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Daughter of a Perthshire Jacobite, Carolina Oliphant married William Nairne and called herself ‘Mrs Bogan of Bogan’ to write her songs, many of which are still widely popular today, including ‘Caller Herrin’, ‘Will ye no come back again?’ and ‘The Auld Hoose’.

The Laird o’ Cockpen
by Carolina Oliphant, Lady Nairne

Carolina Oliphant, Lady Nairne

The laird o’ Cockpen, he’s proud an’ he’s great,
His mind is ta’en up wi’ things o’ the State;
He wanted a wife his braw house to keep,
But favour wi’ wooin’ was fashous to seek.

Down by the dyke-side a lady did dwell,
At his table head he thought she’d look well,
McClish’s ae daughter o’ Claverse-ha’ Lee,
A penniless lass wi’ a lang pedigree.

His wig was weel pouther’d, and as gude as new;
His waistcoat was white, his coat it was blue;
He put on a ring, a sword and cock’d hat,
And wha could refuse the laid wi’ a’ that?

He took the grey mare, and rade cannily, 
An’ rapped at the yett o’ Claverse-ha’ Lee; 
‘Gae tell Mistress Jean to come speedily ben, 
She’s wanted to speak to the laird o’ Cockpen.'

Mistress Jean was makin’ the elder-flower wine. 
‘An’ what brings the laird at sic a like time?’ 
She put aff her apron, and on her silk gown, 
Her mutch wi’ red ribbons, and gaed awa’ down.

An’ when she cam ben she bowed fu’ low,
An’ what was his errand he soon let her know;
Amazed was the laird when the lady said ‘Na,’
And wi’ a laigh curtsie she turned awa’.

Dumfounder’d he was, nae sigh did he gie,
He mounted his mare — he rade cannily;
And aften he thought, as he gaed thro’ the glen,
She’s daft to refuse the laird o’ Cockpen.

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