Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary

The Lea Rig

Scottish Traditional Song

The Lea Rig (also spelled Ley and Lee) is the name of a traditional, Scottish song, sung to either of the melodies, "The Lee Rig" or "My Ain Kind Deary".

The lea rig is a term used to describe that part of a field left to pasture when the land was divided into strips among tenants or a ridge left unplowed in a cultivated field.

As so often found with many of these old songs, many different variations exist, by many different authors. Three versions are shown below.

The Lea Rig may be found in David Herd's Scots Songs, 1776 and a similar version written by Robert Fergusson and William Reid may be found in The Book of Scottish Song (1843) edited by Alexander Whitelaw. Robert Burns inevitably got involved, with his 1792 poem found in "The Select Collection of Scottish Airs" first published in 1793.


Related Scottish Country Dances

The Lea Rig

The Lea Rig From David Herd's Scots Songs, 1776.

Will ye gang o'er the ley-rigg
Wi' me, my kind deary O,
And cudle there fu' kindly,
Myne ain kind dearie O?

Chorus
I'll row you east, I'll row you west,
I'll row you the way you like best,
An I'll row you o'er the ley-rig,
Mine ain kind deary O.

At thornie dyke and birken tree
We'll daff and ne'er be weary O,
They'll skug ill een frae you to me,
My ain kind dearie O.

Chorus

Nae heard wi' kent or collie there
Shall e'er come near to feare ye O,
But lav'rocks, singing in the air,
Shall woo like me there dearie O.

Chorus

While others herd their ewes and lambs
And boil for wardly gear, my jo,
Upon the ley my pleasure growns,
Wi' you, my kind dearie O.

Chorus

I'll rowe thee o'er the lea-rig
My ain kind dearie, O
I'll rowe thee o'er the lea-rig,
My ain kind dearie, O.

Chorus

Altho' the night were ne'er sae wat,
And I were ne'er sae weary, O
I'll rowe thee o'er the lea-rig,
My ain kind dearie, O.

Chorus


The Lea Rig By Robert Fergusson and William Reid

The first two stanzas of the song below are by Robert Fergusson, the others are by Mr. William Reid, bookseller in Glasgow.

Will ye gang o'er the lee rig,
My ain kind dearie, O;
And cuddle there fu' kindly,
Wi' me, my kind dearie, O!
At thorny bush, or birken tree,
We'll daff, and never weary, O;
They'll scug ill een frae you and me,
My ain kind dearie, O.

Nae herds wi' kent or colly there,
Shall ever come to fear ye, O;
Bat laverocks whistling in the air
Shall woo, like me, their dearie, O.
While ithers herd their lambs and ewes,
And toil for warld's gear, my jo,
Upon the lee my pleasure grows
Wi' thee, my kind dearie, O.

At gloamin', if my lane I be,
Oh, but I'm wondrous eerie, O:
And mony a heavy sigh I gi'e,
When absent frae my dearie, O;
But seated 'neath the milk-white thorn,
In ev'ning fair and clearie, O,
Enraptur'd, a' my cares I scorn,
When wi' my kind dearie, O.

Whare through the birks the burnie rows,
Aft ha'e I sat fu' cheerie, O,
Upon the bonnie greensward howes,
Wi' thee, my kind dearie, O.
I've courted till I've heard the craw
Of honest Chanticleerie, O,
Yet never miss'd my sleep ava,
Whan wi' my kind dearie, O.

For though the night were ne'er sae dark,
And I were ne'er sae weary, O,
I'd meet thee on the lea rig,
My ain kind dearie, O.
While in this weary warld of wae,
This wilderness sae dreary, O,
What makes me blythe, and keeps me sae?
'Tis thee, my kind dearie, O.


The Lea Rig By Robert Burns.

When o'er the hill the eastern star
Tells bughtin time is near, my jo,
And owsen frae the furrow'd field
Return sae dowf and weary O;
Down by the burn, where birken buds
Wi' dew are hangin clear, my jo,
I'll meet thee on the lea-rig,
My ain kind Dearie O.

At midnight hour, in mirkest glen,
I'd rove, and ne'er be eerie, O,
If thro' that glen I gaed to thee,
My ain kind Dearie O;
Altho' the night were ne'er sae wild,
And I were ne'er sae weary O,
I'll meet thee on the lea-rig,
My ain kind Dearie O.

The hunter lo'es the morning sun;
To rouse the mountain deer, my jo;
At noon the fisher seeks the glen
Adown the burn to steer, my jo:
Gie me the hour o' gloamin' grey,
It maks my heart sae cheery O,
To meet thee on the lea-rig,
My ain kind Dearie O.


The Lea Rig Song Video

The Lea Rig Song - Information Video
The Lea Rig Image
The Lea Rig, From Glen Collection Of Printed Music, Caledonian Songster, Page 62


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