DESCRIPTION: "Being pursued by the dragoons," Davie is hidden in the bed of the daughter of Cherrytrees. He makes such efficient use of the time that the girl ends up pregnant; they eventually marry. She is happy with her Dainty Davie
EARLIEST DATE: 1776? (Herd MS.); c. 1800 (Merry Muses of Caledonia)
KEYWORDS: sex escape marriage bawdy
FOUND IN: Britain(Scotland)
REFERENCES (2 citations):
ADDITIONAL: Hanish Henderson, "The Ballad, The Folk and The Oral Tradition," in Edward J. Cowan, editor, _The People's Past: Scottish Folk, Scottish History_ 1980 (I use the 1993 Polygon paperback edition), pp. 83-86, "(Dainty Davie)" (2 texts)
NOTES: The variations among the versions of this song are extreme -- and not just because Burns rewrote it; the versions from "The Merry Muses" and Buchan's "Secret Songs of Silence" have hardly a word in common except for parts of the chorus. It seems likely that Burns was not the only one to rewrite it. Nonetheless there seems to be agreement that the song is about one Reverend David Williamson (died 1706?), who was accused of preaching rebellion against Charles II (reigned 1660-1685).
Supposedly Williamson was hidden by a wife who dressed him as a woman and put him in bed with her daughter, who was about 18. The girl went along; the mother was less happy, but allowed them to marry to avoid scandal.
Whether any of this has been verified by historians I do not know. Mostly we find folklorists repeating the tales of other folklorists. - RBW
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