Were na my heart licht

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WERE NA MY HE(A)RT LICHT. Scottish, Air (6/8 time). A Minor (Manson). Standard tuning (fiddle). One part. The title is from the song by Lady Grizel Baillie [1] (1665–1746), "Were na my heart licht, I wad dee." The words begin:

There was anes a may, and she loo'd na men;
She biggit her bonnie bower doun i' yon glen;
But now she cries dool and well-a-day!
Come doun the green gate, and come here away.

When bonnie young Jamie cam' ower the sea,
He said he saw naething sae lovely as me;
He hecht me baith rings an' mony braw things;
And were na my heart licht, I wad dee.

According to Charles Gibbon in The Casquet of Literature (1882, p. 317), Lady Baillie:

was born at Redbraes Castle, Berwichshire, 25th December, 1665; died in London, 6th December, 1746. She was the daughter of Sir Patrick Hume of Polwarth, who became the first Earl of Marchmont. She married George Baillie of Jerviswood, whose father suffered death on account of his devotion to the cause of civil and religious liberty. George himself was obliged to seek safety in Holland, whence he returned to his native land in the train of William of Orange. Living in a period of much excitement, Lady Grizel performed many acts of heroism—whilst her father was in hiding in the vaults of Polwarth Church, she managed to supply him with food; and on various occasions, when the lives of those who were dear to her were in danger, she succeeded in helping them and outwitting all the vigilance of the authorities. It was during her residence in Holland, that she wrote her songs; many of them she left unfinished, but a few of the most perfect were published in the Tea Table Miscellany, and other collections of poetry. Her daughter, Lady Murry of Stanhope, wrote an interesting account of her live, which was printed in 1809 and again in 1822.

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Manson (Hamilton’s Universal Tune Book, vol. 2), 1846; p. 15. William Thomson (Orpheus Caledonius), 1725; p. 40.

Recorded sources:




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