Beauty of Buchan, The
DESCRIPTION: "Sheep is rejected And they from their pastures are banished away." The mountains once "wi flocks all clad over ... But now they are lonely for want o' flocks only." "Woe to our gentry, they're ruined a' our country"
EARLIEST DATE: 1908 (GreigDuncan3)
KEYWORDS: farming nonballad sheep
FOUND IN: Britain(Scotland(Aber))
REFERENCES (2 citations):
Greig #52, p. 2, "The Beauty of Buchan" (1 text)
GreigDuncan3 434, "The Beauty of Buchan" (1 text)
cf. "The Flowers of the Forest" (tune and rhyme scheme, per Greig)
NOTES: The second and fourth lines of each verse rhyme internally (for example, "Woe to our gentry, they're ruined a' our country,/ And brought our fine pastures so deep in decay/ Mong hedges and ditches they've spent a' our riches,/ And banished our beauty entirely away"), like "The Flowers of the Forest" for example, "We'll hae nae mair liltin', at the ewe milkin',/ Women and bairns are dowie and wae./ Sighin' and moanin' on ilka green loanin', The flowers of the forest are all wede away"). So Greig says "The Beauty of Buchan" has evidently been inspired by 'The Flowers of the Forest."
Greig: "This lament was communicated by Miss Bell Robertson, who says it was sung by her grandmother [GreigDuncan3, citing another Greig source, notes that Bell Robertson's grandmother died in 1837].... The song refers to the disappearance of sheep from Buchan -- presumably owing to the progress of cultivation."
GreigDuncan3, quoting Robertson, Song Notes,: ." .. it was after the hills were brought under cultivation and sheep put away to make room for cattle."
From The Illustrated Book of Scottish Songs from the Sixteenth to the Nineteenth Century, (London, 1854 ("Digitized by Google")), p. 75: "[Jane Elliott's 'The Flowers of the Forest' -- referring to the young men of the districts of Selkirkshire and Peebleshire --] is founded by the authoress upon an older composition of the same name, deploring the loss of the Scotch at Flodden Field...." The loss theme -- as well as the verse structure -- is common to "The Beauty of Buchan" and "The Flowers of the Forest," supporting Greig's conclusion. - BS
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