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Edzell’s Bonnie Braes

[ Roud 9283 ; trad.]

Malinky sang Edzell’s Bonnie Braes in 2015 on their CD Far Better Days. They noted:

From the singing of William Milne of Kirriemuir (1873-1956), who was recorded near Steve [Byrne]’s hometown of Arbroath by folklorist and poet Bill Montgomerie in 1952. Steve catalogued a number of Wiliam’s songs for the Kist o Riches project.

The song is from the family of unrequited love songs in the mould of the well-known Bonnie Woods o Hatton. Edzell is a village four miles north of Brechin, on the Angus/Kincardineshire border.

William first heard the song in 1892 at a ‘harvest home’ celebration, sung by Jock Lindsay at ‘The Glack’, in Glenmoy, Angus. He heard the song again from Jim Alexander (whose brother married William’s daughter) at Home Farm, Fothringham, south of Forfar, Angus.

Only two field recordings of the song appear to exist, that of William Milne and one collected by Séamus Ennis for the BBC from Charles Gillies of Angus in 1953.


Malinky sing Edzell’s Bonnie Braes

Come all friend and companions and listen unto me,
I’ll sing tae you a song though not with merry glee.
It was concernin slighted love, the cause of all my waes,
That maks me rue that e’er I come tae Edzell’s Bonnie Braes.

It’s aft I’ve fed my fleecy flock down by the North Esk stream,
By fickle fortune I was led unto a comely dame.
Her beauty bright shone in my sight like Phoebus’ shinin rays,
Which maks me rue that e’er I come tae Edzell’s Bonnie Braes.

She seemed like fair Diana in stature sweet as mild,
And in my arms wis she to me like nature’s darlin child.
Baith night an morn ma hert doth burn wi love, its flame in blaze
Which maks me rue that e’er I come tae Edzell’s Bonnie Braes.

I dearly loved that fair maid as I dearly loved my life,
I asked if she’d giee her consent tae be ma wedded wife.
I asked her hand in wedlock bands wi me tae spend her day
To which she had consented on Edzell’s Bonnie Braes.

But noo she’s gone and left me, she’s left me aa forlorn,
Ma joys are turned tae grief baith nicht and day I murn.
But heaven will reward her weel for her deceitful ways,
She’ll mind the vows she made tae me on Edzell’s Bonnie Braes.

But while the crimson current flows gently in my veins,
There’s no anither fair maid shall win ma hert again.
For single so I shall remain til death doth end my days,
I’ll murn for the lassie lost on Edzell’s Bonnie Braes.