“The Raid of the Reidswire” text


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The Raid of the Reidswire

1.  The seventh of July, the suith to say, 
      At the Reidswire the tryst was set; 
      Our Wardens they affixed the day, 
      And as they promised, so they met. 
      Alas! that day I’ll ne’er forgett! 
      Was sure sae feard and then sae faine— 
      They came theare justice for to gett, 
      Will never green to come again.

2.  Carmichael was our Warden then, 
      He caused the country to conveen; 
      And the Laird’s Wat, that worthie man, 
      Brought in that sirname weil beseen: 
      The Armestranges, that aye hae been 
      A hardie house, but not a hail, 
      The Elliots’ honnors to maintaine, 
      Brought down the lave o’ Liddesdale.

3.  Then Tividale came to wi’ speid; 
      The Sheriffe brought the Douglas down, 
      Wi’ Cranstane, Gladstain, good at need, 
      Baith Rewle water, and Hawick town. 
      Beanjeddart baldly made him boun, 
      Wi’ a’ the Trumbills, stronge and stout; 
      The Rutherfoords, with grit renown, 
      Convoyed the town of Jedbrugh out.

4.  Of other clans I cannot tell, 
      Because our warning was not wide. 
      Be this our folks hae tane the fell, 
      And planted down palliones their to bide. 
      We looked down the other side, 
      And saw come breasting ower the brae, 
      Wi’ Sir John Forster for their guyde, 
      Full fiftene hundred men and mae.

5.  It grieved him sair that day, I trow, 
      Wi’ Sir George Hinrome of Schipsydehouse; 
      Because we were not men enow, 
      They counted us not worth a louse. 
      Sir George was gentle, meek, and douse, 
      But he was hail and hett as fire; 
      And yet, for all his cracking crouse, 
      He rewd the raid o’ the Reidswire.

6.  To deal with proud men is but pain; 
      For either must ye fight or flee, 
      Or else no answer make again, 
      But play the beast, and let them be. 
      It was na wonder he was hie, 
      Had Tindaill, Reedsdaill, at his hand, 
      Wi’ Cukdaill, Gladsdaill on the lee, 
      And Hebsrime, and Northumberland.

7.  Yett was our meeting meek enough, 
      Begun wi’ merriment and mowes, 
      And at the brae, aboon the heugh, 
      The clark sate down to call the rowes. 
      And some for kyne, and some for ewes, 
      Called in of Dandrie, Hob, and Jock— 
      We saw come marching ower the knows, 
      Five hundred Fennicks in a flock.

8.  With jack and speir, and bowes all bent, 
      And warlike weapons at their will: 
      Although we were na weel content, 
      Yet, be my trouth, we feard no ill. 
      Some gaed to drink, and some stude still, 
      And some to cairds and dice them sped, 
      Till on ane Farnstein they fyled a bill, 
      And he was fugitive and fled.

9.  Carmichaell bade them speik out plainlie, 
      And cloke no cause for ill nor good; 
      The other answering him as vainlie, 
      Began to reckon kin and blood: 
      He raise, and raxed him where he stood, 
      And bade him match him with his marrows: 
      Then Tindaill heard them reasun rude, 
      And they loot off a flight of arrows.

10. Then was there nought but bow and speir, 
      And every man pulled out a brand; 
      “A Schaftan and a Fenwick” thare: 
      Gude Symington was slain frae hand. 
      The Scotsmen cried on other to stand, 
      Frae time they saw John Robson slain— 
      What should they cry? the King’s command 
      Could cause no cowards turn again.

11. Up rose the Laird to red the cumber, 
      Which would not be for all his boast;— 
      What could we doe with sic a number? 
      Fyve thousand men into a host. 
      Then Henry Purdie proved his cost, 
      And very narrowlie had mischiefed him, 
      And there we had our Warden lost, 
      Wert not the grit God he reliev’d him.

12. Another throw the breikes him bair, 
      Whill flatlies to the grund he fell: 
      Than thought I weel we had lost him there, 
      Into my stomach it struck a knell! 
      Yet up he raise, the treuth to tell ye, 
      And laid about him dints full dour, 
      His horsemen they raid sturdilie, 
      And stude about him in the stoure.

13. Then raise the slogan with ane shout— 
      “Fy Tindaill, to it! Jedbrugh’s here!” 
      I trow he was not half sae stout,
      But anis his stomach was asteir. 
      With gun and genzie, bow and speir, 
      Men might see mony a cracked crown; 
      But up amang the merchant geir, 
      They were as busie as we were down.

14. The swallow taill frae tackles flew, 
      Five hundreth flain into the flight, 
      But we had pestelets enow, 
      And shot amang them as we might. 
      With help of God the game gade right, 
      Frae time the foremost of them fell; 
      Then over the know, without goodnight, 
      They ran with mony a shout and yell.

15. But after they had turned backs, 
      Yet Tindaill men they turned again; 
      And had not been the merchant packs, 
      There had been mae of Scotland slain. 
      But Jesu! if the folks were fain 
      To put the bussing on their thies; 
      And so they fled, wi’ a’ their main, 
      Down ower the brae like clogged bees.

16. Sir Francis Russell ta’en was their, 
      And hurt, as we hear men rehearse; 
      Proud Wallinton was wounded sair, 
      Albeit he be a Fennick fierce. 
      But if ye wald a souldier search, 
      Among them a’ were ta’en that night, 
      Was nane sae wordie to put in verse, 
      As Colingwood, that courteous knight.

17. Young Henry, scaiped home, is hurt; 
      A souldier shot him with a bow: 
      Scotland has cause to mak great sturt, 
      For laiming of the Laird of Mow. 
      The Laird’s Wat did weel indeed, 
      His freinds stood stoutlie by himsel’, 
      With little Gladstain, gude in need, 
      For Gretein kend na gude be ill.

18. The Sheriff wanted not gude will, 
      Howbeit he might not fight so fast; 
      Beanjeddart, Hundlie, and Hunthill, 
      Three, on they laid weel at the last. 
      Except the horsemen of the guard, 
      If I could put men to availe, 
      None stoutlier stood out for their laird, 
      Nor did the lads of Liddesdail.

19. But little harness had we there; 
      But auld Badreule had on a jack, 
      And did right weel, I you declare, 
      With all his Trumbills at his back. 
      Gude Ederstane was not to lack, 
      Nor Kirktoun, Newtoun, noble men! 
      Thir’s all the specials I of speake, 
      By others that I could not ken.

20. Who did invent that day of play, 
      We need not fear to find him soon; 
      For Sir John Forster, I dare well say, 
      Made us this noisome afternoon. 
      Not that I speak preceislie out, 
      That he supposed it would be perril; 
      But pride, and breaking out of feuid, 
      Garr’d Tindaill lads begin the quarrel.