Robert Ross


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Select Collection of Lessons, Airs, Marches, Minuets, Reels, Jigs, &c With the most favourite Songs, for the Guittar – to which are Added some excellent Songs with a thorough Bass adapted To that Instrument, by an Eminent Master. Printed and Sold by Robert Ross at his Music Shop Fountain Well High Street Edin(burgh)


From the Scottish Book Trade Index:

ROSS, Robert music seller Edinburgh
Back of the Fountain Well 1774-77
Carrubers Close 1778
Back of the Fountainwell 1780-82
musician same address 1784
music seller Carrubers Close 1786-97
Within the Head of Carrubers Close 1799-1804
Burgess 26 October 1786.
Edin Dir; EdinBurg


The publication is in two parts: 47 guittar solos, followed by 28 songs.




Title                                                                                                           Page

1. Giordanis Minuet                                                                           1



2. Miss Lockharts Cotillion


3. The Masquerade Minuet                                                              2


4. Minuet



5. Paddy Whack


6. March of the 15th (or 16th?) Regiment                                     3


7. Gigga


8. Miss Chalmer’s Jigg


9. Miss Jubbs Minuet                                                                        4


10. March of the 20th Regiment


11.Minuet di la Cour                                                                           5


12. Air


13. Fishers Minuet                                                                               6



14. March of the 4th Regiment


15. Gigg


16. Martini’s Minuet                                                                             7


17. Allemand


18. Jacky Latin                                                                                      8


19. Minuet                                                                                              9


20. March of the 25 Regiment


21. The 17th Regiment’s March                                                         10


22. Duke of Glocesters new March


23. Lochiell’s March                                                                             11


24. The Athol Highlanders March                                                     12


25. Quick March


26. Lurg’s Reel  Strathspey


27. Lord George Lenox’s March                                                         13


28. Minuet                                                                                               14


29. Air


30. A Reel, with Variations     [I’ll Gang Nae Mair Tae Yon Toun]   15


31. Turkish March


32. Grand March, 1st Regiment of Horse Guards                               16


33. The 43d Regiments March


34. Because he was a Bonny Lad                                                        17


35. Minuet                                                                                               18


36. Lesson


37. Air by Mr Rush                                                                               19



38. Tam borino    Merchi                                                                     20

39. Rondo


40. Minuet           Merchi                                                                      21


41. Allemanda


42. Lesson                                                                                              22


43. Duke Hamiltons March                                                                23


44. Lovely Nancy                                                                                  24/25

45. March in the Deserter                                                                  26

46. Jigg      Thackray                                                                            27

47. The Carl’s Rant                 Strathspey                                          28




48. A Song in the Deserter – Though Prudence may press me    29

49. Open the Door to me        an Irish Song

50. When Wars alarms &c                                                                   30

51. The Coal Bearer                                                                               31

52. See the Purple Morn &c A Favourite Song Sung by Mr Tenducci            32

53. Song Adieu Edina friendly Seat [Cf. Oswald’s Farewell to Edinburgh]     33

54. Song Waft to her ears

55. Song Since Chloe’s absent from my sight  by Asuni                  34

56. The Banks of Banna                                                                         35

57. A Fairy Song: fairest of the Virgin Train                                     36

58. A Hymn: Glory to thee my God

59. Advice: Shepherd would’st thou here obtain    Set by Dr Arnold, the words by Shenston    37

60. Here awa, there awa                                                                         38

61. Sweetest Flower

62. Jockey to the fair                                                                               39

63. How imperfect is Expression                                                         40

64. Ye Shepherds &c                                                                               41

65. The Maid of Selma                                                                           42/43

66. Never till Now I knew Love’s Smart                                             44

67. Lewis Gordon

68. Go to the Ew-Bughts Marion                                                         45

69. Donald and Flora

70. The Braes of Ballenden                                                                  46/47

71. The Egyptian Love Song     by Harrington                                48/49

71. Water Parted from the Sea        Dr Arne                                     50/51

73. Gently Touch the Warbling Lyre                                                  52

74. How Sweet in the Woodlands                                                       53

75. Signora Marchetti’s Rondo: Guardian Angels now protect me    54/55

76. How Chearfull along the gay Mead



Notes to the songs – copyright, Rob MacKillop, 2014.


48. A Song in the Deserter – Though Prudence may press me

Theatre Royal Drury Lane. Adapted by Charles Dibdin the Elder from “Le Déserteur” by M. J. Sedaine. Elsewhere described as from Monsigny’s Opera, “Le déserteur”. Published in London c. 1775 for voice and harpsichord, with a version for guittar. Sung by Louisa.

