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Lyr Req: Montrose (Steeleye Span)

DigiTrad:
LADS O' THE FAIR
MUIR AND THE MASTER BUILDER
STRONG WOMEN RULE US ALL WITH THEIR TEARS


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jday@umd5.umd.edu 07 Apr 98 - 10:32 AM
Alan of Australia 07 Apr 98 - 10:57 AM
Jon W. 07 Apr 98 - 11:33 AM
Bruce O. 07 Apr 98 - 01:30 PM
Bruce O. 07 Apr 98 - 01:51 PM
Bo 07 Apr 98 - 02:07 PM
Bruce O. 07 Apr 98 - 02:54 PM
Bruce O. 07 Apr 98 - 03:04 PM
Pete M 07 Apr 98 - 05:25 PM
Pete M 07 Apr 98 - 05:41 PM
Seimi 07 Apr 98 - 11:45 PM
Alan of Australia 08 Apr 98 - 01:53 AM
Bruce O. 08 Apr 98 - 03:08 PM
John Nolan 08 Apr 98 - 05:19 PM
Alan of Australia 08 Apr 98 - 08:50 PM
Murray 09 Apr 98 - 03:51 AM
Alan of Australia 09 Apr 98 - 07:47 AM
John D 09 Apr 98 - 11:55 AM
Malcolm Douglas 16 Sep 01 - 12:33 PM
GUEST,Marian 17 Sep 01 - 08:58 AM
GUEST,Marian 17 Sep 01 - 09:01 AM
Malcolm Douglas 17 Sep 01 - 10:28 AM
Susanne (skw) 17 Sep 01 - 08:54 PM
Susanne (skw) 17 Sep 01 - 09:13 PM
Malcolm Douglas 17 Sep 01 - 09:26 PM
Murray MacLeod 17 Sep 01 - 09:28 PM
GUEST,Marian 19 Sep 01 - 08:03 AM
Susanne (skw) 19 Sep 01 - 05:27 PM
GUEST,Marian 20 Sep 01 - 05:08 PM
Susanne (skw) 20 Sep 01 - 06:22 PM
Kagan 20 May 04 - 05:35 AM
Amos 20 May 04 - 02:26 PM
GUEST,Corrie 11 Aug 06 - 12:08 AM
GUEST,Chris 17 Aug 06 - 02:22 PM
GUEST,Chris 20 Nov 06 - 08:44 AM
Mr Fox 21 Nov 06 - 08:18 AM
GUEST,rea 17 Jan 07 - 04:34 PM
GUEST 11 Sep 07 - 10:28 PM
GUEST,Chris 05 Oct 07 - 04:34 PM
GUEST,Mike 07 Oct 07 - 12:33 PM
Malcolm Douglas 07 Oct 07 - 12:52 PM
GUEST,Chris 05 Feb 08 - 06:13 AM
GUEST,Chris 15 Jun 09 - 10:21 AM
GUEST,Malthus 18 Aug 09 - 06:11 PM
GUEST,guest 16 Mar 10 - 06:04 PM
GUEST,GUEST; Rod 24 May 10 - 02:43 AM
Mr Fox 24 May 10 - 08:12 PM
GUEST,Tiggywinkle 16 Jun 10 - 05:21 AM
Jim Dixon 17 Jun 10 - 05:23 PM
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Reiver 2 17 Jun 10 - 07:29 PM
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Subject: Montrose Lyrics
From: jday@umd5.umd.edu
Date: 07 Apr 98 - 10:32 AM

On it's live album (recently reissued on CD) Steeleye Span did a long and complicated song about the Scottish hero Montrose. Several questions: (a) is this really a "traditional" song? (b) are there other versions? (c) what are the lyrics? (d) are there other songs about Montrose?

I'd appreciate any help. If you can write directly to me as well as post your message here it would be greatly appreciated.

John Day Silver Spring, Maryland, USA


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Subject: RE: Montrose Lyrics
From: Alan of Australia
Date: 07 Apr 98 - 10:57 AM

G'day,
(a) I believe this was mostly rewritten by Steeleye Span.
(b) Probably based on a much shorter song or fragment.
(c) I would also like to know the lyrics - can't make out a lot of it.
(d) Interesting question - someone with more resources than I have may know. I spent some time looking when the album was first released.

Cheers,
Alan


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Subject: RE: Montrose Lyrics
From: Jon W.
Date: 07 Apr 98 - 11:33 AM

Montrose is mentioned in the song "The Haughs of Cromdale" as sung by Ewan MacColl on his album of Jacobite songs. However the song contains many historical discrepancies and is thought to be mostly fictional.


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Subject: RE: Montrose Lyrics
From: Bruce O.
Date: 07 Apr 98 - 01:30 PM

I don't know precisely what song you're taking about. There's a song presumeable by Montrose that's an immitation of "My dear and only love take heed" in a number of Scottish works. The English tune of this title was called "Montrose Lynes" and "Chevy Chase" in Scotland" I can't remember what I included, if anything, in my writeup on Montrose's song in the 'Scarce Songs' file on my website. Tune is there in BBBM tunes, and probably in S1.ABC.
www.erols.com/olsonw


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Subject: RE: Montrose Lyrics
From: Bruce O.
Date: 07 Apr 98 - 01:51 PM

The song I noted above isn't really about Montrose. "Montrose Lyns", the song, is in Watson's 'Choice Collection', III, 1711, and the tune of that title, from the Blaikie MS of c 1692, is given in John Glen's 'Early Scottish Melodies'. If I remember correctly, Montrose died in 1643. There aren't many Scots songs of that date around, but I've seen a few scraps related to the Scots and their support of Charles I, of slightly later date. "Lesly's March" is probably the best known.


