1793 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Gavin Turnbull

Robert Burns to George Thomson, 29 October 1793; in Works, ed. Douglas (1877-79) 6:293-94.



The following address of Turnbull's to the Nightingale will suit as an English song to the air, "There was a Lass, and she was fair." By the by, Turnbull has a great many songs in MSS. which I can command, if you like his manner. Possibly, as he is an old friend of mine, I may be prejudiced in his favor: but I like some of his pieces very much.—

THE NIGHTINGALE — By G. Turnbull.
Tune — "Bonie Jean."

Thou sweetest minstrel of the grove,
That ever tried the plaintive strain,
Awake thy tender tale of love
And soothe a poor forsaken swain;
Who, though the Muses deign to aid,
And teach him smoothly to complain;
Yet Delia, charming, cruel maid,
Is deaf to her forsaken swain, &c.

I shall just transcribe another of Turnbull's, which would go charmingly to "Lewie Gordon:"—

LAURA — By G. Turnbull.
Tune — "Lewie Gordon."

Let me wander where I will—
Shady wood, or winding rill;
Where the sweetest May-born flowers
Paint the meadows, deck the bowers;
Where the linnets' early song
Echoes sweet the woods among;
Let me wander where I will,
Laura haunts my fancy still, &c.