O Steer Her Up

O steer her up, an' haud her gaun , Her mither's at the mill, jo ; An' gin she winna tak a man, E'en let her tak her will, jo . First shore her wi' a gentle kiss, And ca' anither gill, jo ; An' gin she tak the thing amiss, E'en let her flyte her fill, jo . O steer her up, an' be na blate , An' gin she tak it ill , jo , Then leave the lassie till her fate, And time nae langer spill, jo : Ne'er break your heart for ae rebute , But think upon it still, jo : That gin the lassie winna do't, Ye'll find anither will, jo .


John Gordon Sinclair

About this work

This is a song by Robert Burns. It was written in 1795 and is read here by John Gordon Sinclair.

More about this song

'O Steer her up an' haud her gaun' was first published in the Scots Musical Museum in 1803. It is thought to be Burns's adaptation of a traditional song. On the surface, the song is a somewhat laddish instruction on how to seduce a woman in a bar.

However, underlying the forthright male sexuality of the song is the suggestion of insecurity and defensiveness sprung from the threat of rejection.

And so, it can be argued that in 'O steer her up and had her gaun' Burns considers one aspect of male-female interaction and emphasises the mutual nature of heterosexual relationships.

Pauline Mackay

Themes for this song

love seduction

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