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Jock O The Side

Andrew Lang 1844 (Selkirk, Scottish Borders) – 1912 (Banchory)

Now Liddisdale has ridden a raid,
But I wat they had better staid at hame;
For Mitchell o Winfield he is dead,
And my son Johnie is prisner tane?
With my fa ding diddle, la la dew diddle.

For Mangerton house auld Downie is gane,
Her coats she has kilted up to her knee;
And down the water wi speed she rins,
While tears in spaits fa fast frae her eie.

Then up and bespake the lord Mangerton:
'What news, what news, sister Downie, to me?'
'Bad news, bad news, my lord Mangerton;
Mitchel is killd, and tane they hae my son Johnie.'

'Neer fear, sister Downie,' quo Mangerton;
'I hae yokes of oxen, four-and-twentie,
My barns, my byres, and my faulds, a' weel filld,
And I'll part wi them a' ere Johnie shall die.

'Three men I'll take to set him free,
Weel harnessd a' wi best of steel;
The English rogues may hear, and drie
The weight o their braid swords to feel

'The Laird's Jock ane, the Laird's Wat twa,
O Hobie Noble, thou ane maun be!
Thy coat is blue, thou has been true,
Since England banishd thee, to me.'

Now, Hobie was an English man,
In Bewcastle-dale was bred and born;
But his misdeeds they were sae great,
They banished him neer to return.

Lord Mangerton then orders gave,--
'Your horses the wrang way maun a' be shod;
Like gentlemen ye must not seem,
But look like corn-caugers gawn ae road.

'Your armour gude ye maunna shaw,
Nor ance appear like men o weir;
As country lads be all arrayd,
Wi branks and brecham on ilk mare.'

Sae now a' their horses are shod the wrang way,
And Hobie has mounted his grey sae fine,
Jock his lively bay, Wat's on his white horse behind,
And on they rode for the water o Tyne.

At the Cholerford they a' light down,
And there, wi the help o the light o the moon,
A tree they cut, wi fifteen naggs upon each side,
To climb up the wall of Newcastle toun.

But when they came to Newcastle toun,
And were alighted at the wa,
They fand their tree three ells oer laigh,
They fand their stick baith short aid sma.

Then up and spake the Laird's ain Jock,
'There's naething for't; the gates we maun force.'
But when they cam the gate unto,
A proud porter withstood baith men and horse.

His neck in twa I wat they hae wrung;
Wi foot or hand he neer play'd paw;
His life and his keys at anes they hae taen,
And cast his body ahind the wa.

Now soon they reached Newcastle jail,
And to the prisner thus they call:
'Sleips thou, wakes thou, Jock o the Side,
Or is thou wearied o thy thrall?'

Jock answers thus, wi dolefu tone:
'Aft, aft I wake, I seldom sleip;
But wha's this kens my name sae weel,
And thus to hear my waes does seek?'

Then up and spake the good Laird's Jock:
'Neer fear ye now, my billie,' quo he;
'For here's the Laird's Jock, the Laird's Wat,
And Hobie Noble, come to set thee free.'

'Oh, had thy tongue, and speak nae mair,
And o thy talk now let me be!
For if a' Liddesdale were here the night,
The morn's the day that I maun die.

'Full fifteen stane o Spanish iron,
They hae laid a' right sair on me;
Wi locks and keys I am fast bound
Into this dungeon mirk and drearie.'

'Fear ye no that,' quo the Laird's Jock;
'A faint heart neer wan a fair ladie;
Work thou within, we'll work without,
And I'll be sworn we set thee free.'

The first strong dore that they came at,
They loosed it without a key;
The next chaind dore that they cam at,
They gard it a' in flinders flee.

The prisner now, upo his back,
The Laird's Jock's gotten up fu hie;
And down the stair him, irons and a',
Wi nae sma speed and joy brings he.

'Now, Jock, I wat,' quo Hobie Noble,
'Part o the weight ye may lay on me,'
'I wat weel no,' quo the Laird's Jock
'I count him lighter than a flee.'

Sae out at the gates they a' are gane,
The prisner's set on horseback hie;
And now wi speed they've tane the gate;
While ilk ane jokes fu wantonlie.

'O Jock, sae winsomely's ye ride,
Wi baith your feet upo ae side!
Sae weel's ye're harnessd, and sae trig!
In troth ye sit like ony bride.'

The night, tho wat, they didna mind,
But hied them on fu mirrilie,
Until they cam to Cholerford brae,
Where the water ran like mountains hie.

But when they came to Cholerford,
There they met with an auld man;
Says, 'Honest man, will the water ride?
Tell us in haste, if that ye can.'

'I wat weel no,' quo the good auld man;
'Here I hae livd this threty yeirs and three,
And I neer ye
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Submitted on May 13, 2011

4:20 min read
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Andrew Lang

Andrew Richard Lang FRS CBE was a British scientist and crystallographer. more…

All Andrew Lang poems | Andrew Lang Books

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