Watty and Meg
DESCRIPTION: Watty goes to the local alehouse and complains to Mungo about Meg's nagging. Mungo recommends Watty threaten to leave her. Watty follows the advice, threatening to enlist. Meg begs him to stay and promises never to nag him. He stays.
AUTHOR: Alexander Wilson (1766-1813) in 1792 (source: Ford)
EARLIEST DATE: 1899 (Ford); c.1800 (broadside, NLScotland RB.m.143(002))
LONG DESCRIPTION: Watty goes to the local alehouse and complains to Mungo about Meg's nagging. Mungo recommends Watty threaten to leave her. Meg comes to get him for "bringing wife and weans to ruin, Drinking here wi' sic a crew." The nagging continues on the road and when they reach home. He bids her farewell in the morning. She begs him to stay. He says he has heard that before and this morning he will enlist: "Ower the seas I march this morning." His price for staying is that she "swear to drap your flyting." She solemnly swears "by everything that's gude, Ne'er again your spouse to scal' him" or complain about his drinking. She swears again. Watty is ecstatic. "Syne below the blankets, gloriousa, Held anither Hinney-Moon."
KEYWORDS: shrewishness sex drink dialog husband wife
FOUND IN: Britain(Scotland(Aber))
REFERENCES (2 citations):
GreigDuncan3 595, "Watty and Meg" (1 fragment, 1 tune)
ADDITIONAL: Robert Ford, editor, Vagabond Songs and Ballads of Scotland [first series] (Paisley,1899), pp. 115-124, "Watty and Meg" (omitted from the 1904 single-volume edition)
Bodleian, Harding B 11(4051), "Watty and Meg" ("Keen the frosty winds were blawing"), Sanderson (Edinburgh), 1830-1910
NLScotland, RB.m.143(002), "Watty and Meg" or "The Wife Reformed," unknown, c.1800; also RB.m.143(160), "Watty and Meg" or "The Wife Reformed"
NOTES: GreigDuncan3 is a fragment; broadside NLScotland RB.m.143(002) is the basis for the description.
Ford: "Not Paisley, as is generally supposed, but Lochwinnoch, I believe, was the scene of this world-known poem.... 'Mungo Blue' was really notorious in the village scandal. His real name was Jamie Orr..... He led a joyous but short life, and went through his 'subject' by drinking and other debaucheries. His changehouse [alehouse] at Lochwinnoch.... In the east end was situated the wretched domicile of Wattie Mathie and his wife, the hero and heroine of the wonderfully graphic poem, which is true in every respect to the character of Watty, and to the flyting and tinkler nature of his wife, Meg Love." - BS
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