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As I cam in by Denniedeer
An' doon by Netherha',
There was fifty thousand Hielandmen
A-marchin' to Harlaw.

Wi' my dirrum doo dirrum doo daddie dirrum day.

As I cam on and further on
And doon by Balquhain,
It's there I met Sir James the Rose
And wi' him Sir John the Graham.

"Oh cam ye frae the Highlands man,
Oh cam ye a' the wey?
Saw ye McDonald and his men
As they cam in frae Skye?"

"Yes we cam frae the Highlands man
An' we cam a' the wey.
And we saw McDonald and his men
As they cam in frae Skye."

"Oh was ye near McDonald's men?
Did ye their numbers see?
Come tell me Johnnie Hielandman
What micht their numbers be?"

"Yes we was near and near eneuch
And we their numbers saw.
There was fifty thousand Hielandmen
A-machin' to Harlaw."

"Gin that be true," says James the Rose,
"Will come nae muckle speed.
We'll cry upon our merry men
An' turn oor horses head."

"Oh na, Oh na", say John the Graham,
"That thing can never be.
The gallant Grahams were never beat
We'll try what we can dee."

As I cam on and further on
And doon and by Harlaw,
They fell fu' close on ilka side.
Sic strokes ye never saw.

The fell fu' close on ilka side,
Sic strokes ye never saw,
For ilka sword gaed clash for clash
At the battle o' Harlow.

The Hielandmen wi' their lang swords
They laid on us fu' sair
And they drove back oor merry men
Three acres bredth and mair.

Brave Forbes to his brother said,
"Oh brither don't ye see.
They've beat us back on ilka side
And we'll be forced to flee."

"Oh na, oh na," my brother said,
"That thing can never be.
You'll take your sword into your hand
And ye'll come on wi' me."

Then back to back the brithers twa
Gaed in among the throng
And they laid doon the Hielandmen
Wi' swords baith sharp and lang.

The first aw stroke that Forbes struck,
He gart McDonald reel
And the neist ae stroke that Forbes struck,
The brave McDonald fell.

And siccan a Pitlarichie
I'm sure ye never saw,
As was among the Hielandmen
When they saw McDonald fa'.

And when they saw that he was dead,
They turned and ran awa'
And they turned him in Leggart's den
A mile abeen Harlaw.

Some rade, some ran and some did gang
They were o' sma' record
But Forbes and his merry men
They slew them a' the road.

On Monoday at mornin'
The battle it began
On Saturday at floamin'
Ye'd kentna who had won.

Gin onybody spier ar you
For them that cam awa'
Ye can tell them plain enough,
They're sleepin' at Harlaw.

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Source: Milner D and Kaplan P, 1983, Songs of England, Ireland and Scotland, Oak, New York

Milner gives the following for the source:

G Grieg, Folk Songs of the North-East; the tune is very commonly sung.

The text was noted from J. W. Spence, April 1906. Greig-Duncan Collection I, No.112C, 305-6. Bronson 163:11.

The tune is from Isaac Troup, 11th September 1907. Greig-Duncan I, No.112B, 303-4. Bronson 163:8. It has been transposed down seven intervals here.

Roud: 2861 (Search Roud index at VWML)
Child: 163

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