Child's, The English And Scottish Ballads

Volume 6 of 8 from 1860 edition - online book

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JOHNIE ARJISTRANG.                       39
ing any Scottishman: Secondly, that there was not a subject in England, duke, earl, or baron, but, within a certain day, he should bring him to his majesty, either quick or dead. At length, he seeing no hope of favor, said very proudly, ' It is folly to seek grace at a graceless face; but,' said he, ' had I known this, I should have lived upon the Borders in despite of King Harry and you both; for I know King Harry would downweigh my best horse with gold, to know that I were condemned to die this day."—Pitscottie's History, p. 145. Johnie and all his retinue were accordingly hanged upon growing trees, at a place called Carlen-rig Chapel, about ten miles above Hawick, on the high road to Langholm. The country people believe, that, to manifest the injustice of the execution, the trees withered away. Armstrong and his followers were buried in a deserted churchyard, where their graves are still shown.
"As this Border hero was a person of great note in his way, he is frequently alluded to by the writers of the time. Sir David Lindsay of the Mount, in the curious play published by Mr. Pinkerton, from the Bannatyne MS., introduces a pardoner, or knavish dealer in relics, who produces, among his holy rari­ties—
-----" The cordis, baith grit and lang,
Quhilk hangit Johnnie Armstrong,
Of gud hempt, soft and sound.
Gud haly pepill, I stand ford,
Quhavir beis hangit in this cord,
Neidis nevir to be dround!" Pinkerton's Scottish Poems, vol. ii. p. 69.
"In The Complaynt of Scotland, John Armistrangis' iance, mentioned as a popular tune, has probably