Complete Songs Of Robert Burns - online book

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II. LOVE-SONGS : GENERAL                   405
Burns, in the Interleaved Museum, says: 'This song for genuine humour in the verses, and lively originality in the air is unparalleled. I take it to be very old.' The verses of Fee him, father, fee him are in The Charmer, Edinburgh, 1752; the last stanza is:—
' O, fee him, father, fee him, quo' she, Fee him, fee him, fee him, He'll had the pleugh, thrash in the barn, And crack wi' me at e'en, qno' she, And crack wi' me at e'en.' The song is also in Herd's Scots Songs, 1769, 78, and with music in Bremner's Scots Songs, 1757, 6. With different words in Clio and.Euterpe, 1762, ii. lyi, entitled A new Scotch song; and Scots Musical Museum, 1787, No. 9. The tune alone is in McGibbon's Scots Tunes, 1768, iv. t)&. The earliest publication of verses and music in a corrupted form is in Walsh's Original Scotch Songs, c. 1740.
Ifo. 155. My heart is sair—I darena tell. Scots Musical Museum, 1796, No. 436, signed ' B,' entitled 'For the sake 0' Somebody.' The MS. is in the British Museum. In Ramsay's Miscellany, 1725, there is a song of no con­spicuous merit with the same title. Burns took the chorus, and made new verses. Here is a stanza of the commonplace verses of Ramsay to show the alteration Burns effected:—
' I am gann to seek a wife,
I am gaun to buy a plaidie, I have three stane of woo', Carling, is thy daughter ready ? ' The Jacobites used the indefinite ' somebody' as a synonym for the Pretender, and patchwork verses referring to the royal line are in the Jacobite collections. A stanza runs :—
' If Somebody were come again,
Then Somebody maun cross the main; And ilka ane will get his ain, And I will see my Somebody.' Burns's tenderly pathetic love-song treats the passion in a lofty and dignified manner. An unwieldy melody by Allan Masterton, based on the original tune, was communicated to the editor of the Museum, and rejected. Burns wrote underneath the music that * it was difficult to set.' Underneath the copy of another cramped tune by Masterton, Burns remarked that ' the notation of the music seemed incorrect, but I send it as I got it' (Gray's MS. Lists).
For a copy of the tune For the sake 0' Somebody, Burns directed the editor of the Museum to the Caledonian Pocket Companion, 1752, iv. }o. The music consists of only four bars repeated in the chorus. Since Buins's time a graceful second strain has been grafted on, probably composed by Urbani, who published a selection of Scots Songs between 1793 and 1799. The modern addition is as follows:—