the mermaid's song

choice cuts

tannahill weavers

Are Ye Sleeping Maggie?

The Noose and the Ghillie

Are Ye Sleeping Maggie traditional arranged by the Tannahill Weavers
The Noose and the Ghillie by P. Gautier

Back in the days before digitalisation, when recording was real musician's work (and we remember it well; one stoked, one regulated the steam pressure, one at the sound controls and the rest in the recording room), we started our very first album with a clap of thunder and this song.

Many miles of tape have passed through the time coder since, and sound engineers no longer require hard hats and protective footwear.  Nine albums later, this being the tenth, much has changed.  For example, ye olde plastic long playing record album has nearly, like the dinosaur and the dodo, disappeared from the planet.  Happily, some things remain full of life.  This Robert Tannahill song is one of them.  Whether you caught this one the first time round or not, we hope you enjoy our reworking of this fine song.  It is, in fact, the song with everything:  the starless night, the hooting owls, thunder, lightning, the lot.  Straight out of Transylvania, which as every Scot will tell you, is just outside Paisley, the birthplace of this song.

Our hero, sack of grain on back, is looking for a 24 hour windmill when he decides he would rather visit his true love.  This is when he becomes afraid.  Not of the thunder, lightning, hooting owls or eerie shadows in the forest, however, but of his true love's father.  He's afraid of waking him, thus relegating the visit to one of the formal variety.

The tune we have tagged on to the end of the song is The Noose and the Ghillie by P. Gautier.


Mirk an' dreary is the nicht
There's no' a staurn in a' the carry
Lichtnin's gleam athwart the lift
The cauld winds drive wi' winter's fury

  Oh, are ye sleepin' Maggie
  Oh, and are ye sleepin' Maggie
  Let me in for loud the linn 
  Is howlin' ower the warlock Craigie

Fearfu' soughs the boortree bank
The rifted wood roars wild and dreary
Loud the iron yett does clank
The cry of hoolits mak's me eerie


Abune my breath I daurnae speak
For fear I rouse your waukrife daddy
Cauld's the blast upon my cheek
Arise, arise, my bonnie lady


She's op'd the door, she's let him in
She's cuist aside his dreepin' plaidie
What care I for rain or wind
For Maggie noo I'm here aside ye




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tannahill weavers