“As I Went by the Luckenbooths”

Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1964 (Montgomerie)
Keywords: beauty love nonballad Jacobite
Found in: Britain(Scotland)

Description

"As I went by the Luckenbooths I saw a lady fair... 'Oh, have you seen my lost love, With his braw Highland men?" "But when the minister came out Her mare began to prance, Then rode into the sunset Beyond the coast of France."

Notes

This is an odd little piece, since half of it is just the description of the beautiful girl ("The smile about her bonnie cheek Was sweeter than the bee; Her voice was like the bird's song Upon the birken tree"). But the other half looks strongly Jacobite. On that basis, after much hesitation, I decided to include it.

Murray Shoolbraid, in his Digital Tradition notes, observes, "M[offat] says this is a spectral or 'ghostie' ballad, a great favourite of children in the 17th and 18th centuries [which I greatly doubt]." I doubt it too. (That is, I doubt the supernatural element, barring the discovery of a more explicit version). - RBW

References

  1. Montgomerie-ScottishNR 114, "(As I went by the Luckenbooths)" (1 text)
  2. DT, LUCKBOTH
  3. BI, MSNR114