The Northern Way

Grimm Centenary: Sigfred-Arminivs and Other Papers

6. THE BALLAD OF SIR OGIE

The World was very guilty of such a Ballet some three Ages since.

In the Notes to the Helgi Lays, in the Corpus Poeticum Boreale, I. 502, we have printed the sixteenth-century Danish ballad 'Aage og Else.' *Grundtvig, No. 90.) A version was hardly within the scope of the Corpus, nor was there time to make one at the translator's disposal. He has since, however, tried to English it, after Jamieson's example, in the manner of the Border ballads. It is given here, in the hope that those who, like Autolycus' customers, 'love a ballet,' will not be sorry to have a fine one even though it be presented in somewhat rough and ill-cut raiment.

  1. There sat three maidens intil their bour,
                    And the twain o' them braidit the gold;
            The third she grat for her ain true-love
                    That lay i' the black black mould.

  2. It was the gude Sir Ogie,
                    And he's ridden over the Leys,
            To woo at the ladie Elsie,
                    That was sae fair to see.

  3. He has wooed at the ladie Elsie,
                    That was sae fair to see;
            All on their bridal-even
                    Dead at her feet drappit he.

  4. Sae sair the ladie Elsie grat,
                    And wrang her hands the day,
            That the gude Sir Ogie heard her
                    Sae deep in grave as he lay.

  5. Sae sair the ladie Elsie grat,
                    And beat her hands the day,
            That the gude Sir Ogie heard her
                    Sae deep in earth as he lay.

  6. Up stood the gude Sir Ogie,
                    Wi' his kist upon his back,
            And he's taen his way til his true love's bour:
                    Wow, but his strength was slack.

  7. He has rappit on the door wi' the lid o' his kist,
                    For he lackit the hilt o' his skene.
            'Stand up, stand up, thou proud Elsie,
                    And let thy true love in!'

  8. Sae lang in her bed proud Elsie lay
                    And til herself said she ---
            'Can this be the gude Sir Ogie,
                    That hither is come to me?'

  9. Then up spak the ladie Elsie,
                    And the tear ran from her ee ---
            'If ye may name the name of God
                    I let ye in to me.'

  10. 'Stand up, stand up, thou proud Elsie,
                    And dup thy chamber door,
            For I can name the name o' God
                    As weel as I could afore.'

  11. Then up stood the lady Elsie,
                    And the tear ran from her ee,
            She open'd and let the dead man in,
                    Wi-in her bour to be.

  12. She has taen her gold caim in her hand
                    And caimed his yellow hair,
            And ilka hair she red on him
                    Doun fell the saut saut tear.

  13. 'I bid ye speak, Sir Ogie,
                    Whom I loe best o a',
            Hoo fares it in the grave wi' you
                    Beneath the clay sae cauld?'

  14. 'O it fares wi' me all in the grave
                    Beneath the clay sae cauld,
            As I were high in Paradise,
                    Therefore talk thou nae care!'

  15. 'I bid ye speak, Sir Ogie,
                    Whom I loe best of a':
            May I follow ye intil this grave o' yours
                    Beneath the clay sae cauld?'

  16. 'O, it fares wi' me all in the grave
                    Beneath the clay sae cauld
            As I were in the pit o' Hell:
                    I rede thee sain thy sell.

  17. For ilka tide thou greets for me
                    All in thy dowy mood,
            My kist within is standing
                    Brimful o' the red life-blude.

  18. And ever up, my head aboun,
                    The grass it grows sae green;
            And ever doun, my feet about,
                    The worms o' hell they twine.

  19. And ilka tide thou lilts a lay
                    All in thy merry mood,
            My grave is hung all round about,
                    Wi' the roses o' the wood.

  20. The bonny grey cock sae loud he craws,
                    He craws until the day;
            And ilka lyke maun till the earth,
                    And I maun be away.

  21. The bonny red cock sae loud he craws,
                    He craws until the day;
            And ilka dead man maun till the earth
                    And I maun be away.

  22. The bonny black cock sae loud he craws,
                    He craws until the day,
            And a' the ports are steekit soon,
                    And I maun be away.'

  23. Up stood the gude Sir Ogie,
                    Wi his kist upon his back,
            And he's taken his way til the wide kirk-yard,
                    Wow, but his strength was slack!

  24. Then up stood the ladie Elsie,
                    Richt steadfast was her mood,
            And she's followed after her ain true-love
                    Through the midst o' the mirk mirk wood.

  25. When she was come through the mirk mirk wood,
                    Until the kirk-yard wide,
            The gude Sir Ogie's golden hair,
                    It withered all beside.

  26. When she was come through the kirk-yard wide
                    Until the great kirk-door,
            The gude Sir Ogie's rosy cheek
                    It withered all before.

  27. The gude Sir Ogie, foot and hand,
                    Withered and fell away,
            His hand but and his rosy cheek,
                    They mouldered into clay.

  28. 'Hear my words, thou proud Elsie,
                    Whom I lo'e best of a',
            I rede thee never mair to greet,
                    For thy true love ava.

  29. Rise up, rise up, thou proud Elsie,
                    Rise up, and get thee hame!
            I rede thee never mair to greet,
                    For thy true love again.

  30. Luke up until the heavens now,
                    Until the stars sae sma',
            And tell me how the nicht wears on,
                    And when the day sal daw.'

  31. She has lukit up til the heavens,
                    Until the stars sae sma',
            And the dead man creepit from out her sicht
                    Doun into his grave sae law.

  32. Sae nimbly did the dead man creep
                    Doun, doun beneath the clay,
            Sae heavily went proud Elsie,
                    Back til her hame again.

  33. Sair sair did proud Elsie greet,
                    And sair to God did pray,
            That she might win til anither licht
                    Within a year and day.

  34. It was the ladie Elsie,
                    And sick in bed she lay,
            But she lay dead upon her bier
                    Before the threttieth day.

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