Johnie Scott

No: 99; variant: 99[S]

  1. O Johny’s up thro England gane Three quarters of a year, An Johny’s up thro England gane, The king’s banner to bear.
  2. He had not been in London town But a very little while Till the fairest lady in the court By Johny gaes wi child.
  3. But word is to the kitchin gane, An word’s gane to the ha, An word’s gane to yon high, high court, Amang our nobles a’.
  4. An when the king got wit o that An angry man was he: ‘On the highest tree in a’ the wood High hangit shall he be!
  5. ‘An for the lady, if it’s true, As I do fear it be, I’ll put her in yon castle strong, An starve her till she die.’
  6. But Johny had a clever boy, A clever boy was he, O Johny had a clever boy, His name was Gregory.
  7. ‘O run, my boy, to yon castle, All windows round about, An there you’l see a fair lady, At a window looking out.
  8. Ye maun bid her take this silken sark– Her ain hand sewd the gare– An bid her come to the green wood, For Johny waits her there.’
  9. Away he ran to yon castle, All windows round about, Where he espy’d a lady fair, At a window looking out.
  10. ‘O madam, there’s a silken sark– Your ain hand sewd the gare– An haste ye to the good green wood, For Johny waits you there.’
  11. ‘O I’m confin’d in this castle, Though lighted round about; My feet are bound with fetters strong, That I cannot win out.
  12. ‘My gartens are of stubborn ern, Alas! baith stiff and cold; My breastplate of the sturdy steel, Instead of beaten gold.
  13. ‘Instead of silken stays, my boy, With steel I’m lac’d about; My feet are bound with fetters strong, And how can I get out?
  14. ‘But tell him he must stay at home, Nor venture here for me; Else an Italian in our court Must fight him till he die.’
  15. When Johny he got wit o that, An angry man was he: ‘But I will gae wi a’ my men My dearest dear to see.’
  16. But up then spake a noble lord, A noble lord was he; ‘The best of a’ my merry men Shall bear you company.’
  17. But up then spake his auld mother, I wat wi meikle pain; ‘If ye will gae to London, son, Ye’l neer come back again.’
  18. But Johny turnd him round about, I wat wi meikle pride: ‘But I will gae to London town, Whatever may betide.’
  19. When they were a’ on horseback set, How comely to behold! For a’ the hairs o Johny’s head Did shine like threads o gold.
  20. The first ae town that they gaed through, They gart the bells be rung, But the neist town that they gaed through They gart the mass be sung.
  21. But when they gaed to London town The trumpets loud were blown, Which made the king and a’ his court To marvel at the sound.
  22. ‘Is this the Duke of Morebattle? Or James the Scottish king?’ ‘No, sire, I’m a Scottish lord, McNaughten is my name.’
  23. ‘If you be that young Scottish lord, As I believe you be, The fairest lady in my court She gaes wi child by thee.’
  24. ‘And if she be with child by me, As I think sae may be, It shall be heir of a’ my land, And she my gay lady.’
  25. ‘O no, O no,’ the king reply’d, ‘That thing can never be, Fore ere the morn at ten o clock I’ll slay thy men an thee.
  26. ‘A bold Italian in my court Has vanquishd Scotchmen three, And ere the morn at ten o clock I’m sure he will slay thee.’
  27. But up the spake young Johny’s boy, A clever boy was he; ‘O master, ere that you be slain, There’s mae be slain than thee.’
  28. The king and all his court appeard Neist morning on the plain, The queen and all her ladies came To see youn[g] Johny slain.
  29. Out then stepd the Italian bold, And they met on the green; Between his shoulders was an ell, A span between his een.
  30. When Johny in the list appeard, Sae young and fair to see, A prayer staw frae ilka heart, A tear frae ilka ee.
  31. And lang they fought, and sair they fought, Wi swords o temperd steel, Until the blood like draps o rain Came trickling to their heal.
  32. But Johny was a wannle youth, And that he weel did show; For wi a stroke o his broad sword He clove his head in two.
  33. ‘A priest, a priest!’ then Johny cry’d, ‘To wed my love and me;’ ‘A clerk, a clerk!’ the king reply’d, ‘To write her tocher free.’