The YARROW valley in the Scottish Borders could well earn the title of the home of Border ballads, The 19th century novelist and poet Sir Walter Scott spent much time there gathering material for his "Minstrelsy of the Scottish Borders". Tower Houses across Yarrow and its neighbour Ettrick Valley are evidence of a turbulent past of raiding and ‘reiving’ not only across the Scottish - English border, but between warring Border families - as recounted in the ballads.
"The Dowie Dens of Yarrow" is one of the best known of the Border Ballads, telling a cruel tale of love and death. A young man is lured into combat with rival suitors - or in some version the girl's brothers - and killed by a cowardly sword stroke. His corpse is flung into the Yarrow Water, until his love rescues his bodyt
"Dowie dens" means "doleful glens" Like many a Border ballad, ii is a long tale - 20 verses - so here are a few to give you a flavour of the story.
They've taen the young man by the heels
And trailed him like a barrow
And there they flung the comely youth
In a whirlpool o' Yarrow.
But she wandred east and, so did she west
And searched the forest thorough
Until she spied her ain true love
Lying deeply drowend in Yarrow.
She kissed his lips and combed his head
As oft she'd done before,o;
She laid him on her milk white steed
An bore him, home from Yarrow."
T'will soothe us in our sorrow
That earth has something left to show
The bonny Holmes of Yarrow"
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A-Z Challenge A - Abbeys,Abbotsford and Armstrong's
A-Z Challenge B - Border Reivers, Border Ballads and Blackmail
A-Z Challenge F - Flodden, Fletcher and Flowers of the Forest
A-Z Challenge G - A Green & Pleasant Land and Galashiels
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