One thinks of Burns country as a place of agriculture and rural pursuits. But there were miners, of coal and lead, in the Scotland of his day.

Burns puts this sprightly response in the mouth of a collier’s lass, who is not to be beguiled by promises of wealth and an easy life into discarding her lover. In the vocal version, the third and fourth lines of each verse are repeated.

MY COLLIER LADDIE

Loading article content

Whare live ye, my bonie lass,

And tell me how they ca’ ye?

My name, she says, is Mistress Jean,

And I follow my Collier Laddie.

My name, she says, is Mistress Jean,

And I follow my Collier laddie.

~

See you not yon hills and dales

The sun shines on sae brawlie?

They a’ are mine and they shall be thine,

Gin ye’ll leave your Collier laddie.

They a’ are mine etc.

~

Ye shall gang in gay attire,

Weel buskit up sae gaudy;

And ane to wait on every hand,

Gin ye’ll leave your Collier laddie.

And ane to wait etc.

~

Tho’ ye had a’ the sun shines on,

And the earth conceals sae lowly;

I wad turn my back on you and it a’,

And embrace my Collier laddie.

I wad turn my back etc.

~

I can win my five pennies in a day

And spen’t at night fu’ brawlie;

And make my bed in the Collier’s neuk,

And lie down wi’ my Collier laddie.

And make my bed etc.

~

Loove for loove is the bargain for me,

Tho’ the wee Cot-house should haud me;

And the warld before me to win my bread,

And fair fa’ my Collier laddie!

And the warld before me to win my bread,

And fair fa’ my collier laddie!