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'Montrose'

Reiver 2 19 Oct 99 - 02:43 PM
Lesley N. 19 Oct 99 - 04:01 PM
Bruce O. 19 Oct 99 - 04:43 PM
katlaughing 19 Oct 99 - 06:28 PM
annamill 19 Oct 99 - 06:37 PM
Lesley N. 20 Oct 99 - 08:54 AM
Bruce O. 20 Oct 99 - 01:26 PM
Bruce O. 20 Oct 99 - 02:51 PM
Reiver 2 20 Oct 99 - 04:23 PM
Reiver 2 20 Oct 99 - 04:38 PM
Bruce O. 20 Oct 99 - 04:44 PM
Lesley N. 20 Oct 99 - 05:17 PM
Lesley N. 20 Oct 99 - 07:50 PM
Reiver 2 21 Oct 99 - 02:17 PM
Melbert 21 Oct 99 - 04:11 PM
Bruce O. 21 Oct 99 - 04:59 PM
Bruce O. 21 Oct 99 - 05:04 PM
Lesley N. 22 Oct 99 - 08:40 AM
johntm 22 Oct 99 - 03:27 PM
Bill Cameron 22 Oct 99 - 04:22 PM
johntm 23 Oct 99 - 12:44 AM
Kerstin 18 Nov 01 - 03:55 AM
Susanne (skw) 18 Nov 01 - 05:00 PM
GUEST,James 23 Apr 12 - 05:44 PM
GUEST,Allan Conn 24 Apr 12 - 01:24 PM
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Subject: 'Montrose'
From: Reiver 2
Date: 19 Oct 99 - 02:43 PM

In response to an inquiry posted under the Historical Ballads thread, here's some information on the person the ballad "Montrose" refers to. If more information is desired to clarify the meaning of specific lines in the song, feel free to ask, and I'll try to address them.

James Graham, 5th Earl of Montrose, b. 1612, was created the 1st Marquis of Montrose in 1644. England, in breaking from the Roman Catholic Church had chosen a "middle road" between the extremes of that religion and Calvinism. In Scotland, however the Reformation was led by John Knox, a ferocious Calvinist and the church services there reflected this. When Charles I attempted to impose a new prayer book on the Scots Kirk, the Calvinist faithful went into revolt, and bound themselves to a National Covenent opposing the new prayer book. Montrose was among them.

He did not see himself as rebelling against the King (his family prided themselves on loyalty to the King), but felt he was joining a legitimate protest to preserve the religious independence of Scotland. The Earl of Argyll, however, and others hoped to use the Covenant as an excuse to overthrow Charles and make Argyll the King.

When it became clear that the Covenanters' religious protest was turning into a political revolution, Montrose could not go along, and turned his back on the Covenanters (thus earning their deep enmity) and offered his services to the King. In the service of the Royalists, he gathered a small force and, though badly outnumbered, won a string of victories and proved an inspired "guerilla" fighter in the Highlands. One writer states, "He was a brilliant soldier and his campaign in Scotland one of the most masterly in military annals." To his old allies, the Covenanters, however, he became the "bloody murderer and excommunicate traitor, James Graham."

Charles, for political reasons, later abandoned Montrose, who was betrayed to his (and the King's) enemies and after the King's defeat and execution, Montrose himself went to the gallows (May 21, 1650). He was, according to one account, "... the revolutionary moderate who can go no further along the road than his conscience has taken him, and in turning aside becomes the servant of reaction and one of it's noble victims."

The song, which I've only heard sung by Steeleye Span, and takes about 15 minutes (!), is a medley of about three melodies and includes several key changes. It's amazingly accurate to history in what it describes, from winning the silver arrow prize for archery at St. Andrews, to his decision to go over to the King's cause, his series of victories aided by the Irish under "the giant" Alisdair MacDonald, his eventual defeat and betrayal and execution -- all recounted in surprising detail. The "Chorus" lines in the song which are sung about six times in the middle part of the piece, and again at the close, are the final stanza of a love poem Montrose himself wrote to his wife, Magdalen (probably in about 1643):

"I'll serve thee in such noble ways Was never heard before; I'll crown and deck thee all with bays And love thee more and more."

It could, perhaps, have been addressed to the people of Scotland, as well as to his wife.


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Subject: RE: 'Montrose'
From: Lesley N.
Date: 19 Oct 99 - 04:01 PM

The Scotwars site has several pages on Montrose (it's a great site). It begins here.


