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C.D. Warner, et al., comp. The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.

The Laird o’ Cockpen

By Carolina Oliphant, Lady Nairne (1766–1845)

THE LAIRD o’ Cockpen he’s proud and he’s great,

His mind is ta’en up with things o’ the State;

He wanted a wife his braw house to keep,

But favor wi’ wooin’ was fashious to seek.

Down by the dyke-side a lady did dwell,

At his table-head he thought she’d look well:

M’Clish’s ae daughter o’ Claverse-ha’ Lee,

A penniless lass wi’ a lang pedigree.

His wig was weel pouthered, and as gude as new;

His waistcoat was white, his coat it was blue;

He put on a ring, a sword, and cocked-hat:

And wha could refuse the Laird wi’ a’ that?

He took the gray mare, and rade cannily,

And rapped at the yett o’ Claverse-ha’ Lee:

“Gae tell Mistress Jean to come speedily ben,

She’s wanted to speak wi’ the Laird o’ Cockpen.”

Mistress Jean was makin’ the elder-flower wine:

“And what brings the Laird at sic a like time?”

She put aff her apron, and on her silk gown,

Her mutch wi’ red ribbons, and gaed awa’ down.

And when she came ben he bowed fu’ low,

And what was his errand he soon let her know:

Amazed was the Laird when the lady said “Na”;

And wi’ a laigh curtsey she turned awa’.

Dumfoundered he was, but nae sigh did he gie:

He mounted his mare, he rade cannily;

And aften he thought, as he gaed through the glen,

“She’s daft to refuse the Laird o’ Cockpen.”


And now that the Laird his exit had made,

Mistress Jean she reflected on what she had said:

“Oh! for ane I’ll get better, it’s waur I’ll get ten,—

I was daft to refuse the Laird o’ Cockpen.”

Next time that the Laird and the lady were seen,

They were gaun arm-in-arm to the kirk on the green;

Now she sits in the ha’ like a weel-tappit hen—

But as yet there’s nae chickens appeared at Cockpen.

The last two verses were added by Miss Ferrier, author of ‘Marriage.’ They are not unworthy of being preserved with the original.