Familiar Songs - Their Authors & Histories

300 traditional songs, inc sheet music with full piano accompaniment & lyrics.

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292                                                      OUR FAMILIAR SONGS.
" Indeed " she answered, " I dinna think it was me; but if it was, it's really sae lang syne, that I've quite forgot."
A gentleman named Atkinson, who was in love with her before her marriage, was much older than she, and very rich. He used to say that if Lady Anne would take him as an "Auld Robin Gray," she might seek for a Jamie after he was gone.'
But the anecdote which Lady Anne best enjoyed telling, was this: " I must mention the Laird of Dalziel's advice, who in a t6te-a-tete afterwards, said, l My dear, the next time you sing that song, try to change the words a wee bit, and instead of singing " To make the crown a pound, my Jamie gaed to sea," say "to make it twenty merks," for a Scottish pound is but twenty pence, and Jamie was na such a gowk as to leave Jenny and gang to sea to lessen his gear. It is that line (whispered he) that tells me that song was written by some bonnie lassie that did na ken the value of the Scots' money quite as well as an auld writer of the town of Edinburgh would have kent it.'"
The Society of Antiquaries made earnest investigations, and even sent their secretary to inquire of Lady Anne. She confesses that she should have admitted the authorship frankly, if the questioner had not tried to entrap her into doing so. She adds that "the an­noyance of this important ambassador from the antiquaries was amply repaid to me by the noble exhibition of the ' Ballad of Auld Robin Gray's Courtship/ as performed by dancing dogs, under my window. It proved its popularity from the highest to the lowest, and gave me pleasure while I hugged myself in obscurity." Her final revelation recalls another curious literary concealment. A copy of the ballad, in her own handwriting, an account of its composition, and a sequel which she also wrote, were sent to her friend, Sir Walter Scott,with permission to "inform his personal friend, the author of Waveriey." The sequel is far inferior to the song, and so Lady Anne knew it to be. She only wrote it, she said, to gratify her mother, who was always desirous to know how " the unlucky business of Jeanie and Jamie ended." The sequel never became popular. Scott, in "The Pirate," likens the condition of Mina to that of Jeanie Gray, in the Lady Anne's sequel:
"Nae longer she wept, her tears were a' spent; Despair it was come, and she thought it content; She thought it content, but her cheek it grew pale, And she drooped like a snow-drop broKe down by the hail!"
Yery deep must have been this woman's antipathy to loud-mouthed fame; for after she had entrusted Scott with a volume of lyrics written by herself, and others of her bouse, and they had been printed, and were on the eve of publication, she withdrew her consent. The book was entitled, "Lays of the Lindsays." It was destroyed, and but a single poem remains which is known to belong to it. This begins, "Why tarries my love?" and is attributed to Lady Anne.
While the authoress was "hugging her obscurity," her lines were set to a new air, the original composition of Rev. William Leeves, Rector of Wrington, Somersetshire, Eng­land, who died in 1828. It was so fine, that it replaced the old one, to which only the first stanza is now sung, and that is generally omitted altogether. I include both airs.
S Andante.
1. Yonng Ja - mie lo'ed me weel,               And sought me for his bride,            But
2.   My fa - ther could - na work—            My mith - er could - na spin;              I

E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III