"I wat weel no," quo' the good auld man; "Here I hae liv'd this threty yeirs and three, 110 And I ne'er yet saw the Tyne sae big, Nor rinning ance sae like a sea."
Then up and spake the Laird's saft Wat, The greatest coward in the company-- "Now halt, now halt, we needna try't; 115 The day is com'd we a' maun die!"
"Poor faint-hearted thief!" quo' the Laird's ain Jock, "There'll nae man die but he that's fie; I'll lead ye a' right safely through; Lift ye the pris'ner on ahint me." 120
Sae now the water they a' hae tane, By anes and twas they a' swam through; "Here are we a' safe," says the Laird's Jock, "And, poor faint Wat, what think ye now?"
They scarce the ither side had won, 125 When twenty men they saw pursue; Frae Newcastle town they had been sent, A' English lads, right good and true.
But when the land-sergeant the water saw,[L129]
"It winna ride, my lads," quo' he; 130 Then out he cries--"Ye the pris'ner may take, But leave the irons, I pray, to me."
"I wat weel no," cry'd the Laird's Jock, "I'll keep them a'; shoon to my mare they'll be: My good grey mare--for I am sure, 135 She's bought them a' fu' dear frae thee."
Sae now they're away for Liddisdale, E'en as fast as they cou'd them hie; The pris'ner 's brought to his ain fire-side, And there o's aims they make him free. 140
"Now, Jock, my billie," quo' a' the three, "The day was com'd thou was to die; But thou's as weel at thy ain fire-side, Now sitting, I think, 'tween thee and me."
They hae gard fill up ae punch-bowl, 145 And after it they maun hae anither, And thus the night they a' hae spent, Just as they had been brither and brither.
41. Cholerford is a ford on the Tyne, above Hexham.--S.
129. The land-sergeant (mentioned also in _Hobbie Noble_) was an officer under the warden, to whom was committed the apprehending of delinquents, and the care of the public peace.--S.
ARCHIE OF CA'FIELD.
_Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border_, ii. 116.
This is substantially the same story as _Jock o' the Side_. Another version from Motherwell's collection, is subjoined.
"Ca'field, or Calfield," says Scott, "is a place in Wauchopdale, belonging of old to the Armstrongs. In the account betwixt the English and Scottish Marches, Jock and Geordie of Ca'field, then called Calf-hill, are repeatedly marked as delinquents. _History of Westmoreland and Cumberland_, vol. i. Introduction, p. 33."
As I was a-walking mine alane, It was by the dawning of the day, I heard twa brithers make their mane, And I listen'd weel to what they did say.
The youngest to the eldest said, 5 "Blythe and merrie how can we be?
There were three brithren of us born, And ane of us is condemn'd to die."
"And ye wad be merrie, and ye wad be sad, What the better wad billy Archie be? 10 Unless I had thirty men to mysell, And a' to ride in my cumpanie.
"Ten to hald the horses' heads, And other ten the watch to be, And ten to break up the strong prison, 15 Where billy Archie he does lie."
Then up and spak him mettled John Hall,[L17]
(The luve of Teviotdale aye was he,) "An I had eleven men to mysell, It's aye the twalt man I wad be." 20
Then up bespak him coarse Ca'field, (I wot and little gude worth was he,) "Thirty men is few anew, And a' to ride in our companie."
There was horsing, horsing in haste, 25 And there was marching on the lee, Until they cam to Murraywhate, And they lighted there right speedilie.
"A smith! a smith!" Dickie he cries, "A smith, a smith, right speedilie, 30 To turn back the caukers of our horses' shoon; For it's unkensome we wad be."
"There lives a smith on the water-side, Will shoe my little black mare for me; And I've a crown in my pocket, 35 And every groat of it I wad gie."
"The night is mirk, and it's very mirk, And by candle-light I canna weel see; The night is mirk, and it's very pit mirk, And there will never a nail ca' right for me." 40
"Shame fa' you and your trade baith, Canna beet a good fellow by your mystery; But leeze me on thee, my little black mare, Thou's worth thy weight in gold to me."
There was horsing, horsing in haste, 45 And there was marching upon the lee, Until they cam to Dumfries port, And they lighted there right speedilie.
"There's five of us will hold the horse, And other five will watchmen be:" 50 "But wha's the man among ye a', Will gae to the Tolbooth door wi' me?"
O up then spak him mettled John Hall, (Frae the Laigh Teviotdale was he,) "If it should cost my life this very night, 55 I'll gae to the Tolbooth door wi' thee."
"Be of gude cheir, now, Archie, lad, Be of gude cheir, now, dear billie!
Work thou within, and we without, And the morn thou'se dine at Ca'field wi' me." 60
O Jockie Hall stepp'd to the door, And he bended low back his knee, And he made the bolts, the door hang on, Loup frae the wa' right wantonlie.
He took the prisoner on his back, 65 And down the Tolbooth stair cam he: The black mare stood ready at the door, I wot a foot ne'er stirred she.
They laid the links out owre her neck, And that was her gold twist to be;[L70] 70 And they cam doun thro' Dumfries toun, And wow but they cam speedilie!
The live-lang night these twelve men rade, And aye till they were right wearie, Until they cam to the Murraywhate, 75 And they lighted there right speedilie.
"A smith! a smith!" then Dickie he cries, "A smith, a smith, right speedilie, To file the irons frae my dear brither, For forward, forward we wad be." 80
They hadna filed a shackle of iron, A shackle of iron but barely thrie, When out and spak young Simon brave, "O dinna you see what I do see?
"Lo! yonder comes Lieutenant Gordon, 85 Wi' a hundred men in his companie; This night will be our lyke-wake night, The morn the day we a' maun die."
O there was mounting, mounting in haste, And there was marching upon the lee; 90 Until they cam to Annan water, And it was flowing like the sea.
"My mare is young and very skeigh, And in o' the weil she will drown me; But ye'll take mine, and I'll take thine, 95 And sune through the water we sall be."
Then up and spak him, coarse Ca'field, (I wot and little gude worth was he,) "We had better lose ane than lose a' the lave; We'll lose the prisoner, we'll gae free." 100
"Shame fa' you and your lands baith!
Wad ye e'en your lands to your born billy?
But hey! bear up, my bonnie black mare, And yet thro' the water we sall be."
Now they did swim that wan water, 105 And wow but they swam bonnilie!
Until they cam to the other side, And they wrang their cloathes right drunkily.
"Come thro', come thro', Lieutenant Gordon!
Come thro' and drink some wine wi' me! 110 For there is an ale-house here hard by, And it shall not cost thee ae penny."