Robert Burns and Culloden

Since the 25th January is Burns Night we thought we’d do a little blog looking into the famous poet and his small connection with Culloden.

Potrait of Robert Burns

Robert Burns travelled with his friend William Nicol from Edinburgh and travelled some 600 miles across Scotland on his ‘Highland Tour’. The trip stopped at sites of historical significance including Killiecrankie and Burns visited Culloden on 6th September 1787. He wrote little in his diary of his time in and around Inverness but his works suggest Culloden may have stayed in his mind.

His poem ‘The Lovely Lass O’ Inverness’ which is believed to have been written during the last three years of Burns’ life alludes to Culloden and there is also ‘The Highland Widows Lament’ which is said to be Burns’ version of a Gaelic lament about Culloden.

The Lovely Lass O’ Inverness

The lovely lass o’ Inverness,
Nae joy nor pleasure can she see;
For, e’en to morn she cries, alas!
And aye the saut tear blin’s her e’e.

Drumossie moor, Drumossie day-
A waefu’ day it was to me!
For there I lost my father dear,
My father dear, and brethren three.

Their winding-sheet the bluidy clay,
Their graves are growin’ green to see;
And by them lies the dearest lad
That ever blest a woman’s e’e!

Now wae to thee, thou cruel lord,
A bluidy man I trow thou be;
For mony a heart thou has made sair,
That ne’er did wrang to thine or thee!

Culloden, Inverness.
Culloden Battlefield

The Highland Widows Lament

Oh I am come to the low Countrie,
Ochon, Ochon, Ochrie!
Without a penny in my purse,
To buy a meal to me.

It was na sae in the Highland hills,
Ochon, Ochon, Ochrie!
Nae woman in the Country wide,
Sae happy was as me.

For then I had a score o’kye,
Ochon, Ochon, Ochrie!
Feeding on you hill sae high,
And giving milk to me.

And there I had three score o’yowes,
Ochon, Ochon, Ochrie!
Skipping on yon bonie knowes,
And casting woo’ to me.

I was the happiest of a’ the Clan,
Sair, sair, may I repine;
For Donald was the brawest man,
And Donald he was mine.

Till Charlie Stewart cam at last,
Sae far to set us free;
My Donald’s arm was wanted then,
For Scotland and for me.

Their waefu’ fate what need I tell,
Right to the wrang did yield;
My Donald and his Country fell,
Upon Culloden field.

Oh I am come to the low Countrie,
Ochon, Ochon, Ochrie!
Nae woman in the warld wide,
Sae wretched now as me.

We felt it only fitting to share these works and hopefully you enjoyed reading them. As always please like, tweet, comment and check out the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum for more information about the famous bard.

All the best, K & D


3 thoughts on “Robert Burns and Culloden

  1. Reblogged this on Put it in Writing and commented:
    As a writer, I’m influenced by the work of many other writers whom I admire. And as a Scottish author, one of the strongest influences on my love of the written word is Scotland’s national bard, Robert Burns. And today sees the annual commemoration of Burns work in Burns Night celebrations not just in cotland but all over the world where Scots or Scotophiles live. I enjoyed this post from the blog of the Culloden Battlefield & Visitor Centre. I hope you do too. I’d never seen the two poems they mention, but how poignant they are. And of course they have particular resonance and relevance for me as regards the subject matter of ‘The Silver Locket’.


  2. Loved this post. I didn’t know these two poignant poems before, I’m ashamed to say, as I consider myself fairly knowledgeable on Burns. I’ve shared the post on my Facebook author pages and on my blog. Thanks! And Slainte for Burns Night.


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