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finding he was not displeased in his heart, told him, after a farther inquiry into his hand, that his true love was constant, and that she should dream of him to-night my old friend cried Pish, and bid her go on. The gipsy told him that he was a bachelor, but would not be so long; and that he was dearer to somebody than he thought : the knight still repeated, she was an idle baggage, and bid her go on. Ah, master, says the gipsy, that roguish leer of yours makes a pretty woman's heart ache : you have not that simper about the mouth for nothing. The uncouth gibberish with which all this was uttered, like the darkness of an oracle, made us the more attentive to it. To be short, the knight left the money with her that he had crossed her hand with, and got up again on his horse.
“ As we were riding away, Sir Roger told me that he knew several sensible people whc believed these gipsies now and then foretold very strange things ; and for half an hour together appeared more jocund than ordinary. In the height of his good humour, meeting a common beggar upon the road, who was no conjurer, as he went to relieve him he found his pocket was picked : that being a kind of palmistry at which this race of vermin are very dexterous."
The Spectator, No.122, is wholly by Addison. We give it entire, as it contains many touches of his delicate humour, as well as a quaint view of bygone manners :
“A man's first care should be to avoid the reproaches of his own heart ; his next, to escape the censures of the world. If the last interferes with the former, it ought to be entirely neglected; but otherwise there cannot be a greater satisfaction to an honest mind than to see those approbations which it gives itself seconded by the applauses of the public. A man is more sure of his conduct when the verdict which he passes upon his own behaviour is thus warranted and confirmed by the opinion of all that know him.
“My worthy friend Sir Roger is one of those who is not only at peace within himself, but beloved and esteemed by all about him. He receives a suitable tribute for his universal benevolence to mankind, in the returns of affection and good-will which are paid him by every one that lives within his neighbourhood. I lately met with two or three odd instances of that general respect which is shown to the good old knight. He would needs carry Will Wimble and myself with him to the county assizes. As we were upon the road, Will Wimble joined a couple of plain men whọ rid before us, and conversed with them for some time, during which my friend Sir Roger acquainted me with their characters.
"The first of them,' says he, 'that has a spaniel by his side, is a yeoman of about a hundred pounds a year, an honest man, He is just within the Game Act, and qualified to kill a hare or a pheasant. He knocks down a dinner with his gun twice or thrice a week ; and by that means lives much cheaper than those who have not so good an estate as himself. He would be a good neighbour if he did not destroy so many partridges. In short, he is a very sensible man; shoots flying ; and has been several times foreman of the petty jury.
" The other that rides along with him is Tom Touchy, a fellow famous for taking “the law” of every body. There is not one in the town where he lives that he has not sued at a quarter-sessions. The rogue had once the impudence to go to law with the Widow. His head is full of costs, damages and ejectments. He plagued a couple of honest gentlemen so long for a trespass in breaking one of his hedges, till he was forced to sell the ground it inclosed to defray the charges of the prosecution ; his father left him fourscore pounds a year ; but he has cast and been cast so often, that he is now not worth thirty. I suppose he is going upon the old business of the wiilow-tree.'
“As Sir Roger was giving me this account of Tom Touchy, Will Wimble and his two companions stopped short till we came up to them. After having paid their respects to Sir Roger, Will told him that Mr. Touchy and he must appeal to him upon a dispute that arose between them. Will
, it seems, had been giving his fellow traveller an account of his angling one day in such a hole ; when Tom Touchy, instead of hearing out his story, told him that Mr. Such a-one, if he pleased, might take the law of him for fishing in that part of the river. My friend Sir Roger heard them both upon a round trot; and, after having paused some time, told them, with the air of a man who would not give his judgment rashly, that'much might be said on both sides.' They were neither of them dissatisfied with the knight's determination, because neither of them found himself in the wrong by it. Upon which we made the best of our way to the assizes.
“The court was sat before Sir Roger came ; but, notwithstanding all the justices had taken their places upon the bench, they made room for the old knight at the head of them ; who, for his reputation in the country, took occasion to whisper in the judge's ear that he was glad his lordship had met with so much good weather in his circuit. I was listening to the proceedings of the court with much attention, and infinitely pleased with that great appearance of solemnity which so properly accompanies such a public administration of our laws; when, after about an hour's sitting, I observed, to my great surprise, in the midst of a trial, that my friend Sir Roger was getting up to speak. I was in some pain for him, until I found he had acquitted himself of two or three sentences with a look of much business and great intrepidity.
