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O they rade on, and farther on,
And they waded through rivers aboon the knee, And they saw neither sun nor moon,
But they heard the roaring of the sea.
It was mirk, mirk night, and there was nae stern light,
And they waded through red blude to the knee, For a' the blude that's shed on earth,
Rins through the springs of that countrie.
Syne they came on to a garden green,
And she pu’d an apple frae a tree “ Take this for thy wages, true Thomas; It will give thee the tongue
that can never lie.”
“ My tongue is mine ain,” true Thomas said ;
“A gudely gift ye wad gie to me! I neither dought to buy nor sell,
At fair or tryst, where I may be.
“ I dought neither speak to prince or peer,
Nor ask of grace from fair ladye.” “Now hold thy peace!" the ladye said,
“ For, as I say, so must it be."
He has gotten a coat of the even cloth,
And a pair of shoes of velvet green; And, till seven years were gane and past,
True Thomas on earth was never seen.
NOTE AND APPENDIX
THOMAS THE RHYMER.
She pu'd an apple frae a tree, fc.-P. 218. v. 3. The traditional commentary upon this ballad informs us, that the apple was the produce of the fatal Tree of Knowledge, and that the garden was the terrestrial paradise. The repug. nance of Thomas to be debarred the use of falsehood, when he might find it convenient, has a comic effect.
The reader is here presented, from an old, and unfortunately an imperfect MS., with the undoubted original of Thomas the Rhymer's intrigue with the Queen of Faery. It will afford great amusement to those, who would study the nature of tra.
ditional poetry, and the changes effected by oral tradition, to compare this ancient romance with the foregoing ballad. The same incidents are narrated, even the expression is often the same, yet the poems are as different in appearance, as if the older tale had been regularly and systematically modernized by a poet of the present day.
Incipit Prophesia Thome de Erseldoun.
In a lande as I was lent,
A semly sight it was to se,