The Battle of the Sna' Ba's

O cam ye east or cam ye west,
Or bring ye news to me man?
Or were ye by the College yett,
And did the Battle see man?
I saw the fecht rage fierce and lang,
Till "Shirra Muir" it nearly dang,
While Streets and wa's incessant rang,
Wi duds & thumps, and whacks and lumps,
and dads and dumps, on heads and rumps,
while fire flew frae ilk ee man.

Maybe you'll like that I should sing,
How this affray began, man,
And how it ended on ilk day,
Weel I'll do what I can, man.
Sna' ba's you see being unco rife,
Twixt Nobs and Students rose a strife,
Which ended maist wi' loss o' life,
Baith Lord and Lout got mony a clout,
On's "occiput and frons" to boot,
Whilk means his harran pan, man.

The "Alma Mater" Men were keen
To have revenged ther rout, man,
Sae gathered in the Yard their Host
And fiercely sallied out, man,
Wi Knotty Cuds - now thro' the thrang,
The "Bellum internecivum" ran,
Till nought in Street or Square was gaun,
But crackit banes, and crackit panes,
Frae Ba's and Banes, and Sticks and Stanes,
While some were armed "en [*] flute", man.

Then cam the Provost an' his band,
And read the riot ac', man,
And then he sent for Major Young,
Wi' his "Provost" at his back, man.
And fifty men wi' black Cockades,-
Wi bajonets fixed and leaden wads,
Which quelled the riot-raising lads:
While some were lamed, & some were blamed,
And some were tamed, and others shamed -
Some, Hats and Coats did lack, man.

The Masters they got feared and made,
A speech to mak up Peace, man.
And Young drew off his men, and sae,
Did Stewart the Police, man.
Some o' the lads that wadnae yield,
Marched down the brig wi brand & shield,
But like the heroes o' anither field,-
(Ca'd Waterloo) quite fleyed they grew,
"Sauve qui Peut!" and off they flew,
Like strings o' frightened Geese, man.

Now let us sing, "God save the Queen",
And of this thing tak heed man,
That tho' a dust wi' Sna' begins,
Faith it may end wi lead man.
And this last's the cauldest o' the twa!!
A "Brutum fulmen" frae a ba'
May lead unto "Hors de Combat".
Its owre late, to show regret,
When a broken pate has fixed our fate,
'Mang th' "returns" o' the dead, man.
"Frons-tis", the Forehead.
"Occiput", " Hind part of Head.
"Alma mater", University.
"Bellum internecivum", A War of extermination.
"Arm'd en flute", An equivoque on the word applied to the Arming of certain Ships.
"Sauve qui Peut", Every one look to himself.
"Brutum fulmen", a harmless blow.
"Hors de Combat", Disabled.

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Copyright © 2001, Jack Campin