Minstrelsy of the Scottish border (3rd ed) (1 of 3)
Part 5 out of 6
At the Reidswire the tryst was set;
Our wardens they affixed the day,
And, as they promised, so they met.
Alas! that day I'll ne'er forgett!
Was sure sae feard, and then sae faine--
They came theare justice for to gett,
Will never green to come again.
Carmichael was our Warden then,
He caused the country to conveen;
And the Laird's Wat, that worthie man,
Brought in that sirname weil beseen:
The Armestranges, that aye hae been
A hardie house, but not a hail,
The Elliot's honours to maintaine,
Brought down the lave o' Liddesdale.
Then Tividale came to wi' speid;
The sheriffe brought the Douglas down,
Wi' Cranstane, Gladstain, good at need,
Baith Rewle water, and Hawick town.
Beanjeddart bauldly made him boun,
Wi' a' the Trumbills, stronge and stout;
The Rutherfoords, with grit renown,
Convoyed the town of Jedbrugh out.
Of other clans I cannot tell,
Because our warning was not wide.--
Be this our folks hae taen the fell,
And planted down palliones there to bide.
We looked down the other side,
And saw come breasting ower the brae,
Wi' Sir John Forster for their guyde,
Full fifteen hundred men and mae.
It grieved him sair, that day, I trow,
Wi' Sir George Hearoune of Schipsydehouse;
Because we were not men enow,
They counted us not worth a louse.
Sir George was gentle, meek, and douse,
But _he_ was hail and het as fire;
And yet, for all his cracking crouse,
He rewd the raid o' the Reidswire.
To deal with proud men is but pain;
For either must ye fight or flee,
Or else no answer make again,
But play the beast, and let them be.
It was na wonder he was hie,
Had Tindaill, Reedsdaill, at his hand,
Wi' Cukdaill, Gladsdaill on the lee,
And Hebsrime, and Northumberland.
Yett was our meeting meek enough,
Begun wi' merriement and mowes,
And at the brae, aboon the heugh,
The clark sate down to call the rowes.
And some for kyne, and some for ewes,
Called in of Dandrie, Hob, and Jock--
We saw, come marching ower the knows,
Five hundred Fennicks in a flock.
With jack and speir, and bows all bent,
And warlike weapons at their will:
Although we were na weel content,
Yet, be my trouth, we feard no ill.
Some gaed to drink, and some stude still,
And some to cairds and dice them sped;
Till on ane Farnstein they fyled a bill,
And he was fugitive and fled.
Carmichael bade them speik out plainlie,
And cloke no cause for ill nor good;
The other, answering him as vainlie,
Began to reckon kin and blood:
He raise, and raxed him where he stood,
And bade him match him with his marrows,
Then Tindaill heard them reasun rude,
And they loot off a flight of arrows.
Then was there nought but bow and speir,
And every man pulled out a brand;
"A Schaftan and a Fenwick" thare:
Gude Symington was slain frae hand.
The Scotsmen cried on other to stand,
Frae time they saw John Robson slain--
What should they cry? the king's command
Could cause no cowards turn again.
Up rose the laird to red the cumber,
Which would not be for all his boast;--
What could we doe with sic a number?
Fyve thousand men into a host.
Then Henry Purdie proved his cost,
And very narrowlie had mischiefed him,
And there we had our warden lost,
Wert not the grit God he relieved him.
Another throw the breiks him bair,
Whill flatlies to the ground he fell:
Than thought I weel we had lost him there,
Into my stomach it struck a knell!
Yet up he raise, the treuth to tell ye,
And laid about him dints full dour;
His horsemen they raid sturdilie,
And stude about him in the stoure.
Then raise the slogan with ane shout--
"Fy Tindaill, to it! Jedbrugh's here!"
I trow he was not half sae stout,
But anis his stomach was asteir.
With gun and genzie, bow and speir,
Men might see monie a cracked crown!
But up amang the merchant geir,
They were as busie as we were down.
The swallow taill frae tackles flew,
Five hundreth flain into a flight,
But we had pestelets enow,
And shot amang them as we might.
With help of God the game gaed right,
Frae time the foremost of them fell;
Then ower the know without goodnight,
They ran, with mony a shout and yell.
But after they had turned backs,
Yet Tindaill men they turned again;
And had not been the merchant packs,
There had been mae of Scotland slain.
But, Jesu! if the folks were fain
To put the bussing on their thies;
And so they fled, wi' a' their main,
Down ower the brae, like clogged bees.
Sir Francis Russel ta'en was there,
And hurt, as we hear men rehearse;
Proud Wallinton was wounded sair,
Albeit he be a Fennick fierce.
But if ye wald a souldier search,
Among them a' were ta'en that night,
Was nane sae wordie to put in verse,
As Collingwood, that courteous knight.
Young Henry Schafton, he is hurt;
A souldier shot him with a bow:
Scotland has cause to mak great sturt,
For laiming of the laird of Mow.
The Laird's Wat did weel, indeed;
His friends stood stoutlie by himsel',
With little Gladstain, gude in need,
For Gretein kend na gude be ill.
The Sheriffe wanted not gude will,
Howbeit he might not fight so fast;
Beanjeddart, Hundlie, and Hunthill,
Three, on they laid weel at the last.
Except the horsemen of the guard,
If I could put men to availe,
None stoutlier stood out for their laird.
For did the lads of Liddesdail.
But little harness had we there;
But auld Badreule had on a jack,
And did right weel, I you declare,
With all his Trumbills at his back.
Gude Ederstane was not to lack,
Nor Kirktoun, Newtoun, noble men!
Thirs all the specials I of speake,
By others that I could not ken.
Who did invent that day of play,
We need not fear to find him soon;
For Sir John Forster, I dare well say,
Made us this noisome afternoon.
Not that I speak preceislie out,
That he supposed it would be perril;
But pride, and breaking out of feuid,
Garr'd Tindaill lads begin the quarrel.
[Footnote 143: _Green_--Long.]
[Footnote 144: _Weil beseen_--Well appointed. The word occurs in Morte
Arthur: "And when Sir Percival saw this, he hied him thither, "and
found the ship covered with silke, more blacker than any beare;
and therein was a gentlewoman, of great beautie, and she was richly
_beseene_, that none might be better."]
[Footnote 145: _Lave_--Remainder.]
[Footnote 146: _Palliones_--Tents.]
[Footnote 147: _Cracking crouse_--Talking big.]
[Footnote 148: _Rowes_--Rolls.]
[Footnote 149: _Raxed him_--Stretched himself up.]
[Footnote 150: _Red the cumber_--Quell the tumult.]
[Footnote 151: _Cost_--Signifies loss or risk.]
[Footnote 152: _Raise_--Rose.]
[Footnote 153: _But, &c_.--Till once his anger was up.]
[Footnote 154: _Genzie_--Engine of war.]
[Footnote 155: _Flain_--Arrows; hitherto absurdly printed _slain_.]
[Footnote 156: _Thirs_--These are.]
[Footnote 157: _By_--Besides.]
NOTES ON THE RAID OF THE REIDSWIRE.
* * * * *
_Carmichael was our warden then_.--P. 157. v. 2.
Sir John Carmichael was a favourite of the resent Morton, by whom
he was appointed warden of the middle marches, in preference to the
border chieftains. With the like policy, the regent married Archibald
Carmichael, the warden's brother, to the heiress of Edrom, in the
Merse, much contrary to the inclination of the lady and her friends.
In like manner, he compelled another heiress, Jane Sleigh, of Cumlege,
to marry Archibald, brother to Auchinleck of Auchiuleck, one of his
dependants. By such arbitrary practices, Morton meant to strengthen
his authority on the borders; instead of which, he hastened his fall,
by giving disgust to his kinsman the Earl of Angus, and his
other friends, who had been established in the country for
ages.--_Godscroft_, Vol. II. Pages 238. 246. Sir John Carmichael, the
warden, was murdered 16th June, 1600, by a party of borderers, at a
place called Raesknows, near Lochmaben, whither he was going to hold
a court of justice. Two of the ring-leaders in the slaughter, Thomas
Armstrong, called _Ringan's Tarn_, and Adam Scott, called _the
Pecket_, were tried at Edinburgh, at the instance of Carmichael of
Edrom. They were condemned to have their right hands struck off,
thereafter to be hanged, and their bodies gibbeted on the Borough
Moor; which sentence was executed, 14th November, 1601. "This
_Pecket_, (saith Birrel in his _Diary_), was ane of the maist notalrie
thieftes that ever raid:" he calls his name Steill, which appears,
from the record, to be a mistake. Four years afterwards, an Armstrong,
called _Sandy of Rowanburn_, and several others of that tribe, were
executed for this and other excesses.--_Books of Adjournal of these
_And the Laird's Wat, that worthie man_.--P. 157. v. 2.
The chief, who led out the sirname of Scott upon this occasion, was
(saith Satchells) Walter Scott of Ancrum, a natural son of Walter of
Buccleuch. The laird of Buccleuch was then a minor. The ballad seems
to have been popular in Satchells' days, for he quotes it literally.
He must, however, have been mistaken in this particular; for the
family of Scott of Ancrum, in all our books of genealogy, deduce their
descent from the Scotts of Balwearie in Fife, whom they represent. The
first of this family, settled in Roxburghshire, is stated in _Douglas'
Baronage_ to have been Patrick Scott, who purchased the lands of
Ancrum, in the reign of James VI. He therefore could not be the
_Laird's Wat_ of the ballad; indeed, from the list of border families
in 1597, Ker appears to have been proprietor of Ancrum at the date of
the ballad. It is plainly written in the MS. the _Laird's Wat_, i.e.,
the Laird's son Wat; notwithstanding which, it has always hitherto
been printed the _Laird Wat_. If Douglas be accurate in his genealogy,
the person meant must be the young laird of Buccleuch, afterwards
distinguished for his surprise of Carlisle Castle.--See _Kinmont
Willie_. I am the more confirmed in this opinion, because Kerr
of Ancrum was at this time a fugitive, for slaying one of the
Rutherfords, and the tower of Ancrum given in keeping to the
Turnbulls, his hereditary enemies. His mother, however, a daughter of
Home of Wedderburn, contrived to turn out the Turnbulls, and possess
herself of the place by surprise.--_Godscroft_, Vol. II. p. 250.
