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Track 9: MacPherson's Lament

written by Robert Burns
arranged by The MacLeods

Jamie MacPherson was the leader of a band of freebooters robbing the rich but never doing harm to the poor and distressed. Finally he was brought to trial and sentenced to be hanged to death. It is reported that he played his fiddle up to the moment of his execution. The legend says that the pardon for Jamie was just arriving when the Sheriff turned the village clock 15 minutes ahead and so MacPherson was hung anyway.

Farewell ye dungeons dark and strong
Farewell, farewell to ye,
MacPherson's life will ne'er belong
On yonder gallows tree.

Sae rantingly, sae wantonly,
Sae dauntingly gaed he.
He played the tune as he danced around.
Below yon gallows tree.


"Now some have come to see me hang
And some to buy my fiddle
But before that I do part with her
I'll break her through the middle."
So he took his fiddle in both of his hands
And broke it o'er a stone.
Sayin' "there's no other hand shall play on thee
When I am dead and gone.

Oh what is death but parting breath
On many a bloody plain.
I've dared his face and in this place
I scorn him yet again.
Untie these bands from off my hands,
And bring to me my sword.
And there's not a man in all Scotland,
But I'll brave him at my word."

The reprieve is coming o'er the break of dawn,
To set MacPherson free.
But they put the clock a quarter before,
And hanged him from the tree.