Complete Songs Of Robert Burns - online book

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The tune, Lamentation for Abercairney, is the composition of Niel Gow, and printed in his Collection of Reels, 1784, and Aird's^jW, 1788, I'll. N0.J42.
No. 29. My Peggy's face, my Peggy's form. Cnrrie, Works, 1800, iv. 398. Thomson's Scolish Airs, 1801, 106, ' Peggy' being altered to ' Mary,' and set to an unauthorized air. Scots Musical Museum, 1803, No. joi, ' written for this work by Robert Burns,' which is strictly accurate. Johnson having been forestalled, printed in the Museum with the song a letter from Burns, in which he states that he has a very strong private reason for wishing the song in the second volume. It is very probable that Peggy Chalmers directly or indirectly was the cause of the delay, as she objected to be publicly criticized. Burns records in his MS. JJsts that Johnson took a copy of the Celtic tune, Ha o' chaillich, for which the verses were written, but was in doubt whether the music suited, and referred the matter to the professional musical editor, who evidently decided against the tune. Whether the poet then selected the good melody in the text, My Peggy's face, is not known, but it was originally printed in the Museum with Burns's song, and remains its proper tune. For a copy of Ha a' chaillich, see Dow's Scots Music. A copy is in Glen's Early Scottish Melodies, 1900, 2ij.
"No. 30. By Oughtertyre grows the aik. Scots Musical Museum, 1788, No. 180, signed ' B,' entitled Blythe was she, with the music of Andro and his cutty gun. In Thomson's Scotish Airs, 1799, 61. Burns's second visit to the Highlands was the fulfilment of a promise to Sir William Murray of Ochtertyre, in the lovely valley of the Earn, Perthshire. The poet was entertained for about ten days, and there he met Euphemia Murray, a cousin of his host, aged eighteen years, who was known as the Flower of Strathmore. She was the subject of the present song, and did not appreciate the honour of being put into verse. She married Mr. Smythe of Methven Castle, who became one of the judges of the Court of Session {Reliques, 1808, 254).
The tune Andro and his cutty gun belongs to a brilliant vernacular song of the same name, first printed in the Tea-Table Miscellany, 1740. This song was exceedingly popular in the eighteenth century at all peasants' feasts. It describes an alehouse and the joyous condition of the guests, in the peculiar humour of the social songs of Scotland. Many imitations have been written, but none equals the original, still often printed. The two following stanzas are excellent:
' When we had three times toom'd our stoup,
And the niest chappin new begun, In started, to heeze up our hope;
Young Andro wi' his cutty gun.
The carlin brought her kebbuck ben,
With girdle cakes weel toasted brown Weel does the canny kimmer ken
They gar the scuds gae glibber down.' The paraphrase of the last four lines is, Well did the old landlady know that cheese and toasted cakes made the ale more palatable, and disappear the quicker.
The tune is in Caledonian Pocket Companion, 1754, vi. 4; Aird's Airs, 1782, ii. No. _?7; in the Perth Musical Miscellany, 1786, 133; Calliope, 1788, 410; and Ritson's Scotish Songs, 1794, i. 268. In the Merry Muses there is a version of Andro and his cutty gun, beginning:
' When a' the lave gaed to their bed, And I sat up to clean the shoon, O wha think ye cam jumpin ben But Andro and his cutty gun?'

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