The Fairest Tapestry That Ever I Saw

war and the army

I walked frae the Canongate up to the Castle Hill O
I met ane o King George's men an he kissed me against my will O
But I hae a cog an a wee drap Barm an I will brew some yill O!
and drink unto King George's man altho' he did me ill O!

Edinburgh's relationship with the army has never been straightforward. That fragmentary parody of The Mill, Mill O, found by C.K. Sharpe late in the 18th century, reflects the alienness of the Castle from the city. On many occasions city and castle were held by opposing sides in a civil conflict, and even when the army was seen to be on the same side as the citizens, as it generally was against the French during the Napoleonic War, the Castle remained a symbol of the state isolated against the people. There were only two brief occasions when civilians were allowed control of the Castle before it became a military irrelevance; in 1797, when the Volunteer vigilante force was allowed in to celebrate Admiral Duncan's naval victory, and in 1820, when they garrisoned it so the army could march out to put down the Lanarkshire weavers' uprising.

The turning point may have come as early as the Battle of Flodden in 1513. While it was undoubtedly a citizen army that marched out of the city to fight there, the aftermath showed the council imposing heavy fines on anyone failing to contribute to the city's defence; there were no longer unlimited reserves of loyalty to draw on. The conflict deepened with the establishment of regular armies; as in the rest of Europe, soldiering in Scotland was from the start a despised occupation, and getting men to do it was nearly as hard as forcing them down the coalmines. Until the army could afford to do differently at the end of the 18th century, soldiers were billeted with the citizenry. This either produced resentment against having such unwelcome guests or delight at being able to bill the army for board and lodging, and exposed the soldiers to ideas and information the army would rather have kept from them.

From the time of the Reformation until the outbreak of war with America and France superseded it with modern warfare, Scotland was always on the edge of religious civil war or some way over it; and the citizens could never count on the forces occupying the city to be on the same side from one generation to the next. Sometimes they were local; sometimes English; sometimes Gaelic-speaking Highlanders. Sometimes soldiering was a source of employment and attracted volunteers; sometimes conscription was a death sentence and resisted to the utmost. If the image of the army in song is wildly inconsistent, it accurately reflects the predicament of most people in the city, which was that of somebody locked in a small room with a mad dog. "Nice doggie", until you can find a big stick.

The first recorded battle in Edinburgh's history was an annihilating loss: the Battle of Catraeth described by the Welsh epic poet Aneurin, when the army of the Welsh-speaking Gododdin of Edinburgh was totally wiped out by the Saxons. The only period when Edinburgh's citizens seem to have rallied against a common enemy and fought back effectively was the 14th century. The Battle of Roslin in 1303, with an English army totally massacred, had the highest death toll of any battle the Lothians were ever to see; bones are still regularly dug up at the battle site, "Shinbanes Field". In 1322 southern Scotland used a scorched-earth policy against the invading army of Edward II of England: all movable food supplies and goods were taken to Fife, with most of the population, and Edward gave up. The same strategy worked during Edward III's invasion of 1355-6 and again for the Earl of Lancaster's invasion of 1383, though Richard II burned the entire city to the ground two years later. The city of Edinburgh's greatest military success must have been the Battle of the Burgh Muir in 1336, when an army of mercenaries marching to Perth for Edward III were intercepted south of the Edinburgh by the forces of the Earls of March and Moray, driven into the city, and beaten by hand-to-hand urban warfare in the closes of the High Street. In the spirit of mediaeval epic, one of the dead invaders was found to be a woman when her armour was removed.

A few years later followed the most catastrophic of all Scotland's military failures, entirely the fault of its own generals. In 1349 England had been devastated by the Black Death but Scotland had entirely escaped it. The Scots army took the opportunity to attack England; the trophy they brought back from the raid was the plague, and a third of the Scottish people died.

Mons Meg, the enormous cannon kept in the Castle, was for decades the largest gun in Europe. Made in 1486 for James III, it could project a 400 pound ball for two miles. It was a siege weapon, used for battering down castles in the south of Scotland in the reigns of James III and James IV. It burst in 1680 while firing a salute on the arrival of the Duke of York and Albany (blamed at the time on the English gunner deliberately overcharging it), and was taken to London where it stood in the Tower. It was brought back to Edinburgh early in the 19th century. There is an old local rhyme about it, quoted by Robert Chambers in his Popular Rhymes of Scotland:

Powder me well and keep me clean
I'll carry a ball to Peebles green

which overestimates its range about ten times. Mons Meg is a strathspey by G.S. McLennan, published posthumously.

The first battle affecting Edinburgh to be marked in music was the Battle of Flodden in 1513, a total defeat that left the King and most of the aristocracy dead and marked the end of Scotland's capacity to wage aggressive war. The slain were from all over southern Scotland, but the army assembled on the Borough Muir outside Edinburgh and it was in Edinburgh that the aftermath was most felt. The city went on a war footing for decades awaiting the next invasion. The physical relic of the battle is the Flodden Wall, a hastily-erected, flimsy extension of the old city wall; it is still visible in places.

No complete Scots songs about Flodden date from the time of the battle, and the English songs about it in Child's collection have no known tunes. But the lament The Flowres of the Forrest is one of the best-known of all Scottish songs. I've included four tunes. One is the oldest known version, from the Skene Manuscript, which included a few words of the text. The tune may have persisted in the tradition: McDonalds Rant, from the Gairdyn Manuscript of 1723, has the same first half. The Skene MS fragment was rediscovered in the mid-18th century and elaborated into three songs of this title. I've given the first, by Jean Elliot (1727-1805) first published in Edinburgh in 1767 and maybe written twenty years earlier, as it appears in her weirdly-spelt manuscript. The tune was also adapted in many directions during the 18th century; some are operatic-sounding song airs, The Flowers of the Forrest is an almost unrecognizably complex version with variations from Oswald's Caledonian Pocket Companion, and Flowers of the Forest - A Reel is a three-part version from the Gillespie fiddle MS of 1768. There is a superstition of the present day that it should never be played except outdoors at funerals. Since the Skene Manuscript was for the mandour, a gut-strung miniature lute which sounded like a ukelele and an indoor-only instrument if ever there was one, this tradition can't go back very far.

Dolly Howard is a 9/8 pipe jig adapted for the piano from a manuscript of Lady John Scott's. Her improbable yarn about it goes:

This tune I learned from Peggy Ridpath who says it is a small part of Dolly Howard a long piece of music played by Lady Howard to James IV on the day of Flodden field. This music so charmed the King that he delayed and waited his time listening to it & in consequence (so she says) of his trifling lost the battle. Dolly Howard was Lady Heron's maiden name.

She says it was once part of a much longer set, mostly lost, handed down by a family of Border musicians. Since the tune's style is that of the late 17th century, it seems to me that a more likely subject for it was Dorothy Howard, maid of honour to the Queen in the reign of Charles II, satirized by the Earl of Rochester:

Doll Howard no longer with 's Highness must range,
And therefore is proffered this civil exchange;
Her teeth being rotten, she smells best below,
And needs must be fitted for Signior Dildo.

Flodden Field is from Platts' Popular and Original Dances, published in London early in the 19th century. I can't imagine why this tinkly little tune was given that title.

