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Bogie’s Bonnie Belle
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Bogie’s Bonnie Belle
; G/D 7:1396
; Ballad Index
; DT BOGIEBEL
; Mudcat 21822
Ewan MacColl, Peggy Seeger: Travellers’ Songs From England and Scotland Norman Buchan and Peter Hall, The Scottish Folksinger
Bogie’s Bonnie Belle was a favourite bothy ballad of Scots Travellers. Peter Hall is cited in Volume 7 of The Greig-Duncan Folk Song Collection:
Isabel Morison, the heroine of the song, was born at Boghead, 20 September 1823, as the daughter of Alexander Morison (Old Parish Register, Cairnie). She again appears at Boghead in the census of 1841. Her illegitimate son, James, was born on 16 June 1843, the father being James Stephen from the parish of Glass (OPR, Cairnie). In the census of 1851, the son was living with his paternal uncle in the parish of Glass, lending credence to the versions of the song which have the father remove the child from the maternal home. Isabel Morison is no longer at Boghead in 1851.
Jimmy McBeath sang Bogie’s Bonnie Belle it in a recording made by Alan Lomax in his apartment in London on 14 November 1953. It was included in 2002 on McBeath’s Rounder Records anthology Tramps and Hawkers. A later recording made by Peter Hall in a private house in Scotland on 19-21 July 1971 was released in 1978 on his Topic album Bound to Be a Row. Peter Hall noted:
The Strathbogie region, where this piece is from, is the very heart of the bothy ballad country and the rejection of social pretension which underlies the song is typical of the genre.
A note in Gavin Greig’s MS has the hero as John Geddes and Jimmy’s last verse gives independent backing to this tradition.
Belle Stewart of Blairgowrie sang Bogie’s Bonnie Belle in 1955 to Maurice Fleming [SA1955.027.A2]. This recording was included in 2011 on the Greentrax anthology of Perthshire field recordings of the 1950s, Songs and Ballads From Perthshire (Scottish Tradition 24). Maurice Fleming noted:
A very popular bothy ballad, learned by Belle from Frank Kelbie, see MacColl and Seeger (1986:233-4). Many versions are given in The Greig-Duncan Folk Song Collection (GD 1396). The note there states that the heroine of the song was Isabel Morison, born at Boghead in 1823.
Davie Stewart of Dundee sang Bogie’s Bonnie Belle in 1956 to Peter Kennedy or Alan Lomax and in December 1975 to Alan Lomax. Probably one of these recordings was published on the anthology Songs of Courtship (The Folk Songs of Britain Volume 1, Caedmon 1961, Topic 1968). Jane Stewart learnt Bogie’s Bonnie Belle from her father and sang it in 1968 on Topic’s Stewart family anthology, The Travelling Stewarts.
Ewan MacColl sang Bogie’s Bonnie Belle in 1961 on his Folkways album Bothy Ballads of Scotland. He noted:
It is not often that the heroes of the bothy songs are allowed to expose their passion, their anger or their resentment, the direct expression of such feelings being either avoided entirely or burlesqued. Irony, satire and slapstick humour are the usual weapons of the bothy singer and when, as in Bogie’s Bonny Belle, he abandons them in favour of the frontal assault, the effect is startling.
From the singing of Jimmy Gray of MacDuff, Banffshire.
Winnie Campbell sang Bogie’s Bonnie Belle in 1965 on their family’s Topic album The Singing Campbells. This track was included a year later on the Topic sampler of songs and pipes tunes in the Scots tradition, A Prospect of Scotland. Peter Hall and Arthur Argo noted on the original album:
In the North-east, the farmer was often not known by his own name but, as in the present song, by that of his farm. This ironic tale of seduction stresses the social gulf between the farmer and his employees. The song ends with the farm labourer gloating over the lowly fate of his former love who marries one of the despised tinker clan. This illustrates a prejudice that does the North-easter no credit. His intolerance of the travelling people is a trait which unfortunately still lingers on. The song’s current wave of popularity owes much to the performances of Alex and Belle Stewart of Alyth. It experienced an earlier vogue in the North-east through the singing of the late Geordie Stewart of Huntly, the man who gave Jimmy McBeath his famous version of Come All Ye Tramps and Hawkers.
