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Origins/lyrics: Queen Among the Heather

DigiTrad:
BONNIE LASS AMONG THE HEATHER
LASS AMONST THE HEATHER


In Mudcat MIDIs:
Queen Among the Heather (recorded by Peter Kennedy from the singing of Jeannie Robertson, 1953)


srich 27 Nov 09 - 10:10 PM
GUEST,Dan 27 Nov 09 - 10:25 PM
Ross Campbell 27 Nov 09 - 10:31 PM
Joe Offer 28 Nov 09 - 01:37 AM
GUEST,999 28 Nov 09 - 01:42 AM
Joe Offer 28 Nov 09 - 01:46 AM
Joe Offer 28 Nov 09 - 02:31 AM
Dave Hanson 28 Nov 09 - 02:40 AM
Joe Offer 28 Nov 09 - 03:35 AM
Reinhard 28 Nov 09 - 04:37 AM
Dave Hanson 28 Nov 09 - 04:54 AM
Reinhard 28 Nov 09 - 04:56 AM
Jim McLean 28 Nov 09 - 05:24 AM
MGM·Lion 28 Nov 09 - 05:55 AM
Fred McCormick 28 Nov 09 - 06:09 AM
Jim McLean 28 Nov 09 - 06:38 AM
srich 28 Nov 09 - 06:47 AM
BobKnight 28 Nov 09 - 08:46 AM
BobKnight 28 Nov 09 - 08:55 AM
Steve Gardham 28 Nov 09 - 02:20 PM
Joe Offer 28 Nov 09 - 02:33 PM
Jim Carroll 28 Nov 09 - 02:51 PM
Joe Offer 28 Nov 09 - 03:10 PM
Steve Gardham 28 Nov 09 - 05:17 PM
srich 28 Nov 09 - 06:24 PM
Joe Offer 28 Nov 09 - 06:37 PM
Joe Offer 29 Nov 09 - 02:56 AM
Jim Carroll 29 Nov 09 - 03:48 AM
srich 29 Nov 09 - 07:02 AM
Jim Carroll 29 Nov 09 - 07:45 AM
srich 30 Nov 09 - 04:07 PM
Jim Dixon 01 Dec 09 - 10:38 PM
GUEST,Julia L. (19 Feb 2015) 21 Feb 15 - 04:14 PM
Jim Dixon 05 Mar 15 - 11:11 AM
Jim Dixon 05 Mar 15 - 11:47 AM
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Subject: Folklore: Queen Among the Heather
From: srich
Date: 27 Nov 09 - 10:10 PM

Belle Stewart left us this wonderful little ditty, but I am having a difficult time understanding what is meant by one of her lyrics.

The line in question states: "It was there I spied a weel faurt maid," I can speculate that it means a well built maid, but I have searched the Concise Scots dicitionary and Jamieson's Etymological Dictionary and cannot find the word "faurt".

Does anybody know what this word means and where on earth they learned it?

Thanks


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Queen Among the Heather
From: GUEST,Dan
Date: 27 Nov 09 - 10:25 PM

I believe this is Scots dialect for "well favored" - meaning, I suppose, that she had huge... tracks of land.

Dan


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Queen Among the Heather
From: Ross Campbell
Date: 27 Nov 09 - 10:31 PM

"Well favoured":- could mean generously endowed, or just handsome or good-looking.

Ross


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Subject: ADD Version: Queen Among the Heather
From: Joe Offer
Date: 28 Nov 09 - 01:37 AM

I don't see the Belle Stewart version posted. Could somebody post it for us?

Here's the version sung by Jeannie Robertson, collected by Peter Kennedy in 1953 in Aberdeen, Scotland.

