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|This tune is from The Songs of Ireland (see citation below) and is listed there as "an old melody."
It appears in The Scots Musical Museum (1787 - 1802). The words, without music appear in "Vocal Companion" dated around 1772. The song thereafter appears in many collections. There are several variations in the spelling of Bawn (Ban=Fair), Peggy Ban, Peggy Baun, Peggy Bawne or Fair Peggy. According to Kennedy the tune is related to Polly Vaughn.
As I gaed o'er the Highland hills,|
To a farmer's house I came;
The night being dark and something wet
I ventur'd into the same,
Where I was kindly treated,
And a pretty girl I spied,
Who ask'd me if I had a wife?
But marriage I denied.
I courted her the lae long night,
'Till near the dawn of day,
When frankly she to me did say,
A-lang wi' thee I'll gae
For Ireland is a fine country,
And the Scots to you are kin,
So I will gang alang with you,
My fortune to begin.
Day being come and breakfast o'er,
To the parlour I was ta'en;
The gudeman kindly asked me
If I'd marry his daughter Jane?
Five hundred marks I'll give her,
Beside a piece of lan',
But scarcely had he spoken the word,
Than I thought of Peggy Bawn.
Your offer, sir, is very good,
And I thank you, said I,
But I cannot be your son-in-law,
And I'll tell you the reason why:
By bus'ness calleth me in haste,
I am the king's servant bound,
And I must gang awa' this day,
Straight to Edinburgh town.
Oh! Peggy Bawn, thou art my own,
Thy heart lies in my breast,
And though we at a distance are,
Yet I love thee still the best;
Although we at a distance are,
And the seas between us roar,
Yet I'll be constant, Peggy Bawn,
To thee forever more.
Songs of Ireland
J. L. Hatton and J. L. Molloy
See Bibliography for full information.
Information from Bruce Olsen's Roots of Folk Website