“The Shearin's Nae for You”


The girl is urged to "tak the ribbons fae yer hair" or the "flounces frae yer gown," because her "belly's roarin' fu'." She blames the young man (soldier?) for seducing her. He urges her to mind her baby. Other mutual accusations may follow


This song supplies the melody for a poem by Thomas Lyle, "Kelvingrove" or "Kelvin Grove," which apparently is sung in the Scottish schools despite being utterly disdained by folksingers.

Lest we be too nasty about Kelvin Grove, we note that the Kelvin Stream (a small river near Glasgow) gave its name to William Thomson, who would in time become Baron Kelvin of Largs (commonly called Lord Kelvin). The Kelvin temperature scale of course is named after him.

And well deserved, because -- while Kelvin did not invent thermodynamics (depending on how you look at things, either Sadi Carnot or James Joule did that), he expanded on Joule's work and made it a part of the standard physics. Which is extremely important, since thermodynamics is pretty much the basis of all of physics (e.g. the inverse square law governing gravity and electromagnetism follows from the first law of thermodynamics -- think of a source giving off a pulse of gravity waves, which expand along the surface of the sphere. Since the total energy must be constant, and the surface area of a sphere increases according to the square of the radius, the potential must decrease with the square of the radius.)

So, anyway, though Kelvingrove the poem is unmemorable, Kelvin the place has a noble niche in the history of science. - RBW

Cross references


  2. Roud #4845
  3. BI, RcShNaYo


Alternate titles: “Bonnie Lassie O”
Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1906 (Grieg collection)
Found in: Britain(Scotland)