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MODERN SCOTTISH MINSTREL;
THE SONGS OF SCOTLAND OF THE PAST HALF CENTURY.
Memoirs of the Poets,
SKETCHES AND SPECIMENS IN ENGLISH VERSE OF THE MOST CELEBRATED MODERN GAELIC BARDS.
CHARLES ROGERS, LL.D., F.S.A. SCOT.
IN SIX VOLUMES.
EDINBURGH: ADAM & CHARLES BLACK, NORTH BRIDGE, BOOKSELLERS AND PUBLISHERS TO HER MAJESTY.
EDINBURGH: PRINTED BY BALLANTYNE AND COMPANY, PAUL'S WORK.
ALEXANDER BAILLIE COCHRANE,
ESQ. OF LAMINGTON.
I inscribe to you the present volume of "THE MODERN SCOTTISH MINSTREL," not to express approval of your political sentiments, nor to court your patronage as a man of rank. Political science has occupied only a limited share of my attention, and I have hitherto conducted my peculiar studies without the favour of the great. My dedication is prompted on these twofold grounds:—Bearing in your veins the blood of Scotland's Illustrious Defender, you were one of the first of your order to join in the proposal of rearing a National Monument to his memory; and while some doubted the expediency of the course, and others stood aside fearing a failure, you did not hesitate boldly to come forward as a public advocate of the enterprise. Yourself a man of letters, you were among the foremost who took an interest in the establishment of the Scottish Literary Institute, of which you are now the President—a society having for its main object the relief, in circumstances of virtuous indigence, of those men of genius and learning who have contributed by the pen to perpetuate among our countrymen that spirit of intelligence and love of freedom which, by his sword, Sir William Wallace first taught Scotsmen how to vindicate and maintain.
I have the honour to be, Sir, Your very obedient, humble servant, CHARLES ROGERS.
STIRLING, June 1857.
SCOTTISH LYRICS AND SCOTTISH LIFE.
BY JAMES DODDS.
Judging from a comparison of extant remains, and other means of information now available, it may be doubted whether any country has equalled Scotland in the number of its lyrics. By the term lyrics, I mean specifically poetical compositions, meant and suitable to be sung, with the musical measures to which they have been wedded. I include under the term, both the compositions themselves, and their music. The Scottish ballads are numerous, the Scottish songs all but numberless, and the Scottish tunes an inexhaustible fountain of melody.
"And now 'twas like all instruments, Now like a lonely flute; And now it is an angel's song, That makes the heavens be mute."
Look at the vast collections of them which have been published, and the additions which are ever making, either from some newly-discovered manuscript, or from oral tradition in some out-of-the-way part of the country. The numbers, too, which have been preserved, seem to be exceeded by the numbers that have unfortunately been lost. Who has not in his ears the hum of many lyrics heard by him in his childhood—from mother, or nurse, or some old crooning dame at the fireside—which are to be found in no collection, and which are now to himself but like a distant, unformed sound? All our collectors, whilst smiling in triumph over the pearls which they have brought up and borne to the shore, lament the multitude of precious things irrecoverably buried in the depths of oblivion. Where, for instance, amid the similar wreck which has befallen so many others, are now the ancient words pouring forth the dirge over the "Flowers of the Forest," or those describing the tragic horrors on the "Braes of Yarrow," or those celebrating the wondrous attractions of the "Braw Lads o' Gala Water"? We have but the two first lines—the touching key-note of a lover's grief, in an old song, which has been most tamely rendered in Ramsay's version—these two lines being—
"Alas! that I came o'er the moor, And left my love behind me."
Only one verse has floated down of an old song, which breathes the very soul of a lover's restless longings:—
"Aye wakin', O! Wakin' aye an' eerie; Sleep I canna get For thinkin' on my dearie; Aye wakin', O!"
Does it not at once pique and disappoint the fancy, that these two graceful verses are all that remain of a song, where, doubtless, they were once but two fair blossoms in a large and variegated posy:—
"Within my garden gay The rose and lily grew; But the pride of my garden is wither'd away, And it 's a' grown o'er wi' rue.
"Farewell, ye fading flowers! And farewell, bonnie Jean! But the flower that is now trodden under foot, In time it may bloom again."
Nay—passing from the tender to the grotesque—would it not have been agreeable to hear something more than two lines from the lips of a lover so stout-hearted, yet so ardent, in his own rough, blunt way, as he who has thus commenced his song:—
"I wish my love were in a mire, That I might pull her out again;"
or to know something more of the details of that extraordinary parish, of which one surviving verse draws the following sombre picture:—
"Oh! what a parish!—eh! what a parish! Oh! what a parish is that o' Dunkel': They 've hang'd the minister, droon'd the precentor; They 've pu'd doon the steeple, and drunk the kirk-bell."
The Scottish lyrics, lying all about, thus countless and scattered—
"Thick as autumnal leaves that strew the brooks In Vallambrosa"—
are not like those which mark and adorn the literature of many other countries, the euphonisms of a meretricious court, or the rhymed musings of philosophers, or conceits from Pagan mythology, or the glancing epigrams of men of wit and of the world, or mere hunting choruses and Bacchanalian catches of a rude squirearchy. They are the ballads, songs, and tunes of the people. In their own language, but that language glittering from the hidden well of poesy—in ideas which they at once recognise as their own, because photographed from nature—these lyrics embody the loves and thoughts of the people, the themes on which they delight to dwell, even their passions and prejudices; and vibrate in their memories, quickening the pulses of life, knitting them to the Old Land, and shedding a poetic glow over all the commonplaces of existence and occupation. It is the faithful popular memory, more than anything else, which has been the ark to save the ancient lyrics of Scotland. Not only so, but there is reason to believe that our national lyrics have, generally speaking, been creations of the men, and sometimes of the women, of the people. They are the people's, by the title of origin, no less than by the feeling of sympathy.
This, of course, is clear, as regards the great masters of the lyre who have appeared within the period of known authorship—Ramsay, Burns, Tannahill, Hogg, and Cunningham. The authors of the older lyrics—I mean both compositions and tunes—are, with few exceptions, absolutely unknown; but were there room here for discussion, it might be shewn that all the probabilities lead up, principally, to the ancient order of Minstrels, who from very early times were nearly as much organised and privileged and honoured in Scotland, as ever were the troubadours in Provence and Italy. Ellis, in the Introduction to his "Specimens of Early English Metrical Romances," alluding to Scott's publication of "Sir Tristrem," remarks—"He has shewn, by a reference to ancient charters, that the Scottish minstrels of this early period enjoyed all the privileges and distinctions possessed by the Norman trouveurs, whom they nearly rivalled in the arts of narration, and over whom they possessed one manifest advantage, in their familiar acquaintance with the usual scenes of chivalry." These minstrels, like the majority of poetic singers, were no doubt sons of the people—bold, aspiring, and genius-lit—bursting strong from their mother earth, with all her sap and force and fruitfulness about them. Amongst the last of the professed minstrels was one Burn, who wonned on the Borders as late as the commencement of the eighteenth century, and who, in his pleasant, chirping ditty of "Leader Haughs and Yarrow," takes to himself this very title of Minstrel.
