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Ogilvie Ancestry

The Bonnie House o' Airlie
Lesley Nelson
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According to the Ballad Index this tune first appears on a broadside circa 1790.

This tune is Child Ballad #199.

In 1640 Archibald Campbell, 1st Marquess and 8th Earl of Argyle was commissioned by Parliament to ride against royalists in Atholl and Angus. The tune relates the thoroughness and cruelty with which he did so. The Ogilvies later set fire to Castle Campbell in revenge.

Also according to the Ballad Index, the earliest copies of the ballad refer to Airlie being present with Charles I. In later versions Airlie is associated with Bonnie Prince Charlie. The confusion may be due to the fact that the Earl of Airlie of 1745 was a Jacobite.


It fell upon a bonnie summer day,
When corn grew green and the barley,
That there fell oot a great dispute
Atween Argyle and Airlie.

Argyle he has chosen a hundred o' his men,
He marched them out right early;
He led them doon by the back o' Dunkeld
To plunder the bonnie house o' Airlie.

The Lady looked owre her window sae hie,
And oh but she grat sairly
To see Argyle and a' his men
Come to plunder the bonnie house o' Airlie.

'Come doon, come doon, Lady Ogilvie," he cried,
'Come doon and kiss me fairly,
Or I swear by the hilt o' my good broad sword
That I winna leave a stanin' stane in Airllie."

"I winna come down, ye cruel Argyle,
I winna kiss ye fairly;
I wadna kiss ye, fause Argyle,
Tho' ye sudna leave a stanin' stane in Airlie."

"Eleven bairns hae I born,
And the twelfth ne'er saw his daddy;
But though I had gotten as mony again
They sud a' gant to fecht for Charlie."

"But since it's so, tak ye my hand,
And see ye lead me fairly;
Ye lead me doon to yonder glen,
That I mayna see the burnin o' Airlie."

"Come tell me where your dowry is hid,
Come tell it to me fairly,
Come tell me where your dowry is hid,
Or I winna leave a stanin' stane in Airlie."

"I winna tell ye, fause Argyle,
I winna tell ye fairly,
I winna tell ye where my dowry is hid,
Tho' ye sudna leave a stanin' stane in Airlie."

So they sought up, and they sought down,
I wat they sought it sairly,
And it was below the bowling green
They found the dowry of Airlie.

"Gin my good lord had been at hame,
As he's awa' wi' Charlie,
Theres durstna a Campell o' a Argyle
Set a fit on the bonnie green o' Airlie."

He's ta'en her by the milk-white hand,
But he dina lead her fairly;
He led her up to the tap o' the hill,
Where she saw the burnin' o' Airlie.

The smoke and the flames they rose saw hie,
The walls were blackened fairly,
And the Lady laid her down on the green to die,
When she saw the burnin' o' Airlie.

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