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    The Heron Ballads

    by Robert Burns
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    [This is the first of several party ballads which Burns wrote to serve
    Patrick Heron, of Kerroughtree, in two elections for the Stewartry of
    Kirkcudbright, in which he was opposed, first, by Gordon of Balmaghie,
    and secondly, by the Hon. Montgomery Stewart. There is a personal
    bitterness in these lampoons, which did not mingle with the strains in
    which the poet recorded the contest between Miller and Johnstone. They
    are printed here as matters of poetry, and I feel sure that none will
    be displeased, and some will smile.]


    Whom will you send to London town,
    To Parliament and a' that?
    Or wha in a' the country round
    The best deserves to fa' that?
    For a' that, and a' that;
    Thro Galloway and a' that;
    Where is the laird or belted knight
    That best deserves to fa' that?


    Wha sees Kerroughtree's open yett,
    And wha is't never saw that?
    Wha ever wi' Kerroughtree meets
    And has a doubt of a' that?
    For a' that, and a' that,
    Here's Heron yet for a' that,
    The independent patriot,
    The honest man, an' a' that.


    Tho' wit and worth in either sex,
    St. Mary's Isle can shaw that;
    Wi' dukes and lords let Selkirk mix,
    And weel does Selkirk fa' that.
    For a' that, and a' that,
    Here's Heron yet for a' that!
    The independent commoner
    Shall be the man for a' that.


    But why should we to nobles jouk,
    And it's against the law that;
    For why, a lord may be a gouk,
    Wi' ribbon, star, an' a' that.
    For a' that, an' a' that,
    Here's Heron yet for a' that!
    A lord may be a lousy loun,
    Wi' ribbon, star, an' a' that.


    A beardless boy comes o'er the hills,
    Wi' uncle's purse an' a' that;
    But we'll hae ane frae 'mang oursels,
    A man we ken, an' a' that.
    For a' that, an' a' that,
    Here's Heron yet for a' that!
    For we're not to be bought an' sold
    Like naigs, an' nowt, an' a' that.


    Then let us drink the Stewartry,
    Kerroughtree's laird, an' a' that,
    Our representative to be,
    For weel he's worthy a' that.
    For a' that, an' a' that,
    Here's Heron yet for a' that,
    A House of Commons such as he,
    They would be blest that saw that.

    * * * * *



    [In this ballad the poet gathers together, after the manner of "Fy!
    let us a' to the bridal," all the leading electors of the Stewartry,
    who befriended Heron, or opposed him; and draws their portraits in the
    colours of light or darkness, according to the complexion of their
    politics. He is too severe in most instances, and in some he is
    venomous. On the Earl of Galloway's family, and on the Murrays of
    Broughton and Caillie, as well as on Bushby of Tinwaldowns, he pours
    his hottest satire. But words which are unjust, or undeserved, fall
    off their victims like rain-drops from a wild-duck's wing. The Murrays
    of Broughton and Caillie have long borne, from the vulgar, the stigma
    of treachery to the cause of Prince Charles Stewart: from such infamy
    the family is wholly free: the traitor, Murray, was of a race now
    extinct; and while he was betraying the cause in which so much noble
    and gallant blood was shed, Murray of Broughton and Caillie was
    performing the duties of an honourable and loyal man: he was, like his
    great-grandson now, representing his native district in parliament.]



    Fy, let us a' to Kirkcudbright,
    For there will be bickerin' there;
    For Murray's[112] light horse are to muster,
    And O, how the heroes will swear!
    An' there will be Murray commander,
    And Gordon[113] the battle to win;
    Like brothers they'll stand by each other,
    Sae knit in alliance an' kin.


    An' there will be black-lippit Johnnie,[114]
    The tongue o' the trump to them a';
    And he get na hell for his haddin'
    The deil gets na justice ava';
    And there will Kempleton's birkie,
    A boy no sae black at the bane,
    But, as for his fine nabob fortune,
    We'll e'en let the subject alane.


    An' there will be Wigton's new sheriff,
    Dame Justice fu' brawlie has sped,
    She's gotten the heart of a Bushby,
    But, Lord, what's become o' the head?
    An' there will be Cardoness,[115] Esquire,
    Sae mighty in Cardoness' eyes;
    A wight that will weather damnation,
    For the devil the prey will despise.


    An' there will be Douglasses[116] doughty,
    New christ'ning towns far and near;
    Abjuring their democrat doings,
    By kissing the ---- o' a peer;
    An' there will be Kenmure[117] sae gen'rous,
    Whose honour is proof to the storm,
    To save them from stark reprobation,
    He lent them his name to the firm.


    But we winna mention Redcastle,[118]
    The body, e'en let him escape!
    He'd venture the gallows for siller,
    An' 'twere na the cost o' the rape.
    An' where is our king's lord lieutenant,
    Sae fam'd for his gratefu' return?
    The billie is gettin' his questions,
    To say in St. Stephen's the morn.


    An' there will be lads o' the gospel,
    Muirhead,[119] wha's as gude as he's true;
    An' there will be Buittle's[120] apostle,
    Wha's more o' the black than the blue;
    An' there will be folk from St. Mary's,[121]
    A house o' great merit and note,
    The deil ane but honours them highly,--
    The deil ane will gie them his vote!


