Complete Songs Of Robert Burns - online book

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492                        HISTORICAL NOTES
movement, and the others being double tunes, goes to confirm the theory of Burns that the sImpler air, although last printed, may be the earliest of the three.
*No. 342. As I went out ae May morning. Originally published in the Scots Musical Museum, 1792, No. 397, from Burns's MS. now in the British Museum. The verses in a large measure are his work. ' The words and music of this old ballad were communicated to Johnson by Burns in the poet's hand­writing ': (Stenhouse Illust. 359). A short fragment is in the Herd MS.; and three stanzas in Herd's Scottish Songs, 1776, 6, with only a trace of the Burns version, ends thus:—
' I hae nae houses, I hae nae land,
I hae nae gowd or fee, Sir; I am o'er low to be your bryde
Your lown I'll never be, Sir.'
The ballad is related to ' As I came down by yon castle wa', No. 340, which see. The tune is somewhat irregular in construction and chiefly in the major mode, closing on the relative minor, not an unfrequent disposition of Scottish melody.
*No. 343. There was a battle in the north. Scots Musical Museum, 1792^ No. 346, entitled ' Geordie, an old ballad.' On the MS. of A Country lass in the British Musenin Burns wrote the following note concerning the ballad now under consideration: ' Put likewise after this song the inclosed old ballad, as it sings to the same tune. It is rather too long, but it is very pretty, and never that I know of was printed before.' A later version is in Kinloch's Ballads, 1837, ip2, with the following chorus:—
' My Geordie O, my Geordie O,
O, the love I bear to Geordie; The very stars in the firmament
Bear tokens I lo'e Geordie.'
Several versions of the same kind are in Child's Ballads, 1890, iv. 123, but the Burns contribution is a complete tale. According to Kinloch, Geordie was George Gordon, fourth Earl of Huntley whom the Queen Regent sent on an expedition into the Highlands to arrest a robber. Having failed in his mission, he was suspected of complicity with the marauders, and put into prison, but released on a money payment. But the ballad fits George, fifth Earl "of Huntley, still better. He was apprehended for treason on February 8, 1562-3, his estates forfeited, and he was sentenced for execution. The latter part of the sentence was delayed, and he remained a prisoner in Dunbar Castle until August, 1565, when he was restored to favour by Queen Mary who made him Chancellor in 1566. After several changes of'fortune he died in 1576, when James was king.
Ritson, in the Northumberland Garland, 1793, 33, printed ' A lamentable Ditty ' to a delicate Scottish Tune on George Stoole, a horse stealer, who lived in Newcastle. The original broadside was printed by Henry Gosson, c. 1630, and the legend does not differ materially from Geordie and the other variants ' The laird of Gight,'' George Lukely,' &c, in the ballad collections.
The tune was recovered by Burns. A close copy entitled Oscar's ghost is in Corn's Scots Songs, 1783, ii. 21,
*No. 344. O, I forbid you maidens a'. From Burns's MS. in the British Museum, collated with the original publication entitled Tarn Lin in the Scots Musical Museum, 1796, No. 411. Stenhouse first connected Burns with the publication as follows: • The ballad in the Museum, as well as the original air, were communicated by Burns, in his handwriting, to the editor of that work': {Illust. p. 370). A fragment of forty lines, differing considerably from






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