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I. LOVE-SONGS : PERSONAL
enthusiast in it that I made a song for it, which I here subjoin, and enclose Fraser's set of the tune. If they hit your fancy, they are at your service; if not, return me the tune, and I will put it in Johnson's Museum' The music in the text is from Bremner's Reels, 1759, _y, entitled Merrily dance the Quaker. In a letter of October, 1793, Burns stated that' an old gentleman, a deep antiquarian,' knew The Quaker's Wife as a Gaelic air by the name of Leiger 'm choss, and that the words of the West Country fragment of the song were as follows:—
'Leiger 'm choss, my bonie wee lass,
Leiger 'm choss, my dearie; A' the lee-lang winter night,
Leiger 'm choss, my dearie.'
A song of Burns for the tune is in Merry Mttses, beginning:— 'Come rede me dame, come tell me dame, My dame come tell me truly,' &c.
No, 41. Yestreen I had a pint o' wine. Stewart's Edition, 1802 ; Cromelc's Scotish Songs, 1810, i. 61. Tune, Banks of Banna. The Globe Tavem, Dumfries, was the head quarters of Burns when he was there on Excise business, while the niece of the landlady, Anna Park—' the lass with the gowden locks'—was drawer and general waitress. A copy of the verses, with some verbal alterations, is in the Merry Mttses.
Burns considered this his best love-song, although he never intended to publish ft; and several years after it was written he tried to persuade George Thomson to insert a different version in his collection with the tune The Banks of Banna. Thomson did not print the new version, which is now unknown.
The tune—an Irish melody in Corn's Scots Songs, 1783, 14; in Musical Miscellany, Perth, 1786, yj; and Calliope, 1788,1—is best known by the song 'Shepherds, I have lost my love,' in The Charmer, Edinburgh, 1782, ii. 176, written by the Right Honourable George Ogle, who represented Dublin in 1799, and voted against the Union. The scene of his more celebrated song Molly Asthore, written in his youth, is also that of The Banks of Banna.
Wo. 42. 'Wisafully I look and languish. Scots Musical Museum, 1792, No.341, signed 'R,' entitled The bonny wee thing; Thomson's Select Melodies, 1825, vi. 22. The MS. is in the British Museum. 'Composed on my little idol, the charming lovely Davies' (Religues, 1808, joj). Burns met Deborah Davies at the house of her relative Robert Riddell of Glenriddell; a young lady of short stature and much beauty. Two letters to her are in the Burns correspondence.
The tune is a fine type of the pathetic music of Scotland. In a rudimentary form it is in Straloch's MS., dated 1627, entitled Wo betyd thy wearie bodie. It is in the Caledonian Pocket Companion, 1758, ix. /. A different melody is in Bremner's Reels, 1758, 40, entitled The Bonnie wC thing.
No. 43. O, how shall I, unskilfu', try. Scots Musical Museum, 1792, No. jig, entitled Lovely Davies. Tune, Miss Muir. The MS. is in the British Museum. The song was sent to Miss Davies in the autumn of 1791. She was engaged to be married to a Captain Delaney, who went abroad on foreign duty, and after a short-lived correspondence his letters to her ceased. . The rift in the lute seriously affected her health, and Burns delicately refers to the subject in his letter in these words: 'So strongly am I interested in Miss Davies's fate and welfare in the serious business of life, amid its chances and changes, that to make her the subject in a silly ballad is downright mockery of these ardent feelings; 'tis like an Impertinent jest to a dying friend.' The following sentence is quite Burnsian : ' When I meet with a person after my own heart... I positively can no more resist from rhyming on the Impulse than an Aeolian harp can refuse its tones to the streaming air.'