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Wha'll Mow Me Now

O Wha'll mow me now, my jo, An' wha'll mow me now: A sodger wi' his bandileers Has bang'd my belly fu'. O' I hae tint my rosy cheek, Likewise my waste sae sma'; O wae gae by the sodger lown, The sodger did it a'. Now I maun thole the scornfu' sneer O' mony a' saucy quine; When, curse upon her godly face! Her cunt's as merry's mine. Our dame hauds up her wanton tail As due as she gaes lie; An' yet misca's a young thing, The trade if she but try. Our dame can lae her ain gudeman, An' mow for glutton greed; An' yet misca's a poor thing That's mown' for its bread. Alake! sae sweet a tree as love, Sic bitter fruit should bear! Alake, that e'er a merry arse, Should draw a sa'tty tear. But deevil damn the lousy loun, Denies the bairn he got! Or lea's the merry arse he loe'd To wear a ragged coat! O Wha'll mow me now, my jo, An' wha'll mow me now: A sodger wi' his bandileers Has bang'd my belly fu'.


Maureen Beattie

About this work

This is a song by Robert Burns. It is read here by Maureen Beattie.

More about this song

The bawdy song 'Wha'll Mow Me Now' first appeared in The Merry Muses of Caledonia (1799). Here Burns adopts a female voice to lament the physical, personal and social implications of extra-marital sex.

Burns's female laments the physical effects of pregnancy on her previously attractive body, and denies any sexual agency by placing sole responsibility upon 'the sodger lown'.

The female character expresses concern regarding her ability to attract the opposite sex and also concern about other women's response to her pregnancy.

However, Burns addresses the hypocrisy of society and of judgemental women in particular in the line, 'Her cunt's as merry's mine'.

The final stanzas of the song express a typically Burnsian sympathy for the woman's circumstances. Here Burns adopts a defiant stance to berate those who fail to take responsibility for their child and lover, as opposed to those who enjoy sex.

And so, the consideration of female sexuality and a conscience regarding matters sexual does emerge from certain examples of Burns's bawdy song.

Pauline Mackay

Themes for this song

bawdry sex

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