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Sir Patrick Spens

The King sits in Dunfermline town,
Drinking the blude-red wine;
"O whare will I get a skeely skipper (skilful)
To sail this new ship of mine!"

O up and spake an eldern knight,
Sat at the King's right knee, -
"Sir Patrick Spens is the best sailor,
That ever sail'd the sea."

Our King has written a braid letter, (broad; ie on a broadsheet)
And seal'd it with his hand,
And sent it to Sir Patrick Spens,
Was walking on the strand.

"To Noroway, to Noroway,
To Noroway o'er the faem; (foam)
The King's daughter of Noroway,
'Tis thou maun bring her hame." (must, home)

The first line that Sir Patrick read,
Sae loud loud laughed he; (so) (said 'lach-ed' as in 'loch')
The neist line that Sir Patrick read, (next)
The tear blinded his ee. (rhymed with 'bin-dead'; eye)

"O wha is this has done this deed,
And tauld the King o' me, (told)
To send us out, at this time of the year,
To sail upon the sea?

"Be it wind, be it weet, be it hail, be it sleet, (wet; 'sleet' is
Our ship must sail the faem; (half snow, half rain)
The king's daughter of Noroway,
'Tis we must fetch her hame."

They hoysed their sails on Monenday morn, (hoisted)
Wi' a' the speed they may; (with all)
They hae landed in Noroway (have)
Upon a Wodensday. (Wednesday) Woden, Odin in Norse was the chief God.
(His son Thor gave his name to Thorsday/Thursday)

They hadna been a week, a week, (hadn't)
In Noroway but twae, (two)
When that the lords o' Noroway
Began aloud to say, -

"Ye Scottishmen spend a' our King's goud, (all; gold - said 'gowd')
And a' our Queenis fee."
"Ye lie, ye lie, ye liars loud!
Fu' loud I hear ye lie. (full; liars is said lee-ers; lie is 'lee')

"For I brought as much white monie (silver coin)
As gane my men and me, (as suffices)
And I brought a half-fou o' the good red goud (gold)
Out o'er the sea wi' me.

"Make ready, make ready, my merry men a'! (all)
Our good ship sails the morn." (tomorrow)
"Now, ever alake, my master dear (alack)
I fear a deadly storm.

"I saw the new moon late yestreen (yesterday evening)
Wi' the auld moon in her arm; (with; old)
And, if we gang to sea, master,
I fear we'll come to harm."

They hadna sailed a league, a league,
A league but barely three,
When the lift grew dark, and the wind blew loud, (lift - sky)
And gurly grew the sea. (growling)

The ankers brak, and the top-masts lap, (anchors broke; sprang)
It was such a deadly storm;
And the waves came o'er the broken ship
Till a' her sides were torn.

"O where will I get a gude sailor (good)
To take my helm in hand,
Till I get up to the tall top-mast
But I fear you'll ne'er spy land." (never spot)

"O here am I, a sailor gude,
To take the helm in hand,
Till you go up to the tall top-mast,
But I fear you'll ne'er spy land."

He hadna gone a step, a step,
A step but barely ane,
When a bout flew out of our goodly ship, (bolt)
And the salt sea it came in.

"Go fetch a web o' the silken claith, (cloth)
Another o' the twine, (canvas)
And wap them into our good ship's side, (warp/wrap)
And let na the sea come in." (na - not)

They fetched a web o' the silken claith,
Another o' the twine,
And they wapped them round that gude ship's side,
But still the sea came in.

(The next verse is one of the finest examples of malicious observation
in the Scottish tradition!)

O laith, laith, were our gude Scots lords (loathe)
To weet their cork-heel'd shoon, (wet; shoes)
But long ere all the play was play'd
They wet their hats aboon. (above)

And mony was the feather-bed (many)
That flatter'd on the foam; (floated)
And mony was the gude lord's son
That never mair cam hame. (never more came home)

The ladyes wrang their fingers white, (ladies wrung)
The maidens tore their hair,
A' for the sake of their true loves,
For them they'll see nae mair. (no more)

O lang, lang may the ladyes sit
With their fans into their hand,
Before they see Sir Patrick Spens
Come sailing to the strand! (beach)

And lang, lang, may the maidens sit
With their goud kaims in their hair, (gold combs)
A' waiting for their ain dear loves, (own)
For them they'll see nae mair.

