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Lord Dernwentwater

No: 208; variant: 208D

  1. THE king has written a braid letter, And seald it up wi gowd, And sent it to Lord Derntwater, To read it if he coud.
  2. The first lines o’t that he read, A blythe, blythe man was he; But ere he had it half read through, The tear blinded his ee.
  3. ‘Go saddle to me my milk-white horse, Go saddle it with speed; For I maun ride to Lun[n]on town, To answer for my head.’
  4. ‘Your will, your will, my lord Derntwater, Your will before ye go; For you will leave three dochters fair, And a wife to wail and woe.’
  5. ‘My will, my will, my lady Derntwater? Ye are my wedded wife; Be kind, be kind to my dochters dear, If I should lose my life.’
  6. He set his ae fit on the grund, The tither on the steed; The ring upon his finger burst, And his nose began to bleed.
  7. He rode till he cam to Lunnon town, To a place they ca Whiteha; And a’ the lords o merry England A traitor him gan ca.
  8. ‘A traitor! a traitor! O what means this? A traitor! what mean ye?’ ‘It’s a’ for the keeping o five hundred men To fecht for bonny Jamie.’
  9. Then up started a gray-headed man, Wi a braid axe in his hand: ‘Your life, your life, my lord Derntwater, Your life’s at my command.’
  10. ‘My life, my life, ye old gray-headed man, My life I’ll freely gie; But before ye tak my life awa Let me speak twa words or three.
  11. ‘I’ve fifty pounds in ae pocket, Go deal it frae door to door; I’ve fifty five i the other pocket, Go gie it to the poor.
  12. ‘The velvet coat that I hae on, Ye may take it for your fee; And a’ ye lords o merry Scotland Be kind to my ladie!’