"But Minstrel Burn cannot assuage His grief while life endureth, To see the changes of this age, That fleeting time procureth. For many a place stands in hard case, Where blythe folk kenn'd nae sorrow, With Homes that dwelt on Leader-side, And Scotts that dwelt on Yarrow."
Of this minstrel Burn there is a quaint little personal reminiscence. An aged person at Earlstoun many years ago related, that there used to be a portrait of the minstrel in Thirlestane Castle, near Lauder, "representing him as a douce old man, leading a cow by a straw-rope." The master of the "gay science" gradually slipping down from the clouds, and settling quietly and doucely on the plain hard ground of ordinary life and business! Let all pale-faced and sharp-chinned youths, who are spasmodic poets, or who are in danger of becoming such, keep steadily before them the picture of minstrel Burn, "leading a cow by a straw-rope"—and go and do likewise.
But as trees and flowers can only grow and come to perfection in soils by nature appropriate to them, so it is manifest that all this rich and fertile growth of lyrics, of minstrelsy and music, could only spring up amongst a people most impressionable and joyous. I speak of the Lowland population, and especially of the Borderers, with whose habits, manners and customs, alone I am personally acquainted; and the lingering traces of whose old forms of life—so gay, kindly, and suggestive—I saw some thirty years ago, just before they sank under the mammonism, commonplace, critical apery, and cold material self-seeking, which have hitherto been the plague of the present generation. We have become more practical and knowing than our forefathers, but not so wise. We are now a "fast people;" but we miss the true goal of life—that is, sober happiness. Fast to smattering; fast to outward, isolated show; fast to bankruptcy; fast to suicide; fast to some finale of enormous and dreadful infamy. Bah! rather the plain, honest, homely life of our grandfathers—
"Far from the madding crowd's ignoble strife, Their sober wishes never learn'd to stray; Along the cool, sequester'd vale of life, They kept the noiseless tenor of their way."
Or rather (for every age has its own type, and old forms of life cannot be stereotyped and reproduced), let us have a philosophic and Christian combination of modern adventure and "gold-digging" with old-fashioned balance of mind, and neighbourliness, and open-heartedness, and thankful enjoyment.
Our Scottish race have been—yes, and notwithstanding modern changes, still are—a joyous people—a people full of what I shall term a lyric joyousness. I say they still are—as may be found any day up the Ettricks, and Yarrows, and Galas—up any of our Border glens and dales. The Borderers continue to merit the tribute paid to them in the odd but expressive lines of Wordsworth:—
"The pleasant men of Tiviotdale, Fast by the river Tweed."
From time immemorial they have been enthusiastic lovers of song and music, and have been thoroughly imbued with their influences. Bishop Leslie, a contemporary of the state of manners which he describes, has recorded of them, upwards of two centuries ago—"That they take extreme delight in their music, and in their ballads, which are composed amongst themselves, celebrating the deeds of their ancestors, or the valour and success of their predatory expeditions;" which latter, it must be remembered, were esteemed, in those days, not only not criminal, but just, honourable, and heroic. What a gush of mirth overflows in king James' poem of "Peebles to the Play," descriptive of the Beltane or May-day festival, four hundred years ago! at Peebles, a charming pastoral town in the upper district of the vale of the Tweed:—
"At Beltane, when ilk body bouns To Peebles to the play, To hear the singin' and the soun's, The solace, sooth to say. By firth and forest forth they wound, They graithit them full gay: God wot what they would do that stound, For it was their feast-day, They said, Of Peebles to the play!
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"Hop, Calye, and Cardronow Gatherit out thick-fald, With, Hey and How and Rumbelow! The young folk were full bald. The bagpipe blew, and they out threw Out of the towns untald: Lord! sic ane shout was them amang, When they were owre the wald, There west Of Peebles to the play!"
Thirty years ago, the same joyousness prevailed in a thousand forms—in hospitality, in festivity, in merry customs, in an exquisite social sense, in the culture of the humorous and the imaginative, in impressibility to every touch of noble and useful enthusiasm. It would be easy to dilate upon the causes which seem to have produced this choice joyous spirit in so unexpected a region as the far, bleak North: but that would be a lengthened subject; and we must content ourselves at present with the fact. And, instead of branching out into general vague illustrations of what I mean by this lyric joyousness, I shall localise it, and embody the meaning in a sketch, light and imperfect it must be, of a real place and a real life—such as mine own eyes witnessed when a boy—and in the fond resuscitation of which, amidst the usual struggles and anxieties allotted to middle age, memory and feeling now find one of their most soothing exercises.
Let me transport the reader in imagination to the Vale of the Tweed, that classic region—the Arcadia of Scotland, the haunt of the Muses, the theme of so many a song, the scene of so many a romantic legend. And there, where that most crystalline of rivers has attained the fulness of its beauty and splendour—just before it meets and mingles in gentle union with its scarce less beauteous sister, "sweet Teviot"—on one of those finely swelling eminences which everywhere crown its banks, rise the battlements of Fleurs Castle, which has long been the seat of the Roxburghe family. It is a peerless situation; the great princely mansion, ever gleaming on the eye of the traveller, at whatever point he may be, in the wide surrounding landscape. It comes boldly out from the very heart of an almost endless wood—old, wild, and luxuriant; having no forester but nature—spreading right, left, and behind, away and away, till lost in the far horizon. Down a short space in front, a green undulating haugh between, roll the waters of the Tweed, with a bright clear radiance to which the brightest burnished silver is but as dimness and dross. On its opposite bank is a green huge mound—all that now remains of the mighty old Roxburgh Castle, aforetime the military key of Scotland, and within whose once towering precincts oft assembled the royalty, and chivalry, and beauty of both kingdoms. At a little distance to the east of Fleurs, the neat quaint abbey-town of Kelso, with its magnificent bridge, nestles amid greenery, close to the river. And afar to the south, the eye, tired at last with so vast a prospect, and with such richness and variety of scenery, rests itself on the cloud-capt range of the Cheviots, in amplitude and grandeur not unmeet to sentinel the two ancient and famous lands.
Upwards of thirty years ago, the ducal coronet of Roxburghe was worn by a nobleman who was then known, and is still remembered on Tweedside, as the "Good Duke James." The history of his life, were there any one now to tell it correctly, would be replete with interest. I cannot pretend to authentic knowledge of it; but I know the outline as I heard it when a child—as it used to be recited, like a minstrel's tale, by the gray-haired cottager sitting at his door of a summer evening, or by some faithful old servant of the castle, on a winter's night, over his flagon of ale, at the rousing hall-fire. And from all I have ever learned since, I judge that these country stories in the main were accurate.
