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Leezie/Lizzie Lindsay

[ Roud 94 ; Child 226 ; G/D 4:858 ; Ballad Index C226 ; Bodleian Roud 94 ; trad.]

Alexander Keith: Last Leaves of Traditional Ballads and Ballad Airs James Kinsley: The Oxford Book of Ballads

Belle Stewart sang Leezie Lindsay on her 1977 Topic album Queen Among the Heather. Geordie McIntyre noted:

This ballad has appeared in fragmented form in just about every ‘standard’ collection of Scots song and been equally subject to stilted and standard drawing-room treatment. Belle’s lively version is musically very akin to the air collected by Robert Burns for the Scots Musical Museum, 1796. Indeed, the opening verse, used commonly as a chorus in ‘standard’ literary versions, was collected by Burns and sent to the Museum along with the tune. The rest of the verses are close to some appearing in Child’s ‘B’ text from the Kinloch MSS. Variants upon the basic Lizzie Lindsay story, which in turn has similarities with Glasgow Peggy (Child 228), are to be found in such lengthy narratives as The Blaeberry Courtship and Orange and Blue. A version of the former appears in Ord, Bothy Songs and Ballads, and of the latter in Greig, Folk-Song of the North-East. Good oral versions are extant.

Tony and Jenny Reavill sang Leezie Lindsay in 1980 on their Hill & Dale album Revelation.

Arthur Johnstone sang Leezie Lindsay in 1996 on the Linn Anthology The Complete Songs of Robert Burns Volume 2.

Eddi Reader sang Leezie Lindsay on her 2009 album The Songs of Robert Burns - Deluxe Edition.

Rosaleen Gregory sang Lizzie Lindsay in 2013 as the last track of her second album of Child ballads, Serpent’s Knee. She tersely noted:

Finally, a successful elopement.


Rosaleen Gregory sings Lizzie Lindsay

Will ye gang to the Hielands, Lizzie Lindsay?
Will ye gang to the Hielands with me?
Will ye gang to the Hielands, Lizzie Lindsay?
My bride and my darling to be.

She’s turned her around on her heel,
And a very loud laugh gave she:
“I’d like to ken where that I’m ganging,
And wha I am gaun to gang wi.”

My name it is Donald Macdonald,
I’ll never think shame nor deny,
My father he is an old shepherd,
My mother she is an old dey.

Will ye gang to the Hielands, bonnie Lizzie?
Will ye gang to the Hielands wi me?
For ye shall get a bed of green rashes,
A pillow and a covering of grey.

Up rose then the bonny young lady,
And drew on her stockings and shoon,
And packed up her claise in fine bundles,
And away wi’ young Donald she’s gone.

And whan that they came to the Hielands,
The braes they were baith long and stey,
Bonny Lizzie was wearied wi’ ganging,
She had travelled a long summer’s day.

“O are we near hame now, young Donald?
O are we near hame now, I pray?”
“We are no near hame, bonnie Lizzie,
Nor yet gone the half of the way.”

When they came near the end of their journey,
To the house of his father’s milk-dey,
He said: “Stay still there, Lizzie Lindsay,
Till I tell my mother of thee.”

“Now make us a supper, dear mother,
The best of your curds and green whey,
And make up a bed of green rashes,
A pillow and covering of grey.”

“Rise up, rise up, Lizzie Lindsay,
Ye have lain o’er lang i’ the day,
You should have been helping my mother
To milk her ewes and her kye.”

Out then spake the bonnie young lady,
And the salt tears they drapt frae her eye:
“I wish I had bidden at hame,
I can neither milk ewes nor kye.”

“Rise up, rise up, Lizzie Lindsay,
There is mair wonders to spy,
For yonder’s the castle o’ Kingussie,
See how it stands high and dry!”

But when they came up to Kingussie,
The porter was standing hard by:
“Ye’re welcome hame, Sir Donald,
Ye’ve been such a long time away.”

It’s down then came his old mother,
With all the keys in her hand,
Saying: “Take you these, bonnie Lizzie,
All under them’s at your command.”