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Now for my English song to Nancy's to the Green. wood, 8c.
FAREWELL thou stream that winding flows
Around Eliza's dwelling!
Within my bosom swelling;
And yet in secret languish,
Nor dare disclose my anguish.
Love's veriest wretch, unseen, unknown,
I fain my griefs would cover :
Betray the hapless lover.
Nor wilt, nor canst relieve me;
For pity's sake forgive me !
The music of thy voice I heard
Nor wist while it enslav'd me;
Till fears no more had sav'd me:
The wheeling torrent viewing ;
In overwhelming ruin.
There is an air, The Caledonian Hunt's Delight, to which I wrote a song that you will find in Johnson.
Ye banks and braes o' bonnie Doon ; this air, I think, might find a place among your hundred, as Lear says of his knights. · 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, a gentleman whom possibly you know, 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 soine kind of rhythm ; and he would infallibiy 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. Ritson, you know, has the same story of the Black Keys; but this account which I have just given you, Mr Clarke informed me off several years ago. Now to shew 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 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! I, myself, have lately seen a couple of ballads sung through
Farewell thou stream that winding flows, I think excellent, but it is much too serious to come after Nancy : at least it would seem an incongruity to provide the same air with merry Scottish and melancholy English verses ! The more that the two sets of verses resemble each other in their general character, the better. Those you have manufactured for Dainty Davie will answer charmingly. I am happy to find you have begun your anecdotes! I care not how long they be, for it is impossible that any thing from your pen can be tedious. Let me besseech you not to use ceremony in telling me when you wish to present any of your friends with the songs : the next carrier will bring you three copies, and you are as welcome to twenty as to a pinch of snuff.
· 19th November, 1794. You see, my dear Sir, what a punctual corres. pondent I am ; though indeed you may thank your. self for the tedium of my letters, as you have so flattered me on my horsemanship with my favourite hobby, and have praised the grace of his ambling so much, that I am scarcely ever off his back. For instance, this morning, though a keen blowing frost, in my walk before breakfast, I finished my duet which you were pleased to praise so much. Whe.
ther I have uniformly succeeded, I will not say; but here it is for you, though it is not an hour old.
Tune" THE Sow's Tail."
And by thy charms, my Philly.
To be my ain dear Willy.
As songsters of the early year
And charming is my Philly.
As on the brier the budding rose
The love I bear my Willy.
The milder sun and bluer sky,
Were ne'er sae welcome to my eye
As is a sight o' Philly.
The little swallow's wanton wing,
As meeting o’my Willy.
The bee that thro' the sunny hour
Upon the lips o' Philly.
As is a kiss o' Willy.
Let fortune's wheel at random rin,
And that's my ain dear Philly.
And that's my ain dear Willy.