Previous work:

Next work:

This is published in its original form and contains very strong language. Continue by scrolling down

The Trogger

As I cam down by Annan side, Intending for the border, Amang the Scroggie banks and braes, Wha met I but a trogger. He laid me down upon my back, I thought he was but jokin', Till he was in me to the hilts, O the deevil tak sic troggin! What could I say, what could I do, I bann'd and sair misca'd him, But whiltie-whaltie gae'd his arse The mair that I forbade him: He stell'd his foot against a stane, And doubl'd ilka stroke in, Till I gaed daft amang his hands, O the deevil tak sic troggin! Then up we raise, and took the road, And in by Ecclefechan, Where the brandy-stoup we gart it clink, And the strang-beer ream the quech in. Bedown the bents o' Bonshaw braes, We took the partin' yokin'; But I've claw'd a sairy cunt synsine, O the deevil tak sic troggin!


Karen Dunbar

About this work

This is a song by Robert Burns. It is read here by Karen Dunbar.

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.

Pauline Mackay

Themes for this song

seduction drink sex

Locations for this song

Dumfries Ecclefechan Annan

Skip to top

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.