THE QUEEN AMONG THE HEATHER

For it's up a wide and a lonely glen
It was shed by many's a lofty mountain
It being onto the busy haunts of men
It being the first day that I went out a-hunting

For it's been to me a happy day
The day I spied my rovin' fancy
She was herding her yowes oot ower the knowes
And down amongst the curlin' heather

For her coat was white and her goon was green
Her body it being long and slender
Wi' her cast-doon looks and her well-fared face
It has oft-times made my heart to wander

For it's I've been to balls where they were bust-eye and braw
And it's I've been to London and Baiquither
And the bonniest lassie that e'er I saw
She was kilted and bare-fitted amongst the heather

Says I: My lass, will you come with me
And sleep wi' me in a bed of feathers?
I'll gie you silks and scarlets that will mak' you shine
If you'll be my queen amongst the heather

She said: My lad, your offer's fair
And I really think you're all for laughter
For it's you being the son of a high squire man
And me but a poor humble shepherd's dochter

But it's her I sought and it's her I got
And with her I intend to be contented
Fare you well, fare you well to your heathery hill
Fare you well, fare you well, my song it is ended


Source: #141, Folksongs of Britain and Ireland, edited by Peter Kennedy


Click to play



The version in the Digital Tradition, titled Bonnie Lass Among the Heather, is quite different. It's unclear where the DT version comes from.
Another version in the DT is Lass Amonst the Heather
Here's the Traditional Ballad Index entry for this song:

    Queen Among the Heather

    DESCRIPTION: Young man, hunting, spies a girl herding sheep among the heather. He is smitten; she is "the bonniest lassie that e'er I saw." He asks her to go with him; she demurs, saying he's a squire and she but a shepherd's daughter. He perseveres and succeeds.
    AUTHOR: unknown
    EARLIEST DATE: 1910 (recording, Harry Lauder)
    KEYWORDS: courting love beauty farming lover nobility worker
    FOUND IN: Britain(Scotland) US(MW) Canada(Mar)
    REFERENCES (5 citations):
    Kennedy 141, "The Queen Among the Heather" (1 text, 1 tune)
    Ord, p. 433, "My Lovely Nancy" (1 text)
    Ives-NewBrunswick, pp. 115-117, "Herding Lambs Among the Heather" (1 text, 1 tune)
    Manny/Wilson 74, "Herding Lambs Amongst the Heather" (1 text, 1 tune)
    Gardner/Chickering 51, "The Laird o' Drum" (1 fragment, listed as Child #236 but clearly a version either of this or "Heather Down the Moor"; the stanza form tentatively places it here)

    Roud #375
    RECORDINGS:
    Harry Lauder, "Queen Among the Heather" (Victor 60010, 1910)
    Belle Stewart, "Queen Amang the Heather" (on Voice15)

    BROADSIDES:
    Bodleian, 2806 c.15(240), "The Blooming Heather" ("As I was coming home, from the fair of Ballymena"), unknown, n.d.; also Harding B 11(331), 2806 c.14(60), "The Blooming Heather"
    CROSS-REFERENCES:
    cf. "Heather Down the Moor" (plot, lyrics)
    cf. "Bonnie Lass Among the Heather" (subject)
    cf. "The Laboring Man's Daughter (The Knight's Dream)" (plot)
    ALTERNATE TITLES:
    Skippin' Barfit thro the Heather
    Queen Amang the Heather
    Notes: This song is very close to "Heather Down the Moor (Among the Heather; Down the Moor)"; they have similar plots and occasional common lyrics. Roud lumps them. There will be versions where it is almost impossible to tell which is which. I thought about listing them as one song.
    But on consideration, "Heather Down the Moor" has two characteristics rarely seen in "Queen among the Heather." First, "Heather Down the Moor" tends to follow a complex stanza pattern of eight-line stanzas with complex internal chorus and repeats (see sample with that song). "Queen among the Heather" usually has simple four-line stanzas.
    "Heather down the Moor" also tends to end with the lines
    But if I were a king, I would make her a queen,
    The bonnie lass I met among the heather
    Down the moor.
    In "Queen Among the Heather," he *is* a nobleman, so that obviously isn't a concern. - RBW
    Note that the Lauder recording predates not only the otherwise-earliest collection we have found for this song, but also the earliest citation we've found for its sibling, "Heather Down the Moor". - PJS
    Also collected and sung by Ellen Mitchell, "Queen Amang the Heather" (on Kevin and Ellen Mitchell, "Have a Drop Mair," Musical Tradition Records MTCD315-6 CD (2001)) - BS
    File: K141

    Go to the Ballad Search form
    Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
    Go to the Bibiography
    Go to the Discography

    The Ballad Index Copyright 2007 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.


