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Red, Red Rose query

DigiTrad:
COMIN' THRO THE RYE
COMIN' THROUGH THE DYE
COMIN' THROUGH THE RYE
MY LOVE IS LIKE A RED, RED ROSE
NOW WESTLIN WINDS
SILVER TASSIE
THE GALLANT WEAVER


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McGrath of Harlow 12 Jul 13 - 09:44 AM
Jack Campin 12 Jul 13 - 09:58 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 12 Jul 13 - 12:09 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 12 Jul 13 - 12:26 PM
McGrath of Harlow 12 Jul 13 - 05:30 PM
McGrath of Harlow 12 Jul 13 - 08:18 PM
Reinhard 12 Jul 13 - 11:46 PM
JennieG 13 Jul 13 - 01:30 AM
Jim Carroll 13 Jul 13 - 03:36 AM
Steve Gardham 13 Jul 13 - 09:28 AM
Jim McLean 13 Jul 13 - 10:10 AM
McGrath of Harlow 13 Jul 13 - 10:53 AM
Jim McLean 13 Jul 13 - 11:17 AM
McGrath of Harlow 13 Jul 13 - 01:08 PM
Jim McLean 13 Jul 13 - 01:31 PM
McGrath of Harlow 13 Jul 13 - 01:58 PM
McGrath of Harlow 13 Jul 13 - 01:58 PM
Jim Carroll 13 Jul 13 - 02:12 PM
Jack Campin 13 Jul 13 - 02:14 PM
McGrath of Harlow 13 Jul 13 - 02:27 PM
Jim Carroll 13 Jul 13 - 03:28 PM
Jim McLean 13 Jul 13 - 03:46 PM
Steve Gardham 13 Jul 13 - 05:11 PM
Steve Gardham 13 Jul 13 - 06:00 PM
Jim Carroll 13 Jul 13 - 09:02 PM
Jim McLean 14 Jul 13 - 04:34 AM
McGrath of Harlow 14 Jul 13 - 09:09 AM
Jim McLean 14 Jul 13 - 11:55 AM
McGrath of Harlow 14 Jul 13 - 12:03 PM
Jim McLean 14 Jul 13 - 12:37 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 14 Jul 13 - 12:48 PM
McGrath of Harlow 14 Jul 13 - 02:29 PM
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Subject: Red, Red Rose query
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 12 Jul 13 - 09:44 AM

I just had reason to have a look at the words of Robert Burns' song My luve is like a Red Red Rose, and discovered to my surprise that one of the lines in it that I most like isn't evidently in the accepted version.

The first verse as given in the Digital Tradition, and generally, ends

.O my love is like a melodie,
that's sweetly play'd in tune.


And yet as I've always known it it's

'My luve is like some instrument
So newly set in tune


Which has always struck me, as a guitarist, as a particularly apt simile.

So where does it come from? Is it a variant Burn used which has slipped out of use? If I thought I'd made it up myself I'd be quite proud of myself, but I don't think I did. But hunting round on the Internet I can't find any trace of it.


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Subject: RE: Red, Red Rose query
From: Jack Campin
Date: 12 Jul 13 - 09:58 AM

I've never heard your one before, so I think it's all yours. Maybe you'll be able to find someone to sue for using it one day?


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Subject: RE: Red, Red Rose query
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 12 Jul 13 - 12:09 PM

Apply for copyright.......


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Subject: RE: Red, Red Rose query
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 12 Jul 13 - 12:26 PM

"His whole being was an instrument newly set in tune, and tuned to the very highest pitch."

Excerpt from "Everybody's Magazine, vol. 38, 1918; "The White Arc," by Henry Kitchell Webster.

A poem by John M. Phipps, 1911:
"Just like some music linsome
Above that is newly set in tune,
Now young ladies.....

These found by googling "newly set in tune."

There are probably earlier examples. Some edition of Burns' ??


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Subject: RE: Red, Red Rose query
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 12 Jul 13 - 05:30 PM

It might be someone picked up that expression of Webster and imported it into the song. And that wouldn't have been me, if that's what happened, since I'm sure I never came across that poem.

Or maybe I forgot the line and improvised this one, I do that sort of thing. Maybe someone will post and say they've come across it...


