The Twa Corbies

Of the ballads included in the Child anthology, Twa Corbies (Child 26), first published in Ravenscroft's Melismata in 1611 as The Three Ravens, is perhaps the oldest. Morris Blythman (d.1981), a seminal figure in the development of the Scottish folk "scene," set this Scottish version of the poem to a Breton tune, An Alarc'h (The Swan), and Norman Buchan included it in his 1962 collection, 101 Scottish Songs (the best Scottish songbook ever!). We have anglicized it slightly.

As I was walking all alone
I heard twa corbies making moan
The one unto the other did say-o
Where shall we gang and dine the day-o
Where shall we gang and dine the day?

Down behind yon old fail dyke
I wot there lies a new slain knight
Nobody kens that he lies there-o
But his hawk and his hound and his lady fair-o
His hawk, his hound and his lady fair.

The hound is to the hunting gone
His hawk to fetch the wild-fowl home
His lady's taken another mate-o
And we can make our dinner sweet-o
We can make our dinner sweet

Do you light on his white breast-bone,
And I'll pluck out his bonny blue e'en
With many a lock of his yellow hair-o
We'll theek our nest when it grows bare-o
Theek our nest when it grows bare.

Many a one for him makes moan
But none shall ken where he is gone
O'er his white bones when they are bare-o
The wind shall blow for evermair-o
The wind shall blow for evermair.

© Golden Hind Music