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The Drowned Lovers


This ballad, also known as 'Clyde's Water,' is a love story.

A young man named Willie is determined to visit his love, Maggie, despite his mother's threats and disapproval. So strong are the mother's feelings against Willie that she curses him.

Willie sets off on his journey and passes by the River Clyde which is powerful and imposing. Willie arrives at Maggie's home and is met by her mother, who convinces Willie to leave without seeing Maggie.

On his way back home, Willie falls into the river and is drowned. When Maggie finds out about Willie's visit to her home she runs out after him. Soon she discovers her lover's fate and wades into the River Clyde after him - with predictable results!

Willie stands in his stable-door,
And clapping at his steed,
And looking at his white fingers
His nose began to bleed.

'Gie corn to my horse, mother,
And meat to my young man,
And I'll awa to Maggie's bower;
I'll win her ere she lie down.'

'O bide this night wi me, Willie,
O bide this night wi me;
The best an cock o a' the reest
At your supper shall be.'

'A' your cocks and a' your reests,
I value not a prin,
For I'll awa to Meggie's bower;
I'll win her ere she lie down.'

'Stay this night wi me, Willie,
O stay this night wi me;
The best an sheep in a' the flock
At your supper shall be.'

'A' your sheep, and a' your flocks,
I value not a prin,
For I'll awa to Meggie's bower;
I'll win her ere she lie down.'

'O an ye gang to Meggie's bower,
Sae sair against my will,
The deepest pot in Clyde's water,
My malison ye's feel.'

'The guid steed that I ride upon
Cost me thrice thretty pound;
And I'll put my trust in his swift feet
To hae me safe to land.'

As he rade ower yon high, high hill,
And down yon dowie den,
The noise that was in Clyde's water
Woud fear five huner men.

'O roaring Clyde, ye roar ower loud,
Your streams seem wondrous strang;
Make me your wreck as I come back,
But spare me as I gang!'

Then he is on to Meggie's bower,
And tirled at the pin;
'O sleep ye, wake ye, Meggie,' he said,
'Ye'll open, lat me come in.'

'O wha is this at my bower-door,
That calls me by my name?'
'It is your first love, sweet Willie,
This night newly come hame.'

'I hae few lovers thereout, thereout,
As few hae I therein;
The best an love that ever I had
Was here just late yestreen.'

'The warstan stable in a' your stables,
For my puir steed to stand!
The warsten bower in a' your bowers,
For me to lie therein!
My boots are fu o Clyde's water,
I'm shivering at the chin.'

'My barns are fu o corn, Willie,
My stables are fu o hay;
My bowers are fu o gentlemen,
They'll nae remove till day.'

'O fare ye well, my fause Meggie,
O farewell, and adieu!
I've gotten my mother's malison
This night coming to you.'

As he rade ower yon high, high hill,
And down yon dowie den,
The rushing that was in Clyde's water
Took Willie's cane frae him.

He leand ower his saddle-bow,
To catch his cane again;
The rushing that was in Clyde's water
Took Willie's hat frae him.

He leand ower his saddle-bow,
To catch his hat thro force;
The rushing that was in Clyde's water
Took Willie frae his horse.

His brither stood upo the bank,
Says, Fye, man, will ye drown?
Ye'll turn ye to your high horse head
And learn how to sowm.

'How can I turn to my horse head
And learn how to sowm?
I've gotten my mither's malison,
It's here that I maun drown.'

The very hour this young man sank
Into the pot sae deep,
Up it wakend his love Meggie
Out o her drowsy sleep.

'Come here, come here, my mither dear,
And read this dreary dream;
I dreamd my love was at our gates,
And nane wad let him in.'

'Lye still, lye still now, my Meggie,
Lye still and tak your rest;
Sin your true-love was at your yates,
It's but twa quarters past.'

Nimbly, nimbly raise she up,
And nimbly pat she on,
And the higher that the lady cried,
The louder blew the win.

The first an step that she steppd in,
She stepped to the queet;
'Ohon, alas!' said that lady,
'This water's wondrous deep.'

The next an step that she wade in,
She wadit to the knee;
Says she, 'I coud wade farther in,
If I my love could see.'

The next an step that she wade in,
She wadit to the chin;
The deepest pot in Clyde's water
She got sweet Willie in.

'You've had a cruel mither, Willie,
And I have had anither;
But we shall sleep in Clyde's water
Like sister an like brither.'


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