Janet Hamilton

1795-1873 / Scotland

Ballad Of The New Monkland Martyr

Dochter Peggy sat on the kiln,
An' watch'd owre her faither's life,
For he had been at Both'ell brig,
An' joined in the bluidy strife.
They socht him air', they socht him late,
Four lang years an' a day,
But ne'er cou'd fin' the hidin'-place,
Whaur John o' the Staun he lay.
Aye she span at her rock o' tow,
An' twirl'd her spin'le free-
Aye she leukit owre muir an' moss
To see what she micht see.
For faither aft cam' till the hoose,
An' gat him warm'd an' fed,
An' fain was he to streek him doun,
An' rest him in his bed.
Dochter Peggy sat on the kiln,
An', ere she was aware,
Cam' ridin' roun' Pinwinnie wud
Sax black dragoons, an' mair.
'O! faither, faither, rin for life,'
She cried, an' forth he sprang;
The black dragoons rode to the door,
An' swords an' bridles rang.
They saw him makin' for the moss-
Wow, but he ran wi' speed;
They fired, an' cut the siller saughs,
That tremil't ower his head.
They durstna ride intil the bog,
That shoogit aneath their feet;
He dern'd him in a black moss hag,
For houkin' oot the peat.
Whan mony a day had come an' gane,
An' cam' nae mair dragoons,
An' John had maistly tint the fear
O' the black an' bluidy loons.
'My bairns are wee, my grun lies lea,
My girnel's toom o' meal,'
Quo' John, 'an' I wad yoke the pleugh,
Gif I durst gang a-fiel'.'
He gaed a-fiel', he yokit the pleugh-
Waeworth that wearifu' day,
For word has gane to the black dragoons,
In Embro' whaur they lay.
They watch'd a' nicht in Pinwinnie wud,
An' saw John come a-fiel';
Twa o' them slippit oot on fit,
An' ahint his back did steal.
Stark an' strang they grippit his arms,
An' swith the rest cam' on,
Syne trail'd they oot frae 'tween the stilts
Oor gude an' godly John.
Dochter Peggy stood on the kiln,
An' turn'd her roun' an' roun'-
The sicht she saw gaed thro' her heart
Wi' a deep an' deadly stoun.
An' aye she skreigh'd an' aye she ran,
Wi' feet a' bluidy an' bare;
They rave her oot her faither's arms,
An' harl'd her by the hair.
Mither an' bairns were sleepin' soun',
An' nocht kenn'd they ava,
Till Peggy stacher'd on the floor,
An' swarfin' doun did fa'.
An', lang ere she cou'd tell her tale,
The faither was aff an' awa;
An' that dear wife, an' bairnies wee,
He saw nae mair ava.
They lows'd a horse frae oot the pleugh,
An' set him on its back-
Aneath the belly tied his feet,
An' garr'd the sinnins crack.
They carried him to Embro' toun,
An' pat him in the jail,
An' weel he kenn'd that he boud dee
Ere lang, withootin' fail.
An' there they set him to be tried
Before the men o' bluid;
The holy peace that filled his soul
They little unnerstude.
He said he was at Both'ell brig,
An' there he bare a sword,
An' he wad dae the like again
For Christ, his blessed Lord.
They speer'd at him what was his thocht
O' Sharpe the bishop's death?
He said, the killer an' the kill'd
The Lord sall judge them baith.
They bade him pray for gude King James,
His sovereign lord an' king;
He said it was nae place for prayer,
Or ony sic-like thing.
An' sae they pass'd the doom o' death
On John; an' he maun dee
An' hing afore the aul' tolbooth,
High on the gallows tree.
An' ither twa stude wi' him there;
Their sentence was the same;
Great was their joy to gi'e their lives
For Christ, his blessed name.
An' whan they were brocht oot to dee,
John first laid doun his life,
Commendin' weel his soul to God,
An' eke his bairns an' wife.
In saxteen-aughty-three he died-
John Whitelaw was his name-
The Monklan' martyr he was ca'd-
The farm o' Staun his hame.
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