Annotation:Can Ye Sew Cushions

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X:1 T:Can ye Sew Cushions M:C L:1/8 R:Air Q:"Slow" B:Aird – Selection of Scotch, English, Irish and Foreign Airs, vol. 4 (1796, No. 183, p. 69) Z:AK/Fiddler’s Companion K: G G|G>Bg>e d B2 z/G/|G>B(g>e) d3e|d>B(B>A) G>G(G>A)|B>A(A>G) G3G| (G>B)g>e d B2 z/G/|(G>B)g>e d3e|d>BB>A G<GG>A|B>AA>G G3|| M:2/4 L:1/8 "Quick"G|B>G D2|A/G/A/B/ BA|B>GD>B|(A>G) G2| B>GD<D|A/G/A/B/ AG|B>GDB|(A>G) G2||

CAN YE SEW CUSHIONS. English, Air (whole time/2/4). G Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AB. A Scottish song that may or may not be a lullaby, sung by a woman whose husband is at sea. The nonsense words in the lyric are variously said to represent the kind of baby-talk one sings to an infant, or, alternately, untranslated and garbled Scots Gaelic passages mixed in with a Lowlands song [1]. Robert Burns collected the song for Johnson's Scots Musical Museum [2] (1796), but employed a different air than did Aird and had little to say about the song.

It begins:

O Can Ye Sew Cushions? And can ye sew sheets?
And can ye sing ballooloo when the bairn greets?
And hee and haw birdie, and hee and haw lamb;
And hee and haw, birdie, my bonnie wee lamb!

Heeo, weeo, what wou'd I do wi' you?
Black's the life that I lead wi' you;
Mony o' ye, Little for to gie you.
Heeo, weeo, what wou'd I do wi' you?

Additional notes

Printed sources : - Aird (Selection of Scotch, English, Irish and Foreign Airs), 1796; No. 183, p. 69. Johnson (The Scots Musical Museum, vol. V), 1796; No. 444, p. 456.

See also listing at :
Hear Christina Stewart sing the song at Kist o' Dreams [3] [4]

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