Imágenes de páginas

these and the Danish ballads preserved in the Kiempe trade, of an old Aberdeenshire mmstrel, the very last Viser,” an early collection of heroic ballads in that probably, of the race, who, according to Percy's defilanguage, but to demonstrate that, in many cases, the nition of the profession, sung bis own compositions, stories and songs were distinctly the same, a circum- and those of others, through the capital of the county, stance which no antiquary had hitherto so much as and other towns in that country of gentlemen. This suspected. Mr. Jamieson’s annotations are also very man's name was Charles Leslie, but he was known valuable, and preserve some curious illustrations of more generally by the nickname of Mussel-mou'd the old poets. His imitations, though he is not en- Charlie, from a singular projection of his under lip. tirely free from the affectation of using rather too His death was thus announced in the newspapers for many obsolete words, are generally highly interesting. October, 1792 :-“ Died at Old Rain, in AberdeenThe work fills an important place in the collection of shire, aged one hundred and four years, Charles Les. those who are addicted to this branch of antiquarian lie, a hawker, or ballad-singer, well known in that study.

country by the name of Mussel-mou'd Charlie. He Mr. John Finlay, a poet whose career was cut short followed his occupation till within a few weeks of his by a premature death,' published a short collection of death.” Charlie was a devoted Jacobite, and so po“ Scottish Historical and Romantic Ballads," in 1808. pular in Aberdeen, that he enjoyed in that city a sort The beauty of some imitations of the old Scottish bal- of monopoly of the minstrel calling, no other person lad, with the good sense, learning, and modesty of the being allowed, under any pretence, to chant ballads preliminary dissertations, must make all admirers of | on the causeway, or plain-stanes, of " the brave 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. Various valuable collections of ancient ballad-poe- But the most extensive and valuable additions try have appeared of late years, some of which are il- which have been of late made to this branch of anlustrated with learning and acuteness, as those of Mr. cient literature, are the collections of Mr. Peter Motherwella and of Mr. Kinloch intimate much taste Buchan of Peterhead, a person of indefatigable reand feeling for this species of literature. Nor is there search in that department, and whose industry has any want of editions of ballads, less designed for pub- been crowned with the most successful results. This lic sale, than to preserve floating pieces of minstrelsy is partly owing to the country where Mr. Buchan rewhich are in immediate danger of perishing. Several sides, which, full as it is of minstrel relics, has been of those, edited, as we have occasion to know, by but little ransacked by any former collectors ; so that, men of distinguished talent, have appeared in a smaller while it is a very rare event south of the Tay, to recover form and more limited edition, and must soon be any ballad having a claim to antiquity, which has not among the introuvables of Scottish typography. We been examined and republished in some one or other would particularize a duodecimo, under the modest of our collections of ancient poetry, those of Abertitle of a “ Ballad Book,” without place or date an- deenshire have been comparatively little attended to. nexed, which indicates, by a few notes only, the capa- The present Editor was the first to solicit attention to city which the editor possesses for supplying the most these northern songs, in consequence of a collection extensive and ingenious illustrations upon antiquarian of ballads communicated to him by his late respected subjects. Most of the ballads are of a comic charac- friend, Lord Woodhouslee. Mr. Jamieson, in his col. ter, and some of them admirable specimens of Scot- lections of “ Songs and Ballads," being himself a na tish dry humour. Another collection, which calls tive of Morayshire, was able to push this inquiry for particular distinction, is in the same size, or nearly much farther, and at the same time, by dding so, te so, and bears the same title with the preceding one, illustrate his theory of the connexion between the anthe date being, Edinburgh, 1827. But the contents cient Scottish and Danish ballads, upon which the 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 liberality and good will shown towards me and my underta. the Editor of that work contains the following paragraph :- king."-ED. “I am now writing out for the press a Collection of Popular 1 Mr. Finlay, best known by his " Wallace, or The Vale of Ballada and Songs from tradition, MSS., and scarce publica- Ellerslie," died in 1810, in his twenty-eighth year. An affeclions, with a few of modern date, which have been written tionate and elegant tribute to his memory, from the pen of for, and are exclusirely dedicated to my collection. As many Professor Wilson, appeared in Blackwood's Magazine, No of the pieces were common property, I have heretofore waited vember, 1817.-ED. for the completion of Mr. Walter Scott's Work, with more 2 Minstrelsy; Ancient and Modern, with an Historical Inanxiety for the cause in general, than for any particular and troduction and Notes. By William Motherwell. 4to. Glasg selfish interest of my own; as I was sure of having the satis- 1827. faction of seeing such pieces as that gentleman might choose 3 Ancient Scottish Ballads, recovered from Tradition, and to adopt, appear with every advantage which I, partial as I never before published; with Notes, Historical and Explanawas, could wish them. The most sanguine expectations of tory, and an Appendix, containing the Airs of several of the the public have now been amply gratified; and much curious ballads. 8vo. Edin. 1827. and valuable matter is still left for me by Mr. Scott, to whom * This is Mr. C. K. Sharpe's Work, already alluded to I am much indebted for many acts of friendship, and much Ed.

