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169A: Johnie Armstrong

169A.1	 THERE dwelt a man in faire Westmerland,
	 Ionn  Armestrong men did him call,
	 He had nither lands nor rents coming in,
	 Yet he kept eight score men in his hall.
169A.2	 He had horse and harness for them all,
	 Goodly steeds were all milke-white;
	 O the golden bands an about their necks,
	 And their weapons, they were all alike.
169A.3	 Newes then was brought unto the king
	 That there was sicke a won as hee,
	 That liv d lyke a bold out-law,
	 And robb d all the north country.
169A.4	 The king he writt an a letter then,
	 A letter which was large and long;
	 He sign d it with his owne hand,
	 And he promised to doe him no wrong.
169A.5	 When this letter came Ionn  untill,
	 His heart it was as blythe as birds on the tree:
	 ‘Never was I sent for before any king,
	 My father, my grandfather, nor none but mee.
169A.6	 ‘And if wee goe the king before,
	 I would we went most orderly;
	 Every man of you shall have his scarlet cloak,
	 Laced with silver laces three.
169A.7	 ‘Every won of you shall have his velvett coat,
	 Laced with silver lace so white;
	 O the golden bands an about your necks,
	 Black hatts, white feathers, all alyke.’
169A.8	 By the morrow morninge at ten of the clock,
	 Towards Edenburough gon was hee,
	 And with him all his eight score men;
	 Good lord, it was a goodly sight for to see!
169A.9	 When Ionn  came befower the king,
	 He fell downe on his knee;
	 ‘O pardon, my soveraigne leige,’ he said,
	 ‘O pardon my eight score men and mee!’
169A.10	 ‘Thou shalt have no pardon, thou traytor strong,
	 For thy eight score men nor thee;
	 For to-morrow morning by ten of the clock,
	 Both thou and them shall hang on the gallow-tree.’
169A.11	 But Ionn  looke’d over his left shoulder,
	 Good Lord, what a grevious look looked hee!
	 Saying, Asking grace of a graceles face-+--+-
	 Why there is none for you nor me.
169A.12	 But Ionn  had a bright sword by his side,
	 And it was made of the mettle so free,
	 That had not the king, stept his foot aside,
	 He had smitten his head from his faire bodd .
169A.13	 Saying, Fight on, my merry men all,
	 And see that none of you be taine;
	 For rather then men shall say we were hange’d,
	 Let them report how we were slaine.
169A.14	 Then, God wott, faire Eddenburrough rose,
	 And so besett poore Ionn  rounde,
	 That fowerscore and tenn of Ionn s best men
	 Lay gasping all upon the ground.
169A.15	 Then like a mad man Ionn  laide about,
	 And like a mad man then fought hee,
	 Untill a falce Scot came Ionn  behinde,
	 And runn him through the faire boddee.
169A.16	 Saying, Fight on, my merry men all,
	 And see that none of you be taine;
	 For I will stand by and bleed but awhile,
	 And then will I come and fight againe.
169A.17	 Newes then was brought to young Ionn  Armestrong,
	 As he stood by his nurses knee,
	 Who vowed if ere he live’d for to be a man,
	 O the treacherous Scots revengd hee’d be.

