rymour books independent scottish publisher Secret Songs






ebook: ISBN 978-1-8381863-5-7, £7.99


Peter Buchan was born in the fishing port of Peterhead and 1790 and died in London in 1854. He was a writer, publisher and printer but is probably best known as a ballad collector whose major ballad manuscripts now reside in the British Library and the Houghton Library, Harvard University. Also in the Houghton Library is the holograph manuscript entitled Secret Songs of Silence by ‘Oliver Orpheus, Bart’ which consists of 76 bawdy and sexual folk songs. This manuscript is now published for the first time in it’s entirety. Buchan made several attempts to publish the collection in his lifetime without success. A fellow collector David Laing suggested ‘ …in reply to your ‘high-kilted muse’ my advice to you would be to put her effusions into the fire’.

In retrospect it is clear that it is a very important manuscript compilation of material that was generally expurgated from nineteenth-century collections and bears comparison with the better-known collection by Robert Burns, The Merry Muses of Caledonia.