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tannahill weavers
The Rovin' Heilandman
Traditional, arranged by the Tannahill Weavers
A transportation ballad from the northeast of Scotland, an area discovered by Queen Victoria in the 19th century and the oil men in the 20th. The penalties for poaching, or feeding your family from the land, depending on which side of the fence you sat, were severe. In this case our hero is forced to leave his wife and four children: Adolph, Rudolph, Getoph and Stayoph, and make the long journey south to Australia. This song reminds the writer of a true story which occurred during a walk along the banks of the River Esk near Edinburgh. I was walking along with my father watching an old man fishing from the river side when up stepped the Lord of the Manor. "Ho!" said he to the old man, "You can't fish here, that's my water!" "Well you'd better watch out," says the old man, "you're letting it all run away."


I'm a rovin' heilandman a native o' Braemar
And oft I've trod the bonnie hills I'm kenned baith near and far
In monies the lonely valley folk ken Jock Brewer's name
Now I'm bound across the ocean far frae my native hame

It was at the Birk o' Ballater my gun in tae my hand
I quickly was surrounded by six keepers in a band
They thocht they had me taken but little did they know
Jock Brewer the rovin' heilandman would prove their overthrow

Ae nicht I was trepanded by six keepers head in sand
They marched me off tae Aiberdeen by trial for tae stand
Though nane o' my companions bore witness against me
The judge he condemned me tae cross the raging sea

Here's a health tae a' my comrades Jock Brewer winnae name
Success untae a' poachers when they're in search of game
May they a' be aye at liberty tae choose tae fecht or flee
Or tae join the rovin' heilandman condemned tae cross the sea

Here's a health tae a' my comrades tae poachers far and near
May they aye get hare and pheasant and their share o' bonnie deer
May they a' be aye at liberty wi' money at their command
Or tae join the rovin' heilandman bound for Van Diemans land



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