The Twa Corbies

As I was walking all alang,
I spied twa corbies, makin a mane;
The tane unto, the t’ ither did say-o,
“Whar shall we gang and dine the-day-o?
Whar shall we gang an dine the-day-o?

“Down behind yon, auld fail dyke,
I wot there lies, a new slain knight;
Naebody kens that he lies there-o,
but his hawk, and his hound an his lady fair-o.
“His hawk, and his hound an his lady fair-o!”

“His hound is tae, the huntin gang,
His hawk tae fetch, the moor-fowl hame,
His lady’s tain, anither mate-o,
So may we may mak oor dinner swate-o.
swate we may mak oor dinner swate-o”

“Ye’ll light upon his white hause-bane,
An I’ll pick oot his bonny blue een;
Wi’ many ae lock o’ his gowden hair-o
We’ll theek oor nest whan it grow’s bare-o.
“we’ll theek oor nest, whan it grows bare-o!”

“Mony a one for him maks mane,
But nane shall ken, whar he is gane;
Oer his white banes, whan they are bare-o!
The wind shall blaw for evermore-o.
The wind shall blow for evermore-o”

As I was walking all alang,
I spied twa corbies, makin a mane;
The tane unto, the t’ither did say-o,
“Whar shall we gang and dine the-day-o?
Whar shall we gang an dine the-day-o?”

There is an English version of this ballad (The three Ravens); but this version has (The Twa Corbies) proven to be the oldest, and as such, most authentic of all versions of such ballads concerning this tale; them Twa Corbies: being the original ballad; are representative of the Knight of death, and the Knight of life. The Knight of death surpasses the corpse of life. And as his bones are picked clean and forgotten; death prevails; and only he remembers the new-slain Knight. Who is left to slumber and rot eternal; never discovered nor avenged; such is life. The dead Knight, despite his beautiful person; his blonde hair and blue eyes; in death he is as mundane as the nest of  two ravens. Beauty and pride means nothing when the world itself moves on.

 

Cinead MacAlpin.

 

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These Are My Mountains

For fame and for fortune
I wandered the earth
And now I’ve come back to
The land of my birth
I’ve brought back my treasures
But only to find
They’re less than the pleasures
I first left behind

For these are my mountains
And this is my glen
The braes of my childhood
Will know me again
No land’s ever claimed me
Tho’ far I did roam
For these are my mountains
And I’m going home

The burn by the road sings
At my going by
The whaup overhead wings
With welcoming cry
The loch where the scart flies
At last I can see
It’s here that my heart lies
It’s here I’ll be free

For these are my mountains
And this is my glen
The braes of my childhood
Will know me again
No land’s ever claimed me
Tho’ far I did roam
For these are my mountains
And I’m going home

Kind faces will meet me
And welcome me in
And how they will greet me
My ain kith and kin
The night round the ingle
Old sangs will be sung
At last I’ll be hearing
My ain mother tongue.

For these are my mountains
And this is my glen
The braes of my childhood
Will know me again
No land’s ever claimed me
Tho’ far I did roam
For these are my mountains
And I’m going home

By Tom and Jack Alexander: The Alexander Brothers

The Ballad Of Kinmont Willie

William Armstrong of Kinmont
William Armstrong of Kinmont taken prisoner

O have ye na heard o’ the fause Sakelde?
O have ye na heard o’ the keen Lord Scrope
How they hae ta’en bauld Kinmont William
On Hairbee to hang him up?

Had Willie had but twenty men,
But twenty men as stout as he,
Fause Salkelde had never the Kinmont ta’en,
Wi’ eight score in his companie.

They band his legs beneath the steed,
They tied his hands behind his back;
They guarded him fivesome on each side
And brought him ower the Liddle-rack.

They led him through the Liddle-rack
And also thro’ the Carlisle sands;
They brought him to Carlisle castell
To be at my Lord Scrope’s commands.

My hands are tied, but my tongue is free,
Ands whae will dare this deed avow?
Or answer by the Border law?
Or answer to the bauld Buccleuch?

“Now haud thy tongue, thou rank reiver!
There’s never a Scot shall set ye free;
Before ye cross my castle-yett,
I trow ye shall take farewell o’ me.

“’Fear na ye that,” quo Willie
“By thy faith o’ my bodie, Lord Scrope,” he said,
‘I never yet lodged in a hostelrie
But I paid my lawing before I daed.’

