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Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhyme

DigiTrad:
BRAES OF BALQUIDDER
FLOWERS OF PEACE
GO, LASSIE, GO
HIGHLANDS OF HEAVEN
PEGGY ALISON
THE BRAES OF BELQUETHER
THE FAIR O' BALAMINNA
THE WILD MOUNTING TIME
WILD MOUNTAIN THYME


Related threads:
wild mountain thyme (30)
Chord Req: Braes o Balquhidder (47)
Wild mountain thyme (63)
Lyr Req: Fourth verse for Wild Mountain Thyme (41)
Lyr/Chords Req: Wild Mountain Thyme (43)
(origins) Origins: And Holy Is His Name (12)
(origins) Origin: Wild Mountain Thyme (56)
Lyr/Chords Req: Wild Mountain Thyme (6)
Name that tune? (16)
Lyr Req: Go, Lassie, Go (15)
Lyr Add: Braes o' Balquidder (27)
Wild Mountain Thyme as Tuvan throat (9)
Tablature needed for Wild Mountain Thyme (7)
Chords Req: Go Lassie Go (4)
Mrs Pavane sings Wild Mountain Thyme (7)
Lyr Req: woman pulling wild mountain thyme (17)
Lyr Req: Will ye go Lassie, go. OTHER PARODY (13)
Lyr Req: Will ya go lassie go. (19)
Lyr/Chords Req: wild moutain thyme (7)
Lyr Req: Wild Mountain Thyme / Braes o' Balquidder (8)
Lyr Add: Braes o' Balquither (13)
Lyr Add: Wild Mountain Thyme--Variation (32)
Lyr/Tune Req: Wild Mountain Thyme (17)
we'll all go together,neath bloomi'n heather (9)
Scottish poem on which Wild Mtn.Thyme based? (3)
source req: Wild Mtn. Thyme (4)
Wild Mtn. Thyme print source (1)


Dave Higham 30 Mar 08 - 12:03 PM
Uncle_DaveO 30 Mar 08 - 12:19 PM
Amos 30 Mar 08 - 12:23 PM
Dave Higham 30 Mar 08 - 12:34 PM
Marje 30 Mar 08 - 12:41 PM
John MacKenzie 30 Mar 08 - 12:43 PM
harpmolly 30 Mar 08 - 12:45 PM
GUEST,DonMeixner 30 Mar 08 - 12:45 PM
Nerd 30 Mar 08 - 12:46 PM
Bonnie Shaljean 30 Mar 08 - 12:47 PM
John on the Sunset Coast 30 Mar 08 - 12:50 PM
George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca 30 Mar 08 - 01:15 PM
Rog Peek 30 Mar 08 - 01:25 PM
John MacKenzie 30 Mar 08 - 01:35 PM
GUEST,The Mole Catcher's unplugged Apprentice 30 Mar 08 - 02:14 PM
Tootler 30 Mar 08 - 03:13 PM
Thompson 30 Mar 08 - 03:31 PM
Dave Higham 30 Mar 08 - 04:09 PM
GUEST,The Mole Catcher's unplugged Apprentice 30 Mar 08 - 04:16 PM
Jim McLean 30 Mar 08 - 04:30 PM
Suegorgeous 30 Mar 08 - 05:23 PM
Big Mick 30 Mar 08 - 05:25 PM
The Mole Catcher's Apprentice (inactive) 30 Mar 08 - 05:27 PM
Peace 30 Mar 08 - 05:33 PM
John MacKenzie 30 Mar 08 - 05:36 PM
Peace 30 Mar 08 - 05:51 PM
Nerd 30 Mar 08 - 05:57 PM
Seamus Kennedy 30 Mar 08 - 06:59 PM
Peace 30 Mar 08 - 07:02 PM
Jeri 30 Mar 08 - 07:04 PM
GUEST,mg 30 Mar 08 - 07:25 PM
Tattie Bogle 30 Mar 08 - 08:12 PM
Peace 30 Mar 08 - 08:18 PM
Lonesome EJ 31 Mar 08 - 02:38 AM
Seamus Kennedy 31 Mar 08 - 03:22 AM
Jim McLean 31 Mar 08 - 04:10 AM
Big Mick 31 Mar 08 - 10:14 AM
Jim McLean 31 Mar 08 - 11:09 AM
Jack Campin 31 Mar 08 - 11:38 AM
Jim McLean 31 Mar 08 - 11:46 AM
Seamus Kennedy 31 Mar 08 - 12:10 PM
Jim McLean 31 Mar 08 - 01:07 PM
GUEST 31 Mar 08 - 02:06 PM
John on the Sunset Coast 31 Mar 08 - 02:17 PM
Tattie Bogle 31 Mar 08 - 08:39 PM
Charmain 31 Mar 08 - 09:14 PM
Seamus Kennedy 31 Mar 08 - 11:23 PM
Big Tim 01 Apr 08 - 05:55 AM
Jim McLean 01 Apr 08 - 08:31 AM
Mr Happy 01 Apr 08 - 08:57 AM
Big Tim 01 Apr 08 - 12:06 PM
Big Tim 01 Apr 08 - 04:35 PM
Peace 01 Apr 08 - 04:37 PM
Joybell 01 Apr 08 - 05:19 PM
Big Tim 02 Apr 08 - 03:43 AM
Jim McLean 02 Apr 08 - 04:24 AM
Jim McLean 02 Apr 08 - 05:55 AM
Flash Company 02 Apr 08 - 10:20 AM
Rumncoke 02 Apr 08 - 10:38 AM
Big Tim 02 Apr 08 - 11:00 AM
Lady Constance 02 Apr 08 - 11:14 AM
Santa 02 Apr 08 - 01:31 PM
PoppaGator 02 Apr 08 - 02:11 PM
GUEST,The Mole Catcher's unplugged Apprentice 02 Apr 08 - 02:14 PM
Fliss 03 Apr 08 - 02:00 PM
eddie1 04 Apr 08 - 05:30 AM
Joybell 05 Apr 08 - 07:04 PM
GUEST,leeneia 06 Apr 08 - 10:01 AM
Jim McLean 06 Apr 08 - 10:28 AM
goatfell 06 Apr 08 - 11:17 AM
mike gouthro 06 Apr 08 - 01:26 PM
Don Firth 06 Apr 08 - 01:41 PM
Tattie Bogle 07 Apr 08 - 08:17 PM
GUEST,rico [guest] 06 Jul 08 - 05:38 AM
GUEST,jo 06 Jul 08 - 09:47 AM
Phil Edwards 07 Jul 08 - 09:37 AM
Mr Happy 08 Jul 08 - 06:48 AM
MMario 08 Jul 08 - 08:01 AM
Mr Red 08 Jul 08 - 08:14 AM
GUEST,machree01 08 Jul 08 - 08:37 AM
buddhuu 14 Apr 10 - 07:42 AM
MGM·Lion 14 Apr 10 - 08:29 AM
MGM·Lion 14 Apr 10 - 08:31 AM
Tootler 14 Apr 10 - 09:01 AM
MGM·Lion 14 Apr 10 - 09:55 AM
MGM·Lion 14 Apr 10 - 10:19 AM
Dave MacKenzie 14 Apr 10 - 11:05 AM
Dave Roberts 14 Apr 10 - 11:17 AM
MGM·Lion 14 Apr 10 - 12:07 PM
Jim McLean 14 Apr 10 - 01:54 PM
Tootler 14 Apr 10 - 05:57 PM
MGM·Lion 15 Apr 10 - 12:12 AM
An Buachaill Caol Dubh 15 Apr 10 - 10:48 AM
John MacKenzie 15 Apr 10 - 11:06 AM
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buddhuu 15 Apr 10 - 03:07 PM
MikeofNorthumbria 16 Apr 10 - 02:29 PM
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Subject: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhyme?
From: Dave Higham
Date: 30 Mar 08 - 12:03 PM

