That harmonium sounds so good. Wish I still had it. (BZ)
It's attributed to Richard McKay in most sources we've found today, but Mudcat offers a second suggestion, D. Young of Fife, taken from an art poem by Charles Gray, also of Fife. The tune is said to be Bonnie Dundee, trad, but it must be an alternate Bonnie Dundee to the tune we know. (notes from Jeanne McDougall)
Cold winter was howlin' o'er moorland and mountain
And wild was the surge of the dark rolling sea
When I met about daybreak a bonnie young lassie
Who asked me the road and the miles to Dundee.
Says I, "My young lassie, I canna weel tell ye,
The road and the distance I canna weel gie,
But if you'll permit me to gang a wee bittie,
I'll show you the road and the miles to Dundee."
The lassie consented and gie me her airm
Not a word did I speir wha the lassie micht be
She appeared like an angel in feature and form
As she walked by my side on the road to Dundee.
At length wi' the howe o' Strathmartine behind us
The spires o' the toon in full view we could see,
She said, "Gentle sir, I can never forget ye
For showin' me so far on the road to Dundee.
This ring and this purse please accept as a token
And surely there's somethin' that ye can gi'e me,
That in years to come I'll the laddie remember
Who showed me the road and the miles to Dundee?"
I took the gold pin frae the scarf on my bosom,
And said, "Tak' ye this, in remembrance o' me",
And bravely I kissed the sweet lips o' the lassie
And I pairted frae her on the road to Dundee.
So here's tae the lassie; I canna forget her,
And ilka young laddie wha's listenin' to me,
O never be sweir to convey a young lassie,
Though it's only to show her the road to Dundee.