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Subject: RE: Red, Red Rose query
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 12 Jul 13 - 08:18 PM

Found the line in a song, whichh is the DT as A-roving on a winters night, credited to Doc Watson, with the lines


A-roving on a winter's night
And a-drinking good old wine
Thinking about that pretty little girl
That broke this heart of mine

She is just like a bud of rose
That blooms in the month of June
Or like some musical instrument
That's just been lately tuned


But the versions I've heard with the first verse there don't have the second one, and I can't ever remember hearing the song whereas my sense of it in the Burns song is very real. So my feeling is there must be a version of the Burns song which has it, which was drawn on for this verse to be adopted into. Peter Bellamy sings a version of A-Roving probably taken from the Doc Watson one, though the words are a bit different.

I'd still like to hear if anyone has come cross the Burns song with the line - which In fact I much prefer to the standard one.


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Subject: RE: Red, Red Rose query
From: Reinhard
Date: 12 Jul 13 - 11:46 PM

Maggie Holland noted in the liner notes of her CD Circle of Light:

“I learned Roving on a Winter's Night from the singing of Doc Watson—although the Appalachian tradition came up with a sprightly tune the words seem to be descended via various floating verses from My Love Is Like a Red, Red Rose. (I don't know what a ‘butter rose’ is, but it sounds nice.) I think Robbie would have approved of the notion of drinking good old wine and reminiscing about some pretty little girl who'd broken his heart.”


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Subject: RE: Red, Red Rose query
From: JennieG
Date: 13 Jul 13 - 01:30 AM

I've always known it as "a melodie sweetly played in tune".....didn't know there was an alternative. I suppose if one's instrument is not sweetly set in tune it would be able to play a melodie sweet in tune?


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Subject: RE: Red, Red Rose query
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Jul 13 - 03:36 AM

James Johnson's 'The Scots Musical Museum' (1785-1803) gives two versions, one noted as "Written for this work by Robert Burns", the other as "Old set".
Both give the line as:
"O my luve's like the melodie that's sweetlie play'd in tune".
Both texts are identical, though the two airs are different.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Red, Red Rose query
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 13 Jul 13 - 09:28 AM

Off the top of my head, I'm sure I read somewhere that the red red rose verse was adapted by Burns from tradition.


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Subject: RE: Red, Red Rose query
From: Jim McLean
Date: 13 Jul 13 - 10:10 AM

The song also appeared in the second volume of George Thomson's "Select Collection ...." , published in 1801 after Burn's Death and was listed as "unknown" although Thomas knew exactly who wrote it (see Jim Carroll's previous post). Again it is to a different melody to today's tune which was set to Burns' lyrics after his death. The tune "Low down in the Broom" was known to Burns but not used by him for "My Love .."
I have studied Burns and Scotish music of this period and have never come across the line mentioned by McGrath of Harlow and even the word "instrument" doesn't really ring true to my ears.
I think the beauty and truth of Burns' line lies in " sweetly played in TUNE".


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Subject: RE: Red, Red Rose query
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 13 Jul 13 - 10:53 AM

If the word doesn't ring true that wouldn't be because it would be anachronistic. The earliest use of instrument to mean musical instrument listed gin Shorter Oxford English Dictionary is 1509.

It's a different image frrom the standard line, but I'd say equally true.

It's likely enough a floating verse used or adapted by Burns, as was often his way. It'd be interesting to know if the instrument version was floating around as well, before being incorporated into that a-roving song.


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Subject: RE: Red, Red Rose query
From: Jim McLean
Date: 13 Jul 13 - 11:17 AM

Burns did "repair" many of the songs he collected. Indeed I think that was his most important contribution to Scottish song. I'm looking at a letter he sent to Alexander Cunningham from Dumfries, Autumn 1794, where he writes " I likewise gave him [Pietro Urbani] a simple old Scots song which I pickt up in this country, ... ".
My argument with the word 'instrument" is not that it is anachronistic but the whole phrase doesn't sound right for me. And Jack Campin who has collected a vast amount of Scottish material has never heard it either (his post above).
We could of course be wrong.


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Subject: RE: Red, Red Rose query
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 13 Jul 13 - 01:08 PM

Here's an old Mudcat thread about the song A-roving on a cold winter's night in which that version of the verse about the red red rose is incorporated, with the instrument in tune simile.

The question arises whether the instrument in tune was added by whoever put the song together over in America, or whether they took it from an earlier source, along with the rose.

Whether it rings true or sings well is a matter of subjective choice.


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Subject: RE: Red, Red Rose query
From: Jim McLean
Date: 13 Jul 13 - 01:31 PM

You could be right, McGrath, but comparing a lady to a musical instrument, an object, doesn't seem like Burns. However the beauty of comparing her to a melody is much more poetic to my senses and something, I think, Burns would have done. Anyway, can we date A-roving on a cold, winter's night or the first mention of the instrument phrase pre 1794?


