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

Esk, the River

The Hundred Pipers

By Carolina Oliphant, Lady Nairne (1766–1845)

  • On receiving the submission of the civic authorities, and the surrender of the castle, Prince Charles Edward entered Carlisle on Monday the 18th November, 1745, preceded by one hundred pipers. So far the poetess has sung truly. But she is historically at fault with reference to the “two thousand.” So many Highlanders of the Chevalier’s army did indeed wade across the Esk, but it was in flight, not in triumph. They waded the Esk on their return to Scotland from an expedition which boded disaster.

  • WI’ a hundred pipers, an’ a’, an’ a’,

    Wi’ a hundred pipers, an’ a’, an’ a’,

    We ’ll up, and we ’ll gi’e them a blaw, a blaw,

    Wi’ a hundred pipers, an’ a’, an’ a’.

    It is ower the border, awa’, awa’,

    It is ower the border, awa’, awa’,

    O, we ’ll on, an’ we ’ll march to Carlisle Ha’,

    Wi’ its yetts, its castel, au’ a’, an’ a’.

    O, our brave sodger lads looked braw, an’ braw,

    Wi’ their tartans, their kilts, an’ a’, an’ a’,

    Wi’ bannets an’ feathers, an’ glitterin’ gear,

    An’ pibrochs soundin’ sae sweet an’ clear.

    Will they a’ come hame to their ain dear glen?

    Will they a’ return, our brave Hieland men?

    O, second-sichted Sandie looked fu’ wae,

    An’ mithers grat sair whan they marched away.

    Wi’ a hundred pipers, etc.

    O, wha is the foremaist o’ a’, o’ a’?

    Wha is it first follows the blaw, the blaw?

    Bonnie Charlie, the king o’ us a’, us a’,

    Wi’ his hundred pipers, an’ a’, an’ a’,

    His bannet and feather, he ’s waving high,

    His prancin’ steed maist seems to fly;

    The nor’ wind plays wi’ his curly hair,

    While the pipers blaw up an unco flare!

    Wi’ his hundred pipers, etc.

    The Esk was swollen sae red an’ sae deep,

    But shouther to shouther the brave lads keep;

    Twa thousand swam ower to fell English ground,

    An’ danced themselves dry to the pibroch sound.

    Dumfoundered the English were a’, were a’,

    Dumfoundered they a’ heard the blaw, the blaw,

    Dumfoundered they a’ ran awa’, awa’,

    Frae the hundred pipers, an’ a’, an’ a’.

    Wi’ a hundred pipers, etc.