_The Armestranges, that aye hae been_.--P. 158. v. 1.
This clan are here mentioned as not being hail, or whole, because
they were outlawed or broken men. Indeed, many of them had become
Englishmen, as the phrase then went. Accordingly, we find, from Paton,
that forty of them, under the laird of Mangertoun, joined Somerset
upon his expedition into Scotland.--_Paton, in Dalyell's Fragments_,
p. 1. There was an old alliance betwixt the Elliots and Armstrongs,
here alluded to. For the enterprises of the Armstrongs, against their
native country, when under English assurance, see _Murdin's State
Papers_, Vol. I. p. 43. From which it appears, that, by command of
Sir Ralph Evers, this clan ravaged almost the whole west border of
_The sheriffe brought the Douglas down_.--P. 158. v. 2,
Douglas of Cavers, hereditary sheriff of Teviotdale, descended from
Black Archibald, who carried the standard of his father, the Earl of
Douglas, at the battle of Otterbourne.--_See the Ballad of that name_.
_Wi' Cranstane, Gladstain, good at need_.--P. 158. v. 2.
Cranstoun of that ilk, ancestor to Lord Cranstoun; and Gladstain of
_Wi a' the Trumbills, stronge and stout;
The Rutherfoords, with grit renown_.--P. 158. v. 2.
These were ancient and powerful border clans, residing chiefly upon
the river Jed. Hence, they naturally convoyed the town of Jedburgh
out. Although notorious freebooters, they were specially patronised by
Morton, who, by their means, endeavoured to counterpoise the power
of Buccleuch and Ferniherst, during the civil wars attached to the
The following fragment of an old ballad is quoted in a letter from
an aged gentleman of this name, residing at New-York, to a friend in
"Bauld Rutherfurd, he was fow stout, Wi' a' his nine sons
him round about; He led the town o' Jedburgh out, All bravely
fought that day."
_Wi' Sir John Forster for their guyde_.--P. 158. v. 3.
This gentleman is called, erroneously, in some copies of this ballad,
_Sir George_. He was warden of the mid-marches of England.
_Wi' Sir George Henroune of Schipsydehouse_.--P. 159. v. 1.
Sir George Heron of Chipchase-house, whose character is contrasted
with that of the English warden.
_Had Tindaill, Reedsdaill at his hand_.--P. 159. v. 2.
These are districts, or dales, on the English border. Hebsrime seems
to be an error in the MS. for Hebburn upon the Till.
_Five hundred Fennicks in a flock_.--P. 159. v. 3.
The Fenwicks; a powerful and numerous Northumberland clan.
_Then raise the slogan with ane shout_.--P. 161. v. 3.
The gathering word, peculiar to a certain name, or set of people, was
termed _slogan_, or _slughorn_, and was always repeated at an onset,
as well as on many other occasions, as appears from the following
passage of an old author, whom this custom seems much to have
offended--for he complains,
"That whereas alweys, both in al tounes of war, and in al campes of
armies, quietnes and stilnes without nois is principally in the night,
after the watch is set, observed (I need not reason why.) Yet,
our northern prikkers, the borderers, notwithstanding, with great
enormitie, (as thought me) and not unlyke (to be playn) unto a
masterless hounde houyling in a hie wey, when he hath lost him he
wayted upon, sum hoopyng, sum whistelyng, and most with crying,
a _Berwyke_! a _Berwyke_! a _Fenwyke_! a _Fenwyke_! a _Bulmer_! a
_Bulmer_! or so ootherwise as theyr captein's names wear, never linnde
those troublous and daungerous noyses all the night long. They
sayd they did it to fynd out their captein and fellowes; but if the
soldiours of our oother countries and sheres had used the same maner,
in that case we shoold have oftymes had the state of our campe more
lyke the outrage of a dissolute huntyng, than the quiet of a wel
_Patten's Account of Somerset's Expedition_, p. 76.--_Apud Dalyell's
Honest Patten proceeds, with great prolixity, to prove, that this was
a custom more honoured in the breach than in the observance; and, like
Fluellen, declares, "that such idle pribble prabbles were contrary to
all the good customs and disciplines of war." Nevertheless, the custom
of crying the _slogan_ or _ensenzie_, is often alluded to in all our
ancient histories and poems. It was usually the name of the clan, or
place of rendezvous, or leader. In 1335, the English, led by Thomas
of Rosslyne, and William Moubray, assaulted Aberdeen. The former was
mortally wounded in the onset; and, as his followers were pressing
forward, shouting _Rosslyne! Rosslyne_! "Cry _Moubray_," said the
expiring chieftain; "_Rosslyne_ is gone!" The Highland clans had also
their appropriate slogans. The Macdonalds cried _Frich_, (heather);
the Macphersons _Craig-Ubh_; the Grants _Craig-Elachie_; and the
_The swallow taill frae tackles flew_.--P. 162. v. 2.
The Scots, on this occasion, seem to have had chiefly fire-arms; the
English retaining still their partiality for their ancient weapon,
the long-bow. It also appears, by a letter from the Duke of Norfolk to
Cecil, that the English borderers were unskilful in fire-arms, or,
as he says, "our countrymen be not so commyng with shots as I woolde
wishe."--See _Murdin's State Papers_, Vol. I. p. 319.
_And had not been the merchant packs_.--P. 162. v. 3.
The ballad-maker here ascribes the victory to the real cause; for,
the English borderers, dispersing to plunder the merchandise, gave the
opposite party time to recover from their surprise It seems to
have been usual for travelling merchants to attend border-meetings,
although one would have thought the kind of company, usually assembled
there, might have deterred them.
_Sir Francis Russel ta'en was there_.--P, 163. v. 1.
This gentleman was son to the Earl of Bedford. He was afterwards
killed in a fray of a similar nature, at a border-meeting, between the
same Sir John Forster (father-in-law to Russell), and Thomas Ker of
Fairnihurst, A.D. 1585.
_Proud Wallinton was wounded sair_.--P. 163. v. 1.
Fenwick of Wallinton, a powerful Northumbrian chief.
_As Collingwood, that courteous knight_.--P. 163. v. 1.
Sir Cuthbert Collingwood. Besides these gentlemen, James Ogle, and
many other Northumbrians of note, were made prisoners. Sir George
Heron, of Chipchase and Ford, was slain, to the great regret of both
parties, being a man highly esteemed by the Scots, as well as the
English. When the prisoners were brought to Morton, at Dalkeith, and,
among other presents, received from him some Scottish falcons, one of
his train observed, that the English were nobly treated, since they
got live _hawks_ for dead _herons_.--_Godscroft_.
_Young Henry Schufton_,--P. 163. v. 2.
The name of this gentleman does not appear in the MS. in the
Advocates' Library, but is restored from a copy in single sheet,
printed early in the last century.
_For laiming of the laird of Mow_.--P. 163. v. 2.
An ancient family on the borders. The lands of Mowe are situated upon
the river Bowmont, in Roxburghshire. The family is now represented by
William Molle, Esq. of Mains, who has restored the ancient spelling of
the name. The laird of Mowe, here mentioned, was the only gentleman of
note killed in the skirmish on the Scottish side.
_For Gretein kend net gude be ill_.--P. 163. v. 2;
Graden, a family of Kerrs.
_Beanjeddart, Hundlie, and Hunthill_.--P. 163. v. 3.
Douglas of Beanjeddart, an ancient branch of the house of Cavers,
possessing property near the junction of the Jed and Tiviot.
_Hundlie_,--Rutherford of Hundlie, or Hundalee, situated on the Jed,
_Hunthill_.--The old tower of Hunthill was situated about a mile above
Jedburgh. It was the patrimony of an ancient family of Rutherfords.
I suppose the person, here meant, to be the same who is renowned
in tradition by the name of the _Cock of Hunthill_. His sons were
executed for march-treason, or border-theft, along with the lairds of
Corbet, Greenhead, and Overton, A.D. 1588.--_Johnston's History_, p.
_But auld Badreule had on a jack_.--P. 164. v. 1.
Sir Andrew Turnbull of Bedrule, upon Rule Water. This old laird was so
notorious a thief, that the principal gentlemen of the clans of Hume
and Kerr refused to sign a bond of alliance, to which he, with the
Turnbulls and Rutherfords, was a party; alleging, that their proposed
allies had stolen Hume of Wedderburn's cattle. The authority of
Morton, however, compelled them to digest the affront. The debate (and
a curious one it is) may be seen at length in _Godscroft_, Vol. I. p.
221. The Rutherfords became more lawless after having been deprived
of the countenance of the court, for slaying the nephew of Forman,
archbishop of St. Andrews, who had attempted to carry off the heiress
of Rutherford. This lady was afterwards married to James Stuart of
Traquair, son to James, Earl of Buchan, according to a papal bull,
dated 9th November, 1504. By this lady a great estate in Tiviotdale
fell to the family of Traquair, which was sold by James, Earl of
Traquair, lord-high-treasurer of Scotland, in consequence of the
pecuniary difficulties to which he was reduced, by his loyal exertions
in favour of Charles I.
_Gude Ederstane was not to lack_.--P. 164. v. 1.
An ancient family of Rutherfords; I believe, indeed, the most
ancient now extant. The family is represented by Major Rutherford of
Edgerstane. His seat is about three miles distant from the field of
_Nor Kirktoun, Newtoun, noble men_!--P. 164. v. 1.
