_Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border_, ii. 203
"The insurrection commemorated and magnified in the following ballad, as indeed it has been in some histories, was, in itself, no very important affair. It began in Dumfries-shire, where Sir James Turner, a soldier of fortune, was employed to levy the arbitrary fines imposed for not attending the Episcopal churches. The people rose, seized his person, disarmed his soldiers, and, having continued together, resolved to march towards Edinburgh, expecting to be joined by their friends in that quarter. In this they were disappointed; and, being now diminished to half their numbers, they drew up on the Pentland Hills, at a place called Rullien Green. They were commanded by one Wallace; and here they awaited the approach of General Dalziel, of Binns; who, having marched to Calder, to meet them on the Lanark road, and finding, that, by passing through Collington, they had got to the other side of the hills, cut through the mountains and approached them. Wallace showed both spirit and judgment: he drew up his men in a very strong situation, and withstood two charges of Dalziel's cavalry; but, upon the third shock, the insurgents were broken and utterly dispersed. There was very little slaughter, as the cavalry of Dalziel were chiefly gentlemen, who pitied their oppressed and misguided countrymen. There were about fifty killed, and as many made prisoners.
The battle was fought on the 28th November, 1666; a day still observed by the scattered remnant of the Cameronian sect, who regularly hear a field-preaching upon the field of battle.
"I am obliged for a copy of the ballad to Mr. Livingston of Airds, who took it down from the recitation of an old woman residing on his estate.
"The gallant Grahams, mentioned in the text, are Graham of Claverhouse's horse." SCOTT.
The gallant Grahams cam from the west, Wi' their horses black as ony craw; The Lothian lads they marched fast, To be at the Rhyns o' Gallowa.
Betwixt Dumfries town and Argyle, 5 The lads they marched mony a mile; Souters and tailors unto them drew, Their covenants for to renew.
The Whigs, they, wi' their merry cracks, Gar'd the poor pedlars lay down their packs; 10 But aye sinsyne they do repent The renewing o' their Covenant.
At the Mauchline muir, where they were review'd, Ten thousand men in armour show'd; But, ere they came to the Brockie's burn, 15 The half of them did back return.
General Dalyell, as I hear tell, Was our lieutenant-general; And Captain Welsh, wi' his wit and skill, Was to guide them on to the Pentland hill. 20
General Dalyell held to the hill, Asking at them what was their will; And who gave them this protestation, To rise in arms against the nation?
"Although we all in armour be, 25 It's not against his majesty; Nor yet to spill our neighbour's bluid, But wi' the country we'll conclude."
"Lay down your arms, in the King's name, And ye shall a' gae safely hame;" 30 But they a' cried out wi' ae consent, "We'll fight for a broken Covenant."
"O well," says he, "since it is so, A wilfu' man never wanted woe:"
He then gave a sign unto his lads, 35 And they drew up in their brigades.
The trumpets blew, and the colours flew, And every man to his armour drew; The Whigs were never so much aghast, As to see their saddles toom sae fast. 40
The cleverest men stood in the van, The Whigs they took their heels and ran; But such a raking was never seen, As the raking o' the Rullien Green.
THE READING SKIRMISH.
Several companies, principally Irish, belonging to the army of King James, and stationed at Reading, had quitted the town in consequence of a report that the Prince of Orange was advancing in that direction with the main body of his forces. On the departure of the garrison, the people of Reading at once invited the Prince to take possession of the place, and secure them against the Irish. But the King's troops, having learned that it was only a small detachment of William's soldiers, and not the main army, by whom they were threatened, returned and reoccupied their post. Here they were attacked by two hundred and fifty of the Dutch, and though numbering six hundred, were soon put to flight, with the loss of their colors and of fifty men, the assailants losing but five. This skirmish occurred on Sunday, the 9th of December, 1688.
This piece is extracted from Croker's _Historical Songs of Ireland_, p. 14, Percy Society, vol. i., and was there given from a collection of printed ballads in the British Museum. The burden seems to be derived from the following stanza of _Lilli burlero_:
"Now, now de heretics all go down, _Lilli, &c._ By Chreist and St. Patrick de nation's our own, _Lilli, &c._
THE READING SKIRMISH;
OR, THE BLOODY IRISH ROUTED BY THE VICTORIOUS DUTCH.
Five hundred papishes came there, To make a final end Of all the town, in time of prayer, But God did them defend.
To the tune of _Lilli borlero_. Licensed according to order. Printed for J. D. in the year 1688.
