Dalhousie University Archives

Nova Scotia Ballads

[Page 102]

Maclellan's Son 1

It was on September, the eighteenth day,
Now just attend to what I say,
A gun was heard, a solemn sound,
Like thunder rolling, shook the ground.
The neighbours hastened to the spot
Where they had heard this mournful shot,
And there, in death's cold fetters found
A bleeding victim on the ground.
It's there they saw a man and gun,
Who had this dreadful murder done.
With rolling eyes cast on the ground,
He told the truth to all around.
[Page 103]
“I just picked up this cursed gun ,
To snap it off in careless fun,
When this poor boy with spirit large
Came up the hill and met the charge,
“I did not know the load was in,
Until I saw him droop his chin,
With death-like looks to me did say,
"Britner, you've took my life away!”
“With gracious wonder, strange to tell,
He turned to me and down he fell.
His dying eyes on me did roll,
Just like an arrow pierced my soul.
[Page 104]
“I'll tell you what I'll have you do.
Load this same gun and shoot me too.
I would to God, I too were dead!
Where shall I hide my guilty head!”
“We'll take poor Daniel from his gore,
And lay him on the bar-room floor,
Send for a justice very soon ,
And let the jury fill the room.
They took poor Daniel from his sight
Down to a friend’s to spend the night,
With wringing hands 2 and bitter cries,
They walked the room with streaming eyes.
[Page 105]
The parents of this murdered boy
Had given up all hopes of joy,
To see their son to manhood grown,
Should die by folly not his own
Take warning, all you careless youths,
By these few lines, and speak the truth.
Take warning by MacLellan's son,
Mind how you trifle 3 with a gun.


Maclellan's Son: On April 18 Daniel McLennan is shot accidentally by Tim who claims he was playing carelessly with a gun he did not know was loaded.
Wringing Hands: to show that you are very sad or anxious about a situation but do nothing to improve it
Trifle : to deal with something as if it were of little significance or value
Anonymous. Date: 2014-10-16