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Corfe, organist of Salisbury Cathedral, 1792 - 1804, issued two sets of "Twelve glees.... composed from ancient Scotch melodies" in the early 1790s, to satisfy two contemporary enthusiasms: that for mixed sex social music, and that for all things North-British. The current arrangement comes from the first set.

These glees were selected from a repertoire of well-known Scottish songs that had been anthologised in the previous seventy years. Corfe appears to have been particularly indebted for source material to James Johnson's "Scots Musical Museum", Edinburgh 1787, which included texts edited and improved by Robert Burns. Verses that are not underlaid were not included by Corfe, and have been imported from external sources (most especially the aforementioned "Scots Musical Museum").

Lyrics: ?Allan Ramsay

A lass that was laden with care
Sat heavily under yon thorn;
I listened a while for to hear,
When thus she began for to mourn:
Whene'er my dear shepherd was there,
The birds did melodiously sing,
And cold nipping winter did wear
A face that resembled the spring.
Sae merry as we twa hae been,
Sae merry as we twa hae been;
My heart it is like for to break,
When I think on the days we hae seen.

Our flocks feeding close by his side,
He gently pressing my hand,
I viewed the wide world in its pride,
And laughed at the pomp of command.
My dear, he would oft to me say,
What makes you hard-hearted to me?
Oh, why do you thus turn away
From him who is dying for thee?
Sae merry as we twa hae been,
Sae merry as we twa hae been;
My heart it is like for to break,
When I think on the days we hae seen.

But now he is far from my sight,
Perhaps a deceiver may prove;
Which makes me lament day and night
That ever I granted my love.
At eve, when the rest of the folk
Are merrily seated to spin,
I set myself under an oak,
And heavily sighed for him.
Sae merry as we twa hae been,
Sae merry as we twa hae been;
My heart it is like for to break,
When I think on the days we hae seen.

Joseph Corfe (arr.)
(1740 - 1820)

Sae merry as we twa hae been

(S.A.T.B. + reduction)

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