Complete Songs Of Robert Burns - online book

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I. LOVE-SONGS : PERSONAL                   369
No. 51. Adown winding With I did wander. Currie, Works, 1800, iv. 90. The second song on Phillis Macmurdo, written to gratify the poet's friend and musical adviser, Stephen Clarke. In August, 1793, Burns wrote to TJiomson : ' Another favourite air of mine is The Muckin 0' Geordie's Byre. When sung slow with expression, I have wished that it had better poetry : that I have endeavoured to supply.' Thomson riding his favourite hobby, suggested that the verses should be entirely English, but Burns declined, and replied: 'I'll rather write a new song altogether than make this English. The sprinkling of Scotch in it, while it is but a sprinkling, gives it an air of rustic naivete, which time will rather increase than diminish.' Thomson did not print the song. The following stanza in the original copy was suppressed by Burns, as he thought it weak :—
' The primrose is o'er for the season, But mark where the violet is blown; How modest it peeps from the covert, So modesty sure is her own.' The melody has been popular for nearly two hundred years. The tune is stated to be in Crockati's MS. 1709; it is in the Orpheus Caledanius, 1725, No. }$, to a song beginning :—
' My daddie 's a delver of dykes, My minnie can card and spin, And I'm a bonnie young lass
And the siller comes linkin in,' &c. The tune is also in the Caledonian Pocket Companion, c. 1745, ii. j$, and the Scots Musical Museum^'jS'j, No. 96. A fragment is in Herd's Scots Songs, 1769,^2:— (m^i.uO:-
' The mucking of Geordie's byre, And shooling the grupe sae clean, Has gar'-d me weit my cheeks                            m
And greit with baith my een. Chorus. 'It was ne'er my father's will, Nor yet my mothers desire, That e'er 1 should file my fingers Wi' mucking of Geordie's byre.
' The mouse is a merry beast,
And the moudiewart wants the een : But the warld shall ne'er get wit Sae merry as we hae been.'
Ho. 52. Here is the glen and here the bower. Thomson's Scotish Airs, 1798, 27, set to the air The flowers of Edinburgh. The MS. is in the Thomson Collection. Sent in a letter to Thomson in June, 1794 : ' I know you value a composition, because it is made by one of the great ones, as little as I do. However, I got an air, pretty enough, composed by Lady Elizabeth Heron of Heron, which she calls the Banks of Cree. Cree is a beautiful romantic stream, and as her ladyship is a particular friend of mine, I have written the following song to it. The air, I fear, is not worth your while; else I would send it to you.' The air, if it ever saw the light, cannot now be identified. The song is supposed to have been written for Mrs. Maria Riddell.
No. 53. O, wert thou in the oauld blast. Currie, Works, 1800, iv. }Si, entitled Address to a lady. Thomson's Scotish Airs, 1818, 2ig. The story of this song is on the authority of Chambers. One day Burns, weak and pained, called on Jessie Lewars. He offered, if she would play to him her favourite tune, to write verses for it. She played Lenox love to Blctntyre on