"Rob Roy was my father ca'd, Macgregor was his name, ladie; He led a band o' heroes bauld, An' I am here the same, ladie.
Be content, be content, 25 Be content to stay, ladie, For thou art my wedded wife Until thy dying day, ladie.
"He was a hedge unto his frien's, A heckle to his foes, ladie, 30 Every one that durst him wrang, He took him by the nose, ladie.
I'm as bold, I'm as bold, I'm as bold, an more, ladie; He that daurs dispute my word, 35 Shall feel my guid claymore, ladie."
From Maidment's _North Countrie Garland_, p. 44.
Rob Roy from the Highlands cam, Unto our Scottish border, And he has stow'n a lady fair, To haud his house in order.
And when he cam, he surrounded the house, 5 Twenty men their arms did carry, And he has stow'n this lady fair, On purpose her to marry.
And when he cam, he surrounded the house; No tidings there cam before him, 10 Or else the lady would have been gone, For still she did abhor him.
Wi' murnfu' cries, and wat'ry eyes, Fast hauding by her mother, Wi' murnfu' cries, and wat'ry eyes, 15 They are parted frae each other.
Nae time he gied her to be dress'd, As ladies do when they're bride O, But he hastened and hurried her awa', And he row'd her in his plaid O. 20
They rade till they cam to Ballyshine, At Ballyshine they tarried; He bought to her a cotton gown, Yet ne'er would she be married.
Three held her up before the priest, 25 Four carried her to bed O, Wi' wat'ry eyes, and murnfu' sighs, When she behind was laid O.
"O be content, be content, Be content to stay, lady, 30 For ye are my wedded wife Unto my dying day, lady.
_Be content, be content, Be content to stay, lady, For ye are my wedded wife Unto my dying day, lady._
"My father is Rob Roy called, M'Gregor is his name, lady, In all the country where he dwells, 35 He does succeed the fame, lady.
"My father he has cows and ewes, And goats he has eneuch, lady, And you, and twenty thousand merks, Will make me a man complete, lady." 40
From Maidment's _North Countrie Garland_, p. 40.
"This ballad is probably much more than a century old, though the circumstances which have given rise to it were fortunately too common to preclude the possibility of its being of a later date. Although evidently founded on fact, the editor has not hitherto discovered the particular circumstances out of which it has originated."
Four and twenty Highland men Came a' from Carrie side, To steal awa' Eppie Morrie, 'Cause she would not be a bride.
Out it's cam her mother, 5 It was a moonlight night, She could not see her daughter.
The sands they shin'd so bright.
"Haud far awa' frae me, mother, Haud far awa' frae me; 10 There's not a man in a' Strathdon Shall wedded be with me."
They have taken Eppie Morrie, And horseback bound her on, And then awa' to the minister, 15 As fast as horse could gang.
He's taken out a pistol, And set it to the minister's breast; "Marry me, marry me, minister, Or else I'll be your priest." 20
"Haud far awa' frae me, good sir, Haud far awa' frae me; For there's not a man in a' Strathdon That shall married be with me."
"Haud far awa' frae me, Willie, 25 Haud far awa' frae me; For I darna avow to marry you, Except she's as willing as ye."
They have taken Eppie Morrie, Since better could nae be, 30 And they're awa' to Carrie side, As fast as horse could flee.
Then mass was sung, and bells were rung, And all were bound for bed, Then Willie an' Eppie Morrie 35 In one bed they were laid.
"Haud far awa' frae me, Willie, Haud far awa' frae me; Before I'll lose my maidenhead, I'll try my strength with thee." 40
She took the cap from off her head, And threw it to the way; Said, "Ere I lose my maidenhead, I'll fight with you till day."
Then early in the morning, 45 Before her clothes were on, In came the maiden of Scalletter, Gown and shirt alone.
"Get up, get up, young woman, And drink the wine wi' me;" 50 "You might have called me maiden, I'm sure as leal as thee."
"Wally fa' you, Willie, That ye could nae prove a man, And taen the lassie's maidenhead; 55 She would have hired your han'."
"Haud far awa' frae me, lady, Haud far awa' frae me; There's not a man in a' Strathdon, The day shall wed wi' me." 60
Soon in there came Belbordlane, With a pistol on every side; "Come awa' hame, Eppie Morrie, And there you'll be my bride."
"Go get to me a horse, Willie, 65 And get it like a man, And send me back to my mother, A maiden as I cam.
