Annotation:Over the Hills and Far Away (1)

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X:1 T:Over The Hills And Far Away [1] M:C L:1/8 S:Henry Atkinson's original MS, Hartburn, no. 105, N'umberland,1694. O:England A:Hartburn, Northumberland N:cf Pills To Purge Melancholy, 1719. also Walsh CD, 1719.CGP Z:vmp.Chris Partington.Jan.2004 K:C GA|c3d cded|c2A2-A2GA|c3d cdec|f2d2-d2GA|! c3d cded|c2A2A2c2|G3A GABc|e2d2-d2||! ef|g3a gede|c2A2-A2ef|g3a gedc|a2d2-d2ef|! gfga gede|c2A2A2c2|G3A GAcd|e2d2-d2|]

O'ER THE HILLS AND FAR AWAY [1]. AKA - "Twas o'er the Hills and Far away." English, Scottish; Air, March. There are a few tunes with this title. "O'er the Hills and Far Away (1)" is the more ancient of group, dating at least to the time when King James IV of Scotland was installed on the English throne, when it was printed as the vehicle for the song "The Elphin Knight" (a Child ballad). Versions appear in Northumbrian violinist Henry Atkinson's 1694 music manuscript collection, Thomas D'Urfey's Wit and Mirth: or, Pills to Purge Melancholy (1706), Farquhar's The Recruiting Officer (1706), John Young's Second Volume of the Dancing Master 1st edition (c. 1713), and John Gay's The Beggar's Opera (1729). The melody can be heard as the vehicle for songs in ballad operas such as Patie and Peggy (1730), The Fashionable Lady, or Harlequin's Opera (1730), Lord Blunder's Confession, or Guilt Makes a Coward (1733), Rome Excis'd (1733), and others.

The song was traditionally a loath-to-depart piece, used when a regiment left its cantonment[1]. The words, as printed in James Johnson's Scots Musical Museum vol. 1 (1787, Song 62), begin:

Jocky met with Jenny fair,
Aft by the dawning of the day;v But Jocky now is fu' of care,
Aince Jenny staw his heart away.
Altho' she promis'd to be true,v She proven has, alake!, unkind;
Which gars poor Jockey often rue,
That e'er he loved a fickle mind.

And its, over the hills and far away,
Over the hills and far away,
Over the hills and far away,
The wind has blawn my plaid away.

See note for "annotation:Over the Hills and Far Away (2)" for more information.

Additional notes

Printed sources : - James Johnson (Scots Musical Museum vol. 1), 1787; Song 62, pp. 62-63. Edward Riley (Riley’s Flute Melodies vol. 3), New York, 1820; No. 119, p. 32.

Recorded sources : - Flying Fish, Robin Williamson - "Legacy of the Scottish Harpers, vol. 2."

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  1. Lewis Winstock, Songs and Music of the Redcoats, 1970, p. 37.