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE HAUGHS OF CROMDALE
From: Bo
Date: 07 Apr 98 - 02:07 PM

Here is Haugh's of Cromdale from Ewan MacColl's Folk Songs and Ballads of Scotland -- a GREAT book. Please support book publishers and the writers\collectors of great material by buying books. Oak Publications OK61341 ISBN 0.8256.0057.X --not a slam just a reminder--

The Haughs of Cromdale Poetic licence has been strained tobreaking point inthis vigorous song. the battle fought upon the plains of Cromdale in Strathspey did, in fact, result in the army of 1,500 highlanders being defeated by Sir Thomas Livingston’s Hanoverians. Montrose, the hero of this song was not present at the event. Some forty-five years before, however, he won a victory at the battle of Auldearn against the Whig forces and it is probable that the two events have been dovetailed to provide us with a fine, optimistic, if somewhat chronolically inaccurate, song. McColl p40

As I came in by Achindoon,
A little wee bit frae the town,
When to the Highlands I was bound
To view the haughs of Cromdale.
I met a man in tartan trews,
I spiered at him what was the news,
Who’ he, “The Highland amry rues
The e’er we came to Cromdale.

“We were in bed, sir, every man,
When the English host upon us came;
A bloody battle then began
Upon the haughs of Cromdale.
The English horse they were so rude,
The bathed their hoofs in Highland blood,
But our brave clans, they boldly stood
Upon the haughs of Cromdale.

“But alas! We could no longer stay,
For o’er the hills we came away,
And sore we do lament the day
That e’er we cme to Cromdale.”
Thus the great Montrose did say:
“Can you direct the nearest way?
For I will o’er the hills this day,
And view the haughs of Cromdale.”

“Alas, my lord, you’re not so strong,
You scarcely have two thousand men,
And there’s twenty-thousand on the plane,
Stand rank and file on Cromdale.”
Thus the great Montrose did say,
“I say, direct the nearest way,
For I will o’er the hills this day,
And see the haughs of Cromdale.”

They were at dinner, every man,
When the great Montrose upon them came;
A second battle then began
Upon the haughs of Cromdale.
The Grant, MacKensie and M’Ky,
Soon as Montrose they dis espy,
Then they fought most valiantly
Upon the haughs of Cromdale.

The M’Donalds they returned again,
The Camerons did their standard join,
M’Intosh played a bloody game
Upon the haughs of Cromdale.
The M’Gregors fought like lions bold,
M’Phersons, non could them control,
M’Lauchlins fought, like loyal souls
Upon the haughs of Cromdale.

M’Leans, M’Dougals, and M’Neils,
So bold as they took the field,
And made their enemies to yield
Upon the haughs of Cromdale.
The Gordons boldly did advance,
The Frasers fought with sword and lance,
The Grahams they made the heads to dance,
Upon the haughs of Cromdale.

The loyal Stewarts, with Montrose,
So boldly set upon their foes,
And brought them down with Highland Blows
Upon the haughs of Cromdale.
Of twenty-thousand Cromwell’s men,
Five-hundred fled ot Aberdeen,
The rest of them lie on the plain,
Upon the haugh’s of Cromdale.


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Subject: RE: Montrose Lyrics
From: Bruce O.
Date: 07 Apr 98 - 02:54 PM

The song above was taken from 'The Scots Musical Museum', #488 (1799?). I quote from John Glen's 'Early Scottish Melodies, p. 210-11, 1900.

'This song is an absurdity. It is well known that the great Montrose never fought any battle at Cromdale. The only battle fought at Cromdale occurred in 1690, long after the death of Montrose, when Sir Thomas Livingston defeated the Highland army under General Buchan, who espoused the cause of King James [II].'


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Subject: RE: Montrose Lyrics
From: Bruce O.
Date: 07 Apr 98 - 03:04 PM

My memory failed me above. James Graham, Marquess of Montrose, was hung on May 21, 1650, only 40 years before the battle at Cromdale. Maybe we could call the song "Montrose's Ghost"?


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Subject: RE: Montrose Lyrics
From: Pete M
Date: 07 Apr 98 - 05:25 PM

The McCalmans sang and recorded a song about the death of Montrose, who was taken to the gallows dressed as a bride. Can't help with why!


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Subject: RE: Montrose Lyrics
From: Pete M
Date: 07 Apr 98 - 05:41 PM

Correction and more info. I should have said bride*groom* of course.

Montrose was in exile in the Low countries when he heard of the execution of Charles 1. He swore to avenge his death and landed at Caithness in the spring of 1650 with a small army. He recieved little support from the clans and after a very short campaign was routed at the battle of Invercharron. He fled into Sutherland where after nearly starving to death he was betrayed by MacLeod of Assynt. He was hanged at the Grassmarket in Edinburgh after a brief trial. (Source: Blackies comprehensive history of England) Just goes to show how unreliable folk song is as a source of history, Haughs of Cromdale is a great song though.


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Subject: RE: Montrose Lyrics
From: Seimi
Date: 07 Apr 98 - 11:45 PM

I'm pretty sure Battlefield Band have covered a version of this song also.. Not sure which album it's on.. since I'm at work right now! Slainté


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Subject: RE: Montrose Lyrics
From: Alan of Australia
Date: 08 Apr 98 - 01:53 AM

G'day,
"Montrose" as sung by Steeleye is not "Haugh's of Cromdale".
The album (and another Aussie release with a shorter mix) claim the song is trad, but Steeleye often substantially rewrote "trad" songs. As I noted above I suspect "Montrose" is largely Steeleye's work. Would still like lyrics though!

Cheers,
Alan


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Subject: RE: Montrose Lyrics
From: Bruce O.
Date: 08 Apr 98 - 03:08 PM

What record is that on? I have 5 Steeleye Span records, but no "Montrose" on any of them.


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Subject: RE: Montrose Lyrics
From: John Nolan
Date: 08 Apr 98 - 05:19 PM

Then there is e) songs about other Montroses. e.g. last verse of Riggs o' Rye.


