Complete Songs Of Robert Burns - online book

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Dr. Cnrrie states that Burns intended to print the song with music in sheet form, but owing to the inflammable state of the country was dissuaded from doing so.
This beautiful melody is in McDonald's Airs, 1784, No. 162; Ritson's Scotish Songs, 1794, ii. 259-
No. 273. Wha will buy my troggin P Cunningham's Edition, 1834, entitled 'The trogger,'tune, Buy broom besoms? The Parliament elected in 1795 was dissolved in May, 1796, and Heron of Heron was again cast on another turbulent political sea. This time he was opposed by the Hon. Montgomery Stewart, a younger son of the Earl of Galloway. Burns, although confined to the house by severe illness, assisted his friend with The irogger. Before the election took place Burns was dead. Heron won, but was unseated on a petition and died shortly afterwards.
To appreciate the satire it is necessary to remember that a ' trogger' or ' troker,' is the Autolycus of Scotland, The word is' an example of French influence on the Scottish language. Troquer means to exchange, to barter, to do business on a small scale. The two following examples from Jamieson's Scottish Dictionary illustrate the term :—
' How could you troke the mavis note
For penny pies all piping hot.'—Ferguson.
'Nae harm, tho I hae brought her ane or twa
Sic bonny tracks to help to mak her braw.'—Shirrefs.
The tune Buy broom besoms is ascribed without authority to William Purvis or Blind Willie, an eccentric blind fiddler, born in Newcastle, 1752. Buy broom besoms was Willy's chef <£ aware in the streets and public houses that he frequented. He died in the Newcastle poor house in 1832 upwards of 80 years of age. The music of the text is from Northumberland Minstrelsy, 1882, 11S. The fact of Burns having written his ballad for the tune is evidence that it was popular in the south of Scotland at the end of the eighteenth century. It is not in any Scottish collection.
The characters in this, the last election ballad written by Burns, are as follows :—Stanza 2 : The Earl of Galloway, a sour Puritan whom Burns did not love. His son was the Tory candidate. St. 3 :—Murray of Bronghton, who eloped with a lady and left his wife; Thomas Gordon of Balmaghie, his nephew. St. 4: A Galloway laird, David Maxwell of Cardoness, whom Burns described as ' a stupid, money-loving dunderpate.' St. 6 and 11 : John Bushby of Tinwald, a lawyer and a banker. St. 7 : Rev. James Muirhead of Urr, who satirized Burns in an epigram. He invented a crest and armorial bearings. St. 8 : Walter Sloan Lawrie, of Redcastle. St. 9 : Douglas of Carlinwark, which latterly was changed to Castle Douglas. St. 10 : Copeland of Collieston. St. 12 : The Devil.
Ho. 274. 'Twas in the seventeen hunder year. Hogg and Mother­well's Edition, 1834 (with the exception of three stanzas), entitledy^z Busby's lamentation. Tune : Babes in the wood. Written to celebrate the election of the Whig candidate Heron of Kerroughtrees. Black-nebbit John Bushby was a solicitor and bank agent, a man of capacity whose taste lay in money-making. Burns was an unsympathetic acquaintance, and, when in an opposite camp, he attacked his quondam friend without reluctance. (For reference to tune see No. 267.}
Wo. 275. Wham will we send to London town? Broadside, 1795; Cunningham's Edition, 1834. This is another ballad belonging to the local politics of the early part of 1795. With characteristic fervour Burns threw himself into the midst of the election warfare. The Stewarty of Kirkcud­bright was in want of a parliamentary representative, and a friend of the poet, Heron of that Ilk and Kerroughtrees, became the Whig candidate.