Half owre, half owre to Aberdour,*
'Tis fifty fathoms deep,
And there lies gude Sir Patrick Spens,
With the Scots lord at his feet.

Ane Wee Ferty

oh whit an affy sleekit beastie
lurks in yer belly efter the feastie
just as ye sit doon among yer kin
there sterts to stir an enormous win
the neeps and tatties and mushy peas
stert workin like a gentle breeze
but soon the puddin wi the sauncie face
will have ye blawin all ower the place
nae matter whit the hell ye dae
a`bodys gonnae have tae pay
even if ye try to stifle
its like a bullet oot a rifle
hawed ye bum tight tae the chair
tae try and stop the leakin air
shify yersel fae cheek tae cheek
prae tae god it doesnae reek
but aw yer efforts go assunder
oot it comes like a clap o'thunder
ricochets aroon the room
michty me a sonic boom
god almighty it fairly reeks
hope i huvnae shit ma breeks
tae the bog i better scurry
aw whit the hell, it`s no ma worry
a`body roon aboot me chokin
wan or two are nearly bokin
i`ll feel better for awhile
cannae help but raise a smile
wis him!I shout with accusin glower
alas too late, he`s just keeled ower
ye dirty bugger they shout and stare
a dinnae feel welcome any mair
where e`re ye go let yer wind gan `free
sounds just like the job fur me
whit a fuss at rabbie`s perty
ower the sake o`won wee ferty.


                                     In the style of Robert Burns

-----+++-----

Johnny Armstrong

Sum speiks of lords, sum speiks of lairds,
And siclyke men of hie degrie;
Of a gentleman I sing a sang,
Sumtyme calld Laird of Giluockie.

The king he wrytes a laving letter,
With his ain hand see tenderly:
And he hath sent it to Johnnie Armstrang,
To cum and speik with him speidily.

The Eliots and Armstrangs did convene,
They were a gallant company:
'We'ill ryde and meit our lawful king,
And bring him safe to Gilnockiel'

'Make kinnen * and capon ready, then, *(oxen)
And venison in great plenty;
We'ill welcome hame our royal king;
I hope he'ill dyne at Gilnockiel'

They ran their horse on the Langum howm (low flat ground by river)
And brake their speirs with mekle main;
The ladys lukit free their loft-windows,
'God bring our men weil back again!'

When Johnnie came before the king,
With all his men see brave to see,
The King he movit his bonnet to him;
He weind he was a king as well as he.

'May I find grace, my sovereign liege,
Grace for my loyal men and me?
For my name it is Johnnie Armstrang,
And subject of yours, my liege,' said he.

'Away, away, thou traytor, strang!
Out of my sicht thou mayst sune be!
I grantit nevir a traytors lyfe,
And now I'll not begin with thee.'

"Grant me my lyfe, my liege, my king,
And a bony gift I will give to thee:
Full four-and-twenty milk-whyt steids.
Were a' foald in a yeir to me.

'I'll gie thee all these milk-whyt steids,
that prance and nicher at a speir,
With as mekle gude Inglis gilt
As four of their braid backs dow beir.'

'Away, away, thou traytor strang!
Out o' my sicht thou mayst sune be!
I grantit nevir a traytors Iyfe,
And now I'll not begin with thee.'

'Grant me my lyfe, my liege, my king,
And a bony gift I'll gie to thee;
Gude four-and-twenty ganging mills,
That gang throw a' the yeir to me.

'These four-and-twenty mills complete
Sall gang for thee throw all the yeir,
And as mekle of gude reid wheit
As all their trappers dow to bear.'

