The Collier Laddie

This song, "The Collier Laddie", is believed to be one of the oldest songs in Fife.

It mentions the town of Kirkcaldy, (the town where Prime Minister Gordon Brown was raised) with the bonnie 'lass' following her beloved miner, 'the collier laddie'.

Mining was a major industry in the area for a long time. But the closure of the mines throughout the region affected many people, causing high unemployment.

The town next to Kirkcaldy is Dysart, and our famous Poet Rabbie Burns wrote the "The Carls O Dysart" during a trip to the Kingdom of Fife. This isn't one of his most famous poems, but I'm maybe you've heard of "My Love is Like a Red Red Rose" My Love and perhaps you've been to a Burns' Supper and heard "Address to a Haggis" recited. But the most famous song is by far "Auld Lang Syne" which is sung throughout the world every New Year. If you're not sure what the words mean, check out my attempt at a translation.

By the way, if YOU know a Scottish Poem that you would like to be included on this site, or indeed if you have written one, why not submit your contribution HERE, so people from around the world can enjoy it.

The Collier Laddie

Coal Miner

I've travelled east and I've travelled west,
And I hae been tae Kirkcaldy;
But the bonniest lass that e'er I spied,
She was followin' her collier laddie.

Wi' siller slippers on her feet,
Her body neat and handsome,
And sky blue ribbons on her heid,
Whaur gowd abune was glancin'.

"O, whaur live ye, my bonnie lass?
Come tell me what they ca' ye?"
"Bonnie Jean Gordon is my name
And I'm followin' my collier laddie."

"O, would ye fancy ane that's black,
And you sae fair and gowdie?
O, fancy ane o' high degree
Than followin' a collier laddie.

"O. see ye not yon hills and dales
The sun shines on sae brawlie?
They a' are mineand they shall be thine
Gin ye leave your collier laddie."

"And ye shall gang in gay attire,
Well buskit up sae gaudie;
And ane to wait on every hand,
Gin ye leave your collier laddie."

"Though ye had a' the sun shines on,
And the earth conceals sae lowly;
I would turn my back on you and it a'
And embrace my collier laddie."

Then he has gane to her faither dear,
To her faither gane sae brawlie;
Says, "Will ye gie me your bonnie lass
That's followin' a collier laddie?

"O, would she marry a man that's black,
And me sae braw and gaudie?
I'll raise her up to a higher degree
Than followin' a collier laddie."

Her faither dear then vow'd and sware,
"Though he be black he's bonnie;
She's mair delight in him, I fear,
Than you wi' a' your money."

"I can win my five pennies a day,
And spen't at nicht fu' brawlie;
And I'll mak' my bed in the collier's neuk
And lie doon wi' my collier laddie.

"Love for love is a bargain for me,
Though the wee cot hoose should haud me;
And the world's before me to win my breid,
An' fair fa' my collier laddie."


If you like this Poem The Collier Laddie, see also the following:-


My Love is Like a Red Red Rose - This lovely romantic poem/song by Rabbie Burns.
Address to a Haggis - Rabbie Burn's famous poem, recited at Burn's Suppers throughout the world.
Auld Lang Syne - Rabbie Burns' famous song, traditionally sung to bring in the New Year.
Poem Mary Morrison - Another love poem by Rabbie Burns. I've dedicated this page to my Aunt, also called Mary Morrison who passed away in 2007.
The Boy in The Train - This delightful poem describes one young lads arrival by train to Kirkcaldy with smell of the linoleum factories.
Titanic Poem - Answers this question followed by a poem about that tragedy written by my Grandmother (from Scotland, of course!)
Translation Auld Lang Syne - Find out what the words of Auld Lang Syne mean?
Address To A Mouse - This Poem was written when Burns disturbed a mouse’s nest when ploughing a field.
Address To The Toothache - This descriptive Poem says it all!
The Ballad of Sir Patrick Spens - This ballad mentions Dunfermline, the ancient capital of Scotland.
Psalm 1 - This Psalm was paraphrased by Rabbie Burns.
The Carls o Dysart - This Poem/song was written by Rabbie Burns on a journey through Fife.
Burns Supper - Learn a bit more about a Burns Supper and get the Menu and recipe for Haggis, chappit potatoes and bashed neeps.
Hogmanay - See how we bring in the New Year in Scotland.
Scottish Custom and Traditions - Learn a bit more about some of our customs and traditions.
Language, Customs and Culture Bookstore - Browse through our Bookstore for Scots-English Dictionaries, and plenty books on the works of Rabbie Burns.

See also poems contributed by visitors:

I Love The Lomonds, Cheeseboard, The Silver Trail to Crail , This Public Bar in Ladybank, A Friendly Fife Said "Hello", They walked all the way from Glasgow, Aberdour Greets Me Kindly, A Glimpse of Gold in Kirkcaldy, Kingskettle Cemetery, The Bonnie Bonnie Sand of St Andrews Bay, Thomas Joseph Harris, The Tay Bridge Disaster, Sojourn in St Andrews, When I walked to Leven, I should have played for Ladybank Violet, The Old Scottish Stone, Collessie, The Kingdom of Fife, Lady Mary Ann, The Village of Tayport & its Surroundings, Loch Leven, Grace Before Dinner, Holy Willie's Prayer, Will Ye No' Come Back Again, The Rights of Woman, Scots Wha Hae, Tam o' Shanter, The Star o' Rabbie Burns, Robert Burns, Ae Fond Kiss, Ballade of the Royal Game of Golf, A Man's a Man for A' That, To A Louse, Cuddle Doon, Scotch Drink

Share Scottish Poetry - Poems contributed by visitors to this site. Do contribute YOUR poems and have them published on this site!

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