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Sae Will We Yet

[ Roud 5611 ; G/D 3:552 ; Ballad Index FVS256 ; Bodleian Roud 5611 ; Mudcat 3667 ; Walter Watson, music Tony Cuffe]

Robert Ford: Vagabond Songs and Ballads of Scotland John Ord: Bothy Songs and Ballads

Tony Cuffe sang Sae Will We Yet in 1980 on Jock Tamson's Bairns' eponymous first album, Jock Tamson's Bairns. This track was included in 2003 as the title track of his posthumous 2003 Greentrax album Sae Will We Yet. Stuart Eydmann noted:

Tony adapted this song from the words of Walter Watson (1780-1854) of Chryston, near Glasgow, which were originally set to the tune of The Wearin o the Green. Although there are a number of versions in print and in the oral tradition, this setting is clearly based upon that in Robert Ford’s Vagabond Songs and Ballads of Scotland (Paisley, 1904).

Jock Duncan sang Sae Will We Yet at the Fife Traditional Singing Festival, Collessie, Fife in May 2003 or May 2004. This recording was included in 2005 on the festival anthology Here's a Health to the Company (Old Songs & Bothy Ballads Volume 1).

Francy Devine sang Sae Will We Yet on his 2020 album An Ownerless Corner of Earth. He noted:

Walter Watson (1780-1854) was a muslin weaver in Chryston, north of Glasgow. Kent as ‘The Chryston Poet’, he wrote a number of popular songs. He herded cattle, wound pirns, was a farm labourer, tried his father's trade of the loom, and became a sawyer in Glasgow. When nineteen, he was recruited into the Scots Greys for three years and discharged at the Peace of Amiens, 1802. He returned to the loom, married in 1803, and published collections of poetry in 1808, 1823 and 1843. These “brought him fame but not much else”. His final years were spent near Kirkintilloch where he died of cholera in 1854.

The song is written in Scots: eident – diligent, busy; flit – to move somewhere else; lippened – trusted; nappy – foaming, strong; Providence – God; rax me yer mill – reach me over your snuff mill.

I found another verse, beginning “lang live the Queen”, impossible to sing but it is included [at Sangstories] thanks to Linda MacVicar of Linlithgow's Sangschule.

Lyrics

Tony Cuffe sings Sae Will We Yet

Sit doun here my cronies, and gie us your crack,
Let the wind tak the cares o this life on its back;
For oor hairts tae despondency we never will submit.
For we’ve aye been provided for, and sae will we yet
And sae will we yet, and sae will we yet,
For we’ve aye been provided for, and sae will we yet.

So fill up a tankard o nappie brown ale,
It’ll comfort to our hearts and enliven the tale;
For we’ll aye be the merrier the langer that we sit,
For we drank thegither mony’s a time, and sae will we yet.
And sae will we yet, and sae will we yet.
For we drank thegither mony’s a time, and sae will we yet.

Here’s a health to the farmer, and prosper his plough,
Rewarding his ardent toils a the year through;
For it’s seed-time and it’s harvest we ever will get.
For we’ve lippen’d aye tae Providence, and sae will we yet.
And sae will we yet, and sae will we yet,
For we’ve lippen’d aye tae Providence, and sae will we yet.

So fill up yer glass, let the bottle gae roun.
For the sun it will rise, though the moon has gane doun;
And though the room be runnin roun aboot, it’s time enough tae flit.
When we fell we aye got up again, and sae will we yet.
And sae will we yet, and sae will we yet.
When we fell we aye got up again, and sae will we yet.