Verse > Anthologies > T. H. Ward, ed. > The English Poets > Vol. V. Browning to Rupert Brooke
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Thomas Humphry Ward, ed.  The English Poets.  1880–1918.
Vol. V. Browning to Rupert Brooke
 
Ellen M’Jones Aberdeen (from the Bab Ballads)
By William Schwenck Gilbert (1836–1911)
 
MACPHAIRSON CLONGLOCKETTY ANGUS M’CLAN
Was the son of an elderly labouring man.
You’ve guessed him a Scotchman, shrewd reader, at sight,
And p’raps altogether, shrewd reader, you’re right.
 
From the bonnie blue Forth to the hills of Deeside,        5
Round by Dingwall and Wrath to the mouth of the Clyde,
There wasn’t a child or a woman or man
Who could pipe with CLONGLOCKETTY ANGUS M’CLAN.
 
No other could wake such detestable groans,
With reed and with chaunter—with bag and with drones:        10
All day and all night he delighted the chiels
With sniggering pibrochs and jiggety reels.
 
He’d clamber a mountain and squat on the ground,
And the neighbouring maidens would gather around
To list to his pipes and to gaze in his e’en,        15
Especially ELLEN M’JONES ABERDEEN.
 
All loved their M’CLAN, save a Sassenach brute,
Who came to the Highlands to fish and to shoot;
He dressed himself up in a Highlander way,
Though his name it was PATTISON CORBY TORBAY.        20
 
TORBAY had incurred a good deal of expense
To make him a Scotchman in every sense;
But this is a matter, you’ll readily own,
That isn’t a question of tailors alone.
 
A Sassenach chief may be bonily built,        25
He may purchase a sporran, a bonnet, and kilt;
Stick a skean in his hose—wear an acre of stripes—
But he cannot assume an affection for pipes.
 
CLONGLOCKETTY’S pipings all night and all day
Quite frenzied poor PATTISON CORBY TORBAY;        30
The girls were amused at his singular spleen,
Especially ELLEN M’JONES ABERDEEN.
 
“MACPHAIRSON CLONGLOCKETTY ANGUS, my lad,
With pibrochs and reels you are driving me mad;
If you really must play on that cursed affair,        35
My goodness! play something resembling an air.”
 
Boiled over the blood of MACPHAIRSON M’CLAN
The clan of Clonglocketty rose as one man;
For all were enraged at the insult, I ween—
Especially ELLEN M’JONES ABERDEEN.        40
 
“Let’s show,” said M’CLAN, “to this Sassenach loon
That the bagpipes can play him a regular tune.
Let’s see,” said M’CLAN, as he thoughtfully sat,
“‘In My Cottage’ is easy—I’ll practise at that.”
 
He blew at his “Cottage,” and blew with a will,        45
For a year, seven months, and a fortnight, until
(You’ll hardly believe it) M’CLAN, I declare,
Elicited something resembling an air.
 
It was wild—it was fitful—as wild as the breeze—
It wandered about into several keys;        50
It was jerky, spasmodic, and harsh, I’m aware,
But still it distinctly suggested an air.
 
The Sassenach screamed, and the Sassenach danced,
He shrieked in his agony—bellowed and pranced;
And the maidens who gathered rejoiced at the scene,        55
Especially ELLEN M’JONES ABERDEEN.
 
“Hech gather, hech gather, hech gather around;
And fill a’ yer lugs wi’ the exquisite sound.
An air frae the bagpipes—beat that if ye can!
Hurrah for CLONGLOCKETTY ANGUS M’CLAN!”        60
 
The fame of his piping spread over the land:
Respectable widows proposed for his hand,
And maidens came flocking to sit on the green—
Especially ELLEN M’JONES ABERDEEN.
 
One morning the fidgety Sassenach swore        65
He’d stand it no longer—he drew his claymore,
And (this was, I think, in extremely bad taste),
Divided CLONGLOCKETTY close to the waist.
 
Oh! loud were the wailings for ANGUS M’CLAN
Oh! deep was the grief for that excellent man—        70
The maids stood aghast at the horrible scene,
Especially ELLEN M’JONES ABERDEEN.
 
It sorrowed poor PATTISON CORBY TORBAY
To find them “take on” in this serious way,
He pitied the poor little fluttering birds,        75
And solaced their souls with the following words:—
 
“Oh, maidens,” said PATTISON, touching his hat,
“Don’t snivel, my dears, for a fellow like that:
Observe, I’m a very superior man,
A much better fellow than ANGUS M’CLAN.”        80
 
They smiled when he winked and addressed them as “dears,”
And they all of them vowed, as they dried up their tears,
A pleasanter gentleman never was seen—
Especially ELLEN M’JONES ABERDEEN.
 
 
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