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    Hobie Noble

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Hobie Noble  

Child#189, from Caw’s Poetical Museum, arranged and adapted by Andrew Calhoun, recorded on Rhymer's Tower: Ballads of the Anglo-Scottish Border.  Sim o the Mains was one of the Armstrong family. 

Foul fall the breast first treason bred in! 
That Liddisdale may safely say, 
For in it there was both 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 flee, 
Since brave Noble is sold away. 

Now Hobie he was an English man, 
Born into Bewcastle dale, 
But his misdeeds they were so great, 
They banished him to Liddisdale. 

At Kershope-foot the tryst was set, 
Kershope of the lily lee; 
And there was traitor Sim o the Mains, 
With him a private company 

Then Hobie has girded his body well, 
It was with both good iron and steel; 
And he’s pulled out a fringed grey, 
And down the water, he rode him well. 

“Well may ye be, my comrades five! 
And aye, what is your wills with me?” 
Then they cried all with one consent, 
“A welcome here, brave Noble, to thee. 

 “Will you with us in England ride? 
And your safe-warrant we will be, 
If we get a horse worth a hundred pound, 
The first o them shall go to thee.” 

“The land-sergeant has me at feud; 
I dare not into England ride; 
For Peter o Whitfield his brother’s dead, 
I know not what evil may betide 

“And Anton Shiel, he loves not me 
For I got two drifts of his sheep; 
The great Earl o Whitfield loves not me, 
No gear from me he e’er could keep. 

“But will ye stay till the day go down, 
Until the night come o’er the ground, 
And I’ll be a guide worth any three 
That may in Liddisdale be found.” 

He’s guided them o’er moss and moor, 
O’er hill and dale, and many a down, 
Until they came to the Foulbogshiel, 
And there brave Noble, he lighted down. 

Then word has gone to the land-sergeant, 
In Askerton where that he lay: 
“The deer that ye have hunted long 
Is seen into the Waste this day.” 

“Then Hobie Noble is that deer; 
I’m sure he carries the style full high! 
Oft has he beat your sleuth-hounds back, 
And set yourselves at little sway. 

“Go warn the bows of Hartlie-burn, 
See they shaft their arrows on the wall; 
Warn Williehaver and Spear-Adam,      (pronounced Willeva)
On the Rodrie-haugh to meet me all.”    (a haugh is a flat by a river)

Then Hobie Noble has dreamed a dream, 
In the Foulbogshiel where that he lay; 
He thought his horse beneath him shot, 
And he himself got hard away. 

“Get up, get up, my comrades five, 
For I think this makes a full ill day 
And the worst cloak of this company,          (sometimes given as "clock." Perhaps it was "cluck.")
I hope shall cross the Waste this day.” 

Now Hobie thought the ways were clear, 
But, ever alas! it was not so; 
They were beset with cruel men and keen, 
That away brave Noble could not go. 

“Yet follow me, my comrades five, 
And see with me ye keep good array, 
And the worst cloak of this company, 
I hope shall cross the Waste this day.” 

Now Hobie had but a laddie’s sword, 
But he did more than a laddie’s deed; 
In the midst of Conscouthart green, 
He broke it o’er Jers o Wigham’s head. 

There was heaps o men then Hobie before, 
And other heaps was him behind; 
That had he been strong as Wallace was,     (William Wallace, martial hero of Scotland)
Away brave Noble he could not win. 

Now they have taken Hobie Noble, 
With his own bowstring they have him bound; 
And I’m sure his heart was ne’er so sore, 
As when his own five held him down. 

They have taken him for West Carlisle; 
They asked him if he knew the way; 
Whate’er he thought, yet little he said; 
He knew the way as well as they. 

They’ve taken him up the Ricker-gate; 
The wives they cast their windows wide, 
And every wife to another did say, 
“That’s the man loosed Jock o the Side!” 

“Fie on ye women! Why call ye me man? 
For it’s no man that I’m used like, 
I’m but like some worn out hound, 
Has been fighting in a dirty dike.” 

They’ve taken him up through Carlisle town, 
And set him by the chimney-fire; 
With a wheat-loaf and a can o beer, 
Saying, “Eat, brave Noble, and make good cheer!” 

“Confess my lord’s horses,” Hobie, they say, 
“And the morn in Carlisle ye’ll not die;” 
 “How shall I confess them? ”Hobie says, 
“For I never saw them with mine eye.” 

Then Hobie has sworn a full great oath, 
By the day that he was gotten or born, 
He never had nothing of my lord’s, 
That either eats the grass or corn. 

“Now fare thee well, sweet Mangerton! 
For I think again I’ll ne’er thee see, 
I would betray no lad alive, 
For all the gold in Christendie. 

“And fare thee well now, Liddisdale, 
Both the high land and the low! 
Keep ye well from traitor Mains! 
For gold and gear he’ll sell ye all. 

“I’d rather be called Hobie Noble, 
In Carlisle, where he suffers for his fault, 
Before I were called traitor Mains, 
That eats and drinks of meal and malt.”