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· MR. BURNS TO MR. THOMSON.
I SHALL withdraw my, On the seas and far away, altogether : it is unequal, and unworthy the work. Making a poem is like begetting a son : you cannot know whether you have a wise man or a fool, until you produce him to the world and try him.
For that reason I send you the offspring of my brain, abortions and all; and as such, pray look over them, and forgive them, and burn them. * I am
* This Virgilian order of the poet should, I think, be disobeyed with respect to the song in question, the second stanza excepted. Note by Mr. Thomson.
Doctors differ. The objection to the second stanza does not strike the Editor.
flattered at your adopting, Ca' the yowes to the knowes, as it was owing to me that ever it saw the light. About seven years ago I was well acquainted with a worthy little fellow of a clergyman, a Mr. Clunzie, who sung it charmingly; and at my request, Mr. Clarke took it down from his singing. When I gave it to Johnson, I added some stanzas to the song, and mended others, but still it will not do for you. In a solitary stroll which I took to-day, I tried my hand on a few pastoral lines, following up the idea of the chorus, which I would preserve. Here it is, with all its crudities and imperfections on its head.
My bonie dearie.
Hark, the mavis' evening sang
Ca’ the &c.
* The river Clouden, a tributary stream to the Nith.
We'll gae down by Clouden side,
Yonder Clouden's silent towers,
Ca tbe &c.
Ghaist nor bogle shalt thou fear;
Fair and lovely as thou art,..
Ca' the &c.
I shall give you my opinion of your other 'newly adopted songs, my first scribbling fit.
MR. BURNS TO MR. THOMSON.
Do you know a blackguard Irish song, called Onagh's waterfall. The air is charming, and I have often regretted the want of decent verses to it. It is too much, at least for my humble rustic muse, to expect that every effort of hers shall have merit: still I think that it is better to have mediocre verses to a favorite air, than none at all. On this principle I have all along proceeded in the Scots musical Museum, and as that publication is at its last volume, I intend the following song, to the air above mentioned, for that work.
If it does not suit you as an editor, you may be pleased to have verses to it that you can sing before ladies.
SHE SAYS SHE LO’ES ME BEST OF A'.
Tune-" ONAGH'S WATER-FALL.”
Sae flaxen were her ringlets;
Her eyebrows of a darker hue; Bewitchingly o'er-arching
Twa laughing een o'bonie blue. Her smiling sae wyling,
Wad make a wretch forget his woe, What pleasure, what treasure,
Unto these rosy lips to grow : Such was my Chloris' bonie face,
When first her bonie face I saw, And ay my Chloris' dearest charm,
She says she lo’es me best of a':
Like harmony her motion :
Her pretty ancle is a spy Betraying fair proportion,
Wad make a saint forget the sky.
Her fautless form and gracefu' air;