Nameless Lassie (The)
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NAMELESS LASSIE , THE. Scottish, Air (4/4 time). B Flat Major (Hunter): G Major (Martin). Standard tuning (fiddle). One part. The melody was composed by the violinist Alexander Mackenzie (b. Montrose, 1819), while the words were written by James Ballentine (Edinburgh, 1808-1877). Mackenzie was a child prodigy who became a member of the Theatre Royal Orchestra in Edinburgh in 1833, and arranged and published the National Dance Music of Scotland for piano and other Scots tunes for the violin. He eventually rose to lead the orchestra through three successive managements, and died in 1857. Ballentine was a painter who developed considerable skill with paint on glass, as well as having literary skills.
Whene'r she shows her blooming face, the flow'rs may cease to blaw,
And when she opes her hinnied lips, the air is music a';
But when wi' ithers' sorrow touched, the tear starts to her e'e,
Oh! that's the gem in beauty's crown, the priceless pearl to me.
The melody is often miss-attributed to Aberdeenshire fiddler-composer William Marshall (e.g. by James Hunter).
Source for notated version:
Printed sources: Ballantine (One Hundred Songs), 1866; p. 4. Graham (Songs of Scotland), 1887; p. 376. Hunter (Fiddle Music of Scotland), 1988; No. 11. Martin (Ceol na Fidhle, vol. 4), 1991; p. 27. Neil (The Scots Fiddle), 1991; No. 84, p. 113.
Recorded sources: Culbernie Records, Alasdair Fraser - "Portrait of a Scottish Fiddler" (1984). Joe and J.P. Cormier - "Velvet Arm, Golden Hand."