Tam Lin Balladry

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Tam Lin: 39L

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

cites: "Scotch Ballads, Materials for Border Minstrelsy," No 27, Abbotsford; in the handwriting of William Laidlaw.

Title: Tam Lein

Site reference number: 12a


Warning is given against maidens traveling to Carterhaugh for fear of Tam Lein. Janet travels to Carterhaugh, where she finds Tam Lein's steed. When she plucks roses, Tam Lein appears and questions her presence in the woods without his permission. She states that she does not need his permission, and then returns home. Once home she appears to be quite ill.

Tam Lein

  1. I charge ye, a' ye ladies fair,
    That wear goud in your hair,
    To come an gang bye Carterhaugh,
    For young Tam Lien is there.
  2. Then Janet kilted her green cleadin
    Awee aboon her knee,
    An she's gane away to Carterhaugh,
    As fast as she can dree.
  3. When Janet cam to Carterhaugh,
    Tam Lien was at the wall,
    An there he left his steed stannin,
    But away he gaed his sell.
  4. She had na pu'd a red, red rose,
    Arose but only thre,
    Till up then startit young Tam Lien,
    Just at young Jenet's knee.
  5. "What gars ye pu the rose, Janet,
    Briek branches free the tree,
    An come an gang by Carterhaugh,
    An speir nae leave of me?'
  6. What need I speir leave o thee, Tam ?
    What need I speir leave o thee,
    When Carterhaugh is a' mine
    My father gas it me ?
  7. She's kutit up her green cleadin
    Awee aboon her knee,
    An she's away to her ain bower-door,
    As fast as she can dree.
  8. There war four-an-twentie fair ladies
    A' dancin in a chess,
    An some war blue an some war green,
    But Janet was like the gress.
  9. There war four-an-twentie fair ladies
    A' playin at the ha,
    An some war red an som wer white,
    But Jennet was like the snaw.

Version Notes

Why version 12a: This version is a fairly fragmented and corrupted version of Tam Lin, and portions have been incorporated into the version called Child's Notes. Child's Notes contained more complete verses than some of the fragments that were assigned letters, and I felt that one version on the website to account for this was a reasonable solution.

Added to site: October 1997