Keach i' The Creel

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Melody -
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Traditional Ballad, first in print, 1845

A fair young May went up the street,
Some white fish for to buy;
And a bonny clerk's fa'n i' luve wi' her,
And he's followed her by and by, by,
And he's followed her by and by.

2. O! where live ye my bonny lass,
I pray thee tell to me;
For gin the nicht were ever sae mirk,
I wad come and visit thee, thee;
I wad come and visit thee.

3. O! my father he aye locks the door,
My mither keeps the key;
And gin ye were ever sic a wily wicht,
Ye canna win in to me, me;
Ye canna win in to me.

4. But the clerk he had ae true brother,
And a wily wicht was he;
And he has made a lang ladder,
Was thirty steps and three, three;
Was thirty steps and three.

5. He has made a cleek but and a creel
A creel but and a pin;
And he's away to the chimley-top,
And he's letten the bonny clerk in, in;
And he's letten the bonny clerk in.

6. The auld wife, being not asleep,
Tho' late, late was the hour;
I'll lay my life,' quo' the silly auld wife,
There's a man i' our dochter's bower, bower;
There's a man i' our dochter's bower.

7. The auld man he gat owre the bed,
To see if the thing was true;
But she's ta'en the bonny clerk in her arms,
And covered him owre wi' blue, blue;
And covered him owre wi' blue.

8. O! where are ye gaun now, father?' she says,
'And where are ye gaun sae late?
Ye've disturbed me in my evening prayers,
And O! but they were sweit, sweit;
And O! but they were sweit.'

9. O! ill betide ye, silly auld wife,
And an ill death may ye dee;
She has the muckle buik in her arms,
And she's prayin' for you and me, me;
And she's prayin' for you and me.'

10. The auld wife being not asleep,
Then something mair was said;
'I'll lay my life,' quo' the silly auld wife,
'There's a man by our dochter's bed, bed;
There's a man by our dochter's bed.'

11. The auld wife she gat owre the bed,
To see if the thing was true;
But what the wrack took the auld wife's fit?
For into the creel she flew, flew;
For into the creel she flew.

12. The man that was at the chimley-top,
Finding the creel was fu',
He wrappit the rape round his left shouther,
And fast to him he drew, drew:
And fast to him he drew.

13. 'O, help! O, help! O, hinny, noo, help!
O, help! O, hinny, do!
For him that ye aye wished me at,
He's carryin' me off just noo, noo;
He's carryin' me off just noo.'

14. 'O! if the foul thief's gotten ye,
I wish he may keep his haud;
For a' the lee lang winter nicht,
Ye'll never lie in your bed, bed;
Ye'll never lie in your bed.'

15. He's towed her up, he's towed her down,
He's towed her through an' through;
'O, Gude! assist,' quo' the silly auld wife,
'For I'm just departin' noo, noo;
For I'm just departin' noo.'

16. He's towed her up, he's towed her down,
He's gien her a richt down fa',
Till every rib i' the auld wife's side,
Played nick nack on the wa', wa';
Played nick nack on the wa'.

17. O! the blue, the bonny, bonny blue,
And I wish the blue may do weel;
And every auld wife that's sae jealous o' her dochter,
May she get a good keach i' the creel, creel;
May she get a good keach i' the creel!


Keach i' the Creel means the catch in the basket.

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