Cauld is the e'enin blast

Cauld is the e'enin blast O' Boreas o'er the pool, And dawin it is dreary, When birks are bare at Yule. O cauld blaws the e'enin blast When bitter bites the frost, And in the mirk and dreary drift The hills and glens are lost. Ne'er sae murky blew the night That drifted o'er the hill, But bonie Peg a Ramsey Gat grist to her mill.


Paul Young

About this work

This is a poem by Robert Burns. It is read here by Paul Young.

More about this poem

The subject of this short poem, ‘bonie Peg-a-Ramsay’ frequently appears in bawdy verse, and has been a staple figure in the genre from medieval times onwards.

Burns manages to conceal both Peg and her actions until the last moment to increase the potency of the punch-line.

The imagery of milling was a common metaphor for sexual activity during the eighteenth century.

Ralph McLean

Themes for this poem

nature woman humour

Selected for 28 December

In the Bard's bawdy festive imaginings 'at Yule', it is not only the birks that are bare!

Donny O'Rourke

Skip to top

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.