BURNS, Robert. Autograph manuscript of the poem "Yon high mossy mountains, sae lofty & wide...," comprising 5 four-line stanzas, n.p., n.d. [ca. 1787?]. 1 full page, 4to, neatly hinged to a guard and bound (with a related letter of 1829, see Provenance) in burgundy morocco gilt, by Sangorski & Sutcliffe.
"O THESE ARE MY LASSIE'S ALL CONQUERING CHARMS"
A fine, quite characteristic short lyric, first published in The Scots Musical Museum, vol.2 (1792) in a version containing six stanzas commencing with an altered first line reading "Yon wild mossy mountains" and other variations from the present text.
"Yon high mossy mountains, sae lofty & wide,
That nurse in their bosom the youth of the Clyde,
Where the grouse lead their coveys thro' the heather to feed,
And the shepherd eyes his flock as he pipes on his reed.
Not Gowries' rich vallies, nor Forth's sunny shores,
To me hae the charms o' yon wild mossy moors;
For there, by a lanely, sequestered stream,
Resides a fair lassie, my thought & my dream.--
She is not the fairest, altho' she is fair,
O' fine education but sma' is her share,
Her parentage humble as humble can be,
But I loe the dear Lassie because she loes me.--
To beauty what man but must yield him a prize,
In her armour o' glances, & blushes & sighs;
And when wit & refinement hae polish'd the darts,
They dazzle our e'en as they flee to our hearts.--
But kindness, sweet kindness, in the fond-sparkling e'e,
Has lustre outshining the diamond to me;
And the heart beating love as I'm clasped in her arms,
O these are my lassie's all conquering charms."
Only one other autograph manuscript of the poem is recorded (in the Hastie Mss. at the British Library, Add.Ms.22307, fol.70). See Index of English Literary Manuscripts, ed. Margaret M. Smith, vol.2, BuR 1268.
Provenance: J.B. Perochon, who in a letter dated Dumfries, 27 January 1829 (2 pages, 4to, bound in), presented the ms. to William Alexander Maxwell, explaining that Burns "sent this song to my wife in the first year he began to compose his inimitable verses." A note by Maxwell at the bottom of the letter's first page adds: "Mr. Perochon, who was a French gentleman & blind, married Miss Dunlop the Daughter of a Fried of the Poet, he sent these verses to me..." (Perochon's handwriting, in his letter, has the distinct hallmarks of a blind person's hand.) -- Maggs Bros., London -- The present owner.