Owen Hand sang Bogie’s Bonny Belle on his 1966 Transatlantic album I Loved a Lass. He noted:
A beautiful song from Aberdeenshire telling of the love affair between Belle, the farmer’s daughter, and her father’s labourer. The father will not allow them to marry owing to their different social standing and eventually when a child is born, Belle finds that only the tinkers will accept her.
Archie Fisher sang Bogie’s Bonny Belle in 1968 on his eponymous Transatlantic album Archie Fisher. He noted:
The Beggar Wench and Bogie’s Bonny Belle were both from the most outrageous musical character I have ever met and I sorely miss, the late Davie Stewart.
The Woods sang Bogie’s Bonnie Belle on their 1969 Traditional Sound Recordings album Early Morning Rain.
Ian Manuel sang Bogie’s Bonnie Belle in 1972 on his Topic album of Scots traditional songs, The Frosty Ploughshare. A.L. Lloyd noted:
By no means all the songs sung in the bothies were descriptions of farm work. Ploughmen and harvest hands had their lyrical favourites too, of which Bogie’s Belle is a fine example, with its noble hexatonic tune and hard scornful words. The piece gained wide currency through the singing of Geordie Stewart of Huntly, a fine carrier of traditional song, from whom Jimmy McBeath learned the influential Tramps and Hawkers.
The Taverners Folk Group sang Bogie’s Bonnie Belle in 1974 on their Folk Heritage album Times of Old England. They noted:
Due to the terrible loss of life in the plague, known as the Black Death, a statute was passed requiring able bodied men and women to present themselves, twice a year, for labour on the land. These statute meetings became known as Hiring Fairs, and they flourished throughout the United Kingdom right up to very recent times. A Hiring Fair was held in Carlisle, for instance in 1947, but few men presented themselves for work. Twice a year, great crowds of lasses and lads, would present themselves for labour at a particular fair, usually in the local market town. A milkmaid would carry a mop, a carter would wield a whip, a ploughboy an ear of corn, and so by these_ tokens of their trade, an employer would know where to look. Many of the fairs transgressed the borders. Here in Bogies Bonny Belle, Peter [Roger] sings of the pleasures and pitfalls of a hired ploughman.
Bob Davenport sang Bogie’s Bonnie Belle in 1975 on his Topic album Down the Long Road.
Tom Spiers sang Bogie’s Bonnie Belle on The Gaugers’ 1976 Topic album Beware of the Aberdonian. Duncan MacLennan noted:
This is probably one of the best known and certainly one of the loveliest songs to come out of the bothy tradition. It stands out from the rest of the genre as a completely rounded, beautifully and concisely expressed love story whose impact does not depend to the usual extent on the bothy context. It is widely sung in the revival, but the tune variation used here has more minor elements than in the more common versions, and this added to the ‘rightness’ of Tom Spiers’s North-East voice, gives the song a new dimension. The tune is, in fact, based on a version in the Greig manuscripts and the text is a collation from the same source.
Jake Walton sang Bogie’s Bonnie Belle on Roger Nicholson’s, his, and Andrew Cronshaw’s 1976 Trailer album Times and Traditions for Dulcimer.
Robin and Barry Dransfield sang Bogie’s Bonnie Belle in 1977 on their Free Reed album Popular to Contrary Belief. This track was also included in 1997 on their Free Reed anthology Up to Now. An early live recording by Robin Dransfield from the Medway Folk Centre on 14 November 1972 was included in 2008 on his CD A Lighter Touch.
Charlie Allan sang Bogie’s Bonnie Belle on his 1979 cassette of bothy ballads, Blue Grey Coo.
Jim Reid sang Bogie’s Bonnie Belle on his 1984 Springthyme album I Saw the Wild Geese Flee. The album’s booklet noted:
A powerful love song and bothy ballad well known in various versions throughout North-East Scotland. Jim considers this his all-time favourite folk song.
Andy M. Stewart sang Bogie’s Bonnie Bell in 1987 on his and Manus Lunny’s Green Linnet album Dublin Lady. He noted:
This is on of the loveliest songs to come from the bothy ballad tradition of the Northeast of Scotland. It is a song I’ve wanted to sing for many years, as my father came from that part of the country and it was a favourite of his.
June Tabor sang Bogie’s Bonnie Belle unaccompanied on the CD issue of her 1988 album Aqaba.
