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THE LAZY MIST.
TUNE- The Lazy Mist.
THE lazy mist hangs from the brow of the hill,
Concealing the course of the dark-winding rill; How languid the scenes, late so sprightly, appear!
As Autumn to Winter resigns the pale year.
Mother's Lament," he says, was composed partly with a view to Mrs. Fergusson of Craigdarroch, and partly to the worthy patroness of my early muse, Mrs. Stewart of Afton." We may suppose that the parity of the two cases, and their nearness in point of time, had produced but one indivisible impression in the mind of the bard. Yet there is reason to believe that, in his complaisance towards his friends, he was somewhat over-eager to gratify them with poetical compliments, and oftener than once caused one to pay a double debt. We shall find that the little poem beginning, Sensibility, how charming, was first written on certain experiences of Mrs. M'Lehose, and sent to her, but afterwards addressed to 66 my dear and much-honoured friend, Mrs. Dunlop." So the reader will perceive that even Burns had his little mystères d'atelier.
How long I have lived- but how much lived in vain!
How little of life's scanty span may remain ! What aspects Old Time, in his progress, has.
What ties cruel Fate in my bosom has torn ! How foolish, or worse, till our summit is gained! And downward, how weakened, how darkened, how pained!
This life's not worth having with all it can give:
For something beyond it poor man sure must
I HAE A WIFE O' MY AIN.
We may well believe that it was a time of great happiness to Burns when he first saw his mistress installed in her little mansion, and felt himself the master of a household, however humble looked up to by a wife as "the goodman,” and by a host of dependants as "the master." His sentiments on this occasion were in part expressed by the following vigorous and characteristic, though not very delicate verses. They are in imitation of an old ballad.
I HAE a wife o' my ain,
I'll tak cuckold frae nane,
I hae a penny to spend,
I hae naething to lend,
I am naebody's lord,
AULD LANG SYNE.
SHOULD auld acquaintance be forgot,
For auld lang syne, my dear,
We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet
We twa hae run about the braes,
But we've wandered monie a weary foot,
We twa hae paidl't i' the burn,
But seas between us braid hae roared,
And surely you'll be your pint-stoup,
And we'll tak a cup o' kindness yet
And here's a hand, my trusty fiere
And we'll tak a right guid willie-waught, hearty pull
For auld lang syne.
1 Burns came to indulge in little mystifications respecting his songs. Though in a letter to Mrs. Dunlop he speaks of Auld Lang Syne as an old fragment, and afterwards communicated it to George Thomson, with an expression of selfcongratulation on having been so fortunate as to recover it from an old man's singing, the second and third verses those expressing the recollections of youth, and certainly the finest of the set- are by himself. So also of Go fetch to me a pint of wine, he afterwards acknowledged that only the first 11
MY BONNY MARY.
Go fetch to me a pint o' wine,
A service to my bonny lassie.
And I maun leave my bonny Mary.
The trumpets sound, the banners fly,
"Ye'll bring me here a pint of wine,
A health to my ain bonny lassie."
verse (four lines) was old, the rest his own. The old verse was probably the same with one which occurs near the close of a homely ballad, printed in Hogg and Motherwell's edition of Burns, as preserved by Mr. Peter Buchan, who further communicates that the ballad was composed in 1636, by Alexander Lesly of Edin, on Doveran side, grandfather to the celebrated Archbishop Sharpe:
1 North Berwick-Law, a conical hill near the shore of the Firth of Forth, very conspicuous at Edinburgh, from which it is distant about twenty miles.