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Enter Meg Dodds, encircled by a crowd of unruly boys, Lines,
whom a town's-officer is driving off. ADDRESSED TO MONSIEUR ALEXANDRE,' THE CELEBRATED VENTRILOQUIST.
That's right, friend-drive the gaitlings back,
And lend yon muckle ane a whack; 1824.
Your Embro’ bairns are grown a pack,
Sae proud and saucy, OF yore, in old England, it was not thought good
They scarce will let an auld wife walk To carry two visages under one hood;
Upon your causey. What should folk say to you? who have faces such plenty,
I've seen the day they would been scaur'd, That from under one hood, you last night show'd us
Wi' the Tolbooth, or wi’ the Guard,
Or maybe wud hae some regard twenty! Stand forth, arch deceiver, and tell us in truth,
For Jamie Laing— 3
The Water-hole was right weel wared
But whar's the gude Tolbooths gane now?
Whar's the auld Claught, wi' red and blue ? Above all, are you one individual ? I know
Whar's Jamie Laing ? and whar's John Doo ??
And whar's the Weigh-house ?8 You must be at least Alexandre and Co.
Deil hae't I see but what is new,
Except the Playhouse!
Yoursells are changed frae head to heel, Must read you the Riot-Act, and bid you disperse.
There's some that gar the causeway reel ABBOTSFORD, 23. April.2
With clashing hufe and rattling wheel,
And horses canterin',
Wha's fathers daunder'd hame as weel
Wi' lass and lantern.
On sic a gang:
TO THE DRAMA FOUNDED ON “ ST. RONAN'S WELL."
Mysell being in the public line,
And eat cheap dinners;
Of saints or sinners!
“ After the play, the following humorous address (as
cribed to an eminent literary character,) was spoken with infinite effect by Mr. Mackay in the character of Meg Dodds.”—Edinburgh Weekly Journal, 9th June, 1824.
Fortune's' and Hunter's 10 gane, alas !
1 “When Monsieur Alexandre, the celebrated ventriloquist, 7 John Doo, or Dhu-a terrific-looking and high-spirited was in Scotland, in 1824, he paid a visit to Abbotsford, where he member of the Town Guard, and of whom there is a print by entertained his distinguished host, and the other visiters, with Kay, etched in 1784. his unriralled imitations. Next morning, when he was about
8 The Weigh-House, situated at the head of the West Bow, to depart, Sir Walter felt a good deal embarrassed as to the Lawnmarket, and which had long been looked upon as an ensort of acknowledgment he should offer ; but at length, resolv- cumbrance to the street, was demolished in order to make ing that it would probably be most agreeable to the young foreigner to be paid in professional coin, if in any, he stepped way for
the royal procession to the Castle, which took place
on the 22d of August, 1822. aside for a few minutes, and, on returning, presented him with
9 Fortune's Tavern-a house on the west side of the Old this epigram. The reader need hardly be reminded that Sir Walter Scott held the office of Sheriff of the county of Selkirk.” Stamp Office Close, High Street, and which was, in the early --Scotch newspaper, 1830.
part of the last century, the mansion of the Earl of Eglin9 The lines, with this date, appeared in the Edinburgh An-toun.-The Lord High Commissioner to the General Assemnual Register of 1824.
bly of the day held his levees and dinners in this tavern. 3 James Laing was one of the Depute-Clerks of the city of
10 Hunter's-another once much-frequented tavern, in WriEdinburgh, and in his official connexion with the Police and ter's Court, Royal Exchange. the Council-Chamber, his name was a constant terror to evil- 11 Bayle's Tavern and Coffeehouse, originally on the North doers. He died in February, 1806.
Bridge, east side, afterwards in Shakspeare Square, but re4 The Watch-hole.
moved to admit of the opening of Waterloo Place. Such was 8 The Tolbooth of Edinburgh, The Heart of Mid-Lothian, the dignified character of this house, that the waiter always was pulled down in 1817.
appeared in full dress, and nobody was admitted who had not & The ancient Town Guard. The reduced remnant of this a white neckcloth-then considered an indispensable insig body of police was finally disbanded in 1817
nium of a gentleman.
And now if folk would splice a brace,
The sages to disparage woman's power,
Say, beauty is a fair, but fading flower ;-
I cannot tell—I've small philosophy,
Yet, if it fades, it does not surely die,
But, like the violet, when decay'd in bloom, The deevil hottle them for Meg !
Survives through many a year in rich perfume. They are sae greedy and sae gleg,
Witness our theme to-night, two ages gone, That if ye’re served but wi' an egg,
A third wanes fast, since Mary fillid the throne. (And that's puir pickin',)
Brief was her bloom, with scarce one sunny day, In comes a chiel and makes a leg,
'Twixt Pinkie's field and fatal Fotheringay: And charges chicken!
But when, while Scottish hearts and blood you
boast, “ And wha may ye be,” gin ye speer,
Shall sympathy with Mary's woes be lost ? “ That brings your auld-warld clavers here?”
O'er Mary's mem'ry the learn'd quarrel,
By Mary's grave the poet plants his laurel,
Time's echo, old tradition, makes her name
The constant burden of his fault'ring theme;
In each old hall his grey-hair'd heralds tell
Of Mary's picture, and of Mary's cell, I came a piece frae west o' Currie;
And show-my fingers tingle at the thoughtAnd, since I see you're in a hurry,
The loads of tapestry which that poor Queen Your patience I'll nae langer worry,
wrought, But be sae crouse
In vain did fate bestow a double dower
Of ev'ry ill that waits on rank and pow'r,
Of ev'ry ill on beauty that attends
False ministers, false lovers, and false friends. Plays are auld-fashion'd things, in truth,
Spite of three wedlocks so completely curst, And ye've seen wonders mair uncouth ;
They rose in ill from bad to worse, and worst, Yet actors shouldna suffer drouth,
In spite of errors—I dare not say more,
For Duncan Targe lays band on his claymore. Although they speak but wi' their mouth,
In spite of all, however, humours vary,
There is a talisman in that word Mary,
That unto Scottish bosoms all and some But ye tak care of a' folk's pantry;
Is found the genuine open sesamum!
