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Archie o Cawfield

No: 188; variant: 188C

  1. AS I walked on a pleasant green—- ‘Twas on the first morning of May—- I heard twa brothers make their moan, And hearkend well what they did say.
  2. The first he gave a grievous sigh, And said, Alas, and wae is me! We hae a brother condemned to death, And the very morn must hanged be.
  3. Then out it speaks him Little Dick, I wat a gude fellow was he: ‘Had I three men unto mysell, Well borrowed shoud Bell Archie be.’
  4. Out it speaks him Johnny Ha, A better fellow by far was he: ‘Ye shall hae six men and yoursell, And me to bear you companie.
  5. ‘Twa for keepers o the guard, See that to keep it sickerlie, And twa to come, and twa to gang, And twa to speak wi Bell Archie.
  6. ‘But we winna gang like men o weir, Nor yet will we like cavalliers; But we will gang like corn-buyers, And we’ll put brechens on our mares.’
  7. Then they are to the jail-house doors, And they hae tirled at the pin: ‘Ye sleep ye, wake ye, Bell Archie? Quickly rise, lat us come in.’
  8. ‘I sleep not aft, I lie not saft; Wha’s there that knocks and kens my name?’ ‘It is your brothers Dick and John; Ye’ll open the door, lat us come in.’
  9. ‘Awa, awa, my brethren dear, And ye’ll had far awa frae me; If ye be found at jail-house door, I fear like dogs they’ll gar ye die.’
  10. ‘Ohon, alas! my brother dear, Is this the hearkening ye gie to me? If ye’ll work therein as we thereout, Well borrowd should your body be.’
  11. ‘How can I work therein, therein, Or yet how can I work thereout, When fifty tons o Spanish iron Are my fair body round about?’
  12. He put his fingers to the lock, I wat he handled them sickerlie, And doors of deal, and bands of steel, He gart them all in flinders flee.
  13. He’s taen the prisoner in his arms, And he has kissd him cheek and chin: ‘Now since we’ve met, my brother dear, There shall be dunts ere we twa twine.’
  14. He’s taen the prisoner on his back, And a’ his heavy irons tee, But and his marie in his hand, And straight to Annan gate went he.
  15. But when they came to Annan water, It was roaring like the sea: ‘O stay a little, Johnny Ha, Here we can neither fecht nor flee.
  16. ‘O a refreshment we maun hae, We are baith dry and hungry tee; We’ll gang to Robert’s at the mill, It stands upon yon lily lee.’
  17. Up in the morning the jailor raise, As soon’s ‘twas light that he coud see; Wi a pint o wine and a mess sae fine, Into the prison-house went he.
  18. When he came to the prison-door, A dreary sight he had to see; The locks were shot, the doors were broke, And a’ the prisoners won free.
  19. ‘Ye’ll gae and waken Annan town, Raise up five hundred men and three; And if these rascals may be found, I vow like dogs I’ll gar them die.
  20. ‘O dinna ye hear proud Annan roar, Mair loud than ever roard the sea? We’ll get the rascals on this side, Sure they can neither fecht nor flee.
  21. ‘Some gar ride, and some gar rin, Wi a’ the haste that ye can make; We’ll get them in some tavern-house, For Annan water they winna take.’
  22. As Little Dick was looking round, All for to see what he could see, Saw the proud sheriff trip the plain, Five hundred men his companie.
  23. ‘O fare ye well, my bonny wife, Likewise farewell, my children three! Fare ye well, ye lands o Cafield! For you again I neer will see.
  24. ‘For well I kent, ere I came here, That Annan water woud ruin me; My horse is young, he’ll nae lat ride, And in this water I maun die.’
  25. Out it speaks him Johnny Ha, I wat a gude fellow was he: ‘O plague upo your cowardly face! The bluntest man I eer did see.
  26. ‘Gie me your horse, take ye my mare, The devil drown my mare and thee! Gie me the prisoner on behind, And nane will die but he that’s fay.’
  27. He quickly lap upo the horse, And strait the stirrups siccarlie, And jumpd upo the other side, Wi the prisoner and his irons tee.
  28. The sheriff then came to the bank, And heard its roaring like the sea; Says, How these men they hae got ower, It is a marvel unto me.
  29. ‘I wadna venture after them, For a’ the criminals that I see; Nevertheless now, Johnny Ha, Throw ower the fetters unto me.’
  30. ‘Deil part you and the fetters,’ he said, ‘As lang as my mare needs a shee; If she gang barefoot ere they be done, I wish an ill death mat ye die.’
  31. ‘Awa, awa, now Johnny Ha, Your talk to me seems very snell; Your mither’s been some wild rank witch, And you yoursell an imp o hell.’