The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #4640   Message #1812402
Posted By: GUEST,Chris
17-Aug-06 - 02:22 PM
Thread Name: Lyr Req: Montrose (Steeleye Span)
Subject: Lyr Add: MONTROSE (from Steeleye Span)
Hi, I just came across this thread while desperately looking for Steeleye's Montrose-lyricsbecause I could not make out all the words. Unfortunately the one published here has got some errors and the bits I didn't understand are not very convincing either. I have some suggestions as to corrections, though:

When James the King ruled by sceptered crown
With bishops and pen from London town
And the sword could ne'er bring Scotland down,
Where the cold north wind creeps through the dawn,
At old Montrose on a winter's morn,
The (poor fells) FOURTH EARL'S only son was born.                     
And he grew strong and he grew stern,
Of books and knowledge he would learn
And so to Glasgow he must turn.

For truth and valour he was named
For bowmanship he was acclaimed
And the silver arrow he did gain
First through France then to London town
This noble youth did proudly ride
With his good bow strapped in behind

Then his King's favour he has sought
But slander brought it all to nought
To Scotland he's fled back from court.
But new King Charles, so ill advised
By Hamilton and Laud likewise,
Scotland they betrayed by lies.
With papacy and bad intent,
(A new fair buck) THE NEW PRAYER BOOK to Scotland sent
To control the Kirk was his intent

(Robbers) ??? raged around St.Giles against the King's churchmen,
But Montrose spoke above them all, the people's love to win.
So Jamie joined the Covenants, for war they did prepare
And he rode north to Huntly's house but found no welcome there.
So the gay red Gordon ribbons they chased around the land
Until at Inverurie Lord Huntly signed his hand.
So Montrose rode to Aberdeen where the Covenant held sway
--should be from Aberdeen, but it is to Aberdeen--
To speak the King at Berwick, a truce was signed that day.
But the grim (journey the ministers) GENEVAN (i.e. Calvinist) MINISTERS put Montrose in a cell
And there he (thought) FOUGHT to serve Scotland and serve his King as well.
Meanwhile down south in England the civil war began,
So Montrose rode to London town to parley with the King.
For a thousand men he pleaded to save his fair Scotland,
But he returned a general without a single man.

The giant Macdonald Alastair with sixteen hundred men
From Ireland sailed to join Montrose and plunder Campells glen.
Montrose the small united force of Gaelic men (did yaw) ???
Against seven thousand Covenant on the field of Tippermuir.


I'll serve thee in such noble ways was never heard before
I'll crown and deck thee with all bays and love thee more and more

With stones and bows, the screaming clans put Covenant to flight
That Sabbath day at Tippermuir was such a bloody sight,
Then marching north to Aberdeen where treasure could be found
The soldiers fought for bounty there while James fought for the crown


His army now three thousand strong, he was resolved to go
To meet the Campbell in his lair through all the winter snow
King Campbell sailed from his castles throne as Montrose pipes drew near
No refuge from the Lord on earth, no pity for Campbell's fear


With Campbell lands all wasted, Montrose was forced to guess
To fight Argyll or Lord Seaforth on the road to Inverness.
It came to pass that Campbell's might was smashed on Loch Eil(s) shore
And the terror of Clan Diarmaid will hold the glens no more


At Auldearn, Alford and Kilsyth, the royal standard shone,
As Alexander he did reign and he did reign alone,
Then Montrose entered Glasgow with Scotland at his feet,
But the power could not be broken (or the ministers relieved)

Soon the year of miracles, like the slowly setting sun,
Was melting now before his eyes, all he could do was done.
At Philiphaugh and Carbisdale when fortune did turn cold,
(A cloud of devils at the gate showed James the road somehow.)

The judges passed their cruel sentence, traitors laughed and jeered.
He stood unmoved in stately calm and spoke quite unafraid,
Nail my head on yonder tower, give every town a limb
And God who made shall gather there, I go from you to him.
As he turned from out the Hall, clouds left the sky,
To battle he has never walked more proudly than to die.

They set him high upon a cart, the hangman rode below,
There stood the Whig and west country lords in balcony and (bowed) BOW
They brought him to the water gate, he looked so great and high,
So noble was his manly frame, so clear his steadfast life.

The rebel rout forbore to shout and each man held his breath,
For well they knew (he who rode so) A HEROE'S SOUL was face to face with death,
Loving Scotland and his King, he went to death that morn,
A shudder ran across the sky, the word that death was done.

Chorus (x2)

That makes more sense, because:
1. James was the fourth earl's son
2. The row was about the new prayer book, to be introduced in St.Giles
3. The ministers (parsons) wore "Genevan"-plain black gowns
4. Neil MacLeod of Assynt sold James for gold and meal (brose)
5. The Whigs wouldn't bow for James actually having condemned him to death

I still can't make out who or what raged around St.Giles, certainly not robbers and the bit after "the small united host of Gaelic man..." eludes me completely. Any suggestions?

Sorry for being a smart-ass