The Earl of Errol

Melody -

Errol it's a bonnie place,
It stands upon a plain;
A bad report this lady's raised,
That Errol's no' a man.

Wi' the rantin' o't and the dauntin' o't,
Accordin' as ye ken,
The thing they ca' the rantin' o't,
Lady Error lies her lane.

"What needs I wash my apron,
And hang it on a dyke?
What needs they ca' me Errol's wife,
When I gang sae maiden-like?

"What needs I wash my pettycoat,
Or hang it on a pin?
For lang will I gang but-and-ben
Ere I hear the bairnies' din.

"What needs I wash my apron,
Or dry't upon a door?
What needs I eek my pettycoat
Hings even doon before."

"When I cam' in by yon canal
And by yon bowling-green,
I micht hae pleased the best Carnegie
That ever bore the name.
"But as sure as your name it Kate Carnegie
And mine is Gilbert Hay,
I'll gar your faither sell his lands,
Your tocher for to pay."

"To gar my faither sell his lands,
Wad that na' be a sin?
Pay tocher to a worthless lord,
That canna get a son."

Nor Errol's gotten 't at his will
To choise a maid himsel',
And he has chosen a country lass,
Cam' in her milk to sell.

He kept her locked into a room,
Three quarters o' a year,
And when three quarters ended were,
A braw young son she bare.

There wasna a lord in Edinburgh
But to Peggy gied a ring;
And there wasna a lad in a' the toon,
But on Katie had a sang.

"Look up, look up, my pretty Peggy,
Look up and think na shame,
I'll mak' ye Lady Errol," he said,
"And Kate shall be sent hame."

"Tak' hame your daughter, Carnegie!" he said,
And wed her to a man,
For Errol canna please her,
Nor nane o' a' his men."

The ballad refers to the marriage of the tenth Earl of Errol with Catherine Carnegie, daughter of the second Earl of Southesk, which took place on the 7th January 1658. Errol died without issue in 1674 but in the first year of his married life there appears to have been a quarrel between him and his wife which came to a hearing in 1659.

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