Scots Sangs Fur Schools

Traditional and new Scots songs for use in Scottish schools

Jacobite Songs

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Bobbin John

A song written by class P6 of Borestone PS, Stirling with Ewan McVicar for the Tolbooth Project, about the 1715 Battle of Sheriffmuir. The Jacobite Highland army was led by John Erskine, 11th Earl of Mar, nicknamed 'Bobbin John' because of his changes of political position. The Government forces were led by John Campbell, 2nd Duke of Argyll.
Tune: Come Ye Ower Frae France
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Here comes Bobbin John, and the Heiland Army,
Marching past Greenloaning, all battle ready,
At the Gathering Stone, they will sharp their swords,
On to Sheriffmuir, marching in good order,
Here comes Bobbin John.

Bobbin John's clans, eight thousand Jacos,
Scruffy sweaty lads, in their dull grey clothing,
Tired grubby men, proud in tartan plaids,
Set to charge and win, never on parade,
Here comes Bobbin John.

Campbell of Argyll, he's come up from Stirling,
Half as many redcoats, but they're seasoned soldiers.
Powder horns and muskets, bayonets so sharp,
And they've cavalry, ridin high and smirkin,
Here comes Bobbin John.

Left line of the clans, charged and drew their broadswords,
But the cavalry chased them to Greenloaning,
By the River Allan many of them died,
While the brave Rob Roy watched them from on high,
Here comes Bobbin John.

Right line of the clans, they did so much better,
Made the redcoats run, stabbed and slashed and slaughtered.
Chased them through Dunblane, and through Bridge of Allan,
Back to Stirling Brig, in a fearful panic.
Here comes Bobbin John.

Bodies everywhere, highlanders and redcoats,
Some of them were dead, some of them still living,
But the local folk did not come to help them,
Stole their oatmeal bags, because they were
so hungry.
Here comes Bobbin John.

Who can say who won? Who can say who lost?
Mothers, wives and children, they will count the cost.
Cheer for Bobbin John. Cheer for Argyll Campbell.
Whisper of the dead, whisper of the shambles.
Here comes Bobbin John.


 The Piper Cam Tae Oor Toon
A stirring song about the 1740s, probably written by James Hogg 60 years later, naming pro-Jacobite pipe tunes and songs

The piper cam tae oor toon, tae oor toon, tae oor toon,
The piper cam tae oor toon, and he play'd bonnilie.
He play'd a spring, the laird to please, a spring brent new frae 'yont the seas;
And then he ga'e his bags a wheeze, and play'd anither key.

And wasna he a roguy, a roguy, a roguy?
And wasna he a roguy, the piper o' Dundee?

He play'd "The Welcome owre the Main," and "Ye's be fou and I'se be fain,"
And "Auld Stuarts back again," wi' muckle mirth and glee.

He play'd "The Kirk," he play'd "The Queer," "The Mullin Dhu," and "Chevalier,"
And "Lang away, but welcome here," sae sweet, sae bonnilie.

It's some gat swords, and some gat nane, and some were dancing mad their lane, And mony a vow o' weir was ta'en that nicht at Amulrie.

There was Tullibardine, and Burleigh, and Struan, Keith, and Ogilvie,
And brave Carnegie, wha but he, the piper o' Dundee?

The Drummer Boy
Written by class P6 of Borestone PS with Ewan McVicar for the Tolbooth Project. The class were studying the Jacobites. St Ninian's ruined church is nearby. The Highland Army's gunpowder was stored there, and blew up as prophesied many years earlier by Kenneth Odhar, the Brahan Seer.
Tune: Skye Boat Song, but as fast 6/8 march
Here I stand at Drummossie Moor, my drumsticks in my hands.
All around me in their plaids the fearsome Highland clans.
Ratata, ratata, I'm ready to beat the charge,
But ratata, the order won't come to use the claymore and targe.
CHORUS Bonnie Prince Charlie, born to be king,
Came over the sea from France.
 Ah'll tell ye what happened at Stirling Brig, the townspeople chopped it down.
We had to leave our cannon and ball behind at Stirling Town.
A boom and a bash, a  bang and a crash, people went up in the air.
Our powder blew up in St Ninian's Church, clanspeople landed sair.
Kenneth the Seer looked forward in time, and he saw a battle here.
Heads were lopped off, quarter was none, families were left in tears.
Ratata, ratata, the order has come to charge.
But now we must run away from the guns, and leave the claymore and targe.


(Words and music Ewan McVicar, Gallus Music)

I got a kiss of the Prince’s hand, he ho ro
I caught his horse and made it stand, He ho ro
He asked my name and praised me and, he ho ro
I got a kiss of the Prince’s hand, he ho ro

From Finnan Glen by many a mile
By Preston Pans and great Carlise
To Derby Town in far England
Where I got a kiss of the Prince’s hand, he ho ro

In Glasgow we got lodgings fine
Feather beds and claret wine
But what care I for mansions grand
For I got a kiss of the Prince’s hand, he ho ro

On Falkirk Field I got these scars
From shortsword fighters called hussars
They thought me dead, but here I stand
For I got a kiss of the Prince’s hand, he ho ro
Drummossie Moor was our downfall
We felt the weight of cannon ball
At last we fell, or else we ran
But I got a kiss of the Prince’s hand, he ho ro

Our Prince was hunted like a dog
Across the heather, through the bog
The Red Backs swaggered on our land
But I got a kiss of the Prince’s hand, he ho ro

But friends were there on every side
MacDonald’s Flora helped him hide
She made a woman from a man
But I got a kiss of the Prince’s hand, he ho ro

Our noble chief stayed home in bed
And sent his sons with us instead
He sold his king to keep his land
But I got a kiss of the Prince’s hand, he ho ro

It ended back where it began
I did as well as any man
Our loss I cannot understand
But I got a kiss of the Prince’s hand, he ho ro

We carried him safe to the bay
And cheered his as he sailed away
We wrote our names upon the sand
But I got a kiss of the Prince’s hand, he ho ro

This song is in part inspired by the title of the McCrimmon pipe tune 'I Got A Kiss Of The King’s Hand'. I sometimes use it in a story of a Glenfinnan lad who follows in the Prince’s train as a drummer boy.