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Subject: RE: Origins/lyrics: Queen Among the Heather
From: GUEST,999
Date: 28 Nov 09 - 01:42 AM

Neat site. Alas, not Belle Stewart's lyrics.


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Subject: RE: Origins/lyrics: Queen Among the Heather
From: Joe Offer
Date: 28 Nov 09 - 01:46 AM

Yeah, I think the lyrics that site uses, are from the Digital Tradition. Their version is identical to the DT version.
-Joe-


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Subject: ADD Version: Queen Among the Heather
From: Joe Offer
Date: 28 Nov 09 - 02:31 AM

Oh, if I'd looked a littler closer at the Traditional Ballad Index, I'd have seen that the Belle Stewart recording is on disc 15 of Topic's Voice of the People

QUEEN AMANG THE HEATHER

Noo, as I roved out one summer's morn
Amang lofty hills, moorland and mountain,
It was there I spied a lovely maid,
Whilst I with others was out a-huntin'.

No shoes nor stockin's did she wear;
Neither had she hat nor had she feather,
But her golden locks, aye, in ringlets rare
In the gentle breeze played around her shoulders.

"Oh," I said, "braw lassie, why roam your lane?
Why roam your lane amang the heather?"
For she says, "My faither's awa' fae hame
And I'm herdin' a' his yowes thegether."

"Noo," I said, "braw lassie, if you'll be mine
And care to lie on a bed o' feathers,
In silks and satin it's you will shine,
And you'll be my queen amang the heather."

"But," she said, "kind sir, your offer is good,
But I'm afraid it was meant for laughter,
For I know you are some rich squire's son
And that I'm a poor lame shepherd's dochter."

"But had ye been a shepherd loon
A-herdin' yowes in the yonder valley,
Or had you been a plooman's son,
Wi' all my heart I would hae lo'ed ye."

Noo, I hae been to balls and I hae been to halls;
I have been in London and Balquidder,
But the bonniest lassie that ever I did see
She was herdin' yowes amang the heather.

So we baith sat doon upon the plain.
We sat awhile and we talked thegether,
And we left the yowes for to stray their lane,
Till I wooed my queen amang the heather.

from the CD booklet, Voice of the People CD 15
BELLE STEWART, voice
Recorded by Fred Kent in Blairgowrie, Perthshire, May 1976; Topic 12TS307.

braw-fine
your lane - you alone
loon - boy
lo'ed - loved
stray their lane - on their own

Srich, where did you get your version. I listened through Kennedy's Belle Stewart recording, and I heard nothing like It was there I spied a weel faurt maid. In this recording, it's clearly It was there spied a lovely maid. Could it be that Belle Stewart cleaned the song up when she sang it for Kennedy?
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Origins/lyrics: Queen Among the Heather
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 28 Nov 09 - 02:40 AM

In the book ' Till Doomsday In The Afternoon ' by Ewan MacColl and Pggy Seeger which is about the Stewarts of Blairgowrie and their music and traditions the version given is :-

first verse

Noo, as I roved out one summers morn,
Amang lofty hills and moorland and mountain,
It was there I spied a lovely maid,
Whilst I, with others was out a hunting.

As Ewan and Peggy spent some considerable time with the family I think this would be Belle's own version of the song.

This is also the version given in Sheila Stewarts book about her mother, ' Queen Amang The Heather '

Dave H


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Subject: RE: Origins/lyrics: Queen Among the Heather
From: Joe Offer
Date: 28 Nov 09 - 03:35 AM

Well, if we can bring another Stewart into the discussion, on his Donegal Rain CD, Andy M. Stewart sings almost the same version as Sheila and Belle Stewart - BUT Andy sings "It was there I spied a weel faurt maid." Andy M. Stewart calls it "Queen Amangst the Heather." The Sheila Stewart recording is on a CD called From the Heart of the Tradition. I take it that Sheila is Belle's daughter - any chance Andy M. is in the same family?

And on top of that all, on his The Man With a Rhyme CD, Archie Fisher sings more-or-less the Stewart/Stewart/Stewart version (with a slightly different tune) and HE sings "It was there I spied a weel faurt maid." So, the women sing "lovely," and the men sing "weel faurt."

