Three Border Ballads

The Border Reiver

		  YOUNG JOHNSTONE 
		 (Motherwell's Minstrelsy, p. 193)	

		Young Johnstone and the young Colnel
		  Sat drinking at the wine:
		'O gin ye wad marry my sister,
		  It's I wad marry thine.'

		'I wadna marry your sister
		  For a' your house and land;
		But I'll keep her for my leman,
		  When I come oer the strand.'

		Young Johnstone had a little small 
		  sword,
		  Hung low down by his gair,
		And he stabbed it through the young
		  Colnel,
		That word he neer spak mair.

		But he's awa to his sister's bower,
		  He's tirled at the pin:
		'Whare hae ye been my dear brither,
		  Sae late a coming in?'
		'I hae been at the school, sister,
		  Learning young clerks to sing.'

		'I've dreamed a dreary dream this 
		  night,
		  I wish it may be for good;
		They were seeking you with hawks
		  and hounds, 
		  And the young Colnel was dead.'

		'Hawks and hounds they may seek me,
		  As I trow well they be;
		For I have killed the young Colnel,
		  And thy own true-love was he.'

		'If ye hae killed the young Colnel,
		  O dule and wae is me!
		But I wish ye may be hanged on a
		  hie gallows,
		And hae nae power to flee.'

		And he's awa to his true-love's
		  bower,
		  He's tirled at the pin:
		'Whar hae ye been, my dear Johnstone,
		  Sae late a coming in?'
		'It's I hae been at the school,' 
		  he says,
		  'Learning young clerks to sing.'

		'I have dreamed a dreary dream,'
		  she says,
		  'I wish it may be for good;
		'They were seeking you with hawks 
		  and hounds,
		  And the young Colnel was dead.'

		'Hawks and hounds they may seek me, 
		  As I trow well they be;
		For I hae killed the young Colnel,
		  And thy ae brother was he.'

		'If ye hae killed the young Colnel,
		  O dule and wae is me!
		But I care the less for the young 
		  Colnel,
		  If thy ain body be free.

		'Come in, come in, my dear Johnstone,
		  Come in and take a sleep;
		And I will go to my casement,
		  And carefully I will thee keep.'

		He had not weel been in her bower-door,
		  No not for half an hour,
		When four and twenty belted knights
		  Came riding to the bower.

		'Well may you sit and see, lady,
		  Well may you sit and say;
		Did you not see a bloody squire
		  Come riding by this way?'

		'What color were his hawks?' she says,
		  What color were his hounds?
		What color was the gallant steed,
		  That bore him from the bounds?'

		'Bloody, bloody were his hawks,
		  And bloody were his hounds;
		But milk-white was the gallant steed,
		  That bore him from the bounds.'

		'Yes, bloody, bloody were his hawks,
		  And bloody were his hounds;
		But milk-white was the gallant steed,
		  That bore him from the bounds.

		'Light down, light down now, gentlemen,
		  And take some bread and wine;
		And the steed be swift that he rides on,
		  He's past the brig o' lyne.'

		'We thank you for your bread, fair 
		  lady,
		  We thank you for your wine,
		But I wad gie thrice three thousand
		  pound
		  That bloody knight was taen.'

		'Lie still, lie still, my dear Johnstone,
		  Lie still and take a sleep;
		For thy enemies are past and gone,
		  And carefully I will thee keep.'

		But young Johnstone had a little wee
		  sword,
		  Hung low down by his gair,
		And he stabbed it in fair Annet's breast,
		  A deep wound and a sair.

		'What aileth thee now, dear Johnstone?
		  What aileth thee at me?
		Hast thou not got my father's gold,
		  Bot and my mither's fee?'

		'Now live, now live, may dear ladye,
		  Now live but half an hour,
		And there's no a leech in a' Scotland
		  But shall be in thy bower.'

		'How can I live? How shall I live?
		  Young Johnstone, do not you see
		The red, red drops o my bonny 
		  heart's blood
		Rin trinkling down my knee?

		'But take thy harp into thy hand,
		  And harp out owre yon plain,
		And neer think mair on thy true-love
		  Than if she had never been.'

		He hadna weel been out o the stable,
		  And on his saddle set,
		Till four and twenty broad arrows
		  Were thrilling in his heart.
		
		  THE LADS OF WAMPHRAY
		  (Glenriddel MSS., xi, 34, 1791)	

		Twixt the Girthhead and Langwood-end
		Lived the Galiard and the Galiard's men.

		It is the lads of Lethenha,
		The greatest rogues among them a'.

		It is the lads of Leverhay,
		That drove the Crichton's gear away.

		It is the lads o the Kirkhill,
		The gay Galiard and Will o Kirkhill.

		But and the lads of Stefenbiggin,
		They brok the house in at the riggin.

		The lads o Fingland and Hellbackhill,
		They were neer for good, but aye for ill.

		Twixt the Staywood Buss and Landside
		  Hill,
		They stelld the broked cow and
		  branded bull.

		It is the lads o the Girthhead,
		The diel's in them for pride and greed.

		.   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .
		.   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .

		The Galiard is to the stable gane;
		Instead of the Dun, the Blind he's taen.

		'Come out now, Simmy o the Side,
		Come out and see a Johnston ride!

		'Here's the boniest horse in a'
		  Nithside,
		And a gentle Johnston aboon his hide.'

		Simmy Crichton's mounted then,
		And Crichtons has raised mony a ane.

