The Rantin Dog, The Daddie O't

by Robert Burns (1759-96)

Wha my babie-clouts will buy?
Wha will tent me when I cry?
Wha will kiss me whaur I lie?
The rantin dog, the daddie o't

Wha will own he did the faut?
Wha will buy the groanin maut?
Wha will tell me how tae ca't?
The rantin dog, the daddie o't

When I mount the creepie chair,
Tell me wha will sit beside me there?
Gie me Rob, I'll seek nae mair,
The rantin dog, the daddie o't

Wha will crack tae me my lane?
Wha will mak me fidgin fain?
Wha will kiss me ower again?
The rantin dog, the daddie o't

Babie-clouts: baby linen
Crack: talk entertainingly
Creepie-chair: stool of repentance in church
Faut: fault
Fidgin fain: restlessly eager
Groanin malt: ale for the midwife attending during labour
How tae ca’t: what to name it
My lane: on my own
Tent: look after
Rantin: roistering, uproarious

This song was brought to Sangschule by Scott and Anne Murray of Sangsters.

It was first published in the Scots Musical Museum of 1790 and The Canongate Burns (2003) quotes Burns’s comment in the ‘Interleaved S.M.M.’:

“ I composed this song very early in life, and sent it to a young girl, a very particular friend of mine, who was at that time under a cloud.”

The Canongate Burns further says that the “likely recipient was probably Elizabeth Paton, who bore a child to Burns, although this is not certain.”

The song refers to the use of the ‘creepie-chair’, the stool of repentance. It was the punitive requirement by the Protestant church of Burns’ day that unmarried girls found to be pregnant and their male partners, where known, should sit in front of the Sunday congregation to be shamed and to express their repentance.