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> Trevor Lucas > Songs > Fotheringay: Eppie Moray

Eppie Moray / Eppie Morrie

[ Roud 2583 ; Child 223 ; Ballad Index C223 ; Mudcat 3049 ; trad.]

The Oxford Book of Ballads The Singing Island Thee Penguin Book of English Folk Songs

Jimmy McBeath from Banffshire sang Eppie Morrie to Alan Lumax in c. 1951-53. This recording was included in 2000 on the Rounder anthology Classic Ballads of Britain and Ireland Volume 2.

Ewan MacColl sang the North-east Scottish abduction ballad Eppie Moray in 1956 on his and A.L. Lloyd's Riverside album The English and Scottish Popular Ballads (The Child Ballads) Volume I. This and most of his other ballads from this series were re-issued in 2009 on his Topic CD Ballads: Murder·Intrigue·Love·Discord.

Fotheringay recorded Eppie Moray for their second album which was never finished due to the band's break-up. They recorded it too on two BBC Radio 1 sessions: on 12 November 1970 for “Folk on the BBC” and on 15 November 1970 for “Sound of the Seventies”, both with Trevor Lucas and Sandy Denny singing. At these sessions they also recorded Bold Jack Donahue, Gypsy Davey, Lowlands of Holland and Wild Mountain Thyme.

After a long time of being available on bootlegs only, in 2008 Fledg'ling Records published Eppie Moray from Fotheringay's 1970 Sound Techniques studio recordings on the Fotheringay 2 CD.

Sìleas (Patsy Seddon and Mary Macmaster) sang Eppie Morrie in 1986 on their album Delighted with Harps. They noted:

This ballad comes from the North-east of Scotland.

A Highlander abducts an heiress and tries to force her to marry him. When she refuses in front of the minister he carries her off and tries to rape her. She successfully fights him off and in the morning scornfully demands a horse so that she may ride home to her mother “a maiden as she cam”.

The melody was transmitted to Ewan MacColl by William Miller.

Ceolbeg sang Eppie Moray in 2000 on their Greentrax CD Cairn Water. They noted:

The vintage of this ballad is unknown, other than it being post-Reformation. It is however the sexual politics in the storyline which sets it apart from traditional ballad values. Judge for yourself!

Isla St Clair sang Eppie Morrie on her 2000 CD Murder & Mayhem. She explained:

Twenty four Highlanders kidnap Eppie Morrie for Willie, their leader, to marry. Eppie Morrie refuses to submit to his desires, so Willie attempts to rape her but she defends herself successfully throughout the night. In the morning she is rescued, still a maiden, and after scorning Willie returns to her true love.

Corrina Hewat released her Foot Stompin' single The Ballad of Eppie Moray in 2005.

Janet Russell sang Eppie Morrie in 2008 on her Harbourtown CD Love Songs and Fighting Talk. She noted:

Another song I've known and liked for many years, and it's a good time to acknowledge the common practice of forced marriage in our not so distant past, with this song of triumphant fight back.

The Shee sang Eppie Morrie in 2010 on their CD Decadence.

More Maids sang Eppie Morrie on their 2011 CD III.

This video shows the Fiddle Folk Family singing Eppie Morrie on their 2011 DVD Ungeschieden, ungekämmt, ungesehen:

Jim Moray sang Eppie Moray in 2016 on his CD Upcetera. He commented in his sleeve notes:

The tune appears to come from William Miller, via his son Ewan MacColl who popularised it. I'm compiled and anglicised the words from several sources.

James Wilson sang Eppie Moray in 2018 on the Wilson & Swarbrick CD Kailyard Tales.

Lyrics

Ceolbeg sing Eppie Moray Fotheringay sing Eppie Moray

Four and twenty Heilan men
Cam fae the Carronside
Tae tak awa Eppie Moray for
She widnae be a bride, a bride,
She widnae be a bride.

Four-and-twenty Highland men
Come from the Carron side
To carry away Eppie Moray for
She would not be a bride, a bride,
She would not be a bride.

Then oot its cam her mither then,
fur it wis a moonlit nicht.
She couldnae see her daughter for
The water shone sae bricht, sae bricht,
The water shone sae bricht.

Then out it came her mither for
It was a moonlit night,
She couldn't see her daughter for
The moon it shone so bright, so bright
The moon it shone so bright.

Haud awa fae me, Mither,
Haud awa fae me!
There’s no a man in a’ Strathdon
Will merriet be wi me, wi me,
Will merriet be wi me.

