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Dance Highland Laddie 2916

See also: Highland Laddie (h32, ?, (unknown))

Reel · 32 bars · 3 couples · Longwise - 4   (Progression: 213)

Devised by
Unknown (1754)
444 800 844 888 = 62% (1 turn), 47% (whole dance)
  • Pas-de-Basque, Skip-Change
Published in
Recommended Music
Extra Info
Highland Laddie

As a vehicle for a song “The Highland Laddie” was immensely popular for many years. Over time it could be called variations upon a theme.

The original ancient tune appeared in a manuscript collection dated 1687 and it consisted of a simple strain.

O my bonnie bonnie Highland laddie,
O my bonnie bonnie Highland laddie;
When I was sick, and like to die,
He row’d me in his Highland plaidy.

One of the earliest versions, adapted from the original, was by Allan Ramsay and was published in his The Tea Table Miscellany of 1724, in William Thomson’s Orpheus Caledonius of 1725, and in James Johnson’s The Scots Musical Museum, Volume 1, 1787.

The Lawland Lads think they are fine;
   But O they’re vain and idly gawdy!
How much unlike that gracefu’ Mien,
   And manly Looks of my Highland Laddie.
O my bonny bonny Highland Laddie,
O my bonny bonny Highland Laddie,
When I was sick and like to die,
He row’d me in his Highland Plaidy.

If I were free at Will to chuse,
   To be the wealthiest Lawland Lady,
I’d take young Donald without Trews,
   With Bonnet blew, and belted Plaidy.

The Brawest Beau in Borrows-town,
   In a’ his Airs, with Art made ready,
Compair’d to him, he’s but a Clown;
   He’s finer far in’s tartan Plaidy.

O’er benty HIll with him I’ll run,
   And leave my Lawland Kin and Dady.
Frae Winter’s Cauld, and Summer’s Sun,
   He’ll screen me with his Highland Plaidy.

A painted Room, and silken Bed,
   May please a Lawland Laird and Lady;
But I can kiss, and be as glad
   Behind a Bush in’s Highland Plaidy.

Few Compliments between us pass,
   I ca’ him my dear Highland Laddie,
And he ca’s me his Lawland Lass,
   Synce rows me in beneath his Plaidy.

Nae greater Joy I’ll e’er pretend,
   Than that his Love prove true and steady,
Like mine to him, which ne’er shall end,
   While Heaven preserves my Highland Laddie.

One of several Jacobite versions, in dialogue form, was printed in the Collection of Loyal Songs, Poems, etc. 1750.

The cannons roar and trumpets sound,
   Bonnie lassie, Lawland lassie,
And a’ the hills wi’ Charles resound,
   Bonnie Lawland lassie.
Glory, honour, now invite,
   Bonnie lassie, Lawland lassie,
For freedom and my king to fight,
   Bonnie Lawland lassie.

The verses go on between Lawland Lassie and Highland Laddie, each protesting their steadfast love and patriotic zeal, and finally comes to an end with:

Go, for yourself procure renown,
   Bonnie laddie, Highland laddie,
And for your lawful king a crown,
   Bonnie Highland laddie.
And when victorieous you shall find,
   Bonnie laddie, Highland laddie,
A Jenny constant to your mind,
   Bonnie Highland laddie.

It was from these Jacobite verses that Robert Burns wrote his “Highland Laddie”.

The bonniest lad that e’er I saw –
   Bonie laddie, Highland laddie!
Wore a plaid and was fu’ braw –
   Bonie Highland laddie!
On his head a bonnet blue –
   Bonie laddie, Highland laddie!
His royal heart was firm and true –
   Bonie Highland laddie!

“Trumpets sound and cannons roar,
   Bonie lassie, Lawland lassie! –
And a’ the hills wi’ echoes roar,
   Bonie Lawland lassie!
Glory, Honour, now invite –
   Bonie lassie, Lawland lassie! –
For freedom and my King to fight,
   Bonie Lawland lassie!”