Maggie Boyle and Steve Tilston sang Bogey’s Bonnie Belle in 1988 on their album with John Renbourn and Tony Roberts, Ship of Fools.
Tam Reid sang Bogie’s Bonnie Belle in a 1988 recording made at Towie Barclay Castle that was first released on a cassette and in 2003 on his anthology Behind the Bothy Door, Volume 1.
Louis Killen sang Bogie’s Bonnie Belle in 1989 on his album The Rose in June. He noted:
From the singing of many Scots singers but especially Davy Stewart. A small tragedy stemming from the class system that determines who is fit to be with whom, with a bitter sting in the tail. In my opinion, this is the grandest of the bothy ballads.
Martin Simpson played the tune of Bogie’s Bonnie Belle in 1991 on his Shanachie CD When I Was in Horseback. A live recording from the Holywell Music Room, Oxford, on 15 October 1994 was published in 1996 on his Beautiful Jo CD Live.
Richard Thompson sang Bogie’s Bonnie Belle on his 1993 anthology Watching the Dark: The History of Richard Thompson. He noted:
The narrator, a farm labourer, agrees to work for Bogie [o’ Cairnie], then gets his employer’s daughter Belle pregnant. When the baby is born, the narrator is sent for “to see what could be done”. His offer to do the right thing is rejected because of his status:
I said that I might marry her but, no, that would not do.
“You’re no match for Isabel and she’s no match for you.”
Ironically, Belle, who is now damaged goods and has therefore lost her status, ends up marrying a tinker, that is, someone even lower on the social ladder than the labourer. Some of the other versions of the ballad are quite vindictive about this; but here the bitterness, if it’s there, is largely left unsaid:
Maybe she has a better match, oh Bogie can not tell,
So farewell you lads of Huntly Town and Bogie’s bonnie Belle.
In the end, everybody loses: the labourer loses both his love and his job (as well as, presumably, his child), Belle winds up saddled to a tinker, and Bogie loses his daughter.
This video from probably 2009 shows Richard Thompson accompanied by Dave Swarbrick:
Isla St Clair sang Bogie’s Bonnie Belle at the BBC Radio 2 series Tatties & Herrin’, transmitted in 1995. It was also released in 1997 on the Greentrax CD Tatties & Herrin’: The Land.
Jock Duncan sang Bogie’s Bonnie Belle on his 1996 Springthyme album Ye Shine Whar Ye Stan!. The album’s booklet noted:
Perhaps because of its subject matter Bogie’s Bonnie Belle has rarely been in print but most traditional singers in the North East have a version in their repertoire. The farmer ‘Bogieside o Cairnie’ or ‘Bogie’ for short, did not approve when his daughter Belle fell pregnant to one of his fee’d farm servants, and the young lad was ‘sent packing withoot a penny o his fee’ in spite of his love for Belle and his offer to ‘mairry wi Isabella and gie the bairnie his name.’ Instead, in a tragicomic turnaround, Belle runs off with a ‘tinkler lad wha bides in Huntly toun’—and ‘wi pots and pans and ladles they scour the country roun’.
The song is based on an event that took place around 1843. In the 1930s George Morris recorded a version rewritten to exclude some of the sexually explicit details but this did nothing to inhibit the survival of the full story in the oral tradition. The song is sung to a variety of rather beautiful tunes.
Jock: “There was a lassie o the travelling people—that’s her tune—a lassie McPhee. She belonged to Banchory but it wis in Banff that I heard her—at a soiree. It wis more or less a picnic and there wis chapejohns aroun the place an they sell oot bits an pieces and this lassie wis singin that song. I kent aa the song. I kent Morris’s an I didna bloody like it, an I kent a lot o ither eens. I decided tae tak it doun, tae write doun her een. An she gied me the notes [the words] o the last verse, which I thocht wis better nor onything.”
John Kirkpatrick sang Bogie’s Bonny Belle in 1998 on his CD One Man and His Box. He noted:
Usually, whenever I’ve met a traditional singer or musician, I’ve been so much in awe of them, and so aware of the differences between us, that I have been completely dumbstruck. But when I met the Scotsman Davie Stewart a few times in the 1970’s we really hit it off, partly because he had once had an accordion like mine. He had spent many years as a busker, and I finally decided I had to do his version of this song in a way which I hope pays homage to his style and delivery, after I heard yet another ‘lounge’ arrangement of it.
