Verse > Anthologies > Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. > The Oxford Book of Ballads
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Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. (1863–1944).  The Oxford Book of Ballads.  1910.
 
88. Katharine Johnstone
 
 
I

THERE was a may, and a weel-far’d may,
  Lived high up in yon glen;
Her name was Katharine Johnstone
  She was courted by mony men.
 
II

Doun cam’ the Laird o’ Lamington
        5
  Out frae the North Countrie,
All for to court this pretty may,
  Her bridegroom for to be.
 
III

He tell’d na her father, he tell’d na her mither,
  He tell’d na ane o’ her kin,        10
But he tell’d the bonnie lass hersel’
  An’ her consent did win.
 
IV

But up then cam’ Lord Faughanwood
  Out frae the English Border,
And for to court this pretty may,        15
  A’ mounted in good order.
 
V

He ’s tell’d her father, he’s tell’d her mither,
  And a’ the lave o’ her kin;
But he ’s tell’d na the bonny lass hersel’
  Till on her weddin’-e’en.        20
 
VI

She’s sent unto her first fere love,
  Gin he would come to see,
And Lamington has sent back word
  Weel answer’d should she be.
 
VII

Then he has sent a messenger
        25
  Right quietly thro’ the land,
For four-and-twenty arméd men
  To ride at his command.
 
VIII

The bridegroom from a high window
  Beheld baith dale and down,        30
And there he spied her first fere love
  Cam’ riding to the toun.
 
IX

She scofféd and she scornéd him
  Upon her weddin’-day,
And said it was the Fairy Court        35
  He saw in sic array!
 
X

When a’ were at the dinner set,
  Drinking the blude-red wine,
In cam’ the Laird o’ Lamington
  The bridegroom ’should hae been.        40
 
XI

‘O come ye here to fight, young lord?
  Or come ye here to play?
Or come ye here to drink good wine
  Upon the weddin’-day?’—
 
XII

‘I come na here to fight,’ he said
        45
  ‘I come na here to play;
I’ll but lead a dance wi’ the bonny bride,
  And mount and go my way.’
 
XIII

There was a glass of the blude-red wine
  Was fill’d them up between,        50
But aye she drank to Lamington,
  Wha her true love had been.
 
XIV

He’s ta’en her by the milk-white hand,
  And by the grass-green sleeve;
He’s mounted her high behind himsel’,        55
  At her kin he’s spier’d nae leave.
 
XV

There were four-and-twenty bonny boys
  A’ clad in the Johnstone grey,
They swore they would tak’ the bride again
  By the strong hand, if they may.        60
 
XVI

It’s up, it’s up the Cowden bank,
  It’s down the Cowden brae;
The bride she gar’d the trumpet sound
  ‘It is a weel-won play!’
 
XVII

The blude ran down by Cowden bank
        65
  And down by Cowden brae,
But aye she gar’d the trumpet sound
  ‘It’s a’ fair play!’
 
XVIII

‘My blessing on your heart, sweet thing!
  Wae to your wilfu’ will!        70
Sae mony a gallant gentleman’s blood
  This day as ye’ve gar’d spill.’
 
XIX

But a’ you lords of fair England,
  If you be English born,
Come never to Scotland to seek a wife        75
  Or else ye’ll get the scorn.
 
XX

They’ll haik ye up, and settle ye by,
  Until your weddin’-day;
Then gie ye frogs instead o’ fish,
  And do ye foul, foul play.        80
 
GLOSS:  weel-far’d] well-favoured.  lave] rest.  fere] mate.  spier’d] asked.
 

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