The Lochmaben Harper

No: 192; variant: 192D

  1. THERE was a poor silly harper-man, And he lived in Lochmaben toon, And he has wagered wi lairds and lords, And mony a guinea against a croon. Tum tid iddly Dodaly diddely Tidaly diddaly Dodaly dan
  2. And he has wagered wi lairds and lords, And mony a guinea against a croon, That into England he would go. And steal King Henerie’s Wanton Broun.
  3. Out spak the silly poor harper’s wife, And O but she spak wililie: ‘If into England you do go, Leave the wee-wee foal wi me.’
  4. The harper he got on to ride, And O but he rode richt highlie! The very first man that he did meet, They said it was King Henerie.
  5. ‘Licht doon, licht doon, ye silly poor harper, And o your harping let me hear;’ ‘And by my sooth,’ quoth the silly poor harper, ‘I’d rather hae stabling for my mear.’
  6. O he lookit ower his left shoulder, And saw ane of the stable-grooms: ‘Go take the sillie poor harper’s mear, And stable her by my Wanton Brown.’
  7. And aye he harpit, and aye he carpit, Till a’ the nobles fell on the floor, And aye he harpit, and aye he carpit, Till they forgot the key of the stabel-door.
  8. And aye he harpit, and aye he carpit, Till a’ the nobles fell fast asleep; He has taen his harp upon his back, And doon the stair did softly creep.
  9. He has taen a halter frae his hose, And o his purpose did not fail; He coost a wap on Wanton’s nose, And tyed her to his ain mear’s tail.
  10. He ca’d her through at the bye-yett, Through mony a syre and mony a hole; She never loot Wanton licht till she Was at Lochmaben, at her foal.
  11. And she came oer Lochmaben heights, Wi mony a nicker and mony a sneeze, And waukend the silly poor harper’s wife, As she was a sleeping at her ease.
  12. ‘Rise up, rise up, ye servant-lass, Let in the maister and the mear;’ ‘By my sooth,’ quoth the servant-lass, ‘I think my maister be na here.’
  13. Up then rose the servant-lass, And lookit through a wee, wee hole; ‘By my sooth,’ quoth the servant-lass, ‘Our mear has gotten a waly foal.’
  14. ‘Ye clatter, ye clatter, ye servant-lass, It is the moon shines in your ee;’ ‘By my sooth,’ quoth the servant-lass, ‘It’s mair than ever her ain will be.’
  15. It’s whan the stable-groom awoke, Put a’ the nobles in a fear; King Henerie’s Wanton Brown was stown, And Oh! the silly poor harper’s mear.
  16. Out then spak the silly poor harper, Says, Oh, this loos I douna thole! In England fair a guid grey mear, In fair Scotland a guid cout-foal.
  17. ‘Haud your tongue, ye sillie poor harper, And wi your carping let me be; Here’s ten pounds for your auld gray mear, And a weel paid foal it’s be to thee!’
  18. And O the silly poor harper’s wife, She’s aye first up in Lochmaben toun; She’s stealing the corn and stealing the hay, And wappin it oer to Wanton Broun.