Poems & Lyrics by John Collie, 1856

In 1856, my great-great-grandfather John Collie (1834-1893), of Boyndie, Scotland, published a book : Poems and Lyrics

(in the English
and Scotch Dialects).

I‘ve been setting some of it to music over the past few years – along with some of his other descendants: my nephews Hans and Rhys Landon-Lane, my niece Celeste Rochery, and my sister Megan Edwards-Rochery .

The Troubled Times (trio with Antony Milton and David Heath) also do an epic electric blues guest arrangement of The Dying Monarch (a key crossover track that ties together the different strands of my music).

For me this is a major work-in-progress; an acknowledgement of my pākeha whakapapa (European ancestry); an inspiration for new music (a mostly folk style seemed fitting); a window into the culture of the time period and a vicarious travel experience (plans to visit Scotland in 2020 were ruined by the pandemic); a family precedent for DIY outsider art that puts fiffdimension in a deeper context; and gives me renewed appreciation for the beauty and musicality of the English (and Scots) language.

“T’were a noble sight to see the mighty men of old, who bled that their countries might be free from the tyrants’ fatal hold – yet I’d deem it a nobler sight by far to behold the sons of the harp & lyre!

“[…] If aught can claim a spirit’s admiration, Sure it must be this beautiful creation

John Collie (1834-1893)

In 1858 John Collie emigrated to New Zealand.

His book is available free online.
Continue reading “Poems & Lyrics by John Collie, 1856”

Farewell to Thee, Charming Deceiver

A 19th century unrequited love ballad – how anachronistic in the 2020s?

John Collie (1834-1893) – lyrics

Dave Edwardsbanjo, harmonica, vocal

lyrics

FAREWELL to thee , charming deceiver , No more will I crouch at thy gate ; I once was an earnest believer , And my folly I see when too late .

Continue reading “Farewell to Thee, Charming Deceiver”

Solitude

‘SOLITUDE’

by John Collie, 1856

OH give me near some swelling stream to stray, 0r tread the windings of some pathless wood, For I am wearied of the bustling day, And long to meet thee, gloomy Solitude: That I with thee may climb those shelfy steeps, Which frown majestic o’er the boiling deeps. Continue reading “Solitude”

Sonnet on Summer

A duo with my nephew, Hans Landon-Lane, from Poems & Lyrics by John Collie (1856)

Rosemary Bromley, Dave Edwards, Hans Landon-Lane

Clever Hansel – ukulele vocal
Dave Edwards – guitar, harmonica, vocal

This was the last in-person collaboration before the COVID-19 shutdown, recorded in Lower Hutt, New Zealand, March 2020.

John Collie (1834-1893)

THE sweet breath of summer blows fresh o’er each plain,

The woods have resumed their lost grandeur again;

The groves with the notes of the blackbird are ringing,

By fountain and streamlet the wild flowers are springing.

And the breath of the heather bell sweetens the breeze,

And the old stormy ocean lies slumbering in peace;

And the wild bees are humming around the wild flowers,

Afar above earth the lark proudly soars;

The bleat of the lamb on the moss-cover’d hill,

The sound of the shepherd’s pipe jocund and shrill,

All tell in a language most striking and plain,

T hat summer, fair summer, is reigning again,

The old face of nature her smiles has put on,

And the blustery appearance of winter has flown.

Here’s a Health to my Cronies (by John Collie, 1856)

19th century Scottish drinking song, by John Collie (1834-1893), from his book ‘Poems and Lyrics

Played by his great-great-grandson Dave Edwards -at Wairarapa TV May Music Marathon on 4th of May 2019. It features on the Live 2019 album.

Continue reading “Here’s a Health to my Cronies (by John Collie, 1856)”

Here’s a Health to my Cronies (by John Collie, 1856)

19th century Scottish drinking song, by John Collie (1834-1893), from his book ‘Poems and Lyrics

Played by his great-great-grandson Dave Edwards – first public performance of this piece, at Dragon Inn, Featherston, NZ, 6 Feb 2019 .

A couple of months later I played it at Wairarapa TV May Music Marathon on 4th of May 2019

which features on the Live 2019 album.

HERE’S A HEALTH TO MY CRONIES.

HERE’S a health to my cronies where’er they reside, Whether this side or that o’ yon big rowin’ tide ; I care na what country or kingdom they claim, Be they English or Irish to me it’s the same, Gif their hearts to a glass o’ gude whisky incline, I instantly class them as “Cronies o’ mine.”

Awa wi’ yon nabob purse-proud o’ his gear, Neither he nor his wealth hae charms for us here; Awa wi’ yon fop wi’ his clear headed cane, A bit trip through the warld, it’s use may explain; But welcome my cronies wherever ye be, To join in this gude reekin’ bumper wi’ me.

A fig for the wealth that this warld can gie, We naething brought here, sae we’ve naething to lea; The farmer wi’ ousen an’ acres galore, Has his crosses just now, an’ may sune count on more; Then come here, my cronies, let’s kick awa care, As lang’s we’ve a groat or a shilling to spare.

The Land of My Youth (by John Collie, 1856), January 2019 demo

January 2019, looking for a new sound and a new project – after completing Other Islands: 2012-2018.

It’s a poem by John Collie (1834-1893), my great-great-grandfather

from his book Poems and Lyrics in the English and Scotch Dialects, published in Scotland in 1856

John Collie emigrated to New Zealand in 1858. This poem seems to anticipate his leaving Scotland forever, to start a new life in a new country on the opposite side of the world.

In May I performed it live on Wairarapa TV.

 

Lyrics

Continue reading “The Land of My Youth (by John Collie, 1856), January 2019 demo”

The Blast of a Wintry Day (by John Collie, 1856)

A song written by my great-great-grandfather John Collie, in Banffshire, Scotland, in 1856.

It also appeared on

Other Islands: 2012​-​2018

Where it marked a return to my solo acoustic approach of early years.

lyrics

Continue reading “The Blast of a Wintry Day (by John Collie, 1856)”