In June 1892, the Earl of Rosebery made certain allegations against ‘a Mr. Elliot of Wolfelee’. Mr. J.T.S. Elliot put a letter in the Scotsman saying that he would challenge ‘an Earl of Rosebery’ to substantiate the statements when he was up in Edinburgh having an eye operation and ‘would be happy to give a Mid-Lothian Primrose a chance of answering a Border Elliot’. As a result of this exchange, the following was written in the style of the Ballad of Wee Jock Elliot.
My name is JTS Elliot
And I am the laird of Wolfelee;
A fig for the Rosebery Earl
Wha’ thinks he daur meddle wi’ me.
I’m ane o’ the auld Border stock
That reived mony an Englishman’s lea
I can fight as my forefather fought.
Sae, wha’ daur meddle wi’ me?
The Rosebery clan are sma’ beer
Compared to us borderers free;
And though he’s an Earl, I’m sure
He’ll rue that he meddled wi’ me.
I care nought for his taunts and his sneers,
Although a braw Earl he be;
I return him his taunt wi’ my jeers —
The cuif shouldna’ meddle wi’ me.
While the flag o’ the Union floats
Unsullied o’er land and o’er sea
I’ll defy all the Rosebery clan
To successfully meddle wi’ me.
As lang as the auld Border clan
O’ the Elliots has root in Wolfelee,
We’ll resent ilka separatist sneer —
Sae wha’ daur meddle wi’ me?
J. Cumming Goodfellow
The New Minstrelsy of the Scottish Borders
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