Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Those Men That God Made Mad

"The [Celts:] men that God made mad.
For all their wars are merry
And all their songs are sad." --G.K. Chesterton

Except their warsongs, of course!! I am LOVING this one (an account of the Battle of Prestonpans, from the 2nd Jacobite rising, in which the royal English troops fled in terror from charging Highlanders, accompanied- of course- by loud pipes) on my new Tannahill Weavers CD! E & I are dancing to it... Enjoy the words. I LOVE the brogue!! Oh to know how to dance to pipes and pennywhistles... Here is the Tannahill Weaver's abbreviated version of the popular "Trenet Muir"

"The chevalier being void o' fear did march doon Birsle Brae man
Through Tranent e'er he did stent as fast as he could gae man
While General Cope did taunt and mock wie many a loud hurrah man
E'er next morn proclaimed the cock we heard another craw man

The brave Lochiel as I heard tell led Cameron on in cloods man
The morning fair and clear the air they loosed wie devilish thuds man
Doon guns they threw and swords they drew and soon did chase them aff man
On Seaton's crafts they burst their chafts and gart them run like daft man

The bluff dragoons swore blood and oons they'd mak' the rebels run man
And yet they flee when them they see and winnae fire a gun man
They turned their backs the fit tae crack such terror siezed them a' man
Some wet their cheeks some fyled their breeks and some for fear did fa' man

Smith* made sic' haste sae spurred his beast 'twas little there he saw man
Tae Berwick rade and safely said the Scots were rebels a' man
O'er Soutra Hill ere he stood still afore he tasted meat man
Lang may he brag on his swift nag that bore him aff sae fleet man

But Gardner* brave did still behave like to a hero bright man
His courage true, like him were few, that still despised flight man
For king and laws and country's cause in honours bed did fa' man
His life but not his courage fled while he had breath tae draw man

At yon thorn tree that you may see beneath the meadow mill man
There's many slain lie on the plain the clans pursuing still man
Sic' unco whacks and deadly hacks I never saw the likes man
Lost hands and heids cost them their deeds that fell near Preston Dyke man"

*Lt Smith later charged the songwriter to a duel over this!
*Col Gardiner stayed despite the massacre going on around him, and the mass retreat, fighting heroically (near a white thorntree) alongside Sir Thomas Hay of Park, who survived. A servant carried him to the parsonage where he died in the night from his wounds.

Unfortunately for them, the Jacobites pretty much gave up when their intelligence incorrectly surmised that a huge English/German (Hanoverian) army would block their advance to London. Oh well.

Eowyn, I promise I will spin you stories to put steel in your spine, sing you songs that put wings in your feet, and surround you with joy enough to make you want to dance. May your faith outshine mine, your words outrhyme mine, and your steps outdance mine. Dance in tune to the song of the Stars, who still whirl in step to His Song.

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