Sheila Stewart sang Bogie’s Bonnie Belle on 15 October 1998 to Doc Rowe. This recording was included in 2000 on her Topic CD From the Heart of the Tradition. The latter album’s note erroneously commented, as the song is Greig/Duncan 7:1396 and was collected in 1905:
A bothy ballad common throughout the north-east of Scotland, relished by Travellers because of its reference to a “tinkler chap”. The fact that it is not included in the Ford, Greig, or Ord Collections suggests that it might be of more recent origin—or certainly after 1925 when Bothy Songs and Ballads was completed by Ord.
The last verse in Sheila’s version is unusually boastful and defiant, compared, say, to Davey Stewart’s indifferent ending,
Farewell ye lads o’ Huntlyside and Bogie’s bonnie Belle.
Joe Aitken from Kirriemuir in Angus sang Bogie’s Bonnie Belle on the 2000 Sleepytown anthology The Bothy Songs and Ballads of North East Scotland Vol. 2.
Rod Paterson sang Bogie’s Bonnie Belle in 2001 on Jock Tamson’s Bairns’ Greentrax CD May You Never Lack a Scone. They noted:
In 1843 Isabel Morison of Boghead, near Huntly, gave birth to her son James, the child in this classic, anonymous, bothy ballad. The melody is from Tom Spiers of the Gaugers.
Alasdair Roberts sang As I Came in By Huntly Town (Bogie’s Bonnie Belle) on his 2001 CD The Crook of My Arm.
Alistair Russell sang Bogie’s Bonnie Belle on his 2002 CD A19.
Old Blind Dogs sang Bogie’s Bonny Belle on their 2003 CD The Gab o Mey. They noted:
This is a rare bothy ballad in that it’s a touching expression of love and regret from a genre more at ease with songs of hard work and hard masters, or slapstick comedy.
Bram Taylor sang Bogie’s Bonnie Belle in 2004 on his Fellside CD The Night Is Young.
Jo Aitken sang Bogie’s Bonnie Belle at the Fife Traditional Singing Festival, Collessie, Fife in May 2005 and Hector Riddell sang it there in May 2007. These recordings were published in 2006 on For Friendship and for Harmony (Old Songs & Bothy Ballads Volume 2) and in 2008 on Nick-Knack on the Waa (Old Songs & Bothy Ballads Volume 4), respectively.
Hector Gilchrist sang Bogie’s Bonny Belle in 2007 on his WildGoose CD Ingleneuk. He noted:
During our time in Aberdeen, I joined the local Folk Club and was made welcome. There, in the Station Hotel, I listened to and joined in with, many fine artists in the years between 1969 and 1972. This song is evocative of those years and also my links with the farming community.
Stanley Robertson sang Bogie’s Bonnie Belle on his 2009 Elphinstone Institute anthology, The College Boy.
Pete Wood sang Bogie’s Bonny Belle on his 2014 CD Young Edwin. He noted:
A classic Scots song. It already had a great tune, but it was made even better by Peter Hall’s adaption, which I use here.
Daoirí Farrell sang Bogie’s Bonny Belle on his 2016 CD True Born Irishman. He noted:
One of my earliest memories of music was an old tape cassette of Christy Moore’s  Live in Dublin concert. My father had a green Mini Cooper Estate with a tape deck and I think it was in that car that I learned most of the songs from that album. This is one of those songs.
Geordie Murison sang Bogie’s Bonnie Belle on his 2017 Tradition Bearers album The Term Time Is Comin Roon. He noted:
A weel kent sang. It tells of the liason between a farm servant and a farmer’s daughter which resulted in an illegitimate son and consequent termination of employment with the fee withheld. James Stephen of Glass was feed to Alexander Morison of Boghead of Huntly. Morison’s daughter, Isabel, had a son to James Stephen on 16 June 1843.
Ian Bruce sang Bogie’s Bonnie Belle on the 2018 Fellside anthology Destination.
In this video from July 2019, Shona Donaldson sings the first verse of Bogie’s Bonnie Belle at Isabel Morison’s grave in Dunbennan Graveyard near Huntly:
Kate Rusby sang Bogie’s Bonnie Belle on her 2019 CD Philosophers, Poets & Kings.
