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So much for Davie. The chorus, you know, is to the low part of the tune. See Clarke's set of it in the Museum.
N. B. In the Museum they have drawled out the tune to twelve lines of poetry, which is **** nonsense. Four lines of song, and four of chorus, is the way.
MR. THOMSON to MR. BURNS.
Edinburgh, ist. Sept. 1793.
MY DEAR SIR,
Since writing you last, I have received half a dozen songs, with which I am delighted beyond expression. The humour and fancy of Whistle, and I'll come to you, my lad, will render it nearly as great a favourite as Duncan Gray. Come, let me take thee to my breast-Adown winding Nith, and By Allan stream, &c., are full of imagination and feeling, and sweetly suit the airs for which they are intended. Had I a cave on some wild distant shore, is a striking and affecting composition. Our friend, to whose story it refers, read it with a swelling heart, I assure you. The union we are now forming, I think, can never be broken ; these songs of yours will descend with the music to the latest posterity, and will be fondly cherished so long as genius, taste, and sensibility exist in our island.
While the muse seems so propitious, I think it right to enclose a list of all the favours I have to ask of her, no fewer than twenty and three ! I have burdened the pleasant Peter with as many as it is probable he will attend to: most of the remaining airs would puzzle the English poet not a little; they are of that peculiar measure and rhythm, that they must be familiar to him who writes for them.
MR. BURNS to MR. THOMSON.
ou may readily trust, my dear Sir, that any exertion in my power is heartily at your service. But one thing I must hint to you; the very name of Peter Pindar is of great service to your publication, so get a verse from him now and then ; though I have no objection, as well as I can, to bear the burden of the business.
You know that my pretensions to musical taste are merely a few of nature's instincts, untaught and untutored by art. For this reason, many musical compositions, particularly where much of the merit lies in counterpoint, however they may transport and ravish the ears of you connoisseurs, affect my simple lug no otherwise than merely as melodious din. On the other hand, by way of amends, I am delighted with many little melodies, which the learned musician despises as silly and insipid. I do not know whether the old air Hey tuttie taitie may rank
this number; but well I know that, with Frazer's hautboy, it has often filled my eyes with tears. There is a tradition, which I have met with in many places of Scotland, that it was Robert Bruce's march at the battle of Bannockburn. This thought, in my solitary wanderings, warmed me to a pitch of enthusiasm on the theme of Liberty and Independence, which I threw into a kind of SCOTTISH ode, fitted to the air, that one might suppose to be the gallant ROYAL SCOT's address to his heroic followers on that eventful morning. *
Bruce to his Troops on the eve of the Battle of
TO ITS AIN TUNE.
Scots, wha hae wi' WALLACE bled,
Or to victorie.
* This noble strain was conceived by our poet during a storm among the wilds of Glen-Ken in Galloway. А more finished copy will be found afterwards. E.
Now's the day and now's the hour:
Chains and slavery!
Wha will be a traitor-knave?
Let him turn and flee!
Wha for SCOTLAND's king and law
Let him follow me!
By oppression's woes and pains !
But they shall be free!
Lay the proud usurpers low !
LET us Do, or DIE!
So may God ever defend the cause of Truth and Liberty, as he did that day :-Amen.