Complete Songs Of Robert Burns - online book

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xxviii                            BIBLIOGRAPHY
Cowkelbie Sow. A poem of the fifteenth century in the Bannatyne MS. and printed in Laing's ' Select Remains of the Ancient Popular Poetry of Scotland? Edinburgh, 1822. A large number of airs, songs, and dances are named in the poem, all of which are otherwise unknown.
Asloau MS., of about the beginning of the sixteenth century, is a collection of early poetry. The MS. is Imperfect; and of sixty pieces named in the contents thirty-four are missing. It has never been properly examined, and the present owner declines access to it.
' The Complaynt of Scotland, written in 1548, with a preliminary Disserta­tion and Glossary. Edinburgh: Archibald Constable, 1801.' [By John Leyden.] 8vo. Of the airs, dances, songs, and tales named in the work the greater number are unknown.
Maitland MS., in the Pepysian Library, Cambridge, was compiled by Sir Richard Maitland, of Lethington (1496-1586). It was bought at the Lauderdale sale in 1692 by the diarist, Pepys, who bequeathed it to Magdalen College in 1703. It consists of two volumes of poetry written from about 1420 to 1585. Vol. i., folio, pp. 366, contains 176 pieces. Vol. ii., quarto, 138 leaves, contains 96 pieces. See Pinkerton's Ancient Scolish Poems, London, 1786; and Poems, Maitland Club, Glasgow, 1830.
'Ane compendious buik of godlie Psalmes and spirituall Sangis collectit furthe of sindrie partis of the Scripture, with diueris Vtheris Ballatis changeit out of prophane Sangis in godlie Sangis for auoyding of sin and harlatrie. With augmentation of sindrie gnde and godlie Ballatis not contenit in the first editioun. Imprentit at Edinbrugh be Johne Ros for Henrie Charteris. MDLxxviii. Cum priuilegio Regali.' 16mo, pp. 16 and 207. [A literal reprint was issued by David Laing, Edinburgh, 1868; and the Scottish Text Society .has since reprinted an earlier edition of 1567. The contents are metrical versions of some of the Psalms, a selection of hymns, chiefly translations, from the German, and (for our purpose) a number of imitations or religious parodies ' of popular secular songs then current. This kind of poetry was written for the use of the Reformers in England, Holland, Germany, France, and Italy prior to the Scottish collection. The two last-named countries suppressed it. Coverdale wrote a ' godlie' song which would be Impossible to print in a hymnary of the present day. The ' psalmes' of a noble lord of Holland, Nievelte by name, were published in 1540, and sung in the families and private assemblies of the Protestants, ' ut homines ab amatoriis, haud raro obscoenis, aliisque vanis canticis, quibus omnia in urbibus et vicis personabant, avocaret,' &c. The spiritual songs of Colfetet published in France as late as 1660 are scandalously bad. The subject is sketched in MeCrie's Life of John Knox, Edinburgh, 1840,399. See also Douen's Le Psautier Huguenot, Paris, 1878, 2 vols. 8vo. In connexion with this subject a sang which had been sought in vain for many years has just come to light. In 1568 the General Assembly of the Kirk unanimously ordered Thomas Bassandine to call in all the copies of a psalm buik which he had published without licence, and to keep ' the rest unsauld' until he deleted ' a baudie song out of the end of the psalm booke.' Now that a copy of Welcum Fortotm has been discovered it is difficult to understand why it should have been singled out for opprobrium and the printer so severely punished. The decorum of the verses as compared with some lively sangis in the Godlie ballads is presumptive evidence that the Assembly wanted an excuse to punish the unlicensed printer. By permission of the Scottish Text