“The sun a backward course shall take,
   Bonie laddie, Highland laddie!
Ere aught thy manly courage shake,
   Bonie Highland laddie!
Go, for yoursel’ procure renown,
   Bonie laddie, Highland laddie,
And for your lawful King his crown,
   Bonie Highland laddie!”

It is apparent that Burns helped himself liberally to the old Jacobite song and in doing so condensed the ten verses of the original into three.

Many other interpolations both in words and tune exist, such as Ramsay’s “Highland Lassie”, Dr Thomas Augustine Arne’s English version, and Richard Brinsley Sheridan’s “Ah! Sure a Pair Was Never Seen”, adapted to Arne’s tune. Two of the Jacobite songs were set to the air “If Thou’lt Play Me Fair Play” which originally appeared without title in James Oswald’s Caledonian Pocket Companion of 1743. In addition to the Jacobite versions of “Highland Laddie” there was the other side to the coin, that of the Hanoverians, the status quo.

When you came over first frae France,
   Bonny laddie, Highland laddie,
You swore to lead our king a dance,
   Bonny laddie, Highland laddie;
And promis’d on your royal word,
   Bonny laddie, Highland laddie,
To mak the Duke dance o’er the sword,
   Bonny laddie, Highland laddie.

This song ends:

For dancing you were never made,
   Bonnie laddie, Highland laddie;
Then, while 'tis time, leave off the trade,
   Bonnie laddie, Highland laddie;
Be thankful for your last escape,
   Bonnie laddie, Highland laddie,
And, like your brother, take a cap,
   Bonny laddie, Highland laddie.

“Highland Laddie” naturally became a favourite with the Scottish regiments. It is the regimental march of the Black Watch, the 2nd Battalion of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, the Gordon Highlanders (up to 1932), the Highland Light Infantry (close column), the Royal Scots Fusiliers (pipes), the Royal Scots Greys (dismounted) and the Scots Guards (quick time). For historical reasons, note that these are pre-amalgamation regimental names.

Highland Laddie 3/4L · R32
1c set | cast off to 3pl (2c+3c up) ; 2c+3c cross RH
1c lead up to the top (2c+3c down) ; 1c set | cast off (2c up) to face 3cnr position (2cnr persons)
1c set to and turn corners (3cnr, 4cnr positions), finish facing out between them (2x,1,3x)
2c+1c+3c BiL twice, 1c tunr R about on [28] to 2pl facing in ; 2c+1c+3c turn P RH to own side (2,1,3)
Highland Laddie 3/4L · R32
1s set, cast to 3rd place (3s step up), 2s+3s cross RH
1s lead up to top (2s+3s step down), set, cast down 1 place to face 3rd corner pstns (2s step up)
1s set & turn 3rd corners, set & turn 4th corners 1s end facing out in 2nd place on own sides
2s+1s+3s Bal-in-Line twice & turn RH back to places (2s & 3s turn 1.1/2 times)

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Added on: 2015-02-24 (Truus de Ceuster)
Quality: Demonstration quality

Watch on YouTube

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Added on: 2021-02-04 (Roland Telle)
Quality: Demonstration quality

NameDateOwnerLast changed
19 10 15 Torquay Tuesday 2019-10-15 Chris & Lee Pratt Sept. 14, 2019, 10:43 p.m.
Budapest Local Club 10.10.2023 2023-10-10 Zoltán Gräff Oct. 10, 2023, 8:30 p.m.
SDSS Burns Celebration 26/01/24 2024-01-26 Brenda Hole Jan. 25, 2024, 8:11 a.m.
Budapest Beginner SCD Course 2019/13 2019-12-03 Márta Lilik Nov. 30, 2019, 10:24 a.m.
bscd Burns Night demo list Elizabeth Birdsall Jan. 7, 2024, 1:29 a.m.
Chiswick class & social 21.11.2021 2021-11-21 Iris Ronayne Nov. 19, 2021, 4:17 p.m.
RSCDS Book 4 Jane Rose March 6, 2018, 7:19 p.m.
Chiswick class and social 14.11.2021 2021-11-14 Iris Ronayne Nov. 11, 2021, 12:43 p.m.

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