Home  »  Every Day in the Year A Poetical Epitome of the World’s History  »  The Lay of the Brave Cameron

James and Mary Ford, eds. Every Day in the Year. 1902.

June 16

The Lay of the Brave Cameron

By John Stuart Blackie (1809–1895)

AT Quatre Bras, when the fight ran high,

Stout Cameron stood with wakeful eye,

Eager to leap as a mettlesome hound,

Into the fray with a plunge and a bound.

But Wellington, lord of the cool command,

Held the reins with a steady hand,

Saying, “Cameron, wait, you’ll soon have enough,

Give the Frenchmen a taste of your stuff,

When the Cameron men are wanted.”

Now hotter and hotter the battle grew,

With tramp, and rattle, and wild halloo,

And the Frenchmen poured, like a fiery flood,

Right on the ditch where Cameron stood.

Then Wellington flashed from his steadfast stance

On his captain brave a lightning glance,

Saying, “Cameron, now have at them, boy,

Take care of the road to Charleroi,

Where the Cameron men are wanted.”

Brave Cameron shot like a shaft from a bow

Into the midst of the plunging foe,

And with him the lads whom he loved, like a torrent,

Sweeping the rocks in its foamy current;

And he fell the first in the fervid fray,

Where a deathful shot had shove its way,

But his men pushed on where the work was rough

Giving the Frenchmen a taste of their stuff,

Where the Cameron men were wanted.

Brave Cameron then, from the battle’s roar

His foster-brother stoutly bore,

His foster-brother with service true,

Back to the village of Waterloo.

And they laid him on the soft green sod,

And he breathed his spirit there to God,

But not till he heard the loud hurrah

Of victory billowed from Quatre Bras,

Where the Cameron men were wanted.

By the road to Ghent they buried him then,

This noble chief of the Cameron men,

And not an eye was tearless seen

That day beside the alley green:

Wellington wept—the iron man!

And from every eye in the Cameron clan

The big round drop in bitterness fell,

As with the pipes he loved so well

His funeral wail they chanted.

And now he sleeps (for they bore him home,

When the war was done, across the foam).

Beneath the shadow of Nevis Ben,

With his sires, the pride of the Cameron men.

Three thousand Highlandmen stood round,

As they laid him to rest in his native ground;

The Cameron brave, whose eye never quail’d

Whose heart never sank, and whose hand never failed,

Where a Cameron man was wanted.