The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #13235   Message #108311
Posted By: Murray on Saltspring
25-Aug-99 - 02:37 AM
Thread Name: Lord Gregory
Subject: RE: Lord Gregory
Wolcot (1738-1819) was a "contemptible scribbler" according to Boswell, and he sent his version to the Edinburgh publisher Thomson--I won't quote it, it's dreadful. Burns, asked to admire it, tactfully did so, then offered Thomson his own version, a "set of stanzas in Scots, on the same subject", which are not that much of an improvement in my opinion. Give me the old trad version in the Scots Musical Museum (no. 5; published 1787), which doesn't try to be "polite" or "nice" or in the proper 18th century taste. The oldest version in the DT is pretty close to that of Scott, but MacColl said he got it in Wiltshire [and maybe played about with it, as I suspect he often did]. The FIRST version published appeared in Herd, 1776; Scott's in 1802. But it was old by then. The haunting tune, described by an editor as "a very ancient Gallowegian melody" first appeared in SMM as above; Bronson finds an affinity with the enormous "Miller of Dee" family, which does make it ancient, at least. MacColl's tune, while sounding authentic and all, doesn't grab me the way the old 1787 one does.