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Origins/lyrics: Queen Among the Heather
From: Reinhard
Date: 28 Nov 09 - 04:37 AM

Joe, a small typo - Belle Stewart's lyrics above miss two words in the first verse:
Noo, as I roved out...
It was there I spied

And her recording on "The Voice of the People" is originally from her same-named Topic LP "Queen Among the Heather".
    Fixed. I don't know why Mr. Scanner missed those I's. He will be punished.
    -Joe-


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Subject: RE: Origins/lyrics: Queen Among the Heather
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 28 Nov 09 - 04:54 AM

As I said above, Sheila is Belle's daughter, Andy is no relation.

Sheila wrote a biography of Belle , called ' Queen Amang The Heather '
it's a very good book.


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Subject: RE: Origins/lyrics: Queen Among the Heather
From: Reinhard
Date: 28 Nov 09 - 04:56 AM

The Guinness Who's Who of Folk Music (1993) writes about Andy M. Stewart:

"b. Andrew McGregor Stewart, 9 September 1952, Alyth, Perthshire, Scotland to a father who had a large collection of traditional songs, and a mother who wrote poetry and songs and music."

There is no mention of Belle or Sheila Stewart or any connection to travellers.


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Subject: RE: Origins/lyrics: Queen Among the Heather
From: Jim McLean
Date: 28 Nov 09 - 05:24 AM

Joe, from your posting 28 Nov 09 - 01:37 AM

BROADSIDES:
Bodleian, 2806 c.15(240), "The Blooming Heather" ("As I was coming home, from the fair of Ballymena"), unknown, n.d.; also Harding B 11(331), 2806 c.14(60), "The Blooming Heather"

Hugh McWilliam, an Irish Schoomaster, wrote a song called The Lass among the Heather, the first line being "As I was coming home, from the fair of Ballymena". This song has been confused and mixed with Tannahill's Braes o' Balquhither and printed in various states of confusion by Greig/Duncan ... the folk process. Jeannie Roberston recorded a version called The Braes o' Balquhidder and it is an amalgum of McWilliams and Tannahill. Jeannie's first verse:

I wis comin from a fair, from the Fair o' Balnafannon,
When I met a winsome dame, She was fair as the Annan,
I asked her where she dwelt, as we strolled along together,
"on the bonnie mountainside," she replied, "among the heather".
I will build you a bower, down by the clear fountain,
And cover it ower wi the flo'ers o' the mountain,
I will range through the mountainside and the dark glen so weary
And I'll bring a' my spoil to the bower o' my dearie.

The Queen among the heather is a diferent song but of a similar genre.


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Subject: RE: Origins/lyrics: Queen Among the Heather
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 28 Nov 09 - 05:55 AM

It will be observed that lines 5-6 above are floaters that occur also, familiarly, in 'Wild Mountain Thyme'.


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Subject: RE: Origins/lyrics: Queen Among the Heather
From: Fred McCormick
Date: 28 Nov 09 - 06:09 AM

From Alexander Warrick's Scots Dialect dictionary. Faured, Faurd (adj) = favoured or featured. As the girl in question was clearly poor, weel faurd would mean she was good looking.


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Subject: RE: Origins/lyrics: Queen Among the Heather
From: Jim McLean
Date: 28 Nov 09 - 06:38 AM

MtheGM,
It is accepted that the lyrics of Wild Mountain Thyme are copied from Tannahill.


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Subject: ADD Version: Queen Among the Heather
From: srich
Date: 28 Nov 09 - 06:47 AM

Joe and all:

I got my lyrics from a book titled "Folksongs from the Highlands" by Orain Thormaid/ compiled by Norman Stewart, edited by Christine Martin.

The lyrics are as follows.

QUEEN AMONG THE HEATHER

Noo as I roved out one summer's morn, among lof-ty hills, moorland and mountain.
It was there I spied a weel faurt maid, whilst I with others was out a hunting.

No shoes nor stockin's did she wear, Neither had she hat nor had she feathes.
But her golden hair hung in ringlets fair, An' the gentle breeze played round her shoulders.

Noo I said, "Braw lassie, why roam yer lane, why roam yer lane among the heather?"
Oh she says, "My faither's awa frae home, An' I'm a herdin' a his yowes the gither".

