King of France (The)

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KING OF FRANCE, THE. AKA and see "Lady Doll Sinclair," "Lady Doll Sinclair's Reel," "Lady Doll St. Clair's Reel," "Lees of Luncarty (The)." Scottish, Air (2/4 time). G Mixolydian. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABBCCDD. John Glen (1891) recorded that the earliest printing of the tune under this title was in Joshua Campbell's 1778 collection (p. 73), however it earlier appeared in James Oswald's Caledonian Pocket Companion (vol. 8, 1760, p. 26) as "The King of France He Run a Race", described in The Songs of Robert Burns as "an unintelligible Jacobite song". Burns used the melody for his song "Amang the trees, where humming bees." The 'unintelligible song goes:

The King o' France, he made a race,
Out o'er the hills o' Seiry, O;
His eldest son has followed him,
Upon a good grey meary, O;
He was sae bauld, he was saw stout,
That nae man durst come neary, O,
And a' the Whigs ran o'er the rigs,
And braggit o' his weiry, O.

But there cam a fiddler out o' Fife,
A blink beyond Balwearie, O,
And he has coft a gully knife,
To gie the Whigs a bleary O,
This fiddler cam wi' sword and lance,
And a' his links o' leary, O,
To learn the Whigs a morice dance,
That they lov'd wondrous deary, O.

Now he has danced the lads frae hame,
Out o'er the hills o' Seiry, O,
And may the deil ride after them,
Upon his good grey meary, O.
They grew sae bauld, and stout and strife,
That nae man durst come neary, O,
Until this fiddler cam frae Fife,
And bang'd them wi' his geary O.

Under the alternate "Doll Sinclair" titles it was printed in David Rutherford's Twenty Four Country Dances for the Year 1758 and Robert Bremner's Scots Reels vol. 1. Northumbrian musician William Vickers entered the melody in his manuscript collection as "Wedding in the West," and Matt Seattle finds further alternate titles as "Lees of Luncartie," "Lees of Luncarty (The)," "There was a wedding in the west," and "When you go to the hill take your gun."

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Oswald (Caledonian Pocket Companion, Book 8), 1760; p. 26.

Recorded sources:




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