And of course there is Les Barker’s variant in the finest folk tradition, Belle’s Bonnie Bogey, sung by Alison Younger in 1994 on the Mrs Ackroyd album Gnus and Roses.
Belle Stewart sings Bogie’s Bonnie Belle
Ae Whitsun day at Huntly toun ’twas there I did agree
Wi auld Bogieside a fairmer a six-month for tae fee.
Noo Bogie wis a greedy man an I did know that well
But he also had a dochter, her name wis Isabel.
Noo Belle she wis the bonniest lass in aa the countryside
And very soon I lost ma heirt tae the Belle o Bogieside.
For often on a summer’s nicht I wid wander wi ma dear
For tae watch the trouties loupin in Bogie’s water clear.
Noo I slipped my airms aroon her waist an the feet fae her did slide
It was there I taen my will o her at Bogie’s waterside.
For nine lang month had passed an gone an she brocht tae me a son
And auld Bogie he did send for me tae see whit could be done.
I said that I wid mairry her but oh no that widna dee
For I ’m nae match for Bogie’s Belle an she’s nae match for me.
So noo she married a tinkler chap an he bides in Huntly toun
And wi tilly-pans and ladles she scoors the country roun.
Jane Stewart sings Bogie’s Bonnie Belle
As I gaed up to Huntly toon
ae morning for a fee
I met Bogheid o’ Cairnie; wi’ him I did agree.
To work his twa best horses,
cart or harrow or plough,
Or anything aboot fairm work I very well could do.
Auld Bogie had a dochter,
her name was Isabel;
The floo’er o’ the valley and the primrose o’ the dell.
And when she went oot walking
she choosed me for her guide
Down by the burns o’ Cairnie to watch the fishes glide.
The first six months had past an’ gone,
the lassie lost her bloom;
The red fell from her bonnie cheeks an’ her eyes begin to swoom.
The neist nine months were scarcely o’er
she brought forth to me a young son
And I was quickly sent for to see what could be done.
They said I should marry her
but Losh! that wouldna dae,
Sayin’ I’m nae a match for your bonnie Belle and she’s nae match for me.
But noo she’s married wi’ a tinker lad
he comes frae Huntly toon;
He sells pots and pans and paraffin lamps and he scours the country roun’.
But maybe she’s gotten a better match,
auld Bogie canna tell,
’Twas Peter took the maidenheid o’ Bogie’s bonnie Belle.
Archie Fisher sings Bogie’s Bonny Belle
As I gaed in by Huntly toon, yin morning for tae fee
I fell in wi’ Bogie o’ Cairnie and wi’ him I did agree
Tae ca’ his twa best horses, or cairt or harrie a ploo’
Or dae onything aboot fairmwork I very well could do.
Now Bogie had a daughter, and her name was Isabel
She was the flower o’ the valley and the primrose o’ the dell
And when she gaed oot walkin’, she chose me for her guide
Down by the burn o’ Cairnie, tae watch sma’ fishes glide
The first three months being past and o’er, this lassie lost her bloom
An’ the red fell frae her rosy cheeks and her eyes began to swoon
When nine long months were past and gane, she brought forth tae me a son
And I was quickly called for tae see what could be done
I said that I would marry her but no, that wudna do
For, “You’re no’ a match for ma bonny Belle, an’ she’s no’ a match for you”
Well now she’s married tae a tinkler chiel, wha bides in Huntly toon
He mends pots and pans and paraffin lamps, an’ he scours the country roon
Aye, an’ maybe she’s gotten a better lad; auld Bogie cannae tell
So fareweel ye lads o’ Huntlyside and Bogie’s bonny Belle
Ian Manuel sings Bogie’s Bonnie Belle
At market day in Huntly toon, an’ it was there I did agree
Wi’ Bogieside the farmer a twelvemonth for to fee.
Tae drive his twa best horses, that’s a task that I could do,
Tae drive his twa best horses in the harrow and the ploo.
Now Bogie had a dochter, her name was Isabel,
She was the lily o’ the valley an’ the primrose o’ the dell.
An’ when she went oot walkin’, she chose me for her guide
Doon by the burn at Cairnie, tae watch the fishes glide.
And when three months was scarcely o’er, the lassie lost her bloom
An’ the red fell frae her bonnie cheeks an’ her eyes began to swoon.
