> Folk Music > Songs > Dainty Davie

Dainty Davie

[ Roud 2387 ; Ballad Index DTdntda2 ; DT DNTDAVE , DNTDAVE2 ; Mudcat 9055 , 77998 ; trad.]

Norman Buchan and Peter Hall: The Scottish Folksinger David Herd: Ancient and Modern Scottish Songs, Heroic Ballads, etc., Second Volume Ewan MacColl: Folk Songs and Ballads of Scotland

Ian Campbell sang Dainty Davie in 1967 on his Transatlantic album of poems and songs from Robert Burns, Tam o’Shanter. This track was included in 2005 on the Ian Campbell Folk Group’s anthology The Times They Are A-Changin’.

The Exiles sang Dainty Davie in 1967 on their Topic album The Hale and the Hanged. A.L. Lloyd and Gordon McCulloch noted:

In 1715, it is said, soldiers were searching for a Jacobite rebel, David Williamson. He was let into Lady Cherrytree’s house to hide, and while there he got milady’s daughter with child. A song was made up on the incident, that circulated about the Scottish countryside, where Herd came across it about half-a-century later. Again, Burns learnt it from Herd’s 1776 volume [Ancient and Modern Scottish Songs, Heroic Ballads, etc.], but in this case, he made a new version that was bawdier than Herd’s original, and it was included in The Merry Muses of Caledonia. It is Burns’ re-make that Enoch Kent sings. ‘Leeze me on his curly pow’ means something like: ‘l adore his curly head’.

Barbara Dickson sang Dainty Davie in 1970 on her Decca album Do Right Woman. This track was included in 1982 on her eponymouns Contour compilation album Barbara Dickson. A live recording from 1969-73 was included in 2013 on her anthology of folk club tapes, B4 Seventy-Four.

Brian Dewhurst sang Dainty Davie in 1977 on his Fellside album Follow That With Your Sea Lions.

Derek Darjeant and Hazel King sang Dainty Davie on their 1978 album English & Scottish Folksongs and Ballads.

Janet Russell & Christine Kydd sang Dainty Davie in 1987 on their Greentrax album Janet Russell & Christine Kydd. They noted:

This song tells of the Rev. Williamson who, being chased by a group of dragoons for adhering to the Solemn League and Covenant is hidden by Lord and Lady Cherrytrees in their daughter’s bed, dressed in woman’s night attire.

Norman Kennedy sang Dainty Davie at a concert held at the First Parish of Watertown Unitarian Universalist Church, Boston, on 23 October 1999. A recording of this concert was released in 2004 on his Autumn Harvest CD I Little Thocht My Love Wid Leave Me.

Kirsten Easdale sang Dainty Davie in 2002 on Volume 11 of the Linn Records anthology The Complete Songs of Robert Burns.

Maureen Bell and Friends sang Dainty Davy in the 2004 Ythan Music anthology of folk songs and fiddle music from North East Scotland, Where the Laverock Sings.

Eddi Reader sang Dainty Davie in 2009 on the deluxe edition of her CD The Songs of Robert Burns.


Dainty Davie (While sops in saft Italian verse)
in David Herd: Ancient and Modern Scottish Songs, Heroic Ballads, etc., Second Volume, p.37

While sops in saft Italian verse,
Ilk fair ane’s een and breast rehearse,
While sangs abound and sense is scarce,
These lines I have indited:
But neither darts nor arrows here,
Venus nor Cupid shall appear,
And yet with these fine sounds I swear,
The maidens are delighted.

I was ay telling you,
Lucky Nansy, lucky Nansy,
Auld springs wad ding the new,
But ye wad never trow me.

Nor snaw with crimson will I mix,
To spread upon my lassie’s cheeks;
And syne th’ unmeaning name prefix,
Miranda, Chloe, or Phillis.
I’ll fetch nae simile frae Jove,
My height of extasy to prove,
Nor fighing—thus—present my love,
With roses eke and lilies.

I was ay telling you, &c.

But stay,—I had amaist forgot
My mistress and my sang to boot,
And that’s an unco faut I wat;
But, Nansy, ’tis nae matter.
Ye see I clink my verse wi’ rhyme,
And ken ye, that atones the crime;
Forby, how sweet my numbers chyme,
And slide away like water.

I was ay telling you, &c.

Now ken, my reverend sonsy fair,
Thy runkled cheeks and lyart hair,
Thy half-shut een and hodling air,
Are a’ my passion’s fewel.
Nae skyring gowk, my dear, can see,
Or love, or grace, or heaven in thee;
Yet thou hast charms anew for me,
Then smile, and be nae cruel.

Leez me on thy snawy pow,
Lucky Nancy, lucky Nancy,
Dryest wood will eithest low,
And, Nancy, sae will ye now.

Troth I have sung the sang to you,
Which ne’er anither bard wad do;
Hear then my charitable vow,
Dear venerable Nansy.
But if the warld my passion wrang,
And say ye only live in sang,
Ken I despise a sland’ring tongue,
And sing to please my fancy.

Leez me on thy, &c.

Dainty Davie (O leeze me on your curly pow)
in David Herd: Ancient and Modern Scottish Songs, Heroic Ballads, etc., Second Volume, p.215

Chorus (after each verse):
O, leeze me on your curly pow,
Dainty Davie, dainty Davie;
Leeze me on your curly pow,
Mine ain dainty Davie.

It was in and through the window broads,
And a’ the tirlie wirlies o’d;
The sweetest kiss that e’er I got,
Was frae my dainty Davie.

It was down amang my dady’s pease,
And underneath the cherry-trees;
O there he kist me as he pleas’d,
For he was mine ain dear Davie.

When he was chas’d by a dragoon,
Into my bed he was laid down;
1 thought him wordy o’ his room,
And he’s ay my dainty Davie.