The Scranky Black Farmer

Melody -

At the tap o' the Garioch, in the lands o' Leith-hall,
A scranky black farmer in Earlsfield did dwall;
Wi' him I engaged a servant to be,
Which makes me lament I went far frae the sea.

I engaged wi' this farmer to drive cart and ploo;
Hard fortune convenit an ill-fated crew;
I ane of the number which causes me rue
That e'er I attempted the country to view.

Up from the low country my course I did steer,
To the parish of Kinethmont you shortly shall hear;
Their customs and fashions to me a' seemed new,
My rapid proceedings full sore did I rue.

In the head o' the Garioch we all did appear,
From various countries, some far and some near,
From the parish of Kinethmont, Kilmarnock and Keith,
From Aberlour, Rothiemay, and Fordyce.

The harvest in our country is both early and late,
And all kinds of drudgery of course we do get;
Our usage is rough and our ale is but pale,
It's the brown bree o' molasses that we get for ale.

It's early in the mornin' we rise to the yoke,
The starm and the tempest can ne'er make us stop;
While the wind it does beat and the rain it does pour,
And aye yon black farmer he on us does glower.

But the time is expiring and the day it will come,
To various countries we all must go home;
Bonnie Jeannie must travel, bonnie Bawbie also,
Back to the beyont o' Montgomery must go.

So farewell Rhynie and adieu to you Clatt,
For I hae been wi' you baith early and late,
Baith early and late, baith empty and fu',
So farewell Rhynie, I'll bid you adieu.

So farewell Bawbie, and adieu to you all,
Likewise to the farmer that lives at Leith-hall;
For to serve this black farmer, I'm sure it's nae sport,
So I will be going to my bonnie seaport.

It used to be common for East-Anglian countrymen to spend part of the year working on the land and part working on the sea as herring-fishermen. In the N.E, of Scotland, however, this was never the practice, the two communities always being sharply divided. Consequently it is unusual to find in the bothy singer's repertoire a song in which the seaman's attitude to farmwork is expressed.

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