Pitthieveless Castle

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X:1 T:Pitthieveless Castle C:Euphemia Murray, "Miss Murray of Auchtertyre" M:C L:1/16 R:Strathspey N:Printed by Robert Purdie in Edinburgh c. 1810 on a two-sheet issue, along N:with four country dances. Z:AK/Fiddler's Companion K:Eb c2|BG3 G4 EG3G4|B3GG3B c2e2 Td3c|BG3 G4 EG3G4|AF3F3G AF3 F2:| b2|g3egb3 ac'3b3a|g3egb3 fB3B2b2|g3egb3 ac'3Tb3a|g3e gfed e4 e2b2| g3egb3 ac'3b3a|g3egb3 fB3B2b2|g3ea3f b3gc'3a|g3e fief e4 e2||



PITTHIEVELESS CASTLE. Scottish, Strathspey (whole time). E Flat Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AAB. The melody was composed by "The Honorable Miss Murray," AKA Miss Murray of Auchteryre,
Euphemia Murray
who was Euphemia Murray of Lintrose, a cousin of Sir William of Ochtertyre. She was an accomplished woman and an amateur composer herself, with at least one composition, a slow strathspey, published by the Gows (Fifth Collection, 1809) –- see “Rosabell.” "Pitthieveless Castle" was issued on a two-sheet printing along with four country dances, published by Robert Purdie in Edinburgh around 1810. Poet Robert Burns was struck by her teenage beauty when he visited Sir William Murray at Auchtertyre in 1787 and composed a famous ode in her honor, “Blythe was she.” ‘She’ was not amused, by one report and did not care for it (a Smyth descendent says she called Burns a "drunken young ploughman", tore up the manuscript, and did not allow it to be mentioned in her presence) [1]. Beautiful she was, however; and famous enough to be feted as the ‘Flower of Strathmore’, her beauty toasted at gatherings. Another account differs in its report of her attitude toward the poet, suggesting she was rather warmer towards him:
:
[She] happened to forgather with Burns during on of his northern tours, and her affability and beauty
charmed this lyric from him.


Euphemia married David Smyth, Lord Lethven, a Scottish judge, whom she met when she was giving testimony in court (according to an account by Smyth). Apparently a scandal had arisen in the Murrays of Auchtertyre, and she was called as a witness, as she was intimate with the family. "Her beauty and modesty so impressed the judge, Lord Methven, an elderly widower," relates a family account [2], "that he asked her to be his wife, and she became Mrs. Smyth of Methven."


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