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Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhyme

DigiTrad:
BRAES OF BALQUIDDER
FLOWERS OF PEACE
GO, LASSIE, GO
HIGHLANDS OF HEAVEN
PEGGY ALISON
THE BRAES OF BELQUETHER
THE FAIR O' BALAMINNA
THE WILD MOUNTING TIME
WILD MOUNTAIN THYME


Related threads:
(origins) Origins: Wild Mountain Thyme/Braes o' Balquhidder (38)
wild mountain thyme (30)
Chord Req: Braes o Balquhidder (47)
Wild mountain thyme (63)
Lyr Req: Fourth verse for Wild Mountain Thyme (41)
Lyr/Chords Req: Wild Mountain Thyme (43)
(origins) Origins: And Holy Is His Name (12)
(origins) Origin: Wild Mountain Thyme (56)
Lyr/Chords Req: Wild Mountain Thyme (6)
Name that tune? (16)
Lyr Req: Go, Lassie, Go (15)
Lyr Add: Braes o' Balquidder (27)
Wild Mountain Thyme as Tuvan throat (9)
Tablature needed for Wild Mountain Thyme (7)
Chords Req: Go Lassie Go (4)
Mrs Pavane sings Wild Mountain Thyme (7)
Lyr Req: woman pulling wild mountain thyme (17)
Lyr Req: Will ye go Lassie, go. OTHER PARODY (13)
Lyr Req: Will ya go lassie go. (19)
Lyr/Chords Req: wild moutain thyme (7)
Lyr Req: Wild Mountain Thyme / Braes o' Balquidder (8)
Lyr Add: Braes o' Balquither (13)
Lyr Add: Wild Mountain Thyme--Variation (32)
Lyr/Tune Req: Wild Mountain Thyme (17)
we'll all go together,neath bloomi'n heather (9)
Scottish poem on which Wild Mtn.Thyme based? (3)
source req: Wild Mtn. Thyme (4)
Wild Mtn. Thyme print source (1)


Dave Higham 30 Mar 08 - 12:03 PM
Uncle_DaveO 30 Mar 08 - 12:19 PM
Amos 30 Mar 08 - 12:23 PM
Dave Higham 30 Mar 08 - 12:34 PM
Marje 30 Mar 08 - 12:41 PM
John MacKenzie 30 Mar 08 - 12:43 PM
harpmolly 30 Mar 08 - 12:45 PM
GUEST,DonMeixner 30 Mar 08 - 12:45 PM
Nerd 30 Mar 08 - 12:46 PM
Bonnie Shaljean 30 Mar 08 - 12:47 PM
John on the Sunset Coast 30 Mar 08 - 12:50 PM
George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca 30 Mar 08 - 01:15 PM
Rog Peek 30 Mar 08 - 01:25 PM
John MacKenzie 30 Mar 08 - 01:35 PM
GUEST,The Mole Catcher's unplugged Apprentice 30 Mar 08 - 02:14 PM
Tootler 30 Mar 08 - 03:13 PM
Thompson 30 Mar 08 - 03:31 PM
Dave Higham 30 Mar 08 - 04:09 PM
GUEST,The Mole Catcher's unplugged Apprentice 30 Mar 08 - 04:16 PM
Jim McLean 30 Mar 08 - 04:30 PM
Suegorgeous 30 Mar 08 - 05:23 PM
Big Mick 30 Mar 08 - 05:25 PM
The Mole Catcher's Apprentice (inactive) 30 Mar 08 - 05:27 PM
Peace 30 Mar 08 - 05:33 PM
John MacKenzie 30 Mar 08 - 05:36 PM
Peace 30 Mar 08 - 05:51 PM
Nerd 30 Mar 08 - 05:57 PM
Seamus Kennedy 30 Mar 08 - 06:59 PM
Peace 30 Mar 08 - 07:02 PM
Jeri 30 Mar 08 - 07:04 PM
GUEST,mg 30 Mar 08 - 07:25 PM
Tattie Bogle 30 Mar 08 - 08:12 PM
Peace 30 Mar 08 - 08:18 PM
Lonesome EJ 31 Mar 08 - 02:38 AM
Seamus Kennedy 31 Mar 08 - 03:22 AM
Jim McLean 31 Mar 08 - 04:10 AM
Big Mick 31 Mar 08 - 10:14 AM
Jim McLean 31 Mar 08 - 11:09 AM
Jack Campin 31 Mar 08 - 11:38 AM
Jim McLean 31 Mar 08 - 11:46 AM
Seamus Kennedy 31 Mar 08 - 12:10 PM
Jim McLean 31 Mar 08 - 01:07 PM
GUEST 31 Mar 08 - 02:06 PM
John on the Sunset Coast 31 Mar 08 - 02:17 PM
Tattie Bogle 31 Mar 08 - 08:39 PM
Charmain 31 Mar 08 - 09:14 PM
Seamus Kennedy 31 Mar 08 - 11:23 PM
Big Tim 01 Apr 08 - 05:55 AM
Jim McLean 01 Apr 08 - 08:31 AM
Mr Happy 01 Apr 08 - 08:57 AM
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Subject: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhyme?
From: Dave Higham
Date: 30 Mar 08 - 12:03 PM

