Child's, The English And Scottish Ballads

Volume 6 of 8 from 1860 edition - online book

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THE BONNIE HOUSE o' AIRLY.           183
THE BONNIE HOUSE O* AIRLY. Finlay's Scottish Ballads, ii. 31.
The Earl of Airly, a nobleman zealously attached to the cause of King Charles, withdrew from Scotland in order to avoid subscribing the Covenant, leaving his eldest son Lord Ogilvie at home. The Committee of Estates, hearing that Airly had fled the country, directed the Earls of Montrose and Kinghorn to take possession of his castle, but in this, owing to the ex­ceeding strength of the place, they did not succeed. Subsequently the Earl of Argyle, a personal enemy of the Earl of Airly, was charged with the same com­mission, and raised an army of five thousand men to carry out his trust Lord Ogilvie was unable to hold out against such a force, and abandoned his father's stronghold, which, as well as his own residence of Forthar, was plundered and utterly destroyed by Ar­gyle. Lady Ogilvie is said to have been pregnant at the time of the burning of Forthar, and to have under­gone considerable danger before she could find proper refuge. She never had, however, more than one son, though she is endowed with no fewer than ten by the ballads. According to one account, the event here celebrated took place in 1639; another assigns it to 1640. (Napier's Montrose and the Covenanters, i. 533.)
The Bonnie House of Airly was first printed in Finlay's Scottish Ballads. Other copies are given in Cromek's Remains of Nithsdale and Galloway Song, p. 225; Smith's Scottish Minstrel, ii. 2; Hogg's Jacobite