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Subject: RE: Montrose Lyrics
From: Alan of Australia
Date: 08 Apr 98 - 08:50 PM

Bruce,
The LP was called "Live At Last". Presumably the reissued CD has the same title.

Cheers,
Alan


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Subject: RE: Montrose Lyrics
From: Murray
Date: 09 Apr 98 - 03:51 AM

John, Alan--you'll have to give us some of the words of the song you're referring to, even if they're garbled. Otherwise we're all in the dark, I think.


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Subject: RE: Montrose Lyrics
From: Alan of Australia
Date: 09 Apr 98 - 07:47 AM

G'day,
OK I'll be away for a few days but I'll give you what I can next week sometime.

Happy Easter,
Alan


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Subject: RE: Montrose Lyrics
From: John D
Date: 09 Apr 98 - 11:55 AM

I'll post my attempt at transcription on Friday. Thanks to all for the information provided so far!


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Subject: Lyr Add: MONTROSE (Rick Kemp of Steeleye Span)
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 16 Sep 01 - 12:33 PM

Three years on, this has turned up in the  Unanswered Requests  thread, so here it is.  To be honest, I think it's rather poorly written, but nowadays it's far more easily found than when this request was originally made.  The transcription below is from the Steeleye Span Lyrics Page.  I have no idea if it is accurate or not.

MONTROSE

(Written by Rick Kemp, c. 1978. The "chorus" and a few other lines are taken from the song My Dear and Only Love, attributed to James Graham, Marquis of Montrose, 1614-1650).

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 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 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
To speak the King at Berwick, a truce was signed that day.
But the grim journey the ministers put Montrose in a cell
And there he thought 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.

Chorus

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

Chorus

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

Chorus

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 Eils shore
And the terror of Clan Diarmaid will hold the glens no more

Chorus

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

Chorus

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.

Chorus

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
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 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)

The above was originally released on Steeleye Span's Live At Last (Chrysalis CHR 1199, LP, UK, 1978).  I have no idea what tune or combination of tunes was used for it.  See Bruce Olson's earlier posts in this thread for more on James Graham's song.


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Subject: Lyr Add: MONTROSE (Brian McNeill; Battlefield Band
From: GUEST,Marian
Date: 17 Sep 01 - 08:58 AM

An also interesting song about Montrose was performed by the Battlefield Band. It was published on the Album "On The Rise" by Temple Records 1986. Here are the song lyrics:

Opening: D Gm D Gm

D...................Gm
Father, Father, tell me
D..............................Gm
Why do the horsemen ride?
D............................Gm
Why do the troopers look so grim
Gm.........................D
By Jamie Graham's side?
G..............................C
Is it true that he's a traitor?
G......................C
Father, tell me why?
G...........................D
There's no man among them all
..............E........................
That will look him in the eye

A..............................E................A
Montrose, Montrose, you are the rose
A.................................E
You gave your life for loyalty
A..................................E...........D
But it's no the hour for a rose to flower
A...............................E...............A
Between the kirk and royalty, Montrose

2)Hide your eyes, my bonny boy
For the deed is all but done
The headsman's axe will win the day
The Graham's race is run
Though honor rode with courage
But evil rode with guile
And the darkest horse among them all
Was the vengeance of Argyle

3)Harken now, my bonny boy
As we stand before the kirk
Oh does the thunder of the horses' hooves
Hide all the devil's work?
For the Covenant's a Campbell mare
That rides across the law
Then a Stuart bridles up
The Graham's head must fall

4)I'll read you know the riddle
By the shining o' the moon
When King and kirk sit down to sup
One needs a longer spoon
When Scotland hangs her head in shame
And justice looks awa'
And the scaffold buys an English throne
O'er the bravest heart of all

Hope the text is still formatted as I wanted it to be. If not and anyone wants to have it in .txt version please write to drzonk@web.de

Greetings to all you mudcatters out there

P.S.: If you want to hear the song try searching for it in Music City's file sharing client "Morpheus" you can download it at www.musiccity.com Since Napster's down it's the best way to download mp3 files!

Bye Marian

--- Line breaks <br> and <pre> </pre> tags added---
---Jeff (PA)---


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Subject: RE: Montrose Lyrics
From: GUEST,Marian
Date: 17 Sep 01 - 09:01 AM

As I see it's not formatted as I wanted. Can someone tell me how to post stanza's and in blocks as done above when Bo posted "The Haughs of Cromdale??

bye


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Subject: RE: Montrose Lyrics
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 17 Sep 01 - 10:28 AM

The Battlefield Band Montrose was written by Brian McNeill.  Until the coming Upgrade, you need to add html line-breaks- <br> -instead of carriage returns; for a guide to formatting lyrics for the Forum, see the FAQ Thread,  Posting Lyrics.


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Subject: RE: Montrose Lyrics
From: Susanne (skw)
Date: 17 Sep 01 - 08:54 PM

A couple of suggestions for the fourth verse:

Line 1: I'll read you now a riddle
Line 4: Wha needs the longer spoon

One of my favourites, recorded by the Battlefield Band on 'On the Rise' (1986) (without verse 2, IIRR) and by Brian McNeill solo on 'No Gods' (1995).


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Subject: RE: Montrose Lyrics
From: Susanne (skw)
Date: 17 Sep 01 - 09:13 PM

Correction: It might be 'I'll rede you now a riddle'. Not quite sure what the word means, but I think it's 'say' or 'tell', which would make more sense than 'read'.


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Subject: RE: Montrose Lyrics
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 17 Sep 01 - 09:26 PM

Susanne is right, and I ought to have thought to mention it.  "Rede" means "to counsel, advise, expound, relate".  It's the term that was used of King Ethelred "the Redeless", which has often been, wrongly, interpreted as "the Unready"; it actually meant that he had nobody to give him proper advice.