I see Kate Rusby sings this song on her latest CD and it irritates me just as much as when anyone else sings it because it doesn't rhyme!

Oh, the summer-time has come (or is coming)
And the trees are sweetly blooming,
And the wild mountain thyme
Grows around the blooming heather;

As far as poetry goes, that's pure McGonnagle. And yet it's what everyone sings. But I'm sure I remember, once, in the Three Cranes in Sheffield, a well respected singer finishing the evening with it. A lot of people did in those days (I'm going back a bit). Of course, as soon as he'd got the first 3 words out, everyone joined in. But at the end of the first verse he stopped the song and made us sing it again like this:

Oh, the summer-time has come
And the trees are sweetly blooming,
And the wild mountain thyme
All the ******** is perfuming;

I can't remember what the third word was; it could have been mountain or hillside even valley but it rhymes! What's more, it makes sense whereas the common version is almost gobbledegook.

Does anyone else recollect a version that makes sense? There's another song that irritates me for the same reason but I can't remember what it is for the moment. As Dave Eyre says, blame it on the wine.


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhy
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 30 Mar 08 - 12:19 PM

I have to disagree with your judgment, Dave. Rhyme can be a wonderful thing in the right setting, and sometimes outright necessary, but in the case of Wild Mountain Thyme I don't see it as necessary, or even desirable.

Wild Mountain Thyme is fairly slow, and contemplative. That verse you quoted is one single sentence, almost a spoken sentence which happens to have some tune to it. Rhyme would seem out of place,to me.

Of course YMMV.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhy
From: Amos
Date: 30 Mar 08 - 12:23 PM

It is a remarkable piece int hat it suceeds in being a beautiful song using no rhyme.

Worthy of note on that basis alone.

Rhyming is an arbitrary convention. Not to get yer knickers twisted over. :D


A


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhy
From: Dave Higham
Date: 30 Mar 08 - 12:34 PM

Perhaps I'm too sensitive a soul. But it isn't a beautiful song using no rhyme. The rest of it does rhyme. And if the rest of it does, then the first verse should too. Just my opinion of course.


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhy
From: Marje
Date: 30 Mar 08 - 12:41 PM

I have heard it sung as:

And the wild mountain thyme
All around us is perfuming.

The "blooming heather" bit is still there in the chorus. This means that both the verse and the chorus rhyme. I think it's quite likely that at some stage the oral tradition got the two tangled up and the "perfuming" line got lost along the way.

I can't think of any reason why a song that is slow, or a verse that consists of a single sentence, shouldn't rhyme. The rhythm scans, and the melody leads the ear to expect a rhyme. The other verses rhyme. Why not go for it and (re-)introduce the rhyme?

