Complete Songs Of Robert Burns - online book

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for the tune are in the Merry Muses, one in the Tea-Table Miscellany, 1724, and another beginning When I was a wee thing, in Herd's Scottish Songs, 1776, ii. 213; but none of them have any reference to John Anderson my jo. That a much earlier song did exist is proved from the music books.
The tune entitled John Andersonne my jo is in the Skene MS. c. 1630; also with Ramsay's words in Watts's Musical Miscellany, 1731, vi. 202; Oswald's Companion, 1752, iv. 22; and Aird's Airs, 1782, ii. No. 167.
The melody of two English songs—Paul's Steeple' and / am the Duke of Norfolk —belonging to the latter half of the sixteenth century is claimed to be the original of John Anderson my jo, but the music in English collections is not found earlier than the Dancing Master, 1651. The following is taken from a translation of the Skene MS.
For further information on the English melody see Chappell's Popular Music, p. 117.
It is necessary to enter a warning against the following remark on John Anderson my jo by Bishop Percy in his Keliques. ' It is a received tradition in Scotland that at the time of the Reformation ridiculous and obscene songs were composed to be sung by the rabble to the tunes of the most favourite hymns in the Latin Service. Green Sleeves and pudding pies is said to have been one of these metamorphosed hymns; Maggy Lauder was another; John Anderson my jo was a third. The original music of all these burlesque sonnets was very fine.' This is a most confused-and misleading statement. There is not an example of a hymn tune or a tune ' of the most favourite hymns in the Latin Service ' to be found in Scotland in connexion with a secular song. The three titles named are secular airs, and none are known to have been used for the purpose named. It is ridiculous to speak of the very fine original music of these ' sonnets' in the past tense. All were very popular and well known in Percy's time, and they are well known now as secular folk tunes with secular words. What was done in Scotland was to imitate every European country, including England. Religious parodies of secular songs were written for popular secular airs, and these ' sangs,' mixed up with hymns and psalms, are preserved in the collection known as The Gude and Godlie Ballads. In the whole song and dance music of Scotland only one melody called Cumnock Psalms (see No. 260, and that was collected by Burns from tradition) can by any stretch of the imagination have any connexion with the church tunes. The offensive epithet applied by Percy to the songs is not warranted. ' The paipe that pagane full of pryde,' which casts spirited ridicule on the morals of the priests, is the most plain spoken, but scarcely deserves the epithet.
Mo. 213. "Willie Wastle dwalt on Tweed. Scots Musical Museum, 1792, No. 376, signed ' B,' entitled Sic a wife as Willie had. The MS. is in the British Museum. The verses are unrivalled as a vernacular pen and ink portrait of one who had not a single point of physical beauty to recommend her. A recent writer in the public press indentifies Linkumdoddie as five and a half miles from Broughton on the road to Tweedsmuir and Moffat. On the