“Weel may ye save an’ see,
“Weel may ye save and see!
“Weel I wat, ye be a very bonny may,
“But whae’s aught that babe ye are wi’?”
Never a word could that lassie say,
For never a ane could she blame,
An’ never a word could the lassie say,
But “I have a good man at hame.”
“Ye lied, ye lied, my very bonny
“Sae loud as I hear you lie;
“For dinna ye mind that misty night
“I was i’ the bought wi’ thee?
“I ken you by your middle sae jimp,
“An’ your merry twinkling e’e,
“That ye’re the bonny lass i’the Cowdenknow,
“An’ ye may weel seem for to be.”
Than he’s leap’d off his berry-brown
An’ he’s set that fair may on—
“Caw out your kye, gude father, yoursell,
“For she’s never caw them out again.
“I am the laird of the Oakland hills,
“I hae thirty plows and three;
“Ah’ I hae gotten the bonniest lass
“That’s in a’ the south country.
[Footnote A: Cog—Milking-pail.]
[Footnote B: Tod—Fox.]
There is a beautiful air to this old ballad. The hero is more generally termed Lord Ronald; but I willingly follow the authority of an Ettrick Forest copy for calling him Randal; because, though the circumstances are so very different, I think it not impossible, that the ballad may have originally regarded the death of Thomas Randolph, or Randal, earl of Murray, nephew to Robert Bruce, and governor of Scotland. This great warrior died at Musselburgh, 1332, at the moment when his services were most necessary to his country, already threatened by an English army. For this sole reason, perhaps, our historians obstinately impute his death to poison. See The Bruce, book xx. Fordun repeats, and Boece echoes, this story, both of whom charge the murder on Edward III. But it is combated successfully by Lord Hailes, in his Remarks on the History of Scotland.
The substitution of some venomous reptile for food, or putting it into liquor, was anciently supposed to be a common mode of administering poison; as appears from the following curious account of the death of King John, extracted from a MS. Chronicle of England, penes John Clerk, esq. advocate. “And, in the same tyme, the pope sente into Englond a legate, that men cald Swals, and he was prest cardinal of Rome, for to mayntene King Johnes cause agens the barons of Englond; but the barons had so much pte (poustie, i.e. power) through Lewys, the kinges sone of Fraunce, that King Johne wist not wher for to wend ne gone: and so hitt fell, that he wold have gone to Suchold; and as he went thedurward, he come by the abbey of Swinshed, and ther he abode II dayes. And, as he sate at meat, he askyd a monke of the house, how moche a lofe was worth, that was before hym sete