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If Doughty Deeds
Words by Robert Graham of Gartmore.
Dedicated to Mrs. Scott Russell.
Published by Chappell & Co., 1866.


Music cover

This song is dedicated to the mother of Rachel Scott Russell. Sullivan was made welcome at the Russell's family home and a 'romantic attachment' was established between Sullivan and Rachel. When the nature of their relationship became known to Mrs. Scott Russell, she wrote to Sullivan on 23 July 1867:

It has come upon me with a shock to learn that you could not be content on merely the terms of intimate friendship in this family... It grieves me to tell you that under no circumstances could I ever consent to a different relationship. And therefore I ask you, if you cannot bring yourself to be satisfied with that which hitherto subsisted, to abstain from coming here till you can do so, and to cease all correspondence... I grieve that I reposed in you a confidence to which you were not equal. I did it in absolute good faith.

A draft of part of Sullivan's reply survives in which indicated that he could not, with self-respect, accept her proposal to renounce serious intentions and continue "to come among you." so " with indescribable grief and pain" he must of necessity accept the other alternative and "stay away from the house altogether. But do not by this be deceived into thinking for one instant that my feelings are changed or that in any sort of way I forego my determination to marry your daughter..."

Rachel was sent away to Switzerland, but on her return the couple continued to meet in secret. The relationship continued stormily until 1870.


Karaoke File


If doughty deeds my lady please,
Right soon I'll mount my steed:
And strong his arm, and fast his seat,
That bears me from the meed.
I'll wear thy colours in my cap,
Thy picture at my heart:
And he who bends not to thine eye,
Shall rue it to his smart!

Then tell me how to woo thee, love,
O tell me how to woo thee!
For thy dear sake no care I'll take,
Tho' ne'er another trow me,
For thy dear sake no care I'll take,
Tho' ne'er another trow me.

But if fond love thy heart can gain,
I never broke a vow,
No maiden lays her skaith for me,
I never lov'd but you.
For you alone I ride the ring,
For you I wear the blue,
For you alone I strive to sing,
O tell me how to woo!

Then tell me how to woo thee, love,
O tell me how to woo thee!
For thy dear sake no care I'll take,
Tho' ne'er another trow me,
For thy dear sake no care I'll take,
Tho' ne'er another trow me.

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