“ Ūpon his first rising the court was hushed, and a general whisper ran among the country-people that Sir Roger' was up.' The speech he made was so little to the purpose, that I shall not trouble my readers with an account of it ; and I believe was not so much designed by the knight himself to inform the court, as to give him a figure in my eye, and keep up his credit in the country.
“I was highly delighted, when the court rose, to see the gentlemen of the county gathering about my old friend, and striving who should compliment him most; at the same time that the ordinary people gazed upon him at a distance, not a little admiring his courage that he was not afraid to speak to the judge.
“In our return home we met with a very odd accident; which I cannot forbear relating, because it shows how desirous all who know Sir Roger are of giving him marks of their esteem. When we were arrived upon the verge of his estate, we stopped at a little inn to rest ourselves and our horses. The man of the house had, it seems, been formerly a servant in the knight's family; and to do honour to his old master, had, some time since, unknown to Sir Roger, put him up in a sign-post before the door; so that the knight's head hung out upon the road about a week before he himself knew anything of the matter. As soon as Sir Roger was acquainted with it, finding that his servant’s indiscretion proceeded wholly from affection and good-will, he only told him that he had made him too high a compliment; and, when the fellow seemed to think that could hardly be, added, with a more decisive look, that it was too great an honour for any man under a duke ; but told him, at the same time, that it might be altered with a very few touches, and that he himself would be at the charge of it. Accordingly they got a painter by the knight's directions to add a pair of whiskers to the face, and by a little aggravation to the features to change it into the Saracen's Head. I should not have known this story, had not the innkeeper, upon Sir Roger’s alighting, told him in my hearing that his honour's head was brought last night with the alterations that he had ordered to be made it it. Upon this, my friend, with his usual cheerfulness, related the particulars above mentioned, and ordered the head to be brought into the room. I could not forbear discovering greater expressions of mirth than ordinary upon the appearance of this monstrous face, under which, notwithstanding it was made to frown and stare in a most extraordinary manner, I could still discover a distant resemblance of my old friend. Sir Roger, upon seeing me laugh, desired me to tell him truly if I thought it possible for people to know him in that disguise. I at first kept my usual silence; but, upon the knight's conjuring me to tell him whether it was not still more like himself than a Saracen, I composed my countenance in the best manner I could, and replied, 'that much might be said on both sides.'
These several adventures, with the knight's behaviour in them, gave me as pleasant a day as ever I met with in any of my travelu."
GENTLE HERDSMAN. [This beautiful old ballad, being “A Dialogue between a Pilgrim and a Herdsman," is printed in Percy's 'Reliques of Ancient Poetry. It has evidently suggested Goldsmith's ballad of ' Edwin and Angelina,' and three of the stanzas of the modern poem are paraphrased from the Gentle Herdsman.]
Gentle herdsman, tell to me,
Of courtesy I thee pray, Unto the town of Walsingham
Which is the right and ready way? “ Unto the town of Walsingham
is hard for to be gone; And very crooked are those paths
For you to find out all alone.”
And the way never so ill,
It is so grievous and so ill. “Thy years are young, thy face is fair,
Thy wits are weak, thy thoughts are green; Time hath not given thee leave as yet,
For to commit so great a sin.” Yes, herdsman, yes, so wouldst thou say,
If thou knewest so much as I; My wits, and thoughts, and all the rest,
Have well deserved for to die. I am not what I seem to be,
My clothes and sex do differ farI am a woman, woe is me!
Born to grief and irksome care. For my beloved, and well beloved,
My wayward cruelty could kill : And though my tears will not avail,
Most dearly I bewail him still. He was the flower of noble wights,
None ever more sincere could be ;
Of comely mien and shape he was,
And tenderly he loved me.
I grew so proud his pain to see,
Thought scorn of such a youth as he. And grew so coy and nice to please,
As woman's looks are often so,
Unless I willed him so to do.
To see I pitied not his grief, He got him to a secret place,
And there he died without relief. And for his sake these weeds I wear,
And sacrifice my tender age ; And every day I'll beg my bread,
To undergo this pilgrimage. Thus every day I fast and pray,
And ever will do till I die;
For so did he, and so will I.
But keep my secrets I thee pray;
Show me the right and ready way. “Now go thy ways, and God before !
For he must ever guide thee still : Turn down that dale, the right hand path,
And so, fair pilgrim, fare thee well !"
