Child's, The English And Scottish Ballads

Volume 7 of 8 from 1860 edition - online book

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234              THE HAWS OF CROMDALE.
But yet they are too naked men To bear the cannon's rung.
For a cannon's roar in a summer night
Is like thunder-in the air;                                    60
There's not a man in Highland dress Can face the cannon's fire.
Ritson's Scottish Songs, ii. 40. Johnson's Museum, p. 502.
This ballad, very popular in Scotland, was long sold on the stalls before it was received into the col­lections. A glance will show that it has at best been very imperfectly transmitted by oral tradition. In fact, the Ettrick Shepherd seems to be right in main­taining that two widely separated events are here jumbled together. The first five stanzas apparently refer to an action in May, 1690, when Sir Thomas Livingston surprised fifteen hundred Highlanders in their beds at Cromdale, and the remainder to the lost battle of Auldern, where Montrose, with far inferior forces, defeated Sir John Hurry with prodigious slaughter, on the 4th of May, 1645. Mr. Stenhouse
At the Eaid of Stonehaven, just previous to the affair of the Bridge of Dee, the first volley made them wheel about and fly in disorder. They declared that they could not abide " the musket's mother."