Hind Horn

Traditional, pre-1600

\The story of Horn, of which this ballad gives little more than the catastrophe, is related in full in "King Horn", a gest of about 1550 short verses, preserved in three manuscripts, the oldest regarded as of the second half of the 13th century; the others put at 1300 or so.

There are no many documented variants of this ballad -- F.J. Child records finding 27 distinct versions. both of the ones here come from Child's collection. The Digital Tradition database holds yet three more versions

Version one:
'Hindhorn' from Motherwell's Manuscript

In Scotland there was a babie born,
Lill lal, etc.
And his name it was called young Hind Horn
With a fal lal, etc.

He sent a letter to our king
That he was in love with his daughter Jean.

He's gien to her a silver wand,
With seven living lavrocks sitting thereon.

She's gien to him a diamond ring,
With seven bright diamonds set therein.

'When this ring grows pale and wan,
You may know by it my love is gane.'

One day as he looked his ring upon,
He saw the diamonds pale and wan.

He left the sea and came to land,
And the first that he met was an old beggar man.

'What news, what news?' said young Hind Horn;
'No news, no news,' said the old beggar man.

'No news,' said the beggar, 'no news at a'.
But there is a wedding in the king's ha.

'But there is a wedding in the king's ha,
That has halden these forty days and twa.'

'Will ye lend me your begging coat?
And I'll lend you my scarlet cloak.

'Will you lend me your beggar's rung?
And I'll gie you my steed to ride upon.

'Will you lend me your wig o' hair,
To cover mine, because it is fair?'

The auld beggar man was bound for the mill,
But young Hind Horn for the king's hall.

The auld beggar man was bound for to ride,
But young Hind Horn was bound for the bride.

When he came to the king's gate,
He sought a drink for Hind Horn's sake.

The bride came down with a glass of wine,
When he drank out the glass, and dropt in the ring.

'O got ye this by sea or land?
Or got ye it off a dead man's hand?'

I got not it by sea, I got it by land,
And I got it madam out of your own hand.'

'O I'll cast off my gowns of brown,
And beg wi' you frae town to town.

'O I'll cast off my gowns of red,
And I'll beg wi' you to win my bread.'

'Ye needna cast off your gowns of brown,
For I'll make you a lady o' many a town.

'Ye needna cast off your gowns of red,
It's only a sham, the beggin o' my bread.'

The bridegroom he had wedded the bride,
But young Hind Horn, he took her to bed.

 
Version two:

Hynd Horn's bound, love, and Hynd Horn's free,
With a hey lillelu and a how lo lan;
Where was ye born, or in what countrie?
And the birk and the broom blows bonnie.

'In good greenwood, there I was born,
And all my forbears me beforn.

'O seven long years I served the King,
And as for wages I never gat nane;

'But ae sight o' his ae daughter.
And that was thro' an auger-bore.'

Seven long years he served the King,
And it's a' for the sake of his daughter Jean.

The King an angry man was he;
He sent young Hynd Horn to the sea.

He's gi'en his luve a silver wand
Wi' seven silver laverlocks sittin thereon.

She's gi'en to him a gay gold ring
Wi' seven bright diamonds set therein.

'As long as these diamonds keep their hue,
Ye'll know I am a lover true:

'But when the ring turns pale and wan,
Ye may ken that I love anither man.'

He hoist up sails and awa' sailed he
Till that he came to a foreign countrie.

One day he look'd his ring upon,
He saw the diamonds pale and wan.

He's left the sea and he's come to the land,
And the first beggar that he met was an auld beggar man.

'What news, what news? thou auld beggar man,
For it's seven years sin I've seen land.'

'No news,' said the beggar, 'no news at a',
But there is a wedding in the King's ha'.

'But there is a wedding in the King's ha'
That has halden these forty days and twa.'

'Cast off, cast off thy auld beggar weed,
And I'll gi'e thee my gude grey steed:

'And lend to me your wig o' hair
To cover mine, because it is fair.'

'My begging weed is na for thee,
Your riding steed is na for me.'

But part by right and part by wrang
Hynd Horn has changed wi' the beggar man.

The auld beggar man was bound for to ride,
But young Hynd Horn was bound for the bride.

When he came to the King's gate,
He sought a drink for Hynd Horn's sake.

The bride came a trippin' down the stair,
Wi' the scales o' red gowd in her hair;

Wi' a cup o' the red wine in her hand
And that she gae to the auld beggar man.

Out o' the cup he drank the wine,
And into the cup he dropt the ring.

'O got ye this by sea or land?
Or got ye it of a dead man's hand?'

'I got it na by sea nor land,
But I got it, madam, of your own hand.'

'O, I'll cast off my gowns o' brown,
And beg with you frae town to town.

'O I'll cast off my gowns o' red,
And beg wi' you to win my bread.

'O I'll take the scales o' gowd frae my hair,
And I'll follow you for evermair.'

She has cast awa' the brown and the red,
And she's follow'd him to beg her bread.

She has ta'en the scales o' gowd frae her hair
And she's follow'd him for evermair.

But atween the kitchen and the ha'
He has let his cloutie cloak down fa'.

And the red gowd shined over him a',
With a hey lillelu, and a how lo lan;
And the bride frae the bridegroom was stown awa',
And the birk and the broom blows bonnie.