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When the King Comes O'er the Water / Lady Keith's Lament

[ Roud V42891 ; Ballad Index Hogg1027 ; trad.]

Jock Tamson's Bairns sang When the King Comes O'er the Water (Lady Keith's Lament) on 1982 on their Topic album The Lasses Fashion.

Ray Fisher sang Lady Keith's Lament in 1991 on her Saydisc CD Traditional Songs of Scotland. She commented in her album's liner notes:

The aristocratic titled Lady in question has lost her status and possessions due to her Jacobite sympaties. In her reduced circumstances she shows her strength of character and unflinching determination to return to her former position when Bonnie Prince Charlie (Prince Charles Stewart) comes back from France. She also betrays a strong personal affection for the Prince. Resolved to learn this song after hearing the fine Scottish singer, Rod Paterson, sing it.

Lyrics

Ray Fisher sings Lady Keith's Lament

I may sit in my wee croo hoose,
Wi' my rock and my reel tae toil fu' dreary.
And I may think on the day that's gane
And will sigh and sob till I am weary.
I ne'er could bear, I ne'er could bear
A foreign loon tae own and flatter.
But I will sing a rantin' sang
That day oor King comes ower the water.

O I hae seen the guid auld day,
The day o' pride and chieftain's glory,
Whan Royal Stuart bare the sway
And we ne'er heard tell o' Whig or Tory.
Tho' lyart be my locks and grey,
Auld age has crook't me doon, what matter?
I'll dance and sing ae ither day,
That day oor King comes ower the water.

O gin I live tae see the day
That I hae begged and begged frae heaven.
I'll fling my rock and my reel away
And I'll dance and sing fae morn till even.
For there is ane I wadna name,
Wha comes the beengin' byke tae scatter.
And I will put on my bridal goon
That day oor King comes ower the water.

A curse on dull and drawling Whig,
The whinin', rantin' low deceiver.
Wi' heard sae black and look sae big,
And cantin' tongue o' cishmaclaver!
My faither was a guid Lord's son,
My mither was an Earl's daughter,
And I will be Lady Keith again
That day oor King comes ower the water.