The Merry Muses of Caledonia/The Summer Morn


Tune—"Push about the Jorum."

This is by Burns. The following is what he wrote to Thomson regarding it in January, 1795:—"To wander a little from my first design, which was to give you a new song just hot from the mint, give me leave to squeeze in a clever anecdote of my Spring originality. Some years ago, when I was young and by no means the saint I am now, I was looking over, in company with a belle lettre friend, a magazine 'Ode to Spring,' when my friend fell foul of the recurrence of the same thoughts, and offered me a bet that it was impossible to produce an ode to Spring on an original plan. I accepted it, and pledged myself to bring in the verdant fields, the budding flowers, the crystal streams, the melody of the groves, and a love story into the bargain, and yet be original. Here follows the piece, and wrote to music too." Along with this composition, he forwarded Thomson his immortal ode, "A man's a man for a' that." The second stanza is quoted in Scott Douglas's 5 vol. edition (Vol. III., p. 17), with but one word changed in the last line.

When maukin bucks, at early f—ks,
In dewy glens are seen, sir,
When birds on boughs tak aff their m—ws,
Amang the leaves sae green, sir,
Latona's son looks liquorish on
Dame Nature's grand impetus,
Till his p—t—e rise, then westward flies,
To f—k old Madame Thetis.

Yon wandering rill, that marks the hill,
And glances o'er the brae, sir,
Slides by a bower, where mony a flower
Sheds fragrance on the day, sir.
There Damon lay with Silvia gay,
To love they thought nae crime, sir,
The wild birds sang, the echoes rang,
While Damon's a—e beat time, sir.

First wi' the thrush, he thrust and pushed,.
His p—t—e large and strong, sir,
The blackbird next, his tunefu' text,
Made him both bold and strong, sir.
The linnet's lay came then in play,
And the lark that soared aboon, sir,
Till Damon fierce, mistimed his a—e,
And spent quite out of tune, sir.