Digital Tradition Mirror

Whirlie-Wha (A)

Whirlie-Wha (A)

 The last braw wedding that I was at
 Was on a Hallow day
 An' there was meikle meikle fun
 An' there was meikle play.
 The bells they rang the auld wives sang
 An' to the kirk went they a'
 The bride's to bed wi' the silly bridegroom
 To play wi' his whilrie-wha.--
 First she turn't her back to him
 An' syne she turn't her wame
 Lang she leuk't for kin'ness
 But kin'ness she gat nane.--
 At length she's ta'en him in her arms
 Flung him again' the wa'
 Says lie ye there ye fumblin devil
 Ye've lost yir whirlie-wha.--

 O wae light on my kith and kin
 They've done me meikle ill,
 They've married me to an auld man
 Fou sair again my will
 But I'll dress mysel in my ribbons sae green
 Nae lassie will be sae braw
 An I'll hire a bonny young lad o' my ain
 To play wi' his whirlie-wha.-

 ----- From the early 19th-century Cunningham MS., pp. 139-40; first printed in
Legman's Horn Book (1964), 138-9; here from Merry Muses of Caledonia (1965),
125-6. Cf. B, from Buchan, 1832.
 No tune is indicated, and no air with this title has been found, but Legman
finds it in the same rhythm, and possibly to the same tune, as "The Blythsome
Bridal", q.v. This is, I think, not feasible. I would expect the present song
to go to a regular 6/8 jig, whereas "The Blythsome Bridal" is a 9/8 (slip) jig.
(Whence I have written a tune to fit.--tho the tune of "The Dundee
Weaver" would fit nicely.) [P.S.: WBO has identified the required tune,
dated to 1788.]   In 3.2, Cunningham changed "harm" to "ill" (for the rhyme).
"Whirlie-wha" is a sort of a nonce w
ornament, thingamajig". Legman's connection with "whilliewha",="cheat"
(followed by Randall) is evidently erroneous.  An expurgation of st. 1 in
Cunningham's ed. of Works (pub. Jack, c. 1850, II.93), with differs:
1.1 bridal 1.2 Hallowmass 1.3 routh o' drink and fun
1.4 And mickle mirth and play.
1.2 1.5 and the carlins 1.6 And the dames danced in the ha';
1.7 bride went 1.3 8 In the midst o' her kimmers a'.


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