Princie and Jean

Joe Aitken of Kirriemuir: On Autumn Harvest ah011: Old Songs & Bothy Ballads 8: The Little Ball of Yarn Live from the Fife Traditional Singing Festival May 2011.

Written as a poem in the 1960s by an Orkney man Geordie Corrigall, the "Bard of Ballarat". The poem, in praise of a ploughman's favourite pair of horses, soon became a song when set to a variant of the well known tune for the Road and the Miles to Dundee. Joe learnt the song from Tam Reid of Cullerlie who was crowned Bothy Ballad King after winning a competition held before a crowd of 10,000 on the Haughs of Turriff in 1977. The song was one of Tam's favourites.

1: I’ll sing ye a sang o a canty auld body,
A kenspeckle figure wis auld Wattie Broon;
A trustworthy hand at the Mains o Drumcloddie,
Since the day he began tae wark there as a loon.

2: And syne there as baillie he proved himsel canny,
His waork conscientious, particlar and clean;
Till ae day his maister says, "Wattie, ma mannie,
Ye’ll tak the third pair, they’re ca’d Princie and Jean."

3: Noo in aa bonnie Scotland there wisnae a human,
Sae happy as Wattie wi his dandy pair;
And he seen taen his place wi the lave as a plooman,
And, oh, he wis prood o his gelding and mare.

4: A grand pair o blacks, no their likes in a hunner,
Wi coats o a rich glossy ebony sheen;
And at plooin matches for years worthy winner,
Wis Wattie, for groomin, wi Princie and Jean.

5: Noo Wattie aye bidit content wi his duties,
Bit life’s fu o changes as aabody kens;
Decrepit auld age claimed the baith o his beauties,
And tractors began tae appear at the Mains.

6: Noo a steerin wheel Wattie just widna be grippin,
He wrocht on as orraman – didna compleen;
Bit aabody noticed dounhill he was slippin,
Dounhill he was pinin for Princie and Jean.

7: And noo he’s awa, aa his trauchles are ended,
A God-fearin body wha aye did his best;
His life was a sermon, the mourners aa kent it,
On Tuesday last week when we laid him tae rest.

8: And we aa had a thocht, though we didna divulge it,
As wi hankies we dabbit the tears fae oor een;
That if He wha was born in a manger sae wills it,
They’ll be waitin for Wattie – his Princie and Jean!

c p 2012 Autumn Harvest :