Lass of Patie's Mill (The)

Find traditional instrumental music
Jump to: navigation, search

Back to Lass of Patie's Mill (The)[edit]


LASS OF PATIE'S MILL, THE. AKA and see "Carolan's Cap (1)," "Peggy's Mill," "I Like the Fox Shall Grieve." English, Scottish; Air and Country Dance Tune (2/4 time). D Major (most versions): C Major (Howe). Standard tuning (fiddle). AB (Howe): ABB: AABB (Davie, Huntington, Johnson/2003, Sweet): ABCD (O'Farrell): AABBCCDDEEFFGG (McGibbon). A "highly popular" "enduring favourite" song air in the 18th and early 19th century, and indeed, it can be found in a variety of older publications throughout Britain and Ireland. Many sources attribute the song to Allan Ramsay, a Scot, who mentioned his own song in his ballad opera The Gentle Shepherd published (though not performed) in 1725, but who published the song in his Tea-Table Miscellany (1724–27). According to poet Robert Burns:

The Lass o' Patie's Mill is one of Ramsay's best songs. In Sir J. Sinclair's statistical volumes are two claims, one, I think, from Aberdeenshire, and one from Ayrshire, for the honour of this song. The following anecdote, which I had from the present Sir William Cunningham of Robertland, who had it of the late John Earl of Loudon, I can, on such authorities, believe: Alan Ramsay was residing at Loudon Castle with the then earl, father to Earl John; and one afternoon, riding or walking out together, his lordship and Allan passed a sweet romantic spot on Irwine water, still called Patie's Mill, where a bonnie lassie was tedding hay bare-headed on the green. My lord observed to Allan that it would be a fine theme for a song. Ramsay took the hint, and lingering behind he composed the first sketch for it, which he produced at dinner.

The song was heard parodied a few years later in John Gay's 1729 Beggar's Opera (under the title "I like the fox shall grieve"). "The Lass of Patie's Mill" also appears in Robert Bremner's 1770 Thirty Scots Songs (p. 6), Thomson's Orpheus Caledonius editions of 1725 (No. 1) and 1733 (vol. 1, p. 1.), the Gillespie Manuscript of Perth (1768), McGibbon's Collection of Scots Tunes editions c. 1768 (p. 24) and c. 1795 (vol. 1, p. 11), Parry's 1761 Collection of Welsh, English, and Scotch Airs (p. 33), and in David Young's 1740 MacFarlane MS., vol. 2, No. 12 (as a "not completely successful" variation sonata, air-jig-gavotta, according to Johnson {1983}).

The lass o' Patie's mill,
Sae bonnie, blythe and gay,
In spite of a' my skill,
She stole my heart away.
When teddin' o' the hay,
Bare-headed on the green,
Love 'midst her locks did play,
And wanton'd in her een.

The song was also mentioned in Allan Ramsay's ballad opera The Gentle Shepherd (1725, just before "Sang X"):

Jenny sings saft the "Broom o' Cowden-Knowes",
An' Rosie lilts the "Milking of the Ewes";
There's nane like Nancy, "Jenny Nettles" sings;
At turns in "Maggy Lauder", Marion dings:
But when my Peggy sings, wi' sweeter skill,
"The Boatman", or the "Lass o' Patie's Mill",
It is a thousand times mair sweet to me;
Tho' they sing weel, they canna sing like thee.

