This week a Scots ballad, Child 233, that takes us back into a dark mediaeval time, scarcely imaginable now, when a woman was the chattel of her family, to be disposed of in marriage for their profit and convenience, and if she stepped out of line could be brutalised and even subject to a so-called ‘honour killing’. This girl’s crime was to love one below her station; in the similarly themed ‘Bonnie Susie Cleland’ (Child 65) the crime is even worse: Susie falls in love with an Englishman. Along with the tragedy here there is a bit of perhaps unintentional Jane-Austenish social comedy: Lord Fyvie is struck by Annie’s beauty, and rather regrets that of course there could no question of a mere miller’s daughter becoming Lady Fyvie, while at the same time Annie’s father is equally dismissive of the idea of Annie marrying a mere trumpeter, even one in Lord Fyvie’s retinue. Doesn’t say much for the social standing of musicians…
The ballad has been covered by, among others, Jean Redpath on ‘Song of the Seals’ and Martin Simpson.
Mill O’Tifty’s Annie
At Mill O’ Tifty there lived a man
In the neighbourhood of Fyvie
He had a bonnie dochter dear
Whose name was Bonnie Annie.
Her bloom was like the springing flower
That hails the rosy morning,
With innocence and graceful mien
Her beauteous form adorning.
Lord Fyvie had a trumpeter
By the name o’ Andrew Lammie
He had the art tae win the heart
O’ Mill o’ Tifty’s Annie.
Proper he was, both young and gay,
His like was not in Fyvie,
Nor was ane there that could compare
With this same Andrew Lammie.
Lord Fyvie he rade by the mill
Whaur lived Tifty’s Annie
And his trumpeter rade him before
Even this same Andrew Lammie
Her mother cried her tae the door
Saying, ‘Come here tae me, my Annie
Did e’er ye see a bonnier man
Than the trumpeter o’ Fyvie?’
Nae thing she said, but sighing sore
‘Alas for Bonnie Annie’.
Love so oppressed her tender breast
Thinking on Andrew Lammie
‘Love comes in at my bedside
And love lies doon aside me
Love has possessed my tender breast
And love will waste my body
‘The first time me and my love met
‘Twas in the woods o’ Fyvie
His lovely form and speech so soft
Soon gained the heart of Annie.
He ca’d me ‘Mistress’, I said ‘No
I was Tifty’s Bonnie Annie’
With apples sweet he did me treat
And kisses soft and mony.
‘It’s up and doon in Tifty’s den
Where the burn runs clear and bonnie
I’ve often gane tae meet my love
My bonnie Andrew Lammie’
Her faither cam’ tae hear o’ this
And a letter wrote tae Fyvie
Tae say his dochter was bewitched
By his servant Andrew Lammie.
Then up the stair his trumpeter
He called soon and shortly:
‘Pray tell me soon what’s this you’ve done
To Tifty’s bonny Annie.’
‘Woe be to Mill of Tifty’s pride,
For it has ruined many;
They’ll not have ’t said that she should wed
The trumpeter of Fyvie.
‘In wicked art I had no part,
Nor therein am I canny;
True love alone the heart has won
Of Tifty’s bonnie Annie.
Lord Fyvie he rade by the mill
‘What ails ye, Bonnie Annie?’
‘It’s a’ for love that I maun die
For bonnie Andrew Lammie’
‘Oh Tifty, Tifty gie consent [Lord Fyvie speaks]
And let your dochter marry.’
’It’ll be tae ane o’ higher degree [Annie’s father speaks]
Than the trumpeter o’ Fyvie.’
‘Had she been born o’ richer kin [Lord Fyvie speaks]
As she is rich in beauty
I was hae ta’en the lass mysel’
And made her my ain lady’
‘Oh, Fyvie’s lands are far and wide [Annie speaks]
An’ they are wondrous bonnie
But I wadnae gie my ain true love
No’ for a’ your lands o’ Fyvie’
At this her faither struck her sore
And likewise did her mother
Her sisters a’ they did her scorn
But wae’s me for her brother
Her brother struck her wondrous sore
Wi’ cruel strokes and many
He broke her back on the high hall-door
A’ for likin’ Andrew Lammie
‘Oh faither, mother, sisters a’
Why sae cruel tae your Annie?
My heart was broken first by love
Noo my brother’s broke my body
‘Oh mother, mother mak’ my bed
An’ lay my face tae Fyvie
Thus will I lie and will I die
For my ain dear Andrew Lammie’