Cock Up Your Beaver


When first my brave Johnie lad came to this town, He had a blue bonnet that wanted the crown, But now he has gotten a hat and a feather - Hey, brave Johnie lad, cock up your beaver! Cock up your beaver, and cock it fu' sprush! We'll over the border and gie them a brush: There's somebody there we'll teach better behavior - Hey, brave Johnie lad, cock up your beaver!

Listen

Alan Cumming
Cal Macaninch

About this work

This is a song by Robert Burns. It was written in 1792 and is read here by Alan Cumming.

More about this song

It is believed that this air is older than the Jacobite risings of the eighteenth century, and, as such, there is no mention of Bonnie Prince Charlie, or of the earlier 1715 rising.

The song is a rousing call to arms and plays up not only the monarchical disputes behind the conflicts, but also the divisions between Scotland and England, 'When first my brave Johnie lad came to this town/ He had a blue bonnet that wanted the crown' and 'We'll over the border and gie them a brush / There's somebody there we'll teach better behaviour'.

It is interesting to note that this is a revision of a fragment found in Herd [?] (ii. 205) in which the last lines read; 'Cock up your beaver, and cock it nae wrang/ We'll a' to England ere it be lang'.

Iain Macdonald

Themes for this song

love regret

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