Lord Maxwell's Last Goodnight

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Lord Maxwell’s Last Goodnight is Child ballad 195. It is based on the actions of John Maxwell, 9th Lord Maxwell, who killed Sir James Johnstone in 1608 as the culmination of a family feud. He fled to France and was sentenced to death in his absence, returning in secret five years later. He was apprehended and beheaded at Edinburgh on 21 May 1613.[1][2]


Lady Maxwell asks her husband to come with her into her father's garden. He tells her that he killed the laird Johnstone, who killed his father, and must flee. He bids a tender farewell to her, the rest of his family, and Scotland, and is escorted off to his ship by a great company.


  1. ^ Aytoun, William Edmondstoune. The Ballads of Scotland, v.2.  p.261-263
  2. ^ Balfour Paul, James (1904), "Maxwell, Earl of Nithsdale", The Scots Peerage, Edinburgh: D. Douglas, VI, pp. 484–485 

Further reading[edit]

  • Kinsley, James, ed. (1969) The Oxford Book of Ballads. Oxford: Clarendon Press; pp. 607-10. With an air from the Blaikie MS., p. 19, no. 55 (entitled "The King of Faeries"); text is Child 195A, from George Paton's MS., 1778.

External links[edit]