Verse > Anthologies > Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. > The Oxford Book of Ballads
Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. (1863–1944).  The Oxford Book of Ballads.  1910.
147. Baby Livingston

O BONNY Baby Livingston
  Went forth to view the hay,
And by it came him Glenlyon,
  Sta’ bonny Baby away.

O first he ’s ta’en her silken coat,
  And neist her satten gown,
Syne row’d her in a tartan plaid,
  And hap’d her roun’ and roun’.

He has set her upon his steed
  And roundly rode away,        10
And ne’er loot her look back again
  The live-long summer’s day.

He ’s carried her o’er hills and muirs
  Till they came to a Highland glen,
And there he ’s met his brother John,        15
  With twenty armèd men.

O there were cows, and there were ewes,
  And lasses milking there!
But Baby ne’er ance look’d about,
  Her heart was fill’d wi’ care.        20

Glenlyon took her in his arms,
  And kiss’d her, cheek and chin;
Says, ‘I’d gie a’ these cows and ewes
  But ae kind look to win.’—

‘O ae kind look ye ne’er shall get,
  Nor win a smile frae me,
Unless to me you’ll favour shew,
  And take me to Dundee.’—

‘Dundee, Baby? Dundee, Baby?
  Dundee you ne’er shall see        30
Till I’ve carried you to Glenlyon
  And have my bride made thee.

‘We’ll stay a while at Auchingour,
  And get sweet milk and cheese,
And syne we’ll gang to Glenlyon,        35
  And there live at our ease.’—

‘I winna stay at Anchingour,
  Nor eat sweet milk and cheese,
Nor go with thee to Glenlyon,
  For there I’ll ne’er find ease.’        40

Then out it spake his brother John,
  ‘O were I in your place,
I’d take that lady hame again,
  For a’ her bonny face.

‘Commend me to the lass that ’s kind,
  Tho’ na so gently born;
And, gin her heart I coudna gain,
  To take her hand I’d scorn.’—

‘O haud your tongue now, John,’ he says,
  ‘You wis na what you say;        50
For I have lo’ed that bonny face
  This twelve month and a day.

‘And tho’ I’ve lo’ed her lang and sair,
  A smile I ne’er cou’d win;
Yet what I’ve got ance in my power        55
  To keep I think nae sin.’

When they came to Glenlyon Castle,
  They lighted at the yate,
And out it came his sisters three,
  Wha did them kindly greet.        60

O they’ve ta’en Baby by the hands
  And led her o’er the green,
And ilka lady spake a word,
  But bonny Baby spake nane.

Then out it spake her bonny Jean,
  The youngest o’ the three;
‘O lady, dinna look sae sad,
  But tell your grief to me.’—

‘O wherefore should I tell my grief,
  Since lax I canna find?        70
I’m stown frae a’ my kin and friends,
  And my love I left behind.

‘But had I paper, pen, and ink,
  Before that it were day,
I yet might get a letter sent        75
  In time to Johny Hay.’

O she ’s got paper, pen, and ink,
  And candle that she might see,
And she has written a broad letter
  To Johny at Dundee.        80

And she has gotten a bonny boy,
  That was baith swift and strang,
Wi’ philabeg and bonnet blue,
  Her errand for to gang.

‘O boy, gin ye’d my blessing win
  And help me in my need,
Run wi’ this letter to my love,
  And bid him come wi’ speed.

‘And here ’s a chain of good red gowd,
  And gowden guineas three,        90
And when you’ve well your errand done,
  You’ll get them for your fee.’

The boy he ran o’er hill and dale,
  Fast as a bird cou’d flee,
And ere the sun was twa hours height        95
  The boy was at Dundee.

And when he came to Johny’s door
  He knockèd loud and sair;
Then Johny to the window came,
  And loudly cry’d, ‘Wha ’s there?’—        100

‘O here ’s a letter I have brought,
  Which ye maun quickly read,
And, gin ye wou’d your lady save,
  Gang back wi’ me wi’ speed.’

O when he had the letter read,
  An angry man was he;
He says, ‘Glenlyon, thou shalt rue
  This deed of villany!

‘Woe be to thee, Glenlyon!’ he says,
  ‘An ill death may thou dee!        110
Thou micht hae ta’en anither woman,
  And let my lady be.

‘O saddle to me the black, the black,
  O saddle to me the brown,
O saddle to me the swiftest steed        115
  That e’er rade frae the town.

‘And arm ye well, my merry men a’,
  And follow me to the glen,
For I vow I’ll neither eat nor sleep
  Till I get my love again.’        120

He ’s mounted on a milk-white steed,
  The boy upon a gray,
And they got to Glenlyon’s castle
  About the close of day.

As Baby at her window stood,
  The west wind saft did bla’;
She heard her Johny’s well-kent voice
  Beneath the castle wa’.

‘O Baby, haste, the window jump!
  I’ll kep you in my arm;        130
My merry men a’ are at the yate,
  To rescue you frae harm.’

She ’s to the window fixt her sheets
  And slippèd safely down,
And Johny catch’d her in his arms,        135
  Ne’er loot her touch the ground.

She ’s mounted on her Johny’s horse,
  Fu’ blithely can she say,—
‘Glenlyon, you hae lost your bride!
  She ’s aff wi’ Johny Hay!’        140

Glenlyon and his brother John
  Were birling in the ha’,
When they heard Johny’s bridle ring,
  As fast he rade awa’.

‘Rise, Jock! gang out and meet the priest,
  I hear his bridle ring!
My Baby now shall be my wife
  Before the laverocks sing.’—

‘O brother, this is not the priest;
  I fear he’ll come owre late;        150
For armèd men with shining brands
  Stand at the castle-yate.’—

‘Haste Donald, Duncan, Dugald, Hugh!
  Haste, take your sword and spier!
We’ll gar these traytors rue the hour        155
  That e’er they ventured here.’

The Highland men drew their claymores,
  And gae a warlike shout,
But Johny’s merry men kept the yate,
  Nae ane durst venture out.        160

The lovers rade the live-lang night,
  And safe gat on their way,
And bonny Baby Livingston
  Has gotten Johny Hay.

‘Awa’, Glenlyon! fy for shame!
  Gae hide ye in some den!
You’ve latten your bride be stown frae you,
  For a’ your armed men.’
GLOSS:  row’d] wrapped.  lax] relief.


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