Steer her up and had her gan
X:1 T:Steer her up and had her gan M:C| L:1/8 R:Scots Measure B:McGlashan – Collection of Scots Measures (178?) Z:AK/Fiddler’s Companion K:D af|d2d2f3e|defg a2AG|F2A2A2GF|E2E2 c3e| d2d2f3e|defg a2ga|bagf e2dc|d4D2 :| |: fe|d2A2F3A| dAGA GFED| E2 =c4 E=F| G=FED C2fe| d2A2F3E|DEFG Aagf| efgf ecAc| d4D2 :|
STEER HER UP AND HAD HER GAN. AKA - "Stir her up and hold her ganging." Scottish, Scots Measure (cut time). D Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. Charles Gore gives one explanation for the title "Steer her up and had her gan" as having nautical connection, broadly translating as: "Bring her (the boat) up (to wind) and let (hold) her go(ing)." The tune and title are old and both appear in early manuscript collections: the Skene Manuscript (c. 1615-20), the Guthrie Manuscript (c. 1670-1680, p. 299), the Gairdyn Manuscript (1700-1735), and David Young's MacFarlane Manuscript (1740, p. 266). It was printed in London in Henry Playford's collections of the late seventeenth century and in particular in his collection of Scottish dance tunes of 1700.
The melody was also employed as the vehicle for songs. A version was printed by Alan Ramsay in Tea Table Miscellany (1725, p. 95, copied by Herd into Scots Songs, 1769, p. 181).
Steer her up, and had her gawn,
Her mither's at the mill, jo;
But gin she winna tak a man,
E'en let her tak her will, jo.
Pray thee, lad, leave silly thinking,
Cast thy cares of love away;
Let's our sorrows drown in drinking,
'Tis daffin langer to delay.
See that shining glass of claret,
How invitingly it looks;
Take it aff, and let's hae mair o't,
Pox on righting, trade, and books.
Let's have pleasure while we're able,
Bring us in the meikle bowl,
Plac't on the middle of the table,
And let wind and weather gowl.
Call the drawer, let him fill it,
Fou, as ever it can hold:
O tak tent ye dinna spill it,
'Tis mair precious far than gold.
By you've drunk a dozen bumpers,
Bacchus will begin to prove,
Spite of Venus and her mumpers,
Drinking better is than love.
Ramsay's work was further adapted by Robert Burns for Johnson's Scots Musical Museum as Song 504, "O, Steer Her Up, and Haud Her Gaun."