I see Kate Rusby sings this song on her latest CD and it irritates me just as much as when anyone else sings it because it doesn't rhyme!

Oh, the summer-time has come (or is coming)
And the trees are sweetly blooming,
And the wild mountain thyme
Grows around the blooming heather;

As far as poetry goes, that's pure McGonnagle. And yet it's what everyone sings. But I'm sure I remember, once, in the Three Cranes in Sheffield, a well respected singer finishing the evening with it. A lot of people did in those days (I'm going back a bit). Of course, as soon as he'd got the first 3 words out, everyone joined in. But at the end of the first verse he stopped the song and made us sing it again like this:

Oh, the summer-time has come
And the trees are sweetly blooming,
And the wild mountain thyme
All the ******** is perfuming;

I can't remember what the third word was; it could have been mountain or hillside even valley but it rhymes! What's more, it makes sense whereas the common version is almost gobbledegook.

Does anyone else recollect a version that makes sense? There's another song that irritates me for the same reason but I can't remember what it is for the moment. As Dave Eyre says, blame it on the wine.


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhy
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 30 Mar 08 - 12:19 PM

I have to disagree with your judgment, Dave. Rhyme can be a wonderful thing in the right setting, and sometimes outright necessary, but in the case of Wild Mountain Thyme I don't see it as necessary, or even desirable.

Wild Mountain Thyme is fairly slow, and contemplative. That verse you quoted is one single sentence, almost a spoken sentence which happens to have some tune to it. Rhyme would seem out of place,to me.

Of course YMMV.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhy
From: Amos
Date: 30 Mar 08 - 12:23 PM

It is a remarkable piece int hat it suceeds in being a beautiful song using no rhyme.

Worthy of note on that basis alone.

Rhyming is an arbitrary convention. Not to get yer knickers twisted over. :D


A


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhy
From: Dave Higham
Date: 30 Mar 08 - 12:34 PM

Perhaps I'm too sensitive a soul. But it isn't a beautiful song using no rhyme. The rest of it does rhyme. And if the rest of it does, then the first verse should too. Just my opinion of course.


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhy
From: Marje
Date: 30 Mar 08 - 12:41 PM

I have heard it sung as:

And the wild mountain thyme
All around us is perfuming.

The "blooming heather" bit is still there in the chorus. This means that both the verse and the chorus rhyme. I think it's quite likely that at some stage the oral tradition got the two tangled up and the "perfuming" line got lost along the way.

I can't think of any reason why a song that is slow, or a verse that consists of a single sentence, shouldn't rhyme. The rhythm scans, and the melody leads the ear to expect a rhyme. The other verses rhyme. Why not go for it and (re-)introduce the rhyme?

Marje


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhy
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 30 Mar 08 - 12:43 PM

moorlands Dave

I will build my love a bower by yon clear crystal fountain
And upon it I will spread all the flowers of the mountain.


What's not to rhyme?

G


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhy
From: harpmolly
Date: 30 Mar 08 - 12:45 PM

It's never bothered me, but I did hear Dick Gaughan do a rhyming first verse in my favorite rendition of the song. As I read it, it goes like this:

Oh, the summertime is coming (he sings "has come")
And the trees are sweetly blooming,
And the wild mountain thyme
All the bowers are perfuming.

Then Emmylou Harris and the McGarrigle sisters chime in, and I pretty much bliss out and lose track of the words. ;)

M


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhy
From: GUEST,DonMeixner
Date: 30 Mar 08 - 12:45 PM

I never noticed.


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhy
From: Nerd
Date: 30 Mar 08 - 12:46 PM

The song now commonly known as "Wild Mountain Thyme" was written by Francie McPeake of Belfast. McPeake used as a source the Scottish song "The Braes Of Balquhidder," whose version of that stanza is:

Noo the summer's in prime,
Wi' the floores richly blooming,
Wi' the wild mountain thyme
A' the moorland's perfuming

Presumably the non-rhyme in that first stanza originated with McPeake.

According to McPeake's descendants, the most original part of the song was the verse that begins "If my true love she were gone." It was written after McPeake's wife passed away. I got this from Francis III and Francis IV during an interview this past May. I don't know if it's true...but it's their story, and they're sticking to it.


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhy
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 30 Mar 08 - 12:47 PM

If my true love will not come
I will surely find another
To pick wild mountain thyme
All around the blooming heather

Well, almost...


O the summer time is coming
And the trees are sweetly blooming

Another "almost"

Turn Turn Turn doesn't rhyme either.


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhy
From: John on the Sunset Coast
Date: 30 Mar 08 - 12:50 PM

While it is not, I suppose, very common, there are other non rhyming songs..."Moonlight in Vermont" comes immediately to mind (unless rhyming Vermont with Vermont counts). The music is very beautiful, and the lyric very evocative of a pastoral scene.


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhy
From: George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca
Date: 30 Mar 08 - 01:15 PM

What about Dirty Old Town? IT's famous for not having a rhyme in any of the verses.


