Complete Songs Of Robert Burns - online book

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II. LOVE-SONGS : GENERAL                   389
' Come fill np my cup, come fill up my can, Come saddle my horse, and call up my man ; Come open the gates, and let me go free, And I'se gang no more to bonny Dundee.' The title is Bonny Dundee; or, Jockey's Deliverance, Sec, in Collection of Old Ballads, 1723, syj. It describes, in ten stanzas, the intrigue of a licentious trooper with a parson's daughter. This song was very popular in England, and was often reprinted. It is named in A second tale of a tub, published in 1715, as one which the Blue bonnets sang in London. A fragmentary stanza in Herd's Scots Songs, 1769, }ii, is evidently a purified remnant of the song. Sir Walter Scott adopted the chorus in Up wi' the bonnets 0' bonnie Dundee.
The tune is in the Skene MS., c. 1630, entitled Adew Dundee, here reprinted. It is in Playford's Dancing Master, published in 1688, and afterwards, with the words, in Durfey's Pills, 1719, v. 27. The music, as a dance tnne, is in the .Caledonian Pocket Companion, 1751, I'll. 4, and in many other instrumental collections.
The sImplicity of the melody is considerably obscured in all the printed copies. Durley corrupted it with unmeaning flourishes; it was partly restored in the Caledonian Pocket Companion, but still a good deal removed from the plain smoothness of the original. Copies are also in Craig's Scots Tunes, 1730, 22, and in McGibbon's Scots Tunes, 1746,36.
There are two songs in the Merry Muses for the tune; and Cromek, Scotish Songs 1810, ii. 207, gives the following as the stanza of an old song : 'Ye're like to the timiner o' yon rotten wood, Ye're like to the bark o' yon rotten tree, Ye slip frae me like a knotless thread,
An' ye'll crack your credit wi' mae than me.'
No. 113. Now simmer blinks on flow'ry braes. Scots Musical Museum, 1788, No. uj, signed 'B,' entitled Birks of Aberfeldy. This is the earliest of the series of songs due to the first tour in the Highlands in company with William Nicol, of the High School of Edinburgh. On August 30, 1787, Burns arrived at Aberfeldy, and wrote in his copy of the Museum, that this song was composed ' standing under the falls of Aberfeldy, at or near Moness.' It is justly esteemed one of the most popular songs in Scotland. The original was known as The Birks of Abergeldie, two stanzas of which are inserted in the Museum, immediately following Burns's verses. The old fragment was copied from Herd's Scottish Songs, 1776, ii. 221, and begins thus: ' Bonny lassie, will ye go, will ye go, will ye go, Bonny lassie, will ye go to the Birks o' Abergeldie? Ye shall get a gown of silk, a gown of silk, a gown of silk, Ye shall get a gown of silk, and coat of calimancoe.' In his Scottish Ballads and Songs, 1859, /?> Maidment reprinted verses from an original broadside of the beginning of the eighteenth century, but he considered Herd's fragment older. The Maidment ballad is written throughout in English.
The sustained popularity of the song is due in a great measure to its melody. In the 1690 edition of Playford's Dancing Master the tune is entitled A Scotch Ayre; as Abergeldie it is in Atkinson's MS., 1694; in Sinkler's MS., 1710, as Birks of Ebergeldie. It is also in Original Scotch Tunes, 1700; in Bremner's Keels, 1758, j;; Stewart's Peels, 1761, } ; Caledonian Pocket Companion, c. 1756, viii. 16, and others. Abergeldy, near Balmoral, is now a royal demesne. Mo. 114. As I gaed down the water-side. Scots Musical Museum, 1790, No. 264. The MS. is in the British Museum, with the opening bars of the tune, and a note that Clarke has it (R. B.). ' This beautiful song is in the true old Scotch taste, yet I do not know that ever either air or words were in print

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