Traditional Scottish Songs
- Twa Recruitin' Sergeants

Even before the 1745 Jacobite Uprising, the government were using the fighting qualities of the Highlanders in British regiments. Even so, they had to sometimes work hard to persuade the youg lads to sign up and take the king's shilling.

Twa Recruitin' Sergeants

Twa recruiting sergeants came frae the Black Watch
Tae markets and fairs, some recruits for tae catch.
But a' that they 'listed was forty and twa:
Enlist my bonnie laddie an' come awa.

And it's over the mountain and over the Main,
Through Gibralter, to France and Spain.
Pit a feather tae your bonnet, and a kilt aboon your knee,
Enlist my bonnie laddie and come awa with me.

Oh laddie ye dinna ken the danger that yer in.
If yer horses was to fleg, and yer owsen was to rin,
This greedy ole farmer, he wouldna pay yer fee.
Sae list my bonnie laddie and come awa wi' me


With your tattie porin's and yer meal and kale,
Yer soor sowan' soorin's and yer ill-brewed ale,
Yer buttermilk, yer whey, and yer breid fired raw.
Sae list my bonnie laddie and come awa.


And its into the barn and out o' the byre,
This ole farmer, he thinks ye never tire.
It's slavery a' yer life, a life o' low degree.
Sae list my bonnie laddie and come awa with me


O laddie if ye've got a sweetheart an' a bairn,
Ye'll easily get rid o' that ill-spun yarn.
Twa rattles o' the drum, aye and that'll pay it a'.
Sae list my bonnie laddie and come awa.


Meaning of unusual words:
fleg=take fright
Tattie pourin's=water in which pototoes have been boiled.
kale=a kind of crinkly cabbage
Soor sooin' sourin's sowans = a dish made by steeping and fermenting the husks or siftings of oats in water, then boiling.
whey=liquid left when milk forms into lumps.

Return to the Index of Traditional Scottish Songs

Where else would you like to go in Scotland?

Separator line