The Gaberlunyie Man

Melody -

O, a beggar man cam' ower yon lea,
An' mony a fine tale he told me,
Seekin' oot for charity,
Will ye lodge a beggar man?

Lal lal tee too roo ree,

The nicht was cauld, the caile was wat,
An' doon ayont the ingle he sat,
Then he threw the meal-pock aff'n his back
And aye as he ranted and sang,

"If I were black as I am white,
As the snaw that lies on yonder dyke,
I wad dress mysel' some beggar-like
And awa' wi' you I would gang."

"O lassie, O lassie, you're far ower young,
And ye hae na the cant o' the beggin' tongue,
Ye hae na the cant o' the beggin' tongue
And wi' me ye canna gang."

"I'll bend my back and bow my knee,
And I'll put a black patch on my e'e,
And for a beggar they'll tak' me,
Syne awa' wi' you I will gang."

'Twas then they twa made up the plot,
To rise twa hours before the old folk,
Sae cannily they slipped the lock
And through the fields they ran.

Early neist mornin' the auld wife rose,
An' at her lei sure put on her clothes;
Syne to the servant's bed she goes
To speir for the silly puir man.

She gaed to the bed where the beggar lay,
The strae was cauld and he was away,
She clapped her hands and cried, "Welladay,
Is there ony o' oor guid gear gane?"
  Some ran to the coffer, some ran to the kist,
But naethin' was awa' that could be missed,
She danced her lane, cried "Praised be the blest,
I've lodged an honest old man.

"Since naethin's awa' that we can learn,
The kye are to milk and the milk is to kirn;
Gae but the hoose, lass, and wauken my bairn
And bid her come speedily ben."

The servant gaed where the dochter lay,
But the sheets were cauld and she was away,
And fast to the gudewife she did say:
"She's awa' wi' the beggar man."

"O fye gar ride, O fye gar rin!
And haste ye find they traitors again,
For she'll be brunt and he'll be slain,
The wearifu' beggar man."

Some rode on horseback, some ran on foot,
A' but the auld wife and she wasna fit,
She hobbled aboot frae hip to hip
An' aye as she cursed and banned.

Meanwhile far oot ower yon lea,
Fu' snug in a glen where nane could see,
The twa wi' muckle sport and glee
Frae a new cheese cut a whang,

When years had passed some twa or three
The same beggar carle cam' ower yon lea,
Saying, "Gudewife, for your courtesie,
Will y lodge a silly, puir man?"

"A beggar, a beggar I'll ne'er lodge again,
I had ae dochter but ane o' my ain,
And awa' wi' a beggar man she's gane
And I dinna ken whence nor where."

"O, yonder she's comin', ower yong lea
Wi' mony a fine tale unto thee,
An' she's gotten a baby on her knee
And anither yen comin' hame.

"O, yonder she's comin' to your bower,
In silk an' satin wi' mony a flawer,"
She's held up her hands and she's blest the hour
That she followed the beggar man.

The first printed text of this song appeared in Volume I of Romsey's 'Tea-Table Miscellany' (1724). Child printed it as an appendix to The Jolly Beggar. According to tradition, it chronicles one of the adventures of James V in the guise of the 'goodman of Bollengeich'. Unlike The Jolly Beggar, which has become something of a rarity in Scotland, The Gaberlunyie-Man is still a popular piece with country singers in the Perthshire and Aberdeenshire areas. A cant version is still current among traveling folk.

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