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The Twa Gordons
by [?]

An’ quhanever he moanit or turnit him roun,
Or his broo gae token o’ plycht,
The waukin man i’ the sleepin man’s lug
Wud rown a murgeon o’ micht.

An’ the glint o’ a smile wud quaver athort
The sleepin cheek sae broun,
An’ a tear atween the ee-lids wud stert,
An’ whiles rin fairly doun.

An’ aye by his lair sat the ghaist-like man,
He watchit his sleep a’ nicht;
An’ in mail rust-broun, wi’ his visorne doun,
Rade at his knee i’ the fecht.

Nor anis nor twyis the horn-helmit chiel
Saved him frae deidly dad;
An’ Archie said, “Gien this be the deil
He’s no sac black as he’s ca’d.”

But wat ye fu’ weel it wasna the deil
That tuik lord Archie’s pairt,
But his twin-brother John he thoucht deid an’ gone,
Wi’ luve like a lowe in his hert.


Hame cam lord Archibold, weary wicht,
Hame til his ain countree;
An’ he cried, quhan his castle rase in sicht,
“Noo Christ me sain an’ see!”

He turnit him roun: the man in rust-broun
Was gane, he saw nocht quhair!
At the ha’ door he lichtit him doun,
Lady Margaret met him there.

Reid, reid war her een, but hie was her mien,
An’ her words war sharp an’ sair:
“Welcome, Archie, to dule an’ tene,
An’ welcome ye s’ get nae mair!

Quhaur is yer twin, lord Archibold,
That lay i’ my body wi’ thee?
I miss my mark gien he liesna stark
Quhaur the daylicht comesna to see!”

Lord Archibold dochtna speik a word
For his hert was like a stane;
He turnt him awa–an’ the huddy craw
Was roupin for his ain.

“Quhaur are ye gaein, lord Archie,” she said,
“Wi’ yer lips sae white an’ thin?”
“Mother, gude-bye! I’m gaein to lie
Ance mair wi’ my body-twin.”

Up she brade, but awa he gaed
Straucht for the corbie-tree;
For quhaur he had slain he thoucht to slay,
An’ cast him doon an’ dee.

“God guide us!” he cried wi’ gastit rair,
“Has he lien there ever sin’ syne?”
An’ he thoucht he saw the banes, pykit an’ bare,
Throu the cracks o’ his harness shine.

“Oh Johnnie! my brither!” quo’ Archibold
Wi’ a hert-upheavin mane,
“I wad pit my soul i’ yer wastit corp
To see ye alive again!”

“Haud ye there!” quod a voice frae oot the helm,
“A man suld heed quhat he says!”
An’ the closin joints grippit an’ tore the gerse
As up the armour rase:–

“Soul ye hae nane to ca’ yer ain
An’ its time to hand yer jaw!
The sleep it was thine, an’ the soul it is mine:
Deil Archie, come awa!”

“Auld Hornie,” quo’ Archie, “twa words to that:
My burnin hert burns on;
An’ the sleep, weel I wat, was nae reek frae thy pat,
For aye I was dreamin o’ John!

“But I carena a plack for a soul sae black–
Wae’s me ‘at my mither bore me!
Put fire i’ my breist an’ fire at my back,
But ae minute set Johnnie afore me!”

The gantlets grippit the helm sae stoot
An’ liftit frae chin an’ broo:
An’ Johnnie himsel keekit smilin oot:–
“O Archie, I hae ye noo!

“O’ yer wee bit brod I was little the waur,
I crap awa my lane;
An’ never a deevil cam ye nar,
‘Cep ye coont yer Johnnie ane!”

Quhare quhylum his brither Johnnie lay,
Fell Archie upon his knees;
The words he said I dinna say,
But I’m sure they warna lees.