The next generation saw no external war, but a bloody civil conflict in the city itself. This was the "Cleanse-the-Causeway" street battle of 1520, when the Earl of Arran and his allies the Hamiltons challenged the authority of the Duke of Albany, who was Regent for the child King James V. At the time the Douglases were allied to the Regent, and they defeated the Hamiltons after a street battle that left about a hundred dead. After half a lifetime's wait, the threatened English invasion under Henry VIII finally took place in 1544, with the army of the Earl of Hertford pillaging and burning the monasteries of southern Scotland before briefly occupying Edinburgh itself. There is no musical record of any of this. The next invasion of 1547, under the same general now retitled as the Duke of Somerset, led to the city's worst-ever loss of life in war: the defeat of the Battle of Pinkie at Musselburgh, with 14,000 dead. There is a part-song of the time with words by Alexander Scott, Depairte, depairte (The Lament of the Maister of Erskyn). Erskine was the lover of the widowed Queen Mary of Guise; he died in the battle, and the song is written as if it were a dying monologue addressed to the Queen. I've taken the text directly from the Bannatyne MS of 1568, only expanding a few abbreviations; the music is the four-part setting assembled from separated manuscript sources in Musica Britannica XV: Music of Scotland 1500-1700. It seems to have been a French tune first used in Scotland for a song in Lindsay's Ane Satyr of the Thrie Estaitis in 1540. Scott's words need trimming to fit, since there are only four syllables of music for the first line. There is also an English ballad on the battle, Musselbro Field, only known fron an incomplete copy with no tune which I have taken from Child's collection, and a verse prophecy attributed to Thomas the Rhymer:

At Pinken Cleugh there shall be spilt
Much gentle blood that day;
There shall the bear lose the guilt
And the eagle bear it away.

The anonymous Complaynt of Scotland, written in 1548, compared the English to an Old Testament plague visited on the Scots for their sins:

Ve maye persave for certan, that ve haue bene scurgit vitht al the plagis that ar befor rehersit in the xxviii cheptour of deuteronome, that is to say, vitht pestelens, vitht the sourde, vitht brakkyng doune of our duelling housis, vitht spulze of our cornis and cattel....

The special cause of the scurge that hes affligit us, hes procedit of our disobediens contrar the command of god.

In a passage presented as a prophetic dream, this strange and brilliant writer reported the sea shanties of the English sailors with a precision no folklorist would match for centuries, but again, there is no tune for them.

Neither are there any surviving songs about the smouldering civil war that continued for the next generation, worsened by the interference of England and France. Chemical or biological warfare ended it; the Castle, held by supporters of Mary Queen of Scots, fell when its well was poisoned in 1573. There is a detailed narrative poem about the siege, but it could not have been sung. I have taken the chapter title from this period. Shortly before her death in 1560, the Queen, Mary of Guise, looked from the battlements of the Castle towards a line of naked corpses of English soldiery laid out for her on the ramparts of Leith after a skirmish, "hopped with mirth", and said:

Yonder is the fairest tapestry that ever I saw; I would that the whole fields between me and them were strewn with the same stuff.

Through the reign of James VI, Edinburgh often experienced riot and conspiracy, but never full-blown war. When it came again, it was again compounded by external forces; the Scottish struggles over the National Covenant became a sideshow of the English civil war. The bloodiest struggles were the early ones. The Castle was captured by the Covenanters in 1638. The Royalists held it against them in 1640, repeatedly bombarded the city, and finally surrendered from scurvy after 1000 people had died. Cromwell's invasion of 1650 was much less violent. Leslie's March dates from this time. It was more a rallying song than a march as we know it now. Armies rarely if ever marched in step, since there were so few surfaced roads for them to travel on. Marches have got steadily faster with each improvement in road surfacing and baggage transport; to estimate the speed of a Scots march before the roads of General Wade, try struggling across a ploughed field with a heavy rucksack and something the weight of a musket. The tune was adopted by the Edinburgh Regiment, which was raised in a few hours in 1689 as the Earl of Leven's Regiment to fight in the Jacobite counter-rebellion; its first act was to seize the Parliament House. After the victory at Killiecrankie in 1689 they were given the right to recruit in the streets of Edinburgh by beat of drum without consulting the Lord Provost. It was hastily re-formed in 1745 to become Sempill's Regiment, which fought with the Hanoverians at Culloden. The council withdraw their right to recruit in a dispute of 1782, so they changed their name to the Sussex Regiment in retaliation. They later became the King's Own Scottish Borderers, and still use this tune as their regimental march. It was popular as an instrumental piece in the 18th century; soldiers sang it as Dugald Macfarlane. I've taken it from a collection of the 1780s by Aird. The words had many variants, particularly after Hogg popularized it in his Jacobite Relics; with the almost equally old Fusiliers' March added to make its third and fourth sections, it became Blue Bonnets Over the Border.

The Royal Scots are the regular Army regiment most closely linked with Edinburgh, though they took a long time to settle. Their origins are with Scots mercenary archers fighting for the French in the Middle Ages; for centuries before there was any regular army in Scotland itself, Scots soldiers served all over Europe. In the religious wars of the 17th century, a tune called The Scots March became famous wherever they went. It has not been found in any British source, and has been a source of some bafflement to historians of Scottish military music. H.G Farmer believed it to be The Scots Marche, in Elizabeth Rogers' Virginal Book of 1656. Another possibility is that it was , printed in Amsterdam in Estienne Roger's Oude en Nieuwe Hollantse Boeren Lietjes en Contredansen of 1700-1716. To me, it makes a lot more sense to look for a copy of it in the Netherlands, where the Scots mercenaries marched to it, than in Scotland or England where they didn't. Descriptions of the tune at a review before Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden early in the 17th century, and in Pepys's diary for 30 June 1667, mention the drumming rather than the melody; unfortunately no manual of drum beatings of the period survives. Grose, in his Antiquities of Scotland from the 1790s, also emphasized the beating, and said there was a soldiers' tradition that it was first composed for James V's troops going from Edinburgh to the abortive siege of Tantallon Castle in 1527, with the words "Ding down Tantallon". But those words could fit almost anything, and soldiers' traditions are not noted for historical accuracy.

The modern Royal Scots were set up by Sir John Hepburn in 1633 but were not finally based in Britain, answerable only to British commanders, until 1678. Tradition has it that they adopted Dumbarton's Drums as their regimental march late in the 17th century in honour of their commander George Douglas, Earl of Dumbarton, but there seems to be no evidence for this; the song is traceable back that far, but its use as a march seems to date from the 19th century. It was first printed in England in Playford's Apollo's Banquet of 1687 as A Scotch Tune. I've given three versions of the music. In Margaret Sinkler's manuscript of 1710, it's called I served a hansom lady; the seocond is from Barsanti's collection of 1742; and the third is a pipe setting from a manuscript of 1911, brilliantly convincing but so heavily adapted for the pipes as to be unrecognizable. The text here is the oldest, the one Allan Ramsay published. No soldiers of any town or time could have sung words so genteel; if there ever was a real soldiers' song to this tune it went unrecorded.

The Royal Scots March comes from the third volume of James Aird's collection, from about 1790. A tune I have not yet traced a copy of is Pontius Pilate's Maggot from Walsh's Caledonian Country Dances. Its title must allude to a tradition, originally about the Edinburgh Town Guard, which has become attached to the Royal Scots: that Edinburgh had a town police force before the birth of Christ, and that three of them joined the Roman army, were sent to Palestine to serve under Pontius Pilate (supposed to have been born at Fortingall in Perthshire), and attended the Crucifixion. The tradition in the Royal Scots is that a Picard officer taunted one of theirs with this in 1562, and the Scot replied that if his regiment had had the job of guarding the tomb they'd have done it right and there'd never have been a Resurrection. So the regiment got the nickname "Pontius Pilate's Bodyguard". A "maggot" is an old word for a dance tune - no specific kind of dance seems to be meant. The Liberton Polka is the march of D Company of the Royal Scots. It's a composite of two tunes: the first two parts were formerly Miss Captain Menzies, and the last two The Kilberry Ball by Robert Meldrum, also known as the song I Have a Bonnet Trimmed with Blue and later as Hanging on the old barbed wire from the trenches of World War I. The version here is from the Royal Scots' regimental tunebook, minus their setting.

