Baloo my Boy, Lie Still and Sleep - traditional


Baloo, my boy, lie still and sleep

It grieves me sair to hear you weep

For now I find that cruel he

Cares neither for his babe nor me

Baloo my baby sleep a while

And when ye wauken sweetly smile

But smile not as your father did

To cozen maid, o God forbid

For in your eyes, my boy I see

The temptin' looks that ruined me.


This lullaby appears in the Greig-Duncan Folk Song collection, Volume 8 No 1560, attributed to Miss Bell Robertson.  Unfortunately, the printed version does not include a melody.


Miss Bell Robertson was the eldest of five children and the only daughter, so when she was young, she had to spend a lot of time looking after her brothers.  She was intelligent, but had little access to education or books.  She made the most of the opportunities she did have and had a particular interest in narrative songs.  She made a substantial contribution to Greig and Duncan's collection, contributing texts for over 420 items.  These contributions were in text only, even though she refers in her correspondence to the attractiveness or otherwise of various tunes.  She recognised the cultural value of Scotland's song tradition and was interested in ensuring they were accurately recorded, writing to Duncan in 1915 "We want the ballads as they are not as we think they ought to have been." The Greig-Duncan Folk Song Collection, vol 8 p584


Gavin Greig collected folk songs in the North East of Scotland, largely between 1905 and 1911.  He was commissioned by the New Spalding Club of Aberdeen and with his collaborator, Rev James Bruce Duncan, he utilised a collecting technique in contrast with established procedures of equivalent collectors in England.  Rather than summoning informants to them, Greig and Duncan went out on foot or bicycle to meet informants in their own environment.  Both men came from the area in which they were collecting and were familiar with the local language and ethos.  They were also well-known for their ability to put their informant at their ease.  In addition to collecting in person, Greig ran a series of 180 weekly columns in the Buchan Observer, which generated interest with the public, provided him with a welcome salary and allowed the New Spalding Club committee members to see that work was progressing.  Miss Bell Robertson was a regular correspondent with Greig, and latterly, Duncan, in response to these columns.  Collating and publishing the full collection compiled by Greig and Duncan proved too great a task for Greig and Duncan themselves.  The full set of 8 printed volumes finally appeared in 2002.



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