> Folk Music > Songs > Bonnie Laddie Ye Gang By Me

It Happened on a Day / Bonnie Laddie Ye Gang By Me / My Laddie's Bedside

[ Roud 5530 ; G/D 6:1136 ; Ballad Index Ord179 ; trad.]

Ewan MacColl sang It Happened on a Day in 1961 on his Folkways album Bothy Ballads of Scotland. He commented:

In The Brewer Laddie the jilted lover shrugs his shoulders at fate and finds himself a new sweetheart. In this song it is the girl who is jilted but she too shows that she is capable of coping with the situation.

From James Grant of Aberdour, Banffshire.

Heather Heywood sang Bonnie Laddie Ye Gang By Me at the Kinross Festival in September 1973. This recording was issued in the same year on the festival's anthology on the Springthyme label, Scots Song and Music. She also sang it in 1987 on her Greentrax album Some Kind of Love where she commented:

A song of love lost but in this case the girl's attitude is that there are plenty more fish in the sea. I recorded this song on an LP of the Kinross Festival in 1973, and a verse was missed out. Somewhere in the mists of time I forgot this lost verse so I leave a little to your imagination. I learned the song from the singing of Alison Potts.

Duncan Williamson from Fife sang The Trees They Are High in a Mike Yates recording on the 2002 Kyloe anthology Travellers' Tales Volume 2.

Ray Fisher sang My Laddie's Bedside in 1991 on her Saydisc CD Traditional Songs of Scotland. She noted:

Here we have a conversation, a song, between a young lady and a young man. The lady sets the scene by informing us that she is about to go to her young man's bedside and declare her affection for him. The young man spurns her, saying that he has already chosen another love. She accepts his rejection and somewhat philosophically asks him to treat her kindly, nevertheless. The young man then admits that he was only testing to see whether she really loved him or not and the things he said were only ‘in jest’ The young lady counters this by saying that she was not jesting and bids him goodbye in the last two verses.
Taken from the singing of Duncan Williamson, the renowned story-teller.

Back of the Moon sang Laddie's Bedside in 2003 on their Foot Stompin' album Fortune's Road. They commented:

This song is about a girl who gets her own back! Gillian [Frame] originally learnt this from Ray Fisher.

Jill Pidd sang Bonnie Laddie Ye Gang By Me at the Fife Traditional Singing Festival, Collessie, Fife in May 2010. Hurrah Boys Hurrah! (Old Songs & Bothy Ballads Volume 7). The album's booklet commented:

When a girl is rejected by her young man who has been courting another young lass, she holds her head high, for she can court another lad, while her old love will soon be forgotten.

Malinky sang Begone Bonnie Laddie in 2019 on their 20th anniversary album Handsel. They noted:

Fiona [Hunter] brought this to the band from the singing of the late Ray Fisher, who sang it as My Laddie's Bedside. Ray herself had it from the singing of the master Traveller storyteller, Duncan Williamson. Convinced it was a fragment of a longer song, Steve [Byrne] found other versions and compiled additional text from the Glenbuchat manuscript (collected sometime before 1818) as well as the Greig-Duncan Folksong Collection, Ord's Bothy Songs and Ballads and Dean Christie’s Traditional Ballad Airs.

Lyrics

Ewan MacColl sings It Happened on a Day

It happen'd on a day in the merry month of May
I gaed oot to meet my bonny lad, he promis'd to come this way.
I gaed oot to meet my bonny lad, he promis'd to come this way,
But my bonny laddie never yet come by me.

Oh, what hae I said, love. Oh what hae I done?
And what objections to me have ye found?
Or hae ye gane courtin' another pretty maid,
Is that the reason, bonnie laddie, ye gang by me?

Ah, nothing hae you said, love, or nothing hae ye done,
For no objections to you hae I found.
But I hae gane a-courting another pretty maid
That's the reason, bonnie lassie, I gaed by ye.

Ye micht hae courted six, or ye micht hae courted seven.
Ye micht hae courted eight, nine, or ten or eleven
Ye micht hae courted dizzens ower and ower again,
And been kinder to your auld lass for all that.

The hills they are high and the leaves they are green
Many were the happy nichts you and I hae seen;
But there's another lassie dancing in my old sheen,
That's the reason, bonny laddie, ye gang by me.

She thinks she's done me muckle ill, but she's far mista'en
She is only but dancin in my old sheen,
And if she likes to please hersel', it's she can dance them deen.
And so, neatly, bonnie laddies, I gang by ye.

The hills they are high, but the leaves are nae rotten
Though I be forsaken I'm nae heartbroken,
I can court another lad and you'll soon be forgotten
And so neatly, bonnie laddie, I'll gae by ye.

Heather Heywood sings Bonnie Laddie Ye Gang By Me

It happened on a day in the merry month of May
I gaed oot tae meet my bonnie lad, he promised tae come away
I gaed oot tae meet my bonnie lad, he promised tae come away
But my bonnie laddie never yet cam by me

Oh whit hae I said, love, and whit hae I done
And whit objections tae me hae ye found
Or hae ye gane a-courting anither pretty maid
Is that the reason, laddie, ye gang by me

Oh naething hae ye said, lass, and naething hae ye done
And nae objection tae ye hae I found
But I hae gane a-courting anither pretty maid
Aye and that's the reason, lassie, I gang by ye

Oh ye micht hae courted six and ye micht hae courted seven
Ye micht hae courted eight, nine, ten or eleven
Ye micht hae courted dozens ever and ever again
But been kinder tae yer old love for a' that

Oh the hills they are high and the leaves they are green
And many is the happy nicht that you and I hae seen
But there's anither lassie a-dancing in the sheen
And sae neatly, bonnie laddie, ye gang by me

Oh the hills they are high but the leaves are nae rottan
Although my love has left me I'm no' hairtborken
For I'll court anither lad, aye, and you'll soon be forgotten
Then sae neatly, bonnie laddie, I'll gang by ye

Ray Fisher sings My Laddie's Bedside

O it's I am awa tae my laddie's bedside,
I am awa' for tae be my laddie's guide.
I am awa' tae be my laddie's bedside,
Though his faither and mither be angry.

“O, at my bedside, my lassie, ye'll no sit,
At my bedside, my lassie, ye'll no sit.
For I hae choos'd a guide, and a far better fit,
So begone, lassie, wha' cares for ye?”

“Well ye might have courted one, my love, ye might have courted seven,
Ye might have courted eight, nine, ten and eleven.
Ye can go and court anither, that'll mak' up the dozen,
But be kind taer yer auld love for a' that.”

“O come back, my bonnie lassie, dinna gang awa',
O come back, my bonnie lassie, dinna gang awa',
O come back, my bonnie lassie, dinna gang awa',
I was only in a jest for tae try ye.”

“Well if you were in a jest, my laddie, I wis in nane.
So lang, lang, my bonnie laddie, may ye lie yer lane,
O lang, lang, my bonnie laddie, may ye lie yer lane
And think upon the bonnie lass that lo'ed ye.

“For the trees they are high, my love, the leaves they are green,
The years are passing by, my love, that you and I hae seen.
Thru' the lang winter's nicht when ye have tae lie yer lane,
Ach! Ye'll weary lang before I'll come and yee se.”