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhy
From: Rog Peek
Date: 30 Mar 08 - 01:25 PM

The most un-rhyming (probably made that up) song I know is The Galway races:

As I roved out to Galway Town to seek for recreation
On the seventeenth of August my mind was elevated
There were multitudes assembled with their tickets at the station
And my eyes began to dazzle and they're going to see the races

Chorus
With a wack fol the do fol the diddley didle aye

There were passengers from Limerick and passengers from Nenagh
Passengers from Dublin, sportsmen from Tipperary
There were passengers from Kerry all the quarters of the nation
And our member Mr. Hasset for to join the Galway Blazers

There were multitudes from Aran and members from New Quay shore
The boys from Connemara and the Clare unmarried maidens
There were people from Cork City who were loyal, true and faithful
That brought home Fenian prisoners from dying in foreign nations

It's there you'll see confectioners with sugarsticks and dainties
The lozenges and oranges, the lemonade and raisins
The gingerbread and spices to accommodate the ladies
And a big crubeen for threepence to be picking while your able

It's there you'll see the gamblers the thimbles and the garters
And the sporting Wheel of Fortune with the four and twenty quarters
There were others without scruple pelting wattles at poor Maggy
And her father well contented and he looking at his daughter

It's there you'll see the pipers and the fiddlers competing
The nimble footed dancers and they dancing on the daisies
There were others crying "cigars and lights and bills for all the races
With the colours of the jockeys and the prizes and horses' ages

It's there you'll see the jockeys and they mounted up most stately
The pink and blue the red and green the emblem of our nation
When the bell was rung for starting all the horses seemed impatient
I thought they never stood on ground their speed was so amazing

There was half a million people there of all denominations
The Catholic, the Protestant, the Jew, the Presbyterian
Yet there was no animosity no matter what persuasion
But joy and hospitality inducing fresh acquaintance


Garters and quarters are the closest, otherwise nothing.
Made it a difficult song to learn by heart.

Rog


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhy
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 30 Mar 08 - 01:35 PM

Braes O' Balquhidder was written by Robert Tannahill site under construction.

The Braes O' Balquhidder



    Will ye go, lassie, go,
    To the braes o' Balquhidder?
    Where the blaeberries grow,
    'Mang the bonnie bloomin' heather;
    Where the deer and the roe
    Lightly bounding together,
    Sport the lang simmer day
    'Mang the braes o' Balquhidder.

    Chorus:
    Will ye go lassie, go,
    To the braes o' Balquhidder?
    Where the blaeberries grow,
    'Mang the bonnie bloomin' heather.

    I will twine thee a bower
    By the clear siller fountain,
    An' I'll cover it o'er
    Wi' the flowers o' the mountain;
    I will range through the wilds,
    An' the deep glens sae dreary,
    An' return wi' their spoils
    To the bower o' my dearie.

    Now the simmer is in prime,
    Wi' the flowers richly bloomin'
    An' the wild mountain thyme
    A' the moorlands perfumin',
    To our dear native scenes
    Let us journey together,
    Where glad innocence reigns
    'Mang the braes o' Balquhidder.

Robert Tannahill ( 1774-1810 )


Giok


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhy
From: GUEST,The Mole Catcher's unplugged Apprentice
Date: 30 Mar 08 - 02:14 PM

Then there must be an awful lot of songs that irritate you, because there are an awful lot of songs that don't rhyme. It reminds of people who like everything wrapped up and tied with a nice bow. In real life it doesn't happen.

Charlotte (the view from Ma and Pa's piano stool)


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhy
From: Tootler
Date: 30 Mar 08 - 03:13 PM

Well according to Dave Higham's principles, Shakespeare must be a poor poet then - on a par with McGonnagle, in fact - because his plays are written in verse and it doesn't rhyme.

I learnt in school it was called "blank verse"


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhy
From: Thompson
Date: 30 Mar 08 - 03:31 PM

A rhyme, Dave, can imprison a song's theme. Some songs can open out and rove around the theme more freely and with more dignity if they don't have that pursed-lip feeling of the rhyme holding them in.

This particular song, also, comes from the tradition that includes the great sean-nós songs, which often use the sophistication of a theme expressed in rhythm and assonance to explore a deep feeling.


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhy
From: Dave Higham
Date: 30 Mar 08 - 04:09 PM

I think a lot of the people who replied didn't listen to what I said. I have no problem with blank verse. It's not supposed to rhyme. On the other hand, a lot of Shakespeare's poetry does.

Perhaps 'Thompson' thinks that most of Wild Mountain Thyme has that pursed-lip held-in feeling because it does rhyme.

Perhaps my first message was a little ambiguous. What irritates me is that the first verse doesn't rhyme or make much sense the way most people sing it and the rest of the song does (more or less).

Anyway, Dick Gaughan seems to agree with me so I'm happy.


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhy
From: GUEST,The Mole Catcher's unplugged Apprentice
Date: 30 Mar 08 - 04:16 PM

The whole song makes perfect sense to me. I have no quibble with the first or any of the verses, or any of the versions of the song.

and as for famous people and their thoughts...well I'll make up my own mind on matters.

Charlotte (the view from Ma and Pa's piano stool)


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhy
From: Jim McLean
Date: 30 Mar 08 - 04:30 PM

Tannahill wrote 'Where the deer and the rae ... to rhyme with
'Sport the lang simmer day' i.e. not 'roe' and he called it The Braes o' Balquhither.


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhy
From: Suegorgeous
Date: 30 Mar 08 - 05:23 PM

Totally agree with Charlotte (for once) :)

Sue


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhy
From: Big Mick
Date: 30 Mar 08 - 05:25 PM

This song is all about phrasing. If you are good at it, the rhyme doesn't matter and it sounds perfectly natural and lovely. I love singing it.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhy
From: The Mole Catcher's Apprentice (inactive)
Date: 30 Mar 08 - 05:27 PM

I've performed the song a number of times...and as I stated on the Flower Songs thread, I quite like The Byrds version, though I perform Wild Mountain Thyme acoustically rather than electrically.

Thank you, Sue :-)

Charlotte (the view from Ma and Pa's piano stool)


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhy
From: Peace
Date: 30 Mar 08 - 05:33 PM

I thought it did rhyme. Go figger!


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhy
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 30 Mar 08 - 05:36 PM

You teach what subject Bruce?

G


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhy
From: Peace
Date: 30 Mar 08 - 05:51 PM

Poetry.


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhy
From: Nerd
Date: 30 Mar 08 - 05:57 PM

Thanks to both Giok and Jim for more specifics on Tannahill's song. Both are correct. In a different thread Jim pointed out that there are two slightly different texts of this song ascribed to Tannahill.

The song did enter oral tradition after Tannahill wrote it, to be collected by various people including Grieg and Duncan.    I'm not sure how Francie McPeake got hold of it--his family was mostly interested in stressing the originality of "Wild Mountain Thyme," and didn't discuss his source much.


