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Down in a shady walk,
Doveş cooing were,
Caught in a snare :
Phillis the fair.
So much for namby-pamby. I may, after all, try my hand on it in Scots verse. There I always find myself most at home.
I have just put the last hand to the song I meant for Cauld Kail in Aberdeen. If it suits you to insert it, I shall be pleased, as the heroine is a favorite of mine : if not, I shall also be pleased ; because I wish, and will be glad, to see you act decidedly on the business.* 'Tis a tribute as a man of taste, and as an editor, which you owe yourself.
* The song herewith sent, is that in p. 29 of this volume.
MR. THOMSON TO MR. BURNS.
MY GOOD SIR,
I CONSIDER it one of the most agreeable circumstances attending this publication of mine, that it has procured me so many
much valued epistles, Pray make my acknowledgments to St. Stephen for the tunes : tell him I admit the justness of his complaint on my stair-case, conveyed in his laconic postscript to your jeu d'esprit; which I perused more than once, without discovering exactly whether your discussion was music, astronomy, or politics: though a sagacious friend, acquainted with the convivial habits of the poet and the musician, offered me a bet of two to one, you were just drowning care together; that an empty bowl was the only thing that would deeply effect you, and the only matter you could then study how to remedy!
I shall be glad to see you give Robin Adair a
Scottish dress. Peter is furnishing him with an English suit for a change, and you are well matched together. Robin's air is excellent, though he certainly has an out of the way measure as ever poor Parnassian wight was plagued with. I wish you would invoke the muse for a single elegant stanza to be substituted for the concluding objectionable verses of Down the burn Davie, so that this most exquisite song may no longer be excluded from good company.
Mr. Allan has made an inimitable drawing from your John Anderson my Jo, which I am to have engraved as a frontispiece to the humorous class of songs; you will be quite charmed with it I promise you. The old couple are seated by the fireside. Mrs. Anderson in great good humour is clapping John's shoulders, while he smiles and looks at her with such glee, as to shew that he fully recollects the pleasant days and nights when they were first acquent. The drawing would do honour to the
pencil of Teniers.
No. No. XXXIII.
Mr. BURNS TO MR. THOMSON.
THAT crinkum-crankum tune, Robin Adair, has run so in my head, and I succeeded so ill in my last attempt, that I have ventured in this morning's walk, one essay more. You my dear Sir, will remember an unfortunate part of our worthy friend C.'s story, which happened about three years ago. That struck my fancy, and I endeavoured to do the idea justice as follows.
Had I a cave on some wild, distant shore,
Falsest of womankind, canst thou declare,
By the way, I have met with a musical Highlander, in Breadalbane's Fencibles, which are quartered here, who assures me that he well remembers his mother's singing Gaelic songs to both Robin Adair and Gramachree. They certainly have more of the Scotch than Irish taste in them.
This man comes from the vicinity of Inverness; so it could not be any intercourse with Ireland that could bring them ;-except, what I shrewdly suspect to be the case, the wandering minstrels, harpers, and pipers, used to go frequently errant through the wilds both of Scotland and Ireland, and so some favorite airs might be common to both-A case in point—They have lately in Ireland, published an Irish air, as they say, called Caun du delish. The fact is, in a publication of Corri's, a great while ago, you will find the same air, called a Highland one, with a Gaelic song set to it. Its name there, I think, is Oran