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The Dowie Dens of Yarrow

Scotland - widespread.
Words: Collated from oral tradition and some printed collections.
Tune: Collected from oral tradition.

    There was a lady in the north,
    I ne'er could find her marrow;
    She was courted by nine gentlemen,
    And a ploughboy lad from Yarrow.

    These nine sat drinking at their wine,
    Sat drinking wine at Yarrow;
    They made a vow among themselves
    To fight with him on Yarrow.

    She's washed his face, she's combed his hair
    As oft she's done before o
    Gave him a brand down by his side
    To fight for her on Yarrow.

    As he walked up yon high, high hills,
    And down the glens so narrow
    Nine armed men lay waiting him
    Upon the braes of Yarrow.

    It's three he wounded, three withdrew,
    And three he killed on Yarrow,
    Till her brother, John, came in behind
    And pierced his body thorough.

    "O father, dear, I dreamed a dream,
    I fear it will prove sorrow.
    I dreamed I was pulling heather green
    On the dowie dens of Yarrow."

    "O daughter dear, I read your dream,
    To you it will prove sorrow;
    Your true love John lies dead and slain
    On the dowie dens of Yarrow."

    As she walked up yon high, high hill,
    And down the glen so narrow,
    Twas there she found her true love John,
    Lying cold and dead on Yarrow.

    She washed his face, she combed his hair,
    As she had done before o,
    And she kissed the blood from off his wounds,
    On the dowie dens of Yarrow.

    Her hair it being three quarters long,
    The colour it was yellow,
    She wrapped it round his middle so small,
    And carried him home to Yarrow.

    "O daughter dear, dry up your tears,
    And weep no more for sorrow.
    I'll wed you to a better man
    Than the ploughboy lad of Yarrow."

    "O father dear, you've seven sons,
    You may wed them all tomorrow,
    But the fairest flower among them all,
    Was the lad I wooed on Yarrow."

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