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The lintwhite in his bower
Ascends wi' sangs o' joy,
Banishes ilk darksome shade,
Such to me my lovely maid.
The murky shades o' care
But when in beauty's light,
Her beaming glories dart ;
Variation. Now to the streaming fountain,
Or up the heathy mountain,
In twining hazel bowers
The lav'rock, &c.
Sad, cheerless, broken-hearted,
But when she charms my sight,
Her blooming glories dart ;
If you honour my verses by setting the air to them, I will vamp up the old song, and make it English enough to be understood.
I enclose you a musical curiosity, an East Indian air, which you would swear was a Scottish one. I know the authenticity of it, as the gentleman, who brought it over, is a particular acquaintance of mine. Do preserve me the copy I send you, as it is the only one I have. Clarke has set a bass to it, and I intend putting it into the Musical Museum. Here follow the verses I intend for it.
THE AULD MAN.
The woods rejoic'd the day,
In double pride were gay:
On winter blasts awa!
Again shall bring them a'.
Shall melt the snaws of age ;
Sinks in time's wintry rage.
And night's o’ sleepless pain !
Why com’st thou not again!
I would be obliged to you if you would procure mc a sight of Ritson's collection of English songs, which you mention in your letter. I will thank you for another information, and that as speedily as you please : whether this miserable drawling hotchpotch epistle has not completely tired you of my corres. pondence ?
Edinburgh, 27th October, 1794. I AM sensible, my dear friend, that a genuine poet can no more exist without his mistress than his meat. I wish I knew the adorable she whose bright eyes and witching smiles have so often enraptured the Scottish bard! that I might drink her sweet health when the toast is going round. Craigie-burnWood must certainly be adopted into my family, since she is the object of the song ; but in the name of decency I must beg a new chorus-verse from you. O to be lying beyond thee, dearie, is perhaps a consummation to be wished, but will not do for singing in the company of ladies. The songs in your last will do you lasting credit, and suit the respective airs charmingly. I am perfectly of your opinion with respect to the additional airs. The idea of sending them into the world naked as they were born
s ungenerous. They must all be clothed and Te decent by our friend Clarke.
i de collection, where to prese
I find I am anticipated by the friendly Cunning. ham in sending you Ritson's Scottish collection. Permit me, therefore, to present you with his English collection, which you will receive by the coach. I do not find his historical essay on Scottish song interesting. Your anecdotes and miscellaneous remarks will, I am sure, be much more so. Allan has just sketched a charming design from Maggie Lau. der. She is dancing with such spirit as to electrify the piper, who seems almost dancing too, while he he is playing with the most exquisite glee. I am am much inclined to get a small copy, and to have it engraved in the style of Ritson's prints.
P.S. Pray what do your anecdotes say concerning Maggie Lauder? was she a real personage, and of what rank? You would surely spier for her if you caʼd at Anstruther town.
November, 1794. Many thanks to you, my dear Sir, for your present. It is a book of the utmost importance to me. I have yesterday begun my anecdotes, &c. for your work. I intend drawing it up in the form of a letter to you, which will save me from the tedious. dall business of systematic arrangement. Indeed, as all I have to say consists of unconnected remarl anecdotes, scraps of old songs, al. would be im
possible to give the work a beginning, a middle, and an end, which the critics insist to be absolutely necessary in a work.* In my last, I told you my objections to the song you had selected for My Lodg. ing is on the cold Ground. On my visit the other day to my fair Chloris (that is the poetic name of the lovely goddess of my inspiration), she suggested an idea, which I, in my return from the visit, wrought into the following song.
My Chloris, mark how green the groves,
The primrose banks how fair ;
And wave thy flaxen hair.
The lav'rock shuns the palace gay,
And o'er the cottage sings :
To shepherds as to kings.
Let minstrels sweep the skilfu' string
In lordiy lighted ha':
Blithe, in the birken shaw.
The princely revel may survey
Our rustic dance wi' scorn;"
I does not appear whether Burns completed these anec. toe, &c. Something of the kind (probably the rude draughts)
found amongst his papers, and appears in vol. ii. E.