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This appears to be a Ballad of great antiquity, and to have been at all times extremely popular. The present copy seems to have been modernized about the time of James the first, and serves to give us some idea of the zeal displayed and the arts employed to bring the dignitaries of the church into contempt with the people.
DICK O' THE COW.
Now Liddisdale has lyan lang in,
There is nae riding there at a': Their horses are grown sae lidder fat,
They downa stur out o' the sta'.
Then Johnie Armstrong to Willie can say,
Billie a riding then gae will we: England and us has been lang at a feid;
Ablins we'll hit on some bootie.
Then they're com'd on to Hutton Ha',
They rade the proper place about: But the laird he was the wiser man,
For he had left nae gear without.-
Except sax sheep upon a lee:
Ere thir sax sheep gae ťLiddisdale wi' me.
Billie, as we came o'er the know; That same he is an innocent fool,
And some men ca' him Dick o' the Cow.
That fool has three
as good ky o' his ain,
These three ky shall gae t' Liddisdale wi' me.
Then they're com'd on to the poor fool's house,
And they hae broken his wa's sae wide; They have loos’d out Dick o' the Cow's three ky,
And tane three co'erlets aff his wife's bed. Then on the morn, whan the day was light,
The shouts and cries rose loud and hie:
And o' thy crying let me be.--
And of thy crying let me be;
In good sooth I'll bring thee three.
And I wat a dreirie fool was he;
For I may not stand to jest wi' thee. Shame speed a' your jesting, my lord, quo' Dickie,
For nae sic jesting grees wi' me: Liddisdale's been i' my house last night,
And they hae tane my three ky frae me. But I may nae langer in Cumberland dwell,
To be your poor fool and your leal,
Tgae t Liddisdale and steal.
Thou speakest against my honour and me,
Thou'l steal frae nane but wha sta frae thee. There is my trowth and my right hand;
My head shall hang on Hairibe ; * I'll ne'er cross Carlisle sands again,
If I steal frae a man but wha sta frae me.
* The place of Execution at Carlisle.
Dickie's tane leave at lord and master,
And I wat a merry fool was he;
And pack'd them up in his breek thigh.
Then Dickie's come on for Pudding-burn*,
E'en as fast as he might drie.-
Where there were thirty Armstrongs and three.
O! what's this com'd o'me now, quo' Dickie,
What meikle wae's this happen'do' me, quo' he; When here is but ae innocent fool,
And there is thirty Armstrongs and three.
Ye he's com’d up to the ha’ amang
them a' Sae weil's he became his curtesie. Weil may ye be, my good laird's Jock,
But the de'il bless a' your companie.
I'm come to 'plain o' your man, fair Johnie Armstrong,
And syne o' his billie Willie, quo he;
And they hae tane my three ky frae me.
Quo' Johnie Armstrong, we will him hang.
Na' then, quo' Willie, we'll him slae. But up and bespake anither young man,
We'll gie 'im his batts, and let him gae.
Then up and bespake the good laird's Jock,
The best fallow in a' the companie, Sit thy ways down a little while Dickie,
And a piece o'thy ain cow's hough I'll gi' thee.
* Pudding-burn Hall was, at that time, the place of abode of the Arm. strongs: It is on the farm of Readmoss, and is now converted into a sheepfold
But Dickie's heart it grew sae great,
That ne'er a bit o't he dought to eat.Then Dickie was 'ware o' an auld peat-house,
Where a' the night he thought for to sleep.Then Dickie was 'ware o' an auld peat-house,
Where a' the night he thought for to ly; And a' the
fool pray'd, wish I had a mens for my ain three ky. Then it was the use of Pudding-burn,
And the house of Mangerton, all haill, These that came na at the first ca'
They got nae mair meat t the neist meal. The lads that hungry and weary were,
Aboon the door-head they hang the key; Dickie he took good notice to that,
Says, there's a bootie yonder for me. Then Dickie into the stable is gane,
Where there stood thirty horses and three;
A' these horses but barely three.-
A' these horses but barely three:
is Dickie. Then on the morn, whan the day grew light,
The shouts and cries rose loud and hie; O! where's that thief, quo' the good laird's Jock,
Tell me the truth and the veritie. O! where's that thief, quo' the good laird's Jock,
See unto me ye dinna lie; Dickie's been i? the stable last night,
And has my brother's horse and mine frae me.
* Ham-stringed the Horses.
Ye wad ne'er be tel'd, quo' the good laird's Jock,
Have ye not found my tales fu leel; Ye wad ne'er out o' England bide,
Till crooked and blind, and a' wad steal. But lend me thy bay, Johnie Armstrong can say,
There's nae horse loose in the stable but he;
Or the day is come that he shall die.
He's worth baith goud and good monie;
I wish na thou may make him three. He's tane the laird's jack on his back,
The twa handed sword that hang by his thigh ; He's tune the steel-cap on his head,
And on he is gane to follow Dickie.
I wat a mile but barely three,
Hand for hand on Canrobie-Lee.*
The day is come that thou maun die: Then Dickie look'd o'er his left shoulder,
Johnie, has thou any moe in companie. There is a preacher in our chapel,
And a' the lee lang day teaches he; Whan day is gane, and night is come,
There's ne'er ae word I mark but three: The first and second is Faith and Conscience,
The third, ne'er let a traitour free; But, Johnie, what faith and conscience hadst thou,
Whan thou took my three ky frae me.
* A rising ground in Cannobie, near the border of Liddisdale.