ballad telling about the hard life of farm work.
There’s a fairm toon up in Cairnie, that's kent baith far and wide
Tae be the Hash o Drumdelgie, upon sweet Deveronside
The fairmer o yon muckle toon, he is baith hard and sair
And the cauldest day that iver blaws his servants get their share
At five o’clock we quickly rise and hurry doon the stair
It's there tae corn oor horses, likewise tae straicht their hair
Syne, aifter workin half an oor, each tae the kitchie goes
It's there we get oor breakfast, which generally is brose
We haena got oor brose weel suppit, an gien oor pints a tie
Fin the foreman he cries "Oot, my lads, the oor is drawing nigh"
At sax the clock the mill’s put on, tae gie us aa straucht work
It taks fower o us tae mak tae her, till ye could wring oor sark
An fin the watter is put aff, we hurry doon the stair
Tae get some quarters through the fan till daylicht dis appear
Fin daylicht dis begin tae peep, an the sky begins tae clear
The grieve he cries "Come on my lads, ye’ll be nae langer here
“There's sax o you'll ging tae the ploo, and twa tae ca the neeps
And the baillies they'll be be aifter you wi strae raips roon their queets"
But fin that we were gyaun furth an turnin oot tae yoke
The sna dank on so thick an fast that we were like to choke
The frost it wis sae very hard, the ploo she widna go
And sae oor cairtin days commenced amang the frost and sna
Oor horses being but young an sma, the cairts they didna fill
They aft required the saiddler chains tae drive them up the hill
But we will sing our horses' praise, though they be young and sma
For they far outshine the Broadland's anes that gyang sae full and braw
The termin time has come at last, and we will get wir brass
And we'll awa tae Huntly Fair tae hae a pairtin glass
And we'll gyang in tae Huntly toon an there gyang on the spree
And then the fun it will commence the quinies for tae see
Sae fare ye weel Drumdelgie, for I maun gyang awa
Sae fare ye weel Drumdelgie, yer weety weather and aa
Sae fare ye weel Drumdelgie, I bid ye aa adieu
And I'll leave ye as I got ye, a maist unceevil crew
The farm workers started work at 5am, and had to feed and groom their horses before they got a breakfast of ground oats or split peas, to which boiling water or milk had been added. Then twelve men had to turn the mill to grind more oats or pease.
Then they went outdoors to work, whatever the weather. Some went to plough the ground, others to cart the turnips in from the field - the turnips were used for winter feed for the animals. But the plough could not be used in the frozen earth, so they had to cart dung to spread on the land.
The tune is better known as ‘The Irish Jaunting Car’.
See more information about bothy ballads HERE.