As I went o'er the Highland hills
To a farmer's house I came.
The night being dark and something wet,
I ventured into the same,
Where I was kindly treated,
And a pretty lass I spied,
Who asked me if I had a wife,
But marriage I denied.
I courted her the lae long night
Till near the dawn of day,
When frankly she did say to me
"Alang with you I'll gae;
For Ireland is a fine country,
And the Scots to you are kin,
So I will gang along with you
My fortune to begin."
Day being come and breakfast o'er
To the parlour I was ta'en;
The gudeman kindly asked me
If I'd marry his daughter Jane.
"Five hundred marks I'll give her
Besides a piece of lan';"
But scarcely had he spoke the word
Till I thought of Peggy Bawn.
"Your offer, Sir, is very good,
And I thank you too," said I,
"But I cannot be your son-in-law,
And I'll tell you the reason why:
My business calleth me in haste,
I am the King's servant bound,
And I must gang awa' this day
Straight to Edinburgh town."
Oh, Peggy Bawn, thou art my own,
Thy heart lies in my breast;
And though we at a distance are
Yet I love thee still the best.
Although we at a distance are
And the seas between us roar,
Yet I'll be constant, Peggy Bawn,
To thee for evermore.
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Source: Journal of the English Folk Dance and Song Society, Dec 1936
From 'MS 18', Richard Hugill's Book, from Frank Kidson's collection (Early 19th Century)
Anne Gilchrist wrote:
Duffy, writing in 1845, remarks that "the existance of this ballad is traceable for a century - it is probably much older. It bears strong evidence of having been written in Ulster, where it holds its ground with undiminished popularity to this day." A scrap of a Manx-Gaelic version (probably a translation from the Ulster song), to a simpler form of the tune, was noted by Dr Clague in the Isle of Man. See Journal, vol viii, p 308. Moore wrote his "Song of Innisfail" (They came from a land beyond the sea) to the tune "Peggy Bawn" but as far as I am aware this is the first time the original song and its tune have been printed together, under its proper title. It is possible that this tune was also sung to the "Peggy Bawn" or "Molly Bawn (or Vaughn)" ballad best known in England as "The Shooting of his Dear." ... It seems probable that the "Peggy Bawn" tune is a modernised version of the Scottish ballad-air "Earl Richard".
Roud: 661 (Search Roud index at VWML) Take Six