Thomson credits the tune to David Rizzio in the first edition of his Orpheus Caledonius (1725). Rizzio was secretary to Queen Mary and an accomplished lutenist and singer, but it is generally adjudged doubtful he composed this or any of the other melodies Thomson ascribed to him, and, indeed, Thomson removed the ascription in later editions of his work. Rizzio himself became embroiled in the politics of the era and was murdered at Holyrood Palace in 1566 by those jealous of his perceived influence with the Queen. Usually rendered as a "(fairly) slow air" (according to Barry Callaghan), the melody appears in the music manuscript collections of poet/fiddler John Clare (Helpston, Northants, c. 1820) and Rev. Robert Harrison (Brampton, Cumbria, 1820). A strain similar to the first part of 'Paties' can be found in the tunes "Gie the Lasses Mair O't," "Lass that Winna Sit Down (The)," "Captain's Maggot (The)," "Lady Dumfries' Reel," "Weel May the Boatie Row," "Highlander's Farewell (3) (The)," and a Pennsylvania collected march (Bayard, 1981; No. 289, p. 242). Under the title "Carolan's Cap (1)" the tune was adapted, re-titled and attributed to the Irish harper Turlough O'Carolan (1670–1734). In America the melody appears in the music manuscript copybook of Henry Livingston, Jr. Livingston purchased the estate of Locust Grove, Poughkeepsie, New York, in 1771 at the age of 23. In 1775 he was a Major in the 3rd New York Regiment, which participated in Montgomery's invasion of Canada in a failed attempt to wrest Montreal from British control. An important land-owner in the Hudson Valley, and a member of the powerful Livingston family, Henry was also a surveyor and real estate speculator, an illustrator and map-maker, and a Justice of the Peace for Dutchess County. He was also a poet and musician, and presumably a dancer, as he was elected a Manager for the New York Assembly's dancing season of 1774–1775, along with his 3rd cousin, John Jay, later U.S. Chief Justice of Governor of New York.

Source for notated version: Dr. John Turner, director of the Jink and Diddle School of Scottish Fiddling, held each July in Valle Crucis, North Carolina; from his Fiddletree Manuscript (1978) [Johnson/2003].

Printed sources: Callaghan (Hardcore English), 2007; p. 41. Corri (A New and Complete Collection of the Most Favourite Scots Songs), c. 1783; p. 11. Crosby (Caledonian Musical Repository), 1811; p. 264. Davie (Davies Caledonian Repository), Aberdeen, 1829-30; p. 10. Gow (Vocal Melodies of Scotland), 1822; p. 31. Henry Beck's Flute Book, c. 1786–1790 (manuscript); p. 139. Howe (Musician's Omnibus, No. 2). Howe (1000 Jigs and Reels), c. 1867; p. 141. Huntington (William Litten's Fiddle Tunes, 1800–1802), 1977; p. 42. Johnson (Our Familiar Songs), 1881; pp. 385–386. Johnson (Scots Musical Museum, vol. 1), 1787; No. 20, p. 21. Johnson (Kitchen Musician No. 20: A Twenty Year Anniversary Collection), 2003; p. 1. Kerr (Merry Melodies, vol. 1), No. 7, p. 21. McGlashan (Collection of Scots Measures), c. 1780; p. 12. McGibbon (Collection of Scots Tunes, vol. 1), c. 1762; pp. 24–25. Napier (Scots Songs, vol. 1), c. 1790; p. 19. O'Farrell (Collection of National Irish Music for the Union Pipes), 1804; pg. 47 (includes variations). O'Farrell (Pocket Companion, vol. 2), c. 1806; p. 108 (appears as "Lass of Pattys Mill"). Oswald (Caledonian Pocket Companion, vol. 2), 1760; pp. 14–15. Raven (English Country Dance Tunes), 1986; p. 62. Ritson (Scottish Songs, vol. 1), 1794; No. 8, pp. 18–20. Ritson (Scottish Songs, vol. 1), 1869; No. 8, p. 129. Sime (The Edinburgh Musical Miscellany), pp. 96–97. Smith (Scottish Minstrel, vol. 3), c. 1821; p. 29. Sweet (Fifer's Delight), 1964/1981; p. 56. Thomson (Orpheus Caledonius); p. 1. Thumoth (12 Scotch and 12 Irish Airs), London, 1742; No. 5, pp. 10–11. Daniel Wright (Aria di Camera), London, 1727; No. 31.

Recorded sources: Beltona BL2128 (78 RPM), The Edinburgh Highland Reel and Strathspey Society (1936). Topic 12TS442, Brass Monkey – "See How it Runs" (1986).

See also listing at:
Jane Keefer's Folk Music Index: An Index to Recorded Sources [1]
See a standard notation transcription of David Young's version in his MacFarlane Manuscript (c. 1740) [2]




Back to Lass of Patie's Mill (The)[edit]