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The hunter lo'es the morning sun,

To rouse the mountain deer, my jo ;
At noon the fisher seeks the glen,

Along the burn to steer, my jo
Gie me the hour o'gloamin grey,

It makes my heart sae cheerie, 0,
To meet thee on the lea-rig,

My ain kind dearie, 0.5

For the sake of connection we have given the concluding stanza of this fine song here, although it occurs in a subsequent communication by Burns to Mr Thomson. By Mr Buchan we are informed that the original or old name of this song was the Ware-horse. “Burns and Fergusson,” says he, “have exerted their skill to make words worthy of so fine an air; but my great grandmother's way ran thus :

I hae been at the ware-horse,

Till I am wet and weary, 0;
Cast off the wet, put on the dry,
Come to your bed, my deary, O.
I'll row you up, I'll row you down,

And row till I be weary, 0;
I'll row you on the lea-rig,

My ain kind deary, 0.

But how are ye sae bauld, Sir,

And you my father's cottar, 0;
As row me on the lea-rig,
And me his eldest dochter, O ?
As row me up, and row me down,

And row till I be weary, 0;
And row me on the lea-rig,

My ain kind deary, 0.

Then tho' the night be ne'er sae dark,

And I be wet and weary, 0;
I'll hap you in my petticoat,
My ain kind deary, 0.
Then row me up, and row me down,

And row till ye be weary, 0;
And row me on the lea-rig,

My ain kind deary, 0.

To those ucacquainted with the term or name of Ware-liorse, it may be necessary to add, by way of explanation, that along the

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Your observation, as to the aptitude of Dr Percy's ballad to the air • Nannie 0,' is just. It is besides, perhaps, the most beautiful ballad in the English language. But let me remark to you, that, in the sentiment and style of our Scottish airs, there is a pastoral simplicity, a something that one may call the Doric style and dialect of vocal music, to which a dash of our native tongue and manners is particularly, nay peculiarly, apposite. For this reason, and, upon my honour, for this reason alone, I am of opinion (but, as I told you before, my opinion is yours, freely yours, to approve, or reject, as you please) that my ballad of • Nannie O’might, perhaps, do for one set of verses to the tune. Now don't let it enter into your head that you are under any necessity of taking my verses. I have long ago made up my mind as to my own reputation in the business of authorship; and have nothing to be pleased or offended at in your adoption or rejection of my verses. Though you should reject one half of what I give you, I shall be pleased with your adopting the other half, and shall continue to serve you with the same assiduity.

In the printed copy of my Nannie O,' the name of the river is horridly prosaic. I will alter it,

“ Behind yon hills where Lugar flows.”

Girvan is the name of the river that suits the idea of the stanza best, but Lugar is the most agreeable modulation of syllables.

I will soon give you a great many more remarks on this business ; but I have just now an opportunity of conveying you this scrawl, free of postage, an expense that it is ill able

rocky and steep coast of the east of Scotland the adjoining lands were manured with a kind of sea-weed, called ware, which was carried on the backs of dwarf horses in wooden creels or curroches, and led by the young women belonging to the farm.—The men's duty was to gather it from the sea, load the horses, and afterwards spread it on the land.”—M.

to pay : so, with my best compliments to honest Allau, Good be wi'


&c. Friday Night.

Saturday Morning. As I find I have still an hour to spare this morning before my conveyance goes away, I will give you • Nannie O' at length. (Vide vol II. p. 94.)

Your remarks on · Ewe-bughts, Marion,' are just: still it has obtained a place among our more classical Scottish songs; and what, with many beauties in its composition, and more prejudices in its favour, you will not find it easy to supplant it.

In my very early years, when I was thinking of going to the West Indies, I took the following farewell of a dear girl. It is quite trifling, and has nothing of the merits of

Ewe-bughts ;' but it will fill up this page. You must know, that all my earlier love songs were the breathings of ardent passion, and though it might have been easy in aftertimes to have given them a polish, yet that polish to me, whose they were, and who perhaps alone cared for them, would have defaced the legend of my heart, which was so faithfully inscribed on them. Their uncouth simplicity was, as they say of wines, their race.



Will ye go to the Indies, my Mary,

And leave auld Scotia's shore ?
Will ye go to the Indies, my Mary,

Across th’ Atlantic's roar ?

O sweet grows the lime and the orange,

And the apple on the pine ;

• The first line of this song was taken from an old Irish one, beginning, “Will ye go to Dublin, my Molly?”


But a' the charms o' the Indies

Can never equal thine.

I hae sworn by the Heavens to my Mary,

I hae sworn by the Heavens to be true ;
And sae may the Heavens forget me,

When I forget my vow!

O plight me your faith, my Mary,

And plight me your lily-white hand ;
O plight me your faith, my Mary ;

Before I leave Scotia's strand.

We hae plighted our troth, my Mary,

In mutual affection to join ;
And curst be the cause that shall part us !

The hour and the moment o'time !*

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Galla Water,' and · Auld Rob Morris,' I think, will most probably be the next subject of my musings. However, even on my verses, speak out your criticisms with equal frankness. My wish is, not to stand aloof, the uncomplying bigot of opiniâtreté, but cordially to join issue with you in the furtherance of the work.

No. V.


November 8th, 1792. If you mean, my dear Sir, that all the songs in your collection shall be poetry of the first merit, I am afraid you will find more difficulty in the undertaking than you

* This song Mr Thomson has not adopted in his collection. It deserves however to be preserved.-- Currie.

are aware of. There is a peculiar rhythmus in many of our airs, and a necessity of adapting syllables to the emphasis, or what I would call the feature-notes of the tune, that cramp the poet, and lay him under almost insuperable difficulties. For instance, in the air, “My wife's a wanton wee thing,' if a few lines smooth and pretty can be adapted to it, it is all you can expect. The following were made extempore to it; and though, on farther study, I might give you something more profound, yet it might not suit the light-horse gallop of the air so well as this random cliuk.


She is a winsome wee thing,
She is a handsome wee thing,
She is a bonnie wee thing,

This sweet wee wife o' mine.

I never saw a fairer,
I never lo'd a dearer,
And niest my heart I'll wear her

For fear my jewel tine.

She is a winsome wee thing,
She is a handsome wee thing,

* There are many sets of this old song on which this is framed, to be found both in print and on the breath of tradition. In Herd's Collection, vol. ii. p. 230, we have the following version :

My wife's a wanton wee thing,
My wife's a wanton wee thing,
My wife's a wanton wee thing;

She'll never be guided by me.

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She play'd the loon e'er she was married,
She play'd the loon e'er she was married,
She play'd the loon e'er she was married

She'll do't again e'er she die. The traditional copies celebrate the virtues and vices of a pigmy drunken wife.--M.

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