O a' the seasons o' the year when we maun work the sairest,
The hairvest is the foremost time and yet it is the rarest.
We rise as seen as mornin' licht. Nae craters can by blyther.
We buckle on oor finger-steels and followed oot the scyther.
For you, Johnnie, you Johnnie, you, Johnnie Sangster!
I'll trim the gavel o' my sheaf for ye're the gallant bandster.
A mornin' piece to line oor cheek afore that we gae further.
Wi' clouds o' blue tabacco reek, we then set oot in order.
The sheaves are risin' fast and thick and Johnnie he main bind them.
The busy crew, for fear they stick, can scarcely look behind them.
I'll gie ye bands that winna slip; I'll pleat them weel and traw them.
I'm sure they winna tine the grip hooever weel ye draw them.
I'll lay my leg oot ower the sheaf and draw the band sae handy
Wi' ilka strae as straucht's a rash and that will be the dandy.
If e'er it chance to be my lot to get a gallant bandster,
I'll gar him wear a gentle coat and bring him gowd in handfu's.
But Johnnie he can please himsel', I wadna wish him blinket;
Sae after he has brewed his ale, he can sit doon and drink it.
A dainty cowie in the byre for butter and for cheeses,
A grumphie feedin' in the sty wad keep the hoose in greasies,
A bonnie ewie in the bucht wad help to creesh the ladle
And we'll get ruffs o' cannie woo' wad help to theek the cradle.
Milner D and Kaplan P, 1983, Songs of England, Ireland and Scotland
, Oak, New York
Taken from J Ord, Bothy Songs and Ballads
. This is thought to be the composition of William Scott of Fetterangus, Aberdeenshire in the first part of the nineteenth century.
(Spellings given as printed by Milner, including 'seen' for 'soon' etc)
See the discussion thread for remarks about the tune as given here.
(Search Roud index at VWML)