0' the ten commands ;
Gifted by Black Jock
To get them aff his hands.
Buy braw troggin^ ^-c.
Saw ye e'er sic troggin 1
If to buy ye're slack,
Hornie's turnin' chapman, —
He'll buy a' the pack.
Buy braw troggin^ ^c.
COMPOSED BY BURNS IN EARLY LIFE, BETWEEN THE STILTS
OP THE PLOUGH.
[These three verses were introduced by James Hogg into his "Memoir of
Burns," 1835. We are not aware that they were seen in print before, and they
have not been included in any edition of the poet's works till now. They were
known to Dr. Currie, for they are inserted, in Burns' autograph, among the
manuscript poems presented by him to Mr. Riddel of Friars' Carse. They are
described as being a paraphrase of the Scripture verse, Jeremiah xv. 10; and
they well illustrate that passage in his Autobiography where he says — " At those
years I was by no means a favourite with anybody. I was a good deal noted
for a retentive memory, a stubborn, sturdy something in my disposition, and an
Ah ! woe is me, my Mother dear !
A man of strife ye've born me :
For sair contention I maun bear,
They hate, revile, and scorn me.
I ne'er could lend on bill or band.
That five per cent might blest me ;
And borrowing, on the tither hand —
The deil a ane wad trust me.
Yet I, a coin-denied wight.
By Fortune quite discarded.
Ye see how I am, day and night,
By lad and lass blackguarded !
( 392 )
FRAGMENT OF A REVOLUTION SONG.
[We overlooked this while giving the group of Burns' pieces first collected by
Cunningham. Chambers, in his edition of 1838, introduces it in a foot-note,
thus : — " Burns unquestionably felt as a zealous partisan of the French Kevolu-
tion. That such was the case, his Tree of Liberty^ his Vision, and Inscription for
an Altar of Independence, are sufficient proof, and more may be found in some
specimens of an unpublished poem given by Mr. Cunningham, — ' Why should
we idly waste our prime,' &c "
The present editor has little doubt that this production, and also the Tree oj
Libert!/, if really taken from Burns' MS., have been merely transcribed by him
from the pages of some wild Magazine of the period.
Why should we idly waste our prime
Repeating our oppressions?
Come, rouse to arms, 'tis now the time
To punish past transgressions.
'Tis said that Kings can do no wrong —
Their murderous deeds deny it ;
And, since from us their power is sprung,
We have a right to try it.
Now each true patriot's song shall be,
' Welcome Death or Libertie ! '
Proud Priests and Bishops we'll translate,
And canonize as Martyrs.
The guillotine on Peers shall wait,
And Knights shall hang in garters :
Those despots long have trode us down,
And Judges are their engines ;
Such wretched minions of a Crown
Demand the people's vengeance.
To-day 'tis theirs^ — to-morrow, we
Shall don the Cap of Libertie !
The golden age we'll then revive, —
Each man will be a brother;
In harmony we all shall live,
And share the earth together.
In virtue trained, enlightened youth
Will love each fellow-creature ;
And future years shall prove the truth
That Man is good by nature.
Then let us toast, with three times three,
The reign of Peace and Libertie !
IN ROBERT CHAMBERS' EDITIONS, 1838, 1851, 1856.
To no living literary man, and to very few dead ones, is the world of Burni^
admirers more indebted than to Robert Chambers, now verging on the ripe
age of threescore and ten years, and living in honourable retirement at the
ancient University town of Saint Andrews in Fife, with the honourable degree
of LL.D. appended to his familiar name. So early as 1827, we find that name
on the title-page of a topographical work, full of freshness and interest of no
evanescent kind, called. The Picture of Scotland. In this racy production, the
result of a pedestrian tour embracing 2026 miles of earnest journey and research,
and occupying nearly five consecutive months of the early summer and autumn
of 1826, we find the first fruits of his editorial labours in relation to the Life and
Works of Burns, as the following excerpt from his Index will shew: —
"Burns — his native district — his birthplace — his monimient — his residence at
Irvine — his visit to Carron — his favourite haunt on the Cluden Water — his farm
of Ellisland — with anecdotes, and impromptu by — his Scots wha hue wi' Wallace
lied — his residence in Dumfries — his burial-place."
