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|This ballad is also known as Bonnie James Campbell. A variation appeared in Scotts' Scottish Songs (1795-1806) and this specific tune appears in the The Scottish Minstrel (1820-24) by R.A. Smith.
This is Child Ballad #210 (Bonnie James Campbell).
For a complete list of Child Ballads at this site see Francis J. Child Ballads.
The ballad is probably a lament for one of two cousins, Archibald or James Campbell who died in the battle of Glenlivet on October 3, 1594. The "John Campbell" version concerns the murder of Sir John Campbell of Calder by another Campbell in 1591.
Hie upon the Highlands, and laigh upon the Tay,
Bonnie George Campbell rode, out on a day.
He saddled, he bridled, and gallant rode he,
And hame came his guid horse, but never cam he.
Out cam his mother, dear, greeting fu sair,
And out cam his bonnie bryde, riving her hair.
"The meadow lies green the corn is unshorn
But bonnie George Campbell will never return.
Saddled and bridled and booted rode he,
A plume in his helment, a sword at his knee.
but toom cam his saddle, all bloody to see
Oh, hame cam his guid horse, but never cam he.
Fireside Book of Folk Songs and
The English and Scottish Popular Ballads
See Bibliography for full information.