He was not by birth a Ker—the family name of the house of Roxburghe—descended of the awful "Habbie Ker" in Queen Mary's troublous time, the Taille-Bois of the Borders, the Ogre-Baron of tradition, whose name is still whispered by the peasant with a kind of eeriness, as if he might start from his old den at Cessford, and pounce upon the rash speaker. Duke James was an Innes of the "north countrie;" Banff or Cromarty. He was some eight years of age in the dismal '45. Though his father was Hanoverian, the "Butcher" Cumberland shewed him but little favour in the course of his merciless ravages after Culloden. A troop of dragoons lived at free quarters on his estate; and one of them, in mere wanton cruelty, fired at the boy when standing at his father's door, and the ball grazed his face. Seventy years afterwards, when he was duke, the Ettrick Shepherd happened to dine at Fleurs. He was then collecting his "Jacobite Relics," and the Duke asked him what was his latest ballad? The Shepherd answered, it was a version of "Highland Laddie." He sang it. On coming to the verse,
"Ken ye the news I hae to tell, Bonnie Laddie, Highland Laddie, Cumberland's awa' to hell, Bonnie Laddie, Highland Laddie!"
the Duke burst into one of his ringing laughs—the fine, deep Ho, ho! that would drown all our effeminate modern gigglings, the sound of which lingers amongst the memories of my boyhood. "He well deserves it—he well deserves it—the wretch! Ho, ho!"—and he shouted with laughter, and threw himself into all the rough unceremonious humour of the ballad, finishing off by relating his own dire experience of the doings of Cumberland and his dragoons in the north. It seems he entered into the army, and served in the American war. After retiring, I believe he took up his residence in England—Devonshire, I think; his name at this time was Sir James Norcliffe Innes. During the once-belauded "good old times" of George III. he distinguished himself by holding and manfully avowing opinions which were then branded as Jacobinism; and he was an intimate friend, and I have heard an active supporter of the virtuous and patriotic Major Cartwright. About the beginning of the present century, the direct line of the Roxburghe Kers having failed, a competition arose amongst a host of claimants, for the estate and honours of that ancient House. After a most protracted and severe litigation, which forms one of the Causes Celebres in the law-books of Scotland, Sir James Norcliffe Innes was preferred. When approaching fourscore, he was installed Duke of Roxburghe, and put on a coronet at an age, long before which most part of mankind have put on their shrouds. He put it on—ay, and for many years wore it stout and stark—nobly, loftily, sweetly—with a dignity, simplicity, large-heartedness, and munificence, the remembrance of which somehow always brings to my mind that majestic line of Shakspeare, containing, after all, only a name and title, yet sounding as the embodiment of whatever is great and heroic in human character—
"Old John of Gaunt, time-honoured Lancaster!"
I see him before me, as he lives in the recollections of childhood—as he lives and seems to speak in Raeburn's inimitable portrait at Fleurs. What a perfect mould of man! scarce one mark of old age in that face—no sign of weakness or decay in that frame, which has weathered eighty winters. He was over the middle size; straight, firm, strong built, and compact, with the air of native lordliness and command. His countenance was peculiarly beautiful, full and rounded as if young; fresh-coloured; and beaming with health, spirit, and vivacity. Its almost womanly sweetness was chastened and redeemed by the massiveness of the head, the deep penetrating eye, and an aspect of uncommon elevation and nobleness. Till the last, he was the very personification of the old Dux—the Duke of Chivalry—the foremost leader and commander of the people. But instead of chained mail and helmet, he was to be seen every day walking about amongst his people in hoddin-gray coat, nankeen breeches, white vest, and rumpled white hat—plain, easy, manly, and unaffected in all things.
Beyond the honour of an occasional pinch of the ears, or that kind, homely greeting which in passing he bestowed on all of us, young and old, I did not and could not know him personally. But, from those who did, I have always heard the highest estimate of his character, intellectually and morally. He possessed extensive information; but rather that of a man who had moved much about, and observed much, than from book-lore. His understanding was of the most masculine order—in all his views and judgments, distinguished by clearness, decision, and energy. But his great mental characteristic seems to have been wisdom—that fine, just inward sense of things, which, like poetry, is born in a man, not acquired—the result, generally, as in his case, of an innate power, combined with large, varied, and calming experience. Like most men of this stamp, he had both a keen sense of the humorous, and a racy talent for it; abounded in sententious, remarkable sayings; and had a dash of playfulness and eccentricity which gave a zest to his many solid excellences. The physician who attended his deathbed, often expressed regret that he had not kept a memorandum of his many striking observations during the short period of his illness. His character, morally, may be summed up in its two polar qualities—justice the most austere, generosity the most tender and boundless. Interwoven through his whole dispositions and actions was a strong, vehement temperament, which infused into all he said and did a vivid intensity, which would sometimes degenerate into sallies of passion, but which, upon the whole, raised and exalted his character to the true heroic dimensions. His factor, a respectable Edinburgh burgess, a gunsmith by trade, whom he had selected for no aptitude but from the freak of the name (Innes), could not always appreciate his schemes of improvement on the estate, which really were not based on economic considerations, but were meant to afford large means of employment to the people. In consequence, the duke, though he respected him greatly, would sometimes be ruffled, and blurt out a harsh thing at his expense. Walking with him one day in the fields, he was explaining with the most animated eloquence, where he intended to make some drains. "But," interrupted the burgess-factor, only thinking of the balance-sheet, "you will spend a great deal of money." "Yes," retorted the old nobleman, with ineffable contempt; "you have guessed my object: I will spend a great deal of money." Then, turning quick on his heel, "You know more about the barrel of an old gun than about drains." After one of those sallies, the factor, who resided a few miles from Fleurs, and had swallowed and forgotten the bitter dose, was preparing, about twelve o'clock at night, to go to bed, when there was a sharp, sudden ring at the door-bell. It was a messenger from the duke, with a letter, in which he stated, that, in reflecting on the incidents of the day before retiring to rest, he felt remorse for the taunt which he had uttered; that it was the ebullition of the moment, but cruel and unkind; and that he could not sleep until he had received forgiveness. It may be conceived in what ardent terms the factor replied, and with what redoubled attachment he regarded and served such a master! This was no exceptional blink of goodness. It was only a specimen of his habit of justice, even against himself—of his magnanimity and generous candour—changeless as the sun.
During the just, benignant sway of the "good Duke James," perhaps Fleurs was the happiest place of all Scotland to live in;—not a happier could be in the wide world. To have been born and brought up there, and in one's childhood to have had such a taste of the "golden age," I have always esteemed the sweetest privilege of life. No one can become utterly sour, no one can lose faith and hope in humanity, who was nurtured on the milk and honey of Fleurs, under "good Duke James." Poetry and enthusiasm must spring eternal in his breast. This is no illusion from the fancies of boyhood. Ask the old peasant of Tweedside—a mature, hardy man then—and he will tell, with a glow on his cheek, and a tear, due to remembrance, in his eye, "Ah! the Fleurs was a braw place under auld Duke Jemmy!" Nature, industry, peace, mirth, love, a kindred soul between duke and people, seemed to breathe in every gale there, and sing in the matins and vespers of every bird. There the lyric joyousness, characteristic of the Scottish people when allowed freely to develop, expanded itself to the utmost of its power and fervour. Fleurs was like the "Ida Vale" of Spenser:—
"In Ida vale, (who knows not Ida vale?) When harmless Troy yet felt not Grecian spite, An hundred shepherds wonn'd; and in the dale, While their fair flocks the three-leaved pastures bite, The shepherd boys, with hundred sportings light, Gave wings unto the time's too speedy haste."
