There wasn’t a lot of the Castle left,
A couple of Towers, and Keep,
Most of the walls had fallen in
To a courtyard, full of sheep.
It stood up high on a Scottish hill
Now all enclosed by a farm,
But once there was always blue-blood there,
Brought in by its Highland charm.
It ruled all over the countryside
That it mastered, looking down,
Bolstered by the power of a Laird
With a royal court and a clown,
The Laird was a noble, Ralph McClair,
And his wife, a Lady Ann,
A beauty brought from the Western Isles
But from quite a different clan.
The clown was a kinsman, Rod McBain
Who’d been held from a local feud,
At court he’d been made to entertain
For the peace that his kinsmen sued.
They never ceased to humiliate
McBain for his royal blood,
And dressed him in bells and motley there,
Simply because they could.
From what one knows, as the story goes
When McClair rode far and wide,
Taxing the poorest peasants there
For the sake of his royal pride,
It came one day he returned, they say,
To discover his Lady Ann,
In flagrante delicto in
The arms of a naked man.
The man just happened to be McBain
Who was seized, and his features spoiled,
They ripped the flesh from his back and dropped
Him into a cask of oil,
The oil was heated to boiling point
Till his screams rang out, and loud,
While she was naked, paraded there
In front of the courtyard crowd.
His screams and cries and the lady’s sighs
Ate into the castle walls,
And that they say is the only way
To explain the stonework falls,
A fungus grew in the mortar there
And destroyed the Castle McClair,
And as I say, if you go today
You will see the result right there.
For up on that distant Scottish height
You will see the remains of love,
Especially when the Northern Lights
Light up the sky from above,
For stones still fall from the Towers and Keep,
At night, and in winter rain,
And crash down into the courtyard, but
Sounding like screams of pain.
David Lewis Paget