The Rantin Dog, The Daddie O't


O wha my babie-clouts will buy? O wha will tent me when I cry? Wha will kiss me where I lie? The rantin' dog, the daddie o't. O wha will own he did the faut? O wha will buy the groanin maut? O wha will tell me how to ca't? The rantin' dog, the daddie o't. When I mount the creepie-chair, Wha will sit beside me there? Gie me Rob, I'll seek nae mair, The rantin' dog, the daddie o't. Wha will crack to me my lane? Wha will mak me fidgin' fain? Wha will kiss me o'er again? The rantin' dog, the daddie o't.

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Phyllis Logan
Lorraine McIntosh

About this work

This is a song by Robert Burns. It was written in 1786 and is read here by Phyllis Logan.

More about this song

In these unrepentant and rambunctious song lyrics the speaker is a woman, who, left pregnant, asks a series of rhetorical questions, including who will help her name her illegitimate child, who will sit on the stool of repentance (in the Kirk) with her, and who will arouse her sexually.

The answer and constant refrain is 'The rantin dog, the daddie o't'. In the Scots Musical Museum, Burns explains that, early in life, the song was sent 'to a young girl, a very particular acquaintance of mine, who was at that time under a cloud'.

This young girl may have been Elizabeth Paton (mother of the illegitimate child addressed in A Poet's Welcome to his Love-Begotten Daughter) or Jean Armour, later the poet's wife.

Juliet Linden Bicket

Themes for this song

love sex fatherhood

Selected for 02 March

The Bard wrote several songs from the point of view of women, almost all of them tenderly empathetic. Bess Paton and Jean Armour had recent experience of Burns, 'the rantin dog'. Both women had faced the prospect of the repentance stool, the 'creepie chair', suffering the shame of rebuke from the pulpit. The voice Burns 'borrows' sounds more like the fiestier Bess than the compliant Jean. Who will buy my baby clothes? Comfort me? Kiss me? The young, increasingly notorious rhymer, has the brash, self-confident nerve to make the husbandless new mother say, 'Gie me Rob, I’ll aske nae mair'.

Donny O'Rourke

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