Oh I said "Braw lassie if you'll be mine, and care tae lie on a bed o' feather.
Sure in silks an' satins it's you will shine, And you'll be my queen among the heather".

Oh she said "Kind sir your offers good, But I' afraid 'twas meant for laughter.
For I know you are a rich squire's son, And I'm a poor lame shepherd's daughter".

"Oh but had ye been a shepherd loon, A-herdin' yowes in yonder valley.
Or had ye been a plooman's son Wi' a' my heart, I would hae loed ye".

Noo I hae been to halls an' I hae been tae balls, And I hae been to London and Balquhidder.
But the bonniest lass that ever I have sen, She was herdin' yowes among the heather.

So we baith sat doon upon the plain, We sat awhile an' talked the gither.
An' we laft the yowes for tae stray their lane, till I loved my Queen among the heather.


A beautiful love song from the singing of Belle Stewart.


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Subject: RE: Origins/lyrics: Queen Among the Heather
From: BobKnight
Date: 28 Nov 09 - 08:46 AM

I think you'll find that Andy M. Stewart IS one of the Stewarts of Blair. His middle name gives you a clue. Belle's maiden name was McGregor if I remember correctly.

Elizabeth Stewart also does a version, similiar to Jeannie's in her CD "Binorrie" available from the Elphinstone Institute, Aberdeen University.


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Subject: RE: Origins/lyrics: Queen Among the Heather
From: BobKnight
Date: 28 Nov 09 - 08:55 AM

Just remembered - I was talking to an older cousin of mine a couple of weeks ago, and we were talking about this very song. I sang him the first verse of Belle/Sheila's version, and he said that was the version sang by the Perthshire Stewarts, but the Aberdeen/shire Stewarts all sang the same version as Jeannie and Elizabeth. Jeannie's mother was a Stewart too - Maria Stewart.


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Subject: RE: Origins/lyrics: Queen Among the Heather
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 28 Nov 09 - 02:20 PM

I once met a whiz on the lowland pipes called Andy Stewart who was closely related to the Blairgowrie Stewarts. He was, if I remember correctly, the grandson of Belle, but this was quite a while ago, maybe 15 years.


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Subject: RE: Origins/lyrics: Queen Among the Heather
From: Joe Offer
Date: 28 Nov 09 - 02:33 PM

Hi, srich-
When you say "A beautiful love song from the singing of Belle Stewart," you confuse me - and your first post confused me, too. Was Belle Stewart the source for the lyrics in Folksongs from the Highlands, or have you ever heard Belle Stewart use "weel faurt maid" in a performance or recording?
Oh, and I note that Folksongs from the Highlands was edited by yet another Stewart. I was tempted to buy a copy, but I see that it's only 45 pages and costs $33 to $175 used (shipped from the UK).

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Origins/lyrics: Queen Among the Heather
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 28 Nov 09 - 02:51 PM

The MacColl/Seeger book Doomsday In The Afternoon was based on numerous private recording made by them of The Stewarts, some of which they were good enough to allow me to copy.
Belle sings both "weel faured" and "lovely maid" on different occasions
Jim Carroll


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Subject: ADD Version: My Lovely Nancy (Ord)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 28 Nov 09 - 03:10 PM

The version in Ord follows along the same lines, but is quite different from the Stewart/Stewart/Stewart/Stewart/Fisher version.

MY LOVELY NANCY.

DOWN in yon wild and lonely glen,
Beset by many a lofty mountain,
Far frae the busy haunts o' men,
Ae day as I gaed out a-huntin'—

To me it was a happy day—
That day I fixed my roving fancy,
'Twas herding sheep on yon hillside
I first spied my lovely Nancy.

Her coat was white, her gown was green,
Her middle was baith neat and slender,
And her coal-black eyes and downcast sighs
They caused my heart no more to wander.

Says I— "My lass, if ye wad gang
To sleep wi' me on bed o' feather,
In silk an' scarlet I'll mak' you shine
If you'll leave the muirs amang the heather."

"Young man," she said, "your offer's good,
But I fear you only jest in laughter;
For you're perhaps some rich squire's son,
While I am only a shepherd's daughter."

