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The Laird of Logie / Young Logie

[ Roud 81 ; Child 182 ; G/D 2:247 ; Ballad Index C182 ; trad.]

Bandoggs with Chris Coe in lead sang Laird Logie in 1978 on their eponymous Transatlantic / Leader Tradition album Bandoggs.

Katherine Campbell sang The Laird of Logie, accompanied by Mairi Campbell on fiddle, in 2004 on her CD The Songs of Amelia and Jane Harris which is a companion to the book The Song Repertoire of Amelia and Jane Harris, edited by Emily Lyle (2002). Her album's notes commented:

The ballad is based on an incident in the court of James VI that took place in 1592. John Weymss, the young laird of Logie in North Fife, was a gentleman servant of the king's chamber and was apparently a great favourite of both King James and his queen and was involved in a relationship with Margaret, the queen's marie. The queen's marie (i.e. lady in waiting) was, in this case, Margaret Twynlace who attended Queen Anne when she came to Scotland from Denmark in May 1590. In the Harris version of the ballad (The Laird of Logie: Child 182) the young Laird of Logie is imprisoned by the king for the apparently minor indiscretion of ‘stealing a kiss from the queen's marie’ as in the first stanza.

The offence for which Logie was locked up in August of 192 was, in fact, more serious than stealing a kiss. He was said to have had an involvement with Francis Stewart, the Earl of Bothwell and cousin to the king who had ‘conspired the apprehension of the king's person’ while James had been residing at Falkland palace in June of the same year.

In the ballad, when Lady Margaret hears that her young Logie has been detained, she comes down the stair crying to the queen. […] The queen goes to the king, bur he refuses her pleas for clemency. Lady Margaret again pleads with the queen who ‘counterfeits the kings's hand’ in a message which she sends with the kings's glove to ‘Pitcairn's wa's’ as authority for the freeing of Logie. The king, looking over his castle wall, sees Young Logie, the queen admits her part in the venture and Young Logie is pardoned.

There is no historical evidence the queen was involved in the deception. Lady Margaret is reported to have herself gone to the guard during the night with a request that she was to take Logie to the king. Instead she enabled him to escape from a window. She and John Wemyss, younger Laird of Logie, were later married.

Lyrics

Katherine Campbell sings Young Logie

Pretty is the story I hae to tell,
Pretty is the praisin o itsel,
An pretty is the prisner oor king's tane,
The rantin young laird o Logie.

Has he brunt? or has he slain?
Or has he done any injurie?
Oh no, no, he's done nothing at all,
But stown a kiss frae the queen's marie.

Ladie Margaret cam doon the stair,
Wringin her hands an tearin her hair;
Cryin, “Oh, that ever I to Scotland cam,
Aye to see Young Logie dee!”

“Had your tongue noo, Lady Margaret,
An a' your weepin lat a bee!
For I'll gae to the king my sell,
An plead for life to Young Logie.”

“First whan I to Scotland cam,
You promised to gie me askens three;
The first then o these askens is
Life for the young laird o Logie.”

“If you had asked house or lands,
They suld hae been at your command;
But the morn, ere I taste meat or drink,
High hanged sall Young Logie be.”

Lady Margaret cam doon the stair,
Wringin her hands an tearin her hair;
Cryin, “Oh, that ever I to Scotland cam,
A' to see Young Logie dee!”

“Haud your tongue noo, Lady Margaret,
An a' your weepin lat a bee!
For I'll counterfiet the king's hand-write,
An steal frae him his right-hand gloe,
An send them to Pitcairn's wa's,
A' to lat Young Logie free.”

She counterfieted the king's hand-write,
An stole frae him his richt hand gloe,
An sent them to Pitcairn's wa's,
A' to let Young Logie free.

The king luikit owre his castle-wa,
Was luikin to see what he cald see:
“My life to wad an my land to pawn,
Yonder comes the young laird o Logie!”

“Pardon, oh pardon! my lord the king,
Aye I pray you pardon me;
For I counterfieted your hand-write,
An stole frae you your richt hand gloe,
An sent them to Pitcairn's wa's,
A' to set Young Logie free.”

“If this had been done by laird or lord,
Or by baron of high degree,
I'se mak it sure, upon my word,
His life suld hae gane for Young Logie.

“But since it is my gracious queen,
A hearty pardon we will gie,
An for her sake we'll free the loon,
The rantin young laird o Logie.”