Chambers's Edinburgh Journal — projected and started in 1832, and still
flourishing — contained, from time to time, interesting articles and original in-
formation concerning Burns. In 1833 appeared his People's Edition of Burns,
embracing not only the result of the labours of former editors, but a large
supplement of original materials, and some posthumous pieces of the poet, both
in prose and verse, never till then published. His crowning effort in illustra-
tion of the life and works of our national poet was produced in 1851-52, in the
form of a chronological edition, in four volumes, presenting the Biography,
Poetical Works, and Correspondence of the poet in finely arranged consecutive
order, according to the date of each event or production. In his preface to that
work he says : — " I should vainly endeavour to convey an adequate idea of the
confusion and inaccuracy which I now behold in the many editions of Burns,
( 394 )
iQoluding, of course, that In wbicli I had myself some concern." And he tells.
us that, " without undervaluing the labours of Currie, Lockhart, and Cunning
ham, he entered upon a minute examination of all the materials which existed
for a biography of the poet, and collected new and authentic particulars from
all available sources, including the memory of the poet's youngest sister, Mrs.
Begg," who then still survived.*
* The sheet containing the group of pieces first collected by Chambers, and
these introductory remarks, was in type, and ready for the stereotyper, when
the morning journals of 18th March, 1871, announced the death, on the previous
day, of that distinguished labourer in the fields of literature and science.
A considerable amount of friendly intercourse and correspondence took place
in 1849 and 1850, betwixt the deceased and the present editor, who had just
then announced some curious discoveries made by him in the cour.-^e of arrang-
ing a chroaological table of the earlier productions of Burns, and the events of
his life from infancy to his appearance in Edinburgh. Thus, apparently, was
suggested to Chambers the idea of his new edition, in 1851, of the Life and
"Works of the poet, wherein due prominence is given to the fresh revelations,
and the same plan of arrangement is adopted.
Dr. Chambers, since 18G4 — when the results of that over-exertion involved in
the production of his latest work, The Book of Days, compelled him to lay down
the literary pen for ever — betook himself to his well-earned retirement at St.
Andrews. When the present edition of Burns was started, we took the risk of
disturbing him by submitting our project, while forwarding to him some me-
moramla of a correspondence (then just acquired by Mr. M'Kie) which had
passed between him and a grandson of a Kilmarnock preacher noticed by
Burns in The Ordination. This person had taken Chambers to task about his
annotations on the passage, in his edition of 1838, and wildly charged him with
having " desecrated the memory of departed worth." In returning our notes,
the kindly veteran thus wrote: — "I have been much diverted with your
amusing revival of this curious affair. Between Mr. M'Kie's clever manage-
ment and your own vivid perspicacity in matters relating to Burns, 1 am sure
that a successful book will be the result. As for me, I calculate on very soon
becoming a specimen of ' departed worth ' myself."
The memory of Dr. Chambers' worth shall not speedily depart; and the
name which he has left imprinted on many a fair title-page, future generations
of men in all parts of the globe shall not willingly let die.
PIECES FIRST COLLECTED BV ROBERT CHAMBERS, 1838, 1851, 1856,
THE RUmED FARMER.
Tune — Go from my windoiv, Love, go.
[These roughly measured, but exceedingly pathetic Rtanzas, intended to be sung
to a very plaintive air of the olden time, were inserted by Burns in the MS. col-
lection which he presented to Mrs. Stewart of Stair, in IJSfi. This piece seems
to have been one of the author's very earliest attempts on the lyre, and the
references appear to apply to old William Burness, at Mount Oliphant, when
"the scoundrel factor's letters" used to set the whole household in tears, the
poet being then in his seventeenth or eighteenth year. Compare with this, the
fragment, " O Raging Fortune," with relative note, at page 250 of present vol.]
The sun lie is sunk in the west —
All creatures retired to rest ;
While here I sit — all sore beset
With sorrow, grief, and wo :
And it's — ' 0, fickle Fortune,' oh !
The prosperous man is asleep,
Nor hears he how the whirlwinds sweep ;
But Misery and I must watch
The surly tempest blow :
And it's — ' O, fickle Fortune,' oh !
There lies the dear partner of my breast,
Her cares for a moment at rest :
And must I see my youthful pride
Thus brought so very low !
And it's — ' 0, fickle Fortune,' oh !
There lie my sweet babes in her arms.
No fear each little heart alarms ;
But for their sake my heart doth ache.
With many a bitter throe :
And it's — ' 0, fickle Fortune,' oh !
( 396 )
I once was by Fortune carest,
I once could relieve the distrest ;
But now life's poor support hard-earn'd,
My fate will scarce bestow :
And it's — ' O, fickle Fortune,' oh !
No comfort — no comfort I have !
How welcome to me were the grave !
But then my wife and children dear —
whither would they go ?
And it's — ' O, fickle Fortune,' oh !
whither — O whither shall I turn ! —
All friendless, forsaken, forlorn !
In this wide world, sweet rest or peace
1 never more shall know !
And it's — ' 0, fickle Fortune,' oh !
THE TARBOLTON LASSES.
[This is one of the poet's early Lochlea performances: his first efforts in
courtship of the Tarbolton lasses appear to have been unsuccessful, if we ai-e to
judge from the satirical spirit of these verses. At this stage he seems not yet
to have been acquainted with the Ronalds of the Bennals, who are celebrated in the
next piece, and who were undoubtedly the Belles of the district. The Bennals is
a farm several miles west of Lochlea, and near Afton Lodge.]
If ye gae up to yon hill-tap,
Ye'll there see Iconic Peggy ;
She kens her father is a laird,
And she forsooth's a leddy.
There Sophy tight, a lassie bright,
Besides a handsome fortune :
Wha canna win her in a night,
Has little art in courting.
Gae down by Faile, and taste the ale.
And tak' a look o' Mysie ;
She's dour and din, a deil within.
But aiblins she may i)lease ye.
( 397 )
If she be shy, her sister try,
Ye'll maybe fancy, Jenny,
If ye'll dispense wi' want o' sense —
She kens hersel' she's bonie.
And should ye ride by yon hill-side,
Speer in for bonie Bessy ;
She'll gie ye a beck, and bid ye light,
And handsomely address ye.
There's few sae bonie, nane sae gude,
In a' King George' dominion ;
The truth o' this ye needna doubt —
It's Bessy's ain opinion !
THE RONALDS OF THE BENGALS.
[Miss Jean, the elder of the two ladies referred to in this lively production, ia
said to have been aflame of Gilbert Burns. The poet expatiates chiefly on her
mental qualities, and hints that any wooer of hers must encounter dangerous
rivals, in the shape of three neighbouring lairds, who were doing their utmost
to obtain her affections. He acknowledges that Annie Eonald is his own
favourite, as well as "the boast of our bachelors a'." There seems to be an
allusion here to the Bachelors' Club of Tarbolton, established in 17S2.
The poet, in a letter dated 10th November, 1789, addressed to his brother
William, announces the bankruptcy of Mr. Eonald. He says : — " You will easily
guess, that from his insolent vanity in his sunshine of life, he will now feel a
little retaliation from those who thought themselves eclipsed by him."
Miss Jean was married to a Mr. Wm. Eeid, resident at a place called Burn.
It has been afSrmed that Jean possessed several letters addressed to her by
Burns on religious subjects : but as these are non est, little weight can be given
to the assertion.]
In Tarbolton, ye ken, there are proper young men.
