Tak your auld cloak about ye
Language: English 
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

View original text (without footnotes)

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


Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)

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Researcher for this text: Ferdinando Albeggiani

This text was added to the website: 2009-12-29
Line count: 56
Word count: 404