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why those tears in Nelly's eyes ?". As for The Collier's Dochter, take the following old Bacchanal.
DELUDED swain, the pleasure
The fickle Fair can give thee,
Thy hopes will soon deceive thee.
The billows on the ocean,
The breezes idly roaming,
They are but types of woman.
O! art thou not ashamed,
To doat upon a feature ?
Despise the silly creature.
Go find an honest fellow;
Good claret set before thee :
And then to bed in glory.
The faulty line in Logan-Water, I mend thus:
“ How can your flinty hearts enjoy,
The widow's tears, the orphan's cry?”
The song otherwise will pass. As to M Gregoira Rua-Ruth, you will see a song of mine to it, with a set of the air superior to yours in the Museum. Vol. ii. p. 181. The song begins,
“ Raving winds around her blowing."
Your Irish airs are pretty, but they are downright Irish. If they were like the Bunks of Banna, for instance, though really Irish, yet in the Scottish taste, you might adopt them. Since you are so fond of Irish music, what say you to twenty-five of them in an additional number? We could easily find this quantity of charming airs; I will take care that you shall not want songs; and I assure you that you would find it the most saleable of the whole. If you do not approve of Roy's Wife, for the music's sake, we shall not insert it. Deil tak the wars, is a charming song; so is, Saw ye my Peggy? There's nae luck about the house, well deserves a place. I can
* This will be found in the latter part of this volume.
not say that, O’er the hills and far awa, strikes me as equal to your selection. This is no my ain house, is a great favourite air of mine; and if you will send me your set of it, I will task my muse to her highest effort. What is your opinion of I hae laid a herrin in sawt? I like it much. Your Jacobite airs are pretty; and there are many others of the same kind, pretty ; but you have not room for them. You cannot, I think, insert Fie let us a' to the bridal, to any other words than its own.
What pleases me, as simple and naïve, disgusts you as ludicrous and low. For this reason, Fie gie me my coggie, Sirs, Fie let us a' to the bridal, with several others of that cast, are to me highly pleasing ; while, Saw ye my Father, or saw ye my Mother ? delights me with its descriptive simple pathos. Thus my song, Ken ye what Meg o’ the Mill has gotten? pleases myself so much, that I cannot try my hand at another song to the air; so I shall not attempt it. I know you will laugh at all this; but, “ Ilka man wears his belt his ain gait.”
MR. BURNS to MR. THOMSON.
October, 1793. Your last letter, my dear Thomson, was indeed laden with heavy news. Alas, poor Erskine !* The recollection that he was a coadjutor in your publication, has till now scared me from writing to you, or turning my thoughts on composing for you.
I am pleased that you are reconciled to the air of the Quaker's Wife; though, by the by, an old Highland gentleman, and a deep antiquarian, tells me it is a Gaelic air, and known by the name of Leiger m'choss. The following verses, I hope, will please you, as an English song to the air.
THINE am I, my faithful fair,
Thine, my lovely Nancy ;
Ev'ry roving fancy.
* The honourable A. Erskine, brother to Lord Kelly, wh melancholy death Mr. Thomson had communicated in an excellent letter, which he has suppressed.
To thy bosom lay my heart,
There to throb and languish:
That would heal its anguish.
What is life when wanting love?
Night without a morning :
Nature gay, adorning.
Your objection to the English song I proposed for John Anderson my jo, is certainly just. The following is by an old acquaintance of mine, and I think has merit. The song was never in print, which I think is so much in The more original good poetry your collection contains, it certainly has so much the more merit.