The Scottish folk song gives an account from the Jacobite viewpoint of the Battle of Prestonpans. In the battle, which took place during the Second Jacobite uprising, Sir John Copewas the commander of the government troops, and was defeated in a dawn attack by the Jacobites.
Cope Sent a a Message frae 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’
When Charlie looked this letter upon,
He drew his sword the scabbard from,
Come follow me my merry men,
And we’ll meet Johnnie 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 t’ Coals in the morning
‘Now johnner, be as good’s your word
Come let us try both fire and sword;
And dinna rin like a frichted bird
that’s chased frae it’s nest i’ the mornin’
When Johnnie Cope, he heard of this
He thought it wouldna be amiss
T’ hae a horse in readiness,
T’ flee awa’ in the morning.
Fye now Johnnie, get up and rin;
The Highland bagpipes mak’ a din;
It’s better to 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’ i’ the mornin’.
Now Jonnie troth, ye were na blate,
T’ come wi’ news o’ your ain defeat,
And leave your men in sic a straight
So early in the morning.
T’ faith’, quo Johnnie, ‘I had sic fegs,
W’ their claymores n’ philabegs,
If I face them again They’ll break my legs,
Sae I wish you a’ guid morning.’
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