I've been at balls and masquerades,
I've been in London and Balquhidder,
But the bonniest lass that e'er I saw
Was herdin' sheep amang the heather.

Fareweel to balls and masquerades,
Fareweel to London and Balquidder,
For the bonniest lass that e'er I saw
Nae langer herds amang the heather.

Noo, since I've got her to mysel',
Wi' her I mean to live contented,
For she's bonnier far than the heather bell;
Fareweel, fareweel, my cares are ended.


Source: Ord's Bothy Songs and Ballads (Page 433)

no tune or background notes

Note that "Balquidder" is spelled two different ways in the text, so I left it that way.


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Subject: RE: Origins/lyrics: Queen Among the Heather
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 28 Nov 09 - 05:17 PM

Sorry to confuse things, having looked at Sheila's book 'Q A T H', I think it was Ian who I met, not Andy. It was a while ago. The book does mention an Andy but he died in 1964.

FWIW the version given in the book gives 'lovely maid' but I assume this is Sheila's version.


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Subject: RE: Origins/lyrics: Queen Among the Heather
From: srich
Date: 28 Nov 09 - 06:24 PM

Joe:

Sorry about the confusion. The first statement was mine when I said a beautiful love song from Belle Stewart. Just my humble opinion. The second one is what is stated in the notes on the songs.It stated "A beautiful love song from the singing of Belle Stewart." I assume that the editor or transcriber heard her sing the lyrics given. I can easily see where faured is picked up as faurt which is what is in the music that prompted my initial question.

I have never heard Belle Stewart sing so it would be a treat for me to hear her. But as to the book that it came out of. I will tell you that it is one of the best folksong books I have seen in some time. I rank it right up there with the Newport Folk Festival book. It is a different genre of course, but it has some really nice songs in it.

I will have to look up "My Lovely Nancy," thanks for the point on that song.

Will be glad to post a listing of the songs if there is interest.

Sammy Rich


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Subject: RE: Origins/lyrics: Queen Among the Heather
From: Joe Offer
Date: 28 Nov 09 - 06:37 PM

Hi, Sammy-
I would really like to see an index for Folksongs from the Highlands. You can post it anywhere, but chances are good that I'll eventually move it to this index thread (click).

I found only two versions of this song in the Digital Tradition:
  • BONNIE LASS AMONG THE HEATHER (Gaughan??)
  • LASS AMONST THE HEATHER (Scottish Folksinger???)
Are there others that I missed?

-Joe-


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Subject: ADD: Herding Lambs Among the Heather
From: Joe Offer
Date: 29 Nov 09 - 02:56 AM

I think it's time for a North American version - although no doubt it had its roots in Scotland. You'll see that it's quite different from other versions.

HERDING LAMBS AMONG THE HEATHER

Being up you (yon?) steep and lonely glen,
And over many's the lofty mountain,
But its dainty glens and rocky dales
Where many's the day I went a-hunting.

One day as I went out a-hunting,
It was there I found my roving fancy.
Down by the burl a-herding lambs,
'Twas there I espied my lovely Nancy.

Her gown it was all striped with green,
Her cloak it was the very color,
And it's in between the stripes were seen,
The bell of the blooming heather.

"Good day," said I, "my bonny lass.
What brings you here amongst the heather?"
"My father he is away from home,
And I must keep his lambs together."

I says, "My dear, if you'll be mine,
And just forsake your father,
In silks and scarlets you will shine
And you'll be the flower amongst the heather."

"Your offer, good sir, I cannot deny,
But to me, you're but a stranger.
Perhaps you are some rich man's son,
And I'm but a poor shepherds's daughter."

"I am my father's heir indeed,
And you are here to check my fancy.
But all his lands I would resign
To go herd lambs with lovely Nancy.

"I've been to balls and masquerades,
I've been to London and Bellheather.
But the bonniest lassie that e'er I spy,
Was herding lambs amongst the heather.

"Here's farewell to balls and masquerades.
My love she's neither proud nor giddy.
She's fairer far than heather bells
Or any saucy painted lady."

So down by the Clyde where streams do glide,
This couple they were joined together.
And it's oftentimes that she blessed the hour
That she herded lambs amongst the heather.


