Be Kin' to Yer Nainsel, John
DESCRIPTION: His dying wife says to John: there are three spoons, three cows, three carts,.... Give one of each to the lassie, one to the laddie, and one to yourself. His wife dies. John "I maun hae anither, I've plenty for to keep her, An be kind tae my nainsel"
EARLIEST DATE: 1905 (GreigDuncan3)
KEYWORDS: bequest death humorous nonballad parody husband wife derivative
FOUND IN: Britain(Scotland(Aber))
REFERENCES (2 citations):
Greig #122, pp. 2-3, "Be Kin' to Yer Nainsel, John"; Greig #116, pp. 2-3, "Be Kin' to Yer Nainsel, John"; Greig 114, p. 2, "Be Kin' to Yer Nainsel, John"; Greig #117, p. 2, "Be Kin' to Yer Nainsel, John"; Greig #119, p. 3, "Be Kin' to Yer Nainsel, John"; Greig #121, p. 2, "Be Kin' to Yer Nainsel, John"; Greig #123, p. 3, "Be Kin' to Yer Nainsel, John" (2 texts plus 7 fragments)
GreigDuncan3 706, "Be Kin' to Yer Nainsel, John" (10 texts, 5 tunes)
cf. "The Land o' the Leal" (basis for parody [see notes])
NOTES: Greig 114: "The song appears to be a parody on 'The Land o' the Leal' [Text]. In this way she goes over the beasts and articles in the house, always telling him to give away the best and keep the worst, but still every now and again bidding him be kind to himself, for she is wearin' awa'."
Greig 116: "[The Rev. Mr Duncan] says:- 'At least one of my versions goes back a hundred years or more. In this case, the suggestion of parody is the first and most obvious, but there are difficulties.' Yes, there are difficulties. Miss Robertson's - 'Fy, gar heat a sup drink, John,' is older than Lady Nairne's day." 
Greig 119: "[Miss Robertson] says that she never heard her mother say where she got her version of the song, but she feels sure that her aunt had got hers from her mother who would have been a girl about 1780. Miss Robertson refers to the controversy that once arose (and has been repeated since) as to the authorship of 'The Land of the Leal,' some people claiming it for Burns, and she recalls that one correspondent referred to the earlier song about the unmanly John."
GreigDuncan3 quoting Duncan: "Now Lady Nairne's 'The Land o' the Leal' goes back to 1798, and contains these coincidences with this:- (1) the use of the expression 'the land o' the leal' for heaven; (2) the combination of this with the words 'I am wearin awa,' (3) the address to the husband as 'John' and (4) the use of all these in an address from a dying wife to her husband." Duncan goes on to ask whether Lady Nairne borrowed from the popular song, or vice versa. - BS
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