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Johnny O'Breadislee

  • (Trad - Child #114)

    Johnny arose on a May morning
    Called for water tae wash his hand
    Gae lowse tae me my twa grey dogs
    That lie bound in iron bands

    When Johnny's mother she heard o' this
    Her hands for a duel she wrang
    Crying, Johnny for your venison
    Tae the green wood dare no' gang

    But he has ta'en his good ben bow
    His arrows one by one
    And he's awa' tae the green wood ga'en
    Tae ding the dun deer doon

    Johnny shot and the dun deer leapt
    And he wounded her in the side
    And between the water and the wood
    The grey dogs laid her pride

    By there come a silly auld man
    And an ill death may he dee
    For he's awa' tae Esslemont
    The king's seven foresters tae see

    Then up and spoke the first forester
    He was heid man ower them a'
    Gin this be Jock O'Breadislee
    Untae him we will draw

    The first shot that the forester fired
    It wounded him in the knee
    And the next shot that the forester fired
    His heart's blood blint his e'e

    He's leant his back against an oak
    His foot against a stane
    And he's fired on the seven foresters
    And he's killed them a' but ane

    He's broken four o' this man's ribs
    His airm and his collar bane
    And then he sat him on a horse
    Tae carry the tidings hame

    Noo Johnny's good bent bow lies broke
    His twa grey dogs lie slain
    And his body lies in Monymusk
    And his huntin' days are dane

    (as sung by Hamish Imlach)

Susannes Folksong-Notizen

  • [1880:] [An] old Nithsdale ballad, first published in the Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border. [...] The hero was evidently a deer-stealer and an outlaw. He is said to have possessed the old castle of Morton, built, according to an "account of Presbytery of Penpont", "on the face of a very great and high hill, so artificially, that, by the advantage of the hill, all wild beasts, such as deers, harts and roes, and hares, did easily leap in but could not get out again; and if any other cattle, such as cows, sheep, or goats, did voluntary leap in, or were forced to do it, it is doubted if their owners were permitted to get them out again." Sir Walter Scott adds very appropriately, "Such a park would form a convenient domain to an outlaw's castle, and the mention of Durisdeer, a neighbouring parish, adds weight to this tradition." (Ord, Glasgow Weekly Herald, July 10)

  • [1912:] Scott conjectures [in his 'Minstrelsy, III. 114] that the hero of this ballad was "an outlaw and deer-stealer, probably one of the broken-out men residing upon the Border." He is sometimes said to have "possessed the old castle of Morton, in Dumfriesshire, now ruinous." (Johnson, Ballads xvii)

  • [1980:] Much ink has flowed in efforts to fix the true location of ballad such as this, but the real point is not historicity but ethos. Some versions have a happy ending, with Johnny recovering and being honoured by the king, but they are at variance with the feeling of doomed defiance which pervades the ballad as a whole. No text is extant from earlier than the eighteenth century [...]. (Palmer, Ballads 112)

  • [1995:] Greig and Duncan found no less than 18 versions of this very fine ballad. Professor Child, in whose anthology it is number 114, calls it 'a precious specimen of the unspoiled traditional ballad'. Although not appearing in the 1765 'Reliques of Bishop Percy' it is among his papers, as from a Miss Fisher of Carlisle (1780) and most early versions are attributable to the Borders or the south of Scotland from where Greig acknowledges it probably came. In the south the hero is usually Johnny Cock or Cocklesmuir, but our northern examples have Braidisleys, or something similar, and local place names like Monymusk are introduced. All the tunes from the North-East are basically the same and the ballad in this form continues to be sung as witness sets collected by the School of Scottish Studies. (Peter Hall, notes 'Folk Songs of North-East Scotland')

  • [1995:] Old Scots ballad most of which is from the version recorded in 1953 by Alan Lomax of John Strachan. (Notes Hamish Imlach, 'More and Merrier')

Quelle: Scotland

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