"The sun shines o'er the westlin hills, By the light lamp of the moon, 70 Just saddle your horse, young John Forsyth, And whistle, and I'll come soon."
This ballad, worthy of a hangman's pen, was first printed in Herd's _Scottish Songs_, i. 161. It is found, mutilated and altered, with the title of _Macpherson's Lament_, in the _Thistle of Scotland_, p. 52.
The story of Macpherson is given as follows by a writer in the _New Monthly Magazine_, vol. i. p. 142, cited by Chambers, _Scottish Songs_, i. 84.
"James Macpherson was born of a beautiful gipsy, who, at a great wedding, attracted the notice of a half-intoxicated Highland gentleman.
He acknowledged the child, and had him reared in his house, until he lost his life in bravely pursuing a hostile clan, to recover a spreach of cattle taken from Badenoch. The gipsy woman, hearing of this disaster, in her rambles the following summer, came and took away her boy; but she often returned with him, to wait upon his relations and clansmen, who never failed to clothe him well, besides giving money to his mother. He grew up to beauty, strength, and stature, rarely equalled. His sword is still preserved at Duff House, a residence of the Earl of Fife, and few men of our day could carry, far less wield it, as a weapon of war; and if it must be owned that his prowess was debased by the exploits of a free-booter, it is certain, no act of cruelty, no robbery of the widow, the fatherless, or distressed, and no murder, were ever perpetrated under his command. He often gave the spoils of the rich to relieve the poor; and all his tribe were restrained from many atrocities of rapine by the awe of his mighty arm. Indeed, it is said that a dispute with an aspiring and savage man of his tribe, who wished to rob a gentleman's house while his wife and two children lay on the bier for interment, was the cause of his being betrayed to the vengeance of the law. The magistrates of Aberdeen were exasperated at Macpherson's escape, and bribed a girl in that city to allure and deliver him into their hands. There is a platform before the jail, at the top of a stair, and a door below. When Macpherson's capture was made known to his comrades by the frantic girl, who had been so credulous as to believe the magistrates only wanted to hear the wonderful performer on the violin, his cousin, Donald Macpherson, a gentleman of Herculean powers, did not disdain to come from Badenoch, and to join a gipsy, Peter Brown, in liberating the prisoner. On a market-day they brought several assistants; and swift horses were stationed at a convenient distance.
Donald Macpherson and Peter Brown forced the jail; and while Peter Brown went to help the heavily-fettered James Macpherson in moving away, Donald Macpherson guarded the jail-door with a drawn sword. Many persons assembled at the market had experienced James Macpherson's humanity, or had shared his bounty; and they crowded round the jail as in mere curiosity, but, in fact, to obstruct the civil authorities in their attempts to prevent a rescue. A butcher, however, was resolved to detain Macpherson, expecting a large recompense from the magistrates; he sprung up the stairs, and leaped from the platform upon Donald Macpherson, whom he dashed to the ground by the force and weight of his body. Donald Macpherson soon recovered, to make a desperate resistance; and the combatants tore off each other's clothes. The butcher got a glimpse of his dog upon the platform, and called him to his aid; but Macpherson, with admirable presence of mind, snatched up his own plaid, which lay near, and threw it over the butcher, thus misleading the instinct of his canine adversary. The dog darted with fury upon the plaid, and terribly lacerated his master's thigh. In the mean time, James Macpherson had been carried out by Peter Brown, and was soon joined by Donald Macpherson, who was quickly covered by some friendly spectator with a hat and great coat. The magistrates ordered webs from the shops to be drawn across the Gallowgate; but Donald Macpherson cut them asunder with his sword, and James, the late prisoner, got off on horseback. He was, some time after, betrayed by a man of his own tribe: and was the last person executed at Banff, previous to the abolition of hereditable jurisdiction. He was an admirable performer on the violin; and his talent for composition is still evidenced by Macpherson's Rant, and Macpherson's Pibroch. He performed these tunes at the foot of the fatal tree; and then asked if he had any friend in the crowd to whom a last gift of his instrument would be acceptable. No man had hardihood to claim friendship with a delinquent, in whose crimes the acknowledgment might implicate an avowed acquaintance. As no friend came forward, Macpherson said, the companion of so many gloomy hours should perish with him; and, breaking the violin over his knees, he threw away the fragments. Donald Macpherson picked up the neck of the violin, which to this day is preserved, as a valuable memento, by the family of Cluny, chieftain of the Macphersons."
Burns's magnificent death-song, _McPherson's Farewell_, is too well known to require more than an allusion.