"She Griped at ye Greatest on't" query

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Re: "She Griped at ye Greatest on't" query

Postby Matt Seattle » Sun Oct 09, 2011 1:06 pm

The lyric collected by Burns and included in The Merry Muses of Caledonia is called She Gripet at the Girtest o't and directed to be sung to East Nook of Fife. It seems from this, and from an early appearance of the tune in the Crockat ms under the East Neuk title, that the lyric came later than the tune, but was associated with it to the extent that Oswald used it as his title - but who knows? The tune is attributed to Oswald on the Fiddler's Companion site, a monumental mine of information which should however be treated with some caution.

The lyric is smutty but beyond that, far from tender and, if I understand it, treats of marital rape and violent revenge exacted. From the 1982 edition of The Merry Muses:

Our bride flate, and our bride flang, [protested, struggled - from Glossary]
But lang before the laverock sang,
She pay't him twice for every bang,
And gripet at the girtest o't.

Our bride turn'd her to the wa',
But lang before the cock did craw,
She took him by the b—ks and a',
And gripet at the girtest o't.
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Re: "She Griped at ye Greatest on't" query

Postby John Gibbons » Sun Oct 09, 2011 4:35 pm

It's a pity that the lyric doesn't appear till the end of the century, though the title and tune appears half a century earlier.
So there are at least 2 open questions -
* Did Oswald write the tune or just 2 pairs of variations?
* Did Bremner intend the East Neuk title as a tribute to Oswald, regarding him as the composer, or was it just the name of the tune?
Unless an earlier appearance turns up, they will stay unanswered.

John
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Re: "She Griped at ye Greatest on't" query

Postby Richard York » Sun Oct 09, 2011 8:31 pm

Isn't it a bit saddening how often a smashing tune turns out to have truly regrettable and unedifying lyrics?
I found a lovely set of 18th C. recorder tunes in a MS years ago, and spent ages researching sources and songs, with sometimes similarly unrewarding results.
Richard.
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Re: "She Griped at ye Greatest on't" query

Postby John Gibbons » Sun Oct 09, 2011 10:10 pm

But you know the devil has all the best tunes!

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