SIR PATRICK SPENCE. (This is the Scotch ballad which Coleridge, in his "Dejection, calls “ The grand old ballad of Sir Patrick Spence." This is also printed in Percy's Reliques.'] The king sits in Dumferling tounc, O say na sae, my master deir, Drinking the blude-reid wine :
For I feir a deadlie storme, O quhar will I get guid sailor,
Late, late yestreen, I saw the new moone To sail this schip of mine ?
Wi' the auld moone in hir arme ; Up and spak an eldern knicht,
And I feir, I feir, my dear master, Sat at the king's richt kne :
That we will com to harme. Sir Patrick Spence is the best sailor,
O our Scots nobles wer richt laith That sails upon the se.
To weet their cork-heil'd schoone ; The king has written a braid letter, But lang owre a' the play wer play'd, And sign'd it wi' his hand ;
Thair hats they swam aboone. And sent it to Sir Patrick Spence,
O lang, lang, may thair ladies sit Was walking on the sand.
Wi' thair fans into their hand, The first line that Sir Patrick red, Or eir they see Sir Patrick Spence A loud lauch lauched he:
Cum sailing to the land. The next line that Sir Patrick red,
O lang, lang, may the ladies stand, The teir blinded his ee.
Wi' thair gold kems in thair hair, O quha is this has don this deid, Waiting for thair ain deir lords, This ill deid don to me ;
For they 'll se thame na mair. To send me out this time o' the yeir,
Have owre, have owre to Aberdour, To sail upon the se ?
It 's fiftie fadom deep : Mak hast, mak hast, my mirry men all, And thair lies guid Sir Patrick Spence, Our guid schip sails the morne.
Wi’ the Scots lords at his feit.
AULD ROBIN GRAY.
[This ballad, which Leigh Hunt has truly said “must have suffused more eyes with tears of the first water than any other ballad that ever was written," is the production of Lady Anne Barnard, who died in 1825. In a letter to Sir Walter Scott this lady gives the following interesting and curious account of the circumstances under which she composed this most charming poem :
“Robin Gray,' so called from its being the name of the old herd at Balcarras, was born soon after the close of the year 1771. My sister Margaret had married, and accompanied her husband to London. I was melancholy, and endeavoured to amuse myself by attempting a few poetical trifles. There was an ancient Scotch melody, of which I was passionately fond;
who lived before your day, used to sing it to us at Balcarras. She did not object to its having improper words, though I did. I longed to sing old Sophy's to different words, and give to its plaintive tones some little history of virtuous distress in humble life, such as might suit it. While attempting to effect this in my closet, I called to my little sister, now Lady Hardwicke, who was the only person near me :—'I have been writing a ballad, my dear; I am oppressing my heroine with many misfortunes. I have already sent her Jamie to sea-and broken her father's arm—and made her mother fall sick-and given her Auld Robin Gray for her lover ; but I wish to load her with a fifth sorrow within the four lines, poor thing! Help me to one. "Steal the cow, sister Anne,' said the little Elizabeth. The cow was immediately lifted by me, and the song completed. At our fireside, and amongst our neighbours, "Auld Robin Gray' was always called for. I was pleased in secret with the approbation it met with ; but such was my dread of being suspected of writing anything, perceiving the shyness it created in those who could write nothing, that I carefully kept my own secret.
“ Meanwhile, little as this matter seems to have been worthy of a dispute, it afterwards became a party question between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries. Robin Gray' was either a very ancient ballad, composed perhaps by David Rizzio, and a great curiosity, or &
very modern matter, and no curiosity at ail. I was persecuted to avow whether I had written it or not-where I had got it. Old Sophy kept my counsel, and I kept my own, in spite of the gratification of seeing a reward of twenty guineas offered in the newspapers to the person who should ascertain the point past a doubt, and the still more flattering circumstance of a visit from Mr. Jerningham, Secretary to the Antiquarian Society, who endeavoured to entrap the truth from me in a manner I took amiss. Had he asked me the question obligingly, I should have told him the fact distinctly and confidentially. The annoyance, however, of this important ambassador from the antiquaries was amply repaid to me by the noble exhibition of the ‘Ballat of Auld Robin Gray's Courtship,' as performed by dancing dogs under my window. It proved its popularity from the highest to the lowest, and gave me pleasure while I hugged myself in my obscurity.”]
“When the sheep are in the fauld, when the cows come hame,
like a ghaist, and I carena much to spin !