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Hear then my charitable vow,
Dear venerable Nansy, But if the warld my passion wrang, And say, ye only live in sang, Ken I despise a sland'ring tongue, And sing to please my fancy.
Leez me on thy, &c.
BOB O' DUMBLANE.
RAMSAY, as usual, has modernized this song. The original, which I learned on the spot, from my old hostess in the principal inn there is
Lassie, lend me your braw hemp heckle,
And I'll lend you my thripplin-kame; My heckle is broken, it canna be gotten,
And we'll gae dance the bob o' Dumblane.
Twa gaed to the wood, to the wood, to the wood,
Twa gaed to the wood—three came hame; An' it be na weel bobbit, weel bobbit, weel bobbit,
An' it be na weel bobbit, we'll bob it again.
1 insert this song to introduce the following anecdote, which I have heard well authenticated. In the evening of the day of the battle of Dumblane (Sheriff Muir) when the action was over, a Scots officer in Argyle's army observed to his Grace, that he was afraid the rebels would give out to the world that they had gotten the victory.—“Weel, weel,” returned his Grace, alluding to the foregoing ballad,
if they think it be nae weel bobbit, we'll bob it again.”
The following original Letter of Burns affords an additional proof of the interest which the Poet took in the ancient Minstrelsy of the West of Scotland. Many compositions of this description he rescued from oblivion, and sent them to the Scots Musical Museum, and it appears to have been his design to recover all which were worthy of preservation. Several of them underwent his correction and emendation, as the subjoined unpublished extract from one of his letters will testify." The songs marked Z in the Museum, I have given to the world as old verses to their respective tunes ; but, in fact, of a good many of them little more than the chorus is ancient, though there is no reason for telling every body this piece of intelligence."
To William Tytler, Esq. of Woodhouselee.
Inclosed I have sent you a sample of the old pieces that are still to be found among our peasantry in the West. I had once a great many of these frag
ments, and some of these here entire; but as I had no idea then that any body cared for them, I have forgotten them. I invariably hold it sacrilege to add any thing of my own to help out with the shattered wrecks of these venerable old compositions ; but they have many various readings. If you have not seen these before, I know they will flatter your true old-style Caledonian feelings; at any rate, I am truly happy to have an opportunity of assuring you how sincerely I am,
Your gratefully indebted humble servant,
Lawn Market, Aug. 1790.
Nae birdies sang the mirky hour
Amang the braes o’Yarrow,
To wait the waukeping morrow.
Where shall I gang, my ain true love,
Where shall I gang to hide me; For weel ye ken, i' yere father's bow'r,
It wad be death to find me.
O go you to yon tavern house,
An' there count owre your lawin, * An' if I be a woman true,
I'll meet you in the dawin'.