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Ye Jacobites by Name

[ Roud 5517 ; Robert Burns]

Folk Songs and Ballads of Scotland

Ewan MacColl sang Ye Jacobites by Name in 1962 on his Topic album The Jacobite Rebellions. This track was also included in 1993 on his Topic anthology The Real MacColl. The original album's notes commented:

The air of this song has always been popular in Scotland and is sung to many different songs on many different subjects, but, according to James Hogg, “none of them are Jacobite save this.”

Nigel Denver sang Ye Jacobites by Name in 1964 on his eponymous Decca album Nigel Denver. He noted:

From Hogg's Jacobite Relics. My favourite verse is:

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?

Owen Hand sang Ye Jacobites by Name in 1966 on his Transatlantic album I Loved a Lass. He noted:

A very well known anti-Jacobite song which is reckoned was pieced together by Robert Burns from fragments of an older song.

The Fettlers sang Ye Jacobites in 1980 on their Traditional Sound album Pride of the North.

Eavesdropper sang Ye Jacobites by Name in 1983 on their Greenwich Village album The March Hare.

Isla St Clair sang Ye Jacobites by Name on her 1993 album Inheritance.

Ian F. Benzie sang Ye Jacobites by Name in 1996 on the Linn anthology The Complete Songs of Robert Burns Volume 2.

The Fagans sang Ye Jacobites by Name on their 2002 album Turning Fine. They noted:

Poet Robbie Burns wrote a large number of songs, many of which passed into the Scots tradition. Bob and Margaret [Fagan] first heard this on a 1969 recording by The Johnstones, who learned it from traditional singers in England and Scotland.

An anti-Jacobites song, it reminds us of countless ordinary people who have died in squabbles between aspirants for hereditary monarchies. Monarchists take note!

Eddi Reader sang Ye Jacobites in 2003 on her album The Songs of Robert Burns.

Ray Cooper sang Ye Jacobites by Name in 2010 on his Westpark album Tales of Love War & Death by Hanging.

Varo sang Ye Jacobites by Name in 2020 on their eponymous first album, Varo. They noted:

This popular Scottish song traces its origins to the times of the Jacobite uprisings in Scotland (1688–1746). This version was re-written by Scottish poet Robert Burns in 1791, who turned it into an anti war song.

Lyrics

Varo sing Ye Jacobites by Name

Ye Jacobites by name lend an ear, lend an ear
Ye Jacobites by name lend an ear
Ye Jacobites by name your faults I will proclaim
Your doctrines I must blame, you shall hear, you shall hear
Your doctrines I must blame, you shall hear.

What is right and what is wrong by the law, by the law
What is right and what is wrong by the law
What is right and what is wrong, a short sword and a long
A weak arm and a strong for to draw, for to draw
A weak arm and a strong for to draw.

What makes heroic strife famed afar, famed afar?
What makes heroic strife famed afar?
What makes heroic strife, to whet the assassin’s knife
Or hunt a parent’s life with bloody war, bloody war
Or hunt a parent’s life with bloody war.

Then leave your schemes alone in the state, in the state
Then leave your schemes alone in the state
Then leave your schemes alone, adore the rising sun
And leave a man alone to his fate, to his fate
And leave a man alone to his fate

Ye Jacobites by name lend an ear, lend an ear
Ye Jacobites by name lend an ear
Ye Jacobites by name your faults I will proclaim
Your doctrines I must blame, you shall hear, you shall hear
Your doctrines I must blame, you shall hear

What makes heroic strife famed afar, famed afar?
What makes heroic strife famed afar?
What makes heroic strife, to whet the assassin’s knife
Or hunt a parent’s life with bloody war, bloody war
Or hunt a parent’s life with bloody war.

Links

See also the Mudcat Café article Lyr Add: Ye Jacobites by Name.