When absent from the Nymph I love

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X:1 T:When absent from the Nymph I Love M:C L:1/8 R:Air B:William Thomson - Orpheus Caledonius, vol. II (1733, No. 22, p. 93) B: https://digital.nls.uk/special-collections-of-printed-music/archive/91481606 N:Thomson (c. 1695-1753) was a Scottish singer and folk song collector N:who lived in London for most of his adult career. Z:AK/Fiddler’s Companion K:F FG|A2 GF f3e|cA GF D3G|FG Ac CA GF|D3 F>G F2 FG| A2 GF f3e|cA GF D3G|FG AB/c/ CA GF|D2 F>G F2|| fe|dcd f cd fg|ag fd c3c|dc df ga fg|a2 d>e d2 fg| ag fd f3A|BA GF D3G|FG Ac d3C|D2 F>G F2||



WHEN ABSENT FROM THE NYMPH I LOVE. AKA - "O Jean I love thee." Scottish, Air (whole time). G Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABBCCDD. The words to the song "When absent from the Nymph I love" are thought to be the work of poet Allan Ramsay, who published them in his Tea-Table Miscellany, vol. 2 (1724-27) under the title "The Complaint" (with "When absent from the nymph I love" as the indicated tune). Stenhouse says the air was formerly called "O Jean, I love thee," but that the words to this older song were thought to be lost. There is an English version of the Scottish song, written by Thomas Southerne (set to music by Thomas Farmer) for the comedy The Disappointment, or Mother of Fashion, staged in London in 1684, which Stenhouse supposes was familiar to Ramsay. The English song was printed by Henry Playford in 1685 in his Theater of Musick, Book 1 (p. 5), to Farmer's 3/4 time tune (different from Thomson and Oswald's Scottish air), and goes:

When absent from the nymph I love,
I'd fain resolve to love no more;
Tho' reason would my flame remove,
My love-sick heart will still adore.
My weak endeavours are in vain,
They vanish soon as they return;
I by one look relapse again,
And in a raging fever burn.

John Glen, in Early Scottish Melodies (1900), takes exception with Stenhouse's statements, but Stenhouse seems to have been the more thorough scholar in this case, as Glen himself seems to be in error with this 'corrections'.


Additional notes



Printed sources : - Oswald (Caledonian Pocket Companion, Book V), 1760; p. 30. Thomson (Orpheus Caledonius, vol. 2), 1733; No. 22, p. 93.






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