And proper young lasses and a' m-an ;
But ken ye the Ronalds that hve in the Bennals ? —
They carry the gree, frae them a', man.
Their father's a laird, and weel he can spare't,
Braid money to tocher them a', man ;
To proper young men, he'll clink in the hand
Gowd guineas a hunder or twa, man.
There's ane they ca' Jean, I'll warrant ye've seen
As bonie a lass or as braw, man ;
But for sense and gude taste she'll vie wi' the best.
And a conduct that beautifies a', man.
( 398 )
The charms o' the min', the langer they shine,
The mair admiration they draw, man ;
While peaches and cherries, and roses and lilies,
They fade and they wither awa, man.
If ye be for Miss Jean, tak' this frae a frien' —
A hint o' a rival or twa, man ;
The laird o' Blackbyre wad gang through the fire.
If that wad entice her awa, man.
The Laird o' Braehead has been on his speed.
For mair than a towmond or twa, man ;
The Laird o' the Ford will straught on a board,
If he canna get her at a', man.
Then Annie comes in, the pride o' her kin,
The boast of our bachelors a', man :
Sae sonsy and sweet, sae fully complete,
She steals our affections awa, man.
If I should detail the pick and the wale
0' lasses that live here awa, man.
The fault wad be mine, if she didna shine,
The sweetest and best o' them a', man.
I lo'e her mysel, but darena weel tell,
My poverty keeps me in awe, man,
For making o' rhymes, and working at times.
Does httle or naethiug at a', man.
Yet I wadna choose to let her refuse.
Nor hae't in her power to say na, man.
For though I be poor, unnoticed, obscure,
My stomach's as proud as them a', man.
Though I canna ride in weel-booted pride.
And flee o'er the hills like a craw, man,
I can hand up my head wi' the best o' the breed,
Though fluttering ever so braw, man.
My coat and my vest, they are Scotch o' the best,
O' pairs o' gude breeks I hae twa, man.
And stockings and pumps to put on ray stumps.
And ne'er a wrang steek in them a', man.
( 399 )
My sarks they are few, but five o' them new,
Twal'-hundred,* as white as the snaw, man,
A ten-shiUiugs hat, a Holland cravat ;
There are no' mony poets sae braw, man.
I never had frien's, "weel stockit in means,
To leave me a hundred or twa, man,
Nae weel-tochered aunts, to wait on their drants.
And wish them in hell for it a', man.
I never was canny for hoarding o' money,
Or claughtin't together at a', man,
I've Mttle to spend, and naething to lend,
But deevil a shilling I awe, man.
VERSES WRITTEN UNDER VIOLENT GRIEF.
[We have little faith in the authenticity of this production, which is said to
have first been printed in the Sun newspaper, in April, 1823. It is supposed to
have been originally written on a presentation copy of his Kilmarnock volume,
in the summer of 1786.]
Accept the gift a friend sincere
Wad on thy worth be pressin' ;
Remembrance oft may start a tear,
But oh ! that tenderness forbear.
Though 'twad my sorrows lessen.
My morning raise sae clear and fair,
I thought sair storms wad never
Bedew the scene ; but grief and care
In wildest fury hae made bare
My peace, my hope, for ever !
You think I'm glad ; oh, I pay weel
For a' the joy I borrow.
In sohtude — then, then I feel
I canna to mysel' conceal
My deeply-ranklin' sorrow.
* Thcal-hunder linen is coarse in fabric, compared to the " snaw-white seven-
teen-hunder linen " referred to in Tain o' S/ianter, which was woven in a reeJ
of 1700 divisions.
( 400 )
• Farewell ! within thy bosom free
A sigh may whiles awaken ;
A tear may wet thy laughin' e'e,
For Scotia's son — ance gay like thee —
Now hopeless, comfortless, forsaken !
TO MISS FERRIER.
[Th^se lines were indited to a daughter of Mr. John Ferrier, writer to the
signet, resident in George Street, Edinburgh. The " mournfu' sang " enclosed
was the Elegy on Sir J. H. Blair, in the month of August, 1787. A sister of Miss
Ferrier became distinguished as a writer of novels.]
