Let me in this ae night (TBB)

Music: Frances Cockburn. Words: Trad. and Robert Burns
performance time approx 2m 30s
Range T: d – g' / Bar: c – d' / B: F – b
Price code: B
Complexity: **

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A lively and bawdy Scottish song, with traditional words and an original melody. First published in The Scots Musical Museum in 1787, the lyrics recount the conversation between a man (let’s imagine him to be a young one) and a lassie who he is smitten with. He begs to be let ‘in’; she lists the reasons that she cannot do so; but she has a change of heart and love is satisfied in the end.

Tenors carry the tune, accompanied homophonically by the other parts, for most of the piece. Several verses can be taken by soloists, for a variety in texture.

The recording is of the Wild Myrtles singing the SSA version, dir. Frances Cockburn, from the album Songcatcher.

Glossary and pronunciation guide included


O lassie are ye sleepin yet,
Or are ye waukin, I wad wit, [or are you awake, as I would guess]
For love has bound me hand and fitt, [hand and foot]
And I wad fain be in jo. [would willingly]

O let me in this ae night, [this one night / tonight]
This ae night, this ae night;
O let me in this ae night,
And I’ll no come back again, jo.

The night it is baith cauld and weet, [both cold and wet]
The morn it will be snaw and sleet, [snow and sleet]
My shoon are frozen to my feet, [shoes]
In standing here my lane, jo. [alone]

The bitter blast that round me blaws,
Unheeded howls, unheeded fa’s, [falls]
The cauldness o’ thy heart’s the cause
O’ a’ my care and pine, jo. [pain]

My father’s walking in the street,
My mither the chamber keys does keep.
My chamber door does chirp and cheep,
I dare na let you in, jo. [not]

O gae your ways this ae night, [go your way]
This ae night, this ae night;
O gae your ways this ae night,
For I dare na let you in, jo.

But I’ll come stealing saftly in, [softly]
And cannily mak little din; [cleverly make little noise]
My fittstep tread there’s nane can ken [none will know the sound of my feet]
For the sughin wind and rain, jo. [soughing] (the sound of wind in trees)

Cast up the door unto the weet, [close the door on the wet weather]
Cast aff your shoon frae aff your feet. [take off]
Syne to my chamber ye may creep, [then]
But ye maunna do’t again, jo. [mustn’t do it again]

O leeze me on this ae night, [I am satisfied tonight]
This ae night, this ae night!
The joys we’ve had this ae night,
Your chamber was within, jo!

Traditional and Robert Burns

Purchase – 1042: Let me in this ae night (TBB)

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