Annotation:If e'er ye do well it's a wonder

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X:1 T:If e’er you do well it's a Wonder M:3/4 L:1/8 R:Air B:James Oswald – Caledonian Pocket Companion, vol. 1 (1760, p. 27) Z:AK/Fiddler’s Companion K:D F>E|D2F2 (A>B)|A4 (3Bcd|(A2B2)d2|Te4 (d>e)|f2D2F2| A3 BAG|TF6|d4::(d>e)|f2 {a}gf{f}ed|Te4 (3def|(A2B2)d2| e4 (de)|fd(gf)(ed)|A3 BAG|TF6|d4 (de)|(fd)(gf)(ed)| Te4 (3def|(A2B2)d2|Te4 (de)||f2D2F2|A3 BAG|TF6|d4||

IF E'ER YE DO WELL IT'S A WONDER. AKA and see "How blest was the hour." Scottish, Slow Air (3/4 time). D Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. The air and song were originally published by cellist-composer James Oswald (1710 – 1769) and appear in his Curious Collection of Scots Tunes (1740), dedicated to the Duke of Perth. John Glen (Early Scottish Melodies {1900}) suggests "If e'er ye do well its a wonder" "probably may refer to another song than the one in the [Scots Musical] Museum vol. 4 (Song 332), which is taken from the fourth volume of [Allen] Ramsay's Tea Table Miscellany (c. 1720-21)." Glen declines to record which song he might have been referring to, if not Ramsay's. The melody in the Museum is the same as Oswald's, and the words begin:

When I was a young lad
My fortune was bad if e'er I do well 'tis a wonder;
I spent all my means
On whores, bawds, and queans;
Then I got a commission to plunder.
I spent all my means
On whores, bawds, and queans;
Then I got a commission to plunder.[1]

The protagonist obtains a Letter of Marque from the Crown, essentially allowing him to engage in legalized piracy.

A later derivation of the song is the drinking song "All for Me Grog." Classical composer wikipedia:Franz_Joseph_Haydn arranged a setting of this air.

Additional notes

Printed sources : - McGibbon (Scots Tunes, Book 1), c. 1762; p. 27. James Oswald (Caledonian Pocket Companion, vol. 1), 1760; p. 27.

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  1. Alan Ramsay did not repeat the last lines of the words for a refrain, as did Johnson. Instead Ramsay directed the refrain be sung "Fall all de rall &c."