Folk and Traditional Song Lyrics:
Donald Cowper and His Man

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Donald Cowper and His Man

Donald Cowper and His Man

Donald Cowper and his man
  They've gane to the fair;
They've gane to court a bonnie lass,
  But fient a ma [sic] was there:

But he has gotten an auld wife,
  And she's come hirpling hame;
And she's fa'n o'er the buffet-stool,
  And brake her rumple-bane.

  Sing, Hey Donald, how Donald,
    Hey Donald Cowper;
  He's gane awa' to court a wife,
    And he's come hame without her.

     Herd 1776, II.229, whence Chambers SSPB (1862), 125-6
(with music), who corrects line 4 to "fient a ane"; and
Montgomerie SC (1948), without the chorus.  The later
versions spell "Couper".  SMM IV (1792), 344 has
variations, perhaps introduced by Burns, as Stenhouse thinks:
cho. 3 seek 1.1 O Donald 1.2 Held to a Highland fair, man,
1.3 And a' to seek 1.4 ane . . . man.  [The alternate lines
have the extra syllable.] 2.1 At length he got a Carlin gray
[etc.].  The 2nd strain has affinities with "There was a
lad", i.e.  I fee'd a lad at Martinmas, and/or Macpherson's
Rant.  The tune is in Playford Dancing Master (9th ed., 1695,
169; repr. in Simpson, BBBM 160) as Daniel Cooper, and to
words in PPM V.88, "Good Honest Trooper take warning by
Donald Cooper", beginning "A Bonny Lad came to the Court", a
ballad of 1685 on the dangers of catching pox.  Very many
other ballads exist to the tune, which has many titles as a
consequence. MS

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