A Highland Lad
R. Burns


A Highland lad my love was born,
The Lowland laws he held in scorn;
But he still was faithfu' to his clan,
My gallant braw John Highlandman.

Sing hey my braw John Highlandman!
Sing ho my braw John Highlandman!
There's no a lad in a' the lan',
Was match for my John Highlandman.

Wi' his philabeg my love was born,
An' gude claymore down by his side;
The ladies' hearts he did trepan,
My gallant braw John Highlandman.

Sing hey my braw John Highlandman!
Sing ho my braw John Highlandman!
There's no a lad in a' the lan',
Was match for my John Highlandman.

They banished him beyond the sea,
But ere the bud was on the tree,
Adown my cheeks the pearls ran,
Embracing my John Highlandman.

Sing hey my braw John Highlandman!
Sing ho my braw John Highlandman!
There's no a lad in a' the lan',
Was match for my John Highlandman.

But oh! they catch'd him in the last,
And bound him in a dungeon fast,
But curse upon them, every one,
They've hanged my braw John Highlandman

Sing hey my braw John Highlandman!
Sing ho my braw John Highlandman!
There's no a lad in a' the lan',
Was match for my John Highlandman.

The words for this tune (The White Cockade) are found in Burns' Cantata, "The Jolly Beggars", where it was sung to a different tune. The original tune must have been very old, probably dating to well before 1549, as reference is to be found of its being used as one of the Reformers' "Spiritual hymn" tunes. The more modern tune is found in Aird's collection of 1784 and was used in 1788 by O'Keefe in his opera "My Highland Reel". The Jacobite version begins "My love was born in Aberdeen" which in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries had to have references to "The White Cockade" omitted, being too close intime to the Rising of 1745. (See also "White Cockade".)

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