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

sometimes for the worse, from sets which have ap. Of the originality of the ballads in Mr. Buchan's peared in other publications. This restriction would collection we do not entertain the slightest doubt. make considerable room for such as, old though thoy Several (we may instance the curious tale of “ The be, possess to this age all the grace of novelty. Two Magicians") are translated from the Norse, and To these notices of late collections of Scottish Bal. Mr. Buchan is probably unacquainted with the origi- lads, we ought to add some remarks on the very cunals. Others refer to points of history, with which rious “ Ancient Legendary Tales, printed chiefly from the editor does not seem to be familiar. It is out of Original Sources, edited by the Rev. Charles Henry no disrespect to this laborious and useful antiquary, Hartshorne, M.A. 1829.” The editor of this unostenthat we observe his prose composition is rather florid, tatious work has done his duty to the public with and forms, in this respect, a strong contrast to the much labour and care, and made the admirers of this extreme simplicity of the ballads, which gives us the species of poetry acquainted with very many ancient most distinct assurance that he has delivered the lat- legendary poems, which were hitherto unpublished ter to the public in the shape in which he found them. and very little known. It increases the value of the Accordingly, we have never seen any collection of collection, that many of them are of a comic turn, a Scottish poetry appearing, from internal evidence, so species of composition more rare, and, from its necesdecidedly and indubitably original. It is perhaps a sary allusion to domestic manners, more curious and pity that Mr. Buchan did not remove some obvious interesting, than the serious class of Romances. 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 read- We have thus, in a cursory manner, gone through ings, is an advantage to the ballads themselves, we the history of English and Scottish popular poetry, are contented rather to take the whole in their pre- and noticed the principal collections which have been sent, though imperfect state, than that the least doubt formed from time to time of such compositions, and should be thrown upon them, by amendments or al- the principles on which the editors have proceeded. terations, which might render their authenticity It is manifest that, of late, the public attention has doubtful. The historical poems, we observe, are few been so much turned to the subject by men of research and of no remote date. That of the “ Bridge of Dee,” and talent, that we may well hope to retrieve from is among the oldest, and there are others referring to oblivion as much of our ancient poetry as there is now the times of the Covenanters. Some, indeed, are any possibility of recovering. composed on still more recent events; as the mar- Another important part of our task consists in givriage of the mother of the late illustrious Byron, and ing some account of the modern imitation of the Enga catastrophe of still later occurrence, “ The Death of lish Ballad, a species of literary labour which the auLeith-hall.”

thor has himself pursued with some success. 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 recom- ABBOTSFORD, mend to Mr. Buchan to leave out a number of songs 1st March, 1830.

1 Ancient Ballads and Songs of the North of Scotland, Witherto unpublished; with Explanatory Notes. By P. B. rols. Svo Edin. 1828

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

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“ Sen the days of auld King Harie,

“ They wadna rest in Methvin kirk, Such slauchter was not heard or seen."

Among their gentle kin;

But they wad lie in Lednoch braes, Query, Who was the “auld King Harie here meant? If

To beck against the sun." Henry VIII. be intended, as is most likely, it must bring the date of the poem, at least of that verse, as low as Qireen There is, to a Scottish ear, so much tenderness and simplicity Mary's time. The ballad is said to have been printed in 1668. in these verses, as must induce us to regret that the rest should A copy of that edition would be a great curiosity.

have been superseded by a pedantic modern song, turning See the preface to the reprint of this ballad, in the volume upon the most unpoetic part of the legend, the hesitation, of “ Early Metrical Tales," ante referred to.

namely, of the lover, which of the ladies to prefer. One of the most touching expressions in the song is the following ex. clamation :

“Oh, Jore! she's like thy Pallas."

