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Poem by Andrew Lang


Hobbie Noble


Foul fa' the breast first treason bred in!
That Liddesdale may safely say:
For in it there was baith meat and drink,
And corn unto our geldings gay.

We were stout-hearted men and true,
As England it did often say;
But now we may turn our backs and fly,
Since brave Noble is seld away.

Now Hobie he was an English man,
And born into Bewcastle dale;
But his misdeeds they were sae great,
They banish'd him to Liddisdale.

At Kershope foot the tryst was set,
Kershope of the lilye lee;
And there was traitour Sim o' the Mains,
With him a private companie.

Then Hobie has graith'd his body weel,
I wat it was wi' baith good iron and steel;
And he has pull'd out his fringed grey,
And there, brave Noble, he rade him weel.

Then Hobie is down the water gane,
E'en as fast as he may drie;
Tho' they shoud a' brusten and broken their hearts,
Frae that tryst Noble he would na be.

"Weel may ye be, my feiries five!
And aye, what is your wills wi' me?"
Then they cry'd a' wi' ae consent,
"Thou'rt welcome here, brave Noble, to me.

"Wilt thou with us in England ride,
And thy safe warrand we will be?
If we get a horse worth a hundred punds,
Upon his back that thou shalt be."

"I dare not with you into England ride;
The Land-sergeant has me at feid:
I know not what evil may betide,
For Peter of Whitfield, his brother, is dead.

"And Anton Shiel he loves not me,
For I gat twa drifts o his sheep;
The great Earl of Whitfield loves me not,
For nae gear frae me he e'er could keep.

"But will ye stay till the day gae down,
Until the night come o'er the grund,
And I'll be a guide worth ony twa,
That may in Liddesdale be fund?

"Tho' dark the night as pitch and tar,
I'll guide ye o'er yon hills fu' hie;
And bring ye a' in safety back,
If ye'll be true and follow me."

He's guided them o'er moss and muir,
O'er hill and houp, and mony a down;
Til they came to the Foulbogshiel,
And there, brave Noble, he lighted down.

But word is gane to the Land-sergeant,
In Askirton where that he lay--
"The deer that ye hae hunted lang,
Is seen into the Waste this day."

"Then Hobbie Noble is that deer!
I wat he carries the style fu' hie;
Aft has he beat your slough-hounds back,
And set yourselves at little lee.

"Gar warn the bows of Hartlie-burn;
See they shaft their arrows on the wa'!
Warn Willeva and Spear Edom,
And see the morn they meet me a'.

"Gar meet me on the Rodric-haugh,
And see it be by break o' day;
And we will on to Conscowthart-Green,
For there, I think, we'll get our prey."

Then Hobbie Noble has dream'd a dream,
In the Foulbogshiel, where that he lay;
He thought his horse was neath him shot,
And he himself got hard away.

The cocks could crow, the day could dawn,
And I wot so even down fell the rain;
If Hobbie had no waken'd at that time,
In the Foulbogshiel he had been tane or slain.

"Get up, get up, my feiries five!
For I wot here makes a fu' ill day;
Yet the warst cloak of this companie,
I hope, shall cross the Waste this day."

Now Hobie thought the gates were clear;
But, ever alas! it was not sae:
They were beset wi' cruel men and keen,
That away brave Hobbie could not gae.

"Yet follow me, my feiries five,
And see of me ye keep good ray;
And the worst cloak o' this companie
I hope shall cross the Waste this day."

There was heaps of men now Hobbie before,
And other heaps was him behind,
That had he wight as Wallace was,
Away brave Noble he could not win.

Then Hobie he had but a laddies sword;
But he did more than a laddies deed;
In the midst of Conscouthart-Green,
He brake it oer Jersawigham's head.

Now they have tane brave Hobie Noble,
Wi' his ain bowstring they band him sae;
And I wat heart was ne'er sae sair,
As when his ain five band him on the brae.

They have tane him on for West Carlisle;
They ask'd him if he knew the why?
Whate'er he thought, yet little he said;
He knew the way as well as they.

They hae ta'en him up the Ricker gate;
The wives they cast their windows wide;
And every wife to anither can say,
"That's the man loos'd Jock o' the Side!"

"Fye on ye, women! why ca' ye me man?
For it's nae man that I'm used like;
I am but like a forfoughen hound,
Has been fighting in a dirty syke."

Then they hae tane him up thro' Carlisle town,
And set him by the chimney fire;
They gave brave Noble a wheat loaf to eat,
And that was little his desire.

Then they gave him a wheat loaf to eat,
And after that a can o beer;
Then they cried a' with ae consent,
"Eat, brave Noble, and make gude cheer!

"Confess my lord's horse, Hobie," they said,
"And the morn in Carlisle thou's no die;"
"How shall I confess them," Hobie says,
"For I never saw them with mine eye?"

Then Hobie has sworn a fu' great aith,
By the day that he was gotten and born,
He never had ony thing o' my lord's,
That either eat him grass or corn.

"Now fare thee weel, sweet Mangerton!
For I think again I'll ne'er thee see:
I wad betray nae lad alive,
For a' the goud in Christentie.

"And fare thee weel, sweet Liddesdale!
Baith the hie land and the law;
Keep ye weel frae traitor Mains!
For goud and gear he'll sell ye a'.

"Yet wad I rather be ca'd Hobie Noble,
In Carlisle where he suffers for his faut,
Before I'd be ca'd traitor Mains,
That eats and drinks of the meal and maut."



Andrew Lang


Andrew Lang's other poems:
  1. In Ithaca
  2. Ballade of the Tweed
  3. Les Roses de Sâdi
  4. Ballade of His Books
  5. Dizain


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