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Bewick And Grahame Post by :iLeKtraN Category :Poems Author :Frank Sidgwick Date :September 2011 Read :1938

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Bewick And Grahame

The Text is from several broadsides and chap-books, but mainly depends on a stall-copy entitled The Song of Bewick and Grahame, approximately dated 1740. Sir Walter Scott considered this ballad 'remarkable, as containing probably the very latest allusion to the institution of brotherhood in arms' (see 14.4, and the use of the word 'bully'); but Child strongly suspects there was an older and better copy than those extant, none of which is earlier than the eighteenth century.


+The Story+ is concerned with two fathers, who boast about their sons, and cause the two lads to fight. Christy Graham is faced with the dilemma of fighting either his father or his brother-in-arms, and decides to meet the latter; but, should he kill his friend, he determines not to return alive. Young Bewick takes a similar vow. They fight two hours, and at last an 'ackward' stroke kills Bewick, and Christy falls on his sword. The two fathers lament, and the ballad-singer finishes by putting the blame on them.


BEWICK AND GRAHAME

1.
Old Grahame he is to Carlisle gone,
Where Sir Robert Bewick there met he;
In arms to the wine they are gone,
And drank till they were both merry.

2.
Old Grahame he took up the cup,
And said, 'Brother Bewick, here's to thee,
And here's to our two sons at home,
For they live best in our country.'

3.
'Nay, were thy son as good as mine,
And of some books he could but read,
With sword and buckler by his side,
To see how he could save his head.

4.
'They might have been call'd two bold brethren
Where ever they did go or ride;
They might have been call'd two bold brethren,
They might have crack'd the Border-side.

5.
Thy son is bad, and is but a lad,
And bully to my son cannot be;
For my son Bewick can both write and read,
And sure I am that cannot he.'

6.
'I put him to school, but he would not learn,
I bought him books but he would not read;
But my blessing he's never have
Till I see how his hand can save his head.'

7.
Old Grahame called for an account,
And he ask'd what was for to pay;
There he paid a crown, so it went round,
Which was all for good wine and hay.

8.
Old Grahame is into the stable gone,
Where stood thirty good steeds and three;
He's taken his own steed by the head,
And home rode he right wantonly.

9.
When he came home, there did he espy
A loving sight to spy or see,
There did he espy his own three sons,
Young Christy Grahame, the foremost was he.

10.
There did he espy his own three sons,
Young Christy Grahame, the foremost was he;
'Where have you been all day, father,
That no counsel you would take by me?'

11.
'Nay, I have been in Carlisle town,
Where Sir Robert Bewick there met me;
He said thou was bad, and call'd thee a lad,
And a baffled man by thou I be.

12.
'He said thou was bad, and call'd thee a lad,
And bully to his son cannot be;
For his son Bewick can both write and read,
And sure I am that cannot thee.

13.
'I put thee to school, but thou would not learn,
I bought thee books, but thou would not read;
But my blessing thou's never have
Till I see with Bewick thou can save thy head.'

14.
'Oh, pray forbear, my father dear;
That ever such a thing should be!
Shall I venture my body in field to fight
With a man that's faith and troth to me?'

15.
'What's that thou sayst, thou limmer loon?
Or how dare thou stand to speak to me?
If thou do not end this quarrel soon,
Here is my glove, thou shalt fight me.'

16.
Christy stoop'd low unto the ground,
Unto the ground, as you'll understand;
'O father, put on your glove again,
The wind hath blown it from your hand.'

17.
'What's that thou sayst, thou limmer loon?
Or how dare thou stand to speak to me?
If thou do not end this quarrel soon,
Here is my hand, thou shalt fight me.'

18.
Christy Grahame is to his chamber gone,
And for to study, as well might be,
Whether to fight with his father dear,
Or with his bully Bewick he.

19.
'If it be my fortune my bully to kill,
As you shall boldly understand,
In every town that I ride through,
They'll say, There rides a brotherless man!

20.
'Nay, for to kill my bully dear,
I think it will be a deadly sin;
And for to kill my father dear,
The blessing of heaven I ne'er shall win.

21.
'O give me your blessing, father,' he said,
'And pray well for me for to thrive;
If it be my fortune my bully to kill,
I swear I'll ne'er come home alive.'

22.
He put on his back a good plate-jack,
And on his head a cap of steel,
With sword and buckler by his side;
O gin he did not become them well!

23.
'O fare thee well, my father dear!
And fare thee well, thou Carlisle town!
If it be my fortune my bully to kill,
I swear I'll ne'er eat bread again.'

24.
Now we'll leave talking of Christy Grahame,
And talk of him again belive;
But we will talk of bonny Bewick,
Where he was teaching his scholars five.

25.
Now when he had learn'd them well to fence,
To handle their swords without any doubt,
He's taken his own sword under his arm,
And walk'd his father's close about.

26.
He look'd between him and the sun,
To see what farleys he could see;
There he spy'd a man with armour on,
As he came riding over the lee.

