Song of the Highland Clans

Oran Nam Fineachan Gaidhealach.
Alasdair mac Mhaighstir Alasdair

A chomuinn rìoghail rùnaich
Sàr-ùmhlachd thugaibh uaibh,
Biodh ur roisg gun smùirnein,
‘S gach cridh’ gun treas gin lùib ann;
Deoch-slàinte Sheumais Stiùbhairt
Gu mùirneach cuir mu’n cuairt!
Ach ma ta giamh air bith ‘nur stamaig,
A’ chailis naomh na truaill.
Lìon deoch-slàinte Theàrlaich,
A mheirlich! stràic a’ chuach!
B’ì siod an ìocshlàint’ àluinn
Dh’ath-bheòthaicheadh mo chàileachd,
Ged a bhiodh am bàs orm,
Gun neart, gun àgh, gun tuar —
Rìgh nan dùl a chur do chàbhlaich
Oirnn thar sàl ri luas!

O, tog do bhaideil arda,
Chaol, dhìonach, shàr-gheal, nuadh,
Ri d’ chrainnghridh bìgh-dhearg, làidir,
Gu taisdeal nan tonn gàireach;
Tha Æolus ag ràitinn
Gun sèid e ràp-ghaoth chruaidh
O’n àird anear, ‘s tha Neptun dìleas
Gu mìneachadh a’ chuain.
Is bochd atà do chàirdean
Aig ro-mheud t’fhardail uainn,
Mar àlach maoth gun mhàthair,
No beachainn bhreac a’ ghàraidh
Aig sionnach ‘n d’èis am fàsaichth’
Air fàillinn feadh nam bruach;
Aisig cabhagach le do chàbhlach,
Us leighis plàigh do shluaigh.

Tha na dèe ann an deagh-rùn duit,
Greas ort le sùrd neo-mharbh
Thar dhronnag nan tonn dubh-ghorm,
Dhriom-robach, bhàrr-chas, shiùbhlach,
Ghleann-chladhach, cheann-gheal, shùgh-dhlùth,
Nam mòthar cùl-ghlas, garbh;
Na cuan-choirean greannach, stuadh-thorrach,
‘S crom-bhileach, molach, falbh.
Tha muir us tìr cho rèidh dhuit
Mur dean thu fèin an searg’;
Dòirtidh iad ‘nan ceudaibh,
‘Nan laomaibh tiugha, treuna,
A Breatuinn us a h-Eirinn
Mu d’ standard brèid-gheal, dearg;
A’ ghaisreadh sgaiteach, ghuineach, rìoghail,
Chreuchdach, fhìor-luath, gharg.

Thig do chinneadh fèin ort,
Na treun-fhir laomsgair, gharbh,
‘Nam beathraichibh gu reubadh,
‘Nan leòmhannaibh gu creuchdadh,
‘Nan nathraichibh grad-leumnach,
A lotas geur le ‘n calg;
Le ‘n gathaibh faobharach, rinn-bheurra
Nì mòr-euchd le ‘n arm’.
‘Nam brataichibh làn-èidicht’
Le dealas geur gun chealg,
Thig Domhnullaich ‘nan dèidh sin,
Cho dìleas duit ri d’ lèine,
Mar choin air fasdadh èille
Air chath chrith geur gu sealg;
‘S mairg nàimhde do ‘n nochd iad fraoch,
Long, leòmhann, craobh, ‘s làmh dhearg.

Gun neartaich iad do champa
Na Caimbeulaich gu dearbh,
An Diùc Earraghàidhealach mar cheann orr’,
Gu mòralach, mear, prionnsail,
Ge b’è sid an tionnsgnadh searbh,
B’è sid an tionnsgnadh searbh,
Le lannaibh lotach, dubh-ghorm, toirteil,
Sgoltadh chorp gu’m balg.
Gu tairbeartach, glan, caismeachdach,
Fìor-thartarach ‘nan ranc,
Thig Cluainidh le ‘chuid Phearsanach,
Gu cuanna, gleusda, grad-bheirteach,
Le spàinnichibh teann-bheirticht’
‘S cruaidh fead ri sgailceadh cheann;
Bidh fuil da dòrtadh, smùis da spealtadh,
Le sgealpaireachd ur lann.

