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Anyone is welcome to perform these songs in public without royalties; however, if any of them are recorded or published for profit, the writers/composers expect the usual royalties.



1743 (The Ballad of Farquhar Shaw) by Willie-O
(For tune in ABC format, click here)


Willie-O's Comments:   This is a pretty much accurate account of a mass mutiny of a bunch of highlanders in the Black Watch, as described by John Prebble in his book "Mutiny!" It took me basically one night to write this, the story had every element you could want for a good Scottish song–an English betrayal, (not only were the soldiers lied to about their destination, they were not getting enough oatmeal–how to piss off a Scot!) a triple execution, and a mass exile. There were some odd twists to the story–in fact, nine of the mutineers must have made it home (from London back to the Highlands, on foot, with most of the British army looking for them) for they were never heard of again. The last verse is conjecture on my part – some of the exiled mutineers were sent to Georgia, to a colony that was about to disappear. Many years later it was found that some Scotsmen, exact origins unknown, had joined forces and intermarried with Cherokees, (before the Trail of Tears when they were still in the East, obviously) according to the book "Creek Mary's Blood" by Dee Brown, which describes a natural affinity between the two peoples. I like the idea that some of the mutineers or their descendants found freedom in North America.


1.     Of Farquhar Shaw from Rothiemurchus a tale there is to tell
        A private of the king's Black Watch and one that I knew well.
        For I'm a piper from the same, I'm Donald MacDonell
        And them that calls us mutineers can all go rot in hell.

2.     Our regiment was Highland-born and there we should have stayed.
        We're told we'll keep the peace at home and wear our colours plaid.
        But it's first we're marched to Edinburgh, then Berwick on the Tweed,
        Then they sent us off to London town, spring 1743.

3.    We're told we'll just be strolling down to parade before the King.
        And then to turn about and to our families return.
        They must have thought us bloody fools, or half-wits not to know.
        We were bound for to fight the French in Flanders.

4.    In a tavern on the Great North Road we met some lowland Scots.
        And for each one that still drew breath were nine comrades did not.
        They told us we were lucky men if only Flanders was our lot
        For ten times worse were the fever swamps of Jamaica.

5.    The King he never saw us but just ordered us to war.
        Whether Flanders or Jamaica did nae matter any more.
        Betrayed and angry Highlanders, a hundred and a score
        Determined that they'd march for hame, and soldiers be no more.

6.    We met on Finchley Common on the seventeenth night of May
        Gathered in the darkness and prepared to steal away.
        It was there our sergeant found us and he ordered us to stay
        But Farquhar Shaw o'erpowered him, and we went on our way.

7.    Now Shaw was not some Highland laird of gentlemanly birth;
        A cattle thief, to tell the truth, but I hold him in some worth,
        For when ninety-eight of us stepped out, and all laid down our swords
        He swore he'd die or reach his mountains and his freedom.

8.    Though sick he was and wearing still the Regiment's green plaid,
        Shaw travelled on for three more days, and sixty miles he made
        Until exhaustion laid him low and he was found by William Sneyd
        And sent to join us in the Tower of London.

9.    They'd singled out two corporals and a piper for to die
        The corporals were MacPherson lads and the piper he was I.
        But when Shaw was taken prisoner the courts did then decide
        Instead of me he would be shot with the MacPhersons.

10.    Three knelt upon the ground within the Tower chapel yard
        A musket volley finished them and the leaving it was hard.
        But for a' that, their souls were freed, while ours would soon be scarred
        For we're transported and shall ne'er again see Scotland.

11.    Some went tae Gibraltar and some the Leeward Isles,
        But the last of us was Georgia bound in the colonies sae wild.
        I'll ne'er again pass Arthur's Seat and tae my Highland hame retire
        But my pipes still keen in the haunted glens of Georgia.
        I'll ne'er again pass Arthur's Seat and tae my Highland hame retire
        But my pipes still keen in the haunted glens of Georgia.

c. Bill Cameron, 1984


The Tune:

Below is an ABC approximation of the melody for my song "1743". Its my first attempt and the rhythm is imperfect (gasp), but it approximates it. 

The ABC repeats the tune, but with a different last line the second time. The second-ending line is minor-sounding and it is used in verses 3, 4, and 7,8,9,10,11. (For the other verses the last line is the same as the first, stead of getting better its getting verse. Oh shut up Bill.) Very flaky way to put a song together--I guess I just got tired of that melody line part way through! 

-- Willie-O

C:A:M: X:1 T:1743 (Farquhar Shaw) C:Bill Cameron M:4/4 L:1/4 K:D A, DD2 A2 ^F E D2B,2A,2 B,2 D2D3 ^C D4 A, DD2 A2 ^F E D2B,2A,2 B,2 D2D3 ^C D4 DE^F2 E D ^F2 E2 D^C2 A, B, D2 D2B,A,4 |1 A, D D2 A2 ^F E D2B,2A,2 B,2 D2D3 ^C D4z2:|2 D2 ^C2 B,4 D2 E2 ^F4 E2 D2 E4 D4 || 

c. Bill Cameron, 1984


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