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A History of the Gipsies by Walter Simson

Then they hae grippit Hughie the Graeme


far as I can judge, from the few and short specimens which I have myself heard, and had reported to me, the subjects of the songs of the Scottish Gipsies, (I mean those composed by themselves,) are chiefly their plunderings, their robberies, and their sufferings. The numerous and deadly conflicts which they had among themselves, also, afforded them themes for the exercise of their muse. My father, in his youth, often heard them singing songs, wholly in their own language. They appear to have been very fond of our ancient Border marauding songs, which celebrate the daring exploits of the lawless freebooters on the frontiers of Scotland and England. They were constantly singing these compositions among themselves. The song composed on Hughie Graeme, the horse-stealer, published in the second volume of Sir Walter Scott's Border Minstrelsy, was a great favourite with the Tinklers. As this song is completely to the taste of a Gipsy, I will insert it in this place, as affording a good specimen of that description of song in the singing of which they take great delight. It will also serve to show the peculiar cast of mind of the Gipsies.


GUDE Lord Scroope's to the hunting gane, He has ridden o'er moss and muir; And he has grippit Hughie the Graeme, For stealing o' the Bishop's mare.

"Now, good Lord Scroope, this may not be! Here hangs

a broadsword by my side; And if that thou canst conquer me, The matter it may soon be tryed."

"I ne'er was afraid of a traitor-thief; Although thy name be Hughie the Graeme, I'll make thee repent thee of thy deeds, If God but grant me life and time."

"Then do your worst now, good Lord Scroope, And deal your blows as hard as you can! It shall be tried, within an hour, Which of us two is the better man."

But as they were dealing their blows so free, And both so bloody at the time, Over the moss came ten yeomen so tall, All for to take brave Hughie the Graeme.

Then they hae grippit Hughie the Graeme, And brought him up through Carlisle town; The lasses and lads stood on the walls, Crying, "Hughie the Graeme, thou'se ne'er gae down."

Then hae they chosen a jury of men, The best that were in Carlisle town; And twelve of them cried out at once, "Hughie the Graeme, thou must gae down."

Then up bespak him gude Lord Hume, As he sat by the judge's knee,-- "Twenty white owsen, my gude lord, If you'll grant Hughie the Graeme to me."

"O no, O no, my gude Lord Hume! For sooth and sae it manna be; For, were there but three Graemes of the name, They suld be hanged a' for me."

'Twas up and spake the gude Lady Hume, As she sat by the judge's knee,-- "A peck of white pennies, my gude lord judge, If you'll grant Hughie the Graeme to me."

"O no, O no, my gude Lady Hume! For sooth and so it must na be; Were he but the one Graeme of the name, He suld be hanged high for me."

"If I be guilty," said Hughie the Graeme, "Of me my friends shall have small talk;" And he has louped fifteen feet and three, Though his hands they were tied behind his back.

He looked over his left shoulder, And for to see what he might see; There was he aware of his auld father, Came tearing his hair most piteouslie.

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