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Dream Angus

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Dreams to sell, fine dreams to sell,
Angus is here wi’ dreams to sell o
Hush my wee bairnie an’ sleep wi’ oot fear
Dream Angus has brought you a dream my dear

Can ye no hush yer weepin’
A’ the wee bairns are sleepin’
Birdies are nestling, an’ nestling’ the gither
But my bonnie bairn is waken yet

Dreams to sell, fine dreams to sell,
Angus is here wi’ dreams to sell o
Hush my wee bairnie an’ sleep wi’ oot fear
Dream Angus has brought you a dream my dear

Hear the curlew cryin’ o
An’ the echoes dyin’ o
Even the birdies are cuddled up sleepin
But my bonnie bairn is weepin’ greetin’

Dreams to sell, fine dreams to sell,
Angus is here wi’ dreams to sell o
Hush my wee bairnie an’ sleep wi’ oot fear
Dream Angus has brought you a dream my dear

Soon the lavrock sings his song
Welcoming the coming dawn
Lambies coorie doon the gither
Wi’ the yowies in the heather

Dreams to sell, fine dreams to sell,
Angus is here wi’ dreams to sell o
Hush my wee bairnie an’ sleep wi’ oot fear
Dream Angus has brought you a dream my dear

Like many Scottish children, I was brought up with this one. The words and melody imply that this is not a very ancient song; probably written about 1850 to 1890 or thereabouts. Certainly, my grandmother who was born in 1894 was sung Dream Angus by her mother, despite their first language being Gaelic. There are loads of little variations on the words, but the song remains essentially the same. My mother assumed it was her father in the title role, as his name was Angus. This is an ideal opportunity to personalise a song, inserting the name of your child into the chorus.

A recent correspondent, Dr Donalda Smith, wrote "My mother (born 1905) always told me that the words were written by her cousin, Mary Fraser, who lived at that time in Edinburgh.  It was performed by the Glasgow Orpheus Choir under Sir Hugh Roberton, and was a favourite with them." She goes on to mention that her mother was younger than Mary Smith and died shortly after World War I.

The melody is very similar to a Gaelic lullaby Nam bu leam fhin thu thaladhainn thu, one very simple version of which appears on my "Bairn's Kist" CD and is one I have been using in the Learning with Lullabies project.  The meanings of the words of the two songs are very different, though, so there is no question of one being a translation of the other in any way, but it is possible the melody of one was used for the other.

Glossary:
Bairnie - child
Waken yet - still awake
Greetin’ - crying
Lavrock - song bird
Yowies - ewes