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The Scot’s Callan o’ Bonnie Dundee

[ Roud 8513 ; Ballad Index MBra179 ; Bodleian Roud 8513 ; trad.]

Jim Reid sang The Scots Callan in 1985 on the Springthyme album of songs and ballads of Dundee, Coorse and Fine.

The Cast (Mairi Campbell and Dave Francis) sang The Scot’s Callan o’ Bonnie Dundee in 1993 on their Culburnie album The Winnowing. This track was also included in 1996 on the anthology The Rough Guide to Scottish Music. They commented in their album’s notes:

It’s usual in the tradition for young women to lament their rashness in falling for passing soldiers. But the woman in this song seems content with her bairn and her fate. This version of the song has a last verse added by Burns and is taken from Nigel Gatherer’s Songs and Ballads of Dundee.


The Cast sing The Scot’s Callan o’ Bonnie Dundee

O, whaur gat ye that hauver-meal bannock?
O, silly blind body, o, dinna ye see?
I gat it frae a brisk sodger laddie,
Atween Saint Johnstone and Bonnie Dundee.
O, gin I saw the laddie that gi’ed me’t,
Aft has he doudl’d me upon his knee.
May heaven protect my bonnie Scots laddie,
And send him in safe tae his baby and me.

My heart has nae room when I think on my laddie,
His dear rosy haffets bring tears tae my een.
And oh! He’s awa, and I dinna ken whaur he’s-
He’s awa frae his lassie and Bonnie Dundee.
O, light be the breeze around him saftly blawin,
And o’er him sweet simmer still blink bonnilie,
May the rich dews o’plenty, around him wide fa’in,
Prevent a’ his fears for his baby and me!

My blessings upon that sweet wee lippie!
My blessings upon that bonnie ee-brie!
Thy smiles are sae like my blythe sodger laddie,
Thou’s aye the dearer and dearer tae me.
And I’ll big a bower on yon green bank sae bonnie,
That’s lave’d by the waters o’ Tay wimplin’ clear,
And cleed thee in tartans, my wee smiling Jonnie,
And mak thee a man like your daddie dear.