Reference > Anthologies > Warner, et al., eds. > The Library > Verse

C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
Johnie Cock
The Ballad
1.  UP Johnie raise 1 in a May morning,
      Calld for water to wash his hands,
  And he has called for his gude gray hounds
      That lay bound in iron bands, bands,
      That lay bound in iron bands.        5
2.  “Ye’ll busk, 2 ye’ll busk my noble dogs,
      Ye’ll busk and make them boun, 3
  For I’m going to the Braidscaur hill
      To ding the dun deer doun.”
3.  Johnie’s mother has gotten word o’ that,        10
      And care-bed she has ta’en: 4
  “O Johnie, for my benison,
      I beg you’ll stay at hame;
  For the wine so red, and the well-baken bread,
      My Johnie shall want nane.        15
4.  “There are seven forsters at Pickeram Side,
      At Pickeram where they dwell,
  And for a drop of thy heart’s bluid
      They wad ride the fords of hell.”
5.  But Johnie has cast off the black velvet,        20
      And put on the Lincoln twine,
  And he is on the goode greenwood
      As fast as he could gang.
6.  Johnie lookit east, and Johnie lookit west,
      And he lookit aneath the sun,        25
  And there he spied the dun deer sleeping
      Aneath a buss o’ whun. 5
7.  Johnie shot, and the dun deer lap, 6
      And she lap wondrous wide,
  Until they came to the wan water,        30
      And he stem’d her of her pride.
8.  He has ta’en out the little pen-knife,
      ’Twas full three quarters 7 long,
  And he has ta’en out of that dun deer
      The liver but and 8 the tongue.        35
9.  They eat of the flesh, and they drank of the blood,
      And the blood it was so sweet,
  Which caused Johnie and his bloody hounds
      To fall in a deep sleep.
10.  By then came an old palmer,        40
      And an ill death may he die!
  For he’s away to Pickeram Side
      As fast as he can drie. 9
11.  “What news, what news?” says the Seven Forsters,
      “What news have ye brought to me?”        45
  “I have no news,” the palmer said,
      “But what I saw with my eye.
12.  “As I came in by Braidisbanks,
      And down among the whuns,
  The bonniest youngster e’er I saw        50
      Lay sleepin amang his hunds.
13.  “The shirt that was upon his back
      Was o’ the holland fine;
  The doublet which was over that
      Was o’ the Lincoln twine.”        55
14.  Up bespake the Seven Forsters,
      Up bespake they ane and a’:
  “O that is Johnie o’ Cockleys Well,
      And near him we will draw.”
15.  O the first stroke that they gae him,        60
      They struck him off by the knee;
  Then up bespake his sister’s son:
      “O the next ’ll gar 10 him die!”
16.  “O some they count ye well wight men,
      But I do count ye nane;        65
  For you might well ha’ waken’d me,
      And ask’d gin I wad be ta’en.”
17.  “The wildest wolf as in a’ this wood
      Wad not ha’ done so by me;
  She’d ha’ wet her foot i’ the wan water,        70
      And sprinkled it o’er my brae,
  And if that wad not ha’ waken’d me,
      She wad ha’ gone and let me be.
18.  “O bows of yew, if ye be true,
      In London, where ye were bought,        75
  Fingers five, get up belive, 11
      Manhuid shall fail me nought.”
19.  He has kill’d the Seven Forsters,
      He has kill’d them all but ane,
  And that wan scarce to Pickeram Side,        80
      To carry the bode-words hame.
20.  “Is there never a [bird] in a’ this wood
      That will tell what I can say;
  That will go to Cockleys Well,
      Tell my mither to fetch me away?”        85
21.  There was a [bird] into that wood,
      That carried the tidings away,
  And many ae 12 was the well-wight man
      At the fetching o’ Johnie away.
Note 1. Rose. [back]
Note 2. Prepare. [back]
Note 3. Ready. [back]
Note 4. Has fallen ill with anxiety. [back]
Note 5. Bush of whin, furze. [back]
Note 6. Leaped. [back]
Note 7. Quarter = the fourth part of a yard. [back]
Note 8. “But and” = as well as. [back]
Note 9. Bear, endure. [back]
Note 10. Make, cause. [back]
Note 11. Quickly. [back]
Note 12. One. [back]

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