Charlie, He's My Darling


'Twas on a Monday morning, Right early in the year, That Charlie came to our town, The young Chevalier. An' Charlie, he's my darling, My darling, my darling, Charlie, he's my darling, The young Chevalier. As he was walking up the street, The city for to view, O there he spied a bonie lass The window looking through, Sae light's he jumped up the stair, And tirl'd at the pin; And wha sae ready as hersel' To let the laddie in. He set his Jenny on his knee, All in his Highland dress; For brawly weel he ken'd the way To please a bonie lass. It's up yon heathery mountain, An' down yon scroggie glen, We daur na gang a milking, For Charlie and his men, An' Charlie, he's my darling, My darling, my darling, Charlie, he's my darling, The young Chevalier.

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Siobhan Redmond

About this work

This is a song by Robert Burns. It was written in 1796 and is read here by Siobhan Redmond.

More about this song

According to Kingsley, this is a 'Burns reduction of a long romantic street ballad', and is another example of a Jacobite poem, this time with the Young Pretender, Charles Edward Stuart taking the centre stage, indicating that it was composed after, or around the time of the '45.

Kingsley again states that it was perhaps collected by Burns and that it appears in SMM, 1796, no. 428. The Jacobite sentiment of the song is unmistakable, as could be expected of any song or air with 'Charlie he's my darling' for a title.

The song makes reference to Charlie's 'Highland dress' and is quite romantic in its portrayal of him, dashing up the stairs as he does, to be with a 'bonie lass'.

Modern readers may take time to consider the contrast here with the more effeminate depictions of Bonnie Prince Charlie in the centuries since the '45; his 'manliness' here is also unmistakable, 'For brawlie weel he ken'd the way/To please a bonie lass'.

Iain Macdonald

Selected for 04 January

A one-man parade of paradoxes, Burns was both Jacobite and Jacobin, royalist and republican. He took a public servant's salary from a government he privately opposed. These are anti-Hanoverian sentimental and sprightly verses in praise of the 'Young Chevalier'. They are probably based on Charles Edward Stuart's autumn 'occupation' of Edinburgh but aptly sung (and swung) along with 'right early in the year'.

Donny O'Rourke

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