When I Was a Little Boy
When I was a little boy, striking at the studdy,
I had a pair o' blue breeks, and O but they were duddie!
As I strook they shook, like a lamb's tailie;
But now I'm grown a gentleman, my wife she wears a
When I was a young man, I yarkit at the studdy, O,
I had a pair o' grey breeks, and they were unco duddy, O;
When I shook they shook, like a lammie's tailie, O,
Gin my sang disna please, sing anither to yerselie, O.
(1) Chambers PRS (1826), 297; (1847), 287; (1870), 155;
NAE (1932), 29 [3 lammie's] , whence Montgomerie SNR
(1946), 124 (no. 157) ["a wee boy" etc.]. Chambers
identifies the protagonist as a John Callender, a
blacksmith who worked at Edinburgh and Stirling Castles
before the Revolution (of 1688). The railie of line 4 is
a short-sleeved over-bodice made of finer linen than
ordinary, worn on dress occasions--kirk on Sundays, etc.
"To wear a rail was considered as a mark of wealth
formerly" (E.D.D.). With the incipit, cf. "Robin
Tamson's Smiddy", by Alex. Rodger (1784-1846), to the
tune The Cornclips, whose 18th-century text begins: "My
mither men't my auld breeks, and wow, but they were
duddie, O"; Rodger's text continues "She sent me to get
Mallie shod at Robin Tamson's smiddy, O."
(2) Forfar variant: Rymour Club Misc. I (1906-11), 212.