Before the King
courtesy Ed Westlake
Clansmen, the peats are burning bright
Sit round them in a ring
And I will tell of that great night
I danced before the king!
For as a dancer in my youth
So great was my renown
The king himself invited me
To visit London town.
My brand new presentation kilt
And ornaments I wore
And with my skein dhu
I rapped upon the door.
Soon I heard a Lord or Duke
come running down the stairs,
And to the keyhole put his mouth
Demanding who was there!
"Open the door I sternly cried
As quickly as you can.
Is this the way that you receive
A Scottish gentleman?"
The door was opened; word went round,
McAllister is here
And with the news, the palace rang
With one tremendous cheer.
The King was sitting on his throne
But down the steps he came.
Immediately the waiting Lord
Pronounced my magic name.
And all the ladies of the court
With pearls and jewels bedecked,
Did blush and tremble as I
Bowed to them with due respect.
Slowly at first with hands on hips
I danced with ease and grace.
Then raised my hands above my head
And swifter grew my pace.
At last no human eye could see
My step so light and quick.
And from the floor great clouds of dust
Came rising fast and thick.
The King was greatly moved,
and shook my hand in friendship true
Alas he said, "Although a king
I cannot dance like you."
And then the gracious queen herself
Came shyly o'er to me
And pinned a medal on my breast
For everyone to see.
Her whisper I shall n'er forget,
Nor how her eyes grew dim.
"Ach, where were you, McAllister,
The day I married him!"