Noo, the neist nine months were past and gone, she brought tae me a son
And I was quickly sent for tae see what could be done.
I said that I would marry her, but oh that widna dae
For, “You’re nae match for bonnie Belle, an’ she’s nae match for thee.”
He sent me packin’ doon the road, wi’ nae penny o’ my fee,
Sae a’ ye lads o’ Huntly toon a lang fareweel tae ye.
But noo she’s marrit tae a tinker lad, wha bides in Huntly toon,
He mends pots and pans and paraffin lamps, an’ scours the country roon.
Maybe she’s gotten a better match—auld Bogie cannae tell—
But it was me wha’s ta’en the maidenheid o’ Bogie’s bonnie Belle.
Jim Reid sings Bogie’s Bonnie Belle
Ae Witsuntide at Huntly toun
’twas there I did agree,
Wi auld Bogieside, the fairmer, a sixmonths for tae fee.
Noo Bogie wis a hungery chiel
an this I knew fu well;
But he had a lovely dochter an her name wis Isabel.
Noo Belle she wis the bonniest lass
in aa the countryside;
It wis very soon I lost ma hert tae the Belle o Bogieside.
An often in the summertime
I’d wander wi ma dear;
Tae watch the trouties loupin by Bogie’s water clear.
I taen her by the middle sma
an I ca’d her ma wee dear;
’Twas there I taen ma will o her by Bogie’s water clear.
Noo nine lang months had passed an gane
an she brocht forth a son;
An auld Bogie he sent efter me tae see what could be done.
I said that I wad mairry her,
but na, that wad nae dae;
For I’m nae match for Bogie’s Belle an she’s nae match for me.
An noo I’ve left auld Huntlyside,
I’ve even broke ma fee;
For I couldna bear tae see ma dear condemned tae misery.
Noo I hear she’s wad tae a tinkler chap
that cam ower fae Huntly toun;
An wi jeely pans an ladles she scoors the country roun.
An mebbe she’s gotten a better lad,
auld Bogie cannae tell;
Sae fareweel ye lads o Huntlyside an Bogie’s bonnie Belle.
Andy M. Stewart sings Bogie’s Bonnie Bell
Ae Whitsun day in Huntly toon, it’s there I did agree
Wi’ Bogie of Cairnie a six-month for tae fee.
Tae drive his twa best horses tae cart and herry and ploo,
And dae ony thing aboot rarm work that I very weel could do.
Noo Bogie he had a daughter, her name was Isabell,
She was the lily o’ the valley and the primrose o’ the dell.
And when she went out walkin’ she chose me for her guide
Doon by the burn o’ Cairnie tae watch the sma’ fish glide.
When six lang months had passed and gane, this lassie’s lost her bloom,
The red fell fae her rosy cheeks and her tears came tumblin’doon.
When nine lang months had passed and gane, she brought forth tae me a son
And I was quickly sent for to see what could be done.
I offered for tae marry her, but ah, that would’ny dae.
He said, “You’re no a match for my bonnie Belle and she’s no a match for ye.”
Then he sent me packin’ doon the road wi’ nae penny o’ my fee,
So a’ ye lads o’ Huntlyside a lang fareweel tae ye.
Noo she’s married tae a tinkler chap, wha’comes fae Huntly toon,
Wi’ pots and pans and ladles, he scours the country ’roond.
And maybe she’s gotten a better match, auld Bogie cannae tell
But I was first tae win the heart o’ Bogie’s bonnie Bell.
June Tabor sings Bogie’s Bonnie Belle
As I came down to Huntly town, a-searching for a fee
I met with Bogie o’ Cairnie and with him I did agree.
To work his two best horses, barrow, cart or plow
Or any kind of good farmwork he knew well that I could do.
He had a lovely daughter, and her name was Isabel,
She was the lily of the valley and the primrose of the dell.
And when she’d go out walking she’d take me for her guide;
Down by the banks of Cairnie we watched those small fish glide.
And when three short months had gone and passed, this lassie lost her bloom.
And the red fell from her rosy cheeks, and her eyes began to swoon.
And when nine long months had gone and passed, she bore to me a son,
And swiftly I was sent for to see what could be done.
I said that I would marry her, but och, that would not dee,
Saying, “You’re no match for Isabel, and she’s no match for thee.”
