Adventures of King Robert the Bruce
King Robert the Bruce's deadly enemy, John of Lorn,
Joined the English with eight hundred Highlanders one morn,
All strong, hardy, and active fearless mountaineers,
But Bruce's men attacked them with swords and spears.
And while they were engaged, a new enemy burst upon them,
Like a torrent of water rushing down a rocky glen:
It was John of Lorn and his Highlanders that came upon them,
So the tide of battle was too much for them to stem.
And with savage yells they made the valley ring,
Then made a long circuit, and stole in behind the King,
Whirling their broadswords and Lochaber axes left and right;
And the enemy being thrice their number, they relinquished the fight
Then to a certain house Bruce quickly hied,
And sitting by the door the housewife he spied;
And she asked him who he was, and he said, A wanderer,
Then she said, All wanderers are welcome here, kind sir.
Then the King said, Good dame, tell me the reason why,
How you respect all wanderers that chance to pass by,
And for whose sake you bear such favour to homeless men?
Then she said, King Robert the Bruce, if you want to ken,
The lawful King of this country, whom I hope to see;
Then the Bruce said, My good woman, your King stands before thee;
And she said, Ah! Sire, where are your men gone?
Then the King told her that he's come alone.
Then she said, Ah, my lawful King, this must not be,
For I have two stout sons, and they shall follow thee,
And fight to the death for your Majesty,
Aye, in faith, my good King, by land or sea.
Then she brought her sons before the King, and thus did say,
Now swear, my sons, to be true to your King without dismay;
Then they knelt and cried, Mother, we'll do as you desire,
We willingly will fight on behalf of our noble sire.
Who has been hunted like a felon by night and by day,
By foul plotters devising to take his life away;
But God will protect him in the midst of the strife,
And, mother dear, we'll fight for him during life.
Then the King said, Noble lads, it's you shall follow me,
And ye shall be near me by land or sea,
And for your loyalty towards me your mother I'll reward;
When all on a sudden the tramping of horses was heard.
Then the King heard voices he knew full well,
But what had fetched his friends there he couldn't tell;
'Twas Edward his brother and Lord Douglas, with one hundred and fifty men,
That had travelled far, to find their King, o'er mountain and glen.
And when they met they conversed on the events of the day,
Then the King unto them quickly did say,
If we knew where the enemy were, we would work them skaith;
Then Lord James said, I'll lead you where they are, by my faith.
Then they marched on the enemy just as the morning broke,
To a farm-house where they were lodged, and, with one bold stroke,
They, the Scots, rushed in and killed two-thirds of them dead;
And such was the life, alas! King Robert the Bruce led!
A Humble Heroine
'Twas at the Seige of Matagarda, during the Peninsular War,
That a Mrs Reston for courage outshone any man there by far;
She was the wife of a Scottish soldier in Matagarda Port,
And to attend to her husband she there did resort.
'Twas in the Spring of the year 1810,
That General Sir Thomas Graham occupied Matagarda with 150 men;
These consisted of a detachment from the Scots Brigade,
And on that occasion they weren't in the least afraid.
And Captain Maclaine of the 94th did the whole of them command,
And the courage the men displayed was really grand;
Because they held Matagarda for fifty-four days,
Against o'erwhelming numbers of the French - therefore they are worthy of praise.
The British were fighting on behalf of Spain,
But if they fought on their behalf they didn't fight in vain;
For they beat them manfully by land and sea,
And from the shores of Spain they were forced to flee.
Because Captain Maclaine set about repairing the old fort,
So as to make it comfortable for his men to resort;
And there he kept his men at work day by day,
Filling sand-bags and stuffing them in the walls without delay.
There was one woman in the fort during those trying dags,
A Mrs Reston, who is worthy of great praise;
She acted like a ministering angel to the soldiers while there,
By helping them to fill sand-bags, it was her constant care.
Mrs Reston behaved as fearlessly as any soldier in the garrison,
And amongst the soldiers golden opinions she won,
For her presence was everywhere amongst the men,
And the service invaluable she rendered to them.
Methinks I see that brave heroine carrying her child,
Whilst the bullets were falling around her, enough to drive her wild;
And bending over it to protect it from danger,
Because to war's alarms it was a stranger.
And while the shells shrieked around, and their fragments did scatter,
She was serving the men at the guns with wine and water;
And while the shot whistled around, her courage wasn't slack,
Because to the soldiers she carried sand-bags on her back.
A little drummer boy was told to fetch water from the well,
But he was afraid because the bullets from the enemy around it fell;
And the Doctor cried to the boy, Why are you standing there?
But Mrs Reston said, Doctor, the bairn is feared, I do declare.
And she said, Give me the pail, laddie, I'll fetch the water,
Not fearing that the shot would her brains scatter;
And without a moment's hesitation she took the pail,
Whilst the shot whirred thick around her, yet her courage didn't fail.
And to see that heroic woman the scene was most grand,
Because as she drew the water a shot cut the rope in her hand;
But she caught the pail with her hand dexterously,
Oh! the scene was imposing end most beautiful to see.
The British fought bravely, as they are always willing to do,
Although their numbers were but few;
So they kept up the cannonading with their artillery,
And stood manfully at their guns against the enemy.
And five times the flagstaff was shot away,
And as often was it replaced without dismay;
And the flag was fastened to an angle of the wall,
And the British resolved to defend it whatever did befall.
So the French were beaten and were glad to run,
And the British for defeating them golden opinions have won
Ah through brave Captain Maclaine and his heroes bold,
Likewise Mrs Reston, whose name should be written in letters of gold.