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Subject: RE: Montrose Lyrics
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 17 Sep 01 - 09:28 PM

From my childhood in the Highlands I remember the couplet
"MacLeod of Assynt sold Montrose
For forty bags of rotten brose"

I have always wondered whether this was part of a longer poem or just a taunting two-liner.

Murray


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Subject: RE: Montrose Lyrics
From: GUEST,Marian
Date: 19 Sep 01 - 08:03 AM

Hi!

I just looked up the "original" lyrics as they came with the record. You are right the second stanza's is not on the record and it's: I'll read ye now a riddle, by the shining o' the moon......wha needs the longer spoon?

So sorry I just took the lyrics as I had them in mind and on my hard drive and didn't proof if they were original!

Bye Marian


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Subject: RE: Montrose Lyrics
From: Susanne (skw)
Date: 19 Sep 01 - 05:27 PM

Don't worry, Marian. You've done a good job. I too have 'I'll read you' in my database, but it never read :-) quite right. However, the idea that 'rede' might be meant instead only entered my head last night while reading through your posting. So, is 'read' a misprint? I'll ask Brian McNeill one of these days.


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Subject: RE: Montrose Lyrics
From: GUEST,Marian
Date: 20 Sep 01 - 05:08 PM

Hi you've contact to Brian McNeill?? Battlefield Band played two weeks ago over here in Germany, but damn I couldn't manage to go there because I had to be at work.

marian


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Subject: RE: Montrose Lyrics
From: Susanne (skw)
Date: 20 Sep 01 - 06:22 PM

Marian, where are you in Germany? I was going to Bremen to hear them but didn't make it either. Anyway, Brian's not with them any more. I saw him at Tonder three weeks ago, and he'll be in Hamburg in November.


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE DEATH OF MONTROSE (from The McCalmans
From: Kagan
Date: 20 May 04 - 05:35 AM

Somewhere I have a copy of The McCalmans singing THE DEATH OF MONTROSE. If it's of any use, The words as far as I know are as follows:

They brought him to the Watergate
A bound and helpless man,
As though they held a lion there
And no defenceless man.
They stood him high upon a cart.
The hangman rode below.
They drew his hands behind his back
And bared his noble brow.

CHORUS: Had I been there with sword in hand
And fifty Camerons by,
That day in high Dunedin's streets
You'd hear the slogan cried.
Not all the troops of trampling horse,
Nor might of mail and men,
Not all the rebels in the south,
Had born us backward then.

There stood the Whig west-country lords
At balcony and bower.
There sat the gaunt and withered dames,
Their daughters all around,
At every open window
Asking who this fool might be.
Those black cold covenanting carls
This goodly sport to see.

He is coming. He is coming
Like a bridegroom from his room.
Comes the hero from his prison
To the scaffold and his doom.
There was glory on his forehead.
There was lustre in his eye,
And he never went to battle
More proudly than to die.

Sorry I can't provide a tune, it's all in my head. K.


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Subject: RE: Montrose Lyrics
From: Amos
Date: 20 May 04 - 02:26 PM

Wow!!


A


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Montrose (Steeleye Span)
From: GUEST,Corrie
Date: 11 Aug 06 - 12:08 AM

Minor edits for the sake of accuracy:

...
Oh, Father, tell me why?
There's no a man among them a'
Will look him in the eye?

Montrose, Montrose, you are the rose
You gave your life for loyalty
But it's no the hour a rose can flower
Between the Kirk and royalty, Montrose

...


3)Harken now, my bonny boy
As we stand before the kirk
O' does the thunder of the horses' hooves
Hie o' the devil's work?
For the Covenant's a Campbell mare
That rides across the law
And 'ere a Stuart bridles her
The Graham's head must fall


4)I'll rede you now a riddle
By the shining o' the moon
When King and Kirk sit down to sup
Wha' needs a longer spoon?


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Subject: Lyr Add: MONTROSE (from Steeleye Span)
From: GUEST,Chris
Date: 17 Aug 06 - 02:22 PM

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.

Chorus

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

Chorus

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

Chorus

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

Chorus

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)
OF THE MINISTER-ELITE ?
Chorus

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.)
MACLEOD THE DEVIL'S ADVOCATE SOLD JAMES FOR BROSE AND GOLD
Chorus

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
Chris


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Montrose (Steeleye Span)
From: GUEST,Chris
Date: 20 Nov 06 - 08:44 AM

Thanks to Reinhard Zierke I think I have it now:
PAUPERS raged areound St.Giles
and
Montrose's small united host of Gaelic man DID LURE...
But I can't figure out, how these mangled lyrics have been spread all about the internet, without anybody caring...
Chris
(content at last...)
German Montrose-site


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Montrose (Steeleye Span)
From: Mr Fox
Date: 21 Nov 06 - 08:18 AM

It's: - "THE MOB has raged around St Giles"

       "But the grim Genevan ministers put Montrose in a cell/And there he THOUGHT to serve Scotland and serve his King as well."

       "At Philiphaugh and Carbisdale WARM fortune did turn cold"

         "Macleod the devil's advocate sold James for OATS and gold"

         "And God who made shall gather THEM"

         "So noble was his manly frame, so clear his steadfast EYE"

         "FOR loving Scotland and his King, he went to death that morn"


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Montrose (Steeleye Span)
From: GUEST,rea
Date: 17 Jan 07 - 04:34 PM

Steeleye Span also did a short version (3:58), which I have off of "A Rare Collection 1972-1996". It's got the shorter verses from the long version, but in a different order.