Now word is gane to the bauld Keeper,
In Branksome Ha’ where that he lay,
That Lord Scrope has ta’en the Kinmont Willie,
Between the hours of night and day.

“He has ta’en the table wi’ his hand,
He garr’d the red wind spring on hie;
Now Christ’s curse on my head,’ he said,
‘But avenge of Lord Scrope I’ll be!

“Is my basnet a widow’s curch?
Or my lance a wand of the willow-tree?
Or my arm a lady’s lilye hand?
That an English lord should lightly me.

“And have they ta’en him Kinmont Willie,
Against the truce of Border tide
And forgotten that the bauld Buccleuch
Is keeper here on the Scottish Side?

“And have they e’en ta’en Kinmont Willie,
Withouten either dread or fear,
And forgotten that the bauld Buccleuch
Can back a steed, or shake a spear?

“Oh were there war between the lands,
As well I wot there is none,
I would slight Carlisle castell high,
Though it were builded of marble-stone.

I would set that castell in a lowe,
And sloken it with English blood;
There’s nevir a man in Cumberland
Should ken where Carlisle castell stood.

“But since nae war between the lands,
And there is peace, and peace should be,
I’ll neither harm English lad of lass
And yet the Kinmont freed shall be!

“He has call’d him forty marchmen,
I trow they were of his ain name,
Except Sir Gilbert Elliot, call’d
The laird of Stobs, I mean the same.

“He has call’d him forty marchmen bauld,
Were kinsmen to the bauld Buccleuch
With spur on heel, and splent on spauld,

And Gleuves of green, and feathers blue.
“There were five and five before them a’
Wi’ hunting-horns and bugles bright
And five and five came wi’ Buccleuch

Like warden’s men, arrayed for fight.
And five and five like a mason gang,
That carried the ladders lang and hie;
And five and five, like broken men;

And so they reached the Woodhouselee.
And as we cross’d the Bateable Land,
When to the English side we held,
The first o’ men that we met wi’

Whae sould it be bu fause Salk elde!
“Where be ye gaun, ye hunters keen?”
Quo fause Salkelde, ”come tell to me!”
“We go to hunt an English stag,

Has trespass’d on the Scots countrie.”
“Where be ye gaun, ye marshall-men?”
Quo fause Salkede, “come tell me true!”
‘We go to catch a rank reiver,

Has broken faith wi’ the bauld Buccleuch.”
“Where are ye gaun, ye mason-lads,
Wi a’ your ladders lang and hie?”
“We gang to herry a corbie’s nest,

That wons not far frae Woodhouselee.’
“Where be ye gaun, ye broken men?”
Quo fause Sakelde, “come tell me!”
Now Dickie of Dryhope led that band,

And nevir a word of lear had he.
“Why trespass ye on the English side?
Row-footed outlaws, stand!” quo he;
The nevir a word Dickie to say,
Sae he thrust the lance thro’ his fause bodie.

The on we held for Carlisle toun,
And at Staneshawbank the Eden we crossed;
The water was great, and mickle of spait,
But the nevir a horse no man we lost.

And when we reached the Staeshawbank,
The wind was rising loud and hie;
And there the laird garr’d leave our steeds,
For fear that they should stamp and nie.

And when we left the Staneshawbank
The wind began full loud to blaw,
But ‘twas wind and weet, and fire and sleet,
When we came beneath the castell-wa’.

We crept on knees, and held our breath,
Till we placed the ladders against the wa’
And sae ready was Buccleuch himself
To mount the first before us a’.

He has ta’en the watchman by the throat
He flung him down upon the lead;
Had there not peace between our lands,
Upon the other side thou hast gaed!

“Now sound out, trumpets!’ quo Buccleuch;
‘Let’s waken Lord Scrope right merrily!”
Then loud the Warden’s trumpet blew
“O whae dare meddle wi’ me?”

Then speedilie to wark we gaed
And raised the slogan ane and a’
And cut a hole thro’ a sheet of lead
And so we wan to the castle-ha’.

They thought King James and a’ his men
Had won the house wi’ bow and speir
It was but twenty Scots and ten
That put a thousand in sic a stead.

“Wi’ coulters and wi’ forehammers,
We garr’d the bars bang merrilie,
Until we came to the inner prison,
Where Willie Kinmont he did lie.

And when they came to the lower prison
Where Willie o’ Kinmont he did lie.
‘O sleep ye, wake ye, Kinmont Willie,
Upon the morn that thou’s to die?’

