Traditional Scottish Songs
- Grim Winter Was Howlin'

Charles Gray (1782-1851), who wrote the song below, was born in Anstruther-wester in Fife. He was commisioned in the Royal Marines in 1805 and retired in 1841, having risen to the rank of Captain. He had published a volume of poetry in 1811 and, following on from his retirement from the army, was persuaded by friends to produce a second book of verses, many of which gained considerable popularity.

      Grim Winter Was Howlin'

Grim winter was howlin' owre muir and owre mountain,
   And bleak blew the wind on the wild stormy sea;
The cauld frost had lock'd up each riv'let and fountain,
   As I took the dreich road that leads north to Dundee.

Though a' round was dreary, my heart was fu' cheerie,
   And cantie I sung as the bird on the tree;
For when the heart's light, the feet winna soon weary,
   Though ane should gang further than bonnie Dundee!

Arrived at the banks o' sweet Tay's flowin' river,
   I look'd, as it rapidly row'd to the sea;
And fancy, whose fond dream still pleases me ever,
   Beguiled the lone passage to bonnie Dundee.

There, glowrin' about, I saw in his station
   Ilk bodie as eydent as midsummer bee;
When fair stood a mark, on the face o' creation,
   The lovely young Peggy, the pride o' Dundee!

O! aye since the time I first saw this sweet lassie,
   I'm listless, I'm restless, wherever I be;
I'm dowie, and donnart, and aften ca'd saucy;
   They kenna its a' for the lass o' Dundee!

O! lang may her guardians be virtue and honour;
   Though anither may wed her, yet well may she be;
And blessin's in plenty be shower'd down upon her -
   The lovely young Peggie, the pride o' Dundee!

Meaning of unusual words:
dreich = dreary, dull
cantie = lively, cheerful
winna = will not
gang = go
Ilk bodie as eydent = everybody as industrious/dilligent
dowie = sad, mournful
donnart = dull, stupid
kenna = know

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