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Subject: RE: Red, Red Rose query
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 13 Jul 13 - 01:58 PM

Well red roses and melodies are also objects, just different kinds of objects. To be compared to a fine musical instrument might even be seen as quite a graceful compliment.

Less graceful perhaps, but also compllimentary is the old saying "There's many a good tune played on an old fiddle," which reflects the sexual imagery of such instruments, which they share with the similarly waisted guitar.

But as for the question can we date the instrument imagery to before 1794, the answer at this point is, no, and not till a long time after. So the question is, when did it originate and get linked with the red red rose?


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Subject: RE: Red, Red Rose query
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 13 Jul 13 - 01:58 PM

Well red roses and melodies are also objects, just different kinds of objects. To be compared to a fine musical instrument might even be seen as quite a graceful compliment.

Less graceful perhaps, but also compllimentary is the old saying "There's many a good tune played on an old fiddle," which reflects the sexual imagery of such instruments, which they share with the similarly waisted guitar.

But as for the question can we date the instrument imagery to before 1794, the answer at this point is, no, and not till a long time after. So the question is, when did it originate and get linked with the red red rose?


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Subject: RE: Red, Red Rose query
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Jul 13 - 02:12 PM

"But as for the question can we date the instrument imagery to before 1794,"
Musical instruments as symbols go back as far as ancient Greece - at least.
It should be a mere formality to link them to poetry and song.
As far as 'Rose' is concerned, it seems you have answered your own question with your Doc Watson song - simple accidental transmission by somebody along the way.
It certainly doesn't occur in any of the versions of the poem/song in any of the collections we have to hand.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Red, Red Rose query
From: Jack Campin
Date: 13 Jul 13 - 02:14 PM

I'm with Jim - "instrument" doesn't feel like something Burns would have written, or something he would have found in tradition at the time. It's too abstract for this context. Mentioning a specific instrument would be more plausible - "violin" scans.


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Subject: RE: Red, Red Rose query
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 13 Jul 13 - 02:27 PM

I suppose if you're trying to remember a verse, and you know the line ends with "in tune" you might substitute putting an instrument in for for singing a melody in tune. I'd think it would be more likely the other way round, but if there's no record of it it like it would be melody to instrument.

So did that change to the verse happen in Appalachia or before it crossed the Atlantic?


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Subject: RE: Red, Red Rose query
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Jul 13 - 03:28 PM

Just thought you might like this note to the song from one of my favourite Burns collections among all our books, Allan Cunningham's 'The Works of Robert Burns With his Life" (1834)
Some exquisite notes to the songs and a very enjoyable biography.
Interesting (to me) to note the similarities to the verses Cunningham quotes and other songs, including 'Silver Dagger'
Jim Carroll

An old Nithsdale song seems to have been in the Poet's thoughts when he wrote this exquisite lyric.
Martha Crosbie, a carder and spinner of wool, some-times desiring to be more than commonly acceptable to the children of my father's house, made her way to their hearts by singing, which she did with great feeling, the following ancient strain :—

Who is this under my window ?
Who is this that troubles me ?
O, it is I, love, and none but I, love;
I wish to speak one word with thee.

Go to your mother, and ask her, jewel,
If she'll consent you my bride to be;
And, if she does na, come back an' tell me,
This is the last time I'll visit thee.

"My mother's in her chamber, jewel,
And of lovers' talking will not hear;
Therefore you may go and court another,
And whisper softly in her ear."

The song proceeds to relate how mother and father were adverse to the lover's suit; and that, exasperated by their scorn and the coldness of the maiden, he ran off in despair: on relenting, she finds he is gone, and breaks out in these fine lines—

" O where's he gone that I love best,
And has left me here to sigh and moan;
O I will search the wide world over,
Till my true lover I find again.

" The seas shall dry, and the fishes fly.
And the rocks shall melt down wi' the sun;
The labouring man shall forget his labour,
The blackbird shall not sing but mourn.
If ever I prove false to my love,
Till once I see if he return."


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Subject: RE: Red, Red Rose query
From: Jim McLean
Date: 13 Jul 13 - 03:46 PM

The only problem with this, Jim, is that Cunningham was a noted fraudster regarding supplying old ballads. He was criticied by Motherwell and Hogg among others for 'putting forward his own work as authentic old ballads.


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Subject: RE: Red, Red Rose query
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 13 Jul 13 - 05:11 PM

JimM
True but that was kettle calling frying pan.

