Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary

O, Whistle, And I'll Come To You, My Lad

Scottish Poem By Robert Burns

O, Whistle, And I'll Come To You, My Lad refers to two poems written by the Scottish poet Robert Burns, the first written in 1787 for Johnson's Museum and the second written in 1793 for Thomson's collection, both put to the tune composed by John Bruce, a fiddle-player in Dumfries.

Here is an extract from "Glen Collection of printed music - Illustrations of the lyric poetry and music of Scotland", originally compiled to accompany the "Scots musical museum" (by James Johnson) Published in 1853, Page 109 - O whistle, and I'll come to you, my lad...

    "This air has generally been considered of Irish origin, because it was adapted to a song written by John O'Keefe, Esq. in his comic opera of the Poor Soldier, which was first acted at Covent Garden in 1783.

    The song begins Since love is the plan, Ill love if I can. But the tune was composed by the late John Bruce, an excellent fiddle-player in Dumfries, upwards of thirty years before that period.

    Burns, in corroboration of this fact, says, "this I know, Bruce, who was an honest man, though a red-wud Highlander, constantly claimed it ; and by all the old musical people here, (viz. Dumfries) he is believed to be the author of it."

    Reliques. This air was a great favourite of Burns. In 1787, he wrote the two stanzas in the Museum, and in August 1793, he added two more."

Both sets of verse are shown below.

Related Scottish Country Dances

Oh Whistle And I'll Come Tae Ye, My Lad

O, Whistle, And I'll Come To You, My Lad By Robert Burns, 1787

O, whistle, and I'll come to you, my lad,
O, whistle, and I'll come to you, my lad,
Tho' father and mither and a' should gae mad,
O, whistle, and I'll come to you, my lad.

Come down the back stairs when you come to court me,
Come down the back stairs when you come to court me,
Come down the back stairs, and let nae body see,
And come as ye were na coming to me.


O, Whistle, And I'll Come To You, My Lad By Robert Burns, 1793

Chorus
O, whistle, and I'll come to you, my lad;
O, whistle, and I'll come to you, my lad;
Tho' father, and mother, and a' should gae mad,
0, whistle, and I'll come to you, my lad.

But warily tent, when ye come to court me,
And come na unless the back-yett be a-jee;
Syne up the back-stile, and let nae body see,
And come as ye were na comin' to me,
And come as ye were na comin' to me.

Chorus

At kirk or at market, whene'er ye meet me,
Gang by me as though that ye cared na a flie;
But steal me a blink o' your bonnie black e'e,
Yet look as ye were na lookin' at me,
Yet look as ye were na lookin' at me.

Chorus

Aye vow and protest that ye care na for me,
And whyles ye may lichtly my beauty a wee;
But court na anither, though jokin' ye be,
For fear that she wyle your fancy frae me,
For fear that she wyle your fancy frae me.

Chorus


O, Whistle, And I'll Come To You, My Lad Poem Video

O, Whistle, And I'll Come To You, My Lad Poem - Information Video
O, Whistle, And I'll Come To You, My Lad
O, Whistle, And I'll Come To You, My Lad, From Glen Collection Of Printed Music, British Minstrel, And Musical And Literary Miscellany, Page 169, c. 1843-1845


The Online Scots Dictionary Translate Scots To English.
Published in http://www.robertburns.org/works/424.shtml
Dance information licensed under this Creative Commons Licence 3.0.
Text from this original O, Whistle article on Wikipedia.
Image copyright (cropped) https://digital.nls.uk/special-collections-of-printed-music/archive/91445277 under this Creative Commons Licence 4.0.

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