Tam Lin Balladry

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The Bonny Hind

Comparison Source: The English and Scottish Popular Ballads, 1882-1898 by Francis James Child.

Child Ballad Number: 50

cites: 'The Bonny Hind' Herd's MSS, I, 224; II, fol. 65, fol 83


A young woman travels to the woods, where she meets a young man. He demands of her either her green mantle or her maidenhead. He then lays her on the ground, and when they get up again, he pays her a silver coin. She asks his name, and he reveals he is the son of the local lord. She protests that she is the local lord's daughter and has no siblings. He says he is the lord's son, but has been away at sea for some time. She takes out a knife and kills herself. He buries her beneath a tree. Upon going to his father, he says he weeps for the deer he's buried. His father says the woods are full of deer. The young man replies that none as so fair at the one he buried. His father says that he should forget about deer and go see his sister.

The Bonny Hind

  1. O may she comes, and may she goes,
    Down by yon gardens green,
    And there she spied a gallant squire
    As squire had ever been.
  2. And may she comes, and may she goes,
    Down by yon hollin tree,
    And there she spied a brisk young squire,
    And a brisk young squire was he.
  3. "Give me your green manteel, fair maid,
    Give me your maidenhead;
    Gif ye winna gie me your green manteel,
    Gi me your maidenhead.'
  4. He has taen her by the milk-white hand,
    And softly laid her down,
    And when he's lifted her up again
    Given her a silver kaim.
  5. "Perhaps there may be bairns, kind sir,
    Perhaps there may be nane;
    But if you be a courtier,
    You'll tell to me your name.'
  6. "I am nae courtier, fair maid,
    But new come frae the sea;
    I am nae courtier, fair maid,
    But when I court'ith thee.
  7. "They call me Jack when I'm abroad,
    Sometimes they call me John;
    But when I'm in my father's bower
    Jock Randal is my name.'
  8. "Ye lee, ye lee, ye bonny lad,
    Sae loud's I hear ye lee!
    Ffor I'm Lord Randal's yae daughter,
    He has nae mair nor me.'
  9. "Ye lee, ye lee, ye bonny may,
    Sae loud's I hear ye lee!
    For I'm Lord Randal's yae yae son,
    Just now come oer the sea.'
  10. She's putten her hand down by her spare,
    And out she's taen a knife,
    And she has putn't in her heart's bluid,
    And taen away her life.
  11. And he's taen up his bonny sister,
    With the big tear in his een,
    And he has buried his bonny sister
    Amang the hollins green.
  12. And syne he's hyed him oer the dale,
    His father dear to see:
    "Sing O and O for my bonny hind,
    Beneath yon hollin tree!'
  13. "What needs you care for your bonny hyn?
    For it you needna care;
    There's aught score hyns in yonder park,
    And five score hyns to spare.
  14. "Four score of them are siller-shod,
    Of thae ye may get three;'
    "But O and O for my bonny hyn,
    Beneath yon hollin tree!'
  15. "What needs you care for your bonny hyn?
    For it you need na care;
    Take you the best, gi me the warst,
    Since plenty is to spare.'
  16. "I care na for your hyns, my lord,
    I care na for your fee;
    But O and O for my bonny hyn,
    Beneath the hollin tree!'
  17. "O were ye at your sister's bower,
    Your sister fair to see,
    Ye'll think na mair o your bonny hyn
    Beneath the hollin tree.'


  • There are strange young men in the local woods
  • The young men may take mantles or maidenheads
  • A young woman confronts the man in the woods
  • The young man and the young woman have sex


This is one of the ballads that often shares verses with Tam Lin.

Version Notes

Added to site: September 2014