The overthrow of James VII in 1688 led to the first of the Jacobite risings the following year. In March 1689, the Convention of the Estates met in Edinburgh to organize transfer of power to King William. John Graham of Claverhouse (Viscount Dundee), who had spent the previous ten years running a savage campaign of repression against the Covenanters under the last two Stuart kings, refused to recognize their authority and left the city with a group of 60 horsemen to muster the Jacobite forces in the north of Scotland. The Jacobite army won a bloody and complete victory at the Battle of Killiecrankie in July, but Claverhouse was killed there, and without a leader, their campaign petered out as a looting expedition in the south-west Highlands. Walter Scott's song To The Lords of Convention, also known as Bonny Dundee, depicts the moment of Claverhouse's departure from Edinburgh. Its tune is of unknown origin. G.F. Graham, writing at the end of the nineteenth century, says that it was known around 1850 as The band in the distance. and was a popular piece for ladies to play on the piano, starting very quietly, building to a crescendo to represent the band approaching, and then fading away; the tune and words being first put together by a celebrated contralto on a visit to Scotland. But he doesn't say who she was or give any dates. The old tune Bonnie Dundee, which dates to before Claverhouse was born, also fits Scott's text, and seems to have been the tune Scott originally had in mind; the song was sung by his circle of friends immediately after he wrote it, which was long before the modern tune was in use.

The 1715 Jacobite rising under the Earl of Mar, far larger than the better-known 1745 one, and closer to success for a time, seems to have left no local Edinburgh songs. It set a pattern of military incompetence on both sides that was to mark the rest of the century. The Jacobites made a ludicrously bungled attack on the Castle, apprehended even before they had the chance to find out that their scaling ladders were too short to reach the parapet. The Hanoverians followed this by raising a volunteer force armed with rusty antiques. This unit promptly evaporated when asked to fight in earnest against the enemy holding Leith. The rising is best remembered in song by the hilarious Battle of Sheriffmuir, an accurate picture of a battle where the generals on both sides threw away chances of complete victory and both retreated without ever figuring out who'd won.

The 1745 rebellion was one of Edinburgh's less eventful wars. The city fell without a fight, only the Castle holding out through the entire occupation. There was no building of fortifications and the only fighting was sporadic bombardment from the Castle. The city had divided loyalties: for the most part the Jacobites were drawn from the old aristocracy, but many families had supporters of both sides. For the common people, the choice between victory for Stuart England and victory for Hanoverian England could hardly matter, and even the rich seem not to have taken it all very seriously. Prominent Hanoverians quietly retired to the countryside and waited for the storm to blow over, while the Jacobites' aristocratic followers tended to confuse armed struggle with making a fashion statement. The Kirk might have feared another Stuart regime given its seventeenth-century experience, but never attempted to organize real resistance; it was too cowed from its recent defeat over the Porteous riots to try, and simply had its followers stay away from church while the Jacobites were in the city. Lord Provost Drummond only got round to raising a regiment of 400 volunteers when the Jacobites were already encamped under Arthur's Seat and the Prince had sent a letter to the city threatening all-out massacre:

if any opposition be made to us, we cannot answer for the consequences, being firmly resolved at any rate to enter the city; and in that case if any of the inhabitants are found in arms against us, they must not expect to be treated as prisoners of war.

The Town Council debated for hours about whether it was treason to open and read the letter. When they finally got the message, Drummond made the right speeches:

If you are willing to risk your lives in the defence of the capital of Scotland, and the honour of your country, I am ready to lead you to the field.

But without any clear orders, most of them thought that any action would be urban warfare inside the walls. When marched out to take on a far larger and better-equipped force, they deserted, and as a 19th century historian put it:

the remnant of No 1 Company marched back to the Lawnmarket, where, in the interval, an exciting but rather ludicrous scene was being enacted. The ranks of the volunteers were completely broken up, and a confused assemblage of wives, sweethearts, fathers, mothers, sisters and brothers were embracing and tearfully entreating them to return to their homes. All the windows in the neighbourhood were thronged with spectators of this singular scene, while many of the fair sex were convulsed with laughter. It has been asserted, let us hope without foundation, that some of the irate and ungallant volunteers discharged their muskets at these laughter-loving beauties. We are not told what was the immediate effect of the appeals of domestic affection; but it is certain that, shortly afterwards, the whole body marched to the Castle, and delivered up their arms to the general commanding the garrison.

There was an election in the offing, and one of Drummond's contemporaries wrote:

they knew Mr Drummond perfectly well, and could assure them that he did not intend to fight the rebel army, but that his real intention was to make himself popular on the eve of an election, by shewing extraordinary zeal for the defence of the city.

As David Hume wrote in an anonymous pamphlet of 1747, resistance was impractical. Most of the forces the city could call on were untrained and ill-equipped, with the few effective units hopelessly outnumbered, and any serious attempt at urban guerrilla tactics would have sent the whole city up in flames. His sardonic alternative proposal was:

I remember Cardinal de Retz says, that a great Prince made very merry with the new levied Troops of Paris, during the Civil Wars; and when he mentioned the Defence that might be expected from the City against the King's Troops, usually called it, La Guerre des pots de chambre, The War of the Chamber-pots. As it is well known, that a Chamber-pot is a very formidable Machine in Edinburgh, I wonder it has not been comprized among Provost Stewart's Forces...

Most men in the city able and willing to fight did so with Sempill's Regiment, much later and only when the outcome was inevitable.

Macdonald of Clanranald was one of the clans that accompanied Charles Edward Stuart on his way to Edinburgh, providing 250 of his 2000 men. The aggressive pibroch Clan Ranald's March to Edinburgh was printed in the first published collection of Highland tunes, the fiddle transcriptions Ancient Scottish Music by the dance music composer Daniel Dow (1732-1783). It isn't really a march, because Highland armies were even less likely than Lowland ones to march in step at the time; instead it's a kind of rallying call. Rather than use Dow's version, which is a fiddler's idea of pipe music and in places impossible on the pipes, I've given one from a 19th century piper's manuscript in the possession of G.S. McLennan.

There are hundreds of Jacobite songs, but few have much to say about the Prince's sojourn in Edinburgh. A booklet of verse in his honour was published during his stay, but none of it is singable. The Keel Row probably is a local product of folk tradition. It's a Jacobite adaptation of an older children's song from Newcastle, where a "keel" was a local type of boat; the Jacobite flower symbols introduced in the last two verses break the three-plus-one repetition pattern. A version from Dean Village was more concerned with the local mill than with either ships or princes: "weel may the wheel row". The words here are from Hogg's Jacobite Relics. The tune is best-known as a schottische, but I've given two other versions: the first is from Joseph Crawhall's Tunes for the Northumbrian Small Pipes, Violin or Flute published in Newcastle in 1877, and the other a setting as a reel, from the Brysson/Sharpe manuscript, which adds two additional parts, vaguely resembling The High Road to Linton, to those of the song. Charlie Ye are Welcome, a chirpy song giving a musical setting to Charles's threat to exterminate his enemies, is from long after the event; the copy I've given comes from a manuscript in the Scottish Catholic Archives.

The most famous of all Jacobite songs is Johnnie Cope, for which I've given three versions, all taken from the anonymous Jacobite Minstrelsy published in Glasgow in 1829. The first version of this much-varied song was by Alexander Skirving (1719-1803). It was itself a parody of a song called Fy to the Hills in the Morning which seems not to have survived; the refrain "Gang to the coals in the morning" suggests a mining song - Prestonpans, the site of the battle, was in the middle of Scotland's largest mining district in 1745. I have also included an early variation set on the tune, by Charles Maclean, from the posthumous publication of his music by Neil Stewart in 1773. The story is well-known; Cope stationed his Hanoverian forces along the horse-drawn-railway line serving the Prestonpans industrial complex in the hope that the surrounding swamps would slow down any advance by the Jacobites, but was overwhelmed in a dawn attack. Cope was an experienced soldier, not given to panic or silly mistakes, and recent military historians have argued that the outcome was inevitable given the balance of the forces; all Cope could do was choose where to be defeated. But arrrogance, stupidity and cowardice make for a better song.

