Child's, The English And Scottish Ballads

Volume 6 of 8 from 1860 edition - online book

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266                    macphekson's kant.
and was the last person executed at Banff, previous to the abolition of hereditable jurisdiction. He was an admirable performer on the violin; and his talent for composition is still evidenced by Macpherson's Rant, and Macpherson's Pibroch. He performed these tunes at the foot of the fatal tree; and then asked if he had any friend in the crowd to whom a last gift of his instrument would be acceptable. No man had hardihood to claim friendship with a de­linquent, in whose crimes the acknowledgment might implicate an avowed acquaintance. As no friend came forward, Macpherson said, the companion of so many gloomy hours should perish with him; and, breaking the violin Over his knees, he threw away the fragments. Donald Macpherson picked up the neck of the violin, which to this day is preserved, as a val­uable memento, by the family of Cluny, chieftain of the Macphersons."
Burns's magnificent death-song, McPherson's Fare­well, is too well known to require more than an allusion.
I've spent my time in rioting,
Debauch'd my health and strengtft ; I've pillag'd, plunder'd, murdered,
But now, alas ! at length, I'm brought to punishment direct,                           s
Pale death draws near to me; This end I never did project,
To hang upon a tree.
To hang upon a tree ! a tree I
That curs'd unhappy death !                                ic