Previous work:

Contains some scenes of a sexual nature

The Lassie Gath'ring Nits


There was a lass, and a bonie lass, A gath'ring nits did gang; She pu'd them heigh, she pu'd them laigh, She pu'd them whare they hang. Till tir'd at length, she laid her down, An' sleept the wood amang; Whan by there cam three lusty lads, Three lusty lads an' strang. The first did kiss her rosy lips, He thought it was nae wrang; The second lous'd her bodice fair, Fac'd up wi' London whang. An' what the third did to the lass, I's no put in this sang; But the lassie wauken'd in a fright, An' says, I hae sleept lang.

Listen

John Cairney

About this work

This is a song by Robert Burns. It is read here by John Cairney.

More about this song

'The Lassie Gath'ring Nits' first appeared in the collection of bawdy songs The Merry Muses of Caledonia in 1799.

While there is no manuscript evidence to attribute these verses to Robert Burns, it is likely that the poet collected the song. And so, at the very least we might consider it a useful partner piece to Burns's own bawdry.

Here three young men discover a sleeping woman in the woods and take advantage of the situation to have sex with her. Such sexual opportunism is a common theme in bawdy verse spanning the sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

Pauline Mackay

Themes for this song

seduction woman

Skip to top

BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.