“O I sleep saft, and I wake aft
It’s lang since sleeping was fley’d frae me;
Gie my service back to my wife and bairns,
And a’ guide fellows that speir for me.’

“Then Red Rowan has hent him up,
The starkest man in Teviotdale:
Abide, abide now, Red Rowan,
Till of my Lord Scrope I take farewell.

“Farewell, farewell, my good Lord Scrope!
My gude Lord Scrope, farewell!’ he cried
‘I’ll pay for my lodging maill
When first we meet on the border-side.”

Then shoulder high, with shout and cry,
We bore him down the ladder lang;
At every stride Red Rowan made,
I wot the Kinmont’s airns play’d clang.

“O mony a time, “quo Kinmont Willie,
“I have ridden horse baith wild and wud;
But a rougher beast the Red Rown
I ween my legs have ne’er bestrode.

“And mony a time, ”quo Kinmont Willie,
‘I’ve prick’d a horse out oure the furs;
But since the day I backed a steed,
I nevir wore sic cumbrous spurs!”

We scarce had won the Staneshawbank,
When a’ the Carlisle bells were rung,
And a thousand men, in horse and foot,
Cam wi’ the keen Lord Scrope along.

“Buccleuch has turn’d to Eden water,
Even where it flowed frae bank to brim,
And he has plunged in wi’ a’ his band,
And safely swam then thro’ the stream.

He turn’d him on the other side,
And at Lord Scrope his glove flung he;
“If ye like na my visit in merry England,
In fair Scotland come visit me!”

All sore astonish’d stood Lord Scrope
He stood as still as rock of stane;
He scarcely dared to trew his eyes
When through the water they had gane.

“He is either himself a devil frae hell,
Or else his mother a witch maun be
I wadna have ridden that wan water
For a’ the gowd in Chistentie.”

 

John Barbour’s, The Brus: Thoughts

For a while now I’ve been reading John Barbour’s epic, The Brus, and one of the things that most fascinates me about the poem is that it gives us an undeniable window into the mindset of a man who lived during that time; whereas so much of history is told to us through dusty old texts and boring lectures, where one man’s opinion, or the opinions of a small group is often times how we ourselves interpret what it is we are reading, in The Brus, however, we are listening to a man speak, and not just factually state his approximation of events that transpired, but of how he himself would have known and told them; how he did, in fact, tell such stories to the Scottish court and to King Robert II, Bruce’s son. John Barbour was a man who had actually meet those brave Scots who had fought alongside the previous King Robert; he existed around the time that these events had taken place, and had meet and spoken to those now elderly warriors, or their children, about such events; and so again, what fascinates me is when he says a line to the effect of “I heard it once told” or “as I heard tell” that through these anecdotes, and his own personable approach to telling this history, the reader is able to gain an insight into that time through just one man, John Barbour; who links us to the man at Bannockburn, or the man who fought alongside Bruce in Glentrool forest.

Bruce stone at Glentrool
The Bruce stone at Glentrool

And even if you’re not solely interested in Scottish history, the book nonetheless is a great read in that it manages to lend humor and a sense of personality into an historical subject in a way that a history book, or text, simply cannot. It is its firsthand and secondhand accounts that help lend a sense of character to the people and places from the perspective of a man who knew those people, and those places, and during the time in which they existed. For me, it truly is an invaluable source of information of the time of The Scottish Wars of Independence; it’s a Scottish source, and unashamedly so; it champions Scotland and her heroes (Whilst being more than fair to her enemies), and tells their story in what is widely considered to be a more than reasonably true account of such matters; both historic victory, and historic defeat being encountered there in the pages as they happened.

For instance, in Book 2, line 349, The Battle of Methven is recorded, wherein; the bridle of King Bruce’s horse is seized by Sir Philip Mowbray, who then calls out ‘Help! Help! I have the new-made King.’ Christopher Seaton then fly’s to the aid of the King and strikes Mowbray unconscious, thus releasing King Robert, which is followed shortly after by a retreat of the Scots force; and yet despite this mention of dramatic heroism, the account of the battle is still rightly attested to, and that Bruce and his men were defeated, is made clear. It’s a warts and all history that mentions the good times, and the bad; heroism and betrayal; its content easily being corroborated by other sources from that era, both Scottish, and English.

