Percy's Reliques - Young Waters.

Young Waters.


            It has been suggested to the Editor, that this ballad covertly alludes to the indiscreet partiality, which Queen Anne of Denmark is said to have shewn for the bonny Earl of Murray; and which is supposed to have influenced the fate of that unhappy nobleman. Let the reader judge for himself.

            The following account of the murder is given by a contemporary writer, and a person of credit,-- Sir James Balfour, knight, Lyon King of Arms, whose manuscript of the Annals of Scotland is in the Advocates' Library at Edinburgh.

            "The seventh of Febry, this zeire, 1592, the Earle of Murray was cruelly murthered by the Earle of Huntley at his house in Dunibrissel in Fyffe-shyre, and with him Dunbar, sheriffe of Murray. It was given out and publicly talkt, that the Earle of Huntley was only the instrument of perpetrating this facte, to satisfie the King's jealousie of Murray, quhum the Queene, more rashely than wisely, some few days before had cornmendit in the King's hearing, with too many epithets of a proper and gallant man. The reasons of these surmises proceedit from a proclamatione of the Kings, the 13 of Marche following; inhibiteine the zoung Earle of Murray to persue the Earle of Huntley, for his father's slaughter, in respect he being wardeit [imprisoned] in the castell of Blacknesse for the same murther, was willing to abide a tryall, averring that he had done nothing but by the King's majesties commissione; and was neither airt nor part in the murther."[ 1]

            The following ballad is here given from a copy printed not long since at Glasgow, in one sheet 8vo. The world was indebted for its publication to the Lady Jean Hume, sister to the Earl of Hume, who died at Gibraltar.

ABOUT zule, quhen the wind blew cule,
And the round tables began,
A'! there is cum to our kings court
Mony a well-favourd man.

The queen luikt owre the castle wa,
Beheld baith dale and down,
And then she saw
zoung Waters
Cum riding to the town.

His footmen they did rin before,
His horsemen rade behind,
Ane mantel of the burning gowd
Did keip him frae the wind.

Gowden graith'd his horse before
And siller shod behind,
The horse
zong Waters rade upon
Was fleeter than the wind.

But than spake a wylie lord,
Unto the queen said he,
"O tell me qhua's the fairest face
Rides in the company."

"I've sene lord, and I've sene laird,
And knights of high degree;
Bot a fairer face than
zoung Waters,
Mine eyne did never see."

Out then spack the jealous king,
(And an angry man was he)
"O, if he had been twice as fair,
zou micht have excepted me."

"zou're neither laird nor lord," she says,
"But the king that wears the crown;
Theris not a knight in fair Scotland
Bot to thee maun bow down."

For a' that she could do or say,
Appeasd he wad nae bee;
Bot for the words which she had said
zoung Waters he maun dee.

They hae taen zoung Waters, and
Put fetters to his feet;
They hae taen
zoung Waters,
And thrown him in dungeon deep.

"Aft I have ridden thro' Stirling town
In the wind both and the weit;
Bot I neir rade thro' Stirling town
Wi fetters at my feet.

"Aft have I ridden thro' Stirling town
In the wind both and the rain;
Bat I neir rade thro' Stirling town
Neir to return again."

They hae taen to the heiding-hill,[ 2]
zoung son in his craddle,
And they hae taen to the heiding-hill,
His horse both and his saddle.

They hae taen to the heiding-hill
His lady fair to see.
And for the words the Queene had spoke
zoung Waters he did dee.


1. This extract is copied from the Critical Review.

2. Heiding-hill, i.e. heading [beheading] hill. The place of execution was anciently an artificial hillock.


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