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Jock the Leg and the Merry Merchant

No: 282; variant: 282A

  1. As Jock the Leg and the merry merchant Came from yon borrow's town, They took their budgets on their backs, And fieldert they were boun.
  2. But they came to a tavern-house, Where chapmen used to be: 'Provide, provide,' said Jock the Leg, 'A good supper for me.
  3. 'For the merry merchant shall pay it a', Tho it were good merks three;' 'But never a penny,' said the merry merchant, 'But shot, as it fa's me.
  4. 'A bed, a bed,' said the merry merchant, 'It's time to go to rest;' 'And that ye shall,' said the good goodwife, 'And your covrings o the best.'
  5. Then Jock the Leg in one chamber was laid, The merchant in another, And lockfast door atween them twa, That the one might not see the other.
  6. But the merchant was not well lain down, Nor yet well fa'en asleep, Till up it starts him Jock the Leg, Just at the merchant's feet.
  7. 'Win up, win up,' said Jock the Leg, 'We might hae been miles three;' 'But never a foot,' said the merry merchant, 'Till day that I do see.
  8. 'For I cannot go by Barnisdale, Nor yet by Coventry; For Jock the Leg, that common thief, Would take my pack from me.'
  9. 'I'll hae you in by Barnisdale, And down by Coventry, And I'll guard you frae Jock the Leg Till day that ye do see.'
  10. When they were in by Barnisdale, And in by Coventry, 'Repeat, repeat,' said Jock the Leg, 'The words ye ance tauld me.'
  11. 'I never said aught behind your back But what I'll say to thee; Are ye that robber, Jock the Leg, Will take my pack frae me?'
  12. 'O by my sooth,' said Jock the Leg, 'You'll find that man I be; Surrender that pack that's on your back, Or then be slain by me.'
  13. He's ta'en his pack down frae his back, Set it below yon tree; Says, I will fight for my good pack Till day that I may see.
  14. Then they fought there in good greenwood Till they were bloody men; The robber on his knees did fall, Said, Merchant, hold your hand.
  15. 'An asking, asking,' said Jock the Leg, 'An asking ye'll grant me;' 'Ask on, ask on,' said the merry merchant, 'For men to asking are free.'
  16. 'I've dune little harm to you,' he said, 'More than you'd been my brother; Give me a blast o my little wee horn, And I'll give you another.'
  17. 'A blast o your little wee horn,' he said, 'Of this I take no doubt; I hope you will take such a blast Ere both your eyes fly out.'
  18. He set his horn to his mouth, And he blew loud and shrill, And four-and-twenty bauld bowmen Came Jock the Leg until.
  19. 'Ohon, alas!' said the merry merchant, 'Alas! and woe is me! Sae many, a party o common theifs, But nane to party me!
  20. 'Ye'll wile out six o your best bowmen, Yourself the seventh to be, And, put me one foot frae my pack, My pack ye shall have free.'
  21. He wiled six o his best bowmen, Himslef the seventh to be, But [him] frae his pack they couldna get, For all that they could dee.
  22. He's taen his pack into one hand, His broadsword in the other, And he slew five o the best bowmen, And the sixth he has dung over.
  23. Then all the rest they gae a shout, As they stood by the tree; Some said they would this merchant head, Some said they'd let him be.
  24. But Jock the Leg he then replied, To this I'll not agree; He is the boldest broadsword-man That ever I fought wi.
  25. 'If ye could wield the bow, the bow As ye can do the brand, I would hae you to good greenwood, To be my master's man.'
  26. 'Tho I could wield the bow, the bow As I can do the brand, I would not gang to good greenwood, To join a robber-band.'
  27. 'O give me some of your fine linen, To cleathe my men and me, And ye'se hae some of my dun deers' skins, Below yon greenwood-tree.'
  28. 'Ye'se hae nane o my fine linen, To cleathe your men and thee, And I'll hae nane o your stown deers' skins, Below yon greenwood-tree.'
  29. 'Ye'll take your pack upon your back, And travel by land or sea; In brough or land, wherever we meet, Good billies we shall be.'
  30. 'I'll take my pack upon my back, And go by land or sea; In brough or land, wherever we meet, A rank theif I'll call thee.'