Complete Songs Of Robert Burns - online book

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416
HISTORICAL NOTES
a Selection of Scots Songs, which he published c. 1794. He ruined himself by orchestral concerts in Edinburgh, and died in 1816 in poverty.
The chorus of the song is in the Herd MS.; the unprinted stanza of Burns's MS. in the British Museum is the third stanza of Song No. 169 supra. The tune, an excellent specimen of natural music, fits exactly the verses of Burns. O'Keefe used it for one of the songs in his opera, The Poor Soldier, 1783. Burns has not stated that he knew the composer of the air, as represented by Stenhouse and others.
No. 191. O, when she cam ben, she bobbed fu.' law. Scots Musical Museum, 1792, No. jsj. The MS. is in the British-Museum. An old song in Herd's Scots Songs, 1769, jij, dressed up to make it presentable. Burns wrote all but the first stanza, and the first two lines of the second stanza. Tradition reports the Laird of Cockpen as a boon companion of Charles II.
The melody has been continuously popular for at least two centuries. It is in Leyderis MS. of the end of the seventeenth century; in Sin/tiers MS., 1710. A song in the Tea-Table Miscellany, 1724, beginning Come Jill me a bumper, is directed to be sung to the tune which is printed in Ramsay's Musick, 1726; in Oswald's Curious Collection, 1740, 40; his Companion, 1743, i. 14 ; Aird's Airs, 1782, ii. No. 80; and elsewhere with the title of our text. See the note on Song No. iji supra.
No. 192. O, ken ye what Meg o' the mill has gotten? Scots Musical Museum, 1803, No./tfd. 'Written for this work by Robert Burns.' This is the original version which Burns wrote for the Museum, and intended for publication in the fourth volume. When he was on the point of sending his verses to Johnson, he wrote to George Thomson (April, 1793), saying,' Do you know a fine air called Jackie Hume's lament? I have a song of considerable merit to that air, beginning, " O, ken ye what Meg o' the mill has gotten." I enclose you both the song and the tune, as I had them ready to send to Johnson's Museum.' It was not at all the kind of song which Thomson affected, and he managed to induce Burns to write a second version, although the poet at first declined, and said that the song as it was pleased him so much that he could not write another for the same air. Of the tune Jackie Hume's lament, Thomson has stated that it is the same air as 0, bonie lass will ye lie in a barrack. I have not found Jackie Hume's lament in any collection, therefore cannot identify it with the tune in the text from the Museum.
No. 193. O, ken ye what Meg o' the mill, &c. Currie, Works, iv. 54. This is the second version of the preceding song, and marked for the air 0, bonie lass will ye lie in a barrack. It contained too much vernacular for Thomson, who did not print it in his Scotish Airs.
The tune, 0, bonie lass, &c, is in Campbell's Jieels, 1778, 80; and the complete song in Napier's Scots Songs, 1792, ii. 90, with the following as the first stanza:
' O say! bonny lass, will you lie in a barrack And marry a soldier and carry his wallet; O say! wou'd you leave baith your mither and daddie And follow the camp with your soldier laddy?'
No. 194. Cauld is the e'enin blast. Scots Musical Museum, 1803, No. j8j. ' Written for this work by Robert Burns.' The rechauffee of a coarse ditty, beginning:
' Bonnie Peggie Ramsay as ony man may see,
Has a bonnie. sweet face and a gleg glintin e'e.'
In Dnrfey's Tills, 1707, is also a coarse but different song of the same name.
Whoever Peg was, she had a wide and long reputation on both sides of the
Border, and was not burdened with morals. She is referred to in Shakespeare's
Twelfth Night, Act 2, Sc. 3, and is named by Tom Nashe in The Shepheard's






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