Anonymous: The Battle of Harlaw
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The Battle of Harlaw

16th Century


Child Ballad 163

Frae Dunideir as I earn through,
Doun by the hill of Banochie,
Alangst the lands of Garioch-
Great pity 'twas to hear and see,
The noise and dulesome harmonie,
That e'er that dreary day did daw.
Crying the coronach sae hie,
"Alas! alas! for the Harlaw!"
I marvelt what the matter meant.
All folks were in a feiry-fary;
I wist not wha was fae or friend,
Yet quietly I did me carry:
But sin' the days of auld King Harry
Sic slauchter was not heard or seen;
And there I had nae time to tarry,
For bissiness in Aberdeen.
Thus as I walkit on the way,
To Inverury as I went,
I met a man, and bade him stay,
Requesting him to mak me 'quaint
Of the beginning and the event,
That happen'd there at the Harlaw;
Then he entreated me, tak tent,
And he the truth sould to me shaw.
"Great Donald of the Isles, did claim
Unto the lands of Ross some richt;
And to the Governor he cam,
Them for to have, if that he micht;
Wha saw his interest was but slicht,
And therefore answer'd with disdain;
He hastit hame baith day and nicht,
And sent nae bodword back again.
But Donald, richt impatient
Of that answer Duke Robert* gave,
He vow'd to God omnipotent,
All the hale lands of Ross to have,
Or else be graith├Ęd in his grave:
He would not quat his richt for nocht,
Nor be abusit like a slave-
That bargain sould be dearly bocht."


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