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The Ballad: “Annan Water”


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Annan Water
—“Annan water’s wading deep,
  And my love Annie’s wondrous bonnie;
And I am laith she shuld weet her feet,
  Because I love her best of ony.

“Gar saddle me the bonny black;
  Gar saddle sune, and make him ready:
For I will down the Gatehope-slack,
  And all to see my bonny ladye.”—

He has loupen on the bonny black,
  He stirr’d him wi’ the spur right sairly;
But, or he wan the Gatehope-slack,
  I think the steed was wae and weary.

He has loupen on the bonnie gray,
  He rade the right gate and the ready;
I trow he would neither stint nor stay,
  For he was seeking his bonnie ladye.

The gray was a mare, and a right good mare;
  But when she wan the Annan water,
She could na hae ridden a furlong mair,
  Had a thousand merks been wadded at her.

The side was stey, and the bottom deep,
  Frae bank to brae the water pouring;
And the bonnie gray mare did sweat for fear,
  For she heard the water kelpy roaring.

O he has pou’d aff his dapperpy coat,
  The silver buttons glanced bonny;
The waistcoat bursted aff his breast,
  He was sae full of melancholy.

He has ta’en the ford at that stream tail;
  I wot he swam both strong and steady;
But the stream was broad, and his strength did fail,
  And he never saw his bonny ladye.

—“O wae betide the frush saugh wand!
  And wae betide the bush of briar!
It brake into my true love’s hand,
  When his strength did fail, and his limbs did tire.

“And wae betide ye, Annan water!
  This night that ye are a drumlie river;
For over thee I’ll build a bridge,
  That ye never more true love may sever.”—

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