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Museum, 1790, No. 29/, signed ' B,' entitled The Banks of Kith. 'Tune,
Kobie donna gorach ' (Daft Robin). Burns intended this air lor his verses, but
although it is so marked in the Museum, the music of the Banks of Nit h, the
composition of Robert Riddell was engraved instead. In the Law MS. the
direction is ' The Banks of Nith — Tune, Rohie don^ia gorach. Mr. Burns's
words.' The verses are now for the first time set in the text with the proper
tune. It may be stated here that The Captive Ribbattd beginning ' Dear Myra
the Captive ribband 's mine,' which for sixty years has been printed as a song
of Bums, is the work of Dr. Blacklock. As may be seen in the Law MS. the
holograph note of Burns is ' Dr. B — gave the words,' which definitely settles
the question. This song, No. 2jy in the Museum, is set to Robie donna gorach,
hence the substitution of another tune for that in our text.
The Celtic air is in M'^Farlane's MS. c. 1 740 ; in Dow's Scottish Music,
c. 1776, 2y, and M'^Donald's LLighland Airs, 1784, 2/.
No. 266. "When wild war's deadly blast was blawn. In Thomson's
Scotish Airs, 1793, i. 22. 'Written for this Work by Robert Burns.' Air, The
7nill, mill 0\ In September, 1792, Thomson asked Burns to touch up and
amend the verses of a song in Ramsay's Miscellany, but Burns declined to have
anything to do with such insipid stuff. He declared he would alter no song
unless he could amend it. Thomson had been pegging at the poet to write in
English and got the following reply in April, 1 793 : ' These verses suit the
tune exactly as it is in the Museum. There is a syllable wanting at the
beginning of the first line of the second stanza ; but I suppose it will make
little odds. There is so little of the Scots language in the composition that
the mere English singer will find no difficulty in the song.' Thomson main-
tained that the third and fourth lines must be altered in order to suit the music.
Burns declined to make any change. ' I cannot alter the disputed lines in
The mill, mill O. What you think a defect I esteem as a positive beauty.'
Thomson substituted two lines of his own for the third and fourth of Burns.
Cnrrie, in Works, i8oo, iv. jo, restored Burns's words. The oiiginal, or at
least a song evidently prior to Ramsay's, is in the Merry Muses, beginning : —
' Chortis. The Mill, Mill O, and the kill, kill, O,
And the coggin o' Peggie's wheel O,
The sack and the sieve, and a' she did leave.
And danc'd the Millers reel, O.
As I cam down yon waterside.
And by yon shellin-hill, O,
There I spied a bonie, bonie lass.
And a lass that I lov'd right weel, O.'
Cromek interpolated in Reliques these verses with a note, neither of which
is in the Interleaved Museum. A version is in Herd's MS., and there is
a second song of the kind in the Merry Muses, which obviously Cromek had
The tune was very popular in the eighteenth century. It is in Orpheus
Caledonius, 1725, No. 20; Ramsay's Mustek, c. 1726; Watts's Musical
Miscellany, 17,^, vi. 7<5; M"^Gibbon's Scots Tunes, 1746, 14; Caledonian
Pocket Companion, 1751, iii. 2; Bremner's Scots Sojigs, 1757, jo; Scots
Musical Museum, 1790, No. 242, and many other collections. It is said to be
in a MS. of 1709.
No. 267. There was five carlins in the South. Stewart's Burns, 1802.
Lockhart, Life, 1829, entitled, The five carlins. Tune. Chevy chase. A MS.
is in the British Museum. Written on the contested election of a member of
Parliament for the five boroughs in the shires of Dumfries and Kirkcudbright.
Dumfries is 'Maggie by the banks o' Nith'; Lochmaben, 'Marjory o' the
monie lochs'; Amian, ' Blinkin Bess'; Kirkcudbright, 'Whisky Jean'; and

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