BONNIE LASS OF FYVIE-O

This is a traditional Scots song that was made rather more famous in the hands of the Clancy Brothers.  Other artists performed variations of this song or even processed it to make it their own, such as Joan Baez, Simon and Garfunkel, Bob Dylan, even the Grateful Dead.  There is some speculation that the song comes from the mid to late 17th century but it is difficult to prove, as is the case with most oral traditionally handed down songs.  Cliff sings a variation that I am trying to nail down, and until I do, here’s an old version…

There once was a troop of Irish dragoons
Come marching down through Fyvie-O
And the captain fell in love with a very bonnie lass
And the name she was called was pretty Peggy-o

There’s many a bonnie lass in the glen of Auchterlass
There’s many a bonnie lass in Gairioch-o
There’s many a bonnie Jean in the streets of Aberdeen
But the flower of them all lives in Fyvie, O

O come down the stairs, Pretty Peggy, my dear
Come down the stairs, Pretty Peggy-o
Come down the stairs, comb back your yellow hair
Bid a long farewell to your mammy-o

It’s braw, aye it’s braw, a captain’s lady for to be
And it’s braw to be a captain’s lady-o
It’s braw to ride around and to follow the camp
And to ride when your captain he is ready-o

O I’ll give you ribbons, love, and I’ll give you rings
I’ll give you a necklace of amber-o
I’ll give you a silken petticoat with flounces to the knee
If you’ll convey me doon to your chamber-o

What would your mother think if she heard the guineas clink
And saw the haut-boys marching all before you o
O little would she think gin she heard the guineas clink
If I followed a soldier laddie-o

I never did intend a soldier’s lady for to be
A soldier shall never enjoy me-o
I never did intend to gae tae a foreign land
And I will never marry a soldier-o

I’ll drink nae more o your claret wine
I’ll drink nae more o your glasses-o
Tomorrow is the day when we maun ride away
So farewell tae your Fyvie lasses-o

The colonel he cried, mount, boys, mount,boys, mount
The captain, he cried, tarry-o
O tarry yet a while, just another day or twa
Til I see if the bonnie lass will marry-o

Twas in the early morning, when we marched awa
And O but the captain he was sorry-o
The drums they did beat on the merry braes o’ Gight
And the band played the bonnie lass of Fyvie, O

Long ere we came to the glen of Auchterlass
We had our captain to carry-o
And long ere we won into the streets of Aberdeen
We had our captain to bury-o

Green grow the birks on bonnie Ethanside
And low lie the lowlands of Fyvie, O
The captain’s name was Ned and he died for a maid
He died for the bonny lass of Fyvie, O

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