Druididh suas ri d’ mheirghe,
Nach meirbh an am an àir,
Clann Ghill’ Eathain nach meirgich
Airm ri h-uchd do sheirbhis,
Le ‘m brataichean ‘s snuadh feirg’ orr’,
‘San leirg mar thairbh gun sgàth;
Am foirne fearail, nimheil, arrail,
As builleach, ealamh làmh.
Gun tig na fiùrain Leòdach ort
Mar sheochdain ‘s eòin fo ‘n spàig;
‘Nan tùiribh lann-ghorm, tinnisneach,
Air chorra-ghleus gun tiomachas,
An rèisimeid fhìor-innealta,
‘S fàth giorraig dol ‘na dàil;
Am bi iomadh bòcan fuilteach, foirmeil,
Thèid le stoirm gu bàs.

Thig curaidhnean Chlann-Chamshroin ort,
Thèid meanmnach sìos ‘nad spàirn;
An fhoireann ghuineach, chaithreamach,
‘S neo-fhiamhach an am tarruinge,
An lainn ghlas mar lasair dealanaich
Gu gearradh cheann us làmh;
‘S mar luas na dreige, ‘s cruas na creige,
Chluinnte sgread nan cnàmh.
Thig mìlidhean Chlann-Iain ort,
Thèid fritheilteach gu d’ champ,
Mar fhaloisg ris na sliabh-chnuic
Us gaoth a’ Mhàirt ‘ga biathadh,
No marcaich’ air each srianach
A rachadh sìos gun chàird –
Cho ealamh ris an fhùdar ullamh,
An t-srad ‘n uair bhuineadh dhà.

Gur cinnteach dhuibh d’ur coinneachadh
Mac Coinnich mòr Cheann-t-sàil’,
Fir làidir, dhàna, cho innealta
Do’n fhìor-chruaidh air a foinneachadh,
Nach ghabh fiamh no somaltachd
No sgreamh roimh theine bhlàr;
‘S iad gu nàrach, fuileach, foinnidh,
Air bhoil’ gu dol ‘nad chàs.
Gur foirmeil, pròiseil, ordail,
Thig Tòisichean ‘nan ranc,
A’ màrsal stàtail, comhnard,
Gu pìobach, bratach, sròl-bhuidh’;
Tha rìoghaltachd us mòrchuis
Gun sòradh anns an dream,
Daoine làidir, neartmhor, cròdha,
‘S iad gun ghò, gun mheang.

Thig Granndaich gu ro-thartarach,
Neo-fhad-bheirteach do d’ champ,
Air phriob-losgadh gu cruadal,
Gu snaidh’ cheann us chluas diubh,
Cho nimheil ris na tigiribh,
Le feachdraidh dian-mhear, dàn’,
Chuireas iomadh fear le sgreadail
‘S a’ breabadaich gu làr.
Thig a rìs na Frisealaich
Gu sgibidh le neart garbh,
‘Nan seochdaibh fìor-ghlan, togarrach,
Le fuathas bhlàr nach bogaichear,
An comhlan feardha, cosgarrach,
‘S mairg neach do ‘n nochd iad fearg;
An spuir ghlas aig dlùths an dèirich
Bidh ‘nan èibhlibh dearg.

‘Nan gaisreadh ghaisgeil, losgarra,
Thig Lachlunnaich gun chàird,
‘Nan soighdibh dearga, puinnseanta,
Gu claidhmheach, sgiathach, cuinnsearach,
Gu gunnach, dagach, ionnsaichte,
Gun chunntas ac’ air àr;
Dol ‘nan deannaibh ‘n aodainn pheileir
Tiochd o theine chàich.
Gabhaidh pàirt de t’ iorghaill-sa
Clann-Fhionghain ‘s sìor-bhualadh,
Mar thuinn ri tìr a’ sìor-bhualadh,
No bile lasrach dian-losgadh,
‘Nan treudaibh luatha, sìor-chonfach,
Thoirt grìosaich air an nàmh’;
An dream chathach, Mhuileach, Shrathach,
‘S maith gu sgathadh chnàmh!