		The Galiard thought his horse had
		  been fleet,
		But they did outstip him quite out
		  o sight.

		As soon as the Galiard the Crichton 
		  he saw,
		Beyond the saugh-bush he did draw.

		The Crichtons there the Galiard 
		  hae taen,
		And nane wi him but Willy alane.

		'O Simmy, Simmy, now let me gang,
		And I vow I'll neer do a Crichton
		  wrang!'

		'O Simmy, Simmy, now let me be,
		And a peck o goud I'll gie to thee! 

		'O Simmy, Simmy, let me gang, 
		And my wife shall heap it wi her hand!'

		But the Crichtons wadna let Willy bee,
		But they hanged him high upon a tree.

		O think then Will he was right wae,
		When he saw his uncle guided sae.

		'But if ever I live Wamphray to see,
		My uncle's death revenged shall be!'

		Back to Wamphray Willy's gane,
		And riders has raised mony a ane.

		Saying, My lads, if ye'll be true,
		Ye's a' be clad in the nobel blue.

		Back to Nithsdale they are gane,
		And away the Crichtons' nout they hae
		  taen.

		As they came out at the Wallpath-head,
		The Crichtons bad them light and lead.

		And when they came to the Biddess-	
		  burn, 
		The Crichtons had them stand and turn.

		And when they came to the Biddess-
		  strand,
		The Crichtons they were hard at hand.

		But when they came to the Biddess-law,
		The Johnstons bid them stand and draw.

		Out then spake then Willy Kirkhill:
		'Of fighting, lads ye's hae your fill.'

		Then off his horse Willy he lap,
		And a burnished brand in his hand 
		  he took.

		And through the Crichtons Willy he ran,
		And dang them down both horse and man.

		O but these lads wer wondrous rude,
		When the Biddess-burn ran three days 
		  blood!

		'I think, my lads, we've done a noble
		  deed;
		We have revenged the Galiard's blood.

		'For every finger of the Galiard's hand,
		I vow this day I've killed a man.'

		And hame for Wamphray they are gane,
		And away the Crichtons' nout they've
		  taen.	 
 
		'Sin we've done na hurt, nor we'll 
		  take na wrang,
		But back to Wamphray we will gang.'

		As they came in a Evanhead,
		At Reaklaw-holm they spred abread.

		'Drive on, my lads, it will be late;
		We'll have a pint at Wamphray Gate.

		'For where eer I gang, or eer I ride,
		The lads o Wamphr[a]y's at my side.

		'For all the lads that I do ken,
		The lads o Wamphr[a]y's king a men.'	

		

		  LORD MAXWELL'S LAST GOODNIGHT
		  (Communicated to Percy by G. Paton,
		  Edinburgh, December 4, 1778)


		'Good lord of the land, will you stay 
		  thane
	   	  About my father's house,
		And walk into these gardines green,
		  In my arms I'll the embraice.

		'Ten thousand times I'll kiss thy face;
		  Make sport, and let's be mery:'
		'I thank you lady fore your kindness;
		Trust me, I may not stay with the.

		'For I have kil'd the laird Johnston,
		  I vallow not the feed;
		My wiked heart did still incline;
		  He was my father's dead.

		'Both night and day I did proced,
		  And a' on him revainged to be;
		But now have I gotten what I long 
		  sowght,
		  Trust me, I may not stay with the.

		'Adue, Dumfriese, that proper place!
		  Fair well, Carlaurike faire!
		Adue the castle of the Trive,
		  And all my buldings there!

		'Adue, Lochmaben gates so faire,
		  And the Langhm shank, where birks 
		  bobs bony!
		Adue, my leady and only joy!
		  Trust me, I may not stay with the. 
	
		'Adue, fair Eskdale, up and doun,
		  Where my poor friends do duell!
		The bangisters will beat them doun,
		  And will them sore compell.

		'I'll reveinge the cause mysell,
		  Again when I come over the sea;
		Adue, my leady and only joy!
		  Fore, trust me, I may not stay with 
		  the.

		'Adue, Dumlanark! fals was ay,
		  And Closburn! in a band;
		The laird of the Lag from my father 
		  fled
		  When the Jhohnstones struck of his 
		  hand.

		'They wer three brethren in a band;
		  I pray they may never be merry;
		Adue, my leady and only joy!
		  Trust me, I may not stay with the.

		'Adue, madame my mother dear,
		  But and my sister[s] two.
		Fair well, Robin in the Orchet!
		  Fore the my heart is wo.

		'Adue, the lillie, and fair well, 
		  rose,
		  And the primros, spreads fair and 
		  bony,		
		Adue, my leady and only joy!
		  Fore, trust me, I may not stay with 
		  the.'

		He took out a good gold ring,
		  Where at hang sygnets three:
		Take thou that, my own kind thing,
		  And ay have mind of me.

		'Do not mary another lord,
		  Agan or I come over the sea;
		Adue, my leady and only joy!
		  Fore, trust me, I may not stay with 
		  the.'

		The wind was fair, and the ship was 
		  clare,
		  And the good lord went away;
		The most part of his friends was there,
		  Giving him a fair convoy.

		They drank the wine, they did not spare,
		  Presenting in that goode lord's sight;
		Now he is over the floods so gray;
		  Lord Maxwell has ta'en his last Good-night.

		
Source:


Copyright 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999 Jeffrey M. Johnstone
All rights reserved

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This page was last updated on January 20, 1999.
Jeffrey M. Johnstone, FSA Scot jeff@eznet.net