MacGregor’s Lullaby

The bridge at Kenmore on the River Tay.
The bridge at Kenmore on the River Tay.

EARLY on a Lammas morning,
With my husband was I gay;
But my heart got sorely wounded
Ere the middle of the day.

Ochan, ochan, ochan, uiri,
Though I cry my child with thee–
Ochan, ochan, ochan, uiri,
Now he hears not thee nor me.

Malison on judge and kindred,
They have wrought me mickle woe;
With deceit they came about us,–
Through deceit they laid him low.
Ochan, ochan, &c.

Had they met but twelve Macgregors,
With my Gregor at their head;
Now my child had not been orphaned,
Nor these bitter tears been shed.
Ochan, ochan, &c.

On an oaken block they laid him,
And they spilt his blood around;
I’d have drunk it in a goblet
Largely, ere it reached the ground.
Ochan, ochan, &c.

Would my father then had sickened–
Colin, with the plague been ill;
Though Rory’s daughter in her anguish,
Smote her palms and cried her fill.
Ochan, ochan, &c.

I could Colin shut in prison,
And Black Duncan put in ward,–
Every Campbell now in Bealach,
Bind with handcuffs, close and hard.
Ochan, ochan, &c.

When I reached the plain of Bealach,
I got there nor rest nor calm;
But my hair I tore in pieces,–
Wore the skin from off each palm!
Ochan, ochan, &c.

Oh! could I fly up with the skylark–
Had I Gregor’s strength in hand;
The highest stone that’s in yon castle,
Should lie lowest on the land.
Ochan, ochan, &c.

Would I saw Finlarig blazing,
And the smoke of Bealach smelled,
So that fair, soft-handed Gregor
In these arms once more I held.
Ochan, ochan, &c.

While the rest have all got lovers
Now a lover have I none;
My fair blossom, fresh and fragrant,
Withers on the ground alone.
Ochan, ochan, &c.

While all other wives the night-time
Pass in slumber’s balmy bands,
I, upon my bedside weary,
Never cease to wring my hands.
Ochan, ochan, &c.

Far, far better be with Gregor
Where the heather’s in its prime,
Than with mean and Lowland barons
In a house of stone and lime.
Ochan, ochan, &c.

Greatly better be with Gregor
Where the herds stray o’er the vale,
Than with little Lowland barons
Drinking of their wine and ale.
Ochan, ochan, &c.

Greatly better be with Gregor
In a mantle rude and torn,
Than with little Lowland barons
Where fine silk and lace are worn.
Ochan, ochan, &c.

Though it rained and roared together,
All throughout the stormy day,
Gregor in a crag could find me
A kind shelter where to stay,
Ochan, ochan, &c.

Bahu, bahu, little nursling–
Oh! so tender now and weak;
I fear the day will never brighten
When revenge for him you’ll seek.
Ochan, ochan, ochan, uiri,
Though I cry, my child, with thee–
Ochan, ochan, ochan, uiri,
Yet he hears not thee nor me!

Curator: Christian Clay Columba Campbell

Christian Clay Columba Campbell is a Roman Catholic of the Anglican Use. As Senior Warden of the Cathedral of the Incarnation (Orlando, FL), he organised the process by which the parish accepted the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus, petitioning to join the Catholic Church. The Anglican Cathedral is now the Church of the Incarnation in the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter. Personal queries should be directed to me at eccentricbliss dot com.

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