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The old ballad, I wish I were where Helen lies, is silly, to contemptibility. * My alteration of it in Johnson's, is not much better. Mr. Pinkerton, in his, what he calls, ancient ballads (many of them notorious, though beautiful enough forgeries) has the best set. It is full of his own interpolations, but no matter.

In my next I will suggest to your consideration, a few songs which may have escaped your hurried notice. In the mean time, allow me to congratulate you now, as a brother of the quill. You have committed your character and fame; which will now be tried, for ages to come, by the illustrious jury of the Sons and DAUGHTERS of Taste-all whom poesy can please, or music charm.

Being a bard of nature, I have some pretensions to second sight; and I am warranted by the spirit to foretel and affirm, that your great-grand-child will

hold

* There is a copy of this ballad given in the aceount of the Parish of Kirkpatrick-Fleming, (which contains the tomb of fair Helen Irvine,) in the statistics of Sir John Sinclair, vol. xull. p. 275, to which this character is.certainly not applicable.

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hold up your volumes, and say with honest pride, “ This so much admired selection was the work of “my ancestor.”

No. XXIX.

MR. THOMSON TO MR. BURNS.

Edinburgh, 1st Aug. 1793.

DEAR SIR,

I HAD the pleasure of receiving your last two letters, and am happy to find you are quite pleased with the appearance of the first book. When you come to hear the songs sung and accompanied, you will be charmed with them.

The bunie brucket Lassie, certainly deserves better verses, and I hope you will match her. Cauld kail in

Aberdeen, Let me in this ae night, and several of the livelier airs, wait the muses leisure: these are peculiarly worthy of her choice gifts: besides, you'll notice that in airs of this sort, the singer can always do

greater greater justice to the poet, than in the slower airs of The Bush aboon Traquair, Lord Gregory, and the like; for in the manner the latter are frequently sung, you must be contented with the sound, without the sense. Indeed both the airs and words are disguised by the very slow, languid, psalm-singing style in which they are too often performed: they lose animation and expression altogether, and instead of speaking to the mind, or touching the heart, they cloy upon the ear, and set us a yawning!

Your ballad, There was a lass and she was fair, is simple and beautiful, and shall undoubtedly grace my collection.

No. XXX.

MR. BURNS TO MR. THOMSON.

August, 1793.

MY DEAR THOMSON,

I HOLD the pen for our friend Clarke, who at present is studying the music of the spheres

at

at my elbow. The Georgium Sidus he thinks is rather out of tune; so until he rectify that matter, he cannot stoop to terrestrial affairs.

He sends you six of the Rondeau subjects, and if more are wanted, he says you shall have them.

............

Confound your long stairs !

S. CLARKE

No. XXXI.

MR. BURNS TO MR. THOMSON.

August, 1793.

YOUR objection, my dear Sir, to the passages in my song of Logan-water, is right in one instance; but it is difficult to mend it: if I can I will. The other passage you object to, does not appear in the same light to me.

I have tried my hand on Robin Adair, and you will probably think, with little success; but it is such à cursed, cramp, out-of-the-way measure, that I despair of doing any thing better to it.

PHILLIS THE FAIR.

Tune—“ Robin Adair.”

While larks with little wing,

Fann’d the pure air,
Tasting the breathing spring,

Forth I did fare:
Gay the sun's golden eye,
Peep'd o'er the mountains high;
Such thy morn! did I cry,

Phillis the fair.

In each bird's careless song,

Glad, I did share ;
While yon wild flowers among,

Chance led me there :
Sweet to the opening day,
Rosebuds bent the dewy spray;
Such thy bloom, did I say,

Phillis the fair.

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