I wish I were where Helen lies; Night and day on me she cries; Oh that I were where Helen lies On fair Kirconnell lea! Curst be the heart that thought the thought, And curst the hand that fired the shot, When in my arms [burd]1 Helen dropt, And died to succour me! O think na but my heart was sair When my Love dropt down and spak nae mair! I laid her down wi' meikle care On fair Kirconnell lea. As I went down the water-side, None but my foe to be my guide, None but my foe to be my guide, On fair Kirconnell lea; I lighted down my sword to draw, I hackèd him in pieces sma', I hackèd him in pieces sma', For her sake that died for me. O Helen fair, beyond compare, I'll make a garland of thy hair Shall bind my heart for evermair Until the day I die. Oh that I were where Helen lies! Night and day on me she cries; Out of my bed she bids me rise, Says, "Haste and come to me!" O Helen fair! O Helen chaste! If I were with thee I were blest, Where thou lies low and takes thy rest On fair Kirconnell lea. I wish my grave were growing green, A winding-sheet drawn ower my een, And I in Helen's arms lyíng, On fair Kirconnell lea. I wish I were where Helen lies; Night and day on me she cries; And I am weary of the skies, Since my Love died for me.
C. Scott sets stanzas 1-2, 4-7
About the headline (FAQ)View original text (without footnotes)
Taken from Francis T. Palgrave, ed. (1824--1897). The Golden Treasury. 1875. Note: Helen is identified in some places with Helen Irving
1 "burd" means "maid"
- by Anonymous / Unidentified Author, "Fair Helen" [author's text checked 1 time against a primary source]
Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)
- by Cyril Meir Scott (1879 - 1970), "Ballad of Fair Helen of Kirkonnel", op. 8 (1900), first performed 1905, stanzas 1-2,4-7 [baritone and orchestra], London: Elkin [ sung text checked 1 time]
Settings in other languages, adaptations, or excerpts:
- Also set in English, [adaptation] ; composed by Joseph Haydn.
Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]
This text was added to the website: 2011-03-06
Line count: 40
Word count: 260