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And here's a hand, my trusty fiere,
And gie's a hand o' thine ;
For auld, &c.
And surely ye'll be your pint-stowp,
And surely I'll be mine;
For auld, &c.
Now, I suppose I have tired your patience fairly. You must, after all is over, have a number of ballads, properly so called. Gill Morice, Tranent Muir, M'Pherson's farewell, Battle of Sheriff-muir, or We ran and they ran, (I know the author of this charming ballad, and his history) Hardiknute, Barbara Allan, (I can furnish a finer set of this tune than any that has yet appeared) and besides do you know that I really have the old tune to which The Cherry and the Slae was sung; and which is mentioned as a well known air in Scotland's complaint, a book published
* This song, of the olden time, is excellent. It is worthy of our bard.
before poor Mary's days. It was then called, The banks o Helicon; an old poem which Pinkerton has brought to light. You will see all this in Tytler's history of Scottish music. The tune, to a learned ear, may have no great merit ; but it is a great curiosity. I have a good many original things of this kind.
MR. BURNS TO MR. THOMSON.
I AM happy, my dear Sir, that my ode pleases you so much. Your idea, “honour's bed,” is, though a beautiful, a hackneyed idea; so, if you please, we will let the line stand as it is. I have altered the song as follows.
Robert Bruce's Address to bis Army.
Scots, wha hae wi’ Wallace bled;
Or to glorious victorie.
Now's the day, and now's the hour;
Edward! chains and slaverie !
Wha will be a traitor knave ?
Traitor ? coward ! turn and flee !
Wha for Scotland's king and law
Caledonian ! on wi' me !
By oppression's woes and pains !
But they shall be shall be free!
Lay the proud usurpers low!
Forward! let us do, or die!
N. B. I have borrowed the last stanzą from the common stall edition of Wallace.
“A false usurper sinks in every foe,
A couplet worthy of Homer. Yesterday you had enough of my correspondence. The post goes, and my head aches miserably. One comfort: I suffer so much, just now, in this world, for last night's joviality, that I shall escape scot-free for it in the world to come. Amen!
MR. THOMSON TO MR. BURNS.
12th Sept. 1793.
A THOUSAND thanks to you my dear Sir, for your observations on the list of iny songs. I am happy to find your ideas so much in unison with my own respecting the generality of the airs, as well as the verses. About some of them we differ, but there is no disputing about hobby-horses. I shall not fail
to profit by the remarks you make; and to reconsider the whole with attention.
Dainty Davie must be sung, two stanzas together, and then the chorus, 'tis the proper way. I agree with you, that there may be something of pathos, or tenderness at least, in the air of Fee him Father, when performed with feeling: but a tender cast may be given almost to any lively air, if you sing it very slowly, expressively, and with serious words. I am however, clearly and invariably for retaining the cheerful tunes joined to their own humourous verses, wherever the verses are passable. But the sweet song for Fee him Father, which you began about the back of midnight I will publish as an additional one. Mr. James Balfour, the king of good fellows, and the best singer of the lively Scottish ballads that ever cxisted, has charmed thousands of companies with Fee him Father, and with Todlin hame also, to the old words, which never should be disunited from either of these airs. Some Bacchanals I would wish to discard. Fy let's Å' to the bridal, for instance is so coarse and vulgar, that I think it fit only to be sung in a company of drunken colliers; and Saw ye my Father appears to me both indelicate and silly.
One word more with regard to your heroic ode. I think, with great deference to the poet, that a pru- , dent general would avoid saying any thing to his sol