Home  »  English Poetry I  »  189. O Waly, Waly

English Poetry I: From Chaucer to Gray.
The Harvard Classics. 1909–14.


189. O Waly, Waly

O WALY waly up the bank,

And waly waly down the brae,

And waly waly yon burn-side

Where I and my Love wont to gae!

I leant my back unto an aik,

I thought it was a trusty tree:

But first it bow’d, and syne it brak,

Sae my true Love did lichtly me.

O waly waly, but love be bonny

A little time while it is new;

But when ’tis auld, it waxeth cauld

And fades awa’ like morning dew.

O wherefore should I busk my head?

Or wherefore should I kame my hair?

For my true Love has me forsook,

And says he’ll never loe me mair.

Now Arthur-seat sall be my bed;

The sheets shall ne’er be prest by me:

Saint Anton’s well sall be my drink,

Since my true Love has forsaken me.

Marti’mas wind when wilt thou blaw

And shake the green leaves aff the tree?

O gentle Death, when wilt thou come?

For of my life I am wearíe.

’Tis not the frost, that freezes fell,

Now blawing snaw’s inclemencie;

’Tis not sic cauld that makes me cry,

But my Love’s heart grown cauld to me.

When we came in by Glasgow town

We were a comely sight to see;

My Love was clad in the black velvèt,

And I mysell in cramasie.

But had I wist, before I kist,

That love had been sae ill to win;

I had lockt my heart in a case of gowd

And pinn’d it with a siller pin.

And, O! if my young babe were born,

And set upon the nurse’s knee,

And I mysell were dead and gane,

And the green grass growing over me!