Nae heathen name shall I prefix
Frae Pindas or Parnassus ;
Auld Reekie dings them a' to sticks,
For rhyme-inspiring lasses.
Jove's tunefu' dochters three times three.
Made Homer deep their debtor ;
But, gi'en the body half an e'e.
Nine Ferriers wad done better !
Last day my mind was in a bog,
Down George's Street I stoited;
A creeping cauld prosaic fog
My very senses doited.
Do what I dought to set her free.
My saul lay in the mire ;
Ye turned a neuk — I saw your e'e —
She took the wing like fire !
The mornfu' sang I here enclose,
In gratitude I send you ;
And pray in rhyme as weel as prose, -
May a' that's gude attend you !
( 401 )
THE BONIE LASS OF ALBANY.
TUxVE — Mary's Dream.
[In the month of September, 1787, Prince Charles Edward Stuart — then him-
self about to sink into a dishonoured grave — made public declaration of the
legitimacy of his hitherto supposed natural daughter, sty\e(i Duchess of Albany ;
and it is supposed by Robert Chambers that Burns about this period, "led by
the intelligence into a reverie of those politics of the heart by which he did not
disdain to admit he was animated," composed the following verses, la the old
My heart is wae, and unco wae,
To think upon the raging sea,
That roars between her gardens green
And the bonie Lass of Albany.
This lovely maid's of royal blood
That ruled Albion's kingdoms three,
But oh, alas, for her bonie face,
They've wranged the Lass of Albany.
In the rolhng tide of spreading Clyde
There sits an isle of high degree.
And a town of fame whose princely name
Should grace the Lass of Albany.*
But there's a youth, a witless youth,f
That fills the place where she should be ;
We'll send him o'er to his native shore,
And bring our ain sweet Albany.
Alas the day, and woe the day,
A false usurper wan the gree.
Who now commands the towers and lands —
The royal right of Albany.
We'll daily pray, we'll nightly pray,
On bended knees most fervently.
The time may come, with pipe and drum
We'll welcome hame fair Albany.
* Eothesay. t GSeorge, Prince of Wales.
( 402 )
WHEN FIRST I SAW FAIR JEANIE'S FACE.
Tune — Maggy Lauder.
[Not much can be said in favour of the assureti authenticity of this produc-
tion, which first appeared in the Neic Tork Mirror. 1846. "We are informed that
Miss Jean Jeffrey, the pretty blue-eyed daughter of the minister of Lochmaben,
who was the heroine of the exquisite song, / gaed a toaefu' yate yestreen, was
married to a gentleman named Eenwick, of New York, and emigrated there
with her husband, carrying with her this song — a second poetical tribute to
her beauty from the Muse of Burns. It must be confessed there is a fine rolling
lyric-flow "about the lines, although not quite in the manner of Burns. On the
other hand, a note to this song, given in Alexander Smith's edition, 18GS, says:
" The text has been collated with a copy in the poet's handwriting."]
When first I saw fair Jeanie's face,
I couldna tell what ailed me,
My heart went fluttering pit-a-pat,
My een they almost failed me.
She's aye sae neat, sae trim, sae tight,
All grace does round her hover,
Ae look deprived me o' my heart,
And I became a lover.
She^s aye^ aye sae hlythe, sae gay..
She's aye sae hlythe and cheerie ;
She's aye sae honie., hlythe^ and gay,
gin I ivere her dearie !
Had 1 Dundas' whole estate.
Or Hopetoun's wealth to shine in ;
Did warlike laurels crown my brow.
Or humbler bays entwining —
I'd lay them a' at Jeanie's feet,
Could I but hope to move her,
And prouder than a belted knight,
I'd be my Jeanie's lover.
She's aye, (J-c.
But sair I fear some happier swain
Has gained sweet Jeanie's favour :
If so, may every bliss be hers.