The parish of Kirktoun belonged, I believe, about this time, to a
branch of the Cavers family; but Kirkton of Stewartfield is mentioned
in the list of border clans in 1597.
_Newtoun_.--This is probably Grinyslaw of Little Newtoun, mentioned in
the said roll of border clans.
* * * * *
In the following rude strains, our forefathers commemorated one of the
last, and most gallant atchievements, performed upon the border. The
reader will find, in the subjoined extract from Spottiswoode, a minute
historical account of the exploit; which is less different from that
contained in the ballad than might perhaps have been expected.
_Anno, 1596_.--"The next year began with a trouble in the borders,
which was like to have destroyed the peace betwixt the two realms, and
arose upon this occasion. The Lord Scroop being the warden of the west
marches of England, and the laird of Bacleuch having the charge of
Liddesdale, they sent their deputies to keep a day of truce, for
redress of some ordinary matters.--The place of meeting was at
the Dayholme of Kershop, where a small brook divideth England from
Scotland, and Liddesdale from Bawcastle. There met, as deputy for the
laird of Bacleuch, Robert Scott of Hayninge; and for the Lord Scroop,
a gentleman within the west wardenry, called Mr. Salkeld. These two,
after truce taken and proclaimed, as the custom was, by sound of
trumpet, met friendly, and, upon mutual redress of such wrongs as were
then complained of, parted in good terms, each of them taking his
way homewards. Meanwhile it happened, one William Armstrong, commonly
called _Will of Kinmonth_, to be in company with the Scottish deputy,
against whom the English had a quarrel, for many wrongs he had
committed, as he was indeed a notorious thief. This man, having taken
his leave of the Scots deputy, and riding down the river of Liddel on
the Scottish side, towards his own house, was pursued by the English,
who espied him from the other side of the river, and, after a chase of
three or four miles, taken prisoner, and brought back to the English
deputy, who carried him away to the castle of Carlisle.
"The laird of Bacleuch complaining of the breach of truce (which
was always taken from the time of meeting, unto the next day at
sun-rising), wrote to Mr. Salkeld, and craved redress. He excused
himself by the absence of the Lord Scroop. Whereupon Bacleuch sent
to the Lord Scroop, and desired the prisoner might be set at liberty,
without any bond or condition, seeing he was unlawfully taken.
Scroop answered, that he could do nothing in the matter, it having so
happened, without a direction from the queen and council of England,
considering the man was such a malefactor.--Bacleuch, loth to inform
the king of what was done, lest it might have bred some misliking
betwixt the princes, dealt with Mr. Bowes, the resident ambassador of
England, for the prisoner's liberty; who wrote very seriously to the
Lord Scroop in that business, advising him to set the man free,
and not to bring the matter to a farther hearing. But no answer was
returned: the matter thereupon was imparted to the king, and the queen
of England solicited by letters to give direction for his liberty; yet
nothing was obtained; which Bacleuch perceiving, and apprehending both
the king, and himself as the king's officer, to be touched in honour,
he resolved to work the prisoner's relief, by the best means he could.
"And, upon intelligence that the castle of Carlisle, wherein the
prisoner was kept, was surprisable, he employed some trusty persons to
take a view of the postern gate, and measure the height of the wall,
which he meant to scale by ladders, and, if those failed, to break
through the wall with some iron instruments, and force the gates. This
done, so closely as he could, he drew together some two hundred horse,
assigning the place of meeting at the tower of Morton, some ten miles
from Carlisle, an hour before sun-set. With this company, passing the
water of Esk, about the falling, two hours before day, he crossed Eden
beneath Carlisle bridge (the water, through the rain that had fallen,
being thick), and came to the Sacery, a plain under the castle. There
making a little halt, at the side of a small bourn, which they call
Cadage, he caused eighty of the company to light from their horses,
and take the ladders, and other instruments which he had prepared,
with them. He himself, accompanying them to the foot of the wall,
caused the ladders to be set to it, which proving too short, he gave
order to use the other instruments for opening the wall nigh the
postern; and, finding the business likely to succeed, retired to the
rest whom he had left on horseback, for assuring those that entered
upon the castle against any eruption from the town. With some little
labor a breach was made for single men to enter, and they who first
went in, broke open the postern for the rest. The watchmen, and some
few the noise awaked, made a little restraint, but they were quickly
repressed, and taken captive. After which, they passed to the chamber
wherein the prisoner was kept; and, having brought him forth, sounded
a trumpet, which was a signal to them without that the enterprize was
performed. My Lord Scroope and Mr. Salkeld were both within the house,
and to them the prisoner cried "a good night!" The captives taken in
the first encounter were brought to Bacleuch, who presently returned
them to their master, and would not suffer any spoil, or booty, as
they term it, to be carried away; he had straitly forbidden to break
open any door, but that where the prisoner was kept, though he might
have made prey of all the goods within the castle, and taken the
warden himself captive; for he would have it seen, that he did intend
nothing but the reparation of his majesty's honor. By this time, the
prisoner was brought forth, the town had taken the alarm, the drums
were beating, the bells ringing, and a beacon put on the top of the
castle, to give warning to the country. Whereupon Bacleuch commanded
those that entered the castle, and the prisoner, to horse; and
marching again by the Sacery, made to the river at the Stony-bank, on
the other side, whereof certain were assembled to stop his passage;
but he, causing to sound the trumpet, took the river, day being then
broken, and they choosing to give him way, he retired in order
through the Grahams of Esk (men at that time of great power, and
his un-friends), and came back into Scottish ground two hours after
sun-rising, and so homewards.
"This fell out the 13th of April, _1596_. The queen of England, having
notice sent her of what was done, stormed not a little. One of her
chief castles surprised, a prisoner taken forth of the hands of the
warden, and carried away, so far within England, she esteemed a great
affront. The lieger, Mr. Bowes, in a frequent convention kept at
Edinburgh, the 22d of May, did, as he was charged, in a long oration,
aggravate the heinousness of the fact, concluding that peace could not
longer continue betwixt the two realms, unless Bacleuch were
delivered in England, to be punished at the queen's pleasure. Bacleuch
compearing, and charged with the fact, made answer--'That he went not
into England with intention to assault any of the queen's houses, or
to do wrong to any of her subjects, but only to relieve a subject of
Scotland unlawfully taken, and more unlawfully detained; that, in the
time of a general assurance, in a day of truce, he was taken prisoner
against all order, neither did he attempt his relief till redress
was refused; and that he had carried the business in such a moderate
manner, as no hostility was committed, nor the least wrong offered to
any within the castle; yet was he content, according to the ancient
treaties observed betwixt the two realms, when as mutual injuries were
alleged, to be tried by the commissioners that it should please their
majesties to appoint, and submit himself to that which they should
decern.'--The convention, esteeming the answer reasonable, did
acquaint the ambassador therewith, and offered to send commissioners
to the borders, with all diligence, to treat with such as the queen
should be pleased to appoint for her part.
"But she, not satisfied with the answer, refused to appoint any
commissioners; whereupon the council of England did renew the
complaint in July thereafter; and the business being of new agitated,
it was resolved of as before, and that the same should be remitted to
the trial of commissioners: the king protesting, 'that he might,
with great reason, crave the delivery of Lord Scroope, for the injury
committed by his deputy, it being less favourable to take a prisoner,
than relieve him that is unlawfully taken; yet, for the continuing of
peace, he would forbear to do it, and omit nothing, on his part,
that could be desired, either in equity, or by the laws of
friendship.'--The borders, in the mean time, making daily incursions
one upon another, filled all their parts with trouble, the English
being continually put to the worse; neither were they made quiet,
till, for satisfying the queen, the laird of Bacleuch was first
committed in St. Andrews, and afterwards entered in England, where
he remained not long."--_Spottiswood's History of the Church of
Scotland_, p. 414, 416, _Ed. 1677_.
Scott of Satchells, in the extraordinary poetical performance, which
he has been pleased to entitle _A History of the Name of Scott_
(published 1688), dwells, with great pleasure, upon this gallant
achievement, at which, it would seem, his father had been present. He
also mentions, that the laird of Buccleuch employed the services of
the younger sons and brothers only of his clan, lest the name should
have been weakened by the landed men incurring forfeiture. But he
adds, that three gentlemen of estate insisted upon attending their
chief, notwithstanding this prohibition. These were, the lairds
of Harden and Commonside, and Sir Gilbert Elliot of the Stobbs, a
relation of the laird of Buccleuch, and ancestor to the present Sir
William Elliot, Bart. In many things Satchells agrees with the ballads
current in his time, from which, in all probability, he derived most
of his information as to past events, and from which he sometimes
pirates whole verses, as noticed in the annotations upon the _Raid of
the Reidswire_. In the present instance, he mentions the prisoner's
_large spurs_ (alluding to the fetters), and some other little
incidents noticed in the ballad, which was, therefore, probably well
known in his days.
[Footnote 158: The bishop is, in this last particular, rather
inaccurate. Buccleuch was indeed delivered into England, but this was
done in consequence of the judgment of commissioners of both nations,
who met at Berwick this same year. And his delivery took place, less
on account of the raid of Carlisle, than of a second exploit of the
same nature, to be noticed hereafter.]
