Of A a Professor Robert Scott says, in the
letter in which it was enclosed: "You will find above, all I have
been able to procure in order to replace the lost fragment of
'Lizie Lindsay.' I believe it is not so correct or so complete as
what was formerly sent, but there are materials enough to operate
upon, and by forcing the memory of the recorder more harm than
good might have been done." Jamieson says of b:
"Transmitted to the editor by Professor Scott of Aberdeen, as it
was taken down from the recitation of an old woman.[foot-note] It is
very popular in the northeast of Scotland, and was familiar to
the editor in his early youth; and from the imperfect
recollection which he still retains of it he has corrected the
text in two or three unimportant passages."
There is nothing to show whether the lost copy was recovered,
unless it be the fact that Jamieson prints about twice as many
stanzas as there are in a. But Jamieson was not always
precise in the account he gave of the changes he made in his
In his preface to B, Kinloch remarks that the ballad is
very popular in the North, "and few milk-maids in that quarter
but can chaunt it, to a very pleasant tune. Lizie Lindsay," he
adds, "according to the tradition of Mearnsshire, is said to have
been a daughter of Lindsay of Edzell; but I have searched in vain
for genealogical confirmation of the tradition." Kinloch gave
Aytoun a copy of this version, changing a few phrases, and
inserting st. 20 of C.
The following stanza, printed as No 434 of the Musical Museum,
was sent with the air to Johnson by Burns, who intended to
communicate something more. (Museum, 1853, IV, 382):
Robert Allan added three stanzas to this, Smith's Scotish
Minstrel, II, 100, and again, p. 101 of the same, others (in
which Lizie Lindsay is, without authority, made 'a puir lassie').
The second stanza of the second "set" is traditional (cf.
B 8, C 6, D 6, E 8):
Donald MacDdnald, heir of Kingcausie, wishes to go to
Edinburgh for a wife (or to get Lizie Lindsay for his wife). His
mother consents, on condition that he shall use no flattery, and
shall 'court her in great poverty' (policy, D). He sees many
bonny young ladies at Edinburgh, but Lizie Lindsay is above
compare with others. He presents himself to her in simple
Highland garb; what he can offer is a diet of curds and whey and
a bed of green rushes (bracken). Lizie would like to know where
she would be going, and with whom. His father is an old shepherd
(couper, souter), his mother an old dey, and his name is Donald
MacDonald. Lizie's father and mother threaten to have him hanged,
which daunts him not in the least. Her maid warmly seconds the
suit. Lizie packs up her clothes and sets forth with Donald to
foot the steep and dirty ways; she wishes herself back in
Edinburgh. They come at last to a shieling, where a woman
welcomes Sir Donald; he bids her call him Donald her son, and
orders a supper of curds and whey, and a bed of green rushes.
Lizie, 'weary with travel,' lies late in the morning, and is
roused as if to help at the milking; this makes her repine again.
But Donald takes her out of the hut and shows her Kingcausie,
where she is to be lady.
Kingcausie is some seven miles from Aberdeen, on the south
side of the Dee.
Ballads of this description are peculiarly liable to
interpolation and debasement, and there are two passages, each
occurring in several versions, which we may, without straining,
set down to some plebeian improver.
In B 10, D 10, E 19, Lizie Lindsay, not
quite ready to go with Donald, makes him an offer of five or ten
guineas if he will stay long enough for her to take his picture,
'to keep her from thinking long.' In F 11 Donald makes the
same offer for her picture. In E 10, F 6, Lizie
tells Donald, who has asked where she lives, that if he will call
at the Canongate Port, she will drink a bottle of sherry with
him, and in the next stanza she is as good as her word. This
convivial way of the young ladies of Edinburgh is, owing to an
injury to the text, not perceptible in D 14, where Donald
seems to be inviting Lizie's mother to bring a bottle of sherry
with her in case she should call on him at the Canongate Port.
A b is translated by Grundtvig, Engelske og
skotske Folkeviser, p. 122; by Rosa Warrens, Schottische
Volkslieder der Vorzeit, p. 125, with deficient verses supplied
from F. Knortz, Lieder u. Romanzen Alt-Englands, p. 158,
translates Allingham's ballad.
This page most recently updated on 19-Apr-2011, 05:20:48.
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