In winter when the rain rain'd cauld, And frost and snaw on ilka hill, And Boreas wi' his blasts sae bauld, Was threat'ning o' our kye to kill; Then Bell my wife, wha loves na strife, She said to me right hastily, "Get up, gudeman, save Cromie's life, And tak' your auld cloak about ye. "My Cromie is a usefu' cow, And she is come of a good kine ! Aft [hath she wet the bairnies']1 mou', And I am laith that she should tyne. Get up, gudeman, it is fu' time, The sun shines in the lift sae hie ; Sloth never made a gracious end, Go tak' your auld cloak about ye." "My cloak was anes a gude grey cloak, When it was fitting for my wear; But now it's scantly worth a groat, For I hae worn't this thirty year ; Let's spend the gear that we have won, We little ken the day we'll die : Then I'll be proud, since I have sworn To have a new cloak about me." "In days when our King Robert rang, His trews they cost but half a crown; He said they were a groat o'er dear, And call'd the tailor [thief]2 and loun. He was the king that wore a crown, And thou'rt a man of laigh degree; 'Tis pride puts a' the country down, Sae tak' your auld cloak about ye." "Every land has its ain laugh, Ilk kind o' corn it has its hool; I think the warld is a' run wrang, When ilka wife her man wad rule. Do ye not see Rob, Jock, and Hab, As they are girded gallantly, While I sit hurklen in the ase ; I'll have a new cloak about me!" "Gudeman, I wat 'tis thirty years Since we did ane anither ken ; And we have had between us twa', 0f lads and bonny lasses ten : Now they are women grown and men, I wish and pray well may they be; And if you prove a good husband, E'en tak' your auld cloak about ye." Bell my wife, she loves na strife, But she wad guide me, if she can; And to maintain an easy life, I aft maun yield, tho' I'm gudeman. Nought's to be won at woman's hand, Unless ye give her a' the plea ; Then I'll leave off where I began, And tak' my auld cloak about me.
J. Haydn sets stanzas 1-2, 4, 7
First appeared in Ramsay's Tea-Table Miscellany.1 Haydn: "has she wet the bairns'"
2 Haydn: "for thief"
Ilka = every
Ky = cows
Goodman = husband
Kyne = cattle stock
Bairns' = childrens'
Mou = mouth
Tyne = be lost
Lift = sky
Rang = reigned
Trews = trousers
Loun = ragamuffin
Laigh = low
Maun = must
- from Volkslieder (Folksongs) , Scottish ballad [author's text checked 1 time against a primary source]
Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive):
- by (Franz) Joseph Haydn (1732 - 1809), "Tak your auld cloak about ye", JHW XXXII/3 no. 173, Hob. XXXIa no. 180, stanzas 1-2,4,7 [sung text checked 1 time]
Settings in other languages, adaptations, or excerpts:
- Also set in English, adapted by William Shakespeare (1564 - 1616) , no title, appears in The Tragedy of Othello, the Moor of Venice, Act II, Scene 3 [an adaptation] ; composed by Elizabeth Maconchy.
- Also set in Russian (Русский), a translation by Boris Leonidovich Pasternak (1890 - 1960) ; composed by Georgiy Vasil'yevich Sviridov.
Researcher for this text: Ferdinando Albeggiani
This text was added to the website: 2009-12-29
Line count: 56
Word count: 404