The Cunningham verses, all but Jim's 4th which is a commonplace, can be found in the many Scottish versions of 'I will set my ship in order', Roud 402. Greig Duncan has 15 pretty full versions.


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Subject: RE: Red, Red Rose query
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 13 Jul 13 - 06:00 PM

Found the book with the reference in. It's 'Scottish Songs and Ballads' by Nancy Marshall, 1990.

'This well known and very beautiful old song was originally written by a Lieutenant Hinches as a farewell to his sweetheart. We have no other information about the composer, but we do know that Burns reshaped and improved the original. Burns was also influenced by a song he found in an old anthology written in 1770, with the rather long-winded title 'The Loyal Lover's Farewell to his Sweetheart on going on a |Long Journey.''

This last title I haven't a record of but I'm sure I've seen an earlier song that refers to a red red rose growing on a castle wall that is similar to Burns's first verse.

Stenhouse has little to say on the text other than he had Burns's original ms in front of him, as sent to Johnson, when writing his notes. He mainly writes about the tunes used, 'Major Graham' and 'Mary Queen of Scots lament'.


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Subject: RE: Red, Red Rose query
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Jul 13 - 09:02 PM

"Jim, is that Cunningham was a noted fraudster regarding supplying old ballads"
Am aware of that Jim - have a copy of Cromek's "Remains of Nithsdale and Galloway Song".
While he was making claims regarding his own work I think it highly unlikely that he would either dare (or even bother) to make claims regarding somebody else's, certainly not to the extent of naming their sources.
The couple of verses he gives are well known enough not to be fakes.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Red, Red Rose query
From: Jim McLean
Date: 14 Jul 13 - 04:34 AM

There is a verse in Omar Khayyam's Rubaiyat:

....Like snow upon the desert's dusty face,
Lighting a little hour or two -- is gone.

I found this idea very similar to a couple of lines from Burns' Tam o' Shanter:

And like the snow falls in a river,
A moment white then melts forever.

Burns obviously hadn't read Omar Khayyam (or vice versa!) but I think it illustrates great poets can express similar thoughts in isolation.


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Subject: RE: Red, Red Rose query
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 14 Jul 13 - 09:09 AM

I thin it very likely that Edward Fitzgerald who "translated" Omar Khayyam would have read Robert Burns.


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Subject: RE: Red, Red Rose query
From: Jim McLean
Date: 14 Jul 13 - 11:55 AM

I'm not sure that Fitzgerald was influenced by Burns but I don't know the original Persian(?) of Omar Khayyam but there are a few translations and they all agree with Fitzgerald's version of verse 14.


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Subject: RE: Red, Red Rose query
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 14 Jul 13 - 12:03 PM

My impression is that it's a pretty free translation.


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Subject: RE: Red, Red Rose query
From: Jim McLean
Date: 14 Jul 13 - 12:37 PM

McGrath, the literal translation from the Farsi is:

And at night on the grass like dew
And in the morn take me away from view.

So Fitzgerald might had a peek at Tam o' Shanter!


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Subject: RE: Red, Red Rose query
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 14 Jul 13 - 12:48 PM

Rubaiyat:

Literal
Take all the worldly goods, but in lieu
Let the beauty of nature renew
And at night on the grass like dew
And in the morn take me away from view.

Meaning-
All worldly things
Come with strings
Joy beauty brings
Of freedom sings

Fitzgerald
The worldly hope men set their hearts upon
Turns ashes- or it prospers; and anon
Like snow upon the desert's dusty face
Lighting a little hour or two- is gone.

www.okonlife.com/poems/page4.htm
Literal translation by Shahriah Shahriari, 1998, Vancouver, Canada

Fitzgerald keeps the same meaning, but often departs from the Farsi.

This is digression, interesting, but of little application to the subject


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Subject: RE: Red, Red Rose query
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 14 Jul 13 - 02:29 PM

I tend to view digressions like that as a way in which a thread is kept going in the hope someone will turn up with an answer.

But the point Jim made is valid, about the fact an image appears in different places shouldn't be used as proof one inspired the other. Often that kind of thing does tend to be assumed, more especially with tunes.

After all, the fact that our eyes are remarkably like the eyes of an octopus isn't proof we are descended from octopi, or they from us.

But the lines

She is just like a bud of rose,
That blooms in the month of June.
Or like some musical instrument,
That's just been lately tuned.


Are pretty evidently related to

My love is like a red, red rose
   That's newly sprung in June :
My love is like the melody
   That's sweetly played in tune.


Though whether the former is based on the latter, or both come from some earlier source is not completely certain.


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