Earl of Glencairn (1)
X:1 T:Earl of Glencairn's , The M:C| L:1/16 R:Strathspey S:McGlashan - Strathspey Reels (c. 1781) Z:AK/Fiddler's Companion K:Emin A2|GE3 E3D G3EE3F|G2E2D2B,2 D4 D3E|GE3 E3D G3EE3F| G3AB3G E4 E3F|G3AB3d B3A GA3|B3AG2B,2 D4 D3E| DE3 G3A B3A G2e2|dB3 A3G E4 E2:||f2|ge3 e3d g3ee2f2| g3ed3B d4 d3e|ge3 e3d g2e2e3f|g3ab2g2 e4 e3f| g3ab2b2 b3ag2a2|b3ag2B2 d4 d3e|d3eg3a b3ag2b2| a2e2g3d e4 d3f|g2e2e3d g2e2e3f|g2b2d3B d4 d2e2| g2e2e3d g2e2e2f2|g3ab2g2 e4 d3f|g3ab3d' b3ag2a2| b3ag2B2 d4 d2e2|d3eg3a b3ag2g'2| d'b3 a3g e4 d2||
EARL OF GLENCAIRN . AKA and see "Black Watch's Farewell (The)," "Sir James Colquhoun," "Tam o' Shanter (2)." Scottish, Strathspey. E Minor. Standard tuning (fiddle). AAB. Glen (1891) finds the earliest appearance of this tune in print in Alexander McGlashan's 1781 (1786?) collection; in Glen's time it was known as "Black Watch's Farewell (The)." The tune honors James, the 14th Earl of Glencairn, a member of the illustrious Cunningham of Kilmaurs family, descended from a Flemish nobleman granted lands in Ayrshire in Norman times who became Earls in the mid-15th century in the reign of King James III of Scotland. James, who lived in Edinburgh, was active in Parliament and a man of considerable influence, although he never married. When the Scots national poet Robert Burns moved to Edinburgh, James become his principle patron and introduced him to many opportunties. Burns acknowleged the debt, and wrote of him: "The noble Earl of Glencairn, to whom I owe more than any man of earth, does me the nonor of giving me his strictures; his hints, with respect to impropriety or indelicacy, I follow implicitly." This bespeaks a skillful handling of the relationship, for Burns could be notoriously sensitive. When the subscription of Burns's Poems was taken, Glencairn and his mother took 24 copies, and, due to his influence, the entire Caledonian Hunt also subscribed, taking a total of 100 copies. When James died after returning from a trip to Lisbon (where he had gone to revive his failing health), Burns in 1791 penned a lament for him that begins:
The wind blew hollow frae the hills,
By fits the sun's departing beam
Look'd on the fading yellow woods,
That wav'd o'er Lugar's winding stream:
Beneath a craigy steep, a Bard,
Laden with years and meikle pain,
In loud lament bewail'd his lord,
Whom Death had all untimely ta'en.
James was succeded to the Earldom by John Cunningham, who became the 15th Earl. When he died in 1796 leaving no heirs the Earldom became dormant.
The tune was published by Boston music publisher Elias Howe in his Musician's Omnibus Nos. 6 & 7 (1880-1882) under the title "Tam o' Shanter (2)."