In our old, picturesque Saxon form of speech, the husband was the "bread-winner." Duke James was emphatically the "bread-giver." To furnish employment, to diffuse comfort and happiness amongst the employed, was the all-absorbing object of his life. Anything that would have ministered to his own luxury and glorification was but little heeded. There might be pleasure-grounds more ornamental than his, walks more trim, conservatories more gaudily replenished with exotics, chambers more resplendent with costly furniture and pictures by the great masters, equipage more gay and dashing—in all that belonged to the personnel, he was plain and moderate; but where was there ever such planting of forests, or cutting of timber, or building of this and the other structure—all kinds of heavy works, employing hundreds of hands? On many of the high labour-festivals which signalised the calendar at Fleurs, upwards of three hundred people, all earning their livelihood under his patriarchal sway, would dine together in the court, and dance together on the velvet lawn in front of his castle. At six o'clock on a mild summer evening, what a spectacle, to see Fleurs gate thrown wide open, and troop after troop of labourers debouche!—not worn-out, fagged, and sullen, but marching with alacrity and cheerfulness—the younger lilting a merry song, the older and more careful carrying home fagots of wood, gathered at their resting hours, to supply the fire for their cheap evening meal. And all had some story to tell of the Duke!—some little trait of kindness, or some of those drolleries in which he would occasionally indulge, but ever without loss of dignity. He used to walk for hours together beside my grandfather whilst holding the plough—a wise and holy man, an Abraham amongst the people—and converse with him as brother with brother, especially on the incidents of his own life, and on matters of religion. On his coming forward, my grandfather would take off his hat; but the duke would stop him, and say, "Keep on your hat, James. It 's all very well to teach the young fellows manners, but there 's no ceremony between you and me; we are equals—two plain old men." His servants, of whatever degree, dined together in the common hall; but some of the more aspiring "ambitioned" (as the Yankees say) a separate table. One of them, who was supposed to be rather a favourite, was deputed to break the project to the duke, and obtain his consent at some propitious moment. Thinking he had him one day in a most accommodating temper, he cautiously hinted the scheme, and gradually waxed bolder, and disclosed all particulars, as the duke seemed to listen with tacit approval. "Well, well," answered the duke, carelessly, "all my servants are alike to me. You may dine at one table, or at twenty, if you can so arrange it. But whatever the number"—here his voice rose ominously, and his eye flashed with anger—"you, sirrah, shall dine at the lowest!" The great question of the "tables" was crushed. Sometimes—after the fashion of Haroun al Raschid, though not in disguise—he would steal down quietly and unperceived, through the out-of-the-way holes and corners of the immense castle, to see with his own eyes what the inhabitants of the remoter regions were about. Some dry joke, or some act of benevolence, according to circumstances, was sure to be the result. As he was one day poking through the passages, he suddenly encountered an enormously big, fat servant-woman, engaged in cleaning a stair. She was steaming with perspiration. Eyeing her curiously for a moment, "Ho, ho!" he cried (his usual introductory exclamation), "do you bake the bread?" The woman, staring in astonishment, and, fortunately for her own self-complacency, not understanding the point of the strange question, replied, "No, your grace, that is not my department; I am in the laundry, and my business is"—"Oh, never mind," said the duke, with the look of one greatly relieved, "I am perfectly satisfied so you don't bake the bread." A decayed gentleman, who had found harbourage at Fleurs, was staying rather longer than convenient. It was in the depth of winter, and the ground was covered with snow. The duke, who was an early riser in all seasons, had been out for his morning walk; and on his return proceeded to the gentleman's room, who was still in bed. "You lazy lie-a-bed!" exclaimed the duke, "there 's a snow-ball for you—and there 's another—and there 's another," and suiting the action to the word, he discharged into the bed upon him a shower of white-looking balls; but they happened to be, not snow-balls, but pound-notes squeezed into the shape—report said, twenty in number. The gentleman took the practical but benevolent hint, and departed, carrying with him the snow-balls, not melted. In his more serious mood, he, one Sabbath, met a girl returning from church, and inquired what church she had been attending. He then walked with her a long time, discoursing upon the slight shades of difference amongst the various religious denominations, and concluded, "I shall not see it, but I believe that, in course of time, there will be only one sheepfold under the one Shepherd."
Labour at Fleurs was a twin to mirth. We were always having festivities. The duke was ingenious in devising reasons for them. Because he was Scotch by origin, he celebrated all the peculiar Scottish festivals; because he was English by residence, he celebrated all the peculiar English festivals; because in his youth the "Old Style" of computing the year was still used, he first of all held Old Year's Day, and New Year's Day, and Twelfth Night, according to the new style, and then repeated the observance all over again, according to the old style. And there was a constant succession, the whole year through, of birth-days, and the commemoration of public holidays and rejoicings.
"It was a merry place in days of yore."
Suppose summer shining in all its pride, and that labour is to enjoy one of its highest festivals at Fleurs. All work ceases at noon; and by two, the people, dressed in holiday attire, muster at the trysting-spot, and march in a body to the castle, preceded by Tam Anderson, the duke's piper, a grave, old-fashioned man, in livery of green coat and black velvet breeches—a fossil specimen he of what the Border minstrel once was, when his art was in its prime. As Tam drones away on his bagpipe "Lumps o' Puddin'," and "Brose and Butter," they take their places at three long tables, covering a large court. Three hundred workpeople and their families are there; for the duke sternly forbids any but his own people to be present. It is in vain for me, whose knowledge of cookery never extended beyond the Edinburgh student's fare of mince collops and Prestonpans beer, to attempt a description of this monster-feast—the mountains of beef and dumplings, the wilderness of pasties and tarts, the orchardfuls of fruit, the oceans of strong ale—the very fragments of which would have been enough to carry a garrison through a twelvemonth's siege. After having "satiated themselves with eating and drinking," like the large-stomached heroes of the antique world, they had an hour's interval for sauntering, that healthy digestion might have time to arrange and stow away the immense load which the vessel had just taken in. Again, however, they marshalled to the piper's warning note, playing, "Fy, let us a' to the bridal!" and this time marched to the spacious, smooth, and beautiful lawn in front of the castle, where Givan's Band awaited their arrival, and the dance speedily began. The merriment now swelled to ecstacy; lads and lasses leaped through and through, as on the wings of zephyrs; a hundred couples bounding at once on the green sward; the old folks chiming in the chorus of universal laughter, and snapping their fingers to the dances in which they had no longer the strength and nimbleness to join; the youngsters getting up mimic reels in sly corners; and the music seeming to stir into delight the branches of the great elms which festooned this ball-room of nature. But was there not something awanting to complete the unity of the scene? Where was the presiding divinity?
" ... Deus nobis haec otia fecit, Namque erit ille mihi semper deus."
