Complete Songs Of Robert Burns - online book

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II. LOVE-SONGS : GENERAL                   399
In Gray's MS. Lists, Burns quotes the following stanza, which he states must be added, and says it is ' the best in the song.' The stanza has never been printed until now.
' Gin ye meet my love, kiss her and clap her, And gin ye meet my love, dinna think shame; Gin ye meet my love, kiss her and clap her, And shew her the way to had awa hame.' Burns's song, which he sent to Thomson in March, 17/83, is entirely different, except the title. A committee of taste suggested some alterations, which Burns partly adopted. The verses in the text are the final result in April.
The tune in the Caledonian Pocket Companion, c. 17.56, viii. 1, is entitled Here awa', Willie ; and as Here aiva, there awa in McGibbon's Scots Tunes, 1768, iv. 108 ; Bremner's Second Series Scots Songs, 1757, 11; Perth Musical Miscellany, 1786, iy; Calliope, 1788, 136; and Ritson's Scotish Songs, 1794, i. 86.
No. 141. O, open the door some pity to shew. Scotish Airs, 1793, i. 21. ' As altered by Robert Burns.' Sent to Thomson in March, 1793, with the remark, ' I do not know whether this song be really mended.' The original song has hitherto eluded research, and has given rise to some curiosity. The verses and air of the original are in Corri's Scots Songs, 1783, ii. jo; in the Perth Musical Miscellany, 1786,101; and in Calliope, 1788,27. The following are the pathetic verses from Corri, marked for an Irish Air:— ' It's open the door some pity to shew, It's open the door to me, oh ! Tho' you have been false, I'll always prove true, So open the door to me, oh! ' Cold is the blast upon my pale cheek, But colder your love unto me, oh!
Tho' you have, &c. 'She's open'd the door, she's open'd it wide, She sees his pale corpse on the ground, oh! Tho' you have, &c. ' My true love, she cry'd, then fell down by his side, Never, never to shut again, oh! Tho' you have,' &c. It is reminiscent of the old ballad of Lord Gregory, only that it is he who dies claiming admission, and not she. Burns has compressed the last two stanzas into one, using the refrain only in his first stanza, and making verbal alterations, sometimes not for the better. His third stanza is original, and with unerring instinct Carlyle detected Burns's hand in:—
'The wan moon sets behind the white wave,                   
And time is setting with me, O,' &c. Thomson made material alterations in the air. In Ireland it is known as Open the door softly. It is in Bunting's Irish Melodies, 1796 ; and Edward Nagle, who lived about 1760, wrote verses for it, beginning, 'As I wandered abroad in the purple of dawn.' Also, Tom Moore's fine song, ' She is far from the land where her young hero sleeps/Vas written for Sarah Curran, the lover of Robert Emmet, the young Irish rebel who was executed. A corrupted setting of the air is No./S^ of the Scots Musical Museum, 1803.
Ho. 142. Lang hae we parted been. Scots Musical Museum, 1790, No. 218. ' Mr. Burns's old words' {Law's MS. List). Doubtless there was an old song, but it is uncertain how much of the two stanzas were written by Burns. He stated to Thomson that he did not know the tune Laddie lie near me well enough to write for it. The note by Burns in the Interleaved