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhy
From: Seamus Kennedy
Date: 30 Mar 08 - 06:59 PM

Why doesn't it rhyme?

Because the words at the end of each line don't sound the same?

Seamus


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhy
From: Peace
Date: 30 Mar 08 - 07:02 PM

Yesterday upon the stair
I met a man who wasn't there;
I met him there again today,
I really wish he'd bugger off.

There. A perfect rhyme.

Seamus, I was listeng to your voice and songs yesterday and enjoying it very much. FYI.


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhy
From: Jeri
Date: 30 Mar 08 - 07:04 PM

Oh the summertime is comin'
And the trees are sweetly bloomin'
And the wild mountain thyme
Smells lovely to a human

THAT's why it doesn't rhyme.


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhy
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 30 Mar 08 - 07:25 PM

I am of the persuasion that ...well..should is awfully harsh..but I like the songs best that do rhyme, and rhyme perfectly and the rhythm is very strict. I am far less concerned with the ...other stuff whatever it is. But in this case, if it bugs you, I would just not sing it because it is so in the oral tradition the other way. I would say oral tradition trumps rhymes but rhymes trump nonrhymes if you are say constructing a song. But do what you want. mg


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhy
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 30 Mar 08 - 08:12 PM

From "Alex Campbell Live" - LP recorded in 1964 - sleeve notes, written by Eric Winter:
"Robert Tannahill's poem The Braes of Balquidder may or may not have preceded this delightful folk song. It is just as easy to believe that Tannahill reworked the folk song as it is to imagine that the folk process rounded off and re-beautified the poem. This version (from the McPeake family of Belfast) is not the Tannahill's poem, nor is betsy miller's lovely version. Both are lovely songs and the McPeake version is solidly established as an end-of-evening song in countless folk clubs."
And so what doid Alex sing (the McPeake version as it statess above)?

"And the wild mountain thyme,
All the moorlands is perfuming"

i.e it rhymes with blooming, and was how I learned it and sang it for years until I realised others were singing "grows around the blooming heather"


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhy
From: Peace
Date: 30 Mar 08 - 08:18 PM

I've heard it also as "purple heather".


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhyme
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 31 Mar 08 - 02:38 AM

purple heather is in my brain
Many words that don't rhyme alike
feel like the breeze is blowin through my soul
is this tomorrow, or just the end of thyme?


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhyme
From: Seamus Kennedy
Date: 31 Mar 08 - 03:22 AM

Thanks, Peace. Got a new one coming out in a few weeks.

The way I heard the story from Jimmy McPeake was that the family was performing in Scotland in the '50's, when they heard the Braes of Balquidder and really liked it.

When they got back to Belfast Francis Sr. couldn't quite remember all the words, so he added his own, and as a result came up with a whole new song.

I disagree with mg in that all good songs don't have to rhyme, as long as they scan well, and don'thaveashitloadofextrasyllablesthrownin.

Seamus


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhyme
From: Jim McLean
Date: 31 Mar 08 - 04:10 AM

I have the original text in Tannahill's handwriting of The Braes o' Balquhither, 1809, and I will post it later (I have to go out now}.


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhyme
From: Big Mick
Date: 31 Mar 08 - 10:14 AM

Folkies just make me laugh sometimes. I will anxiously await seeing Jim's in the original hand, but the song works just fine as it was written. The need to make it rhyme is just such nonsense to my way of thinking. Leave the damn song alone. It has stood the test of time.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhyme
From: Jim McLean
Date: 31 Mar 08 - 11:09 AM

This is not the Wild Mountain Thyme, Mick, but Tannahill's song.

The Braes o' Balquhither, A Scotch, Song Air .. The Three Carls o' Buchanan

Let us go,Lassie go,
To the braes o' Balquhither.
Where the blae berries grow
'Mang the bonnie highland heather;
Where the deer and the rae.
Lightly bounding together,
Sport the lang simmer day
On the braes o' Balquhither.

I will twine thee a bow'r,
By the clear siller fountain,
And I'll cover it o'er,
Wi' the flow rs o' the mountain;
I'll range thro' the wilds,
And the steep glens sae dreary,
And return wi' their Spoils,
To the bow'r o' my dearie.

While the Lads o' the South,
Toil for bare war'ly treasure,
To the Lads o' the North,
Ev'ry day brings its pleasure;
Tho Simple are the joys,
The brave Highlander possesses,
Yet he feels no annoys,
For he fears no distresses.

When the rude wintry win',
Idly raves round his dwelling,
And the roar of the linn,
On the night-breeze is swelling;
Then so merrily he'll sing,
As the storm rattles o're him,
'Till the dear Sheeling ring,
Wi' the light lilting Jorum.

Now the Simmer is in prime,
Wi' the flow'rs richly blooming,
And the wild mountain thyme,
A' the moorlands perfuming;
To our dear native Scenes,
Let us journey together,
Where glad innocence reigns,
'Mang the braes o' Balquhither.

The spelling is exactly as written by Tannahill. He wrote this in 'Paisley' English where only the odd word is Scottish as in 'simmer', 'siller', 'lang, 'bonnie'. It was Semple in the Centenary edition of Tannahill's works who suggested maybe 'lightly' should be written as 'lichtly' etcetera. But the rhyme is pretty strict ACBD and I'm constantly surprised when singers choose to Scotify certain words and pronounce 'grow' as in 'now' where it stands out like a sore thumb against 'go'. McColl did this, copying his mother, and a few singers have copied him.The same applies to singing 'roe' instead of 'rae' as Tannahill wrote. 'Floo'ers' does not rhyhme with 'bow'rs'. I suggest reading Tannahill's original in 'English' and your ear will do the rest. The melody is an other story entirely and I'm currently researching the two airs associated with Tannahill's lyrics.


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhyme
From: Jack Campin
Date: 31 Mar 08 - 11:38 AM

It's not entirely by Tannahill. A shorter version of the words was printed by John Hamilton in 1792, and the tune was published by Bremner in the 1750s, so Hamilton himself must have been adapting a traditional song which hasn't come down to us. Bruce Olson posted my copy of Hamilton's version in another thread on this song a few years ago.

Tannahill was fond of fantasizing about places he'd never been to. Check out "The Banks of Spey" for an example (that one he *did* write, to fit William Marshall's tune of the same name). He makes north-east Scotland sound like Svalbard.


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhyme
From: Jim McLean
Date: 31 Mar 08 - 11:46 AM

Jack, the words I posted are entirely by Tannahill. John Hamilton, as you know, wrote a similar song which I am sure Tannahill decided to rewrite. He knew Hamilton and the air he used which was Burn's version of the Trad dance tune The Braes o' Balquhidder first printed by David Young in 1740 which Bremner (et al)copied.


