Young Johnstone

No: 88; variant: 88C

  1. SWEET WILLIAM and the young Colnel One day was drinking wine: ‘It’s I will marry your sister, If ye will marry mine.’
  2. ‘I will not marry your sister, Altho her hair be brown; But I’ll keep her for my liberty-wife, As I ride thro the town.’
  3. William, having his two-edged sword, He leaned quite low to the ground, And he has given the young Colnel A deep and a deadly wound.
  4. He rade, he rade, and awa he rade, Till he came to his mother’s bower; ‘O open, open, mother,’ he says, ‘And let your auld son in.
  5. ‘For the rain rains owre my yellow hair, And the dew draps on my chin, And trembling stands the gallant steed That carries me from the ground.’
  6. ‘What aileth thee, Sweet William?’ she says, ‘What harm now hast thou done?’ ‘Oh I hae killed the young Colnel, And his heart’s blood sair does run.’
  7. ‘If ye hae killed the young Colnel, Nae shelter ye’ll get frae me; May the two-edged sword be upon your heart, That never hath power to flee!’
  8. He rade, he rade, and awa he rade, Till he came to his sister’s bower; ‘Oh open, open, sister,’ he says, ‘And let your brother in.
  9. ‘For the rain rains on my yellow hair, And the dew draps on my chin, And trembling stands the gallant steed That carries me from the ground.’
  10. ‘What aileth thee, Sweet William?’ she says, ‘What harm now hast thou done?’ ‘Oh I have killed the young Colnel, And his heart’s blood sair doth run.’
  11. ‘If ye hae killed the young Colnel, Nae shelter ye’ll get frae me; May the two-edged sword be upon your heart, That never hath power to flee!’
  12. He rade, he rade, and awa he rade, Till he came to his true-love’s bower; ‘Oh open, oh open, my true-love,’ he says, ‘And let your sweetheart in.
  13. ‘For the rain rains on my yellow hair, And the dew draps on my chin, And trembling stands the gallant steed That carries me from the ground.’
  14. ‘What aileth thee, Sweet William?’ she says, ‘What harm now hast thou done?’ ‘Oh I hae killed thy brother dear, And his heart’s blood sair doth run.’
  15. ‘If ye hae killed my brother dear, It’s oh and alace for me! But between the blankets and the sheets It’s there I will hide thee!’
  16. She’s taen him by the milk-white hand, She’s led him thro chambers three, Until she came to her own chamber: ‘It’s there I will hide thee.
  17. ‘Lye down, lye down, Sweet William,’ she says, ‘Lye down and take a sleep; It’s owre the chamber I will watch, Thy fair bodie to keep.’
  18. She had not watched at the chamber-door An hour but only three, Till four and twenty belted knichts Did seek his fair bodie.
  19. ‘O did you see the hunt?’ she says, ‘Or did you see the hounds? Or did you see that gallant steed, That last rade thro the town?’
  20. ‘What colour was the fox?’ they said, ‘What colour was the hounds? What colour was the gallant steed, That’s far yont London toun?’
  21. ‘O dark grey was the fox,’ she said, ‘And light grey was the hounds, But milk-white was the gallant steed That’s far yont London town.’
  22. ‘Rise up, rise up, Sweet William,’ she says, ‘Rise up, and go away; For four and twenty belted knights Were seeking thy bodye.’
  23. Sweet William, having his two-edged sword, He leaned it quite low to the ground, And he has given his own true-love A deep and deadly wound.
  24. ‘What aileth thee, Sweet William?’ she says, ‘What harm now have I done? I never harmed a hair of your head Since ever this love began.’
  25. ‘Oh live, oh live, my own true-love, Oh live but half an hour, And the best doctor in London town Shall come within thy bower.’
  26. ‘How can I live? how shall I live? How can I live half an hour? For don’t you see my very heart’s blood All sprinkled on the floor?’
  27. William, having his two-edged sword, He leaned it quite low to the ground, And he has given his own bodie A deep and deadly wound.