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Braw Sailin' on the Sea

[ Roud 5537 ; G/D 6:1217 ; Ballad Index Ord203 ; trad.]

Ossian sang Braw Sailin' on the Sea in 1982 on their album Dove Across the Water.

Old Blind Dogs sang Braw Sailin' on their 2007 album Four on the Floor. They noted:

A classic from the Old Blind Dogs' north-east song bible, Ord's Bothy Songs and Ballads. […] First heard performed by Ossian then relearned from Orcadian Kris Drever at the sessions in Edinburgh's Central Bar.

Hannah Rarity sang Braw Sailin' on the Sea, “[a] take on one of my favourite well-known Scots songs”, on her 2018 CD Neath the Gloaming Star.

Lyrics

Old Blind Dogs sing Braw Sailin' Hannah Rarity sings Braw Sailin' on the Sea

There came a letter yesterday,
Our ship it will sail at morn.
“Alas!” cried my bonny lass,
“That ever I was born.”

There cam a letter late yestreen,
Oor ship maun sail the morn
“Alas,” cried the bonnie lass,
“hat ever I was born.”

Chorus (after each verse):
And it's braw sailing on the sea
When wind and weather's fair.
But it's better to be in my love‘s arms,
I wish that I were there.

Chorus:
And it's braw sailin’ on the sea
When wind and weather's fair.
Oh it's better tae be in my love's airms,
And Oh, gin I were there.

So when he went to her farm house,
At twelve o'clock at noon.
The lassie being proud hearted,
She would not let him in.

He’s cam untae her faither’s hoose
At twelve o'clock at noon.
Oh, the lassie bein prood herted,
She widna let him in.

(Chorus)

So she's ta'en the ring from her pocket,
It cost her shillings nine,
Sayin', “Take this ring, my bonnie lad,
For I have changed my mind.”

But he’s taen a ring frae his pocket,
It cost him guineas three,
Sayin’, “Tak ye that, my bonnie lass,
And aye think weel o me.”

So he's ta'en the ring from his pocket,
It cost him guineas three,
Saying, “Take this ring, my bonnie lass,
And aye think well of me.”

But she’s taen a ring frae her pocket,
It cost her shillings nine,
Sayin’, “Tak ye that, my bonnie lad,
For I hae changed my mind.”

And it's braw drinking Glasgow beer,
It's better drinking wine,
But it's better to be in my love‘s arms,
Where I have been many's the time.

(Chorus)