Marje


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhy
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 30 Mar 08 - 12:43 PM

moorlands Dave

I will build my love a bower by yon clear crystal fountain
And upon it I will spread all the flowers of the mountain.


What's not to rhyme?

G


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhy
From: harpmolly
Date: 30 Mar 08 - 12:45 PM

It's never bothered me, but I did hear Dick Gaughan do a rhyming first verse in my favorite rendition of the song. As I read it, it goes like this:

Oh, the summertime is coming (he sings "has come")
And the trees are sweetly blooming,
And the wild mountain thyme
All the bowers are perfuming.

Then Emmylou Harris and the McGarrigle sisters chime in, and I pretty much bliss out and lose track of the words. ;)

M


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhy
From: GUEST,DonMeixner
Date: 30 Mar 08 - 12:45 PM

I never noticed.


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhy
From: Nerd
Date: 30 Mar 08 - 12:46 PM

The song now commonly known as "Wild Mountain Thyme" was written by Francie McPeake of Belfast. McPeake used as a source the Scottish song "The Braes Of Balquhidder," whose version of that stanza is:

Noo the summer's in prime,
Wi' the floores richly blooming,
Wi' the wild mountain thyme
A' the moorland's perfuming

Presumably the non-rhyme in that first stanza originated with McPeake.

According to McPeake's descendants, the most original part of the song was the verse that begins "If my true love she were gone." It was written after McPeake's wife passed away. I got this from Francis III and Francis IV during an interview this past May. I don't know if it's true...but it's their story, and they're sticking to it.


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhy
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 30 Mar 08 - 12:47 PM

If my true love will not come
I will surely find another
To pick wild mountain thyme
All around the blooming heather

Well, almost...


O the summer time is coming
And the trees are sweetly blooming

Another "almost"

Turn Turn Turn doesn't rhyme either.


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhy
From: John on the Sunset Coast
Date: 30 Mar 08 - 12:50 PM

While it is not, I suppose, very common, there are other non rhyming songs..."Moonlight in Vermont" comes immediately to mind (unless rhyming Vermont with Vermont counts). The music is very beautiful, and the lyric very evocative of a pastoral scene.


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhy
From: George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca
Date: 30 Mar 08 - 01:15 PM

What about Dirty Old Town? IT's famous for not having a rhyme in any of the verses.


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhy
From: Rog Peek
Date: 30 Mar 08 - 01:25 PM

The most un-rhyming (probably made that up) song I know is The Galway races:

As I roved out to Galway Town to seek for recreation
On the seventeenth of August my mind was elevated
There were multitudes assembled with their tickets at the station
And my eyes began to dazzle and they're going to see the races

Chorus
With a wack fol the do fol the diddley didle aye

There were passengers from Limerick and passengers from Nenagh
Passengers from Dublin, sportsmen from Tipperary
There were passengers from Kerry all the quarters of the nation
And our member Mr. Hasset for to join the Galway Blazers

There were multitudes from Aran and members from New Quay shore
The boys from Connemara and the Clare unmarried maidens
There were people from Cork City who were loyal, true and faithful
That brought home Fenian prisoners from dying in foreign nations

It's there you'll see confectioners with sugarsticks and dainties
The lozenges and oranges, the lemonade and raisins
The gingerbread and spices to accommodate the ladies
And a big crubeen for threepence to be picking while your able

It's there you'll see the gamblers the thimbles and the garters
And the sporting Wheel of Fortune with the four and twenty quarters
There were others without scruple pelting wattles at poor Maggy
And her father well contented and he looking at his daughter

It's there you'll see the pipers and the fiddlers competing
The nimble footed dancers and they dancing on the daisies
There were others crying "cigars and lights and bills for all the races
With the colours of the jockeys and the prizes and horses' ages

It's there you'll see the jockeys and they mounted up most stately
The pink and blue the red and green the emblem of our nation
When the bell was rung for starting all the horses seemed impatient
I thought they never stood on ground their speed was so amazing

There was half a million people there of all denominations
The Catholic, the Protestant, the Jew, the Presbyterian
Yet there was no animosity no matter what persuasion
But joy and hospitality inducing fresh acquaintance


Garters and quarters are the closest, otherwise nothing.
Made it a difficult song to learn by heart.