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Subject: RE: 'Montrose'
From: Bruce O.
Date: 19 Oct 99 - 04:43 PM

Do you happen to know where "Montrose Lynes" first appeared? Five verses are in Watson's 'Choice Collection', III, p. 107, 1711, commencing "My dear and only love I pray". These often get mixed in with other verses from "I'll never love thee more" and other songs in imitation of it, e.g., Herd's Scots Songs]. Robert Aytoun is another Scotsman who immitated "I'll never love thee more" and a broadside ballad version of his "Claridora" ("I wish I were these gloves, dear heart) is listed as ZN1352 in the broadside ballad index on my website. I've found two early MS copies of "I'll never love the more" and the text is given in the Scare Songs 1 file on my website. The tune "Montose Lynes" is a version of that of "I'll never love thee more", which the Scots also called "Chevy Chace" [See the recent thread on "Hardy Knute" for an ABC.] I suspect song and tune of "I'll never love thee more" (c 1624) are both really Scottish. "The blazing torch" is also closely related to "I'll never love thee more" and an early text follows that of "I'll never ove tthee more on my website. Sir Walter Scott's "The Resolve" is a slight revision of the latter, in spite of his statement that he 'coopered up an old fragment'.


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Subject: RE: 'Montrose'
From: katlaughing
Date: 19 Oct 99 - 06:28 PM

Wonderful thread and historical information. Thanks to you all.


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Subject: RE: 'Montrose'
From: annamill
Date: 19 Oct 99 - 06:37 PM

A'ways lernin. annap


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Subject: RE: 'Montrose'
From: Lesley N.
Date: 20 Oct 99 - 08:54 AM

Gosh Bruce, you're always MY source! I've searched through everything I have and the only reference I have is in Cunningham's Songs Of Scotland (1835) which also notes it is from Watson's Collection - 1711. In Songsof Scotland (Vol I) it is titled I'll never love thee more - there is no tune. I'll keep looking, but I've checked my best sources.


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Subject: RE: 'Montrose'
From: Bruce O.
Date: 20 Oct 99 - 01:26 PM

Leslie, what is the song in your Songs of Scotland? It may go back to a common 18th century practice where the heading of a song wasn't the title of the song, but its tune direction. Many pieces in Herd's Scots Songs are labeled that way, and others aren't, so you have to be careful about your interpretation of headings to songs.


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Subject: RE: 'Montrose'
From: Bruce O.
Date: 20 Oct 99 - 02:51 PM

I've added ABCs for "Montrose Lyns", Oswald's "Chevy Chace" and Bremner's "Chevy Chase" after B228 for "I'll never love thee more" in the ABC file, of broadside ballad tunes, BM2 on my website. More Scots versions of the tune can be found in the Scots tunes index there. Bremner gave a long Scottish version of "Chevy Chase" (not found by Child) in 6 line stanzas, so his tune is longer.
Click
It's www.erols.com/olsonw in case I foul up the 'blue clicky thing' (BCT?).


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Subject: RE: 'Montrose'
From: Reiver 2
Date: 20 Oct 99 - 04:23 PM

I have only the words (no title) quoted by C. V. Wedgwood in her book, "Montrose." In the fall of 1643, Montrose, having been approached by the Covenant party about leading their forces in an invasion of England with the purpose of overthrowing the King (Charles I), refused to make a clear decision. He then secretly left for England where he tried to warn Charles that a plot was afoot to overthrow him in favor of "King Campbell" (Argyll). The King would not heed.

During Montrose's stay in Oxford, his wife in Kincardine, Scotland, fearing that his actions might endanger her and other members of the family, began to withdraw from Montrose's friends into the shelter from her own family. Montrose was no doubt hurt and worried by his wife's distancing herself from him. Wedgwood says that she believes it was at this time that Montrose wrote "the famous love song." She observes, "He was only following the literary fashion of the time when he took his similies from current politics, yet he may have had his wife's political estrangement in mind when he accuses her, in these pretty and gallant verses, of holding a synod in her heart, as the meetings of Calvinist devines were called." She then quotes the poem (four stanzas of eight lines each), the last four lines of which are the lines used by Steeleye Span in their song.

"My dear and only love, I pray, That little world of thee Be governed by no other sway Than purest monarchy. For if confusion have a part, Which virtuous souls abhor, And hold a Synod in thine heart, I'll never love thee more.

Like Alexander I will reign, And I will reign alone; My thoughts did ever more disdain A rival on my throne. He either fears his fate too much, Or his deserts are small, That dares not put it to the touch, To gain or lose it all.

