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Track 3: Johnnie Cope

Johnnie Cope

traditional (around 1745)
lyrics by Adam Skiving a farmer of Garleton
arranged by The MacLeods

Johnnie Cope was a general of the Government forces, who fled in panic after an early morning attack by the Jacobites led by Bonnie Prince Charlie in 1745 near the village of Preston Pans. After that Cope became the target of a lot of mockery as in this song.

Johnnie Cope


Cope sent a challenge tae Dunbar,
Sayin' Charlie meet me gin y'daur,
An' I'll learn ye the erts of War,
If y'll meet me in the mornin'!

When Charlie looked the letter upon,
He drew his sword it's scabbard from,
Come, follow me my merry men,
And we'll meet Johnnie Cope in the mornin'!

Hi, Johnnie Cope, are ye waukin' yet?
Or are your drums a beatin' yet?
If ye wid wauk 'en I wid wait,
To gang to the coals in the mornin'!

Come noo Johnnie, be as guid as yer word,
Come let us try baith fire and sword,
And dinna flee like a frichted bird,
That's chased frae it's nest in the morning'!

When Johnnie Cope he heard of this,
He thoucht to himself no it wadna be amiss
Come saddle my horse in readiness,
Tae flee awa' in the mornin'!

Fie, now Johnnie, get up and rin!
The Highland bagpipes mak' a din!
It's better tae sleep in a hale skin,
For it will be a bloody mornin'!

When Johnnie Cope tae Dunbar cam,
They spiered at him "Whaur's a' yer men?"
"The de'il confound me I dinnae ken,
For I left them a' in the mornin'!"

Now, you Johnnie, troth ye werena blate,
To cam wi' news of your ain defeat,
And leave your men in sic a strait,
Sae early in the mornin'!

"In Faith," quo Johnnie, "I got sic flegs
Wi' their claymores and philabags!
Gin I face them again, de'il break my legs!
So I wish ye a good mornin'!"