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This week we feature another two lively songs from the pen of our National Bard – ‘Hey Ca’ thro’’ and ‘You’re Welcome, Willie Stewart’. Celebration and use of Burns’ work should never be confined to just one day a year and thankfully they are not – to prove the point I have heard these songs in the past few weeks sung by Gaberlunzie and the incomparable Eddi Reader.


Up wi, the carls o' Dysart,
     And the lads o' Buckhaven,
And the kimmers o' Largo,
     And the lasses o' Leven. 

Hey, ca' thro', ca' thro',
     For we hae mickle ado ;
Hey, ca' thro', ca' thro',
     For we hae mickle ado.

We hae tales to tell,
     And we hae sangs to sing;
We hae pennies to spend,
     And we hae pints to bring.

We'll live a' our days,
     And them that comes behin',
Let them do the like;
     And spend the gear they win.

Footnote : This Burns' song might have been inspired by the tune 'Carls o Dysart.' The song was first seen in print in Johnson's volume, and tradition has supplied another excellent verse as follows -

Ne'er break your heart for love;
     Just turn the boat about;
There's as gude fish i' the sea
     As ever yet cam out.



You're welcome, Willie Stewart!
You're welcome, Willie Stewart!
There's ne'er a flower that blooms in May,
That's half sae welcome's thou art!

Come, bumpers high! express your joy!
The bowl we maun renew it -
The tappet-hen, gae bring her ben,
To welcome Willie Stewart!

May foes be strong, and friends be slack!
Ilk action, may he rue it!
May woman on him turn her back,
That wrangs thee, Willie Stewart!

Footnote: Robert Burns became friendly with William Stewart during his time at Ellisland Farm.  Stewart was the resident grieve of Closeburn in Dumfriesshire, the property of the Rev. James Stuart Menteith, Rector of Barrowly in Linconshire, England.  Willie Stewart's sister was the wife of R Bacon, the owner of the Brownhill Inn, Thornhill, situated a few miles south of Ellisland.  A howff regularly visited by Burns when returning from his fatiguing Excise rounds.  The verses were scrathed by the poet on a crystal tumbler.  The glass was acquired by Sir Walter Scott and preserved at Abbotsford.  The song was first published by Lockhart in 1829.

                                                                                              Return to A Burns Collection 


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