And in the Empire of thine heart, Where I should solely be, If others do pretend a part Or dare to vie with me, Or Committees if thou erect And go on such a score, I'll laugh and sing at thy neglect, And never love thee more.

But if thou wilt prove faithful then, And constant of thy word, I'll make thee glorious by my pen, And famous by my sword. I'll serve thee in such noble ways Was never heard before; I'll crown and deck thee all with bays And love thee more and more."

I have no knowledge whether the melody which they use for these lines is one of their own making, or whether it was a traditional melody used with the Montrose poem. Any information anyone can shed on these lines as a song, not just a poem, will be most appreciated. I've always assumed that Steeleye Span used traditional melodies in their epic song, but that the song itself was their creation, but perhaps I'm wrong. Does anyone have any information on this?


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Subject: RE: 'Montrose'
From: Reiver 2
Date: 20 Oct 99 - 04:38 PM

Bruce, I just saw your last post, after I posted my long and windy (as usual) effort at supplying some historical background information. What a great resource you have there! Thanks for sharing it. I've bookmarked it... now I've just got to figure out how to use it! (By the way, my name is Bryce.)


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Subject: RE: 'Montrose'
From: Bruce O.
Date: 20 Oct 99 - 04:44 PM

My parent gave me a Scots name, and I'm very interested in Scots songs and music. By ancestry I'm mixture of several things, but no Scots there that I know of.
PS. Thanks for the text. I saw that in Watson's 'Choice Collection' and made notes on it, but I didn't copy it.


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Subject: RE: 'Montrose'
From: Lesley N.
Date: 20 Oct 99 - 05:17 PM

The version in Songs of Scotland is only a bit different:

For instance:
BUT purest monarchy, not THAN
I'll call a synod in MY heart (which is interesting as that changes the entire meaning)
AS Alexander I will reign
WHO does not dare

And there is an additional verse (After the Alexander verse) and the last has more difference than the others:

But I will reign, and govern still,
And always give the law,
And have each subject at my will,
And all to stand in awe:
But 'gainst my batt'ries if I find
Thou storm or vex me sore,
And if thou set me as a blind,
I'll never love thee more.

But if no faithless action stain,
Thy love and constant word,
I'll make thee famous by my pen,
And glorious by my sword.
I'll serve thee in such noble ways,
As ne'er was known before;
I'll deck and crown thy head with bays,
And love thee more and more.

It's noted [From Watson's Collection, 1711.] Interesting differences from Wedgwood's version...


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Subject: RE: 'Montrose'
From: Lesley N.
Date: 20 Oct 99 - 07:50 PM

typo alert - should be storm OR vex me more... darn..


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Subject: RE: 'Montrose'
From: Reiver 2
Date: 21 Oct 99 - 02:17 PM

Interesting differences in the words, and also the additional verse. Thanks. Wedgwood gives no specific source for the poem. She does mention Mark Napier's "Memorials of Montrose" published by the Maitland Society in 1848-50, as the source for "the greater number of documents for the life of Montrose."

In regard to the discussion of how much "history" can be believed, Wedgwood has an interesting comment in her Note on Books and Sources: "I have several times in this book emphasized the growth of legend about his (Montrose) name and exploits. But he was not only the subject of legend, he was also the object of propaganda.... The historian is thus perpetually faced with contradictory statements, or with several accounts of the same event which cannot be made to tally. The bare truth about Montrose's life has been almost equally obscured by the praise of his friends and the slanders of his enemies."

I think that pretty well sets forth the task faced by any real historian in attempting to describe almost any situation or any person who ever lived!

Oh, yes. After going on at great length about how unusually historically accurate the Steeleye Span song is, I found a discrepancy. The song refers to Alisdair MacDonald (who, like Kelly the Boy From Killan, was reported to stand about 7 ft. tall) arriving from Ireland with "sixteen hundred men." I've found one account which puts the number at 1100, and another that gives it as "not much more than 1000." (Alisdair's father had promised Montrose that he would send 10,000!)


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Subject: RE: 'Montrose'
From: Melbert
Date: 21 Oct 99 - 04:11 PM

The song "Bonnie Ship the Diamond" makes reference to another Scots whaling ship called the "Battler of Montrose". I know the song is based on a true story, and wonder whether that ship was named after the guy you're talking about?


