Annotation:Saw ye nae my Peggy

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X:1 T:Saw ye my Peggy M:3/2 L:1/8 B:Alexander Stuart – “Musick for Allan Ramsay’s Collection” (Edinburgh, c. 1724, pp. 46-47) F: Z:AK/Fiddler’s Companion K:Dmin V:1 d3f d2 (c/d/)f (cA)(GF)|c3d c2A2 (BA)(GF)|d3c (de)(fd) (cA)(GF)|G2 FG A2 G>F D4|| (CD) (FG) F3G (F/G/)A G>F|D2 (GA) G3A (BA)(GF)|(CD)(FG) F3f (cA)(GF)|G2 (FG) (A>B) (G>F) D4|| V:2 clef = bass D,4 D,,2F,,2A,,2C,2|A,2F,2A,,2F,,2G,,2B,,2|D,2A,,2F,2D,2A,,2C,2|B,,2A,,2F,,2A,,2 D,4|| F,2F,,2A,,2C,2F,2F,,2|G,,2B,,2G,2D,2G,,2D,2|F,2F,,2A,,2F,,2F,2A,2|B,2A,2 F,G,A,A,, D,4||

SAW YE NAE MY (LOVE) PEGGIE. AKA - "Saw ye my Peggy." AKA and see "Tell Me how for to Woo." Scotland, Air and (Old) Hornpipe (3/2 time); Shetland, Flugga Dance and Air (3/2 time). Shetland, Delting. E Minor/Dorain (Cooke, McGibbon, Oswald): G Minor (Davie): D Minor (Johnson). Standard tuning (fiddle). One part (Cooke): AABB’ (Davie): AABBCC (McGibbon): ABCDEF (Johnson, Oswald). The tune is a variant of a Scots song which was well-known in the early 18th century. Poet Robert Burns referred to it as "a song familiar from the cradle to every Scottish ear," although he may have been referring to the bawdy set of words. James C. Dick (in Notes on Scottish Song by Robert Burns, 1908, p. 83) believes it dates to the mid-17th century as it was named in an account of witchcraft trials in the year 1659, and finds the air "Saw you nae my Peggy" in a manuscript of 1694. John Glen records that it is also contained in the Margaret Sinkler Manuscript of 1710[1]. Early printed versions of the music can be found in Alexander Stuart's Musick for Allan Ramsay’s Collection (Edinburgh, c. 1724, pp. 46-47), and in Thomson's Orpheus Caledonius (1725), where the tune is called "Saw na ye my Maggie." It appears in David Herd's Ancient and Modern Scottish Songs (1769, p. 175) and James Johnson's Scots Musical Museum, vol. 1 (1787) "in a rather ornate setting that contrasts with the simplicity and strength of the Shetland version" (Cooke). The tune was also published in James Oswald's Caledonian Pocket Companion (1747–69) and the [James] Gillespie Manuscript of Perth (1768). "Saw ye my Peggy" was one of the Scots songs that received a setting by Classical composer Franz Joseph Haydn [Hob. XXXIa:56].

Two sets of words were printed with the tune in the Museum; the first goes:

Saw ye nae my Peggy,
saw ye nae my Peggy,
Saw ye nae my Peggy,
coming o'er the Lee.
Sure, a finer creature,
ne'er was form'd by nature,
so compleat each feature,
so divine is she.
O, how Peggy charms me!
ev'ry look still warms me,
ev'ry thought alarms me,
lest she love not me.
Peggy doth discover
nought but charms all over;
nature bids me love her;
that's a Law to me.

The second set of words is called "The Toast," and begins: "Come let's ha'e mare wine in, Bacchus hates repining." These lyrics are by poet Alan Ramsay, although Robert Burns thought the "Saw ye nae my Peggy" words to be far superior. Burns remarked in notes to the Museum that he knew of a third set of words, "which I take to be the original one, but although it has a great deal of merit it is not quite ladies' reading." He was being a bit disingenuous, as he was well-acquainted with the verses and even added to them. His bawdy take on the song appears in his Merry Muses of Caledonia and is titled "Saw ye my Maggie," and goes:

Saw ye my Maggie?
Saw ye my Maggie?
Saw ye my Maggie?
Comin oer the lea?

What mark has your Maggie?
What mark has your Maggie?
What mark has your Maggie,
That ane may ken her be?

Wry-cunted is she,
Wry-cunted is she,
Wry-cunted is she,
And pishes gain' her thie.

My Maggie has a mar,
Ye'll find it in the dark,
It's in below her sark,
A little aboon her knee.

What wealth has your Maggie?
What wealth has your Maggie?
What wealth has your Maggie,
In tocher, gear, or fee?

My Maggie has a treasure,
A hiddlen mine o' pleasure,
I'll howk it at my leisure,
It's alane for me.

How loe ye your Maggie,
How loe ye your Maggie,
How low ye your Maggie,
An loe nane but she?

Ein that tell our wishes,
Eager glowing kisses,
Then diviner blisses,
In holy ecstacy!--

How meet you your Maggie,
How meet you your Maggie,
How meet you our Maggie,
When nane's to hear or see?

Heavenly joys before me,
Rapture trembling o'er me,
Maggie I adore thee,
On my bended knww!!!

Additional notes
Source for notated version : - Tom Robertson (Delting, Shetlands, 1874) [Cooke]: Sinkler MS., 1710, p. 21 [Johnson].

Printed sources : - Aird (Selection of Scotch English, Irish and Foreign Airs, vol. 3), Glasgow, 1788; No. 471, p. 182. Cooke (The Fiddle Tradition of the Shetland Isles), 1986; Ex. 24, p. 75. J. Davie & Co. (Davie’s Caledonian Repository), Aberdeen, 1829–30; p. 15. David Johnson (Scottish Fiddle Music in the 18th Century), 1984; No. 7, pp. 24–25. James Johnson (Scots Musical Museum, vol. 1), 1787; Song 11, p. 12. McGibbon (Scots Tunes, book III), 1762; pp. 78–79. Oswald (Caledonian Pocket Companion Book 3), 1760; p. 22. Alexander Stuart (Musick for Allan Ramsay’s Collection), Edinburgh, c. 1724; pp. 46-47.

See also listing at :
Hear the tune played on fiddle in a 1974 field recording at Tobar an dualchais [1] [2]

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  1. John Glen, Early Scottish Melodies, 1900, No. 11, p. 62.