(Chorus)
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 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

Chorus

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

Chorus

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

Chorus x3


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Montrose (Steeleye Span)
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Sep 07 - 10:28 PM

I thought the line was:
"Sold James for oats and mold"

Thought I remember reading that Macleod was paid with moldy oats. I think the refrain was reportedly written by Montrose while awaiting execution.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Montrose (Steeleye Span)
From: GUEST,Chris
Date: 05 Oct 07 - 04:34 PM

The chorus is based on two lines of his poem "my dear and only love": I serve thee in such noble ways, was never seen befor;
I crown and deck thee all with bays and love the evermore.
This was not the one written before his execution
see www.beepworld.de/members98/montrose/gedichte.htm for some of Montrose's poems, also the very good book "Cicil Warrior" by Robin Bell.
Ne oublie!
Chris


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Montrose (Steeleye Span)
From: GUEST,Mike
Date: 07 Oct 07 - 12:33 PM

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 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 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
to speak the king at berwick, a truce was signed that day.

but the grim journey the ministers put montrose in a cell
and there he thought 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

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.

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

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 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 eils shore
and the terror of clan diarmaid will hold the glens no more

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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
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 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.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Montrose (Steeleye Span)
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 07 Oct 07 - 12:52 PM

What exactly is the point of reposting this? It's already long enough, and boring enough (and more so with all the capitalization removed). Do we really need the whole thing twice in the same thread?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Montrose (Steeleye Span)
From: GUEST,Chris
Date: 05 Feb 08 - 06:13 AM

Mike! What the hell??? I thought, we had finally got it right after some discussion. I do not see the point of posting the mangled and misheard version that was at the beginning of the discussion all over again.
There must be a "spread meaningless Montrose-lyrics all over the internet and keep everybody interested in the song confused" conspiracy at work here.
Forget it!
Chris


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Montrose (Steeleye Span)
From: GUEST,Chris
Date: 15 Jun 09 - 10:21 AM

and, by the way:
"the work of death was done!"


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Montrose (Steeleye Span)
From: GUEST,Malthus
Date: 18 Aug 09 - 06:11 PM

Very interesting discussion.

I'd only add as a suggestion:

"Was melting now before his eyes, all he could do was RUN"


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Montrose (Steeleye Span)
From: GUEST,guest
Date: 16 Mar 10 - 06:04 PM

It's not "But the grim journey the ministers put Montrose in a cell", it's "but the grim Geneva ministers put Montrose in a cell", a reference to the Puritan opponents of the Royalists, who had their ideological roots in the Protestant Calvinism that took early root in Geneva.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Montrose (Steeleye Span)
From: GUEST,GUEST; Rod
Date: 24 May 10 - 02:43 AM

Yes: he was in a box; all he could do was RUN. And I agree, it's GENEVA ministers, not Genevan, simple usage preference, as "Bermuda" rig has more currency than "Bermudan". I've seen this term before, tho I can't remember where, maybe in John Prebble's history. I'm so glad to have stumbled across this thread. Between the lot of you, you've pretty much done for all of the questions I've had for this track, over a few years. Here's my take on 'em, by line number, plus one or 2 more.

Line 27: Covenant (singular, capitalised)
    30: Inverurie? Or Inveraray?
    38: "went home" works better for me than "returned"
    40: "a" force vice "the" force
    52: Castle "strong". "throne" doesn't make any sense, unless the poet (W. E. Aytoun?) was playing around with 'King'. But King Campbell, whatever his nom de guerre, was still only an Earl (or Marquess). They hadn't even bumped The Campbell up to Duke yet.
    53: "here" vice "fear". 'No pity for Campbells, here (...we eat 'em for breakfast....) The other one just sounds odd. Even grammatically odd: how could you feel pity for Campbell's fear? For the Campbells, maybe, for being fearful. Well, it would work, I guess, in a dialect sense. On my ear, the first one rings truer: arrogant dismissal for the losers, "Piss off, Jock, ye're dead men walkin".
    66. I've seen this one before, too, "Minister Elite", un-hyphenated. And we use the term today, in connection with any number of categories of people, usually ones we don't like.
    77: "unafeared". Why not let it rhyme? It's probably how the principals spoke it anyway.
    82: Yeah, they wouldn't bow. Also, 'bow' is bow window, the same as bay window. Hanging out, sort of like a balcony, good place to watch a hanging, or a parade.
    85: "Rabble rout". This was a packed house at a hanging, and that was an expression in general use at the time, for referring to the unwashed proles. Works perfectly.
    88: The WORK of death

Please forgive the long prose, it's for those (like me) whom this sort of nagging brain-itch sometimes keeps awake, nights. Thanks to everyone for all the research.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Montrose (Steeleye Span)
From: Mr Fox
Date: 24 May 10 - 08:12 PM

30: Inverurie? Or Inveraray?

Inverurie. The castle there belonged to Lord Huntly.

Inveraray belonged to Argyll and the original castle was burnt down by Montrose in 1644 (Hey, that probably makes it the 'castle strong' that Argyll fled from in the song!)

Oh, and I still prefer the line: "All he could do was done". To me, it's more poetic.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Montrose (Steeleye Span)
From: GUEST,Tiggywinkle
Date: 16 Jun 10 - 05:21 AM

I also had trouble a few years ago when I was trying to find all the words to this song. I agree, there was no point in the mangled version being posted again!

I first heard this song many, many years ago; my late husband, who claimed some distant kinship with Montrose, could occasionally be coaxed to sing it.

My little correction to the lyrics--in the third verse from the bottom:

"nail my head on yonder tower, give every town a limb
and God who made shall gather *them*, I go from you to Him"

which is taken almost word for word from something Montrose said before his death. I fear that his faith was not entirely rewarded; although the remains of Montrose were eventually gathered up and given a proper funeral after the Restoration of Charles II, his right arm was apparently never recovered. As recently as 1891 it--or at least an old, mummified arm reputed to be it--was purchased by one J.W. Morlick of Leeds, along with the sword also reputed to have belonged to the Marquis. The sword pretty obviously was his--it had his arms on it and even his initials scratched on the hilt--and the arm very well may have been. Alas, it has since been lost--probably in some dusty attic somewhere.


