Cauld Kail in Aberdeen (II)
DESCRIPTION: Cold cabbage of Aberdeen is "warming" but to no end. Aberdeen, why woo a lass to whom it means nothing, whatever it means to you. Women of Bogingicht love to dance and are not so shy they can't get better playthings than out-of-date old folks.
EARLIEST DATE: before 1729 (according to Maidment)
KEYWORDS: age courting dancing humorous nonballad nobility
REFERENCES (3 citations):
ADDITIONAL: David Herd, editor, Ancient and Modern Scottish Songs, Heroic Ballads, etc. (Edinburgh, 1870 (reprint of 1776)), Vol II, p. 205, "Cauld Kale in Aberdeen"
James Maidment, Scotish Ballads and Songs (Edinburgh, 1859 ("Digitized by Google")), pp. 19-20, "The Cald Kail of Aberdeen"
John Stephen Farmer, editor, Merry Songs and Ballads, Prior to the Year 1800 (1897 ("Digitized by Google")), Vol V, p. 265, "Cald Kaill of Aberdene"
cf. "Cauld Kale in Aberdeen (I)" (tune and some lines) and references there
NOTES [440 words]: For the origin of the five different versions of "Cauld Kale in Aberdeen" and some background on common elements of the song, see the notes to "Cauld Kale in Aberdeen (I)" - (BS, RBW)
Farmer has his text "from Ane Pleasant Garden (c. 1800); edited by C Kirkpatrick Sharpe."
Maidment: "'The oldest song to this tune,' says Stenhouse, 'that I have met with is the following. The author is anonymous, but the song was collected by Herd, and printed in his second volume in 1770 [sic]; but he told me it was much older.' In the Library of the Faculty of Advocates, there is a collection of fugitive pieces of poetry ... found amongst the papers of James Anderson, ... who died in 1728. Amongst these occurs the under-mentioned song, which proves it must have been composed at least before Anderson's demise, and, indeed, the handwriting affords tolerable proof that it was written at the commencement of last century.
"From the language, the authorship may be safely assigned to an Aberdonian, and we suspect the song refers to the first Earl of Aberdeen, who died 20th April 1720, in the eighty third year of his age. That the object of the song was to ridicule an old man for wooing a young lass, is evident, and probably the ancient nobleman, whose wife ... predeceased him, had been flirting with some of the youthful beauties of his native county. As the name is specially given, there cannot be much difficulty in identifying the hero with the Sir George Gordon of Haddo, born 3rd October 1637, who was Lord Chancellor of Scotland from 1682 to 1684, and who was created Earl of Aberdeen ... 1682, to him and the heirs-male of his body. Bog of Gight, or Bogengight, was the ancient designation of the seat of the ducal family of Seton-Gordon. It is now termed Gordon Castle... The Bogie is a river in western Aberdeenshire...."
"Lord Lewis Gordon ... in the '45 ... declared for Prince Charles.... When all the Pretender's hopes were blasted at Culloden ... [he] fled to France, where he died in 1754. [For a song about him, see "Lewie Gordon (Lewis Gordon)" - RBW.] One of his sisters, a young lady of great beauty, became the third wife of William Earl of Aberdeen, which gave rise to the following lines in the well-known song of 'Cauld Kail in Aberdeen, and Custocks in Strathbogie:' Now, Aberdeen, what did you mean, Sae young a maid to woo, sir? I'm sure it was nae joke to her, Whate'er it was to you sir! For lassies now are na sae blate, But the ken auld folks out o' date, And better playfair can they get Than custocks in Strathbogie" (source: Fraser's Magazine (London, 18668 ("Digitized by Google")), Vol. LXXIII, p. 575).- BS
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