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about a year ago, a collection of your unpublished productions, religious and amorous ; 'I know from experience how irksoine it is to copy. If you will get any trusty person in Dumfries to write them over fair, I will give Peter Hill whatever money he asks for his trouble ; and I certainly shall not hetray your confidence.

I am your hearty admirer,


No, XII.


26th January, 1793. I approve greatly, my dear sir, of your plans. Dr. Beattie's essay will of itself be a treasure. On my part, I mean to draw up an appendix to the doctor's essay, containing my stock of anecdotes, &c. of our Scots songs.

All the late Mr. Tytler's anecdotes, I have by me, taken down in the course of iny acquaintance with him from his own inouth. I am such an enthusiast, that in the course of my several peregrinations through Scotland, I made a pilgrimage to the individual spot from which every song took its rise, Lochaber, and the Braes of Balo lenden, excepted. So far as the locality, either from the title of the air, or the tenor of the song,

could be ascertained, I have paid my devotious at the particular shrine of every Scots muse.

I do not duubt but you might make a very vaJuable collection of - Jacobite songs, but would it give no offence? In the mean time, do not you think that some of them, particularly The sow's tail to Geordie, as an air, with other words, inight be well worth a place in your collection of lively songs?

If it were possible procure songs of merit, it would be proper to have one set of Scots words to every air, and that the set of words to which the

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notés ought to be set. There is a naiveté, a pastoral sin plicity, in a slight intermixture of Scots words and phraseology, which is more in unison (at least to my taste, and I will add, to every genuine Caledonian taste) with the simple pathos, or rustic sprightliness of our native music, than any En. glish verses whatever.

The very name of Peter Pindar is an acquisition to your work. His Gregory is beautiful. I have tried to give you a set of stanzas in Scots, on the same subject, which are at your service. Not that I intend to enter the lists with Peter : that would be presumption indeed. My song, though much inferior in poetic merit, has, I think, more of the ballad simplicity in it.


o mirk, mirk is this midnight hour

And loud the tempest's roar;
A waefu' wanderer seeks thy tower,

Lord Gregory, ope thy door.

An exile from her father's ha',

And a' for loving thee ;
At least some pity on me shaw,

If love it may na be,

Lord Gregory, mind'st thou not the grove,

By bonnie Irwine-side,
Where first I own'd that virgin-love

I lang, lang had denied.

How aften didst thou pledge and vow,

Thou wad for aye be mine';
And my fond heart, itsel sae true,

It ne'er mistrusted thine.

Hard is thy heart, lord Gregory,

And finty is thy breast :

Thou dart of heav'n that flashest by,

O wilt thou give me rest?

Ye mustering thunders from above,

Your willing victim see!
But spare, and pardon my fause love,

His wrangs to heaven and me* !

My most respectful compliments to the honourable gentleman, who favoured me with a postscript in your last. He shall hear from me and receive his MSS. soon.

* The song of Dr. Walcott on the same subject is as follows.

Ah ope,

lord Gregory, thy door,
A midnight wanderer sighs,
Hard rush the rains, the tempests roar,

And lightnings cleave the skies.

Who comes with woe at this drear night

A pilgr m of the gloom ?
If she whose love did once delight,

My cot shall yield her room.

Alas! thou heard'st a pilgrim mourn,

That once was priz'd by thee:
Think of the ring by yonder burn

Thou gav'st to love and me.

But should'st thou not poor Marian know,

I'll tuu'n my feet and part;
And think the storms that round me blow,

Far kinder than thy heart.

It is but doing justice to Dr. Walcott to mention, that his song is the original. Mr. Burns saw it, liked it, and immediately wrote the other on the same subject, which is derived from an old Scot tish ballad of uncertain origin. E.



20th March, 1793.


Tune-“Bide ye yet.

O Mary, at thy window be,

It is the wish'd, the trysted hour ;
Those smiles and glances let me see,

l'hat make the miser's treasure poor :
How blythly wad I bide the stoure,

A weary slave frae sun to sun;
Could I the rich reward secure,

The lovely Mary Morison.

Yestreen, when to the trembling string,

The dance gaed tbro' the lighted ha',
To thee my fancy took its wing,

I sat, but neither heard or saw :
Tho' this was fair, and that was braw,

And yon the toast of a' the town,
I sighd, and said, amang them a',

“ Ye are na Mary Morison."

O Mary, canst thou wreck his peace,

Wha for thy sake wad gladly die?
Or canst thou break that heart of his,

Whase only faut is loving thee?
If love for love thou wilt na gie,

At least be pity to me shown;
A thought ungentle canna be

The thought of Mary Morisop.

My dear sir,

The song prefixed is one of my juvenile works. I leave it in your hands. I do not think it very remarkable, either for its merits or demerits. It is impossible (at least I feel it so in my stinted powers) to be always original, entertaining, and witty.

What is become of the list, &c. of your songs ? I shall be out of all temper with you by and by. I have always looked on myself as the prince of indolent correspondents, and valued myself accordingly; and I will not, cannot bear rivalship from you, nor any body else.

No. XIV.


March, 1793.


Here awa, there awa, wandering Willie,

Now tired with wandering, haud awa bame ; Come to my bosom, my ae only dearie, And tell me thou bring'st me my Willie the


Loud blew the cauld winter winds at our parting;

It was na the blast brought the tear in my e'e : Now welcome the simmer, and welcome my Wil

lie, The simmer to nature, my Willie to me.

Ye hurricanes, rest in the cave o' your slumbers,

O how your wild horrors a lover alarms ! Awaken, ye breezes, row gently, ye billows,

And waft my dear laddie ance mair to my arms.

But if he's forgotten his faithfulest Nanie,

O still flow between us, thou wide-roaring mainį May I never see it, may I never trow it,

Bat dying believe that my Willie's my ain!

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