One of the units of the Jacobite army that left the city to invade England was an "Edinburgh Regiment", at 200 men much smaller than a real regiment and with hardly any of its soldiers from Edinburgh. Its commander was John Roy Stuart, a military adventurer who had joined Charles Edward in France after being dismissed from the British Army. I've given two versions of the tune John Roy Stewart. The first is a strathspey for the flute published by Nathaniel Gow in 1812; the second is from Angus Mackay's The Piper's Assistant.

The Hanoverian side is also commemorated in music. Mark Ker (bapt.1676-d.1752) became governor of Edinburgh Castle (a sinecure post) in 1745 and got the credit for defending it against Prince Charlie's army. Lord Mark Ker's Minuet was first published in F for the treble recorder by Rutherford in 1750; the version here is transposed to D, from Gillespie's fiddle manuscript of 1768.

The aftermath left the city without a government and the Jacobite wounded abandoned to their enemies. So the homes of rich Jacobites like the Duke of Perth were thoroughly looted, and the mob beat up the hospitalized Highlanders in revenge for the city's losses at the Battle of Prestonpans. The Duke of Cumberland was not impressed. When he arrived he first meant to change the capital of Scotland to Glasgow, which had shown itself more dependably Whig. Edinburgh can pride itself on its record in this more than usually senseless war; it was nothing but a encumbrance to both sides. Drummond's posturing paid off; Cumberland sent his election opponent Provost Stuart to London, where he was held prisoner for fourteen months before being acquitted of official misconduct.

The most serious military threat to Edinburgh in all the centuries after the English invasions of the 1540s, and the one that inspired the most music, was from America. A raiding expedition by John Paul Jones' largely French-armed US Navy entered the Forth in September 1779 to bombard Leith and set fire to its shipping, or maybe to extort a ransom for not bombarding it. His fleet was well-armed enough to wreak more destruction than the Luftwaffe ever managed. They got as far west as Inchkeith before being driven out to sea by high winds; fortunate since the port had no good heavy guns to defend it and the authorities' fatuous response was simply to hand out small arms to the local militia. Another Song on Paul Jones is a not-very-inspired piece of instant reportage from the Southsea manuscripts later collected in the Roxburghe Ballads of the 1880s. It goes to the old tune for Jack Hall or Sam Hall, a monologue by a criminal facing execution; this tune had been used for a gloating anti-Jacobite song of 1746 which was adapted by Burns for his Ye Jacobites by Name, and had a subsequent international career as an Irish polemic about the potato famine and as an American shape-note hymn; the version I've given is the way I know it, which I can't trace to any one source. I've left out the last three verses, which concern Jones's exploits elsewhere.

The French Squadron, also from the Roxburghe collection, is one of the many Scottish topical songs to use the tune of Sheriffmuir; it was often chosen to imply a parallel with that inconclusive, unheroic and pointless battle. Woolpacks had been used as makeshift barricades in Edinburgh before, in 1689 and 1715.

An even less heroic picture of Edinburgh's response to Paul Jones is Oh Wow, Margret, which I have taken from a manuscript of 1817 by the lawyer-antiquarian Robert Pitcairn, best known for his vast and ghoulish three-volume monument to blood and bigotry, Ancient Criminal Trials of Scotland. A shorter version of the song was collected by David Herd at the time of the attack. The allusions to "Marr's year" are to the Jacobite revolt of 1715 and again to the battle of Sheriffmuir. C.K. Sharpe wrote to James Maidment that the song was older and had been adapted to the occasion - his great-aunt had sung it as a young girl before Paul Jones was born. The tune is the old song We're a' Noddin, also known as How are ye, kimmer, which I have given in two versions, from the Scots Musical Museum and from Allan's collection of song arrangements for piano of the late 19th century; neither fits without a few minor adjustments. This song was widely sung in Edinburgh on two later occasions; a few months later during the anti-Catholic riots, and during the invasion panics of the Napoleonic War. "Lung" doesn't rhyme and "behind" is also more anatomically plausible.

The most pointed song of the time about the American raids came from England, with the administration of Lord North, Grafton and the Earl of Sandwich in mind. It started with the usual patriotic condemnation of Jones and the French, but added the punchline:

How happy for England, would Fortune but sweep
At once all her treacherous foes to the deep!
For the land under burthens most bitterly groans
To get rid of some that are worse than Paul Jones.

Paul Jones is a jig from Sharpe of Hoddom's manuscript; its untraditional style, odd key and wide range suggest that it's no older than Jones' time.

In the Garb of Old Gaul is the best-known of many marches by General John Reid (1721-1807), an enthusiastic amateur musician. Reid's instrument was the flute, and this tune, published in his Minuets and Marches of 1770, was probably intended for fife-and-drum band; while it is often now played on the bagpipes, it needs drastic surgery to fit them. The words are by Sir Harry Erskine (d.1769), a relative of the Sinclairs of Roslin and commander of the Royal Scots from 1762 to 1765. Supposedly they are based on a lost Gaelic original by a soldier of the Black Watch, which Reid served in for 20 years; people who heard and understood both said that the Gaelic version was better (which would not be saying much). The Black Watch used the tune as their regimental march at least until they abandoned the fife for the pipes in 1816, and it is still used as the slow march of the Royal Scots. I have chosen what seems to be the earlier of the two versions, as it appears in the Brysson/Sharpe manuscript. It's mainly aimed at the Jacobites and slightly less tub-thumping than the more familiar one directed at the French. The tune is taken from the earliest printed copy of the later version. The later one has a chorus that scans better:

Such our love of liberty, our country and our laws,
That like our Ancestors of old, we stand by Freedoms cause,
We'll bravely fight like Heroes bold for honour & applause;
And defy the French with all their art to alter our laws.

"The garb of old Gaul" meant the kilt. This was one of the earliest songs to use it as a national political symbol of Scotland, and it's an anti-Jacobite piece. So much for one pillar of the Scottish tourist industry.

This march was immensely popular in the subsequent 100 years. Later printed versions sometimes omitted its attacks on the Jacobites and wrote "our foes" for "the French" as alliances shifted. It was parodized for an incredible range of causes, nearly always in doggerel even direr than the original, like the Mason Song in a broadside of 1821, by the wisely anonymous "Brother of the Lodge of St Luke, Edinburgh":

In the dress of Free Masons, fit garments for Jove,
With the strongest attachment, true brotherly love,
We now are assembl'd, all jovial and free,
For who are so wise, and so happy as we!

And since we're bound, by secrecy, to unity and love,
Let us, like Brethren, faithful to ev'ry Brother prove;
Thus, hand in hand, let's firmly stand, all Masons, in a ring,
Protectors of our native land, the Craft, and the King...

I have included one of the earliest of these doggerel spinoffs, The North-Highland Volunteers, a patriotically anti-American song of 1776. (As the Americans themselves learned, "Liberty" is a great slogan to use when you're trying to crush another country's autonomy). Colonel Reid's March has probably not been published before. It comes from the manuscript book of a Miss Nairne from St Andrews, dating from Reid's lifetime, which is currently in Perth Library. It is not clear if it's by Reid, or dedicated to him and written in an imitation of his style.

Reid died childless and left his fortune to establish the music school at Edinburgh University, which later appointed a series of notorious drunks, fools and academic timeservers to the professorship for most of the 19th century and usually ignored the modest conditions Reid put in his will; he wanted some of his music, including In the Garb of Old Gaul, to be featured in an annual concert. It does sometimes take place now, but in recent years the university has been attempting to shut down its music department entirely.

Lord Adam Gordon (1726?-1801) was commander of the forces in Scotland from 1782 to 1798, and governor of Edinburgh Castle at the end of that period. His early career also involved the American colonies: in 1766 he was entrusted with a list of their grievances to pass on to the British Government, which he did to no effect. According to Kay, he died "in consequence of inflammation produced by drinking lemonade while over-heated", a mythical health risk that survived in British folklore until recent times; my mother used to warn me about it. Lord Adam Gordon's Reel was published by Thomas Skillern in 1780. His wife Jean Drummond was the subject of one of the most popular songs of the time: For Lack of Gold She Left Me, written by the physician Dr Austen after she dumped him in 1749 to marry her first husband the Duke of Athole.

Military recruitment in the late 18th century was stratified by class. The more privileged classes were permitted to join units that were guaranteed not to be sent overseas. There were two grades of these, the semi-professional Fencibles raised by large landowners, confined to Scotland, and the more prestigious Volunteers, raised by councils and confined to their local county. There was no regular standing army in Scotland between the time of the 1745 rising and the late 1790s; such an army was then called the militia, and its soldiers could be sent anywhere. When the Government tried to reinstate it by a conscription ballot, the result was systematic resistance; town records were destroyed to make potential recruits harder to trace. This opposition was only suppressed by extreme violence, like the random killings of the Massacre of Tranent in 1797.

The rush to join the limited-service units was always described by their officers and patrons as a show of patriotic zeal, but the recruitment advertising shows that the zeal only went so far; it uses more space saying what the recruits would not be expected to do than what they would. The lawyers, merchants and tradesmen who spent a few hours a week drilling on the links or a few weeks a year on patrol in the Highlands considered that as patriotism enough, without going to be shot at by the Americans or to rot away with tropical disease in India or the Caribbean. And of course the uniforms were sexy. The more elite the unit, the less danger it was exposed to and the more music was written for it.

The reel The Duke of Buccleuch and his Fencibles is from a collection of Joshua Campbell's. The Hopetoun Fencibles' Farewell to the Camp at Don Links was published in a collection of 1802 by Stewart Lewis, author of the most familiar version of the song Helen of Kirkconnell. The tune is Bonny Dundee; this was also known as Mary of Castlecary, and I've given a tune of that title, from Allan's 110 Songs of Scotland Without Words of the late 19th century. As wartime sufferings go, what Lewis endured hardly reads as the stuff of epic. With no discernible aspirations to a military career and even less patriotism, his sole reason for joining up was poverty; he created for himself the quasi-mediaeval post of bard to the regiment, writing lyrics for the officers on commission. The Hopetoun Fencibles were founded by Sir John Hope in 1793 and lasted until 1798. The most memorable things that happened to them were an attempt by the British Convention to propagandize peace and republicanism among their members in 1793 and the discovery in 1794 that one of their soldiers, John Nicolson, was really a woman, Jean Clark. One of their officers was Francis, 7th Lord Napier of Merchiston (1758-1823), who later laid the foundation stone of Edinburgh University in his capacity as Grand Master Mason of Scotland.

The name "Volunteers" was applied to a series of different forces. The first was a short-lived regiment of 1000 men raised in 1778 in response to the American War of Independence, which seems to have done nothing at all except parading and spending thousands of pounds of public, guild and private money while at the same time underpaying its ordinary soldiers so badly that many of their wives and families were left destitute. The dramatic reel of 1788 by the Glasgow composer Joshua Campbell, The Royal Edinburgh Volunteers, must be dedicated to this force. It's very similar both to Lord Kelly's Reel (which is probably its original) and The New Cross Well.

A more significant force was a Home Guard raised in the 1790s; the Arming Act of April 1794 emphasizes their role in defending Britain against the threat of invasion by France, but the Declaration that inaugurated the Edinburgh Volunteers on 26 September leaves no doubt of their real purpose, which was to be a counter-revolutionary vigilante force:

We reprobate the doctrine of universal suffrage, and Jacobin or French political principles. We disapprove of all those societies which have been formed, and those meetings which have been held in Britain, during these two last years, under the title Friends of the People, British Convention, and similar appelations; and we oblige ourselves to prevent, by all lawful means in our power, such Societies from being formed, and such meetings from being held in future, and use our endeavours to counteract the efforts of those who, either avowedly, or under the pretext of Parliamentary Reform, endeavour to subvert the British Constitution.

Robert Watt, of the Friends of the People, was already in prison and was executed for high treason in Edinburgh a few days later; the minister presiding over his death was Principal George Baird of Edinburgh University, who was also chaplain of the Volunteers. Baird's prayer at the reception of the colours, also on the 26th, echoed the Declaration so closely as to suggest he helped write it:

We bewail the delusion of some fellow-subjects, who have been seduced to wish, on speculative grounds, the hazard of extensive innovation in that Constitution to which this legal liberty is owing. - Enlighten and reclaim them. Do thou defend us against those domestic foes, who seek to dig the secret mine, and to accumulate materials of evil, whose explosion would convulse and desolate the kingdom.

There were 700 members of the Edinburgh Volunteers at their inception; smaller brigades were formed in Leith and other surrounding towns, some 30,000 men in the whole of Scotland. The first group of Volunteers to go into action were those of Perth, used to put down a riot in 1795; the most serious revolt in Edinburgh that year was the naval mutiny in Leith Roads in October, which the Volunteers could hardly have done anything about. The Edinburgh Volunteers were called out to quell civil disturbance on a few occasions, though never against heavy opposition; they broke up a meal riot in the Pleasance in 1800 and guarded meal dealers' shops in the aftermath.

Many songs - many whole books of songs - were written for the Volunteers. These verses from a song for the Second Regiment are typical, to the tune of O'er the hills and far awa. It must have had the French shaking in their shoes:

Arise and let us now repair
And go away to Heriot's Green,
The sun doth shine, the day is fair,
To see the Volunteers convene.
Assembled for their country's weel,
And Britain's right for to assert,
All honest fellows, true and leel,
They come to learn the soldier's art...

We don't expect they'll us invade
Or ever will attempt to land;
On Scotland's coast to make parade,
Or anchors cast in Fortha's strand.
But if they will we'll meet them still;
At Carmagnol's we're not afraid,
To look and face the Gallic race,
That come our country to invade.

The peak of the movement came at Earl Moira's arrival in 1803. Moira had organized volunteer forces before - an Irish regiment in New York in 1778, complete with pipe band - but this was on a far greater scale. There were now 10,000 volunteers in Edinburgh alone, and Moira reviewed them all on Portobello beach before starting a programme of mock battles to train them (in which he had problems persuading local Highlanders to pretend to be defeated). The patriotic fear-mongering finally reached such a pitch that on 31 January 1804 an accidentally lighted invasion-alert beacon started a night of mass panic across all of Britain, with troops rushing across country in the dark searching for nonexistent Frenchmen. This became known as "The Night of the False Alarm". Whether from the let-down after it, or just from boredom with the war, the gentlemen soldiers stopped volunteering. By 1807 the REV had lost half its strength, and the lawyer Bain Whyt, Captain and Adjutant of its First Regiment, was reduced to the desperate plea that became a cliché during World War I:

Let then our Young Men step forward, if they would save themselves from slavery, their Wives, their Sisters and Daughters from violation! Let our Women animate our men. They have much in their power. Let them treat with scorn, let them exclude from their society, every man capable of bearing arms, who does not serve in some Corps or other...

Whyt had founded the Wagering Club in 1775; it met annually, and its theme was bets on the outcome of current events over the coming year, like the outcome of an election, or whether a celebrity would be married or have a child. The club lasted into the twentieth century, far longer than the Volunteers, and still sang this drinking song about him in the 1870s, presumably to the tune of The British Grenadiers:

When haughty Gaul did fiercely crow and threaten sword in hand,
Bain Whyt among the foremost rose to guard our native land;
A soldier good, full armed he stood, for home and country dear,
The pattern of a loyal man, a British volunteer!

A British volunteer, and an adjutant was he!
Then fill the cup, and quaff it up, to him with three times three!

Soon after Whyt's plea, the whole movement was torn apart by recriminations, with the Leith branch disbanding in protest at being sidelined by Edinburgh.