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Subject: RE: 'Montrose'
From: Bruce O.
Date: 21 Oct 99 - 04:59 PM

"Montose Lines" (text) is in Herd's 'Scots Songs' I, p. 236, (Reiver 2's version as modified by Lesley N), with a heading "I'll never love the more" which is evidently meant to be the tune title, followed by "By the great Marquis of Montrose./ Part First", after which follows the 5 verses of Montrose's song/poem.

'Second Part' starts with the five verses of "I'll never love thee more" then 8 more that I don't recognize. Curiously J. W. Ebsworth (Rox. Ballads VI, p. 581) printed a late broadside called "A Proper New Ballad" where again we have Montrose's 5, then a second part commencing with the 5 of "I'll never love thee more", followed by a last 8 verses that are different than the last 8 given by Herd. Later, Rox. Ballads VIII, p. cix*, Ebworth gave "The New Danae" from a mid 17th century MS, with a few lines from Montrose's piece, a few from "I'll never love thee more" and others I can't identify.


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Subject: RE: 'Montrose'
From: Bruce O.
Date: 21 Oct 99 - 05:04 PM

Correction, Ebsworth's boardside text and Herd's text have the same last 8 verses, but in different order, and with small differences in some lines.


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Subject: RE: 'Montrose'
From: Lesley N.
Date: 22 Oct 99 - 08:40 AM

Wow Bruce, I am so confused... There's Chevy Chace, God Prosper Long Our Noble King, and Hardyknute... and now I'll Never Love the More. So as I understand it they were all probably sung to the same or a similar tune at one time?

As an aside, I think it's so interesting that the tunes that we associate with songs now were not always the case - and that songs were sung to several tunes... Makes it all confusing as much as fascinating... I was very surprised when the music I had of My Lodging It Is On the Cold Ground didn't sound at all like Believe Me If All Those Endearing Young Charms - turns out Cold Ground had several tunes associated with it over time... And The Old Oaken Bucket was originally sung to Jesse, the Flower of Dunblane...


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Subject: RE: 'Montrose'
From: johntm
Date: 22 Oct 99 - 03:27 PM

Does anyone know on which Steeleye Span album the Montrose can be found?


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Subject: RE: 'Montrose'
From: Bill Cameron
Date: 22 Oct 99 - 04:22 PM

It's on Steeleye's "Live at Last" album.

I've got a book about Montrose called "The Proud Servant: The Story of Montrose", which is not a bad read although a bit romanticized. Can't seem to lay my hands on it at the moment so I don't know the author.

Thanks for the informative posting at the top, Reiver, which would have been a great help to have when I read the book--couldn't quite figure out all the switches in allegiances.

The Covenanters, "true Calvinists" are still around, by the way, known mostly as Reformed Presbyterians but they also call themselves the Church of the Covenant. Some are friends of mine, and I was a little surprised when one--a guitar student of mine--explained that the regular Presbyterian Church was too liberal for their liking!

Bill


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Subject: RE: 'Montrose'
From: johntm
Date: 23 Oct 99 - 12:44 AM

Thanks Bill


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Subject: RE: 'Montrose'
From: Kerstin
Date: 18 Nov 01 - 03:55 AM

Good morning I am looking for the lyrics to a song about Montrose. I know a little bit of it: Oh, Montrose oh Montrose They say that you dance well After that my poor head is emty. Can anyone help, Please! Kerstin


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Subject: RE: 'Montrose'
From: Susanne (skw)
Date: 18 Nov 01 - 05:00 PM

Sorry, Kerstin, your line doesn't ring a bell. However, for a modern song on Montrose see this thread.


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Subject: RE: 'Montrose'
From: GUEST,James
Date: 23 Apr 12 - 05:44 PM

north sea gas sing this and like you i find it difficult to find the lyrics , but get in touch with north sea gas trad folk group , and i am sure they will help


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Subject: RE: 'Montrose'
From: GUEST,Allan Conn
Date: 24 Apr 12 - 01:24 PM

"but felt he was joining a legitimate protest to preserve the religious independence of Scotland. The Earl of Argyll, however, and others hoped to use the Covenant as an excuse to overthrow Charles and make Argyll the King"

I know this is an old thread but couldn't help commenting on this statement. Doesn't stand up to any kind of scrutiny. Argyll was neither a republican or after the throne. Argyll along with the bulk if the Covenanters simply wanted to limit royal authority more than Montrose did. There is no doubt there was a power struggle between the two men too as both wanted influence. However the Scots (Argyll included) were aghast when the English executed Charles I. Montrose was already defeated and of no threat to Argyll when the Scots proclaimed Charles II as the new king and Argyll set the crown on the new king's head himself.


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