Mally Leigh

When Mally Leigh came down the street, a wind blew mightily
And flew the hat and cloak and all from bonny Mally Leigh

And down along the Canongate were lads of all degree
Who sighed to see the comely shape of bonny Mally Leigh

And we're all gone East and West, we're all gone, aye, ajee
We're all gone East and West, a-courting Mally Leigh

She wore two ribbons in her hair that flaunted gallantly
And ribbons at the back and breast of bonny Mally Leigh

And with every bob her ribbons made, each lad thought, That's for me
But ne'er a one was in the thoughts of bonny Mally Leigh

And when she reached the palace porch, there stood lairdies three
And each one turned him round about to glance on Mally Leigh

The dance went through the palace hall, a comely sight to see
And none was there so bright and fair as bonny Mally Leigh

The Prince came out from among them all with garters at his knee
And danced a stately minuet with bonny Mally Leigh

Though some wore jewels in their hair that shown so brilliantly
Yet, Mallie did surpass them all with a red and rosie cheek

But Hieland Brodie floored them all with a proud and glancing eye
He's won for aye the heart and hand of bonny Mally Leigh

Traditional Scottish; words adapted by Connie Dover From the CD, If Ever I Return, by Connie Dover © Taylor Park Music/Connie Dover

In his collection, Vagabond Songs and Ballads of Scotland (Glasgow, 1904), Robert Ford connects this song to Mrs. Mally Sleigh, who in 1725 was married to Lord Lyon Brodie. She was a celebrated Scottish beauty, and is depicted here strolling down an Edinburgh street. To go ajee means to lose one's bearing, or go off to one side, a reference to the state of confusion produced by this lady's charms.

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