Johnie Scott

No: 99; variant: 99D

  1. O JOHNNIE Scot walks up and down Among the woods sae wild; Who but the Earl of Percy’s ae daughter To him goes big with child!
  2. O word is to the kitchen gone, And word’s gone to the hall, And word is to King Henry gane, And amongst his nobles all.
  3. O Johnnie’s called his waiting-man, His name was Germanie: ‘O thou must to fair England go, Bring me that fair ladie.’
  4. He rode till he came to Earl Percy’s gate, He tirled at the pin; ‘O who is there?’ said the proud porter, ‘But I daurna let thee in.’
  5. So he rade up, and he rode down, Till he rode it round about; Then he saw her at a wee window, Where she was looking out.
  6. ‘O thou must go to Johnnie Scot, Unto the woods so green, In token of thy silken shirt, Thine own hand sewed the seam.’
  7. ‘How can I go to Johnnie Scot? Or how can I get out? My breast plate’s o the hard, hard iron, With fetters round about.
  8. ‘But I will write a lang letter, And give it unto thee, And thou must take that to Johnnie Scot, See what answer he sends to me.’
  9. When Johnnie looked the letter upon A sorry man was he; He had not read one line but two Till the saut tear did blind his ee.
  10. ‘O I must to fair England go, Whatever me betide, All for to fight for that gay ladie That last lay by my side.’
  11. O out and spoke his father then, And he spoke well in time: O if you to fair England go, I doubt your coming home.
  12. ‘O no, O no,’ said good King James, ‘Before such a thing shall be, I’ll send five hundred of my life-guards, To bear Johnnie company.’
  13. When they were all on saddle set, Most pleasant to behold, The hair that hung over Johnnie’s neck Was like the links of gold.
  14. When they were all marching away, Most beautiful to see, There was not so much as a married man In Johnnie’s company.
  15. O Johnnie was the foremost man In the company that did ride; King James he was the second man, Wi his rapier by his side.
  16. They rode till they came to Earl Percy’s yate, They tirled at the pin: ‘O who is there?’ said the proud porter; ‘But I daurnot let thee in.
  17. ‘Is it the Duke of York,’ he said, ‘Or James, our Scotish king? Or is it one of the Scotish lords, From hunting new come home?’
  18. ‘It’s not the Duke of York,’ he said, ‘Nor James, our Scotish king; But it is one of the Scotish lords, Earl Hector is my name.’
  19. When Johnnie came before the king, He fell low down on his knee: ‘O the brawest lady in a’ my court With child goes big to thee.’
  20. ‘O if she be with child,’ Johnnie said, ‘As I trew well she be, I will make it heir of all my land, And her my gay ladie.’
  21. ‘But if she be with child,’ said the king, ‘As I trew well she be, Before the morn at ten o clock High hanged thou shalt be.’
  22. ‘O no, O no,’ said good King James, ‘Before such a thing shall be, Before that Johnnie Scot be hanged, We’ll a’ fight till we die.’
  23. ‘But there is a Talliant in my court, Of men he will fight five; Go bring them out to the green wood, See wha will gain the prize.’
  24. Lords and ladies flocked all, They flocked all amain, They flocked all to the green wood, To see poor Johnnie slain.
  25. This Talliant he could find no way To be poor Johnnie’s dead, But, like unto a swallow swift, He jumped oer Johnnie’s head.
  26. But Johnnie was a clever man, Cunning and crafty withal, And up on the top of his braid sword He made this Talliant fall.
  27. ‘A priest, a priest,’ then Johnnie cried, ‘To marry my love and me;’ ‘A clerk, a clerk,’ her father cried, ‘To sum the tocher free.’
  28. ‘I’ll take none of your gold,’ Johnnie said, ‘Nor none of your other gear, But I’ll just have my own true-love, This day I’ve won her dear.’