Now, I will say, that within the pages; liberally sprinkled among the numerous accounts of valorous deeds, and acts of ‘great courage’; are the use of words such as chivalry, stoutly, boldly and bravely; and whilst these words make for good story telling, their frequent usage can become noticeable, even a little heavy handed. Yet if an eyewitness was to tell Barbour that Bruce fought valiantly, as is often reiterated dramatically within the pages of the poem, or that a battle went this way or that way; then why would I choose to disbelieve that? Bruce was a fighter, and very much a warrior King; he fought a multitude of battles and wars, and survived them all. No one would doubt his prowess, or even that of his chivalric enemies, and so when lines attest to as much, and are reiterated heavily; mentioning his great chivalry and his overwhelming courage etc. I choose to believe it as a true characteristic of the man’s nature, and given by those who had witnessed him in such moments. For instance, the forces Bruce led where usually dangerously outnumbered, and yet he was often victorious. This alone should go some way to making such favorable descriptions of the King’s prowess and bravery, and that of the men who followed him, at the least believable.

Bruce
“in his youth he was a match for the super athletes of today”
“a privileged and muscular man, with large, broad features”

But regardless of the fast paced action sequences, it’s the lines which give you a rare glimpse into how men shaped by that time viewed each other, and the world around them; of how the nature of war and conflict were viewed through the lens of the prejudices and social norms of that period, which really interest me: Book 3, line 153:

There was a baron, Macnaughton, who paid great heed in his heart to the King’s (Bruce’s)chivalry, and he esteemed him greatly in his heart. He said to the lord of Lorn, ‘Assuredly, you can now see the heaviest trespass-payment taken that you ever saw taken in your lifetime. For yon Knight, by his bold deed and by his superhuman (outrageous manheid) qualties, in a short time has killed three men of great pride (Noblemen or Knights). He has discomfitted all our company so that no man dare go after him, and he turns his horse so often that he seems to have no fear of us.’ Then the lord of Lorn said, ‘You seemed to be pleased, perfay, that he kills our men like that.’ ‘Sir,’ he said, ‘as God is my witness, saving your presence, it’s not like that. But whosoever wins the prize in chivalry, be he friend or foe, men should speak faithfuly of it. And assuredly, in all my life, I never heard tell, in song or verse, of a man who achieved great chivalry so vigerously.’

Now contrast that glowing endorsement of the King, by non-other than an enemy, with how the King himself makes statement after the battle: Book 3, line 187:

‘For being discouraged,’ as he said then, ‘is the worst thing possible. For through great discouragement men often fall into despair, and when a man is in despair, then he is utterly beaten. If the spirit is discouraged, the body is not worth a jot. Therefore,’ he said, ‘above all keep yourselves from despair, and remember that, though we now feel injuries, God may yet relieve us well.’

Bruce and the spider
Bruce contemplating the spiders determined resolve

So whilst others begin to champion his legend, we see a hint of the concern of the here and now that Bruce and his men must surely have found themselves in, and no doubt often dwelt upon; yet unconcerned with whether or not history would remember them as heroic, or how ‘right manfully’ the country thought they conducted themselves; Bruce simply try’s to lift his men’s spirits in those closing moments after the battle, knowing that lives had been at stake, and that the men around him had faced down real danger; regardless of the glory to be won in the hindsight. It’s often difficult to remember that these were real men who had no idea then, that they would eventually be victorious. At that point in time, they were just a handful operating within a violent country, and surrounded daily by literal armies of enemies at every turn in the road. Did he say, verbatim, those exact words written above? Who can say? Did he ever actually utter similar words to his beleaguered army? It’s very possible.

Conclusion

But of course, no one will ever truly know what had really gone through the mind of the Bruce during that time, with the same being true of the men who followed him. Did they fight solely for Scotland, or did they simply hate the English? Did they fight for their lands that had been seized, or did they truly fight for the sake of liberty and the cause of freedom alone? Is it naive to assume some of them did fight for that? I don’t know, it’s all subjective and an exercise in educated guesswork to try and read the minds of people long dead, and from an era with a vastly different morality scale. What I do know however, is that the book itself is pretty entertaining, insightful and interesting in respects to mindset of the 1300’s, and one that I would highly recommend.

John Fordun: Indeed he is said to have said to his Knights one day when worn out by such…hardships and dangers, ‘Were I not moved by Scotland’s freedom still, for rule of the world I would not bear this ill.’

That all the punishment and strife he endured, Bruce wouldn’t have suffered so for the sake of the world, that he continued onward for Scotland, and Scotland only, to who he owed his allegiance, in my humble opinion, should never be doubted.

Bruce and Wallace at Stirling
Wallace and Bruce at Stirling

Cinead MacAlpin.