Rog


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhy
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 30 Mar 08 - 01:35 PM

Braes O' Balquhidder was written by Robert Tannahill site under construction.

The Braes O' Balquhidder



    Will ye go, lassie, go,
    To the braes o' Balquhidder?
    Where the blaeberries grow,
    'Mang the bonnie bloomin' heather;
    Where the deer and the roe
    Lightly bounding together,
    Sport the lang simmer day
    'Mang the braes o' Balquhidder.

    Chorus:
    Will ye go lassie, go,
    To the braes o' Balquhidder?
    Where the blaeberries grow,
    'Mang the bonnie bloomin' heather.

    I will twine thee a bower
    By the clear siller fountain,
    An' I'll cover it o'er
    Wi' the flowers o' the mountain;
    I will range through the wilds,
    An' the deep glens sae dreary,
    An' return wi' their spoils
    To the bower o' my dearie.

    Now the simmer is in prime,
    Wi' the flowers richly bloomin'
    An' the wild mountain thyme
    A' the moorlands perfumin',
    To our dear native scenes
    Let us journey together,
    Where glad innocence reigns
    'Mang the braes o' Balquhidder.

Robert Tannahill ( 1774-1810 )


Giok


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhy
From: GUEST,The Mole Catcher's unplugged Apprentice
Date: 30 Mar 08 - 02:14 PM

Then there must be an awful lot of songs that irritate you, because there are an awful lot of songs that don't rhyme. It reminds of people who like everything wrapped up and tied with a nice bow. In real life it doesn't happen.

Charlotte (the view from Ma and Pa's piano stool)


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhy
From: Tootler
Date: 30 Mar 08 - 03:13 PM

Well according to Dave Higham's principles, Shakespeare must be a poor poet then - on a par with McGonnagle, in fact - because his plays are written in verse and it doesn't rhyme.

I learnt in school it was called "blank verse"


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhy
From: Thompson
Date: 30 Mar 08 - 03:31 PM

A rhyme, Dave, can imprison a song's theme. Some songs can open out and rove around the theme more freely and with more dignity if they don't have that pursed-lip feeling of the rhyme holding them in.

This particular song, also, comes from the tradition that includes the great sean-nós songs, which often use the sophistication of a theme expressed in rhythm and assonance to explore a deep feeling.


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhy
From: Dave Higham
Date: 30 Mar 08 - 04:09 PM

I think a lot of the people who replied didn't listen to what I said. I have no problem with blank verse. It's not supposed to rhyme. On the other hand, a lot of Shakespeare's poetry does.

Perhaps 'Thompson' thinks that most of Wild Mountain Thyme has that pursed-lip held-in feeling because it does rhyme.

Perhaps my first message was a little ambiguous. What irritates me is that the first verse doesn't rhyme or make much sense the way most people sing it and the rest of the song does (more or less).

Anyway, Dick Gaughan seems to agree with me so I'm happy.


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhy
From: GUEST,The Mole Catcher's unplugged Apprentice
Date: 30 Mar 08 - 04:16 PM

The whole song makes perfect sense to me. I have no quibble with the first or any of the verses, or any of the versions of the song.

and as for famous people and their thoughts...well I'll make up my own mind on matters.

Charlotte (the view from Ma and Pa's piano stool)


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhy
From: Jim McLean
Date: 30 Mar 08 - 04:30 PM

Tannahill wrote 'Where the deer and the rae ... to rhyme with
'Sport the lang simmer day' i.e. not 'roe' and he called it The Braes o' Balquhither.


