Wednesday, July 02, 2008

"A Covenanter"

This poem is from the booklet "Poetry of Avondale", No. 4 in the Avondale Guides series by William D Howat. I bought this at the John Hastie Museum in picturesque Strathaven when we were away. The museum has a room dedicated to the Battle of Drumclog with interpretive panels, scale models and artefacts. And, the added bonus is that it's on the edge of a superb park with big lawns, boating lake, bowling green, playground - all the stuff to tempt the weans with, and to use when striking a bargain of "now, be good in the museum with your Da for half an hour and I'll take you to that great park afterwards!"

A Covenanter

I'se never uphaud I was a saint
I've had my daft days like the lave;
An' de'il be in't, can I repent;
I's bear the wyte o't yont the grave.

But when the State, wi' murderous dirk
Held to my breist, threeps doun my thrapple
That I maun lea' auld Scotland's Kirk,
Sit under Prelates in the chapel;

Forsweer the sacred Covenant
Oor faithers made in bygane years,
An' worship as the King does want!
Shall this be tholed? Na, damn the fears!

Kings may be Kings by richt divine;
The King shall hae his richts; but dod!
He'll get them when he gies me mine
An' mells na wi the things o' God.

The men o' wrath gaed forth to kill;
The red dragoons were at their posts;
I left my yowes upon the hill,
An' listed wi' the Lord o' hosts.

For Cov'nant folk the sword had drawn
To meet the oppressors front to front;
Gin they be dour, weel, we'se be thrawn
We'll up an' gi'e them dunt for dunt.

I saw the tulzie at Drumclog,
Whaur mony gat the wage o' sin;
We drave them ram-stam through the bog,
An' faith! They werena sweer tae rin.

Claver'se himsel' was gar'd to ride -
Oh! prood were we that day an' big -
Wae's me! wae's me! for sinfu' pride
We gat oor paiks at Bothwell Brig.

Sae hunted like the tods an' brocks
Ower muir an' moss by sodgers driven,
Oor kirk is 'mang the roofless rocks
Oor prayers gang stracht to God in Heaven.

He sees the creatures through an' through;
He kens He made us o' the dust;
He kens oor he'rts, though steeve, are true;
He kens oor Cov'nant's cause is just


The author of the poem is unknown, but in the booklet it says it may have been written by William Cleland. I'm no expert, but I doubt it was Cleland - the language looks more like late 18th / early 19th century, rather than the late 17th / early 18th when Cleland wrote his poetry. But I could be very wrong!