Poetry Corner: The Weavers

fistOn this day, April 1st 1820, the proclamation which sparked the Radical War was distributed around Glasgow. The uprising was led by weavers and commanded a lot of support throughout the west of Scotland. However, the Radicals had been infiltrated by Government agents and the rising was soon quelled, with the ringleaders executed. Scotclans

The Weavers (Robin Watson / Duncan)

But the eighteen-twenty declaration
Will live to show the world our aim
No shield of silence can e’er prevent it
The common rights o’ man proclaim

Fareweel tae you, my ain dear loved ones
My life is pledged to the weavers’ cause
‘Tis better to die in the fight for freedom
Than suffer the hardship of rich men’s laws

Fo all around us are rogues and traitors
Though they be kinsmen of Scottish lords
And in our numbers the king’s own agents
Have sacrificed us to rifle and sword

And no more I’ll see the green banks o’ the Leven
For Australia’s rocky shore I am bound
My sentence is to be transported
And there my weary life to end

And although the hangman’s noose has spared me
It’s cruel comfort my life will be
When I think upon my wife and children
No more, no more again to see

(as sung by Gaberlunzie)


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  1. If it wasna for the weavers, what wad they do? Go neked! A great equalizer.

    The Wark O The Weavers

    by David Shaw (1776 – 1856)

    We’re a met thegither here tae sit an tae crack
    Wi oor glesses in oor hands, an oor wark upon oor back
    For there’s no a trade amang them a’ can either mend or mak
    Gin it wasna for the wark o the weavers.

    If it wasna for the weavers, what wad they do?
    They wadna hae claith made oot o oor woo,
    They wadna hae a coat neither black nor blue
    Gin it wasna for the wark o the weavers

    There’s some folk independent o ither tradesmen’s wark,
    For women need nae barber an dykers need nae clerk
    But there’s no ane o them but needs a coat an a sark
    Na, they canna want the wark o the weavers

    There’s smiths an there’s wrights an there’s mason chiels an a’
    There’s doctors an there’s meenisters an them that live by law
    An oor freens that bide oot ower the sea in Sooth America
    An they a’ need the wark o the weavers

    Oor sodgers an oor sailors, od, we mak them a’ bauld,
    For gin they hadna claes, faith, they couldna fecht for cauld,
    The high an low, the rich an puir – a’body young an auld,
    They a’ need the wark o the weavers

    So the weavin is a trade that never can fail
    Sae lang’s we need ae cloot tae haud anither hale,
    Sae let us a’ be merry ower a bicker o guid ale,
    An drink tae the health o the weavers.

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