Merry may the Maid be that Marries the Miller

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MERRY MAY THE MAID BE THAT MARRIES THE MILLER. Scottish, Air (whole time). D Minor. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. The words are from a piece by Sir John Clerk (1676-1755) of Pennicuik, although the first line was much older. The song was first printed in the Charmer in 1751, and later, with a fifth stanza in Clerk's hand, in Herd's Collection of Ancient and Modern Scots Songs. The first two stanzas go:

Merry may the maid be that marries the miller,
For weety day an dry day he's aye bringin' to her;
His aye a penny in his purse for dinner an for supper,
Aye gin she please a good fat cheese an lumps o yellow butter.

When Jamie first did woo wi' me I spear'd what was his callin',
"Fair maid," says he, "O come an see ye're welcome tto my dwellin."
Though I wis shy yet I could spy the truth o what he told me,
An that his house was warm an couth an room in it to hold me.

Clerk was a Scot who ventured abroad for musical training. He received three lessons a week in violin and composition from Corelli in Rome between September, 1697, and December, 1698. Composer Franz Josepf Haydn set the song as one of a number commissioned by William Napier [Merry May the Maid Be, Hob. XXXIa:50].

John Clerk [1], 2nd Baron of Pennicuik, was a Commissioner of the Union and a Baron of the Scots Exchequer, a Scottish politician, lawyer, judge and composer. He one of the chief figures in Edinburgh society during his era and was a friend and patron of Allan Ramsay, whom he hosted in the summers at his country estate.

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