To Fanny fair (Thomas Billington)

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Editor: Christopher Shaw (submitted 2021-10-04).   Score information: A4, 2 pages, 132 kB   Copyright: CC BY SA
Edition notes: Includes a keyboard reduction of the a cappella choral score. Please click on the link for preview/playback/PDF download.

General Information

Title: To Fanny fair
Composer: Thomas Billington
Lyricist: Allan Ramsay
Number of voices: 5vv   Voicing: SATTB
Genre: SecularGlee

Language: English
Instruments: A cappella

First published: c.1788 (n/d)
Description: Billington issued two sets of "glees selected from the Scotch songs" in the late 1780s, to satisfy two contemporary enthusiasms: that for mixed sex social music, and that for all things North-British. The current arrangement comes from the second set. These glees were selected from a repertoire of well-known Scottish songs that had been anthologised in the previous seventy years. Verses that are not underlaid were not included by Billington, and have been imported from external sources.

External websites:

Original text and translations

English.png English text

To Fanny fair could I impart
The cause of all my woe, O?
That beauty which has won my heart,
The cause of all my woe, O.
Unskilled in th'art of womankind
Without design she charms, O;
How can those sparkling eyes be blind,
Which every bosom warms, O?

She knows her pow'r is all deceit,
The conscious blushes shows, O,
Those blushes to the eye more sweet
Than the op'ning budding rose, O:
Yet the delicious fragrant rose,
That charms the sense so much, O,
Upon a thorny briar grows,
And wounds with ev'ry touch, O.

At first when I beheld the fair,
With raptures I was blest, O;
But as I would approach more near
At once I lost my rest, O;
Th'enchanting sight, the sweet surprise,
Prepare me for my doom, O;
One cruel look from those bright eyes
Will lay me in my tomb, O.