Bonnie Banks of Loch Lommond

This song was written by a Scottish warrior who was awaiting death in enemy captivity, during the 1745 Rebellion. The “low road” is a reference to the Scottish belief that if a Scotsman died away from his homeland, then the fairies would guide his soul along the “Low road” back to Scotland, whilst those still living, would have to traverse the “High road”, that of the mortals, back along to Scotland. The young warrior awaiting death may have been writing to either his brother, who was allowed to go home along the “High road”; the human road back to Scotland, as a means of further punishing the captive sibling; or to a lover back in Scotland.

When you realize that this might actually be a brother conceding his fate to a sibling or young lover; accepting it, that of death, and with such dignity, poise, and poetic finality; should rouse the goose pimples of a dead man. After all, it is said, that you cannot be a true Scot if this song doesn’t at least send a shiver across your flesh.

Side note: A tactic used by the English during the Jacobite uprising, was to separate Brothers, or fathers and sons, and then let one go free with the knowledge that his sibling, or son, was going to be executed. War is war, and then there is cruelty. My ancestors fought for right. The English fought for domination.

One of my ancestors died at the battle of Killiecrankie, whilst the other, a great, etc., etc. uncle, died at Culloden. He was, as were the majority of his countrymen, armed only with a broadsword and Targe (Buckler-like shield) The English fielded cannon and rifle. It was a loss for Scotland as a nation, certainly, but a victory for the Scots as, and to a man, they charged the barking steel like men possessed. It took cannon balls and bullets to put my blood down (Understand that I actually lost family members to this conflict). And dear god, I sorely hope that one day English guns are again fielded on Scottish soil.

Tha mi ‘Am eagal gu bàs, airidh air bàs

 

Loch Lommond

By yon bonnie banks, and by yon bonnie braes,

Where the sun shines on Loch Lomond.

Where me and my true love spent many days

On the banks of Loch Lomond.

 

T’was there that we parted, in yon shady glen,

On the steep sides, of Ben Lomond.

But the broken heart, knows no second spring,

Resigned we must be, while we’re parting.

 

So, you’ll take the high road and I’ll take the low road,

And I’ll be in Scotland, afore you.

Where me and my true love, will never meet again,

On the bonnie, bonnie banks, of Loch Lomond.

 

Ho, ho mo leannan,

Ho, mo leannan bhoidheach

(Repeat x 8)

(Oh, oh my sweetheart,

Oh, my sweetheart beautiful/beautiful sweetheart)

 

You’ll take the high road, and I’ll take the low road,

And I’ll be in Scotland, afore ye.

Where me and my true love, will never meet again,

On the bonnie, bonnie banks, of Loch Lomond.

 

You’ll take the high road, and I’ll take the low road,

And I’ll be in Scotland, afore you.

Where me and my true love will never meet again,

On the bonnie, bonnie banks, of Loch Lomond.

 

You’ll take the high road, and I’ll take the low road,

And I’ll be in Scotland, afore you.

Where me and my true love, will never meet again,

On the bonnie, bonnie banks, of Loch Lomond.

 

You’ll take the high road, and I’ll take the low road,

And I’ll be in Scotland, afore you.

Where me and my true love, will never meet again,

On the bonnie, bonnie banks, of Loch Lomond.

 

You’ll take the high road, and I’ll take the low road,

And I’ll be in Scotland, afore you.

Where me and my true love, will never meet again,

On the bonnie, bonnie banks, of Loch Lomond.

 

On the bonnie, bonnie banks

(Repeat x 9)

 

 

 

 

 

Tam Lin

aliciagailes-tam-lin

Painting by  Alicia Gaile, over at https://aliciagaile.wordpress.com

For me, this 500+ yr old ballad, is perhaps the most breath-taking song ever to come from Scotland. A tale of a fairy named Tam Lin, and a mortal maiden. Consumed with grief at having been impregnated by the ‘Wild shade’ she attempts to rid herself of child by consuming the poison rose, but is stopped by her errant lover, who then confesses his love to her, and implores her to hold him tight, so that he may transform into the beasts of the forest, and that she must hold him tight, and fear him not, lest his love for her consume him before the transformation is complete. She does so, and holds him tight, until she finds a man once again in her arms. This version is a little nicer than the older arrangements, and strays from the source material considerably, yet is by far my favorite rendition. Lyrics alone don’t do the ballad justice, but nonetheless, here they are.

