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Fair Annie

No: 62; variant: 62F

Source: Motherwell's MS., p. 385; Motherwell's Minstrelsy, p. 327. From the recitation of Mrs Rule, Paisley, August 16, 1825.

  1. ‘Learn to mak your bed, Annie, And learn to lie your lane, For I maun owre the salt seas gang, A brisk bride to bring hame.
  2. ‘Bind up, bind up your yellow hair, And tye it in your neck, And see you look as maiden-like As the first day that we met.’
  3. ‘O how can I look maiden-like, When a maid I’ll never be; When seven brave sons I’ve born to thee, And the eighth is in my bodie?
  4. ‘The eldest of your sons, my lord, Wi red gold shines his weed; The second of your sons, my lord, Rides on a milk-white steed.
  5. ‘And the third of your sons, my lord, He draws your beer and wine, And the fourth of your sons, my lord, Can serve you when you dine.
  6. ‘And the fift of your sons, my lord, He can both read and write, And the sixth of your sons, my lord, Can do it maist perfyte.
  7. ‘And the sevent of your sons, my lord, Sits on the nurse’s knee; And how can I look maiden-like, When a maid I’ll never be?
  8. ‘But wha will bake your wedding bread, And brew your bridal ale? Or wha will welcome your brisk bride, That you bring owre the dale?’
  9. ‘I’ll put cooks in my kitchen, And stewards in my hall, And I’ll have bakers for my bread, And brewers for my ale; But you’re to welcome my brisk bride, That I bring owre the dale.’
  10. He set his fut into his ship, And his cock-boat on the main; He swore it would be year and day Or he returned again.
  11. When year and day was past and gane, Fair Annie she thocht lang, And she is up to her bower-head, To behold both sea and land.
  12. ‘Come up, come up, my eldest son, And see now what you see; O yonder comes your father dear, And your stepmother-to-be.’
  13. ‘Cast off your gown of black, mother, Put on your gown of brown, And I’ll put off my mourning weeds, And we’ll welcome him home.’
  14. She’s taken wine into her hand, And she has taken bread, And she is down to the water-side To welcome them indeed.
  15. ‘You’re welcome, my lord, you’re welcome, my lord, You’re welcome home to me; So is every lord and gentleman That is in your companie.
  16. ‘You’re welcome, my lady, you’re welcome, my lady, You’re welcome home to me; So is every lady and gentleman That’s in your companye.’
  17. ‘I thank you, my girl, I thank you, my girl, I thank you heartilie; If I live seven years about this house, Rewarded you shall be.’
  18. She served them up, she served them down, With the wheat bread and the wine; By aye she drank the cold water, To keep her colour fine.
  19. She servd them up, she servd them down, With the wheat bread and the beer; By aye she drank the cauld water, To keep her colour clear.
  20. When bells were rung and mass was sung, And all were boune for rest, Fair Annie laid her sons in bed, And a sorrowful woman she was.
  21. ‘Will I go to the salt, salt seas, And see the fishes swim? Or will I go to the gay green-wood, And hear the small birds sing?’
  22. Out and spoke an aged man, That stood behind the door: ‘Ye will not go to the salt, salt seas, To see the fishes swim; Nor will ye go to the gay green-wood, To hear the small birds sing.
  23. ‘But ye’ll take a harp, into your hand, Go to the chamber door, And aye ye’ll harp, and aye ye’ll murn, With the salt tears falling oer.’
  24. She’s tane a harp into her hand, Went to their chamber door, And aye she harpd, and aye she murnd, With the salt tears falling oer.
  25. Out and spak the brisk young bride, In bride-bed where she lay: ‘I think I hear my sister Annie, And I wish weel it may; For a Scotish lord staw her awa, And an ill death may he die’
  26. ‘Wha was your father, my girl,’ she says, ‘Or wha was your mother? Or had you ever a sister dear, Or had you ever a brother?’
  27. ‘King Henry was my father dear, Queen Easter was my mother, Prince Henry was my brother dear, And Fanny Flower my sister.’
  28. ‘If King Henry was your father dear, And Queen Easter was your mother, And Prince Henry was your brother dear, Then surely I’m your sister.
  29. ‘Come to your bed, my sister dear, It neer was wrangd for me, But an ae kiss of his merry mouth, As we cam owre the sea.’
  30. ‘Awa, awa, ye forenoon bride, Awa, awa frae me’ I wudna hear my Annie greet, For a’ the gold I got wi thee.’
  31. ‘There was five ships of gay red gold Came owre the seas with me; It’s twa o them will take me hame, And three I’ll leave wi thee.
  32. ‘Seven ships o white money Came owre the seas wi me; Five o them I’ll leave wi thee, And twa’ll tak me hame, And my mother will mak my portion up, When I return again.’