MacEdward Leach and the Songs of Atlantic Canada
MÀili Dhonn BhÒidheach Dhonn
(Brown-haired Molly, Lovely Molly)
an unidentified female CB 1 Tape 10 Track 13
Inverness County Audio:
Milling Song


Màili dhonn bhòidheach dhonn
Màili dhonn 'tilleadh dhachaidh
Màiri dhonn bhòidheach dhonn

Dh''èirich mise moch Diluain
Bha i fuar 's i na frasan
'M botul rùm agam na'm dhorn
Sog is spòrs Coire Bhreacan.

'S thainig an captain a nuas
Botul fion aige 'na achlais
Illean òlaibh dheth ar leòr
'S cumaibh a cuid seòl gun sràcadh

'S gur a toigh leam fhèin gill' òg
Nach bidh comh-strì ri chaptain
Chumadh mo Mhàili air doigh
As a cheò mach o Cheannsar

'S 'dol seachad air Liverpool
Bha i roladh 's a shlaiseadh
Chluinnte farum a cuid crànn
Fada thall ann an Sasunn

'S ann a bhliadhna gus an dè
Chaidh do bhrèid 'chuir 'san fhasan
'S ann a choltaichean do cheum
Ri laogh fèidh 's e fo asdar.

'S chunnaic mi "cutter" a rìgh
Bha i sìnte le frasan
Thog sinn rithe na siùil àrd
'S chaill sinn a dhà dhe na slatan.

'S nuair a rachainn-sa gu fèill'
'S e do bhrèid bheirinn dhachaidh
Tighead tha dùth deanamh dlùth
Ged chosgadh e crùn an t-slat dhomh.


Brown Molly, Beautiful Molly
Brown Molly sailing homeward
Brown Molly, Beautiful Molly.

I got up early on Monday morning
It was cold and showery
The bottle of rum in my hand
Mirth and fun in Corryvreckan.

Then the captain came up
A bottle of wine under his arm
Boys you can drink your fill
And keep her sails from being torn.

I admire a young lad
Who will not argue with his captain
Who would keep my Molly in good order
In the mist out from Ceannsar [Ceann Tir-Land's Head?]

As we passed Liverpool
She was rolling and lashing
The rhythm of her masts could be heard
Far away over England

It was a year from yesterday
That you first wore your kerchief
You were light of step then
Like a young deer swiftly running.

I saw the king's cutter (boat)
It was under heavy weather
We raised up her high sails
And lost two of the sail yards

When I go to the market
It is kerchiefs for you I'd buy
The proper width and closely woven
Though a yard would cost a crown.


Now a popular milling song, Màili Dhonn Bhòidheach Dhonn was once a well-known sailing song, in Scotland and Nova Scotia. It remains one of the most popular milling songs on the North Shore of Cape Breton.

As is the case in many sailing songs, the ship, which bears a female name, is praised as if it were a beautiful woman. Several places well known to Highland sailors are mentioned in the song: Leith, a port near Edinburgh, Liverpool, and Corrivreckan, a dangerous whirlpool near the island of Iona.

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