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MR. BURNS to MR. THOMSON.
19th November, 1794. You
ou see, my dear Sir, what a punctual correspondent I am ; though indeed you may thank yourself for the tedium of my letters, as you have so flattered me on my horsemanship with my favourite hobby, and have praised the grace of his ambling so much, that I am scarcely ever off his back. For instance, this morning, though a keen blowing frost, in my walk before breakfast, I finished my duet which you were pleased to praise so much. Whether I have uniformly succeeded, I will not say; but here it is for you, though it is not an hour old.
Tune Tune__ THE Sow's TAIL."
And by thy charms, my Philly.
grove Where first I own'd
maiden love, Whilst thou didst pledge the Powers above
To be my ain dear Willy.
As songsters of the early year
And charming is my Philly.
The love I bear my Willy.
The milder sun and bluer sky,
As is a sight o' Philly.
As meeting o' my Willy.
Upon the lips o' Philly.
As is a kiss o' Willy.
win; And fools may tyne, and knaves may My thoughts are a' bound up in ane,
And that's my ain dear Philly.
What's a'the joys that gowd can gie!
And that's my ain dear Willy.
Tell me honestly how you like it; and point out whatever
I am much pleased with your idea of singing our songs in alternate stanzas, and regret that you did not hint it to me sooner. In those that remain, I shall have it in my eye.
I remember your objections to the name Philly; but it is the common abbreviation of Phillis. Sally, the only other name that suits, has to my ear a vulgarity about it, which unfits it for
any thing except burlesque. The legion of Scottish poetasters of the day, whom your brother editor, Mr. RITSON, ranks with me, as my coevals, have always mistaken vulgarity for simplicity : whereas, simplicity is as much eloignée from vulgarity, on the one hand, as from affected
, point and puerile conceit on the other.
I agree with you as to the air, Craigie-burn
wood, wood, that a chorus would in some degree spoil the effect; and shall certainly have none in my projected song to it. It is not however a case in point with Rothemurche ; there, as in Roy's Wife of Aldivaloch, a chorus goes, to my taste, well enough. As to the chorus going first, that is the case with Roy's Wife, as well as Rothemurche. In fact, in the first part of both tunes, the rhythm is so peculiar and irregular, and on that irregularity depends so much of their beauty, that we must e'en take them with all their wildness, and humour the verse accordingly. Leaving out the starting note, in both tunes, has, I think, an effect that no regularity could counterbalance the want of.
O Roy's Wife of Aldivaloch.
To lassie wi' the lint-white locks. and Compare with, Roy's Wife of Aldivaloch.
Lassie wi' the lint-white locks.
Does not the tameness of the prefixed syllable strike you? In the last case, with the true furor
? of genius, you strike at once into the wild originality of the air; whereas in the first insipid method, it is like the grating screw of the pins before the fiddle is brought into tune. This is my taste; if I am wrong, I beg pardon of the cognoscenti.