Come all ye jolly plooman lads
An’ hearken untae me
An’ I’ll sing ye Drumdelgie
Wi’ muckle mirth an’ glee

There is a toon in Cyarnie
It’s kent baith far an’ wide
Tae be the hash o’ Drumdelgie
Upon sweet Deveronside

We rise at five in the mornin’
An’ hurry doon the stair
Tae get some corn for wir horse
And likewise stracht their hair

Half-an-‘oor in the stable
It’s to the kitchie goes
Tae get some breakfast for wirsel’s
Which generally’s brose

We’ve hardly gotten wir brose weel supt
An gi’en wir pints a tie
When the grieve he says: “Hallo, my lads
The ‘oor is drawin’ nigh”

Sax o’ you’ll ging tae the ploo
An’ twa will ca’ the neeps
An’ the oxen they’ll be efter you
As seen’s they tak’ their neeps

Pittin’ on their harness
An’ drawin’ oot tae yoke
The drift an’ snaw dang on sae thick
That we were like tae choke

An’ then the frost it did stick in
The ploughs they wouldn’t go
So we’d tae yoke the dung cairt
Among the frost and snow

I will praise my beasties
Though they be young an’ sma’
They’ll tak’ the shine aff o’ Broadland’s horse
Who gang sae full an’ braw

Ye daurna swear aboot the toon
It is against the law
An’ if ye use profanities
Then ye’ll be putten awa’

O, Drumdelgie keeps a Sunday School
He says it is but richt
Tae preach unto the iggerant
An’ send them Gospel licht

The term time is comin’ on
An’ we will get wir brass
An’ we’ll gae doon tae Huntly toon
An’ get a partin’ glass

We’ll gae doon tae Huntly toon
An’ get upon the spree
An’ then the fun it will commence
The quinies for tae see

Sae fare ye weel Drumdelgie
For I’m gyan awa
Fare ye weel Drumdelgie
Wi’ yer weetie weather an a’

Fare ye weel Drumdelgie
An’ I’ll bid ye’s all adieu
An’ I’ll leave you as I got you
A dashed infernal crew

Two forms of ballad are peculiar to the bothies – those giving a list of the farm personalities, and those giving a chronological picture of a farm servant’s life throughout a day or a term. For obvious reasons the latter type have greater survival value and Drumdelgie is one of the best of these. This simple account of farm life is controlled and yet so vivid that it provides one of the most effective protest songs ever written.

Possibly the air of Drumdelgie was brought from Ireland in the early part of the 19th Century, though as it is widely known throughout Britain and is used for two Child ballads in Aberdeenshire it may well have been current before that time.

aboot the toon = around the farm
muckle = much
putten awa = sacked
Cyarnie = Cairnie Aberdeenshire
kent = known
wir = our
stracht = straighten
kitchie = kitchen
brose = porridge
quinies = lassies
gyan = going
pints = laces
grieve = farm foreman
weetie = wet
neeps = turnips
seen’s = soon as
dang on = drove on