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Carolina Oliphant, Baroness Nairne (August 16, 1766–October 26, 1845) was a Scottish songwriter and song collector.

Contents

Life

Carolina Oliphant was born in the auld hoose (Engl: old house) of Gask, Perthshire. She was descended from an old family which had settled in Perthshire in the 13th century, and could boast of kinship with the royal race of Scotland. Her father, Laurence Oliphant, was one of the foremost supporters of the Jacobite cause, and she was named Carolina in memory of Prince Charles Edward Stuart. In the schoolroom she was known as pretty Miss Car, and afterwards her striking beauty and pleasing manners earned for her the name of the Flower of Strathearn.

In 1806 she married William Murray Nairne, who became the 5th Baron Nairne in 1824. After her husband's death in 1830 Lady Nairne took up her residence at Enniskerry, Co. Wicklow, Ireland, but she spent much time abroad. She died at Gask on the 26 October 1845.

Work

Following the example set by Robert Burns in the Scots Musical Museum, Lady Nairne undertook to bring out a collection of national airs set to appropriate words. To the collection she contributed a large number of original songs, adopting the signature BB - Mrs Bogan of Bogan. The music was edited by RA Smith, and the collection was published at Edinburgh under the name of the Scottish Minstrel (1821-1824).

Her songs may be classed under three heads:

  1. those illustrative of the characters and manners of the old Scottish gentry, such as "The Laird o' Cockpen," "The Fife Laird," and "John Tod"
  2. Jacobite songs, composed for the most part to gratify her kinsman Robertson, the aged chief of Strowan, among the best known of which are perhaps "Wha'll be King but Charlie?" "Charlie is my darling," "The Hundred Pipers," "He's owre the Hills," and "Will ye no' come back again?"
  3. songs not included under the above heads, ranging over a variety of subjects from "Caller Herrin" to the "Land o' the Leal."

References

For Lady Nairne's songs, see Lays from Strathearn, arranged with Symphonies and Accompaniments for the Pianoforte by Finlay Dun (1846); vol. i. of the Modern Scottish Minstrel (1857); Life and Songs of the Baroness Nairne, with a Memoir and Poems of Caroline Oliphant the Younger, edited by Charles Rogers (1869). See also TL Kington-Oliphant, Jacobite Lairds of Gash (1870).

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