Another song, of which Ramsay chose a few words for the NOTE B.

theme of a rifacimento, seems to have been a curious specimen of minstrel recitation. It was partly verse, partly narra

tive, and was alternately sung and repeated. The story was ALLAN RAMSAY'S “ EVERGREEN.”—P. 544. 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 remorseGreen be the pillow of honest Allan, at whose lamp Burns less character, having sinister intentions on the person of the lighted his brilliant torch! It is without enmity to his me- fugitive. The object of his rapacity or vengeance being nearly mory that we record his mistake in this matter. But it is im- overtaken, a shepherd undertakes to mislead the pursuer, possible not to regret that such an affecting tale as that of who comes in sight just as the object of his pursuit disappears, Bessie Bell and Mary Gray should have fallen into his hands. and greets the shepherd thus :The southern reader must learn, (for what northern reader is ignorant ?) that these two beautiful women were kinsfolk, and

PURSUER. 30 strictly united in friendship, that even personal jealousy Good morrow, shepherd, and my friend. could not interrupt their union. They were visited by a hand

Saw you a young man this way riding; some and agreeable young man, who was acceptable to them

With long black hair, on a bob-tail'd mare, both, but so captivated with their charms, that, while confi

And I know that I cannot be far behind him? dent of a preference on the part of both, he was unable to make a choice between them. While this singular situation

THE SHEPHERD. of the three persons of the tale continued, the breaking out Yes, I did see him this way riding, of the plague forced the two ladies to take refuge in the beau

And what did much surprise my wit, tiful valley of Lynedoch, where they built themselves a bower, The man and the mare flew up in the air, in order to aroid human intercourse and the danger of infection. And I see, and I see, and I see her yet. The lover was not included in their renunciation of society. He

Behind yon white cloud I see her tail wave, visited their retirement, brought with him the fatal disease,

And I see, and I see, and I see her yet " and unable to return to Perth, which was his usual residence, was nursed by the fair friends with all the tenderness of affec- The tune of these verses is an extremely good one, and tion. He died, however, having first communicated the in-Allan Ramsay has adapted a bacchanalian song to it with fection to his lovely attendants. They followed him to the some success; but we should have thanked him much had be grave, lovely in their lives, and undivided in their death. taken the trouble to preserve the original legend of the old minstrel. The valuable and learned friend 1 to wbom wel the Rev. Mr. Coneybeare, in his Illustrations of Anglo-Saxon owe this mutilated account of it, has often heard it sung Poetry (1826,) furnishes a most curious picture of the life of among the High Jinks of Scottish lawyers of the last genera- the Northern Scald, or Minstrel, in the high and palmy stato Lion.

of the profession. The reverend editor thus translates tho closing lines :

- Ille est carissimus Terræ incolis NOTE C.

Cui Deus addidit Hominum imperium gerendum,

Quum ille eos (bardos] habeat caros.

Ita comeantes cum cantilenis feruntur

Bardi hominum per terras multas;
Neglecting, in literary debate, the courtesies of ordi-

Simul eos remuneratur ob cantilenas pulchras, nary society."-P. 544.

Muneribus immensis, ille qui ante nobiles For example, in quoting a popular song, well known by the Vult judicium suum extollere, dignitatem sustinere asme of Maggie Lauder, the editor of the Reliques had given

Habet ille sub cælo stabilem famam."-P. 22. a line of the Dame's address to the merry minstrel, thus:-

My Coneybeare contrasts this " flattering picture" with the “ Gin ye be Rob, I've heard of you,

following “melancholy specimen" of the Minstrel life of later You dwell upon the Border."

times-contained in some verses by Richard Sheale (the al. Ritson insisted the genuine reading was,

leged author of the old Chevy Chase,) which are preserved in

one of the Ashmolean MSS. “Come ye frae the Border ?"

“Now for the good cheere that I have had here, And he expatiates with great keenness on the crime of the Bishop's having sophisticated the text, (of which he produces

I give you hearty thanks with bowing of my shankes, no evidence,) to favour his opinion, that the Borders were a

Desiring you by petition to grant me such commissionfavourite abode of the minstrels of both kingdoms. The fact,

Because my name is Sheale, that both for meat and meale it is believed, is undoubted, and the one reading seems to

To you I may resort sum tyme for my comforte. support it as well as the other.-[Joseph Ritson died in 1803. ]

For I perceive here at all tymes is good cheere,
Both ale, wyne, and beere, as hyt doth now appere,
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, " A MERE CROWDER UPON AN UNTUNED PIDDLE."- If I wold thinke skornc ether evenynge or morne, P. 546.

