Collier's Daughter (The)

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X:45 T:Collier's Daughter [2] M:4/4 L:1/4 S:Wright 1713 Z:p K:G d | B>AGF | G2D2 | F>GAF | A/B/ccd | B/c/A/B/ G/B/A/F/ | G2D2 | c/B/A/B/ c/B/A/G/ | Bd2 ||e/f/ | g/e/c/e/ f/d/B/d/ | f2d2 | c/A/F/A/ c/A/F/A/ | c2A2 | BGAD | B/G/B/G/AD | b/a/g/f/gG | Bd2 ||

COLLIER'S DAUGHTER [1], THE. AKA - "Collyer's Daughter (The)," "Collier has a Daughter (The)." AKA and see "Collier's Lass (The)," "Collier's Bonnie Lassie (The)," "Duke of Rutland's Delight (The)," "Nine Pint Coggie (1) (The)." Scottish; Air and Scotch Measure (cut time), Country Dance Tune and Air (2/2 time) or Strathspey. G Dorian/G Mixolydian. Standard tuning (fiddle). ABB (Sharp): AABB (most versions). Country dance versions of the very popular "The Collier's Daughter" were printed by Henry Playford in Original Scotch Tunes (1700) and his successor, John Young, in The Second Volume of the Dancing Master, 3rd and 4th edtions of the 1720's. Dancing master Daniel Wright included it in his Extraordinary Collection of Pleasant and Merry Humours (London, 1715), and London publisher John Walsh also printed the tune and country dance in his Second Book of the Compleat Dancing Master (1719, although Graham Christian points out that Walsh printed a "rather different dance" to the tune in his later works). Dublin publishers John and William Neal also printed the tune (with different ance figures) in their 1726 collection.

Early song versions appear as the vehicle for songs in Allan Ramsay's Tea Table Miscellay(1719-20), John Watt's Musical Misclellany, vol. 2 (London, 1729, pp. 33-35), and William Thomson's Orpheus Caledonius (London, 1725). Reworkings of the song can be found in the second edition of Ramsay's Tea Table Miscellany (1724-27), Johnson's The Scots Musical Museum, and Allan Cunningham's Songs of Scotland (1825), as "Collier's Lass," "Collier's Daughter" and "The Collier's Bonnie Lassie." Cunningham's version of the old lyric (Ramsay's original words) begins:

The Collier has a daughter,
She's black, but O she's bonnie;
A laird he was that loved her,
Rich both in lands and money.
I'm o'er young to wed the laird,
And o'er black to be a lady;
But I will hae a collier lad,
The colour o' my daddie.

The melody was used concurrently for country dancing, first making an appearance in print in Henry Playford's Original Scotch Tunes (London, 1700) as Collier's Lass (The) <div class="mw-ext-score" data-midi="/w/images/lilypond/p/a/pa0xfuz259y76vfr010y8dlbklmiqrb/pa0xfuz2.midi"><img src="/w/images/lilypond/p/a/pa0xfuz259y76vfr010y8dlbklmiqrb/pa0xfuz2.png" width="418" height="52" alt=" X:1 M:C| L:1/8 K:G g2|B3A G2G2|G4 D4|_F4 F4|A2c4 dc| "/></div> A variant air with the "Collier's Lass" title was published by John Walsh in his Compleat Country Dancing Master (1719), and by John Young in the Second Volume of the Dancing Master, editions of 1718 and 1728, all with the alternate title of "Duke of Rutland's Delight (The)" (this version also appears in Northumbrian musician William Vickers' 1770 music manuscript collection). Christian (2015) believes the alternate title references John Manners (1638-1711), created Duke of Rutland and Marquess of Granby in 1703, a staunch ally of the Whigs. Other early instrumental versions of Playford's 1700 tune can be found in the Margaret Sinkler (1710) and Patrick Cuming (1723-4) manuscripts, albeit set in a major key. This major-key version developed in the popular Nine Pint Coggie (1) (The) <div class="mw-ext-score" data-midi="/w/images/lilypond/n/m/nmqnrdipf8hl6ocfu8uo4eanmt5m9np/nmqnrdip.midi"><img src="/w/images/lilypond/n/m/nmqnrdipf8hl6ocfu8uo4eanmt5m9np/nmqnrdip.png" width="697" height="74" alt=" X:1 M:C| L:1/8 K:G g|S B>G G/G/G ~G2 D>E|~=F2 cF A(cc)d|{c}B>G G/G/G ~G2 D>E|{F}G2 (.gd) Bdd:| "/></div> As with many song airs of the time, the second strain, is basically a reworking of the first strain in a different octave, with incidental parts combined. Later instrumental versions were printed by James Gillespie (Gillespie Manuscript of Perth, 1768, p. 38), and, as a strathspey, in Neil Stewart's 1761 collection (p. 43),

