Studies In Folk-song And Popular Poetry

An Extensive Investigation Into The Sources And Inspiration Of National Folk Song

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LADY NAIRNE AND HER SONGS.        129
Wha '11 buy my caller herrin' ?
They 're no bought without brave darin' ;
Buy my caller herrin',
Haled thro' wind and rain.
Wha '11 buy my caller herrin' ? etc.
Wha '11 buy my caller herrin' ? Oh, ye may call them vulgar farin'; Wives and mithers maist despairin' Ca' them the lives o' men.
Wha '11 buy my caller herrin' ?
They 're bonnie fish and halesome farin',
Wha Jll buy my caller herrin',
New drawn frae the Forth.
There are other verses to Caller Herrin', but they were merely occasional, intended to serve as a ben­efit to Nathaniel Gow, the son of the famous fid­dler, Niel Gow, the composer of the air, who was seeking patronage in Edinburgh, and they only injure the effect of the first and perfect stanzas.
The poetical work of Lady Nairne was smaller in bulk than that of her chief contemporaries, even than that of Allan Cunningham. She was without any personal literary ambition whatever, and her inspiration was smothered by domestic grief and an absorbing and narrow piety. A por­tion of what there is is also imperfect, ephemeral, and careless, but she has written one of the most perfect lyrics in the English language, and a num­ber of others, which, in their melody, their inter-
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E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III