Extra verse:

The bee, thus as changing,
From sweet, to sweet. ranging.
A rose should he light on, ne’er wishes to stray;
With raptures possessing,
In one every blessing,
‘Till, torn from her bosom, he flies far away.

See also the solo “March in the Deserter”, item 45 above.

49. Open the Door to me – an Irish song

Known in Ireland as “Open the door softly” – Bunting’s Irish Melodies, 1790. Burns sent a version, which he might have altered, to his publisher, Thomson, in 1793, but it appears earlier Corri’s Scots Songs of 1783. Included in “Calliope: Or, The Musical Miscellany” of 1788 – Facsimile

50. When Wars alarms, &c

In “The goldfinch, or, New modern songster. Being a select collection of the most admired Scots and English songs, cantatas &c” 1782 – lyrics only.

Arranged for voice and continuo, with a version for guittar: Dublin “c.1780”, by Thomas Linley. “Sung by Miss Walpole in the new entertainment of the Camp”

51. The Coal Bearer

Brat = A poor or ragged garment (DSL). A fine lament of a young female coal bearer. Her life of hardship can only find relief in marriage. I can find no antecedents.

52. See the Purple Morn &c A Favourite Song Sung by Mr Tenducci

Version published London 1779 for voice and piano forte or harpsichord. Alternative title: Tenducci’s Second Rondeau

1778 – “Vocal Music, or the Songster’s Companion

1769 – Published in Dublin by Samuel Lee (Dublin Music Trade index)

53. Song Adieu Edina friendly Seat

Also set by James Oswald in his Pocket Companion for the Guittar [c.1760] where it is called “Farewell to Edinburgh”, and where it has more verses.

54. Song: Waft to her Ears

Included in “The Humming Bird, or, a Compleat Collection of the most esteemed Songs. Containing Above Fourteen Hundred of the most celebrated English, Scotch and Irish Songs, In which are included All the Favourite New Songs sung at the Theatres Royal, Vauxhall, Ranelagh, and Polite Concerts, In the Last Season.” Cantebury, 1785

55. Song Since Chloe’s absent from my sight  by Asuni 

Michael Ghillini di Assuni  – composed music for the guittar, e.g. “A Select Collection for One, Two and Three Guitars of Six Favourite English, French, Italian Songs and Six Easy Lessons or Solos” Opus 19, 1787. Also “The Lady’s Amusement, being an in tire ne Collection of Favourite French & Italian Songs, Airs, Minuets & Marches, none ever before Publish’d, Compos’d and Adapted for the Guittar by Sigr Ghillini Di Asuni, Printed for P. Welker, London 1762”.

Bibliographical sketch by Jürgen Kloss.

Also from Kloss:

•A Collection of the most favourite Oratorio Songs, composed by Mr. Handel, properly set and adapted for the Guittar and Voice by Signor Ghillini di Asuni, Printed for M. Rauche, London 1763
Public Advertiser,  May 6, 1763 (GDN Z2001089547).

•The favourite Songs in Love In A Village, properly set and adapted for the Guittar and Voice by Signor Ghillini di Asuni, Printed for M. Rauche, London 1763, Public Advertiser,  May 6, 1763 (GDN Z2001089547).

The latter might well be the source for this song.

56. The Banks of Banna

Lyrics by Irish poet and politician, Sir George Ogle the Younger (c.1740-1814). The Banna is a river in County Wexford. Also known by its first line, “Shepherds I have lost my love”.

57. A Fairy Song: fairest of the Virgin Train  

Published in 1823 (J. Catnach, London) on a ballad sheet, with the title: The fairy: a midnight madrigal.


– includes extra verses, though some obscured by ink blot.


– 1788, Edinburgh and London


58. A Hymn: Glory to thee my God

A popular hymn by Tallis, also known as Tallis’s Canon.

subsequent verses:

Forgive me, Lord, for thy dear Son,
the ill that I this day have done;
that with the world, myself, and thee,
I, ere I sleep, at peace may be.
Teach me to live, that I may dread
the grave as little as my bed;
teach me to die, that so I may
rise glorious at the awful day.

O may my soul on thee repose,
and with sweet sleep mine eyelids close;
sleep that shall me more vigorous make
to serve my God when I awake.
When in the night I sleepless lie,
my soul with heavenly thoughts supply;
let no ill dreams disturb my rest,
no powers of darkness me molest.

Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;
praise him, all creatures here below;
praise him above, ye heavenly host:
praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost

59. Advice: Shepherd would’st thou here obtain    Set by Dr Arnold, the words by Shenston

Published London 1775.

More verses:;view=fulltext

Sometime headed “Inscription near a Sheep-cote. 1745.” or “On the back of a Gothic seat”.

60. Here awa, there awa  

A traditional song with some words changed by Robert Burns. Ross presents a pre-Burns version, but only one verse. William Tytler (1794) “The proper accompaniment of a Scottish song is a plain, thin, dropping bass, on the harpsichord or guitar”. And Burns is know to have owned a guittar.

Burns’ verses:

Here awa’, there awa’, wandering, Willie,
Here awa’, there awa’, haud awa’ hame;
Come to my bosom, my ae only deary,
Tell me thou bring’st me my Willie the same.

Loud tho’ the winter blew cauld on our parting,
‘Twas na the blast brought the tear in my e’e:
Welcome now Simmer, and welcome my Willie;
The Simmer to Nature, my Willie to me.

Rest, ye wild storms, in the cave o’ your slumbers,
How you dread howling a lover alarms!
Wauken, ye breezes! row gently, ye billows!
And waft my dear Laddie ance mair to my arms.

But oh, if he’s faithless, and minds na his Nanie,
Flow still between us, thou wide roaring main:
May I never see it, may I never trow it,
But, dying, believe that my Willie’s my ain!

61. Sweetest Flower

Appears in The London Magazone, OR Gentleman’s Monthly Intelligencer, Volume XL for the year 1771. There is only a slight difference between the sources. Here are the three verses from the London Magazine:

The Moss Rose

By the late Cuthbert Shaw, Esq:

Sweetest flow’r that decks the garden,
Friend to hapless Damon prove,
And, each anxious care rewarding,
Teach his Delia how to love!

If thy fair example moves her,
Pleasures yielding without smart,
Why thus teaze a swain that loves her?
Why distress a broken heart?

Sure a breast so fair – so tender,
Gen’rous pity should adorn,
And at once its sweets surrender,
Unembitter’d with a thorn!

62. Jockey to the fair 

Also known as Gary Owen. Still popular as a Set Dance.

Thompson’s Compleat Collection of Country Dances c.1770.

Appears in Hardy’s Far From The Madding Crowd:

“Gabriel’s hand, which had lain for some time idle in his smock-frock pocket, touched his flute which he carried there. Here was an opportunity for putting his dearly bought wisdom into practice.

He drew out his flute and began to play “Jockey to the Fair” in the style of a man who had never known moment’s sorrow. Oak could pipe with Arcadian sweetness and the sound of the well-known notes cheered his own heart as well as those of the loungers. He played on with spirit, and in half an hour had earned in pence what was a small fortune to a destitute man.

and “Oak then struck up “Jockey to the Fair,” and played that sparkling melody three times through accenting the notes in the third round in a most artistic and lively manner by bending his body in small jerks and tapping with his foot to beat time.”

More verses, the first being a very slight variant of Ross’s:

‘Twas on the morn of sweet May-day,
When nature painted all things gay,
Taught birds to sing, and lambs to play,
And gild the meadows fair;
Young Jockey, early in the dawn,
Arose and tripped it o’er the lawn;
His Sunday clothes the youth put on,
For Jenny had vowed away to run
With Jockey to the fair;
For Jenny had vowed, &c.

The cheerful parish bells had rung,
With eager steps he trudged along,
While flowery garlands round him hung,
Which shepherds use to wear;
He tapped the window; ‘Haste, my dear!’
Jenny impatient cried, ‘Who’s there?’
”Tis I, my love, and no one near;
Step gently down, you’ve nought to fear,
With Jockey to the fair.’
Step gently down, &c.

‘My dad and mam are fast asleep,
My brother’s up, and with the sheep;
And will you still your promise keep,
Which I have heard you swear?
And will you ever constant prove?’
‘I will, by all the powers above,
And ne’er deceive my charming dove;
Dispel these doubts, and haste, my love,
With Jockey to the fair.’
Dispel, &c.

‘Behold, the ring,’ the shepherd cried;
‘Will Jenny be my charming bride?
Let Cupid be our happy guide,
And Hymen meet us there.
‘Then Jockey did his vows renew;
He would be constant, would he true,
His word was pledged; away she flew,
O’er cowslips tipped with balmy dew,
With Jockey to the fair.
O’er cowslips, &c.