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Subject: Lyr Add: MONTROSE'S ADDRESS TO HIS MISTRESS
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 17 Jun 10 - 05:23 PM

Just for comparison, and historical interest:

From Old Ballads: Historical and Narrative, Volume 4 by Thomas Evans, revised by R. H. Evans (London: R. H. Evans, 1810), page 361:


THE MARQUIS OF MONTROSE'S ADDRESS TO HIS MISTRESS.

[James Graham, Marquis of Montrose, was born in 1612, and executed by order of the Republican Government, for treason against the state, in 1650. Clarendon says he well deserved to have his memory preserved and celebrated amongst the most illustrious persons of the age in which he lived. The following poem is taken from Watson's scarce collection of Scotch Poems, part 3, 1711.—ed.]

My dear, and only love, I pray
This noble world of thee,
Be governed by no other sway,
But purest monarchy.
For if confusion have a part,
Which virtuous souls abhor,
And hold a synod in thy heart,
I'll never love thee more.

Like Alexander I will reign,
And I will reign alone,
My thoughts shall evermore disdain
A rival on my throne.
He either fears his fate too much,
Or his deserts are small,
That puts it not unto the touch,
To win or lose it all.

But I must rule and govern still,
And always give the law;
And have each subject at my will,
And all to stand in awe.
But 'gainst my battery if I find
Thou shun'st the prize so sore,
As that thou set'st me up a blind,
I'll never love thee more.

Or in the empire of thy heart,
Where I should solely be,
Another do pretend a part,
And dares to vie with me,
Or if committees thou erect
And goes on such a score,
I'll sing and laugh at thy neglect,
And never love thee more.

But if thou wilt be constant then,
And faithful of my word,
I'll make thee glorious by my pen,
And famous by my sword.
I'll serve thee in such noble ways
Was never heard before:
I'll crown and deck thee all with bays,
And love thee evermore.

SECOND PART.

My dear and only Love, take heed
Lest thou thyself expose,
And let all longing lovers feed
Upon such looks as those.
A marble wall then build about,
Beset without a door,
But if thou let thy heart fly out,
I'll never love thee more.

Let not their oaths, like vollies shot,
Make any breach at all;
Nor smoothness of their language plot
Which way to scale the wall;
Nor balls of wild fire, Love, consume
The shrine which I adore:
For if such smoke about thee fume,
I'll never love thee more.

I think thy virtues be too strong
To suffer by surprise:
Which victuall'd by my love so long,
The siege at length must rise,
And leave thee ruled in that health,
And state thou was before,
But if thou turn a common-wealth,
I'll never love thee more.

But if by fraud, or by consent,
Thy heart to ruin come,
I'll sound no trumpet as I wont,
Nor march by tuck of drum;
But hold my arms like ensigns, up,
Thy falshood to deplore,
And bitterly will sigh and weep,
And never love thee more.

I'll do with thee as Nero did,
When Rome was set on fire,
Not only all relief forbid,
But to a hill retire;
And scorn to shed a tear to see
Thy spirit grown so poor,
But smiling sing until I die,
I'll never love thee more.

Yet for the Love I bare thee once.
Lest that thy name should die,
A monument of marble stone,
The truth shall testify;
That every pilgrim passing by,
May pity and deplore
My case, and read the reason why
I can love thee no more.

The golden laws of love shall be
Upon this pillar hung,
A simple heart, a single eye,
A true and constant tongue,
Let no man for more love pretend
Than he has hearts in store:
True love begun shall never end,
Love one and love no more.

Then shall thy heart be set by mine,
But in far different case:
For mine was true, so was not thine,
But look'd like Janus' face.
For as the waves with every wind,
So sails thou every shore,
And leaves my constant heart behind
How can I love thee more!

My heart shall with the sun be fix'd,
For constancy most strange,
And thine shall with the moon be mix'd,
Delighting age in change.
Thy beauty shin'd at first most bright,
And woe is me therefore,
That ever I found thy love so light,
I could love thee no more.

The misty mountains, smoky lakes,
The rocks resounding echo,
The whistling wind that murmurs makes,
Shall with me sing hey ho.
The tossing seas, the tumbling boats,
Tears dropping from each shore,
Shall tune with me their turtle notes,
I'll never love thee more.

As doth the turtle chaste and true
Her fellow's death regret,
And daily mourns for his adieu,
And ne'er renews her mate;
So though thy faith was never fast,
Which grieves me wondrous sore,
Yet I shall live in love so chaste,
That I shall love no more.

And when all gallants ride about,
These monuments to view,
Whereon is written in and out,
Thou traitorous and untrue.
Then in a passion they shall pause,
And thus say, sighing sore,
Alas! he had too just a cause,
Never to love thee more.

And when that tracing goddess fame.
From east to west shall flee,
She shall record it to thy shame,
How thou hast loved me:
And how in odds our love was such,
As few has been before,
Thou loved too many and I too much,
That I can love no more.


London: Printed by W. Bulmer and Co.
Cleveland Row, St. James's.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Montrose (Steeleye Span)
From: GUEST,Allan
Date: 17 Jun 10 - 05:42 PM

"James Graham, Marquis of Montrose, was born in 1612, and executed by order of the Republican Government, for treason against the state, in 1650"

There was no Republican government in Scotland in 1650. Charles II wasn't actually crowned until 1651 but he was recognised as king already in 1650. The Scottish government were at conflict with the king but weren't actually Republican.


