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Atholl Braes ©

This is a tale of men who helped shepherd a failure across their ancient lands of Atholl and over sacred Schiehallion, to safety.

Graham Donachie
Victoria, Canada
2003

Atholl braes sae saft an’ lovely
in this morn o’ misty glow,
stealthily we hush oor footsteps
lest we stir, red coated foe.
For we guard the Prince o’ light
wha cam tae fecht for Royal claim
at Glenfinnan he was welcomed
‘mangst the heather o’ his hame.

Lords and chieftains there tae greet him
swore their solemn oaths tae share,
by broadswords and the lives o’ ithers
they wad follow him and dare,
tae staun’ agin the micht o’ London
offering their kinsman’s bluid
tae willingly face the deadly roundshot
an’ die in the Drummossie mud.

Noo he rins like headless chicken
efter the blade hae done the deed,
following us in panic stricken
noo it is his turn tae bleed.
On oor trail the foreign red coat
an’ the dogs o’ Cruachan ben,
baying on their maisters leashes
crying death tae oor moorhen.

But we are the sons o’ Duncan
nane shall iver try nor dare,
hairm oor noble Princely charge
whilst he shelters in oor care.
For many are the clans in payment
o’ the Saxon government,
for shamefu’ thirty siller pieces
may their worth be...forever kent..

And the Marquis in his castle
entertaining London's elite,
bows and scrapes for recognition
o’ the sassenach effete.
We gang forth in loyal duty
through the glen an’ ower the mount,
standing when the jackals circling
makin’ every sword thrust count.

Lovely are the Atholl braes
when sinks the sun in simmer sweet,
sorrowful oor lonely memories
thinking o’ oor youngblood heat,
when we outran Argyles hounds
like wild young highland mountain hares,
nae thochts o’ thirty thoosan’ pounds,
let Cruachans’ curs squabble ower their share..

But we hie’d him tae the west
aboard the ship for his depart,
and he left us on the shoreline
wi’ an empty aching heart.
Mony years hae passed since that day,
mony tears we shed lang syne,
memories o’ battles focht an’
memories o’ comrades fine.

Atholl braes are aye sae bonny
in the cauldwind wintertime
Schiehallion.....the ancient mither
o’ this Duncan clan o’ mine,
watches ower me as I clamber
high amidst her heathered braes,
smiles doon on me as I wander
across this land ...o’ Donnachaidh.

Atholl braes...my memorie fading,
noo I’m auld an' unco sad
when I think upon my youth
when I was but a lusty lad,
chasing lassies o’ the glen,
there’s mair than hell I’d often raise
when fighting, loving, a’ amangst
my bonnie, bonnie Atholl braes..



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