or Bonnie Jeannie o Bethelnie

On Springthyme SPRCD 1042
Shepheard, Spiers & Watson - They Smiled as We Cam In

Arthur Watson: Ambose Bierce The Devil’s Dictionary (Definition, 1911): accordion, n. an instrument in harmony with the sentiments of an assassin. Although I have had sympathy with this definition, the lilting rhythm of Pete Shepheard’s melodeon has led me to re-appraise several songs which have lain dormant for many years.

Glenlogie in its earliest version of 1768, was included in Bishop Percy’s manuscripts and is still widely sung in Aberdeenshire (Child 238; GD 5:973; Roud 101). I rarely sing it unaccompanied and relish the dialogue with the fiddle and melodeon as well as three voices raised in praise of the Aberdeenshire landscape:
Bethelnie, Bethelnie, ye shine far ye stand,
And aa the heather bells that’s aroond ye shine ower Fyvie’s land.

Arthur (vocal) with Pete (melodeon and vocal) and Tom (fiddle and vocal)

1: There were six and six nobles rade roon Banchory fair,
And bonnie Glenlogie wis the flower o them there;
There were nine and nine ladies sat in the queen’s dine,
Bonnie Jeannie o Bethelnie wis the flower o twice nine.

2: Doun come Jeannie Meldrum she cam tripping doun the stair,
And she’s faan in love wi Glenlogie ower aa that wis there;
She has turned tae his fitboy that stood by her side, [fitboy=footman
Saying, “Fa is the young man and far does he bide?”

3: “His name is Glenlogie fan he is fae hame,
And he’s o the noble Gordons and his name is Lord John.”
“Glenlogie, Glenlogie prove constant and kind,
For I hae laid my love upon ye and ye’re aye in ma mind.”

4: He has turned him aroon quickly like the Gordons dae aa,
He says, “I thank ye Jeannie Meldrum but I’m promised awa.”
She has caad for her maiden tae mak up a bed,
Wi ribbons aye and napkins tae tie roon her heid.

5: Doun cam Jeannie’s faither and as he cam doun stair,
He says, “Fit ails ye Jeannie Meldrum that ye’re lying doun there?”
“There is a nice little fellow wi a dark rollin ee,
And if I get na Glenlogie then it’s for him I’ll dee.”

6: “O haud yer tongue Jeannie and say nae sic a thing tae me,
And I will wad ye tae Drumwhinnle, he has mair gowd and fee.” [fee=income
“O haud yer tongue faither and let yer Jeannie be,
For if I get na Glenlogie then it’s for him I’ll dee.”

7: Her faither he had a chaplain and a man o great skill,
And he’s penned a braid letter and indited it weel;
Fan Glenlogie saw the letter a licht lauch gaed he,
But fin Glenlogie read the letter then a tear blint his ee.

8: “Noo gae saddle tae me the black horse, gae saddle tae me the broon,
Bonnie Jeannie o Bethelnie will be deid e’er I win.” [arrive
Fan his horses were saddled and led tae the green,
It’s bonnie Glenlogie had gaen three miles his leen. [his leen: alone

9: Noo pale and wan wis she fan Glenlogie cam ben,
Aye and reid and rosie grew she fan she saw it was him;
“Lie ower Jeannie Meldrum, lie tae yer richt side,
And I will play the bridegroom love if you will play the bride.”

10: Bonnie Jeannie she wis married and her tocher doun tauld, [dowry counted out
Bonnie Jeannie o Bethelnie wis bit sixteen years auld;
Bethelnie, Bethelnie ye shine far ye stand,
And aa the heather bells that’s aroond ye shine ower Fyvie’s land.

c p 2006 Springthyme Records • Springthyme Music