Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Battle of Philiphaugh

The date was September 13, 1645.  James Graham, representing Royalist forces, fought Covenanters, under David Leslie.  The day tilted in favor of Leslie. Sir Walter Scott collected the following ballad on this battle in his “Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border”:

THE BATTLE OF PHILIPHAUGH.

On Philiphaugh a fray began,
At Hairhead wood it ended;
The Scots out o'er the Graemes they ran,
Sae merrily they bended.

Sir David frae the border came,
Wi' heart an' hand came he;
Wi' him three thousand bonny Scotts,
To bear him company.

Wi' him three thousand valiant men,
A noble sight to see!
A cloud o' mist them weel concealed,
As close as e'er might be.

When they came to the Shaw burn,
Said he, "Sae weel we frame,
"I think it is convenient,
"That we should sing a psalm."

When they came to the Lingly burn,
As day-light did appear,
They spy'd an aged father,
And he did draw them near.

"Come hither, aged father!"
Sir David he did cry,
"And tell me where Montrose lies,
"With all his great army."

"But, first, you must come tell to me,
"If friends or foes you be;
"I fear you are Montrose's men,
"Come frae the north country."

"No, we are nane o' Montrose's men,
"Nor e'er intend to be;
"I am sir David Lesly,
"That's speaking unto thee."

"If you're sir David Lesly,
"As I think weel ye be,
"I'm sorry ye hae brought so few
"Into your company.

"There's fifteen thousand armed men,
"Encamped on yon lee;
"Ye'll never be a bite to them,
"For aught that I can see.

"But, halve your men in equal parts,
"Your purpose to fulfil;
"Let ae half keep the water side,
"The rest gae round the hill.

"Your nether party fire must,
"Then beat a flying drum;
"And then they'll think the day's their ain,
"And frae the trench they'll come.

"Then, those that are behind them maun
"Gie shot, baith grit and sma';
"And so, between your armies twa,
"Ye may make them to fa'."

"O were ye ever a soldier?"
Sir David Lesly said;
"O yes; I was at Solway flow,
"Where we were all betray'd.

"Again I was at curst Dunbar,
"And was a pris'ner ta'en;
"And many weary night and day,
"In prison I hae lien."

"If ye will lead these men aright,
"Rewarded shall ye be;
"But, if that ye a traitor prove,
"I'll hang thee on a tree."

"Sir, I will not a traitor prove;
"Montrose has plundered me;
"I'll do my best to banish him
"Away frae this country."

He halv'd his men in equal parts,
His purpose to fulfill;
The one part kept the water side,
The other gaed round the hill.

The nether party fired brisk,
Then turn'd and seem'd to rin;
And then they a' came frae the trench,
And cry'd, "the day's our ain!"

The rest then ran into the trench,
And loos'd their cannons a':
And thus, between his armies twa,
He made them fast to fa'.

Now, let us a' for Lesly pray,
And his brave company!
For they hae vanquish'd great Montrose,
Our cruel enemy.


No comments:

Post a Comment