Annotation:Merry Plowman (The)

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X:1 T:Merry Plowman, The M:2/4 L:1/8 S:Aird - Selection, vol. II (1785) Z:AK/Fiddler's Companion K:G G | Bdde | dBAG | Bdde | d2 G>A | Bdde | dBAG | (B/c/)d e/f/g/e/ | d2 G :| |: e/f/ | (g/f/e/d/) (e/d/c/B/) | cB A(e/f/) | g/f/e/d/ B/c/d/B/ | g2 de/f/ | (g/f/)(e/d/) (e/d/)(c/B/) | gBAc | B/c/d e/f/g/e/ | d2 G :|

MERRY PLOWMAN, THE. AKA and see "Ploughman (The)." English, Scottish; Air, Country Dance Tune or March (2/4 time). G Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. In addition to its appearance in Glasgow publisher James Aird's Selection of Scotch, English, Irish and Foreign Airs, vol. 2 (1785), the melody was published in the Caledonian Pocket Companion (1752, iv. 6, as "The Ploughman"), in Robert Bremner's Scots Reels (1761), the Perth Musical Miscellany (1786, as "Merry Plowman"). In America, the melody was published in Gilfert's Gentleman's Pocket Companion for the German Flute or Violin (New York, 1802), and in the 1782 music manuscript commonplace book of Elisha Belknap (Framingham, Mass.). As "The Merry Ploughman" is was a number in Caw's stage production The Shepherd's Wedding (Edinburgh, 1789). Drum notation appears in a few American musicians' manuscripts c. 1792-1819, indicating it was employed as a march. See also the tune "Sleepy Bodie/Body" in Orpheus Caledonius (1733), is substantially the same melody.

There are a few songs called "The Ploughman/Plowman," with varying degrees of risque or bawdy lyrics, including a song by Robert Burns in Johnson's Scots Musical Museum (1788, No. i6j) and The Merry Muses of Caledonia (1799) adapted from a rustic song in Herd's Scots Songs (1769). Burns' lyric begins:

The ploughman he's a bonnie lad,
His mind is ever true, jo;
His garters knit below the knee,
His bonnet it is blue, jo.
Sing up wi't a', the ploughman lad,
And hey the merry ploughman;
O' a the trades that I do ken,
Commend me to the ploughman.
As wakin' forth upon a day,
I met a jolly ploughman;
I tald him I had lands to plough,
If he wad prove true, man.

Additional notes

Printed sources : - Aird (Selections of Scotch, English, Irish and Foreign Airs, vol. II), 1785; No. 41, p. 15.

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