Complete Songs Of Robert Burns - online book

360+ songs with lyrics, sheet music, historical notes & glossary.

Home Main Menu Singing & Playing Order & Order Info Support Search Voucher Codes

Share page  Visit Us On FB

Previous Contents Next
incidents as those of My jo Janet. There are at least two other black letter ballads to the time Jenny, Jenny. One, The kind-kearled Maidens Resolution; and the other -The Faithful Young Man's answer to the kind-hearted Maiden's-Resolution ; both printed for I. Clarke at the Harp and Bible, in West Smith-field, between the years 1666 and 1684.
The primitive melody is in the Straloch MS., 1627-29, entitled The old man; and, wanting the second part, as Long er onie old mail, in the Skene MS. c. 1630. The Leyden MS. c. 1692, contains another form called Robin and Janet. The tune is in Oswald's Companion, 1751, I'll. 16; McGibbon's Scots Tunes, 1755,11; and with the verses of My jo Janet in the Orpheus Caledonius, 1733, No. 36; the Perth Musical Miscellany, 1786, -r/o; Scots Musical Museum, 1788, No. m, and Ritson's Scotish Songs, 1794, i. 173.
Ho. 218. I never saw a fairer. Currie, Works, iv. 14, entitled My Wife's a winsome wee thing, which was written for George Thomson and described to him in a letter Nov. 8, 1792, as ' a few lines smooth and pretty,' and he goes on ' If you mean, my dear Sir, that all the songs in your collection shall be poetry of the first merit, I am afraid you will find difficulty in the undertaking more than yon are aware of.' Thomson did not publish the song in Scotish Airs, 1818, but he inserted it in his Select Melodies, 1825, vi. 44, in twenty-four lines, four being by Burns, and twenty by himself! For the tune, see No. 220.
No. 219. O, that I had ne'er been married. Scots Musical Museum, 1803, No. ;9). 'Corrected by R. Burns.' 'Mr. B. gave the old words' (Law's MS. List). The chief portion of a distracting letter to Mrs. Dunlop dated 15th December, 1793, states the reason of Bnrns's attention to the present song. The following is an extract: ' These four months, a sweet little girl, my youngest child, has been so ill, that every day, a week or less threatened to terminate her existence. There had much need be many pleasures annexed to the state of husband and father, for God knows they have many peculiar cares. I see a train of helpless little folk; me and my exertions all their stay; and on what a brittle thread does the life of man hang! If I am nipt off at the command of fate ; even in all the vigour of manhood as I am, such things happen every day—Gracious God! what would become of my little flock! 'Tis here that I envy your people of fortune. A father on his deathbed, taking an everlasting leave of his children, has indeed woes enough; but the man of competent fortune leaves his sons and daughters independence and friends; while I—but I shall run distracted if I think any longer on the subject! To leave off talking of the matter so gravely, I shall sing with the old ballad 0 that I had ne'er been married' He then quotes the fi 1st stanza of the present song. The only part written by Burns is the last stanza beginning ' Waefu' want and hunger fly me.' The first stanza and chorus are in the Herd MS.
The tune entitled Three Crowdys in a day is in Atkinson's MS., 1694: the editor of the Museum, ignoring the sentiment of Burns's song, cruelly marks the music to be sung ' a little lively,' presumably on the principle of driving away dull care.
*No. 220. She play'd the loon or she -was married. Scots Musical Museum, 1790, No. 217. Burns's holograph in the Law MS. is 'Mr. Burns's old words.' The first eight lines are a fragment in Herd's Scottish Songs, 1776, ii. 230, the last eight are the work of Burns. The whole song as here printed is in the Merry Muses. For the dainty verses which Burns wrote for Thomson to the tune, see No. 21$. The music in our text is an early and good set from Stewart's Reels, 1762,30. The tune was first printed in Original Scotch Tunes, 1700, entitled Bride Next, and with the present title in Caledonian Pocket Companion, 1754, vi. 12; and Aird's Airs, 1782, i. No. 41.
No. 221. On peace an' rest my mind was bent. Scots Musical Museum, 1803, No. S32- ' Written for this work by Robert Burns.' ' Mr. B's old