« EelmineJätka »
She put aff her apron, and on her silk gown,
[And now that the Laird his exit had made, Mistress Jean she reflected on what she had said; 'Oh! for ane I'll get better, it's waur I'll get tenI was daft to refuse the Laird o' Cockpen.' Next time that the Laird and the lady were seen, They were gaun arm in arm to the kirk on the green; Now she sits in the ha' like a weel-tappit henBut as yet there's nae chickens appeared at Cockpen.] The last two verses were added by Miss Ferrier, authoress of Marriage, and are now always printed as part of the song.
They 're bonny fish and halesome farin';
New drawn frae the Forth?
When ye were sleepin' on your pillows,
A' to fill the woven willows?
Wha 'll buy my caller herrin'? &c.
Wha'll buy my caller herrin'?
They're no brought here without brave darin'.
Hauled through wind and rain,
Wha 'll buy my caller herrin'? &c.
Wha'll buy my caller herrin'? &c.
Wha 'll buy my caller herrin'? &c.
At ae word be in your dealin';
Truth will stand when a' thing's failin'.
Wha 'll buy my caller herrin'? &c.
Neil Gow (1727-1807) was a violinist and composer, famous for strathspeys and reels; so was his son Nathaniel, for whom this song was written and by whom the tune was composed. Dr Charles Rogers wrote the Life and Songs of Lady Nairne (1869), and there is a small work on her by the Rev. Geo. Henderson (1800); see also Kington Oliphant's Jacobite Lairds of Gask (1870).
Robert Tannahill (1774-1810), a lyrical poet, some of whose songs rival all but the best of Burns's in popularity, was born in Paisley, and, early sent to the loom, continued to follow the staple trade of his native town until his twenty-sixth year, when, with one of his younger brothers, he removed to Lancashire. There he continued two years, till, hearing of his father's ill-health, he returned in time to receive his dying blessing. Soon after he wrote to a friend : 'My brother Hugh and I are all that now remain at home with our old mother, bending under age and frailty; and but seven years back nine of us used to sit at dinner together.' In The Filial Vow he inscribed this monument to her memory:
'Twas hers to guide me through life's early day,
The lines indicate the writer's filial piety, but their inferiority to his Scottish songs shows how little at home he was in English poetry. Though Tannahill, an enthusiastic student of Ramsay, Fergusson, and Burns, composed verses from a very early age, it was not till after this time that he passed mediocrity. Encouraged by R. A. Smith, a musician and composer, he applied himself sedulously to song-writing; and when Smith had set some of his songs to original airs, he in 1807 ventured on the publication of a volume of poems and songs, of which the first impression, consisting of nine hundred copies, was sold in a few weeks. He afterwards contributed songs to George Thomson's Select Melodies. Meanwhile he himself, always reserved, shy, and of slight and feeble physique, fell into a state of morbid despondency, aggravated by bodily weakness and a phthisical tendency. He had prepared a new edition of his poems for the press; but when Constable the publisher returned the copy because he already had on hand more new works than he could undertake that season, the disappointment preyed on the spirits of the sensitive poet; he burnt the manuscripts of a hundred new songs, and sank into a state of profound melancholia. One night in May 1810 he left his bedroom unperceived, and next day his body was found in the canal. The longer poems of this modest, ill-starred weaverpoet are greatly inferior to his songs, and are commonplace and artificial; but some of the lyrics are original, sincere, and touching, though often over-sentimental, and disfigured (e.g. the 'Flower o' Dumblane') by appallingly prosaic phrases. He is mainly remembered for about halfa-dozen songs, including, besides those given below, 'Loudon's Bonnie Woods and Braes' and 'The
Bonnie Wood o' Craigielea.' Semple in his edition of the Poems (with Life, 1876) has restored' the Scots words to his idea of propriety and regularity. The Braes o' Balquhither.
Let us go, lassie, go,
To the braes o' Balquhither, Where the blae-berries grow
'Mang the bonny Highland heather; Where the deer and the rae,
Lightly bounding together,
I will twine thee a bower
Wi' the flowers of the mountain;
I will range through the wilds,
To the bower o' my dearie.
Idly raves round our dwelling, And the roar of the linn
On the night-breeze is swelling, So merrily we'll sing,
As the storm rattles o'er us, Till the dear shieling ring
Wi' the light lilting chorus. Now the simmer's in prime
Wi' the flowers richly blooming, And the wild mountain thyme
A' the moorlands perfuming; To our dear native scenes
Let us journey together, Where glad innocence reigns 'Mang the braes o' Balquhither.
The Braes o' Gleniffer.
Amang the broom bushes by Stanley green shaw ! The wild-flowers o' simmer were spread a' sae bonnie, The mavis sang sweet frae the green birken tree; But far to the camp they hae marched my dear Johnie, And now it is winter wi' nature and me.
Then ilk thing around us was blythesome and cheerie,
That murmured sae sweet to my laddie and me.
The Flower o' Dumblane.
The sun has gane down o'er the lofty Ben-Lomond,
To muse on sweet Jessie, the flower o' Dumblane.
Is lovely young Jessie, the flower o' Dumblane,
She's modest as ony, and blithe as she's bonny;
Wha'd blight in its bloom the sweet flower o' Dumblane.
How lost were my days till I met wi' my Jessie !
