"Throw me my irons," quo' Lieutenant Gordon; "I wot they cost me dear eneugh;"
"The shame a ma," quo' mettled John Ha', 115 "They'll be gude shackles to my pleugh."
"Come thro', come thro', Lieutenant Gordon!
Come thro', and drink some wine wi' me!
Yestreen I was your prisoner, But now this morning am I free." 120
17. Mettled John Hall, from the laigh Teviotdale, is perhaps John Hall of Newbigging, mentioned in the list of Border clans as one of the chief men of name residing on the Middle Marches in 1597.--S.
70. The _gold twist_ means the small gilded chains drawn across the chest of a war-horse, as a part of his caparison.--S.
Motherwell's _Minstrelsy_, p. 335.
A North-Country version of the preceding ballad. There is another copy in Buchan's larger collection, i. 111, _The Three Brothers_.
"Seven years have I loved my love, And seven years my love's loved me, But now to-morrow is the day That Billie Archie, my love, must die."
Out then spoke him Little Dickie, 5 And still the best fellow was he; "Had I but five men and mysell, Then we would borrow Billie Archie."
Out it spoke him Caff o' Lin, And still the worst fellow was he; 10 "Ye shall have five men and yoursell, And I will bear you companie.
"We will not go like to dragoons, Nor yet will we like grenadiers; But we will go like corn-dealers, 15 And lay our brechams on our meares.
"And twa of us will watch the road, And other twa between will gang, And I will go to jail-house door, And hold the prisoner unthought lang." 20
"Wha is this at the jail-house door, Sa weel as they do ken the gin?"
"It's I mysell," said him Little Dickie, "And O sae fain's I would be in!"
"Awa, awa, now, Little Dickie, 25 Awa, let all your folly be; If the Lord Lieutenant come on you, Like unto dogs he'll cause you die."
"Hold you, hold you, Billy Archie, And now let all your folly be; 30 Though I die without, you'll not die within, For borrowed shall your body be."
"Awa, awa, now, Little Dickie, Awa, let all this folly be; An hundred pounds of Spanish irons 35 Is all bound on my fair bodie."
Wi' plough coulters and gavelocks They made the jail-house door to flee; "And in God's name," said Little Dickie, "Cast you the prisoner behind me." 40
They had not rade a great way off, With all the haste that ever could be, Till they espied the Lord Lieutenant, With a hundred men in companie.
But when they cam to wan water, 45 It now was rumbling like the sea; Then were they got into a strait, As great a strait as well could be.
Then out did speak him Caff o' Lin, And aye the warst fellow was he: 50 "Now God be with my wife and bairns, For fatherless my babes will be.
"My horse is young, he cannot swim; The water's deep, and will not wade; My children must be fatherless, 55 My wife a widow, whate'er betide."
O then cried out him Little Dickie, And still the best fellow was he: "Take you my mare, I'll take your horse, And Devil drown my mare and thee!" 60
Now they have taken the wan water, Though it was roaring like the sea; And when they gat to the other side, I wat they bragged right crousilie.
"Come thro', come thro', now, Lord Lieutenant, 65 O do come thro', I pray of thee; There is an alehouse not far off, We'll dine you and your companie."
"Awa, awa, now, Little Dickie, O now let all your taunting be; 70 There's not a man in the king's army That would have tried what's done by thee.
"Cast back, cast back my fetters again, Cast back my fetters, I say to thee; And get you gane the way you came, 75 I wish no prisoners like to thee."
"I have a mare, she's called Meg, The best in all our low countrie; If she gang barefoot till they're done, An ill death may your Lordship die." 80
From Caw's _Poetical Museum_, p. 193.
"We have seen the hero of this ballad act a distinguished part in the deliverance of Jock o' the Side, and are now to learn the ungrateful return which the Armstrongs made him for his faithful services.
Halbert, or Hobbie, Noble appears to have been one of those numerous English outlaws, who, being forced to fly their own country, had established themselves on the Scottish Borders. As Hobbie continued his depredations upon the English, they bribed some of his hosts, the Armstrongs, to decoy him into England under pretence of a predatory expedition. He was there delivered, by his treacherous companions, into the hands of the officers of justice, by whom he was conducted to Carlisle, and executed next morning. The Laird of Mangertoun, with whom Hobbie was in high favour, is said to have taken a severe revenge upon the traitors who betrayed him. The principal contriver of the scheme, called here Sim o' the Maynes, fled into England from the resentment of his chief; but experienced there the common fate of a traitor, being himself executed at Carlisle, about two months after Hobbie's death.
Such is, at least, the tradition of Liddesdale. Sim o' the Maynes appears among the Armstrongs of Whitauch, in Liddesdale, in the list of Clans so often alluded to."--_Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border_, ii.
Foul fa' the breast first treason bred in!
That Liddisdale may safely say; For in it there was baith meat and drink, And corn unto our geldings gay.
We were stout-hearted men and true, 5 As England it did often say; But now we may turn our backs and fly, Since brave Noble is seld away.
Now Hobie he was an English man, And born into Bewcastle dale; 10 But his misdeeds they were sae great, They banish'd him to Liddisdale.
At Kershope foot the tryst was set,[L13]
Kershope of the lily lee; And there was traitour Sim o' the Mains,[L15] 15 With him a private companie.
Then Hobie has graith'd his body weel, I wat it was wi' baith good iron and steel; And he has pull'd out his fringed grey, And there, brave Noble, he rade him weel. 20
Then Hobie is down the water gane, E'en as fast as he may drie; Tho' they shoud a' brusten and broken their hearts, Frae that tryst Noble he would not be.
"Weel may ye be, my feiries five! 25 And aye, what is your wills wi' me?"
Then they cry'd a' wi' ae consent, "Thou'rt welcome here, brave Noble, to me.
"Wilt thou with us in England ride, And thy safe warrand we will be? 30 If we get a horse worth a hundred punds, Upon his back that thou shalt be."
"I dare not with you into England ride, The Land-sergeant has me at feid; I know not what evil may betide, 35 For Peter of Whitfield, his brother, is dead.
"And Anton Shiel, he loves not me, For I gat twa drifts of his sheep;[L38]
The great Earl of Whitfield loves me not,[L39]
For nae gear frae me he e'er could keep. 40