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The 'Scots Musical Museum' - Volume II, song 160, page 168 - 'Duncan Gray'

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Volume II, song 160, page 168 - 'Duncan Gray'

Introduction:
Verse 1:
'Weary fa' you, Duncan Gray,
Ha, ha the girdin o't,
Wae gae by you, Duncan Gray,
Ha, ha the girdin o't:
When a' the lave gae to their play,
Then I maun fit the lee lang day
And jeeg the cradle wi' my tae,
And a' for the girdin o't.'

The Scots word 'girdin' refers to a strap or band that binds an item. 'Lave' is remainder and 'lee' in this instance probably means lonely. To 'jeeg the cradle' means to creak or, as is the case here, rock the cradle.
Image Rights Holder:
National Library of Scotland
Ref:
2323
Project:
754:Scots Musical Museum
Material:
Book
Dimensions:
130 x 211 mm
What:
The 'Scots Musical Museum' - Volume II, song 160, page 168 - 'Duncan Gray'
Subject:
The 'Scots Musical Museum' is the most important of the numerous eighteenth- and nineteenth-century collections of Scottish song. When the engraver James Johnson started work on the second volume of his collection in 1787, he enlisted Robert Burns as contributor and editor. Burns enthusiastically collected songs from various sources, often expanding or revising them, whilst including much of his own work. The resulting combination of innovation and antiquarianism gives the work a feel of living tradition.
Who:
Duncan Gray (subject and possible composer)
William Clarke (c. 1755-1820) (musical editor for Volume VI of the 'Scots Musical Museum')
Stephen Clarke (c. 1735-97) (musical editor)
James Johnson (c. 1750-1811) (printer / publisher / engraver / editor)
Robert Burns (1759-96) (song collector / composer / editor)
William Stenhouse (commentator and editor of the 1853 edition of the 'Museum')
When:
Between 1787 and 1803 (first publication of the 'Scots Musical Museum')
Where:
The National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh
Background:
The 'Scots Musical Museum' is the most important of the numerous eighteenth- and nineteenth-century collections of Scottish song. When the engraver James Johnson started work on the second volume of his collection in 1787, he enlisted Robert Burns as contributor and editor. Burns enthusiastically collected songs from various sources, often expanding or revising them, whilst including much of his own work. The resulting combination of innovation and antiquarianism gives the work a feel of living tradition.
Description:
This song was either written, revised or collected for the 'Museum' by Robert Burns. An unsubstantiated story surrounding this particular song, suggests that Duncan Gray, a Glasgow cartman or carman, composed the melody. William Stenhouse, editor of the 'Museum' following Johnson's death, wrote of this possibility and Burns also made reference to it in his notes on the 'Museum': 'Dr Blacklock informed me that he had often heard the tradition that this air was composed by a carman in Glasgow'.