Most musicians and poets of the time had to respond to this frenzy of reactionary patriotism. William Marshall was once offered the command of a company of Volunteers but refused it, pleading pressure of work; he was one of the few composers of the time not to write tunes for them. Burns, displaying his customary confused loyalties and possibly trying to deflect a sedition charge over his pro-democratic writings, helped organize the Dumfries Volunteers and wrote a song in praise of them. Countless marches were written for British Volunteer squads, and I have included a lot of this Volunteer music. While most of it is unoriginal and hardly any is in a Scottish idiom, it does grow on you after you've heard enough of it, and it must have been a large proportion of what was published and heard in public during the period of the French wars; the sheer volume of it I've included here makes a historical point. Much of it exists in two forms: in B flat or E flat for the piano and in D or G for the flute or fife. Military fifes of the time were usually transposing instruments, so these scores would have been played at the same pitch if a gentleman soldier had brought his fife into the drawing room. Usually they were written in pairs of tunes: a slow march in common time and a quickstep in 6/8. The quicksteps were more often in a traditional idiom, and were more durable: some were played for decades as dance tunes.

The Volunteers March is from the Brysson/Sharpe MS of the 1790s; the more interesting Edinburgh Volunteers March was published by Aird. The Edinburgh Volunteers March and Quick Step are by the local composer John Watlen, who also wrote The Leith Volunteers Quick Step, the second half of a "Grand March" which began with a very pianistic slow march that defeated my ability to transcribe it into ABC. Slow March of the Mid-Lothian Volunteer Artillery (with an opening phrase that recalls Macpherson's Farewell) and Quick Step of the M.L.V. Artillery are from an undated printed sheet in the Kidson Collection in Glasgow; while published as piano scores, they must have been meant for a military fife-and-drum band. Composing such marches seems to have been a popular wartime occupation for aristocratic ladies, though only a few of their tunes could ever have been used to march to. I have included one pair, the march and quickstep The Grenadiers March for the Edinburgh Volunteers by Miss Henrietta Elizabeth Hunter, probably written late in the Napoleonic War, from an album of assorted sheets compiled in 1818.

Lord President Hope was in charge of the First Royal Edinburgh Volunteers from their inception in 1794 to their dissolution in 1820. Recruitment must have been made difficult by his fanatical distaste for both tobacco and alcohol; he used to examine would-be soldiers by smelling them for traces of either. Colonel Hope's (of the 1st R.E.V.) Quick Step is by Nathaniel Gow; clearly meant more for the ballroom than the battlefield. General Hope's Quick March is from William Campbell's 24th Book of Country Dances.

J.G.C. Schetky, the cellist-composer friend of Burns, had been trained in Continental Europe and was in his element writing the sort of marches the Volunteers wanted. The Edinburgh Volunteers March and Quick Step is a flute version, sold as a sheet by Neil Stewart. The Right Honorable Henry Dundas's Royal Edinburgh Volunteers March and Quick Step was also published by Stewart. The Royal Edinr. Volunteers Short Troop is also from a single-sheet publication. This version is a two-part one for fifes; it was printed together with one for piano. What it lacks in military aggression it makes up for in Mozartian melodic attractiveness.

Another immigrant musician of the time was the violinist Giuseppe Stabilini, who mainly worked as a performer of Continental art music but was also the composer of a popular Stabilini's Reel. As with Schetky, his own contribution to Volunteer music, New March for the Edinburgh Volunteers, with a Quick Step, sounds as though he didn't quite get the distinction between a war and an opera, but then the men he expected to march to it didn't either.

Volunteers were always organized in groupings that reflected the social groups of the time. Local Highlanders were prominent in these forces in the 19th century, but had their own unit as early as the 1790s. The Edinburgh Royal Highland Volunteers March and Quick Step are by John Mcglashan, perhaps a relative of the celebrated fiddler Alexander "King" McGlashan. Charles Stewart wrote two sets of marches for this force. His first March and Quick Step of the Royal Edinr. Highland Volunteers are given in fife versions; the quickstep is an unusually folk-like modal tune, and sounds more like a reel than a march. His New March and Quick Step of the Royal Edinr. Highland Volunteers from a piano setting, in the usual flat key adopted for keyboard marches. The Loyal Edinburgh Spearmen's March is from John Pringle's Second Collection of Strathspeys, Reel, Jiggs, &c. I've included Pringle's elaborate dynamic indications. The Spearmen were a low-budget version of the Volunteers for small tradesmen and shopkeepers, under the patronage of Earl Moira. They had the same reactionary attitudes as the Volunteers but had no arms or training provided them by the government. They would have been useless against a real foreign enemy, and were never employed against domestic subversives either. They received their colours in August 1805; their Lieutenant-Colonel Commandant was the fashionable surgeon John Bennet, noted for attending at duels. Bennet's previous experience with firearms had not been fortunate, despite his enthusiasm for them. In 1797 an American challenged Bennet himself to a duel; Bennet refused to fight saying the challenger was not a gentleman. So an undoubted gentleman - a crack shot professional army officer who had fought against the Americans in the War of Independence - stepped in and fought in the American's place, wounding Bennet in the shoulder. Three months after taking command, Bennet set his troops another fine example of marksmanship by shooting himself dead on a hunting trip.

The cavalry were the most brutal and fanatical of the British Volunteer forces; their most noted achievement was the Manchester unit's butchery at the Peterloo Massacre in 1819. Two were raised near Edinburgh in 1797: Walter Scott organized the Royal Edinburgh Light Dragoons on his own initiative, using the stables of the riding school in Nicolson Street and exercising their horses in the Botanic Gardens. Scott's unit had its own march by John Watlen, The Rouze of the Royal Edinburgh Light Dragoons, published as a sheet by Neil Stewart. I've given the whole thing as it appears on the original sheet, including the flamboyant obbligato bugle part and Scott's own raving xenophobic text. Scott seldom wrote a poem that was intelligible without footnotes, and this was possibly the only patriotic song ever to need footnotes at its first publication. He later produced a revision with the tartan left out; the original shows that he was aware of tartan-kitsch imagery as an ideological weapon even very early in his career. The teenage C.K. Sharpe was harder to impress. He described Scott in uniform as "the most grotesque spectacle that can be conceived".

The other unit was the Midlothian Yeomanry Cavalry dragoons. In their first year they anticipated Manchester by a generation when they assisted the regular army at the Massacre of Tranent, chasing protesters against conscription into the fields and hacking them down among the crops so their bodies were not found for months and the final death toll was never known. The two regiments merged in 1800. Melville's Horse, written in 1823, is from a book of songs by the historian Patrick Fraser Tytler (1791-1849) for the Edinburgh squadron of the merged unit. Perhaps the only song in human history ever composed in praise of horse farts. I have absolutely no idea what prompted this and I'm not sure I want to know. Tytler knew the tune as When the heart of a man is oppressed with care, from Gay's Beggar's Opera; Gay probably got it from D'Urfey and Playford's Wit and Mirth of 1719, with the first line "Would ye have a young Virgin of fifteen Years". Other songs in the book fill out this picture of the Yeomanry: not so much a military unit as a gentlemen's drinking club with artillery. The one that came nearest to catching on with the wider public was The Deserter, to the tune of The Groves of Blarney, in which Tytler describes trying to duck out of a compulsory drill while on a social visit to his brother in Woodhouselee. I haven't found the version of the tune that Tytler used: the one I've given, from the Roche Collection of Irish music of the early twentieth century, needs a bit of rhythmic twisting.

These yeomanry units were disbanded in 1838, then revived in 1843, presumably to fight the Chartists. Volunteer cavalry regiments called "Yeomanry", including the Lothians and Border Horse, were raised again for the Boer War; unlike the earlier units, these were expected from the start to fight overseas. After 1921 the horses turned into armoured cars and during World War II into tanks. Descendant merged regiments lasted until their abolition in 1967, were briefly revived in 1992 and abolished again in 1999, with no public expressions of regret from anyone that I can remember.

