Sarah Williamson's Lament

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X:1 T:Sarah Williamson's Lament N:”Very Old” N:Christie was a dancing master, fiddler N:and composer from Cuminestown, Aberdeenshire. M:2/4 L:1/8 R:Air B:Christie - Collection of Strathspeys, Reels, Hornpipes, B:Waltzes &c. (Edinburgh, 1820, p. 12) Z:AK/Fiddler’s Companion K:Bb (B/c/)|.d.d~d (c/>d/)|(f/<d/)T(c/>B/) (G.F)|dd dc/>d/|B>(c/2d/4) F(B/c/)| dd ~d(c/>d/)|(f/<d)T(c/>B/) (G.F)|~(F.d) (Fc)|[D2B2]-[DF]:| |:~(d/>e/)|ff f~(d/>e/)|(f/d/)T(c/>B/) (G.F)|ff f~(d/>e/)|f2-B z/d/| ~(e/>f/)g/e/ ~(d/>e/)f/d/|{f}(e/d/)(c/B/) (G.F)|(Fd) (Fc)|[D2B2][DF]:|]



SARAH WILLIAMSON'S LAMENT. Scottish, Slow Air (2/4 time). B Flat Major (Christie): G Major (). Standard tuning (fiddle). AB. Aberdeenshire tradition has it that Sarah Williamson, on the death of her sweetheart, became insane with grief. One evening she eluded the vigilance of her friends and was found the next morning in the Parish Church of Kinkell with her head in the water in the large font, a determined suicide. The first four lines were the only ones that could be remembered of the original ballad. The verses following it are the work of William Christie (the younger), Dean of Moray.

The shining moon my mistress is,
The lonely owl my marrow;
The screaming drake, when it grows dark,
Gives music to my sorrow.

For my true love is dead and gone,
That loved me so dearly;
But aye he meets me on the brae,
When the moon is shining clearly.

He meets me by the green burn side,
When a' are soundly sleeping;
But woefully he looks on me,
And aye he leaves me weeping.

I come, my own, my only love,
I'll meet thee ere the morrow;
Oh, leave me not, I'll follow thee,
And then will end my sorrow!

R. Gilfillan's song "The auld gray plaid" is sung to this air.

Additional notes

Source for notated version: - "From the singing of Hugh Allan, Cuminestown, Monquhitter, Aberdeenshire" [Christie, 1876]. "Hugh Allan was well known in his native Parish (Monquhitter) as a good mathematician and theologian. He was also a fair poet, as may be seen from is "Pipers o' Buchan," and from other poems composed by him which were given some years ago in the Banffshire Journal. He taught the Editor's father mathematics, and thus induced him to study the science in his leisure hours, until he became a profound mathematician"[1]

Printed sources : - William Christie (Collection of Strathspeys, Reels, Hornpipes, Waltzes &c.), Edinburgh, 1820; p. 12. William Christie M.A. (Traditional Ballad Airs, vol. 1), 1876; pp. 38-39. Maver's Collection of genuine Scottish Melodies, 1866; p. 232.

Recorded sources: -



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  1. William Christie M.A., Traditional Ballad Airs, vol. 1, 1876, p. 38. William Christie M.A., a cleric and Dean of Moray, was the son of fiddler-composer William Christie.