Celebration Song by Adam Skirving (1746)
This song, written about the Jacobite victory at Prestonpans,
by Adam Skirving (1719-1783), a farmer living near the battlefield,
The Chevalier, being void of fear, did march up Birsle brae, man,
And through Tranent ere he did stent, as fast as he could gae, man;
While General Cope did taunt and mock, wi' mony a loud huzza, man,
But ere next morn proclaim'd the cock, we heard anither craw, man.
The brave Lochiel, as I heard tell. Led Camerons on in clouds, man;
The morning fair, and clear the air, they loos'd with devilish thuds,
Down guns they threw, and swords they drew, and soon did chase them
On Seaton crafts they buft their chafts. And gart them rin like
The bluff dragoons swore, blood and oons, they'd make the rebels
And yet they flee when them they see, and winna fire a gun, man.
They turn'd their back, the foot they break, such terror seiz'd
them a', man.
Some wet their cheeks, some fyl'd their breeks, and some for fear
did fa', man.
The volunteers prick'd up their ears, and vow gin they were crouse,
But when the baims saw't turn to earn'st, there werena worth a louse,
Maist feck gade hame, 0 fie for shame, they'd better staid awa,
Than wi' cockade to make parade, and do nae gude at a', man.
Menteith the great, when hersel shit, un'wares did ding him owre,
Yet wadna stand to bear a hand, but aff fu fast did scour, man,
O'er Sourtra Hill, ere he stood still, before he tasted meat, man.
Troth, he may brag of his swift nag, that bore him aff sae fleet,
And Simpson, keen to clear the een of rebels far in wrang, man.
Did never strive wi' pistols five, but gallop'd wi' the thrang,
He turn'd his back, and in a crack was cleanly out o' sight, man,
And thought it best: it was nae jest, wi' Highlanders to fight,
'Mangst a' the gang, nane bade the bang But twa, and ane was ta'en,
For Campbell rade, but Myrie staid, and sair he paid the kane, man.
Four skelpe he got, was waur than shot, frae the sharp-edg'd claymore,
Frae mony a spout came running out his recking het red gore, man.
But Gard'ner brave did still behave like to a hero bright, man;
His courage true, like him were few that still despised flight,
For king, and laws, and country's cause, in honour's bed he lay,
His life, but not his courage fled, while he had breath to draw,
And Major Bowie, that worthy soul, was brought down to the ground,
His horse being shot, it was his lot for to get mony a wound, man.
Lieutenant Smith of Irish birth, frae whom he call'd for aid, man,
But full of dread, lap o'er his head, and wadna be gainsaid, man.
He made sic haste, sae spurr'd his beast, 'twas little there he
To Berwick rade, and falsely said rhe Scots were rebels a', man.
But let that end, for weel 'tis kend his use and wonts to lie, man.
The Teague is naught, he never fought when he had room to flee,
And Cadell, drest, amang the rest, with gun and gude claymore, man,
On gelding gray he rode that day, with pistols set before, man.
The cause was good, he'd spend his blood before that he would yield,
But the night before he left the core, and never fac'd the field,
But gallant Roger, like a soger, stood and bravely fought, man;
I'm wae to tell, at last he fell, and mae down wi' him brought,
At point of death, wi' his last breath, some standing round in ring,
On's back lying flat, he wav'd his hat, and cried, 'God save the
Some Highland rogues, like hungry dogs, neglecting to pursue, man
About they fac'd, and, in great haste, upon the booty flew, man
And they, as gain for all their pain, are deck's wi' spoils of war,
Fu' bauld can tell how her nain sel was ne're sae praw before, man.
At the thorn tree, which you may see, bewest the meadow mill,
There mony slain lay on the plain, the clans pursuing still, man.
Sic unco hacks, and deadly whacks, I never saw the like, man;
Lost hands and heads cost them their deads, that fell near Preston
That afternoon, what a' was done, I gade to see the fray, man;
But I had wist what after past, I'd better staid away, man:
On Seaton sands, wi' nimble hands, they pick'd my pockets bare,
But I wish ne'er to dree sic fear. For a' the sum and mair, man.
Michael Brander. Scottish and Border Battles and Ballards.
(New York: Barnes & Noble, Inc., 1993), 273-276.