Complete Songs Of Robert Burns - online book

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published in 1508 : ' For all the bnddis of Johne Blunt when he abone clymis.* Laing's Dunbar, i. 66. The details of the tale differ in the various countries. That in Straparolo's Eighth Day describes a traveller seeking lodgings ; and arriving at an open house he enters and finds a man lying on a bench, apparently alive but speechless. He next addresses the wife, who is in bed with a like result, and being tired he gets into bed. In the morning when the traveller has risen, the wife, no longer able to remain silent, furiously enquires of the husband what sort of a man he is to permit a stranger to occupy his bed. ' * Fool, fool!' the man replies; ' get up and shut the door.' Blunt in the old Scots language meant stripped, bare, naked; and equivocally that meaning may be attached to the quotation of Dunbar.
The ballad of Burns correctly states that Johnie Blunt ' bears a wondrous fame, O,' and it can scarcely be doubted that the legend on which he wrote is very old. The more modern Scottish version of the tale entitled The barrin 0' the door, and written for general use, was first published in Herd's Scots Songs, 1769, 330, and is still very popular. 'It begins as follows:— 'It fell about the Martinmas time,
And a gay time it was then; When our' gnidwife had puddings to make And she boiled them in the pan.' One of the ' two gentlemen' in this case proposes to shave the man with the pudding soup, and the other is to kiss the wife. The man, like Johnie Blunt, first breaks into speech.
I see no reason to doubt the assertion of Stenhouse that Burns communicated the tune Johnie Blunt, which was with the verses originally published anony­mously in the Museum, and have so remained until now.
* No. 336. Upon the Lomonds I lay, I lay. This very well-known song, with its gay melody, is reproduced in nearly every miscellaneous collection of Scottish Songs, but Burns is never connected with it, and this is the first time the verses are published as his work. They were originally published anony­mously in the Scots Musical Museum, 1790, No. 299, from Burns's MS. now in the British Museum, and Burns styles them ' Mr, Burns's old words' in Law's MS. List. A note in the index of the Museum gravely states that the song ' is said to be composed on the Imprisonment of Mary, Queen of Scots, in Lochleven Castle.'
The music is at least as early as the first rebellion. In the year 1716, when Argyle's Highlanders entered Perth and Dundee, the three companies had distinct pipers who respectively played 7'he Campbells are coming Oho, Oho I; Wilt thou play me fair flay, Highland ladie; and Stay and take the breiks •with thee {Wodrow Correspondence, vol. xi. No. 96). No verses for the tune are found earlier than those entitled The Clans in Loyal Songs, 1750, the first stanza of which is:—
'Here's a health to all brave English lads,
Both lords and squires of high renown, That will put to their helping hand
To pull the vile usurper down; For our brave Scots are all on foot, . Proclaiming loud where'er they go With sound of trumpet, pipe and drum; The Clans are coming, Oho, Oho!'
This may have been the parody of an earlier popular song, but none is known, and Burns's verses in the text are the original on the Campbells. The instru­mental tune Campbells are coming Oho\ is in Bremner's Reels, 1761, 8j ; and the Caledonian Pocket Companion, 1751, I'll. 12. It is one of the irresistible melodies of Scotland which Mr. Glen says is in Walsh's Caledonian Country Dances, c. 1745, entitled Hob or Nob.