Complete Songs Of Robert Burns - online book

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V. BACCHANALIAN AND SOCIAL              443
of Scotland, Joanna Baillie, Susanna Blamire, and Sir Alexander Boswell, have each written verses for the tune. Burns had a high appreciation of the melody, and in a letter to George Thomson of April 7, 1793, in a burst of enthusiasm thus writes: ' Ballad-making is now as completely my hobby-horse as ever fortification was Uncle Toby's; so I'll e'en canter it away till I come to the limit of my race, and then cheerfully looking back on the honest folks with whom I have been happy, I shall say, or sing Sae merry as we a' hoe been, and raising my last looks to the whole human race, the last words of the voice of Coila shall be Good night and joy be wi* you a'.'
The authority to insert the song in Johnson's Museum was conveyed in these words: ' Let this be your last song of all in the collection and set it to' the old words; and after them insert my Gude night and Joy be wi' you a' which you will find in my Poems. The old words are :— ' The night is my departing night,          What I hae done, for lake o' wit,
The morn's the day I mann awa ;        I never, never can reca';
There's no a friend or fae o' mine        I trust ye 're a' my friends as yet,
But wishes that I were awa.                   Gude night and joy be wi you a\'
Johnson followed strictly the instructions of Burns.
The tune is in the Skene MS. ,c. 1630, entitled, Good night, and God be with you; in Playford's Original Scotch Tunes, 1700; in a MS. dated Glasgow, 1710; in the Caledonian Pocket Companion, 1752, iv. 32; and Aird's Airs, 1782, ii. No. 200. The tune has been considerably altered since its first appearance in the Skene MS.
Ho. 241. TTp wi' the carls o' Dysart. Setts Musical Museum, 1792, No. jc/2, to the tune Hey cd thro'; Edinburgh edition, 1877, ii. 68. On September 15, 1787, Burns slept at Kinross, and next day came through a cold barren country by Queensferry to Edinburgh. The four fishing villages named in the song are close to one another on tie south coast of Fife. No version of the song was known until it appeared in the Museum. It has been accepted as the work of Burns on the authority of Stenhouse, but it is not among the Burns manuscripts in the British Museum.
The melody of a 'Boat song,' Hey ca' thro', is a characteristic small pipe tnne, in compound triple time, common to the Border. The music, which Burns is said to have communicated when he sent the verses, is not in any collection prior to the copy in the Museum.
Mo. 242. Gane is the day, and mirk's the night. Scots Musical Museum, 1792, No. jij, signed 'B,' entitled, Then Gudewife, count the lawin. The MS. is in the British Museum. In the Interleaved Museum is: ' The chorus of this is part of an old song, one stanza of which I recollect:— "Every day my wife tells me, That ale and brandy will ruin me; But if gude liquor be my dead, This shall be written on my head,
O Gudewife, count the lawin," &c.'
Buras's song is worthy of Walter de Mapes, the sprightly monk of the twelfth century who wrote Mihi est propositum in taoerna mori. According to Stenhouse, Burns obtained the tune from tradition and had it printed in the Museum. It is a bright and joyous melody, which ought to be better known.
The well-known obscure proverb,' As drunk as a lord,' is evidently a corrup­tion of the last line of the second stanza in this song, ' For ilka man that's drunk 's a lord,' which is quite a different phrase from the common saying.
No, 243. Come, bumpers high! express your joy ! Lockhart's Life of Burns, 1829. Written for William Stewart, resident factor or bailiff of the estate of Closeburn in Dumfries, with whom Burns became acquainted in his business excursions. The sister of Stewart was landlady of Brownhill Inn, in






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