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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Scotland: Vols. VI–VIII. 1876–79.


The Battle of Sheriff-Muir

By Robert Burns (1759–1796)

“O, CAM ye here the fight to shun,

Or herd the sheep wi’ me, man?

Or were ye at the Sherra-muir,

And did the battle see, man?”

I saw the battle, sair and tough,

And reekin’ red ran monie a sheugh;

My heart, for fear, gaed sough for sough,

To hear the thuds, and see the cluds,

O’ clans frae woods, in tartan duds,

Wha glaumed at kingdoms three, man.

“The redcoat lads, wi’ black cockades,

To meet them were na slaw, man;

They rushed and pushed, and bluid outgushed,

And monie a bouk did fa’, man:

The great Argyle led on his files,

I wat they glanced for twenty miles:

They hacked and hashed, while broadswords clashed,

And through they dashed, and hewed, and smashed,

Till fey men died awa’, man.

“But had you seen the philabegs,

And skyrin tartan trews, man,

When in the teeth they dared our Whigs,

And covenant true-blues, man;

In lines extended lang and large,

When bayonets opposed the targe,

And thousands hastened to the charge,

Wi’ Highland wrath they frae the sheath

Drew blades o’ death, till, out o’ breath,

They fled like frighted doos, man.”

“O how deil, Tam, can that be true?

The chase gaed frae the North, man;

I saw myself they did pursue

The horsemen back to Forth, man;

And at Dunblane, in my ain sight,

They took the brig wi’ a’ their might,

And straught to Stirling winged their flight;

But, cursed lot! the gates were shut;

And monie a huntit, poor redcoat,

For fear amaist did swarf, man!”

“My sister Kate cam up the gate,

Wi’ crowdie unto me, man;

She swore she saw some rebels run

Frae Perth unto Dundee, man:

Their left-hand general had nae skill,

The Angus lads had nae good-will

That day their neibors’ blood to spill;

For fear, by foes, that they should lose

Their cogs o’ brose,—all crying woes;

And so it goes, you see, man.

“They ’ve lost some gallant gentlemen

Amang the Highland clans, man;

I fear my Lord Panmure is slain,

Or fallen in Whiggish hands, man.

Now wad ye sing this double fight,

Some fell for wrang, and some for right;

But monie bade the world guid-night;

Then ye may tell, how pell and mell,

By red claymores, and muskets’ knell,

Wi’ dying yell, the Tories fell,

And Whigs to hell did flee, man.”