Cam Ye O'er Frae France
After the death of Queen Anne the British crown passed on to George, the Elector of Hanover. In his entourage George I brought with him a number of German courtiers, including his mistress Melusine von der Schulenburg, whom he later created the Duchess of Kendal, - commonly referred to as the Sow - and his half-sister Sophia von Kielmansegg - known as the Goose. George I's wife Sophia Dorothea of Celle remained in Hanover, imprisoned at Ahlden House after her affair with Philip Christoph von Königsmarck - the blade in the song. Another historic personality in the song is John Erskine, 22nd Earl of Mar, Bobbing John, who recruited in the Scottish Highlands for the Hanoverian cause. The nickname Geordie Whelps is a reference to the House of Welf, the original line of the House of Hanover.
Cam ye o'er frae France? Cam ye down by Lunnon?
Saw ye Geordie Whelps and his bonny woman?
Were ye at the place ca'd the Kittle Housie?
Saw ye Geordie's grace riding on a goosie?
Geordie, he's a man there is little doubt o't;
He's done a' he can, wha can do without it?
Down there came a blade linkin' like my lordie;
He wad drive a trade at the loom o' Geordie.
Though the claith were bad, blythly may we niffer;
Gin we get a wab, it makes little differ.
We hae tint our plaid, bannet, belt and swordie,
Ha's and mailins braid—but we hae a Geordie!
Jocky's gane to France and Montgomery's lady;
There they'll learn to dance: Madam, are ye ready?
They'll be back belyve belted, brisk and lordly;
Brawly may they thrive to dance a jig wi' Geordie!
Hey for Sandy Don! Hey for Cockolorum!
Hey for Bobbing John and his Highland Quorum!
Mony a sword and lance swings at Highland hurdie;
How they'll skip and dance o'er the bum o' Geordie!
(Repeat first verse)
a, a' = adj all 
bannet = n bonnet 
belive = soon, immediately 
belyve = quickly
blade = a person of weak, soft constitution from rapid overgrowth; Count Philip Christoph von Königsmarck of Sweden 
blithe = adj festive; glad; happy; joyful. n gladly, happily.
Bobbing John = John Erskine, 22nd Earl of Mar. So called because he switched sides 6 times before his death.
bonny = pretty, beautiful, attractive 
bonny woman = a woman of loose character
braid = broad
braw = adj fine; handsome; splendid; admirable; well-dressed; worthy 
brawly = well 
ca = v call 
claith = cloth
cloth = George Augustus 
cockalorum = a young cock. Alexander Gordon, Marquis of Huntly 
differ = n difference; dissent. v dissent.
Don = diminutive of Gordon (the last syllable).
frae = from 
gane = gone
Geordie = diminutive of George. George I and/or George Augustus 
Geordie's grace = His Grace King George I 
gin = if, whether
goose = a goose; a prostitute 
goosie = diminutive of goose; a pig; a fat and gross person; derisive nickname for the King's mistress; 'The Goose', Countess Ehrengard Melusine von der Schulenburg, later Duchess of Kendal 
ha = n hall; house; mansion.
ha's and mailins = houses and farmlands
hae = v have; take; credit (believe/think) 
Highland hurdie = a Highland soldier 
Highland quorum = either the hunting party on August 1715 or the planning meeting on 3 September 1715 
hurdie = buttock
Jocky = a Scotsman. James III 
kittle = adj adept; ticklish; tricky; v arouse, enliven; tickle; perplex; tease; titillate 
kittle housie = brothel; St. James's Palace 
link = n skip; v walk smartly; to make love 
linkin = tripping along
loom = a loom; a metaphor for female sexual organs 
loom of Geordie = George I's former wife, Princess Sophia Dorothea of Celle 
lordie = George I 
Lunnon = London
mailing = a leased smallholding, a farm 
mailings braid = broad farmlands 
Montgomery = Sidney, Earl of Godolphin 
Montgomery's lady = Queen Mary Beatrice of Modena, wife of James II and mother of James III 
mony = adj many 
niffer = haggle or exchange; to exchange, to barter with objects hidden in the fists 
o'er = over; excessively; too 
o't = of it 
plaid = James III 
Sandy = diminutive of Alexander.
