Highland King

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HIGHLAND KING. Scottish, Air (whole time). G Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. The air was turned into a song called "Ye muses nine, O lend your aid," printed in the Scots Nightingale (2nd edition, 1779). Stenhouse noted the song was printed on song sheets, "and did not appear in any regular collection until the publication of Wilson's St. Cecilia at Edinburgh in 1779. The lyric (as "Highland King") was printed in The Gold-finch; a Choice Collection of the Most Celebrated Songs, Scots and English (1777, p. 102), and begins:

Ye Muses nine, O lend your aid,
Inspire a tender bashful maid,
That's lately yielded up her heart,
A conquest to Love's pow'rful dart;
And now would fain attempt to sing,
The praises of my Highland King.

The same song, entitled "Highland King," appears with a companion lyric, "Highland Queen," in Johnson's Scots Musical Museum, vol. 1 (1787, No. 1, p. 1), set to the same tune, albeit a different one from Oswald's. The melody in the Museum, along with the "Highland Queen" lyric, was attributed to a ship's purser (on the man-of-war Solebay) named 'Mr. McVicar' by Robert Burns' friend and informant, Dr. Thomas Blacklock (1721-91). However the words to the "Highland King" were intended to be a parody of McVicar's lyric, and (according to Robert Burns) were the production of a young lady, friend to the aforementioned Charles Wilson, who printed them in Cecilia (1779).

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Oswald (Caledonian Pocket Companion, Book 11), c. 1760; p. 130.

Recorded sources:




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