O That I Had Ne'er Been Married

O that I had ne'er been married, I wad never had nae care, Now I've gotten wife an' weans , An' they cry " Crowdie " evermair . Chorus: Ance crowdie , twice crowdie , Three times crowdie in a day Gin ye crowdie ony mair , Ye'll crowdie a' my meal away. Waefu' Want and Hunger fley me, Glowrin' by the hallan en' ; Sair I fecht them at the door, But aye I'm eerie they come ben . Ance crowdie , &c.


Brian Cox

About this work

This is a song by Robert Burns. It was written in 1795 and is read here by Brian Cox.

More about this song

'O That I Had Ne'er Been Married' was collected by Burns and published in Johnson's Scots Musical Museum in 1803 with an additional verse (the second) by Burns himself.

Robert Burns quoted the original version of the song in a letter to Mrs Frances Dunlop on the 15th December 1793, when his youngest daughter, Elizabeth (1792-1795) was dangerously ill.

At this time, Burns was keenly aware of the needs of his children, as well as the worries and responsibilities that accompany fatherhood.

It is Burns's grave consideration of such matters and his concern for his family's welfare that inform this verse, the poet's uncertainty and fear being clearly communicated by the lines, 'Waefu' Want and Hunger fley me/ Glowrin' by the hallan en''.

Pauline Gray

Themes for this song

marriage poverty

Locations for this song


Selected for 16 February

After all that Valentine's romance, here is a poem in which 'nappy ever after' might be said to have replaced 'happy ever after'. Yet, however heavy his domestic responsibilities, Burns always met them conscientiously, taking doting delight in the obstreperous presence of his children and placidly continuing to compose as they played and prattled around him.

Donny O'Rourke

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