There was John Gordon an’ Archibold,
An’ a yerl’s twin sons war they;
Quhan they war are an’ twenty year auld
They fell oot on their ae birthday.
“Turn ye, John Gordon, nae brither to me!
Turn ye, fause an’ fell!
Or doon ye s’ gang, as black as a lee,
To the muckle deevil o’ hell.”
“An’ quhat for that, Archie Gordon, I pray?
Quhat ill hae I dune to thee?”
“Twa-faced loon, ye sail rue this day
The answer I’m gauin to gie!
“For it’ll be roucher nor lady Janet’s,
An’ loud i’ the braid daylicht;
An’ the wa’ to speil is my iron mail,
No her castle-wa’ by nicht!”
“I speilt the wa’ o’ her castle braw
I’ the roarin win’ yestreen;
An’ I sat in her bower till the gloamin sta’
Licht-fittit ahint the mune.”
“Turn ye, John Gordon–the twasum we s’ twin!
Turn ye, an’ haud yer ain;
For ane sall lie on a cauld weet bed–
An’ I downa curse again!”
“O Archie, Janet is my true love–
notna speir leave o’ thee!”
“Gien that be true, the deevil’s a sanct,
An’ ye are no tellin a lee!”
Their suerds they drew, an’ the fire-flauchts flew,
An’ they shiftit wi’ fendin feet;
An’ the blude ran doon, till the grun a’ roun
Like a verra bog was weet.
“O Archie, I hae gotten a cauld supper–
O’ steel, but shortest grace!
Ae grip o’ yer han’ afore ye gang!
An’ turn me upo’ my face.”
But he’s turnit himsel upon his heel,
An’ wordless awa he’s gane;
An’ the corbie-craw i’ the aik abune
Is roupin for his ain.
Lady Margaret, her hert richt gret,
Luiks ower the castle wa’;
Lord Archibold rides oot at the yett,
Ahint him his merry men a’.
Wi’ a’ his band, to the Holy Land
He’s boune wi’ merry din,
His shouther’s doss a Christ’s cross,
In his breist an ugsome sin.
But the cross it brunt him like the fire.
Its burnin never ceast;
It brunt in an’ in, to win at the sin
Lay cowerin in his breist.
A mile frae the shore o’ the Deid Sea
The army haltit ae nicht;
Lord Archie was waukrife, an’ oot gaed he
A walkin i’ the munelicht.
Dour-like he gaed, wi’ doon-hingin heid,
Quhill he cam, by the licht o’ the mune,
Quhaur michty stanes lay scattert like sheep,
An’ ance they worshipt Mahoun.
The scruff an’ scum o’ the deid shore gleamt
An’ glintit a sauty gray;
The banes o’ the deid stack oot o’ its bed,
The sea lickit them as they lay.
He sat him doon on a sunken stane,
An’ he sighit sae dreary an’ deep:
“I can thole ohn grutten, lyin awauk,
But he comes whan I’m asleep!
“I wud gie my soul for ever an’ aye
Intil en’less dule an’ smert,
To sleep a’ nicht like a bairn again,
An’ cule my burnin hert!”
Oot frae ahint a muckle stane
Cam a voice like a huddy craw’s:
“Behaud there, Archibold Gordon!” it said,
“Behaud–ye hae ower gude cause!”
“I’ll say quhat I like,” quod Archibold,
“Be ye ghaist or deevil or quhat!”
“Tak tent, lord Archie, gien ye be wise–
The tit winna even the tat!”
Lord Archibold leuch wi’ a loud ha, ha,
Eerisome, grousum to hear:
“A bonny bargain auld Cloots wad hae,
It has ilka faut but fear!”
“Dune, lord Archibold?” craikit the voice;
“Dune, Belzie!” cried he again.–
The gray banes glimmert, the white saut shimmert–
Lord Archie was him lane.
Back he gaed straught, by the glowerin mune,
An’ doun in his plaid he lay,
An’ soun’ he sleepit.–A ghaist-like man
Sat by his heid quhill the day.