Prev Next

Scott informs us that there were two Gordons of Earlstoun engaged in the rebellion, a father and son. The former was not in the battle, but was met hastening to it by English dragoons, and was killed on his refusing to surrender. The son, who is supposed to be the person mentioned in the ballad, was of the milder Presbyterians, and fought only for freedom of conscience and relief from the tyrannical laws against non-conformists. He escaped from the battle, and after being several times condemned to die, was finally set at liberty, and restored to his forfeited estates.

In this ballad Claverhouse's unsparing pursuit of the fugitives is imputed to a desire to revenge the death of his kinsman at Loudon Hill, and his anger at being thwarted is, with great simplicity, asserted to have led to the execution of Monmouth.

Scott's copy of this ballad was given from recitation. In the First Series of Laing's _Fugitive Scottish Poetry_, there is an amusingly prosaic Covenanting ditty upon this subject, called _Bothwell Lines_, and in the Second Series, a Cavalier song, entitled The _Battell of Bodwell Bridge, or The Kings Cavileers Triumph_.

"O, billie, billie, bonny billie, Will ye go to the wood wi' me?

We'll ca' our horse hame masterless, An' gar them trow slain men are we."

"O no, O no!" says Earlstoun, 5 "For that's the thing that mauna be; For I am sworn to Bothwell Hill, Where I maun either gae or die."

So Earlstoun rose in the morning, An' mounted by the break o' day; 10 An' he has joined our Scottish lads, As they were marching out the way.

"Now, farewell, father, and farewell, mother, And fare ye weel, my sisters three; An' fare ye weel, my Earlstoun, 15 For thee again I'll never see!"

So they're awa' to Bothwell Hill, An' waly they rode bonnily!

When the Duke o' Monmouth saw them comin', He went to view their company. 20

"Ye're welcome, lads," the Monmouth said, "Ye're welcome, brave Scots lads, to me; And sae are you, brave Earlstoun, The foremost o' your company!

"But yield your weapons ane an a', 25 O yield your weapons, lads, to me; For gin ye'll yield your weapons up, Ye'se a' gae hame to your country."

Out then spak a Lennox lad, And waly but he spoke bonnily! 30 "I winna yield my weapons up, To you nor nae man that I see."

Then he set up the flag o' red, A' set about wi' bonny blue; "Since ye'll no cease, and be at peace, 35 See that ye stand by ither true."

They stell'd their cannons on the height, And showr'd their shot down in the howe; An' beat our Scots lads even down, Thick they lay slain on every knowe. 40

As e'er you saw the rain down fa', Or yet the arrow frae the bow,-- Sae our Scottish lads fell even down, An' they lay slain on every knowe.

"O hold your hand," then Monmouth cry'd, 45 "Gie quarters to yon men for me!"

But wicked Claver'se swore an oath, His Cornet's death revenged sud be.

"O hold your hand," then Monmouth cry'd, "If onything you'll do for me; 50 Hold up your hand, you cursed Graeme, Else a rebel to our king ye'll be."

Then wicked Claver'se turn'd about, I wot an angry man was he; And he has lifted up his hat, 55 And cry'd, "God bless his Majesty!"

Than he's awa' to London town, Aye e'en as fast as he can dree; Fause witnesses he has wi' him ta'en, And ta'en Monmouth's head frae his body. 60

Alang the brae, beyond the brig, Mony brave man lies cauld and still; But lang we'll mind, and sair we'll rue, The bloody battle of Bothwell Hill.


This battle was fought on the evening of the 27th of July, 1689, a little to the north of the pass of Killiecrankie, in the Highlands of Perthshire, between King William's army under General Mackay, and a body of Highlanders under the renowned Claverhouse, the bravest and most faithful adherent of the house of Stuart. Mackay's troops, which were partly Dutch and partly English, amounted to 4,500 foot and two companies of horse. The Highlanders were not much more than half as numerous. They consisted of the followers of Maclean, Macdonald of Sky, Clanronald, Sir Evan Cameron of Lochiel, and others, with a few Irish. The left wing of Mackay's army was almost instantly routed by a furious charge of the Macleans. The right wing stood their ground manfully, and even repulsed the assault of the Macdonalds, but being taken in flank by the Camerons and a part of the Macleans, they were forced to retire and suffered great loss. While directing the oblique movement of the Camerons, Claverhouse received a mortal wound under the arm, and with him fell the cause of King James.

This ballad, which is taken from Herd's _Scottish Songs_, i. 163, was printed as a broadside near the time of the battle. The author is unknown. There was an old song called _Killiecrankie_, which, with some alterations, was inserted in Johnson's _Museum_ (p. 302). It is also found in Hogg's _Jacobite Relics_, i. 32, with an additional stanza. A contemporary Latin ballad on the same event by Herbert Kennedy, a professor in the University of Edinburgh, is given in the _Museum_, and may be seen in our Appendix.

