The Oxford Book of Ballads - online book

A Selection Of The Best English Lyric Ballads Chosen & Edited by Arthur Quiller-Couch

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Sae out at the gates they a' are gane, The prisoner 's set on horseback hie;
And now wi' speed they've ta'en the gate, While ilk ane jokes fu' wantonlie :
' O Jock ! sae winsomely ye sit, Wi' baith your feet upon ae side;
Sae weel ye're harneist, and sae trig, In troth ye sit like ony bride!'
The night, tho' wat, they did na mind,
But hied them on fu' merrilie, Until they cam to Cholerton brae,
Where the water ran like mountains hie.
But when they cam to Cholerton ford, There they met with an auld man ;
Says—' Honest man, will the water ride ? Tell us in haste, if that ye can.'—
' I wat weel no,' quo' the gude auld man ;
' I hae lived here thretty years and three; Nor man nor horse can go ower Tyne,
Except it were a horse of tree.'—
Then out and spoke the Laird's saft Wat, The greatest coward in the companie :
' Now halt, now halt! we need na try't; The day is come we a' maun die!'— 724
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