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Mr. Allan chooses, I will send him a sight of mine; as I look on myself to be a kind of brother-brush with him. « Pride in Poets is nae sin ;” and I will say it, that I look on Mr. Allan and Mr. Burns to be the only genuine and real painters of Scottish costume in the world.
I ACKNOWLEDGE, my dear Sir, you are not only the most punctual, but the most delectable correspondent I ever met with. To attempt flattering you never entered my head; the truth is, I look back with surprise at my impudence, in so frequently nibbling at lines and couplets of your incomparable lyrics, for which, perhaps, if
you had served me right, you would have ' sent me to the devil. On the contrary, however, you have all along condescended to invite my criticism with so much courtesy, that it
"ceases to be wonderful, if I have sometimes given myself the airs of a reviewer. Your last budget demands unqualified praise : all the songs are charming, but the duet is a chef d'æuvre. Lumps o' Pudding shall certainly make one of my family dishes; you have cooked it so capitally, that it will please all palates. Do give us a a few more of this cast when you find yourself in good spirits; these convivial songs are more wanted than those of the amorous kind, of which we have great choice. Besides, one does not often meet with a singer capable of giving the proper effect to the latter, while the former are easily sung, and acceptable to every body. I participate in your regret that the authors of some of our best songs are unknown: it is provoking to every admirer of genius.
I mean to have a picture painted from your beautiful ballad, The Soldier's Return, to be engraved for one of my frontispieces. The most interesting point of time appears to me, when she first recognizes her ain dear Willie, “ She gaz'd, she redden'd like a rose.” The three lines immediately following are no doubt more impressive on the reader's feelings; but were the painter to fix on these, then you'll observe the animation and anxiety of her countenance is gone, and he could only represent her fainting
in the soldier's arms. But I submit the matter
I to you, and beg your opinion.
Allan desires me to thank you for your accurate description of the stock and horn, and for the very gratifying compliment you pay him in considering him worthy of standing in a niche by the side of Burns in the Scottish Pantheon. He has seen the rude instrument you describe, so does not want you to send it; but wishes to know whether you believe it to have ever been generally used as a musical pipe by the Scottish shepherds, and when, and in what part of the country chiefly. I doubt much if it was capable of any thing but routing and roaring. A friend of mine says he remembers to have heard one in his younger days, made of wood instead of
your bone, and that the sound was abominable.
Do not, I beseech you, return any books.
MR. BURNS to MR. THOMSON.
December, 1794. It is, I assure you, the pride of my heart, to do any thing to forward, or add to the value of your book; and as I agree with you that the Jacobite song in the Museum, to There'll never be peace till Jamie comes hame, would not so well consort with Peter Pindar's excellent lovesong to that air, I have just framed for you the following:
MY NANIE'S AWA.
Tune-" THERE'LL NEVER BE PEACE," &c.
Now in her green mantle blithe nature arrays, And listens the lambkins that bleat o'er the braes, While birds warble welcome in ilka green shaw; But to me it's delightless--my Nanie's awa.
The snaw-drap and primrose our woodlands
adorn, And violets bathe in the weet o' the morn; They pain my sad bosom, sae sweetly they blaw, They mind me o' Nanie—and Nanie's awa.
Thou lav'rock that springs frae the dews of the
lawn, The shepherd to warn o'the grey-breaking dawn, And thou mellow mavis that hails the night fa,' Give over for pity-my Nanie's awa. .
Come, autumn, sae pensive, in yellow and grey, And sooth me wi' tidings o' nature's decay : The dark, dreary winter, and wild-driving snaw, Alane can delight me-now Nanie's awa.
How does this please you? As to the point of time, for the expression, in your proposed print from my Soger's Return, it must certainly be at—" She gaz'd.” The interesting dubity and suspense, taking possession of her countenance, and the gushing fondness, with a mixture of roguish playfulness in his, strike me, as things of which a master will make a great deal. In great haste, but in great truth, yours.