Rock and Pickle Tow
There was an auld wife had a wee pickle tow,
An' she was to try the spinnin' o't;
But the rock an' the tow flew up in a lowe,
An' that was a weary beginnin' o't.
MacLennan SNR (1909), 21. To this tune goes "There was a
wee wifie row't up in a blanket", q.v.
This is a version of the first stanza of a song by Alex.
Ross (1699-1784); in Herd (1776), II.92, and many other
anthologies, including SMM V (1796), 450 (439), with music.
There the words are: "There was an auld wife had a wee pickle
tow,/ And she wad gae try the spinning o't,/ But looten her
down, her rock took a low,/ And that was an ill beginning
o't." The tune first appears as A Scotish March in
Playford's Musick's Hand-Maid, 1663; later in his Musick's
Recreation (1669), as Montrose's March. In Oswald's Curious
Coll. (1739), 16-17, as A Rock and a wi Pickle Tow, and
before this (Rock and a wi Pickle-Tow) in Mitchell's Highland
Fair (1731), 57 (XXXVII). It has been used for many songs,
including a rewrite by Joanna Baillie ("A lively young lass
had a wee pickle tow" etc.); and Lady Nairne's "Jamie the