Complete Songs Of Robert Burns - online book

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IX. MISCELLANEOUS                       497
was in print. In Kinloch's Scottish Ballads, 1827, ijj, is the most complete version. One of the imaginative editors closes with the following:—
' He stood up erect, let his beggar weed fall, And shone there the foremost and noblest of all; Then the bridegrooms were chang'd-and the lady re-wed To Hynde Horn thus come back, like one from the dead.'
A complete analysis of Young Hyn Horn will be found in Child's Ballads, 1882, i. No. 17. The legend of King Horn is known in all European countries.
I have failed to discover in any English or Scottish collection of music the tune .of Hynd Horn, and the music in the text is taken from Motherwell's Minstrelsy, 1S27, App. No. i}, which there is said to be the traditional air of the ballad.
*lTo. 349. What merriment has taen the Whigs? From Burns's MS. in the British Museum, entitled The German iairdie, which is referred to in Gray's MS. Lists. The verses were sent to Johnson, but were not inserted in his Museum. In Hogg's Jacobite Relics, 1819, i. 146, is a song of twelve stanzas, without a chorus, beginning:—
'What murrain now has taen the Whigs? I think they're all gone mad, Sir, By dancing one-and-forty jigs, Our dancing may be bad, Sir."
The second stanza is a variation of that of Burns, but neither is an Improve­ment. The Ettrick Shepherd obtained his verses from the collection of Sir Walter Scott. The present well-known popular song The wee, wee German lairdie, partly if not entirely written by Allan Cunningham for Cromek's spurious antique Nithsdale and Galloway Songs, 1810, has no resemblance to Burns's words, which are probably the remnant of Jacobite verses. The tune from the MS. of Burns, now in the possession of John Adamson, Esq., of Brook-lands, Dumfries, is not in any printed collection, is quite unknown, and is now printed for the first time. The music in the MS. is obviously Imperfect, and wants two bars in each of the two sections to complete the rhythm. These I have added by repeating the fifth bar and doubling the measure of the sixth in each of the two sections.
•No. 350. O, that I were where Helen lies. Scots Musical Museum, 1788, ii. No. ijj, from Burns's MS. now in the British Museum. Hitherto Burns's name has not been coupled with this well-known ballad, and his connexion with its appearance in literature may properly be described here. Writing to George Thomson in July, 1793, be says: 'The old ballad, "I wish I were where Helen lies," is silly to contemptibility. My alteration in Johnson is not much better. Mr. Pinkerton, in his what he calls Ancient Ballads, has the best set. It is full of his own interpolations.'
The earliest notice is the title of an air Where Helen lies, in lute tablature in Blaikie's MS., 1692, without words. The music fits the verses in the text, and incidentally confirms the existence of the ballad in its present rhythm before the close of the seventeenth century.
The ballad, or at least the melody, was known to Allan Ramsay, who wrote
for it a song entitled, ' To ------ in mourning' beginning, 'Ah! why those
tears in Nelly's eyes,' printed in the Tla- Table Miscellany, 1724. The verses were in honour of one of Ramsay's patrons, and have nothing in common with the legend of the tragic ballad, which .was told by Pennant in Tour of Scotland, 1TJ4, 88, often reprinted, and too well known to require repetition. The 'ballad' was not quoted by Pennant, but in ' Poetical Legends [John Tait] London : printed and sold by John Donaldson, 1776,' is the original publication in thirteen stanzas. Tait, the editor, takes care to state that he collected it