Bush Aboon Traquair (The)

Find traditional instrumental music
Jump to: navigation, search

Back to Bush Aboon Traquair (The)[edit]


BUSH ABOON TRAQUAIR, THE. AKA and see "Peggy Grieves Me." Scottish, English; Air (4/4 time). D Major (most versions): B Flat Major (Mulhollan). Standard tuning (fiddle). AB (Mulhollan): AABB (most versions). "Bush aboon Traquair" ('bush above Traquair, Peebleshire) was one of the tunes marked by Thomson as composed by David Rizzio in his first edition of Orpheus Caledonius (1725). Rizzio was a lutenist and singer of repute as well as Queen Mary's secretary, however it has never been proven that he composed any existing melodies, and Thomson removed the ascription in his second edition. The popular air was used by Allan Ramsey in his ballad opera The Gentle Shepherd (1725), and subsequently in a number of ballad operas, including Damon & Phillida (1729), Patie & Peggy (1730), Mad Captain (1733), Highland Fair (1731), and others. The song was printed in John Hinton's periodical The Universal Magazine of Knowledge and Pleasure (1749). The first few stanzas go:

Hear me ye nymphs, and every sawin,
I'll tell how Peggy grieves me;
Tho' this I languish, thus complain,
Alas! she ne'er belives me.
My vows and sighs, like silent air,
Unheeded never move her;
At the bonny bush aboon Traquair,
'Twas there I first did love her.

That day she smil'd, and made me glad,
No maid seemed ever kinder;
I thought myself the luckiest lad,
So sweetly there to find her.
I try'd to sooth my am'rous flame,
In words that I thought tender;
If more there pass'd, I'm not to blame
I meant not to offend her.

Traquair [1] is a small, ancient village in the Scottish Borders region, once surrounded by the Ettrick Forest. the Imperial Gazetteer of Scotland, edited by John Marius Wilson and published by A. Fullarton & Co. in 1868, gives:

The village of Traquair is a scattered assemblage of only about 20 or 30 houses, standing in different groups, and bearing different names. It is situated in the vale of the Quair, 3/4 of a mile from the Tweed, and 1 3/4 mile south of Innerleithen. The "Bush aboon Traquair," so celebrated in song, was a grove of natural birches, a little south-west of the village; but it fell a sacrifice, partly to ordinary innovation, partly to its own celebrity. Burns, we are informed, visited the Bush in the year 1787, when he made a pilgrimage to various places celebrated in story and in song; and found it composed of eight or nine ragged birches. It afterwards paid a heavy tax to human curiosity, and supplied nobles and princes with specimens, in the shape of snuff-boxes and other toys. A grove called 'The New Bush' was early planted by an Earl of Traquair, but never became famous; and the site of the old Bush has been replanted and enclosed by the present Earl, with the view of restoring its fame. "The Bush aboon Traquair," says the Old Statistical Account, "which in former times might be a considerable thicket of birch-trees, the indigens of the soil, is now reduced to five lonely trees, which solitarilly point out the spot where love and its attendant poetry once probably had their origin." The grove must have been considered a remarkable object at latest two centuries ago; for it is laid down in Pont's maps under the designation of "Troquair Birks." A mansion-house seems to have anciently stood adjacent to it, but has long ago disappeared. The present mansion-house of Traquair is about a mile distant.

See also note for "Peggy Grieves Me" and "At Setting Day" for more.

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Aird (Selection of Scotch, English, Irish and Foreign Airs, vol. 4), 1796; No. 187, p. 70. John Hinton, The Universal Magazine of Knowledge and Pleasure, vol. 4, no. 6, June 1749; p. 280. McGibbon (Collection of Scots Tunes, vol. 3), 1762; p. 65. Mulhollan (A Selection of Irish and Scots Tunes), Edinburgh, 1804; p. 12. Oswald (Caledonian Pocket Companion, vol. 2), 1760; p. 17.

Recorded sources:




Back to Bush Aboon Traquair (The)[edit]