So I took my own son all in my arms, may he bring to me much joy,
And may he mean as much to me as the girl that I adore.
And now she’s married to a tinker lad and he comes from Huntly town,
Mending pots and pans and paraffin lamps and he scours the country ’round.
Maybe she’s got have a better match, old Bogie can’t tell,
Fare ye well, you lads o’ Huntlyside and Bogie’s bonnie Belle.
Jock Duncan sings Bogie’s Bonnie Belle
Ae Witsun fair in Huntly toun, ’twas there I did agree,
Wi auld Bogieside o Cairnie, a saxmonth for tae fee;
Tae caw his twa best horses, likewise his cairt or ploo,
And dee onything at fairmwark that I be socht tae do.
Noo Bogie hid a dother braw, her name was Isabel,
The flooer o her nation, there wis neen could her excel;
Wi rosy cheeks and ruby lips an hair a gowden hue,
Oh she was neat, complete an handsome an comely for tae view.
Ae nicht she went a ramblin and she socht me for her guide,
Roun by the woods o Cairnie and roun by Bogieside;
I slippit my airm around her waist and tae the grun did slide,
And there I spent a lang lee nicht wi the Belle o Bogieside.
Noo twenty weeks has passed and gone, that lassie lost her bloom,
The roses fell fae aff her cheeks and she’s began tae swoon;
Noo forty lang weeks has passed an gone, that lass brocht forth a son,
And I was quickly sent for tae see fit could be done.
Fen Bogie heard the story, he cried, “I am undone,
Since ye’ve beguiled my dother my sorrows are begun.”
I said, “Aul man, ye’re fairly richt, an I hung my heid wi shame,
But I will mairry wi Isabella the morn an I’ll gie the bairnie my name.”
Although I said I’d wad the lass, “Oh no, that widna dee,
Ye’re nae a fittin match for Belle, nor she a match for ee.”
And he sent me packin doun the road wioot a penny o my fee,
Oh come aa ye lads o Cairnie side, a last fareweel tae ee.
Noo Belle has gaen aff wi a tinkler lad and she bides in Huntly toun,
Wi pots and pans and ladles they scour the country roun;
Wi pots and pans and paraffin lamps, aye, and rousers as well,
Aroun aboot be Foggyloan does Bogie’s bonnie Belle.
Sheila Stewart sings Bogie’s Bonnie Belle
A’ Whitsun’s day at Huntly toon ’twas there I did agree
Wi’ auld Bogieside, a fairmer, a sax-month for to fee.
Noo, Bogie was a greedy man and I did know that well,
But he also had a daughter her name was Isabel.
Noo, Belle she wis the bonniest lass in a’ the countryside,
And very soon I lost my hairt to the Belle o’ Bogieside.
For often on a simmer’s nicht I’d wander wi’ my dear,
Tae watch the trooties lowpin’ in Bogie’s water clear.
And I’d slipped my airms aroond her waist and the feet frae her did slide
’Twas there I ta’en my will o’ her at Bogie’s bonnie burnside.
Noo, nine long months were past and gone and she brocht forth a son
And aul’ Bogie he did send for me to see what could be done.
I said that I would marry her but, oh no, that wadnae dae,
For I’m nae match for Bogie’s Belle, and she’s nae match for me.
But noo she’s married tae a tinkler chap and she bides in Huntly toon
And wi’ tilly pans and ladles she scoors the country roond.
Oh, maybe she’s gotten a better match for that I cannae tell
But ’twas me that ta’en the maidenhead o’ Bogie’s bonnie Belle.
Rod Paterson of Jock Tamson’s Bairns sings Bogie’s Bonnie Belle
Ae Whitsun morn in Huntly toon ’twas there I did agree
Wi’ Bogie, heid o’ Cairnie, a twelve month for tae fee
Tae drive his twa best horses, and tae cairt and herry and ploo
And dae onything o’ fairmin’ work I very weel could do.
Noo Bogie had a dochter, her name was Isabel
She was the floo’r o’ the valley, the primrose o’ the dell
She’d rosy cheeks, and ruby lips, and hair the raven’s hue
She was neat, complete and handsome, aye, and comely for tae view.
When she gaed oot walkin’, she took me for her guide
Doon by the burn o’ Cairnie, whaur the silver fishes glide
I slipped my airm aboot her waist, and tae the ground did slide
And there I had my first braw nicht, wi’ the belle o’ Bogieside.
