Air—“Good night and joy.” September, 1808.

THE weary sun's gane doun the west,
The birds sit nodding on the tree,
All Nature now inclines for rest,
But rest allow'd there's nane for me :
The trumpet calls to War's alarms,
The rattling drum forbids my stay ;
Ah ! Nancy, bless thy soldier's arms,
For ere morn I will be far away.

I grieve to leave my comrades dear,
I mourn to leave my native shore,
To leave my aged parents here,
And the bonnie lass whom I adore.
But tender thoughts must now be hushed,
When duty calls, I must obey ;
Fate wills it so that part we must,
And the morn I will be far away.

Adieu! dear Scotland's sea-beat coast !
Ye misty vales and mountains blue !
When on the heaving ocean tost,
I'll cast a wishful look to you.
And now, dear Nancy, fare-thee-weel !
May Providence thy guardian be !
And in the camp, or in the fiel,
My constant thoughts shall turn to thee.

These verses were composed for Alexander Kilpatrick, weaver in Paisley, who resided in the house next to Tannahill's residence in Queen Street, a soldier in the 22nd or Renfrewshire Militia Regiment, on his leaving Paisley for Ireland ; and were put into his hands by the Author when he was bidding adieu. He died on 7th September, 1872, at the patriarchal age of ninety years. The whole of this beautiful song appeared for the first time in a Glasgow newspaper in September, 1803, with the initials “R. T.,” and the Air. We saw a copy of it which had been cut out of the newspaper. Mr. Ramsay, in his edition of 1838, gave the first stanza only as a fragment without any remark. In 1843, Alexander Whitelaw, in his “Book of Scottish Song,” page 15, published the whole verses with a little verbal variation and this chorus—

“Good night and joy, good night and joy,
Good night and joy be wi you a;
For since it's so that I must go,
Good night and joy be wi you a!”

and stated, in a Note, that “so far as known to him it was printed for the first time; and that he had been favoured with it by the Poet's brother, Mr. Matthew Tannahill, of Paisley, who said it was composed when the Author was about sixteen or seventeen years of age” (1791). We called on the widow of Alexander Kilpatrick to make enquiries, but her daughter-in-law said Mrs. Kilpatrick had lost her memory, and was in her dotage. We insisted in putting one question; and on asking her if she knew “The Soldier's Adieu,” she instantly answered “It was about my man; but I'm not Nancy.” This is an expression of common people in Paisley, meaning my husband. Nancy was a former flame. The daughter-in-law was much surprised at the correct answer.—Ed.

[Semple 96]