Child 15/16 Comment
Child 15/16 Leesome Brand/Sheath and Knife
This untitled ballad clearly demonstrates that both Child 15 ‘Leesome Brand’ and Child 16 ‘Sheath and Knife’ are indeed the same ballad. Buchan’s grotesque expansion, followed by Motherwell, 15A, can be discounted as spurious. (Expanded references required).
Helena Mennie Shire, ed., Poems from Panmure House (Cambridge 1960), pp 13-19 as written into his Music Commonplace Book by Robert Edwards in Fife about 1630.
Translated into English by SG
1) There was a sister and a brother,
The sun goes to under the wood
Who most entirely loved each other
God grant we had never been siblings.
2) He said, ‘Sister, I would lay thee by,
If you would not disclose my deeds.’
3) ‘Alas, brother, if you do,
I would rather now die.’
4) ‘Tomorrow it is my father’s feast,
Well in my clothes I must be laced.
5) 0' When they meet together all at once,
To royal feasting in the hall,
I must join them,
Decked out in a gown of pall.
6) And when I bend down to my toe
My lace will break in two.
7) And when I bend down to my knee
My lace will break into three.
8) The news will go from one to one
Until it comes to brother John
9) Because he has a temper ill
He’ll burn us both upon a hill.
10) I’ll go to my father’s stable
And take a steed both strong and able
11) And we shall ride till time we spend
Until we see our loving end.’
12) She had not ridden a mile but one
When she started shaking and groaning
13) ‘Is there water in your shoes
Or is the wind inside your gloves?
14) Or do you think me too simple a knight
To ride or go with you all night?’
15) ‘And when you hear me loud to cry
Bend your breast and run nearby.
16) And when you see me lie full still
Sound your horn and come to me.
17) I would give all my father’s land
For one woman at my command.’
18) When he quickly came her beside ..............................
19) Then he has taken his young son
And carried him to a wet nurse.
20) He drew his sword and wounded himself sore
From this time he never rode more.
21) ‘Mother,’ he said, ‘go make my bed,
Make it long but not too broad.
22) Mother, alas, I’ve lost my knife
I loved better than my life.
23) Mother, I’ve also lost my sheath
I loved better than them both.
24) There is no cutler in this land
Can make such a knife at my command.’
25) He turned his face to the wall
Gave up the ghost and went his way.
26) The one was laid in Mary’s Kirk
The other in Mary’s Quire.
From out of his (grave) there grew a birch
And out from hers a briar
That you may know surely by these signs
There were two lovers near.
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