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Laurie McIlvenny was a highlander by birth,
Something of a loner, but a true friend of the earth,
A wondrous child of nature, he was wont to go a-roaming
Across the hills and glens [because he couldn’t find a gloaming]
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He lived a simple life within his sturdy crofter’s house,
He never hunted ptarmigan or wild pig or grouse,
For though the people knew him as a man of little words,
They knew his love for all the little animals and birds.
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‘Twas in the eighteen thirties when these strange events occurred,
The reigning monarch of the time was mad old George the Third,
And every August, he would come and stay up in Balmoral,
Shooting ducks and catching fish and other things immoral.
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Among the Georgian retinue, there was a struggling poet,
Illiterate he was, although he tried hard not to show it.
He made up short and snappy rhymes, which pleased His Royal Highness,
Though not being able to write them down was something of a minus.
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This poet waxed so lyrical on footballing events,
Composing many ditties with a passion so intense,
King George the Third would listen, and his eyes would fill with tears,
When he heard the latest exploits of the Royal Engineers.
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One day the King went hunting with his courtiers and servants,
All so keen to hang upon each minuscule observance,
They flattered and competed to perform his every whim,
And rumour had it, someone even wiped his bum for him.
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So off they went a-hunting, through the glens of the estate,
The poet forming in his mind the things he would relate.
The servants scouted on ahead, the grouse flew up on high,
And laughingly the mad old monarch blew them out the sky.
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The poet had a musket too, and fired it with the rest,
Yet very loudly stated that His Majesty was best.
And Georgie Porgie nodded as his servants smiled and flattered,
Which, to all the courtiers, was the only thing that mattered.
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Then suddenly the poet slipped and fell down on his knee,
Clutching the offending joint in writhing agony,
And everybody sympathised with this quite nasty shunt,
For it was clear the poet could not go on with the hunt.
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Now, at this point in time, they were three miles from the castle,
But the poet said he’d go alone and not cause any hassle.
The King said, “Would you like my horse? Your knee is badly twisted.
Or will you take my handyman?” The poet, though, insisted.
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So off the poet hobbled down the fern-strewn mountain track,
A stick to aid his progress and a musket on his back.
The going was straightforward, he had little cause to fear,
When, dead ahead upon the track, he saw a mighty deer.
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It’s antlers stood a metre high, its fur was reddish brown,
The famous Highland Red, it was a deer of great renown,
Sightings of this animal were few and far between,
The last time one was shot was back in eighteen seventeen.
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The poet very slowly sat down on the mountain track,
And carefully removed his trusty musket from his back,
He brought it to his shoulder, and lined up the grazing beast,
Fingers trembling lightly as his nervousness increased.
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Then, who should come along the track, but Laurie McIlvenny,
Or “Laurie of the Silver Foot,” as he was known to many.
He saw the poet and the gun, the unsuspecting deer,
And then the mist descended, and his mind became unclear.
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Very, very sharply came the sound of fist on head,
And as the stag turned tail and ran, the poet fell down dead.
Upon the left side of his skull appeared a massive dent,
And Laurie looked from corpse to fist in some bewilderment.
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His instinct was to turn and flee, but something made him bolder,
And stooping down, he lifted up the body on his shoulder,
Then pushing through the undergrowth, he took a disused track,
Across the granite valley to his lonely mountain shack.
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He took the poet’s fancy clothes and set them all alight,
A roaring blaze that lit the sky and lasted through the night,
And then he took the body and a willow-handled axe,
And gave the former poet nigh on seven hundred whacks.
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And then he cooked a meal that was fit to feed a prince,
Comprising for the most part of a most delicious mince.
He carefully disposed of it, so not a drop was wasted,
It was the first and finest meat the Scot had ever tasted.
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Meanwhile at the castle, mad King George was quite alarmed,
And had a strong suspicion that his poet had been harmed.
He summonsed the constabulary, explained the situation,
And made it known that he’d be glad of their co-operation.
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The constables pulled out the stops and searched the nearby houses,
Going through men’s underwear, and questioning their spouses.
It seemed as though the poet must have vanished in thin air,
The theory was the gobshyte had been eaten by a bear.
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But when they came to Laurie’s house, the theory got revised.
Something wasn’t right in there, they quickly realised.
Laurie lay back in his chair and licked his blood-red lips,
Babbling unintelligibly about some mince and chips.
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They found the musket in the shed and, underneath some stones,
They found the unmistakable remains of human bones.
The grisly details of the case were broadcast to the press,
And Laurie McIlvenny was arraigned in great distress.
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His Majesty was so upset, he barely couldn’t eat
Another luscious mouthful of the tastiest of meat.
He said, “Dear friends, I think it’s right that we commemorate
Our skilled, yet tragic friend, the football poet Laurie ate.”