All contemporary historians unite in extolling the deed itself as
the most daring and well-conducted atchievement of that age. "_Audax
facinus cum modica manu, in urbe maenibus et multitudine
oppidanorum munita, et callidae: audaciae, vix ullo obsisti modo
potuit_."--_Johnstoni Historia, Ed. Amstael. p_. 215. Birrel, in his
gossipping way, says, the exploit was performed "with shouting and
crying, and sound of trumpet, puttand the said toun and countrie in
sic ane fray, that the like of sic ane wassaladge wes nevir done since
the memory of man, no not in Wallace dayis."--_Birrel's Diary_, April
6, 1596. This good old citizen of Edinburgh also mentions another
incident which I think proper to insert here, both as relating to the
personages mentioned in the following ballad, and as tending to shew
the light in which the men of the border were regarded, even at this
late period, by their fellow subjects. The author is talking of the
king's return to Edinburgh, after the disgrace which he had sustained
there, during the riot excited by the seditious ministers, on December
17, 1596. Proclamation had been made, that the Earl of Mar should keep
the West Port, Lord Seton the Nether-Bow, and Buccleuch, with sundry
others, the High Gate. "Upon the morn, at this time, and befoir this
day, thair wes ane grate rumour and word among the tounesmen, that
the kinges M. sould send in _Will Kinmond, the common thieffe_, and
so many southland men as sould spulye the toun of Edinburgh. Upon the
whilk, the haill merchants tuik thair haill gear out of their buiths
or chops, and transportit the same to the strongest hous that wes in
the toune, and remained in the said hous, thair, with thameselfis,
thair servants, and luiking for nothing bot that thai sould have
been all spulyeit. Sic lyke the hail craftsmen and comons convenit
themselfis, thair best guides, as it wer ten or twelve householdes
in are, whilk wes the strongest hous, and might be best kepit from
spuilyeing or burning, with hagbut, pistolet, and other sic armour,
as might best defend thameselfis. Judge, gentill reider, giff this wes
playing." The fear of the borderers being thus before the eyes of the
contumacious citizens of Edinburgh, James obtained a quiet hearing for
one of his favourite orisones, or harangues, and was finally enabled
to prescribe terms to his fanatic metropolis. Good discipline was,
however, maintained by the chiefs upon this occasion; although the
fears of the inhabitants were but too well grounded, considering what
had happened in Stirling ten years before, when the Earl of Angus,
attended by Home, Buccleuch, and other border chieftains, marched
thither to remove the Earl of Arran from the king's councils: the town
was miserably pillaged by the borderers, particularly by a party of
Armstrongs, under this very Kinmont Willie, who not only made prey
of horses and cattle, but even of the very iron grating of the
windows.--_Johnstoni Historia_, p. 102. _Ed. Amstael_.--_Moyse's
Memoirs_, p. 100.
The renown of Kinmont Willie is not surprising, since, in 1588, the
apprehending that freebooter, and Robert Maxwell, natural-brother to
the Lord Maxwell, was the main, but unaccomplished, object of a royal
expedition to Dumfries. "_Rex ... Robertum Maxvallium ... et Gulielmum
Armstrangum Kinmonthum latrociniis intestinis externisque famosum,
conquiri jubet. Missi e ministerio regio, qui per aspera loca
vitabundos persequuntur, magnoque incommodo afficiunt. At illi
latebris aut silvis se eripiunt."--Johnstoni Historia_, p. 138. About
this time, it is possible that Kinmont Willie may have held some
connection with the Maxwells, though afterwards a retainer to
Buccleuch, the enemy of that tribe. At least, the editor finds,
that, in a bond of manrent, granted by Simon Elliot of Whytheuch,
in Liddesdale, to Lord Maxwell, styled therein Earl of Morton, dated
February 28, 1599, William Armstrang, called _Will of Kinmond_,
appears as a witness.--_Syme's MSS_. According to Satchells, this
freebooter was descended of Johnie Armstrong of Gilnockie (See
_Ballad, p. 105, of this volume_.)--_Est in juvencis, est et in equis,
patrum virtus_. In fact, his rapacity made his very name proverbial.
Mas James Melvine, in urging reasons against subscribing the act of
supremacy, in 1584, asks ironically, "Who shall take order with vice
and wickedness? The court and bishops? As well as Martine Elliot, and
Will of Kinmont, with stealing upon the borders!"--_Calderwood_, p.
This affair of Kinmont Willie was not the only occasion upon which the
undaunted keeper of Liddesdale gave offence to the haughty Elizabeth.
For, even before this business was settled, certain of the English
borderers having invaded Liddesdale, and wasted the country, the laird
of Buccleuch retaliated the injury by a _raid_ into England, in which
he not only brought off much spoil, but apprehended thirty-six of the
Tynedale thieves, all of whom he put to death.--_Spottiswoode_, p.
450. How highly the Queen of England's resentment blazed on this
occasion, may be judged from the preface to her letter to Bowes, then
her ambassador in Scotland. "I wonder how base-minded that king thinks
me, that, with patience, I can digest this dishonourable ********.
Let him know, therefore, that I will have satisfaction, or else
*********." These broken words of ire are inserted betwixt the
subscription and the address of the letter.--_Rymer_, Vol. XVI. p.
318. Indeed, so deadly was the resentment of the English, on account
of the affronts put upon them by this formidable chieftain, that there
seems at one time to have been a plan formed (not, as was alleged,
without Elizabeth's privity,) to assassinate Buccleuch.--_Rymer_, Vol.
XVI. p. 107. The matter was at length arranged by the commissioners of
both nations in Berwick, by whom it was agreed that delinquents should
be delivered up on both sides, and that the chiefs themselves should
enter into ward in the opposite countries, till these were given up,
and pledges granted for the future maintenance of the quiet of the
borders. Buccleuch, and Sir Robert Ker of Cessford (ancestor of the
Duke of Roxburgh), appear to have struggled hard against complying
with this regulation; so much so, that it required all James's
authority to bring to order these two powerful chiefs.--_Rymer_, Vol.
XVI. p. 322.--_Spottiswoode_, p. 448.--_Carey's Memoirs_, p, 131. _et
sequen_.--When at length they appeared, for the purpose of delivering
themselves up to be warded at Berwick, an incident took place,
which nearly occasioned a revival of the deadly feud which formerly
subsisted between the Scots and the Kers. Buccleuch had chosen, for
his guardian, during his residence in England, Sir William Selby,
master of the ordnance at Berwick, and accordingly gave himself into
his hands. Sir Robert Ker was about to do the same, when a pistol was
discharged by one of his retinue, and the cry of treason was raised.
Had not the Earl of Home been present, with a party of Merse men, to
preserve order, a dreadful tumult would probably have ensued. As it
was, the English commissioners returned in dismay to Berwick, much
disposed to wreak their displeasure on Buccleuch; and he, on his side,
mortally offended with Cessford, by whose means, as he conceived, he
had been placed in circumstances of so much danger. Sir Robert Ker,
however, appeased all parties, by delivering himself up to ward in
England; on which occasion, he magnanimously chose for his guardian
Sir Robert Carey, deputy-warden of the east marches, notwithstanding
various causes of animosity which existed betwixt them. The
hospitality of Carey equalled the generous confidence of Cessford, and
a firm friendship was the consequence.
[Footnote 159: Such traits of generosity illuminate the dark period of
which we treat. Carey's conduct, on this occasion, almost atones
for the cold and unfeeling policy with which he watched the closing
moments of his benefactress, Elizabeth, impatient till remorse and
sorrow should extort her last sigh, that he might lay the foundation
of his future favour with her successor, by carrying him the first
tidings of her death.--_Carey's Memoirs_, p. 172. _et sequen_. It
would appear that Sir Robert Ker was soon afterwards committed to the
custody of the archbishop of York; for there is extant a letter from
that prelate to the lord-treasurer, desiring instructions about the
mode of keeping this noble hostage. "I understand," saith he, "that
the gentleman is wise and valiant, but somewhat haughty here, and
resolute. I would pray your lordship, that I may have directions
whether he may not go with his keeper in my company, to sermons;
and whether he may not sometimes dine with the council, as the last
hostages did; and, thirdly, whether he may sometimes be brought to
sitting to the common-hall, where he may see how careful her majesty
is that the poorest subject in her kingdom may have their right, and
that her people seek remedy by law, and not by avenging themselves.
Perhaps it may do him good as long as he liveth."--_Strype's Annals,
ad annum, 1597_. It would appear, from this letter, that the treatment
of the hostages was liberal; though one can hardly suppress a smile
at the zeal of the good bishop for the conversion of the Scottish
chieftain to a more christian mode of thinking than was common among
the borderers of that day. The date is February 25. 1597, which is
somewhat difficult to reconcile with those given by the Scottish
historians--Another letter follows, stating, that Sir Robert, having
been used to open air, prayed for more liberty for his health's sake,
"offering his word, which it is said he doth chiefly regard, that he
would be true prisoner."--_Strype, Ibid._]
Buccleuch appears to have remained in England from October, 1597,
till February, 1598.--_Johnstoni Historia_, p. 231,--_Spottiswoode, ut
supra_. According to ancient family tradition, Buccleuch was presented
to Elizabeth, who, with her usual rough and peremptory address,
demanded of him, "how he dared to undertake an enterprize so desperate
and presumptuous." "What is it," answered the undaunted chieftain,
"What is it that a man dares not do!" Elizabeth, struck with the
reply, turned to a lord in waiting; "With ten thousand such men,"
said she, "our brother of Scotland might shake the firmest throne of
Europe." Luckily, perhaps, for the murtheress of Queen Mary, James's
talents did not lie that way.
The articles, settled by the commissioners at Berwick, were highly
favourable to the peace of the border. They may be seen at large in
the _Border Laws_, p. 103. By article sixth, all wardens and keepers
are discharged from seeking reparation of injuries, in the ancient
hostile mode of riding, or causing to ride, in warlike manner,
against the opposite march; and that under the highest penalty, unless
authorized by a warrant under the hand of their sovereign. The
mention of the word _keeper_, alludes obviously to the above-mentioned
reprisals, made by Buccleuch in the capacity of keeper of Liddesdale.
This ballad is preserved, by tradition, on the west borders, but much
mangled by reciters; so that some conjectural emendations have been
absolutely necessary to render it intelligible. In particular, the
_Eden_ has been substituted for the _Eske_, p. 193, the latter name
being inconsistent with geography.
