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In the beginning of the year 1787, another work had commenced at Edinburgh, entitled, The Scots Musical Museum, conducted by Mr. James Johnson ; the object of which was to unite the songs and the music of Scotland in one general collection. The first volume of this work appeared in May, 1787, when our poet was in Edinburgh; and in it appeared one of his printed songs, to the tune of, Green grow the rashes, beginning “ There's nought but care on every band.” He appears also to have furnished from his MSS. the last song in that volume, which was an early production, and not thought by himself worthy of a place in his works. The second volume appeared in the spring of 1788, and contained several original songs of Burns; who also contributed liberally to the third, fourth, and fifth volumes, the last of which did not appear till after his death, In his communications to Mr. Johnson, to which his name was not in general affixed, our bard was less careful than in his compositions for the greater work of Mr. Thomson. Several of them he never intended to acknowledge, and others, printed in the Museum, were found somewhat altered afterwards among his manuscripts. In the selection which follows, attention has been paid to the wishes of the author as far as they are known. The printed songs have been compared with the MSS. and the last corrections have been uniformly inserted. The reader will probably think many of the songs which foliow, among the finest productions of his muse.
THE BIRKS OF ABERFELDY.
Bonnie lassie, will ye go, will ye go, will ye go, Bonnie lassie, will ye go to the birks of Aberfeldy ??
Now simmer blinks on flowery braes,
Bonnie lassie, 6C.
While o'er their heads the hazels hing,
Bonnie lassie, dc.
The braes åscend like lofty wa's,
Bonnie lassie, doc.
The hoary cliffs are crown'd wi' flowers,
Bonnie lassie, &c.
Let fortune's gifts at random flee,
Bonnie lassie, d*c.*
* This is written in the same measure as the Birks of Abergeldie, an old Scottish song, from which nothing is borrowed but the chorus.
STAY, MY CHARMER, CAN YOU
Tune, " An Gille dubh ciar dhubh.”
Do not, do not leave me so !
Thickest night o’erhang my dwelling!
Howling tempests o'er me rave ! Turbid torrents, wintry swelling,
Still surround my lonely cave!
Crystal streamlets gently flowing,
Busy haunts of base mankind, Western breezes softly blowing,
Suit not my distracted mind.
In the cause of right engaged,
Wrongs injurious to redress, Honour's war we strongly waged,
But the heavens deny'd success.
Ruin's wheel has driven o'er us,
Not a hope that dare attend, The wide world is all before us
But a world without a friend !*
* Strathallan, it is presumed, was one of the followers of the young chevalier, and is supposed to
THE YOUNG HIGHLAND ROVER.
Tune, “ Morag."
Loud blaw the frosty breezes,
The snaws the mountains cover; Like winter on me seizes,
Since my young highland rover
Far wanders nations over. Where'er he go, where'er he stray,
May heaven be his warden; Return him safe to fair Strathspey,
And bonnie Castle-Gordon !
The trees now naked groaning,
Shall soon wi’ leaves be hinging, The birdies dowie moaning,
Shall a' be blythely singing,
And every flower be springing.
When by his mighty warden
And bonnie Castle-Gordon*,
RAVING WINDS AROUND HER BLOWING.
Tune, “ M'Grigor of Rero's Lament."
Raving winds around her blowing,
be lying concealed in some cave of the Highlands, after the battle of Culloden. This song was written before the year 1788.
E. * The young highland rover, is supposed to be the young chevalier, Prince Charles-Edward. E.