We came into brave Reading by night, Five hundred horsemen proper and tall; Yet not resolved fairly to fight, But for to cut the throats of them all.
Most of us was Irish Papists, 5 Who vowed to kill, then plunder the town; We this never doubted, but soon we were routed, By Chreest and St. Patrick, we all go down.
In Reading town we ne'er went to bed; Every soul there mounted his horse, 10 Hoping next day to fill them with dread; Yet I swear by St. Patrick's cross, We most shamefully was routed: Fortune was pleased to give us a frown, And blasted our glory: I'll tell you the story, 15 By Chreest and St. Patrick we all go down.
We thought to slay them all in their sleep, But by my shoul, were never the near, The hereticks their guard did so keep, Which put us in a trembling fear. 20 We concluded something further, To seize the churches all in the town, With killing and slaying, while they were a praying, But we were routed, and soon run down.
Nay, before noon, we vowed to despatch 25 Every man, nay, woman and child; This in our hearts we freely did hatch, Vowing to make a prey of the spoil.
But we straightways was prevented, When we did hope for fame and renown; 30 In less than an hour we [are] forced to scoure; By Chreest and St. Patrick, we are run down.
We were resolved Reading to clear, Having in hand the flourishing sword; The bloody sceen was soon to appear, 35 For we did then but wait for the word: While the ministers were preaching, We were resolved to have at their gown; But straight was surrounded, and clearly confounded, By Chreest and St. Patrick, we all go down. 40
Just as we all were fit to fall on, In came the Dutch with fury and speed; And amongst them there was not a man, But what was rarely mounted indeed; And rid up as fierce as tygers, 45 Knitting their brows, they on us did frown; Not one of them idle, their teeth held their bridle, By Chreest and St. Patrick, we were run down.
They never stood to use many words, But in all haste up to us they flocked, 50 In their right hands their flourishing swords, And their left carbines ready cock'd.
We were forced to fly before them, Thorow the lanes and streets of the town; While they pursued after, and threaten'd a slaughter, 55 By Chreest and St. Patrick, we were run down.
Then being fairly put to the rout, Hunted and drove before 'um like dogs, Our captain bid us then face about, But we wisht for our Irish bogs. 60 Having no great mind for fighting, The Dutch did drive us thorow the town; Our foreheads we crossed, yet still was unhorsed, By Chreest and St. Patrick, we're all run down.
We threw away our swords and carbines, 65 Pistols and cloaks lay strow'd on the lands; Cutting off boots for running, uds-doyns, One pair of heels was worth two pair of hands.
Then we called on sweet St. Coleman,[L69]
Hoping he might our victory crown; 70 But Dutchmen pursuing poor Teagues to our ruin, By Chreest and St. Patrick, we're all run down.
Never was Teagues in so much distress, As the whole world may well understand; When we came here, we thought to possess 75 Worthy estates of houses and land: But we find 'tis all a story, Fortune is pleased on us to frown: Instead of our riches, we stink in our breeches, By Chreest and St. Patrick, we're all run down. 80
They call a thing a three-legged mare, Where they will fit each neck with a nooze, Then with our beads to say our last prayer, After all this to die in our shoes.
Thence we pack to purgatory; 85 For us let all the Jesuits pray; Farewell, Father Peters, here's some of your creatures Would have you to follow the self-same way.
69, Edward Coleman, hanged at Tyburn in 1678, for his participation in the Popish Plot.--CROKER.
The story of the siege of Londonderry, "the most memorable in the annals of the British isles," is eloquently told in the twelfth chapter of Macaulay's _History of England_. It lasted one hundred and five days, from the middle of April to the first of August (1689).
During that time the garrison had been reduced from about seven thousand men to about three thousand. Famine and pestilence slew more than the fire of the enemy. In the last month of the siege, there was scarcely any thing left to eat in the city but salted hides and tallow. The price of a dog's paw was five shillings and sixpence, and rats that had fed on the bodies of the dead were eagerly hunted and slain. The courage and self-devotion of the defenders, animated by a lofty public spirit and sustained by religious zeal, were at last rewarded by a glorious triumph, and will never cease to be celebrated with pride and enthusiasm by the Protestants of Ireland.
The ballad is here given as printed in Croker's _Historical Songs of Ireland_, p. 46, from a black letter copy in the British Museum. The whole title runs thus: _Undaunted Londonderry; or, the Victorious Protestants' constant success against the proud French and Irish Forces_. _To the Tune of Lilli Borlero._