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“Thir lands of Ettricke Forest fair,

I wan them from the enemie; Like as I wan them, sae will I keep them,

Contrair a' kings in Christendie."

All the nobles the king about,

Said pitie it were to see him die“Yet grant me mercie, sovereign prince !

Extend your favour unto me! “I'll give thee the keys of my castell,

Wi' the blessing o'my gay ladye, Gin thou ’lt make me sheriffe of this Forest,

And a' my offspring after me.” “Wilt thou give me the keys of thy castell,

Wi' the blessing of thy gaye ladye?
I'se make thee sheriffe of Ettricke Forest,

Surely while upward grows the tree;

you be not traitour to the king,
Forfauted sall thou never be.”

But, prince, what sall come o'

my men ? When I gae back, traitour they'll ca' me. I had rather lose my life and land,

Ere my merrymen rebuked me.

“Will your merrymen amend their lives ?

And a' their pardons I grant theeNow, name thy landis where'er they lie,

And here I render them to thee."

"Fair Philiphaugh is mine by right,

And Lewinshope still mine shall be ; Newark, Foulshiells, and Tinnies baith,

My bow and arrow purchased me.

“And I have native steads to me,

The Newark Lee and Hangingshaw; I have mony steads in the Forest shaw,

But them by name I dinna knaw.”
The keys o' the castell he gave the king,

Wi' the blessing o' his fair ladye;
He was made sheriffe of Ettricke Forest,

Surely while upward grows the tree;
And if he was na traitour to the king,

Forfauted he suld never be.
Wha ever heard, in ony times,

Siccan an Outlaw in his degree,
Sic favour get before a king,
As the OUTLAW MURRAY of the Forest



History is silent with regard to this young Nimrod. He appears,” says the Editor of the Border Minstrelsy, “to have been an outlaw and deer-stealer,--probably one of the broken men residing upon the border. It is sometimes said that this outlaw possessed the old castle of Morton, in Dumfriesshire, now ruinous.” Another tradition assigns Braid, in the neighbourhood of Edinburgh, to have been the scene of his “woeful hunting.”—MOTHER


Another version of this ballad, under the title of Johnnie o' Cocklesmuir, has been reprinted in “Scottish Ancient Traditional Ballads,” by the Percy Society ; but it is of inferior merit.-C. M.

JOHNNIE rose up in a May morning,

Called for water to wash his hands“Gar loose to me the gude graie dogs

That are bound wi' iron bands.”

When Johnnie's mother gat word o' that,

Her hands for dule she wrang“O Johnnie ! for my benison,

To the grenewood dinna gang! "Eneugh ye hae o' the gude wheat bread,

And eneugh o'the blude-red wine; And therefore, for nae venison, Johnnie,

I pray ye, stir frae hame.”
But Johnnie's busk't up his gude bend bow,

His arrows, ane by ane;
And he has gane to Durrisdeer

To hunt the dun deer down.


As he came down by Merriemass,

And in by the benty line,
There has he espied a deer lying

Aneath a bush of ling. *
Johnnie he shot, and the dun deer lap,

And he wounded her on the side ;
But, atween the water and the brae,

His hounds they laid her pride. And Johnnie has bryttledt the deer sae weel,

That he's had out her liver and lungs; And wi' these he has feasted his bludy hounds,

As if they had been earl's sons.

They eat sae much o' the venison,

And drank sae much o' the blude, That Johnnie and a' his bludy hounds

Fell asleep, as they had been dead.

* “Ling:” heath. + “Bryttled :" to cut up venison.

And by there came a silly auld carle,

An ill death mote he die! For he's away to Hislinton,

Where the Seven Foresters did lie.

“What news, what news, ye gray-headed carle,

What news bring ye to me?” “I bring nae news," said the gray-headed carle,

Save what these eyes did see.

“As I came down by Merriemass,

And down amang the scroggs, The bonniest childe that ever I saw

Lay sleeping amang his dogs.

"The shirt that was upon his back

Was o' the Holland fine;
The doublet which was over that

Was o' the lincome t twine.

“ The buttons that were on his sleeve

Were o' the goud sae gude;
The gude graie hounds he lay amang,

Their mouths were dyed wi' blude.”

Then out and spak the First Forester,

The heid man ower them a' “If this be Johnnie o' Breadislee,

Nae nearer will we draw.”

But up and spak the Sixth Forester,

(His sister's son was he) “If this be Johnnie o' Breadislee, We soon shall


him die!” * “Scroggs :” stunted trees. + “Lincome :" Lincoln,

The first flight of arrows the Foresters shot,

They wounded him on the knee;
And out and spak the Seventh Forester,

“The next will gar him die.”

Johnnie's set his back against an aik,

His fute against a stane;
And he has slain the Seven Foresters,

He has slain them a' but ane.

He has broke three ribs in that ane's side,

But and his collar bane;
He's laid him twa-fald ower his steed,

Bade him carry the tidings hame.

“O is there na a bonnie bird,

Can sing as I can say ;
Could flee away to my mother's bower,

And tell to fetch Johnnie away?”


The starling flew to his mother's window-stane,

It whistled and it sang ; And aye

the ower word o' the tune Was—“Johnnie tarries lang!"

They made a rod o' the hazel bush,

Another o' the slae-thorn tree, And mony, mony were the men

At fetching our Johnnie.

* Perhaps, after this stanza should be inserted the beautiful one preserved by Mr Finlay, so descriptive, as he justly remarks, of the languor of approaching death :

“There's no a bird in a' this forest

Will do as meikle for me,
As dip its wing in the wan water,

And straik it on my ee bree"

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