Billeder på siden

Gaoil, and a fine air it is. Do ask honest Allan, or the Rev. Gaelic Parson, about these matters.



August, 1793.


LET me in this ae night, I will reconsider. I am glad that you are pleased with my song, Had I a cave, &c. as I liked it myself.

I walked out yesterday evening, with a volume of the Museum in my hand; when turning up Allan Water, “What numbers shall the muse repeat, &c.” as the words appeared to me rather unworthy of so fine an air ; and recollecting that it is on your list, I sat, and raved, under the shade of an old thorn, 'till I wrote one to suit the measure. I


be wrong ; but I think it not in my worst style. You must know, that in Ramsay's Tea-table, where the modern song first appeared, the ancient name of the tune, Allan says, is Allan Water, or, My love Annie's very bonie. This last has certainly been a line of the original song ; so I took up the idea, and, as you will see, have introduced the line in its place, which I presume it formerly occupied; though I likewise give you a chusing line, if it should not hit the cut of your fancy.



By Allan-stream I chanc'd to rove,

While Phoebus sank beyond Benleddi;
The winds were whispering thro' the grove,

The yellow corn was waving ready :
I listen'd to a lover's sang,

And thought on youthfu' pleasures mony;
And the wild-wood echoes rang:-

O dearly do I lo'e thee Annie. +

O happy be the woodbine bower,

Nae nightly bogle make it eerie;
Nor ever sorrow stain the hour,

The place and time I met my dearie !


* A mountain west of Strath-Allan 3009 feet high. R.B.


+ Or, “O my love Annie's very bonie.”


Her head upon my throbbing breast,

She, sinking said, “ I'm thine for ever!"
While mony a kiss the seal imprest,

The sacred vow, we ne'er should sever.

The haunt o spring's, the primrose brae,

The simmer joys the flocks to follow;
How cheery, thro' her shortening day,

Is autumn in her weeds o' yellow;
But can they melt the glowing heart,

Or chain the soul in speechless pleasure,
Or thro' each nerve the rapture dart,

Like meeting her, our bosom's treasure.

Bravo ! say I: it is a good song. .


you think so too, (not else) you can set the music to it, and let the other follow as English verses.

Autumn is my propitious season. I make more verses in it, than in all the



God bless you !

No. No. XXXV.


August, 1793.

Is Whistle and I'll come to you my lad, one of your airs ? I admire it much ; and yesterday I set the following verses to it. Urbani, whom I have met with here, begged them of me, as he admires the air much; but as I understand that he looks with rather an evil eye on your work, I did not chuse to comply. However, if the song does not suit your taste, I may possibly send it him. The set of the air which I had in my eye, is in Johnson's Museum.

O WHISTLE and I'll come to you my lad, *
O whistle and I'll come to you my lad :




* In some of the MSS the first four lines run thus,

O whistle and I'll come to thee, my jo,
O whistle and I'll come to thee, my jo ;
Tho' father and mother and a' should say no,
O whistle and I'll come to thee, my jo.


Tho' father and mither and a' should gae mad,
O whistle and I'll come to you my lad.

But warily tent, when ye come to court me,
And come nae unless the back-yett be a-jee ;
Syne up the back-style and let nae body see,
And come as ye were na comin to me.

O whistle, &c,

At kirk, or at market whene'er ye meet me,
Gang by me as tho' that ye car'd nae a flie;
But steal me a blink o'your bonie black e'e,
Yet look as ye were na lookin at me.
Yet look, &c.

O whistle, &c.

Ay vow and protest that ye care na for me,
And whiles ye may lightly my beauty a wee ;
But court nae anither, tho' jokin ye be,
For fear that she wyle your fancy frae me.
For fear, &c.

O whistle, &c.

Another favorite air of mine, is, The muckin o' Geordie's byre. When sung slow with expression, I have wished that it had had better poetry: that, I have endeavoured to supply, as follows.


« ForrigeFortsæt »