Complete Songs Of Robert Burns - online book

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I'll. LOVE-SONGS : HUMOROUS                   415
publication, obviously surreptitious, is in the Edinburgh Magazine, 1789, x. jr;7, signed T. S., following which is the original anonymous publication of Burns's poem, The humble petition of Bruar Water. It may be remarked that Robert Riddell has a note in the Interleaved Museum (unnoticed by Cromek) saying that Tarn Glen 'is the composition of my much esteemed friend, Mr. Burns, to the tune of Mall Roe.' I do not know any melody of this title, but Mad Moll is in the same time and rhythm, but not the same music as that of Tarn Glen, which is also of English origin, and known as Hewson the Cobbler. It was sung to the words, ' I once was a poet,' &c, in the opera of The Jovial Crew, 1731, and the music can be seen in Walsh's edition, p. 6. It belongs to a scurrilous and indecent Commonwealth song, entitled Old Hewson the Cobbler, the verses of which are in the Vocal Miscellany, Dublin, 1738, jjS. Hewson was a remarkable man of considerable talent. He was originally a shoemaker, had only one eye, was a soldier in the Parliamentary army, became a colonel, was knighted by Cromwell, and afterwards was one of his lords. The Restoration song-books teem with punning verses on his person and character. Tarn Glen was very early divorced from its proper tune, and is now universally set to The muckin 0' Geordfs lyre, for which see Song and Note, No. ;z.
Mo. 189. They snool me sair, and haud me down. Scots Musical Museum, 1792, No.,?//, signed ' B,' entitled 0,forane-and-twenty Tarn. Tune, The moudiewart. Thomson's Scotish Airs, 1799,/?. This is an original song with the exception of the first line, the title of the tune. Burns acknowledged having written it in a letter dated October 19, 1794, and directed it to be set to the tune in the text, for which there is a song in the Merry Muses :
' This moudiewart tho' it be blin', If ance its nose yon lat it in; Then to the hilts, within a crack, Its out o' sight, the moudievvark.'
The setting of the tune in the Museum did not please Burns. He recom­mended Thomson to publish the song, and said, ' but if you will get any of our ancienter Scots fiddlers to play yon in Strathspey time The moudiewart—that is the name of the air—I think it will delight you.' The suggestion was ignored, and Thomson printed the song to Cold and raw. The music in the text is taken from the Caledonian Pocket Companion, 1752, iv. S, there entitled Scotch Gig. It differs in some essentials from the copy in the Museum, but the title which Burns gave it is in Walsh's Caledonian Country Dances. The moudie­wart, or mold warp, as in Shakespeare, or mole, was respected by the Jacobites in consequence of the death of William of Orange, caused by his horse stumbling on a mole-hill.
No. 190. But warily tent when ye come to court me. Scotish Airs, 1799, 94. ' Written for this work by Robert Burns.' A variation of the first two stanzas was supplied to Johnson, and printed in his Museum, No. 106, of which a MS. is in the British Museum. In August, 1793, Burns wrote to Thomson: 1 Is Whistle and I'll cotne to you, my lad one of your airs ? I admire it much, and yesterday I set the following verses to it. Urbani, whom I have met with here, begged them of me, as he admires the air much ; but as I understand that he looks with rather an evil eye on your work I did not choose to comply. However, if the song does not suit your taste, I may possibly send it to him. He is, entre nous, a narrow, conceited creature; but he sings so delightfully, that whatever he introduces at your concert must have immediate celebrity.' Two years later, while under the influence of Jean Lorimer, Burns asked Thomson to alter the last line of every stanza to read,' Thy Jeanie will venture wi' ye my lad.' Pietro Urbani, a native of Milan, was a vocalist of some eminence. At the time Burns refers to him, he was collecting materials for

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