CLARK COLVEN 
1. CLARK COLVEN and his gay ladie,
As they walked to yon garden green,
A belt about her middle gimp,
Which cost Clark Colven crowns fifteen:
2. ‘O hearken weel now, my good lord,
O hearken weel to what I say;
When ye gang to the wall o Stream, 
O gang nae neer the well-fared may.’
3. ‘O haud your tongue, my gay ladie,
Tak nae sic care o me;
For I nae saw a fair woman
I like so well as thee.’
4. He mounted on his berry-brown steed,
And merry, merry rade he on,
Till he came to the wall o Stream, 
And there he saw the mermaiden.
5. ‘Ye wash, ye wash, ye bonny may, 
And ay’s ye wash your sark o silk:’ 
‘It’s a’ for you, ye gentle knight, 
My skin is whiter than the milk.’
6. He’s taen her by the milk-white hand,
He’s taen her by the sleeve sae green, 
And he’s forgotten his gay ladie,
And away with the fair maiden.
* * * * *
7. ‘Ohon, alas!’ says Clark Colven,
‘And aye sae sair’s I mean my head!’
And merrily leugh the mermaiden,
‘O win on till you be dead.
8. ‘But out ye tak your little pen-knife,
And frae my sark ye shear a gare;
Row that about your lovely head,
And the pain ye’ll never feel nae mair.’
9. Out he has taen his little pen-knife,
And frae her sark he’s shorn a gare,
Rowed that about his lovely head,
But the pain increased mair and mair.
10. ‘Ohon, alas!’ says Clark Colven,
‘An aye sae sair’s I mean my head!’
And merrily laughd the mermaiden,
‘It will ay be waur till ye be dead.’
11. Then out he drew his trusty blade,
And thought wi it to be her dead,
But she’s become a fish again,
And merrily sprang into the fleed.
12. He’s mounted on his berry-brown steed,
And dowy, dowy rade he home,
And heavily, heavily lighted down
When to his ladie’s bower-door he came.
13. ‘Oh, mither, mither, mak my bed,
And, gentle ladie, lay me down;
Oh, brither, brither, unbend my bow,
’Twill never be bent by me again.’
14. His mither she has made his bed,
His gentle ladie laid him down,
His brither he has unbent his bow,
’Twas never bent by him again.
From a transcript from William Tytler's Brown MS
CLERK COLVILL 
1. CLERK COLVILL and his lusty dame
Were walking in the garden green;
The belt around her stately waist
Cost Clerk Colvill of pounds fifteen.
2. ‘O promise me now, Clerk Colvill,
Or it will cost ye muckle strife,
Ride never by the wells of Slane, 
If ye wad live and brook your life.’
3. ‘Now speak nae mair, my lusty dame,
Now speak nae mair of that to me;
Did I neer see a fair woman,
But I wad sin with her body?’
4. He’s taen leave o his gay lady,
Nought minding what his lady said,
And he’s rode by the wells of Slane, 
Where washing was a bonny maid.
5. ‘Wash on, wash on, my bonny maid, 
That wash sae clean your sark of silk;’ 
‘And weel fa you, fair gentleman,
Your body ['s] whiter than the milk.’
* * * * *
6. Then loud, loud cry’d the Clerk Colvill,
‘O my head it pains me sair;’
‘Then take, then take,’ the maiden said,
‘And frae my sark you’ll cut a gare.’
7. Then she’s gied him a little bane-knife,
And frae her sark he cut a share;
She’s ty’d it round his whey-white face,
But ay his head it aked mair.
8. Then louder cry’d the Clerk Colvill,
‘O sairer, sairer akes my head;’
‘And sairer, sairer ever will,’
The maiden crys, ’Till you be dead.’
9. Out then he drew his shining blade,
Thinking to stick her where she stood,
But she was vanishd to a fish,
And swam far off, a fair mermaid.
