Lass Gin Ye Lo'e Me Tell Me Now

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LASS GIN YE LOE ME TELL ME NOW. AKA - "Lass an ye loe me, tell me now." Scottish, Air and Jig (6/8 time). D Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. The melody was a popular vehicle for songs in Scotland, including "Will ye na can ye na let me be" (The Merry Muses of Caledonia) and James Tytler's (1747-185) "I ha'e laid three herrin' in sa't" (Scots Musical Museum), in addition to the title song "Lass gin ye lo'e me, tell me now" (Scots Musical Museum). Tytler's song begins:

I hae laid a herring in saut,
Lass, gin ye lo'e me, tell me now,
I hae brew'd a forpit o' maut,
An' I canna come ilka day to woo.
I hae a calf that will soon be a cow,
Lass, gin ye lo'e me, tell me now,
I hae a stook, and I'll soon hae a mowe,
An' I canna come ilka day to woo.

Inspired by this song, James Hogg [1] (1770-1835), the Ettrick Shepherd, penned this version (titled "Lass, an' ye lo'e me, tell me now"):

Afore the muircock begin to craw,
Lass, an' ye lo'e me, tell me now,
The bonniest thing that ever ye saw,
For I canna come every night to woo."
The gouden broom is bonny to see,
An' sae is the milk-white flower o' the haw,
The daisy's wee freenge is sweet on the lea,
But the bud of the rose is the bonniest of a'.

However, the original song appears to have been English in origin, first printed in Melismata, Musical Phansies Fitting the Court, Citie, and Countree. To 3, 4, and 5 Voyces (London), printed by William Stansby, for Thomas Adams, 1611. It appears under the title "Wooing Song of a Yeoman of Kent's Sonne" and is in the Kentish dialect:

Ich have house and land in Kent,
And if you'll love me, love me now;
Two-pence half-penny is my rent, -
Ich cannot come every day to woo.
Chorus.
Two-pence half-penny is his rent,
And he cannot come every day to woo.

In America the melody appears in print in William Williams' New and Complete Preceptor for the Fife (Utica, 1826) and Benjamin Carr's Caledonian Muse (Philadelphia, 1798). It was included in several fiddlers' manuscripts on both sides of the Atlantic; not surprisingly, in John Fife's Perthshire, Scotland, copybook dated 1780-1804, flute player Thomas Molyneaux's copybook of 1788 (Nova Scotia), and Daniel Henry Huntington's flute manuscript (Onondaga, New York, 1817).

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Aird (Selections of Scotch, English, Irish and Foreign Airs, vol. II), c. 1785; No. 10, p. 4. Davie (Davie's Caledonian Repository), Aberdeen, 1829-30; p. 13. William Gunn (The Caledonian Repository of Music Adapted for the Bagpipes), Glasgow, 1848; p. 110. Johnson (Scots Musical Museum, vol. 3), 1790; p. 253. Mattson & Walz (Old Fort Snelling... Fife), 1974; p. 70.

Recorded sources:




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