The Merry Muses of Caledonia/The Ploughman

For works with similar titles, see The Ploughman.
For other versions of this work, see The Ploughman (Burns).


An old song. A purified version will be found in Herd (Vol. II., p. 144). William Scott Douglas prints another version in his Kilmarnock edition (Vol. I., p. 222). The parable of the "three owsen," begun in the fourth stanza, is found in the "Auld White Nag," a licentious ditty current in Ayrshire to this day, the "owsen" being changed into "pownies." It also is evidently old.

"Then he drew out his horses which were in number three,
Three likelier pownies for to draw, their like ye ne'er did see.
There was twa dun pownies on ahin', auld Whitey on afore,
The muzzle-pin for a' the yirth was in the highest bore."

"Before he gat the hause-rig turned his horse began to sweat,
And to maintain an open fur, he spurred wi' baith his feet," &c.

The ploughman he's a bonny lad,
His mind is ever true, jo,
His garters knit below his knee.
His bonnet it is blue, jo.

Then up wi't a', my ploughman lad,
And hey my merry ploughman.
Of a' the trades that I do ken,
Commend me to the ploughman.

As walking forth upon a day,
I met a jolly ploughman.
I told him I had lands to plough,
If he wad prove a true man.

He says, my dear, take ye nae fear,
I'll fit ye to a hair, jo,
I'll cleave it up, and hit it down,
And water-furrow' t fair, jo.

I hae three owsen in my plough.
Three better ne'er plough'd ground, 3jo;
The foremost ox is lang and sma',
And twa are plump and round, jo.

Then he wi' speed did yoke his plough,
Which by a gaud was driven, jo.
And when he was between the stilts,
He thought he was in heaven, jo.
But the foremost ox fell in the fur,
The tither twa did flounder, jo,
The ploughman lad he breathless grew,
In troth it was nae wonder, jo.

But sic a risk below a hill,
The plough she took a stane, jo.
Which gart the fire flee frae the stock.
The ploughman gaed a grane, jo.

I hae plough'd east, I hae plough'd west.
In weather foul and fair, jo,
But the sairest ploughing e'er I plough'd,
Was ploughing amang hair, jo.

Sing up wi't a', and in wi't a',
And hey my merry ploughman,
O' a' the trades and crafts I ken,
Commend me to the ploughman.

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