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Dance The Sow's Tail 6224

Strathspey · 32 bars · 3 couples · Longwise - 4   (Progression: 213)

Devised by
Unknown (1748)
804 844 888 880 = 70% (1 turn), 53% (whole dance)
  • Strathspey travel
Published in
Recommended Music
Extra Info
The Sow's Tail

On 1 August, 1714, Queen Anne, daughter of the deposed James VII (II), died and on 20 October George I, great-grandson of James VI (I), was crowned. James Francis Edward Stuart, half-brother of Anne and son of James VII by his second wife, was living in exile in France, the Act of Settlement of 1701, which assured a Protestant sovereign, the stumbling block that lay between him and the throne. The Jacobite supporters, both Scottish and English, were making crowd noises in the wings and would shortly burst upon the stage for several short scenes of violence.

Wha the deil hae we gotten for a king,
  But a wee, wee German lairdie?
And, when we gaed to bring him hame,
  He was delving in his yardie:
Sheughing kail, and laying leeks,
But the hose, and but the breeks;
And up his beggar duds he cleeks –
  This wee, wee German lairdie.

And he’s clapt down in our guidman’s chair,
  The wee, wee German lairdie;
And he’s brought fouth o’ foreign trash,
  And dibbled them in his yardie.
He’s pu’d the rose o’ English loons,
And broken the harp o’ Irish clowns;
But our thistle taps will jag his tumbs –
  This wee, wee German lairdie.

Come up amang our Highland hills,
  Thou wee, wee German lairdie,
And see how the Stuarts’ lang-kail thrive
  They dibbled in our yardie:
And if a stock ye dare to pu’,
Or haud the yoking o’ a plough,
We’ll break your septre o’er your mou’,
  Thou wee bit German lairdie.

Our hills are steep, our glens are deep,
  Nae fitting for a yardie;
And our Norland thistles winna pu’,
  Thou wee bit German lairdie:
And we’ve the trenching blades o’ weir,
Wad prune ye o’ your German gear –
We’ll pass ye 'neath the claymore’s shear,
  Thou feckless German lairdie!

Auld Scotland, thou’rt ower cauld a hole
  For nursin’ siccan vermin;
But the very dogs o’ England’s court
  They bark and howl in German.
Then keep thy dibble in thy ain hand,
Thy spade but and thy yardie;
For wha the deil now claims your land,
  But a wee, wee German lairdie?

George I was physically unattractive and not mentally overendowed. His interest in Britain was particularly one-sided and did not go very far beyond pride of ownership and he spent as much time as possible in Hanover. He never troubled to learn English and it is said that consultations with his Prime Minister, Sir Robert Walpole, were carried on in Latin.

There was no queen during the reign of George I. He had divorced his wife, Sophia Dorothea of Zelle, in 1694 and until her death in 1726 she lived in virtual captivity in Hanover. But George did not lack female companionship and his German mistresses and their children, to whom he gave English titles and estates and who enriched themselves through patronage, were an affront to his subjects. Ehrengarde Melusina, daughter of the Count of Schulenburg, became his mistress about 1690 and she came to England with him in 1714. He made her Duchess of Munster in 1716 and then Duchess of Kendal. The “Maypole”, as she was called, had two children by the king, Petronilla, Countess of Walsingham and, later, Countess of Chesterfield, and Margaret Gertrude, Countess of Lippe. The king’s other great favourite was Charlotte Sophia, Baroness von Kilmansegge, who was created Countess of Darlington and whose unofficial titles were the “Elephant” and the “Sow”.

The sow’s tail is till him yet,
  The sow’s birse will kill him yet,
The sow’s tail is till him yet,
  The sow’s tail to Geordie.

It’s Geordie’s now come hereabout,
  Oh wae light on his ugly snout!
A pawky sow has found him out,
  An’ turn’d her tail to Geordie.

It’s Geordie he gat up to dance,
  An’ wi’ the sow to take a prance,
An’ aye she gart her hurdies flaunce,
  An’ turn’d her tail to Geordie.

It’s Geordie he sat down to dine,
  An’ who come in but Madam Swine?
“Grumph! Grumph!” quo’ she, “I’ve come in time,
  I’ll set an’ dine wi’ Geordie.”

It’s Geordie he lay down to die,
  The sow was there as well as he;
“Umph! Umph!” quo’ she, “He’s no for me,”
  An’ turn’d her tail to Geordie-.

Britain was in a sorry state for the twelve years that George sat so boorishly upon the throne. The tragic and abortive risings of 1715, 1719 and 1745 are now an indelible part of history, but one cannot help but speculate on the possible train of events had James Francis Edward, the “Old Pretender”, been willing to compromise with his Roman Catholic conscience and turn a Protestant face toward what he felt were his subjects by Divine right. In 1622 Henry IV of France said that “Paris was well worth a mass”. Would not Britain have been worth a lack of one?

The Sow's Tail Craig McCallum's Scottish Dance Band RSCDS 75th Anniversary Dances CD+ 14 S32 88:18 62.2
The Sow's Tail 3/4L · S32
1c lead down crossing below 2c and behind 3c to 3plx (2c+3c up) ; 3c+1c circle4 {3}, on last bar 1c cast up to 2plx while 3c dance down to 3pl (2,1x,3)
1c ½ DblFig8 with 3c (both C cross Lsh in middle) ; ½ DblFig8 with 2c (2x,1x,3x)
2c+1c+3c dance BtoB ; 2c+1c+3c turn BH 1½
2c+1c R&L
The Sow's Tail 3/4L · S32
1s lead down & cross & cast down behind 3s to 3rd place, 3s+1s circle 4H round to left 1s casting to 2nd places as 3s lead down to pl
1s crossing down dance 1/2 double Fig of 8 with 3s, 1s crossing up dance 1/2 double Fig of 8 with 2s (2s+1s+3s end on opposite sides)
2s+1s+3s dance DoSiDo, all turn 2H 1.1/2 times
2s+1s dance R&L

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