Haughs o Cromdale

As I cam in by Auchindoun,
Just a wee bit frae the toun,
Tae the Hi’lands I was bound
Tae view the Haughs o Cromdale.
I met a man in tartan trews,
and Speired at him, whit was the news,
Quo’ he, “The Hi’land army rues
That e’er we cam tae Cromdale”

“We were in bed, sir, every man,
Whan the English host upon us cam;
A bluidy battle then began
Upon the Haughs o Cromdale.
The English horse thae were sae rude,
Thae bathed their hoofs in Hi’land bluid,
But our brave clans, thae bauldly stood
Upon the Haughs o Cromdale.

“But, alas! We could nae langer stay,
And o’er the hills we cam away,
An Sair we did lament the day
That e’ er we cam tae Cromdale.”

Thus the great Montrose did say:
John hi’land man show me the way
An I will o’ er the hills this day,
Tae view the Haughs o Cromdale. “

Thae were at their dinner, every man,
Whan the great Montrose upon tham cam;
A second battle then began
Upon the Haughs o Cromdale.
The Grant, Mackenzie and McKay,
As Montrose thae did espy,
Then thae focht richt valiantly
Upon the Haughs o Cromdale.

The Mcdonalds thae returned again,
The Camerons did thair standard join,
McKintosh played a bluidy game
Upon the Haughs o Cromdale.

The Gordons boldly did advance,
The Frasers fought wi sword an lance,
The Grahams thae made the heads to dance,
Upon the Haughs o Cromdale.

And the loyal Stewarts, wi’ Montrose,
Sae boldly set upon their foes,
Laid them low wi’ Hi’land blows
Laid them low on Cromdale.
O fifty thousan o Cromwell’s men,
A thousand fled tae Aberdeen,
The rest o thaim lie on the plain,
There on the Haughs o Cromdale.

O fifty thousan o Cromwell’s men,
A thousand fled tae Aberdeen,
The rest o them lie on the plain,
There on the Haughs of Cromdale.

This song is about a battle which took place on 30 April, 1690, in which a Jacobite force was routed on the low ground (haugh) of Cromdale, by Britain’s government forces. It was written not long after the defeat.

Lord Montrose (James Graham, 1st Marquess of Montrose) actually died forty years before the battle even happened, and so it seems that this song was written as a kind of what if; what if Montrose had been alive and with them that day? Would that great man have been able to win them victory? Might there have been a second battle that would have soothed the sting of defeat, wherein the Jacobite’s would have been victorious in revenge?

Montrose, chief of Clan Graham, soldier, and poet, was a tactically brilliant commander, who delivered dozens of stunning victories throughout the Wars of the Three Kingdoms, the English Civil War, and subsequently the Jacobite rising.

Evidently, with necromancers having been scarce in 15th century Scotland, we will simply never know how it may have turned out, had the great Montrose indeed still lived; an mairs Scotland’s pity for it.

Side note: Below, is his severed arm and Broadsword.

the-great-montroses-arm-and-sword

Cinead MacAlpin.

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