Young Johnstone

No: 88; variant: 88E

  1. LORD JOHN stands in his stable door, Says he, I will gae ride, His lady, in her bigly bower? Desired him to bide.
  2. ‘How can I bide? how can I bide? How shall I bide wi thee? When I hae killd your ae brother; You hae nae mair but he.’
  3. ‘If ye hae killd my ae brother, Alas, and wae is me! If ye be well yoursell, my love, The less matter will be.
  4. ‘Ye’ll do you to yon bigly bower, And take a silent sleep, And I’ll watch in my highest tower, Your fair body to keep.’
  5. She has shut her bigly bower, All wi a silver pin, And done her to the highest tower, To watch that nane come in.
  6. But as she looked round about, To see what she could see, There she saw nine armed knights Come riding oer the lea.
  7. ‘God make you safe and free, lady, God make you safe and free! Did you see a bludy knight Come riding oer the lea?’
  8. ‘O what like was his hawk, his hawk? And what like was his hound? If his steed has ridden well, He’s passd fair Scotland’s strand.
  9. ‘Come in, come in, gude gentlemen, And take white bread and wine; And aye the better ye’ll pursue, The lighter that ye dine.’
  10. ‘We thank you for your bread, lady, We thank you for the wine, And I woud gie my lands sae broad Your fair body were mine.’
  11. She has gane to her bigly bower, Her ain gude lord to meet; A trusty brand he quickly drew, Gae her a wound sae deep.
  12. ‘What harm, my lord, provokes thine ire To wreak itself on me, When thus I strove to save thy life, Yet served for sic a fee?’
  13. ‘Ohon, alas, my lady gay, To come sae hastilie! I thought it was my deadly foe, Ye had trysted into me.
  14. ‘O live, O live, my gay lady, The space o ae half hour, And nae a leech in a’ the land But I’se bring to your bower.’
  15. ‘How can I live? how shall I live? How can I live for thee? Ye see my blude rin on the ground, My heart’s blude by your knee.
  16. ‘O take to flight, and flee, my love, O take to flight, and flee! I woudna wish your fair body For to get harm for me.’
  17. ‘Ae foot I winna flee, lady, Ae foot I winna flee; I’ve dune the crime worthy o death, It’s right that I shoud die.
  18. ‘O deal ye well at my love’s lyke The beer but an the wine; For ere the morn, at this same time, Ye’ll deal the same at mine.’