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Gude Lord Scroope's to the hunting gane,
He has ridden o'er moss and muir,
And he has grippit Hughie the Graeme,
For stealing o' the Bishop's mear.

"Now good Lord Scroope this may not be,
Here hangs a broad sword by my side,
And if that then canst conquer me,
The matter it may soon be tryed."

"I ne'er was afraid of a traitor thief,
Although thy name be Hughie the Graeme,
I'll make thee repent thee of thy deeds,
If God but grant me life and time."

"Then do your worst now, good Lord Scroope,
And deal your blows as hard as you can,
It shall be tried within an hour
Which of us two is the better man."

But as they were dealing their blows so free,
And both so bloody at the time,
Ower the moss came ten yeomen so tall,
All for to take brave Hughie the Graeme.

Then they hae grippit Hughie the Graeme,
And brought him up through Carlisle town.
The lads and lasses stood on the walls,
Crying "Hughie the Graeme, thou'se ne'er gae down.

Then hae they chosen a jury o' men,
The best that were in Carlisle town,
And twelve o' them cried out at once
"Hughie the Graeme thou must gae down!"

Then up bespak him', gude Lord Hume,
As he sat by the judge's knee,?
"Twenty white owsen, my gude lord,
If you'll grant Hughie the Graeme to me."

"O no, O no, my gude Lord Hume,
Forsooth and sao it mauna be,
For were there but three Graeme of the name,
They suld be hangit a' for me."

"Twas up and spake the gude Lady Hume,
As she sat by the judge's knee,?
"A peck o' white pennies my gude Lord Judge,
If you'll grant Hughie the Graeme to me."

"O no, O no, my gude Lady Hume,
Forsooth and so it mustna be,
Were he but the one Graeme of the name,
He suld be hangit high for me."

"If I be guilty," said Hughie the Graeme,
"Of me my friends shall have small talk;"
And he has louped fifteen feet and three,
Tho' his hands they were tied behind his back.

He looked over his left shouther
And for to see what lie might see,
There was lie aware of his auld father
Came tearing his hair most piteously.

"O hald your tongue, my father," he says,
"And see that ye dinna weep for me,
For they may ravish me o' my life,
But they canna banish me frae heaven hie.

"Fare ye weel, fair Maggie, my wife,
The last time we came ower the muir,
"Twas thou bereft me o' my life,
And wi' the bishop thou play'd the whore.

"Here, Johnnie Armstrong, take thou my sword,
That is made o' the metal sae fine,
And when thou comest to the English side,
Remember the death o' Hughie the Graeme."

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Source: Bruce and Stokoe, Northumbrian Minstrelsy, Newcastle-Upon Tyne, 1882 (reissued Llanerch)

Bruce and Stokoe wrote:

In Mr Joseph Ritson's curious and valuable collection of legendary poetry entitled "Ancient Songs" (edition 1790), a version of this border ditty appears under the title of "The Life and Death of Sir Hugh of the Graeme" taken from a collation of two black-letter copies, one of them in the Roxburgh Collection. The ballad first appeared in D'Urfey's "Pills to Purge Melancholy," and several versions have since been published ? in Sir Walter Scott's "Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border," in Johnson's " Scot's Musical Museum,"and other standard works on ballad poetry.

The Graemes were a powerful and numerous clan, who chiefly inhabited "The Debatable Land." They were said to be of Scottish extraction, and their chief claimed his descent from Malice, Earl of Stratherne. In military service they were more attached to England than to Scotland, but in their depredations in both countries they appear to have been very impartial, for in the year 1600 the gentlemen of Cumberland complained to Lord Scroope "that the Graemes and their clans, with their children, tenants, and servants, were the chiefest actors in the spoil and decay of the country." Accordingly, they were at that time obliged to give a bond of surety for each other's demeanour: from which bond their number appears to have exceeded four hundred men. See Introduction to Nicholson's "History of Cumberland," page cviii.

The nationality of the ballad is apparently as debatable as that of the land occupied in those days by this warlike tribe.

Roud: 84 (Search Roud index at VWML) Take Six

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