Janet sits in her lonely room
Sewing a silken seam
looking out on Carterhaugh
Among the roses green
And Janet sits in her lonely bower
Sewing a silken thread
Looking out on Carterhaugh
Among the roses red

She’s let the seam fall at her heel
The needle to her toe
And she’s away to Carterhaugh
As fast as she can go
She hadn’t pulled a rose, a rose
A rose, but only one
When then appeared him, young Tam lin
Says, “Lady, pull no more
What makes you pull the rose, the rose?
What makes you break the tree?
What makes you come to Carterhaugh
Without the leave of me?”

“But Carterhaugh is not your own
Roses there are many
I’ll come and go all as I please
And not take leave of any”
So he has took her by the hand
Took her by the sleeve
And he has laid this lady down
Among the roses green
And he has took her by the hand
Took her by the hem
And he has laid this lady down
Among the roses red

There’s four and twenty ladies fair
Sewing at the silk
And Janet goes among them all
Her face as pale as milk
And four and twenty gentlemen
Playing at the chess
And Janet goes among them all
As green as any glass
Then up and spoke her father
He’s spoken meek and mild
“Oh, alas, my daughter
I fear you go with child
And was it to a man of might
Or to a man of peace
Or who among my gentlemen
Shall give the babe it’s name?”

“Oh, father, if I go with child
This much to you, I’ll tell
There’s none among your gentlemen
That I would treat so well
And, father, if I go with child
I must bear the blame
There’s none among your gentlemen
Shall give the babe his name”

She’s let the seam fall at her heel
The needle to her toe
She’s away to Carterhaugh
As fast as she could go
And she is down among the weeds
Down among the thorn
When then appeared Tam lin again
Says, “Lady let alone, pull no more
What makes you pull the poison rose?
What makes you break the tree?
What makes you harm the little babe
That I have got with thee?”

“Oh I will pull the rose, Tam lin
I will break the tree
But I’ll not bear the little babe
That thou has got with me
If he were to a gentleman
And not a wild shade
I’d rock him all the winter’s night
And all the summer’s day”

“Then take me in your arms again
If you my love would win
But hold me tight and fear me not
I’ll be a gentleman
But first I’ll change all in your arms
Into a wild wolf
But hold me tight and fear me not
I am your own true love
And then I’ll change all in your arms
Into a wild bear
But hold me tight and fear me not
I am your husband dear
And then I’ll change all in your arms
Into a lion bold
But hold me tight and fear me not
And you will love your child”

At first he changed all in her arms
Into a wild wolf
She held him tight and feared him not
He was her own true love
And then he changed all in her arms
Into a wild bear
She held him tight and feared him not
He was her husband dear
And then he changed all in her arms
Into a lion bold
She held him tight and feared him not
The father of her child

Last he changed all in her arms
Into a naked man
She’s wrapped him in her cloak so warm
And she has brought him home
She’s brought him home

This lyrical arrangement is based on the version by Anais Mitchell and Jefferson Hamer

Back o’er the border

High over Bannockburn, battle of no return
Bruce ranked his Scottishmen, all in good order
Down on the other side – fifty divisions wide
Edward of England, had crossed o’er the border
Armour from head to fist, glimpsed through the morning mist
Soldiers of Robert Bruce, waiting the order
Down on the lower ground, trumpets and bugles sound
Edward of England had crossed o’er the border

Proud was the English king, loud did his harvest sing
Scatter the Scottishmen all in disorder
‘Death’ answered Robert Bruce, ‘Death ere we sign a truce
Chase the sassenach, back o’er the border.
‘Now’ shouted Bruce the king ‘We’ll either die or win
Into the enemy strike in good order
Freedom for Scotland, and death to King Edward’s band.
Chase the sassenach back o’er the border’.

Face, to face, across the Bannockburn ;
Spears and swords are held in good order.
Lines of steel in waves, begin to move,
Grim and steady, to die for the border.
‘On them! On them!’ hear the Douglas shout.
‘Smash, their ranks, in utter disorder’.
Swords and spears, and shields, together clash.
Screams of death are heard o’er the border.

Slashing, and clashing, the Bannockburn flows with blood.
Horses and soldiers in mangled disorder.
Yelling, and felling, the grass is a gory red.
Out with the sassenach. Out o’er the border.
Freedom and right was the slogan of Robert Bruce.
Chains for the slaves shouted Edward the murderer.
Death to the sassenach, we’ll be free at last.
Chase the sassenach, back o’er the border.
Chase the sassenach, back o’er the border.

Alastair McDonald – Bannockburn (1314)