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Elphinstone Kist   Bothy Ballad, Music, Work

A Pair O Nicky Tams     by: Morris, G.S.

Fan I was only ten year auld, I left the pairish skweel.
My faither he fee’d me tae the Mains tae chaw his milk an meal.
I first pit on my narra breeks tae hap my spinnel trams,
Syne buckled roon my knappin knees, a pair o Nicky Tams.

It’s first I gaed on for baillie’s loan an syne I gaed on for third,
An syne, of course, I had tae get the horseman’s grip an wird,
A loaf o breed tae be my piece, a bottle for drinkin drams,
Bit ye canna gyang thro the caffhause door withoot yer Nicky Tams.

The fairmer I am wi eynoo he’s wealthy, bit he’s mean,
Though corns cheap, his horse is thin, his harness fairly deen.
He gars us load oor cairts ower fou, his conscience has nae qualms,
Bit fan briest-straps brak there’s naething like a pair a Nicky Tams.

I’m coortin bonnie Annie noo, Rob Tamson’s kitchie deem,
She is five-and-forty an I am siventeen,
She clorts a muckle piece tae me, wi different kinds o jam,
An tells me ilka nicht that she admires my Nicky Tams.

I startit oot ae Sunday, tae the kirkie for tae gyang,
My collar it wis unco ticht, my breeks wir nane ower lang.
I had my Bible in my pooch, likewise my Book o Psalms,
Fan Annie roared, ‘Ye muckle gype, tak aff yer Nicky Tams!’

Though unco sweir, I took them aff, the lassie for the please,
But aye my breeks they lirkit up, a roon aboot my knees.
A wasp gaed crawlin up my leg, in the middle o the Psalms,
So niver again will I enter the kirk withoot my Nicky Tams.

I’ve often thocht I’d like tae be a bobby on the Force,
Or maybe I’ll get on the cars, tae drive a pair o horse.
Bit fativer it’s my lot tae be, the bobbies or the trams,
I’ll ne’er forget the happy days I wore my Nicky Tams.



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