Source: Folksongs of New Brunswick, by Edward D. "Sandy" Ives (1989, Goose Lane Editions), pages 115-117
Singer: James Brown, 1988

Here's what Ives says about the song:
    Herding Lambs Among The Heather
    Jim claimed he learned this song at home in South Branch from a friend named Jimmy Martin, and it is the most puzzling song in his repertoire for several reasons. First, while its scale is basically mixolydian, the third and sixth degrees are very weak, occurring only rarely—and then in unaccented or passing positions. That particular "gapping" is unusual in the tunes of the area. Second, it is the only song I ever heard Jim sing in which he didn't punch out the meter with his voice but instead let it run in a rough rubato parlando rhythm. Third, I have never found another singer who had even heard of it, nor have I found it in any earlier collections from Maine or the Maritimes. On the other hand, I have found it in Scottish collections, and, while songs of clearly Scottish provenance are to be found in the Maritimes, they are not at all common, the base-line repertoire being rather solidly Anglo-Irish. In other words, "Herding Lambs" not only seems different, it is different. Not that that difference makes it any less a fine song; if anything, it contributes to its distinction.


Tune available on request - but not tonight.
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Origins/lyrics: Queen Among the Heather
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 29 Nov 09 - 03:48 AM

When searching for this it might be useful to note that 'Queen Amang The Heather' - (Scots version) - is occasionally listed as 'The Hunter', and 'Bonny Lass Among The Heather' is widely known in Ireland as 'Down the Moor' or The Heather Down The Moor' (Northern Irish).
The latter was made popular from the singing of Eddie Butcher of Magillilgan, County Derry.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins/lyrics: Queen Among the Heather
From: srich
Date: 29 Nov 09 - 07:02 AM

Joe and all:

I have posted the index of "Folksongs from the Highlands" to the thread "Miscellaneous Songbooks."

Sammy Rich


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Subject: RE: Origins/lyrics: Queen Among the Heather
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 29 Nov 09 - 07:45 AM

Magilligan not Magilliglan - sorry
The Stewarts were frequent visitors to the MacColl home and Ewan used to tell the story of a recording session they had there.
The subject turned to ghost stories, which began pouring out at such a rate that the women became so petrified and were reluctant to walk the few yards down the corridor to the toilet and would only go in pairs
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins/lyrics: Queen Among the Heather
From: srich
Date: 30 Nov 09 - 04:07 PM

Jim:

Wish you would share some of the ghost stories, but it should probably go to a new thread.
Thanks to all for your input.


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Subject: Lyr Add: QUEEN AMANG THE HEATHER (Harry Lauder)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 01 Dec 09 - 10:38 PM

You can hear Harry Lauder's recording from a 1911 Edison cylinder at The Internet Archive. It doesn't seem to be related to the song being discussed above.

Here's my transcription:


QUEEN AMANG THE HEATHER
Words, Harry Lauder and James Malarkey. Music, Harry Lauder.
London: Francis, Day & Hunter, 1909.

1. I ken a lass. How happy I'm a-feelin!
She's in Argyll, and Argyll is in the hielands.
Ma hond's on my hairt; to her I present it
And in return tae me she's gien her vow an I'm contented

CHORUS: My hairt's in the hielands wi ma bonnie Bessie Lee.
I've gien ma hairt tae Bessie an she's gien hers tae me.
Aye when I think on her, ma bosom fairly thrills.
She's ma queen amang the heather, on the bonnie heather hills. REPEAT CHORUS.

2. She disnae sigh for dresses that are silken.
She's quite contentit at the churnin an the milkin.
She has eyes like the stars that fairly set me reelin,
And in here were ma hairt is, I've got such a funny feelin.

3. Sweet were the days when the blaeberries we gathert.
A' we did all day was sit on the heather and blathert
There was naeone tae see but the wee birdies tae listen
And the sheep would cry out "baaa" when we began tae kissin.


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Subject: ADD: The Laird o' Drum
From: GUEST,Julia L. (19 Feb 2015)
Date: 21 Feb 15 - 04:14 PM

Just wanted to add that this song appears in British Ballads from Maine by Barry / Eckstorm / Smyth The source is Mrs McGill, from Chamcook New Brunswick (originally from Kirkudbright Scotland) collected in 1928.

