Johnny Cope


Trad / Skirving / Arr. Scocha


In 1745, General John Cope's troops were outclassed and utterly routed by Prince Charlie's Highland army at Prestonpans, near Edinburgh. Cope fled to Berwick, it is said that he was the first General ever to bring news of his own defeat.


Johnny Cope


Cope sent a challenge frae Dunbar:  

Sayin' 'Charlie, meet me an' ye daur, 

An' I'll learn you the art o' war  

If you'll meet me I' the morning'.


Charlie looked the letter upon  

He drew his sword it's scabbard from:  

Follow me' my merry men,  

And we'll meet Johnnie Cope in the morningl



Hey, Johnnie Cope, are ye wauking yet? 

Or are your drums a-beating yet?  

If ye were wauking I wad wait  

To gang to the coals in the morning.


Come now Johnnie, be as good's your word;

And let us try wi' fire and sword;  

Dinna flee like a frichted bird,  

That's chased frae its nest in the morning.'


Johnnie Cope he heard of this, 

He said to himself, noo it wadna be amiss

Gaun saddle my horse in readiness,  

To flee awa' in the morning.




Fy now, Johnnie, get up an' rin;

The Highland bagpipes mak' a din;

It's better to sleep in a hale skin,  

It'll be a bluidy morning.




Johnnie Cope tae Dunbar came,  

They speired at him, 'Where's a' your men?' 

'The deil confound me gin I ken,  

For I left them a' in the morning'.




Troth, now Johnnie, ye wernae blate 

To come wi' the news o' your ain defeat,

And leave your men in sic a strait  

Sae early in the morning.


'Faith' quo Johnnie, I got sic flegs  

Frae their claymores an' philabegs;  

If I face them again, deil break my legsl

So I wish yis a' gude morning'.