    An' there will be wealthy young Richard,[122]
    Dame Fortune should hing by the neck;
    For prodigal, thriftless, bestowing,
    His merit had won him respect:
    An' there will be rich brother nabobs,
    Tho' nabobs, yet men of the first,
    An' there will be Collieston's[123] whiskers,
    An' Quintin, o' lads not the worst.


    An' there will be stamp-office Johnnie,[124]
    Tak' tent how ye purchase a dram;
    An' there will be gay Cassencarrie,
    An' there will be gleg Colonel Tam;
    An' there will be trusty Kerroughtree,[125]
    Whose honour was ever his law,
    If the virtues were pack'd in a parcel,
    His worth might be sample for a'.


    An' can we forget the auld major,
    Wha'll ne'er be forgot in the Greys,
    Our flatt'ry we'll keep for some other,
    Him only 'tis justice to praise.
    An' there will be maiden Kilkerran,
    And also Barskimming's gude knight,
    An' there will be roarin' Birtwhistle,
    Wha luckily roars in the right.


    An' there, frae the Niddisdale borders,
    Will mingle the Maxwells in droves;
    Teugh Johnnie, staunch Geordie, an' Walie,
    That griens for the fishes an' loaves;
    An' there will be Logan Mac Douall,[126]
    Sculdudd'ry an' he will be there,
    An' also the wild Scot of Galloway,
    Sodgerin', gunpowder Blair.


    Then hey the chaste interest o' Broughton,
    An' hey for the blessings 'twill bring?
    It may send Balmaghie to the Commons,
    In Sodom 'twould make him a king;
    An' hey for the sanctified M----y,
    Our land who wi' chapels has stor'd;
    He founder'd his horse among harlots,
    But gied the auld naig to the Lord.


    [Footnote 112: Murray, of Broughton and Caillie.]

    [Footnote 113: Gordon of Balmaghie.]

    [Footnote 114: Bushby, of Tinwald-Downs.]

    [Footnote 115: Maxwell, of Cardoness.]

    [Footnote 116: The Douglasses, of Orchardtown and Castle-Douglas.]

    [Footnote 117: Gordon, afterwards Viscount Kenmore.]

    [Footnote 118: Laurie, of Redcastle.]

    [Footnote 119: Morehead, Minister of Urr.]

    [Footnote 120: The Minister of Buittle.]

    [Footnote 121: Earl of Selkirk's family.]

    [Footnote 122: Oswald, of Auchuncruive.]

    [Footnote 123: Copland, of Collieston and Blackwood.]

    [Footnote 124: John Syme, of the Stamp-office.]

    [Footnote 125: Heron, of Kerroughtree.]

    [Footnote 126: Colonel Macdouall, of Logan.]

    * * * * *



    [This third and last ballad was written on the contest between Heron
    and Stewart, which followed close on that with Gordon. Heron carried
    the election, but was unseated by the decision of a Committee of the
    House of Commons: a decision which it is said he took so much to heart
    that it affected his health, and shortened his life.]


    Tune.--"_Buy broom besoms._"

    Wha will buy my troggin,
    Fine election ware;
    Broken trade o' Broughton,
    A' in high repair.
    Buy braw troggin,
    Frae the banks o' Dee;
    Wha wants troggin
    Let him come to me.

    There's a noble Earl's[127]
    Fame and high renown
    For an auld sang--
    It's thought the gudes were stown.
    Buy braw troggin, &c.

    Here's the worth o' Broughton[128]
    In a needle's ee;
    Here's a reputation
    Tint by Balmaghie.
    Buy braw troggin, &c.

    Here's an honest conscience
    Might a prince adorn;
    Frae the downs o' Tinwald--[129]
    So was never worn.
    Buy braw troggin, &c.

    Here's its stuff and lining,
    Cardoness'[130] head;
    Fine for a sodger
    A' the wale o' lead.
    Buy braw troggin, &c.

    Here's a little wadset
    Buittle's[131] scrap o' truth,
    Pawn'd in a gin-shop
    Quenching holy drouth.
    Buy braw troggin, &c.

    Here's armorial bearings
    Frae the manse o' Urr;[132]
    The crest, an auld crab-apple
    Rotten at the core.
    Buy braw troggin, &c.

    Here is Satan's picture,
    Like a bizzard gled,
    Pouncing poor Redcastle,[133]
    Sprawlin' as a taed.
    Buy braw troggin, &c.

    Here's the worth and wisdom
    Collieston[134] can boast;
    By a thievish midge
    They had been nearly lost.
    Buy braw troggin, &c.

    Here is Murray's fragments
    O' the ten commands;
    Gifted by black Jock[135]
    To get them aff his hands.
    Buy braw troggin, &c.

    Saw ye e'er sic troggin?
    If to buy ye're slack,
    Hornie's turnin' chapman,
    He'll buy a' the pack.
    Buy braw troggin,
    Frae the banks o' Dee;
    Wha wants troggin
    Let him come to me.


    [Footnote 127: The Earl of Galloway.]

    [Footnote 128: Murray, of Broughton and Caillie.]

    [Footnote 129: Bushby, of Tinwald-downs.]

    [Footnote 130: Maxwell, of Cardoness.]

    [Footnote 131: The Minister of Buittle.]

    [Footnote 132: Morehead, of Urr.]

    [Footnote 133: Laurie, of Redcastle.]

    [Footnote 134: Copland, of Collieston and Blackwood.]

    [Footnote 135: John Bushby, of Tinwald-downs.]

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