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Robert Burns/Traditional

Ca’ the ewes to the knows,
Ca’ them whare the heather grows,
Ca’ them whare the burnie rowes,
  My bonnie dearie.

As I gaed down the water-side,
There I met my shepherd lad;
He row’d me sweetly in his plaid,
  An’ he ca’d me his dearie.

Will ye gang down the water-side,
And see the waves sae sweetly glide
Beneath the hazels spreading wide!
  The moon it shines fu’ clearly.

I was bred up at nae sic school,
My shepherd lad, to play the fool,
And a’ the day to sit in dool,
  And naebody to cheer me.

Ye sall get gowns and ribbons meet –
Cauf-leather shoon upon your feet,
And in my arms ye’se lie and sleep,
  And ye sall be my dearie.

If ye’ll but stand to what ye’ve said,
Ise gang wi’ you, my shepherd lad,
And ye may rowe me inyour plaid,
  And I sall be your dearie.

While waters wimple to the sea,
While day blinks in the lift sae hie,
Till clay-cauld death sall blin’ my e’e,
  Ye sall be my dearie.

Footnote: Next week we will give you the 1794 version of this song which Burns remodelled for George Thomson’s collection – this is the original which he had supplied to Johnson.. He wrote to Thomson  in 1794 –

“I am flattered at your adopting ‘Ca’ the ewes’, as it was owing to me that it saw the light. About seven years ago, I was well acquainted with a worthy little fellow of a clergyman, a Mr Clunie, who sung it charmingly; and, at my request, Mr [Stephen] Clarke took it down from his singing. When I gave it to Johnson, I added some stanzas to the song, and mended others, but still it will not do for you.”

Jean Armour was fond of singing this song and used to point out that the second verse and closing verse were by the Bard.



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