(author's note- when I originally wrote this, more than forty years ago, the language was
Scottish dialect,or what I fondly imagined Scottish dialect to be. In this reincarnation
I have tried to make the text more comprehensible without I hope losing the essential
flavor of the thing)
There's a castle grey , by
the ocean wave
That breaks on far countree
And high in a
hall, in a chamber tall
Hangs an unco' tapestry
cunning wrought by a bonnie hand
'ere ever we twa were born
auld colours pale it conjures the tale
Of the hunt for the
Of the hunt for the single horn, dear lass
from a golden head
For the drink that's laid in a cup sa made
ne'er work ill, 'tis said
And wondrous wise are the ways of
And fair, lass, always fair
That the royal kine should
guzzle their wine
Wi' never a grief or care
And sure the
tapestry tells it plain
Of the hunters that lie in wait
their dogs so fierce and their iron spears
And a simpering maid
But it comes to me now that I heard a tale
And it ran
Of the beast that's born with the single
And the Princess Lynne-Marie
'Twas early one morn to the
The royal huntsman came
And he was a stern
Of an ancient and noble name
honour it was that there lived no beast
That he could na' trap or
And yet one prize eluded his eyes
For all of his hard
'The king thy father ha' bid
me hence '
Quoth the huntsman on bended knee
'I ha' tried my
best at his own behest'
'But ill luck ha' come ta me'
brought him the skin o' the spotted fawn '
'An' the pelt o' the
'I ha' shot the bat and the bold wild cat'
mickle a mark was there'
'Now out fra' the castle I needs must gae
'and sa fra' my honour shorn'
'I ha' done my best at his own
'But he calls for a Unicorn.'
Now Princess Lynne hath a
And she touched on his lowered head
arise and lift your eyes'
'I'll speak to my father,' she said
'Nay Princess, it wouldna
serve', quoth he
'for thy father's mind is set'
'but there is a
boon, that I crave eftsoon'
'to succour my honour yet'
Unicorn is a canny beast'
'and the Unicorn is fey'
'And devil a
man there lives who can '
'approach him near , they say'
a maid sa pure an' bright '
'may charm his wayward heart'
the King, thy father, ha' bid me hence'
'for the hunt that's about
'for the hunt that goes forth for lack o' a maid
finished 'ere we begin'
'An' none in the land there be, saith he,
'Sa' pure as my daughter Lynne'
So out from the castle they
Wi' Lynne on her mount bestrode
And the King's
huntsman and all his van
Behind to the wood they rode
within to the forest's heart
Where it all was hushed
Where a pool lay deep in the moss asleep
At the foot
of a wee green hill
'Twas there the Princess did seat herself
the huntsmen drew back to wait,
With their dogs so fierce and
their iron spears,
For the perilous ways of fate.
An age passed
by in the forest green
And dreamed on a wee green hill
bird sang high with a single cry
Like a trumpet loud and shrill
Then He stepped out from the
And oh he was wondrous fair
And his coat was
bright and his horn was white
As he stood in the forest there
his eyes were golden brown, dear lass
And deep as the forest
With an ancient pride that he held inside
Sa never a man
Aye, the pride of the free north wind was there
he gazed to the princess down
And they met there in the silent
The blue and the golden brown
The Unicorn looked to the
Where the Huntsman and all did hide
With their dogs
so fierce and their iron spears
And a cruel crossbow beside
turned to the Princess once again
And she thought in her heart he
As he trotted there with a dancer's care…
And the simple trust of a
And he hath touched his
To the cheek of Lynne-Marie
And he hath lowered his
To rest on the Princess' knee…
Then out from covert the
With a score of men that came
With their dogs so
fierce and their iron spears
To win him a noble name
ringed the wee hill with spears so sharp
And waited the given
But the Princess seemed in a curious dream
As if she had
And still the Unicorn had not moved ,
Nor showed that
he kenned his doom
'Till the Huntsman cried,'Princess, move
'That the spears may ha' fair room.'
Then she raised her head and
her eyes blazed bright
As the crown in her sable hair
Huntsman paled and his strong heart quailed
For he saw that his
death was there
With a shaking hand he cast his spear-
the mossy ground
And gestured then to his waiting men
ringed the wee hill around
'We'll back ta the castle gae, my
'an' prison ourselves within'
'For I'd rather the path to
the Kings full wrath'
'then ta tilt wi' his daughter Lynne.'
whiles they muttered and whiles they stared
But lowered their
Like a pack of dogs of the hills and bogs
they see that their prey hath gone
Then the Princess stroked on
the lowered head
And tenderly whispered she:
wondrous fair, but thy world is there:'
'Heart of my heart, go
The Unicorn turned in a silken flash
And he hurtled the
ring of men
Yet paused in his stride on the other side
turned to her once again
And laughter was in his eyes that never
mortal danger knew
With lifted head it seemed he said
will become of you?'
'Go back, go back to the world of men'
the life for which you're born'
'but naught that's done can prison
'Who hath freed the Unicorn.'