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhy
From: Suegorgeous
Date: 30 Mar 08 - 05:23 PM

Totally agree with Charlotte (for once) :)

Sue


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhy
From: Big Mick
Date: 30 Mar 08 - 05:25 PM

This song is all about phrasing. If you are good at it, the rhyme doesn't matter and it sounds perfectly natural and lovely. I love singing it.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhy
From: The Mole Catcher's Apprentice (inactive)
Date: 30 Mar 08 - 05:27 PM

I've performed the song a number of times...and as I stated on the Flower Songs thread, I quite like The Byrds version, though I perform Wild Mountain Thyme acoustically rather than electrically.

Thank you, Sue :-)

Charlotte (the view from Ma and Pa's piano stool)


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhy
From: Peace
Date: 30 Mar 08 - 05:33 PM

I thought it did rhyme. Go figger!


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhy
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 30 Mar 08 - 05:36 PM

You teach what subject Bruce?

G


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhy
From: Peace
Date: 30 Mar 08 - 05:51 PM

Poetry.


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhy
From: Nerd
Date: 30 Mar 08 - 05:57 PM

Thanks to both Giok and Jim for more specifics on Tannahill's song. Both are correct. In a different thread Jim pointed out that there are two slightly different texts of this song ascribed to Tannahill.

The song did enter oral tradition after Tannahill wrote it, to be collected by various people including Grieg and Duncan.    I'm not sure how Francie McPeake got hold of it--his family was mostly interested in stressing the originality of "Wild Mountain Thyme," and didn't discuss his source much.


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhy
From: Seamus Kennedy
Date: 30 Mar 08 - 06:59 PM

Why doesn't it rhyme?

Because the words at the end of each line don't sound the same?

Seamus


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhy
From: Peace
Date: 30 Mar 08 - 07:02 PM

Yesterday upon the stair
I met a man who wasn't there;
I met him there again today,
I really wish he'd bugger off.

There. A perfect rhyme.

Seamus, I was listeng to your voice and songs yesterday and enjoying it very much. FYI.


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhy
From: Jeri
Date: 30 Mar 08 - 07:04 PM

Oh the summertime is comin'
And the trees are sweetly bloomin'
And the wild mountain thyme
Smells lovely to a human

THAT's why it doesn't rhyme.


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhy
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 30 Mar 08 - 07:25 PM

I am of the persuasion that ...well..should is awfully harsh..but I like the songs best that do rhyme, and rhyme perfectly and the rhythm is very strict. I am far less concerned with the ...other stuff whatever it is. But in this case, if it bugs you, I would just not sing it because it is so in the oral tradition the other way. I would say oral tradition trumps rhymes but rhymes trump nonrhymes if you are say constructing a song. But do what you want. mg


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhy
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 30 Mar 08 - 08:12 PM

From "Alex Campbell Live" - LP recorded in 1964 - sleeve notes, written by Eric Winter:
"Robert Tannahill's poem The Braes of Balquidder may or may not have preceded this delightful folk song. It is just as easy to believe that Tannahill reworked the folk song as it is to imagine that the folk process rounded off and re-beautified the poem. This version (from the McPeake family of Belfast) is not the Tannahill's poem, nor is betsy miller's lovely version. Both are lovely songs and the McPeake version is solidly established as an end-of-evening song in countless folk clubs."
And so what doid Alex sing (the McPeake version as it statess above)?

"And the wild mountain thyme,
All the moorlands is perfuming"

i.e it rhymes with blooming, and was how I learned it and sang it for years until I realised others were singing "grows around the blooming heather"


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhy
From: Peace
Date: 30 Mar 08 - 08:18 PM

I've heard it also as "purple heather".


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhyme
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 31 Mar 08 - 02:38 AM

purple heather is in my brain
Many words that don't rhyme alike
feel like the breeze is blowin through my soul
is this tomorrow, or just the end of thyme?


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhyme
From: Seamus Kennedy
Date: 31 Mar 08 - 03:22 AM

Thanks, Peace. Got a new one coming out in a few weeks.

The way I heard the story from Jimmy McPeake was that the family was performing in Scotland in the '50's, when they heard the Braes of Balquidder and really liked it.

When they got back to Belfast Francis Sr. couldn't quite remember all the words, so he added his own, and as a result came up with a whole new song.

