Glengyle (Collected by MacEdward Leach)

In yon fair isle beyond Argyle,
Where the flocks and herds are plenty,
There lived a squire whose sister fair,
Was the flower of all the country;
The young Glengyle had courted her,
Intending for to marry,
f But the island lord she him preferred,
He was handsome rich and cheery.

Till tidings to her brother came,
That he had boasted proudly,
Of favours from his sister fair,
Which caused him to swear unruly;
He swore by all in France and Spain,
If he'd live to see the morn,
"Either him or I shall lose their lives,
I'll live no longer in scorn."

Down by the seashore where proud waves roar,
A challenge was sent to fight him,
And those two met before the sun,
Not a living soul would deny them;
"What ailest thou, my dearest friend,
Dost thou intend to destroy me?"
"I want none of your flattery,
But unsheath your sword and try me."

"Sheath up thy sword at once," said Neil,
"And don't presume to fight me,
For there's not a man in all Scotland,
That can the broadsword deny me."
Until being vexed and so abused,
With angry passion darted,
And through the heart of brave McGuire,
And with a groan he departed.

"Curse on my skill what have I done,
Rash man thou wouldst dismay me,
Why have I slain so dear a friend,
That would shed blood to save me?"
Saying this, he dropped his guard,
And the young Glengyle advanced;
And through the heart of brave Sir Neil,
Till his sword behind him glanced.

In falling down he cries and strains,
An adieu to all things earthly,
"Adieu Glengyle, for the day is dying,
But thou hast won it beastly."
When tidings to his lady came,
Time after time she fainted;
She ran and kissed his clay-cold lips,
And his fate she sore lamented.

Crying, "Brave Sir Neil, why art thou slain,
And in thy blossom wither?
Not a braver youth ever faced a foe,
If thou had been used fairly.
'Tis for thy sake I'll remain a maiden,
Glengyle shall never expose me;
And for the space of seven long years,
The dewy black shall clothe me.

####.... Author unknown. Variant of a British broadside ballad, Sir Neil And Glengyle [Laws M39] American Balladry From British Broadsides (G Malcolm Laws, 1957). Also a variant of an undated British broadside ballad, Glengyle & Sir Neil, archived without a publisher's name at the Bodleain Library Broadside Ballads, shelfmark: 2806 c.11(44) ....####

Sung by Alexander March [1865-1953] of Port au Port, NL, and published in MacEdward Leach And The Songs Of Atlantic Canada © 2004 Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Archive (MUNFLA).

Also collected from Robert Langille by William Roy Mackenzie [1883-1957] in Ballads And Sea Songs From Nova Scotia ©1928; reprinted by Folklore Associates ©1963.


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