‘S mòr a bhios ri corp-rùsgadh
Nan closaichean ‘sa bhlàr,
Fithich ann, a’ rocadaich,
Ag itealaich, ‘s a’ cnocaireachd,
Cìocras air na cosgarraich
Ag òl ‘s ag ith’ an sàth;
Och, ‘s tùrsach, fann, a chluinntear mochthrath,
Ochanaich nan àr.
Bidh fuil us gaorr dam fùidreadh ann
Le lùth-chleasan ur làmh,
Meangar cinn us dùirn diubh,
Gearrar uilt le smùisreadh,
Cìosnaichear ur biùthaidh,
Dan dubh-losgadh, ‘s dan cnàmh’;
Crùnar le poimp Tearlach Stiùbhart,
Us Frederic Prionns’ fo shàil.

Continue reading “Song of the Highland Clans”

One Man in this Country

Archibald Campbell, 3rd Duke of Argyll (1682-1761) by Allan Ramsay, 1758.
Archibald Campbell, 3rd Duke of Argyll (1682-1761) by Allan Ramsay, 1758.

There is one man in this country whom I could wish to have my friend, and that is the Duke of Argyle, who, I find, is in great credit amongst them, on account of his great abilities and quality, and has many dependents by his large fortune; but, I am told, I can hardly flatter myself with the hopes of it. The hard usage which his family has received from ours, has sunk deep into his mind. What have those princes to answer for, who, by their cruelties, have raised enemies, not only to themselves, but to their innocent children?

Prince Charles Edward Stuart, in a letter to his father, James Francis Edward Stuart, written at Perth, 10 September 1745.

A Standing Menace to the South

Preamble and resolution

Offered in a large mass meeting of the people of Botetourt county, December 10th, 1860, by the Hon. John J. Allen, President of the Supreme court of Virginia, and adopted with but two dissenting voices.

The people of Botetourt county, in general meeting assembled, believe it to be the duty of all the citizens of the Commonwealth, in the present alarming condition of our country, to give some expression of their opinion upon the threatening aspect of public affairs. They deem it unnecessary and out of place to avow sentiments of loyalty to the constitution and devotion to the union of these States. A brief reference to the part the State has acted in the past will furnish the best evidence of the feelings of her sons in regard to the union of the States and the constitution, which is the sole bond which binds them together.
In the controversies with the mother country, growing out of the efforts of the latter to tax the colonies without their consent, it was Virginia who, by the resolutions against the stamp act, gave the example of the first authoritative resistance by a legislative body to the British Government, and so imparted the first impulse to the Revolution.

Virginia declared her independence before any of the colonies, and gave the first written constitution to mankind.

By her instructions her representatives in the General Congress introduced a resolution to declare the colonies independent States, and the declaration itself was written by one of her sons.

She furnished to the Confederate States the father of his country, under whose guidance independence was achieved, and the rights and liberties of each State, it was hoped, perpetually established.

She stood undismayed through the long night of the Revolution, breasting the storm of war and pouring out the blood of her sons like water on almost every battle-field, from the ramparts of Quebec to the sands of Georgia.

By her own unaided efforts the northwestern territory was conquered, whereby the Mississippi, instead of the Ohio river, was recognized as the boundary of the United States by the treaty of peace.

To secure harmony, and as an evidence of her estimate of the value of the union of the States, she ceded to all for their common benefit this magnificent region — an empire in itself.

When the articles of confederation were shown to be inadequate to secure peace and tranquility at home and respect abroad, Virginia first moved to bring about a more perfect union.

At her instance the first assemblage of commissioners took place at Annapolis, which ultimately led to the meeting of the convention which formed the present constitution.

This instrument itself was in a great measure the production of one of her sons, who has been justly styled the father of the constitution.

The government created by it was put into operation with her Washington, the father of his country, at its head; her Jefferson, the author of the Declaration of Independence, in his cabinet; her Madison, the great advocate of the constitution, in the legislative hall.

Under the leading of Virginia statesmen the Revolution of 1798 was brought about, Louisiana was acquired, and the second war of independence was waged.