Oh, for an hour past he has been watching the rustic carnival from yonder portico, with his gracious duchess (much his junior), his true help-meet in everything good, courteous, and benevolent! At length he descends into the circle, with a smile to all, a word of recognition to this one, a light airy jest at the expense of that one, and a responsive hooch to the wild, whirling dancers. As he advances, all the pretty girls draw themselves up to catch his eye, and to have the honour of his hand in the dance. He strolls about, peering gently, until, in some obscure corner, he espies a young, shy, modest damsel, the lowliest there, whom no one is noticing, a lowly worker in the back kitchen, or even in the fields. Her he selects—blushing with surprise and a tumult of nameless emotions—to be Queen of the festival; he pats her on the shoulders, whispers paternal-gallant things in her ear, and calling lustily for "Tullochgorum" from the fiddlers, leads her gracefully through the dance, himself—though upwards of eighty—throwing some steps of the Highland Fling, snapping his fingers, and hooching in unison with the impassioned throng of youths around him—those young stately plants who have grown up under the dew and shelter of his benign protection. When the dance is finished, kissing her on the cheek, he leads his little simple partner back to her seat, and leaves her in a delicious vision of the good old duke, who had distinguished her, sitting solitary and unnoticed, above all her companions, and placed the coronal upon her brow, queen of the festival. As he returns slowly to the castle, there is an involuntary pause in the merry-making. The musicians lay down their bows, the youths stop short in the mazes of the Bacchic dance, the spectators stand up uncovered, the subtle electric chain of love and loyalty passes between duke and people, and a grand universal "hurrah!" rings through the welkin—the outburst of gratitude, reverence, and joy. It is touching, solemn, sublime, this pause and outburst of feeling in the midst of the wild festal scene. Not a maiden there but loves him as she would a father; not a stalwart hind but, if need were, would die in defence of his old chief. "When the ear hears him, then it blesses him; and when the eye sees him, it gives witness to him; because he delivers the poor that cry, and the fatherless, and him that has none to help him. The blessing of him that is ready to perish comes upon him; and he causes the widow's heart to sing for joy. He puts on righteousness, and it clothes him; his judgment is as a robe and a diadem."
But eighty-six years are a heavy load on the shoulders even of a giant. The grasshopper at length becomes a burden to the strongest and most cheerful. News came from the Castle that our old duke was unwell, was confined to his room, then to his bed. One morning—I remember it as if yesterday—as I was walking through the court-yard with one of the farm-servants, the butler looked from a window above, shook his head mournfully, folded his arms across his breast, and bent his eyes towards the ground. We read his meaning at a glance,—"The good Duke James was dead!" For days and days the people gave way to a deep, even a passionate grief, as if each had lost a beloved father, and was left to all the loneliness and privation of an orphan's lot. The body, or rather the coffin which enclosed it, was laid out in state; and they were allowed to take a last farewell of their chief. His valet, a favourite servant, stood at the head, with his handkerchief almost constantly over his eyes, scarcely able to hide his tears. The chamber was dimly lighted, and filled with all the emblems of woe—in this case no mimicry. All walked round, slowly and solemnly—the ancients of the hamlet, the stalwart peasantry, and the women leading the children by the hand—all gazing intently on the spot where the dead lay, as if even yet to catch a glimpse of that piercing eye and benignant smile. The silence was profound, awful, but for a throbbing under-hum as of stifled breath, broken ever and anon by a sharp sob—the "hysterica passio," the "climbing sorrow," which even reverence and self-restraint could no longer keep down. The day of the funeral arrived. His remains were to be borne about twelve miles off, to Bowden, under the shadow of the three-peaked Eildons, for there the ancient vault is where lie "the race of the house of Roxburghe." The long, long line of mourning carriages I well remember; but these only spoke the general respect and commonplace regret of the neighbourhood, which are incident to such an occasion. His people in their hundreds—these were his mourners! The younger and stronger of them, in one way or other, accompanied the death procession to the last resting-place. The women of the place, leading the children, went down, all weeping as they went, to a bend in the Tweed, where there would be a last view of the funeral train. There it was!—darkly marching on the opposite bank, winding round the mouldering hillock which was once Roxburgh Castle, and finally disappearing—disappearing for ever!—behind that pine-covered height! As the last of the train floated and melted away from the horizon, we all sunk to the ground at once, as if struck by some instantaneous current; and such a wail rose that day as Tweed never heard; whilst an echoing voice seemed to cry along his banks, and into the depth of his forests—"The last of the Patriarch-Dukes has departed!"
One instance is worth a thousand dissertations. And the above thin water-colour sketch of a real popular life, though presenting only one or two out of an endless variety of its phases, will give a more distinct conception than a volume of fanciful generalities could, of what I mean by the lyric joyousness of the Scottish people; and is, besides, a sincere, though mean and unworthy tribute to the virtues of a true patriarchal nobleman, about the last of the race, whose name, if the world were not too apt to forget its most excellent ones, would be eternised in the memory of mankind.
It is from this soil—this sensitive and fervid national temperament—that there has sprung up such a harvest of ballads, and songs, and heart-moving, soul-breathing melodies. Hence the hearty old habits and curious suggestive customs of the people: the hospitality, exuberant as Abraham's, who sat in the tent-door bidding welcome even to the passing traveller; the merry-meetings and "rockings" in the evening, where each had to contribute his or her song or tale, and at the same time ply some piece of work; the delight in their native dances, furious and whirling as those of the Bacchantes; the "Guisarding" of the boys at Christmas, relic of old-world plays, when the bloody melodrama finished off into the pious benediction—
"God bless the master of the house, The mistress also, And all the pretty babies That round the table go;"
the "first foot," on New Year's morning, when none must enter a house empty-handed; the "Hogmanay," or first Monday of the new year, when the whole boys and girls invaded the country-side, and levied from the peaceful inhabitants black-mail of cakes, and cheese, and ha'pence—
"Get up, gudewife! and shake your feathers, Dinna think that we are beggars; We are bairns come out to play, Rise up and gie 's our Hogmanay!"—
the "Halloween," whose rites of semi-diablerie have been immortalised by Burns; and the "Kirn," or Harvest Home, the wind-up of the season, the epitome of the lyric joyousness of the whole year. Hence it is that under an exterior, to strangers so reserved, austere, and frigid, they all cherish some romantic thought, or feeling, or dream: they are all inly imbued with an enthusiasm which surmounts every obstacle, and burns the deeper and faster the more it is repressed. Every one of us, calling up the history of our own little circle of cottage mates and schoolfellows, could recount numerous pregnant examples of this national characteristic. And hence, also, after wandering the wide world, and buffeting in all the whirlpools of life, cautiously waiting chances, cannily slipping in when the door opens, and struggling for distinction or wealth in all kinds of adventure, and under the breath of every clime—there are few, indeed, of our people, when twilight begins to gather over their path, but turn towards the light that comes from their old homes; and would fain pass a serene and meditative old age by the burnside where they "paidled" in their youth, and lay down their bones beside their fathers in the kirkyard of yon calm sequestered glen. Scott went down to the nether springs of the national character when he made his "Last Minstrel" sing—
"By Yarrow's stream still let me stray, Though none should guide my feeble way; Still feel the breeze down Ettrick break, Although it chill my wither'd cheek; Still lay my head by Teviot stone!"
