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Collated from eleven versions including a parallel ballad, “Archie o Cawfield,” “Jock” is a jailbreak ballad circa1575. The Side an area on the Liddell Water.


JOCK O THE SIDE Child#187 & 188

Liddisdale has ridden a raid
But they’d have better stayed at home,
For Peter o Whitfield he is slain,
And Jock o the Side is in prison bound.
Wi my fa ding diddle, lal low dow diddle

Sybil is down the water gone,
With all of her skirts up in her arms
She never gave over swift running
Until she came to Mangerton.

“What news what news, my sister dear?”
Said the laird was just to meat set down;
“Peter o Whitfield he is dead
And my son Jock is in prison bound.”

“Never fear sister Sybil” says he,
“For I’ve yokes of oxen eighty and three,
I’ve droves of cattle and troops of sheep,
I’d give them all for to save your Johnie”

Up then spoke out Hobie Noble,
An English outlaw tried and true
Says, “Give me five good riding men
And I’ll fetch Jock o the Side to you.

“We’ll stuff up all our bags with straw,
And our horses they must go unshod.
We will not ride like men o war,
But go like pedlars on the road.”

Hobbie has mounted his good grey mare,
With Willie on his bay behind,
With the Laird’s Wat and the Laird’s Jock,
And Michael and Mudge for the water oTyne.

But when they came to Cullerton ford,
The water was up, they could not go;
And then they spied a good old man,
His boy and he were at the plough.

“O I have dwelt here three score year,
The Tyne it runs here like the sea;
I never saw man nor horse go o’er,
Except it were a horse o tree.”

Says Mudge the Miller “We’d best turn back.”
But Hobbie says “Mudge, now that won’t do!”
And on they rode till they found a ford
They might ride over two by two.

Then they came into Swinburne wood,
And there then they felled a tree,
With twenty snags cut on each side
The length was thirty foot and three.

The six of them took up the plank,
As light as it had been a flea,
And carried it to New Castle jail,
And climbed the wall up by the tree.

The Laird's Wat he broke a door,
And the Laird’s Jock he broke three
Until they came up to the room,
Where Jock was praying so mournfully.

“God bless thee, Sybil o the Side!
My own mother so dear,” said he;
“If ye knew this night that I was here,
A woeful woman you would be.

“And fare thee well, Laird Mangerton!
And ever I say God be with thee!
For if ye knew that I was here,
Ye’d sell your land for to borrow me.”

“‘But who is this, at stroke o twelve,
That knows and calls my name to me?”
“I am a bastard-brother of thine;
This night we’ve come for to set you free.”

But Jock o the Side says “Go away brothers,
Or ye’ll be taken as well as me
There’s fifteen stone of Spanish iron
Laid on me fast with lock and key."

"Never fear!” said the Laird’s Jock,
“We'll work without, ye'll work within,”
And six of them tried the iron door,
But there’s none alive could break it in.

“It fears me sore,” said Mudge the Miller,
“The time is past for us to flee;”
“Fie on thee, Mudge!” then said Hobie,
“For I fear a man ye never shall be.”

Hobie had Flanders files three,
And he filed the lock of that iron door,
Took Jock in chains upon his back,
Says “See that you never come here no more!”

Down the tollbooth stair came they
And then they all made haste to ride,
They tied Jock up on Willie’s bay
For he could neither sit nor stride.

Then Hobie how he smiled and laughed,
Says Jock how winsomely ye ride,
With both your feet upon one side,
In troth ye sit just like a bride.”

And when they came into Swinburne wood,
Hobie had Flanders files three
To file Jock’s bolts from off his feet,
That he might ride more easily.

Then Michael looked o’er his left shoulder
“To horse, to horse now, lads” cried he;
“For yonder comes the lord lieutenant
With twenty men in his company.”

And there was horsing then in haste,
And cracking of whips out o’er the lea,
But when they came to Tyne water
It now was rumbling like the sea

Up then spoke poor Mudge the Miller,
“I’ll bless ye all and say goodbye
My horse is limping, he will not swim
I’d rather be taken here than die.”

“Fie on thee, Mudge,” then says Hobie,
“It’s only the fearful that must die
I’ll take thy horse, thou take my mare,
And the Devil drown my mare and thee”

Now the water they all have taken,
By ones and twos they all swam free;
When they stood on the other side
They wrung their clothes right drunkenly

“Come through the water, now Lord Lieutenant,
Come through & drink some wine with me,
There is an alehouse not far off,
It will not cost ye one penny.”

“O now let all your taunting be
For I think ye are some witch’s son,
There’s not a man in the king’s army
That would have tried what you have done”

“Well then if ye be gone with the rogue,
Pray throw the irons across to me”
“We’ll keep them to shoe our horses true,
They’ve bought them all full dear from thee.”

The seven are up again on horse,
To Liddisdale fast as they could ride,
Upon the morn he was to die,
Jock danced a turn by the fireside.

The Laird says “Bless ye, Hobie Noble,
A bowl for all the loyal men!
Ye’ve fetched us home good Jock o the Side,
We thought we never would see again.”

And then they drank a bowl of punch
And after that they filled another
If they don’t give o’er, they’re drinkin’ yet,
Just as they had been brother and brother.



tags: folk Chicago


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