Rebuttal: The Faerie Queen's Reply
- O, why are mortal men such fools?
O' all those tha' I've ken
There's nane amongst their doughty selves
I would hae back again, again,
I would hae back again.
- I'm just a woman, sweet an' fair
An' they as braw as stone
An' many's the bitter tear I've wept
When they left me all alone, alone,
When they left me sae alone.
- Three were my true loves, three sae fair
Three heroes I loved well,
But tho' I once could call them mine,
I'd see them now in Hell, in Hell,
I'd see them all in Hell.
- Th' first was Oisin, sae tall an' quick,
An' brave as night is dark;
I came tae him while he hunted,
An' kenned he felt a spark, a spark,
I kenned he felt love's spark.
- "O, who are you, lady so fair,
By wha' name are ye known?"
"In all of Eire, here or there,
Niamh's my name alone, alone,
Niamh's my name alone."
- He came tae me an' gaed wi' me:
Tae Tir-Na-nOg we went,
Fer many long years he cleft tae me:
I thought him Heaven-sent, him sent,
Frae Heaven he was sent.
- But mortal man cannae accept
Perfection fer his lot;
He came tae me with one request:
A visit home he sought, he sought,
His family he sought.
- There is nae time in that green land,
The Land of Youth so bright;
I warned him nae to step from horse,
Or he'd nae last the night, the night,
He'd nae live through the night.
- Sae back to Eire's green fields he went,
An' left me far behind;
I kenned I'd nae see him again--
Fer tragedy he'd find, he'd find,
The race of time he'd find.
- The years passed by there in his home,
But stopped for us that day
I took him thence to Tir-Na-Nog;
An' whiled the years away, away,
We loved the years away.
- Father an' brothers, all lang dead,
'Twas the sorrow he found;
An' in his shock, he fell frae horse,
An' when his foot touched ground, touched ground,
An' when his foot touched ground--
- O! Came the years, the missing years,
Swiftly to his braw frame,
Withered an' grey, he faded away,
An' tae his grave then, he came, he came,
Tae his sad grave then he came.
- Sad did I mourn, loud did I wail,
Fer never his like did I see;
Many's the tear that wet my cheek,
An' many's that clouded my ee, my ee,
So many tears clouded my ee.
- Yet could I curse him, wi' wrath's fire,
For I was nae enough;
He had tae leave an' see his kin,
An' his fate he could nae slough, not slough,
His fate he could nae slough.
- 'Twas years afore I could love again,
An' fond was Oisin's recall;
Fer o' all the three, he loved me true,
An' the other twa nae at all, at all,
The other twa loved nae at all.
- The next had een as grey as moon,
An' hair both black an' long,
An' though I owed dark Hell a boon,
I'd done Tam Lin no wrong, no wrong,
I'd never do him wrong.
- He'd fall'n from horse, I caught him up,
His life I saved that day,
And I asked him naught but his fair smile
But still he fled away, away,
To her he fled away.
- He thought I'd pay the tithe wi' him,
A thought sae daft I laugh!
I'd fight all Hell wi' nought but dream,
An' all on his behalf, behalf,
An' all on his behalf.
- On mortal girl a child he'd got
And witched her bonny heart,
And in her love his freedom sought,
Wi' Janet he'd not part, not part,
Wi' his maid he'd not part.
- She brought him through the tests, the spells,
Of lion, serpent, fire,
And wrapped him in her mantle green,
An' freed him wi' desire, desire,
Saved him from my desire.
- The final words I gae tae him
I ken he'll well recall:
"If I'd but kenned this day would come,
I would hae let thee fall, thee fall,
I would hae let thee fall."
- Or failing that, a direr curse:
"For on tha' night thou'd see
Thy twa grey een I'd hae plucked out,
An' put in twa o' tree, o' tree,
An' put in twa o' tree."
- True Thomas was my final love,
An' he came willingly,
I saw him first asleep tha' day,
Beneath the Eildon tree, the tree,
Beneath old Eildon tree.
- He greeted me as Heaven's Queen,
But tha' fair one's nae me;
He bowed sae low, I gave him truth,
I so wanted him to see, to see,
Fer I wanted him to see.
- In green an' silver was I clad,
His een grew wide as well;
I kissed him once, I kissed him fair,
But cast nae Faerie spell, nae spell,
Bewitched him wi' nae spell.
- An' up upon my horse he swung,
Riding behind o' me,
An' we were awa' tae th' road
Leads tae th' land o' Faerie, Faerie,
Leads tae land o' Faerie.
- For seven years he'd serve me now,
An' his love I hoped I'd win,
Tho' seven years, nae time enough
For true love tae begin, begin,
For real love tae begin.
- I showed him the road so narrow;
Tae Heaven it doth lead.
An' showed him path sae broad an' bright
Where wickedness must bleed, must bleed,
To Hell, where sinners bleed.
- hrough blood an' dark, past roaring sea,
On horseback did we ride,
An' Thomas spake nae word o' woe,
But clutched fast tae me side, me side,
But held fast tae me side.
- An' in that land, sae fair an' fell,
He stayed for seven years,
An' held his tongue for all that time,
Nae laugh, nor moan, nor tears, nor tears,
O' happiness or tears,
- An' at the end o' tha' long time,
As promised I would do,
I took him back tae Eildon tree,
My heart sore full with rue, with rue,
So full o' bitter rue.
- He would not stay, nor love me there,
Though I pled an' sighed my pain,
Nae love he felt for me those years,
An' my love had been in vain, in vain,
My sweet love had been in vain.
- But gift I gae to him that day,
Or curse ye call it may;
An apple frae th' tree o' truth,
An' nae lie now he can say, can say,
Nae more lies now can he say.
- An' here's my story, sad but true,
Three lovers, an' all lost;
I'll ne'er love mortal man again,
Nae matter what the cost, the cost,
Nae matter what the cost.
- Fer it's nae worth the pain it brings,
Nor worth the schemes and fights;
Better to while away the days
And endure lonely nights, the nights,
And endure lonely nights.
- An' if I die alone, unloved,
At least I did nae wrong;
Fer what sin is there in love?
Nor sin in lovin's song, in song,
An' there's end tae me song.