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Lord Reay and Big John Mackay.

O wae for the clansmen ! O wae for the hour! , For the chieftain is clappifc m yonder dark tower; An' the heart that ne'er beat but for freedom and might, Is doun i' the darkness o' sorrow and night. Sue blithe frae the Hielans he cam' wi' his train, O when will he see the bricht Hielan's again 1 "Wi' strong hand"* uplifted he fought like a man — O wae for the chieftain ! O wao for the clan! Fause Cromwell, the traitor, the whig, and the loon, His .Roundheads a shaven are hangin' aroun'; An' sinkib the heart o' the Laird wi' a sigh, For he longs for the grip o' an honest Mackay. Sac Cromwell was touchit wi' pity and shame, For he kent o' his honour, and heard o his fame, An' he he fitchife frae out' o' the clan, In stature a giant, by nature a man. His step was the fleetest, his strength was so great He lifted like feathers a hundred poun weight; In games he was victor, and few would e'er try The wrestlin' or fechtin' wi' " Big John Mackay." So he cam' to his master, and telfc o' his men, An' singit the sangs o 1 the Hielans again ; Wi' jokes that he crackit, and feats o' his power, We whiled awa' mony a wearisome hour. To the heart o' the chieftain, so valiant and brave, That life was a dying, the prison a grave ; An' the bluid that had coursit ance happy and free, It beat for the heather, an' mountain, an lea. But at night, when the watchers were buried m sleep, An 1 the wee bits o' starlight their vigils did keep, Brave John for his master he plotted and planned, To get back to his country ; and hame to his land. Twa traitor loons watched Lord Reay as lie dined, An' the big giant clansman lie stood up | behind; An' not as the chief o' a host was he fed, For his dining was naething but water and bread. But wi' grip as of iron the Roundheads are ta'en, Their struggles are useless, their cries are m vain ; O ! run gallant Reay, at the poifcal there stands A charger to bear you to hame'and to lands. I i The chieftain then rushit wi' will an' wi' J speed, A' breathless he sprang on the powerfu' steed, An' fleet as the lightning that darts o'er the plain, He has crossit the country to Hielan's again. Big John, he has keepifc the Roundheads at bay, Till he kent that his master was safe and away; Frae out o' the strongest o' a' they could find, _ Six held him m front, an' six clingit behind. They took him to Cromwell, wha eyed him wi' fear, For a coward must tremble when valour is near; The .Roundheads they spakit, "0 what shall we say ? For the Lord Reay is aff to Strathnaver to day." Shall the traitor be hansjit on yonder tall tree? Or dashit to death m the moat shall he be 1 .. Or wi' sharpest o' sword blades be slashit and hewn ? 0 speak on, Lord Cromwell, say what shall be done ?" Then Cromwell he answered wi' firmness and power, ♦•What! dashit to death frae the battlement tower ? Or hang up the traitor on yonder tall tree? Nay, tak' off your hands, men, an' let him go free. "For life it is changeful, an' soon ft may be Through clouds and through darknees no sun shall we see : " O then, be each soldier as true on that day, As the brave giant clansman is true to Lord Reay. Then Cromwell he turn't his face fco the wa'» An 1 softly he said it, though heard by them a', "Osave me," he whispered, and heavit a sigh, " Frae the grip o' the deil an' o' Big John Mackay." * " Manu Forti," Motto of the Clan Mackay.

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Bibliographic details

Lord Reay and Big John Mackay., Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2456, 2 July 1890

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Lord Reay and Big John Mackay. Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2456, 2 July 1890