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Nursery Rhymes . . . for children.

Type of Poem : Scottish Poems

Title of Poem: McAllister Dances Before the King by D.M. Mackenzie

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!'

Meaning of unusual words:
skein dhu=short knife



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