Chorus: 'Meet me on the gowan lea, / Bonnie Mary, sweetest Mary; / Meet me on the gowan lea, / My ain, my artless Mary.' Verse 1: 'Before the sun sinks in the west, / And nature a' hae gane to rest; / There to my faithfu' bosom press'd / O let me clasp my Mary.' This sheet carries no publication details.
This love song was written by William Cameron (1801-77), who was born in Stirling but worked as a pawnbroker in Glasgow. Cameron wrote many songs and poems, and his work is notable for its celebration of the beauty of nature and the Scottish countryside. As well as living in Glasgow, Cameron owned a cottage in Dunoon called 'Gowan Lea'. 'Gowan' is a Scots word commonly referring to a wild daisy, although it is also occasionally used to denote the buttercup. A 'lea' is a meadow or unploughed field that has been left to grass.
Early ballads were dramatic or humorous narrative songs derived from folk culture that predated printing. Originally perpetuated by word of mouth, many ballads survive because they were recorded on broadsides. Musical notation was rarely printed, as tunes were usually established favourites. The term 'ballad' eventually applied more broadly to any kind of topical or popular verse.
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Probable period of publication:
1830-1850 shelfmark: L.C.Fol.178.A.2(225)
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