Complete Songs Of Robert Burns - online book

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446                        HISTORICAL NOTES
a charge of carelessness against the poet in writing for particular tunes. The charge does not hold good; for the verses, * I am a son of Mars,' have not until now been printed with the proper melody, and it fits the verses exactly.
No. 247. I once was a maid. Tune, Sodger Laddie, The verses are in the Merry Muses or Crochallan Song Book. The music is in Atkinson's MS., 1694, and Sinkler's MS., 1710, entitled Northland ladie. A song in the Tea-Table Miscellany, partly by Ramsay, beginning, ' My soger laddie is over the sea,' was reprinted with music in Watts's Musical Miscellany, 1731, vi. 110, and copied into the Orpheus Caledonius, 1733> No. 27. The music is also in Bremner's Reels, 1757, 22. During the eighteenth century the tune was very popular in Scotland, and often reprinted. In Stewart's Reels, 1761, if, it is entitled Sailor laddie. Burns made a song with this title for The Jolly Beggars; probably he may have got the idea from the'title of the tune in Stewart. In the version printed by Cromek, the third line of the second stanza of the Recitativo to the bard's song, a ' sailor' instead of a fiddler is named.
No. 248. Sir Wisdom's a fool when he's fou. Tune, Auld Sir Symott. This English melody, assigned to the man of the cap and bells, is above three hundred years old, and is well known on both sides of the Border. Its title appears first in a Scottish collection with the song, Come, here's to the nymph that I love, in the Tea-Table Miscellany, 1724, and later in Herd's Scots Songs, 1769, i}, to Some say that hissing's a sin. It is the tune of the Elizabethan ballad Ragged and torn, and must necessarily be older than these verses. Ritson considered it one of the ' Ancient ballads' referred to by Laneham as being in the bundle of Captain Cox, the Coventry mason. In the seventeenth century, a large number of ballads were sung in London to Old Symon the King, and Chappell, in Popular Music, p. 262, quotes five different names by which it was known. It served moral, political, social, and bacchanalian songs, but chiefly the latter. ' Symon the King' is supposed to have been a noted tavern-keeper who kept good liquor, and sampled it often himself. 'Says Old Symon the King,
Says Old Symon the King, With his ale-dropt hose, and his malmsey nose, Sing hey ding, ding a ding ding.'
A political song with this chorus is in Loyal Songs, 1685, 149. The earliest copy of the music is in Musick's Recreation, 1652. The tune is also in Durfey's Pills, 1707, and in the 1719 edition, I'll. 143, set to a ballad rather less coarse than usual for that remarkable collection. The music was published in a Scottish collection in Oswald's Companion, c. 1755, vii. 6, and in McGibbon's Scots Tunes, 1768, iv. 102. Two songs in the Merry Muses are directed to be sung to Auld Sir Symon the King.
No. 249. A Highland lad my love was born. Tune, 0, an ye were dead, guidman. See note on Song No. 214. Stenhouse says he copied this tune from an old manuscript, which he does not, however, further specify. A song of the kind was popular "in Scotland at the Reformation, for it is parodied in the Gude and Godlie Ballads, 1567, of which the following stanza is a specimen:—
'For our Gude-man in heaven dois ring,
In gloir' and blis without -ending, Quhair Angellis singis ever Osan,
In laude and praise of our Gude-man,'
The first part of the tune resembles the second phrase of the Duke of Buccleuck's Tune, in the sixth edition of Apollo's Banquet, 1690, and com­plete in the Dancing Master, 1709. It is also in Macfarlane's MS., 1741; in Oswald's Companion, 1752, iv. 24, and McGlashan's Scots Measures, 1781, 7, entitled Watsons Scots Measure.

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