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How do you like the foregoing? I have written it within this hour: so much for the speed of my Pegasus; but what say you to his bottom ?
Mr. BURNS to Mr. THOMSON.
Tune-" The Lothian lassie."
Last May a braw wooer cam down the lang glen,
And sair wi' his love he did deave me;
The de uce gae wi' m, to believe me, believe me,
wil m, to believe me.
He spak o' the darts in my bonie black e'en,
And vow'd for my love he was dying ;
The Lord forgie me for lying, for lying,
A weel stocked mailen, himsel for the laird,
And marriage aff-hand, were his proffers : I never loot on that I kend it, or card,
But thought I might hae waur offers, waur offers, But thought I might hae waur offers.
But what wad ye think? in a fortnight or less,
The deil tak his taste to gae near her! He up the lang loan to my black cousin Bess*, Guess ye how, the jad! I could bear her, could
bear her, Guess ye how, the jad ! I could bear her.
* In the original MS. this line runs, "He up the Gateslack to my black cousin Bess." Mr. Thomson objected to this word, as well as to the
But a' the niest week as I fretted wi' care,
I gaed to the tryste o' Dalgarnock,
I glowr'd as I'd seen a warlock, a warlock,
But-owre my left shouther I gae him a blink,
Least neebours might say I was saucy;
And vow'd I was his dear lassie, dear lassie,
I spier'd for my cousin fu' couthy and sweet,
Gin she had recover'd her hearin, And how her new shoon fit her auld shackl't feet,
But, heavens! how he fell a swearin, a swearin, But, heavens! how he fell a swearin.
He begged, for Gudesake! I wad be his wife,
Or else I wad kill him wi' sorrow :
I think I maun wed him to-morrow, to-morrow,
Tune-" The Caledonian hunt's delight.
Bliss he never must enjoy ;
word Dalgarnock in the next verse. Mr. Burns Teplics as follows:
" Gateslack is the name of a particular place, a kind of passage up among the Lawther hills, on the confines of this county. Dalgarnock is also the name of a romantic spot near the Nith, where are still a ruined church and a burial-ground. However, let the first line run, He up the lang
loan, &c »
It is always a pity to throw out any thing that gives locality to our poet's verses, E.
Why, why undeceive him,
And give all his hopes the lie.
O why, while fancy, raptured, slumbers,
Chloris, Chloris all the theme,
Wake thy lover from his dream.
Such is the peculiarity of the rhythm of this air, that find it impossible to make another stanza to suit it.
I am at present quite occupied with the charming sensations of the tooth-ach, so have not a word to spare.
Mr. THOMSON to Mr. BURNS.
My dear sir,
30 June, 1795. Your English verses to Let me in this ae night are tender and beautiful ; and your ballad to the “ Lothian lassie" is a master-piece for its humour and naiveté. The fragment for the Caledonian hunt is quited suited to the original measure of the air, and, as it plagues you so, the fragment must content it. I would rather, as I said before, have had Bacchanalian words, had it so pleased the poet; but nevertheless, for what we have receive ed, Lord make us thankful.
Mr. THOMSON to Mr. BURNS.
5th Feb. 1796,
O Robby Burns, are ye sleeping yet?
The pause you have made, my dear sir, is awful ! Am I never to hear from you again? I know and I lament how much you have been afflicted of late, but I trust that returning health and spirits will now enable you to resume the pen, and delight us with your musings. I have still about a dozen Scotch and Irish airs that I wish “ married to immortal verse." We have several true-born Irishmen on the Scottish list ; but they are now natu. ralized, and reckoned our own good subjects. In. deed we have none better. I believe I before told you that I have been much urged by some friends to publish a collection of all our favourite airs and songs in octavo, embellished with a number of etchings by our ingenious friend Allan ; what is your opinion of this ?
Mr. BURNS to Mr. THOMSON.
February, 1796. Many thanks, my dear sir, for your handsome, elegant present to Mrs. Baad for my remaining vol. of P, Pindar.-Peter is a delightful fellow, and a first favourite of mine. I am much pleased with your idea of publishing a collection of our songs in octavo with etchings. I am extremely willing to lend every assistance in my power. The Irish airs I shall cheerfully undertake the task of finding verses for:
I have already, you know, equipt three with words, and the other day I strung up a kind of rhapsody to another Hibernian melody, which I admire much.
HEY FOR LASS WI' A TOCHER.
Tune" Balinamona ora."
Awa wi’ your witchcraft o’ beauty's alarms,
Then hey for a lass wi' a tocher, then hey for a
lass wi' a tocher, Then hey for a lass wi' a tocher; the nice yellow
guineas for me.
Your beauty's a flower, in the morning that blows,
knowes, Ilk spring they're new deckit wi' bonie white yowes.
They hey, 6,
And e'en when this beauty your bosom has blest, The brightest o' beauty may cloy, when possest; But the sweet, yellow darlings wi' Geordie im.
prest, The langer ye hae them--the mair they're earest,
Then hey, 6c.
will do, you have now four of my Irish engagement. In iny by-past songs, I dislike one