lyrics text

Hughie Graeme

Trad. (additional words Ridley)

Lords have to the mountains gone
Hunting of the fallow deer
They have grippit Hughie Graeme
For stealing o' the bishop's mare

They have bound him hand and foot
Led him up through Carlisle town
All the lads along the way
Cried Hughie Graeme, you shall go down

Loose my right arm, let it free
Put the broadsword in my hand
None in Carlisle town this day
Dare test the steel of Hughie Graeme

Up and spoke the Lord Whiteford
As he sat by the bishop's knee
Five hundred stots I'll give to you
If you give Hughie Graeme to me

Hold your tongue my noble lord
All your pleading let it be
You may seek vengeance on this man
But for my honour he must die

They have chosen twelve just men
The best there were in Carlisle town
Those twelve men have spoke as one:
Hughie Graeme you shall go down

Up and spoke the lady fair
As she sat by the bishop's knee
Five hundred pence I'll give you
If you let Hughie Graeme go free

Hold your tongue my lady fair
All your weeping, let it be
You may seek freedom for this man
But for my honour he must die

Remember me to my dear wife
When next you go across the moor
Say I stole the bishop's mare
Because she was the bishop's whore

They took him up to gallows hill
And led him to the hanging tree
The colour never left his cheeks
Nor did he even blink an e'e

He has looked all around
To see who's there who he can see
He sees his father standing there
A-weeping, weeping bitterly

Hold your tears my father dear
All your weeping let it be
So it grieves my aching heart
More than they'd ever do to me

You may give my brother James
My sword that's made of metal clear
Bid him come at twelve o' clock
To see me pay for the bishop's mare

You may give to John Armstrong
My sword that's made of metal brown
Bid him come at four o' clock
To see his comrade Hugh cut down

You may tell my kith and kin
I never did disgrace their blood
When next they meet the bishop's cloak
Leave it shorter by the hood

Lords have to the forest gone
Hunting in the Inglewood
They have grippit John Armstrong
For spilling o' the bishop's blood

They have bound him hand and foot
Led him up through Carlisle town
All the lads along the way
Cried Johnnie Armstrong, you shall go down.

Versions of this ballad were common in the Border country. Robert Burns contributed a version to Scot's Musical Museum that matches this one quite closely, but locates Hughie's downfall in Stirling rather than Carlisle. The tune is based upon the American fiddle tune The Falls Of Richmond. June Tabor and Mark Emerson first married it to the ballad; we've simplified it slightly.

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