Mudcat Café message #2930170 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #4640   Message #2930170
Posted By: Reiver 2
17-Jun-10 - 07:29 PM
Thread Name: Lyr Req: Montrose (Steeleye Span)
Subject: ADD: Montrose (Steeleye Span)
Well, I might as well throw in my 40 or so verses and choruses. Reiver 1 and I learned "Montrose" from listening to Steeleye Span and this is the way we heard it. It's one of my favorite songs, and despite it's length, is not monotonous as it uses 3 different melodies with key changes and Steeleye Span insert several instrumental interludes. I've indicated them by inserting ********** where they're used. The song is pretty accurate in telling the true story of one of Scotland's great heroes, and a man that that can rightfully be admired. When in Scotland I picked up a copy of Nigel Trantor's book, "Montrose." It's actually two full length books, "The Young Montrose" and "The Captain General." I brought it home, set it on the shelf, and only began reading it a few days ago! [I'm only on p. 93!] Here's how we sang the song:

MONTROSE

When James the King, to assert the Crown,
With Bishops and pen, from London town,
And the sword could ne'er bring Scotland down.

Where the cauld nor'wind creeps through the dawn,
The dolmen drones on a winter's morn,
The fourth Earl's only son was born.

And he grew strong, and he grew stern,
From books and knowledge he would learn,
Ans so to Glasgow he must turn.

For truth and valor he was named,
For bowmanship he was acclaimed,
And the silver arrow he did gain.

First through France, then to London town,
This nobel youth did proudly ride,
With his good bow strapped on behind.

**********

Then his King's favor he had sought,
But slander brought it all to naught,
To Scotland he's fled back from Court.

But new King Charles, so ill advised,
By Hamilton and Laud, likewise,
Scotland they betrayed by lies.

With Papacy and bad intent
A new Prayer Book to Scotland sent,
To control the tax was His intent.

********** Key change and new melody

Paupers raged around St. Giles,
Against the Kings judgement,
But Montrose spoke above them all,
The people's love to win.

So Jamie joined the Covenant;
For war they did prepare,
And he rode forth to Huntley's house
But found no welcome there.

So the gay red Gordon ribbons
They chased around the land,
Until at Inverary
Lord Huntley signed his bands.

So Montrose rode to Aberdeen
Where the Covenant held sway.
Dismayed, the King ar Berwick, [Berreck]
A truce was signed that day.

But the grim Geneva Ministers
put Montrose in a cell,
And there he thought to serve Scotland,
And serve the King as well.

Meanwhile, down south in England,
The Civil War began,
So Montrose rode to London town
To parley with the King.

For a thousand men he pleaded,
To save his fair Scotland,
But he went home a General
Without a single man.

********** [key change]

The giant MacDonald, Alisdair,
With sixteen-hundred men,
From Ireland sailed to join Montrose
And plunder Campbell's glen.

Montrose's small united force
Of Gaelic men did lour,
Against seven-thousand Covenant
On the field of Tippermure.

CHO: I'll serve thee in such noble ways,
    Was never heard heard before.
    I'll crown and deck thee all with bays
    And love thee more and more.

With stones and bows the screaming clans
Put Covenant to flight.
That Sabbath day at Tippermuir
Was sich a bloody sight.

Then marching north to Aberdeen
Where treasure could be found,
The soldiers fought for bounty there,
While James fought for the Crown.

CHO: I'll serve thee in such noble ways
    Was never heard before;
    I'll crown and deck thee all with bays
    And love thee more and more.

His army now, three-thousand strong,
He was resolved to go,
To seek the Campbell in his lair
Through all the winter snow,

'King Campbell' sailed from his castle strang
As Montrose' pipes drew near.
No refuge from the Lord on earth,
No pity for Campbells here.

CHO: I'll serve thee in such noble ways,
    Was never heard before;
    I'll crown and deck thee all with bays
    And love thee more and more.

With the Campbell lands all wasted
Montrose was forced to guess
To fight Argyll or Seaforth
On the road to Inverness,

It came to pass that Campbell's might
Was smashed on Lochiel's shore,
And the terror of Clan Diarmid
Would haunt the glens no more.

At Auldearn, Alford, and Kilsyth,
The Royal Standard shown.
As Alexander, he did reign,
And he did reign alone.

Now Montrose entered Glasgow,
With Scotland at his feet,
But the power could not be broken,
Of the Minister elite.

CHO: I'll serve thee in such noble ways,
    Was never heard before;
    I'll crown and deck thee all with bays
    And love thee more and more.

But soon the year of miracles,
Like the slowly setting sun,
Was passing, now, before his eyes.
All he could do was done.

At Philliphaugh and Carbisdale
Bold fortune did turn cold.
MacLeod, the Devil's advocate,
Sold James for oats and gold.

Cho: I'll serve thee in such noble ways,
    Was never heard before;
    I'll crown and deck thee all with bays,
    And love thee more and more.

********** [key change]

The Judges passed their cruel sentence;
Traitors laughed and jeered.
He stood alone in stately calm
And spoke quite unafeared,

"Nail my head on yonder tower,
Give eve'ry town a limb,
And God, who made, will gather them.
I go from you, to Him."

As he turned from out the hall,
Clouds left the sky.
To battle he had never walked
More proudly than to die,

They set him high upon a cart.
The hangman rode below.
There stood the Whig and West Country lords,
In balcony and bow.

They brought him to the Water Gate;
He looked so great and high.
So noble was his manly frame,
So clear his steadfast eye.

**********

The rebel rout forebore to shout,
And each man held his breath,
Full well they knew a hero's soul
Was face to face with death.

**********

For loving Scotland and his King,
He went to death that morn.
A shudder ran across the sky;
The word of death was borne.

CHO [twice]: I'll serve thee in such noble ways,
             Was never heard before;
             I'll crown and deck thee all with bays,
             And love thee more and more.

There is much factual material in the song, which as an historian, is one of the reasons I like the song so much. Alistair Mac Donald, truly a giant of a man, did bring troops from his native Ireland to fight under Montrose. The Chief of Clan McLeod did accept gold plus bags of oats for informing on Montrose. Montrose did speak those words, or words of that ilk, from the scaffold. The stark lyrics are powerful, but do not convey the power and beauty of the song. The changes in melody, key changes, etc. add more than mere words can express. I'm SO glad to see this thread on the Mudcat forum.

Reiver 2