Bawsy Broon

Well here’s something in Scots for Saint Andrew’s Day, coming up on the 30th. It has an apt message, since it’s just about the darkest point in the year. And since it’s cold and miserable outside, and there are some nasty individuals abroad – maybe just the usual charvas, or neds or what have you… or maybe someone a bit more sinister?

 

Bawsy Broon

 

Dinna gang out the nicht:

Dinna gang out the nicht:

Laich was the Mune as I cam owre the muir;

Laich was the lauchin though nane was there:

Somebody nippit me,

Somebody trippit me;

Somebody grippit me roun’ and aroun’:

I ken it was Bawsy Broon:

I’m Shair it was Bawsy Broon

Dinna win out the nicht:

Dinna win out the nicht:

A rottan reeshl’d as I ran by the sike,

And the dead-bell dunnl’d owre the auld kirk-dyke:

Somebody nippit me,

Somebody trippit me;

Somebody grippit me roun’ and aroun’:

I ken it was Bawsy Broon

I’m shair it was Bawsy Broon.

 

William Souter, 1933

(A translation into standard English: Don’t go out tonight: / Don’t go out tonight: / Low was the moon as I came over the moor; / Low was the laughing though no-one was there: / Somebody nipped me, / Somebody tripped me; Somebody gripped me around and around: / I know it was Bawsy Brown: / I’m sure it was Bawsy Brown. / Don’t go out tonight: / Don’t go out tonight:/ A rat rustled as I ran by the stream, / and the dead-bell (death knell?) rang out over the old church wall… etc.)

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