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these and the Danish ballads preserved in the "Kiempe Viser," an early collection of heroic ballads in that language, but to demonstrate that, in many cases, the stories and songs were distinctly the same, a circumstance which no antiquary had hitherto so much as suspected. Mr. Jamieson's annotations are also very "aluable, and preserve some curious illustrations of the old poets. His imitations, though he is not entirely free from the affectation of using rather too many obsolete words, are generally highly interesting. The work fills an important place in the collection of those who are addicted to this branch of antiquarian study.

trade, of an old Aberdeenshire minstrel, the very last probably, of the race, who, according to Percy's defi nition of the profession, sung his own compositions, and those of others, through the capital of the county, and other towns in that country of gentlemen. This man's name was Charles Leslie, but he was known more generally by the nickname of Mussel-mou'd Charlie, from a singular projection of his under lip. His death was thus announced in the newspapers for October, 1792:-" Died at Old Rain, in Aberdeenshire, aged one hundred and four years, Charles Leslie, a hawker, or ballad-singer, well known in that country by the name of Mussel-mou'd Charlie. He followed his occupation till within a few weeks of his death." Charlie was a devoted Jacobite, and so popular in Aberdeen, that he enjoyed in that city a sort of monopoly of the minstrel calling, no other person being allowed, under any pretence, to chant ballads on the causeway, or plain-stanes, of "the brave

Mr. John Finlay, a poet whose career was cut short by a premature death,' published a short collection of "Scottish Historical and Romantic Ballads," in 1808. The beauty of some imitations of the old Scottish ballad, with the good sense, learning, and modesty of the preliminary dissertations, must make all admirers of ancient lore regret the early loss of this accomplished | burgh." Like the former collection, most of Musselyoung man.

mou'd Charlie's songs were of a jocose character.

But the most extensive and valuable additions which have been of late made to this branch of ancient literature, are the collections of Mr. Peter Buchan of Peterhead, a person of indefatigable research in that department, and whose industry has been crowned with the most successful results. This is partly owing to the country where Mr. Buchan resides, which, full as it is of minstrel relics, has been but little ransacked by any former collectors; so that, while it is a very rare event south of the Tay, to recover any ballad having a claim to antiquity, which has not been examined and republished in some one or other of our collections of ancient poetry, those of Aberdeenshire have been comparatively little attended to. The present Editor was the first to solicit attention to these northern songs, in consequence of a collection of ballads communicated to him by his late respected friend, Lord Woodhouslee. Mr. Jamieson, in his collections of " Songs and Ballads," being himself a native of Morayshire, was able to push this inquiry much farther, and at the same time, by doing so, to illustrate his theory of the connexion between the ancient Scottish and Danish ballads, upon which the

Various valuable collections of ancient ballad-poetry have appeared of late years, some of which are illustrated with learning and acuteness, as those of Mr. Motherwell and of Mr. Kinloch3 intimate much taste and feeling for this species of literature. Nor is there any want of editions of ballads, less designed for public sale, than to preserve floating pieces of minstrelsy which are in immediate danger of perishing. Several of those, edited, as we have occasion to know, by men of distinguished talent, have appeared in a smaller form and more limited edition, and must soon be among the introuvables of Scottish typography. We would particularize a duodecimo, under the modest title of a "Ballad Book," without place or date annexed, which indicates, by a few notes only, the capacity which the editor possesses for supplying the most extensive and ingenious illustrations upon antiquarian subjects. Most of the ballads are of a comic character, and some of them admirable specimens of Scottish dry humour. Another collection, which calls for particular distinction, is in the same size, or nearly so, and bears the same title with the preceding one, the date being, Edinburgh, 1827. But the contents are announced as containing the budget, or stock-in-publication of Mr. Buchan throws much light. It is,


a List of desiderata in Scottish Song. His communication to the Editor of that work contains the following paragraph:I am now writing out for the press a Collection of Popular Ballada and Songs from tradition, MSS., and scarce publications, with a few of modern date, which have been written for, and are exclusively dedicated to my collection. As many or the pieces were common property, I have heretofore waited for the completion of Mr. Walter Scott's Work, with more anxiety for the cause in general, than for any particular and selfish interest of my own; as I was sure of having the satisfaction of seeing such pieces as that gentleman might choose to adopt, appear with every advantage which I, partial as I was, could wish them. The most sanguine expectations of the public have now been amply gratified; and much curious and valuable matter is still left for me by Mr. Scott, to whom am much indebted for many acts of friendship, and much

liberality and good will shown towards me and my underta king."-ED.