'Away, away, thou traytor, strang!
Out of my sicht thou mayst sune be!
I grantit nevir a traytors lyfe,
And now I'll not begin with thee.'

'Grant me my lyfe, my liege, my king,
And a great gift I'll gie to thee;
Bauld four-and-twenty sisters sons,
Sall for the fecht, tho all sould flee.'

'Away, away, thou traytor, strang!
Out of my sicht thou mayst sune be!
I grantit nevir a traytors lyfe,
And now I'll not begin with thee.'

'Grant me my lyfe, my liege, my king,
And a brave gift I'll gie to thee;
All betwene heir and Newcastle town
Sall pay chair yeirly rent to thee.'

Away, away, thou traytor, strang!
Out of my sicht thou mayst sune be!
I grantit nevir a traytors lyfe,
And now I'll not begin with thee.'

'Ye lied, ye lied, now, king,' he says,
'Althocht a king and prince ye be,
For I luid naithing in all my lyfe,
I dare well say it, but honesty;

'But a fat horse, and a fair woman,
Twa bony dogs to kill a deir:
But Ingland suld half found me meil and malt,
Gif I had livd this hundred yeir!

'Scho suld half found me meil and malt,
And beif and mutton in all plentie;
But neir a Scots wyfe could half said
That eir I skaithd her a pure flie. (I did her a fly's worth of harm)

'To seik het water beneth cauld yce,
Surely it is a great folie;
I half asked grace at a graceless face,
But there is nane for my men and me.

'But had I kend, or I came free hame,
How thou unkynd wadst bene to me,
I wad half kept the border-syde,
In spyte of all they force and thee.

'Wist Englands king that I was tane,
O gin a blyth man wald he be!
For anes I slew his sisters son,
And on his breist-bane brak a tree.'

John wore a girdle about his midle,
Imbroidered owre with burning gold,
Bespangled with the same mettle,
Maist beautiful! was to behold.

Ther hang nine targets at Johnnies hat,
And ilk an worth three hundred pound:
'What wants that knave that a king suld haif,
But the sword of honour and the crown!

'O whair get thou these targets, Johnnie,
That blink see brawly abune thy brie?'
'I get them in the field fechting,
Wher, cruel king, thou durst not be.

'Had I my horse, and my harness gude,
And ryding as I wont to be,
It sould half bene tald this hundred yeir
The meiting of my king and me.

'God be withee, Kirsty, my brither,
Lang live thou Laird of Mangertoun!
Lang mayst thou live on the border-syde
Or thou se thy brither ryde up and doun.

'And God be withee, Kirsty, my son,
Whair thou sits on thy nurses knee!
But and thou live this hundred yeir,
Thy fathers better thoult never be.

'Farweil, my bonny Gilnock-Hall,
Whair on Esk-syde thou standest stout!
Gif I had lived but seven yeirs mair,
I wad haff gilt thee round about.'

John murdred was at Carlinrigg,
And all his galant companie,
But Scotlands heart was never sae wae,
To see sae mony brave men die.

Because they savd their country deir
Frae Englishmen; nane were sae bauld,
Whyle Johnnie livd on the border-syde,
Nane of them durst cum neir his hald.

-----+++-----

Johnny Armstrong

There dwelt a man in faire Westmerland
Ionne Armstrong men did him call
He had nither lands nor rents coming in
Yet he kept eight score men in his hall

He had horses and harness for them all,
Goodly steeds were all milk white;
O the golden bands an about their necks,
And their weapons, they were all alike.

Newes then was brought unto the king
That there was sicke a won as hee,
That lived (I]yke a bold out-law,
And robbed all the north country.


The king he writt an a letter then,
A letter which was large and long;
He signed it with his owne hand,
And he promised to doe him no wrong.

When this letter carne Ionne untill,
His heart it was as blythe as birds on the tree:
"Never was I sent for before any king,
My father, my grandfather, nor none but mee.

