Poetry Friday: The Twa Corbies

November 1, 2013 @ 11:45 am | Filed under: ,

442px-The-Twa-CorbiesArthur Rackham illustration from Some British Ballads, 1919.
Image source: Wikimedia Commons.

Our poetry selections for today, as we move out of Chaucer and into some medieval ballads: “The Twa Corbies” and its English cousin, “The Three Ravens.” Just a little something light and cheerful for a chilly November day. You know, light like sunbleached bones.

The Twa Corbies

As I was walking all alane,
I heard twa corbies makin a mane;
The tane unto the ither say,
“Whar sall we gang and dine the-day?”

“In ahint yon auld fail dyke,
I wot there lies a new slain knight;
And nane do ken that he lies there,
But his hawk, his hound an his lady fair.”

“His hound is tae the huntin gane,
His hawk tae fetch the wild-fowl hame,
His lady’s tain anither mate,
So we may mak oor dinner swate.”

“Ye’ll sit on his white hause-bane,
And I’ll pike oot his bonny blue een;
Wi ae lock o his gowden hair
We’ll theek oor nest whan it grows bare.”

“Mony a one for him makes mane,
But nane sall ken whar he is gane;
Oer his white banes, whan they are bare,
The wind sall blaw for evermair.”



This week’s Poetry Friday roundup can be found at Teacher Dance.

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8 Reponses | Comments Feed
  1. tanita says:

    Hilariously, this week I am reading this aloud in Scotland…
    It sounds so much better read aloud. 🙂 Grisly!

  2. Alice Gunther says:

    Great selection. Love that Scottish sound.

  3. Linda Baie says:

    Love that you shared the spoken and the song. It’s lovely, and “maybe” grisley, maybe just sad. I loved the art too, and the end: “Oer his white banes, whan they are bare, The wind sall blaw for evermair.” Thank you!

  4. Mary Lee Hahn says:

    Oooh! Love having all three versions. I want to smack his lady fair and his dog for deserting him.

  5. Melanie B says:

    proof that the roots of Country music are really Scottish: My lady done left me and so did my dog and my horse. Thought I don’t think I’ve ever seen a country song conclude with: Now the ravens are picking out my eyes….

  6. Joanna says:

    Hi Melissa,

    If you like the corbies, what about ‘Lord Randal’ and ‘The Outlandish Knight’?

    Lord Randal is poisoned by his girlfriend, who serves him snake instead of eel boiled in broth, and the outlandish knight – well, he gets a very unexpected come-uppance.

    (I especially love the Knight, with its twist in the tale at the end.)

    Read it and see if you haven’t found it already 🙂

  7. Helen says:

    This reminds me “Charlotte Tucker” books … I’m still missing them so very much, along with “Martha’s Years” …..