Complete Songs Of Robert Burns - online book

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ILOVE-SONGS : PERSONAL                  373
at this period may be learned from his correspondence. In a letter of December 13, 1789, full of melancholy, he laments the death of a dear young friend, and speaking of heaven, he says,' There should I, with speechless agony of rapture, again recognize my ever dear Mary, whose bosom was fraught with truth, honor, constancy, and love.'
The tune is the sentimental composition of Miss Lucy Johnson, who became Mrs. Oswald of Auchencruive. That old beau, Kirkpatrick Sharpe, describes her as ' giving double charm to a minuet and dignifying a country dance.' No attempt will be made here to disturb the opinion that the tune is very beautiful, mais chacun a son goAt.
M"o. 61. Ye banks and braes and streams around. Scotish Airs, ] 799, Sj, 'Written for this Work by Robert Burns.' 'Tune, Katherine Ogie.' This song on Mary Campbell is described to Thomson, November 14, 1792: ' It pleases myself; I think it is in my happiest manner; you will see at first glance that it suits the air. The subject of the song is one of the most interesting passages of my youthful days, and I own that I would be much flattered to see the verses set to an air which would ensure celebrity. Perhaps, after all, 'tis the still glowing prejudice of my heart that throws a borrowed lustre over the merits of the composition.' He requested Thomson to print the song in his first volume, but his wish was not gratified.
The tune Katherine Ogle was a favourite of Burns. Thomson suggested that the old song should be dressed, but Burns declined any connexion with such poor stuff. The song in the Tea-Table Miscellany, 1724, is an amended version of ' As I went forth to view the plain,' taken from Wit and Mirth, or Pills to purge melancholy. The nationality of both words and music are disputed. The tune is in Playford's Dancing Master, 1688, with the title, Lady Catherine Ogle, a new dance. In Apollo s Banquet, 1686, it is printed twice ; the first time with the same title as in the Dancing Master, and in the second part of the collection as A Scotch Tune. Tom Durfey wrote verses for it entitled A New Scotch Song, beginning Walking down the Highland town, and printed in his Pills, 1719, ii. 200, and elsewhere as Bonny Katherine Loggy: a Scotch song. The verses are a poor imitation of the Scots' vernacular. The music is also in Brace's MS., 1706, and Graham's MS,, 1694, both quoted by the late J. Muir Wood; Craig's Scots Tunes, 1730,20 ; Orpheus Caledonius, 1725, No. 22; Watts's Musical Miscellany, 1729, ii. 166; McGibbon's Scots Tunes, 1742, 20; Caledonian Pocket Companion, 1752, iv. 2, and elsewhere. The title of the air, as in the Dancing Master, was obviously in honour of Lady Catherine Ogle, youngest daughter, and one of the co-heirs of the Duke of Newcastle and Baron Ogle. She died in 1691.
d. Jean Armour (Mrs. Burns).
No. 62. Tho' cruel fate should bid us part. Scots Musical Museum, 1788, No. 118, signed ' R.' The MS. is in the British Museum, with no direction for the tune. There is, however, another MS. of the verses marked for the air She rose and loot me in, which Johnson could not adopt, as it had already been appropriated in the first volume of the Museum. So he set the verses of Burns to The Northern Lass.
Both the words and air of the original song She rose and let me in are disputed. According to Chappell, the complete song is in a New Collection of Songs, London, 1683, the words by Thomas Durfey and ' set by Mr. Thomas Farmer.' It is also in Durfey's Pills, 1719, i. 324. The earliest copy of the music in a Scottish collection is in Sinklers MS., 1710, and the words in Ramsay's Miscellany, 1725. Both are in the Orpheus Caledonius, 1733, No. 14, and the music is much Improved. It is repeated in the Caledonian Pocket Companion, 1743, i. 21. There is no copy of either the words or the music