1 Mr. Finlay, best known by his "Wallace, or The Vale of Ellerslie," died in 1810, in his twenty-eighth year. An affec tionate and elegant tribute to his memory, from the pen of Professor Wilson, appeared in Blackwood's Magazine, November, 1817.-ED.

2 Minstrelsy; Ancient and Modern, with an Historical Introduction and Notes. By William Motherwell. 4to. Glasg 1827.

3 Ancient Scottish Ballads, recovered from Tradition, and never before published; with Notes, Historical and Explanatory, and an Appendix, containing the Airs of several of the ballads. 8vo. Edin. 1827.

4 This is Mr. C. K. Sharpe's Work, already alluded to ED.

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Indeed, the most complete collection of the kind which which he has only inserted because they are varied, has yet appeared.1

Of the originality of the ballads in Mr. Buchan's collection we do not entertain the slightest doubt. Several (we may instance the curious tale of "The Two Magicians") are translated from the Norse, and Mr. Buchan is probably unacquainted with the originals. Others refer to points of history, with which the editor does not seem to be familiar. It is out of no disrespect to this laborious and useful antiquary, that we observe his prose composition is rather florid, and forms, in this respect, a strong contrast to the extreme simplicity of the ballads, which gives us the most distinct assurance that he has delivered the latter to the public in the shape in which he found them. Accordingly, we have never seen any collection of Scottish poetry appearing, from intérnal evidence, so decidedly and indubitably original. It is perhaps a pity that Mr. Buchan did not remove some obvious errors and corruptions; but, in truth, though their remaining on record is an injury to the effect of the ballads, in point of composition, it is, in some degree, a proof of their authenticity. Besides, although the exertion of this editorial privilege, of selecting readings, is an advantage to the ballads themselves, we are contented rather to take the whole in their present, though imperfect state, than that the least doubt should be thrown upon them, by amendments or alterations, which might render their authenticity doubtful. The historical poems, we observe, are few and of no remote date. That of the "Bridge of Dee," is among the oldest, and there are others referring to the times of the Covenanters. Some, indeed, are composed on still more recent events; as the marriage of the mother of the late illustrious Byron,2 and a catastrophe of still later occurrence, "The Death of Leith-hall."

As we wish to interest the admirers of ancient minstrel lore in this curious collection, we shall only add, that, on occasion of a new edition, we would recommend to Mr. Buchan to leave out a number of songs

sometimes for the worse, from sets which have appeared in other publications. This restriction would make considerable room for such as, old though they be, possess to this age all the grace of novelty.

To these notices of late collections of Scottish Ballads, we ought to add some remarks on the very curious "Ancient Legendary Tales, printed chiefly from Original Sources, edited by the Rev. Charles Henry Hartshorne, M.A. 1829." The editor of this unostentatious work has done his duty to the public with much labour and care, and made the admirers of this species of poetry acquainted with very many ancient legendary poems, which were hitherto unpublished and very little known. It increases the value of the collection, that many of them are of a comic turn, a species of composition more rare, and, from its necessary allusion to domestic manners, more curious and interesting, than the serious class of Romances.

We have thus, in a cursory manner, gone through the history of English and Scottish popular poetry, and noticed the principal collections which have been formed from time to time of such compositions, and the principles on which the editors have proceeded. It is manifest that, of late, the public attention has been so much turned to the subject by men of research and talent, that we may well hope to retrieve from oblivion as much of our ancient poetry as there is now any possibility of recovering.

Another important part of our task consists in giving some account of the modern imitation of the English Ballad, a species of literary labour which the author has himself pursued with some success.

ABBOTSFORD, 1st March, 1830.

1 Ancient Ballads and Songs of the North of Scotland, hitherto unpublished; with Explanatory Notes. By P. B. ? vols. 8vo. Edin. 1828.

2 This song is quoted in Moore's Life of Byron, vol. i.— ED.

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Green be the pillow of honest Allan, at whose lamp Burns lighted his brilliant torch! It is without enmity to his memory that we record his mistake in this matter. But it is impossible not to regret that such an affecting tale as that of Bessie Bell and Mary Gray should have fallen into his hands. The southern reader must learn, (for what northern reader is ignorant?) that these two beautiful women were kinsfolk, and so strictly united in friendship, that even personal jealousy could not interrupt their union. They were visited by a handsome and agreeable young man, who was acceptable to them both, but so captivated with their charms, that, while confident of a preference on the part of both, he was unable to make a choice between them. While this singular situation of the three persons of the tale continued, the breaking out of the plague forced the two ladies to take refuge in the beautiful valley of Lynedoch, where they built themselves a bower, in order to avoid human intercourse and the danger of infection. The lover was not included in their renunciation of society. He visited their retirement, brought with him the fatal disease, and unable to return to Perth, which was his usual residence, was nursed by the fair friends with all the tenderness of affection. He died, however, having first communicated the infection to his lovely attendants. They followed him to the grave, lovely in their lives, and undivided in their death.

Their burial-place, in the vicinity of the bower which they built, is still visible, in the romantic vicinity of Lord Lyn doch's mansion, and prolongs the memory of female friend. ship, which even rivalry could not dissolve. Two stanzas of the original ballad alone survive :

"Bessie Bell and Mary Gray,

They were twa bonnie lasses;

They bigged a bower on yon burn brae, And theekit it ower wi' rashes.

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"They wadna rest in Methvin kirk,
Among their gentle kin;
But they wad lie in Lednoch braes,
To beck against the sun."

There is, to a Scottish ear, so much tenderness and simplicity in these verses, as must induce us to regret that the rest should have been superseded by a pedantic modern song, turning upon the most unpoetic part of the legend, the hesitation, namely, of the lover, which of the ladies to prefer. One of the most touching expressions in the song is the following exclamation:

"Oh, Jove! she's like thy Pallas."


Another song, of which Ramsay chose a few words for the theme of a rifacimento, seems to have been a curious specimen of minstrel recitation. It was partly verse, partly narrative, and was alternately sung and repeated. The story was the escape of a young gentleman, pursued by a cruel uncle, desirous of his estate; or a bloody rival, greedy of his life; or the relentless father of his lady-love, or some such remorseless character, having sinister intentions on the person of the fugitive. The object of his rapacity or vengeance being nearly overtaken, a shepherd undertakes to mislead the pursuer, who comes in sight just as the object of his pursuit disappears, and greets the shepherd thus:


Good morrow, shepherd, and my friend,
Saw you a young man this way riding;
With long black hair, on a bob-tail'd mare.
And I know that I cannot be far behind him?

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the Rev. Mr. Coneybeare, in his Illustrations of Anglo-Saxon Poetry (1826,) furnishes a most curious picture of the life of the Northern Scald, or Minstrel, in the high and palmy state of the profession. The reverend editor thus translates the closing lines:

"Ille est carissimus Terræ incolis

Cui Deus addidit Hominum imperium gerendum,
Quum ille eos [bardos] habeat caros.

Ita comeantes cum cantilenis feruntur
Bardi hominum per terras multas;

Simul eos remuneratur ob cantilenas pulchras,
Muneribus immensis, ille qui ante nobiles
Vult judicium suum extollere, dignitatem sustinere
Habet ille sub cœlo stabilem famam."-P. 22.

Mi Coneybeare contrasts this "flattering picture" with the following "melancholy specimen" of the Minstrel life of later times-contained in some verses by Richard Sheale (the alleged author of the old Chevy Chase,) which are preserved in one of the Ashmolean MSS.

"Now for the good cheere that I have had here,

I give you hearty thanks with bowing of my shankes,
Desiring you by petition to grant me such commission-
Because my name is Sheale, that both for meat and meale
you I may resort sum tyme for my comforte.
For I perceive here at all tymes is good cheere,
Both ale, wyne, and beere, as hyt doth now appero,

I perceive without fable ye keepe a good table.

I can be contente, if hyt be out of Lent,

A piece of beefe to take my honger to aslake,

Both mutton and veale is goode for Rycharde Sheale:
Though I looke so grave, I were a veri knave,
If I wold thinke skorne ether evenynge or morne,
Beyng in honger, of fresshe samon or kongar,

I can fynde in my hearte, with my frendis to take a parte
Of such as Godde shal sende, and thus I make an ende.
Now farewel, good myn Hoste, I thank youe for youre costo
Untyl another tyme, and thus do I ende my ryme."-P. 24



In evidence of what is stated in the text, the author would quote the introductory stanza to a forgotten poem of Mickle,

The poor minstrel is described as accompanying the young originally published under the injudicious and equivocal title

rake in his revels. Launcelot describes

'The gentleman himself, young Monsieur Thomas,

Errant with his furious myrmidons;

The fiery fiddler and myself-now singing,

Now beating at the doors," &c.



