Archive for January 26th, 2007

Poetry Friday: Rigs o’ Rye

January 26, 2007 @ 4:47 pm | Filed under: ,

This lovely old Scots ballad made its way into my first Martha book, Little House in the Highlands. I thought it particulary fitting in light of what little we knew about the real Martha Morse: that she married a man her family considered to be beneath her station, and she went to the New World to marry him and make a new life. "The lad, he was of courage bold; a gallant youth, nineteen years old; he’s made the hills and valleys roar, and the bonnie lassie, she’s gone with him…"

I loved those lines so much I quoted them in the dedication to Highlands.

The Rigs o’ Rye

‘Twas in the month of sweet July,
Before the sun shone in the sky;
There in between twa rigs o’ rye,
Sure I heard twa lovers talking.

    He said, "My dear, I must gang away,
    No longer can I bide wi’ you,
    But I’ve a word or two to say,
    If ye hae the time to tarry.

"Of you, your father he tak’s great care
Your mither combs doon your yellow hair,
And your sisters say that you’ll get nae share
Gin ye follow me, a stranger."

    "My father can fret and my mither frown,
    And my sisters twa I do disown,
    If they a’ were deid and below the ground,
    I’d follow wi’ you, a stranger."

O, lassie, your fortune it is but sma’
And maybe it will he nane at a’,
You’re no’ a match for me ava,
Gie your love, lass, unto anither."

    The lassie’s courage began to fail,
    And her rosy cheeks grew wan and pale,
    And the tears come trinkling doon like hail,
    Or a heavy shower in summer.

He’s ta’en her kerchie o’ linen fine,
And dried her tears and kissed her syne:
"It’s greet nae mair, lass, ye shall be mine,
I said it but to try you."

    This lad he was of courage bold,
    A gallus chiel, just nineteen years old,
    He’s made the hills and the valleys roar,
    And the bonnie lassie, she’s gane wi’ him.


This couple they are married noo,
And they hae bairnies one or two,
And they bide in Brechin the winter through,
And in Montrose in summer.

This week’s Poetry Friday roundup can be found at Chicken Spaghetti.