Throughout the whole progress of the republic she has never infringed on the rights of any State, or asked or received an exclusive benefit.

On the contrary, she has been the first to vindicate the equality of all the States, the smallest as well as the greatest.

But claiming no exclusive benefit for her efforts and sacrifices in the common cause, she had a right to look for feelings of fraternity and kindness for her citizens from the citizens of other States, and equality of rights for her citizens with all others; that those for whom she had done so much would abstain from actual aggressions upon her soil, or if they could not be prevented, would show themselves ready and prompt in punishing the aggressors; and that the common government, to the promotion of which she contributed so largely for the purpose of “establishing justice and insuring domestic tranquility,” would not, whilst the forms of the constitution were observed, be so perverted in spirit as to inflict wrong and injustice and produce universal insecurity.

These reasonable expectations have been grievously disappointed.

Continue reading “A Standing Menace to the South”

Neronian Cruelties

John Seymour Lucas (1849-1923), After Culloden, Rebel Hunting, 1884; Tate Britain, London.
John Seymour Lucas (1849-1923), After Culloden, Rebel Hunting, 1884; Tate Britain, London.

Upon Thursday, the day after the battle, a party was ordered to the field of battle to put to death all the wounded they should find upon it, which accordingly they performed with the greatest despatch and the utmost exactness, carrying the wounded from the several parts of the field to two or three spots of rising ground, where they ranged them in due order, and instantly shot them dead.

Upon the day following, (Friday,) parties were ordered to go and search for the wounded in houses in the neighbourhood of the field, to carry them to the field, and there to kill them, which they did, as in the case of John Fraser and his fellow prisoners. To the honour of some particular officers (whom I could name) be it remarked, that by their clemency some few of the wounded were saved.

John MacLeod of MacLeod, junior, esquire, has had the honesty and courage to declare oftener than once, that he himself saw seventy-two killed in cold blood.

At a small distance from the field there was a hut for sheltering sheep and goats in cold and stormy weather. To this hut some of the wounded men had crawled, but were soon found out by the soldiery, who (immediately upon the discovery) made sure the door, and set fire to several parts of the hut, so that all within it perished in the flames, to the number of between thirty and forty persons, among whom were some beggars, who had been spectators of the battle in hopes of sharing in the plunder. Many people went and viewed the smothered and scorched bodies among the rubbish of the hut. Sure, the poor beggars could not be deemed rebels in any sense whatsoever.

In several parts of the Highlands in Scotland the soldiery spared neither man, woman, nor child, particularly those under the command of Major Lockhart, Caroline Scott, &c. The hoary head, the tender mother, and the weeping infant, behoved to share in the general wreck, and to fall victims to rage and cruelty by the musket, the bloody bayonet, the devouring flame, or famishing hunger and cold! In a word, the troops sported with cruelty. They marched through scenes of wo, and marked their steps with blood. Believe me, sir, this is far from exaggerating. It is in my power to condescend upon particular instances of these more than Neronian cruelties, which I am ready to do when called upon by proper authority–to bring to light, not the hidden things of darkness, but monstrous transactions, that were deliberately perpetrated in face of the sun by gentlemen, and (shall I say it?) Christians! In all I have said, I have omitted one thing, which is, that even the yet unborn babe (I tremble to relate it) felt the effects of the fury of our military butchers!

Copy of a letter from a gentleman in London to his friend at Bath, from the manuscript collection of Robert Forbes, Bishop of Ross and Caithness (Scottish Episcopal Church).

“Little They’ll Reck”

DECKING SOUTHERN SOLDIERS’ GRAVES.

“Pulveris tua maniplia ad manes spargere.”

Beautiful feet, with maidenly tread,
Offerings bring to the gallant dead,
Footsteps light press the sacred sod
Of heroes untimely ascended to God.
Bring spring flowers! in fragrant perfume,
And offer sweet prayers for a merciful doom.

Beautiful hands! ye deck the graves,
Above the dust of the Southern braves,
Here was extinguished their manly fire,
Who scorned to flinch from the foeman’s ire.
Bring spring flowers! the laurel and rose,
And deck ye the graves where your friends repose.

