Half-hanged McNaughton

audio version coming soon

Deep are the woods of wild Prehen
There a ghost strikes fear in men,
Half-Stalks McNaughton, the Raparee
They hanged him high on the gallows tree.

He loved a maid lived in Prehen,
Her father forbade them to meet again.
With the help of a servant he planned at last
To kill the girl’s father as his carriage passed.

A shot rang out through the woods that night
As birds wheeled skywards, a ghastly sight
Met the eyes of McNaughton who then in flight
Cursed himself and the hour he first seen daylight.

He killed his sweetheart by mistake
T’was her father’s life he meant to take.
They captured him and trussed and bound
Marched him to hang in old Lifford Town.

The rope it broke, not once but twice.
By the laws of man you can’t hang thrice.
The people cried, “Let him go free,
Don’t hang him high on the gallows tree.”

He placed the rope around his neck,
A rope so strong it would not break.
“Half-hanged now I ne’er will be.
So hang me high on the gallows tree.”

Now by that name he is known to man,
His ghost it runs down through Prehen.
On a moonlit night you’ll hear his cry,
“On the gallows tree, the gallows tree,
The gallows tree, hang me high.”

by Jim Campbell