The lot of the collier and his family in the British Isles before the 19th century was dire. Lord Henry Cockburn (1779-1854), writing in his Memorials of His Time (published posthumously in 1856), gives an idea of how desperate were their conditions in Scotland, and how slowly did change occur:

...there are few people who now know that so recently as 1799 there were slaves in this country. Twenty-five years before, that is, in 1775, there must have been thousands of them; for this was then the conditions of all our colliers and salters. They were literally slaves. They could not be killed nor directly tortured; but they belonged, like the serfs of an older time, to their respective works, with which they were sold as a part of the gearing. With a few very rigid exceptions, the condition of the head of the family was the condition of the whole house. For though a child, if never entered with the work, was free, yet entering was its natural and almost certain destination; for its doing so was valuable to the father, and its getting into any other employment in the neighbourhood was resisted by the owner. So that wives, daughters and sons went on from generation to generation under the system which was the family doom. Of course it was the interest of a wise master to use them well, as it was to use his other cattle well. But, as usual, the human animal had the worst of it. It had rights, and could provoke by alluding to them. It could alarm and mutiny. It could not be slain, but it had no protection against fits of tyranny or anger. We do not now know much of their exact personal of domestic condition. But we know what their work makes them, even when they are free, and within the jealous benevolence of a softer age. We know that they formed a separate and avoided tribe, as to a great extent they still do, with a language and habits of their own. And we know what slavery even in its best form is, and does. The completeness of their degradation is disclosed by one public fact. The statue passed in 1701, which has been extolled as the Scotch Habeas Corpus Act, proceeds on the preamble that "Our Soverign Lord, considering it is the interest of all his good subjects that the liberty of their persons be duly secured." Yet, while introducing regulations against "wrongous imprisonment, and undue delays in trials," the statute contains these words-"And sicklike it is hereby provided and declared that this present act is noways to be extended to colliers or salters." That is, being slaves, they had no personal liberty to protect.

These facts enable us to understand the hereditary blackguardism, which formed the secondary nature of these fixed underground gipsies, and the mysterious horror with which they were regarded, and which, in a certain degree, attaches to all subterranean labours.

The first link of their chain was broken in 1775, by the 15th act of George III. It sets out on the preamble that "many colliers and salters are in a state of slavery and bondage." It emancipates future ones entirely, that is, those who after the 1st of July, 1775, "shall begin to work as colliers and salters." But the existing ones were only liberated gradually; those under 21 in 7 years; those between 21 and 35 in 10 years. The liberation of the father was declared to liberate his family. And the freed were put under the act 1701. But this measure, though effective in checking new slavery, was made very nearly useless in its application to the existing slaves by one of its conditions. Instead of becoming free by mere lapse of time, no slave obtained his liberty unless he instituted a legal proceeding in the Sheriff Court, and incurred all the cost, delay, and trouble of a lawsuit; his variable system of masters always having their workmen in debt. The result was that, in general, the existing slave was only liberated by death.

But this last link was broken in June 1799 by the 39th George III, which enacted that from and after its date "all the colliers in Scotland who were bound colliers at the passing of the 15th George III shall be free of their servitude." This annihilated the relic.

Those two statutes seem to have been neither the effect nor the cause of any public excitement. I do not see either of them even mentioned in the Scots Magazine. People cared nothing about colliers on their own account, and the taste for improving the lower orders had not then begun to dawn. (pp. 70-72)

Additional notes

Source for notated version: - Winston Fitzgerald (1914-1987, Cape Breton) [Cranford].

Printed sources : - Barnes (English Country Dance Tunes), 1986. Christian (The Playford Assembly), 2015; p. 19. Cranford (Winston Fitzgerald), 1997; No. 160, p. 63. Glen (The Glen Collection of Scottish Dance Music, vol. 1), 1891; p. 7. D. Johnson (Scottish Fiddle Music in the 18th Century), 1984; No. 12, p. 27. S. Johnson (A Twenty Year Anniversary Collection), 2003; p. 43. Oswald (Caledonian Pocket Companion, Book V), 1760; p. 17. Sharp (Country Dance Tunes), 1909; p. 47. Walsh (Caledonian Country Dances), c. 1745; p. 82.

Recorded sources: - Fellside Recordings FECD276, Vic Gammon & Friends - "Early Scottish Ragtime" (2016).

See also listings at:
Alan Snyder's Cape Breton Fiddle Recording Index [1]
Jane Keefer's Folk Music Index: An Index to Recorded Sources [2].
Mudcat [3]

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