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Subject: ADD: Montrose (Steeleye Span)
From: Reiver 2
Date: 17 Jun 10 - 07:29 PM

Well, I might as well throw in my 40 or so verses and choruses. Reiver 1 and I learned "Montrose" from listening to Steeleye Span and this is the way we heard it. It's one of my favorite songs, and despite it's length, is not monotonous as it uses 3 different melodies with key changes and Steeleye Span insert several instrumental interludes. I've indicated them by inserting ********** where they're used. The song is pretty accurate in telling the true story of one of Scotland's great heroes, and a man that that can rightfully be admired. When in Scotland I picked up a copy of Nigel Trantor's book, "Montrose." It's actually two full length books, "The Young Montrose" and "The Captain General." I brought it home, set it on the shelf, and only began reading it a few days ago! [I'm only on p. 93!] Here's how we sang the song:

MONTROSE

When James the King, to assert the Crown,
With Bishops and pen, from London town,
And the sword could ne'er bring Scotland down.

Where the cauld nor'wind creeps through the dawn,
The dolmen drones on a winter's morn,
The fourth Earl's only son was born.

And he grew strong, and he grew stern,
From books and knowledge he would learn,
Ans so to Glasgow he must turn.

For truth and valor he was named,
For bowmanship he was acclaimed,
And the silver arrow he did gain.

First through France, then to London town,
This nobel youth did proudly ride,
With his good bow strapped on behind.

**********

Then his King's favor he had sought,
But slander brought it all to naught,
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 Prayer Book to Scotland sent,
To control the tax was His intent.

********** Key change and new melody

Paupers raged around St. Giles,
Against the Kings judgement,
But Montrose spoke above them all,
The people's love to win.

So Jamie joined the Covenant;
For war they did prepare,
And he rode forth to Huntley's house
But found no welcome there.

So the gay red Gordon ribbons
They chased around the land,
Until at Inverary
Lord Huntley signed his bands.

So Montrose rode to Aberdeen
Where the Covenant held sway.
Dismayed, the King ar Berwick, [Berreck]
A truce was signed that day.

But the grim Geneva Ministers
put Montrose in a cell,
And there he thought to serve Scotland,
And serve the 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 went home a General
Without a single man.

********** [key change]

The giant MacDonald, Alisdair,
With sixteen-hundred men,
From Ireland sailed to join Montrose
And plunder Campbell's glen.

Montrose's small united force
Of Gaelic men did lour,
Against seven-thousand Covenant
On the field of Tippermure.

CHO: I'll serve thee in such noble ways,
    Was never heard heard before.
    I'll crown and deck thee all with bays
    And love thee more and more.

With stones and bows the screaming clans
Put Covenant to flight.
That Sabbath day at Tippermuir
Was sich 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.

CHO: I'll serve thee in such noble ways
    Was never heard before;
    I'll crown and deck thee all with bays
    And love thee more and more.

His army now, three-thousand strong,
He was resolved to go,
To seek the Campbell in his lair
Through all the winter snow,

'King Campbell' sailed from his castle strang
As Montrose' pipes drew near.
No refuge from the Lord on earth,
No pity for Campbells here.

CHO: I'll serve thee in such noble ways,
    Was never heard before;
    I'll crown and deck thee all with bays
    And love thee more and more.

With the Campbell lands all wasted
Montrose was forced to guess
To fight Argyll or Seaforth
On the road to Inverness,

It came to pass that Campbell's might
Was smashed on Lochiel's shore,
And the terror of Clan Diarmid
Would haunt the glens no more.

At Auldearn, Alford, and Kilsyth,
The Royal Standard shown.
As Alexander, he did reign,
And he did reign alone.

Now Montrose entered Glasgow,
With Scotland at his feet,
But the power could not be broken,
Of the Minister elite.

CHO: I'll serve thee in such noble ways,
    Was never heard before;
    I'll crown and deck thee all with bays
    And love thee more and more.

But soon the year of miracles,
Like the slowly setting sun,
Was passing, now, before his eyes.
All he could do was done.

At Philliphaugh and Carbisdale
Bold fortune did turn cold.
MacLeod, the Devil's advocate,
Sold James for oats and gold.

Cho: I'll serve thee in such noble ways,
    Was never heard before;
    I'll crown and deck thee all with bays,
    And love thee more and more.

********** [key change]

The Judges passed their cruel sentence;
Traitors laughed and jeered.
He stood alone in stately calm
And spoke quite unafeared,

"Nail my head on yonder tower,
Give eve'ry town a limb,
And God, who made, will gather them.
I go from you, to Him."

As he turned from out the hall,
Clouds left the sky.
To battle he had 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 bow.

They brought him to the Water Gate;
He looked so great and high.
So noble was his manly frame,
So clear his steadfast eye.

**********

The rebel rout forebore to shout,
And each man held his breath,
Full well they knew a hero's soul
Was face to face with death.

**********

For loving Scotland and his King,
He went to death that morn.
A shudder ran across the sky;
The word of death was borne.

CHO [twice]: I'll serve thee in such noble ways,
             Was never heard before;
             I'll crown and deck thee all with bays,
             And love thee more and more.

There is much factual material in the song, which as an historian, is one of the reasons I like the song so much. Alistair Mac Donald, truly a giant of a man, did bring troops from his native Ireland to fight under Montrose. The Chief of Clan McLeod did accept gold plus bags of oats for informing on Montrose. Montrose did speak those words, or words of that ilk, from the scaffold. The stark lyrics are powerful, but do not convey the power and beauty of the song. The changes in melody, key changes, etc. add more than mere words can express. I'm SO glad to see this thread on the Mudcat forum.

Reiver 2


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Montrose (Steeleye Span)
From: Reiver 2
Date: 18 Jun 10 - 04:59 PM

A "few" more words regarding Montrose. Some verses of the song are based on a "love poem" that Montrose, himself, wrote to his wife, Magdalen. Theirs had been a somwhat rocky relationship for some time, as she wanted Montrose to spend more time at home with his family while he could not desist from activities that prevented this. Beginning with the words, "Dear lady and only love," and ending the first stanza, ''I'll never love thee more," he continues, trying to explain why he cannot be the homebody she wants him to be and pleads for her understanding of why he can't: "Like Alexander I will reign, and I will reign alone." After pleading, "If thou wilt prove faithful then, and constant of thy word, I'll make thee glorious by my pen and famous by my sword," he concludes with the lines used in the CHO: stanza of the song, "I'll serve the in such noble ways/ Was never heard before;/ I'll crown and deck thee all with bays/ And love thee more and more." The entire long poem is posted by Jim Dixon in a previous post to this thread.

