Complete Songs Of Robert Burns - online book

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398
HISTORICAL NOTES
Museum, 1788, No. 12J, with Herd's verses; in Ritson's Scotish Songs, 1794, i. 84 ; and Dale's Scotch Songs, I'll. 163. It is a model of sImplicity and dignity. In many modern copies it is corrupted by closing on the key-note, with the introduction of the leading note.
Mo. 138. O mirk, mirk is this midnight hour. Thomson's Scotish Airs, 1798, j8. ' Written for this work by Robert Burns. Air, Lord Gregory.' Among the Dalhousie MS. in Brechin Castle. The tragic ballad of Lord Gregory, containing about sixty stanzas, better known as Fair Annie of Lochryan, is the foundation of Burns's verses. The earliest printed fragment is in Herd's Scottish Songs, 1776, i. 149, entitled The bonny lass 0' Lochryan. Two double stanzas, with the tune, were engraved in the Scots Musical Museum, 1787, No. 5. This was one of the few historical ballads which made an Impression on Burns. Thomson had informed him that Dr. Wolcot had written a song on the subject, and he replied on January 26,1793, by enclosing a copy of the verses in the text A few weeks before his death, Burns touched up the song, and sent a copy to his friend Alex. Cunningham.
The tune is not in print before the Scots Musical Museum, 1787, No./. According to Stenhouse, it is an old Gallwegian melody. The music is also in Urbani's Scots Songs, 1792, 1; and Dale's Scotch Songs, 1794, I'll. up.
Ho. 139. There's auld Bob Morris that wons in yon glen. In Thomson's Scotish Airs, 1793, 17. 'Written for this work by Robert Burns.' The original vigorous song of the seventeenth century describes an old man in a dialogue between a girl and her mother, who recommends Rob as a husband. Two stanzas of the rough-cast ditty may be quoted :
Daughter.' Auld Rob Morris, I ken him fou weel, His back sticks out like oriy peet creel; .                  He's ont-shin'd, in-knee'd, and ringle-ey'd, too;
Auld Rob Morris is the man I'll ne'er loo.
Mother.' Tho' auld Rob Morris be an elderly man, Yet his auld brass will buy a new pan; Then, dochter, ye should na be sae ill to shoo, For auld Rob Morris is the man ye maun loo.'
Burns's song is on the same subject, but treated differently. He informed Thomson, on November 14,1792 ; ' I have partly taken your idea o(Auld Rob Morris, and am going on with the song on a new plan, which promises pretty well.' On December 4 the song was completed. The old words are in the Tea-Table Miscellany, 1724, and Herd's Scots Songs, 1769, 10.
The tune is in Blackie's MS., 1692, under the title jock the laird's brither. The old song and tune are in the Orpheus Caledonius, 1725, No. jo; in Watts's Musical Miscellany, 1730, I'll. 174; Ritson's Scotish Songs, 1794, i. 176, and the Scots Musical Museum, 1788, No. 192. The music alone is in Craig's Scots Tunes, 1730, 4j\ the Caledonian Pocket Companion, 17,14, vi. o; McGibbon's Scots Tunes, 1755, 10, and elsewhere. The compass of the tune is rather extended for the present generation.
No. 140. Here awa, there awa, wandering Willie. Scotish Airs, 1793, 2. ' Written for this work by Robert Burns.' Among the Thomson MS. in Brechin Castle. The original song of the name was printed in Herd's Scots Songs, 1769, 2pi; and with the tune in the Scots Musical Museum, 1787, No. J7. The first stanza in Herd is:
' Here awa, there awa, wandering Willie, Here awa, there awa, here awa hame; Lang have I sought thee, dear have I bought thee, Now I have gotten my Willie again.'