Sound the fife, and raise the
slogan--let the pibroch shake the air
With its wild triumphal music,
worthy of the freight we bear;
Let the ancient hills of
Scotland hear once more the battle song
Swell within their glens and
valleys as the clansmen march along.
Never, from the field of combat,
never from the deadly fray,
Was a nobler trophy carried than
we bring with us to-day:
Never, since the valiant Douglas
in his dauntless bosom bore
Good King Robert's heart--the
priceless--to our dear Redeemer's shore!
Lo! we bring with us the
hero--Lo! we bring the conquering Graeme,
Crown'd as best beseems a victor
from the altar of his fame;
Fresh and bleeding from the
battle whence his spirit took its flight
Midst the crashing charge of
squadrons, and the thunder of the fight!
Strike, I say, the notes of
triumph, as we march o'er moor and lea,
Is there any here will venture
to bewail our dead Dundee?
Let the widows of the traitors
weep until their eyes are dim;
Wail ye may indeed for
Scotland--let none dare to mourn for him!
See, above his glorious body
lies the royal banner's fold--
See, his valiant blood is
mingled with its crimson and its gold--
See how calm he looks and
stately, like a warrior on his shield,
Waiting till the flush of
morning breaks upon the battle field.
See--O never more, my comrades!
shall we see that falcon eye
Kindle with its inward
lightning, as the hour of fight drew nigh;
Never shall we hear the voice
that, clearer than the trumpet's call,
Bade us strike for King and
Country, bade us win the field or fall!
On the heights of Killiecrankie
yester-morn our army lay:
Slowly rose the mist in columns
from the river's broken way,
Hoarsely roar'd the swollen
torrent, and the pass was wrapp'd in gloom
When the clansmen rose together
from their lair among the broom.
Then we belted on our tartans,
and our bonnets down we drew,
And we felt our broadswords'
edges, and we proved them to be true,
And we pray'd the prayer of
soldiers, and we cried the gathering cry,
And we clasp'd the hands of
kinsmen, and we swore to do or die!
Then our leader rode before us
on his war-horse black as night--
Well the Cameronian rebels knew
that charger in the fight!--
And a cry of exultation from the
bearded warriors rose,
For we loved the house of
Claver'se, and we thought of good Montrose.
But he raised his hand for
silence--"Soldiers, I have sworn a vow;
Ere the evening star shall
glisten on Schehallion's lofty brow,
Either we shall rest in triumph,
or another of the Graemes
Shall have died in battle
harness for his country and King James!
Think upon the Royal
Martyr--think of what his race endure--
Think on him whom butchers
murder'd on the field of Magus Muir;--
By his sacred blood I charge
ye--by the ruin'd hearth and shrine--
By the blighted hopes of
Scotland--by your injuries and mine--
Strike this day as if the anvil
lay beneath your blows the while,
Be they Covenanting traitors, or
the brood of false Argyle!
Strike! and drive the trembling
rebels backwards o'er the stormy Forth;
Let them tell their pale
Convention how they fared within the North.
Let them tell that Highland
honour is not to be bought nor sold,
That we scorn their Prince's
anger, as we loathe his foreign gold.
Strike! and when the fight is
over, if ye look in vain for me,
Where the dead are lying
thickest, search for him who was Dundee!"
Loudly then the hills re-echo'd
with our answer to his call,
But a deeper echo sounded in the
bosoms of us all.
For the lands of wide
Breadalbane, not a man who heard him speak
Would that day have left the
battle. Burning eye and flushing cheek
Told the clansmen's fierce
emotion, and they harder drew their breath,
For their souls were strong
within them, stronger than the grasp of death.
Soon we heard a
challenge-trumpet sounding in the pass below,
And the distant tramp of horses,
and the voices of the foe;
Down we crouch'd amid the
bracken, till the Lowland ranks drew near,
Panting like the hounds in
summer when they scent the stately deer.
From the dark defile emerging,
next we saw the squadrons come,
Leslie's foot and Leven's
troopers marching to the tuck of drum;
Through the scatter'd wood of
birches, o'er the broken ground and heath,
Wound the long battalion slowly
till they gain'd the field beneath,
Then we bounded from our
covert.--Judge how look'd the Saxons then,
When they saw the rugged
mountain start to life with armed men!
Like a tempest down the ridges
swept the hurricane of steel,
Rose the slogan of Macdonald--flash'd
the broadsword of Lochiel!
Vainly sped the withering volley
'mongst the foremost of our band,
On we pour'd until we met them,
foot to foot, and hand to hand.
Horse and man went down like
drift-wood, when the floods are black at Yule,
And their carcasses are whirling
in the Garry's deepest pool.
Horse and man went down before
us--living foe there tarried none
On the field of Killiecrankie,
when that stubborn fight was done!
And the evening star was shining
on Schehallion's distant head,
When we wiped our bloody
broadswords and return'd to count the dead.
There we found him, gash'd and
gory, stretch'd upon the cumber'd plain,
As he told us where to seek him,
in the thickest of the slain.
And a smile was on his visage,
for within his dying ear
Peal'd the joyful note of
triumph and the clansmen's clamorous cheer;
So, amidst the battle's thunder,
shot, and steel, and scorching flame,
In the glory of his manhood
pass'd the spirit of the Graeme!
Open wide the vaults of Athol,
where the bones of heroes rest--
Open wide the hallow'd portals
to receive another guest!
Last of Scots, and last of
freemen--last of all that dauntless race,
Who would rather die unsullied
than outlive the land's disgrace!
O thou lion-hearted warrior!
reck not of the after-time,
Honour may be deem'd dishonour,
loyalty be called a crime.
Sleep in peace with kindred
ashes of the noble and the true,
Hands that never fail'd their
country, hearts that never baseness knew.
Sleep, and till the latest
trumpet wakes the dead from earth and sea,
Scotland shall not boast a
braver chieftain than our own Dundee!