Child's, The English And Scottish Ballads

Volume 6 of 8 from 1860 edition - online book

Home Main Menu Singing & Playing Order & Order Info Support Search Voucher Codes

Share page  Visit Us On FB

Previous Contents Next
Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border, iii. 114.
" The hero of this ballad appears to have been an outlaw and deer-stealer—probably one of the broken men residing upon the Border. There are several different copies, in one of which the principal per­sonage is called Johnie of Cockielaw. The stanzas of greatest merit have been selected from each copy. It is sometimes said, that this outlaw possessed the old Castle of Morton, in Dumfries-shire, now ruinous: " Near to this castle there was a park, built by Sir Thomas Randolph, on the face of a very great and high hill; so artificially, that, by the advantage of the hill, all wild beasts, such as deers, harts, and roes, and hares, did easily leap in, but could not get out again; and if any other cattle, such as cows, sheep, or goats, did voluntarily leap in, or were forced to do it, it is doubted if their owners were permitted to get them out again." Account of Presbytery of Penponl, apud Macfarlane's MSS. Such a park would form a convenient domain to an outlaw's castle, and the mention of Durisdeer, a neighboring parish, adds weight to this tradition."
Johnie of Breadislee was first printed in the Border Minstrelsy. Fragments of two other versions, in which the hero's name is Johny Cock, were given in Fry's Pieces of Ancient Poetry, Bristol, 1814, p. 55,