Complete Songs Of Robert Burns - online book

360+ songs with lyrics, sheet music, historical notes & glossary.

Home Main Menu Singing & Playing Order & Order Info Support Search Voucher Codes



Share page  Visit Us On FB



Previous Contents Next
432
HISTORICAL NOTES
expresses his opinion of the juice of the malt, and in the last stanza says : ' Odin hath sent his godesses to conduct me to his palace. I am going to be placed in the highest seat, there to quaff goblets of beer with the gods.'.
The whistle, according to Burns's 'authentic' history, was brought to Scotland by a gigantic Dane who followed Anne, Princess of Denmark, whom James VI married. The Dane challenged any one to drink with him, the condition being that the man who sat longest at the table should become the owner of the Ca or whistle. The ancestor of Sir Robert Lowrie of Maxwelton won the trophy after a three days and nights' contest, and blew the whistle over the prostrate Scandinavian. A descendant of Sir Robert Lowrie lost the trophy, which passed into the possession of Walter Riddell of Glenriddell, and remained in the family. The contest celebrated by Burns took place on Friday October i6, 1789, between Robert Riddell brother of the holder, Sir Robert Lowrie of Maxwelton, and Alexander Ferguson of Craigdarroch, the latter-named gentleman carrying off the prize, and in a very peculiar way proving the survival of the fittest. It is very unlikely that Burns was present at the contest, although the penultimate stanza of the ballad makes it appear that he was. On the same day he had forwarded two letters to be franked By Sir Robert Lowrie, and said he would send a servant for them in the evening.
The ballad was printed in several newspapers before it appeared in the. Museum. Stenhonse says that the tune is the composition of Robert Riddell, one of the competitors, and if so, it is his best tune. It is in the style of an Irish melody, but it is not in any collection prior to the Museum.
No. 230. Ye sons of old Killie, assembled by "Willie. Cunning­ham's edition, 1S34. Tune, Over the-water to Charlie. Burns was admitted as an honorary member to the Kilmarnock Lodge of Kilwinning Freemasons, on October 26, 1786, when he recited the foregoing verses, and afterwards handed a copy of them to the chairman, Major William Parker.
The tune Over the.water to Charlie was composed shortly after the rebellion of 1745, unless it had a previous unrecorded existence. Burns knew it as Irish under the name of Shawnboy; the earliest form is in Johnson's Country Dances, 1748, entitled Pot-stick. It is in Oswald's Companion, 1752, iv. 7, as Over the water to Charlie, and with the same title in Bremner's Reels, 17^7,16; and the Museum, 1788, No. 18y. In Aird's Airs, 1782, i. No. oS, it is entitled Marquis of Granby-Shambuy. It was also known by an Irish name Legrtim Cush, and it may be the Madam Cossy referred to in No. 226. For tune, see No. 294.
Uo. 231. It 's now the day is dawiri. Scots Musical Museum, 1796, No. 442. Stenhouse in Illust., 393, says : ' The four lines in the Museum were hastily penned by Burns at the request of the publisher, who was anxious to have the tune in that work, and the old words could not be discovered.' Burns admired the air and refers to it in a letter to Alex. Cunningham, May 4, 1789, when he thought of writing a song for the three Crochallan members Cruikshank, Dunbar and Cunningham : ' I have a good mind to write verses on you all to the tune Three gude fellows ayoht the glen? No verses are known except those in the text. This spirited and well constructed melody is neglected and almost unknown. It is in McGibbon's Scots Tunes, 1746,25; and Oswald's Companion, 1753, v. 1.
No. 232. Deluded swain, the pleasure. Scotish Airs, 1798,_y. Tune: The Collier's bonie lassie. Currie's Works, lSoo, iv. zy. The only informa­tion about this sentimental production is a line in the letter to Thomson enclosing the song : ' Then for The Colliers dochler take the following old bacchanal.' No one has discovered any previous song of the kind: the presumption is that Burns had no wish to father it. The tune is noted in songs Nos. 44 and 208.






E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III