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhyme
From: Seamus Kennedy
Date: 31 Mar 08 - 12:10 PM

So Tannahill did to Hamilton what Francis McPeake did to Tannahill.

It's the folk process at it's finest.

Seamus


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhyme
From: Jim McLean
Date: 31 Mar 08 - 01:07 PM

Exactly, Seamus, but the McPeake tune is much more singable (in my opinion), hence its popularity. Hamilton was a writer as well as a publisher and contributed to Johnson's Scots Musical Museum. His Braes o' Bowhether (to the tune The Braes o' Balquhidder, just to confuse the issue!) was published at least fourteen years before Tannahill's song. Tannahill chose a different air than Hamilton/Burns although it seems to have disappeared in Scotland but strong in Ireland and America.
For comparison, here's Hamilton's song.

The Braes o' Bowhether.

Now the day's growin' lang lass,
an' sweet shines the weather,
an' we'll owre a' the hills,
to the Braes o' Bowhether.
Amang the Glens an' Rashy dens,
I'll prize thee without measure,
Within my arms, wi' a' thy charms,
I'll clasp my lovely treasure,
In sweetest Love, our time will move,
wi' mair than earthly pleasure;
By the little limpid streams,
On the Braes o' Bowhether.

An' I'll ay loe thee dearly,
Ilk day wes' forgather,
Syne we'll row on the fog,
By the Braes o' Bowhether;
To Pipe or Flute, when time will suit,
We'll dance like ony feather,
An', skip the knowes where Claver grows,
or stray amang the Heather;
Ay free frae strife in sic a life,
There, weary shall we never,
By the limpid little streams,
On the Braes o' Bowhether.


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhyme
From: GUEST
Date: 31 Mar 08 - 02:06 PM

As an aside, please don't bring McGonagall into it. He may not scan too well, but he DOES rhyme!!


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhyme
From: John on the Sunset Coast
Date: 31 Mar 08 - 02:17 PM

Sweet, lovely Marie
Frolicked in the lea,
Running thru the grass
That came up to her knees.

When the grass grows taller, this poem will rhyme.


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhyme
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 31 Mar 08 - 08:39 PM

Thanks Jim McLean: your posts are the most readable on the whole thread.


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhyme
From: Charmain
Date: 31 Mar 08 - 09:14 PM

Rhyme - shmyme - some songs need it - in others it would just be cheese on a stick - Never mind Wee Kate MacRusby - the most of us have been singing it that way for years - since it was written in fact - it doesn't need to rhyme - in fact if you force it to rhyme thats what it sounds - forced!
Now forcing may be all very weel for yer rhubarb but hands off my bloomin' heather thank ye kindly!!


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhyme
From: Seamus Kennedy
Date: 31 Mar 08 - 11:23 PM

Jim - Il like that Hamilton variant.
Very Burnsish. Nice.

Seamus


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhyme
From: Big Tim
Date: 01 Apr 08 - 05:55 AM

I think the McPeake version is 'more singable' simply because it is better known, thanks largely to the Clancy Brothers. Personally I prefer the Tannahill Weavers version, 'Braes' not 'Lassie.' (Sorry Jim, I know you weren't very impressed by their recording). However. you can't sing this version if you have never heard it, which many people haven't.


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhyme
From: Jim McLean
Date: 01 Apr 08 - 08:31 AM

Big Tim, The Tannahill Weaver's sing the standard (see Norrie Buchan's 101 Scottisg Songs) first part of the tune which most people know. It's the second part where they fudge the octave jump that is different slightly. Also their pronunciation is comletely haywire.


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhyme
From: Mr Happy
Date: 01 Apr 08 - 08:57 AM

Coincidentally, this song was discussed at a sessh recently, someone commenting that their schoolchild's songbook seemed 'dumbed down' as it had 'I will build my love a ' tower ' !! instead of 'bower' - the teacher's expanation being that 'bower' could confuse the kids!


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhyme
From: Big Tim
Date: 01 Apr 08 - 12:06 PM

This is a selection of various recordings of various versions, taken from Wikipedia.
Francis McPeake - for the BBC series As I Roved Out (1957)                                                          Sandy Paton - Many Sides of Sandy Paton (1959)                                                            The McPeake Family - McPeake Family of Belfast (1961)                                                            Bob Dylan- The Minnesota tapes                                                                Jean Redpath                                                                                                                               The Chieftans                                                                                                                            Judy Collins - Maid of Constant Sorrow (1961)                                                               The Clancy Brothers - The Boys Won't Leave the Girls Alone (1962)                                                          Paul Clayton (1964)                                                               Joan Baez ? Farewell Angelina (1965)                                                               The Byrds - 5th Dimension                                                            The Corries - The Corries: In Concert                                                             The Strawbs - as 'Will You Go'                                                                  Van Morrison- as 'Purple Heather'                                                             Rod Stewart - as "Purple Heather"                                                             James Taylor                                                               Kate Rusby - as 'Blooming Heather'                                                             Lucy Wainwright Roche - 8 Seconds (2007)


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhyme
From: Big Tim
Date: 01 Apr 08 - 04:35 PM

Oops!


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhyme
From: Peace
Date: 01 Apr 08 - 04:37 PM

I am in awe.


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhyme
From: Joybell
Date: 01 Apr 08 - 05:19 PM

Another aside set in the same season and devoid of rhyme - (There's a hint of rhyme of course, but nothing serious)

In the Summertime when all the trees and leaves are green
and the red bird sings I'll be blue
'cause you don't want my love
"Some other time" that's what you say when I want you
Then you laugh at me and make me cry
'cause you don't want my love.
                                  Roger Miller

He was good. Love this song.
Cheers, Joy


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhyme
From: Big Tim
Date: 02 Apr 08 - 03:43 AM

Very sad to think that Tannahill committed suicide mainly because he couldn't get his second poetry collection published. A tragic example of 'the poet and the painter far behind his rightful time' (Bob Dylan).

Mind you, could he have written his version of Braes if copyright had existed at the time?


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhyme
From: Jim McLean
Date: 02 Apr 08 - 04:24 AM

Big Tim, I think if you compare Tannahill's song to Hamilton's it stands up to being an original song in its own right. He didn't even parody Hamilton's lyrics as Dylan did with various songs nor did he chose the same melody. It wasn't until after his death that Smith set it to a similar melody to Hamilton's (who copied Burns' melody). Got to go out now but will check back later.


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhyme
From: Jim McLean
Date: 02 Apr 08 - 05:55 AM

And anyway, copyright laws didn't stop Dylan!


