High Spencer’s Feats in France

No: 158; variant: 158C

  1. IT fell about the Martinmas time The wind blew loud and cauld, And all the knichts of fair Scotland They drew them to sum hald.
  2. Unless it was him young Sir Hugh, And he beet to sail the sea, Wi a letter between twa kings, to see an they wald lat down the wars, And live and lat them be.
  3. On Friday shipped he, and lang Ere Wodensday at noon In fair France landed he, . . .
  4. He fell down before the King, On his bare knees: ‘Gude mak ye safe and soun;’ ‘Fat news o your contrie?’ he says.
  5. ‘The news o our countrie,’ he says, ‘Is but news brought over the sea, To see an ye’ll lat down the wars, And live and lat them be.’
  6. ‘Deed no,’ he says; ‘I’m but an auld man indeed, But I’ll no lat down the wars, And live and lat them be.’
  7. It’s out it spak the Queen hersel: I have a shepherd’s sin Would fight an hour wi you; ‘And by my seeth,’ says young Sir Hugh, ‘That sight fain would I see.’
  8. The firsten steed that he drew out, He was the penny-gray; He wad hae ridden oer meel or mor A Leve-lang summer’s day.
  9. O girths they brak, and great horse lap, But still sat he on he: ‘A girth, a girth,’ says young Sir Hugh, ‘A girth for charity!’ ‘O every girth that you shall have, Its gude lord shall hae three.’
  10. The nexten steed that he drew out, He was the penny-brown; He wad hae ridden oer meel or mor As ever the dew drap down.
  11. O bridles brak, and great horse lap, But still sat he on he: ‘A bridle, a bridle,’ says young Sir Hugh, ‘A bridle for charitie!’ ‘O every bridle that you shall have, And its gude lord shall have three.’
  12. The nexten steed that he drew out He was the raven-black; His een was glancin in his head Like wild-fire in a slack; ‘Get here a boy,’ says young Sir Hugh, ‘Cast on the saddle on that.’
  13. O brands there brak, and great horse lap, But still sat he on he: ‘A brand, a brand,’ says young Sir Hugh, ‘A brand for charitie!’ ‘O every brand that you sall have, And its gude lord sall have three.’
  14. He gave him a dep unto the heart, And over the steed fell he: ‘I rather had gane you money,’ she says, ‘And free lands too, That ye had foughten an hour wi him, And than had latten him be.’
  15. ‘If ye hae ony mair shepherd’s sins,’ he says, ‘Or cooks i your kitchie, Or ony mair dogs to fell, Ye’ll bring them here to me; And gin they be a true-hearted Scotsman, They’ll no be scorned by thee.’