Hold away from me, mither,
Hold away from me!
There's not a man in all Strathdon
Should married be with me, with me,
Should married be with me.

They’ve taken Eppie Moray then
And a horse they’ve bound her on.
And they’re awa tae the minister’s hoose
As fest as horse could gang, could gang,
As fest as horse could gang.

They've taken Eppie Moray,
And a horse they've bound her on,
And they had rid to the minister's house
As fast as horse could run, could run,
As fast as horse could run.

Willie’s taen his pistol oot
And pit it tae the minister’s briest
O merry me, merry me, minister,
Or else I’ll be yer priest, yer priest,
Or else I’ll be yer priest.

[ Then Willie he's taken his pistol out
And set it to the minister's breast,
O marry me, marry me, minister,
Or else I'll be your priest, your priest
Or else I'll be your priest.

Haud awa fae me, Willie,
Haud awa fae me!
Ah durna vow tae merry ye,
Except she’s fain as ye, as ye,
Except she’s fain as ye.

Hold away from me, Willie,
Hold away from me,
I not avow to marry you
Except she's willing as thee, as thee,
Except she's willing as thee.

Haud awa fae me, guid sir,
Haud awa fae me!
There’s no a man in a’ Strathdon
Shall merriet be by me, by me,
Shall merriet be by me.

They’ve taken Eppie Moray then,
That better’d couldnae be,
And they hae rode ower Carronside,
As fest as horse could flee, could flee,
As fest as horse could flee.

They've taken Eppie Moray then,
She'd better could not be,
And they have rid over Carron side
As fast as horse could flee, could flee,
As fast as horse could flee.

Then mass was sung and bells were rung
And they’re awa tae bed.
And Willie and Eppie Moray
In ae bed they were laid, were laid,
In ae bed they were laid.

Then mass was sung and bells were rung
And they're away to bed,
And Willie and Eppie Moray,
In ane bed they were laid, were laid
In ane bed they were laid. ]

He’s taen the sark fae off his back
And kicked awa his shoon.
He’s thrawn awa the chaulmer key
And naked he laid doon, laid doon,
And naked he laid doon.

He's taken the sark from off his back
And kicked away his shoes,
And thrown away the chamber key,
And naked he's lay down, lay down
And naked he's lay down.

Haud awa fae me Willie,
Aaud awa fae me!
Afore I lose my maidenheid
I’ll try my strength wi thee, wi thee,
I’ll try my strength wi thee.

Hold away from me, Willie,
Hold away from me,
Before I lose my maidenhead
I'll try my strength with thee, with thee.
I'll try my strength with thee.

He’s kissed her on the lily breist
And held her shoulders twa.
And ay she’s grat and ay she’s spat
And turned her tae the wa, the wa,
And turned her tae the wa.

He's kissed her on the lily breast
And held her shoulders twa
But aye she grat and aye she spat
And turned to the wall, the wall,
And turned to the wall.

Haud awa fae me Willie,
Haud awa fae me!
There’s no a man in a’ Strathdon
Will merriet be wi me, wi me,
Will merriet be wi me.

A’ through the nicht they warstled
Antil the licht o day,
And Willie grat and Willie spat,
But couldnae stretch her spey, her spey,
But couldnae stretch her spey.

All through the night they wrestled there
Until the light of day,
And Willie grat and Willie swat
But he could not stretch her spey, her spey
He could not stretch her spey.

Then early in the mornin,
Afore the licht o day,
Then came a maid o scalatur
wi goon and shirt alane, alane,
Wi goon and shirt alane.

Get up get up young woman
And drink the wine wi me.
Ye micht hae ca’d me maiden for
I’m sure as hail as thee, as thee,
I’m sure as hail as thee.

Weary fa ye Willie then
That ye couldnae prove a man.
Ye micht hae taen her maidenheid,
She would hae hired yer hand, yer hand,
She would hae hired yer hand.

Weary fa' you, Willie, then,
For you could not prove a man,
For if you gained her maidenheid,
She would have held your hand, your hand,
She would have held your hand.

Haud awa fae me lady,
Haud awa fae me!
There’s no a man in a’ Strathdon
Will merriet be wi me, wi me,
Will merriet be wi me.

Go away from me, Lady,
Go away from me!
There's not a man in all Strathdon
Shall married be with me, with me,
Shall married be with me.

Gae get tae me a horse, Willie,
Get it like a man!
And send me back tae my mither’s hoose,
A maiden as I cam, I cam,
A maiden as I cam.

Go fetch me a horse,
And fetch it like a man,
And send me back to my mither
A maiden as I came, I came
A maiden as I came.