Legends & Sagas
190A: Jamie Telfer of the Fair Dodhead
190A.1 IT fell about the Martinmas tyde,
Whan our Border steeds get corn and hay,
The Captain of Bewcastle hath bound him to ryde,
And hes ower to Tividale to drive a prey.
190A.2 The first ae guide that they met wi,
It was high up in Hardhaughswire;
The second guide that they met wi,
It was laigh down in Borthwick water.
190A.3 What tidings, what tidings, my trusty guide?
Nae tidings, nae tidings, I hae to thee;
But gin yell gae to the Fair Dodhead,
Mony a cows cauf Ill let thee see.
190A.4 And when they cam to the Fair Dodhead,
Right hastily they clam the peel;
They loosed the kye out, ane and a,
And ranshakled the house right weel.
190A.5 Now Jamie Telfers heart was sair,
The tear aye rowing in his ee;
He pled wi the Captain to hae his gear,
Or else revenged he wad be.
190A.6 The Captain turned him round and leugh;
Said, Man, theres naething in thy house
But ae auld sword without a sheath,
That hardly now wad fell a mouse.
190A.7 The sun was na up, but the moon was down,
It was the gryming of a new-fan snaw;
Jamie Telfer has run ten myles a-foot,
Between the Dodhead and the Stobss Ha.
190A.8 And when he cam to the fair tower-yate,
He shouted loud, and cried weel hie,
Till out bespak auld Gibby Elliot,
Whaes this that brings the fray to me?
190A.9 Its I, Jamie Telfer o the Fair Dodhead,
And a harried man I think I be;
Theres naething left at the Fair Dodhead
But a waefu wife and bairnies three.
190A.10 Gae seek your succour at Branksome Ha,
For succour yese get nane frae me;
Gae seek your succour where ye paid blackmail,
For, man, ye neer paid money to me.
190A.11 Jamie has turned him round about,
I wat the tear blinded his ee:
Ill neer pay mail to Elliot again,
And the Fair Dodhead Ill never see.
190A.12 My hounds may a rin masterless,
My hawks may fly frae tree to tree,
My lord may grip my vassal-lands,
For there again maun I never be!
190A.13 He has turned him to the Tiviot-side,
Een as fast as he could drie,
Till he cam to the Coultart Cleugh,
And there he shouted baith loud and hie.
190A.14 Then up bespak him auld Jock Grieve:
Whaes this that brings the fray to me?
Its I, Jamie Telfer o the Fair Dodhead,
A harried man I trew I be.
190A.15 Theres naething left in the Fair Dodhead
But a greeting wife and bairnies three,
And sax poor cas stand in the sta,
A routing loud for their minnie.
190A.16 Alack a wae! quo auld Jock Grieve,
Alack, my heart is sair for thee!
For I was married on the elder sister,
And you on the youngest of a the three.
190A.17 Then he has taen out a bonny black,
Was right weel fed wi corn and hay,
And hes set Jamie Telfer on his back,
To the Catslockhill to tak the fray.
190A.18 And whan he cam to the Catslockhill,
He shouted loud and cried weel hie,
Till out and spak him Williams Wat,
O whaes this brings the fray to me?
190A.19 Its I, Jamie Telfer o the Fair Dodhead,
A harried man I think I be;
The Captain o Bewcastle has driven my gear;
For Gods sake, rise and succour me!
190A.20 Alas for wae! quo Williams Wat,
Alack, for thee my heart is sair!
I never cam bye the Fair Dodhead
That ever I fand thy basket bare.
190A.21 Hes set his twa sons on coal-black steeds,
Himsel upon a freckled gray,
And they are on wi Jamie Telfer,
To Branksome Ha to tak the fray.
190A.22 And when they cam to Branksome Ha,
They shouted a baith loud and hie,
Till up and spak him auld Buccleuch,
Said, Whaes this brings the fray to me?
190A.23 Its I, Jamie Telfer o the Fair Dodhead,
And a harried man I think I be;
Theres nought left in the Fair Dodhead
But a greeting wife and bairnies three.
190A.24 Alack for wae! quo the gude auld lord,
And ever my heart is wae for thee!
But fye, gar cry on Willie, my son,
And see that he cum to me speedilie.