When three months were past and gane, this lassie lost her bloom
And the reid fell frae her rosy cheeks, and her een began tae swoon
And when nine months were past and gane, she brocht forth tae me a son,
And I was quickly ca’d for, tae see what could be done.
I said that I would merry her, but no that widna’ dae
“For you’re no’ a match for my bonnie Belle, and she’s no’ a match for ye”
He sent me packin’ doon the road, wi’oot my penny fee
Sae fareweel ye lads o’ Huntlyside, a lang fareweel tae ye.
And noo she’s merried tae a tinkler chiel wha bides in Huntly toon
He mends pots and pans and paraffin lamps, and scours he the country roond
And maybe he’s gotten her a better match, auld Bogie cannae tell,
But it’s me wha stow the maidenheid fae Bogie’s bonnie Belle.
Geordie Murison sings Bogie’s Bonnie Belle
Ae Whitsuntide at Huntly toon wis there I did agree,
Wi Aul Bogieside o Cairnie, a saxmonth for tae fee.
Tae ca his twa best horses, likewise tae cairt an ploo,
Aye tae dee athing aboot that place at richt weel I could do.
Noo, Bogie he’d a dochter, her name was Isabel,
The flooer o her nation, wis neen could her excel.
She’d rosie cheeks and ruby lips, hair a darkish hue,
She wis neat, complete an handsome, aye comely for tae view.
An fyles she’d gyang oot walkin, aye speir me for her guide,
Tae tak a pleasant walk wi her alang the Burnie side.
I’d slip ma airm aboot her waist an tae the grun we’d slide,
Oh there I bid the first braw nicht wi the Belle o Bogieside.
Er twinty wiks hid past an geen that lassie lost her bloom
Her rosie cheeks grew pale an wan, she began tae swoon.
Er forty wiks had past and geen, aye Belle she bore a son.
And I was quickly sent for tae see fit could be done.
I said that I wid mairry Belle, bit na, that widna dee,
For ye’re nae match for my Bonnie Belle, nor she a match for ye.
He sent me packin doon the road wi nae penny o my fee,
Fare ye weel ye lads o Huntlyside, a lang fare weel tae ye.
Noo Belle she’s mairrit till a tinkler chiel, they cry him Souder John,
He hawks his pans and roozers aroon the Foggie Loan.
Noo maybe she’s gotten a better man, Aul Bogie canna tell,
Twis me that hid the first braw nicht wi Bogie’s Bonnie Belle.
Alison Younger sings Belle’s Bonnie Bogey
As I gae’d in by Huntly toon
this mornin’ for tae fare
I fell in wi’ Bogie o’ Cairnie on his rare and hairy mare.
I am a bloomin’ plooman
I nae hoo tae ploo, the noo
Ye ken a mon hae got tae ploo what a mon hae got tae ploo
Noo the fairmer had a dochter,
her name it were Belle
She had an awfu’ big nose and a powerfu’ sense of smell
And when she gaed oot walking
sniffin’ floo’rs o’er the glen
She inhaled a’ the daffodils and sucked in some passin’ men
I wish that I could marry Belle,
och weel, if I could choose
I’d hold her by the legs and we could hoover roond the hoose.
She breathed in half a forest
and a flock o’ Hieland sheep
The shepherd had tae tak ’em oot when Belle she fell asleep
And while the shepherd he were there
a-ca’in’ for his dogie
He cam across a black and roond really massive bogie
It were the biggest in the world
there cannae be a doot
And a’ the fairmers roond aboot cam’ roond to roll it oot
There’s airms and legs a-stickin’ oot
and soon a face appears
Twas the fairmer’s Uncle Angus why, he’d not been seen for years
Belle’s Bonnie Bogie
it outgrew the Stone of Scone
I own that Belle had blown an Elgin Mairble of her own
There was a vairse upon the bogie
by William McGonagall
The poem didnae scan which cam as nae surprise tae man, woman, chiel or dogie at all.
We rolled it roond and roond the toon
till we found the pairfect spot
Most monuments are granite but in Huntly toon it’s not
And if ye gae by Huntly toon
ye’ll see it lyin’ there
Bogie, bonnie Belle’s bogie lyin’ in the square