By Marykirk, a sweet bird sang (William Jackson of Masham)

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Editor: David Anderson (submitted 2024-04-01).   Score information: Letter, 8 pages, 575 kB   Copyright: Personal
Edition notes:

General Information

Title: By Marykirk, a sweet bird sang
Composer: William Jackson of Masham
Lyricist: Thomas Watson
Number of voices: 4vv   Voicing: SATB
Genre: SecularPartsong

Language: Lowland Scots
Instruments: A cappella

First published:
    2nd published: 1926 Novello and Co.
Description: This piece is attributed to William Jackson of Masham (1815–1866) by the British Library and others, but it may have been composed by his son William Jackson (1853–1877) who also was an organist and composer and known to be from Masham. Published by Novello in 1926, an earlier publication may have existed but has not been identified.

External websites:

Original text and translations

English.png English text

By Marykirk, a sweet bird sang
    When trees were green and waters clear;
That sweet bird sang the hale day lang,
    And charm’d the hearts o’ men to hear.
But down upon a flow’ry bank
    The wily fowler laid his snare,
And in a weary prison cage
    The sweet bird pin’d, and sang nae mair.

By Marykirk there bloom’d a flow’r,
    Beside the winding Esk it grew;
And, oh, it charm’d the sunny light,
    And ilka wanton wind that blew.
But rude hands pu’d that flow’r sae sweet,
    And fause lips kiss’d its leaves sae fair;
It faded in a cheerless bow’r,
    And charm’d the sight o’ men nae mair.

By Marykirk the birds may sing,
    But dowie are their notes to me;
On Craigo haughs the flow’rs may bloom,
    But now nae mair delight my e’e.
O Mary! tho’ ye did me wrang,
    I’m wae to think o’ your downfa’;
Poor silly bird, sae eithly snar’d,
    Sweet flow’r, soon pu’d and flung awa’.