Annotation:Love is the cause of my mourning

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X:1 T:Love is the cause of my Mourning M:3/4 L:1/8 B:Henry Playford - A Collection of Original Scotch-Tunes, (Full of the B:Highland Humours) for the violin (London, 1700, No. 24, pp. 10-11) N:"Most of them being in the Compass of the Flute." Z:AK/FIddler's Companion K:F C2|FG A2A2| Ac GA F2|fg (g/f/g) a2|A4c2| d2 fd cA|c2 dc AF|(ag) (fd) (cA)|G4 (FD)| FG A2A2|Ac GA F2|fg g/f/g a2|A4 f2| A2 (c/A/c) GF|G2F2G2|c2 A2 Ac|A4|| F2|f3g (f/g/a)|f3d c2|G2 cd fc|df dc A2| c2 Ac df|Ac GA F2|(ag) (fd) (cA)|G4 FD| FG A2A2|Ac AG AF|Fg (g/f/g) a2|A4f2| A2 cA GF|G2 F2 GA|c2 A2 Ac|A6||

LOVE IS THE CAUSE OF MY MOURNING. Scottish, Air (3/4 time). G Major (Playford): D Major (Stuart): E Flat Major (Manson): G Major (Oswald). Standard tuning (fiddle). One part (Stuart): AB (Manson, Playford): AABB (McGibbon, Oswald). The song and tune date before the first decades of the 18th century, and a precursor, "The Forlorn Lover" was printed on broadsheets in the reign of James II with the sub-title:

How a lass gave her lover three slips for a Teaster,
And married another a week before Easter
To a pleasant new tune.[1]

An instrumental version of "Love is the cause of my mourning" 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.

David Herd's (1732–1810) version[2], which Gilchrist and White call "an amalgamation of the classical and folk versions", begins:

Beneath a green willow's sad ominous shade,
A simple sweet youth extended was laid;
They asked what ailed him, when sighing he said,
O, love is the cause of my mourning.

Long loved I a lady, gentle and gay,
And though myself loved for many a day;
But now she is married, is married away,
And love is the cause of my mourning.

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.

Additional notes

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. Alexander Stuart (Musick for Allan Ramsay’s Collection), Edinburgh, c. 1724; pp. 32-35.

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  1. Anne Gilchrist & E.A. White, "Ancient Orkney Melodies", Journal of the English Folk Dance and Song Society, vol. 3, No. 4, Dec. 1939, p. 242. The authors point out that perhaps a week 'after' Easter was meant, as marriages in the 17th century were prohibited between the beginning of Lent and the Sunday after Easter.
  2. David Herd, Ancient and Modern Scottish Songs, Heroic Ballads, etc., Edinburgh, 1776.