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My Heart's My Ain

Traditional. arr. Lainey Dempsey (2023)

My Heart's My Ain

It’s nae very lang sin syne
That I had a lad o’ my ain
But noo he’s awa’ with anither
And left me a’ my lane
The lass he is courtin’ has
and I hae nane at a’
It’s nocht but the love o’ the
That’s ta’en my laddie awa’

But I’m blythe that my heart
is my ane and
I’ll keep it a’ o’ my life
Until that I should meet wi’ a
lad wha’
has sense tae wale a guid wife
For though I say it mysel’
That disne mean it’s no’ true
The lad that gets me fer a wife
He’ll ne’er hae occasion tae

Fer I gang ay fu’ clean and
fu’ tosh
As a’ o’ the neibours can tell
And there’s seldom a gown on
my back
But sic as I spin it mysel’

And when I am clad in my
I think o’ mysel’ as braw
As Susie wi’ a’ her pearlin
That’s ta’en my laddie awa’

Well I wish they were buckled
An’ may they live happy fer
Though Willie did slicht me
an’ left me
The chield he deserves a guid
But oh! I’m blythe that I’ve
missed him
As blythe as I weel can be
Fer ane that’s sae keen oan
the siller
Wad ne’er agree wi’ me

But as the truth is I’m hearty
I hate to be scrimpit or scant
The wee bit I hae I’ll mak
use o’t
And nae ane aboot me shall
Fer I’m a guid guide o’ the

I ken when tae haud and tae
And whinging’ and cringin’
fer siller
Will ne’er agree wi’ me

Contentment is better than
And he wha ha’ that ha’
The master is seldom sae
As Robin that’s driving the
But if a young lad would cast
Tae mak me his partner fer
If the chield has the sense tae
be happy
He’ll fa’ on his feet fer a wife

I have a couple of confusing notes on this song. One says the lyrics were only published in Herds 1769 (rare) edition of ‘Ancient and Modern Scottish Songs...’ and the other cites Herd’s 1776 edition Vol II. I can vouch for the latter as I have a copy of that though it has no notes on the song or indication of the air. I also have a note saying that the air is called ‘Scotland’ and was first published in Playford’s ‘Dancing Master’ (1698) though Alexander Whitelaw says in ‘The Book of Scottish Songs’ (1843) that this song is adapted to the air, ‘We’ll Kick The World Before Us’.


I remember having the music and figuring it out on the piano but for the life of me, I can’t remember where I got it. Whatever the air is called, it’s great and it fits the words perfectly.


When I read the first verse of this song I thought I was on familiar territory and fully expected the story to unfold with the woman being pregnant out of wedlock, cast out by society and praying for her own death because she had lost the man she loved. Not at all! Not only has she the sense to see that her ex was not for her, she’s big hearted enough to wish him and his new lass well before going on to tell us in detail why any man would be lucky to have her as a wife. In the last verse she treats us to her sensible philosophy for life which involves valuing contentment and happiness over wealth and position.

For this recording I’m sitting on a makeshift bench that my friend kindly put a bit of dry linoleum on so my bum wouldn’t get wet. The fire is roaring, I’ve a wee bit of wine in a pewter cup and I’ve a bowl of crisps at my side. My pals are sharing songs and fighting off laughter when they have to keep quiet for the recordings. For this moment, contentment and happiness is mine.

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