Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary

The Blue Eyed Lassie

Scottish Country Dance Instruction

THE BLUE EYED LASSIE (R8x32) 3C (4C set) Bill Forbes Craigievar Book 1

1- 8 1s+2s petronella turn and set, ¾ turn partners RH to opposite sides and dance RH across ½ way. 1s end facing 2nd corners
9-16 1s dance ½ RSh reels across (1M+2s and 1L+3s) and ½ reels of 3 on opposite sides (LSh to 1st corner). 1s ending BtoB in centre 1M face down and 1L up
17-24 1s dance Crown Triangles to end facing out on opposite sides
25-32 1s dance ½ reels of 4 with 1st corner positions, pass partner RSh for ½ reel with 2nd corner positions and cross RH to 2nd place own sides. 213

(MINICRIB. Dance crib compiled by Charles Upton, Deeside Caledonian Society, and his successors)


Keith Rose's Crib Diagrams


Dance Information

The title of this dance, The Blue Eyed Lassie, comes from The Blue Eyed Lassie - Poem written by Robert Burns in 1789, published in Dainty Davie (1823) under the title "The Blue Eyed Lassie" (previously titled "I Gaed A Waefu' Gate Yestreen").

I gaed a waefu' gate yestreen, ⁠
A gate I fear I'll dearly rue; ⁠
I gat my death frae twa sweet een, ⁠⁠
Twa lovely een o' bonny blue.

Burns wrote "I Gaed A Waefu' Gate Yestreen" for Jean Jaffray (1773-1850) when she was around 15 year old. Jean married a Liverpool merchant, William Renwick and both moved to New York.

Alexander Whitelaw, in The Book of Scottish Song (1843), writes:

Written by Burns in 1789 for the Museum.
The subject of the song was a daughter of the Rev. Mr. Jeffrey of Lochmaben, now Mrs. Renwick of New York.
The air was composed by Robert Riddle of Glenriddle, Esq., and called "The blue-eyed lassie."

Here is an extract from "The life and works of Robert Burns" by Robert Burns, published by Robert Chambers, c. 1854.

Miss Jeffrey married a gentleman named Renwick of New York, and was living there about 1822, when a son of Mr George Thomson was introduced to her by her son, the professor of chemistry in Columbia College. Mr Thomson gave the following account of her to his father: 'She is a widow - has still the remains of Burns's delightful portrait of her: her twa sweet een, that gave him his death, are yet clear and full of expression. She has great suavity of manners and much good sense.' He then adds from her recollection a charming picture of the manners of Bums in refined and agreeable society. 'She told me that she often looks back with a melancholy satisfaction on the many evenings she spent in the company of the great bard, in the social circle of her father's fireside, listening to the brilliant sallies of his imagination and to his delightful conversation. "Many times," said she, "have I seen Burns enter my father's dwelling in a cold rainy night, after a long ride over the dreary moors. On such occasions one of the family would help to disencumber him of his dreadnought and boots, while others brought him a pair of slippers and made him a warm dish of tea. It was during these visits that he felt himself perfectly happy, and opened his whole soul to us, repeated and even sang many of his admirable songs, and enchanted all who had the good fortune to be present with his manly, lumi-nous observations and artless manners. I never," she added, "could fancy that Burns had ever followed the rustic occupation of the plough, because everything he said or did had a graceful-ness and charm that was in an extraordinary degree engaging."

The Blue Eyed Lassie Song - Information Video

The Blue-Eyed Lassie
The Blue-Eyed Lassie, From Glen Collection Of Printed Music, Scots Musical Museum, Volume 3, Page 304, c. 1790


Dance information licensed under this Creative Commons Licence 3.0.
Text from this original The Book of Scottish Song/I gaed a waefu' gate article on Wikisource.
Text from this original Dainty Davie 1823 - The Blue Eyed Lassie article on Wikisource.
Image copyright (cropped) https://digital.nls.uk/special-collections-of-printed-music/archive/87796374 under this Creative Commons Licence 4.0.

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