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Her een sae bonnie blue betray,
How she repays my passion ; But prudence is her o'erword ay, She talks of rank and fashion.
O why, &c.
O wha can prudence think upon,
And sic a lassie by him?
O why, &c.
How blest the humble cotter's fate !*
He woos his simple dearie;
Can never make them eerie.
Life's dearest bands untwining ?
Depend on Fortune's shining ?
* “ The wild-wood Indian's fate” in the original MS.
There's braw braw lads on Yarrow braes,
That wander thro' the blooming heather ; But Yarrow braes, nor Ettric shaws,
Can match the lads o' Galla water.
But there is ane, a secret ane,
Aboon them a' I loe him better; And I'll be his, and he'll be mine,
The bonnie lad o' Galla water.
Altho' his daddie was nae laird,
And tho' I hae nae meickle tocher ; Yet rich in kindest, truest love,
We'll tent our flocks by Galla water.
It ne'er was wealth, it ne'er was wealth,
That coft contentment, peace, or pleasure ; The bands and bliss o' mutual love,
O that's the chiefest warld's treasure !
Jan. 1793. Many returns of the season to you, my dear Sir. How comes on your publication will these two foregoing be of any service to you? I should like to know what songs you print to each tune besides the verses to which it is set. In short, I would wish to give you my opinion on all the poetry you publish. You know it is my trade, and a man in the way of his trade may suggest useful hints, that escape men of much superior parts and endowments in other things.
If you meet with
dear and much-valued C., greet him, in my name, with the compliments of the season.
MR. THOMSON to MR. BURNS.
Edinburgh, Jan. 20, 1793. You make me happy, my dear Sir, and thousands will be happy to see the charming songs
you have sent me. Many merry returns of the season to you, and may you long continue, among the sons and daughters of Caledonia, to delight them and to honour yourself.
The four last songs with which me, viz. Auld Rob Morris, Duncan Gray, Galla Water, and Cauld Kail, are admirable. Duncan is indeed a lad of grace, and his humour will endear him to every body.
The distracted lover in Auld 'Rob, and the happy shepherdess in Galla Water, exhibit an excellent contrast: they speak from genuine feeling, and powerfully touch the heart.
The number of songs which I had originally in view, was limited, but I now resolve to include every Scotch air and song worth singing, leaving none behind but mere gleanings, to which the publishers of omnegatherum are welcome. I would rather be the editor of a collection from which nothing could be taken away, than of one to which nothing could be added. We intend presenting the subscribers with two beautiful stroke engravings; the one characteristic of the plaintive, and the other of the lively songs; and I have Dr. Beattie's promise of an essay upon the subject of our national music, if his health will permit him to write it. . As a number of our VOL. IV.
songs have doubtless been called forth by parti. cular events, or by the charms of peerless damsels, there must be many curious anecdotes relating to them.
The late Mr. Tytler of Woodhouselee, I believe, knew more of this than any body, for he joined to the pursuits of an antiquary, a taste for poetry, besides being a man of the world, and
possessing an enthusiasm for music beyond most of his contemporaries. He was quite pleased with this plan of mine, for I may say it has been solely managed by me, and we had several long conversations about it when it was in embryo. If I could simply mention the name of the heroine of each song, and the incident which occasioned the verses, it would be gratifying. Pray, will you send me any information of this sort, as well with regard to your own songs, as the old ones?
To all the favourite songs of the plaintive or pastoral kind, will be joined the delicate accompaniments, &c. of Pleyel. To those of the comic and humorous class, I think accompaniments scarcely necessary; they are chiefly fitted for the conviviality of the festive board, and a tuneful voice, with a proper delivery of the words, renders them perfect. Nevertheless, to these I propose adding bass accompaniments, because then they are fitted either for singing, or for instrumental