Introduced by Jeff Gillett
Glenlogie, or Jean O Bethelnie is No. 238 in the Child Collection. The earliest text in Child dates back to 1768.
It is a ballad with a happy ending, but perhaps none the worse for that! There is no murder, no rape, no incest: the most sensational element is emotional blackmail. The young Lady Jeannie sees Glenlogie and falls head-over-heels in love with him. When he says he is already promised to another, she takes to her bed and prepares to die for love. Glenlogie relents, they are married and (we suppose) live happily ever after!
The tune that I know best for it was written by Shirley Collins, and I loved it from the moment Ron Taylor first introduced me to it.
I have a particularly soft spot for the song because it was one of the earliest for which I was happy with my own attempts at finding a way of accompanying traditional song that might enhance the vocal performance without restricting it in any way.
Here is the recorded performance of Glenlogie by Ron Taylor and myself (also featuring my other long-term collaborator, Becky Dellow on the fiddle), which is taken from our Wildgoose CD Buy it, Try it (and Never Repent You).
There were four and twenty nobles came to the king’s hall,
And bonny Glenlogie was the flower of them all.
And the fair Lady Jeannie came tripping downstairs
And fell in love with Glenlogie out of all that were there.
She sent for the footman that ran by his side,
Saying: ‘Who is that young man, and where does he bide?’
‘He bides at Glenlogie when he is at home,
And he’s of the gay Gordons; and his name is Lord John.’
‘Glenlogie, Glenlogie, and you would prove kind,
I have laid my love on you, I’m sure in my mind.’
But he’s turned around lightly, as the Gordons do all,
Says: ‘I thank you, Lady Jeannie, but I’m promised away.’
She’s sent for her ladies her bed for to make
And the rings on her fingers, she did them all break;
Saying: ‘Is there a bonny boy that would win hose and shoon
That would ride to Glenlogie and bid my love come?’
When Glenlogie saw the letter, a loud laugh laughed he.
But when he had read it, the tears blinded his eye;
Saying: ‘What is my lineage, and what is my make
That such a bonny lady should die for my sake?’
When he’s come to the castle, little mirth there was there
But weeping and wailing and tearing of hair.
And pale and wan was she when Glenlogie came in;
Ah, but red and rosy grew she when she saw it was him!
‘Turn around, Lady Jeannie, turn around to my side
For I’ll be the bridegroom, and you’ll be my bride!’
And it was a merry wedding – all silver and gold –
For bonny Jeannie Gordon, just seventeen years old.
Jeff Gillett writes: My interest in folk music dates back to my childhood, when my parents introduced me to the music of Pete Seeger and Joan Baez. I later discovered Martin Carthy and began to explore folk music from the UK. I have a great deal of sympathy for those who regard folksong as an essentially unaccompanied form, and have devoted my own efforts as singer and accompanist to finding an approach that supports the song without swamping it.
I performed with Ron Taylor intermittently for about 30 years, concurrently working in largely instrumental line-ups with fiddle-player Becky Dellow (culminating in Mischief Afoot). I have appeared on albums by Jim Causley, Martin and Shan Graebe, Craig Morgan Robson and Marianne McAleer, and was also in a duo with Sarah Morgan. Currently, I perform solo and with Elaine Gillett as Discovery.
I play guitar, mandolin, mandola, English concertina and Appalachian Mountain dulcimer.