BBWB 3: A Royal Visit

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THE BALLAD OF BLACK WATCH BRODICK

CANTO 3

A Royal Visit

‘Dame Nature in some frantic mood
Rais’d Arran from the flood
Heap’d up Goat Fell’s steep dragonbrood
Drap’d in a cloudy hood’

Mused His new Highness as he rounds
The cliffs of Holy Isle
& sees the castle from its grounds
Shoot up a campanile

The Dowager of Hamilton
Drove oer from Dougarie
& waits along with everyone
By Brodick’s ancyent quay

The Royal yacht has anchor dropp’d
& in the bay did nestle
All converse in mid-sentence stopp’d
Lungs burst to view the vessel

Out of the classrooms children pour’d
Cloth’d in their Sunday best
His majesty came in & moor’d
Big medals on his chest

Him honeymooning with his Queen
Each shone quintessence royal
Majestical they took, serene,
First steps on Scottish soil

As man & wife, as Queen & King
Then melted into pinewood
The band struck up & children sing
The anthem clear & good

All turneth happy holiday
When flash King Edward came
Kids dashing off with glee to play
In gangs of garden game

A gaggle of the Brodick boys
Race home to Douglas Row
A laughter-cradl’d nest of noise
A nursery flambeaux

Two cottages stand side-by-side
One Stronach & one Fir
Two families – heart, hearth & pride –
McIntyre, Mc’Allister

Tho’ John has almost turn’d fifteen
& Wullie barely six
They will thrice daily reconvene
For japes & scrapes & tricks

Pete Currie’s in their little gang
Ten seconds door-to-door
Today he’s made a boomerang
From a sprig of sycamore

In front of Chas Gray’s Grocer’s shop
Like rosy Rob Roy rebels
Each sucking on a lollipop
With pockets full of pebbles

A letter call’d, ‘the little S’
Off flew ballistic stones
The stanchions rang as in distress
The Grocer shouts his moans

Chasing them out of Douglas Row
Dashing like antelopes
Down to the Big Burn’s open flow
Of sloops & sails & ropes

The play’d at Captains & their crews
On the ‘Speedwell’ ‘Captain Shaw’
Knock’d back the sarsparilla booze
Laying down the Pirate Law

They scrambl’d over mooring chains
& climb’d the spider rigging
Then as a treasure chest contains
Great wealth, they started digging

But futile was that mound of earth
& so them went off elsewhere
A magical melee of mirth
A world without a care

Reach russet stones aspan the Cloy
Drochaid-nan-Cruth its name
Imagination’s greatest joy
Is when its deep in game

The boys were hidden by the bridge
Awaiting Cromwell’s soldiers
Reaching Cnocan Riach ridge
With muskets at the shoulders

Out of the scrub cries hideous,
Rushes the ambushcade
Brutal, pernicious, pitiless
The Sassenach dismay’d

Beyond Kilmichael, thro’ the woods
The boys went foraging
Where moss-green ocean flows & floods
To feed the Faerie King

“Zing – Thud” – a catapult did fire
A stone into a tree
McAllister & McIntyre,
Get off our property”

Said Sarah Fullarton, dour-faced
Ferocious precocious female
Whom panicking invaders chas’d
All the way to Ormidale

Where halteth life, a moment’s awe
The Royal Yacht was leaving
Receding from the teeming shore
A thousand waves receiving

When once again, spontaneous,
The regal anthem sung,
Blending “Send him victorious!”
Over tongues of old & young

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