Sandy Don = Major-General Alexander Gordon of Auchintoul 
thrive = success 
tint = lost; lost (past participle of tine = to lose) 
to dance = to raise funds, to raise troops and prepare to fight. Compare the song To Auchindown, which has the lines: "We joined the dance, and kissed the lance, / And swore us foes to strangers." 
to dance a jig with Geordie = To fight with George I.
trade = a business; an exchange or substitution 
wab = web (or length) of cloth); a length of woven cloth from one loom 
wad = n pledge, security; wager, bet; forfeit. adj wedded. v pledge; wager, bet; wed.
wha = pron who 
whelp = a puppy; an ill-bred child; Guelph, a political faction (left over from the Middle Ages) to which the House of Hanover belonged. George I and/or George Augustus 
See also 
For a more in depth explanation of the background of this song, please see
The Players 
House of Tudor (Extreme Background) 
c.1508 – 1537
m. 1509 – 1533
1485 – 1536
1491 – 1547
r. 1509 – 1547
1501/1507 – 1536
|m. 1514 – 1527
6th Earl of Angus
c.1489 – 1557
1489 – 1541
1473 – 1513
1537 – 1553
r. 1547 – 1553
1527 – 1598
1516 – 1558
r. 1553 – 1558
1533 – 1603
r. 1558 – 1603
4th Earl of Lennox
1516 – 1571
1515 – 1578
1520 – 1537
1512 – 1542
1515 – 1560
1545 – 1567
Queen of Scots
1542 – 1587
1544 – 1560
4th Earl of Bothwell
c.1534 – 15781
House of Stuart 
|James VI & I
r. 1567–1625 (Sc)
r. 1603–1625 (En)
r. 1625 – 1649
r. 1649–1651 (Sc)
Prince of Orange
|James II & VII
William III & II
Prince of Wales;
"The Old Pretender"
House of Hanover 
"his Bonny Woman"
"the Goose (Goosie)"
"the Loom of Geordie"
- Major-General Alexander Gordon of Auchintool or "Sandy Don "
- Cockalorum a.k.a, Alexander Gordon, 2nd Duke of Gordon
- Bobbing John
- Sidney Godolphin, 1st Earl of Godolphin, KG, PC (15 June 1645 – 15 September 1712) "Mr. Montgomery" was the pseudonym of Godolphin, who had been until 1688 the devoted Chamberlain of Mary of Modena.
More Background 
- Oliver Cromwell (25 April 1599 – 3 September 1658)
- Church of England
- Parliament of England
- The Catholic Church in England and Wales
- The Church of Scotland
- The Parliament of Scotland
- Highland Clearances
The Stakes 
- The political rights of the Parliament of England
- Episcopalian rule of the church by the monarch
- Freedom of religion, History of Freedom of religion in the United Kingdom
- The Wars of Religion
- The English Reformation (1533)
- Royal prerogative
- The Gunpowder Plot (1605), aka the Gunpowder Treason Plot or the Jesuit Treason
- The Thirty Years' War(1618–1648)
- Petition of Right (1628)
- The The Divine Right of Kings, and the Personal rule of Charles I, 1629–1640
- Wars of the Three Kingdoms Scotland, England and Ireland (1639 – 1651)
- The Scottish Bishops' Wars (1639, 1640)
- The English Civil War (1642–1651)
- The Siege of Oxford in 1646
- Second Civil War (1648 – 1649)
- Pride's Purge of December 1648
- Commonwealth of England, or the English Interregnum (1649 – 1653)
- "Rump Parliament" (1649 – 1653)
- Third Civil War (1649 – 1651)
- The Protectorate (1653 – 1659)
- Poor Relief Act 1662 aka Settlement Act or, more honestly, the Settlement and Removal Act
- The Irish Confederate Wars (1641 – 1653)
- The execution of the Three Kingdoms' monarch, Charles I, by the English parliament (30 January 1649)
- The restoration of the English monarchy (1660)
- The Test Acts
- Exclusion Crisis (1678 – 1681)
- The Exclusion Bill (15 May 1679 – 1681)
- The English Bill of Rights 1689
- The Act of Settlement 1701, which states that the monarch was forbidden to be Catholic or to marry a Catholic (extant)
- The War of the Grand Alliance on mainland Europe
- The Revolution of 1688
- Convention Parliament of England (1689)
- The Williamite War in Ireland aka Jacobite War in Ireland, the Williamite–Jacobite War in Ireland and in Irish Cogadh an Dá Rí, "the War of the Two Kings" (12 March 1689 – 3 October 1691)
- The Dundee's rising in Scotland
- Nine Years' War (1688 – 1697) aka (1688–97) – often called the War of the Grand Alliance, the War of the Palatine Succession, or the War of the League of Augsburg
- Daniel Szechi (1994-05-15). The Jacobites: Britain and Europe, 1688-1788. Manchester University Press. p. 35. ISBN 978-0-7190-3774-0.
- Ewan MacColl, 'The Jacobite Risings'
- Scots-English English-Scots Dictionary. New Lanark ML: Lomond Books. 1998. p. 256. ISBN 0947782265.
- Unriddling Came Ye o'er frae France?
- Folk Songs and Ballads of Scotland
- Older texts may refer to the war as the War of the English Succession, or, in North American historiography as King William's War. This varying nomenclature reflects the fact that contemporaries – as well as later historians – viewed the general conflict from particular national or dynastic viewpoints.