MacEdward Leach and the Songs of Atlantic Canada
James The Ross
John Molloy NFLD 2 Tape 20 Track 5
St. Shott's Audio:
Ballad

All ye Scottish northern chiefs
Of fame and war-like name
The boldest was Sir James the Ross
A man of Mickle fame

His growth was like the yellow
That crowns the mountain brow
And wearing o'er his shoulders broad
His locks of yellow hue

Wide was his fields, herds were large
And large his flocks of sheep
And the num'rous were his goats and deer
All on the mountain steep

And fair Matilda dear he loved
That girl of beauty rare
And Margaret on the Scottish throne
Was never haIf so fair

Long he had coaxed still she denied (?)
Both free from scorn and pride
Ofttimes her eyes confessed the love
Those fearful words denied

Her father, Bowan cruel lord
His passion disapproved
He bid her wed Sir John Graham
And leave the youth she loved

My father's will must be obeyed
Which puts me to a stand
Some fair maid of beauty rare
Might bless you with her hand

What's this l hear to this l vow
Sir James the Ross replied
Now must Matilda wed Graham
Who's sworn to be my bride

l'd rather a sword to pierce my heart
Than to rob me of my charm
He pressed her to his throbbing breast
Locked close within his arms

Then take dear youth this faithful kiss
As a witness of the truth
May every plague become my lot
The day I'll break my oath

Concealed beneath a spreading oak
This crafty Donald lay
A brother to Sir John Graham
To hear what they would say

They parted as the sunbeams set
Up hasty Donald flies
Sayin' turn thee turn thee beardless youth
Wit' loud insulting cries

It's for my brother's slighted love
His wrongs sit on my arm
Three paces back the youth retried
To save himself from harm

Then turning swift his sword he raised
Fierce Donald's head above
And through the brains and crushing bone
His sharp edged weapon drove

Graham like a tree o'erthrown by wind
Fell lifeless on the clay
Now die my foe quoth val'ant Ross
And stately strayed away

Wit' dauntless steps he onward trod
Till he reached Lord Bowan's hall
Beneath Matilda's window stood
And thus on her did call

Are you asleep Matilda dear
Awake my Love awake
An unhappy lover calls on thee
His long farewell to take

Now don't do so the maid replied
But wit' me till morning stay
For dark and dreary is the night
And lonely is the way

All night I'll watch you in my park
And my faithful page I'll send
In hopes to rise brave Ross's men
Their master to defend

For he have slain fierce Donald Graham
His blood reeks on his sword
And far, far distant are his men
For to assist their lord

She laid him down beneath a bush
She wrapped him in his plaid
Then trembling for her lover's sake
At a distance stood amazed

O'er hills and sales swift ran the page
Until in a lonely glen
Twas there he met Sir John Graham
And twenty of his men

Where are you going my little page
So late who did you send
I'm going to rise brave Ross's men
Their master to defend

For he have slain fierce Donald Graham
His blood reeks on his sword
And far, far distant are his men
For to assist their lord

Oh have he slain my brother Dan
Then Graham in fury cries
His honour bless his name quoth he
By day or morning dies

Where do Ross sleep my little page
I will you well reward
He sleeps within Lord Bowan's park
And Matilda is his girl

They spurred their steeds and quick they flew
Like lightening o'er the lee
They reached Lord Bowan's lofty park
At the dawning of the day

Matilda stood without the gates
Graham to her did say
See you Sir James the Ross last night
Or did he come this way

He's by this time at Edinburgh cross
If his man and horse prove good
That's faIse said he your page told me
He' sleeps within your wood

With that the val'ant knight awoke
With a __________ stricken heart
Straight up he rose and drew his sword
When that fierce band appeared

Oh you have slain my brother Dan
His blood on your sword do shine
But before the sun will guide this morn
Your blood will reek on mine

Your words are great the chief replied
But it's deeds will prove the man
Put by your men sir hand to hand
We'll try what valour can

With dauntless steps he onward trod
For to dare him in thefight
But Graham kept back he feared his arm
For well he knew his might

Four of his four [sic] his bravest four
Went down beneath his sword
But still he scorned a poor revenge
He sought our haughty lord

Until around him basely came Graham
And pierced him through the side
Out run his purple crimson gore
And all his tartans dyed

But still his hand dropped not his sword
Nor fall on to the ground
Until through his enemy's heart with speed
He forced that mortal wound

Graham like a tree o'erthrown by wind
Fell lifeless on the clay
And down beside him sank brave Ross
In faint and dying lay

Matilda saw and quick she ran
Oh spare his life she cried
Lord Bowan's daughter begs his life
Let her not be denied

Her well-known voice the hero knew
He raised his death closed eyes
He fixed them on the weeping maid
And weakly thus replied

In vain Matilda begs my life
The rest assured the knight
My race is run my hour has come
He closed his eyes and died

The sword it warmed in his left breast
With frantic bands she drew
I'm come Sir James the Ross she cries
I'm come to follow you

The hilt she laid against the ground
And pierced her snow white breast
And fell upon her lover's face
And sank in endless rest


Notes

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