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Songs of Lowland Scotland
From the times of James V, King of Scots, A book of c. 600 pages of songs published in Scotland in 1870, and arranged in episodic form by John Henderson.

[No music is provided, but many of the lyrics are put into their historical perspectives with interesting introductory paragraphs.]

James V (10 April 1512 – 14 December 1542) was King of Scots from 9 September 1513 until his premature death at the age of thirty, which followed the Scottish defeat at the Battle of Solway Moss. His only surviving legitimate child, Mary I, Queen of Scots, who succeeded him to the throne, was just six days old at the time.

Extract from the main Introduction to this book of c. 600 pages of songs published in 1870 ....

“The songs of Scotland, so far as they are left to us, begin at the period when the ancient minstrels, on whose social position so much valuable time, paper, and temper has been wasted, had fallen into the deepest disgrace, and were classed in Acts of Parliament along with beggars, rogues, and vagabonds. The decline of their influence, and in all likelihood the comparative worthlessness of their later compositions, caused the people generally to cherish more fondly the songs and ballads that had arisen amongst themselves, no one could tell how, and which better assisted their varying mood than the long rhymes of the strolling bard, and enabled them to keep men oft the questionable character, which the representatives of the old minstrels had won for themselves, away from their dwellings and merry meetings.

The pastoral life which, in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, was followed by the majority ofthe people of the lowlands, would also favour the growth of song; and in each little community one man’s success doubtless excited the emulation of his neighbour, and each would strive to be reckoned best at rhyming, particularly if some rustic beauty were the prize to be won, However it may be, there is new hardly a village, river, or glen without a song in its honour; all the favourite names of the lassies, Mary, Kate, Jean, Meg, or Annie, are duly enshrined: every battlefield has been celebrated or wailed, while the popular enemies of the country, whether internal or external, are bedecked in satire which, justly or not, has sent them down to all posterity with an evil prominence that can never be removed.

A collection like this can only deal with the songs of the Lowlands. Could the Highland minstrelsy be collected and edited, it would be seen that the north is not behind the south in little pieces that touch the heart and fire the soul. Many of the Gaelic Airs especially, convey the impressions of love, sorrow, grief, and triumph in a manner at once beautiful, musical, and impressive.”


Below are the pages of this book in a series of pdf files

Leyden, John, 1775-1811

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