* * * * *
O have ye na heard o' the fause Sakelde?
O have ye na heard o' the keen Lord Scroop?
How they hae ta'en bauld Kinmont Willie,
On Hairibee to hang him up?
Had Willie had but twenty men,
But twenty men as stout as he,
Fause Sakelde had never the Kinmont ta'en,
Wi' eight score in his cumpanie.
They band his legs beneath the steed,
They tied his hands behind his back;
They guarded him, fivesome on each side,
And they brought him ower the Liddel-rack.
They led him thro' the Liddel-rack,
And also thro' the Carlisle sands;
They brought him to Carlisle castell,
To be at my Lord Scroop's commands.
"My hands are tied, but my tongue is free!
And whae will dare this deed avow?
Or answer by the border law?
Or answer to the bauld Buccleuch!"
"Now haud thy tongue, thou rank reiver!
There's never a Scot shall set ye free:
Before ye cross my castle yate,
I trow ye shall take farewell o' me."
"Fear na ye that, my lord," quo' Willie:
"By the faith o' my body, Lord Scroop," he said,
"I never yet lodged in a hostelrie,
But I paid my lawing before I gaed."
Now word is gane to the bauld Keeper,
In Branksome Ha', where that he lay,
That Lord Scroop has ta'en the Kinmont Willie,
Between the hours of night and day.
He has ta'en the table wi' his hand,
He garr'd the red wine spring on hie--
"Now Christ's curse on my head," he said,
"But avenged of Lord Scroop I'll be!
"O is my basnet a widow's curc
Or my lance a wand of the willow tree?
Or my arm a ladye's lilye hand,
That an English lord should lightly me!
"And have they ta'en him, Kinmont Willie,
Against the truce of border tide?
And forgotten that the bauld Buccleuch
Is Keeper here on the Scottish side?
"And have they e'en ta'en him, Kinmont Willie,
Withouten either dread or fear?
And forgotten that the bauld Buccleuch
Can back a steed, or shake a spear?
"O were there war between the lands,
As well I wot that there is none,
I would slight Carlisle castell high,
Tho' it were builded of marble stone.
"I would set that castell in a low,
And sloken it with English blood!
There's nevir a man in Cumberland,
Should ken where Carlisle castell stood.
"But since nae war's between the lands,
And there is peace, and peace should be;
I'll neither harm English lad or lass,
And yet the Kinmont freed shall be!"
He has call'd him forty marchmen bauld,
I trow they were of his ain name,
Except Sir Gilbert Elliot, call'd
The laird of Stobs, I mean the same.
He has call'd him forty marchmen bauld,
Were kinsmen to the bauld Buccleuch;
With spur on heel, and splent on spauld,
And gleuves of green, and feathers blue.
There were five and five before them a',
Wi' hunting horns and bugles bright;
And five and five came wi' Buccleuch,
Like warden's men, arrayed for fight:
And five and five, like a mason gang,
That carried the ladders lang and hie;
And five and five, like broken men;
And so they reached the Woodhouselee.
And as we cross'd the Bateable Land,
When to the English side we held,
The first o' men that we met wi',
Whae sould it be but fause Sakelde?
"Where be ye gaun, ye hunters keen?"
Quo' fause Sakelde; "come tell to me!"
"We go to hunt an English stag,
Has trespassed on the Scots countrie."
"Where be ye gaun, ye marshal men?"
Quo' fause Sakelde; "come tell me true!"'
"We go to catch a rank reiver,
Has broken faith wi' the bauld Buccleuch."
"Where are ye gaun, ye mason lads,
Wi' a' your ladders, lang and hie?"
"We gang to herry a corbie's nest,
That wons not far frae Woodhouselee."
"Where be ye gaun, ye broken men?"
Quo' fause Sakelde; "come tell to me!"
Now Dickie of Dryhope led that band,
And the never a word o' lear had he.
"Why trespass ye on the English side?
Row-footed outlaws, stand!" quo' he;
The never a word had Dickie to say,
Sae he thrust the lance thro' his fause bodie.
Then on we held for Carlisle toun,
And at Staneshaw-bank the Eden we cross'd;
The water was great and meikle of spait,
But the nevir a horse nor man we lost.
And when we reached the Staneshaw-bank,
The wind was rising loud and hie;
And there the laird garr'd leave our steeds,
For fear that they should stamp and nie.
And when we left the Staneshaw-bank,
The wind began full loud to blaw;
But 'twas wind and weet, and fire and sleet,
When we came beneath the castle wa'.
We crept on knees, and held our breath,
Till we placed the ladders against the wa';
And sae ready was Buccleuch himsell
To mount the first, before us a'.
He has ta'en the watchman by the throat,
He flung him down upon the lead--
"Had there not been peace between our land,
Upon the other side thou hadst gaed!--
"Now sound out, trumpets!" quo' Buccleuch;
"Let's waken Lord Scroop, right merrilie!"
Then loud the warden's trumpet blew--
"_O whae dare meddle wi' me_?"
Then speedilie to work we gaed,
And raised the slogan ane and a'.
And cut a hole thro' a sheet of lead,
And so we wan to the castle ha'.
They thought King James and a' his men
Had won the house wi' bow and spear;
It was but twenty Scots and ten,
That put a thousand in sic a stear!
Wi' coulters and wi' fore-hammers,
We garr'd the bars bang merrilie,
Untill we cam to the inner prison,
Where Willie o' Kinmont he did lie.
And when we cam to the lower prison,
Where Willie o' Kinmont he did lie--
"O sleep ye, wake ye, Kinmont Willie,
Upon the morn that thou's to die?"
"O I sleep saft, and I wake aft;
Its lang since sleeping was fleyed frae me!
Gie my service back to my wife and bairns,
And a' gude fellows that speer for me."
Then Red Rowan has hente him up,
The starkest man in Teviotdale--
"Abide, abide now, Red Rowan,
Till of my Lord Scroope I take farewell.
"Farewell, farewell, my gude Lord Scroope!
My gude Lord Scroope, farewell!" he cried--
"I'll pay you for my lodging maill,
When first we meet on the border side."
Then shoulder high, with shout and cry,
We bore him down the ladder lang;
At every stride Red Rowan made,
I wot the Kinmont's aims played clang!
"O mony a time," quo' Kinmont Willie,
"I have ridden horse baith wild and wood;
But a rougher beast than Red Rowan,
I ween my legs have ne'er bestrode.
"And mony a time," quo' Kinmont Willie,
"I've pricked a horse out oure the furs;
But since the day I backed a steed,
I never wore sic cumbrous spurs!"
We scarce had won the Staneshaw-bank,
When a' the Carlisle bells were rung,
And a thousand men, in horse and foot,
Cam wi' the keen Lord Scroope along.
Buccleuch has turned to Eden water,
Even where it flow'd frae bank to brim,
And he has plunged in wi' a' his band,
And safely swam them thro' the stream.
He turned him on the other side,
And at Lord Scroope his glove flung he--
"If ye like na my visit in merry England,
In fair Scotland come visit me!"
All sore astonished stood Lord Scroope,
He stood as still as rock of stane;
He scarcely dared to trew his eyes,
When thro' the water they had gane.
"He is either himsell a devil frae hell,
Or else his mother a witch maun be;
I wad na have ridden that wan water,
For a' the gowd in Christentie."
[Footnote 160: _Hostelrie_--Inn.]
[Footnote 161: _Lawing_--Reckoning.]
[Footnote 162: _Basnet_--Helmet.]
[Footnote 163: _Curch_--Coif.]
[Footnote 164: _Lightly_--Set light by.]
[Footnote 165: _Low_--Flame.]
[Footnote 166: _Splent on spauld_--Armour on shoulder.]
[Footnote 167: The name of a border tune.]
[Footnote 168: _Stear_--Stir.]
[Footnote 169: _Soft_--Light.]
[Footnote 170: _Fleyed_--Frightened.]
[Footnote 171: _Maill_--Rent.]
[Footnote 172: _Furs_--Furrows.]
NOTES ON KINMONT WILLIE.
* * * * *
_On Hairibee to hang him up_?--P. 188. v. 1.
Hairibee is the place of execution at Carlisle.
_And they brought him ower the Liddel-rack_.--P. 188. v. 3.
The Liddel-rack is a ford on the Liddel.
_And so they reached the Woodhouselee_.--P. 192. v. 1.
Woodhouselee; a house on the border, belonging to Buccleuch.
* * * * *
The Salkeldes, or Sakeldes, were a powerful family in Cumberland,
possessing, among other manors, that of Corby, before it came into
the possession of the Howards, in the beginning of the seventeenth
century. A strange stratagem was practised by an outlaw, called Jock
Grame of the Peartree, upon Mr. Salkelde, sheriff of Cumberland; who
is probably the person alluded to in the ballad, as the fact is
stated to have happened late in Elizabeth's time. The brother of this
freebooter was lying in Carlisle jail for execution, when Jock of the
Peartree came riding past the gate of Corby castle. A child of the
sheriff was playing before the door, to whom the outlaw gave an apple,
saying, "Master, will you ride?" The boy willingly consenting, Grame
took him up before him, carried him into Scotland, and would never
part with him, till he had his brother safe from the gallows. There is
no historical ground for supposing, either that Salkelde, or any one
else, lost his life in the raid of Carlisle.
In the list of border clans, 1597, Will of Kinmonth, with Kyrstie
Armestrange, and John Skynbanke, are mentioned as leaders of a band of
Armstrongs, called _Sandies Barnes_, inhabiting the Debateable Land.
The ballad itself has never before been published.
DICK O' THE COW.
