Page images

“How can your flinty hearts enjoy
The widow's tears, the orphan's cry!"

The song, otherwise, will pass, As to M Gregoira Rua-Ruth, you will see a song of mine to it, with a set of the air superior to yours in the Museum, vol. ii. p. 181, The song begins,

“ Raving winds around her blowing*."

Your Irish airs are pretty, but they are downright Irish If they were like the Banks of Banna for instance, though really Irish, yet in the Scottish taste, you might adopt them.

Since you are so fond of Irish music, what say you to twentyfive of them in an additional number? We could easily find this quantity of charming airs ; I will take care that you shall not want songs; and I assure you that you would find it the most saleable of the whole. If you do not approve of Roy's Wife, for the music's sake, we shall not insert it. Deil tak the wars,

is a charming song ; so is, Suw ye my Peggy. There's nae luck about the house, well deserves a place. I cannot say that O'er the hills and far awa, strikes me, as equal to your selection. This is no my ain house, is a great favourite air of mine; and if you will send me your set of it, I will task my muse to her highest effort. What is your opinion of, I hạe laid a herrin in sawt ? I like it much. Your Jacobite airs are pretty ; and there are many others of the same kind pret. ty; but you have not room for them.

You cannot, I think, insert, Fye let us a' to the bridal, to any other words than its own.

What pleases me as simple and naive, digusts you as ludicrous and low. For this reason, Fie gie me my coggie, Sirs, Fie let us a' to the bridal, with several others of that cast, are, to me, highly pleasing ; while, Saw ye my father or saw ye my

* This will be found among the songs in the latter part of this volume. E.

mother, delights me with its descriptive simple pao thos.

Thus my song, Ken ye what Meg oʻthe Mill has gotten? pleases myself so much, that I cannot try my hand at another song to the air; so I shall not attempt it. I know you will laugh at all this ; but, “Ilka man wears his belt his ain gait."



October, 1793. Your last letter, my dear Thomson, was indeed Jaden with heavy news.

Alas, poor Erskine* ! The recollection that he was a coadjutor in your publication, has, till now, scared me from writing to you, or turning my thoughts on composing for you.

I am pleased that you are reconciled to the air of the Quaker's Wife; though, by the bye, an old highland gentleman and a deep antiquarian, tells me it is a Gaelic air, and known by the name of Leiger m' choss. The following verses, I hope, will please you, as an English song to the air.

Thine am I, my faithful fair,

Thine, my lovely Nancy; ,
Ev'ry pulse along my veins,

Ev'ry roving fancy.

To thy bosom lay my heart,

There to throb and languish;

* The honourable A. Erskine, brother to lord Kelly, whose melancholy death Mr. Thomson had communicated in an excellent letter, which he has suppressed. E.

Tho’ despair had wrung its core,

That would heal its anguish.

Take away these rosy lips,

Rich with balmy treasure;
Turn away thine eyes of love,

Lest I die with pleasure.

What is life when wanting love?

Night without a morning :
Love's the cloudless summer sun,

Nature gay adorning.

Your objection to the English song I proposed for John Anderson my jo, is certainly just. The following is by an old acquaintance of mine, and I think has merit, The song was never in print, which I think is so much in your favour. The more original good poetry your collection contains, it certainly has so much the more merit.



O condescend, dear, charming maid,

My wretched state to view;
A tender swain to love betray'd

And sad despair, by you.

While here, all melancholy,

My passion I deplore,
Yet, urg'd by stern resistless fate,

I love thee more and more.

I heard of love, and with disdain

The urchin's power denied ;
I laugh'd at every lover's pain,

And mock'd them when they sigh'd :

But how my state is alter'd!

Those happy days are o'er ;
For all thy unrelenting hate,

I love thee more and more.

O yield, illustrious beauty, yield,

No longer let me mourn ;
And tho' victorious in the field,

Thy captive do not scorn.

Let generous pity warm thee,

My wonted peace restore ;
And grateful, I shall bless thee still,

And love thee more and more.

The following address of Turnbull's to the nightingale, will suit as an English song to the air, There was a lass and she was fair. By the bye, Turnbull has a great many songs in MS. which I can command, if you like his manner. Possibly, as he is an old friend of mine, I may be prejudiced in his favour; but I like some of his pieces very much.



Thou sweetest minstrel of the grove,

That ever tried the plaintive strain, Awake thy tender tale of love,

And soothe a poor forsaken swain.

For tho' the muses deign to aid,

And teach bim smoothly to complain ; Yet Delia, charming, cruel maid,

Is deaf to her forsaken swain.

All day, with fashion's gaudy sons,

In sport she wanders o'er the plain ;
Their tales approves, and still she shuns

The notes of her forsaken swain.

When evening shades obscure the sky,

And bring the solemn hours again,
Begin, sweet bird, thy melody,

And soothe a poor forsaken swain.

I shall just transcribe another of Turnbull}, which would go charmingly to Lewie Gordon.



Let me wander where I will,
By shady wood, or winding rill;
Where the sweetest May-born flowers
Paint the meadows, deck the bowers ;
Where the linnet's early song
Echoes sweet the woods among ;
Let me wander where I will,
Laura haunts my fancy still.

If at rosy dawn I chuse
To indulge the smiling muse ;
If I court some cool retreat,
To avoid the noon-tide heat;
If beneath the moon's pale ray,
Thro' unfrequented wilds I stray;
Let me wander where I will,
Laura haunts my fancy still.

When at night the drowsy god
Waves his sleep-compelling rod,
And to fancy's wakeful eyes
Bids celestial visions rise ;

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »