Verse > Anthologies > William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. > The Book of Restoration Verse
William Stanley Braithwaite, ed.  The Book of Restoration Verse.  1910.
Johney Scot
O JOHNEY 1 was as brave a knight
  As ever sail’d the sea,
An’ he’s done him to the English court,
  To serve for meat and fee.
He had nae been in fair England        5
  But yet a little while,
Untill the kingis ae daughter
  To Johney proves wi’ chil’.
O word’s come to the king himsel’,
  In his chair where he sat,        10
That his ae daughter was wi’ bairn
  To Jack, the Little Scott.
‘Gin this be true that I do hear,
  As I trust well it be,
Ye pit her into prison strong,        15
  An’ starve her till she die.’
O Johney’s on to fair Scotland,
  A wot he went wi’ speed,
An’ he has left the kingis court,
  A wot good was his need.        20
O it fell once upon a day
  That Johney he thought lang,
An’ he’s gane to the good green wood,
  As fast as he coud gang.
‘O whare will I get a bonny boy,        25
  To rin my errand soon,
That will rin into fair England,
  An’ haste him back again?’
O up it starts a bonny boy,
  Gold yallow was his hair,        30
I wish his mother meickle joy,
  His bonny love mieckle mair.
‘O here am I, a bonny boy,
  Will rin your errand soon;
I will gang into fair England,        35
  An’ come right soon again.’
O whan he came to broken briggs,
  He bent his bow and swam;
An’ whan he came to the green grass growan,
  He slaikid his shoone an’ ran.        40
Whan he came to yon high castèl,
  He ran it roun’ about,
An’ there he saw the king’s daughter,
  At the window looking out.
‘O here’s a sark o’ silk, lady,        45
  Your ain han’ sewd the sleeve;
You’r bidden come to fair Scotlan,
  Speer nane o’ your parents’ leave.
‘Ha, take this sark o’ silk, lady,
  Your ain han’ sewd the gare;        50
You’re bidden come to good green wood,
  Love Johney waits you there.’
She’s turn’d her right and roun’ about,
  The tear was in her e’e:
‘How can I come to my true-love,        55
  Except I had wings to flee?
‘Here am I kept wi’ bars and bolts,
  Most grievous to behold;
My breast-plate’s o’ the sturdy steel,
  Instead of the beaten gold.        60
‘But tak’ this purse, my bonny boy,
  Ye well deserve a fee,
An’ bear this letter to my love,
  An’ tell him what you see.’
Then quickly ran the bonny boy        65
  Again to Scotlan’ fair,
An’ soon he reach’d Pitnachton’s tow’rs,
  An’ soon found Johney there.
He pat the letter in his han’,
  An’ taul him what he sa’,        70
But eer he half the letter read,
  He loote the tears doun fa’.
‘O I will gae back to fair Englan’,
  Tho’ death shoud me betide,
An’ I will relieve the damesel        75
  That lay last by my side.’
Then out it spake his father dear,
  ‘My son, you are to blame;
An’ gin you’r catch’d on English groun’,
  I fear you’ll neer win hame.’        80
Then out it spake a valiant knight,
  Johney’s best friend was he;
I can commaun’ five hunder men,
  An’ I’ll his surety be.’
The firstin town that they came till,        85
  They gard the bells be rung;
An’ the nextin town that they came till,
  They gard the mess be sung.
The thirdin town that they came till,
  They gard the drums beat roun’;        90
The king but an’ his nobles a’
  Was startl’d at the soun’.
Whan they came to the king’s palace
  They rade it roun’ about,
An’ there they saw the king himsel’,        95
  At the window looking out.
‘Is this the Duke o’ Albany,
  Or James, the Scottish king?
Or are ye some great foreign lord,
  That’s come a visiting?’        100
‘I’m nae the Duke of Albany,
  Nor James, the Scottish king;
But I’m a valiant Scottish knight,
  Pitnachton is my name.’
‘O if Pitnachton be your name,        105
  As I trust well it be,
The morn, or I tast meat or drink,
  You shall be hanged hi’.’
Then out it spake the valiant knight
  That came brave Johney wi’;        110
‘Behold five hunder bowmen bold,
  Will die to set him free.’
Then out it spake the king again,
  An’ a scornful laugh laugh he;
‘I have an Italian in my house        115
  Will fight you three by three.’
‘O grant me a boon,’ brave Johney cried;
  ‘Bring your Italian here;
Then if he fall beneath my sword,
  I’ve won your daughter dear.’        120
Then out it came that Italian,
  An’ a gurious ghost was he;
Upo’ the point o’ Johney’s sword
  This Italian did die.
Out has he drawn his lang, lang bran’,        125
  Struck it across the plain:
‘Is there any more o’ your English dogs
  That you want to be slain?’
‘A clark, a clark,’ the king then cried,
  ‘To write her tocher free;’        130
‘A priest, a priest,’ says Love Johney,
  ‘To marry my love and me.
‘I’m seeking nane o’ your gold,’ he says,
  ‘Nor of your silver clear;
I only seek your daughter fair,        135
  Whose love has cost her dear.’
Note 1. From Jamieson-Brown MS. In 1679, Sir James Magill of Lindores, performed a feat of arms similar to that described in this ballad. The story has points of resemblance to Child Maurice, and Willie o’ Winsbury. See English and Scottish Popular Ballads, Cambridge ed. pp. 175, 210. [back]

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