Birks of Abergeldy, The
DESCRIPTION: The singer asks his girl to go with him to the Birks of Abergeldy. She fears betrayal. He promises to marry if she becomes pregnant. She complains "Abergeldy is too near my friends ... their eyes are on me steady" but she would go with him to Edinburgh.
EARLIEST DATE: 1692 (according to the commentary to broadside NLScotland Ry.III.a.10(057))
KEYWORDS: courting elopement promise dialog
FOUND IN: Britain(Scotland(Aber))
REFERENCES (1 citation):
Greig/Duncan4 801, "Birks o' Abergeldie" (1 text)
NLScotland, Ry.III.a.10(057), "The Birks of Abergeldy," unknown, c.1701
cf. "The Bonny Bunch of Roses" (II) (verse structure)
cf. "The Braes of Killiecrankie" (tune, per Lyle-Andrew-CrawfurdsCollectionVolume1, half of first two verses and structure)
NOTES [151 words]: Greig/Duncan4 is a fragment; broadside NLScotland Ry.III.a.10(057) is the basis for the description. - BS
Commentary to broadside NLScotland Ry.III.a.10(057): "The lyricist and composer of the piece have not been recorded, but the first recorded appearance of the melody was in 1692. It had been published south of the border by 1700. The lyrics were famously rewritten by Burns when he stayed at Aberfeldy in Perthshire. Those lyrics were originally entitled, 'The Birks o' Aberfeldy'."
Herd's version of "Birks of Abergeldie" has the man promise "a gown of silk, and coat of calimancoe" while she protests that "my minnie she'll be angry. Sair, sair wad she flyte." (David Herd, "Ancient and Modern Scottish Songs, Heroic Ballads, etc." (Edinburgh, 1870 (reprint of 1776)) V.II, pp. 221-222, "Birks of Abergeldie"). The form and sense of Herd's text matches the broadside but the lines are different. - BS
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