190A.25 Gar warn the water, braid and wide!
Gar warn it sune and hastilie!
They that winna ride for Telfers dye,
Let them never look in the face o me!
190A.26 Warn Wat o Harden and his sons,
Wi them will Borthwick water ride;
Warn Gaudilands, and Allanhaugh,
And Gilmanscleugh, and Commonside.
190A.27 Ride by the gate at Priesthaughswire,
And warn the Currors o the Lee;
As ye cum down the Hermitage Slack,
Warn doughty Willie o Gorrinberry.
190A.28 The Scotts they rade, the Scotts they ran,
Sae starkly and sae steadilie,
And aye the ower-word o the thrang
Was, Rise for Branksome readilie!
190A.29 The gear was driven the Frostylee up,
Frae the Frostylee unto the plain,
Whan Willie has lookd his men before,
And saw the kye right fast driving.
190A.30 Whae drives thir kye, can Willie say,
To make an outspeckle o me?
Its I, the Captain o Bewcastle, Willie;
I winna layne my name for thee.
190A.31 O will ye let Teflers kye gae back?
Or will ye do aught for regard o me?
Or, by the faith of my body, quo Willie Scott,
Ise ware my dames caufs skin on thee.
190A.32 I winna let the kye gae back,
Neither for thy love nor yet thy fear;
But I will drive Jamie Telfers kye
In spite of every Scott thats here.
190A.33 Set on them, lads! quo Willie than;
Fye, lads, set on them cruellie!
For ere they win to the Ritterford,
Mony a toom saddle there sall be!
190A.34 Then tillt they gaed, wi heart and hand;
The blows fell thick as bickering hail;
And mony a horse ran masterless,
And mony a comely cheek was pale.
190A.35 But Willie was stricken ower the head,
And through the knapscap the sword has gane;
And Harden grat for very rage,
Whan Willie on the grund lay slane.
190A.36 But hes taen aff his gude steel cap,
And thrice hes waved it in the air;
The Dinlay snaw was neer mair white
Nor the lyart locks of Hardens hair.
190A.37 Refenge! revenge! auld Wat can cry;
Fye, lads, lay on them cruellie!
Well neer see Tiviot side again,
Or Willies death revenged sall be.
190A.38 O mony a horse ran masterless,
The splintered lances flew on hie;
But or they wan to the Kershope ford,
The Scotts had gotten the victory.
190A.39 John o Brigham there was slane,
And John o Barlow, as I hear say,
And thirty mae o the Captains men
Lay bleeding on the grund that day.
190A.40 The Captain was run through the thick of the thigh,
And broken was his right leg-bane;
If he had lived this hundred years,
He had never been loved by woman again.
190A.41 Hae back the kye! the Captain said;
RRrrdear kye, I trow, to some they be;
For gin I suld live a hundred years
There will neer fair lady smile on me.
190A.42 Then word is gane to the Captains bride,
Even in the bower where that she lay,
That her lord was prisoner in enemys land,
Since into Tividale he had led the way.
190A.43 I wad lourd have had a winding-sheet,
And helped to put it ower his head,
Ere he had been disgraced by the border Scot,
Whan he ower Liddel his men did lead!
190A.44 There was a wild gallant amang us a,
His name was Watty wi the Wudspurs,
Cried, On for his house in Stanegirthside,
If ony man will ride with us!
190A.45 When they cam to the Stanegirthside,
They dang wi trees and burst the door;
They loosed out a the Captains kye,
And set them forth our lads before.
190A.46 There was an auld wyfe ayont the fire,
A wee bit o the Captains kin:
Whae dar loose out the Captains kye,
Or answer to him and his men?
190A.47 Its I, Watty Wudspurs, loose the kye,
I winna layne my name frae thee;
And I will loose out the Captains kye
In scorn of a his men and he.
190A.48 Whan they cam to the Fair Dodhead,
they were a wellcum sight to see,
For instead of his ain ten milk-kye,
Jamie Telfer has gotten thirty and three.
190A.49 And he has paid the rescue-shot,
Baith wi gowd and white monie,
And at the burial o Willie Scott
I wat was mony a weeping ee.
Next: 191. Hughie Graham