Songs by Robert Burns

Bob Hay & the Jolly Beggars song book

Tam Lin

Tam Lin
  C             G
O I forbid ye, maidens a',
that wear goud on your gear,
    C              G
To come and gae by Caterhaugh,
For young Tam Lin is there.

There's nane that gaes by Carterhaugh
But they leave him a wad,
Either their rings, or mantles green,
Or else their maidenhead.

But Janet has kilt her green mantle
A little aboon her knee,
And she has broded her yellow hair
a little aboon her bree,
And she's awa to Carterhaugh,
As fast as she can hie.

When she came to Carterhaugh
Tam Lin was at the well,
And there she fand his steed standing,
But away was himsell.

She hadna pu'd a double rose,
A rose but only twae,
Till up then started young Tom Line,
Says, Lady, thou's pu nae mae.

Why pou's thou the rose, Janet?
Why breaks thou the wand?
Why comest thou to Carterhaugh
Withouthen my command?

Carterhaugh it is is my ain,
My daddy gave it me;
I'll come and gae by Carterhaugh,
And ask nae leave at thee.'

Chorus ( her father's hall...)

Four and twenty ladies fair
Were playing at the ba',
And out then came fair Janet,
Ance the flow'r amang them a'.

Four and twenty ladies fair
Were playing at the chess,
And out then came fair Janet,
As green as onie glass.

Out then spak an auld grey knight,
Lay o'er the castle wa',
And says, Alas, fair Janet for thee
But we'll be blam'd a'.

'Haud your tongue, you auld grey knight
Some ill dead may ye die!
Father my bairn on whom I will,
I 'll father nane on thee.'

Out then spak her father dear,
And he spak meek and milde;
'And ever alas, sweet Janet,' he says,
'I think ye gae wi childe.'

'If that I gae wi child, father,
Mysel' bears a' the blame;
There 's not a laird about your ha'
Shall get the bairnie's name.

'If my love were an earthly knight,
As he 's an elfin grey,
I wad na gie my ain true-love
For nae lord that ye hae.'

Chorus ( Carter Hall..)

When she came to Carterhaugh,
Tam Lin was at the well,
And there she fand his steed standing,
But away was himsell.

She hadna pu'd a double rose,
A rose but only twae,
Till up then started young Tam Lin,
Says, Lady, thou pu's na mae.

Why pu's thou the rose, Janet,
Amang yon groves sae green,
And a' to kill your bonnie babe,
That we gat us between?

'O tell me, tell me, Tom,' she says,
'For's sake who died on tree,
If e'er ye were in holy chapel,
Or Christendom did see.'

'Roxburgh he was my Grandfather
Took me with him to bide,
And ance it fell upon a day
That wae did me betide.

'And ance it fell upon a day,
A cauld day and a snell,
When we were frae the hunting come,
That frae my horse I fell.
'The Queen of Fairies she caught me,
in yon green hill to dwell,

And pleasant is the fairy-land
But, an eerie tale to tell!
Ay at the end o seven years,
They pay their teind to hell.
I am sae fair and fu' o' flesh
I', fear'd it be mysel.


But the night is Halloween, Lady
The morn is Hallowday
Then, win me, win me, an ye will,
For weel I wat ye may,

Just at the mirk and midnight hour
The fairie folk will ride,
And they that wad their true-love win,
At Miles Cross they maun bide.'

But how shall I thee ken, Tam Lin,
Or how my true love knaw.
Amang sae mony unco knights
The like I never saw ?'

O first let pass the Black Lady,
And syne let pass the brown
But quickly run to the milk-white steed
and pu' his rider down.

For I'll ride on the mil-white steed
And ay nearest the town.
Because I was an earthly knight
They gie me that renown.

'My right hand will be glovd, lady,
My left hand will be bare,
Cockt up shall my bonnet be
And kaim'd down shall my hair.
And thae's the tokens I gie thee,
Nae doubt I will be there.

'They'll turn me in thy arms, lady,
Into an esk and adder
But hold me fast and fear me not,
I am your bairn's father.

'They'll turn me to a bear sae grim'
And then a lion bold
But hald me fast and fear me not,
As you shall love your child.

Again they'll turn me in your arms
To a red het gaud o iron;
Then hand me fast, and fear me not,
I'll do to you nae harm.

'They 'll turn me in your arms, lady,
A mother-naked man;
Cast your mantle green owr me,
To keep me frae the rain.

'First dip me in a stand o milk,
And then a stand o water;
Haud me fast, let me na gae,
I'll be your bairnie's father.'

Chorus ( Miles Cross...)

Gloomy, gloomy was the night,
And eerie was the way,
As fair Janet in her green mantle
Tae Miles Cross she did gae.

About the middle o' the night
She's heard the bridles ring;
This lady was as glad at that
As any earthly thing.

First she let the black pass by,
And syne she let the brown;
And quickly she ran to the milk-white steed
And pu'd the rider down.

She cast her mantle green o'er him,
To keep him frae the rain,
So well minded what he'd said,
And young Tam Lin did win.

Out then spak the Fairie Queen,
Out o' a brush o' broom:
'Them that hae gotten young Tam Lin
Hae got a stately groom.'

Out then spak the Fairie Queen,
Out o a bush of rye:
'That has gotten the bonniest knight
in a' my company.'

'Had I kend, Tam Lin,' she says,
What now this night I see,
I wad has ta'en out thy twa grey een,
An put in twa een o tree.

'Had I but kend, Tam Lin,' she says,
Before I came frae hame,
I had ta'en out that heart o flesh,
Put in a heart o stane.''

Arrangement © 2006 Bob Hay (BMI). All Rights Reserved.