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The Gairdner and the Plooman

[ Roud 339 ; Ballad Index Ord094 ; trad.]

Jean Redpath sang The Gairdner and the Plooman in 1973 on her Folk-Legacy album Frae My Ain Countrie. She commented in her liner notes:

Murray Shoolbraid, originally from Leslie in Fife, was living in Vancouver, B.C., when we met. I envy him his card index of Scottish songs and his ability to provide a text with a melody like this. The words are found in Greig's Folk-Song of the Northeast, the original text being from Mrs. Jaffray of Mintlaw. The apparent confusion of this version as it stands (who is saying what and to whom?) is cleared up by the second text in Greig which, although fragmentary, has a more complete story line [see below].

Bronson, in The Traditional Tunes of the Child Ballads, lumps this ballad as the first version of The Gardener (Child 219) but this song has quite a different storyline.

Lyrics

Jean Redpath sings The Gairdner and the Plooman

The first time that I saw my love,
It was under a bush o' rue.
And aye the sweeter that she sang,
The nearer the bush I drew.

A gairdner lad that lives near by,
Lang has he woo'd me,
And he's gi'en me his heart tae keep,
A pledge o' love tae be.

Lang did I keep my gairdner's heart,
My ain was aye free,
Or the blithe blink o' the plooman lad
Has stown the heart frae me.

The firstan time I did him see,
He was plooin' on yon brae broo,
And I could neither haud nor ca',
Twas a' for the love o' you.

The neistan time I did you see,
It was under a bush o' rue,
And aye the sweeter that ye sang,
The nearer the bush I drew.

Mak' up yer goon, my bonnie lass,
And rnak' it neat and fine,
And ye shall be the ploomanrs wife,
For the gairdner's changed his mind.

The plooman lad, he's hearin' this,
Just in a bush near by;
Says, “Say nae mair, my bonnie lassie
For ye ken better why.”

The first time that I saw my love,
It was under a bush o' rue,
And aye the sweeter that she sang,
The nearer the bush I drew.

Greig's second text

Awyte I keepit the gairdner's hert,
But leet my ain gae free,
Till by it cam' the plooman lad,
And he's stown my hert fae me.

But woe be to the plooman lad,
And woe be till 'im noo;

And he's left me sair to rue.

The plooman heard his bonnie love's moan,
As he was at the ploo;
The plooman heard his bonnie love's moan,
Near to yon bush he drew.

Lat oot yer goon, my bonnie love,
And mak’ it neat and new,
And ye shall he the plooman's bride,
And ye'se never hae cause to rue.

It's braw bein' a gairdner's wife,
In the gairden amo' the thyme;
But it's better bein' in the plooman's airms,
Faur I've been mony a time.

Links

See also the Mudcat Café thread Lyr Req: Gairdner and the Plooman (Jean Redpath).