“The Dainty Doonby”

Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1776 (Herd)
Keywords: courting seduction sex pregnancy nobility abandonment reunion marriage
Found in: Britain(Scotland(Aber))


"A lassie was milkin' her faither's kye When a gentleman on horseback he cam' riding by... He was the laird o' the Dainty Doonby." The laird seduces then abandons the girl. Months later, he comes to ask of her health. She is pregnant; he marries her


Abby Sale suggests that this is a version of "The Broom of Cowdenknows" [Child 217]. The plots are the much the same (except for the role of the parents, who in "Cowdenknows" are hostile if they show up at all, but here are sympathetic), but the overall form suggests the songs are separate. - RBW

Cross references



  1. Kennedy 179, "The Lady o' the Dainty Doon-by" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. MacSeegTrav 21, "The Laird of the Denty Doon Bye" (1 text, 1 tune)
  4. Roud #864
  5. BI, K179