Beyng in honger, of fresshe samon or kongar,

I can fynde in my hearte, with my frendis to take a parte In Fletcher's comedy of “Monsieur Thomas," such a fiddler Of such as Godde shal sende, and thus I make an ende. w questioned as to the ballads he is best versed in, and replies, Now farewel, good myn Hoste, I thank youe for youre coste

Untyl another tyme, and thus do I ende my ryme."-P. 28 • Under your mastership's correction I can sing,

• The Duke of Norfolk,' or the merry ballad
Of Divius and Lazarus;' The Rose of England;'
• In Crete, where Dedimus first began;'
• Jonas his crying out against Coventry.'

Thomas. Excellent!
Rare matters all.

Fiddler. Mawdlin the Merchant's Daughter;'
• The Devil and ye Dainty Dames.'
Thomas. Rare still.

Fiddler. "The Landing of the Spaniards at Bow,
With the bloody battle at Mile-end.""

In evidence of what is stated in the text, the author would

quote the introductory stanza to a forgotten poem of Mickle, Ilie poor minstrel is described as accompanying the young originally published under the injudicious and equivocal title rake in his revels. Launcelot describes

of " The Concubine,” but in subsequent editions called, “Sir

Martyn, or The Progress of Dissipation."
"The gentleman himself, young Monsieur Thomas,
Errant with his furious myrmidons ;
The fiery fiddler and myself-now singing,

"Awake, ye west winds, through the lonely dale, Now beating at the doors," &c.

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 renow." The “ Song of the Traveller," an ancient piece lately disco- Mickle's facility of versification was so great, that, being a vered in the Cathedral Library of Exeter, and, published by 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 me commissioner of the Scotch Jury Court.-ED.

chanical operation which typographers call by the same nanse.



Imitations of the

of the Ancient Ballad.'

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 disreputeand improved upon. The eternal descriptions of attached to their profession, and by the laws calcu- battles, and of love dilemmas, which, to satiety, filled lated to repress their license. When the Metrical the old romances with trivial repetition, was reRomances were very many of them in the hands of trenched. If any one wishes to compare the two eras every one, the occupation of those who made their of lyrical poetry, a few verses taken from one of the living by reciting them was in some degree abolished, latest minstrel ballads, and one of the earliest that and the minstrels either disappeared altogether, or were written for the press, will afford him, in some sunk into mere musicians, whose utmost acquaintance degree, the power of doing so. with poetry was being able to sing a ballad. Perhaps The rude lines from Anthony Now Now, which we old Anthony, who acquired, from the song which he have just quoted, may, for example, be compared, as accounted his masterpiece, the name of Anthony Now Ritson requests, with the ornamented commencement Now, was one of the last of this class in the capital ; of the ballad of Fair Rosamond :nor does the tenor of his poetry evince whether it was his own composition or that of some other.

“When as King Henry ruled this land,

The second of that name, But the taste for popular poetry did not decay with

Besides his queen he dearly loved the class of men by whom it had been for some genera

A fair and comely dame. tions practised and preserved. Not only did the simple old ballads retain their ground, though circulated by

“Most peerless was her beauty found.

Her favour, and her face; the new art of printing, instead of being preserved by

A sweeter creature in the world recitation; but in the Garlands, and similar collec

Could never prince embrace. tions for general sale, the authors aimed at a more ornamental and regular style of poetry than had been

“Her crisped locks, like threads of gold attempted by the old minstrels, whose composition, if

Appear'd to each man's sight;

Her sparkling eyes, like orient pearls. not extemporaneous, was seldom committed to writing,

Did cast a heavenly light. and was not, therefore, susceptible of accurate revision. This was the more necessary, as even the popular

“ The blood within her crystal cheeks poetry was now feeling the effects arising from the

Did such a colour drive,

As though the lily and the rose advance of know'edge, and the revival of the study of

For mastership did strive.”3 the learned languages, with all the elegance and refinement which it induced.

It may be rash to affirm, that those who lived by In short, the general progress of the country led to singing this more refined poetry, were a class of men an improvement in the department of popular poetry, different from the ancient minstrels; but it appears, tending both to soften and melodise the language that both the name of the professors, and the character employed, and to ornament the diction beyond that of of the Minstrel poetry, had sunk in reputation. the rude minstrels, to whom such topics of composi- The facility of versification, and of poetical diction,

" This essay was written in April 1830, and forms a contiRuation of the “ Remarks on Popular Poctry."— Ed.

9 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.

“Good morrow to our noble king, quoth i ;

Good morrow, quoth he, co thou:
And then he said to Anthony,

O Anthony now now now."
3 PERCY's Reliques, vol. ii. p 147.

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