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For Our Lang Biding Here

[ Roud 8561 ; Ballad Index RcFrOurL ; trad.]

Archie Fisher sang For Our Lang Biding Here on the Fisher Family’s 1966 Topic album Traditional & New Songs From Scotland. Norman Buchan commented in the album’s liner notes:

The text and tune of this song comes from the second edition (1733) of the Orpheus Caledonius, edited and published in London by William Thomson. This book was the first published collection of Scottish songs in any real sense, though tunes had been published, notably Henry Playford’s Collection of Original Scotch Tunes and texts, notably Allan Ramsay’s Tea-Table Miscellany. Indeed it was from this book, published in 1724 that Thomson drew, totally unacknowledged, many of his texts, including this one. Ramsay calls it A South Sea Sang to the tune of For Our Lang Biding Here. It must therefore have been written almost contemporaneously with the bursting of the South Sea Bubble. Most Scottish Songs with this theme of the young men getting robbed in the big city have usually a bawdier reason for their downfall. Instead of women, however, it was the pursuit of stocks and shares that “left their purses toom” at the South Sea House.

Archie’s sister Ray Fisher sang For Our Lang Biding Here in 1991 on her Saydisc CD Traditional Songs of Scotland.


Ray Fisher sings For Our Lang Biding Here

First whan we cam to London toon,
We dream’d o’ gowd in gowpins here.
And rantin’ly ran up and doon,
In risin’ stock tae buy a share.

We daftly thocht tae row in routh,
And for our daffin’ paid richt dear.
The lave maun fare the waur, in truth,
For oor lang biding here.

For whan we fand oour purses toom,
And dainty stocks began tae fa’,
We hang oor lugs and wi’ a gloom
Girn at stock-jobbin’ ane and a’.

So if ye gang near the South Sea Hoose
The whillywha’s will grip yer gear.
Syne a’ the lave maun fare the waur,
For oor lang biding here.