Complete Songs Of Robert Burns - online book

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HISTORICAL NOTES
before' (Interleaved Museum). 'Mr. Burns's old words'(Law's MS. List). Neither Cromek nor Scott-Douglas correctly stated how much of the song Burns wrote and amended. The last two stanzas are Burns's, and the first two are made out of the original first stanza. ' I am flattered at your adopting Ca' the yowes, as it was owing to me that ever it saw the light. About seven years ago, I was well acquainted with a worthy little fellow of a clergyman, a Mr. Clunyie, who sang it charmingly; and, at my request, Mr. Clarke took it down from his singing. When 1 gave it to Johnson, I added some stanzas to the song, and mended others, but still it will not do for you' {Letter to Thomson, September, 1794). See Song No. 118. Tibby Pagan, an eccentric woman, who sold whisky without a licence, and dispensed a fund of bold humour to her customers, is said to have been the author, but there is no authority for the statement. A collection of her songs and poems was printed in Glasgow about 1805, but Cd the yowes is not in the volume. Burns y deserves to be remembered with gratitude, if for nothing else, as being the discoverer of the melodic gem of this pastoral. There is no second part, and the verse and chorus are sung to the same music.
No. 115. On a bank of flowers in a summer day. Scots Musical Museum, 1790, No.22}. 'Mr. Burns's words.' (Law's MS. List; Thomson's Scotish Airs. 1799, 88). The original verses are English, copied into the last volume of The Tea-Table Miscellany, c. 1740. The author, Mr. Theobald, was a large contributor to the song-books of his day. For the sake of the melody popular in Scotland, Burns recast the original licentious verses, making a new song of them.
The tune The bashful lover is English, the composition of John Galliard, by birth a German, who came to London in early life and remained there. He was the composer of numerous good airs. The music is in Playford's Dancing Master, 1728, entitled The bashful swain ; with Theobald's verses in Watts's Musical Miscellany, 1729, i.jo; in the Perth Musical Miscellany, 1786, 8j; and in Calliope, 1788, 234.
No. 116. When rosy May comes in wi' flowers. Scots Musical Museum, 1790, No 220, signed ' Z,' entitled The Gardener wi' his paidle; Law's MS. List: 'Mr. B.'s old words;' Thomson's Scotish Airs, 1799, 6p. The MS. is in the British Museum. ' This air is the Gardener's March. The title of the song only is old ; the rest is mine' {Interleaved Museum). The old song referred to is not known. To accommodate George Thomson, who wished a copy for his collection, Burns altered the fourth line in .each stanza, and added a chorus to fit the verses for the tune Dainty Davie (see Song No. ijj).
The tune The Gardener's March, appropriated by the guild of gardeners, is in Aird's Airs, 1782, i. No. J77, as stated by Burns on his MS. I doubt whether it is an authentic Scottish melody, and whether it is much older than its appearance in Aird's volume.
No. 117. If thou should ask my love. Scots Musical Museum, 1790, No. 220, entitled Jamie, come try me. In Law's MS. List: ' Mr. Burns's old words. Written from a single line or title of an old song to resuscitate James Oswald's melody, printed in Curious Scots Tunes, 1742, ii. 26; and the Caledonian Pocket Companion, c. 1745, ii. 34. The tune is interesting, but its compass is too great for ordinary voices.
No. 118. Hark the Mavis' e'ening sang. Currie, Works, 1S00, iv. 160. Scotish Airs, 1805,166. The MS. is at Brechin Castle. This second version of Ca' the ewes was sent to Thomson in September, 1794, with a note: ' In a solitary'stroll which I took to-day, I tried my hand on a few pastoral lines, following up the idea of the chorus, which I would preserve.' Burns was aware of its inferiority to the original.
Thomson divorced it from its proper melody, and set it to The maid that






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