* * * * *
This ballad, and the two which immediately follow it in the
collection, were published, 1784, in the _Hawick Museum_, a provincial
miscellany, to which they were communicated by John Elliot, Esq. of
Reidheugh, a gentleman well skilled in the antiquities of the western
border, and to whose friendly assistance the editor is indebted for
many valuable communications.
These ballads are connected with each other, and appear to have been
composed by the same author. The actors seem to have flourished, while
Thomas, Lord Scroope, of Bolton, was warden of the west marches of
England, and governor of Carlisle castle; which offices he acquired
upon the death of his father, about 1590; and retained it till the
union of the crowns.
_Dick of the Cow_, from the privileged insolence which he assumes,
seems to have been Lord Scroope's jester. In the preliminary
dissertation, the reader will find the border custom of assuming _noms
de guerre_ particularly noticed. It is exemplified in the following
ballad, where one Armstrong is called the _Laird's Jock_ (i.e. the
laird's son Jock), another _Fair Johnie_, a third _Billie Willie_
(brother Willie), &c. The _Laird's Jock_, son to the laird of
Mangerton, appears, as one of the men of name in Liddesdale, in the
list of border clans, _1597_.
_Dick of the Cow_ is erroneously supposed to have been the same with
one Ricardus Coldall, de Plumpton, a knight and celebrated warrior,
who died in 1462, as appears from his epitaph in the church of
Penrith.--_Nicolson's History of Westmoreland and Cumberland_, Vol.
II. p. 408.
This ballad is very popular in Liddesdale; and the reciter always
adds, at the conclusion, that poor Dickie's cautious removal to Burgh
under Stanemore, did not save him from the clutches of the Armstrongs;
for that, having fallen into their power several years after this
exploit, he was put to an inhuman death. The ballad was well known
in England, so early as 1556. An allusion to it likewise occurs in
_Parrot's Laquei Ridiculosi_, or _Springes for Woodcocks_; London,
Owenus wondreth, since he came to Wales,
What the description of this isle should be,
That nere had seen but mountains, hills, and dales.
Yet would he boast, and stand on pedigree,
From Rice ap Richard, sprung from Dick a Cow,
Be cod, was right gud gentleman, looke ye now!
DICK O' THE COW.
* * * * *
Now Liddesdale has layen lang in,
There is na riding there at a';
The horses are grown sae lither fat,
They downa stur out o' the sta.'
Fair Johnie Armstrang to Willie did say--
"Billie, a riding we will gae;
England and us have been lang at feid;
Ablins we'll light on some bootie."
Then they are come on to Hutton Ha';
They rade that proper place about;
But the laird he was the wiser man,
For he had left nae gear without.
For he had left nae gear to steal,
Except sax sheep upon a lee:
Quo' Johnie--"I'd rather in England die,
"Ere thir sax sheep gae to Liddesdale wi' me."
"But how ca' they the men we last met,
Billie, as we cam owre the know?"
"That same he is an innocent fule,
And men they call him Dick o' the Cow,"
"That fule has three as good kye o' his ain,
As there are in a' Cumberland, billie," quo he:
"Betide me life, betide me death,
These kye shall go to Liddesdale wi' me."
Then they have come on to the pure fule's house,
And they hae broken his wa's sae wide;
They have loosed out Dick o' the Cow's three ky,
And ta'en three co'erlets frae his wife's bed.
Then on the morn when the day was light,
The shouts and cries rase loud and hie:
"O haud thy tongue, my wife," he says,
"And o' thy crying let me be!
"O had thy tongue, my wife," he says,
"And o' thy crying let me be;
And ay where thou hast lost ae cow,
In gude suith I shall bring thee three."
Now Dickie's gane to the gude Lord Scroope,
And I wat a dreirie fule was he;
"Now hand thy tongue, my fule," he says,
"For I may not stand to jest wi' thee."
"Shame fa' your jesting, my lord!" quo' Dickie,
"For nae sic jesting grees wi' me;
Liddesdale's been in my house last night,
And they hae awa my three kye frae me.
"But I may nae langer in Cumberland dwell,
To be your puir fule and your leal,
Unless you gi' me leave, my lord,
To gae to Liddesdale and steal."
"I gie thee leave, my fule!" he says;
"Thou speakest against my honour and me,
Unless thou gie me thy trowth and thy hand,
Thou'lt steal frae nane but whae sta' frae thee."
"There is my trowth, and my right hand!
My head shall hang on Hairibee;
I'll ne'er cross Carlisle sands again,
If I steal frae a man but whae sta' frae me."
Dickie's ta'en leave o' lord and master;
I wat a merry fule was he!
He's bought a bridle and a pair of new spurs,
And pack'd them up in his breek thie.
Then Dickie's come on to Pudding-burn house,
E'en as fast as he might drie;
Then Dickie's come on to Pudding-burn,
Where there were thirty Armstrangs and three.
"O what's this come o' me now?" quo' Dickie;
"What mickle wae is this?" quo' he;
"For here is but ae innocent fule,
And there are thirty Armstrangs and three!"
Yet he has come up to the fair ha' board,
Sae weil he's become his courtesie!
"Weil may ye be, my gude Laird's Jock!
But the deil bless a' your cumpanie.
"I'm come to plain o' your man, fair Johnie Armstrang
And syne o' his billie Willie," quo he;
"How they've been in my house last night,
And they hae ta'en my three kye frae me."
"Ha!" quo' fair Johnie Armstrang, "we will him hang."
"Na," quo' Willie, "we'll him slae."
Then up and spak another young Armstrang,
"We'll gie him his batts, and let him gae."
But up and spak the gude Laird's Jock,
The best falla in a' the cumpanie:
"Sit down thy ways a little while, Dickie,
And a piece o' thy ain cow's hough I'll gie ye."
But Dickie's heart it grew sae grit,
That the ne'er a bit o't he dought to eat--
Then was he aware of an auld peat-house,
Where a' the night he thought for to sleep.
Then Dickie was aware of an auld peat-house,
Where a' the night he thought for to lye--
And a' the prayers the pure fule prayed
Were, "I wish I had amends for my gude three kye!"
It was then the use of Pudding-burn house,
And the house of Mangerton, all hail,
Them that cam na at the first ca',
Gat nae mair meat till the neist meal.
The lads, that hungry and weary were,
Abune the door-head they threw the key;
Dickie he took gude notice o' that,
Says--"There will be a bootie for me."
Then Dickie has into the stable gane,
Where there stood thirty horses and three;
He has tied them a' wi' St. Mary's knot,
A' these horses but barely three.
He has tied them a' wi' St. Mary's knot,
A' these horses but barely three;
He's loupen on ane, ta'en another in hand,
And away as fast as he can hie.
But on the morn, when the day grew light,
The shouts and cries raise loud and hie--
"Ah! whae has done this?" quo' the gude Laird's Jock,
"Tell me the truth and the verity!"
"Whae has done this deed?" quo' the gude Laird's Jock;
"See that to me ye dinna lie!"
Dickie has been in the stable last night,
And has ta'en my brother's horse and mine frae me."
"Ye wad ne'er be tald," quo' the gude Laird's Jock;
"Have ye not found my tales fu' leil?
Ye ne'er wad out o' England bide,
Till crooked, and blind, and a' would steal."
"But lend me thy bay," fair Johnie can say;
"There's nae horse loose in the stable save he;
And I'll either fetch Dick o' the Cow again,
Or the day is come that he shall die."
"To lend thee my bay!" the Laird's Jock can say,
"He's baith worth gowd and gude monie;
Dick o' the Cow has awa twa horse;
I wish na thou may make him three."
He has ta'en the laird's jack on his back,
A twa-handed sword to hang by his thie;
He has ta'en a steil cap on his head,
And gallopped on to follow Dickie.
Dickie was na a mile frae aff the town,
I wat a mile but barely three,
When he was o'erta'en by fair Johnie Armstrang,
Hand for hand, on Cannobie lee.
"Abide, abide, thou traitour thief!
The day is come that thou maun die."
Then Dickie look't owre his left shoulder,
Said--"Johnie, hast thou nae mae in cumpanie?
"There is a preacher in our chapell,
And a' the live lang day teaches he:
When day is gane, and night is come,
There's ne'er ae word I mark but three.
"The first and second is--Faith and Conscience;
The third--Ne'er let a traitour free:
But, Johnie, what faith and conscience was thine,
When thou took awa my three ky frae me?
"And when thou had ta'en awa my three ky,
Thou thought in thy heart thou wast not weil sped,
Till thou sent thy billie Willie ower the know,
To take thrie coverlets off my wife's bed!"
Then Johnie let a speir fa' laigh by his thie,
Thought well to hae slain the innocent, I trow;
But the powers above were mair than he,
For he ran but the puir fule's jerkin through.
Together they ran, or ever they blan;
This was Dickie the fule and he!
Dickie could na win at him wi' the blade o' the sword,
But fell'd him wi' the plummet under the e'e.
Thus Dickie has fell'd fair Johnie Armstrang,
The prettiest man in the south country---
"Gramercy!" then can Dickie say,
"I had but twa horse, thou hast made me thrie!"
He's ta'en the steil jack aff Johnie's back,
The twa-handed sword that hang low by his thie;
He's ta'en the steil cap aff his head--
"Johnie, I'll tell my master I met wi' thee."
When Johnie wakened out o' his dream,
I wat a dreirie man was he:
"And is thou gane? Now, Dickie, than
The shame and dule is left wi' me.
"And is thou gane? Now, Dickie, than
The deil gae in thy cumpanie!
For if I should live these hundred years,
I ne'er shall fight wi' a fule after thee."--
Then Dickie's come hame to the gude Lord Scroope,
E'en as fast as he might his;
"Now, Dickie, I'll neither eat nor drink,
Till hie hanged thou shalt be."
"The shame speed the liars, my lord!" quo' Dickie;
"This was na the promise ye made to me!
For I'd ne'er gane to Liddesdale to steal,
Had I not got my leave frae thee."
