Forgot your password?  

Resources for students & teachers

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 229 pages of information about Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border, Volume 2.

  “There’s nae room at my head, Marg’ret,
   “There’s nae room at my feet;
  “My bed it is full lowly now: 
   “Amang the hungry worms I sleep.

  “Cauld mould is my covering now,
   “But and my winding-sheet;
  “The dew it falls nae sooner down,
   “Than my resting-place is weet.

  “But plait a wand o’ bonnie birk,
   “And lay it on my breast;
  “And shed a tear upon my grave,
   “And wish my saul gude rest.

  “And fair Marg’ret, and rare Marg’ret,
   “And Marg’ret o’ veritie,
  “Gin ere ye love another man,
   “Ne’er love him as ye did me.”

  Then up and crew the milk-white cock,
   And up and crew the gray;
  Her lover vanish’d in the air,
   And she gaed weeping away.

[Footnote A:  Striped—­Thrust.]

[Footnote B:  Traivelling—­Child-birth.]

NOTES ON CLERK SAUNDERS.

Weel set about wi’ gillyflowers.—­P. 394. v. 5.

From whatever source the popular ideas of heaven be derived, the mention of gillyflowers is not uncommon.  Thus, in the Dead Men’s Song—­

  The fields about this city faire
    Were all with roses set;
  Gillyflowers, and carnations faire,
    Which canker could not fret. 
      RITSON’S Ancient Songs, p. 288.

The description, given in the legend of Sir Owain, of the terrestrial paradise, at which the blessed arrive, after passing through purgatory, omits gillyflowers, though it mentions many others.  As the passage is curious, and the legend has never been published, many persons may not be displeased to see it extracted—­

  Fair were her erbers with flowres,
  Rose and lili divers colours,
   Primrol and parvink;
  Mint, feverfoy, and eglenterre
  Colombin, and mo ther wer
   Than ani man mai bithenke.

  It berth erbes of other maner,
  Than ani in erth groweth here,
   Tho that is lest of priis;
  Evermore thai grene springeth,
  For winter no somer it no clingeth,
   And sweeter than licorice.

  But plait a wand o’ bonnie birk, &c.—­P. 396. v. 3.

The custom of binding the new-laid sod of the church-yard with osiers, or other saplings, prevailed both in England and Scotland, and served to protect the turf from injury by cattle, or otherwise.  It is alluded to by Gay, in the What d’ye call it—­

  Stay, let me pledge, ’tis my last earthly liquor,
  When I am dead you’ll bind my grave with wicker.

In the Shepherd’s Week, the same custom is alluded to, and the cause explained:—­

  With wicker rods we fenced her tomb around,
  To ward, from man and beast, the hallowed ground,
  Lest her new grave the parson’s cattle raze,
  For both his horse and cow the church-yard graze.
      Fifth Pastoral.

Follow Us on Facebook