Other Fencible and Volunteer forces, particularly in the Highlands, were not always reliable tools of the state: the Dingwall Volunteers were disbanded after fighting on the crowd's side at a meal riot in 1796, and the Gordon Fencibles mutinied in Edinburgh in 1794 when asked to serve in England.

In 1859, another patriotic panic, about the militarism of Napoleon III, led to the formation of yet more Volunteer corps all over Britain. The Queen's City of Edinburgh Rifle Volunteer Brigades were set up in August of that year, with a similar composition to the earlier force: lawyers, accountants and bankers, with the Lord Provost as honorary colonel. Recruits were generally grouped by profession, but there were exceptions. One company was made up of local Highlanders and wore the kilt until the 1870s. Its march became A Highland Marching Song, and adaptation of Alasdair MacMhaighstir Alasdair's Jacobite song Agus O, Mhórag, with new words by the company's captain, Sheriff Alexander Nicolson, taking 53 grandiose verses to enumerate military engagements by Highland armies from the Romans to the African colonial wars of the 1870s, none of which any of the volunteers had taken part in. The verse form is a Gaelic one: the end of each first line has a matching assonance in the middle of the second. The footnotes are from the original, no song in this genre would be complete without them. Outside the Islamic world, the 16th Company may have been unique in the annals of warfare: a unit made up of teetotalers, with an associated cadet squad of boys who had taken the pledge.

These forces were immediately useful to the army for quite another purpose than their intended one. When the Indian Mutiny broke out, most Scottish regiments were sent to India, and the part-timers were ready to take over undemanding Home Guard tasks like garrisoning the Castle; this was done by the QCERVB's English counterparts.

Virtually none of the 18th century Volunteer music was adopted by their Victorian successors. The Edinburgh Highland Volunteers' Quickstep is by Duncan Campbell (1814-1860), originally from Foss near Loch Tummel. This was his last composition; he died falling off a scaffold. The Edinburgh Volunteers is from Donald MacPhee's A Selection of Music for the Highland Bagpipe (c.1870). As before, platoons of poets and composers jumped on the patriotic bandwagon. A far more skilled poet than Nicholson was Alexander Maclagan, who contributed a booklet of Volunteer Songs in 1863, of which The Rifle Recruiting Call is typical. It was set to music by Maurice Cobham and performed by the band of the 78th Highlanders at a "Grand Military Bazaar" in Edinburgh, but I have not traced the tune.

Predictably, the QCERVB saw much marching in front of royalty and no real action. Its moments of glory were two big parades before Queen Victoria at Holyrood: its first review in 1860 and the other in 1881. The latter became known as the "Wet Review", as torrential rain turned the whole park into a wallow of mud, with volunteers and spectators falling into slithering bedraggled heaps. The final indignity came when the Queen was to press a button switching on electric illuminations in Princes Street; the water caused a short circuit and the main fuse blew, leaving the city as dark as before. The pipe march The Royal Review of Scottish Volunteers, 1881 by D. Bowman was presumably written before the event; it comes from David Glen's collection. The Edinburgh Review Waltzes must have been intended for the social whirl surrounding the 1881 Review. They are by Peter Milne, who by then was too far gone in opium addiction to care about the weather, and were printed in Köhler's Violin Repository of the 1880s.

The QCERVB had a new headquarters built in 1905 at Forrest Hill, and continued to use it after becoming the Territorial wing of the Royal Scots early in the 20th century. The building, behind Sandy Bell's the folk pub, still stands, now used by the computing department of the University of Edinburgh. The pipe reel Forrest Hill relates to that building, often used as a practice hall by the battalion's pipe band; the tune is from the Cowal Collection of competition pipe tunes published in the 1920s. Legend has it that this band was sacked en masse after spending too long in Sandy Bell's one day in the 1970s and went on to become the Scottish Gas band.

As I wrote this section, the Secretary of State for Scotland anticipated asking the Territorials to stop us all from looting if the Millennium Bug plunged Edinburgh into chaos beyond anything Paul Jones could dream of achieving. Historical precedent says they would only have been likely to hit the streets if the Bug had stopped the beer pumps first.

Admiral Duncan was Edinburgh's most notable naval hero, after defeating the Dutch at Camperdown in 1797, the most decisive naval battle of the 18th century. The victory was marked by a huge parade of the Volunteers, carrying Duncan's flag through the streets and round George Square in front of his house. It inspired a flood of commemorative pieces, such as Great News from Camperdown, from Nathaniel Gow's 1797 collection (this gets an oddly mistaken note in Alois Fleischmann's Sources of Irish Traditional Music: "Northumberland, or Forfarshire" - Fleischmann must have been looking for topographical rather than historical associations). Others are Lord Duncan's Flag, also by Nathaniel Gow and taken from the 1819 reprint in The Beauties of Niel Gow, and Lord Duncan's Victory by William Campbell from his New and Favorite Country Dances. But that year had also seen the most determined mutinies the Royal Navy had ever had to contend with. The balladeers rose to the challenge, and produced the inevitable appalling adaptation of The Garb of Old Gaul for the occasion: Britain's Triumph, or the Dutch Well Dressed; A Song Occasioned by Admiral Duncan's Victory over the Dutch, whose chorus tries very hard to forget that British patriotic zeal had sometimes been in short supply:

Britannia still triumphs, still Queen of the Main,
In defiance of Holland, of France and of Spain:
Our DUNCAN has met them, what need we say more,
He has bore Britain's thunder to Holland's sad shore.

With such a zeal in Britain's cause our gallant Crews unite,
Their ancient glory to maintain, to show their country's right,
That foes may mourn in sad despair, but Britain bless the day,
When France, with insolent disdain, threw Peace far away...

During and after the Napoleonic Wars three prisoner of war camps were set up near Penicuik. The first and smallest was Greenlaw, opened in 1803, which could hold 450 prisoners. Esk Mill was the first cotton mill in Scotland, built in 1778; at its peak it employed 500 workers, but failed by 1804. In its new and ill-suited use as the second camp, it was intended to hold more than 2000 prisoners; its first intake was in February 1811. In its first month it took in 2817 men. There was a mass escape on the 19th; 23 men got out, one was shot and ten were recaptured. Then a mass panic broke out on 11 March when the prisoners thought the building was about to collapse; two men were trampled to death. The camp was immediately closed and the prisoners transferred to the third and largest camp, Valleyfield, which could hold 5000. So the powerful Esk Mill, sympathetic to the French prisoners, must have been written during the mere six weeks the camp was open; it was published a few years later, in a broadside of 1820. The tune is The Banks of the Devon, which I have taken from the Scots Musical Museum. It got into Lowland tradition through Burns, who heard it near Inverness as Banarach Donnach Ruidh, in English The Brown Dairymaid (a tune with many variants, from The Streets of Laredo to Norman Maclean's pipe jig Scarce of Tatties). The "Bard" must be William Drummond of Hawthornden (1585-1649). The idea of the tyrant's disturbed sleep had been used the same way a few years before in John Leyden's Sonnet Imitated from the Persic of Sadi, but I don't know if this had been published at the time.

I have added the two signal calls evoked in the song, the Taptoo for getting troops to quarters and the Reveilly for waking them up in the morning; these are from the "Scots Duty", the standard set of signals used in Scottish regiments at the time, abandoned a few years later. They might have been played on bugles but more likely fifes and drums. The copy I've used was found by the Glasgow musicologist H.G. Farmer.

Rommance du prisonnier de Valley-field, by the prisoner François Diot, is from a manuscript collection of the prisoners' writings in the National Library of Scotland. Diot wrote that he'd have a tune for it in a few days, but there is no tune in the files. The one I have chosen, Al Lébat de l'Auroro, is from Languedoc. It was published in a huge French anthology of the early 19th century, Le Clé du Caveau, which organizes tunes by the metrical structure and rhyme scheme of the texts they are sung to; it was built up by a committee over decades, and there's nothing comparable to it for Scots or English song.

