Page images

As light as the air, and fause as thou's fair,

Thou's broken the heart o'thy Willy


Now for a few miscellaneous remarks. The Posie, (in the Museum) is my composition; the air was taken down from Mrs Burns's voice.* It is well known in the West Country, but the old words are trash. · By the by, take a look at the tune again, and tell me if you do not think it is the original from which Roslin Castle is composed. The second part, in particular, for the first two or three bars, is exactlý the old air. Strathallan's Lament is mine; the music is by our right trusty and deservedly wellbeloved Allan Masterton. Donocht-Head is not mine ; I would give ten pounds it were. It appeared first in the Edinburgh Herald ; and came to the editor of that paper with the Newcastle post-mark on it. Whistle o'er the lave o't is mine: the music

The Posie, will be found afterwards. This, and the other poems of which he speaks, had appeared in Johnson's Museum, and Mr T. had inquired whether they were our bard's. E.

+ The reader will be curious to see this poem, so highly praised by Burns. Here it is.

KEEN blaws the wind o'er Donocht-Head, (a)

The snaw drives snelly thro' the dale ;
The Gaber-lunzie tirls my sneck,

And, shivering, tells his waefu' tale:
" Cauld is the night, O let me in,

“ And dinna let your minstrel fa';

(a) A mountain in the North.

said to be by a John Bruce, a celebrated violinplayer in Dumfries, about the beginning of this century. This I know, Bruce, who was an honest man, · though a red-wud Highlandman, contantly claimed it; and by all the old musical people here, is believed to be the author of it.

[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

This affecting poem is apparently incomplete. The author seed not be ashamed to own himself. It is worthy of Butix. or of Macneill.

Andrew and his cutty Gun. The song to which this is set in the Museum is mine, and was composed on Miss Euphemia Murray, of Lintrose, commonly and deservedly called the Flower of Strathmore.

How long and dreary is the Night! I met with some such words in a collection of songs somewhere, which I altered and enlarged ; and to please you, and to suit your favourite air, I have taken a stride or two across my room, and have arranged it anew, as you will find on the other page.


How long and dreary is the night,

When I am frae my dearie !
I restless lie frae e'en to morn,

Tho' I were ne'er sae weary.

For, oh! her lanely nights are lang :

And, oh! her dreams are eerie :
And, oh! her widow'd heart is sair

That's absent frae her dearie.

When I think on the lightsome days

I spent wi' thee, my dearie ;
And now what seas between us roar,
How can I be but eerie ?

For, oh! &c.

How slow ye move, ye heavy hours!

The joyless day, how dreary !

[ocr errors]

Tell me how you like this. I differ from your idea of the expression of the tune. There is, to me, a great deal of tenderness in it. You cannot, in my opinion, dispense with a bass to your addenda airs. A lady of my acquaintance, a noted performer, plays and sings at the same time so charmingly, that I shall never bear to see any of her songs sent into the world, as naked as Mr What-d'ye-call-um has done in his London collection.

These English songs gravel me to death. I have not that command of the language that I have of my native tongue. I have been at Duncan Gray, to dress it in English, but all I can do is deplorably stupid. For instance :

[ocr errors][merged small]

Look abroad through Nature's range,
Nature's mighty law is change;
Ladies, would it not be strange,

Man should then a monster prove?

*Mo Ritsos.

Mark the winds, and mark the skies ;

Ocean's ebb, and ocean's flow :
Sun and moon but set to rise,

Round and round the seasons go.

Why then ask of silly man,
To oppose great Nature's plan ?
We'll be constant while we can-

You can be no more, you know.

Since the above, I have been out in the country, taking a dinner with a friend, where I met with the lady whom I mentioned in the second page in this odds-and-ends of a letter. As usual I got into song ; and returning home I composed the following:





SLEEP'st thou or wak'st thou, fairest creature;

Rosy morn now lifts his eye,
Numbering ilka bud, which Nature

Waters wi' the tears o' joy :
Now thro' the leafy woods,

And by the reeking floods ;
Wild Nature's tenants, freely, gladly stray :

ro' the lears floods i cladly stra

« PreviousContinue »