Had I the Wyte

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HAD I THE WYTE/WIGHT. AKA - "Had I the Wate she bade me." AKA and see "Come Kiss wi' me, come clap wi' me'," "Come Kiss with Me," "Kail and Knockit Corn," "Bob of Fettercairn (The)," "Newburn Lads" (Northumberland). Scottish, Reel (whole time). G Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABBCC. The title is Scottish and appears in James Oswald's Caledonian Pocket Companion, Book 7 (Edinburgh, 1760). Wyte is to 'blame'. A song to the air, also called "Had I the Wyte She Bad Me," was printed in Johnson's Scots Musical Museum, vol. 5 [1] (1797, pp. 427-428), adapted by poet Robert Burns from an older folk song. Burns produced another version of the song--a much more bawdy version--for The Merry Muses of Caledonia (1799). As Stenhouse rather elegantly remarks: "This old song partook too freely of the broad humour of the former age to obtain admission into the Museum, until Burns pruned it of some of its luxuriances." This version begins:

Had I the wyte, had I the wyte,
Had I the wyte, she bade me;
She watch'd me by the hie-gate-side,
And up the loan she shaw'd me.
And when I wad na venture in,
A coward loon she ca'd me:
Had Kirk and State been in the gate,
I'd lighted when she bade me.

Sae craftilie she took me ben,
And bade me mak nae clatter;
'For our ramgunshoch, glum Goodman
'Is o'er ayont the water:'
Whae'er shall say I wanted grace,
When I did kiss and dawte her,
Let him be planted in my place,
Syne, say, I was the fautor.

The progenitor of the melody was called "Come kiss wi'me, come clap wi' me/Come Kiss with Me," consisting of one strain only (the first), printed in Musick for the Scots Songs in the Tea-Table Miscellany (c. 1725), and Thomson's Orpheus Caledonius (1733). John Glen [Early Scottish Melodies, 1900] notes: "Being a dance tune, however, it probably had the second strain long before Oswald printed it."

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Oswald (Caledonian Pocket Companion, Book 7), 1760; p. 20.

Recorded sources:




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