Traditional Scottish Songs
- The Women Folk



James Hogg, the Ettrick Shepherd, (1770-1835) said that this was his favourite humorous song. He was forced "all too frequently" by the ladies to sing against his will and this was the one he often chose - no doubt with a twinkle in his eye!


   The Women Folk

O sarely may I rue the day
   I fancied first the womenkind;
For aye sinsyne I ne'er can hae
   Ae quiet thought or peace o' mind!
They hae plagued my heart, an' pleased my e'e,
   An' teased an' flatter'd me at will,
But aye, for a' their witchery,
   The pawky things I lo'e them still.

Chorus
O, the women folk! O, the women folk!
   But they hae been the wreck o' me;
O, weary fa' the women folk,
   For they winna let a body be!

I hae thought an' thought, but darena tell,
   I've studied them wi' a' my skill,
I've lo'ed them better than mysel,
   I've tried again to like them ill.
Wha sairest strives, will sairest rue,
   To comprehend what nae man can;
When he has done what man can do,
   He'll end at last where he began.

Chorus

That they hae gentle forms an' meet,
   A man wi' half a look may see;
An' gracefu' airs, an' faces sweet,
   An' waving curls aboon the bree;
An' smiles as soft as the young rose-bud,
   An' e'en sae pauky, bright, an' rare,
Wad lure the laverock frae the clud
   But, laddie, seek to ken nae mair!

Chorus

Even but this night, nae farther gane,
   The date is neither lost nor lang,
I tak ye witness ilka ane,
   How fell they fought, and fairly dang.
Their point they've carried right or wrang,
   Without a reason, rhyme, or law,
An' forced a man to sing a sang,
   That ne'er could sing a verse ava.

Chorus

Meaning of unusual words:
pawky / pauky = shrewd, artful, cunning (but also wanton!)
fa' = become
bree = brow
laverock = lark
clud = cloud
ilka ane = every one
fell = energetically, valiantly
dang = drive

Return to the Index of Traditional Scottish Songs




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