Does haughty Gaul invasion threat?
3 club, cudgel
6 cloth, patch
Burns was as interested in writing songs as poetry; maybe more so. He contributed about a third of the songs to a major publication of traditional music of Scotland called The Scots Musical Museum. This work was being done in Edinburgh by a struggling music engraver and music seller who was determined to preserve old Scottish songs: James Johnson.
The Scots Musical Museum ended up being six volumes with one hundred songs in each volume.
The fifth volume includes “My Love’s Like a Red Red Rose” and “Auld Lang Syne” and the music which Burns proposed for these songs. The final volume was published in 1803; it includes “Scots Wa Hae”, and acknowledges Burns as its author.
All the volumes are now available to the public through Google, and are indexed and easy to search through.
Now, Burn’s enjoyed fellowship. He was a Freemason, and near the end of his short life he was also a member of the local volunteer militia group called the Dumfries Volunteers. Militia groups had been organized by the British government to raise arms should the French invade, which was more a rumoured threat than a real risk at the time.
So, the sixth volume of the Scots Musical Museum includes Burn’s song “The Dumfries Volunteers” in which he justifies being a member of a British (or English) militia unit ….
“For never but by British hands
Maun British wrangs be righted!”
Which is to remind us we may have opinions on Scottish Nationalism, but they only count if we happen to live in Scotland!
The song “The Dumfries Volunteers” is a brilliant mix of British nationalism, socialism, and Scottish nationalism.
Delivered by Jim Fletcher at the club meeting April 2014