Johnny Cope
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Barry Taylor


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Lyrics
According to Wikipedia, a tune to Johnnie Cope was written in 1745 by Adam Skirving (1719-1803), a tenant farmer in East Lothian. Robert Burns also wrote a set of lyrics to the tune. They can be found at Johnnie Cope. The song is an account of the Battle of Prestonpans (obivously from the Jacobite perspective) at which Sir John Cope was defeated.

For other Jacobite tunes go to the bottom of The Contemplator's Short History of the Jacobite Uprisings.

Cope sent a challenge frae Dunbar,
Sayin "Charlie meet me an' ye daur;
An' I'll learn ye the airt o' war,
If ye'll meet me in the morning."
O Hey! Johnnie Cope are ye waukin' yet?
Or are your drums a-beating yet?
If ye were waukin' I wad wait,
Tae gang tae the coals in the morning. *


When Charlie looked the letter upon,
He drew his sword and scabbard from,
Come, follow me, my merry men,
And we'll meet Johnnie Cope in the morning.
O Hey! Johnnie Cope are ye waukin' yet?
Or are your drums a-beating yet?
If ye were waukin' I wad wait,
Tae gang tae the coals in the morning. *


Now Johnnie, be as good as your word,
Come, let us try baith fire and sword,
And dinna flee like a frichted bird,
That's chased frae its nest i' the morning.
O Hey! Johnnie Cope are ye waukin' yet?
Or are your drums a-beating yet?
If ye were waukin' I wad wait,
Tae gang tae the coals in the morning. *


When Johnnie Cope he heard o' this,
He thocht it wouldna be amiss,
Tae hae a horse in readiness,
Tae flee awa in the morning.
O Hey! Johnnie Cope are ye waukin' yet?
Or are your drums a-beating yet?
If ye were waukin' I wad wait,
Tae gang tae the coals in the morning. *


Fye now, Johnnie, get up an' rin,
The Highland bagpipes mak' a din,
It's better tae sleep in a hale skin,
For it will be a bluidie morning.
O Hey! Johnnie Cope are ye waukin' yet?
Or are your drums a-beating yet?
If ye were waukin' I wad wait,
Tae gang tae the coals in the morning. *


When Johnnie Cope tae Dunbar cam,
They speired at him, "Where's a' your men"
"The de'il confound me gin I ken,
For I left them a' in the morning."
O Hey! Johnnie Cope are ye waukin' yet?
Or are your drums a-beating yet?
If ye were waukin' I wad wait,
Tae gang tae the coals in the morning. *


Now Johnnie, troth ye werena blate,
Tae come wi' news o' your ain defeat,
And leave your men in sic a strait,
Sae early in the morning.
O Hey! Johnnie Cope are ye waukin' yet?
Or are your drums a-beating yet?
If ye were waukin' I wad wait,
Tae gang tae the coals in the morning. *


In faith, quo Johnnie, I got sic flegs
Wi' their claymores an' philabegs,
Gin I face them again, de'il brak my legs,
So I wish you a' good morning.
O Hey! Johnnie Cope are ye waukin' yet?
Or are your drums a-beating yet?
If ye were waukin' I wad wait,
Tae gang tae the coals in the morning. *


*Prestonpans had been the
location of coal fields.
Related Links
There is a wonderful rendition of the tune on Alastair McDonald's album, Songs From Gretna to Glen Coe.
Lyrics from The Mudcat Cafe.