Complete Songs Of Robert Burns - online book

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Barns and represented to be the Burns original, which I do not .believe. A fragment on the subject is in the Herd MS. as follows:—
'Now take a Cud in ilka hand
And bace her up and down, man And she'll be ane o' the best o' wives That ever took the town, man.'
The tune is a variant of the Queen of the Lothians, as it is probably also of Last May a braw wooer, Song No. 201.
No. 332. There was three kings into the east. John BarleycornA song to its own tune. ' I once heard the old song that goes by this name sung, and being very fond of it, and remembering only two or three verses of it, viz., the first, second, and third, with some scraps which I have interwoven here and there' {Commonplace Book, 1827, 28). It is printed in the Edinburgh edition, 1787, jo6. Ballads celebrating the prowess of this redoubtable hero have been known in England and Scotland for more than three centuries. The earliest version is in the Bannatyne MS. 1 f 68, entitled Why should not Allane honorit be, subscribed Allane Matsonis Suddartis, a pseudonym or parody on the title Allane-a-maut; it is in twelve stanzas of" five lines, the first in modern ortho­graphy being as follows:—
' When he was young and clad in green,
Having his hair about his een,
Baith men and women did him mene,
When he grew on yon hillis hie;—
Why should not Allane honoured be?'
Another Scottish version, somewhat later, begins:—
' Gude Allan o' maut was ance ca'd Bear, And he was cadged frae wa' to wear, And dragglet wi' muck, and syne wi' rain, Till he die't, and cam to life again.' A third version from the recollection of Robert Jamieson.the editor of Popular Ballads, 1806, who learnt it in Morayshire when he was a boy, is a variation of that which the poet had heard sung in the south-west of Scotland. The first stanza runs:—
' There came three merry men from the east, And three merry men they be; And they have sworn a solemn oath John Barleycorn should Tlie.'
In England also there were at least three ballads of the same kind. One, entitled Mr. Mault he is a gentleman, was sung to the tune Triumph and Joy, another name for the Elizabethan melody Green-sleeves; a second called The little barleycorne to the tune Stingo—the early, name for Cold and raw; while the third and best known English version is that in the Pepys collection of ballads, entitled; A pleasant new ballad to sing evening and morn, of the bloody murther of Sir John Barleycorn, to the tune Lull me beyond thee, which begins thus:—
'As I went through the north countrie,
I heard a merry meeting, A pleasant toy, and full of joy
Two noblemen were greeting.'
The two noblemen were Sir Richard Beer, and Sir William Whitewine who, meeting John Barleycorn, fought with him, but failed to overpower him. All the ballads above referred to are in Jamieson's Ballads, 1806, ii. 231-260. The tune of the English ballad Lull me beyond thee is a north-country tune first printed in the first edition of Playford's Dancing Master, 1650. It is uncertain

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