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Language: English

There were twa sisters sat in a bower;
Binnorie, O Binnorie!
There came a knight to be their wooer,
By the bonnie milldams o' Binnorie.
He courted the eldest with glove and ring,
Binnorie, O Binnorie!
But he loved the youngest above all thing. Oh Binnorie!
The eldest she was vexed sair,
Binnorie, O Binnorie!
And sair envied her sister fair.
By the bonnie milldams, the milldams o' Binnorie.
Upon a morning fair and clear,
She cried upon her sister dear,
"O sister, sister, take my hand,
And let's go down to the river strand."
She's ta'en her by the lily hand,
Binnorie, O Binnorie!
And led her down to the riverstrand.
Binnorie, O Binnorie!
The youngest stood upon a stone,
Binnorie, O Binnorie!
The eldest came and pushed her in.
"O sister, sister, reach your hand!
And ye shall be heir o' half my land.
O sister, reach me but your glove!
And sweet William shall be your love."
Sometimes she sank, sometimes she swam,
Until she cam to the miller's dam.
Out then came the miller's son,
And saw the fair maid swimming in.
"O father, father, draw your dam!
There's either a mermaid or a milkwhite swan."
The miller hasted and drew his dam,
And there he found a drowned woman.
You couldna see her middle sma',
Her gowden girdle was so braw.
You couldna see her lily feet,
Her gowden fringes were so deep.
All among her yellow hair
A string o' pearls was twisted rare.
You couldna see her fingers sma',
Wi' diamond rings they were cover'd a'.
And by there came a harper fine
That harpit to the king at dine.
And when he looked that lady on,
He sigh'd and made a heavy moan.
He's made a harp of her breastbone,
Whose sound would melt a heart of stone.
He's ta'en three locks o' her yellow hair,
And wi' them strung his harp sae rare.
He went into her father's hall,
And there was the court assembled all.
He laid his harp upon a stone,
And straight it began to play alone.
"O yonder sits my father, the King,
Binnorie, O Binnorie!
And yonder sits my mother, the Queen;
By the bonnie milldams o' Binnorie,
And yonder stands my brother Hugh,
Binnorie, O Binnorie!
And by him my William,sweet and true.
O Binnorie."
But the last tune that the harp played then --
Binnorie, O Binnorie!
Was "Woe, woe to my sister, false Helèn!"
By the bonnie milldams, the milldams,
The bonnie milldams o' Binnorie.

Submitted by Barbara Miller


Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)

Text added to the website: 2011-01-24.
Last modified: 2014-06-16 10:04:13
Line count: 67
Word count: 421

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