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Come Rede Me Dame

Come rede me dame, come tell me dame, My dame come tell me truly, What length o' graith when weel ca'd hame Will sair a woman duly?" The carlin clew her wanton tail, Her wanton tail sae ready, "l learn'd a sang in Annandale, Nine inch will please a lady." "But for a koontrie cunt like mine, In sooth we're not sae gentle; We'll tak tway thumb-bread to the nine, And that is a sonsy pintle. Oh, Leeze me on, my Charlie lad, I'll ne'er forget my Charlie, Tway roaring handfuls and a daud He nidged it in fu' rarely." But wear fa' the laithron doup And may it ne'er be thriving, It's not the length that makes me loup But it's the double drivin. Come nidge me Tom, come nidge me Tom Come nidge me, o'er the nyvel Come lowse an lug your battering ram And thrash him at my gyvel!


Alan Cumming
Alison Peebles

About this work

This is a poem by Robert Burns. It was written in 1789 and is read here by Alan Cumming.

More about this poem

This song, or at least part of it, dates from Burns' time at Ellisland and is one of the most famous pieces in the collection of bawdry songs and poems which make up the Merry Muses of Caledonia.

Lines 5-7 are part of a now fragmentary letter written from Ellisland and dated January 1789. Kingsley has noted that the song is described in the Merry Muses of Caledonia (1911 edition) as 'anonymous, but evidently old; perhaps brushed up a little'.

There are indications as to the authorship, however, such as the 'simple energy, as well as the form of the woman's monologue' which are characteristic of Burns.

The song is a response to the first 4 lines: 'What length o' graith (sexual implements), when weel ca'd hame/ Will sair a woman duly', leading to the reply that, while for some in certain parts, 'nine inch will please a lady' (the alternative title), the more formidable country women will 'tak tway thumb-bread to the nine'.

Interestingly enough, there are even Jacobite politics at work in this song, with Bonnie Prince Charlie referenced as a particularly suitable and well remembered acquaintance:

O Leeze me on my Charlie lad
I'll ne'er forget my Charlie!
Tway roarin handfu's and a daud,
He nidge't it in fu' rarely.

Iain Macdonald

Themes for this poem

humour friendship regret

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