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Lyr Req: McLellan's Son

George Seto - 20 Jan 04 - 03:57 PM
Malcolm Douglas 20 Jan 04 - 04:51 PM
George Seto - 21 Jan 04 - 02:41 PM
Joe Offer 22 Jan 04 - 02:02 PM
Malcolm Douglas 22 Jan 04 - 03:36 PM
GUEST 01 Nov 12 - 06:40 PM
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Subject: Lyr Req: McLellan's Son
From: George Seto -
Date: 20 Jan 04 - 03:57 PM

A friend of mine is looking for the tune and words for a song called McLellan's Son. I found out that it is in a book called Native American Balladry, by Malcolm G Laws on Page 272 published by the American Folklore Society back in 1964.

Does anyone have access to this book?

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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: McLellan's Son
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 20 Jan 04 - 04:51 PM

The Laws book is a classified index rather than a song collection, though brief examples are given for analytical purposes. The song itself is in Mackenzie, Ballads & Sea Songs from Nova Scotia (363-4, text only) as McLellan's Son; in Peacock, Songs of the Newfoundland Outports (III, 831-2) as Young Daniel; and in Fowke, Sea Songs & Ballads from 19th Century Nova Scotia (72-3) as Mind How You Trifle with a Gun.

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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: McLellan's Son
From: George Seto -
Date: 21 Jan 04 - 02:41 PM

Thanks, Malcolm. That helps enormously. Those books are easy to find here in Halifax at the library.

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Subject: ADD: Mind How You Trifle with a Gun
From: Joe Offer
Date: 22 Jan 04 - 02:02 PM

Here's the entry from Edith Fowke's Sea Songs and Ballads from Nineteenth Century Nova Scotia: The William H. Smith and Fenwick Hart Manuscripts (Folklorica Press, 1981). This is a scan direct from the book, with no spelling corrections.

Fenwick Hatt's Notebook


It was april on the fourteenth day
I pray attend to what I say
A gun was herd in solm sound
Like thunder roaring through the ground

The People hastened to the spot
Whear they herd the mornful shot
oer yonder stood a man and gun
Who he the curset action don

I just went out in carless fun
On porpes for to snap my gun
When this young lad with corage bold
Run up the hil and met the load

I did not know the lad was in
Until I saw him drop his chin
A dreadful sight and sad to tel
He turned from me and down he fel

Now take young Daniel from his gor
And place him on the cortroom for
And send for justis very soon
And let the jury fill the room

Now take young Daniel from my sight
Up with his friends to spend one night
With wringing hands and bitter cryes
they walk the floor with streaming eyes

The parents of this murderd Boy
Now giving up all hopes of joy
to think their son a man not grown
Should die while in his youthfull Bloom

There is one thing i'd have you do
Lode this same gun and shoot me to
I wish to God that I was dead
Where shall I hide my shamefull head

Come all young men thats brisk and gay
I pray attend to what i say
think on the fate of Mcklerns son
Mind how you trifel with a gun

This is a local Nova Scotia ballad which is untitled in the Hatt manuscript; Mackenzie provides the only other version under the title of "McLellan's Son." He heard it early in his collecting career from Mrs. James Palmer of Waldegrave, Coichester County, and printed it in The Quest of the Ballad as an example of a native song (p. 197). At that time he noted: "I have been unable to discover the event that lies back of it," but by the time he published Ballads and Sea Songs from Nova Scotia he had tracked it down. His head note reads: "This is a native song, made in commemoration of an accidental shooting over half a century ago in Pugwash. The Reverend John Warner of Parrsboro, Nova Scotia, informs me that it was composed immediately after the accident by his mother, who lived in Pugwash and was acquainted with the details" (p. 363). "Over half a century ago" would take it back to the 1870s.
The text given here is clearly the same ballad as Mackenzie's but the wording, while expressing the same meaning, varies greatly. Even the date is different: Mackenzie has "it was on September the eighteenth day." The only line that is exactly the same in both versions is the final "Mind how you trifle with a gun."
It is listed in Laws, NAB, as dG43, p. 272.

There is no listing in the Traditional Ballad Index. Here's the entry from
    MIND HOW YOU TRIFLE WITH A GUN - "It was on September the eighteenth day" - ROUD#1696 - FOWKE SSBNC 1981 pp72-3 Fenwick Hatt Ms Nova Scotia Canada c1883 (w/o) - MACKENZIE BSSNS 1928 pp363-4 Mrs James Palmer, Waldegrave, NS (w/o) "McLellan's Son"
Can somebody post the version from the MacKenzie book?
If you can transcribe a tune, please e-mail it to me - the Fowke book has no tunes.

-Joe Offfer-

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Subject: Tune Add: YOUNG DANIEL
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 22 Jan 04 - 03:36 PM

The only published tune listed by Roud is in Peacock. No guarantee, of course, that the other two examples were sung to that tune, or to anything like it. Tempo given here is only a guess.

T:Young Daniel
S:Mrs Thomas Waters, Rocky Harbour, July 1959
B:Peacock, Songs of the Newfoundland Outports, 1965. III 831-2
N:PEA 144 No. 966
N:Roud 1969, Laws dG43
"Moderately fast"
G2|A4 A2|(A2 B2) c2|G4 G2|E4 G2|
w:On Ap-ril last,_ the eight-eenth day, At-
A4 A2|(A2 B2) c2|G4 G2|E4 (CE)|
w:ten-tion give_ to what I say, A_
D4 E2|D4 C2|(E2 D2) C2|D4 E2|
w:gun was heard in sol_emn sound Like
(E2 G2) G2|(G2 A2) G2|E4 D2|C4|]
w:thun_der roar_ing through the ground.

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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: McLellan's Son
Date: 01 Nov 12 - 06:40 PM

To aid in dating the ballad, the Reverend John Warner's mother was Lavinia Pineo who died April 22, 1874.

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