Complete Songs Of Robert Burns - online book

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viii. JACOBITE                            461
The ballad certainly belongs to the seventeenth century. A black letter copy is in the Pepys collection, which is reproduced in Child's Ballads, 1861, viii. 128, where the editor says that he thinks it a parody of some early heroic tale. This is the first time Burns's ballad has been printed with its tune, which, it is needless to say, is English.
No, 277. 'When first my brave Johnia lad. Scots Musical Museum,
1792,  No. jop, entitled Cock up your beaver. The MS., not in Burns's hand, is in the British Museum. • A fragment of the old song is in Herd's Scots Songs, 1769,^/^. Burns made a few alterations in the first stanza, the second beiug entirely his.
The tune was popular in England as a Scotch dance in the seventeenth century. It is printed in the seventh edition of Playford's Dancing Master, 1686, also edition 1695, entitledfohnny cock thy beaver. It is also in Atkin­son's MS., 1694 ; in Durfey's Pills, 1719, i. 332, set to a semi-political song beginning ' To horse brave boys of Newmarket, to horse'; in Sinkler's MS., Glasgow, 1710; in Oswald's Companion, c. 1755, vii. 2; and in McGibbon's Scots Tunes, 1755, 20.
No. 278. Our thrissles flourish'd fresh and fair. Scots Musical Museum, 1790, No. 263, entitled Atva, ivhigs, awa. The MS. is not among the Burns papers in the British Musenm. In Law's MS. List, ' Mr. Burns's old words.' In the fourth stanza Burns is indignant against the enemies of the Jacobites, for with all his democratic feeling he could not escape from his Jacobite proclivities. The Union in his day was not accepted as favourable to his country—the pride of the nation rebelled against occupying an inferior position. The feeling was expressed on the slightest provocation whether over the taxation of beer barrels, or a suggestion to abolish Bank notes. Sir Walter Scott astonished the Parliament of St. Stephen's by his furious attack on the proposal to amend the paper currency established for more than 150 years when the country was independent. In spite of Burns's feeble apologies for writing up the Jacobite cause, he embodied his sentiments in all the Jacobite songs, although this one like some of the others was not acknowledged.
The original of Burns's song is eight lines in the Herd MS. as follows :—
'And when they cam by Gorgie Mills
They licked a' the mouter, The bannocks lay about there Like bandoliers and powder; Awa, whigs, awa! Awa, whigs, awa! Ye're but a pack o' lazy louns, Ye'll do nae guid ava !'
Awa, whigs, awa, is still a very popular melody which was originally published in Oswald's Companion, 1754, vi. 19 without a second part and without the sharp minor seventh riear the close of the fourth line. The tnne is also in Aird's Airs, 1788, I'll. No. 411. Another and different air is in Songs Prior to Burns, page 72 which R. Chambers said was sung to the song in the house of a Perthshire Jacobite family.
No. 279. Now Nature hangs her mantle green. Edinburgh Edition,
1793,  ii. iyy; entitled 'Lament of Mary Queen of Scots on the approach of Spring''; Scots Musical Museum, 1797, No. 404, signed ' B.' .The first copy was enclosed to Dr. John Moore in a letter dated February, 27, 1791, while