I ne'er saw a nymph I would ca' my dear lassie,
Gloomy Winter's now Awa'.
The mavis sings fu' cheerie O.
Midst joys that never wearie O.
Adorn the banks sae brierie O.
Unless wi' thee, my dearie O.
Sir Alexander Boswell (1775-1822), of Auchinleck in Ayrshire, eldest son of Johnson's biographer, was a man of many accomplishments, but is now remembered for his tragic fate and for his songs, such as 'Auld Gudeman, ye're a Drucken Carle;' 'Jenny's Bawbee;' and 'Jenny dang the Weaver,' rough but characteristic genrepictures rich in a kind of comic humour; the less rude 'Good-night and Joy be wi' ye a' is also still popular. Educated at Westminster and Oxford, in 1803 he printed a volume of Songs
chiefly in the Scottish Dialect. In 1810 he published a somewhat overdrawn Scottish dialogue, in the style of Fergusson, called Edinburgh, or the Ancient Royalty; a Sketch of Manners, by Simon Gray. Other poems were Clan Alpin's Vow (1811), a tragic Highland tale, based on the record in the Register of the Privy Council of Scotland for 1589, and Sir Albyn, a burlesque. Skeldon Haughs was a rhymed version of an old Ayrshire legend. Some of his best songs were among the twelve he contributed to Thomson's Select Collection (1817). His unfinished and not very brilliant anticipation of Byron, An Epistle to the Edinburgh Reviewers (1803), contains some smart couplets: All are not damned you happen to dislike; All turn not marble whom your glances strike. When the fierce tiger rages o'er the land, Then to the chase, ye hunters, in a band! . . . But where's the honour, where's the mighty feat, To seize a victim that can only bleat? Why tinge with red the unassuming cheek, Or tear a linnet with a vulture's beak?
Is he a lion who can gorge a rat?
Is he Goliath who can crush a gnat?
Boswell did much to stimulate his countrymen to honour Burns's memory, securing the erection of the monument on the Doon; and for two or three years sat in Parliament for Plympton in Devon-. shire. Sir Alexander, created a baronet in 1821 for a (poor but) loyal song, ‘Long live George the Fourth,' was an ardent lover of our early literature, and at his private printing-press at Auchinleck House reprinted a series of rare works, both English and Scottish, some of the earlier ones with his own hand. When politics ran high he wrote some personal pasquinades, for one of which he received a challenge from Mr Stuart of Dunearn, and the parties met at Auchtertool in Fifeshire. Stuart's shot took effect and the Tory baronet fell, dying from the wound on the following day, the 27th of March 1822. He was a hearty, high-spirited man, tall and of imposing presence, fond of field sports, and in almost every way (even in his literary gifts and interests) very unlike his father. His brother, James Boswell (1778–1822), an accomplished scholar and student, edited Malone's edition of Shakespeare (21 vols. 8vo, 1821). From James's funeral Sir Alexander returned straight to his fatal encounter with Mr Stuart.
Jenny dang the Weaver.
And braw white Sunday mutches:
caps take heed
defeated, balked, jilted
And kept her bawbee.
The High Street of Edinburgh.
Tier upon tier I see the mansions rise,
And draughts of wine their various thoughts inspired.
And there, an active band, with frequent boast,
Or a bold stripling, noted for his might,
Her prayer is heard; the order quick is sped, And, from that corps which hapless Porteous led,
Heads the array, and rules the mimic fight.
The bicker rages, till some mother's fears
A brave detachment, probably of two,
The fourth line in Campbell's Pleasures of Hope runs :
To the Memory of Burns.
Dark Lugar's stream unheeded laves its bed,
But when soft memory of other days
Steals on the fancy with delusive glow, And while deep rapt we ponder on thy lays, With music not their own the waters flow; Thy spirit hov'ring seems to rule the spell, And our eyes glisten while our bosoms swell.
Good-night, and Joy be wi' ye a'. Good-night, and joy be wi' ye a';
Your harmless mirth has charmed my heart; May life's fell blasts out ower ye blaw!
In sorrow may ye never part!
My spirit lives, but strength is gone;
The mountain-fires now blaze in vain : Remember, sons, the deeds I've done,
And in your deeds I'll live again!
When on yon muir our gallant clan
Frae boasting foes their banners tore, Wha shewed himsel a better man, Or fiercer waved the red claymore? But when in peace-then mark me thereWhen through the glen the wanderer came,
I gave him of our lordly fare,
I gave him here a welcome hame.
The auld will speak, the young maun hear;
I'll see you triumph ere I fa';
The song is supposed to be said or sung by an aged Highland chieftain to his clansmen, and, like Clan Alpin's Vow, bears witness to the 'Celtic Renaissance' characteristic of the period. Boswell's views on the Scotch of contemporary poetry have been quoted above at page 796. His poems and songs were republished with a Memoir by R. H. Smith in 1873. Prefixed is a list by Mr Maidment of the publications and reprints of the Auchinleck press -the Disputation between Knox and the Abbot of Crossraguel; the poems of Barnfield: works by Whetstone, Churchyard, T. Lodge; as well as a number of anonymous pieces and fragments, some of them from the Auchinleck library.
END OF VOL. II.
Edinburgh: Printed by W. & R. Chambers, Limited.