Pirn-Taed Jockie

Jock Duncan: On Autumn Harvest ah007: Old Songs & Bothy Ballads: Grand to Be a Working Man. Recorded at the Fife Traditional Singing Festival May 2008.

From the pen of George Bruce Thomson, one time trainee chemist in New Deer, Aberdeenshire and a prolific composer of songs. He clearly loved to make full use of the local broad Scots vocabulary — the Doric. According to Jock's mother, he sometimes tested out his songs on the customers for approval. Jock is sure most of his songs were lost or given away. Gavin Greig included several of George Thomson's songs in his weekly Buchan Observer articles around 1910. This songs is number 1220 in the Greig-Duncan Folk Song Collection published by Mercat Press (Volume 6, 1995). The tune is given by Thomson as "The Girl I Left Behind Me" for the verse and "The White Cockade" for the chorus.

1: Oh fin I wis a little wee pirn-taed loonie, [pigeon-toed lad
I was aye caad silly little Jockie, [called
Ae nicht I wis sittin on my grannie's window sill
Eatin sweeties oot a broon paper pyockie; [poke/bag
By cam a lassie an she offered me a kiss,
A thing I wid never think o scornin,
But she bolted wi ma sweeties, dang my heid through the windae,
An ma grannie tellt me that neist mornin: [next
Oh never tie a kettle tull a big dog's tail,
Nor tak a drink o water oot a bucket or a pail,
For it's plain tae unnerstan as a bawbee for a bap, [halfpenny; bread roll
That the reidest cheekit aipples aye are gotten at the tap;
A laddie aince pit snuff in his aul grannie's tea,
But he drunk it up himsel 'fore he noticed, so they say,
But I'll wager tuppence happeny, though it's aa I caa ma ain, [call, own
The nickum never tigget wi her sneeshin mill again. [rogue; tampered; snuff mill

2: Oh it's a sair thing love fen it hits ye on the weskit, [waistcoat
Fen ye think ye're getting on sae fine man,
But och hon-a-rie, tae fin oot that ye've been coortin, [alas
Anidder man's lassie aa the time man;
Love is like a jujube covered ower wi sugar,
Anidder lad changes it tae sooricks aa thegidder, [sorrel, ie sourness
For it's on ae side like the hantle o a jug, [handle of
An it's caul kail early in the mornin. [cold cabbage
If ye ever get a smack fae Cupid's little arra,
It's like hurlin in a prambulator doon the hill o Barra,
An if she winnae hae ye, it's like lyin on the rack,
Wi a thoosan maggie-mony-feets a-crawlin doon yer back; [centipedes
It's aye the best sheep that gets smoored among the snaw, [smothered
Fin ye're fishing it's the best troot that aye wins awa,
An if ye see a lassie that ye think ye'd like tae pet,
That's jist the very een ye may be sure ye winnae get.

3: Oh I aince went a ball in the aul toon o Ribble,
An I never saw sae mony bonnie dawties, [darlings
Hooch! up tae yer een among marmalade an treacle,
It was happy as a craw among the tatties;
Big lassies, sma lassies, short lassies, tall lassies,
Aa kin o lassies fit tae blin ye,
Bit the flooer o them aa wis little Polly Proctor,
The lassie I was forced tae leave behind me.
For I aince went tae my auntie's wi a bag o yallow haddocks,
The idder loonies laiddert me an full'd the bag wi puddocks, [beat; frogs
It was sair, sair tae thole, I wad say withoot a doot, [endure; doubt
But this time I thocht that I wid greet heech oot; [cry right out
For Polly said she'd mairry me an nae anidder body,
An' fin I kissed Polly well she didna gie a cheep, [sound
Noo she's ran awa wi a lantern-chaftit sodger, [long-jawed
Wi a face that wis as yalla as a bilt Swaddish neep. [yellow; boiled; turnip

4: Oh ye never saw a rickle like my aul horse Dobbin, [bag of bones
Ye could hing up yer jecket on his hurdies, [haunches
He wis broke in the win an fin he began tae rin, [breathless
He made a racket like a dizzen hurdy-gurdies;
I took him tae the market and I swappit fair ower, [swapped
Wi a Balaclava chairger fae the sooth man,
But I didnae wait the blockan-ale though I wis unco dry, [the drink to seal the deal
For fear they mebbe finin oot the truth man.
For here I thocht I'd really deen a smairt trick noo, [done
But sic a coupin ower the tailie I never did expeck, [overturning, inheritance
Fae a fraisy aul mannie wi a roly-poly facie, [talkative
Like a ginger-breid rabbitie wi a clootie roon its neck;
I took it tae the market, an I swappit, dae ye see,
My ain horse Dobbin that was blin upon ae ee, [blind in one eye
Oh I cam hame fae the market jist as drouthy as a saith, [coalfish
Wi a fiddle-heedit jigger that was blin upon them baith. [oddity, blind in both eyes

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