I disagree with mg in that all good songs don't have to rhyme, as long as they scan well, and don'thaveashitloadofextrasyllablesthrownin.

Seamus


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhyme
From: Jim McLean
Date: 31 Mar 08 - 04:10 AM

I have the original text in Tannahill's handwriting of The Braes o' Balquhither, 1809, and I will post it later (I have to go out now}.


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhyme
From: Big Mick
Date: 31 Mar 08 - 10:14 AM

Folkies just make me laugh sometimes. I will anxiously await seeing Jim's in the original hand, but the song works just fine as it was written. The need to make it rhyme is just such nonsense to my way of thinking. Leave the damn song alone. It has stood the test of time.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhyme
From: Jim McLean
Date: 31 Mar 08 - 11:09 AM

This is not the Wild Mountain Thyme, Mick, but Tannahill's song.

The Braes o' Balquhither, A Scotch, Song Air .. The Three Carls o' Buchanan

Let us go,Lassie go,
To the braes o' Balquhither.
Where the blae berries grow
'Mang the bonnie highland heather;
Where the deer and the rae.
Lightly bounding together,
Sport the lang simmer day
On the braes o' Balquhither.

I will twine thee a bow'r,
By the clear siller fountain,
And I'll cover it o'er,
Wi' the flow rs o' the mountain;
I'll range thro' the wilds,
And the steep glens sae dreary,
And return wi' their Spoils,
To the bow'r o' my dearie.

While the Lads o' the South,
Toil for bare war'ly treasure,
To the Lads o' the North,
Ev'ry day brings its pleasure;
Tho Simple are the joys,
The brave Highlander possesses,
Yet he feels no annoys,
For he fears no distresses.

When the rude wintry win',
Idly raves round his dwelling,
And the roar of the linn,
On the night-breeze is swelling;
Then so merrily he'll sing,
As the storm rattles o're him,
'Till the dear Sheeling ring,
Wi' the light lilting Jorum.

Now the Simmer is in prime,
Wi' the flow'rs richly blooming,
And the wild mountain thyme,
A' the moorlands perfuming;
To our dear native Scenes,
Let us journey together,
Where glad innocence reigns,
'Mang the braes o' Balquhither.

The spelling is exactly as written by Tannahill. He wrote this in 'Paisley' English where only the odd word is Scottish as in 'simmer', 'siller', 'lang, 'bonnie'. It was Semple in the Centenary edition of Tannahill's works who suggested maybe 'lightly' should be written as 'lichtly' etcetera. But the rhyme is pretty strict ACBD and I'm constantly surprised when singers choose to Scotify certain words and pronounce 'grow' as in 'now' where it stands out like a sore thumb against 'go'. McColl did this, copying his mother, and a few singers have copied him.The same applies to singing 'roe' instead of 'rae' as Tannahill wrote. 'Floo'ers' does not rhyhme with 'bow'rs'. I suggest reading Tannahill's original in 'English' and your ear will do the rest. The melody is an other story entirely and I'm currently researching the two airs associated with Tannahill's lyrics.


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhyme
From: Jack Campin
Date: 31 Mar 08 - 11:38 AM

It's not entirely by Tannahill. A shorter version of the words was printed by John Hamilton in 1792, and the tune was published by Bremner in the 1750s, so Hamilton himself must have been adapting a traditional song which hasn't come down to us. Bruce Olson posted my copy of Hamilton's version in another thread on this song a few years ago.

Tannahill was fond of fantasizing about places he'd never been to. Check out "The Banks of Spey" for an example (that one he *did* write, to fit William Marshall's tune of the same name). He makes north-east Scotland sound like Svalbard.


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhyme
From: Jim McLean
Date: 31 Mar 08 - 11:46 AM

Jack, the words I posted are entirely by Tannahill. John Hamilton, as you know, wrote a similar song which I am sure Tannahill decided to rewrite. He knew Hamilton and the air he used which was Burn's version of the Trad dance tune The Braes o' Balquhidder first printed by David Young in 1740 which Bremner (et al)copied.