Clavers and his Highlandmen Came down upo' the raw, man, Who being stout, gave mony a clout; The lads began to claw then.

With sword and terge into their hand, 5 Wi which they were nae slaw, man, Wi mony a fearful heavy sigh, The lads began to claw then.

O'er bush, o'er bank, o'er ditch, o'er stank, She flang amang them a', man; 10 The butter-box got mony knocks, Their riggings paid for a' then.

They got their paiks, wi sudden straiks, Which to their grief they saw, man: Wi clinkum clankum o'er their crowns, 15 The lads began to fa' then.

Hur skipt about, hur leapt about,[L17]

And flang amang them a', man; The English blades got broken heads, Their crowns were cleav'd in twa then. 20 The durk and door made their last hour, And prov'd their final fa', man; They thought the devil had been there, That play'd them sic a paw then.

The Solemn League and Covenant 25 Came whigging up the hills, man; Thought Highland trews durst not refuse For to subscribe their bills then.

In Willie's name, they thought nae ane Durst stop their course at a', man, 30 But hur-nane-sell, wi mony a knock, Cry'd, "Furich-Whigs awa'," man.

Sir Evan Du, and his men true, Came linking up the brink, man; The Hogan Dutch they feared such, 35 They bred a horrid stink then.

The true Maclean and his fierce men Came in amang them a' man; Nane durst withstand his heavy hand, All fled and ran awa' then. 40

_Oh' on a ri, Oh' on a ri,_ Why should she lose King Shames, man?

_Oh' rig in di, Oh' rig in di,_ She shall break a' her banes then; With _furichinish_, an' stay a while, 45 And speak a word or twa, man, She's gi' a straike, out o'er the neck, Before ye win awa' then.

O fy for shame, ye're three for ane, Hur-nane-sell's won the day, man; 50 King Shames' red-coats should be hung up, Because they ran awa' then.

Had bent their brows, like Highland trows, And made as lang a stay, man, They'd sav'd their king, that sacred thing, 55 And Willie'd ran awa' then.

17. The Highlanders have only one pronoun, and as it happens to resemble the English _her_, it has caused the Lowlanders to have a general impression that they mistake the feminine for the masculine gender. It has even become a sort of nickname for them, as in the present case, and in a subsequent verse, (31,) where it is extended to _her-nain-sell_.

CHAMBERS, _Scottish Songs_, p. 48.


Fought on the 13th of November, 1715, between the Duke of Argyle, general of the forces of King George the First, and the Earl of Mar, for the Chevalier de St. George. The right wing of both armies, led by the respective commanders, was successful, and the left wing of both was routed. Hence the victory was claimed by both sides. The Chevalier's army was much the larger of the two, and all the advantages of the contest remained with the other party.

This ballad is printed in Herd's _Scottish Songs_, i. 170, and in many subsequent collections. It is ascribed by Burns to the "Rev. Murdoch M'Lellan, minister of Crathie, Dee-side." Our copy is taken from Hogg's _Jacobite Relics_, ii. 1, where the stanzas in brackets appear for the first time. The notes are from Chambers's _Scottish Songs_, p.


There are several other ballads upon this battle: _Up and war them a', Willie_, Johnson's _Museum_, p. 195, and (different) Herd's _Scottish Songs_, ii. 234: _From Bogie Side, or, The Marquis's Raide_, a false and scurrilous party song, Hogg's _Jacobite Relics_, ii. 13: _A Dialogue between Will Lick-Ladle and Tom Clean-Cogue_, &c., written by the Rev. John Barclay of Edinburgh, many years after the event: and _The Battle of Sherramoor_, altered and abridged by Burns from this last, for Johnson's _Museum_, (p. 290.) See Appendix.

There's some say that we wan, and some say that they wan, And some say that nane wan at a', man; But one thing I'm sure, that at Sherra-muir A battle there was that I saw, man.

_And we ran, and they ran, and they ran, and we ran_, 5 _But Florence ran fastest of a', man_.[L6]

Argyle and Belhaven, not frighted like Leven,[L7]

Which Rothes and Haddington saw, man; For they all, with Wightman, advanc'd on the right, man, While others took flight, being raw, man. 10 _And we ran, &c._

Lord Roxburgh was there, in order to share[L11]

With Douglas, who stood not in awe, man; Volunteerly to ramble with Lord Loudon Campbell, Brave Ilay did suffer for a', man.

_And we ran, &c._

Report error

If you found broken links, wrong episode or any other problems in a anime/cartoon, please tell us. We will try to solve them the first time.