“Lord Maxwell's Last Goodnight”


Lord Maxwell, having had his revenge on the Johnstones and soon to be executed for it, bids farewell to the places and people he has known


The events which led up to the execution of Maxwell are typical of the sort of feuding in which Scottish nobles were constantly engaged, and are detailed by Child. Even for a last goodnight, this song is amazingly frugal of details; the texts in Child say nothing of what Maxwell did, nor even what his fate will be. I was tempted to give it the keyword "nonballad." - RBW

Historical references

  • 1608 - Murder of James Johnstone by Lord Maxwell
  • 1613 - Execution of Maxwell for his crimes


  1. Child 195, "Lord Maxwell's Last Goodnight" (2 texts)
  2. Bronson 195, "Lord Maxwell's Last Goodnight" (4 versions)
  3. Leach, pp. 533-535, "Lord Maxwell's Last Goodnight" (1 text)
  4. OBB 151, "Lord Maxwell's Last Goodnight" (1 text)
  5. Roud #4015
  6. BI, C195


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1778 (Percy papers)
Found in: Britain(Scotland)