In raptures meet the joyful throng;
Their gay companions, blithe and young,
Each join the dance, each raise the song,
To hail the happy pair.
In turns there’s none so loud as they,
They bless the kind propitious day,
The smiling morn of blooming May,
When lovely Jenny ran away
With Jockey to the fair.
When lovely, &c.

[From Ancient Poems, Ballads and Songsof the Peasantry of England. Edited by Robert Bell, 1846, Percy Society.
“Taken down from oral recitation and transcribed from private manuscripts, rare broadsides and scarce publications.”]

63. How imperfect is Expression

Appears in a number of early 19th-century collections of poems and song lyrics, such as The Nightingale: or Musical Companion, being a collection of entertaining songs Printed and sold by Smith & Forman, At Franklin Juvenile Bookstores, 195 and 213 Greenwich-street, 1814

More verses HERE

64. Ye Shepherds give ear to my Lay

Possibly by William Jackson (1730-1803) who published a version for voice and keyboard c.1790s.

Lyrics appear in A Select Collection of English Songs in Three Volumes, Volume the Third. London, J. Johnson, 1783

65. The Maid of Selma 

Neil Stewart’s ‘Collection of Scottish Song’ (1772) and  Corri’s ‘A New and Complete Collection of the Most Favourite Scots Songs’ (1783). Also, Scots Musical Museum Volume II (1788)

The poem comes from Ossian, Selma is the name of Ossian’s castle.

Some connection with James Oswald – requiring research.

Notes by Robert Riddell to tunes in the Scots Musical Museum: “This air began to be admired at Edinr about the year 1770”.

66. Never till Now I knew Love’s Smart 

Published c.1770 by Neil Stewart for voice and harpsichord, with a version for guittar.

Appears in A collection of the most approved Scotch, English, and Irish songs, set to music. Edinburgh : Printed for John Elder, T. Brown and C. Elliot ,Edinburgh; and W. Coke, Leith, 1793.

67. Lewis Gordon

Scots Musical Museum, Volume I (1787) Song No. 86 with extra verses.

Burns’ notes to this air in the Scots Musical Museum:

“This air is a proof how one of our Scots tunes comes to be composed out of another. I have one of the earliest copies of the song, and it has prefixed Tune of Tarry Woo. Of which tune, a different set has insensibly varied into a different air. To a Scots critic, the pathos of the line “Tho’ his back be at the wa’” must be very striking. It needs not a Jacobite prejudice to be affected with this song.”

68. Go to the Ew-Bughts Marion 

Scots Musical Museum (again) Volume I (1787) with extra verses.

“Ew-bught” = sheep pen.


“I am not sure if this old and charming air be of the South, as is commonly said, or of the North of Scotland. There is a song apparently as ancient as Ewe-bughts Marion, which sings to the same tune, and is evidently of the North. It begins thus:-

The lord o’ Gordon had three dochters,
Mary, Margaret, and Jean,
They wad na stay at bonie Castle Gordon
But awa to Aberdeen.”

Earliest music and verse together appears to be in Volume II of Orpheus Caledonius…by William Thomson, 1733.
Did Ross take items 67 and 68 from the Scots Musical Museum?

69. Donald and Flora

Arranged by Haydn in his Scottish Folksongs H.31a/139 [1795]

Popular ballad. Appears in The Scottish Minstrel (1813).

Full verses (the first a slight variant on Ross’:

When merry hearts were gay,
Careless of aught but play,
Poor Flora slipt away,
Sad’ning, to Mora;

Loose flow’d her yellow hair,
Quick heav’d her bosom bare,
As to the troubled air
She vented her sorrow.

Loud howls the stormy west,
Cold, cold is winter’s blast;
Haste, then, 0! Donald, haste,
Haste to thy Flora!

Twice twelve long months are o’er,
Since on a foreign shore
You promis’d to fight no more,
But meet me in Mora.

Where now is Donald clear?
Maids cry with taunting sneer
Say, is lie still sincere
To his lov’d Flora

Parents upbraid my moan;
Each heart is turned to stone
Ah! Flora thou’rt now alone,
Friendless in Mora.

Come, then; 0, come away!
Donald, no longer stay,
Where can my rover stray
From his lov’d Flora?

Ah! sure he ne’er can be
False to his vows and me:
O Heaven! is not yonder he?
Bounding o’er Mora?

Never, ah, wretched fair!
Sigh’d the sad messenger
Never shall Donald mair
Meet his lov’d Flora!