"But what garr'd thee steal the Laird's Jock's horse?
And, limmer, what garr'd ye steal him?" quo' he;
"For lang thou mightst in Cumberland dwelt,
Ere the Laird's Jock had stown frae thee."
"Indeed I wat ye lied, my lord!
And e'en sae loud as I hear ye lie!
I wan the horse frae fair Johnie Armstrong,
Hand to hand, on Cannobie lee.
"There is the jack was on his back;
This twa-handed sword hang laigh by his thie,
And there's the steil cap was on his head;
I brought a' these tokens to let thee see."
"If that be true thou to me tells,
(And I think thou dares na tell a lie,)
I'll gie thee fifteen punds for the horse,
Weil tald on thy cloak lap shall be.
"I'll gie thee are o' my best milk ky,
To maintain thy wife and children thrie;
And that may be as gude, I think,
As ony twa o' thine wad be."
"The shame speed the liars, my lord!" quo' Dickie;
"Trow ye aye to make a fule o' me?
I'll either hae twenty punds for the gude horse,
Or he's gae to Mortan fair wi' me."
He's gien him twenty punds for the gude horse,
A' in goud and gude monie;
He's gien him ane o' his best milk ky,
To maintain his wife and children thrie.
Then Dickie's come down thro' Carlisle toun,
E'en as fast as he could drie;
The first o' men that he met wi'
Was my lord's brother, bailiff Glozenburrie.
"Weil be ye met, my gude Ralph Scroope!"
"Welcome, my brother's fule!" quo' he:
"Where didst thou get fair Johnie Armstrong's horse?"
"Where did I get him? but steal him," quo' he.
"But wilt thou sell me the bonny horse?
And, billie, wilt thou sell him to me?" quo' he:
"Aye; if thoul't tell me the monie on my cloak lap:
"For there's never ae penny I'll trust thee."
"I'll gie thee ten punds for the gude horse,
Weil tald on thy cloak lap they shall be;
And I'll gie thee ane o' the best milk ky,
To maintain thy wife and children thrie."
"The shame speid the liars, my lord!" quo' Dickie;
"Trow ye ay to make a fule o' me!
I'll either hae twenty punds for the gude horse,
Or he's gae to Mortan fair wi' me."
He's gien him twenty punds for the gude horse,
Baith in goud and gude monie;
He's gien him ane o' his best milk ky,
To maintain his wife and children thrie.
Then Dickie lap a loup fu' hie,
And I wat a loud laugh laughed he--
"I wish the neck o' the third horse were broken,
If ony of the twa were better than he!"
Then Dickie's come hame to his wife again;
Judge ye how the poor fule had sped!
He has gien her twa score English punds,
For the thrie auld coverlets ta'en aff her bed.
"And tak thee these twa as gude ky,
I trow, as a' thy thrie might be;
And yet here is a white-footed nagie,
I trow he'll carry baith thee and me.
"But I may nae langer in Cumberland bide;
The Armstrongs they would hang me hie."
So Dickie's ta'en leave at lord and master,
And at Burgh under Stanmuir there dwells he.
[Footnote 173: _Gie him his batts_--Dismiss him with a beating.]
NOTES ON DICK O' THE COW.
* * * * *
_Then Dickie's come on to Pudding-burn house_.--P. 205. v, 3.
This was a house of strength, held by the Armstrongs. The ruins at
present form a sheep-fold, on the farm of Reidsmoss, belonging to the
Duke of Buccleuch.
_He has tied them a' wi' St. Mary's knot_.--P. 207. v. 4.
Hamstringing a horse is termed, in the border dialect, _tying him
with St. Mary's Knot_. Dickie used this cruel expedient to prevent a
pursuit. It appears from the narration, that the horses, left unhurt,
belonged to Fair Johnie Armstrang, his brother Willie, and the Laird's
Jock, of which Dickie carried off two, and left that of the Laird's
Jock, probably out of gratitude for the protection he had afforded him
on his arrival.
_Hand for hand, on Cannobie lee_.--P. 209. v. 1.
A rising-ground on Cannobie, on the borders of Liddesdale.
_Ere the Laird's Jock had stown frae thee_.--P. 211. v. 4.
The commendation of the Laird's Jock's honesty seems but indifferently
founded; for, in July 1586, a bill was fouled against him, Dick of
Dryup, and others, by the deputy of Bewcastle, at a warden-meeting,
for 400 head of cattle taken in open forray from the Drysike in
Bewcastle: and, in September 1587, another complaint appears at the
instance of one Andrew Rutledge of the Nook, against the Laird's Jock,
and his accomplices, for 50 kine and oxen, besides furniture, to
the amount of 100 merks sterling. See Bell's MSS., as quoted in the
_History of Cumberland and Westmoreland_. In Sir Richard Maitland's
poem against the thieves of Liddesdale, he thus commemorates the
They spuilye puir men of thair pakis,
They leif them nocht on bed nor bakis;
Baith hen and cok,
With reil and rok,
The _Lairdis Jock_
All with him takis.
Those, who plundered Dick, had been bred up under an expert teacher.
JOCK O' THE SIDE.
* * * * *
The subject of this ballad, being a common event in those troublesome
and disorderly times, became a favourite theme of the ballad-makers.
There are, in this collection, no fewer than three poems on the rescue
of prisoners, the incidents in which nearly resemble each other;
though the poetical description is so different, that the editor did
not think himself at liberty to reject any one of them, as borrowed
from the others. As, however, there are several verses, which, in
recitation, are common to all these three songs, the editor, to
prevent unnecessary and disagreeable repetition, has used the freedom
of appropriating them to that, in which they seem to have the best
The reality of this story rests solely upon the foundation of
tradition. Jock o' the side seems to have been nephew to the laird
of Mangertoun, cousin to the Laird's Jock, one of his deliverers, and
probably brother to Chrystie of the Syde, mentioned in the list of
border clans 1597. Like the Laird's Jock, he also is commemorated by
Sir Richard Maitland.--See the _Introduction_.
He is weil kend, Johne of the Syde,
A greater theif did never ryde;
He never tyris
For to brek byris.
Our muir and myris
Ouir gude ane guide.
The land-serjeant, mentioned in this ballad, and also in that of
_Hobble Noble_, was an officer under the warden, to whom was committed
the apprehending of delinquents, and the care of the public peace.
JOCK O' THE SIDE.
Now Liddesdale has ridden a raid,
But I wat they had better hae staid at hame;
For Michael o' Winfield he is dead,
And Jock o' the Side is prisoner ta'en.
For Mangerton house Lady Downie has gane,
Her coats she has kilted up to her knee;
And down the water wi' speed she rins,
While tears in spaits fa' fast frae her e'e.
Then up and spoke our gude auld lord--
"What news, what news, sister Downie, to me?"
"Bad news, bad news, my Lord Mangerton;
"Michael is killed, and they hae ta'en my son Johnie."
"Ne'er fear, sister Downie," quo' Mangerton;
"I have yokes of ousen, eighty and three;
"My barns, my byres, and my faulds a' weil fill'd,
And I'll part wi' them a' ere Johnie shall die.
"Three men I'll send to set him free,
A' harneist wi' the best o' steil;
The English louns may hear, and drie
The weight o' their braid-swords to feel.
"The Laird's Jock ane, the Laird's Wat twa,
O Hobbie Noble, thou ane maun be!
Thy coat is blue, thou hast been true,
Since England banish'd thee to me."
Now Hobbie was an English man,
In Bewcastle dale was bred and born:
But his misdeeds they were sae great,
They banish'd him ne'er to return.
Lord Mangerton them orders gave,
"Your horses the wrang way maun be shod;
Like gentlemen ye mauna seim,
But look like corn-caugers ga'en the road.
"Your armour gude ye mauna shaw,
Nor yet appear like men o' weir;
As country lads be a' array'd,
Wi' branks and brecham on each mare."
Sae now their horses are the wrang way shod.
And Hobbie has mounted his grey sae fine;
Jock his lively bay, Wat's on his white horse, behind,
And on they rode for the water of Tyne
At the Cholerford they all light down,
And there, wi' the help of the light o' the moon,
A tree they cut, wi' fifteen nogs on each side,
To climb up the wa' of Newcastle toun.
But when they cam to Newcastle toun,
And were alighted at the wa',
They fand their tree three ells ower laigh,
They fand their stick baith short and sma'.
Then up and spak the Laird's ain Jock;
"There's naething for't; the gates we maun force."
But when they cam the gate untill,
A proud porter withstood baith men and horse.
His neck in twa the Armstrangs wrang;
Wi' fute or hand he ne'er play'd pa!
His life and his keys at anes they hae ta'en,
And cast the body ahind the wa'.
Now sune they reach Newcastle jail,
And to the prisoner thus they call;
"Sleeps thou, wakes thou, Jock o' the Side,
Or art thou weary of thy thrall?"
Jock answers thus, wi' dulefu' tone;
"Aft, aft, I wake--I seldom sleep:
But whae's this kens my name sae well,
And thus to mese my waes does seik?"
Then out and spak the gude Laird's Jock,
"Now fear ye na, my billie," quo' he;
"For here are the Laird's Jock, the Laird's Wat,
And Hobbie Noble, come to set thee free."
"Now hand thy tongue, my gude Laird's Jock;
For ever, alas! this canna be;
For if a' Liddesdale was here the night,
The morn's the day that I maun die.
"Full fifteen stane o' Spanish iron,
They hae laid a' right sair on me;
Wi' locks and keys I am fast bound
Into this dungeon dark and dreirie."
"Fear ye na' that," quo' the Laird's Jock;
"A faint heart ne'er wan a fair ladie;
Work thou within, we'll work without,
And I'll be sworn we'll set thee free."
