« PreviousContinue »
Turn away thine eyes of love,
Lest I die with pleasure.
What is life, when wanting love ?
Night without a morning:
Nature gay adorning.
Your objection to the English song I proposed for John Anderson my jo, is certainly just. The following is by an old acquaintance of mine, and I think has merit. The song was never in print, which I think is so much in your favour. The more original good poetry your collection contains, it certainly has so much the more merit.
By Garix TrRNBULL.
O, CONDESCEND, dear charming maid,
My wretched state to view;
And sad despair, by you.
While here, ali melancholy,
My passion I deplore,
I love thee more and more.
I heard of love, and with disdain,
The urchin's power denied ;
And mock'd them when they sigh'd.
But how my state is alter'd !
Those happy days are o'er ;
I love thee more and more..
O, yield, illustrious beauty, yield,
No longer let me mourn ;
Thy captive do not scorn.
Let generous pity warm thee,
My wonted peace restore ;
And love thee more and more.
The following address of Turnbull's to the Nightingale, will suit as an English song to the air, There was a lass and she was fair. By the by, Turnbull has a great many songs in MS. which I can command, if you like his manner. Possibly, as he is an old friend of mine, I may be prejudiced in his fa- . vour, but I like some of his pieces very much.'
MY DEAR SIR, Édinburgh, 16th September, 1794.
You have anticipated my opinion of On the seas and far away ; I do not think it one of your very happy productions, though it certainly contains stanzas that are worthy of all acceptation.
The second is the least to my liking, particularly, “ Bullets, spare my only joy!” Confound the bul. lets ! It might, perhaps, be objected to the third verse, “ At the starless midnight hour," that it has too much grandeur of imagery, and that greater simplicity of thought would have better suited the character of a sailor's sweetheart. The tune, it must be remembered, is of the brisk, cheerful kind. Upon the whole, therefore, in my humble opinion, the song would be better adapted to the tune, if it consisted only of the first and last verses, with the chorusses.
September, 1794 I SHALL withdraw my, On the seas and far away, altogether; it is unequal, and unworthy the work. Making a poem is like begetting a son: you cannot
know whether you have a wise man or a fool, until you produce him to the world to try him.
For that reason I send you the offspring of my brain, abortions and all; and, as such, pray look over them, and forgive them, and burn* them. I am flattered at your adopting Ca' the yowes to the knowes, as it was owing to me that ever it saw the light. About seven years ago I was well acquainted with a worthy little fellow of a clergyman, a Mr Clunie, who sung it charmingly; and, at my request, Mr Clarke took it down from his singing. When I gave it to Johnson, I added some stanzas to the song and mended others, but still it will not do for you. In a solitary stroll which I took to-day, I tried my hand on a few pastoral lines, following up the idea of the chorus, which I would preserve. Here it is, with all its crudities and imperfections on its
My bonnie dearie.
* This Virgilian order of the poet should, I think, be disobeyed with respect to the song in question, the second stanza excepted. Note by Mr Thomson.
Doctors differ. The objection to the second stanza does not strike the Editor.
Hark, the mavis' evening sang
"We'll gae down by Clouden side,
Thro' the hazels spreading wide, O'er the waves that sweetly glide To the moon sae clearly.
Ca’ the, &c.
Yonder Clouden's silent towers, Where at moonshine midnight hours, O'er the dewy bending flowers, Fairies dance sae cheery.
Ca' the, &c.
Ghaist nor bogle shalt thou fear;
Thou'rt to love and heaven sae dear, Nocht of ill may come thee near, My bonnie dearie.
Ca’ the, &c.
Fair and lovely as thou art, .
* The river Clonden, or Cluden, a tributary stream Nitla.