Cold as yon mountain snow,
Donald, thy love, lies low:
He sent me to soothe thy woe,
Weeping in Mora.

Well fought our gallant men
On Saratoga’s plain;
Thrice fled the hostile train
From British glory.

But, ah! tho’ our foes did flee.
Sad was each victory;
Youth, love, and loyalty,
Fell far from Mora.

Here, take this love-wrought plaid,
Donald expiring said:
‘Give it to you dear maid
Drooping in Mora

Tell her, 0 Allan; tell,
Donald thus bravely fell,
And that in his last farewell
He thought on his Flora.

Mute stood the trembling fair,
Speechless with wild despair;
Then, striking her bosom bare,
Sigh’d out- Poor Flora!

Ah! Donald! ah, well-a-day
Was all the fond heart could say:
At length the sound died away,
Feebly, in Mora!

Earliest citation:



70. The Braes of Ballenden

Appears in Calliope, Page 178, with full verses. See link to previous song above.

Also Scots Musical Museum, Volume 1, No.92 (1787)

According to Robert Riddell in is comments to the SSM, “The song is the composition of Mr Oswald, and the words are by Dr Blacklock”. Dr. Thomas Blacklock (1721-91)

Arranged by Haydn. Hob. XXXIa No.200

71. The Egyptian Love Song     by Harrington  

Published by Longman, Lukey and Broderip, London 1775/6. Subtitle “from Potiphar’s wife to young Joseph”.

Jane Austen owned a manuscript copy.

Henry Harrington – 1726-1816


72. Water Parted from the Sea        Dr Arne 

An aria from Arne’s opera, Artaxerxes of 1762, sung by Arbaces in Act III. Even alluded to by James Joyce in Finnegans Wake.

“Loft repose” should be “soft repose” – in comparison to other contemporary versions.

Sung by Tenducci in Edinburgh, St Cecilia’s Hall. Both Arne and ~Tenducci travelled to Edinburgh. One writer of the period notes that “Tenducci was an unrivalled singer of old Scottish songs, such as ‘Flowers of the Forest, ‘Waly, waly, gin love be bonny’, ‘The Lass o’ Patie’s Mill’, The Braes o’ Ballendean’, ‘Water parted from the sea’. ‘One day I heard Mary say’, ‘An thou wert my ain thing’” – curious to see this song being thought of as “old Scottish”.


73. Gently Touch the Warbling Lyre   

Extra verse:

On the mossy bank she lies,
(Nature’s verdant velvet bed),
Beauteous flowers meet her eyes,
Forming pillows for her head.
Zephyrs waft their odours round,
And indulging whispers sound.

(A. Bradley) found in Allan Ramsay’s Tea-Table Miscellany (1750)

Set by Geminiani, published in 1795 (Broderip).

Many claim it to have been composed by Geminiani. There is even a cooking version:

“Dean Swift’s Receipt to Roast Mutton, To Geminiani’s beautiful air – “Gently touch the warbling Lyre”
Gently stir and blow the fire, Lay the mutton down to roast” etc. Source The Cook’s Oracle by William Kitchiner, 1827.

74. How Sweet in the Woodlands

by Henry Harington (1727-1816). Published by Longman and Broderip, London c.1780, Duet for 2 voices; with a version for 2 guitars or flutes and for voice and harpsichord.

Another Jane Austen song.

This vocal duet was subsequently published many times in the early 19th century. Ross’ version for solo voice is unusual, though the guittar part often has the melody doubled in thirds.

Also published in Henry Robson’s list of popular Northumbrian song and dance tunes, The Northern Minstrels Budget, pub. c.1800. Yet Harington was born in Somerset, and lived most of his working life in Bath.

75. Signora Marchetti’s Rondo: Guardian Angels now protect me

Sung by Giusto Ferdinando Tenducci, and published (c.1780) in Edinburgh by Ross, as Mrs. Merchetti’s rondo for voice and harpsichord, with a version for flute.

Signora Marchetti’s claim to fame was as a singer for Mozart in La clemenza di Tito. Source.

Composer: Henry Holcombe (c.1693 – c.1752)

Lyrics published in The Lark. Containing a Collection: Of Above Four Hundred and Seventy Celebrated English and Scotch Songs. … With a curious and copious Alphabetical Glossary, for Explaining the Scotch Words. By John Osborne, 1740

76. How Chearfull along the gay Mead – “A Favourite Hymn of Eve in the Oratorio of Abel – set by Mr Oswald” 1762 [NLS Ing.88]