Mary's song

Music: Frances Cockburn. Words: Marion Angus (1865-1946)
performance time approx 2m 40s
Range S: d' – d'' / A: g – a'♭ / T: d – d' / B: F – e♭
Price code: B
Complexity: **

See a perusal copy of the music.
Hear a performance
This piece is the last in the set Three Marion Angus songs
The first piece is The wee sma' glen
If you don't want to buy the whole set, then you can buy Mary's song individually using the link on this page.
Marion Angus' words are set here in a lilting Scots folk idiom, with a star role for the altos (the composer's own voice part!). The piece has a rich sonority and is much liked by audiences.

The tune changes from verse to verse, and in each case the altos sing it first, with tenor and bass accompaniment, and are then joined by sopranos. The first time through the first verse can be taken by an alto soloist, with the lower voices humming.

The tune is folky in feel and the whole song should be sung that way, preferably from memory, flowingly and with a freedom of tone. A few optional extra harmonies are marked in verse 3 in case you have the voices to carry them.

The recording above is by Rudsambee Company of Singers, dir. Sheena Phillips, from the album citrus and honey (RUBEECD002).

Pronunciation guide included


I wad ha'e gi'en him my lips tae kiss,
Had I been his, had I been his;
Barley breid and elder wine,
Had I been his as he is mine.

The wanderin' bee it seeks the rose;
Tae the lochan's bosom the burnie goes;
The grey bird cries at evenin's fa',
'My luve, my fair one, come awa' .

My beloved sall ha'e this he'rt tae break,
Reid, reid wine and the barley cake;
A he'rt tae break, an' a mou' tae kiss,
Tho' he be nae mine, as I am his.

Marion Angus
We have been unable to trace copyright on this poem, and would be grateful for any information allowing us to do so.

awa' - away
breid - bread
burnie - small stream
fa' - fall
gi'en - given
he'rt - heart
lochan - small mountain pool or lake
nae - not
mou' - mouth
sall - shall
tae - to
wad - would

Purchase – 1009: Mary's song

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