Cameron's Got His Wife Again
X:1 T:Cameron has got his Wife again M:C| L:1/8 R:Reel B:Robert Bremener - A Collection of Scots Reels or Country Dances (London, 1757, p. 4) Z:AK/Fiddler's Companion K:G B|dABF AA/A/ AB|dABF E/E/E Ee|dABF AA/A/ T(f>e)|dBAF DD/D/ D:| |:g|fdaf e(gTfe)|fdfa BB/B/ Bg|fdaf e(gTfe)|dBAF D/D/D D:|]
CAMERON'S GOT HIS WIFE AGAIN (Broigas Fada air Maighistir Ord). AKA – Cameron Has Got His Wife Again," "Campbel [sic] Has Got His Wife Again." Scottish (originally), Cape Breton; Reel and Strathspey. D Major (most versions): D Mixolydian (Bremner). Standard tuning (fiddle). AB (Howe, Surenne): AAB (Balmoral, Carlin, Cranford/Holland, Gow, Honeyman, Hunter, Kerr, Lowe): AABB (Bremner, Jones): AABB' (Athole, Skye). A popular and well-known Scottish reel in both strathspey and reel variants. The title may refer, somewhat crudely, to Cameron's wife's pregnancy. Mary Ann and William Hastings Hughes, in their book Letters and Recollections of Sir Walter Scott (1904), record the following in regard to the rather indelicate title and the prudish King George:
...after dinner one day while (Gen?) was playing in the adjoining room, the King was particularly pleased with an air and sent the Duke of Buccleugh to inquire the name: the boy came running back, and Sir Walter (Scott) who knew what was coming longed to intercept him, but there was no help—"Sir, the air is, Cameron has got his wife again"—everybody felt awkwardly, but the King instantly relieved them by smiling, and pretending to shudder and saying, "Oh! that is too much for me, you will send me off from you." (p. 63).
Robert Burns suggested "Cameron's got his wife again" or "Ruffian's Rant" as the air to a bawdy old Scots countryside song, adapted for The Merry Muses of Caledonia (c. 1800), called "Yon, Yon, Yon, Lassie":
I never saw a silken gown, But I wad kiss the sleeve o't; I never met a maidenhead, But I wad spear the leave ot'. O yon, yon, yon, lassie, Yon, yon, yon; I never met a bonnie lass But what wad play at yon.
John Glen (1891) finds the tune earliest in print in Robert Bremner's 1757 Scots Reels or Country Dances (p. 4), while another early version appears in the 1769 Gillespie Manuscript. It also was included in Northumbrian musician William Vickers' 1770 music manuscript book. Later the tune appears in James Aird's Selection of Scotch, English, Irish and Foreign Airs (vol. 4, 1796) and in Wilson's Companion to the Ballroom (1816). Glen (Early Scottish Melodies, 1900) gives that the tune is the air to the song "Have You any Pots or Pans?" and the original air to "Clout the Caldron" (although not the "Clout the Caldron (2)" that Johnson prints in the Scots Musical Museum). In Ireland the tune is played as a fling or Highland, and as a polka ("Gullane Polka (2)").