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Archie o Cawfield

No: 188; variant: 188A

  1. LATE in an evening forth as I went, ‘Twas on the dawning of the day; I heard two brothers make their moan, I listend well what they did say.
  2. . . . . . . . We were three born brethren, There[s] one of us condemnd to die.
  3. Then up bespake Jock the laird: ‘If I had but a hundre men, A hundred o th best i Christenty, I wad go on to fair Dumfries, I wad loose my brother and set him free.’
  4. So up bespak then Dicky Ha, He was the wisest o the three: ‘A hundre men we’ll never get, Neither for gold nor fee, But some of them will us betray; They’l neither fight for gold nor fee.
  5. ‘Had I but ten well-wight men, Ten o the best i Christenty, I wad gae on to fair Dumfries, I wad loose my brother and set him free.
  6. ‘Jocky Ha, our cousin, ‘s be the first man’ (For leugh o Liddesdale cracked he); ‘An ever we come till a pinch, He’ll be as good as ony three.’
  7. They mounted ten well-wight men, Ten o the best i Christenty; . . . . . . . .
  8. There was horsing and horsing of haste, And cracking o whips out oer the lee, Till they came to fair Barngliss, And they ca’d the smith right quietly.
  9. He has shod them a’ their horse, He’s shod them siccer and honestly, And he as turnd the Cawkers backwards oer, Where foremost they were wont to be.
  10. And there was horsing, horsing of haste, And cracking of whips out oer the lee, Until they came to the Bonshaw wood, Where they held their council privately.
  11. Some says, We’ll gang the Annan road, It is the better road, said they; Up bespak then Dicky Ha, The wisest of that company.
  12. ‘Annan road’s a publick road, It’s no the road that makes for me; But we will through at Hoddam ford, It is the better road,’ said he.
  13. And there was horsing, horsing o haste, And cracking of whips out oer the lea, Until they came to fair Dumfries, And it was newly strucken three.
  14. Up bespake then Jocky Ha, For leugh o Liddesdale cracked he: ‘I have a mare, they ca her Meg, She is the best i Christenty; An ever we come till a pinch, She’ll bring awa both thee and me.’
  15. ‘But five we’ll leave to had our horse, And five will watch, guard for to be; Who is the man,’ said Dicky then, ‘To the prison-door will go with me?’
  16. Up bespak then Jocky Ha, For leugh o Liddesdale cracked he: ‘I am the man,’ said Jocky than, ‘To the prison-door I’ll go with thee.’
  17. They are up the jail-stair, They stepped it right soberly, Until they came to the jail-door; They ca’d the prisoner quietly.
  18. ‘O sleeps thou, wakest thou, Archie, my billy? O sleeps thou, wakes thou, dear billy?’ ‘Sometimes I sleep, sometimes I wake; But who’s that knows my name so well?’ [said he.] ‘I am thy brother Dicky,’ he says; ‘This night I’m come to borrow thee.’
  19. But up bespake the prisoner then, And O but he spake woefully! ‘Today had been a justice-court, . . . And a’ Liddesdale were here the night, The morn’s the day at I’se to die.’
  20. ‘What is thy crime, Archie, my billy? What is the crime they lay to thee?’ ‘I brake a spear i the warden’s breast, For saving my master’s land,’ said he.
  21. ‘If that be a’ the crime they lay to thee, Archie, my billy, If that be the crime they lay to thee, Work thou within, and me without, And thro good strength I’ll borrow thee.’
  22. ‘I cannot work,billy,’ he says, ‘I cannot work, billy, with thee, For fifteen stone of Spanish iron Lyes fast to me with lock and key.’
  23. When Dicky he heard that, ‘Away, thou crabby chiel!’ cried he; He’s taen the door aye with his foot, And fast he followd it with his knee. Till a’ the bolts the door hung on, O th’ prison-floor he made them flee.
  24. ‘Thou’s welcome, welcome, Archy, my billy, Thou’s aye right dear welcome to me; There shall be straiks this day,’ he said, ‘This day or thou be taen from me.’
  25. He’s got the prisoner on o his back, He’s gotten him irons and aw, . . . . . . .
  26. Up bespake then Jocky Ha, ‘Let some o th’ prisoner lean on me;’ ‘The diel o there,’ quo Dicky than, ‘He’s no the wightdom of a flea.’
  27. They are on o that gray mare, And they are on o her aw three, And they linked the irons about her neck, And galloped the street right wantonly.
  28. ‘To horse, to horse,’ then, aell,’ he says, ‘Horse ye with all the might ye may, For the jailor he will waken next; And the prisoners had a’ wan away.’
  29. There was horsing, horsing of haste, And cracking o whips out oer the lea, Until they came to the Bonshaw Shield; There they held their council privately.
  30. Some says, ‘We’ll gang the Annan road; It is the better road,’ said they; But up bespak than Dicky Ha, The wisest of that company:
  31. ‘Annan road’s a publick road, It’s not the road that makes for me; But we will through at Annan Holme, It is the better road,’ said he; ‘An we were in at Wamfrey Gate, The Johnstones they will a’ help me.’
  32. But Dicky lookd oer his left shoulder, I wait a wiley look gave he; He spied the leiutenant coming, An a hundre men of his company.
  33. ‘So horse ye, horse ye, lads!’ he said, ‘O horse ye, sure and siccerly! For yonder is the lieutenant, With a hundred men of his company.’
  34. There was horsing, horsing of haste, And cracking o whips out oer the lea. Until they came to Annan Holme, And it was running like a sea.
  35. But up bespake the lieutenant, Until a bonny lad said he, ‘Who is the man,’ said the leiutenant, ‘Rides foremost of yon company?’
  36. Then up bespake the bonny lad, Until the lieutenant said he, ‘Some men do ca him Dicky Ha, Rides foremost of yon company.’
  37. ‘O haste ye, haste ye!’ said the leiutenant, ‘Pursue with a’ the might ye may! For the man had needs to be well saint That comes thro the hands o Dicky Ha.’
  38. But up bespak Jock the laird, ‘This has been a dearsome night to me; I’ve a colt of four years old, I wait he wannelld like the wind; If ever he come to the deep, He will plump down, leave me behind.’
  39. ‘Wae light o thee and thy horse baith, Jock, And even so thy horse and thee! Take thou mine, and I’ll take thine, Foul fa the worst horse i th’ company! I’ll cast the prisoner me behind; There’ll no man die but him that’s fee.’
  40. There they’ve a’ taen the flood, And they have taen it hastily; Dicky was the hindmost took the flood, And foremost on the land stood he.
  41. Dicky’s turnd his horse about, And he has turnd it hastilly: ‘Come through, come thro, my lieutenant, Come thro this day, and drink wi me, And thy dinner’s be dressd in Annan Holme, It sall not cost thee one penny.’
  42. ‘I think some witch has bore the, Dicky, Or some devil in hell been thy daddy; I woud not swum that wan water double-horsed, For a’ the gold in Christenty.
  43. ‘But throw me thro my irons, Dicky, I wait they cost me full dear;’ ‘O devil be there,’ quo Jocky Hall, ‘They’l be good shoon to my gray mare.’
  44. O up bespoke then Jock the laird, ‘This has been a dearsome night to me; For yesternight the Cawfield was my ain, Landsman again I never sall be.’
  45. ‘Now wae light o thee and thy lands baith, Jock, And even so baith the land and thee! For gear will come and gear will gang, But three brothers again we never were to be.’