Killiecrankie (3)

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KILLIECRANKIE [3]. AKA - "Braes of Killiekrankie (The)." Scottish, Air. Robert Burns wrote the song beginning "Where hae ye been sae braw, lad" to this tune, which bears no relation to versions "Killiecrankie (1)"/"Killiecrankie (2)". Words, set to a different air than the march that is usually played under the title "Killiecrankie", to the song go:

Whaur hae ye been sae braw, lad?
Whaur hae ye been sae brankie-o?
Whaur hae ye been sae braw, lad?
Come 'ye by Killiecrankie-o?

An' ye had been whaur I hae been
Ye wadna been sae cantie-o
An' ye had seen what I hae seen
On the braes o' Killiecrankie-o

I fought at land, I fought at sea
At hame I fought my auntie-o
But I met the Devil and Dundee
On the braes o' Killiecrankie-o

The bauld pitcur fell in a furr
And Clavers gat a crankie-o
Or I had fed an Athol gled
On the braes o' Killiecrankie-o

Oh fie, MacKay, What gart ye lie
I' the brush ayont the brankie-o?
Ye'd better kiss'd King Willie's loff
Than come tae Killiecrankie-o

It's nae shame, it's nae shame
It's nae shame to shank ye-o
There's sour slaes on Athol braes
And the de'ils at Killiecrankie-o

'Clavers', in verse four, refers to the Earl of Claverhouse, Viscount Dundee, John Graham, who in 1689 led the first Jacobite Rebellion against the forces of William of Orange. Essentially, it was a battle between Clavers' Highland allies (mostly from Clan Cameron, Donald, Stuart and MacLean), pitted against a largely lowland Scots army (though the Williamite forces did include some professional Highland soldiers with the result that close relatives fought on opposite sides) commanded by Major-General Mackay. They met at the pass of Killiecrankie, near Pitlochry, Perthshire, in the southern Highlands in July, 1689, with the result that the Jacobite supporters of James II won a significant but bloody battle, with a pyrrhic conclusion, for Claverhouse himself was slain. Having no leader to replace him the clans disbanded and the rebellion quickly petered out.

Burns directed the songs "The Trogger," "Ellibanks" and "Nae Hair On't," to be sung to "Gilliecrankie," although which of the "Gilliecrankie/Killiecrankie" tunes he had in mind is not known. All three were bawdy pieces, published posthumously in his Merry Muses of Caledonia (1800).

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