Shepherd Adonis (1) (The)

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X:1 T:Shepherd Adonis [1], The M:3/4 L:1/8 R:Air B:Johnson - Scots Musical Museum vol. 2 (1788, Song 159, p. 167) Z:AK/Fiddler's Companion K:Dmin (G>F)|D2 (G>B) (F>B)|G2 (B>c) (d/c/B/c/)|{Bc}d2 (F>G)(F>D)| F4 (G>F)|D2 (G>B) (F>B)|G2 (B>c) (d/c/) (B/c/)|{Bc}d2 ed .cB|G4|| (de)|(d/e/f) (ed) (cB)|B3 c (B/c/ d)|F2 (B<G) (FD)|F4 BA| G3F (G/A/B)|(DE) F2 (BA)|G2 (ed) (cB)|G4||



SHEPHERD ADONIS [1], THE. AKA - "Contented Lovers, or, a pleasant courtship between a shepherd and a nymph." "Shepherd of the Downs." Scottish, English; Air (3/4 time). G Minor. Standard tuning (fiddle). AB. The song [Roud No. 1215] was first published by Allan Ramsey in his Tea Table Miscellany (1723), but its existence predates this publication, and has been found penned into the lecture notes of medical student William Hamilton of Airdrie, attending the University of Glasgow in 1699-1700[1]. Adonis was the lad who was so handsome and so beloved of Aphrodite that, when he was killed by a boar whilst hunting, Zeus restored him to life for part of each year. The first stanza of this song goes:

The Shepherd Adonis
Being weary'd with sport,
He, for a retirement,
To the woods did resort;
He threw by his club,
And he laid himself down;
He envy'd no monarch,
Nor wish'd for a crown.

John Glen (Early Scottish Melodies, 1900) was of the opinion this was an Anglo-Scottish song. It is listed as one of the songs in Ebenezer Forrest's Momus Turn'd Fabulist, or Vulcan's Wedding, staged in London in 1729, and was one of the Scottish songs set by Franz Joseph Haydn (1732-1809) (Hob. XXXIa no. 21). The title and song were "folk-processed" over the years, to be found in 19th and 20th century folksong repertory as "Shepherd of the Downs", "the oldest song in the Copper Family's repertory."

Additional notes

Source for notated version: -

Printed sources : - Johnson (Scots Musical Museum, vol. 2), 1788; Song 159, p. 167.

Recorded sources: -

See also listing at:
See Haydn's score at IMSLP [1]



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  1. It was not published until 1844 when James Maidment included it in his edition of A new book of old ballads, according to the Mudcat Cafe thread on the song [2].