"And if wee goe the king before,
I would we went most orderly;
Every man of you shall have his scarlet cloak,
Laced with silver laces three.

"Every one of you shall have his velvett coat,
Laced with silver lace so white;
O the golden bands an about your necks,
Black hatts, white feathers, all alyke"'

By the morrow morninge at ten of the clock,
Towards Edenburough gon was hee,
And with him all his eight score men;
Good lord, it was a goodly sight for to see!

When Ionne came befower the king,
He fell downe on his knee;
"O pardon, my soveraine leige; he said,
"O pardon my eight score men and mee!-

"Thou shalt have no pardon, thou traytor strong,
For thy eight score men nor thee;
For to-morrow morning by ten of the clock,
Both thou and them shall hang on the gallow-tree"

But Ionne lookd over his left shoulder,
Good Lord, what a grievous look looked hee!
Saying, "Asking grace of a graceles face-
Why there is none for you nor me"

But Ionne had a bright sword by his side,
And it was made of the mettle so free,
That had not the king stept his foot aside,
He had smitten his head from his faire bodde.

Saying, "fight on, my merry men all,
And see that none of you be taine;
For rather then men shall say we were hanged,
Let them report how we were slaine."

Then, God wott, faire Eddenburrough rose,
And so besett poore Ionne rounde,
That fowerscore and tenn of Ionne's best men
Lay gasping all upon the ground.

Then like a mad man Ionne laid about,
And like a mad man then fought hee,
Until a falce Scot came Ionne behinde,
And runn him through the faire boddee.

Saying, "fight on, my merry men all,
And see that none o you be taine;
For I will stand by and bleed but awhile,
And then will I come and fight againe!"

Newes then was brought to young Ionne Armstrong,
As he stood by his nurse's knee,
Who vowed if ere he lived for to be a man,
O' the treacherous Scots revengd hee'd be

Traditional

-----+++-----


The Virginian Maid's Lament

Hearken, and I'll tell 
You a story that befell 
In the lands of Virginia-O 
How a pretty maid 
For a slave she betray'd 
And O but I'm weary, weary O! 
Seven lang years I serv'd 
To Captain Welsh, a laird 
In the lands of Virginia-O 
And he so cruelly 
Sold me to Madam Guy 
And O but I'm weary, weary O! 
We are yoked to a plough 
And wearied sair enough 
In the lands of Virginia-O 
With the yoke upon our neck 
Till our hearts are like to break 
And O but I'm weary, weary O! 
When we're called home to meat 
There's little there to eat 
In the lands of Virginia-O 
We're whipt at every meal 
And our backs they never heal 
And O but I'm weary, weary Oh! 
When our madam she does walk 
We must all be at her back 
In the lands of Virginia-O 
When our baby it does weep 
We must lull it o'er asleep 
And O but I'm weary, weary O! 
At mid time of the day 
When our master goes to play 
In the lands of Virginia-O 
Our factor stands near by 
With his rod below his thigh 
And O but I'm weary, weary O! 
But if I had the chance 
Fair Scotland to advance 
From the lands of Virginia-O 
Never more should I 
Be a slave to Madam Guy 
And O but I'm weary, weary O! 

Anon

Gin a wis God

Gin I was God, sittin up there abeen
Weariet nae doot noo a' ma day was deen,
Deaved wie the harps an hymns oonendin ringing
Tired o the flockin angels hairse wi singing,
To some clood-edge I'd daunder forth an feth
Look ower an watch hoo things were gyaun aneth.
Syne, gin I saw hoo men I'd made mysel
Had startit in to pooshen, sheet an fell,
To reive an rape, an fairly mak a hell
O my braw, birlin Earth, -a hale weeks wirk-
I'd cast my coat again, rowe up my sark,
An, or they'd time to lench a second ark,
Tak bak my word and sen anither spate,
Droon oot the hale hypothec, dicht the sklate,
Own my mistak an aince I'd cleard the brod,
Start a'thing ower again, gin I was God.


Charles Murray, 1864-1941

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