Scottish Poetry Selection
- A Kiss of the King's Hand

Glenfinnan Monument

Although this poem was written in 1894 by Sarah Robenson Matheson, long after the 1745 Jacobite Uprising of Bonnie Prince Charlie, it is clear that the king's hand being written about was Prince Charles Edward Stuart.

   A Kiss of the King's Hand

It wasna from a golden throne,
   Or a bower with milk-white roses blown,
But mid the kelp on northern sand
   That I got a kiss of the King's hand.

I durstna raise my een to see
   If he even cared to glance at me;
His princely brow with care was crossed
   For his true men slain and kingdom lost.

Think not his hand was soft and white,
   Or his fingers a' with jewels dight,
Or round his wrists were ruffles grand
   When I got a kiss of the King's hand.

But dearer far to my twa een
   Was the ragged sleeve of red and green
O'er that young weary hand that fain,
   With the guid broadsword, had found its ain.

Farewell for ever, the distance grey
   And the lapping ocean seemed to say -
For him a home in a foreign land.
   And for me one kiss of the King's hand.

Meaning of unusual words:
kelp=large seaweed
durstna=dare not
fain=willing in the circumstances

Return to the Index of Scottish Poetry Selection

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