,
When we were from the hunting come
That from my horse I fell.

'The Queen of Fairies she caught me
In yonder green hill to dwell,
And pleasant is the fairy land: -
But, an eerie tale to tell!

'Always, at the end of seven years
We pay a tiend to hell!
I am so fair and full of flesh
I am afraid it be myself.

'But the night is Hallowevening, lady,
The tomorrow is Hallow day;
Then win me, win me, an you will,
For well I know you may.

'Just at the dark and midnight hour
The fairy folk will ride;
And they that would their true-love win
At Milecross they must stay.'

'But how shall I you know, Tam Lin,
Or how my true-love know,
Among so many uncommon knights
The like I never saw.'

'O first let pass the black, lady,
And then let pass the brown;
But quickly run to the milk-white steed,
Pull you his rider down.

'For I will ride on the milk-white steed,
And always nearest the town,
Because I was an earthly knight
They give me that renown.

'My right hand will be gloved, lady,
My left hand will be bare,
Cocked up shall my bonnet be
And combed down shall my hair;
And those are the tokens I give you -
No doubt I will be there:

'They will turn me in your arms, lady,
Into an asp and adder,
But hold me fast and fear me not -
I am your child's father.

'They will turn me to a bear so grim,
And then a lion bold;
But fear me fast and fear me not,
As you shall love your child.

'Again they will turn me in your arms
To a red hot goad of iron;
But hold me fast and fear me not,
I will do to you no harm.

'And last they will turn me in your arms
Into a burning lead:
Then throw me into well water;
O! throw me in with speed.

'And then I will be your own true love,
I will turn a naked knight;
Then cover me with your green mantle,
And cover me out of sight.'

Gloomy, gloomy was the night,
And eerie was the way,
As fair Jenny in her green mantle,
To Milecross she did go.

About the middle of the night,
She heard the bridles ring;
This lady was as glad at that
As any earthly thing.

First she let the black pass by,
And then she let the brown;
But quickly she ran to the milk-white steed,
And pulled the rider down.

So well she remembered what he did say
And young Tam Lin did win;
Then covered him with her green mantle,
As blythe as a bird in Spring.

Out then spoke the queen of fairies,
Out of a bush of broom;
'Them that has gotten young Tam Lin
Has gotten a stately groom.'

Out then spoke the queen of fairies,
And an angry queen was she:
'Shame betide her ill-fared face.
And an ill death may she die,
For she has taken away the most handsome knight
In all my company.

'But had I known, Tam Lin,' she says,
'What now this night I see,
I would have taken out your two green eyes,
And put in two eyes of tree (wood).'

 

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