Jock o the Side

No: 187; variant: 187C

  1. ‘NOW Liddisdale has ridden a rade, But I wat they had a better staid at home; For Michel of Windfield he is slain, And my son Jonny, they have him tane.’ With my fa dow diddle, lal la dow didle
  2. Now Downy’s down the water gone, With all her cots unto her arms, And she gave never over swift running Untill she came to Mengertown.
  3. Up spack Lord Mengertown and says, What news, what news now, sister Downy? what news hast thou to me? ‘Bad news, bad news, Lord Mengertown, For Michal of Windfield he is slain, and my son Jonny they have him tain.’
  4. Up speaks Lord Mengertown and says, I have four and twenty yoke of oxen, And four and twenty good milk-ky, And three times as mony sheep, And I’ll gie them a’ before my son Jonny die.
  5. I will tak three men unto myself; The Laird’s Jack he shall be ane, The Laird’s Wat another, For, Hobbie Noble, thow must be ane.
  6. . . . . . thy cot is of the blue; For ever since thou cam to Liddisdale To Mengertown thou hast been true.
  7. Now Hobbie hath mounted his frienged gray, And the Laird’s Jack his lively bey, And Watt with the ald horse behind, And they are away as fast as they can ride.
  8. Till they are come to the Cholar foord, And there they lighted down; And there they cut a tree with fifty nags upo each side, For to clim Newcastle wall.
  9. And when they came there . . It wad not reach by ellish three; ‘There’s nothing for’t,’ says the Laird’s Jack, ‘But forceing o New Castle gate.’
  10. And when they came there, There was a proud porter standing, And I wat they were obliged to wring his neck in twa.
  11. Now they are come to New Castle gile: Says they, Sleep thou, wakes thou, John o the Side?
  12. Says he, Whiles I wake, but seldom sleep; Who is there that knows my name so well?
  13. Up speaks the Laird’s Jack and says, . . . . Here is Jack and Watt and Hobby Noble, Come this night to set thee free.
  14. Up speaks John of the Side and says, O hold thy tongue now, billy, and of thy talk now let me be; For if a’ Liddisdale were here this night, The morn is the day that I must die.
  15. For their is fifty stone of Spanish iron Laid on me fast wee lock and key, . . . . . . . .
  16. Then up speaks the Laird’s Jack and says, A faint heart neer wan a fair lady; Work thou within and we without, And this night we’el set thee free.
  17. The first door that they came at They lowsed without either lock or key, . . . . And the next they brock in flinders three.
  18. Till now Jack has got the prisner on his back, And down the tolbooth stair came he; . . . . . . . .
  19. Up spack Hobby Noble and says, O man, I think thou may lay some weight o the prisner upo me; ‘I wat weel no,’ says the Laird’s Jack, ‘For I do not count him as havy as ane poor flee.’
  20. So now they have set him upo horse back, And says, O now so winsomly as thou dost ride, Just like a bride, wee beth thy feet Unto a side.
  21. Now they are away wee him as fast as they can heye, Till they are come to Cholar foord brae head; And they met an ald man, And says, Will the water ride?
  22. ‘I wat well no,’ says the ald man, ‘For I have lived here this thirty years and three, . . . . And I think I never saw Tyne running so like a sea.’
  23. Up speaks the Laird’s Watt and says—- The greatest coward of the companie—- . . . . ‘Now, dear billies, the day is come that we must a’ die.’
  24. Up speaks the Laird’s Jack and says, Poor cowardly thief, They will never one die but him that’s fee; . . . . Set the prisner on behind me.
  25. So they have tain the water by ane and two, Till they have got safe swumd through.
  26. Be they wan safe a’ through, There were twenty men pursueing them from New Castle town.
  27. Up speaks the land-sergeant and says, If you be gone with the rog, cast me my irons.
  28. ‘I wat weel no,’ says the Laird’s Jack, ‘For I will keep them to shew my good grey mere; . . . . For I am sure she has bought them dear.’
  29. ‘Good sooth,’ says the Laird’s Jack, ‘The worst perel is now past.’
  30. So now they have set him upo hoseback, And away as fast as they could hye, Till they brought him into Liddisdale, And now they have set him down at his own fireside.
  31. And says, now John, The day was come that thou was to die, But thou is full as weel sitting at thy own fireside. . . . .
  32. And now they are falln to drink, And they drank a whole week one day after another, And if they be not given over, They are all drinking on yet.