The Book of Scottish Song/Ettrick Banks

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Ettrick Banks.

[This favourite old song is of unknown antiquity and authorship. It appears in the Tea Table Miscellany, (1724—1733) but belongs to an earlier period than that. The Ettrick is a river in Selkirkshire, but, from the allusions of the song, the lover of the nymph seems to have resided on the banks of Loch Erne in Perthshire.]

On Ettrick banks, ae simmer's night,
At gloamin', when the sheep drave hame,
I met my lassie, braw and tight,
Come wading barefoot a' her lane.
My heart grew light;—I ran,—I flang
My arms about her lily neck,
And kiss'd and clapp'd her there fu' lang,
My words they were na monie feck.

I said, My lassie, will ye gang
To the Highland hills, the Erse to learn?
I'll gi'e thee baith a cow and ewe,
When ye come to the brig o' Earn:
At Leith auld meal comes in, neer fash,
And herrings at the Broomielaw;
Cheer up your heart, my bonnie lass,
There's gear to win ye never saw.

A' day when we ha'e wrought eneugh,
When winter frosts and snaw begin
Soon as the sun gaes west the loch,
At night when ye sit down to spin,
I'll screw my pipes, and play a spring:
And thus the weary night will end,
Till the tender kid and lamb-time bring
Our pleasant simmer back again.

Syne, when the trees are in their bloom,
And gowans glent o'er ilka fiel',
I'll meet my lass amang the broom,
And lead you to my simmer shiel.
Then, far frae a' their scomfu' din,
That mak' the kindly heart their sport,
We'll laugh, and kiss, and dance, and sing,
And gar the langest day seem short.