O Whistle and I'll Come to Ye My Lad

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O WHISTLE AND I'LL COME TO YOU/YE MY LOVE/LAD. AKA and see "Days of 'Lang Syne'," "Toddlin' Hame," "Todlin' Hame." Scottish, Jig and Air. D Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AAB. The title comes from Robert Burns's (1759-1796) lyric to an air by famed fiddler John Bruce (c. 1720-1785), "an honest man, though a red-wud Highlander who constantly claimed it," and whom Burns likely was acquainted with (according to John Glenn, Early Scottish Melodies, 1900). Bruce was originally from Braemar and later settled in Dumfries, but some time as a prisoner in Edinburgh Castle for his adherence to the cause of Bonnie Prince Charlie during the rising of 1745. No one knows when the air was composed although c. 1750 has been suggested. John O'Keefe used the melody for his song beginning "Since love is the plan, I'll love if I can," in his The Poor Soldier, staged at Covent Garden in 1783.

Burns's' song was published around the year 1787 in Johnson's Scots Musical Museum, and an altered version a few years later for Thomson's volume. The last stanza and chorus of the Thomson version go:

Aye vow and protest that ye care na for me,
And whiles ye may lightly my beauty a-wee;
But court na anither, tho' jokin ye be,
For fear that she wile your fancy frae me,
For fear that she wile your fancy frae me.

Chorus:
O whistle an' I'll come to ye, my lad,
O whistle an' I'll come to ye, my lad,
Tho' father an' mother an' a' should gae mad,
O whistle an' I'll come to ye, my lad.

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Howe (1000 Jigs and Reels), c. 1867; p. 125. Johnson (Scots Musical Musceum, vol. 2), 1788; p. 109. Kerr (Merry Melodies, vol. 1), c. 1880’s; No. 30, p. 33.

Recorded sources:




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