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Origins: The Shepherd's Wife (Robert Burns?)

DigiTrad:
OH SHEPHERD, OH SHEPHERD or THE SHEEP ARE IN THE WILDERNESS
THE SHEPHERD'S WIFE


Related thread:
Penguin: O Shepherd, O Shepherd (6)


harpmolly 12 May 11 - 03:50 PM
michaelr 12 May 11 - 05:02 PM
harpmolly 12 May 11 - 05:05 PM
harpmolly 12 May 11 - 05:07 PM
Reinhard 12 May 11 - 05:11 PM
harpmolly 12 May 11 - 05:16 PM
Jim McLean 12 May 11 - 05:34 PM
Joe_F 12 May 11 - 05:45 PM
Jim McLean 13 May 11 - 06:22 AM
Dave Sutherland 13 May 11 - 08:07 AM
GUEST,Jeanne McD 29 Mar 13 - 01:57 PM
Steve Gardham 29 Mar 13 - 05:23 PM
Jim Dixon 09 Apr 13 - 11:55 AM
GUEST,Allan Conn 10 Apr 13 - 03:26 AM
GUEST 07 May 17 - 05:07 AM
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Subject: Origins: 'The Shepherd's Wife'...Robert Burns??
From: harpmolly
Date: 12 May 11 - 03:50 PM

Hi everyone,

I know it's been a bazillion years (almost literally ;)) since I've posted or been around the 'Cat much, but I'm trying to solidify something and you all are the best compendium of knowledge I can think of. I did a search for this topic and didn't find a thread about it, so here goes!

For years I've been singing a wonderful song called "The Shepherd's Wife" (this is NOT the "Shepherd's Wife Waltz" which seems to be much better known). I learned it from the awesome CD "Infinite Blue" by the Poozies. I am most definitely planning on including it in my debut CD, which I'll be recording in July and hopefully releasing September-ish (YAY!!).

Here's my question: I've seen the song reported as being written by Robert Burns (including on its listing in the Digitrad) and other places as "traditional". I've even seen it listed as a Burns reworking of a traditional song. I'd like to properly attribute it on the CD. Does anyone have any knowledge/insight about this? Part of me suspects that it might be a case of "any song written in Scots dialect being attributed to Burns as a matter of course". I suppose in the grand scheme of life it's not the most vital question, but I figured it was worth the effort to try and find out.

Cheers,

Molly


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'The Shepherd's Wife'...Robert Burns??
From: michaelr
Date: 12 May 11 - 05:02 PM

This site calls it a Burns Original, but I think it's safe to assume that it's Burns' reworking of a traditional theme or song.

Jim Malcolm, who should know, has recorded it on his CD "Acquaintance - JM sings songs of Robert Burns".

The ultimate Burns site, www.robertburns.org, appears to be down at the moment, but I think you can safel attribute the song to Rabbie.

By the way, I specialise in CD graphics (am working on the new Mudcat CD series at the moment). PM me if you're interested.


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'The Shepherd's Wife'...Robert Burns??
From: harpmolly
Date: 12 May 11 - 05:05 PM

Thanks so much, Michael! I think I have my needs covered, but I'll keep it in mind. ;)

I appreciate the reassurance. I was afraid that if I attributed it to "trad" I'd get flak from the Burns crowd for not giving him credit (like the fiasco over "Loch Tay Boat Song" ;)) but if I attributed it to Burns I'd get it from the "Every Scottish song wasn't written by Burns you know!" side. I think I'll put "Burns/trad". ;)


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'The Shepherd's Wife'...Robert Burns??
From: harpmolly
Date: 12 May 11 - 05:07 PM

P.S. oops, better clarify. NOT implying that "Loch Tay" was written by Burns...just remembering the thread where its authorship was discussed. Not even really a fiasco, either...just my penchant for the dramatic. ;)


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'The Shepherd's Wife'...Robert Burns??
From: Reinhard
Date: 12 May 11 - 05:11 PM

More evidence for michaelr's assumption: One of the versions of #1055 in Steve Roud's Folksong index is from Chambers, Songs of Scotland Prior to Burns, pp.402-403.


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'The Shepherd's Wife'...Robert Burns??
From: harpmolly
Date: 12 May 11 - 05:16 PM

Fantastic! Thanks! I knew I'd come to the right place. ;)


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'The Shepherd's Wife'...Robert Burns??
From: Jim McLean
Date: 12 May 11 - 05:34 PM

It was inserted in Johnson's Scot's Musical Museum by Burns. #372, and the following was written by William Stenhouse:

This old comic song appears in Herd's collection vol 11. It contains two verses more than the copy inserted in the Museum, which were chiefly omitted on the source of delicacy. The pretty tune to which the words are adapted in the Museum was communicated by Burns; but a respectful old lady informed the Editor, that, in her early days, the verses were usually sung to the well known air of "Bab at the Bowster," alias "The Country Bumpkin."


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'The Shepherd's Wife'...Robert Burns??
From: Joe_F
Date: 12 May 11 - 05:45 PM

FWIW, it's No. 367 in _Burns: Poems & Songs_ (James Kinsley, Ed.; Oxford U.P., 1969), which does not include songs such as those in the _Merry Muses of Caledonia_ that were merely collected by him. However, the preface gives fair warning of the vast penumbra of the Burns canon: "Where there is no present certainty, I have thought it right to be cautiously liberal...".


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'The Shepherd's Wife'...Robert Burns??
From: Jim McLean
Date: 13 May 11 - 06:22 AM

I should have said i's #362 on page 372 in the Museum.


