Bonnie Wells o' Wearie (The)
BONNIE WELLS O' WEARIE, THE. Scottish, Air (4/4 time). G Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AB. The melody was composed by the self-taught musician John Charles Greive, who proved skilled enough in his craft to lecture on harmony at Heriot-Watt College and to start up a "kind of children's opera" (Neil, 1991). The Wells o' Wearie were to be found in Holyrood Park at the foot of Arthur's Seat opposite 'Samson's Ribs' and were once used by washer women from a nearby village (Echo Bank) and, perhaps because of this, were a gathering place for young men. In 1831 one of Scotland's first railways was built which ran nearby, according to Neil (1991), and was called "The Innocent Railway" because the cars (which carried coal from Dalkeith to Edinburgh) were pulled by horses due to popular fears about the use of steam engines. Words to the tune were written by Alexander MacLagan, a contemporary of Grieve's who lived in Edinburgh and a regular contributor to the Edinburgh Literary Review.
O lang may bonnie lassies fair,
Wi' nature's charms around them,
Still bleach their claes on flow'ry braes
Wi' nae sad cares to wound them.
Lang may her sons' mid fairy scenes,
Wi' hearts richt leal and cheerie,
Still meet to sing their patriot sangs
Beside the Wells o' Wearie.
Neil (The Scots Fiddle), 1991; No. 20, p. 26.
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