DESCRIPTION: Maggie meets a piper, Rab the Ranter, and encourages him to strike up a tune while she dances. He does, and she praises his work; he says, "It's worth my while to play indeed When I hae sic a dancer." She encourages him to ask for her if he comes again
AUTHOR: Francis Sempill? (c. 1616-1682)
EARLIEST DATE: 1794 (Ritson); reportedly written 1642
KEYWORDS: music dancing
FOUND IN: Britain(Scotland)
Murray, Mu23-y4:002, "Maggie Lauder," J. Pitts (London), 1819-1844
NLScotland, S.302.b.2(094), "Maggie Lauder," Simms and McIntyre (Belfast), probably 1825; also APS.3.84.2, "Maggy Lawder," Charles Pigott (London), after 1825 (with many distortions in the lyrics)
cf. "The Northumberland Bagpipes" (theme)
cf. "Cripple Kirsty" (parody)
Cripple Kirsty (File: GrD3556)
Cornwallis Burgoyned (broadside of 1781; see Spaeth, _A History of Popular Music in America_, p. 25; Harry Dichter and Elliott Shapiro, _Early American Sheet Music: Its Lure and Its Lore, 1768-1889_, R. R. Bowker, 1941, p. xxii)
The Joyful Widower (Scots Musical Museum, #98)
NOTES: One can only suspect that more than piping and dancing lies behind this song. This, indeed, may explain its rarity in the older collections; it sounds like a hidden story of something extremely indelicate. (The National Library of Scotland site, in fact, claims that Maggie ended up pregnant. The NLScotland broadsides do not show this, however.)
Habbie Simpson, to whom Rab the Ranter is compared, was a historical person, living in Kilbarchan (near Paisley) in the late sixteenth century; it may be significant that the father of Francis Sempill, Robert Sempill (c. 1595-c. 1665; not to be confused with another Scots poet named Robert Sempill, 1530?-1595), composed Simpson's elegy, The Life and Death of the Piper of Kilbarchan, or the Epitaph of Habbie Simpson (c. 1640).
There is a broadside text (not a song) about Simpson at NLScotland L.C.1270(019), "Habbie Simpson and his Wife," unknown, c. 1845.
I don't know if Maggie and Rab are historical. - RBW
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