Complete Songs Of Robert Burns - online book

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420                           HISTORICAL NOTES
The original of this stanza is a nursery rhyme long known in the west of Scotland. On the Museum MS. Clarke, the musical editor, wrote, 'The tune is only a bad set oi Johnny's grey breeks. I took it down from Mrs. Burns's singing. There are more words I believe. You must apply to Burns'; to which Johnson, the publisher, replied,' there are no more words' (Stenhonse, illustra­tions, p. j6j). The following verses are the last stanzas of a song in" Herd's Scottish Songs, 1776, ii. 167:— ' Now in there came my Lady Wren, ' Then Robin turned him round about,
With mony a sigh and a groan ;'              E'en like a little king:
O what care I for a' the lads,                  Go, pack ye out at my chamber door,
If my wee lad be gone ?                           Ye little cutty qnean.'
The wren, for some unknown reason, has been long known in Scottish poetry. In the fifteenth century a popular poem was entitled How the wren cam out of Ailsa. Gavin Douglas in the Palace of Honour, written in 1501, enumerates some tales and ballads then current. Thus:—
* I saw Rauf Colyear with his thrawin brow, -Craibit John the Keif, and auld Cowkelbie's sow; And how the wrdn came out of Ailssay And Piers Plewman that made his workmen fow; Greit Gowmakmorne and Fyn Mahowl, and how . They suld be goddis in Ireland as they say; Then saw I Maitland upon auld Beird Gray; Robene Hude, and Gilbert with the white hand, How Hay of Nauchtan flew in Madin land.'
(Douglas's Works, 1874, i. 6j.) . The tune has no history, and can be compared with No. 6y supra.
*No. 204. Lassie, lend me your braw hemp-heckle. ' The Bob 0' Dumblane remains to be added in your fifth volume. Take it from the Orpheus Caledonius: if you have not this book I will send yon a reading of it. At the end of this set (Ramsay's) let the old words follow' {Burns to Johnson, 1795). In Gray's MS. Lists Burns wrote against the title of the song ' Mr. Burns's old words.' The following note is not in the Interleaved Museum as quoted in Cromek's Reliques, 180S, joj, and it is given with reservation: 'Ramsay, as usual, has modernised this song. The original, which I learned on the spot from my old hostess in the principal inn there (Dunblane), is,' as in the text. Neither the tune nor the ' old' words of Burns were inserted in the Museum, and this is the first time both have been brought together. Ramsay's words, referred to. by Burns, are in his Miscellany, 1724, reprinted in Herd's Scots Songs, 1769, 42: and with the tune, in the Orpheus Caledonius, 17251 No. 4s, which is not the same as LordBredalbane's March often confused with it, for which see Song No. 170. With the exception of the first two lines, Burns's verses are different from the song in the Orpheus.
No. 205. My daddie. was a fiddler-fine. Scots Musical Museum, 1796, No. 457; Centenary Burns, 1897, I'll. 166. This is the chorus, and first of three stanzas in the Merry Muses, of a clever and witty song revised by Burns which cannot be further quoted.
The tune entitled Stumpie is in Aird's Airs, 1782, ii. No. 44. The same subject, as near as possible, is Lady Betty Wemyss' Reel, in Bremner's Reels, 1757, 21. Stenhouse says it was formerly cs^tijocky has gotten a wife, but I cannot find the music under this name. Mr. Glen.states that it is titled Butter'd pease in Walsh's Caledonian Country Dances, c. 1734^
No. 206. There's news, lasses, news. Scots Musical Museum, 1803, No. s&9i ' Written for this work by Robert Burns.' Scott-Douglas edition, I'll. 298An old song remodelled, and only remarkable in the last stanza