Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Hey Johnny Cope: A Sound Manvotional

The legendary Irish band Planxty took this Scottish ballad into the 21st Century as a Manvotional.
A Manvotional is an unambiguous male reflection - an examination of conscience.

Today, we bear witness to savagery on our streets with cries and threats of legislation to come.  Violence is not new, but violence has lost meaning.  Politicians use bombast and rhetorical hectoring, but few go in the way of hazard to make things right.  The young, especially of my gender are taught to shrug and turn to Halo-4 heroics fueled by Doritos and Big Gulp Mountain Dews.

The strenuous life is now on Playstation.  Poetry, music and literature can, if taught well, get the young lard-asses out into the fresh air and eventually into purposeful living.

The Jacobite hopes were dashed on Culloden Moor in 1745 and Bonnie Charlie scampered off to France where the Stuarts remain.  However, the romance of the 'lost cause' is eternal in the novels of Walter Scott, the poems of Robbie Burns and the drones of pipes.

Cope Sent a challenge tae Dunbar
Said; 'Charlie meet me if you daur,
'And I'll learn you the arts of war,
'If you'll meet me in the morning'

Hey Johnnie Cope are you wauking yet,
Or are your drums a- beating yet?
If you were wauking I would wait,
Tae gang tae The Coals in the morning

When Charlie looked this letter upon,
He drew his sword the scabbard from,
Come follow me my merry men,
And we'll meet Johnnie Cope in the morning.

When Johnnie Cope he heard o' this,
He thought it wouldna be amiss,
To hae a horse in readiness,
To flee awa' in the morning.

Fye now Johnnie, get up and run,
The Highland bagpipes mak a din,
It's better tae sleep in a hale skin.
For 'twill be a bloody morning.

When Johnnie Cope tae Dunbar came,
They spiered at him, 'where's a' your men?'
'The Deil confound me gin I ken,
For I left them a this morning.'

Now Jonnie troth, ye were na blate,
Tae come wi' news o' your ain defeat,
And leave your men in sic a straight
So early in the morning.

'Faith', quo Johnnie, 'I had sic fegs,
Wi' their claymores and their philabegs,
If I face them again Deil brak ma legs,
So I wish you a' good morning.'

The Battle of Prestonpons:

On 25th July 1745 Prince Charles landed near Moidart in the Highlands of Scotland with seven companions. He raised his standard at Glenfinnan and assembled an army from the clans that supported his bid for the throne. This army marched into Edinburgh on 17th September 1745. The two royal dragoons regiments fled at the highland approach in the infamous “Colterbrigg canter”.

General Sir John Cope, the commander of the small royal force in Scotland, had marched to Inverness with his four regiments of foot. Cope brought his troops south to Dunbar by sea and met up with the dragoons. None of his troops, dragoons or foot, were experienced or even adequately trained. Cope’s artillery can only be described as a “scratch” force comprising invalids and seamen under headed by one aged gunner. Cope marched North along the coast road towards Edinburgh.
The cavalry found the rebel army to be inland and to the south, causing Cope to form his army against the sea behind a marsh. During the night of 20th September 1745 the rebels made use of a path through the marsh to come up on the left flank of the royal army. . . . .On being threatened the dragoon regiments also fled and the foot began to give way. Finally under the impact of the highland attack the whole royal army, other than small groups of men under officers such as Lieutenant Colonel Peter Halkett, fled the field. Only the dragoons were able to get away in any numbers. All the foot bar some 170 were killed, wounded or captured. The injuries inflicted by the highlanders using broad swords and bill hooks are reported to have been horrific.

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