Search just our sites by using our customised search engine

Unique Cottages | Electric Scotland's Classified Directory

Click here to get a Printer Friendly PageSmiley

The Gypsy Laddies

Three gypsies came tae oor hall door
An' O but they sang bonnie O.
They sang so sweet and too complete
That they stole the heart of our lady O.

For she cam tripping down the stairs,
Her maidens too before her O;
An' when they saw her weel-faured face
They throwed their spell oot-owre her O.

When her good Lord came home that night
He was askin for his lady O,
But the answer the servants gave tae him,
'She's awa wi the gypsy laddies O.'

'Gae saddle tae me my bonnie, bonnie black,
My broon it's ne'er sae speedy O,
That I may go ridin' this long summer day
In search of my true lady O.'

But it's he rode East and he rode West
And he rode through Strathbogie O.
And there he met a gey aul' man
That was comin through Strathbogie O.

'For it's did ye come East, or did ye come West,
Or did ye come through Strathbogie' O?
And did ye see a gay lady?
She wes following three gypsy laddies O.'

'For it's I've come East and I've come West
And I've come through Strathbogie O,
And the bonniest lady that e'er I saw
She wes following three gypsy laddies O.'

For the very last night that I crossed this river
I had dukes and lords to attend me O,
But this night I must put in ma warm feet an' wide
An the gypsies widin' before me O.

Last night I lay in a good feather bed
My own wedded Lord beside me O,
But this night I must lie in a cauld corn-barn
And the gypsies lyin a' roon me O.

For it's will you give up your houses an your lands
And will you give up your baby O;
And will you give up your own wedded Lord
And keep following the gypsy laddies O?

For it's I'll give up my houses an my lands
An I'll give up my baby O,
And it's I'll give up my own wedded Lord
And keep followin the gypsy laddies O.

For there are seven brothers of us all
We all are wondrous bonnie O,
But this very night we all shall be hanged
For the stealin of the Earl's lady O.

When the gypsies arrived in Northern Europe at the close of the 15th and beginning of the 16th centuries, after their fabulous thousand-year long migration from North-West India, they were at first greeted by the populace and the authorities with awe and even with reverence; then, usually within a year or so, the authorities rumbled them, and they started getting hanged. Nowhere is this pattern better illustrated than in Scotland. In a document of 1540 James V recognized John Faw (Faa) as 'Lord and Earl of Little Egypt'; the following year, by an act of the Lords of Council, 'Egyptians (i.e. gypsies) are ordered to quit the realm within thirty days on pain of death. In the 17th century, as McRitchie points out in his Scottish Gypsies under the Stewarts, it was a capital crime in Scotland to be a gypsy; the famous outlaw and fiddler James MacPherson (hero of Macpherson's Rant) was executed under this statute.

The Gypsy Laddies is one of the most widely known and sung classic ballads, in America as well as in the British Isles - Bronson prints no less than 128 items under this heading - but there are good grounds for believing that it does in fact reflect the turbulent history of the gypsies in Scotland. Even if, respecting Child's judgment, one disregards the extremely strong and deeply rooted Ayrshire tradition connecting the ballad with the noble house of Cassilis, the circumstantial evidence suggesting that the ballad originated in Scotland is overwhelming.



This comment system requires you to be logged in through either a Disqus account or an account you already have with Google, Twitter, Facebook or Yahoo. In the event you don't have an account with any of these companies then you can create an account with Disqus. All comments are moderated so they won't display until the moderator has approved your comment.

comments powered by Disqus