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhyme
From: Flash Company
Date: 02 Apr 08 - 10:20 AM

I always sang.....
And the wild mountain thyme,
All the valley is perfuming,

I used to get told off by purists!

Knew one guy who put in an extra verse, (Try it)

Well it's one for the money,
And it's two for the show,
And it's three to get ready,
Then go lassie go,
Will you go lassie go.......

FC


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhyme
From: Rumncoke
Date: 02 Apr 08 - 10:38 AM

I sing the Braes of Balquhidder to an Irish tune with the chorus 'will you come to the Bower' but I don't know the title or the rest of the words, or I won't until I hear the original again and then only for an hour or so.

These days my memory is so bad that I'd never notice if a song rhymed or not.


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhyme
From: Big Tim
Date: 02 Apr 08 - 11:00 AM

Jim, I'm glad you class T's song as a more or less independent one. I wouldn't like to see him robbed after two centuries.


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhyme
From: Lady Constance
Date: 02 Apr 08 - 11:14 AM

Galway Races - recreation and nation? The rest is assonance. I never noticed it didn't rhyme.


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhyme
From: Santa
Date: 02 Apr 08 - 01:31 PM

It doesn't rhyme when sung as a closer in folk clubs because people drag it out so slowly they've forgotten what the previous lines ended with.

I must agree that the "perfuming" line sounds horribly forced: it is pretty poor English and distorting English for the sake of rhyme is not good poetry or song. Now people will produce a long list of perfectly good traditional songs that do just that..........


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhyme
From: PoppaGator
Date: 02 Apr 08 - 02:11 PM

If a song is good enough (don't ask me to define what might make a song "good"!), it can lack rhyme without the listener even noticing that anything is amiss. I think that is true of "WMT" and a few other classics mentioned above.

One outstanding and well-known lyric that has no rhymes at all is Woody Guthrie's "Deportee." I knew this song for years, and sang it regularly for a while, without taking conscious note of its lack of rhymes. It's only upon re-learning it within the last year that I noticed. Maybe that's because I learned it the first time strictly by listening and repeating, whereas the second time around I printed the lyrics from the internet and read them off a page.

Another thing I learned about "Deportee" only recently is that Woody never put it to music, or at least that he didn't write the currently-known melody. I think it's even more remarkable that such a "folk poem" NOT set to music would feature a very regular meter, readily adaptable to song form, but no rhymes.


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhyme
From: GUEST,The Mole Catcher's unplugged Apprentice
Date: 02 Apr 08 - 02:14 PM

'And anyway, copyright laws didn't stop Dylan! '

Unfortunately they haven't stopped a good number of people, but, yes, Dylan is the best example

Charlotte (the continuing view from Ma and Pa's piano stool)


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhyme
From: Fliss
Date: 03 Apr 08 - 02:00 PM

Rod Stewart version is 'purple heather', perhaps he thought 'blooming' was a swear word:)!!


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhyme
From: eddie1
Date: 04 Apr 08 - 05:30 AM

Like Guest of 31 Mar, I am puzzled by references to McGonagall! He went to tortuous lengths to ensure his poems always rhymed. Note the following:

The Tay Bridge Disaster
Beautiful Railway Bridge of the Silv'ry Tay!
Alas! I am very sorry to say
That ninety lives have been taken away
On the last Sabbath day of 1879,
Which will be remember'd for a very long time.

'Twas about seven o'clock at night,
And the wind it blew with all its might,
And the rain came pouring down,
And the dark clods seem'd to frown,
And the Demon of the air seem'd to say-
"I'll blow down the Bridge of Tay."


When the train left Edinburgh
The passengers' hearts were light and felt no sorrow,
But Boreas blew a terrific gale,
Which made their hearts for to quail,
And many of the passengers with fear did say-
"I hope God will send us safe across the Bridge of Tay."


But when the train came near to Wormit Bay,
Boreas he did loud and angry bray,
And shook the central girders of the Bridge of Tay
On the last Sabbath day of 1879,
Which will be remember'd for a very long time.


So the train sped on with all its might,
And Bonnie Dundee soon hove in sight,
And the passengers' hearts felt light,
Thinking they would enjoy themselves on the New Year,
With their friends at home they lov'd most dear,
And wish them all a happy New Year.


So the train mov'd slowly along the Bridge of Tay,
Until it was about midway,
Then the central girders with a crash gave way,
And down went the train and passengers into the Tay!
The Storm Fiend did loudly bray,
Because ninety lives had been taken away,
On the last Sabbath day of 1879,
Which will be remember'd for a very long time.


As soon as the catastrophe came to be known
The alarm from mouth to mouth was blown,
And the cry rang out all o'er the town,
Good Heavens! the Tay Bridge is blown down,
And a passenger train from Edinburgh,
Which fill'd all the peoples hearts with sorrow,
And made them for to turn pale,
Because none of the passengers were sav'd to tell the tale
How the disaster happen'd on the last Sabbath day of 1879,
Which will be remember'd for a very long time.


It must have been an awful sight,
To witness in the dusky moonlight,
While the Storm Fiend did laugh, and angry did bray,
Along the Railway Bridge of the Silv'ry Tay,
Oh! ill-fated Bridge of the Silv'ry Tay,
I must now conclude my lay
By telling the world fearlessly without the least dismay,
That your central girders would not have given way,
At least many sensible men do say,
Had they been supported on each side with buttresses,
At least many sensible men confesses,
For the stronger we our houses do build,
The less chance we have of being killed.

Love the rhyming of "Edinburgh" and "sorrow"!

As for "Wild Mountain Thyme", it's a beautiful song. If it has to rhyme for you, then rhyme it, if not, sing it the way you always have.

Eddie


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhyme
From: Joybell
Date: 05 Apr 08 - 07:04 PM

I am a McGonagal groupie. Thanks, Eddie and Guest of 31st. Quite right too.
I start each day with one of his masterpieces.
They get delivered to my email box thrice weekly. On the in-between days I re-read yesterday's again.
I've never seen a no-rhyme one.
Cheers, Joy


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhyme
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 06 Apr 08 - 10:01 AM

I don't believe anybody has mentioned this possibility - that thanks to 'the rainbow of British vowels' the song used to rhyme.

I can't say for sure, but I believe there were times or places when 'coming' and 'blooming' were similar words.


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhyme
From: Jim McLean
Date: 06 Apr 08 - 10:28 AM

I think it should be emphasised that The Wild Mountain Thyme is a modern song based on old lyrics. The verse that 'doesn't rhyme' is madeup from parts of two different verses and is just the way the McPeake's decided to sing it.


