Friday, 15 August 2008

The Twa Corbies

Arthur Rackham: "Some British Ballads" (1919)
The Twa Corbies or, The Two Ravens. Two carrion birds sit discussing what they are going to eat for supper, and one mentions a young man, a knight, lying dead nearby, presumably killed by his lover’s new boyfriend.

“As I was walking all alane,
I heard twa corbies making a mane;
The tane unto the tother say,
‘Where sall we gang and dine to-day?’

‘In behint youn auld fail [turf] dyke,
I wot there lies a new slain knight;
And nae body kens that he lies there,
But his hawk, his hound, and lady fair.

‘His ound is to the hunting gane,
His hawk to fetch the wild fowl hame,
His lady’s ta’en another mate,
So we may make our dinner sweet.

‘ye’ll sit on his white hause [neck] bane,
And I’ll pake out his bonny blue een:
Wi’ ae lock o’ his gowden hair,
We’ll theek [thatch] our nest when it grows bare.

‘Many a one for him makes mane,
But nane sall ken whare he is gane;
O’er his white bones, when they are bare,
The wind shall blaw for evermair.’ ”

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