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Wi' doors ajar, and candle light,

And torches burning clear,

The streikit corpse, till still midnight,
They waked, but naething hear.

About the middle o' the night,
The cocks began to craw,
And at the dead hour o' the night,
The corpse began to thraw.

❝ wha has done thee wrang, sister,
Or dared the deadly sin?
Wha was sae stout, and feared nae dout,
As thraw ye o'er the linn?"

"Young Benjie was the first ae man,
I laid my love upon ;

He was sae stout and proud-hearted,
He threw me o'er the linn.”

"Sall we young Benjie head, sister,
Sall we young Benjie hang,
Or, sall we pike out his twa grey ecn,
And punish him ere he gang?

"Ye mauna Benjie head, brothers,
Ye mauna Benjie hang,

But ye maun pike out his twa grey e'en,
And punish him e'er he gang.

"Tie a green gravat round his neck,

And lead him out and in,

And the best ae servant about your house,

To wait young Benjie on.

"And ay, at every seven year's end,
Ye'll tak him to the linn;

For that's the penance he maun drie,
To scug his deadly sin."

• Scug-shelter or expiate.



For the irregular Drama, by Don Felix de Vega Carpio, with a Translation by Henry-Richard Lord Holland.

ANDANME, ingenios nobles, flor de España,


En breve tiempo excedereis no solo


A las de Italia, que, envidiando á Grecia,
Illustró Ciceron del mismo nombre
Junto al averno lago, sino á Athenas
A donde en su Platonico lycco
Se vió tan alta junta de philosophos,-
Que un arte de comedias os escriba
Que al estilo del vulgo se reciba.
Facil parece este sujeto,-y facil
Fuera para qualquiera de vosotros
Que ha escrito ménos dellas, y mas sabe
Del arte de escribirlas, y de todo,
Que lo que á mi me daña en esta parte
Es haberlas escrito sin el arte ;
No por que yo ignorasse los preceptos,
Gracias a Dios, que, ya tyrón gramático,
Passé los libros que trataban desto
Antes que huviesse visto al sol dicz veces
Discurrir des de el aries á los peces;
Mas porque en fin hallé que las comedias
Estaban en España en aquel tiempo
No como sus primeros inventores
Pensáron que en el mundo se escribieran,
Mas como las tratáron muchos barbaros
Que enseñaron el vulgo á sus rudezas,
Y assi se introduxéron de tal modo
Que quien con arte ahora las escriba
Muere sin fama y galardon; que puede
Entre los que carecen de su lumbre
Mas que razon y fuerza la costumbre
Verdad es que yo he escrito algunas veces
Siguiendo el arte que conocen pocos;
Mas luego que salir por otra parte
Veo los monstros de apariencias llenos;
A donde acude el vulgo y las mugeres,
Que este triste exercicio canonizan,
A aquel habito barbaro me vuelvo ;
E quando he de escribir una comedia.
Encierro los preceptos con seis llaves ;
Saco á Terencio y Plauto de mi estudio


Para que no me den voces, que suele
Dar gritos la verdad en libros mudos ;
Y escribo por el arte que inventaron,
Los que el vulgar aplauso pretendieron,
Porque como tos paga el vulgo, es justo
Hablarle en necio para darle gusto.

Bright flow'rs of Spain, whose young academy
Ere long shall that by Tully nam'd outvie,
And match th' Athenian porch where Plato taught,
Whose sacred shades such throngs of sages sought,-
You bid me tell the art of writing plays

Such as the crowd would please, and you might praise.
The work seems easy-easy it might be

To you who write not much, but not tome:
For how can I the rules of art impart,
Who for myself ne'er dreamt of rule or art?
Not but I studied all the ancient rules:

Yes, God be praised! long since, in grammar-schools,
Scarce ten years old, with all the patience due,
The books that subject treat I waded through:
My case was simple. In these latter days,
The truant authors of our Spanish plays
So wide had wander'd from the narrow road
Which the strict fathers of the drama trod,
I found the stage with barbarous pieces stor' :-
The critics censur'd; but the crowd ador'd.
Nay more; these sad corrupters of the stage
So blinded taste, and so debauch'd the age,
Who writes by rule must please himself alone,
Be damn'd without remorse, and die unknown.
Such force has habit-for the untanght fools,
Trusting their own, despise the ancient rules.
Yet, true it is, I too have written plays,

The wiser few, who judge with skill, might praise:
But when I see how show, and nonsense, draws
The crowd's, and, more than all, the fair's applause,
Wire still are forward with indulgent rage
To sanction every monster of the stage,
I, doom'd to write, the public taste to hit,
Resume the barbarous dress 'twas vain to quit :
I lock up every rule before I write,

Plautus and Terence drive from out my sight,
Lest rage should teach these injur'd wits to join,
And their dumb books cry shame on works like mine.
To vulgar standards then I square my play,
Writing at ease; for, since the public pay,
'Tis just, methinks, we by their compass steer,
And write the nonsense that they love to hear.


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