Annotation:Auld Goodman (The)

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X:1 T:Auld Goodman, The M:6/8 L:1/8 R:Air B:William Thomson - Orpheus Caledonius, vol. 2 (1733, No. 19, p. 80) Z:AK/Fiddler’s Companion K:G G A G FE D|GA B AF D|G A G FE D|EF E D2D| GA G FE D|GA B AF D|G A G FE D|EF E D2|| A|A B A AB c|dc B AG F|G A G GA B|A B c d2A| AB A AB c |dc B A G F|G G d F2d|EF E D2||

AULD GOODMAN, THE. English, Air (6/8 time). D Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABBCCDDEEFF. The song was printed in Allan Ramsay's Tea Table Miscellany, while the air appears in Thomson's Orpheus Caledonius, vol. 2 (1733, No. 19), and it was judged by Ramsay to be an old one in his day. The phrase 'auld goodman' in the song means 'first husband', but 'auld goodman' (sometimes 'Goodman's Croft') also anciently referred to a portion of land set aside uncultivated to appease the devil (who sometimes himself was referred to as The Goodman). To plough the 'auld goodman' was to invite misfortune. A line from a Tayside song goes:

A howl gaed up frae the “gudeman's craft,”
An' a wail frae the Witches' knowe.

The first stanzas of Ramsay's song begin:

Late in an evening forth I went
A little before the sun gade down,
And there I chanc't, by accident,
To light on a battle new begun:
A man and his wife wer fawn in a strife,
I canna weel tell ye how it began;
But aye she wail'd her wretched life,
Cryeng, "Evir alake! mine auld goodman."

"Thy auld goodman, that thou tells of,
The country kens where he was born,
Was but a silly poor vagabond,
And ilka ane leugh him to scorn:
For he did spend and make an end
Of gear 'his fathers nevir wan;
He gart the poor stand frae the door,
Sae tell nae mair of thy auld goodman."

"My heart, alake! is liken to break,
Whan I think on my winsome John,
His blinkan ee, and gait sae free,
Was naithing like thee, thou dosend drone;
Wi' his rosie face, and flaxen hair,
And skin as white as ony swan,
He was large and tall, and comely withal;
Thou'lt nevir be like mine auld goodman."

Additional notes

Printed sources : - Johnson (Scots Musical Museum, vol. IV), 1792; Song 318, pp. 328-329. Oswald (Caledonian Pocket Companion Book 3), 1760; p. 15. William Thomson (Orpheus Caledonius, vol. 2), 1733; No. 19, p. 80.

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