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MR. BURNS to Mr. THOMSON.
December, 1793. Tell me how you like the following verses to the tune of Jo Janet :
HUSBAND, husband, cease your strife,
Nor longer idly rave, sir;
Yet I am not your slave, sir.
“ One of two must still obey,
My spouse, Nancy ?”
If 'tis still the lordly word,
Service and obedience;
And so good b’ye allegiance !
- Sad will I be, so bereft,
My spouse, Nancy.”
My poor heart then break it must,
My last hour I'm near it: When you lay me in the dust,
Think, think how you will bear it.
“ I will hope and trust in heaven,
My spouse, Nancy."
Well, sir, from the silent dead,
Still I'll try to daunt you; Ever round your midnight bed
Horrid sprites shall haunt you.
" I'll wed another, like my
dear Nancy, Nancy; Then all hell will fly for fear,
My spouse, Nancy."
dir-" THE SUTOR'S DOCHTER.”
Wilt thou be my dearie ?
Lassie, say thou lo'es me;
MR. THOMSON to Mr. BURNS.
Edinburgh, 171h April, 1794.
MY DEAR SIR,
Owing to the distress of our friend for the loss of his child, at the time of his receiving your admirable but melancholy letter, I had not an opportunity, till lately, of perusing it.* How sorry I am to find Burns saying, " Canst thou not minister to a mind diseased ?" while he is de. lighting others from one end of the island to the other. Like the hypochondriac who went to consult a physician upon his case-Go, says the doctor, and see the famous Carlini, who keeps all Paris in good humour. Alas! sir, replied the patient, I am that unhappy Carlini !
* A Letter to Mr. Cunningham, to be found in vol. ii.
Your plan for our meeting together pleases me greatly, and I trust that by some means or other it will soon take place; but your
Bacchanalian challenge almost frightens me, for I am a miserable weak drinker !
Allan is much gratified by your good opinion of his talents. He has just begun a sketch from your Cotter's Saturday Night, and if it pleases himself in the design, he will probably etch or engrave it. In subjects of the pastoral and humorous kind, he is, perhaps, unrivalled by any artist living. He fails a little in giving beauty and grace to his females, and his colouring is sombre, otherwise his paintings and drawings would be in greater request.
I like the music of the Sutor's Dochter, and will consider whether it shall be added to the last volume ; your verses to it are pretty ; but your humorous English song, to suit Jo Janet, is inimitable. What think you of the air, Within a mile of Edinburgh? It has always struck me as a modern English imitation, but it is said to be Oswald's, and is so much liked, that I believe I must include it. The verses are little better than namby pamby. Do you consider it worth a stanza or two?