Rattlin' Roarin' Willie


O Rattlin, roarin Willie, O he held to the fair, An' for to sell his fiddle And buy some other ware; But parting wi' his fiddle, The saut tear blin't his e'e; And Rattlin, roaring Willie, Ye're welcome hame to me! O Willie, come sell your fiddle, O, Sell your fiddle sae fine; O Willie, come sell your fiddle, And buy a pint o' wine; If I should sell my fiddle, The warl' would think I was mad; For mony a rantin day My fiddle and I hae had. As I cam by Crochallan, I cannilie keekit ben; Rattlin, roarin Willie Was sitting at yon boord-en', Sitting at yon boord-en', And amang gude companie; Rattlin, roarin Willie, Ye're welcome hame to me!

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Alison Peebles

About this work

This is a song by Robert Burns. It was written in 1788 and is read here by Alison Peebles.

Themes for this song

seduction drink friendship

Selected for 08 July

Summer fairs were an important part of Scottish life in Burns's day and to some limited extent still are. Despite the festive excitement, the musician in today's poem refuses to part with his instrument. Burns probably composed the song after his summer tour of the Highlands in 1787. Sir Walter Scott mentions a border fiddler nicknamed 'rattlin roarin Willie' but Burns adds a (mild) hint of bawdiness to the idea of 'fiddling'.

Donny O'Rourke

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