Come A’ Ye Tramps An’ Hawkers


O come a’ ye tramps an’ hawkers an’ gaitherers o’ blaw
That tramps the country roun’ an’ roun’, come listen ane and a’
I’ll tell tae you a rovin’ tale an’ sights that I hiv seen
Far up into the snowy north and south by Gretna Green

I hiv seen the high Ben Nevis away towerin’ to the moon
I’ve been by Grieff and Callander an’ roun’ by bonnie Doune
And by the Nethy’s silv’ry tides an’ places ill tae ken
Far up into the snowy North lies Urquhart’s bonnie glen

Aftimes I’ve lauched into mysel’ when trudgin’ on the road
Wi’ a bag o’ blaw upon my back, my face as broon’s a toad
Wi’ lumps o’ cakes an’ tattie scones an’ cheese an’ braxy ham
Nae thinkin’ whaur I’m comin’ fae nor whaur I’m gaun tae gang

I’m happy in the summer time beneath the bright blue sky
Nae thinkin’ in the mornin’ at nicht whaur I’ve tae lie
Barns or buyres or anywhere or oot among the hay
And if the weather does permit I’m happy every day

O Loch Katrine and Loch Lomon’ has a’ been seen by me
The Dee, the Don, the Dev’ron that hurries into the sea
Dunrobin Castle by the way I nearly had forgot
An’ aye the rickles o’ cairn marks the Hoose o’ John o’ Groat

I’m up an’ roun’ by Gallowa’ or doon aboot Stranraer
Ma business leads me anywhere, sure I travel near an’ far
I’ve got a rovin’ notion there’s nothing what I loss
An’ a’ my day’s my daily fare and what’ll pey my doss

I think I’ll go tae Paddy’s land, I’m makin’ up my min’
For Scotland’s greatly altered now, sure I canna raise the win’
But I will trust in Providence, if Providence will prove true
An’ I will sing of Erin’s Isle when I come back to you

As sung by scotsman Jimmy MacBeath. If Jimmy had a signature tune, this is it. A relatively modern song, it is attributed to Besom Jimmy, an Angus hawker at the end of the 19th century. MacBeath learned it from a fellow Gordon Highlander in the trenches during World War 1. It is natural that his song should be popular among singers who have been on the road and quite commonly they identify themselves with it by adding autobiographical verses. However, Jimmy was very conservative in these matters and we may assume, that as he learned it only a decade or two after its composition, his version is close to the original. See also Tramps And Hawkers.

Blaw = meal
Lauched = laughed
Braxy ham = originally the salted meat of a sheep that had died from disease. Term also used for salt ham.
Rickles o’ cairns = piles of stones
Pey = pay