Though I inaun never have her.
( 403 )
But gang she east, or gang she west,
'Twixt Forth and Tweed all over,
While men have eyes, or ears, or taste.
She'll always find a lover.
She's ai/e, ^-c.
THE LASS THAT MADE THE BED TO ME.
Tdxe — The Peacock.
[We suppose the public is indebted to the refined taste of Mr. Robert Chambers
for this delicately executed alteration of Burns' admired song, given at page 21
of present volume. Chambers has not printed the poet's version ; but at page
270 of his fourth volume, he gives the following seven stanzas as one of the
" Old Songs improved by Burns for Johnson's Museum." His remarks regarding
it are as follow : — " Burns had found a rude and licentious old ballad under this
title — had put it through his refining alembic, and brought it out a fine rich
narrative song, but still too warm in its colouring for modern delicacy. He
afterwards still further purified it, as follows." The kindly editor fails to point
out when Burns made this purification, and from what source it was obtained.
"We have traced it to Alexander Whitelaw's " Book of Scottish Song," 1844,
where it appears, verbatim, as Chambers has given it.]
When winter's wind was blawing cauld,
As to the north I bent my way,
The mirksome night did me enfauld,
I knew na where to lodge till day.
A charming girl I chanced to meet,
Just in the middle o' my care,
And kindly she did me invite '
Her father's humble cot to share.
Her hair was like the gowd sae fine.
Her teeth were like the ivorie.
Her cheeks like liUes dipt in wine,
The lass that made the bed to me,
• Her bosom was the drifted snaw.
Her limbs like marble fair to see ;
A finer form nane ever saw
Than hers that made the bed to me.
She made the bed baith lang and braid,
Wi' twa white hands she spread it down,
She bade ' Gude-night,' and smiling said :
' I hope ye'll sleep baith saft and soun'.'
( 404 )
Upon the morrow, when I raise,
I thanked her for her courtesie ;
A blush cam' o'er the comely face
Of her that made the bed to me.
I clasped her waist and kissed her syne
The tear stood twinkling in her e'e ;
' dearest maid, gin ye'll be mine,
Ye aye sail mak' the bed to me.'
THE TREE OP LIBERTY.
[Had we not been assured that this piece was printed, in 1838, from Burns'
own manuscript, in the possession of a Mr. James Duncan, Mosesfleld, Glasgow,
we should have been disposed to say that Burns had no hand in the composition.
We have seen, however, in several notable instances, that poetical effusions do
exist in the handwriting of Burns which are known to have been the work of
other versifiers ; indeed, it would appear that he took pleasure in helping
poetical aspirants, by transcribing and improving their productions as he pro-
ceeded ; for the thoughts and expressions of others could not pass through the
alembic of his mind without being enriched in the process. The reader will
find, at page 171 of present volume, the opinion expressed by Mr. Allan
Cunningham regarding this piece ; but we do not send the reader there as to a
final court of appeal: Allan himself has included in his own edition several
things as the compositions of Burns which the bard would have blushed to own,
and which we are certain ho never had an opportunity of blushing at, for he
never saw them. But even in the author's own edition, we find a political piece
of nine double verses — W/ien Guildford gude, &c. — written in the very same
measure as the Tree of Liberty^ which will stand a pretty fair comparison with
the latter in respect of dulness and want of point. Nevertheless, leaving lyrical
execution out of the question, the sentiments inculcated in the Tree, of Liberty
are so crude and unreasonable, that we would rejoice to be informed, some of
these days, that the Mosesfield manuscript, on being more closely examined,
turns out to be not Burns' penmanship after all /]
Heard ye o' the tree o' France,
And wat ye what's the name o't ?
Around it a' the patriot's dance,
Weel Europe kens the fame o't.
It stands where ance the Bastile stood,
A prison built by kings, man.
When Superstition's heUish brood
Kept France in leading-strings, man.
Upo' this tree there grows sic fruit,