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhyme
From: Seamus Kennedy
Date: 31 Mar 08 - 12:10 PM

So Tannahill did to Hamilton what Francis McPeake did to Tannahill.

It's the folk process at it's finest.

Seamus


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhyme
From: Jim McLean
Date: 31 Mar 08 - 01:07 PM

Exactly, Seamus, but the McPeake tune is much more singable (in my opinion), hence its popularity. Hamilton was a writer as well as a publisher and contributed to Johnson's Scots Musical Museum. His Braes o' Bowhether (to the tune The Braes o' Balquhidder, just to confuse the issue!) was published at least fourteen years before Tannahill's song. Tannahill chose a different air than Hamilton/Burns although it seems to have disappeared in Scotland but strong in Ireland and America.
For comparison, here's Hamilton's song.

The Braes o' Bowhether.

Now the day's growin' lang lass,
an' sweet shines the weather,
an' we'll owre a' the hills,
to the Braes o' Bowhether.
Amang the Glens an' Rashy dens,
I'll prize thee without measure,
Within my arms, wi' a' thy charms,
I'll clasp my lovely treasure,
In sweetest Love, our time will move,
wi' mair than earthly pleasure;
By the little limpid streams,
On the Braes o' Bowhether.

An' I'll ay loe thee dearly,
Ilk day wes' forgather,
Syne we'll row on the fog,
By the Braes o' Bowhether;
To Pipe or Flute, when time will suit,
We'll dance like ony feather,
An', skip the knowes where Claver grows,
or stray amang the Heather;
Ay free frae strife in sic a life,
There, weary shall we never,
By the limpid little streams,
On the Braes o' Bowhether.


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhyme
From: GUEST
Date: 31 Mar 08 - 02:06 PM

As an aside, please don't bring McGonagall into it. He may not scan too well, but he DOES rhyme!!


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhyme
From: John on the Sunset Coast
Date: 31 Mar 08 - 02:17 PM

Sweet, lovely Marie
Frolicked in the lea,
Running thru the grass
That came up to her knees.

When the grass grows taller, this poem will rhyme.


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhyme
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 31 Mar 08 - 08:39 PM

Thanks Jim McLean: your posts are the most readable on the whole thread.


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhyme
From: Charmain
Date: 31 Mar 08 - 09:14 PM

Rhyme - shmyme - some songs need it - in others it would just be cheese on a stick - Never mind Wee Kate MacRusby - the most of us have been singing it that way for years - since it was written in fact - it doesn't need to rhyme - in fact if you force it to rhyme thats what it sounds - forced!
Now forcing may be all very weel for yer rhubarb but hands off my bloomin' heather thank ye kindly!!


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhyme
From: Seamus Kennedy
Date: 31 Mar 08 - 11:23 PM

Jim - Il like that Hamilton variant.
Very Burnsish. Nice.

Seamus


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhyme
From: Big Tim
Date: 01 Apr 08 - 05:55 AM

I think the McPeake version is 'more singable' simply because it is better known, thanks largely to the Clancy Brothers. Personally I prefer the Tannahill Weavers version, 'Braes' not 'Lassie.' (Sorry Jim, I know you weren't very impressed by their recording). However. you can't sing this version if you have never heard it, which many people haven't.


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhyme
From: Jim McLean
Date: 01 Apr 08 - 08:31 AM

Big Tim, The Tannahill Weaver's sing the standard (see Norrie Buchan's 101 Scottisg Songs) first part of the tune which most people know. It's the second part where they fudge the octave jump that is different slightly. Also their pronunciation is comletely haywire.


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Subject: RE: Wild Mountain Thyme - Why doesn't it rhyme
From: Mr Happy
Date: 01 Apr 08 - 08:57 AM

Coincidentally, this song was discussed at a sessh recently, someone commenting that their schoolchild's songbook seemed 'dumbed down' as it had 'I will build my love a ' tower ' !! instead of 'bower' - the teacher's expanation being that 'bower' could confuse the kids!


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