Some rode on the black and gray, And some rode on the brown, But the bonny John Seton Lay gasping on the ground.
Then bye there comes a false Forbes, 35 Was riding from Driminere; Says "Here there lies a proud Seton, This day they ride the rear."
Cragievar said to his men,[L39]
"You may play on your shield; 40 For the proudest Seton in all the lan'
This day lies on the field."
"O spoil him, spoil him," cried Cragievar, "Him spoiled let me see; For on my word," said Cragievar, 45 "He had no good will at me."
They took from him his armour clear, His sword, likewise his shield; Yea they have left him naked there Upon the open field. 50
The Highland men, they're clever men At handling sword and shield, But yet they are too naked men To stay in battle field.
The Highland men are clever men[L55] 55 At handling sword or gun, But yet they are too naked men To bear the cannon's rung.
For a cannon's roar in a summer night Is like thunder in the air; 60 There's not a man in Highland dress Can face the cannon's fire.
39. Sir William Forbes of Cragievar.
55-62. The Highlanders were thrown into great consternation by cannon shot, to which they were not accustomed. At the Raid of Stonehaven, just previous to the affair of the Bridge of Dee, the first volley made them wheel about and fly in disorder. They declared that they could not abide "the musket's mother."
THE HAWS OF CROMDALE.
Ritson's _Scottish Songs_, ii. 40. Johnson's _Museum_, p. 502.
This ballad, very popular in Scotland, was long sold on the stalls before it was received into the collections. A glance will show that it has at best been very imperfectly transmitted by oral tradition. In fact, the Ettrick Shepherd seems to be right in maintaining that two widely separated events are here jumbled together. The first five stanzas apparently refer to an action in May, 1690, when Sir Thomas Livingston surprised fifteen hundred Highlanders in their beds at Cromdale, and the remainder to the lost battle of Auldern, where Montrose, with far inferior forces, defeated Sir John Hurry with prodigious slaughter, on the 4th of May, 1645. Mr. Stenhouse states, indeed, that after that imprudent division of the army of the Covenant which opened the way to the disaster at Auldern, Hurry surprised and routed at Cromdale a body of Highlanders under the lion-hearted Allaster Macdonald. But this check appears, by his own language, to have been too slight an affair to call forth such verses as those with which the ballad begins. See Hogg's _Jacobite Relics_, ii. 157, Johnson's _Museum_ (1853), iv. 428.
As I came in by Achendown, A little wee bit frae the town, When to the highlands I was bown, To view the haws of Cromdale,
I met a man in tartan trews, 5 I spier'd at him what was the news: Quoth he, "The highland army rues That e'er we came to Cromdale."
"We were in bed, sir, every man, When the English host upon us came; 10 A bloody battle then began Upon the haws of Cromdale.
"The English horse they were so rude, They bath'd their hoofs in highland blood, But our brave clans they boldly stood, 15 Upon the haws of Cromdale.
"But alas! we could no longer stay, For o'er the hills we came away, And sore we do lament the day That e'er we came to Cromdale." 20
Thus the great Montrose did say, "Can you direct the nearest way?
For I will o'er the hills this day, And view the haws of Cromdale."
"Alas, my lord, you're not so strong; 25 You scarcely have two thousand men, And there's twenty thousand on the plain, Stand rank and file on Cromdale."
Thus the great Montrose did say, "I say, direct the nearest way, 30 For I will o'er the hills this day, And see the haws of Cromdale."
They were at dinner, every man, When great Montrose upon them came; A second battle then began 35 Upon the haws of Cromdale.
The Grants, Mackenzies, and M'Kys, Soon as Montrose they did espy, O then they fought most vehemently, Upon the haws of Cromdale. 40
The M'Donalds, they return'd again, The Camerons did their standard join, M'Intosh play'd a bonny game, Upon the haws of Cromdale.
The M'Gregors fought like lyons bold, 45 M'Phersons, none could them controul, M'Lauchlins fought like loyal souls, Upon the haws of Cromdale.
[M'Leans, M'Dougals, and M'Neals, So boldly as they took the field, 50 And made their enemies to yield, Upon the haws of Cromdale.]
The Gordons boldly did advance, The Fraziers [fought] with sword and lance, The Grahams they made their heads to dance, 55 Upon the haws of Cromdale.
The loyal Stewarts, with Montrose, So boldly set upon their foes, And brought them down with highland blows, Upon the haws of Cromdale 60
Of twenty thousand Cromwells men Five hundred went to Aberdeen, The rest of them lyes on the plain, Upon the haws of Cromdale.
THE BATTLE OF ALFORD.
Two months after the defeat of Sir John Hurry at Auldern, Montrose utterly destroyed the other division of the covenanting army, under General Baillie, at Alford on the Don. On the 2d of July, the King's forces marched from Drumminor, and crossed the Don to Alford, Montrose and the Earl of Aboyne taking up their quarters in the castle of Asloun. Baillie, who was now in pursuit of the royalists, moved southward, and encamped on the day just mentioned, at Lesly. The next morning he crossed the river (halting on the way near a farm called Mill Hill), whereupon the battle took place. Montrose dearly purchased this new victory by the loss of Lord George Gordon, who commanded the _right_ wing, not the left.
These fragmentary verses are from _The Thistle of Scotland_, p. 68.
The Graham[s and] Gordons of Aboyne Camp'd at Drumminor bog; At the castle there they lay all night, And left them scarce a hog.
The black Baillie, that auld dog, 5 Appeared on our right; We quickly raise up frae the bog, To Alford march'd that night.
We lay at Lesly all night, They camped at Asloun; 10 And up we raise afore daylight, To ding the beggars doun.
Before we was in battle rank, We was anent Mill Hill; I wat full weel they gar'd us rue,[L15] 15 We gat fighting our fill.
They hunted us and dunted us, They drave us here and there, Untill three hundred of our men Lay gasping in their lair. 20
The Earl of Mar the right wing guided, The colours stood him by; Lord George Gordon the left wing guided, Who well the sword could ply.
There came a ball shot frae the west 25 That shot him through the back; Although he was our enemy, We grieved for his wreck.
We cannot say 'twas his own men, But yet it came that way; 30 In Scotland there was not a match To that man where he lay.
THE BATTLE OF PENTLAND HILLS.