Macpherson’s Rant


This is a true story aboot a lad fa’s somefiles caed The Scottish Robin Hood. His name wis James MacPherson an he wis the son o a heilan laird an a bonnie gypsie lassie. They wirna mairrit, so he wis brocht up by his mither an her fowk. He grew up a big strang lad, but wis a bitty wild, and got intae fechtin and stealin. He wis weel likit be the ordinary fowk, cos he jist stole fae rich fowk, an he wis a gweed fiddler. But he made an enemy o the Laird o Braco – a mannie caed Lord Duff – fa hid him arrested in Keith. He nearly got awa, but a wifie threw a thick blunkit ower him an he couldna get ees sord oot fast enough. He wis hinged at the Cross o Banff in 1700 an broke his fiddle sae naebudy else could play it fan he wis deid. Note: The story o James MacPherson is weel kent in the North East o Scotland. He wis born in 1675 an hinged on the 16th November 1700 at the Cross o Banff. This sang is nae ane o the Child Ballads, as it wis rewritten by Robert Burns fae an aulder version, but it’s a rare story and weel worth including in oor puckle sangs.


Fareweel, ye dungeons dark an strang, fareweel, fareweel tae ye,
MacPherson’s time will nae be lang on yonder gallas tree


Sae rantinly, sae wantonly, sae dauntinly gaed he
He played a tune an he danced aroon, ablow the gallas tree

Maggie McPhee Chorus

An it’s aye mi rantin, o mi rantin, aye mi rantinly
An it’s aye mi rantin, o mi rantin, aye mi rantinly

It was by a wuman’s treacherous han that I wis condemned tae dee
She sat upon a windae ledge an a blunkit threw ower me

There’s some come here tae see me hing, aye and some tae buy my fiddle
But afore that I wid pairt wi her I’d brak her thro the middle

He’s taen the fiddle intae baith his hans an brak it ower a stane
Say’n, nay other hand shall play on ye fan I am deid an gane

Untie these bands fae aff o’ my hands and gie tae me my sword
There’s nae a man in a Scotland, but I’ll brave him at a word

It’s little did my mither think fan first she cradled me
That I would turn a rovin lad an hing on the gallas tree

The reprieve was comin ower the Brig o Banff tae set MacPherson free
But they pit the knock a quarter afore, and they hinged him fae the tree

Sae rantinly, sae wantonly, sae dauntingly gaed he
He played a tune an he danced aroon, and they hinged him fae the tree


Ballad: Macpherson’s Rant (Greig~Duncan 3/697)
Singer: Ellie Beaton



The tune gaen here is fit Jimmy McBeath sung, but hae a listen tae Maggie McPhee’s version as weel.

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