BLACK AGNES by Susan Macdonald (verses 1-4, 6-9)
Lady Agnes Randolph, Countess of Dunbar (verses 5 & 10)
First Place, Arkansas Scottish Festival Annual Celtic Poetry Contest, 2017

Black Agnes was a bonnie wench.
The daughter of an earl.
Her heart, it was a warrior's heart.
Her face, it was a pearl.

Black Agnes was a lady fine,
A lady brave and bold.
Her husband was the Laird Dunbar,
A man of rank and gold.

The Earl of Dunbar went to war
to fight King Edward's men.
"Guard well our castle my sweet wife,
Until I'm home again."

"Surrender, Lady Dunbar,"
Lord Salisbury advised.
"King Edward wants this castle.
Give up if you are wise."

"Of Scotland’s King I haud my house,
He pays me meat and fee.
And I will keep my gude auld house
While my house will keep me."

She did not fear the catapults,
Though rocks like rain did fall,
But gave her maids lace handkerchiefs
To dust the castle wall.

"Your brother is my prisoner.
Surrender or he'll hang."
Salisbury's threat made Agnes scoff,
Loud her laughter rang.

"I am my brother's heir at law"
The dark-haired beauty said,
"I'll be Countess of Moray
As soon as he is dead."

She resisted. She persisted.
Five months the siege did last.
Through all the English threats and blows,
Black Agnes she held fast.

"Of Scotland's King I haud my house.
He pays me meat and fee,
And I will keep my gude aud house,
While my house will keep me."