169B: Johnie Armstrong

169B.1	 IS there never a man in all Scotland,
	 From the highest state to the lowest degree,
	 That can shew himself now before the king?
	 Scotland is so full of their traitery.
169B.2	 Yes, there is a man in Westmerland,
	 And John Armstrong some do him call;
	 He has no lands nor rents coming in,
	 Yet he keeps eightscore men within his hall.
169B.3	 He has horse and harness for them all,
	 And goodly steeds that be milk-white,
	 With their goodly belts about their necks,
	 With hats and feathers all alike.
169B.4	 The king he writ a lovely letter,
	 With his own hand so tenderly,
	 And has sent it unto John Armstrong,
	 To come and speak with him speedily.
169B.5	 When John he looked the letter upon,
	 Then, Lord! he was as blithe as a bird in a tree:
	 ‘I was never before no king in my life,
	 My father, my grandfather, nor none of us three.
169B.6	 ‘But seeing we must [go] before the king,
	 Lord! we will go most valiantly;
	 You shall every one have a velvet coat,
	 Laid down with golden laces three.
169B.7	 ‘And you shall every one have a scarlet cloak,
	 Laid down with silver laces five,
	 With your golden belts about your necks,
	 With hats [and] brave feathers all alike.’
169B.8	 But when John he went from Guiltknock Hall!
	 The wind it blew hard, and full sore it did rain:
	 ‘Now fare you well, brave Guiltknock Hall!
	 I fear I shall never see thee again.’
169B.9	 Now John he is to Edenborough gone,
	 And his eightscore men so gallantly,
	 And every one of them on a milk-white steed,
	 With their bucklers and swords hanging down to the knee.
169B.10	 But when John he came the king before,
	 With his eightscore men so gallant to see,
	 The king he moved his bonnet to him;
	 He thought he had been a king as well as he.
169B.11	 ‘O pardon, pardon, my soveraign leige,
	 Pardon for my eightscore men and me!
	 For my name it is John Armstrong,
	 And a subject of yours, my leige,’ said he.
169B.12	 ‘Away with thee, thou false traitor!
	 No pardon I will grant to thee,
	 But, to-morrow before eight of the clock,
	 I will hang thy eightscore men and thee.’
169B.13	 O how John looked over his left shoulder!
	 And to his merry men thus said he:
	 I have asked grace of a graceless face,
	 No pardon here is for you nor me.
169B.14	 Then John pulld out a nut-brown sword,
	 And it was made of mettle so free;
	 Had not the king moved his foot as he did,
	 John had taken his head from his body.
169B.15	 ‘Come, follow me, my merry men all,
	 We will scorn one foot away to fly;
	 It never shall be said we were hung like doggs;
	 No, wee’l fight it out most manfully.’
169B.16	 Then they fought on like champions bold-+--+-
	 For their hearts was sturdy, stout, and free-+--+-
	 Till they had killed all the kings good guard;
	 There was none left alive but onely three.
169B.17	 But then rise up all Edenborough,
	 They rise up by thousands three;
	 Then a cowardly Scot came John behind,
	 And run him thorow the fair body.
169B.18	 Said John, Fight on, my merry men all,
	 I am a little hurt, but I am not slain;
	 I will lay me down for to bleed a while,
	 Then I’le rise and fight with you again.
169B.19	 Then they fought on like mad men all,
	 Till many a man lay dead on the plain;
	 For they were resolved, before they would yield,
	 That every man would there be slain.
169B.20	 So there they fought couragiously,
	 ’Till most of them lay dead there and slain,
	 But little Musgrave, that was his foot-page,
	 With his bonny grissell got away untain.
169B.21	 But when he came up to Guiltknock Hall,
	 The lady spyed him presently:
	 ‘What news, what news, thou little foot-page?
	 What news from thy master and his company?’
169B.22	 ‘My news is bad, lady,’ he said,
	 ‘Which I do bring, as you may see;
	 My master, John Armstrong, he is slain,
	 And all his gallant company.
169B.23	 ‘Yet thou are welcome home, my bonny grisel!
	 Full oft thou hast fed at the corn and hay,
	 But now thou shalt be fed with bread and wine,
	 And thy sides shall be spurred no more, I say.’
169B.24	 O then bespoke his little son,
	 As he was set on his nurses knee:
	 ‘If ever I live for to be a man,
	 My fathers blood revenged shall be.’

