Traditional Scottish Songs
- Willie's Gane to Melville Castle

This lively, traditional ballad tells the story of one of the Border "gallants" who is going off to war (as they did so frequently in the Scottish Borders at one time, either to fight the English or another rival Border family). In so doing, Willie breaks the hearts of quite a few of the Border lassies! Melville Castle was at one time the home of Henry Dundas, 1st Viscount Melville, later Duke of Lauderdale, one of the most powerful men in Scotland in the 18th century.

Willie's Gane to Melville Castle

O Willie's gane to Melville Castle,
Boots and spurs an a',
To bid the leddies a' fareweel
Before he ga'ed awa'.
Willie's young and blythe and bonnie,
Lo'ed by ane and a',
Oh! What will all the lassies do
When Willie gaes awa?

The first he met was Lady Kate,
She led him through the ha',
And wi' a sad and sorry heart
She loot the tear-drop fa'.
Beside the fire stood Lady Grace,
Said ne'er a word ava;
She thocht that she was sure o' him
Before he gaed awa'.


Then ben the house cam' Lady Bell,
"Gude troth ye need na craw,
Maybe the lad will fancy me,
And disappoint ye a'."
Doun the stair tripped Lady Jean,
The flower amang them a',
"O lasses trust in Providence
An' ye'll get husbands a'."


When on his horse he rade awa'
They gathered round the door,
He gaily waved his bonnet blue,
They set up sic a roar,
Their cries, their tears brocht Willie back,
He kissed them ane an' a',
"O lasses bide till I come hame
And then I'll wed ye a'."


Meaning of unusual words:
ga'ed awa'=went away
ava=at all

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