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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Scotland: Vols. VI–VIII. 1876–79.

Ballads: Binnorie

The Twa Sisters

By Anonymous

THERE were twa sisters lived in a bower;

Binnorie, O Binnorie;

The youngest o’ them, O, she was a flower!

By the bonnie mill-dams o’ Binnorie.

There came a squire frae the west;

He lo’ed them baith, but the youngest best;

He gied the eldest a gay gowd ring;

But he lo’ed the youngest abune a’ thing.

He courted the eldest wi’ broach and knife;

But he lo’ed the youngest as his life.

The eldest she was vexéd sair,

And sore envied her sister fair.

And it fell once upon a day,

The eldest to the youngest did say:

“O sister, come to the sea-strand,

And see our father’s ships come to land.”

She ’s ta’en her by the milk-white hand,

And led her down to the sea-strand.

The youngest sat upon a stane;

The eldest came and pushed her in.

“O sister, sister, lend me your hand,

And you shall be heir of half my land.”

“O sister, I ’ll not reach my hand,

And I ’ll be heir of all your land.

“Shame fa’ the hand that I should take!

It twinned me and my world’s maik.”

“O sister, reach me but your glove,

And you shall be sweet William’s love.”

“Sink on, nor hope for hand or glove,

And sweet William shall better be my love.

“Your cherry cheeks and yellow hair

Had gar’d me gang maiden evermair.”

First she sank, and syne she swam,

Until she cam to Tweed mill-dam.

The miller’s dauchter was baking breid,

And gaed for water as she had need.

“O father, father, in our mill-dam

There ’s either a mermaid or a milk-white swan.”

The miller quickly drew his dam;

And there he fand a drowned woman.

You couldna see her yellow hair,

For gowd and pearls that were sae rare.

You couldna see her middle sma’,

Her gowden girdle was sae braw.

You couldna see her lilie feet,

Her gowden fringes were sae deep.

You couldna see her fingers sma’,

Wi’ diamond rings they were covered a’.

“Sair will they be, whae’er they be,

The hearts that live to weep for thee!”

Then by there cam a harper fine,

That harpéd to the king at dine.

And, when he looked that lady on,

He sighed, and made a heavy moan.

He has ta’en three locks o’ her yellow hair,

And wi’ them strung his harp sae fair.

And he brought the harp to her father’s hall,

And there the court was assembled all.

He laid his harp upon a stone,

And straight it began to play alone.

“O, yonder sits my father, the king!

And yonder sits my mother, the queen!

“And yonder stands my brother Hugh,

And by him my William sweet and true!”

But the last tune that the harp played then,

Binnorie, O Binnorie,

Was, “Woe to my sister, false Helen!”

By the bonny mill-dams o’ Binnorie.