In history, ballad, poetry, or novel,
Even you—forgive me—who, demure and shy, Is claims as gude's to be a ventri
Gorge not each bait, nor stir at every fly,
Must rise to this, else in her ancient reign
The Rose of Scotland has survived in vain.
And without failzie,
“ It was but three nights ago, that, worn out by the uniformity of my confinement, I had manifested more symptoms of despondence than I had before exhibited, which I conceive may have attracted the attention of the domestics, through whom the circumstance might transpire. On the next morning, the following lines lay on my table ; but how conveyed
The sages—for authority, pray look
1 Mr. William Murray became manager of the Edinburgh was never spoken, but written for some play, afterwards withTheatre in 1815.
drawn, in which Mrs. H. Siddons was to have spoken it in the
character of Queen Mary."— Extract from a Letter of Sir 9“I recovered the above with some difficulty. I believe it Walter Scoll to Mr. Constable, 22d October, 1824.
there, I cannot tell. The hand in which they are written is a beautiful Italian manuscript.”—Dairsie
(2.)-SONG-THE TRUTH OF WOMAN. Latimer's Journal, Chap. x.
WOMAN's faith, and woman's trust-
Write the characters in dust;
Stamp them on the running stream,
Print them on the moon's pale beam,
And each evanescent letter
Shall be clearer, firmer, better,
And more permanent, I ween,
Than the thing those letters mean.
I have strain’d the spider's thread
'Gainst her plight of heart and hand ; From The Betrothed.
I told my true love of the token,
Again her word and truth she plight,
And I believed them again ere night. (1.)—SONG-SOLDIER WAKE.
And it show'd me that a small worm had gnaw'd its Whate'er your liberty hath known of pleasure. roots.
Roderick. No, fairest, we have trifled here too long; The boy who remembered the scourge, undid the And, lingering to see your roses blossom, wicket of the castle at midnight.
I've let my laurels wither. Kindness fadeth away, but vengeance endureth.
An evil principle innate,
“ Therefore thus speaks my lady," the fals page he said, Contending with our better fate,
And the knight lowly louted with hand and with head, And oh! victorious still?
“ Fling aside the good armour in which thou art clad,
And don thou this weed of her night-gear instead,
For a hauberk of steel, a kirtle of thread:
And fight as thy wont is where most blood is shed,
And bring honour away, or remain with the dead.”
Untroubled in bis look, and untroubled in his breast,
The knight the weed hath taken, and reverently hath Whene'er a sunny gleam appears,
kiss'd : To brighten up our vale of tears,
“ Now bless'd be the moment, the messenger be blest! Thou art not distant far;
Much honour'd do I hold me in my lady's high behest; 'Mid such brief solace of our lives,
And say unto my lady, in this dear night-weed dress’d, Thou whett'st our very banquet-knives To the best arm'd champion I will not veil my crest; To tools of death and war.
But if I live and bear me well 'tis her turn to take the
the Bloody Vest.
THE BLOODY VEST,
The Baptist's fair morrow beheld gallant feats(2.)—SONG OF BLONDEL.—THE BLOODY There was winning of honour, and losing of seatsVEST.
There was hewing with falchions, and splintering of
staves, “The song of Blondel was, of course, in the Nor. The victors won glory, the vanquish'd won graves. man language ; but the verses which follow express 0, many a knight there fought bravely and well, its meaning and its manner.”
Yet one was accounted his peers to excel,
And 'twas he whose sole armour on body and breast, 'Twas near the fair city of Benevent,
Seem'd the weed of a damsel when boune for her rest. When the sun was setting on bough and bent, And knights were preparing in bower and tent, There were some dealt him wounds that were bloody On the eve of the Baptist's tournament;
and sore, When in Lincoln green a stripling gent,
But others respected his plight, and forebore. Well seeming a page by a princess sent,
“ It is some oath of honour,” they said, “and I trow, Wander'd the camp, and, still as he went,
"Twere unknightly to slay him achieving his vow.” Enquired for the Englishman, Thomas a Kent. Then the Prince, for his sake, bade the tournament
cease, Far hath he fared, and farther must fare,
He flung down his warder, the trumpets sung peace; Till he finds his pavilion nor stately nor rare,— And the judges declare, and competitors yield, Little save iron and steel was there;
That the Knight of the Night-gear was first in the And, as lacking the coin to pay armourer's care,
field. With his sinewy arms to the shoulders bare, The good knight with hammer and file did repair The feast it was nigh, and the mass it was nigher, The mail that to-morrow must see him wear, When before the fair Princess low louted a squire, For the honour of Saint John and his lady fair. And deliver'd a garment unseemly to view,
With sword-cut and spear-tbrust, all hack'd and s6 Thus speaks my lady,” the page said he,
pierced through; And the knight bent lowly both head and knee, All rent and all tatter'd, all clotted with blood, “ She is Benevent's Princess so high in degree, With foam of the horses, with dust, and with mud, And thou art as lowly as knight may well be- Not the point of that lady's small finger, I ween, He that would climb so lofty a tree,
Could have rested on spot was unsullied and clean. Or spring such a gulf as divides her from thee, Must dare some high deed, by which all men may see “ This token my master, Sir Thomas a Kent, His ambition is back'd by his high chivalrie. Restores to the Princess of fair Benevent;