The Merry Muses of Caledonia/As I Looked o'er yon Castle Wa'


Tune—"Cumnock Psalms."

An old song. In a letter to Thomson, dated September, 1794, Burns says:—"Do you know a droll Scots song, more famous for its humour than delicacy, called 'The Grey Goose and the Gled.' Mr. Clark took down the notes (such as they are) at my request, which I shall give with some decenter verses to Johnson. Mr. Clark says that the tune is positively an old chant of the Romish Church, which corroborates the old tradition that at the Reformation the Reformers burlesqued much of the old church music with setting them to bawdy verses. As a further proof, the common name for this song is 'Cumnock Psalms.' As there can be no harm in transcribing a stanza of a psalm, I shall give you two or three; possibly the song is new to you:—

"Cumnock Psalms.

"'As I looked o'er yon castle wa',
I spied a grey goose and a gled,' &c.

So much for the psalmody of Cumnock."

As I looked o'er yon castle wa',
I spied a grey goose and a gled;
They had a feight between them twa,
An' O, as their twa hurdies gaed.

Wi' a hey ding it in, an' a how ding it in,
An' a hey ding it in, it's lang to-day.
Fal lary tele, tale, lary tale,
Fal lary tal, lal, lary tay.

She heav'd up and he strack down,
Between them twa they made a m—w;
And ilka fart that the carlin gae.
It's four o' them wad filled a bowe.

With a hey, &c.

Temper your tail the carle cried,
Temper your tale by Venus' law;
Gird hame your gear, gudeman, she cried,
Wha the deil can hinder the wind tae blaw.

With a hey, &c.

For were ye on my saddle set,
An' were ye weel girt in my gear,
Gin the wind o' my a—e blaw ye out o' my c—t,
Ye'll never be reckoned a man o' weir.

With a hey, &c.

He placed his Jacob whare she did piss,
An' his b—ks whare the wind did blaw.
And he grippet her fast by the gushet o' her a—e,
An' he gae her c—t the common law.

With a hey, &c.