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The Bonnie Wee Trampin Lass

[ Roud 5129 ; G/D 8:1917 ; Ballad Index RcBWTrLa ; trad.]

Norman Buchan and Peter Hall: The Scottish Folksinger

Willie Scott [1897-1989] sang The Bonnie Wee Trampin Lass on 3 November 1967 in Bill Leader’s home in Camden Town, London. This recording was released in the following year on Scott’s Topic album The Shepherd’s Song, and it was also included in 1998 on the Topic anthology of songs of love and amorous encounters, Who’s That at My Bed Window? (The Voice of the People Volume 10). Maurice Lindsay commented in Scott’s album’s sleeve notes:

A song which Willie’s wife used to sing when she was a girl. A simple story of happy love, it tells how the singer met his girl, who was working for ten shillings a week at a mill, and how they “stood there bletherin’ for a while, about the thing called luve”. Married, they were “happy as happy can be” so that the singer now has:

Two bonnie bairnies by my side
And a third yin on my knee.”

Charlie Allan sang The Bonnie Wee Trampin Lass in 1980 on his album It’s Lonely in the Bothy.

Tam Reid sang Trampin’ Lass in a 1988 recording made at Towie Barclay Castle that was first released on a cassette and in 2003 on his anthology Behind the Bothy Door, Volume 2. He also sang it on the 2007 Ross live album Tam Reid’s Ceilidh.

The Spiers Family sang The Bonnie Wee Trampin Lass on their 2012 album Oh, Gin I Were There…. They noted:

Maggie [Spiers] sings this cheerful song of courtship. There are other versions of this song, e.g. Ma Bonnie Wee Lochee Lass (Songs and Ballads of Dundee), which are very similar, so it may originally have been a song sheet from the Poets’ Box.

Note: Ma Bonnie Wee Lochee Lass as mentioned in the previous note is Roud 22218 .


Willie Scott sings The Bonnie Wee Trampin Lass

As I gaed oot yin Saturday nicht for tae hae a wee bit stroll,
Ne’er thinking how the time was flyin till A gaed by the toll;
A hadna far gane by the toll the Carters mill to pass,
When what dae ye think A chanced to meed but a bonnie wee trampin lass?

Chorus (after each verse):
Oh whaur are ye gaun, oh gie me yer haun, and hoo are ye daein?” says I,
“Haud up yer heid, me bonnie wee lass, and dinna look sae shy;
Oh whaur dae ye bide, and whaur dae ye stay? Come tell to me yer name.
And wud yer faither wad be angry if A wis to sae ye hame”

She said she wis working doon in yon Carters mill,
Winding banks o yarn ye ken, she liked it awfu weel;
She only had ten bob a week, she handna been on fu time.
Says I, “Me lass, take care of that, for you’ll very soon me mine.”

We stood there bletherin for a while, aboot that thing caud love,
Ne’er thinking how the time was flying till the skies grew dark above;
She drew her shawl aroon her heid and to me she did exclaim,
“I say young man, it’s getting late and time that we were hame.”

But now since we’ve got mairried, we’re as happy as can be,
Twa bonnie bairnies by me side, and a third yin on me knee;
When e’er we gan oot for a stroll the Carters mill tae pass,
A think o the happy times A’ve hed, since A met wi the trampin lass.

The Spiers Family sing The Bonnie Wee Trampin Lass

As I gaed oot ae summer’s nicht tae hae a wee bit stroll,
Ne’er thinkin on the oors gone by I wandered by the toll.
I hadna gone far by the toll faan Gairner’s burn I passed
And faa dae ye think that I met there but a bonnie wee trampin lass.

Chorus (after each verse):
“Faar are ye gaan, gie me yer han, foo are ye daein?” says I,
“Haud up yer heid, ma bonnie lass, dinna look sae shy,
Faar d’ye bide, faar d’ye stay, come tell tae me yer name.
D’ye think yer faither’d be angry noo if I was to see ye hame?”

She said that she was workin doon amang the Milton fields,
Trampin banks o yarnin and liked it unca weel.,
She said she hid ten bob a week but wisna on fu-time
Says I, “It disnae maitter lass for you will seen be mine.”

And noo that we are married we’re as happy as can be,
Twa bonnie lasses by oor side and a laddie at oor knee.
I oft times stroll doon by the toll and think on days gone by
As lang as I live I’ll ne’er forget my bonnie wee trampin lass.

Acknowledgements and Links

I copied the lyrics from Alison McMorland’s Willie Scott book Herd Laddie o’ the Glen.