The inspiration for this song occurred when I had my 'antique collector' hat on. I acquired a long sought-after Symphonion, a fore-runner to the gramophone that plays perforated metal discs. One of the discs that came with it was this tune, which is used to introduce the song.
'On the Banks of Allan Water' is believed to have been written by Matthew Lewis (1775-1818), the English author, socialite and one-time member of parliament best known for his gothic novel 'The Monk'. Although Lewis was an Englishman, his song refers to a Scottish river, the Allan Water, which rises in the Ochil Hills and joins the Forth south of Bridge of Allan. The song became very popular and features in Thomas Hardy's 1874 novel 'Far From the Madding Crowd'.
On the banks of Allan Water When the sweet spring time did fall, Was the miller?s lovely daughter Fairest of them all For his bride a soldier sought her And a winning tongue had he On the banks of Allan Water None so gay as she
On the banks of Allan Water When brown autumn spread his store There I saw the miller?s daughter But she smiled no more For the summer, grief had brought her And the soldier false was he On the banks of Allan Water None so sad as she
On the banks of Allan Water When the winter snow fell fast Still was seen the miller?s daughter Chilling blew the blast But the miller?s lovely daughter Both from cold and care was free On the banks of Allan Water There a corpse lay she
Bay City MI USA South Shields near Newcastle Tyneside United Kingdom