Leslie's March (1)

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LESLIE'S/LESLEY'S MARCH [1]. AKA – "Lasly's March," "Lesley's March to Scotland," "Leshley's Favourite," "Lesley's Quick Step." AKA and see "Duplin House," "Blue Bonnets (2)," "March from Oscar and Malvina." Scottish, Jig. D Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB (Kerr): AABBCC (Gatherer). The tune is not "Leslei's Lilt" or Playford's "Lesleyes March," but originally appears as "General Leslie's March to Longmarston Moor" published in Allan Ramsay's Tea-Table Miscellany, but already marked as ancient and of unknown origin. It was named after a Scots general in England's civil wars (whose actual march occurred in 1644), and appears in Oswald's Caledonian Pocket Companion, vol. 2. The Leslie referred to may be Alexander Leslie, earl of Leven (c. 1580–1661) served in the army of Gustavus Adolphus, and led Scots in the Bishop's Wars, defeating the English at Newburn in 1640. He first supported the Parliamentarian side in the Civil Wars, and took Charles I's surrender at Newark in 1646, but later had a change of heart and fought for the Royalist forces at Dunbar in 1650. Alternately, the title may refer to David Leslie, Lord Newark (d. 1682) who commanded the pro-Parliamentarian Scottish cavalry at Marston Moor, and who was later defeated by Cromwell at Dunbar in 1650 and again at Worcester in 1651. Walter Scott, in his Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border gives these works to "Lesly's March":

March! march!
Why the devil do ye na march?
Stand to your arms, my lads,
Fight in good order...

Sir Walter adapted the song for use in his novel The Monastery (1830), set in the Scottish Border country he knew so well, referring to the tune as "the Ancient air of 'Blue Bonnets over the Border'." This set of words goes:

March, march, Etrrick and Teviotdale.
Why the De'il dinna ye march forward in order?
March, march, Eskdale and Liddesdale,
All the Blue Bonnets are bound for the Border.
Many a banner spread
Flutters above your head,
Many a crest that is famous in story,
Mound, and make ready then,
Sons of the mountain glen,
Fight for the Queen and our old Scottish glory!

O'Sullivan (1983) believes the tune is related to the Irish "Seamus an Chaca," or "James the Coward," "Dirty James," "James the Shit," or "Shitty James." Niel Gow's adaptation of the tune appears as "Duplin House." "Leslie's March" appears in the popular late 18th century ballad opera Oscar and Malvina, many of whose airs airs appear to have entered or re-entered tradition. "Leven's March" is a version of the tune used by the Earl of Leven's Regiment in 1689. "Blue Bonnets Over the Border (1)" is the name of "Leslie's March" to which another old pipe march, the "Fusiliers' March (The)," has been added to make the third and fourth parts. Watts' Musical Miscellany (London, 1731) gives "Leslie's March" as "Fancy All," with the alternate title "Joan as Good as My Lady", a song whose indicated tune is "Lesly's March". "Black White Yellow and Red" is another name for the melody and comes from the first line of the song in Watts' book. "Leshley's Favourite" is the title of the melody in the William Clarke (Feltwell, Norfolk) manuscript of 1858, and in the Lawrence Leadley (Helperby, Yorkshire) manuscript of the 1840's. "General Leshley's March (2)", or "Leshley's March," in Northumbrian musician Henry Atkinson's manuscript is cognate, with the first part corresponding to the second of "Leslie's March (1)."

Source for notated version: a MS collection by fiddler Lawrence Leadley, 1827–1897 (Helperby, Yorkshire) [Merryweather & Seattle].

Printed sources: Aird (Selection of Scotch, English, Irish and Foreign Airs, vol. 1), 1782; No. 185, p. 64. Callaghan (Hardcore English), 2007; p. 73 (as "Leshley's Favourite"). Gatherer (Gatherer's Musical Museum), 1987; p. 24. Gow (Second Collection of Strathspey Reels), 1788; p. 5 (appears as "Duplin House"). Kerr (Merry Melodies, vol. 4), c. 1880's; No. 250, p. 27. Merryweather & Seattle (Lawrence Leadley, the Fiddler of Helperby), 1994; No. 76, p. 47 (as "Leshley's Favourite"). Oswald (Caledonian Pocket Companion, vol. 2), 1760; p. 36 (as "Lasly's March"). Stewart (A Select Collection of Scots English Irish and Foreign Airs Jiggs & Marches), 1788; p. 77 (appears as "Lesley's Quick Step").

Recorded sources: Chieftains – "Boil the Breakfast Early" (appears as "March from Oscar and Malvina").

See also listing at:
Alan Ng's Irishtune.info [1]




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