Digital Tradition Mirror

McPherson's Lament

McPherson's Lament

        My father was a gentleman,
        Of fame and honor high,
        Oh mother, would you ne'er had borne
        The son so doom'd to die.

chorus-         Sae rantingly, sae wantonly,
                Sae dauntingly gaed he;
                He play'd a spring (sprig), and danc'd it round (a jig)
                Below the gallows-tree.

        I've spent my life in rioting,
        Debauch'd my health and strength,
        I squander'd fast, as pillage came,
        And fell to shame at length.

        Farewell, yon dungeons dark and strong,
        The wretch's destinie!
        M'Pherson's time will not be long
        On yonder gallows-tree.

        O what is breath but parting breath?
        On many a bloody plain
        I've dar'd his face, and in this place
        I'll scorn him yet again.

        But vengeance I never did wreak,
        When pow'r was in my hand,
        And you, dear friends, no vengeance seek,
        It is my last command.

        Forgive the man whose rage betray'd
        MacPherson's worthless life;
        When I am gone, be it not said,
        My legacy was strife.

        He took his fiddle in both his hands
        And he broke it all a stone,
        Saying there's nae a han' shall ply on thee
        When I am dead and gone.

        Now farewell light, thou sunshine bright,
        And all beneath the sky!
        May coward shame disdain his name,
        The wretch that dares not die!

        O reprieve was coming o the Brig o' Dans
        for tae set MacPherson free,
        For they set the clock a quarter before
        And they hanged him from a tree.

recorded by Jeannie Robertson on Heather and Glen

Thanks to Mudcat for the Digital Tradition!

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