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Young Johnstone

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Young Johnstone

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Young Johnstone

As Johnson and the young Colonel
Together were drinking wine,
Says Johnson to the young Colonel,
"If you'll marry my sister, I'll marry thine."

"No, I'll not marry your sister,
Nor shall you marry mine,
For I will keep her for a miss
As I go through the town."

Young Johnson has drawn his broad bright sword
Which hung low down to the ground,
And he has given the young Colonel
A deep and deadly wound.

Then mounting on his milk-white steed,
He swiftly rode away
Until he came to his sister's house
Long, long ere the break of day.

"Alight, alight, young Johnson," she said,
"And take a silent sleep,
For you have crossed wide wide waters,
Which are both wide and deep."

"I cannot light, I cannot light,
Nor neither sleep can I,
For I have killed the young Colonel,
And for it I did fly."

"O have you killed the young Colonel?
 O woe be unto thee!
To-morrow's morn at eight o'clock
It's hanged you shall be."

"O hold your tongue, you cruel woman,
O hold your tongue," said he,
"How can I trust to a strange lady
If I cannot trust to thee?"

He's mounted on his nimble steed
And swiftly rode away,
Until he carne to his own true love
Long, long ere break of day.

"Alight, alight, young Johnson," she said,
"And take a silent sleep,
For you have crossed the stormy waters,
Which are both wide and deep."

"I can't alight, I cannot stop,
Nor either sleep can I,
For I have killed the young Colonel
And for it I must fly."

"O have you killed my brother?" she said,
"O what shall now be done?
But come into my chamber,
I'll secure you from all harm."

She's locked up his hawks
And she's locked up his hounds,
And she's locked up the nimble steed
That bore him from the ground.

She's locked one, she's locked two,
She's locked three or four,
And then she stood for his life-guard
Behind the entry door.

On looking east and looking west
She happened for to see
Four and twenty of the King's Life Guards
Come riding merrily.

"O did you see young Johnson?" they said,
"Or did he pass by this way?
For he has killed the young Colonel,
And for it he did fly."

"What color was his hawk?" she said,
"And what color was his hound?
And what color was his nimble steed
That bore him from the ground?"

"A dark gray was his hawk," they said,
"And a light gray was his hound,
And a milk-white was the nimble steed
That bore him from the ground."

"Then ride away, O ride away
And quickly ride, I pray;
Or I fear he'll be out of London Town
Long, long ere the dawn of day."

She went into his chamber
For to tell him what she had done,
And he has pierced his lovely dear
That ne'er did him any wrong.

Young Johnson being in a silent sleep
And dreaming they were near
He has drawn his bright broad shining sword
And pierced his lovely dear.

"What cause for this, dear Johnson" she said,
"O what is this you've done?
For you have pierced your dearest dear
That ne'er did you any wrong.

"O can you live? O can you live?
Can you live but one single half hour
And all the doctors in London Town
Shall be within your bower."

"I cannot live, I cannot live!
O how can I live" said she,
"For don't you see my very heart's blood
Come trickling down from my knee?

"O ride away, you ride away,
And quickly get over the plain,
And never let it once enter your mind
That your own true love you've slain."

Child #88
From Bronson, Singing Tradition of Child's Popular Ballads
SOF
oct97
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E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III