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'The Shepherd's Wife'...Robert Burns??
From: Dave Sutherland
Date: 13 May 11 - 08:07 AM

"I've even seen it listed as a Burns reworking of a traditional song."
It is worth looking in "The Penguin Book" at their version of "O Shepherd, O Shepherd" which could well bear this out as to which came first.
I remember years ago on Bob Davenport's EP "Wor Geordie" his parody "Wor Geordie's Wife" was described on the sleeve as "in the fashion of Burns"


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'The Shepherd's Wife'...Robert Burns??
From: GUEST,Jeanne McD
Date: 29 Mar 13 - 01:57 PM

Donald A. Low (University of Sterling)in "The Songs of Robert Burns" (1993) agreed -- this is Burns. Don't know why the song doesn't appear on the Burns Country database. On page 520, Low wrote:

"Burn's revision of a song in David Herd's Ancient and Modern Scottish Songs (1776; reprint 1869, vol. 2, pp. 182-3). Burns has made a number of minor changes, and for delicacy's sake has substituted his own lines 33-6 for
    A pair of white legs, and a good cogg-wame,
    An ye'll come hame, &c.
in the original.
   Stenhouse states that Burns communicated the air printed in the Museum, but that the song was formerly sung to Bab at the Bowster (Illustrations of the Lyric Poetry and Music of Scotland, p. 340)."

Low's book has texts, melody line notation, and much anecdotal info -- a *must* for any Burns aficionado. Out of print, but available on Kindle for $23. http://www.amazon.com/The-Songs-Robert-Burns-ebook/dp/B000SIZET6


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'The Shepherd's Wife'...Robert Burns??
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 29 Mar 13 - 05:23 PM

In the revised Penguin edited by dear old Malcolm he refers to a suggestion by Annie Gilchrist that this could be an advance and retire dialogue children's game. It certainly has all the attributes of such, but because of the adult content I'd say more likely one of those game songs sung by young adults at wedding celebrations in past centuries.

Whilst the earliest Scots version (Herd) well predates any English versions, such vernacular songs attached to customs are usually many centuries old and it's anyone's guess where it originated. I wouldn't be surprised to come across versions on the continent.


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE SHEPHERD'S WIFE CRIES O'ER THE LEE
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 09 Apr 13 - 11:55 AM

Here's the oldest published version I can find in Google Books, and the version referred to above.

From Ancient and Modern Scottish Songs, Heroic Ballads, Etc, Vol. 2, (Edinburgh: James Dickson and Charles Elliot, 1776), page 182:

[No title or attribution is given.]

The shepherd's wife cries o'er the lee,
Come hame will ye, come hame will ye?
The shepherd's wife cries o'er the lee,
Come hame will ye again een, jo?

What will ye gie me to my supper,
Gin I come hame, gin I come hame?
What will ye gie me to my supper,
Gin I come hame again een, jo?

Ye's get a panfu' of plumpin parrage;
And butter in them, and butter in them;
Ye's get a panfu' of plumpin parrage,
Gin ye'll come hame again een, jo.

Ha, ha, how, it's naething that dow;
I winna come hame, and I canna come hame.
Ha, ha, how, it's naething that dow;
I winna come hame again een, jo.

[The two first verses are to be sung here and after.]

Ye's get a cock well totled i' the pat,
An ye'll come hame, an ye'll come hame;
Ye's get a cock well totled i' the pat,
An ye'll come hame again een, jo.

[The third verse for the chorus, ha, ha, &c.]

Ye's get a hen well boil'd i' the pan;
An ye'll come hame, an ye'll come hame,
Ye's get a hen well boil'd i' the pan,
An ye'll come hame again een, jo.

A well made bed, and a pair of clean sheets,
An ye'll come hame, an ye'll come hame;
A well made bed, and a pair of clean sheets,.
An ye'll come hame again een, Jo.

Ha, ha, &c.

A pair of white legs, and a good cogg-wame,
An ye'll come hame, an ye'll come hame;
A pair of white legs, and a good cogg-wame,
An ye'll come hame again een, jo.

Ha, ha, how, that's something that dow;
I will come hame, I will come hame.
Ha, ha, how, that's something that dow;
I'll haste me hame again een, jo.

[The two first verses of this song, are to be sung before the 4, 5 6, 7, and 8th verses, as before the 3d, and the 4th after them by way of chorus.]

* * *
Burns would have been only about 17 when this was published.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Shepherd's Wife (Robert Burns?)
From: GUEST,Allan Conn
Date: 10 Apr 13 - 03:26 AM

I've got a copy of the aforementioned 1862 volume "Songs Of Scotland Prior To Burns" edited by Robert Chambers. In the preface to the song he states

"In Herd's Collection is a long rambling dialogue song of not much merit, but sustained by a melody of uncommon beauty, and for a Scotch sentimental air, animation. After the song had in great measure been laid aside, the air retained popularity, and in later years has been insured a sort of immortality by being adapted as a melody for Burns' charming song, A Rose Bud By Early Walk. The present editor, unwilling to see the original rustic song entirely perish, has condensed and purified it so as to fit modern society"

He then gives his version of the lyric. Reading from that it certainly seems that if Burns wrote a version it must have been obscure or at least Chambers gives no hint of knowing about it.



"


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Shepherd's Wife (Robert Burns?)
From: GUEST
Date: 07 May 17 - 05:07 AM

Bob Davenport's 'Wor Geordie's Wife' on that sixties vinyl EP is obviously based on Burns''Shepherd's Wife' of Burns' 'Shepherd's Wife-

anyone got the words?- it's a bit dated now- I recall a mention of Z Cars in it!


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