Familiar Songs - Their Authors & Histories

300 traditional songs, inc sheet music with full piano accompaniment & lyrics.

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" What aileth thee, Xarifa ?
What makes thine eyes look down ? Why stay ye from the window, far,
Nor gaze with all the town? I've heard you say, on many a day,
And sure you said the truth, Andalla rides without a peer,
'Mong all Granada's youth; Without a peer he rideth,
And yon milk-white horse doth go Beneath his stately master,
With a stately step and slow :— Then rise — oh, rise ! Xarifa,
Lay the golden cushion down; Unseen here through the lattice,
You may gaze with all the town."
The Zegri lady rose not,
Nor laid her golden cushion down, Nor came she to the window,
To gaze with all the town; And though her eyes dwelt on her knee,
In vain her fingers strove, And though her needle pierced the silk,
No flower Xarifa wove.
One lovely rosebud she had traced,
Before the noise grew nigh, That rosebud now a tear effaced,
Slow dropping from her eye. " No, no ! " she cries, " bid me not rise,
Nor lay my golden cushion down, To gaze upon Andalla,
With all the gazing town."
"Why rise ye not, Xarifa —
Nor lay your cushion down, Why gaze ye not, Xarifa—
With all the gazing town ? Hark! hear the trumpets how they swell,
And how the people cry! He stops at Zara's palace gate!
Why sit you still, Oh why ? " " At Zara's gate, stops Zara's mate,
In him shall I discover, The dark-eyed youth who pledged his troth,
With tears, and was my lover. I will not rise, with weary eyes,
Nor lay my golden cushion down; To gaze on false Andalla,
With all the gazing town."
In a letter to Mr. Thomson, Burns says: "There is an air called 'The Caledonian Hunt's Delight/ to which I wrote a song that you will find in Johnson. ' Ye banks and braes 0' bonnie Doon/ might, I think, find a place among your hundred, as Lear says of his nights. Do you know the history of the air ? It is curious enough. A good many years ago, Mr. James Miller, writer, in your good town, was in company with our friend, Clarke; and, talking of Scottish music, Miller expressed an ardent ambition to be able to compose a Scots air. Mr. Clarke, partly by way of joke, told him to keep to the black keys of the harpsichord, and preserve some sort of rhythm, and he would infallibly com­pose a Scots air. Certain it is, that in a few days, Mr. Miller produced the rudiments of an air which Mr. Clarke, with some touches and corrections, fashioned into the tune in question. Eitson, you know, has the same story of the black keys; but this account I have just given you, Mr. Clarke informed me of several years ago. Now, to show you how diffi­cult it is to trace the origin of our airs, I have heard it repeatedly asserted that this was an Irish air; nay, I met with an Irish gentleman who affirmed that he had heard it in Ireland, among the old women; while, on the other hand, a countess informed me that the first person who introduced the air into this country, was a baronet's lady of her acquaintance, who took down the notes from an itinerant piper, in the Isle of Man. How difficult, then, to ascertain the truth respecting our poesy and music!"
The Emperor Napoleon, perhaps, could not be expected to appreciate English music; but it is rather amusing to read, that when on the island of St. Helena, he said one day to a lady with whom he was conversing, " The music of England is execrable! They have
only one good melody—'Ye Banks and Brae3 0' Bonnie DoonJ