Complete Songs Of Robert Burns - online book

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I'll. LOVE-SONGS : HUMOROUS                  421
for a vernacular description of the duties of a ploughman in the south of Scotland. The original is a fragment of eight lines in Herd's MS., beginning:—
' Newes, lasses, newes,
Gude newes I hae to tell; There's a boat fu' o' young men Come to our town to sell.'
The title of the tune in Burns's hand is in the Gray MS. The first half is the first subject of Captain Mackenzie's Reel in Stewart's Reels, 1762, 36. The air was sung to a metrical satire on the ladies of Edinburgh, entitled The vain guidwife, printed in Sharpe's Ballad Book, 1824.
*Mo. 207. O, Galloway Tam cam here to woo. Scots Musical Museum, 1792, No. J2j and marked in Law's MS. ' Mr. Burns's old words,* who intended the fragment to precede one of Dr. Blacklock's songs for the Museum for the same tune. In 1810 Cromek printed the lines with an additional stanza of palpable modern construction, which, however, he alleged to be old and part of the song.
The following Note by Robert Riddell is in the Interleaved Museum, and it is not in Burns's handwriting as pretended by Cromek : ' I have seen an inter­lude (acted at a wedding) to this tune called The wooing of the maiden. These entertainments are now much worn out in this part of Scotland. Two are still retained in Nithsdale, viz.: Silly pure auld Glenae, and this one, The •wooing of the maiden': {Reliques, 1808, 29J). The tune is in Atkinson's MS., 1694, and Oswald's Companion, 1754, vi. 2;. In a common measure O'er the hills and far away resembles it.
*No. 208. The Collier has a dochter. This fragment of eight lines is in the Interleaved Museum, and may be entitled in his own way ' Mr, Burns's old words.' The note of Burns is correctly quoted by Cromek in Reliques, zip :— ' The first half stanza is much older than the days of Ramsay' whose song is in his Miscellany, 1724; and with the tnne in Johnson's Museum, 1787, No. 4J.
Burns wrote two original songs for The Collier's bonie lassie, for which see Nos. 44 and 232.
No. 209. First when Maggie was my care. Scots Musical Museum, 1790, No. 249, signed X., entitled Whistle o'er the lave o't. ' Mr. Bnrns's old words' (Law's MS. List). Burns got the title of this from a song of the seventeenth century. The lords of creation in Scotland were no better than their sex elsewhere. They were never so good as to be able to dispense with the discipline of married life. It has not been ascertained to whom Burns referred in this song. In Herd's Scots Songs, 1769, 316, are the two following stanzas for the tune :—
' My mifher sent me to the well,    [ ' My mither sent me to the sea, She had better gane hersell,                  For to gather mussels three;
I got the thing I dare nae tell,             A sailor lad fell in wi' me,—
Whistle o'er the lave o't.                      Whistle o'er the lave o't,'
This is styled one of the malignant songs in Scotch Presbyterian Eloquence of the seventeenth century.
The tune Whistle ower the lave o't is in Bremner's Reels, 1759, j6. It varies a little from the copy in the Museum. It is also in the Caledonian Pocket Com­panion, 1759, xii. jj. C. Kirkpatrick Sharpe incorrectly stated that Dance Katie