Folksongs Blog

"The Bonnie Milldams Of Binnorie"

Kinloch's MSS (from recitation of Mrs. Johnson, a North-country lady)


In the following text, the burden is indicated in italics in the first stanza.
The form of each individual chorus is a-1-a-2-a-b-3, where a is the first line of the couplet, b is the second, and 1, 2 and 3 are the first through third lines of the burden.

There lived three sisters in a bouer,
Edinbruch, Edinbruch
There lived three sisters in a bouer,
Stirling for aye
There lived three sisters in a bouer,
The youngest was the sweetest flowr.
Bonnie St Johnston stands upon Tay

There cam a knicht to see them a',
And on the youngest his love did fa.

He brought the eldest ring and glove,
But the youngest was his ain true-love.

He brought the second sheath and knife,
But the youngest was to be his wife.

The eldest sister said to the youngest ane,
'Will ye go and see our father's ships come in?'

And as they walked by the linn,
The eldest dang the youngest in.

'O sister, sister, tak my hand,
And ye 'll be heir to a' my land.'

'Foul fa the hand that I wad take,
To twin me o my warld's make.'

'O sister, sister, tak my glove,
And yese get Willie, my true-love.'

'Sister, sister, I'll na tak your glove,
For I'll get Willie, your true-love.'

Aye she swittert, and aye she swam,
Till she cam to yon bonnie mill-dam.

The miller's dochter cam out wi speed,
It was for water, to bake her bread.

'O father, father, gae slack your dam;
There's in 't a lady or a milk-white swan.'

They could na see her coal-black eyes
For her yellow locks hang oure her brees.

They could na see her wed-made middle
For her braid gowden girdle.

And by there cam an auld blind fiddler,
And took three tets o her bonnie yellow hair.

The first spring that the bonnie fiddle playd,
'Hang my cruel sister, Alison,' it said.

Other versions Year
Francis Grove 1656 compare compare all
Brown 1783 compare
Quiller-Couch A 1910 compare
B 1910 compare
Ingenthron 1941 compare
Clannad 1976 compare