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'Tis friendsbip's pledge, my young, fair friend,
The same with an additional stanza,
ERRATA IN VOL. IV. Page 60, Line 4, for get, read set 65, Note, XIX,
AND 294, Note, Dugal, Dugald. 297, Note,
Allan Cleghorn, Allan Masterton. 360
Theopocritus, Theocritus. 386, 15, tyrant a own, tyrant own.
MR. THOMSON TO MR. BURNS.
Edinburgh, September, 1792.
FOR some years past, I have, with a friend or two, employed many leisure hours in selecting and collating the most favorite of our national melodies for publication. We have engaged Pleyel, the most agreeable composer living, to put accompaniments to these, and also to compose an instrumental prelude and conclusion to each air, the better to fit them for concerts, both public and private. To render this work perfect, we are desirous to have the poetry improved, wherever it seems unworthy of the music ; VOL, IV.
and that it is so in many instances, is allowed by every one conversant with our musical collections. The editors of these seem in general to have depended on the music proving an excuse for the verses; and hence, some charming melodies are united to mere nonsense and doggrel, while others are accommodated with rhymes so loose and indelicate, as cannot be sung in decent company. To remove this reproach, would be an easy task to the author of The Cotter's Saturday Night ; and, for the honour of Caledonia, I would fain hope he may be induced to take up the pen. If so, we shall be enabled to present the public with a collection, infinitely more interesting than any that has yet appeared, and acceptable to all persons of taste, whether they wish for correct melodies, delicate accompaniments, or characteristic verses.We will esteem your poetical assistance a particular favor, besides paying any reasonable price you shall please to demand for it. Profit is quite a secondary consideration with us, and we are resolved to spare neither pains nor expense on the publication. Tell me frankly then, whether you will devote your leisure to writing twenty or twenty-five songs, suited to the particular melodies, which I am prepared to send you. A few songs, exceptionable only in some of their verses, I will likewise submit to your consideration; leaving it to you, either to mend these, or make new songs in their stead. It is superfluous to assure you that I have no intention to displace any of the sterling
old songs ; those only will be removed, which appear quite silly, or absolutely indecent. Even these shall all be examined by Mr. Burns, and if he is of opinion that any of them are deserving of the music, in such cases no divorce shall take place:
Relying on the letter accompanying this, to be forgiven, for the liberty I have taken in addressing you, I am, with great esteem, Sir, your most obedient humble servant,
MR. BURNS TO MR. THOMSON.
Dumfries, 16th Sept. 1792.
I HAVE just this moment got your letter. As the request you make to me will positively add to my enjoyments in complying with it, I shall enter into your undertaking with all the small portion of abilities I have, strained to their utmost exertion by the impulse of enthusiasm. Only, don't hurry me: “ Deil tak the hindmost” is by no means the cri de