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Johnie Cock

No: 114; variant: 114B

  1. FIFTEEN foresters in the Braid alow, And they are wondrous fell; To get a drop of Johnny’s heart-bluid, They would sink a’ their souls to hell.
  2. Johnny Cock has gotten word of this, And he is wondrous keen; He[’s] custan off the red scarlet, And on the Linkum green.
  3. And he is ridden oer muir and muss, And over mountains high, Till he came to yon wan water, And there Johnny Cock did lie.
  4. They have ridden oer muir and muss, And over mountains high, Till they met wi’ an old palmer, Was walking along the way.
  5. ‘What news, what news, old palmer? What news have you to me?’ ‘Yonder is one of the proudest wed sons That ever my eyes did see.’
  6. He’s taen out a horn from his side, And he blew both loud and shrill, Till a’ the fifteen foresters Heard Johnny Cock blaw his horn.
  7. They have sworn a bluidy oath, And they swore all in one, That there was not a man among them a’ Would blaw such a blast as yon.
  8. And they have ridden oer muir and muss, And over mountains high, Till they came to yon wan water, Where Johnny Cock did lie.
  9. They have shotten little Johnny Cock, A little above the ee: . . . . . ‘For doing the like to me.
  10. ‘There’s not a wolf in a’ the wood Woud ‘ha’ done the like to me; ‘She’d ha’ dipped her foot in coll water, And strinkled above my ee, And if I would not have waked for that, ‘She’d ha’ gane and let me be.
  11. ‘But fingers five, come here, [come here,] And faint heart fail me nought, And silver strings, value me sma things, Till I get all this vengeance rowght!’
  12. He ha[s] shot a’ the fifteen foresters, Left never a one but one, And he broke the ribs a that ane’s side, And let him take tiding home.
  13. ’. . . a bird in a’ the wood Could sing as I could say, It would go in to my mother’s bower, And bid her kiss me, and take me away.’