Rob Roy

Appendix to Introduction

No. V.—Highland Wooing

Walter Scott

THERE are many productions of the Scottish Ballad Poets upon the lion-like mode of wooing practised by the ancient Highlanders when they had a fancy for the person (or property) of a Lowland damsel. One example is found in Mr. Robert Jamieson’s Popular Scottish Songs:—

Bonny Babby Livingstone
Gaed out to see the kye,
And she has met with Glenlyon,
Who has stolen her away.

He took free her her sattin coat,
But an her silken gown,
Syne roud her in his tartan plaid,
And happd her round and roun’.

In another ballad we are told how—

Four-and-twenty Hieland men,
Came doun by Fiddoch Bide,
And they have sworn a deadly aith,
Jean Muir suld be a bride:

And they have sworn a deadly aith,
Ilke man upon his durke,
That she should wed with Duncan Ger,
Or they’d make bloody works.

This last we have from tradition, but there are many others in the collections of Scottish Ballads to the same purpose.

The achievement of Robert Oig, or young Rob Roy, as the Lowlanders called him, was celebrated in a ballad, of which there are twenty different and various editions. The tune is lively and wild, and we select the following words from memory:—

Rob Roy is frae the Hielands come,
    Down to the Lowland border;
And he has stolen that lady away,
    To haud his house in order.

He set her on a milk-white steed,
    Of none he stood in awe;
Untill they reached the Hieland hills,
    Aboon the Balmaha’!1

Saying, Be content, be content,
    Be content with me, lady;
Where will ye find in Lennox land,
    Sae braw a man as me, lady?

Rob Roy he was my father called,
    MacGregor was his name, lady;
A’ the country, far and near,
    Have heard MacGregor’s fame, lady.

He was a hedge about his friends,
    A heckle to his foes, lady;
If any man did him gainsay,
    He felt his deadly blows, lady.

I am as bold, I am as bold,
    I am as bold and more, lady;
Any man that doubts my word,
    May try my gude claymore, lady.

Then be content, be content.
    Be content with me, lady;
For now you are my wedded wife,
    Until the day you die, lady.

1.    A pass on the eastern margin of Loch Lomond, and an entrance to the Highlands.    [back]

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