Sangstories
Stories of Scottish Songs

Tales of Scottish traditional
and newer songs 
sung by Sangschule 
of Linlithgow

It's Braw Sailin On The Sea

There cam a letter late yestreen
Oor ship maun sail the morn
Alas cried the bonny lass
That ever I was born

And it's braw sailin’ on the sea
When wind and weather's fair
It's better to be in my love's airms
O gin that I were there

He’s cam untae her father’s hoose
At twelve o'clock at noon
The lassie bein prood herted
She wouldnae let him in

He’s taen a ring from his pocket
It cost him guineas three
Sayin’ tak ye that my bonny lass
And aye think weel o me

She’s taen a ring from her pocket
It cost her shillings nine
Sayin’ tak ye that my bonny lad
For I hae changed my mind

An it's braw drinkin’ Lithgae beer
It's better drinkin’ wine
It's better tae be in my love's airms
Where I've been mony's the time

Words:  
Guinea: one pound and one shilling, 21 shillings in the former   currency 
Lithgae: Linlithgow
Maun: must
O gin that I were there: Oh if only I were there
Prood herted: proud-hearted
Taen: taken
The morn: tomorrow
Wouldnae: wouldn’t
Yestreen: yesterday

This version was brought to Sangschule by Gordeanna McCulloch – and resolves a couple of puzzling lines quoted in other versions, “ She’s taen the ring frae her pocket / Which cost him shillings nine”.  In our version, the girl herself pays for the second, and much cheaper ring, “Which cost her shillings nine”. The folk process in action.

In Ord’s Bothy Songs and Ballads, 1930 p. 203, the source of the wine and beer is Glasgow. Sangschule took the liberty of substituting their West Lothian home, Linlithgow, for Glasgow.
This song appears in the Greig-Duncan Folk Song Collection, vol.6, no. 1217.

Greig notes that their record of this song, “ words and tune, was supplied by Mr James Greig, New Deer” with bits supplied from other sources. “ The tune which Mr Greig sang was a variant of ‘Lang Johnny More’”.

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