Times have changed, it is true, even within the comparatively short space which has elapsed since the death of the Good Duke James of Roxburghe. Or rather, he was the last lingering representative of an age, of ideas, of a state of manners—lovely, but transitional—which had even then vanished, except the parting ray that fell on that one glistening spot. It was the transition from Mediaeval Clanship to Modern Individualism—from that form of society where thousands clustered devotedly round the banner of one, their half-worshipped chief, to the present fashion, where it is, "Every man for himself, and God for us all!" Yet the period of transition was a golden age. It was a golden age—I know it, for I lived in it. There was the old patriarchy—the feeling, undefinable to those who have not experienced the same state of life, as if gods walked upon earth; and with this patriarchal, overshadowing, protecting sway, derived from the old, there was blended the modern recognition of the rights and dignity of man—the humblest man—as an individual. Thrown, as we all now are, into the modern anarchy, hurly-burly, and caricaturism, when fathers are "old governors," and dukes are served solely for their wages and pickings, like Mr Prog, the sausage-vendor, and the gentle look of respect and courtesy has been exchanged for the puppy's stare through a quizzing-glass; is it not something to have lived in the more reverent primitive state, to have tasted its early vernal freshness, and basked in its sunshine of loyal homage, and beautiful and stately repose?
Yet far be it from me to croak as the "laudator temporis acti." Past, present, and future—all are divine—all are parts of a celestial scheme—none to be scorned, all to be loved and improved. But the past is under the sod; the future is behind the clouds; the present alone has its foot upon the green sward. In a higher sense than the epicure's, it is "our own." Let us, then, appreciate, exalt, and enjoy it. There are good and glorious signs in our present, amid much that is of earth earthy, and of self selfish. If man has become more isolated, more rigidly defined, and has been stript of most of his old pictorial haloes—he is also beginning to display a plain, honest, equal, fraternal yearning and sympathy, man to man. Our hard material age shews the buddings of a poetry of its own. Streams shall gush from the rock. If there were, in the days of loyal Clanhood, joyousness, and generous susceptibility, festive reliefs to labour, and reverence for greatness; why should not this be so even more, under the influence of common Brotherhood? "Charity never faileth!" Everything dies but charity and joy. Even in the general conflagration, these will be exhaled from earth, only to burst forth afresh in heaven—"a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God."
PAGE FRANCIS BENNOCH, 1 Truth and honour, 7 Our ship, 8 Auld Peter Macgowan, 10 The flower of Keir, 11 Constancy, 12 My bonnie wee wifie, 13 The bonnie bird, 14 Come when the dawn, 15 Good-morrow, 16 Oh, wae's my life, 17 Hey, my bonnie wee lassie, 18 Bessie, 20 Courtship, 21 Together, 22 Florence Nightingale, 23
JOSEPH MACGREGOR, 25 Laddie, oh! leave me, 25 How blythely the pipe, 26
WILLIAM DUNBAR, D.D., 28 The maid of Islay, 29
WILLIAM JERDAN, 30 The wee bird's song, 32 What makes this hour? 33
ALEXANDER BALD, 34 The lily of the vale, 35 How sweet are the blushes of morn, 35
GEORGE WILSON, 37 Mild as the morning, 37 The beacons blazed, 38 The rendezvous, 40
JOHN YOUNGER, 42 Ilka blade o' grass gets its ain drap o' dew, 43 The month of June, 44
JOHN BURTT, 46 O'er the mist-shrouded cliffs, 47 O! lassie I lo'e dearest, 47
CHARLES JAMES FINLAYSON, 49 The bard strikes his harp, 50 Ph[oe]bus, wi' gowden crest, 51 Oh, my love 's bonnie, 52
WILLIAM DOBIE, 54 The dreary reign of winter's past, 55
ROBERT HENDRY, M.D., 57 Oh, let na gang yon bonnie lassie, 58
HEW AINSLIE, 60 The hameward sang, 61 Dowie in the hint o' hairst, 62 On wi' the tartan, 63 The rover o' Lochryan, 64 The last look o' hame, 65 The lads an' the land far awa', 66 My bonnie wee Bell, 67
WILLIAM THOMSON, 68 The maiden to her reaping-hook, 68
ALEXANDER SMART, 71 When the bee has left the blossom, 73 Oh, leave me not, 74 Never despair, 75
JOHN DUNLOP, 77 The year that 's awa', 78 Oh, dinna ask me, 78 Love flies the haunts of pomp and power, 79 War, 80
WILLIAM BLAIR, 82 The Highland maid, 82 The Neapolitan war-song, 84
ARCHIBALD MACKAY, 85 Our auld Scots sangs, 85 My laddie lies low, 87 Jouk and let the jaw gae by, 88 Victorious be again, boys, 89
WILLIAM AIR FOSTER, 91 Fareweel to Scotia, 91 The falcon's flight, 92 The salmon run, 94
CHARLES MARSHALL, 97 The blessing on the wark, 98 Jewel of a lad, 99 Twilight joys, 100
WILLIAM WILSON, 102 Oh, blessing on her starlike een, 102 Oh! blessing on thee, land, 104 The faithless, 105 My soul is ever with thee, 106 Auld Johnny Graham, 107 Jean Linn, 108 Bonnie Mary, 109
MRS MARY MACARTHUR, 111 The missionary, 111
JOHN RAMSAY, 114 Farewell to Craufurdland, 114
JAMES PARKER, 116 The mariner's song, 116 Her lip is o' the rose's hue, 117
JOHN HUNTER, 119 The bower o' Clyde, 119 Mary, 122 In distant years, 123
ROBERT CHAMBERS, 124 Young Randal, 126 The ladye that I love, 127 Thou gentle and kind one, 128 Lament for the old Highland warriors, 129
THOMAS AIRD, 131 The swallow, 132 Genius, 133
ROBERT WHITE, 136 My native land, 137 A shepherd's life, 138 Her I love best, 140 The knight's return, 141 The bonnie Redesdale lassie, 143 The mountaineer's death, 144
WILLIAM CAMERON, 146 Sweet Jessie o' the dell, 146 Meet me on the gowan lea, 147 Morag's fairy glen, 148 Oh! dinna cross the burn, Willie, 150
ALEXANDER TAIT, 151 E'ening's dewy hour, 151
CHARLES FLEMING, 153 Watty M'Neil, 153
WILLIAM FERGUSON, 155 I'll tend thy bower, my bonnie May, 155 Wooing song, 156 I'm wandering wide, 158
THOMAS DICK, 160 How early I woo'd thee, 160
HUGH MILLER, 161 Sister Jeanie, haste, we 'll go, 166 Oh, softly sighs the westlin' breeze, 167
ALEXANDER MACANSH, 171 The mother and child, 172 Change, 173 The tomb of the Bruce, 174
JAMES PRINGLE, 176 The ploughman, 176
WILLIAM ANDERSON, 178 Woodland song, 180 The wells o' Weary, 181 I'm naebody noo, 182 I canna sleep, 183
WILLIAM M. HETHERINGTON, D.D., LL.D., 185 'Tis sweet wi' blythesome heart to stray, 186 Oh, sweet is the blossom, 187
THOMAS WATSON, 189 The squire o' low degree, 189
JAMES MACDONALD, 192 Bonnie Aggie Lang, 193 The pride o' the glen, 194 Mary, 196
