Johnie Scott

No: 99; variant: 99C

  1. O JOHNIE’S to the hunting gone, Unto the woods sae wild, And Earl Percy’s old daughter To Johnie goes with child.
  2. O word is to the kitchen gone, And word is to the ha, And word is to the highest towers, Amang the nobles a’.
  3. ‘If she be with child,’ her father said, ‘As woe forbid it be, I’ll put her into a prison strong, And try the veritie.’
  4. ‘But if she be with child,’ her mother said, ‘As woe forbid it be, I’ll put her intil a dungeon dark, And hunger her till she die.’
  5. Then she has wrote a braid letter, And sealed it wi her hand, And sent T to the merry green wood, Wi her own boy at command.
  6. The first line of the letter he read, His heart was full of joy; But he had not read a line past two Till the salt tears blind his eye.
  7. ‘O I must up to England go, What ever me betide, For to relieve that fair ladie That lay last by my side.’
  8. Out and spak his father then, And he spak all in time: Johnie, if ye to England go, I fear ye’ll neer return.
  9. But out and spak his uncle then, And he spak bitterlie: Five hundred of my good life-guards Shall go along with thee.
  10. When they were mounted on their steeds, They were comely to behold; The hair that hung owre Johnie’s shoulders Was like the yellow gold.
  11. The first town that they came to, They made the bells to ring; And when they rode the town all owre, They made the trumpets sound.
  12. When they came to Earl Percy’s gates, They rode them round about, And who saw he but his own true-love, At a window looking out!
  13. ‘The doors they are bolted with iron and steel, The windows round about; My feet they are in fetters strong; And how can I get out?
  14. ‘My garters they are of the lead, And oh but they be cold! My breast-plate’s of the beaten steel, Instead of beaten gold.’
  15. But when they came to Earl Percy’s yett, They tirled at the pin; None was so ready as Earl Percy To open and let them in.
  16. ‘Art thou the King of Aulsberry, Or art thou the King of Spain? Or art thou one of our gay Scots lords, McNachtan by thy name?’
  17. ‘I’m not the King of Aulsberry, Nor yet the King of Spain; But I am one of our gay Scots lords, Johnie Scot I am called by name.’
  18. ‘If Johnnie Scot be thy name,’ he said, ‘As I trow weel it be, The fairest lady in a’ our court Gaes big with child to thee.’
  19. ‘If she be with child,’ fair Johnie said, ‘As I trow weel she be, I’ll make it heir owre a’ my land, And her my gay ladie.’
  20. ‘But if she be with child,’ her father said, ‘As I trow weel she be, Tomorrow morn again eight o clock High hanged thou shalt be.’
  21. But out and spak his uncle then, And he spak bitterlie: Before that we see Johnie Scot slain, We’ll a’ fight till we die.
  22. ‘But is there ever a Tailliant about your court, That will fight duels three? Before that I be hanged or slain, On the Tailliant’s sword I’ll die.’
  23. But some is to the good green wood, And some is to the plain, Either to see fair Johnie hanged, Or else to see him slain.
  24. And they began at eight o clock of the morning, And they fought on till three, Till the Tailliant, like a swallow swift, Owre Johnie’s head did flee.
  25. But Johnie being a clever young boy, He wheeled him round about, And on the point of Johnie’s broad sword The Tailliant he slew out.
  26. ‘A priest, a priest,’ fair Johnie cried, ‘To wed my love and me;’ ‘A clerk, a clerk,’ her father cried, ‘To sum the tocher free.’
  27. ‘I’ll have non of your gold,’ fair Johnie said, ‘Nor none of your white monie; But I will have my own fair bride, For I vow that I’ve bought her dear.’
  28. He’s taen his true-love by the hand, He led her up the plain: ‘Have you any more of your English dogs You want for to have slain?’
  29. He took a little horn out of his pocket, He blew it baith loud and shill, And honour’s into Scotland gone, In spite of England’s skill.