This is one of the most famous of all the old bothy ballads.
As ah gaed doon tae Turra Merket,
Turra Merket fur tae fee,
Ah met in wi a wealthy fairmer,
The Barnyards o Delgaty.
Linten adie, tooren adie,
Linten adie, tooren ay,
inten lowerin lowerin lowerin,
The Barnyards o Delgaty.
He promised me the twa best horse
I ever set my een upon.
When ah gaed hame tae the Barnyards
There was nothin there but skin and bone.
The auld grey mare sat on her hunkers,
The auld dun horse lay in the grime.
For aa that I would ‘hup’ and cry,
They wouldna rise at yokin time.
When I gang tae the kirk on Sunday,
Mony’s the bonny lass I see,
Sittin by her faither’s side,
Winkin ower the pews at me.
Some can drink and no be drunk,
And some can fecht and no be slain.
I can coort anither man’s lass,
And aye be welcome tae my ain.
Ma candle noo is fair brunt oot,
The snotter’s fairly on the wane,
Fare ye weel, ye Barnyards,
Ye’ll never catch me here again.
The young ploughman at the Barnyards of Delgaty had gone to the town of Turriff (Turra) to ‘fee’ - to get employment on a farm for three or six months. The farmer promised two fine working horses, but he lied. The ‘snotter’ is the burnt wick of a candle. The Delgaty estate is a mile north east of Turriff, in North East Scotland.
The song makes gentle fun of the farm and the farm workers.
Famed bothy ballad singer and former farm worker Jock Duncan considers that 'there's no way that any place, Barnyards o Delgaty or anywhere else, would hae a deen pair o horses. The Barnyards had aye the best pair o horses - a great ferm toun that. I jist wonder what the present owner that cam back fae Canada thinks o the song.'
'The Barnyards of Delgaty' was probably written early last century and is related to the ‘Rhynie’ bothy ballad.
The tune and a fraction of the chorus come from an old Lowland love song called ‘Linton Lowrie’; tune by Alexander MacKenzie and words by James Ballantine.
I tint my hert ae morn in May, when birdies sang on ilka tree
When dewdraps hung on ilka spray, and lammies play'd on ilka lea
O, Linton Lowrie, Linton Lowrie, aye sae fond ye trowed to be
I never wist sae bright a morn, sae dark a nicht wad bring tae me
His absence I'll nae langer bear, my grief I can nae langer dree
I'll gang a thousan mile an mair, my Linton's comely face to see
O Linton Lowrie, Linton Lowrie, gin ye'll come to Loganlea
I'll mak ye laird o Logan Ha, and I your loving wife will be.
(Scots Gems: The Dunedin Collection, Wood and Drysdale, 1908)
There is an East Linton and a West Linton in the Lothians. West Linton is much closer to the Loganlea, which is now part of the village of Addiewell, West Lothian. But there are other Loganleas in Scotland.
'The Barnyards Of Delgaty'