THE ROVIN' DIES HARD
(Words and Music: Brain McNeill)
(From: Battlefield Band, Forward with Scotland's Past)
My name's John Mackenzie. I'm a master-at-arms.
I carry my sword and my shield on my shoulder.
I've fought every fight from the Don to the Danube,
None braver, none better, none bolder.
I've stood with Montrose and against him.
I've battled with Swedes and with Danes,
And I've carried the standards of many's the army
Through many's the bloody campaign.
But now as I sit in the firelight, it seems
There's a distant horizon to the sword buckler's gleam,
Till a pull at the vine brings an old soldier's dreams
From afar - for the rovin' dies hard.
2) I'm Calum McLean. I'm a trapper to trade,
And it's forty long years since I saw Tobermory.
Through Canada's forests, I've carried my plaid,
And its pine trees could tell you my story.
Now my wandering days they are over,
But I'm thankful to be still alive,
For I've many's the kinsman who died in the hulks
At the end of the bold forty-five.
I've an Indian lass now. I'll never deceive her,
But there's nights when I'd up with my gun and I'd leave her
For the land where the bear and the fox and the beaver
Are lord - for the rovin' dies hard.
3) My name's Robert Johnston. I'm a man of the cloth,
And I'll carry my bible as long as I'm breathing.
I've preached the Lord's Gospel from Shanghai to Glasgow
Where'er He saw fit to make heathens.
But now the Kirk's calling me homewards.
It's the manse and the elders for me,
But the sins o' the Session'll no' be so far
From the sins of the South China Sea,
And perhaps it's the voice o' the devil I've heard,
For it speaks of the clipper ships flying like birds
Till a man's only comfort is Scripture and the word
Of the Lord - for the rovin' dies hard.
4) My name's Willie Campbell. I'm a ship's engineer,
And I know every berth between Lisbon and Largo.
I've sweated more diesel in thirty-five years
Than a big tanker takes for a cargo.
O' the good time I've had plenty,
Where the whisky and women were wild,
And there's many the wean wi' the red looks o' the Campbells
Who's ne'er seen the coast of Argyll.
But now as the freighters unload on the quay,
The sound of the engines is calling to me,
And it sings me a song of the sun and the sea
And the stars - for the rovin' dies hard.
5) I've tuned up my fiddle and rosined my bow,
And I've sung o' the clans and the clear crystal fountains.
I can tell you the road and the miles from Dundee
To the back of Alaska's wild mountains.
And when all my travelling is over,
The next of the rovers will come,
And he'll take all the songs and he'll sing them again
To the beat from a different drum.
And if ever I'm asked why the Scots are beguiled,
I'll lift up my glass in a health and I'll smile,
And tell them that fortune dealt Scotland the wild-
est of cards, - for the rovin' dies hard.
For kimknox and anybody else who likes this great song.
HTML line breaks added. --JoeClone, 23-Sep-02.