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Updated 11/15/2019

 


Our Ain Bonnie Laddie
William Meston of Aberdeen
 

The author of this song was William Meston (1688 - 1745) of Midmar in Aberdeenshire. The son of a blacksmith he was the sometime preceptor to the young (10th) Earl Marischal and his brother, the celebrated Marshall Keith. By their interest, he was promoted to the professorship of philosophy in Marischal College (Aberdeen), but he lost it in consequence of following their fortunes in 1715. As a compensation, he was made governor of Dunotter Castle by the earl Marischal. After the battle of Sherrifmuir, till the Act of Indemnity was passed, he lurked with a few fugitive associates, for whose amusement he wrote several burlesque poems, to which he gave the title of Mother Grim's Tales. The Countess Marischal of Elgin supported him during the decline of his latter days, till he removed to Aberdeen, where he died of a languishing distemper. He was a man of wit and pleasantry in conversation, and of considerable attainments in classical and mathematical knowledge.

This tune was used by James Hogg in his collection, The Jacobite Reliques of Scotland: being the Songs, Airs and Legends of the Adherents to the House of Stuart. James Hogg (1770 21 November 1835) was a Scottish poet, novelist and essayist who wrote in both Scots and English. As a young man he worked as a shepherd and farmhand, and was largely self-educated through reading. He was a friend of many of the great writers of his day, including Sir Walter Scott, of whom he later wrote an unauthorized biography. He became widely known as the "Ettrick Shepherd", a nickname under which some of his works were published, and the character name he was given in the widely read series Noctes Ambrosianae, published in Blackwood's Magazine. He is best known today for his novel The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner. His other works include the long poem The Queen's Wake (1813), his collection of songs Jacobite Reliques (1819), and his two novels The Three Perils of Man (1822), and The Three Perils of Woman (1823).
 

Lyrics by William Meston

  How long shall our land thus suffer distresses,
Whilst traitors and strangers and tyrants oppress us?
How lang shall our old and once brave warlike nation,
Thus tamely submit to a base usurpation? (twice)
Still must we be sad, whilst the traitors are wadie,
'Till we get a sight of our ain bonny laddie.
Still must we be sad, whilst the traitors are wadie,
Till we get a sight of our ain bonny laddie.
(twice)

How lang shall we lurk, how lang shall we languish,
With our faces dejected, and our hearts full of anguish ?
How lang shall the W[hig]s, perverting all reason,
Call honest men rogues, and loyalty treason?
Still must we be sad, whilst the traitors are wadie,
Till we get a sight of our ain bonny laddie.
Still must we be sad, &c.
O Heavens, have pity! with favour present us;
Rescue us from strangers that sadly torment us,
From Atheists, and Deists, and W[higgi]sh opinions;
Our K[in]g return back to his rightful dominions:
Then rogues shall be sad, and honest men wadie,
When the throne is possess'd by our ain bonny Laddie
Then rogues shall be sad, &c.


The church, that's oppressed, our Monarch shall cherish;
The land shall have peace, the Muses shall flourish;
Each heart shall be glad, but the W[hig]s will be sorry,
When the K[in]g gets his own, and JEHOVAH the glory.
Then rogues shall be sad, but the honest men wadie,
When the throne is possess'd by our ain bonnie laddie.
The rogues shall be sad, &c.