Love is the cause of my mourning

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LOVE IS THE CAUSE OF MY MOURNING. Scottish, Air (3/4 time). G Major (Playford): E Flat Major (Manson): G Major (Oswald). Standard tuning (fiddle). AB (Manson, Playford): AABB (McGibbon, Oswald). The song and tune date to before first decades of the 18th century, and was entered into the 1694-95 music manuscript collection of Northumbrian musician Henry Atkinson. Published versions can be found in Henry Playford's A Collection of Original Scotch Tunes (1700), Allan Ramsay's Tea Table Miscellany (1720, pp. 17-18), Alexander Stuart's Musick for Allan Ramsey's Collection of Scots Songs (1724), William Thomson's Orpheus Caledonius, vol. 1 (2nd Edition, 1733), and John Watt's The Musical Miscellany, vol. 3 (1730). [1]. The melody was the vehicle for a song in Mitchell's ballad opera The Highland Fair, or the Union of the Clans (1731). The song continued to be published in song collections throughout the century, such as John Simpson's Calliope, or English Harmony (1746), James Oswald's Caledonian Pocket Companion (1760), and David Sime's Edinburgh Musical Miscellany (1793). The lyric (criticized as having "had far more vitality than merit") begins:

By a murmuring stream a fair shepherdess lay,
Be so kind, O ye nymphs, I oft heard her say,
Tell Strephon I die if he passes this way,
And that love is the cause of my mourning.

False shepherds, that tell me of beauty and charms,
You deceive me for Strephon's cold heard never warms;
Yet bring me the swain, let me die in his arms,
Oh! Strephon's the cause of my mouring.

Robert Burns and Allan Cunningham's The Works of Robert Burns (1840, p. 549) gives that the words are by "a Mr. R. Scott, from the town or neighbourhood of Biggar." The melody was entered into the large 1840 music manuscript collection of multi-instrumentalist John Rook, of Waverton, near Wigton, Cumbria.

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Manson (Hamilton's Universal Tune Book, vol. 1), 1853; p. 165. McGibbon (Scots Tunes, book III), c. 1750; pp. 64-65. James Oswald (Caledonian Pocket Companion, vol. 1), 1760; p. 27. Playford (A Collection of Original Scotch Tunes), 1700; No. 23, p. 10.

Recorded sources:




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