Day Dawes (4) (The)
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DAY DAWS , THE. English, Scottish. One of the earliest dance melodies mentioned in old accounts. Emmerson (1971) relates it was mentioned in the early 16th century by William Dunbar in Satire on Edinburgh as one of the tunes of the the 'common minstrelis' of that town. Somewhat later Gavin Douglas described minstrels welcoming a June morning with "The joly day now dawis'. Chappell has found English verses on the theme in the Fayrfax MS, while it was often included in early anthologies of old Scots poetry (including "elegant" verses by Alexander Mongomerie *c, 1556-1610). Emmerson (1972) finds mention of it in a poem by Robert Sempill of Beltrees, Renfrewshire (1595-1668), called "The Elegy of Habbie Simpson Piper of Kilbarchan," which goes, in part:
Now who shall play The Day it Daws,
Or Hunts up when the Cock he craws?
Or who can for our kirk-woen cause
Stand us in stead?
On bagpipes now nobody blaws
Sin' Habbie's dead.
The song did not survive the Reformation, possibly, suggests Emmerson, because the subject matter elaborated on the ancient custom of the lovers' night visit. The music did not survive intact either, and was lost from memory by the 18th century. Why this is so is curious, since it appears to have been a commonly known and well-established tune, a type of reville played by town pipers for several centuries. Believing it unlikely the tune disappeared forever Stenhouse suggested that the missing tune was in fact the melody called "Hey Tuttie Taiti," or "Scots wha hae" (from Burns's lyric).
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