Peggy I Must Love Thee

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PEGGY, I MUST LOVE THEE. Scottish, Air (4/4 time). D Major: A Major (Manson). Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. Chappell (1859) asserts this tune was appropriated from the English "The Deel Assist the Plotting Whigs," composed by Purcell (from 180 Loyal Songs, 1685), a notion that John Glen (Early Scottish Melodies, 1900) dismisses as absurd. Glen prints the tunes side by side, and there in fact seems little resemblance between them. Playford published the “Peggy, I must love thee” air as “A New Scotch Tune” in his Apollo’s Banquet (fifth edition) of 1687 and Musick’s Handmaid (Part II, 1689, again, “composed by Purcell”), and it was included by London publisher Daniel Wright in his Aria di Camera (1727). As “Peggy I Must Love Thee” it was published in Adam Craig’s Scottish collection (1730) and it appears in Scottish musician and dancing master David Young's MacFarlane Manuscript (c. 1740). Stenhouse, in notes to the Scots Musical Museum, maintains that the Scots air predated Purcell, and that Purcell “may have put a bass to it.” John Playford, in Apollo’s Banquet, noted that it was “A Scotch Tune in fashion.” Sets of words were published to the tune by Allan Ramsay in his Tea Table Miscellany (1724). Glen finds variants in the Leyden and the Blaikie manuscripts (1692), under the titles “Maggie I must love thee” and “Yet, Meggie, I must love thee.” The Blaikie air differs from Playford’s in the second strain, as does the “Magie I must love thee” in the Margaret Sinkler manuscript music book (1710).

David Herd, in his Ancient and Modern Scottish Songs (1776, p. 271) gives the lyric, which begins:

As from a rock past all relief,
The shipwrickt Colin spying
His native soil, o'ercome with grief,
Half sunk in waves, and dying:
With the next morning-sun he spies
A ship, which gives unhop'd surprise;
New life springs up, he lifts his eyes
With joy, and waits her motion.

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Robert Bremner (Twelve Scots Songs for a Voice or Guitar), c. 1760; p. 18. Manson (Hamilton's Universal Tune Book, vol. 1), 1853; p. 36. McGibbon (Scots Tunes, Book 1), c. 1746; pp. 2-3. James Oswald (Caledonian Pocket Companion, vol. 1), 1760; p. 31. Wright (Aria di Camera), 1727; No. 20.

Recorded sources: Maggie’s Music MM220, Hesperus – “Celtic Roots.”

See also listing at:
See a standard notation transcription of the melody from David Young's MacFarlane Manuscript (c. 1740) [1]




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