This tune is said to be the original that inspired the melody of the song "Abha na Laoi" and its subsequent offspring "Ar Éirinn ní Neosfainn Cé Hí". Tomás Ó Canainn’s suggestion of the metamorphoses into these songs appears in his book "Traditional Music in Ireland". There is discussion on whether this has any merit in the comments on Ar Éirinn ní Neosfainn Cé Hí:
This setting is how it appears in William Thomson’s 1733 collection "Orpheus Caledonius".
The words are a bit on the "twee side" IMO, but for those who are interested, here they are (capitalised nouns retained):
What beauties does Flora disclose?
How sweet are her smiles upon Tweed?
Yet Mary’s still sweeter than those;
Both Nature and Fancy exceed.
Nor Daisy, nor sweet blushing Rose,
Nor all the gay Flowers of the Field,
Not Tweed gliding gently thro’ those,
Such Beauty and Pleasure does yield.
The Warblers are heard in the Grove,
The Linnet, the Lark and the Thrush,
The Black-bird, and sweet cooing Dove,
With Musick enchant ev’ry Bush.
Come, let us go forth to the Mead,
Let us see how the Primroses spring,
We’ll lodge in some Village on Tweed,
And love while the feather’d Folks sing.
How does my Love pass the long Day?
Does Mary not ‘tend a few Sheep?
Do they never carelessly stray,
While happily she lies asleep?
Tweed’s Murmurs should lull her to rest,
Kind Nature indulging my Bliss,
To relieve the soft Pains of my Breast,
I’d steal an ambrosial Kiss.
‘Tis she does the Virgins excell,
No Beauty with her may compare;
Love’s Graces all round her do dwell,
She’s fairest where thousands are fair.
Say, Charmer, where do thy Flocks stray?
Oh! Tell me at Noon where they feed;
Shall I seek them on sweet winding Tay,
Or the pleasanter Banks of the Tweed?
When Maggie and I were acquaint
I carried my noddle fu’ hie;
Nae lintwhite on a’ the green plain,
Nae gowdspink sae happy as me.
But I saw her sae fair, and I lo’ed,
I wooed, but I cam nae great speed;
So now I maun wander abroad,
And lay ma banes far frae the Tweed.
To Maggie my love I did tell,
Saut tears did my passion express;
Alas! for I lo’ed her o’erweel,
And the women lo’e sic a man less.
Her heart it was frozen and cauld,
Her pride had my ruin decreed;
Therefore I will wander abroad,
And lay my banes far frae the Tweed.
Still some way from modern taste, but several degrees of tweeness distant from Crawford’s lyrics above, and MUCH more of a Scots sang. Attributed to John Hay, Lord Yester, 1646-1713, and first published in Herd’s collection, 1776, and quite widely anthologised since, with differences between versions (this one from Abbotsford Series of the Scottish Poets, Volume 1 By George Eyre-Todd, via googlebooks). The lore is that it was composed at Neidpath Castle which overlooks the Tweed above Peebles.
The tune first appears to my knowledge in the Balcarres lute manuscript c. 1770, so it’s possible that the lyric and tune were composed together by the same person.
Surely you have the date of the Balcarres lute manuscript a bit late, Matt?
Most sources date it around the turn of the 18th century, or just before.
Right enough, the lyrics attributed to Hay are far less twee. Perhaps we have an example here of both sides the twee?
Rob McKillop’s setting of the Balcarres version:
Balcarres - yes of course, I did mean c.1700 - the disconnect is disconcerting … and no way to cover the tracks.
Both sides the twee - excellent!
Thanks very much for the link to Rob’s transcription. We are weel acquaint, and I remember a concert Rob did in Neidpath ten or so years ago, which naturally included this tune.