The Five Carlins
An Election Ballad (Tune: Chevy Chase)
by Robert Burns

There was five carlins in the South,
They fell upon a scheme,
To send a lad to London Town,
To bring them tidings hame.

Nor only bring them tidings hame,
But do their errands there,
And aiblins gowd and honor baith
Might be that laddie's share.

There was Maggie by the banks o' Nith,
A dame wi' pride eneugh;
And Marjory o' the Monie Lochs,
A carlin auld and teugh.

And Blinkin Bess of Annandale,
That dwelt near Solway-side;
And Brandy Jean, that took her gill,
In Galloway sae wide.

And Black Joan, frae Crichton Peel,
O' gipsy kith an' kin;
Five wighter carlins were na found
The South countrie within.

To send a lad to London Town,
They met upon a day;
And monie a knight, and monie a laird,
This errand fain wad gae.

O, monie a knight, and monie a laird,
This errand fain wad gae;
But nae ane could their fancy please,
O, ne'er a ane but twa.

The first ane was a belted Knight,
Bred of a Border band;
And he wad gae to London Town,
Might nae man him withstand.

And he wad do their errands weel,
And meikle he wad say;
And ilka ane about the court
Wad bid to him guid-day.

The neist cam in, a Sodger boy,
Wha spak wi' modest grace,
And he wad gae to London Town,
If sae their pleasure was.

He wad na hecht them courtly gifts,
Nor meikle speech pretend;
But he wad hecht an honest heart,
Wad ne'er desert his friend.

Then, wham to chuse, and wham refuse,
At strife thae carlins fell;
For some had gentle folks to please,
And some wad please themsel'.

Then out spak mim-mou'd Meg o' Nith,
And she spak up wi' pride,
And she wad send the Sodger lad ,
Whatever might betide.

For the auld Gudeman o' London court
She didna care a pin;
But she wad send the Sodger lad,
To greet his eldest son.

Then up sprang Bess o' Annandale,
And swore a deadly aith,
Says:-'I will send the belted Knight,
Spite of you carlins baith!

"For far-aff fowls hae feathers fair,
And fools o' change are fain;
But I hae tried the Border Knight,
I'll try him yet again."

Says Black Joan frae Crichton Peel,
A carlin stoor and grim,
"The auld Gudeman, and the young Gudeman,
For me may sink or swim;

"For fools will prate o' right or wrang,
While knaves laugh them to scorn;
But the Sodger's friends hae blawn the best,
So he shall bear the horn."

Then Brandy Jean spak owre her drink,
"Ye weel ken, kimmers a',
The auld Gudeman o' London court,
His back's been at the wa';

"And monie a friend that kiss'd his caup,
Is now a fremit wight;
But it's ne'er be said o' Brandy Jean-
We'll send the Border Knight."

Then slow raise Marjory o' the Lochs,
And wrinkled was her brow,
Her ancient weed was russet gray,
Her auld Scots heart was true;

"There's some great folk set light by me,
I set as light by them;
But I will send to London town
Wham I lo'e best at hame."

Sae how this sturt and strife may end,
There's naebody can tell;
God grant the King and ilka man
May look weel to himsel'.

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