Fair Annie

No: 62; variant: 62C

Source: Motherwell's manuscript, p. 351, from the recitation of Janet Holmes, an old woman in Kilbarchan, who derived the ballad from her mother; July 18, 1825.

  1. ‘Learn to mak you bed, honey, And learn to lye your lane, For I’m gaun owre the salt seas, A fair lady to bring hame.
  2. ‘And with her I’ll get gold and gear, With thee I neer got nane; I took you as a waaf woman, I leave you as the same.’
  3. ‘What aileth thee at me, my lord, What aileth thee at me, When seven bonnie sons I have born, All of your fair bodie?
  4. ‘The eldest of your seven sons, He can both read and write; The second of your sons, my lord, Can do it more perfyte.
  5. ‘The third one of your sons, my lord, He waters your milk-white steed; The fourth one of your sons, my lord, With red gold shines his weed.
  6. ‘The fifth one of your sons, my lord, He serves you when you dine; The sixth one now you do behold, How he walks out and in.
  7. ‘The seventh one of your sons, my lord, Sucks hard at my breast-bane; When a’ the house they are at rest, For him I can get nane.
  8. ‘And if you leave me thus forlorn, A wainless wife I’ll be, For anybody’s gold or gear That is beyond the sea.’
  9. ‘O wha will bake my bridal bread, Or wha will brew my ale? Or wha will cook my kitchen neat, Or give my men their meal?’
  10. ‘For love I’ll bake your bridal bread, To brew your ale I’m fain, To cook your kitchen, as I have done, Till you return again.’
  11. ‘O wha will bake my bridal bread, Or wha will brew my ale? Or wha will welcome my braw bride, That I bring owre the dale?’
  12. ‘For love I’ll bake your bridal bread, For love I’ll brew your ale, And I will welcome your braw bride That you bring owre the dale.’
  13. Her mind she keeped, but sair she weepd The time that he was gane . . . . . . . . . . . .
  14. ‘Go up, go up, my eldest son, Go to the upmost ha, And see if you see your father coming, With your mother-to-be-in-law.’
  15. ‘Put on, put on, O mother dear, Put on your gouns so braw, For yonder is my father coming, With my mother-to-be-in-law.’
  16. She’s taen the wheat-bread in one hand, The red wines, which plenty were, And she’s gane to the outmost gate, And bid them welcome there.
  17. ‘You’re welcome here, my brother dear, Ye’re welcome, brother John; Ye’re welcome a’ my brethern dear, That has this journey gone.’
  18. ‘I thank you, sister Annie,’ he says, ‘And I thank you heartilie, And as you’ve welcomed home myself, You’ll welcome my fair ladye.’
  19. ‘If I had roses to my feet, And ribbons to my gown, And as leal a maid as your braw bride, I would speak without a frown.’
  20. He’s given her roses to her feet, And ribbons to her gown, And she has welcomed his braw bride, But weel that was her own’
  21. ‘I thank you, sister Annie,’ she says, ‘I thank you heartilie, And if I be seven years about this place, Rewarded you shall be.’
  22. She served them up, she served them down, And she served all their cries, And aye as she came down the stair The tears fell from her eyes.
  23. When mass was sung, and all bells rung, And all men boune for bed, The good lord and his fair lady Were in their chamber laid.
  24. But poor Annie and her seven sons Was in a room hard by, And as she lay she sighed and wept, And thus began to cry:
  25. ‘O were my sons transformed to cats, To speel this castle wa, And I mysell a red blood-hound That I might worry them a’’’
  26. The bride she overhearing all, And sair she rued her fate: ‘Awauk, awauk, my lord,’ she said, ‘Awauk, for well you may; For There’s a woman in this gate That will go mad ere day.
  27. ‘I fear she is a leman of thine, And a leman meek and mild; Get up and pack her down the stairs, Tho the woods were neer sae wild.’
  28. ‘O yes, she is a leman of mine, And a leman meek and kind, And I will not pack her down the stairs, For a’ the gear that’s thine.’
  29. ‘O wha’s your father, Ann?’ she says, ‘Or wha’s your mother dear? Or wha’s your sister, Ann?’ she says, ‘Or brother? let me hear.’
  30. ‘King Easter he’s my father dear, The Queen my mother was; John Armstrang, in the west-airt lands, My eldest brother is.’
  31. ‘Then I’m your sister, Ann,’ she says, ‘And I’m a full sister to thee; You were stolen awa when very young, By the same lord’s treacherie.
  32. ‘I’ve seven ships upon the sea, All loaded to the brim, And five of them I’ll give to thee, And twa shall carry me hame.
  33. ‘My mother shall mak my tocher up, When I tell her how you thrive; For we never knew where you was gone, Or if you was alive.’