89-96. This stanza is unintelligible in Dalzell. It stands thus in Laing's copy.
When they unto Strathboggy came, To council soon they geed, For to see how things might frame, For they had meikle need.
They voted then to do a deed As kirkmen do devise, And pray'd that they might find good speed In that great interprise.
149. This line seems to be corrupted.
161. Some words are lost.
Thus with their noble cavalry They marched to the field.
165. speares and scheildis.
167. weild thair wapones weill.
187. then ower.
Then awful Erroll he can say "Good fellows, follow me: 210 I hope it shall be ours this day, Or else therefore to die.
Tho they in number many be,[L213]
Set on, withoutten words; Let ilk brave fellow brake his tree, 215 And then pursue with swords."
213. many were.
219. within went.
Then some men said, "We will be sure And take Maclean by course; 250 Go to, for we are men anew To bear him down by force."
But noble Errol had remorse, And said, "It is not best, For tho Argyle has got the worst, 255 Let him gang with the rest.
"What greater honour could ye wish In deeds of chivalry, Or brave victory than this, Where one has chac'd thrice three? 260 Therefore, good fellows, let him be; He'll die before he yield; For he with his small company Bade langest in the field."
286, 288. corrupted.
Now I have you already tauld, 305 Huntly and Errol's men Could scarce be thirteen hundred called, The truth if ye would ken.[L308]
And yet Argyle his thousands ten[L309]
Were they that took the race, 310 And tho that they were nine to ane, They caused [them] take the chace.
Sae Argyle's boast it was in vain, (He thought sure not to tyne) That if he durst cum to the plain, 315 He would gar every nine Of his lay hold upon ilk man Huntly and Errol had: But yet for all his odds he ran[L319]
To tell how ill he sped. 320
324. should be _eve_, or _vigil_.
BONNY JOHN SETON.
This ballad is taken from Maidment's _North Countrie Garland_, p. 15.
There is another version in Buchan's _Ballads of the North of Scotland_, ii. 136 (_The Death of John Seton_).
John Seton of Pitmedden, a young and brave cavalier, was shot through the middle by a cannon ball, during the skirmish at the Bridge of Dee, while engaged, under the Viscount of Aboyne, in resisting the advance of Montrose upon the town of Aberdeen, in June, 1639. It was the hard fate of Aberdeen to suffer from the arms of Montrose, first, when he was general of the Covenanters, and again while he was lieutenant for the King. The murder and pillage perpetrated in the town by the Irish after the defeat of Lord Burleigh, in 1644, have been made the subject of violent reproach by his enemies, but it may perhaps be said, that for all that exceeded the usual horrors of war, the heroic commander was not responsible. In Buchan's version of the present ballad, the clemency shown by Montrose on taking possession of the city in 1639 is commemorated in three stanzas worthy of preservation. The Covenanters were "resolved to have sacked it orderly."
Out it speeks the gallant Montrose, (Grace on his fair body!) "We winna burn the bonny burgh, We'll even lat it be."
Then out it speaks the gallant Montrose, "Your purpose I will break; We winna burn the bonny burgh, We'll never build its make.
"I see the women and their children Climbing the craigs sae hie; We'll sleep this night in the bonny burgh, And even lat it be."
Upon the eighteenth day of June, A dreary day to see, The Southern lords did pitch their camp Just at the bridge of Dee.
Bonny John Seton of Pitmeddin, 5 A bold baron was he, He made his testament ere he went out, The wiser man was he.
He left his land to his young son, His lady her dowry, 10 A thousand crowns to his daughter Jean, Yet on the nurse's knee.
Then out came his lady fair, A tear into her e'e; Says "Stay at home, my own good lord, 15 O stay at home with me!"
He looked over his left shoulder, Cried, "Souldiers, follow me!"
O then she looked in his face, An angry woman was she: 20 "God send me back my steed again, But ne'er let me see thee!"
His name was Major Middleton That manned the bridge of Dee; His name was Colonel Henderson 25 That let the cannons flee.
His name was Major Middleton That manned the bridge of Dee; And his name was Colonel Henderson That dung Pitmeddin in three. 30