“Rattlin' Roarin' Willie”


Rattlin' Willie goes to the fair to sell his fiddle. Someone urges him, "O, Willie, come sell your fiddle... And buy a pint o wine!" He refuses; "The warl' would think I was mad." He plays in "guid company"; his wife(?) says "Ye're welcome hame to me."


Like most Burns pieces, this has a traditional stub -- there is an item in Gammer Gurton's Garland,

John, come sell thy fiddle

And buy thy wife a gown.

No, I'll not sell my fiddle

For ne'er a wife in town.

(Baring-Gould-MotherGoose #91, p. 86)

The Baring-Goulds mention a note by Sir Walter Scott that Willie was a real fiddler who was tried and executed for murder. - RBW


  1. Montgomerie-ScottishNR 91, "(Johnny, come lend me your fiddle)" (1 text, which appears to mix elements from "Rattlin' Roarin' Willie" with something rather like "Oh, Dear, What Can the Matter Be?")
  3. Roud #6192
  4. BI, DTrtlnro


Author: Robert Burns
Earliest date: 1803 (Scots Musical Museum, #194)
Keywords: music commerce drink
Found in: Britain(Scotland)