Child's, The English And Scottish Ballads

Volume 7 of 8 from 1860 edition - online book

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THE BATTLE OF BOTTWELL BRIDGE. 149
post. The Duke's army then crossed the river without opposition, because the rebels were at that juncture oc­cupied with cashiering their officers and electing new ones. The first discharge of Monmouth's cannon caused the cavalry of the Covenanters to wheel about, and their flight threw the foot into irrecoverable dis­order. Four hundred of the rebels were killed, and a body of twelve hundred surrendered at discretion, and were preserved from death by the clemency of the Duke. This action took place on the 22d of June, 1679.
Scott informs us that there were two Gordons of Earlstoun engaged in the rebellion, a father and son. The former was not in the battle, but was met hasten­ing to it by English dragoons, and was killed on his re­fusing to surrender. The son, who is supposed to be the person mentioned in the ballad, was of the milder Presbyterians, and fought only for freedom of con­science and relief from the tyrannical laws against non-conformists. He escaped from the battle, and after being several times condemned to die, was finally set at liberty, and restored to his forfeited estates.
In this ballad Claverhouse's unsparing pursuit of the fugitives is imputed to a desire to revenge the death of his kinsman at Loudon Hill, and his anger at being thwarted is, with great simplicity, asserted to have led to the execution of Monmouth.
Scott's copy of this ballad was given from recitation. In the First Series of Laing^ Fugitive Scottish Poetry, there is an amusingly prosaic Covenanting ditty upon this subject, called Bothtoell Lines, and in the Second Series, a Cavalier song, entitled The Battell of Bodwell Bridge, or The Kings Cavileers Triumph.







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