The Two Ravens (Child #26, The Twa Corbies)
Taken down from Thomas Shortreed of Jedburgh, as sung and recited by his mother. 1816. Adapted from dialect by AC. Found in Bertrand Bronson's Singing Tradition of the Child Ballads. Recorded on Rhymer's Tower: Ballads of the Anglo-Scottish Border.
As I walked by yon old house end,
I saw two ravens sittin thereon;
The one unto the other did say
“O where shall we go and dine today?”
“O where but by yon new fallen birch,
There, there lies a new slain knight,
No mortal kens that he lies there,
But his hawks and hounds and his lady fair.
“We’ll sit upon his bonny breastbone,
And we’ll pick out his bonny grey eyes,
We'll set our claws into his yellow hair,
And build our bower—it's all blown bare.
“My mother hatched me out of an egg
And brought me up in the feathers grey.
And bade me fly wherever I would
For winter would be my dying day.
“Now winter it is come and past
And all the birds are buildin' their nests,
But I'll fly high above them all,
And sing a song for summer's sake.”