Give Us a Tune “Bonnie Susie Cleland”

There lived a lady in Scotland, hey my love and ho my joy

There lived a lady in Scotland, wha dearly loes me       (loves)

There lived a lady in Scotland,

she’s fa’n in love wi an Englishman                             (fallen)

An bonnie Susie Cleland’s tae be burnt in Dundee.

The faither tae the dochter tam,

hey my love and ho my joy                                (father, daughter)

The faither tae the dochter tam, wha dearly loes me

The faither tae the dochter tam, ‘Will ye forsake yer Englishman?

Or bonnie Susie Cleland’s tae be burnt in Dundee.’

I’ll no my Englishman forsake, hey my love and ho my joy,

I’ll no my Englishman forsake, wha dearly loes me,

I’ll no my Englishman forsake,

though ye micht burn me at the stake                             (might)

An bonnie Susie Cleland’s tae be burnt in Dundee.

Oh whaur will get a little wee boy,

hey my love and ho my joy                                                  (where)

Oh whaur will get a little wee boy, wha dearly loes me

Oh whaur will get a little wee boy,

tae cerry tidins tae my joy                                 (carry the message)

That bonnie Susie Cleland’s tae be burnt in Dundee.

0 here am I, a little wee boy, hey my love and ho my joy

0 here am I, a little wee boy, wha dearly loes ye

0 here am I, a little wee boy, I’ll cerry tidings tae yer joy

That bonnie Susie Cleland’s tae be burnt in Dundee.

Gae gie tae him my richt hand glove,

hey my love and ho my joy                                         (Go give, right)

Gae gie tae him my richt hand glove, wha dearly loes me

Gae gie tae him my richt hand glove, tell him tae find another love

That bonnie Susie Cleland’s tae be burnt in Dundee.

Gae gie tae him my guid gowd ring,

hey my love and ho my joy                                         (good gold)

Gae gie tae him my guid gowd ring, wha dearly loes me

Gae gie tae him my guid gowd ring,

tell him I’m gaun tae my burning                                 (gone)

An bonnie Susie Cleland’s tae be burnt in Dundee.

Her faither he ca’d up the stake,

hey my love and ho my joy                                 (put/hammered in)

Her faither he ca’d up the stake, wha dearly loes me

Her faither he ca’d up the stake, her brither he the fire did make

An bonnie Susie Cleland was burnt in Dundee.

This ballad, which appears to be variant of Lady Maisry (Child 65), first appears in William Motherwell’s collection.

It is unlikely that the ballad is an historic record but there were number of witch burnings in Dundee, the last being that of Grissell Jaffray in November 1669. Local tradition holds that number of women were killed for consorting with English soldiers in the years after the Siege of Dundee in 1651 when General Monk’s troops sacked the city.

There is no trace of Cleland in any spelling (a Lanarkshire name, it was not common in the Dundee area) but the names of those burned were not always noted in Presbytery records. A spine-chilling manuscript in Dundee’s archives, available online at http://www.dundeecity.gov.uk/archives/official.htm, carefully records sums spent on rope, coal, tar and the executioner’s travel for the 1590 burning of woman whose name doesn’t merit mention!

Source: https://www.clan-cleland.org/about-us/songs/bonnie-susie-clelland/

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