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Oh, wert thou, love, but near me ;
But near, near, near me:
How kindly thou wouldst cheer me,

And mingle sighs with mine, love.
Around me scowls a wintry sky,
That blasts each bud of hope and joy;
And shelter, shade, nor home have I,

Save in those arms of thine, love.
Cold, altered friendship’s cruel part,
To poison fortune's ruthless dart-
Let me not break thy faithful heart,

And say that fate is mine, love.
But dreary though the moments fleet,
Oh, let me think we yet shall meet !
That only ray of solace sweet

Can on thy Chloris shine, love. How do you like the foregoing? I have written it within this bour: so much for the speed of my Pegasus; but what say you to his bottom


[Post-mark, July 3,] 1795.



TUNE-The Lothian Lassie.

Last May a braw wooer cam down the lang glen,

And sair wi' his love he did deave me;
I said there was naething I hated like men-

The deuce gae wi’m to believe me, believe me;
The deuce gae wi'm to believe me.

This letter has no date or post-mark. In Currie's series, it is placed otroneously after that which here follows it.


He spak o' the darts o' my bonnie black een,

And vowed for my love he was dying;
I said he might die when he liked for Jean-

The Lord forgie me for lying, for lying;

The Lord forgie me for lying !
A well-stocked mailen-himsel for the laird -

And marriage aff-hand, were his proffers :
I never loot on that I kenned it, or cared,

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 Gateslack 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.
But a' the niest week as I fretted wi’ care,

I gaed to the tryste o' Dalgarnock,
And wha but my fine fickle lover was there!

I glowred as I'd seen a warlock, a warlock;

I glowred as I'd seen a warlock.
But owre my left shouther I


him a blink,
Lest neibors might say I was saucy;
My wooer he capered as he'd been in drink,
And vowed I was his dear lassie, dear lassie;

And vowed I was his dear lassie.
I speered for my cousin fu' couthy and sweet,

Gin she had recovered her hearin',
And how my auld shoon fitted her shachl't feet,1 distorted

But, Heavens ! how he fell a swearin', a swearin';

But, Heavens ! how he fell a swearin'.
He begged, for guidsake, I wad be his wife,

Or else I wad kill him wi' sorrow :
So e'en to preserve the poor body in life,

I think I maun wed him to-morrow, to-morrow;
I think I maun wed him to-morrow.


TUNE-The Caledonian Hunt's Delight.
Why, why tell thy lover,

Bliss he never must enjoy ?
Why, why undeceive him,

And give all his hopes the lie?
When a lover passes over from one mistress to another, the latter is said
take up the old shoos of her predecessor.

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O why, while fancy, raptured, slumbers,

Chloris, Chloris all the theme,
Why, why wouldst thou cruel,

Wake thy lover from his dream ?

Such is the peculiarity of the rhythm of this air, that I find it impossible to make another stanza to suit it.

I am at present quite occupied with the charming sensations of the toothache, so have not a word to spare.


3d June 1795. MY DEAR SIR-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 naïveté. The fragment for the Caledonian Hunt is quite 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 received, Lord, make us thankful !

[In this letter, Mr Thomson objected to the introduction of the word Gateslack, and also that of Dalgarnock, in the song of the Braw Wooer.]


[Post-mark, August 3,] 1795. In Whistle, and I'll come to ye, my Lad, the iteration of that line is tiresome to my ear. Here goes what I think is an improvement

O whistle, and I'll come to ye, my lad;
O whistle, and I'll come to ye, my lad;
Though father and mother and a' should gae mad,

Thy Jeanie will venture wi' ye, my lad. In fact, a fair dame, at whose shrine I, the Priest of the Nine, offer op the incense of Parnassus-a dame whom the Graces have attired in witchcraft, and whom the Loves have armed with lightning-a fair one, herself the heroine of the song, insists on the amendment, and dispute her commands if you dare !

Gateslack, the word you object to, is the name of a particular place, a kind of passage up among the Lowther 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 run, 'He up the lang loan,' &c.

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Do you know that you have roused the torpidity of Clarke at last ! He has requested me to write three or four songs for him, which he is to set to music himself. The enclosed sheet contains two songs for him, which please to present to my valued friend Cunningham.

I enclose the sheet open, both for your inspection, and that you may copy the song, O Bonnie was yon rosy Brier. I do not know whether I am right, but that song pleases me; and as it is extremely probable that Clarke's newly-roused celestial spark will be soon smothered in the fogs of indolence, if you like the song, it may go as Scottish verses to the air of I wish my Love was in a Mire; and poor Erskine’s English lines may follow.

I enclose you a For a' that, and a' that, which was never in print : it is a much superior song to mine. I have been told that it was composed by a lady.

1 The reader will learn with surprise, that the poet originally- wrote this chorus

O this is no my ain Body,

Kind though the Body be, &o.

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O had my fate been Greenland snows,

Or Afric's burning zone,
Wi' man and nature leagued my foes.

So Peggy ne'er I'd known!
The wretch whase doom is, 'hope nae mair,

What tongue his woes can tell!
Within whase bosom, save despair,
Nae kinder spirits dwell.

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