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Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908). A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895. 1895.

William Edmondstoune Aytoun 1813–65

Massacre of the Macpherson


FHAIRSHON swore a feud

Against the clan M’Tavish—

March’d into their land

To murder and to rafish;

For he did resolve

To extirpate the vipers,

With four-and-twenty men,

And five-and-thirty pipers.

But when he had gone

Half-way down Strath-Canaan,

Of his fighting tail

Just three were remainin’.

They were all he had

To back him in ta battle:

All the rest had gone

Off to drive ta cattle.

“Fery coot!” cried Fhairshon—

So my clan disgraced is;

Lads, we ’ll need to fight

Pefore we touch ta peasties.

Here ’s Mhic-Mac-Methusaleh

Coming wi’ his fassals—

Gillies seventy-three,

And sixty Dhuinéwassels!”

“Coot tay to you, sir!

Are you not ta Fhairshon?

Was you coming here

To visit any person?

You are a plackguard, sir?

It is now six hundred

Coot long years, and more,

Since my glen was plunder’d.”

“Fat is tat you say?

Dar you cock your peaver?

I will teach you, sir,

Fat is coot pehavior!

You shall not exist

For another day more;

I will shot you, sir,

Or stap you with my claymore!”

“I am fery glad

To learn what you mention,

Since I can prevent

Any such intention.”

So Mhic-Mac-Methusaleh

Gave some warlike howls,

Trew his skhian-dhu,

An’ stuck it in his powels.

In this fery way

Tied ta faliant Fhairshon,

Who was always thought

A superior person.

Fhairshon had a son,

Who married Noah’s daughter,

And nearly spoil’d ta flood

By trinking up ta water—

Which he would have done,

I at least believe it,

Had ta mixture peen

Only half Glenlivet.

This is all my tale:

Sirs, I hope ’t is new t’ ye!

Here ’s your fery good healths,

And tamn ta whusky tuty!