The Laird o' Drum

THE LAIRD O' DRUM

It's up yon wild an' lonely glen
Beside there's many a lofty mountain
'T was there I spied a bonny lass
Ae day as I rode out a-huntin'

Her face was fair, her heart was true
Her features they were comely, slender
Her dooncast looks an' sparklin' e'e
Has cast my hairt nae mair tae wander

Says I fair lass whaur is thy hame?
In maire or dell, pray tell me whither?
Kind sir, I tent my fleecy flocks
That feed amang the bonny heather

It's wull ye wed the Laird o' Drum
An sleep wi' him on a bed o' feathers?
Ye'll wear fine silks and' satins braw
An' be the flower amang the heather

O, it's 'deed kin' sir,your offer's fair
I really think wi' me ye're jokin'
For ye are sure some rich man's heir
An' I a lowly shepherd's daughter

It's true , I am my faither's heir,
But he can ne'er control my fancy;
For it's herdin' sheep on yon hill side
I'll gang wi' you, my lovely Nancy


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE BLOOMING HEATHER (from Bodleian)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 05 Mar 15 - 11:11 AM

The Bodleian Library has 2 copies: 2806 c.15(240) and 2806 c.13(2).


THE BLOOMING HEATHER

As I was coming home from the fair of Ballymena,
I met a comely lass; she was fairer than Diana.
I asked her where she lived as we jogged along together.
"By yon bonny mountainside," she replied amongst the heather.

"Lassie, I'm in love with you; you have so many charms.
My heart is in love with you; my bosom to you warms.
The blythe blink o' your e'en and your person is so clever,
I'd fondly wed with you; you're my lass amang the heather."

"Dinna think, young man, I believe what you have spoken,
Nor dinna think, young man, I would be so easy taken;
For I'm happy and I'm weel with my faither and my mither.
It would take a canny chiel to wile me frae the heather."

"Lassie, consent with me, and dinna be sae cruel.
Spare to me one kiss, my jewel, one kiss of thee, my jewel."
"If I would give you one, you would surely ask another,
And maybe closely join to tent me amang the heather."

"Now here, my bonny lass, I houses and I have land,
And whatever else I have, I will put it in your hand.
Oh, if that be your will, there's my hand; let's join together."
So he hugg'd and kiss'd his fill, and she's his lassie o'er the heather.


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Subject: Lyr Add: AMONG THE HEATHER (William Allingham)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 05 Mar 15 - 11:47 AM

The following lyrics and footnote are from The Harp of Erin edited by Ralph Varian (Dublin: M'Glashan & Gill, 1869), page 23:

AMONG THE HEATHER.*
William Allingham.

One evening walking out, I o'ertook a modest colleen,
When the wind was blowing cool, and the harvest leaves were falling.
"Is our road, by chance, the same? Might we travel on together?"
"O, I keep the mountain side," she replied, "among the heather."

"Your mountain air is sweet, when the days are long and sunny,
When the grass grows round the rocks, and the whinbloom smells like honey;
But the winter's coming fast, with its foggy snowy weather,
And you'll find it bleak and chill on your hill, among the heather."

She praised her mountain home; and I'll praise it, too, with reason,
For where Molly is, there's sunshine and flowers at every season.
Be the moorland black or white, does it signify a feather,
Now I know the way by heart, every part, among the heather?

The sun goes down in haste, and the night falls thick and stormy;
Yet I'd travel twenty miles to the welcome that's before me;
Singing hi for Eskydun, in the teeth of wind and weather!
Love'll warm me as I go through the snow, among the heather.

* There is an old Ulster song which opens thus:—

As I was coming home from the fair of Ballymally, O!
I met a comely lass, she was fairer than Diana, O;
I asked her where she lived, as we roved on together, O,
"The bonnie mountain high (she replied) among the heather, O!',

Mr. Allingham, with the instinct of a true poet, has seized this strain, and made it into a perfect little poem.


[The oldest copy I could find is in The Dublin University Magazine, Vol. 50 No. 300, Dec., 1857, page 652.]


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