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The Flag in the Wind
Features - Scots Language
Scottish Songs


by Jock Duncan

Click here to listen to the song

Gavin Greig commented that this was one of the most popular north east ballads (FSNE 58, Child 238, Last Leaves 131). The ballad is often known by the alternative title Jean o Bethelnie, as in the earliest form of the ballad provided to F.J. Child in 1768. Jean is in some versions Jeanie Gordon and in others Jeanie Melville. Jock is certain that the song should refer to Jeanie Meldrum who came from a family of landowning gentry who at one time owned Fyvie, Meldrum and Tolquhon Castles and most of the land in between. The Meldrums had sold Fyvie Castle to Alexander Seton who became Lord Fyvie and was created Lord Dunfermline. 'I'll wad ye to Dunfermline' is in the song. Jeanie was no doubt exercising a little female guile to get her chosen Glenlogie.

Jock: This wis an awfa familiar song fin I wis young even at the school. Grace Leslie was the teacher at Fyvie school and she used tae sing it. She wis a tremendous singer and much socht after in the 30s and the 40s and the 50s to sing on the radio. She sang on John Strachan's concerts tee fae Crichie. John Strachan used tae sing snatches and auld Willie Allan at Tifty used tae hae bits an pieces. Willie had a wee croftie and he worked a pair of horse till his late 70s and he wis a tremendous singer and we used tae land up there whiles, wi Willie. And George Munro, he's another lad that sang that song what a deep beautiful voice. He'd a ferm away out on the Kaithenside and he and Grace Leslie used tae sing in duet Bonnie Glenshee.

There wis nine and nine nobles
Rode through Banchory fair,
And bonnie Glenlogie,
Wis the pride that wis there;
There wis six and six maidens
Dined in the King's ha,
Bonnie Jean o Bethelnie
Wis the flooer o them aa.

Doun cam Jeannie Meldrum,
She cam trippin dounstair,
And she's chosen Glenlogie
Amang aa that wis there;
She called on his footboy,
Who walked by his side,
Spierin, "Fa is that young man, [i.e. who
An far does he bide?" [i.e. where

"Oh he's titled Glenlogie
Fan he is at hame,
He's of the noble Gordons,
Lord John is his name."
"Oh Glenlogie, Glenlogie,
If ye should prove kind,
My love it is laid on ye,
I've made up my mind."

Oh he turned aboot lichtly,
As the Gordon's dee aa,
"Oh thank you Jeanie Meldrum,
Bit I'm promised awa."
She called on her handmaids
Tae mak her a bed,
Wi ribbons an napkins
To tie up her head.

"Oh lay me doun gently
Wi ma face tae the wa,
Tak the rings fae ma fingers,
My jewels an aa."
Noo up spak her faither,
A wae man wis he, [i.e. a sad man
"Ach! I'll wad ye tae Dunfermline,
He's mair gowd than he."

"Oh na, na dear faither,
Oh na that winna dee,
If I canna get Glenlogie,
For him I will dee."
Her faither's ain chaplain,
A man o great skill,
He wrote a braid letter,
An indited it weel.

"Oh, pox! on ye Logie,
Oh must it be so,
This lass has laid her love on ye,
Must she dee in her woe?"
When Glenlogie got the letter,
A licht lauch gart he,
But fen he read the letter,
A tear blinned his ee.

"Oh saddle my black horse,
And saddle my broun,
Bonnie Jean o Bethelnie
'll be deid e'er I win."
Fen he got tae Bethelnie,
There wis naethin there,
But weepin an wailin,
Vexation an care.

Oh pale and wan was she
When Glenlogie cam in,
But reid and rosy grew she
When she kent it wis him.
"Turn roun Jeannie Meldrum,
Turn tae your richt side,
And I'll be your bridegroom,
If ye'll be my bride."

Noo Jeannie's got mairrit
An her tocher doun tauld, [i.e. dowry counted
Bonnie Jean o Bethelnie
Wis sixteen year auld.
Bethelnie, Bethelnie,
Ye'll shine whar ye stan,
And the hedder bells aa roun ye [i.e. heather
Shine on Fyvie's lan.

Bethelnie is 2 miles north east of Oldmeldrum and around 5 miles south of Fyvie.

You can purchase a CD with this song at Springthyme Records

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