Ye Jacobites By Name


Ye Jacobites by name, give an ear, give an ear, Ye Jacobites by name, give an ear, Ye Jacobites by name, Your fautes I will proclaim, Your doctrines I maun blame, you shall hear. What is Right and what is Wrang, by the law, by the law? What is Right and what is Wrang by the law? What is Right, and what is Wrang? A short sword, and a lang, A weak arm and a strang, for to draw. What makes heroic strife, famed afar, famed afar? What makes heroic strife famed afar? What makes heroic strife? To whet th' assassin's knife, Or hunt a Parent's life, wi' bluidy war? Then let your schemes alone, in the state, in the state, Then let your schemes alone in the state. Then let your schemes alone, Adore the rising sun, And leave a man undone, to his fate.

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David Rintoul

About this work

This is a song by Robert Burns. It was written in 1791 and is read here by David Rintoul.

More about this song

Dating from 1792, 'Ye Jacobites By Name', is possibly a revision for James Johnson's 'Scots Musical Museum', which is based on the English air, entitled Up, Black-nebs [revolutionaries] by Name.

It is thought that the original was an anti-Jacobite tune before Burns reworked it, and it is the Burns version which has endured. With the defeat of the Jacobite army at Culloden in 1746, the direction of the union of England and Scotland was sealed, and this song is a call to the Jacobites, though it is not exactly in praise.

'Your fautes I will proclaim/Your doctrines I maun blame', possibly a criticism of the failure of the Jacobite Rising, led by Bonnie Prince Charlie.

Iain Macdonald

Themes for this song

nationalism jacobitism war

Selected for 20 August

After yesterday's song in praise of Charles Edward Stuart, another Jacobite lyric, this one much more ambivalent and pragmatic. In the end, sentiment alone had got the Stuarts and their sympathisers nowhere. And the leadership of Bonnie Prince Charlie had been calamitous. There were indeed, as Burns the radical Jacobin, told Burns the romantic Jacobite, 'many faults to, proclaim'. And for a revolutionary republican, Royalism would always be problematic, the nostalgia inducing charm of chivalry notwithstanding.

Donny O'Rourke

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