The first strong door that they cam at,
They loosed it without a key;
The next chain'd door that they cam at,
They garr'd it a' to flinders flee.
The prisoner now upon his back,
The Laird's Jock has gotten up fu' hie;
And down the stair, him, irons and a',
Wi' nae sma' speid and joy, brings he.
"Now, Jock, my man," quo' Hobbie Noble,
"Some o' his weight ye may lay on me."
"I wat weil no!" quo' the Laird's ain Jock,
"I count him lighter than a flee."
Sae out at the gates they a' are gane,
The prisoner's set on horseback hie;
And now wi' speid they've ta'en the gate,
While ilk ane jokes fu' wantonlie:
"O Jock! sae winsomely's ye ride,
Wi' baith your feet upon ae side;
Sae weel ye're harneist, and sae trig,
In troth ye sit like ony bride!"
The night, tho' wat, they did na mind,
But hied them on fu' merrilie,
Until they cam to Cholerford brae,
Where the water ran like mountains hie.
But when they cam to Cholerford,
There they'met with an auld man;
Says--"Honest man, will the water ride?
Tell us in haste, if that ye can."
"I wat weel no," quo' the gude auld man;
"I hae lived here threty years and thrie,
And I ne'er yet saw the Tyne sae big,
Nor running anes sae like a sea."
Then out and spak the Laird's saft Wat,
The greatest coward in the cumpanie;
"Now halt, now halt! we need na try't;
The day is come we a' maun die!"
"Puir faint-hearted thief!" cried the Laird's ain Jock,
"There'l nae man die but him that's fie;
I'll guide ye a' right safely thro';
Lift ye the pris'ner on ahint me."
Wi' that the water they hae ta'en,
By ane's and twa's they a' swam thro';
"Here are we a' safe," quo' the Laird's Jock,
"And, puir faint Wat, what think ye now?"
They scarce the other brae had won,
When twenty men they saw pursue;
Frae Newcastle toun they had been sent,
A' English lads baith stout and true.
But when the land-serjeant the water saw,
"It winna ride, my lads," says he;
Then cried aloud--"The prisoner take,
But leave the fetters, I pray, to me."
"I wat weil no," quo' the Laird's Jock;
"I'll keep them a'; shoon to my mare they'll be,
My gude bay mare--for I am sure,
She has bought them a' right dear frae thee."
Sae now they are on to Liddesdale,
E'en as fast as they could them hie;
The prisoner is brought to's ain fire side,
And there o's airns they mak him free.
"Now, Jock, my billie," quo' a' the three,
"The day is com'd thou was to die;
But thou's as weil at thy ain ingle side,
Now sitting, I think, 'twixt thee and me."
[Footnote 174: _Spaits_--Torrents.]
[Footnote 175: _Caugers_--Carriers.]
[Footnote 176: _Branks and brecham_--Halter and cart-collar.]
[Footnote 177: _Mese_--Soothe.]
[Footnote 178: _Cholerford brae_--A ford upon the Tyne, above Hexham.]
[Footnote 179: _Fie_--Predestined.]
* * * * *
We have seen the hero of this ballad act a distinguished part in the
deliverance of Jock o' the Side, and are now to learn the ungrateful
return which the Armstrongs made him for his faithful services.
Halbert, or Hobbie Noble, appears to have been one of those numerous
English outlaws, who, being forced to fly their own country, had
established themselves on the Scottish borders. As Hobbie continued
his depredations upon the English, they bribed some of his hosts, the
Armstrongs, to decoy him into England, under pretence of a predatory
expedition. He was there delivered, by his treacherous companions,
into the hands of the officers of justice, by whom he was conducted to
Carlisle, and executed next morning. The laird of Mangerton, with whom
Hobbie was in high favour, is said to have taken a severe revenge upon
the traitors who betrayed him. The principal contriver of the scheme,
called here Sim o' the Maynes, fled into England from the resentment
of his chief; but experienced there the common fate of a traitor,
being himself executed at Carlisle, about two months after Hobbie's
death. Such is, at least, the tradition of Liddesdale. Sim o' the
Maynes appears among the Armstrongs of Whitauch, in Liddesdale, in the
list of clans so often alluded to.
[Footnote 180: The original editor of the _Reliques of Ancient Poetry_
has noticed the perfidy of this clan in another instance; the delivery
of the banished Earl of Northumberland into the hands of the Scottish
regent, by Hector of Harelaw, an Armstrong, with whom he had taken
refuge.--_Reliques of Ancient Poetry_, Vol. I. p. 283. This Hector of
Harelaw seems to have been an Englishman, or under English assurance;
for he is one of those, against whom bills were exhibited, by the
Scottish commissioners, to the lord-bishop of Carlisle.--_Introduction
to the History of Westmoreland and Cumberland_, p. 81. In the list
of borderers, 1597, Hector of Harelaw, with the Griefs and Cuts of
Harelaw, also figures as an inhabitant of the Debateable Land. It
would appear, from a spirited invective in the Maitland MSS. against
the regent, and those who delivered up the unfortunate earl to
Elizabeth, that Hector had been guilty of this treachery, to
redeem the pledge which had been exacted from him for his peaceable
demeanour. The poet says, that the perfidy of Morton and Lochlevin was
worse than even that of--
--the traitour Eckie of Harelaw,
That says he sould him to redeem his pledge;
Your deed is war, as all the world does know--
You nothing can but covatice alledge.
_Pinkerton's Maitland Poems_, Vol. II. p. 290.
Eckie is the contraction of Hector among the vulgar.
These little memoranda may serve still farther to illustrate the
beautiful ballads, upon that subject, published in the _Reliques_.]
Kershope-burn, where Hobbie met his treacherous companions, falls
into the Liddel, from the English side, at a place called Turnersholm,
where, according to tradition, turneys and games of chivalry were
often solemnized. The Mains was anciently a border-keep, near
Castletoun, on the north side of the Liddel, but is now totally
Askerton is an old castle, now ruinous, situated in the wilds of
Cumberland, about seventeen miles north-east of Carlisle, amidst that
mountainous and desolate tract of country, bordering upon Liddesdale,
emphatically termed the Waste of Bewcastle. Conscouthart Green, and
Rodric-haugh, and the Foulbogshiel, are the names of places in the
same wilds, through which the Scottish plunderers generally made their
raids upon England; as appears from the following passage in a
letter from William, Lord Dacre, to Cardinal Wolsey, 18th July, 1528;
_Appendix to Pinkerton's Scotland_, v. 12, No. XIX. "Like it also
your grace, seeing the disordour within Scotlaund, and that all the
mysguyded men, borderers of the same, inhabiting within Eskdale,
Ewsdale, Walghopedale, Liddesdale, and a part of Tividale, foranempt
Bewcastelldale, and a part of the middle marches of this the
king's bordours, entres not this west and middle marches, to do any
attemptate to the king our said soveraine's subjects: but thaye come
throrow Bewcastelldale, and retornes, for the most part, the same waye
Willeva and Speir Edom are small districts in Bewcastledale, through
which also the Hartlie-burn takes its course.
Of the castle of Mangertoun, so often mentioned in these ballads,
there are very few vestiges. It was situated on the banks of the
Liddel, below Castletoun. In the wall of a neighbouring mill, which
has been entirely built from the ruins of the tower, there is a
remarkable stone, bearing the arms of the lairds of Mangertoun, and
a long broad-sword, with the figures 1583; probably the date of
building, or repairing, the castle. On each side of the shield are
the letters S.A. and E.E. standing probably for Simon Armstrong,
and Elizabeth Elliot. Such is the only memorial of the laird of
Mangertoun, except those rude ballads, which the editor now offers to
* * * * *
Foul fa' the breast first treason bred in!
That Liddesdale may safely say:
For in it there was baith meat and drink,
And corn unto our geldings gay.
And we were a' stout-hearted men,
As England she might often say;
But now we may turn our backs and flee,
Since brave Noble is sold away.
Now Hobbie was an English man,
And born into Bewcastle dale;
But his misdeeds they were sae great,
They banish'd him to Liddesdale.
At Kershope foot the tryst was set,
Kershope of the lilye lee;
And there was traitor Sim o' the Mains,
And with him a private companie.
Then Hobbie has graithed his body fair,
Baith wi' the iron and wi' the steil;
And he has ta'en out his fringed grey,
And there, brave Hobbie, he rade him weel.
Then Hobbie is down the water gane,
E'en as fast as he could his;
Tho' a' should hae bursten and broken their hearts,
Frae that riding tryst he wad na be.
"Weel be ye met, my feres five!
And now, what is your will wi' me?"
Then they cried a', wi ae consent,
"Thou'rt welcome here, brave Noble, to me.
"Wilt thou with us into England ride,
And thy safe warrand we will be?
If we get a horse, worth a hundred pound,
Upon his back thou sune shalt be."
"I dare not by day into England ride;
The land-serjeant has me at feid:
"And I know not what evil may betide,
For Peter of Whitfield, his brother, is dead.
"And Anton Shiel he loves not me,
For I gat twa drifts o' his sheep;
The great Earl of Whitfield loves me not,
For nae geer frae me he e'er could keep.
"But will ye stay till the day gae down,
Untill the night come o'er the grund,
And I'll be a guide worth ony twa,
That may in Liddesdale be found.
"Tho' the night be black as pick and tar,
I'll guide ye o'er yon hill sae hie;
And bring ye a' in safety back,
If ye'll be true, and follow me."
He has guided them o'er moss and muir,
O'er hill and hope, and mony a down;
Until they came to the Foulbogshiel,
And there, brave Noble, he lighted down.
But word is gane to the land-serjeant,
In Askerton where that he lay--
"The deer, that ye hae hunted sae lang,
Is seen into the Waste this day."
"Then Hobbie Noble is that deer!
I wat he carries the style fu' hie;
Aft has he driven our bluidhounds back,
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