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Sheriff Muir

  • (Trad / Murdoch M'Lellan)

    There's some say that we wan and some say that they wan
    And some say that nane wan at a' man
    But one thing is sure that at Sheriff Muir
    A battle was fought on that day man
    And we ran and they ran and they ran and we ran
    And we ran and they ran awa' man

    Now Trumpet McLean whose breeks were not clean
    By misfortune did happen tae fa' man
    By saving his neck his trumpet did break
    He came off without music at a' man
    And we ran and they ran and they ran and we ran
    And we ran and they ran awa' man

    Whether we wan or they wan or they wan or we wan
    Or if there was winnin' at a' man
    There's nae man can tell save our brave general
    Wha first began runnin' awa' man
    And we ran and they ran and they ran and we ran
    And we ran and they ran awa' man

    Pray come ye here the fight tae shun or keep the sheep wi' me man
    Or was you at the Sheriffmuir and did the battle see man
    Pray tell which o' the parties won for weel I know I saw them run
    Both south and north when they began
    Tae pell and mell and kill and fell wi' muskets snell and pistols knell
    And some tae hell did flee man

    But my dear Will I kenna still which o' the twa did lose man
    For weel I know they had good skill tae set upon their foes man
    The Redcoats they are trained you see the Highland clans disdain tae flee
    Wha then shall gain the victory
    But the Highland race all in a brace with a swift pace to the Whigs' disgrace
    Did put to chase their foes man

    But Scotland has not much to say for such a fight as this is
    For baith did fight baith ran away the devil take the misses
    For every soldier was not slain that ran that day and was nae ta'en
    Either flying from or to Dunblane
    For fear of foes that they should lose the bowls of brose all crying woes
    Yonder them goes d'ye see man
    There's no one knows who's wan man

    And we ran and they ran and they ran and we ran
    And we ran and they ran awa' man

    (as sung by The McCalmans)

Susannes Folksong-Notizen

  • [1880:] The Battle of Sheriffmuir [Part two above] is in Herd's collection, and its author according to Burns was the Rev. Murdoch M'Lellan, minister of Crathie, Deeside, that now celebrated church in which Her Majesty [Queen Victoria] worships when at Balmoral. There are a number of ballads on this battle, which was won by neither side, though practically the results of victory remained with the King's forces. The first verse puts in a humorous form what no doubt everybody felt at the time. [...] After describing the various conduct of the heads of clans and leaders on both sides, the ballad winds up according to Hogg's version in the Jacobite Relics, with the following ludicrous verses -

    Wi' the Earl o' Seaforth and the Cock o' the North
    But Florence ran fastest of a', man
    Save the Laird o' Pinhaven, who swore tae be even
    Wi' any general or peer o' them a', man (Ord, Glasgow Weekly Herald, Apr 3)

  • [1972:] The day after Queen Anne's death on 1st August, 1714, the Elector of Hanover was proclaimed George I of England and the Stuart dynasty ended. Just over a year later the Earl of Mar proclaimed James Stuart - the Pretender - king of the realm, and the Jacobite rising was under way. It started in Scotland with a rally of ten thousand men, and reached its climax at the Battle of Sheriff-Muir on 13th November, 1715, when a Scottish army suffered severe defeat. (Stuart, Stories 122)

  • [1972:] Having raised the Royal Standard at Braemar on 6 September with the support of a few Scottish nobles, mainly Lowlanders, [the 11th Earl of Mar] was soon at the head of a force of 12,000 men. [...] When at length he [...] advanced on Stirling, he was met at Sheriffmuir near Dunblane by Argyll, who had only half his numbers, but, though the Battle of Sheriffmuir (13 November) was only drawn, he threw away his opportunity by returning incontinently to Perth. (Mackie 269)

  • [1972:] The battle of Sheriffmuir was fought in November 1715 between adherents of the exiled Stuart King James VIII and III, and a 'Whig' army defending the Hanoverian interest. The battle was indecisive, the right wing of each army beating the left wing of the other. The Jacobites had the better of it but Mar, their commander, was incapable of exploiting what should have been a victory; he allowed Argyle, the Hanoverian general, to extricate his badly-mauled forces and regroup them. Argyle's comment, quoting an old bawdy ballad, was: "If it isna weel bobbit, we'll bob it again." (Hamish Henderson, notes 'Isla St. Clair sings traditional Scottish songs')

  • [1977:] Using themes from the period Will Ye Gang Tae Sheriffmuir, the ground of the piobaireachd The Battle of Sheriffmuir and They Ran and We Ran [see above] the Whistlebinkies depict the encounter from start to finish. Equal carnage meant both sides had a claim to victory - a claim satirised in the final song. (Notes 'The Whistlebinkies')

  • [1988:] The most durable of the '15 broadsides, A Race at Sheriff-Muir, Fairly run on the 13th of November 1715 [verse one of the above, full broadside in Donaldson], uses a different tune, The Horseman's Sport. This may have been because of its Highland affinities [...]. It may have been considered suitable, on the other hand, because the Battle of Sheriffmuir was an absurd mutual rout in which large parts of both armies fled in confusion. In any case, like Killiecrankie the song is in the highest degree allusive, a vivid mosaic of names and titles which relies on a mass of social and political association for full appreciation. What can still be enjoyed, perhaps, is the pleasantly cynical tone of the common man considering the bungling incompetence of the mighty with ill-concealed glee. (Donaldson, Song 28)

  • [c. 1988:] Part one a broadside ballad, part two a traditional ballad reworked by Burns [see The Sherramuir Fight, neither identical with the words printed by Donaldson]. (Intro The McCalmans)

Quelle: Scotland

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