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REKJN OF CHARLES II. TO WILLIAM III. 575
IN JANUARY LAST.
This ia a song in D'Urfey's play, The Fond Husband, or The Plotting Sisters, which was acted in 1676.
The words and music are to be found in Playford's Choice Ayres, ii. 46, 1679, and in vol. i. of all editions of Pills to purge Melancholy. The tune is in Apollo's Banquet, 1690, and probably in some of the earlier editions which I have not seen.
The words are in the Roxburghe Collection, ii. 414, entitled " The Scotch Wedding, or A short and pretty way of wooing: To a new Northern tune, much ufc'd at the theatres." Printed for P. Brooksby. In the same Collection, iii. 116, is "The new-married Scotch Couple, or The Second Part of the Scotch Wedding," &c, "To a new Northern tune, or In January last." Printed by Thackeray, Passinger, and Whitwood.
Many other ballads were sung to it, of which one or two have already been quoted. I will only add to the list, " Northern Nanny, or The Loving Lasses Lamentation," &c, a copy of which is in the Douce Collection (164). It commences—
! " On Easter Monday last, I heard a pensive maiden mourn,
When lads and lasses play, Tears trickling down amain ;
As o'er the green I past 'Alas!' quoth she, 'why was I born
Near noon-time of the day, To live in mickle pain ?' "
This identifies In January last as one of the tunes called Northern Nanny.
Allan Ramsay included "In January last" in vol. ii. of The Tea-Table Mis-cdlany, as " a song to be sung to its own tune." He altered some of the lines, and improved the spelling of the Anglo-Scottish words, but made no addition/ Ramsay's version was followed by Thomson, in his Orpheus Caledonius (ii. 42, 1733), but he changed the name to The glancing of her Apron ; taking that title from the seventh line of the song. In one of the Leyden MSS. (about 1700), the tune bears the name of The bonny brow from the eighth line of the same.
Both the words and music became extremely popular in Scotland. Even so late as 1797, they were reprinted in Johnson's Scot's Musical Museum • but on that occasion Burns "brushed up the three first stanzas of Ramsay's version, and omitted the remainder for an obvious reason."
The increasing refinement of manners was causing a gradual change in the style of popular poetry, and the rejection of many of the older pieces, so that when, in 1815, Mr. Alexander Campbell was on a tour on the borders of Scotland for the purpose of collecting Scotch airs, he received a traditional version of the air from Mr. Thomas Pringle, with a verse of other words, which Mr. Pringle had heard his mother sing to it. This was the first stanza of the now-celebrated song of Jock o' Sazledean, which Sir Walter Scott so admirably completed. It was first printed in Albyn's Anthology (vol. i., 1816, fol.), with the air arranged by Campbell. Campbell mistook it for an old Border melody.
■ Mr. Stenhouse says that Allan Ramsay reprinted it as " an old song wilk additions;" yhich is a mistake.