Complete Songs Of Robert Burns - online book

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IX. MISCELLANEOUS
491
version, entitled Life and death of Sir Hugh of the Grime, is in the Roxburgh Ballads; and in Durfey's Pills, 1720, vi. 289, marked to be sung to Chevy Chase. The basis of the tale is the same, but verbally the difference is very considerable, and no comparison can be made. The scene of Burns's tale is Carlisle; some of the others place it in Stirling. It is alleged that the ' wanton bishop' was Robert Aldridge, Lord Bishop of Carlisle, to whom was issued bills of complaint in 1553 against four hundred borderers for burnings, murders, mutilations, &c. Hughie Graham may have been one of the number, but there is no historical evidence for connecting the legend with this bishop. The melody being unknown to Burns, the editor of the Museum set the verses to Druimionn Dubh, see No. 32, a Celtic air.
*No. 340. As I cam down by yon Castle wa'. Scots Musical Museum, 1792, No. 326. The MS. is in the British Museum, and his note in the Interleaved Museum is : ' This is a very popular Ayrshire song.' Stenhouse knew the source of the verses published in the Museum, and records that 'both the words and music were transmitted by Burns to Johnson.' (Illust. page 311.) The earliest symptom of the ballad is a short fragment in Herd's MS. and printed in Scottish Songs, ^76, ii. 6. It begins:
'O, my bonny bonny May, will ye not rue upon me
A sound sound sleep I'll never get, until I lye ayont thee.'
but Burns's version gave the first intelligible account which ultimately expanded into the numerous stanzas of the Laird of Drum where a brisk dialogue takes place between the Laird and a saucy ' bonny May,' whom he found shearing barley. At first she would not wed him at any price, but ultimately consented, and he won ' Peggy Coutts' without money or education. As the Laird had for his first wife in 1643 the fourth daughter of the powerful Marquis of Huntley, he got into disgrace with his kin. The ballad with a note is in Kinloch's Ballads, 1827, 199. (See No. 342.) The tune as in the text was originally printed in the Museum with the verses. If it bears a somewhat distant resemblance to another Scottish melody, it is nevertheless an excellent variant.
*Ho. 341. O, where hae ye been Lord Ronald, my sonp In the Scots Musical Museum, 1792, No. 327, from Burns's MS. in the British Museum, entitled Lord Ronald, my son. ' The fragment of this ancient ballad, with the beautiful air to which it is sung, were both recovered by Burns and placed in the Museum': (Stenhouse, Illust. 311). Later versions appear in Scott's Minstrelsy, 1803, I'll. 292; Kinloch's Scottish Ballads, 1827, 110, entitled Lord Donald, where the young man's sweetheart poisons him, with ' a dish of sma' fishes.' The legacy he leaves with his mother is described in the last two lines :
' The tow and the halter for to hang on yon tree, And lat her hang there for the poysoning o' me.'
A selection of versions entitled Lord Randal's in Child's Ballads, 1882, i. 131. The legend is dispersed over the continent of Europe,, and Child states that it is current in German, Dutch, Magyar, Sclavonic, Italian and other languages. Burns refers to the tune as follows: ' This air, a very favourite one in Ayrshire, is evidently the original of Lochaber:' (Interleaved Museum). The air Lord Ronald is derived from Lochaber, which in its turn comes from King James March in Ireland, appearing for the first time in Leyden's MS. 1692, and again in Atkinson's MS. 1694. The tune obtained the title Lochaber for the first time from Ramsay's well-known song in (he Tea- Table Miscellany, 1724, and the music is in Craig's Scots Tunes, 1730, 26; the Orpheus Caledonius, 1733. No. 30 ; and later collections. The three melodies differ in detail from one another, and the assumption that the Kingjames March is de facto the original is founded on its prior appearance; but the Lord Ronald air in the text which Burns communicated to Johnson's Museum, having only one