Traditional Scottish Songs
- We're a' John Tamson's Bairns

The idea that all men are equal is often expressed in Scotland by the phrase "We're a' John (or Jock) Tamson's Bairns" - we are all God's children. That philosophy comes through in this song by Dr Joseph Roy (born in Glasgow in 1841), although the John Tamson here is supposedly from Aberdeenshire!

      We're a' John Tamson's Bairns

John Tamson was a merry auld carle,
And reigned proud king o the Dee;
   A braw laird, weel-to-dae i' the warl'
For mony a farm had he,
   And mony a servant-maid and man,
Wham he met aft a year;
   And fu' proud and jolly he wav'd his han',
While they sang wi' richt gude cheer-

O! we're a' John Tamson's bairns,
   We're a' John Tamson's bairns;
There ne'er will be peace till the warld again
   Has learn'd to sing wi' micht and main,
We're a' John Tamson's bairns.

John Tamson sat at the table heid,
   And supped the barley bree,
And drank success to the honest and gude,
   And heaven when they wad dee.
But the tyrant loon, the ne'er-dae-weel,
   The lee'ar, the rake and the knave,
The sooner they a' were hame wi' the deil,
   Lod! the better for a' the lave.


Since Adam fell frae Eden's bow'r,
   And put things sair ajee,
There's aye some weakness to look owre,
   And folly to forgie.
And John wad sit and chat sae prood,
   And just before he'd gang,
He'd gie advice and blessings gude,
   Till roof and rafters rang wi',


Then here's to you, and here's to mysel',
   Sound hearts, lang life, and glee;
And if you be weel as I wish ye a',
   Gude faith, you'll happy be.
Then let us do what gude we can,
   Though the best are whiles to blame,
For in spite o riches, rank and lan',
   Losh man, we're a' the same.


Meaning of unusual words:
carle=a man of the common people
barley bree=whisky
loon=dishonest rascal
the lave=the rest
sair ajee=badly astray

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