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VII. PATRIOTIC AND POLITICAL 457
The model of Burns's 'Impromptu' is a bacchanalian closing thus :—
' Come let us drink about, Robin Adair, Come let us drink about, Robin Adair, Come let us drink about, and drink a hogshead out, Then we'll be drunk, no doubt, Robin Adair.'
For the tune Robin Adair or Aileen a roon, see Song No. 4J.
No. 269. When Guilford good our pilot stood. Edinburgh Edition, 1787, }ii, entitled, 'a fragment.—Tune: Gilliecrankie.' In Scots Musical Museum, 1788, ii. No. 101, it is set to the tune in the text according to the instructions of Burns contained in Gray's MS. Lists. It is the first song in the Museum over which he had control, and he changed the melody because Killiecrankie had already been printed in the collection. The ballad refers to events between 1775 and the close of 1783 in Canada and North America. Pitt became Premier in December, 1783, after the fall of the Coalition ministry of North and Fox. There are Hogarthian touches in most of the political ballads of Burns, and Pitt's rival is well drawn in the two lines:— 'An' Charlie Fox threw by the box An' lows'd his tinkler jaw, man.'
Fox is said to have often come straight from the gaming room knee-deep in cards to the House of Commons.
The Gaelic tune, M.freicedan or The black watch is entitled The highland watch in Dow's Ancient Scots Music, c. 1776, 42, and The Earl of Glencairn's in McGlashan's Strathspey Reels, 1780, 6. The 42nd Regiment or The black watch was embodied to keep down rebellion in the Highlands.
No. 270. Fy, let us a' to Kirkcudbright. Broadside 1795 ; Cunningham's Burns, 1834. Tune Fy, let us a' to the bridal. The first seven stanzas satirize and ridicule the opposite political party ; and the rest, except the closing lines, eulogize the Whig candidate. The butchering invective is not nearly so amusing as The holy fair or Orthodox wha believe in fohn Knox. Lockhart declined to print some of these political ballads in his Life of Burns, 1828, on the ground that 'perhaps some of the persons lashed and ridiculed are still alive—their children certainly are so'. These reasons cannot now be advanced, and Time has solved the propriety of printing them. The ballad which gave its name to the tune is in Watson's Choice Collection of Comic and Serious Foems, Edin. 1706, the first miscellaneous collection of poetry published in Scotland. The first stanza is:—
' Fy, let us a to the briddel,
For there will be lilting there, For Jockie 's to be married to Maggie
The lass with the gauden-hair; And there will be lang-kail and pottage
And bannocks of Barley-meal, And there will be good salt herring
To relish a cog of good ale.'
This song and the tune The blythsome Wedding or Fy, let us a' to the bridal, are in the Orpheus Caledonius, 1725, No. j6, the music is in Craig's Scots Tunes, 1730, 41, entitled An the Kirk wad let me be ; the Scots Musical Museum, 1787, No. ;8; Ritson's Scotish Songs, 1794, i. 208; Dale's Scotch Songs, 1794, I'll. 141; also in McGibbon's Sects Tunes, 1755, 32, and Aird's Airs, 1782, i. No. 12}. The modern copies of the music differ considerably from the older, as indeed they do between themselves. Dnrfey printed a para' phrase of The blythsome Weddingin Fills, 1720, vi.jjo. The editor's ignorance of the Scottish vernacular produced a cacophonous parody of meaningless words. The tune in the Fills, although from the same source as that in the