Complete Songs Of Robert Burns - online book

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452
HISTORICAL NOTES
stanza repeats the title The wind hath blown my plaid away which was probably an early name for O'er the fields and far away, very popular in England and did service in several operas of the eighteenth century.
The tune is in Atkinson's MS. 1694; Sin/tier's MS., 1710, entitled My plaid away, Watts's Musical Miscellany, 1730, I'll. 192; Caledonian Pocket Companion, c. 1755, vii. 23; MfGibbon's Scots Times, 1768, iv. 97; Aird's Airs, 1782, ii. No. 29; Scots Musical Museum, 1787, No. 62; and other musical - collections.
No. 258. There was on a time. Currie, Works, 1800, iv. 354, entitled Caledonia. ' Tune: Caledonian Hunt's delight' The MS. is in the Watson collection. The following letter, dated Jan. 23, 1789, was addressed to James Johnson of the Scots Musical Museum, .enclosing a copy of the song ' I shall be in Edinburgh, my dear sir, in about a month, when we shall overhaul the whole collection and report progress. The foregoing I hope will suit the excellent air it is designed for.' The song was not printed in the-Museum, because, I conjecture, Burns afterwards furnished a much better song— The banks 0' Doon for the tune. See No. 12J.
ITo. 259. Dees haughty Gaul invasion threat? Currie, Works, 1800, iv. j8j, entitled The Dumfries Volunteers. Tune, Push about the jorum. Scots Musical Museum, 1^03, No. J46. Burns was suspected of holding treasonable opinions, and he suffered for railing at the constitution. But he was decidedly of the opinion that British wrongs should be righted by British hands. The French Convention menaced the country in the early part of 1795, and two companies of volunteers were raised in Dumfries as a defence against invasion.- Burns became a member, and shouldered the musket and pike. The irony of fate hemmed him in over this business. As a suspected rebel he was officially censured and reduced. But it is curious to note that his death was accelerated through patriotism. The most pathetic letter in his correspondence is that of June 12, 1796", nine days before his death, to his uncle James Burness, Writer, Montrose, begging a loan of ten pounds by return of post to save him from an attachment by the unpaid tailor who supplied his volunteer uniform. The ballad The Dumfries Volunteers, with music composed by Stephen Clarke, was printed on a sheet in March, 1795, for circulation among the volunteers. Thomson, in Select Melodies, set it to Get up and bar the door. But as stated by Currie it was written for Push about the jorum, a popular English melody, composed about 1770 for a song in the opera of The Golden Pippin. It is a good marching air with a free swing. This is the first time the Dumfries Volunteers has been printed with its proper tune, entitled The jorum in Campbell's Reels, 1778,.y; and Push about the jorum in Aird's Airs, 1782, i. No. 111. The tune was a particular favourite"of Burns. In the Merry Muses three different songs are marked for it. This patriotic song with its tune has the true Burnsian ring; and although the events which produced it are now only historical the vehemence of the poet can still be felt.
No, 260. As I stood by yon roofless tower. Scots Musical Museum, 1796, No. 40;, signed ' B.' Tune, Cumnock Psalms, named on the MS., is in the British Museum. The verses are known as The minstrel of Lincluden. Burns was wont to walk and muse among the ruins of the Abbey, situated on the angle of land at the junction of the Cluden with the Nith, about a mile and a half north of Dumfries. Pennant gives a description of this collegiate Church in his Tour in Scotland, 1772, which is accompanied with a fine engraving of the ruin. Parts of the chancel and nave were all that remained in Burns's time. Margaret, daughter of Robert I'll, the wife of Archibald Earl of Douglas, son of Bell-the-cat, is buried in the chancel.
The stanza and curious tune which Burns appropriated for the Minstrel of Lincluden, was known as The grey goose and the gled from an old erotic song of that name. • Stephen Clarke transcribed the music for Burns, and in a letter






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