JAMES BALLANTINE, 198 Naebody's bairn, 200 Castles in the air, 201 Ilka blade o' grass keps its ain drap o' dew, 202 Wifie, come hame, 203 The birdie sure to sing is aye the gorbel o' the nest, 204 Creep afore ye gang, 205 Ae guid turn deserves anither, 205 The nameless lassie, 206 Bonnie Bonaly, 207 Saft is the blink o' thine e'e, lassie, 208 The mair that ye work, aye the mair will ye win, 209 The widow, 209
MISS ELIZA A. H. OGILVY, 211 Craig Elachie, 212
JOHN FINLAY, 215 The noble Scottish game, 216 The merry bowling-green, 218
THOMAS TOD STODDART, 220 Angling song, 221 Let ither anglers, 222 The British oak, 223 Peace in war, 224
ALEXANDER MACLAGAN, 226 Curling song, 229 The auld meal mill, 230 The thistle, 232 The Scotch blue bell, 233 The rockin', 235 The widow, 237 The Highland plaid, 238 The flower o' Glencoe, 239
MRS JANE C. SIMPSON, 241 Gentleness, 242 He loved her for her merry eye, 244 Life and death, 245 Good-night, 246
ANDREW PARK, 248 Hurrah for the Highlands, 249 Old Scotland, I love thee! 250 Flowers of summer, 251 Home of my fathers, 252 What ails my heart? 253 Away to the Highlands, 254 I'm away, 255 There is a bonnie, blushing flower, 256 The maid of Glencoe, 257
MARION PAUL AIRD, 258 The fa' o' the leaf, 258 The auld kirkyard, 260 Far, far away, 261
WILLIAM SINCLAIR, 263 The royal Breadalbane oak, 264 Evening, 265 Mary, 266 Absence, 267 Is not the earth, 269 Oh! love the soldier's daughter dear! 270 The battle of Stirling, 272
WILLIAM MILLER, 274 Ye cowe a', 274
ALEXANDER HUME, 276 My ain dear Nell, 276 The pairtin', 278
METRICAL TRANSLATIONS FROM THE MODERN GAELIC MINSTRELSY.
JOHN MACDONALD, D.D., 281 The missionary of St Kilda, 282
DUNCAN KENNEDY, 284 The return of peace, 285
ALLAN M'DOUGALL, 287 The song of the carline, 288
KENNETH MACKENZIE, 290 The song of the kilt, 290
JOHN CAMPBELL, 292 The storm blast, 293
JAMES M'GREGOR, D.D., 294 Light in the Highlands, 295
MODERN SCOTTISH MINSTREL.
Francis Bennoch, the son of a farmer on the property of the Duke of Buccleuch, and of a mother whose family have been tenants on the same estate for nearly two hundred years, was born at Drumcrool, in the parish of Durrisdeer, and county of Dumfries, on the 25th June 1812. At the age of sixteen, in February 1828, he arrived in London, and entered a house of business in the city. During the nine ensuing years, he assiduously pursued his avocation, and strove to make himself master of the elements and practice of trade. In 1837 he commenced on his own responsibility, and every succeeding year has advanced him in mercantile prosperity and position. Now, at the head of the firm of Bennoch, Twentyman, & Rigg, wholesale traders and manufacturers, there is no name in the city more universally respected.
In the corporate body of the city of London Mr Bennoch for some years took a prominent part as a citizen, a common councilman, and lastly as the deputy of a ward. An independent man and a reformer of abuses, he has so managed his opposition to measures, and even to men, as to win the warm approval of his own friends, and the respect of the leaders of all parties. His plans for bridging the Thames may be referred to in proof of his patriotic devotedness to improvement.
Influenced in his youth by the genius of the locality in which he was born, to which the Ayrshire Ploughman had left a legacy of immortal song, succeeded by Allan Cunningham, and a number of distinguished followers, it was not, however, till he had been two years a denizen of the metropolis that Mr Bennoch's Scottish feeling sought to vent itself in verse. The love of country is as inherent and vehement in the children of the North as in the Swiss mountaineers; wheresoever they wander from it, their hearts yearn towards the fatherland—
"Land of brown heath and shaggy wood, Land of the mountain and the flood, Land of their sires"—
with the same cherished and enduring affection which excites in the Rans des Vaches so overpowering a sympathy. And the pastoral is perhaps even more replete with the poetical elements than the "stern and wild." It is amid such scenes as the Doon, the Tweed, the Teviot, the Ettrick, the Gala, and the Nith adorn, that the jaded senses are prone to seek recreation, and the spirit, tired with work or worn with cares, flees rejoicingly from the world to the repose of its first breathing and time-sweetened, boyish delights. Thus we find young Bennoch, amid the clatter of the great city, turning to the quiet of his native valley to sing the charms of the Nith, where he
"Had paidlet i' the burn, And pu'd the gowans fine."
It was in the Dumfries Courier that his first poetic essay found its way to print. That journal was then edited by the veteran M'Diarmid, himself an honour to the literature of Scotland, and no mean judge of its poetry. A cheer from such a quarter was worth the winning, and our aspirant fairly won it, by the five stanzas of which the following is the last:—
"The flowers may fade upon your banks, The breckan on the brae, But, oh! the love I ha'e for thee Shall never pass away. Though age may wrinkle this smooth brow, And youth be like a dream, Still, still my voice to heaven shall rise For blessings on your stream!"
But banks and braes, and straths and streams, and woods and waves, though very dear to memory, merely come up to the painted beauties of descriptive verse. They must be warmed through
"The dearest theme That ever waked the poet's dream,"
and love must fill the vision, before the soul can soar above the delicious but inanimate charms of earth, into the glowing region of human feeling and passion.
"In peace, Love tunes the shepherd's reed; In war, he mounts the warrior's steed; In halls, in gay attire is seen; In hamlets, dances on the green. Love rules the court, the camp, the grove, And man below, and saints above: For love is heaven, and heaven is love!"
Nor was this essential inspiration wanting in the breast of the young bard. The climate of Caledonia is cold, but that the hearts of her sons are susceptible of tropic warmth is shewn by a large proportion of her lyric treasures. Heroism, pathos, satire, and a peculiar quaint humour, present little more than an equal division, and the attributes of the wholly embodied Scottish muse attest the truth of the remark on the characteristic heat and fire which pervade her population, and excite them to daring in war and ardour in gentler pursuits. Thus Bennoch sung his Mary, Jessie, Bessie, Isabel, and other belles, but above all his Margaret:—
"The moon is shining, Margaret, Serenely bright above, And, like my dearest Margaret, Her every look is love! The trees are waving, Margaret, And balmy is the air, Where flowers are breathing, Margaret, Come, let us wander there.
* * * * *
Yes! there 's a hand, dear Margaret, A heart it gives to thee; When heaven is false, my Margaret, Then I may faithless be."
