Tune of the Day: Annie Laurie
This old Scottish song is based on a poem by William Douglas of Dumfries and Galloway. Traditionally it is said that Douglas had a romance with Anna (or Anne) Laurie, the youngest daughter of Robert Laurie, who became first baronet of Maxwelton in 1685. The legend says that her father opposed a marriage, probably because Anna was very young; she was only in her mid-teens when her father died. It may also have been because of Douglas's aggressive temperament or more likely because of his Jacobite allegiances. Douglas eventually recovered from this romance and eloped with a Lanarkshire heiress, Elizabeth Clerk of Glenboig. They married in Edinburgh in 1706.
In 1890 Alicia Ann Spottiswoode (aka Lady John Scott) wrote to the editor of the Dumfries Standard, claiming that she had composed the tune and wrote most of the modern words. She said that around 1834–1835 she encountered the words in the collection called Songs of Scotland in a library, and decided to adapt the music she had composed for another old Scottish poem, “Kempye Kaye”.
The song is also known as “Maxwelton Braes”.