James Hogg

Thomas C. Richardson (ed.), The Stirling/South Carolina Research Edition of The Collected Works of James Hogg: Contributions to Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Vol. 1: 1817–1828

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Editor’s NoteSong First

  • 1Hurra Hurray the spirit's away
  • 2   A rocket of air with her bandelet
  • 3We're up in the air on our bonny grey mare
  • 4   But I see her yet and I see her yet
  • Editor’s Note5We'll ring the skirts of the gowden wain
  • 6   If this steed of the heavens will rein or bit
  • 7Or catch the Bear by the frozen mane
  • 8   But I see her yet and I see her yet
  • 2
  • 9O how I rejoice aloft to rise
  • 10   Above the thunder-cloud so high
  • 11For sore I should dread to break my head
  • 12   Against the artillery of the sky
  • 13Away thou bonny Witch o' Fife
  • 14   On the foam of the air to heave and flit
  • 15Nor think thou once of a poet's life
  • 16   For he sees thee yet and he sees thee yet

Song First

Notes Settings


Editor’s Note
346, (title) Song First was first published as 'Song Third' in Hogg's 'Dr David Dale's Account of a Grand Aerial Voyage', Edinburgh Literary Journal, 23 January 1830, p. 53. The song was revised from the manuscript for ELJ. The ELJ version consists of a single sixteen-line song, and the last eight lines (the second stanza of the manuscript) were revised to read:
  • Away again o'er the mountain and main
  •    To sing at the morning's rosy yet,
  • An' water my mane at its fountain clear–
  •    But I see her yet! I see her yet!
  • Away, thou bonny witch o' Fife,
  •    On the foam of the air to heave an' flit.
  • An' little reck thou of a poet's life,
  •    For he sees thee yet! he sees thee yet!
The song was reprinted in Songs (pp. 235–36) as 'The Witch o' Fife'. The Songs version consists of two stanzas, not numbered, but the text is based on the ELJ version. Hogg had previously used 'Witch of Fife' as the title subject of the 'Eighth Bard's Song' in The Queen's Wake, and there he notes that the 'Witch of Fife' was one of several events and characters 'founded on popular traditions' (see The Queen's Wake, ed. by Douglas S. Mack (S/SC, 2004), p. 179 and notes, p. 443). The exploits of the witches in The Queen's Wake version include a flight to Carlisle:
  • And we flew owr hill, and we flew owr dale,
  •    And we flew owr firth and sea,
  • Until we cam to merry Carlisle,
  •    Quhar we lightit on the lea. (pp. 44–45, ll. 765–68)
Editor’s Note
346, ll. 5, 7 gowden wain [...] the Bear the golden wain, or wagon, is a reference to the stars that make up the constellation 'Charles's Wain', also known as Ursa Major, or Great Bear. See also 137(c) and note.
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