Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary

Duncan Gray Cam' Here To Woo

Scottish Poem By Robert Burns

Duncan Gray is the title of many Scottish poems written by Robert Burns around 1792, sung to a tune by the same name, believed to be composed much earlier by Duncan Gray, a carter in Glasgow.

The tune predates Burns, appearing in the Caledonian Pocket Companion 1751 and in the Scots Musical Museum, 1788 with an older version of the words.

Here is a transcription taken from the text at the foot of Glen Collection Of Printed Music, Illustrations of the lyric poetry and music of Scotland, page 148-149, c. 1853.

It is generally reported, that this lively air was composed by Duncan Gray, a carter or carman in Glasgow, about the beginning of last century, and that the tune was taken down from his whistling it two or three times to a musician in that city. It is inserted both in Macgibbon and Oswald's Collections.

The comic verses to which it is united in the Museum, beginning "Wearie fa you, Duncan Gray - Ha, ha, the girdin o't," are taken from the old song, with considerable alterations, by Burns. Our poet, however, wrote another exceedingly humorous song to the same tune in December 1792, which is here subjoined. Duncan Gray cam here to woo... Ha, ha, the wooing o't.

Burns, in a letter to Mr George Thomson, dated 4th December 1792, says, "The foregoing I submit, my dear Sir, to your better judgment. Acquit them or condemn them, as seemeth good in your sight. Duncan Gray is that kind of light-horse gallop of an air which precludes sentiment. The ludicrous is its ruling feature."

This version of Duncan Gray is from The Book of Scottish Song/Duncan Gray 2. Written by Burns in December, 1792, for Thomson's collection.


Related Scottish Country Dances

Duncan Gray
Ha! Ha! The Wooin' O' It

Duncan Gray, By Robert Burns

Duncan Gray cam' here to woo,
Ha, ha, the wooing o't,
On blythe Yule nicht, when we were fou,
Ha, ha, the wooing o't;
Maggie cuist her head fu' heich,
Look'd asklant, and unco skeigh,
Gart puir Duncan stand abeigh-
Ha, ha, the wooing o't.

Duncan fleech'd, and Duncan pray'd,
Ha, ha, the wooing o't;
Meg was deaf as Ailsa Craig,
Ha, ha, the wooing o't.
Duncan sigh'd baith out and in,
Grat his een baith bleert and blin',
Spak' o' louping ower a linn-
Ha, ha, the wooing o't.

Time and chance are but a tide,
Ha, ha, the wooing o't,
Slichtit love is sair to bide,
Ha, ha, the wooing o't;
Shall I, like a fool, quoth he,
For a hauchty hizzy dee?
She may gae to-France, for me!
Ha, ha, the wooing o't.

How it comes, let doctors tell,
Ha, ha, the wooing o't,
Meg grew sick-as he grew well,
Ha, ha, the wooing o't;
Something in her bosom wrings,
For relief a sigh she brings;
And O, her een, they spak' sic things!
Ha, ha, the wooing o't.

Duncan was a lad o' grace,
Ha, ha, the wooing o't,
Maggie's was a piteous case,
Ha, ha, the wooing o't.
Duncan couldna be her death,
Swelling pity smoor'd his wrath,
Now they're crouse and cantie baith;
Ha, ha, the wooing o't.


Duncan Gray Cam' Here To Woo Song Video

Duncan Gray Cam' Here To Woo Song - Information Video
Duncan Gray Cam' Here To Woo
Duncan Gray, From Glen Collection Of Printed Music, Wood's Edition Of The Songs Of Scotland, Page 61, c. 1857


The Online Scots Dictionary Translate Scots To English.
Published in http://www.robertburns.org/works/387.shtml
Dance information licensed under this Creative Commons Licence 3.0.
Text from this original The Book Of Scottish Song Duncan Gray 2 article on Wikisource.
Image copyright (cropped) https://digital.nls.uk/special-collections-of-printed-music/archive/91338763 under this Creative Commons Licence 4.0.

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