Complete Songs Of Robert Burns - online book

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*No. 225. There's cauld kail in Aberdeen. The two stanzas and chorus in the text are in the Interleaved Museum where Burns states they are ' the old verses.' They are not found elsewhere, and he doubtless mended them. For an account of the tune Cauld Kail, see notes to Nos. 102 and 104.
' M-----•
No. 226. The deil cam flddlin thro' the town. Scots Musical Museum, 1792, No. 790, entitled, The deil's awa wi' the exciseman. Enclosed in an undated letter addressed to J. Leven, General Supervisor of the Excise, and introduced as follows : ' Mr. Mitchell mentioned to you a ballad, which I composed and sung at one of his excise dinners : here it .is— The Deil's awa wi' the exciseman, Tune Madame Cossy. If you honor my ballad by making it one of your charming don vivant effusions, it will secure it undoubted celebrity.' Lockhart, in his Life of Burns, 1828, relates the origin of the song, which he received from an Excise officer, to the effect that Burns was left on the Solway shore to watch the movements of the crew of a stranded smuggler, while his companion went for assistance to board the vessel. Burns got tired tramping the wet sands, and exercised himself in writing The deil's awa wi the excise­man.
The tune Madam Cossy I conjecture to be The Quaker s Wife, see No. 40; or it may be another name for that here reprinted from the Museum, where the song was first published under Burns's direction. It is a good English melody entitled The hemp-dresser in Aird's Airs, ii. No. ioj, and without a title in the Caledonian Pocket Companion, c. 1756, viii. 21. It is in every edition of Playford's Dancing Master from the first issue in 1651. In Durfey's Pills, 1719, i. J20, it is set to a song The sun had loosed his weary team.
Wo. 227. Landlady, count the lawin. Scots Musical Museum, 1788, No. lyo, entitled, Hey tutti, taiti. The MS. is in the British Museum. An early Jacobite song of the beginning of the eighteenth century is on the same page of Johnson's Museum. This political song is written with considerable vigour, one of the stanzas being as follows :—
' When you hear the trumpet-sounds       Chos. Fill up your bumpers high,
Tuttie taitie to the drum;                         We'll drink a' your barrels dry,
Up your swords, and down your guns,              Out upon them, fy ! fy!
And to the louns again.                            That winna do't again.'
The tune, slightly varied, is that for which Burns wrote Scots wha hae—see Song No. 2ss-
No. 228. A' the lads o' Thornie-bank. Scots Musical Museum, 1788, No. ij6 b, signed .' Z.' Tune Puffian's rant. The MS. is in the British Museum. Buckie is an Important fishing village between Castle Gordon and Cullen. Burns must have passed through Buckie on September 7, 1787, for he slept at Cullen the same night, and we know that he dined on that day with the Duke of Gordon. The song is probably a reminiscence of a call for refreshment at the Inn kept by ' Lady Onlie, honest lucky, who brew'd good ale at the shore o' Bucky.'
For the tune, see No. 239.
No. 229. I sing of a whistle, a whistle of worth. Scots Musical Museum, 1792, No. 314, entitled The Whistle. Burns has described the origin of the contest for the whistle, and whether true or not there can be no doubt that our Scandinavian ancestors were deep drinkers. Poetry and song were the magic of Odin; beer was the ambrosial liquor. Regner Lodbrog, in his Dying Ode,