Child's, The English And Scottish Ballads

Volume 6 of 8 from 1860 edition - online book

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the battle of Dryffe Sands, and is said to have early avowed the deepest revenge for his father's death. Such, indeed, was the fiery and untameable spirit of the man, that neither the threats nor entreaties of the King himself could make him lay aside his vindictive purpose; although Johnstone, the object of his resent­ment, had not only reconciled himself to the court, but even obtained the wardenry of the Middle Marches, in room of Sir John Carmichael, murdered by the Armstrongs. Lord Maxwell was therefore prohibited to approach the Border counties; and hav­ing, in contempt of that mandate, excited new dis­turbances, he was confined in the castle of Edinburgh. From this fortress, however, he contrived to make his escape; and, having repaired to Dumfriesshire, he sought an amicable interview with Johnstone, under a pretence of a wish to accommodate their differences. Sir Robert Maxwell, of Orchardstane, (mentioned in the ballad, verse 1,) who was married to a sister of Sir James Johnstone, persuaded his brother-in-law to accede to Maxwell's proposal."
So far Sir Walter Scott. The meeting took place on the 6th ot April, 1608, in the presence of Sir Robert Maxwell, each party being accompanied by a single follower. While the chieftains were conferring together, Charles Maxwell, the attendant of Lord John, maliciously began an altercation with the ser­vant of Johnstone, and shot him with a pistol, and Sir James, looking round at the report, was himself shot by Lord Maxwell in the back with two poisoned bullets.
The murderer escaped to France, but afterwards venturing to return to Scotland, was apprehended,