Balow my boy
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BALOW MY BOY. AKA - "Balow, my boy, lie still and sleep," "Lady Anne Bothwell's Lament." Scottish, Air (3/4 time). G Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AB. A ballad with early 17th century roots, much anthologized from the 18th century on. A version was entered into Elizabeth Roger's Virginal Book, c. 1656, and Stenhouse says that it appears in Watson's first collection, printed at Edinburgh in 1711. Allan Ramsay published the ballad in his Tea-Table Miscellany and noted it was anonymous. The music appears in William Thomson's Orpheus Caledonius, vol. 2 (1733) and James Oswald's Caledonian Pocket Companion, Book 1 (1760). The first stanza begins:
Balow, my boy, ly still and sleep;
It grieves me sore to hear thee weep:
If thou'lt be silent, I'll be glad;
Thy mourning makes my heart full sad.
Balow, my boy, thy mother's joy,
Thy father bred me great annoy,
Balow balow, balow, balow,
balow, balow, balow, lu lilli lu.
John Glen (Early Scottish Melodies, 1900) concludes, "Literary and antiquarian authorities disagree as to the persons who are implicated in the incidents mentioned in the song."
Source for notated version:
Printed sources: Johnson (Scots Musical Museum, vol. 2), 1788; Song 130, p. 135. Oswald (Caledonian Pocket Companion, Book 1), 1760; p. 25. Thomson (Orpheus Caledonius, vol. 2), 1733; p. 40.
See also listing at:
See the Ballad Index entry