In all, 7650 prisoners went through the camps at Penicuik as a result of Britain's 20-year war with France from 1793 onwards. Some died there, a few settled in Scotland. Sympathy for the prisoners was widespread at all levels of society; Earl Moira, as the senior Mason in Britain, sanctioned the creation of four Masonic lodges among them. Some prisoners were not to be fitted into such respectably passive roles: as part of an escape plan, they tried to forge Scottish banknotes using printing stamps carved with craftsmanlike precision out of rabbit bones.

Hey, Great Duke, by Mrs Kennedy, to the tune of Johnny Cope, probably dates from the time of the Reform Bill in the early 1830s, when the Duke of Wellington was one of the least popular politicians in Britain's history. It may not be the most stylish of polemics, but at least it doesn't block the pavement like Edinburgh's other memorial to him does.

The Gory Profession is a Chartist ballad written in 1839 and published in Edinburgh in an understandably anonymous local broadside of seditious verse, The Altar of Liberty, which made it to two issues at least during 1839-40. It was printed by Willam Robinson of Greenside Place, Edinburgh's major publisher of Chartist and anti-Annuity-Tax literature. The tune is the old song Fy let us a' to the Bridal, here taken from its earliest source, Joseph Taylor's A Journey to Edenborough in Scotland of 1705; later versions of it hardly changed. The opening line refers to to phrenology, which was then at its height of popularity. There's a powerful song in there obscured by far too much verbal complication.

General Sir Hector Macdonald became a British, and more particularly Scottish, national hero after the Battle of Omdurman in the colonial war against the Dervishes of the Sudan. He went on to lead the British forces through the Boer War, and was promoted to command the forces in Ceylon. There were rumours of homosexuality throughout the last years of his career, and the Army summoned him to a court martial over an affair with two Sinhalese boys. In March 1903, on his way to London to answer the charges, he shot himself in Paris. The War Office, manipulating his widow, insisted on the quietest possible funeral: at dawn in the Dean Cemetery in Edinburgh. This was nowhere near enough to satisfy the Scottish public. Organizations ranging from the Macdonald clan society to the council of his home town of Dingwall proclaimed loudly that this unceremonious disposal fell far short of what he deserved, with an undercurrent of nationalist feeling that he was being victimized because of his Scottish, Highland, or lower-class origins. The people of Edinburgh agreed: enormous crowds filed past the grave piling it high with flowers, as many as 5000 visitors per hour in the first week of April. (This was the second public celebration of a suicide's death in Edinburgh; Hugh Miller's funeral in 1856 had drawn even bigger crowds). Conspiracy theories began within days of his death, as hinted at darkly in a sonnet by George Barlow published in the Scotsman:

Is it that fiends whose very breath consume
  Watch over, and plan the downfall of the great?
  Who shall explain or fathom this man's fate
Or pierce behind the veil of hell deep gloom?
If only Omdurman had been his tomb:
  Majestic, then, through Fame's most splendid gate
  He would have passed. Huge must have been the hate
Unseen that plotted this most hideous doom.

Dead! - he who never feared a human foe.
  What strange powers wrestled in this soldier's brain?
  What anguish throbbed with an unheard-of pain
Through that proud spirit no sword-stroke could lay low?
  What end had Death and Death's grim hosts to gain,
That such a warrior-soul should perish so?

The accusations were aimed at Macdonald's rival Lord Kitchener and the British military establishment, and some suggested that he had been framed and murdered; an anonymous Scottish-American, perhaps Andrew Carnegie, offered a £10,000 reward for finding out the truth of the matter. Sir Hector's grave site was chosen by his widow to be near the cottage where she lived while he was courting her. It was a place of pilgrimage for old soldiers for decades afterwards, and must still be for some; when I visited it in 1998, I found two newish medal ribbons tied onto the bronze bust of the hero. Scott Skinner's Harp and Claymore collection, published in the year of Sir Hector's death, contains three tunes dedicated to him: the pipe march Sir Hector Macdonald and the laments The Warrior's Grave and Hector the Hero with its text by Thomas McWilliam. Since the original of the last is easily available in fiddle anthologies, I have given the pipe version, whose range makes McWilliam's words singable.

The reign of George V marked the lowest point in Scotland's musical creativity. The part played by Edinburgh soldiers in World War I is commemorated by regimental tunes, but none have any specifically local content. The city's greatest single wartime loss seems to be unmarked by any tune or song: the disaster at Gretna in 1915, when more than 200 young men on their way to the front, all recruited from the same small area of South Leith and Pilrig, along with many of their girlfriends illegally acompanying them, were unrecognizably crushed and burned after their flimsy wooden railway carriages were derailed across the English border. (There was a dismally bad poetic elegy about it, In Memory of the 1/7 Royal Scots, which I have included purely as a historical curiosity). There is also no music to mark Edinburgh's losses at the Battle of the Somme specifically, but there is a beautiful and little-played slow air by G.S. McLennan, Sunset on the Somme, a reflection on the view if the carnage at the end of the day. There is no memorial of any kind to the heaviest loss near the city itself, the "Battle of the Isle of May", when a fleet of ships running at full speed out of the Forth in the dark crashed into each other in an incident kept secret for decades.

Earl Haig, who grew up in Edinburgh and came from the Edinburgh-based whisky dynasty, was one of the few soldiers of the war to be commemorated by name in music. Scott Skinner's "heroic pastoral" for the fiddle, The Laird o' Bemersyde, is one tune dedicated to him; another is the pipe march Earl Haig of Bemerside by James Robertson, published by G.S. MacLennan in the 1920s.

Broughton For Ever, a school song from 1917 "Dedicated to the memory of the teachers, students and pupils who died for their country in the Great War", was written by two Broughton schoolteachers: George Ogilvie the English master and George Hume the music teacher. I can't think of much that's complimentary to say about either the words or the tune. The only Edinburgh song of the war I have found that goes beyond such elegy-by-numbers or jingoistic cliché about German atrocities is An Un-Conscientious Objector, by another music teacher, James Moonie, which comes from one of the verse collections of the social club "The Monks of St Giles". Its tune is The Girl I Left Behind Me, which must be one of the most-reprinted folk tunes in history, so I've given the version I play, which probably comes from something heard on the radio when I was a child in the late Fifties.

The Firth of Flaming Forth is a Royal Air Force song from a sea patrol squadron of World War II, printed in C.H. Ward-Douglas's Airman's Song-Book of 1967. In the introduction he mentions having to eliminate some of the dirty words; which leaves the reader with the difficult task of working out what "flaming" really ought to be. 269 Squadron were based in Fife in October 1939, and spent the rest of the war patrolling the North Atlantic from Iceland and Greenland. The Forth would have looked idyllic from there, so this song must date from the very beginning of the war. The tune is John Brown's Body.

Except for the present-day Territorial Army, the last flicker of the Volunteer idea was the Home Guard of World War II, who until 1940 were called Local Defence Volunteers, or LDV for short, an acronym that was sarcastically reinterpreted at the time as "Look, Duck and Vanish". Whatever may be said about their military effectiveness, their standards of songwriting had not changed much between the 1780s and this parody of A Hundred Pipers from 1943:

The Pentland Hills look braw, look braw,
Wi a hundred Home Guard and Major Shaw,
It disna matter if it's rain or snaw,
He'll teach you to shoot, and a', and a'.

A surprising postscript showed that even in the 1970s the military could still catch the musical imagination of the public. The Royal Scots Dragoons were formed by a merger in 1971. Their inaugural parade at Holyrood featured their new arrangement of the American hymn Amazing Grace; they recorded it one five-minute take at Redford Barracks in Edinburgh, and within months this unlikely hit was in the charts the world over.

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Copyright © 2001, Jack Campin