Adam Glen

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X:1 T:Adam Glen M:3/4 L:1/8 R:SAir and Quickstep B:John McLachlan - Piper’s Assistant (1854, No. 1, p. 1) Z:AK/Fiddler’s Companion K:Bmin fB Bd c2|TfB Bd ce|TfB Bd c2|eA Ad c/d/e/c/:| |:df/g/ a>d f2|df/g/ ad fg|a>fg>e Tf2|eA Ae c/d/e/c/:|]



ADAM GLEN. Scottish, Air and Quickstep (3/4 time). B Minor. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. McLachlan includes this note with the tune, along with the words to the song:

Adam Glen, author of the air to which the above verses were written, was long a favourite in every farmer's ha', village, and fair, in the west of Angusshire. He was an excellent performer on the bag-pipe, a faithful reciter of our ancient ballads, and in every way an eccentric character. In the memorable year of Mar's rebellion, he joined the battalion of his county on its march to Sheriffmuir, and, though

Some Angusmen and Fifemen,
They ran for their life, man,

he remained behind, winding his warlike instrument in the front and fire of the enemy, and fell on the field of battle, November 13th, 1715, in the ninetieth year of his age. A few months before his death, he married his eighth wife, a maiden lady of forty five, on which circumstance the song is founded. When rallied on the number of his wives, he replied in his own peculiar way, " 'ae kist comin' in, is worth twa gauu out."

Adam Glen was well-known in the west of Angus and in eastern Forfarshire as "an excellent performer on the bagpipe, a faithful reciter of old ballads, and in every way an eccentric and queer bodie"[1]. The words, by Brechin poet Alexander Laing (author of "Braes o' Mar" and "Archie Allan"), go:

Pawkie Adam Glen,
Piper o' the clachan,
When he stoited ben,
Sairly was he pechin';
Spak' a wee, but tint his win';
Hurklet down, an hoastit syne,
Blew his beik, an' dichtit's e'en,
And whauzled a' forfouchen.

But his coughin' dune,
Cheerie kyth'd the bodie--
Crackit like a gun,
And leuch to Auntie Madie;
Cried, "My callan's, name a spring,
'Jinglin' John,' or ony thing,
For weel I’d like to see the fling,
O' ilka lass an' laddie."

Blythe the dancers flew,
Usquabae was plenty,
Blythe the piper grew,
Tho' shakin' hand's wi' ninety,
Seven times his bridal vow
Ruthless fate had broken thro',
Wlia wad thocht his coming now
Was for our maiden auntie.

She had ne'er been soucht,
Cheerie hope was fadin',
Dowie is the thoucht
To live an’ dee a maiden.
How it comes we canna ken,
Wanters aye maun wait their ain,
Madge is hecht to Adam Glen,
Am sune we’ll ha'e a weddin'.


Additional notes

Source for notated version: -

Printed sources : - John McLachlan (The Piper's Assistant), 1854; No. 1, p. 1.

Recorded sources: -



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  1. Robert Ford, Vagabond Songs and Ballads of Scotland, 1901, p. 172.