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhyme
From: goatfell
Date: 06 Apr 08 - 11:17 AM

WHO CARES IT'S A LOVELY SONG


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhyme
From: mike gouthro
Date: 06 Apr 08 - 01:26 PM

I have no comment about the rhyme scheme but I do have a vivid memory of hearing the song for the first time. I'm almost certain that Peace (Bruce Murdoch) did a powerful open D or D modal version of this song in his sets circa 1965 - 1967. It was one of his big numbers along with Love One Another and Walking Down The Line.

Bruce, is my memory deceiving me?


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhyme
From: Don Firth
Date: 06 Apr 08 - 01:41 PM

I've been singing "Wild Mountain Thyme" for fifty years now and I never noticed that it didn't rhyme. That never bothered me, and it doesn't bother me now that I see it pointed out.

I've seen a fair number of songs royally screwed up by someone (technically minded) trying to cram them into a rhyme scheme. Sometimes the unrhymed line evokes a vivid image that you lose when the word or words are changed to make it rhyme. All too often, wrenching the words around to make them rhyme replaces the image and / or the general flow of the song with something pedestrian and awkward.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhyme
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 07 Apr 08 - 08:17 PM

Well it still seems strange that when the rest of the whole song DOES rhyme, there's this one line that DOESN'T in the most commonly sung version. I'll stick with "perfuming" if I'm doing it solo (but then you never are as everyone else expects "grows around the blooming heather")!
A friend just wrote a new song, sang it through to me: after she'd finished, said, "Did you notice it wan't it rhyme?" To be honest, I hadn't, tho' the words were excellent and really told a story! But I'd say, be consistent: either rhyme all the way through, or don't rhyme at all.
And I guess "Santa" has blocked (blacked?)sinuses from climbing dowm all those chimneys and can't smell the heather perfuming the moorlands?


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhyme
From: GUEST,rico [guest]
Date: 06 Jul 08 - 05:38 AM

First, I'd like to say, "Wow." I did a quick google search to find a good link to the variant origins of this song - but never thought I'd hit such an interesting goldmine in one thread.

My personal experience and opinion is this:

Firstly, I was searching for this song because I worked for years at a renaissance faire; as many do, ours in Sterling, NY ended with this song - kind of a beautiful way to say "last call, folks." I remember it fondly and often. The troupe there sang it with the "bloomin' heather" line as well -- and I must say that it is that particular line that sticks in my head, which may relate to the next point:

As an amateur who has studied language and poetry, even I understand a few easy, strong points [:Dave] -- rules can be broken, and when they are, and done so gracefully, they are more powerful for it; in addition, a great deal of poetry and prose throughout the centuries has delicately wove its way between rhyme and un-rhyme, in the same piece; lastly, FORGET how YOU might pronounce it -- have you ANY idea how a 17th to 18th century balladeer, or peasant for that matter, would pronounce it?? Or how others assemble it?

When I was at the Faire, the queen would pause long (as most people I've heard sing this do...) on the word blooming right before heather, thus rhyming with the previous bloomin, and moving heather, memorably, nearly to it's own line in the stanza.

She also added a lovely verse that I wish I could remember fully -umm..

and we'll all raise our glasses
and [toast] the evening come

... {wish I could remember the second 2 lines..
... ...that's why I was looking in the first place... :) }

Point - it's creativity, intelligence & style, Dave. And not limiting yourself to rhyme, even -- or especially --when the 'rest' of your piece does rhyme, shows a true comprehension of the possibilities of the human voice -- and an insight into the different ways that the same sentence, or verse, can be read, or sung, by each of us just a wee bit differently than another.

Don't be afraid
of words that
don't rhyme, Dave.
Or don't, if you
aren't
list
en
ing.

( tell e e cummings he sucked. i dare you. he'll haunt yer ass :) )

Yessir that's me -- rico
rico@i8theworld.com


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhyme
From: GUEST,jo
Date: 06 Jul 08 - 09:47 AM

Heard Dylan's 'Hurricane' today. Rhyme thin. Still XLTE.


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhyme
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 07 Jul 08 - 09:37 AM

There was an old a man from St. Bees
Who was stung on the arm by a wasp.
When they said, "Does it hurt?"
He said, "Not very much,
It's a good job it wasn't a hornet."

- W. S. Gilbert (after Edward Lear)


(quite a long way after)


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhyme
From: Mr Happy
Date: 08 Jul 08 - 06:48 AM

.........so to rhyme he should have a 'hornet in his bornet'??


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhyme
From: MMario
Date: 08 Jul 08 - 08:01 AM

Rico - was that Baj? I remember she used to add a verse - but don't remember the words either.


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhyme
From: Mr Red
Date: 08 Jul 08 - 08:14 AM

Thyme, Rhyme

Pretty close for my calculations.

Anyway Rhyme is the punctuation of poetry and lyrics. The music has echoes and repeats, and choruses to do that anyway. There is a whle sub-genre called tone poems. Rhyme is just one more bullet and you can slay them in other ways. No sense in filling them with lead if you have already deaded them.

I personally like the occasional "rhyme refused", it has a certain humour if the word they all expect is rude and the first sounds let them think it will be that word, not to be overused though.


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhyme
From: GUEST,machree01
Date: 08 Jul 08 - 08:37 AM

Here is the Clancy Brothers singing Will Ye Go Lassie Go.

http://ie.youtube.com/watch?v=-BEl5hTNWh8


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhyme
From: buddhuu
Date: 14 Apr 10 - 07:42 AM

Sorry to resurrect another oldie. Not trying to start (or revive) an argument, but I'd add my take, FWIW.

Firstly, I love the song in both rhyming and non-rhyming form. I have nothing against either, although I do have a preference.

I've always found the non-rhyming version, with its "Grows around the blooming heather" too repetitive to my ears: just a sprig too much blooming heather. I always preferred the "perfuming" version. I think it is valid. It certainly seems to make sense in light of various clues.

a) The rest of the verses approximately rhyme to the scheme that would allow "perfuming".

b) The "source" by Tannahill went:
An' the wild mountain thyme
A' the moorlands perfumin'


To me the question is not so much why should it have to rhyme as why should it not when the rhyme was in the "original" and works perfectly.

I have no objection to others singing it the other way, but I'll stick with "perfuming". It isn't in the least bit forced, it is natural and perfect and faithful to the source that inspired Mr McPeake.

If McPeake really did intend "Grows around the blooming heather", I find myself wondering why. The imagery is great, but for me personally it works slightly less well in the overall context of the song.

I have my asbestos drawers on.