The "Song of the Traveller," an ancient piece lately discovered in the Cathedral Library of Exeter, and published by

of "The Concubine," but in subsequent editions called, "Sir Martyn, or The Progress of Dissipation."

"Awake, ye west winds, through the lonely dale, And, Fancy, to thy faery bower betake; Even now, with balmy sweetness breathes the gale, Dimpling with downy wing the stilly lake; Through the pale willows faltering whispers wake, And evening comes with locks bedropp'd with dew; On Desmond's mouldering turrets slowly shake The wither'd ryegrass, and the hairbell blue, And ever and anon sweet Mulla's plaints renew."

Mickle's facility of versification was so great, that, being a printer by profession, he frequently put his lines into types without taking the trouble previously to put them into writ

The late Right Honourable William Adam, Lord Chief ing; thus uniting the composition of the author with the mecommissioner of the Scotch Jury Court.-ED.

chanical operation which typographers call by the same name




Imitations of the Ancient Ballad.'

battles, and of love dilemmas, which, to satiety, filled the old romances with trivial repetition, was retrenched. If any one wishes to compare the two eras of lyrical poetry, a few verses taken from one of the latest minstrel ballads, and one of the earliest that were written for the press, will afford him, in some degree, the power of doing so.

THE invention of printing necessarily occasioned the | tion had been originally abandoned. The monotony downfall of the Order of Minstrels, already reduced to of the ancient recitals was, for the same causes, altered contempt by their own bad habits, by the disrepute | and improved upon. The eternal descriptions of attached to their profession, and by the laws calculated to repress their license. When the Metrical Romances were very many of them in the hands of every one, the occupation of those who made their living by reciting them was in some degree abolished, and the minstrels either disappeared altogether, or sunk into mere musicians, whose utmost acquaintance with poetry was being able to sing a ballad. Perhaps old Anthony, who acquired, from the song which he accounted his masterpiece, the name of Anthony Now Now, was one of the last of this class in the capital; nor does the tenor of his poetry evince whether it was his own composition or that of some other.2

But the taste for popular poetry did not decay with the class of men by whom it had been for some generations practised and preserved. Not only did the simple old ballads retain their ground, though circulated by the new art of printing, instead of being preserved by recitation; but in the Garlands, and similar collections for general sale, the authors aimed at a more ornamental and regular style of poetry than had been attempted by the old minstrels, whose composition, if not extemporaneous, was seldom committed to writing, and was not, therefore, susceptible of accurate revision. This was the more necessary, as even the popular poetry was now feeling the effects arising from the advance of knowledge, and the revival of the study of the learned languages, with all the clegance and refinement which it induced.

In short, the general progress of the country led to an improvement in the department of popular poetry, tending both to soften and melodise the language employed, and to ornament the diction beyond that of the rude minstrels, to whom such topics of composi

This essay was written in April 1830, and forms a continuation of the "Remarks on Popular Poetry."-ED.

2 He might be supposed a contemporary of Henry VIII., if the greeting which he pretends to have given to that monarch is of his own composition, and spoken in his own person.

The rude lines from Anthony Now Now, which we have just quoted, may, for example, be compared, as Ritson requests, with the ornamented commencement of the ballad of Fair Rosamond :

"When as King Henry ruled this land,
The second of that name,
Besides his queen he dearly loved
A fair and comely dame.

"Most peerless was her beauty fourd
Her favour, and her face;
A sweeter creature in the world
Could never prince embrace.

"Her crisped locks, like threads of gold
Appear'd to each man's sight;
Her sparkling eyes, like orient pearls,
Did cast a heavenly light.

"The blood within her crystal cheeks
Did such a colour drive,
As though the lily and the rose
For mastership did strive."3

It may be rash to affirm, that those who lived by
singing this more refined poetry, were a class of men
different from the ancient minstrels; but it appears,
that both the name of the professors, and the character
of the Minstrel poetry, had sunk in reputation.
The facility of versification, and of poetical diction,

"Good morrow to our noble king, quoth 1;
Good morrow, quoth he, to thou:
And then he said to Anthony,
O Anthony now now now."

3 PERCY'S Reliques, vol. ii. p. 147.

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