Page images

WP mony a sweet babe fatherless,

And mony a widow mourning
I left the lines and tented field,

Where lang I'd been a lodger,
My humble knapsack a' my wealth,

A poor and honest sodger. .

A leal, light heart was in my breast,

My hand unstain'd wi' plunder :
And for fair Scotia, hame again,

I cheery on did wander.
I thought upon the banks o' Coil,

I thought upon my Nancy;
I thought upon the witching smile

That caught my youthful fancy.

At length I reach'd the bonny glen,

Where early life I sported ;
I pass'd the mill, and trysting thorn,

Where Nancy aft I courted :
Wha spied I but my ain dear maid,

Down by her mother's dwelling!

on its surface after the storm is over, it gives a picture of that element not so well adapted to the ideas of eternal separation, which the fair mourner is supposed to imprecate. From the original song of Here awa Willie, Burns has borrowed nothing but the second line and part of the first. The superior excellence of this beautiful poem will, it is hoped, justify the differ, ent editions of it which we have given.

E. * Variation, lines 3d and 4th :

And eyes again with pleasure beam'd,
That had been blear'd with mourning.

See No. XXIV.

And turn'd me round to hide the food

That in my een was swelling.

Wi' alter'd voice, quoth I, sweet lass,

Sweet as yon hawthorn’s blossom,
O! happy, happy may he be,

That's dearest to thy bosom!
My purse is light, I've far to gang,

And fain would be thy lodger ;
I've serv'd my king and country lang-

Take pity on a sodger!

Sae wistfully she gaz’d on me,

And lovelier was than ever ;
Quo' she, a sodger ance I lo'ed,

Forget him shall I never :
Our humble cot and hamely fare,

Ye freely shall partake it ;
That gallant badge, the dear cockade,

Ye're welcome for the sake o't.

She gaz'd-she redden'd like a rose.

Syne pale like ony lily, ". She sank within my arms, and cried,

Art thou my ain dear Willie ? By Him who made yon sun and skym

By whom true love's regarded, I am the man ; and thus may still

True lovers be rewarded !

The wars are o'er and I'm come hame,

And find thee still true-hearted ! :

• Tho' poor in gear, we're rich in love,

And mair we’se ne'er be parted.
Quo' she, my grandsire left me gowd,

A mailen plenish'd fairly ;
And come, my faithfu' sodger lad,

Thou'rt welcome to it dearly.

For gold the merchant ploughs the main,

The farmer ploughs the manor ;
But glory is the sodger's prize,

The sodger's wealth is honour.
The brave poor sodger ne'er despise,

Nor count him as a stranger,
Remember he's his country's stay,
In day and hour of danger.





O KEN ye what Meg o'the Mill has gotten,
An' ken ye what Meg o’the Mill has gotten ?
She has gotten a coof wi' a claute o'siller,
And broken the heart o' the barley Miller.

The Miller was strappin, the Miller was ruddy;
A heart like a lord, and a hue like a lady :
The laird was a widdiefu', bleerit knurl ;-
She's left the guidfellow and ta'en the churl.

The Miller he hecht her a heart leal and loving: The Laird did address her wi' matter more moving,

A fine pacing-horse ri' a clear chained bridle,
A whip by her side, and a bonnie side-saddle.

O wae on the siller, it is sae prevailing;
And wae on the love that is fixed on a mailen!
A tocher's nae word in a true lovers parle,
But, gie me my love, and a fig for the warl !

[ocr errors][merged small]

7th April, 1793. Thank you, my dear Sir, for your packet. You cannot imagine how much this business of composing for your publication has added to my enjoyments. What with my early attachment to ballads, your books, &c., ballad-making is now as coinpletely my hobby-horse, as ever fortification was Uncle

Toby's ; so I'll e'en canter it away till I come to the limit of my race (God grant that I may take the right side of the winning post !) and then cheerfully looking back on the honest folks with whom I have been happy, I shall say or sing, “ Sae merry as we a' hae been !” and raising my last looks to the whole human race, the last words of the voice of Coila* shall be, “Good night and joy be wi' you a'!” So much

• Burns here calls himself the Voice of Coila, in imitation of Ossian, who denominates himself the Voice of Cona. Sae merry as roc a' hae been ; and Good night and joy be roi' you a', are the names of two Scottish tunes.

[ocr errors]

for my last words : now for a few present remarks, as they have occurred at random on looking over your list.

The first lines of The last time I came o'er the moor, and several other lines in it, are beautiful; but in my opinion-pardon me, revered shade of Ramsay! the song is unworthy of the divine air. I shall try to make or mend. For eder, Fortune, wilt thou prove, is a charming song! but Logan burn and Logan braes, are sweetly susceptible of rural imagery : I'll try that likewise, and if I succeed, the other song may class among the English ones. I remember the two last lines of a verse, in some of the old songs of Logan Water (for I know a good many different enes) which I think pretty.

“ Now my dear lad maun face his faes,

Far, far frae me and Logan braes.”

My Patie is a lover gay, is unequal. “ His mind " is never muddy,” is a muddy expression indeed.

“ Then I'll resign and marry Pate,

And syne my cockernony."

This is surely far unworthy of Ramsay, or your book. My song, Rigs of Barley, to the same tune, does not altogether please me; but if I can mend it, and thresh a few loose sentiments out of it, I will submit it to your consideration. The Lass o' Patie's Mill is one of Ramsay's best songs ; but there is one loose sentiment in it, which my much-valued friend

« PreviousContinue »