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhyme
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 14 Apr 10 - 08:29 AM

A comparison might be drawn here to the Coppers' Sweet Lovely Nancy, stanza 2:

When I am far across the sea
And you know not where I am
Kind letters I will write to you
From every foreign land

I have known singers who used 'thee' instead of 'you' at end of line 2, thus getting an extra rhyme. But that is not how the Coppers sing it so I always sing it the way they do ~~ it's their song. But no harm really done by those who do emend it to 'thee' if it makes them feel more comfortable with it, surely?

~Michael~


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhyme
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 14 Apr 10 - 08:31 AM

... sorry, that should of course have read 'end of line 3'


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhyme
From: Tootler
Date: 14 Apr 10 - 09:01 AM

But that is not how the Coppers sing it so I always sing it the way they do ~~ it's their song.

Since you take great pride in being pedantic, I'll indulge in a little myself. It's not their song at all, it's a traditional song and they no more own it than you or I do. Agreed it's the version they sing and you may like to stick to that version which is fair enough.


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhyme
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 14 Apr 10 - 09:55 AM

Not too sure about that, Tootler. Of course there are other versions of all the Copper Family songs; but you must remember that the versions they sing are actually "(c) Coppersongs". If one is singing a version learned from them, which they would sing from Jim's Book ~~ or perhaps Brasser's before him ~~ then one is singing one of 'their' songs, however it may be that other traditional singers have sung different variants. I can appreciate where this may be regarded as a debatable point: but, from the point of view of accuracy [& I have still to come across a valid argument as to the difference between the pejorative 'pedantry' & the essential watchword & principle that 'accuracy matters'], I still think I was justified in writing that "it's their song".


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhyme
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 14 Apr 10 - 10:19 AM

Taking my parenthesis above as a basis, I have started a new BS thread about the difference between 'pedantry' & 'accuracy'.

~M~


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhyme
From: Dave MacKenzie
Date: 14 Apr 10 - 11:05 AM

If the rules abouit poetry were that natural and eternal, we'd not be rhyming nowadays but still using assonance and alliteration.

Ayway, here's another version from the tradition:

THE FAIR O' BALNAFANNAN

I was come from a fair,
From the fair o' Balnafannan,
When I met a winsome dame,
She was as fair as the Annan,
I asked her where she dwelt
As we strode along together
On the bonny mountain side.
She replied "amang the heather".

I will build you a bower
Down by yon clear fountain,
And I'll cover it a' o'er
Wi' the floo'ers o' the mountain;
I'll range the mountain side
And the dark glen so weary,
And I'll bring home my spoils
To the bower o' my deary.

As sung by Jeannie Robertson as "The Braes o' Balquidder" on Collector 10" LP JFS4001, "Lord Donald".


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhyme
From: Dave Roberts
Date: 14 Apr 10 - 11:17 AM

I can't make up my mind. I like the non-rhyming version and the rhyming version.


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhyme
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 14 Apr 10 - 12:07 PM

Indeed, Dave. This thread has been in danger thruout of becoming one of those chimerical searches for a 'correct' or 'definitive' version: we, of all people should know, that when it comes to tradition there ain't no such animal: and which is the 'best' version can only ever be a question of taste. So what's not to like about loving both [or all] versions?

~Michael~


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhyme
From: Jim McLean
Date: 14 Apr 10 - 01:54 PM

Jeannie Robertson's song comprises the first verse of Hugh McWilliam's Lass Among the Heather and the second verse of Tannahill's Braes o' Balquhither.


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhyme
From: Tootler
Date: 14 Apr 10 - 05:57 PM

MtheMG,

Leaving aside my original comment which was not meant to be too serious, you have touched on an important point.

You refer to the Coppers' versions of the songs they sing as "(c)Coppersongs" which touches on the issue of what copyright they are entitled to? I suspect their attribution should be "Trad arr. Coppersongs" or something similar. Are there versions sufficiently different for a copyright to stand up and so make them truly "their songs"? I don't know the answer and I suspect that if you asked the lawyers you may well get as many different answers as the number of lawyers you asked.

In the meantime, we will all sing the versions we individually prefer and that is how it should be.

Geoff

PS. I don't think I've put that very well but I hope you get my drift. G


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhyme
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 15 Apr 10 - 12:12 AM

Indeed, Geoff: I have often wondered about the Coppers' ©-ing of their family versions. I don't know if they get much in way of royalties via PFS, & I am sure they don't strictly police clubnites &c to make sure their 'work' is not being sung without authorisation and so on. Not sure of legal position whatever.

We know that Jon Dudley reads this site and sometimes comments regarding Copper matters. Perhaps he will come across this and have something to say?

~Michael~


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhyme
From: An Buachaill Caol Dubh
Date: 15 Apr 10 - 10:48 AM

Returning to the matter of rhyming (and assonance, alliteration &c), in one of his Commonplace Books - I think the First, kept when he was in his early twenties - Burns considers this and, as far as I recall, wonders whether "some poet with a particularly nice ear might make a song which dispensed with rhyme entirely". I think the phrase "sameness of jingle" occurs, too; perhaps someone with access to a published copy could give the passage more accurately?


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhyme
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 15 Apr 10 - 11:06 AM

Deportees doesn't rhyme


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhyme
From: Tootler
Date: 15 Apr 10 - 02:26 PM

There is an excellent precedent for verse that doesn't rhyme. Shakespeare wrote his plays in verse, but the verse doesn't rhyme.


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhyme
From: buddhuu
Date: 15 Apr 10 - 03:07 PM

Did anyone say that verse had to, or even should, rhyme?

In the specific case of WMT the other verses set a bit of a pattern that makes the lone non-rhymer seem, to some of us, a little curious.

Nothing wrong with non-rhyming verse in poetry or song.


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhyme
From: MikeofNorthumbria
Date: 16 Apr 10 - 02:29 PM

"April is the cruellest month, breeding        
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing        
Memory and desire, stirring        
Dull roots with spring rain. ..."

"Oh, when I was young and easy
In the mercy of his means
Time held me green and dying,
Though I sang in my chains like the sea."

"Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity..."

Those don't rhyme either, but they're poetry right enough.

For poets and songsmiths rhyme is a resource, not an obligation. If the poem/song works for its intended audience, then whether it rhymes or not matters little. Despite the missing rhyme in verse one, the MacPeake version of WMT has lifted the hearts and voices of audiences for many years, and long may it continue to do so.

Other versions or variants also have their devotees, and good luck to them. Scholars may debate which version of text or tune is the 'original' one, if they wish, but no Central Committee of the Folk Party has the power to decide which is the 'correct' version for singing.

Wassail!

Wassail!


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