Prose & SongCorrespondence & Poetry

Contented wi’ Little, &c

Title: Contented wi’ Little, &c
First line: Contented wi’ little, and canty wi’ mair,
Air: Lumps o’ Puddings
Performer: Kirsteen McCue
Source: Thomson, SCOSA C 1799, 65

Burns sent this piece to Thomson in November 1794, commenting, ‘A propos to Bacchanalian songs in Scotish, I composed one yesterday, for an air I like much––“Lumps o’ puddings.”–– […] If you do not relish the air, I will send it to Johnson.––’ The poet’s dual engagement with the song projects of Johnson and Thomson gave him options in placing his work and this final remark is an example of the leverage this afforded. Thomson was confident that the lyric would ‘please all palates’ and noted the importance of ‘convivial songs’, which were more ‘easily sung’ than ‘the amorous kind’. Burns seems to have viewed this piece as expressing a kind of personal creed, suggesting that the first line be used as a motto beneath a vignette of himself. The version published by Thomson is set by Leopold Kozeluch.

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Contented wi' Little, &c (418 downloads )

Recorded at The Green Door studio in Glasgow, 2016 (engineer: Sam Smith).