Digital Tradition Mirror

Hushie Ba Birdie Beeton

Hushie Ba Birdie Beeton

     Hushie-ba, burdie beeton!
     Your mammie's gane to Seaton,
     For to buy a lammie's skin,
     To wrap your bonnie boukie in.

     Ba lamb, ba lamb, beattie O,
     Your mammy's away to the city O,
     To buy a wee bit croby's skin,
     To row about your feety O.

     Baloo, lillie beetie,
     Mammie's at the ceetie,
     For tae plick an' for tae pu',
     For tae gather lammie's woo',
     For tae buy a bullie's skin,
     Tae rock wir bonnie bairnie in.

     (1) Chambers PRS ([1842],1847), 176; (1870), 13
     (followed up by a Scots version of "Bye baby bunting",
     of which the first is definitely a Scots variant); Ford
     CR 19; Montgomerie SNR (1946), 130 (no. 167).
     (2) Maclagan GDA (1901), 251, from Argyll.
     (3) Gosset, Lullabies of Four Nations (1915), 189
     (no. 126), from Orkney.  Note (p. 265) says: "Contributed
     by Mr. John Frith, of Finstown Frith, where he heard it
     sung quite recently as a lullaby.  It is of special
interest, as it illustrates the plucking or pulling of
     the wool from the sheep instead of shearing, a method
     adopted in Shetland, Orkney, and other parts of Britain
     with certain breeds of sheep, also of the old custom,
     swinging or rocking the baby in a hammock, hence the
     `bullie', or `calf skin'."
     Rymour Club Misc. I (1906-11), 46, "Arbroath names
     introduced":  "Hushy-ba, Lilly Beaton, Mammie's awa to
     the Seaton,/ For to buy a sheepie's skin, To row my
     bairnie's feeties in."
     ODNR 63 (no. 25).  SND I. s.v. beeton, ref. to Ork. rhyme
     under ba'.- i.e., "Baa the bairns o' Bae-tun,/ For
     minno's awa tae Sae-tun" -- from H. Marwick, "Antiq.
     Notes on Sanday", Ork. Antiq. Soc. (1922), 29. "Ba' is
     prob.  an imitative word from the action of the lips in
     kissing" (SND


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