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clan graham society


POETRY

"Murder of Charles I"

BY JAMES GRAHAM
MARQUIS OF MONTROSE

Great good and just! could I but rate
My griefs to thy too rigid fate,
I'd weep the world to such a strain,
As it should deluge once again:
But since thy loud - tongu'd blood demands supplies,
More from Briareus' hands than Argus' eyes,
I'll sing thy obsequies with trumpet sounds,
And write thy epitaph with blood and wounds.


"The Ghost of Bonnie Dundee" (After the Account of Francis Watt)

BY FATHER ANDREW MACDONALD GRAHAM
POET LAUREATE AND SOCIETY BARD

In the year of Sixteen eighty-nine,
In Auld Reekie, in Edinb'rgh Castle,
The Earl of Balcarres was cruelly confined;
For he'd no be an English king's vassal.

'Twas July 27th - quite certain's the date -
He was layin' a-bed i' the nicht,
When a wraithlike hand drew back his drape,
And the Earl saw a wonderfu' sicht.

He saw his auld camrade, the Bonnie Dundee,
Wi' his lang raven locks hangin' doun:
John Graham, as handsome as ony did see,
From the soles of his boots to his croun.

He stood there in silence, yon bonnie Viscount,
Wi' his hand on his richt shoulder blade,
Tae hide - (Balcarres learned from later account) -
The dread wound siller bullet had made.

The boffled Earl called oot distracted
Tae his frien' and unexpected guest,
Yet while this ghostly scene enacted,
Claver'se vanished - (and noo ye'll have guessed):

The verra day and the hour of his callin'
Found Graham in Killiecrankie's Pass,
Where, the battle won, Dundee had fallen:
Both the victor and victim, alas!


"To Doughty Deeds" (A Salute to Robert Graham of Gartmore - 1735-1797)

BY FATHER ANDREW MACDONALD GRAHAM
POET LAUREATE AND SOCIETY BARD

In Graham blood there runs a flood
Of passion pure and poetry:
Montrose, Mentieth, both trod the heath -
Braw bards adorned each moiety.

Montrose, we recall, scorned ambition small,
While Gartmore wrote of doughty deeds;
'Tis yon Robert Graham we seek to acclaim
Ere his mark from our mem'ry recedes.

Hanoverian Nicol, e'er leal, never fickle,
(one of King William's great champions),
Sired in '35 a baby boy blithe,
Born in Flanders Moss in the Grampians.

A cadet was he, so necessity
Made Rab his own fortune-maker:
With alacrity, the lad set to sea
To seek the Isle of Jamaica.

For increase of health in the realm of wealth
Hard work's the best prophylaxis:
There Rab won esteem and, a mere eighteen,
'Came Receiver General of Taxes!

Twelve long years later, his influence greater,
Robert entered politics, namely:
He won his election - with all due affection -
As St. David's Member of Assembly.

Comes a sudden rise in stock: he inherits Ardoch
By the demise of Mr. Bontine;
Now he is a squire of Dumbartonshire:
The new Laird of broad acres green.

Sickness the despot induced our proud Scot
To leave his belov'd Jamaica;
Denying himself for his wife's ill-health:
To Ardoch estates he will take her.

Though proud as a Graham, he must change his name:
As Laird, a Bontine he's become.
A victim of gout, (too much port, no doubt -
Though he claimed he drank nothing but rum!)

Uric acidity has the proclivity
Of making hapless victims groan and writhe.
Although the pain was rigorous, the Laird himself was vigorous:
William Cunninghame was born in '75!

In the year of '87, Robert acts like godly leaven,
Regardless of his adversity;
Proud Academe's protector, Rab's now elected Rector
Of Glasgow's own University.

While hope might seem forlorn, he's ardent for reform
Of Bonnie Scotland's Royal Burghs.
By post chaise or ship he oft makes the trip
To London to tell of their sorrows.

His uncle, the Earl of Glencairn, passed on without leaving a bairn,
And Rab gained Finlaystone in '96.
Traditionally, and once again, he changed his name to Cunninghame:
One could say that he was nominally prolix!

Earning even greater fame, another bore his name:
Robert Bontine Cunninghame Graham.
In passing I refer to that great writer, Don Roberto,
Swashbuckling "Prince of the Pampa," - the same!

Robert Graham of Gartmore has left his mark, for sure,
And "If Doughty Deeds My Ladye Please,"
His endeavors for his nation must bring this acclamation:
"Well done, guid kinsman, rest at ease!


"Foundations"

BY FRANKA ROSE

As the Clan Graham worldwide continues to celebrate the 400th birth year of James Graham, the Great Marquis, in 2012, one fan has expressed a tribute to Montrose by writing a poem.

Franka Rose (1958-), who was born in Sardinia, Italy, and moved to Canada when she was 2 years old, was inspired to write “Foundations” after reading extensively about Montrose’s life.

“History is a love of mine but never have I become as interested in an individual as I have in James Graham, Marquis of Montrose,” explained Franka. “He was many things, a knight, warrior, gentleman, a Lord, kind, generous, husband, father and friend. Many other labels can be attached but mainly he was a man.”

Franka admitted that she first learned about Montrose from “a romance novel—of all things—and it was on the very last page that the author mentioned that James Graham was a real man who fought during the Civil Wars in Scotland and was hung and quartered in 1649. I was immediately drawn to find out who the real Montrose was, as the character in the book was ninety percent fictional.”

She continued, “When I did a bit of research and looked at all that was written about the man, I did not want to read just anyone’s book because there were a few books that were considered fictional. The only two authors I thought worthy of reading. Perhaps there are others but I started with [the book by] the Rev. Dr. George Wishart, (Montrose’s friend) “Memoirs of The Most Renowned James Graham,” published in 1819, and Mark Napier’s “Memoirs of Marquis of Montrose” Volumes I and II), published in 1864. These two books or three gave me everything I could want to find out from beginning as a child (Napier) to end, the real man’s life.”

Read the poem, "Foundations," HERE (downloadable PowerPoint file).