27.
'I wonder much what man yon be
That so boldly this way does come;
I think it is my nighest friend,
I think it is my bully Grahame.

28.
'O welcome, O welcome, bully Grahame!
O man, thou art my dear, welcome!
O man, thou art my dear, welcome!
For I love thee best in Christendom.'

29.
'Away, away, O bully Bewick,
And of thy bullyship let me be!
The day is come I never thought on;
Bully, I'm come here to fight with thee.'

30.
'O no! not so, O bully Grahame!
That e'er such a word should spoken be!
I was thy master, thou was my scholar;
So well as I have learned thee.'

31.
'My father he was in Carlisle town,
Where thy father Bewick there met he;
He said I was bad, and he call'd me a lad,
And a baffled man by thou I be.'

32.
'Away, away, O bully Grahame,
And of all that talk, man, let us be!
We'll take three men of either side
To see if we can our fathers agree.'

33.
'Away, away, O bully Bewick,
And of thy bullyship let me be!
But if thou be a man, as I trow thou art,
Come over this ditch and fight with me.'

34.
'O no, not so, my bully Grahame!
That e'er such a word should spoken be!
Shall I venture my body in field to fight
With a man that's faith and troth to me?'

35.
'Away, away, O bully Bewick,
And of all that care, man, let us be!
If thou be a man, as I trow thou art,
Come over this ditch and fight with me.'

36.
'Now, if it be my fortune thee, Grahame, to kill,
As God's will's, man, it all must be:
But if it be my fortune thee, Grahame, to kill,
'Tis home again I'll never gae.'

37.
'Thou art then of my mind, bully Bewick,
And sworn-brethren will we be;
If thou be a man, as I trow thou art,
Come over this ditch and fight with me.'

38.
He flang his cloak from off his shoulders,
His psalm-book out of his hand flung he,
He clap'd his hand upon the hedge,
And o'er lap he right wantonly.

39.
When Grahame did see his bully come,
The salt tear stood long in his eye;
'Now needs must I say that thou art a man,
That dare venture thy body to fight with me.

40.
'Now I have a harness on my back;
I know that thou hath none on thine;
But as little as thou hath on thy back,
Sure as little shall there be on mine.'

41.
He flang his jack from off his back,
His steel cap from his head flang he;
He's taken his sword into his hand,
He's tyed his horse unto a tree.

42.
Now they fell to it with two broad swords,
For two long hours fought Bewick and he;
Much sweat was to be seen on them both,
But never a drop of blood to see.

43.
Now Grahame gave Bewick an ackward stroke,
An ackward stroke surely struck he;
He struck him now under the left breast,
Then down to the ground as dead fell he.

44.
'Arise, arise, O bully Bewick,
Arise, and speak three words to me!
Whether this be thy deadly wound,
Or God and good surgeons will mend thee.'

45.
'O horse, O horse, O bully Grahame,
And pray do get thee far from me!
Thy sword is sharp, it hath wounded my heart,
And so no further can I gae.

46.
'O horse, O horse, O bully Grahame,
And get thee far from me with speed!
And get thee out of this country quite!
That none may know who's done the deed.'

47.
'O if this be true, my bully dear,
The words that thou dost tell to me,
The vow I made, and the vow I'll keep;
I swear I'll be the first to die.'

48.
Then he stuck his sword in a moudie-hill,
Where he lap thirty good foot and three;
First he bequeathed his soul to God,
And upon his own sword-point lap he.

49.
Now Grahame he was the first that died,
And then came Robin Bewick to see;
'Arise, arise, O son,' he said,
'For I see thou's won the victory.

50.
'Arise, arise, O son,' he said,
'For I see thou's won the victory;'
'Father, could ye not drunk your wine at home,
And letten me and my brother be?

51.
'Nay, dig a grave both low and wide,
And in it us two pray bury;
But bury my bully Grahame on the sun-side,
For I'm sure he's won the victory.'

52.
Now we'll leave talking of these two brethren,
In Carlisle town where they lie slain,
And talk of these two good old men,
Where they were making a pitiful moan.

53.
With that bespoke now Robin Bewick;
'O man, was I not much to blame?
I have lost one of the liveliest lads
That ever was bred unto my name.'

54.
With that bespoke my good lord Grahame;
'O man, I have lost the better block;
I have lost my comfort and my joy,
I have lost my key, I have lost my lock.

55.
'Had I gone through all Ladderdale,
And forty horse had set on me,
Had Christy Grahame been at my back,
So well as he would guarded me.'

56.
I have no more of my song to sing,
But two or three words to you I'll name;
But 'twill be talk'd in Carlisle town
That these two old men were all the blame.


(Annotations:
5.2: 'bully,' = billie, brother. See page 75.
24.2: 'belive,' soon.
26.2: 'farleys,' wonders, novelties.
48.1: 'moudie-hill,' mole-hill.)


(The end)
Frank Sidgwick's poem: Bewick And Grahame

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