Young Johnstone

No: 88; variant: 88B

  1. YOUNG Johnstone and the young Colnel Sat drinking at the wine: ‘O gin ye wad marry my sister, It’s I wad marry thine.’
  2. ‘I wadna marry your sister For a’ your houses and land; But I’ll keep her for my leman, When I come oer the strand.
  3. ‘I wadna marry your sister For a’ your gowd so gay; But I’ll keep her for my leman, When I come by the way.’
  4. 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.
  5. But he’s awa to his sister’s bower, He’s tirled at the pin: ‘Where hae ye been, my dear brither, Sae late a coming in?’ ‘I hae been at the school, sister, Learning young clerks to sing.’
  6. ‘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.’
  7. ‘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.’
  8. ‘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.’
  9. 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.’
  10. ‘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.’
  11. ‘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.’
  12. ‘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.
  13. ‘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.’
  14. 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.
  15. ‘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?’
  16. ‘What colour were his hawks?’ she says, ‘What colour were his hounds? What colour was the gallant steed, That bore him from the bounds?’
  17. ‘Bloody, bloody were his hawks, And bloody were his hounds; But milk-white was the gallant steed, That bore him from the bounds.
  18. ‘Yes, bloody, bloody were his hawks, And bloody were his hounds; And milk-white was the gallant steed, That bore him from the bounds.
  19. ‘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.’
  20. ‘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.’
  21. ‘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.’
  22. 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.
  23. ‘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?’
  24. ‘Now live, now live, my dear ladye, Now live but half an hour, And there’s no a leech in a’ Scotland But shall be in thy bower.’
  25. ‘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?
  26. ‘But take thy harp into thy hand, And harp out owre you plain, And neer think mair on thy true-love Than if she had never been.’
  27. He hadna weel been out o the stable, And on his saddle set, Till four and twenty broad arrows Were thrilling in his heart.