John Grumlie
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Lesley Nelson-Burns


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John Grumlie is listed in Songs of Scotland (1877) as an ancient and anonymous air.

Another song of the "Battle of the Sexes" is The Well of St. Keyne.

John Grumlie swore by the light o' the moon
And the green leaves on the tree,
That he could do more work in a day
Than his wife could do in three.
His wife rose up in the morning
Wi' cares and troubles enow;
John Grumlie, bide at hame, John
And I'll go haud the plow.
Singing fal de fal lal de ral lal,
fal lal lal lal lal la!
John Grumlie, bide at hame, John,
And I'll gae haud the plow.

First ye maun dress your children fair,
And put them a' in their gear,
And ye maun turn the malt, John
Or else ye'll spoil the beer.
And ye maun reel the tweel, John
That I span yesterday;
And ye maun ca' in the hens, John
Else they'll a' lay away.
Singing fal de fal lal de ral lal,
fal lal lal lal lal la!
John Grumlie, bide at hame, John,
And I'll gae haud the plow.

O, he did dress his children fair,
And he put them a' in their gear;
But he forgot to turn the malt,
And so he spoiled the beer,
And he sang aloud as he reel'd the tweel
But he forgot to put up the hens,
And the hens a' lay'd away.
Singing fal de fal lal de ral lal,
fal lal lal lal lal la!
John Grumlie, bide at hame, John,
And I'll gae haud the plow.

The hawket crummie loot down nae milk;
Her kirned, nor butter gat;
And a' gaed wrang, and naught gaed right;
He danced with rage and grat.
Then up he ran to the head o' the knowe,
She heard him as she heard him not.
And steered the stots about.
Singing fal de fal lal de ral lal,
fal lal lal lal lal la!
John Grumlie, bide at hame, John,
And I'll gae haud the plow.

John Grumlie's wife cam' hame at e'en,
And laugh'd as she'd been mad
When she saw the house in siccan a plight
And John so glum and sad.
Quoth he, I gie up my housewifeskep,
I'll be nae mair gudewife.
Indeed, quo she, I'm weel content,
Ye may keep it the rest o' your life.
Singing fal de fal lal de ral lal,
fal lal lal lal lal la!
John Grumlie, bide at hame, John,
And I'll gae haud the plow.

The deil be in that, quo' surly John,
I'll do as I've done before.
Wi' that the gudewife took up a stoot rung,
And John made off to the door.
Stop, stop, gudewife, I'll haud my tongue,
I ken I'm sair to blame;
But henceforth I maun mind the plow,
And ye maun bide at hame.
Singing fal de fal lal de ral lal,
fal lal lal lal lal la!
John Grumlie, bide at hame, John,
And I'll gae haud the plow.

From Songs of Scotland
The Royal Edition, Volume II
See Bibliography for full information.