“The Muir Hen”


The singer bends his bow to fire at the muir hen, but cannot fire. She complains that the young men "do want the pouder." The young man later arrives with "pouder," and twenty weeks later her back grows sore. He still fears a misfire


If this song is traditional (as usual with Kinloch, it's not clear), having another version would help greatly. Toward the end, it appears strongly that the girl is pregnant -- but the final stanza seems to contradict this, and even contradict the singer's personal prowess of which he previously boasted:

But I thought my gun would me misgie,

Whan I had her on my shouther,

Tho' my flint was soft and fired not,

'Twas an for want o' pouder. - RBW


  1. Kinloch-BBook XVII, pp. 65-66, "The Muir Hen" (1 text)
  2. Roud #6859
  3. BI, KinBB18


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1827 (Kinloch)
Found in: Britain(Scotland)