The Raid of the Kers

Here are some of the words you may find difficult, they go a long way to understanding this wonderful story.

brand = sword

reaved = stolen

beaves = bullocks

pawn = A pledge, Tam Kerr would never pledge himself to anyone other than the Kers but in this case he would go to extremes to ‘get even’ for his losses of horse and men by the Biddleston warden.

a hunder = a hundred

Ony = any

maun – must

clout = cloth

kend = knew

faes = foe 

sark = body-garment worn nearest the skin; in this case a shirt

wight = creature

falchion = a one-handed, single edged sword of  European origin,

reminiscent of a scimitar

daughty = wild

beshrew = To wish evil on; to curse

wean’d = learned

leman = a lover or sweetheart

bwound = the word here is bound,  Mark Ker is pretending to be an Englishman and Hogg inserts a 'w' to suggest an English accent, probably a Northumbrian dialect, s, Mark Kerr seems to get away with it quite well with the Bamburgh yeoman, I think you will agree. Not so convincing where May is concerned, she sees straight through it !

drone = The posteriors, the backside

stotting = bouncing

deil = devil

aince = once

chiel = young man

stoure = battle

wale = the cream, the choicest men in this context

forgather’d = fell in with

buffing = fighting

pock-puddings = In this case the English foe.

growl = howl, which may be a Border version of the ‘Scots’ word, gowl.

dell = A deep wooded hollow

fence = defence

gar = to make or cause (a person, or thing) to do something, in this case

drive the stolen cattle through Coquet Dale.

links = the sandy undulating ground, covered with turf, bent grass, gorse, etc., which is freq. found near the sea-shore on a flat part of the coast

gowd = gold

gear = moveable property

fire flaughts = flashes of lightning, here poetically describing the sparks as the weapons met in combat

haffet = that part of the head above and in front of the ear; the temple, the cheek

dree = to suffer pain

bested = driven

gane = gone

nickit = cut

scouring on = rushing on

gainsaid = spoke up

gall’d = attacked

cleuch = a gorge with steep rocky sides

pour’d = cried out

Note: Anne Stuart was Queen Anne who encouraged the Union of the Parliaments of Scotland and England in 1707