Merry May the Maid Be

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MERRY MAY THE MAID BE. AKA and see "Miller (The)," "My Wife has Taken the Gee." Scottish, Air (4/4 time). F Major (Johnson): G Major (Aird, O'Farrell). Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. "Merry May the Maid Be" is a song in William Creech's William and Mary (1780). Under the title "Miller (The)," the song appears in James Johnson's Scots Musical Museum, vol. 2 (Edinburgh, 1788, No. 123, p. 129). Composer Franz Joseph Haydn arranged a setting of the song. The lyric begins:

O Merry may the maid be
That marries with the miller,
For foul day and fair day
He's ay bringing till her.
Has ay a penny in his purse,
For dinner and for supper:
And gin he please, a good fat cheese,
And lumps of yellow butter.

John Glen (Early Scottish Melodies, 1900) thought the tune original with the Museum, but William Stenhouse (in notes to the 1853 edition of Johnson's work) thought much of the song to have been based on an older song by Sir John Clerk (1680-1755) of Pennycuik, published in 1751 (Sir John was a trained musician and composer who had received three lessons a week in violin and composition from Corelli in Rome, fro Sept., 1797, and Dec., 1698).

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Aird (Sixth and Last Volume of Scotch, English, Irish and Foreign Airs), 1803; No. 128, p. 51. O'Farrell (Pocket Companion, vol. IV), 1810; p. 87.

Recorded sources:




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