“The Dowie Dens of Yarrow” Summary


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The Dowie Dens of Yarrow

Men who are drinking wine in an ale-house late at night agree to meet to fight at dawn. One of the those present is an unnamed lord whose lady, called Sarah, begs him not to go to the banks of Yarrow to fight, warning him that her brother will betray him. He sets out nevertheless and finds nine men waiting for him. He takes on the unequal match and has killed five and wounded the others before Sarah’s brother, John, runs him through from behind. He tells John to bid Sarah come and bear away his corpse. Meanwhile, Sarah has had a premonition in a dream and sets out for the banks of Yarrow where she finds ten slain men, including her lord, whom she mourns. When her father tells her to cease mourning and promises that he will wed her to a better lord, she rejects his offer saying that her dead lord was unmatched in excellence.