169C: Johnie Armstrong

169C.1	 SUM speiks of lords, sum speiks of lairds,
	 And siclyke men of hie degrie;
	 Of a gentleman I sing a sang,
	 Sumtyme calld Laird of Gilnockie.
169C.2	 The king he wrytes a luving letter,
	 With his ain hand sae tenderly:
	 And he hath sent it to Johny Armstrang,
	 To cum and speik with him speidily.
169C.3	 The Eliots and Armstrangs did convene,
	 They were a gallant company:
	 ‘We’ill ryde and meit our lawful king,
	 And bring him safe to Gilnockie.
169C.4	 ‘Make kinnen and capon ready, then,
	 And venison in great plenty;
	 We’ill welcome hame our royal king;
	 I hope he’ill dyne at Gilnockie!’
169C.5	 They ran their horse on the Langum howm,
	 And brake their speirs with mekle main;
	 The ladys lukit frae their loft-windows,
	 ‘God bring our men weil back again!’
169C.6	 When Johny came before the king,
	 With all his men sae brave to see,
	 The king he movit his bonnet to him;
	 He weind he was a king as well as he.
169C.7	 ‘May I find grace, my sovereign liege,
	 Grace for my loyal men and me?
	 For my name it is Johny Armstrang,
	 And subject of yours, my liege,’ said he.
169C.8	 ‘Away, away, thou traytor, strang!
	 Out of my sicht thou mayst sune be!
	 I grantit never a traytors lyfe,
	 And now I’ll not begin with thee.’
169C.9	 ‘Grant me my lyfe, my liege, my king,
	 And a bony gift I will give to thee;
	 Full four-and-twenty milk-whyt steids,
	 Were a’ foald in a yeir to me.
169C.10	 ‘I’ll gie thee all these milk-whyt steids,
	 That prance and nicher at a speir,
	 With as mekle gude Inglis gilt
	 As four of their braid backs dow beir.’
169C.11	 ‘Away, away, thou traytor strang!
	 Out o’ my sicht thou mayst sune be!
	 I grantit never a traytors lyfe,
	 And now I’ll not begin with thee.’
169C.12	 ‘Grant me my lyfe, my liege, my king,
	 And a bony gift I’ll gie to thee;
	 Gude four-and-twenty ganging mills,
	 That gang throw a’ the yeir to me.
169C.13	 ‘These four-and-twenty mills complete
	 Sall gang for thee throw all the yeir,
	 And as mekle of gude reid wheit
	 As all their happers dow to bear.’
169C.14	 ‘Away, away, thou traytor, strang!
	 Out of my sicht thou mayst sune be!
	 I grantit never a traytors lyfe,
	 And now I’ll not begin with thee.’
169C.15	 ‘Grant me my lyfe, my liege, my king,
	 And a great gift I’ll gie to thee;
	 Bauld four-and-twenty sisters sons,
	 Sall for the fecht, tho all sould flee.’
169C.16	 ‘Away, away, thou traytor, strang!
	 Out of my sicht thou mayst sune be!
	 I grantit nevir a traytors lyfe,
	 And now I’ll not begin with thee.’
169C.17	 ‘Grant me my lyfe, my liege, my king,
	 And a brave gift I’ll gie to thee;
	 All betwene heir and Newcastle town
	 Sall pay thair yeirly rent to thee.’
169C.18	 ‘Away, away, thou traytor, strang!
	 Out of my sicht thou mayst sune be!
	 I grantit nevir a traytors lyfe,
	 And now I’ll not begin with thee.’
169C.19	 ‘Ye lied, ye lied, now, king,’ he says,
	 ‘Althocht a king and prince ye be,
	 For I luid naithing in all my lyfe,
	 I dare well say it, but honesty;
169C.20	 ‘But a fat horse, and a fair woman,
	 Twa bony dogs to kill a deir:
	 But Ingland suld haif found me meil and malt,
	 Gif I had livd this hundred yeir!
169C.21	 ‘Scho suld haif found me meil and malt,
	 And beif and mutton in all plentie;
	 But neir a Scots wyfe could haif said
	 That eir I skaithd her a pure flie.
169C.22	 ‘To seik het water beneth cauld yce,
	 Surely it is a great folie;
	 I haif asked grace at a graceless face,
	 But there is nane for my men and me.
169C.23	 ‘But had I kend, or I came frae hame,
	 How thou unkynd wadst bene to me,
	 I wad haif kept the border-syde,
	 In spyte of all thy force and thee.
169C.24	 ‘Wist Englands king that I was tane,
	 O gin a blyth man wald he be!
	 For anes I slew his sisters son,
	 And on his breist-bane brak a tree.’
169C.25	 John wore a girdle about his midle,
	 Imbroiderd owre with burning gold,
	 Bespangled with the same mettle,
	 Maist beautifull was to behold.
169C.26	 Ther hang nine targats at Johnys hat,
	 And ilk an worth three hundred pound:
	 ‘What wants that knave that a king suld haif,
	 But the sword of honour and the crown!
169C.27	 ‘O whair gat thou these targats, Johnie,
	 That blink sae brawly abune thy brie?’
	 ‘I gat them in the field fechting,
	 Wher, cruel king, thou durst not be.
169C.28	 ‘Had I my horse, and my harness gude,
	 And ryding as I wont to be,
	 It sould haif bene tald this hundred yeir
	 The meiting of my king and me.
169C.29	 ‘God be withee, Kirsty, my brither,
	 Lang live thou Laird of Mangertoun!
	 Lang mayst thou live on the border-syde
	 Or thou se thy brither ryde up and doun.
169C.30	 ‘And God be withee, Kirsty, my son,
	 Whair thou sits on thy nurses knee!
	 But and thou live this hundred yeir,
	 Thy fathers better thoult never be.
169C.31	 ‘Farweil, my bonny Gilnock-Hall,
	 Whair on Esk-syde thou standest stout!
	 Gif I had lived but seven yeirs mair,
	 I wald haif gilt thee round about.’
169C.32	 John murdred was at Carlinrigg,
	 And all his galant companie;
	 But Scotlands heart was never sae wae,
	 To see sae mony brave men die.
169C.33	 Because they savd their country deir
	 Frae Englishmen; nane were sae bauld,
	 Whyle Johnie livd on the border-syde,
	 Nane of them durst cum neir his hald.

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