Beautiful eyes! the tears ye shed
Are brighter than diamonds to those who bled;
Spurned is the cause they fell to save,
But “little they’ll reck,”—if ye honor the brave.
Bring spring flowers! with tears and praise.
And chant o’er their tombs, your grateful lays.

Beautiful lips! ye trembled now,
Memory wakens the sleeping one’s vow;
Mute are the lips and faded the forms,
That never knelt, save to God and your charms.
Bring spring flowers! all dewy with morn,
And think how they loved ye, whose graves ye adorn.

Beautiful hearts! of matron and maid,
Faithful were ye, when Apostles betrayed!
Here are your loved and cherished ones laid.
Peace to their ashes, the flowers ye strew
Are monuments worthy the faithful and true.
Bring spring flowers! perfume their sod,
With annual incense to glory and God.

— Col. A. W. Slayback, C. S. A., Steamer Stonewall, Missouri River, 9 May 1865.

Legend

Ralph Stanley at home, Coeburn, Virginia, 1974; photograph from Henry Horenstein, Honky Tonk: Portraits of Country Music, 2012.
Ralph Stanley at home, Coeburn, Virginia, 1974; photograph from Henry Horenstein, Honky Tonk: Portraits of Country Music, 2012.

I’m thankful that I have lived long enough to become a legend, and I hope I deserve it.

Ralph Stanley, 25 February 1927 – 23 June 2016.

Carolina

CAROLINA.
Henry Timrod.

I.

The despot treads thy sacred lands,
Thy pines give shelter to his bands,
Thy sons stand by with idle hands,
Carolina!
He breathes at ease thy airs of balm,
He scorns the lances of thy palm;
Oh! who shall break thy craven calm,
Carolina!
Thy ancient fame is growing dim,
A spot is on thy garment’s rim;
Give to the winds thy battle-hymn,
Carolina!

II.

Call on thy children of the hill,
Wake swamp and river, coast and rill,
Rouse all thy strength and all thy skill,
Carolina!
Cite wealth and science, trade and art,
Touch with thy fire the cautious mart,
And pour thee through the people’s heart,
Carolina!
Till even the coward spurns his fears,
And all thy fields, and fens, and meres,
Shall bristle like thy palm, with spears,
Carolina!

III.

Hold up the glories of thy dead;
Say how thy elder children bled,
And point to Eutaw’s battle-bed,
Carolina!
Tell how the patriot’s soul was tried,
And what his dauntless breast defied;
How Rutledge ruled, and Laurens died,
Carolina!
Cry! till thy summons, heard at last,
Shall fall, like Marion’s bugle-blast,
Re-echoed from the haunted past,
Carolina!

IV.

I hear a murmur, as of waves
That grope their way through sunless caves,
Like bodies struggling in their graves,
Carolina!
And now it deepens; slow and grand
It swells, as rolling to the land
An ocean broke upon the strand,
Carolina!
Shout! let it reach the startled Huns!
And roar with all thy festal guns!
It is the answer of thy sons,
Carolina!

V.

They will not wait to hear thee call;
From sachem’s head to Sumter’s wall
Resounds the voice of hut and hall,
Carolina!
No! thou hast not a stain, they say,
Or none save what the battle-day
Shall wash in seas of blood away,
Carolina!
Thy skirts, indeed, the foe may part,
Thy robe be pierced with sword and dart;
They shall not touch thy noble heart,
Carolina!

VI.

Ere thou shalt own the tyrant’s thrall,
Ten times ten thousand men must fall;
Thy corpse may hearken to his call,
Carolina!
When by thy bier, in mournful throngs,
The women chant thy mortal wrongs,
‘Twill be their own funereal songs,
Carolina!
From thy dead breast, by ruffians trod,
No helpless child shall look to God;
All shall be safe beneath thy sod,
Carolina!

VII.

Girt with such wills to do and bear,
Assured in right, and mailed in prayer,
Thou wilt not bow thee to despair,
Carolina!
Throw thy bold banner to the breeze!
Front with thy ranks the threatening seas,
Like thine own proud armorial trees,
Carolina!
Fling down thy gauntlet to the Huns,
And roar the challenge from thy guns;
Then leave the future to thy sons,
Carolina!