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The Battle Of Sherramuir

 

Burns Original

Standard English Translation



The Battle Of Sherramuir
1.
'O, cam ye here the fight to shun,
Or herd the sheep wi' me, man?
Or were ye at the Sherra-moor,
Or did the battle see, man?'
'I saw the battle, sair and teugh,
And reekin-red ran monie a sheugh;
My heart for fear gae sough for sough,
To hear the thuds, and see the cluds
O' clans frae woods in tartan duds,
Wha glaum'd at kingdoms three, man.
2.
'The red-coat lads wi' black cockauds
To meet them were na slaw, man:
They rush'd and push'd and bluid outgush'd,
And monie a bouk did fa', man!
The great Argyle led on his files,
I wat they glanc'd for twenty miles;
They hough'd the clans like nine-pin kyles,
They hack'd and hash'd, while braid-swords clash'd,
And thro' they dash'd, and hew'd and smash'd,
Till fey men died awa, man.
3.
'But had ye seen the philibegs
And skyrin tartan trews, man,
When in the teeth they daur'd our Whigs
And Covenant trueblues, man!
In lines extended lang and large,
When baig'nets o'erpower'd the targe,
And thousands hasten'd to the charge,
Wi' Highland wrath they frae the sheath
Drew blades o' death, till out o' breath
They fled like frighted dows, man!'
4.
'O, how Deil! Tam, can that be true?
The chase gaed frae the north, man!
I saw mysel, they did pursue
The horseman back to Forth, man;
And at Dunblane, in my ain sight,
They took the brig wi' a' their might,
And straught to Stirling wing'd their flight;
But cursed lot! the gates were shut,
And monie a huntit poor red-coat,
For fear amaist did swarf, man!'
5.
'My sister Kate cam up the gate
Wi' crowdie unto me, man:
She swoor she saw some rebels run
To Perth and to Dundee, man!
Their left-hand general had nae skill;
The Angus lads had nae good will
That day their neebors' bluid to spill;
For fear by foes that they should lose
Their cogs o' brose, they scar'd at blows,
And hameward fast did flee, man.
6.
'They've lost some gallant gentlemen,
Amang the Highland clans, man!
I fear my Lord Panmure is slain,
Or in his en'mies' hands, man.
Now wad ye sing this double flight,
Some fell for wrang, and some for right,
But monie bade the world guid-night:
Say, pell and mell, wi' muskets' knell
How Tories fell, and Whigs to Hell
Flew off in frighted bands, man!'



The Battle Of Sheriffmuir

'O, came you here the fight to shun,
Or herd the sheep with me, man?
Or were you at the Sheriffmuir,
Or did the battle see, man?'
'I saw the battle, sore and tough,
And reeking red ran many a ditch;
My heart for fear gave sigh for sigh,
To hear the thuds, and see the clouds
Of clans from woods in tartan clothes,
Who grasped at kingdoms three, man.

'The red-coat lads with black cockades
To meet them were not slow, man:
They rushed and pushed and blood outgushed,
And many a body did fall, man!
The great Argyle led on his files,
I know they shown for twenty miles;
They knocked the clans like nine-pin skittles,
They hacked and hashed, while broad-swords clashed,
And through they dashed, and hewed and smashed,
Till fated men died away, man.

'But had you seen the kilts
And flaring tartan trousers, man,
When in the teeth they dared our Whigs
And Covenant true blues, man!
In lines extended long and large,
When bayonets over powered the targe (shield),
And thousands hastened to the charge,
With Highland wrath they from the sheath
Drew blades of death, till out of breath
They fled like frightened pigeons, man!'

'O, how the Devil! Tam, can that be true?
The chase went from the north, man!
I saw myself, they did pursue
The horseman back to the river Forth, man;
And at Dunblane, in my own sight,
They took the bridge with all their might,
And straight to Stirling winged their flight;
But cursed lot! the gates were shut,
And many a hunted poor red-coat,
For fear almost did swoon, man!'

'My sister Kate came up the road
With oatmeal gruel unto me, man:
She swore she saw some rebels run
To Perth and to Dundee, man!
Their left-hand general had no skill;
The Angus lads had no good will
That day their neighbours' bluid to spill;
For fear by foes that they should lose
Their mugs of porridge, they scared at blows,
And homeward fast did flee, man.

'They have lost some gallant gentlemen,
Among the Highland clans, man!
I fear my Lord Panmure is slain,
Or in his enemies' hands, man.
Now would you sing this double flight,
Some fell for wrong, and some for right,
But many bade the world good night:
Say, pell and mell, with muskets' knell
How Tories fell, and Whigs to Hell
Flew off in frightened bands, man!'

 

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