Duncan Gray

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Melody - from at least 1751, in the Caledonian Pocket Companion
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Robert Burns, 1792

Can ye play me Duncan Gray,
Ha, ha, the girdin' o't;
O'er the hills an' far awa,
Ha, ha, ha, the girdin' o't,
Duncan came oor Meg to woo,
Meg was nice an' wadna do,
But like an ither puff'd an' blew
At offer o' the girdin' o't.

2. Duncan, he cam here again,
Ha, ha, the girdin' o't,
A' was oot, an' Meg her lane,
Ha, ha, ha, the girdin' o't;
He kiss'd her butt, he kiss'd her ben,
He bang'd a thing against her wame;
But, troth, I noo forget its name,
But, I trow, she gat the girdin' o't.

3. She took him tae the cellar then,
Ha, ha, the girdin' o't,
To see gif he could do't again,
Ha, ha, ha, the girdin' o't,
He kiss'd her ance, he kiss'd her twice,
An' by the by he kiss'd her thrice
Till deil a mair the thing wad rise
To gie her the lang girdin' o't.

4. But Duncan took her to his wife,
Ha, ha, the girdin' o't,
To be the comfort o' his life,
Ha, ha, ha, the girdin' o't,
An' noo she scauls baith night an' day,
Except when Duncan's at the play,
An' that's as seldom as he may,
He's weary o' the girdin' o't.

Duncan Gray cam' here to woo,
Ha, ha, the wooing o't,
On blythe Yule-night when we were fou,
Ha, ha, the wooing o't,
Maggie coost her head fu' heigh,
Look'd asklent and unco skeigh,
Gart poor Duncan stand abeigh;
Ha, ha, the wooing o't.

2. Duncan fleech'd and Duncan pray'd;
Ha, ha, the wooing o't,
Meg was deaf as Ailsa Craig,
Ha, ha, the wooing o't:
Duncan sigh'd baith out and in,
Grat his e'en baith blear't an' blin',
Spak o' lowpin o'er a linn;
Ha, ha, the wooing o't.

3. Time and Chance are but a tide,
Ha, ha, the wooing o't,
Slighted love is sair to bide,
Ha, ha, the wooing o't:
Shall I like a fool, quoth he,
For a haughty hizzie die?
She may gae to-France for me!
Ha, ha, the wooing o't.

4. How it comes let doctors tell,
Ha, ha, the wooing o't;
Meg grew sick, as he grew hale,
Ha, ha, the wooing o't.
Something in her bosom wrings,
For relief a sigh she brings:
And oh! her een they spak sic things!
Ha, ha, the wooing o't.

5. Duncan was a lad o' grace,
Ha, ha, the wooing o't:
Maggie's was a piteous case,
Ha, ha, the wooing o't:
Duncan could na be her death,
Swelling Pity smoor'd his wrath;
Now they're crouse and canty baith,
Ha, ha, the wooing o't.


Weary fa' you, Duncan Gray!
Ha, ha, the girdin o't!
Wae gae by you, Duncan Gray!
Ha, ha, the girdin o't!
When a' the lave gae to their play,
Then I maun sit the lee-lang day,
And jeeg the cradle wi my tae,
And a' for the girdin o't!
2. Bonie was the lammas moon,
Ha, ha, the girdin o't!
Glow'rin a'the hills, aboon,
Ha, ha, the girdin o't!
The girdin brak, the beast cam down,
I tint my curch and baith my shoon,
And, Duncan, ye're an unco loun-
Wae on the bad girdin o't!
3. But, Duncan, gin ye'll keep your aith,
Ha, ha, the girdin o't!
I'se bless you wi my hindmost breath,
Ha, ha, the girdin o't!
Duncan, gin ye'll keep your aith,
The beast again can bear us baith,
And auld Mess John will mend the skaith,
And clout the bad girdin o't.

Upper left version: from the Merry Muses of Caledonia, 1799. Burns offered more proper and polite versions of this song (upper right and the bottom) in the Scots Musical Museum and the Select Collection of Scottish Airs.

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