An edition of this ballad is current, under the title of “The Laird of Ochiltree;” but the editor, since publication of this work, has been fortunate enough to recover the following more correct and ancient copy, as recited by a gentleman residing near Biggar. It agrees more nearly, both in the name and in the circumstances, with the real fact, than the printed ballad of Ochiltree.
In the year 1592, Francis Stuart, earl of Bothwell, was agitating his frantic and ill-concerted attempts against the person of James VI., whom he endeavoured to surprise in the palace of Falkland. Through the emulation and private rancour of the courtiers, he found adherents even about the king’s person; among whom, it seems, was the hero of our ballad, whose history is thus narrated in that curious and valuable chronicle, of which the first part has been published under the title of “The Historie of “King James the Sext,” and the second is now in the press.
“In this close tyme it fortunit, that a gentelman, callit Weymis of Logye, being also in credence at court, was delatit as a traffekker with Frances Erle Bothwell; and he being examinat before king and counsall, confessit his accusation to be of veritie, that sundrie tymes he had spokin with him, expresslie aganis the king’s inhibitioun proclamit in the contrare, whilk confession he subscryvit with his hand; and because the event of this mater had sik a succes, it sall also be praysit be my pen, as a worthie turne, proceiding frome honest chest loove and charitie, whilk suld on na wayis be obscurit from the posteritie for the gude example; and therefore I have thought gude to insert the same for a perpetual memorie.
“Queen Anne, our noble princess, was servit with dyverss gentilwemen of hir awin cuntrie, and naymelie with are callit Mres Margaret Twynstoun,310 to whome this gentilman, Weymes of Logye, bure great honest affection, tending to the godlie band of marriage, the whilk was honestlie requytet be the said gentilwoman, yea evin in his greatest mister; for howsone she understude the said gentilman to be in distress, and apperantlie be his confession to be puueist to the death, and she having prevelege to ly in the queynis chalmer that same verie night of his accusation, whare the king was also reposing that same night, she came forth of the dur prevelie, bayth the prencis being then at quyet rest, and past to the chalmer, whare the said gentilman was put in custodie to certayne of the garde, and commandit thayme that immediatelie he sould be broght to the king and queyne, whareunto thay geving sure credence, obeyit. Bot howsone she was cum bak to the chalmer dur, she desyrit the watches to stay till he sould cum furth agayne, and so she closit the dur, and convoyit the gentilman to a windo’, whare she ministrat a long corde unto him to convoy himself doun upon; and sa, be hir gude cheritable help, he happelie escapit be the subteltie of loove.”
310 Twynelace, according to Spottiswoode.]
I will sing, if ye will hearken,
If ye will hearken unto me;
The king has ta’en a poor prisoner,
The wanton laird o’ young Logie.
Young Logie’s laid in Edinburgh chapel;
Carmichael’s the keeper o’ the key;
And may Margaret’s lamenting sair,
A’ for the love of young Logie.
“Lament, lament na, may Margaret,
“And of your weeping let me be;
“For ye maun to the king himsell,
“To seek the life of young Logie.”
May Margaret has kilted her green cleiding,
And she has curl’d back her yellow hair —
“If I canna get young Logie’s life,
“Fareweel to Scotland for evermair.”
When she came before the king,
She knelit lowly on her knee —
“O what’s the matter, may Margaret?
“And what needs a’ this courtesie?”
“A boon, a boon, my noble liege,
“A boon, a boon, I beg o’ thee!
“And the first boon that I come to crave,
“Is to grant me the life of young Logic.”
“O na, O na, may Margaret,
“Forsooth, and so it manna be;
“For a’ the gowd o’ fair Scotland
“Shall not save the life of young Logie.”
But she has stown the king’s redding kaim,311
Likewise the queen her wedding knife;
And sent the tokens to Carmichael,
To cause young Logic get his life.
She sent him a purse o’ the red gowd,
Another o’ the white monie;
She sent him a pistol for each hand,
And bade him shoot when he gat free.
When he came to the tolbooth stair,
There he let his volley flee;
It made the king in his chamber start,
E’en in the bed where he might be.
“Gae out, gae out, my merrymen a’,
“And bid Carmichael come speak to me;
“For I’ll lay my life the pledge o’ that,
“That yon’s the shot o’ young Logie.”
When Carmichael came before the king,
He fell low down upon his knee;
The very first word that the king spake,
Was —“Where’s the laird of young Logie?”
Carmichael turn’d him round about,
(I wot the tear blinded his eye)
“There came a token frae your grace,
“Has ta’en away the laird frae me.”
“Hast thou play’d me that, Carmichael?”
“And hast thou play’d me that?” quoth he;
“The morn the justice court’s to stand,
“And Logic’s place ye maun supply.”
Carmichael’s awa to Margaret’s bower,
Even as fast as he may drie —
“O if young Logie be within,
“Tell him to come and speak with me!”
May Margaret turned her round about,
(I wot a loud laugh laughed she)
“The egg is chipped, the bird is flown,
“Ye’ll see na mair of young Logie.”
The tane is shipped at the pier of Leith,
The tother at the Queen’s Ferrie;
And she’s gotten a father to her bairn,
The wanton laird of young Logie.
311 Redding kain— Comb for the hair.]
Carmichael’s the keeper o’ the key.— P. 344. v. 2.
Sir John Carmichael of Carmichael, the hero of the ballad, called the Raid of the Reidswair, was appointed captain of the king’s guard in 1588, and usually had the keeping of state criminals of rank.
Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 12:00