10. ‘O mother, mother, braid my hair;
My lusty lady, make my bed;
O brother, take my sword and spear,
For I have seen the false mermaid.'
from Herd's Ancient and Modern Scots Songs, 1769.
1. CLERK COLIN and his mother dear
Were in the garden green;
The band that was about her neck
Cost Colin pounds fifteen;
The belt about her middle sae sma
Cost twice as much again.
2. ‘Forbidden gin ye wad be, love Colin,
Forbidden gin ye wad be,
And gang nae mair to Clyde’s water,
To court yon gay ladie.’
3. ‘Forbid me frae your ha, mother,
Forbid me frae your bour,
(Variants: And dinna deave me wi your din
And haud, my Lady gay, your din)
But forbid me not frae yon ladie;
She’s fair as ony flour.
4. ‘Forbidden I winna be, mother,
Forbidden I winna be,
For I maun gang to Clyde’s water,
To court yon gay ladie.’
5. An he is on his saddle set,
As fast as he could win,
An he is on to Clyde’s water,
By the lee licht o the moon.
6. An when he cam to the Clyde’s water
He lichted lowly down,
An there he saw the mermaiden,
(Variant: He's laid her on the flowery green)
Washin silk upon a stane.  
7. ‘Come down, come down, now, Clerk Colin,
Come down an [fish] wi me;
I’ll row ye in my arms twa,
An a foot I sanna jee.’
* * * * *
8. ‘O mother, mother, mak my bed,
And, sister, lay me doun,
An brother, tak my bow an shoot,
For my shooting is done.’
9. He wasna weel laid in his bed,
Nor yet weel fa’en asleep,
When up an started the mermaiden,
Just at Clerk Colin’s feet.
10. ‘Will ye lie there an die, Clerk Colin,
Will ye lie there an die?
Or will ye gang to Clyde’s water,
To fish in flood wi me?’
11. ‘I will lie here an die,’ he said,
‘I will lie here an die;
In spite o a’ the deils in hell
I will lie here an die.
'Notes and Queries', Fourth Series, VIII, 510,
from the recitation of a lady in Forfarshire.
VERSION D of G. Gardiner|
GEORGE (or JOHN) COLLINS
1. GEORGE COLLINS walked out one May morning
When May was all in bloom.
‘T was there he beheld a fair pretty maid
And she was washing a marble stone. 
2. She whooped, she hollered, she highered her voice,
She held up her lily-white hand. 
“Come hither to me, George Collins,” said she,
“And your life shall not last you long.” 
3. George Collins stepped up to the fair water-side,
And over the water sprang he,
He clasped her round her middle so small,
And kissed her red rosy cheeks. 
4. George Collins rode home to his father's own gate,
And loud he did at it ring…
(And who should come down but his own father dear,
To let George Collins in)
5. "Arise, my dear father, and let me in,
Arise, dear mother and make my bed,
Arise, my dear sister and get me a napkin -
A napkin to bind round my head.
6. “For if I should die this night,
As I suppose I shall,
You bury me under that white marble stone,
That lays in fair Eleanor's (Helen's) hall.”
7. Fair Eleanor (Helen) sat in her room so fine,
Working her silken skein.
And she saw the fairest corpse a-coming
That ever the sun shone on.
8. She said unto her Irish maid:
“Whose corpse is this so fine?”
“This is George Collins' corpse a-coming,
That once was a true lover of thine.”
9. "You go upstairs and fetch me the sheet,
That's wove with a silver twine,
And hang it over George Collins' corpse,
To-morrow it shall hang over mine."
10. “Come put him down, my six pretty lads,
And open his coffin so fine,
That I might kiss his lily-white lip,
For ten thousand times he has kissed mine.”
11. The news was carried to London town, 
And wrote on London gate,
That six pretty maids died all of one night,
And all for George Collins' sake. 
A collation of five similar texts, all noted by Dr George Gardiner in the Southampton/Lyndhurst area in 1906