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474                        HISTORICAL NOTES
Burns obtained the rhythm and style from an old song which he copied into the Merry Muses. The chorns there is almost the same as the last four lines above. Rantin rovin Robin was not printed in the poet's lifetime, nor in either of the musical collections with which he was identified. John Templeton, a tenor of the Italian Opera, and Scottish vocalist, brought the song into public notice;' but instead of singing it to the tune for which Burns wrote it, he selected 0, an ye were dead, gitdeman (see No. 249), to which it is almost always printed and sung. Burns, in discussing the tune elsewhere, particularly states that the chorus of Dainty Davie is to be sung to the low part of the melody, which is in Playford's Dancing Master, 1680, 29), and without title in Sinkler's MS., 1710. In the Tea-Table Miscellany, 1724, Allan Ramsay's song Lucky Nansy is marked for the tune.
The Rev. David Williamson, who died in 1706, is always stated to be the original Dainty Davie, but that is very doubtful, and perhaps it would be more correct to say that he obtained the soubriquet from the tune. In Dr. Pitcairn's comedy The Assembly he is represented as Solomon Cherry-Trees, and in the bitter and indecent pasquils he is styled Stout David, Sweet David, Mr. David, and sometimes bare Davie, but never Dainty Davie except in the ballad The Cardinal's Coach Coup'd, 1710. In the last stanza of this ballad in Maidment's New Book of Old Ballads he is called Dainty Davie, but curiously enough that stanza is not in the copy in a contemporary manu­script by the Rev. W. Traill. In this MS. there is a second part of The Cardinal's Coach Coup'd which has not yet been reprinted. The connexion with the tune seems to have arisen from a crazy man dancing and singing Dainty Davie on the road while Dr. Williamson one Sunday was proceeding to the Church in Aberdeen. The incident is related by Wodrow. The song in the Merry Muses quoted above is founded on the unauthenticated adventure related by Captain Creighton and published by Dean Swift—the well-known chestnut of Mass David Williamson who, flying from his persecutors and being pursued by dragoons, took refuge in the bed of the daughter of the Laird of Cherrytrees, whom he afterwards married. He was a Boanerges of the Kirk : he married and buried six wives, and married a seventh who buried him. For a fragment in the Herd MS. see Note, No. 28^. The nationality of the music is disputed. Chappell claimed it as English, but curiously enough did not insert it in his collection, although it is conspicuously a good melody. It has been set only once to English verses that I know of, and the nationality is there settled in A New Song made to a pretty Scotch Tune in Durfey's Pills, 1719, i. 42; Dainty Davie is also in McGibbon's Scots Tunes, 1746,^2; Caledonian Pocket Companion, 1753, v. 22; and in other collections, including the Setts Musical Museum, 1787, No. 34. I understand that it is in the sixth edition of the Dancing Master, and again in the edition of 1701 and also in Sinkler's MS., 1710, without title.
No. 309. Is there for honest poverty ? A Chap book, Stewart and Meikle, Glasgow, 1799. Currie, Works, 1800, iv. 216, entitled For a' that an' a' that. Thomson's Scolish Airs, 1805, 163. This has probably won more fame for Burns beyond the seas than any other of his writings, and it has been translated into at least nine different European languages. At the time it was _ written the Continent was in commotion; the democratic opinions pervading' France had extended to other countries, and the mute masses had found a voice. The vulgar opinion of the politics of Burns is far from the truth; he was no believer in universal suffrage nor in any of the cant of the party politician. He despised all mobs, washed or unwashed. He held the same opinion as the great composer Beethoven, who, when challenged as to his title to use the prefix of nobility in his name, declined to discuss the point, but pointed to his head and his heart, saying 'these are my titles of nobility.' The song was sent to Thomson in a letter, January 1, 1795, with this note: