Scottish Dance in Art Museum
- Artistic Realizations of Scottish Country Dance and Highland Dance -
Pat Batt's Collection of humorous poems on Scottish Country Dancing can be found in the RSCDS London Archives. A favorite is reprinted here:
THE LADIES MAN
I’m a two-sex Scottish Dancer
And may seem rather dim
But I never spend one evening
As a full time her or him
I change my sex from dance to dance,
My corners always alter-
It’s really not surprising I
The old and simple dances
I can manage very nicely,
And I can learn a new dance
And do it most precisely-
But when it comes to next week
I don’t know if I can,
For I learnt it as a woman
And dance it as a man.
And so, you men who have the luck
To stay always the same,
When female gentlemen go wrong
Be sparing with your blame.
I’ll add a postscript to this tale-
One comfort I have got-
When both the women change their sex
It doesn’t show a lot.
The late Derek Haynes devised the 4-couple Strathspey Two Up, Two Down which is published in his ‘The Fifth Carnforth Collection of Scottish Country Dances’ with the footnote: For Pat Batt and all other two-sex Scottish dancers who have to dance on either side of the set. This dance was inspired by Pat’s poem “The Ladies Man”.
This poem is said to have been a favourite of Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother.
McAllister Dances Before the King
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!"