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The 'Scots Musical Museum' - Volume IV, song 347, page 358 - 'Ae fond kiss, &c'

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Volume IV, song 347, page 358 - 'Ae fond kiss, &c'

Introduction:
Verse 1 (to the tune of 'Rory Dall's Port'):
'Ae fond kiss, and then we sever;
Ae farewell and then for ever!
Deep in heart-wrung tears I'll pledge thee,
Warring sighs and groans I'll wage thee.
Who shall say that fortune grieves him
While the star of hope she leaves him?
Me, nae chearfu' twinkle lights me;
Dark despair around benights me.'

The word 'ae' can mean 'one' or 'one only'. In this context it probably means 'one only', since the song's lyrics tell of a final parting. The word 'Port' means a lively tune, though it might also be a pun on 'porte' (door).
Image Rights Holder:
National Library of Scotland
Ref:
2520
Project:
754:Scots Musical Museum
Material:
Book
Dimensions:
132 x 211 mm
What:
The 'Scots Musical Museum' - Volume IV, song 347, page 358 - 'Ae fond kiss, &c'
Subject:
The 'Scots Musical Museum' is the most important of the numerous eighteenth- and nineteenth-century collections of Scottish song. When the engraver James Johnson started work on the second volume of his collection in 1787, he enlisted Robert Burns as contributor and editor. Burns enthusiastically collected songs from various sources, often expanding or revising them, whilst including much of his own work. The resulting combination of innovation and antiquarianism gives the work a feel of living tradition.
Who:
Robert Burns (1759-96) (song collector / composer / editor)
Rory Dall (composer)
Nancy Mclehose (subject)
William Clarke (c. 1755-1820) (musical editor for Volume VI of the 'Scots Musical Museum')
Stephen Clarke (c. 1735-97) (musical editor)
James Johnson (c. 1750-1811) (printer / publisher / engraver / editor)
When:
Between 1787 and 1803 (first publication of the 'Scots Musical Museum')
Where:
The National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh
Background:
The 'Scots Musical Museum' is the most important of the numerous eighteenth- and nineteenth-century collections of Scottish song. When the engraver James Johnson started work on the second volume of his collection in 1787, he enlisted Robert Burns as contributor and editor. Burns enthusiastically collected songs from various sources, often expanding or revising them, whilst including much of his own work. The resulting combination of innovation and antiquarianism gives the work a feel of living tradition.
Description:
This lament is another song dedicated to the timeless theme of parting lovers and unconsummated love. The melody was composed by Rory Dall, who was a famous blind composer and harpist from the Highlands. On a personal note, it is highly likely that this song stems from the poet's own feelings of loss at having to part from Nancy Mclehose ('Clarinda'). 'Sylvander' and 'Clarinda' were the pen names that the secret lovers used for each other when writing their love letters. Their brief love affair remained a platonic relationship, due to Nancy McLehoses's strict religious beliefs and Burns's status as a married family man.