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August, 1793.


Now rosy May comes in wi' flowers,
To deck her gay, green-spreading bowers;
And now come in my happy hours,

To wander wi' my Davie.


Meet me on the warlock knowe,

Dainty Davie, dainty Davie,
There I'll spend the day wi' you,

My ain dear dainty Davie.

The crystal waters round us fa',
The merry birds are lovers a',
The scented breezes round us blaw,

A wandering wi' my Davie.

Meet me, dc.

When purple morning starts the hare
To steal upon her early fare,
Then thro' the dews I will repair,

To meet my faithfu' Davie.

Meet me, C.

When day, expiring in the west,
The curtain draws o' nature's rest,
I flee to his arms I loe best,

And that's my ain dear Davie.


Meet me on the warlock knowe,

Bonnie Davie, dainty Davie,

There I'll spend the day wi' you,

My ain dear dainty Davie*.

So much for Davie. The chorus, you know, is to the low part of the tune. See Clarke's set of it in the museum.

N. B. In the museum they have drawled out the tune to twelve lines of poetry, which is **** nonsense. Four lines of song, and four of chorus

is the way.



My dear sir,

Edinburgh, 1st Sept. 1793. Since writing to you last, I have received half a dozen songs, with which I am delighted beyond expression. The humour and fancy of Whistle and I'll come to you, my lad, will renderit nearly as great a favourite as Duncan Gray. Come let me take thee to my breast, Adown winding Nith, and By Allan stream, &c. are full of inagination and feeling, and sweetly suit the airs for which they are intended Had I a cave on some wild distant shore, is a striking and affecting composition. Our friend, to whose story it refers, read it with a swelling heart, I assure you. The union we are now forming, I think, can never be broken; these songs of yours will descend with the music to the latest posterity, and will be fondly cherished so long as genius, taste, and sensibility exist in our island.

While the muse seems so propitious, I think it right to inclose a list all the favours I have to ask of her, no fewer than twenty and three ! I have burdened the pleasant Peter with as many as

* Daintie Davie is the titleof an old Scotch song, from which Burns has taken nothing but the title and the measure.

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it is probable he will attend to: most of the remaining airs would puzzle the English poet not a little; they are of that peculiar measure and rhythm, that they must be familiar to him who writes for them.



Sept. 1793. You may readily trust, my dear sir, that any exertion in my power, is heartily at your service. But one thing I must hint to you; the very name of Peter Pindar is of great service to your publication, so get a verse from him now and then; though I have no objection, as well as I can, to bear the burden of the business.

You know that my pretensions to musical taste, are merely a few of nature's instincts, untaught and untutored by art. For this reason, many musical compositions, particularly where much of the merit lies in counterpoint ; however they may transport and ravish the ears of your connoisseurs, affect my simple lug no otherwise, than merely as melodious din. On the other hand, by way of amends, I am delighted with many little melodies, which the learned musician despises as silly and insipid. I do not know whether the old air Hey tuttie tuttie may rank among this number ; but well I know that, with Fraser's hautboy, it has often filled my eyes with tears. There is a tradition, which I have met with in many places of Scotland, that it was Robert Bruce's march at the battle of Bannockburn. This thought, in my solitary wanderings warmed me to a pitch of enthusiasm on the theme of Liberty and Independence, which I threw into a kind of Scottish ode, fitted to the air that one might suppose to be the gallant Royal Scot's address to his heroic followers, on that eventful morning*.

Bruce to his troops on the eve of the Battle of


To its ain tune.

Scots, wha hae wiIVallace bled,
Scots, wham Bruce has aften led;
Welcome to your gory bed,

Or to victorie,

Now's the day, and now's the hour ;
See the front o' battle lour ;
See approach proud Edward's power-

Chains and slaverie!

Wha will be a traitor knave?
Wha can fill a coward's grave?
Wha sae base as be a slave ?

Let him turn and flee !

Wha for Scotland's king and law
Freedom's sword will strongly draw,
Free-man stand, or Freeman fa',

Let him follow me!

By oppression's woes and pains !
By your sons in servile chains !
We will drain our dearest veins,

But they shall be free!

Lay the proud usurpers low
Tyrants fall in every foe!

* This noble strain was conceived by our poet during a storm among the wilds of Glen-Ken in Galloway. A more finished copy will be found afterwards. E. Vol. II.


Liberty's in every blow!

Let us do or die !

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So may God ever defend the cause of Truth and Liberty as he did that day !-Amen.

P. S. I shewed the air to Urbani, who was highly pleased with it, and begged me to make soft verses for it, but I had no idea of giving myself any trouble on the subject, till the accidental recollection of that glorious struggle for freedom, associated with the glowing ideas of some other struggles of the same nature, not quite so ancient, roused my rhyming mania. Clarke's set of the tune, with his bass, you will find in the Museum ; though I am afraid that the air is not what will entitle it to a place in your elegant selection.

No. XL.


Sept. 1793. I dare say, my dear sir, that you will begin to think my correspondence is persecution. No matter, I can't help it; a ballad is my hobby-horse ; which, though otherwise a simple sort of harmless idiotical beast enough, has yet this blessed headstrong property, that when once it has fairly made off with a hapless wight, it gets so enamoured with the tinkle-gingle, tinkle-gingle of its own bells, that it is sure to run poor pilgarlic, the bedlam jockey, quite beyond any usefal point or post in the common race of man.

The following song I have composed for Orangaoil, the Highland air that, you tell me in your last, you have resolved to give a place to, in your book. I have this moment finished the song ; se

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