The Trooper and the Turk
John Thomson fought against the Turks,
In a country far away
From Scotland's shore, and bonny braes
And from his lady gay.
Three years and more he had been gone
From home, and lady fair;
Now this young chieftain sat alone
His mind on Scotland far.
He thought of his own childhood days,
And the happy hours he spent
When as a youth, o'er moor and fen
His wandering footsteps bent.
It happened once upon a day,
As he was walking down to the sea,
He spied his lady, in rich array,
As she was riding o'er the lea.
"What brought you here, my dear," he said,
"So far from friends and home?
Why did you not let me know, that it
Was your desire to come?"
"I pondered long, dear John," she said,
"E'er I made my mind to come;
I longed for your fair face to see,
It was that which lured me from our home."
For some days she did stay with him,
And seemed a loving wife to be,
"Then farewell for a time," she said.
For home again she must away.
He gave her jewels that were rare,
Set with pearls and precious stones,
Saying, "Beware of robbers bold,
That are on the way as you go home."
"You'll take the road, my lady fair,
That leads you far across the lea,
That will take you from the Turkish plain
Which is the home of base Vallentree."
These two did part with heavy hearts
And, as he thought, she was going home.
Instead, she crossed the Turkish plain
And to base Vallentree she's gone.
When a full twelve months had passed,
John Thomson had thought wondrous long;
He wrote a letter to his brother then,
And sealed it well with his own hand.
He sent it with a vessel small,
That then was quickly going to sea
And sent it on to Scotland fair
And inquired about his gay lad-ee.
But the answer he received from home
Did grieve his heart right sore,
None of her friends had seen her there
For a year and something more.
Then he put on a palmer's weed,
And took a pike-staff in his hand,
And to the castle of Vallentree
Slowly his sorrowful way did wend.
And when within the hall he came,
He heavily on his staff did lean;
"If ye be the lady of this hall
Some of your bounty give to me."
"What news, what news, good man," said she,
"And from what country have you come?"
"I'm lately come from Grecian plains
Where camps some of the Scotch army."
"If you be come from Grecian plains
Some other news I'll ask of thee,
Regarding one of the chieftains there,
Has he lately seen his fair lad-ee?"
"It's a full twelve months and something more,
Since they did part on the Grecian plain;
And now this chieftain has begun to fear
That some of his foes have captured her."
"He has not taken me by force,"
Quoth she, "It was of my own free will,
He may tarry in the fight
But here I mean to tarry still."
"And if John Thomson you chance to see,
Tell him I wish him very well,
But his wife I can no longer be,
For now I love another man."
He then threw off his strange disguise,
Laid by the mask that he had on,
Saying, "Hide me now, my dearest wife,
For Vallentree will soon be home."
"For the love I bore you once,
I'll strive to hide you, if I can;"
She led him down to the cellar dark,
Where he saw many a newly slain man.
But he had not long in the cellar been
When a sound outside, caused him to fear.
It was the tread of many feet
As through the gates came Vallentree.
He greeted her with affection then
And said, "It's time that we should dine.
Bring forth from your most bountiful store,
And serve us with both bread and wine.
"That chief of the Scots, our dreaded foe
Who from the field has made us flee,
Ten thousand guineas in gold, I'd give
If I his face were permitted to see."
"If I produce this Scotchman bold
And cause him to before thee stand,
Will you surely keep to me, your word
And pay this price into my hand?"
Then from the cellar she brought the chief,
And he came on most dejectedly.
The Turk then paid the price agreed,
And unto the chieftain he did say,
"I have thee in my power, now
And I shall work my will on thee;
But if things were changed betwixt us both
What would you do unto me?"
"If I had you, as you have me,
I'll tell you what I would do," he said,
"I would cause your own hand to arrange the tree
And hang you up in yon green-wood."
From Ballads Migrant in New England, Flanders