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The warld's wrack we share o't,
I have just been looking over the Collier's bonny Dochter ; and if the following rhapsody, which I composed the other day, on a charming Ayrshire girl, Miss, as she passed through this place to England, will suit your taste better than the Collier Lassie, fall on and welcome.
O saw ye bonnie Lesley
As she gaed o'er the border?
To spread her conquests farther.
To see her is to love her,
And love but her for ever;
And never made anither!
Thou art a queen, fair Lesley,
Thy subjects we, before thee:
The hearts o' men adore thee.
The Deil he could na scaith thee,
Or aught that wad belang thee;
“I canna wrang thee."
The powers aboon will tent thee;
Misfortune sha'na steer thee;
That ill they'll ne'er let near thee.
Return again, fair Lesley,
Return to Caledonie !
There's nane again sae bonnie.
I have hitherto deferred the sublimer, more pathetic airs, until more leisure, as they will take, and deserve, a greater effort. However, they are all put into your hands, as clay into the hands of the potter, to make one vessel to honour, and another to dishonour. Farewell, &c.
MR. BURNS to MR. THOMSON.
Tune, “ KATHARINE OGIE."
Ye banks, and braes, and streams around,
The castle o' Montgomery,
Your waters never drumlie!
And there the langest tarry :
my sweet Highland Mary..
How sweetly bloom'd the gay green birk,
How rich the hawthorn's blossom !
I clasp'd her to my bosom!
Flew o'er me and my dearie;
Was my sweet Highland Mary.
Wi' mony a vow, and lock'd embrace,
Our parting was fu’ tender;
We tore oursels asunder;
That nipt my flower sae early !
That wraps my Highland Mary!
O pale, pale now, those rosy lips,
I aft hae kiss'd sae fondly !
That dwelt on me sae kindly;
That heart that lo'ed me dearly! But still within
bosom's core, Shall live my Highland Mary.
14th November, 1792.
MY DEAR SIR,
that the song, Katharine Ogie, is very poor stuff, and unworthy, altogether unworthy, of so beautiful an air. I tried to mend it, but the awkward sound Ogie recurring so often in the rhyme, spoils every attempt at introducing sentiment into the piece.
The foregoing song pleases myself; I think it is in my happiest manner; you will see at first glance that it suits the air. The subject of the song is one of the most interesting passages of my youthful days; and I own that I should be much flattered to see the verses set to an air which would ensure celebrity. Perhaps, after all, 'tis the still glowing prejudice of my heart, that throws a borrowed lustre over the merits of the composition.
I have partly taken your idea of Auld Rob Morris. I have adopted the two first verses, and am going on with the song on a new plan, which promises pretty well. I take up one or another, just as the bee of the moment buzzes in my bonnet-lug; and do you, sans ceremonie, make what use you choose of the productions. Adieu ! &c.
MR. THOMSON to Mr. BURNS.
Edinburgh, Nov. 1792. DEAR SIR,
I was just going to write to you, that on meeting with your Nanie I had fallen violently in love with her. I thank you, therefore, for C 2