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Concerns a “hot trod,” in which one’s neighbors are legally obligated to join in hunting down the reivers of one’s livestock – or “gear” as it was called. Child#190, based on text from CK Sharpe manuscript.
tune from Willie Scott on The Muckle Sangs, Greentrax CD.

lyrics

It fell about the Martinmas,
When steeds were fed with corn and hay,
The Captain of Bewcastle said to his lads,
“We'll into Tiviotdale and seek a prey.”

The first guide that they met with
Was high up in Hardhaugh swire,
The second guide that they met with
Was low down in Borthick water.

“What tidings, what tidings, my bonny guide?” “No tidings no tidings I have for thee;
But if ye'll go to the Fair Dodhead Many a cow’s calf I’ll let you see.”

When they came to the Fair Dodhead,
Right hastily they climbed the wall,
They ransacked the house right well.
And loosed the cows out, one and all.

Now Jamie Telfer’s heart was sore,
The tear a-rolling in his eye;
He pled with the captain to leave his cows,
Or else revenged on him he’d be.

But the Captain turned himself about,
Said, “Man, there's nothing in your house
But an old sword without a scabbard,
That scarcely now would fell a mouse.”

The moon was up and the sun was down,
In a dusting of new-fallen snow;
Jamie Telfer ran eight miles barefoot
Between Dodhead and Branxholm Hall.

And when he came to Branxholm Hall
He shouted loud and cried well he,
Up spoke the warden, Walter Scott,
“Who's this that brings the fray to me?”

“It’s I, Jamie Telfer in the Fair Dodhead,
And a harried man I trust I be;
There's nothing left in the Fair Dodhead
But only wife and children three.”

“Go seek your succour from Martin Elliot,
For succour ye will get none from me;
Go seek your succour where ye paid black-mail,
For, man, ye never paid money to me.”

Jamie turned him round about,
And oh the tear blinded his eye:
“I’ll never pay meal to Scott again,
Though the Fair Dodhead I never see.”

Now Jamie is up the water road,
Even as fast as he can flee,
Till he came to the Coultart Cleugh,
And there he shouted and cried well he.

“Who's that, who's that?” said old Jock Grieve,
“Who's this that brings the fray to me?”
“It's I, Jamie Telfer in the Fair Dodhead,
And a harried man I trust I be.

“There's nothing left in the Fair Dodhead,
But only wife and children three,
And six poor calves stand in the stall,
Wondering where their mothers be.”

“Ever alack!” said old Jock Grieve,
“My heart is sore for all thy care!
I never came by the Fair Dodhead
That ever I found thy basket bare.”

Then he took out a bonny black,
It was well fed with corn and hay,
And set Jamie Telfer on his back
To the Braidley Hall to take the fray.

When he came to the Braidley Hall,
He shouted loud and cried well he,
Up then spoke old Martin Elliot,
“Who's this that brings the fray to me?”

“It's I, Jamie Telfer in the Fair Dodhead,
And a harried man I trust I be;
There's nothing left in the Fair Dodhead
But only wife and children three.”

“Ever alack!” old Martin did say,
“And man my heart is sore for thee!
But fly, go call on Simmy my son,
And see that he come hastily.

“Fie, go warn the water-side,
Go warn it soon and hastily
Them that won’t ride for Telfer's cows,
Let them never look in the face of me.

“Go warn the water, broad and wide
And warn the Currers in the grove
When ye come in at the Hermitage slack
Warn stout Willie o Gorrenberry.”

The cows were driven up the Frostily,
And from the stream into the plain;
When Simmy looked before him,
He saw the cows right fast driving.

“Who drives the cows,” then Simmy did say,
“To make a laughing stock of me?”
“It's I, the Captain o Bewcastle, Simmy,
I won’t hide my name from thee.”

“O will ye let the cows go back?
Or will ye do any thing for me?'
Or by my sooth,” then Simmy did say,
“I’ll ply my mother’s whip on thee.”

“I won’t let the cows go back
Nor nothing, Simmy, I’ll do for thee.
But I'll drive Jamie Telfer's cows
In spite o Jamie Telfer's teeth and thee.”

“Fie, fall on them!” Then Simmy did cry,
Fie lads, fall on them cruelly
For ere they get to the Ritter Ford,
Empty saddles there shall be.”

But Simmy was stricken o’er the head,
Through the steel cap the sword is gone,
And Moscrop made a doleful rage
When Simmy on the ground lay slain.

“FIe! Lay on them!” old Martin did cry,
“Fie lads, lay on them cruelly!
For ere they get to the Kershope ford
Empty saddles there shall be.”

John o Biggam he was slain,
And John o Barlow, as I heard say,
And fifteen o the Captain's men
Lay bleeding on the ground that day.

The Captain was shot through the head,
And also through the left ball-stone;
Though he had lived this hundred years,
He 'd never make love to a woman again.

There was a man in our company
Called Willie o the Woodspurs,
Says “I know his house in the Stanegarside
If any man will ride with us.”

When they came to the captain’s house,
They banged with trees and broke the door,
They loosed the cows out one and all,
And set them forth our lads before.

Now on they came to the Fair Dodhead,
They were a welcome sight to see,
Instead of his own ten milk cows,
Jamie Telfer’s gotten thirty and three.

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tags: folk Chicago

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Andrew Calhoun Chicago, Illinois

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