The stanzas in the song about riding to London to see the King, pleading for "a thousand men" and being made a general but sent back "without a single man," is not exactly right. The King at the time was not in London, but in York campaigning in the English civil war. Montrose had received a promise from Lord Antrim, "the handsome, brainless chief of the Irish MacDonalds" to send him an army of "ten-thousand men." This was no doubt due to the fact that prominent among those opposing Montrose were the Campbells, the old enemies of clan MacDonald. King Charles did appoint Montrose a Major-General but could only spare 100 horsemen to go with him back to Scotland. [Not quite the "not a single man" of the song.] With such an inadequate force, he could not return. Instead, with two companions he slipped back into Scotland and soon after received word that the MacDonald force from Ireland had finally landed in Scotland. It was not the promised 10,000 men, but instead a force of barely over 1,000, under the leadership of Antrim's son Alisdair who, at 7 ft. tall was, indeed, a "giant" of a man.

Two other comments on the song: Montrose was an outstanding archer, or bowman, and as a young man had received two "silver arrow" awards.
He was finally taken prisoner with some involvement of Assynt, "a young chieftain of the MacLeods." Assynt always maintained that he handed Montrose over to the authorities as the act of a man doing his duty as a loyal subject of the government in power. Others, believed the story that was also current at the time that the rather poor young MacLeod and his wife knowing that there was reward money available took Montrose into their home, feigning friendship, only to secretly turn him over to his enemies. Thus the line, "sold James for oats and gold." That claim admittedly makes for the better story. John Prebble, in his fine history of Scotland, "The Lion of the North" [the Lion being in reference to Scotland, not to Montrose] puts the reward at "25 thousand Pounds Scots, part of which was paid in oatmeal." Prebble gives no source for the amount.

There is an excellent, short biography called, simply, "Montrose" by C.V. Wedgwood. My comments on this thread are based largely on Wedgwood and Prebble.

Reiver 2


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Montrose (Steeleye Span)
From: GUEST,Allan
Date: 19 Jun 10 - 04:48 AM

"The song is pretty accurate in telling the true story of one of Scotland's great heroes,"

Montrose is most famous for changing sides (ie he was originally a Covenanting general who switched back to the royalist cause at least partly for personal reasons) and invading Scotland several times. Firstly with English troops, then with a mixture of Irish troops and disaffected MacDonalds,then eventually with Scandinavian troops. Only his second attempt had any success but his string of victories took place whilst the main Scottish government army was out of the country occupying northern England. Montrose had once occupied Aberdeen as a Covenanting general. The city was fundametally royalist. Yet when he reoccupied it now as a Royalist general he let his Irish troops run amok for three days in an orgy of slaughter. During the same campaign the MacDonald bards boasted about killing 900 Campbells in Argyll without a sword being lifted in defence. It is easy to think about the romantic idea of the Campbell chief fleeing in his boat down the loch escaping from Montrose's allies - but who remembers the hundreds of ordinary Campbell non-combatants butchered in cold blood. Admittedly Montrose wasn't invovled in the Argyll atrocities himself but several of Montrose's own victories were marked by butchery in the aftermath of the battle. He had little active support within mainland Scotland and when the returning Scottish army caught up with him at Selkirk he made a pig's ear of it and fled Philiphaugh leaving many of the Irish (both troops and camp followers) to be slughtered on the spot by a vengeful Scottish government army. I think anyone really studying their history would be hard pressed to truly think of Montrose as one of Scotland's great heroes. He came to be despised by many during his own lifetime; was then glorified by what itself became an oppressive and unpopular Restoration regime within Scotland; then was glamourised by later romantic writers like Scott. Great national heroes tend to be involved in great national struggles. Hence the likes of Wallace, Bruce and Sir James Douglas etc can easily be dsecribed as great national heroes. I don't think any of the generals involved in the butchery of Scotland's civil wars in the 17thC could really be described as great heroes.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Montrose (Steeleye Span)
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Sep 10 - 08:05 PM

A most interesting thread, concerning one of my favorite songs ... I don't have much to add, except my appreciation for the historical information above!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Montrose (Steeleye Span)
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Apr 13 - 02:02 AM

It's not paupers or robbers, but RIOTERS who either raged, or more likely, RANGED (meaning wandered over a large area) around St. Giles.

It was at St. Giles cathedral in Edinburgh that a reading from the new Episcopalian book of prayer triggered a riot. Specifically, it was Jenny Geddes throwing a stool at the head of the Dean of Edinburgh, John Hannah, that began the riot, and, in some sense, led to the whole of the English Civil War.

These lyrics are a hoot. Some of the best misheard lines on the 'net. My personal fav is from "Hotel California" : "...she got a Mercedes bends" like she drove it off a bridge into deep water and came up too fast or something, but "a new fair buck or "showed James the road somehow" are tied for second place.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Montrose (Steeleye Span)
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Apr 13 - 02:48 AM

Small clarification: while it was definitely rioters who ranged around St.Giles, on the extant recordings, it certainly sounds like Tim Hart sings "paupers". This is historically inaccurate, as the riots that started at St. Giles certainly did not involve only the poor, but extended throughout Scottish society.

The song is filled with indirection, however, so Tim may have meant to sing "paupers" as a clever reference to Saint Giles, who was the patron saint of paupers. He may have used "paupers" as a synecdoche for the St.Giles congregation as a whole, and possibly as a veiled reference to the economic disparity between Calvinism and the Catholic Church.


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