Loudon's Bonnie Woods
X:1 T:Loudon's Bonnie Woods & Braes M:C L:1/8 R:Pipe Strathspey B:William Ross - Ross's Collection of Pipe Music (1869, No. 171, p. 118) Z:AK/Fiddler's Companion K:Amix A<A A2 B/c/d e2|d>Bc>A c<eB>G|A<A A2 B/c/d e2| c>ag/f/e g2 a2:|c<ea>e g>ef>d|c<eg>A c<eB>G| c>ea>e g>ef>d|c>ag/f/e g2 a2|c<ea>e g>ef>d| c<eg>A c<eB>G|A<A A2 B/c/d e2|c>ag/f/e g2 a2||
LOUDON'S/LOUDEN'S BONNY WOODS (AND BRAES). AKA and see "Boys of Knock (The)," "Bundoran Highland (The)," "Earl of Moira's Welcome to Scotland (The)," "Highland a' Choille," "Lord Moira's Highland Fling," "Lord Moira," "Lord Moira's Welcome to Scotland," "Little Ark," "Marquis of Hastings (The)," "Old Highland Fling (The)." Scottish; Strathspey or Highland Schottische (whole time). G Major (Kennedy, Kerr, Raven): D Major (Martin, Neil): A Mixoldyian (Ross). Standard tuning (fiddle). One part (Neil): AB (Kerr): AABB (Martin): AABB' (Kennedy, Raven, Ross). The title comes from poet Robert Tannahill's (1774-1810) work, however, the tune was originally "Earl of Moira's Welcome to Scotland (The)" by Duncan MacIntyre, a Scots dancing master in London at the end of the 18th century. Little is known of him, save that the later spent some years in India, presumably at the same time as Earl Moira (who was Governor-General there in 1816), to whom the tune is dedicated. Tannahill's words begin:
O, resume thy wanted smile.
O, supress thy fears, lassie,
Glorious honour crowns the toil, That the soldier shares lassie.
Heaven will shield thy faithful lover,
Till the vengeful strife is over;
Then we'll meet nae mair to sever,
Till the day we dee, lassie.
'Midst our bonnie woods and braes
We'll spend our peaceful, happy days,
As blythe yon lightsome lamb that plays
On Loudon's flow'ry lea, lassie.
"They are thought to commemorate the parting of the Earl of Moira from his young wife [Flora Muir Campbell], the Countess of Loudon, on his departure on foreign service" (Neil, 1991). Moira's seat was Loudon Castle in Ayrshire (see note for "Loudoun Castle"), and he and Flora were married in 1804, the year construction of the manor began. Moira was then commander in chief of the forces in Scotland, and preparations were being made for the troops to go overseas. The song is supposed to depict the parting of a soldier and his young bride, and was extremely popular throughout the 19th century. The tune has survived as a both a popular fiddle and pipe tune. See also the related melody from the playing of English traditional musician Scan Tester called "Indian Polka." Along with "Jenny's Bawbee" and "Niel Gow's Wife" this tune is part of the medley played by County Donegal fiddler Danny O'Donnell as "Shamrock and Thistle Highlands (The)." It can also be heard in County Donegal as the Highland called "Highland a' Choille." See also the untitled Irish reel in Moylan's Johnny O'Leary of Sliabh Luachra (1994), 4. See note for "Marquis of Hasting's Strathspey (The)" for more. See also the Irish reel variants "Little Ark" and "Boys of Knock (The)." The same basic melody, in jig time, serves as the air of a number of songs, most notably "Over the Water to Charlie" and "Yellow John (1)."