More about this song
Despite the absence of manuscript evidence, 'The Trogger' (which first appeared in The Merry Muses of Caledonia in 1799) has been widely attributed to Burns. The song adopts a female voice to relate the story of a chance encounter with a 'trogger' (a pedlar) which leads to sex.
The song might be considered somewhat sinister in its depiction of the female's protest and struggle as she 'bann's', 'sair misca's' and 'forbids' the trogger to have sex with her. However, the climax of the song portrays the female as 'daft amang his, and so we are left to consider whether or not she has become hysterical or overcome with pleasure.
Certainly, the final stanza of the song might be read as implying the female's submission. Following the sexual encounter, the couple drink together. However, while this dilutes the sinister aspects of the narrative for the comic purpose of bawdy song, it does not detract from the aggressive treatment of female sexuality, something that is epitomised in the final lines where we are made aware of the ongoing physical implications of this violent sexual encounter: 'I've claw'd a sairy cunt synsine.' Narratives of masculine aggression and female submission such as this were common in eighteenth-century bawdy song, a reflection of the patriarchal culture of the time.