Complete Songs Of Robert Burns - online book

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38o
HISTORICAL NOTES
f. ' Chloris " (Jean Lorimer).
No. 86. From the white-blossom'd sloe. This fugitive fragment is said to have been published in a newspaper in the year 1800. It is in Stewart's edition, 1802 ; Edinburgh edition, 1877, I'll. 20J. The authorship has been disputed, but the holograph of Burns is in the possession of Mr. Walter Steven, Montrose. Early last century a second stanza was added, and William Shield composed an original air for the verses and published it as a sheet-song. The lines have been attributed to Charles Dibdin, but Hogarth very properly has not included them in Dibdin's Works. In a modern popular collection of songs, the stanza of Burns is stated to be by John O'Keefe.
No. 87. "Wilt thou be my dearie? Scots Musical Museum, 1796, No. 470, signed 'B.' Thomson's Scotish Airs, 1799, 77. The MS. is in the British Museum. Written for Miss Janet Miller of Dalswinton, and referred to as follows in a letter to Alexander Cunningham, dated March 3, 1794: ' Apropos, do you know the much-admired Highland air called The sulor's dochtor? It is a firstrate favourite of mine, and I have written what I reckon one of my best songs to it. I will send it to yon, set as I think it should be, and as it was sung with great applause in many fashionable groups by Major Robertson, of Lude, who was here with his corps.' Cunningham showed the song to Thomson, who admired it. Burns inquired if he intended it for publication, but the reply was apparently indefinite, and Burns sent a copy to Johnson for the Museum. A note in the MS. states that the song is to be set to the first part of the tune, entitled The shoemaker's daughter, in Stewart's Reels, 1763, 72 ; as The suitor's daughter in McGlashan's Strathspey Reels, 1780, 6; and in Cumming's Strathspeys, 1780, No. 10, as the Dutchess of Buccleugh's Reell.
No. 88. "Why, why tell thy lover. Currie, Works, 1800, iv. aji, entitled ' Fragment. Tune, The Caledonian Hunt's Delight! This was sent to Thomson with the explanation: 'Such is the peculiarity of the rhythm of this air, that I find it Impossible to make another stanza to suit it'; and so the song remained unfinished. Thomson replied that the lines would suit, but preferred bacchanalian verses which he thought fitted the pace and gait of the music. On the margin of the MS. Thomson wrote that he would take the song for some other air (which he never found), and inserted instead the verses of Ye Banks and Braes with the melody.
For the tune, see Song No. 123.
No. 89. Sleep'st thou, or wak'st thou, fairest creature ? Currie, IVorks, iv. 181, entitled 'The lover's morning salute to his mistress. Tune, Deil tak the wars'; Thomson's Scotish Airs, 1805, i;y. The MS. is in Brechin Castle, Jean Lorimer is now an Imposing figure in the canvass of Burns. The first draft of Sleep'st thou differs materially from that printed, showing that it was revised and polished. Burns hoped that Thomson would insert the song in his next volume. Thomson suggested English verses, but Burns replied: 'I could easily throw this into an English mould ; but to my taste, in the sImple and tender of the pastoral song, a sprinkling of the old Scottish has an inimitable effect.' He declined to alter what he had written, and Thomson was told that he could reject the song or place it as a secondary one, or set it to the air and put the old song second. The editor wished to insert in Scotish Airs the verses of Deil tak the wars from Durfey's Wit and Mirth, 1698, but Burns fell foul of him for proposing that such rubbish (well-known in Scotland) should be selected for a Scottish collection.
The tune, variously named, is said to be in Leyden's MS., 1690; it is in Atkinson's MS., 1694; Durfey's Pills, 1719, i. 21)4, entitled A Scotch Song; Oswald's Curious Scots Tunes, 1740,26 ; Caledonian rocket Companion, 1743,






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