In the volume whence the preceding quotations are taken (second edition, 1843), the principal poem is "The Storm," in which occur many passages of singular vigour, and slighter touches of genuine poetry. Thus—
"The sea, by day so smooth and bright, Is far more lovely seen by night, When o'er old Ocean's wrinkled brow, The night has hung her silver bow, And stars in myriads ope their eyes To guide the footsteps of the wise, And in the deep reflected lie, Till Ocean seems a second sky; And ships, like wing'd aerial cars, Are voyaging among the stars."
"Ere winter comes with icy chain, And clanks his fetters o'er the ground."
The impersonation of Winter himself is very striking—
"Loud, loud were the shouts of his boisterous mirth, As he scatter'd dismay o'er the smiling earth; The clouds were rent as the storm was driven; He howl'd and laugh'd in the face of heaven."
The temperament and inclination cherished by the love of song, naturally seek the companionship of similar tastes and congenial enjoyments. Thus, in the midst of the turmoil and distractions of orders and sales, invoices and shipments, Mr Bennoch has always found leisure to pay his court to literature, and cultivate the society of those whose talents adorn it. Conjoined with this, a skilful appreciation of works of art has led him to intimate relations with many of the leading artists of our time. The interesting Biography of Haydon affords a glimpse at the character of some of these relations. Wherever disappointed and however distressed, poor Haydon "claimed kindred here, and had his claim allowed." To his mercantile friend in Wood Street he never applied in vain. To a very considerable extent his troubles were solaced, his difficulties surmounted, his dark despair changed to golden hope, and the threat of the gaol brightened into another free effort of genius to redeem itself from the thralls of law and grinding oppression. Had his generous friend not been absent from England at the fatal time, it is very probable that the dreadful catastrophe would have been averted; but he only landed from the continent to receive the shocking intelligence that all was over. Friendship could but shed the unavailing tear, but it did not forget or neglect the dear family interests for which (in some measure) the despairing sacrifice was made. It is to be hoped that such an unhappy event has been somewhat compensated by the social intercourse with talent ever hospitably cherished, not only in his pleasant home in Blackheath Park, but amid the precious hours that could be snatched from most active engagements in Wood Street. At either, authors and artists are constantly met; and the brief snatches alluded to are often so heartily occupied as to rival, if not surpass, the slower motions of the more prolonged entertainments. Both may boast of "the feast of reason and the flow of soul," and a crowning increase to these enjoyments is derived from the circumstance, that Mr Bennoch's connexions with the Continent, and more especially with the United States, contribute very frequently to engraft upon these "re-unions" a variety of eminent foreigners and intellectual citizens of America. It is a trite saying, that few men can be good or useful abroad who are not happy at home. Mr Bennoch has been fortunate in wedded life. She who is the theme of many of his sweetest and most touching verses, is a woman whom a poet may love and a wise man consult; in whom the sociable gentleman finds an ever cheerful companion, and the husband a loving and devoted friend.
Among the latest of Mr Bennoch's movements in literary affairs, may be mentioned his services on behalf of the late estimable Mary Russell Mitford. Through his intervention the public was gratified by the issue of "Atherton," and other tales, and also by a collected edition of her dramatic works, which she dedicated to him as an earnest of her affectionate regard.
Mr Bennoch is a member of the Society of Arts, the Royal Society of Antiquaries, the Royal Society of Literature, and the Scottish Literary Institute.
 The present Memoir has been prepared at our request by the veteran William Jerdan, late of the Literary Gazette.
TRUTH AND HONOUR.
If wealth thou art wooing, or title, or fame, There is that in the doing brings honour or shame; There is something in running life's perilous race, Will stamp thee as worthy, or brand thee as base. Oh, then, be a man—and, whatever betide, Keep truth thy companion, and honour thy guide.
If a king—be thy kingship right royally shewn, And trust to thy subjects to shelter thy throne; Rely not on weapons or armies of might, But on that which endureth,—laws loving and right. Though a king, be a man—and, whatever betide, Keep truth thy companion, and honour thy guide.
If a noble—remember, though ancient thy blood, The heart truly noble is that which is good; Should a stain of dishonour encrimson thy brow, Thou art slave to the peasant that sweats at the plough. Be noble as man—and, whatever betide, Keep truth thy companion, and honour thy guide.
If lover or husband—be faithful and kind, For doubting is death to the sensitive mind; Love's exquisite passion a breath may destroy; The sower in faith, reapeth harvests of joy. Love dignifies man—and, whatever betide, Keep truth thy companion, and honour thy guide.
If a father—be firm, yet forgiving, and prove How the child honours him who rebuketh with love. If rich, or if poor, or whate'er thou may'st be, Remember the truthful alone are the free. Erect in thy manhood, whatever betide, Keep truth thy companion, and honour thy guide.
Then, though sickness may come, or misfortunes may fall, There is that in thy bosom surviveth them all; Truth, honour, love, friendship, no tempests can pale, They are beacons of light in adversity's gale. Oh, the manlike is godlike—no ill shall betide While truth 's thy companion, and honour thy guide.
A song, a song, brave hearts, a song, To the ship in which we ride, Which bears us along right gallantly, Defying the mutinous tide. Away, away, by night and day, Propelled by steam and wind, The watery waste before her lies, And a flaming wake behind. Then a ho and a hip to the gallant ship That carries us o'er the sea, Through storm and foam, to a western home The home of the brave and free.
With a fearless bound to the depths profound, She rushes with proud disdain, While pale lips tell the fears that swell, Lest she never should rise again. With a courser's pride she paws the tide, Unbridled by bit I trow, While the churlish sea she dashes with glee In a cataract from her prow. Then a ho and a hip, &c.
She bears not on board a lawless horde, Piratic in thought or deed, Yet the sword they would draw in defence of law, In the nation's hour of need. Professors and poets, and merchant men Whose voyagings never cease; From shore to shore, the wide world o'er, Their bonds are the bonds of peace. Then a ho and a hip, &c.
She boasts the brave, the dutiful, The aged and the young, And woman bright and beautiful, And childhood's prattling tongue. With a dip and a rise, like a bird she flies, And we fear not the storm or squall; For faithful officers rule the helm, And heaven protects us all. Then a ho and a hip to the gallant ship That carries us o'er the sea, Through storm and foam, to a western home, The home of the brave and free.
 Composed on board the steamship Niagara, on her voyage to New York, in August 1849.
AULD PETER MACGOWAN.
AIR—'The Brisk Young Lad.'
Auld Peter MacGowan cam down the craft, An' rubbit his han's an' fidged an' laugh't; O little thought he o' his wrinkled chaft, When he wanted me to lo'e; He patted my brow an' smooth'd my chin, He praised my e'en an' sleek white skin, Syne fain wad kiss; but the laugh within Came rattlin' out, I trew. O sirs, but he was a canty carle, Wi' rings o' gowd, an' a brooch o' pearl, An' aye he spoke o' his frien' the Earl, And thought he would conquer lo'e.
He boasted o' gear an' acres wide, O' his bawsand youd that I should ride When I was made his bonny wee bride, Returning lo'e for lo'e; That I a lady to kirk should gang, Ha'e writ my virtues in a sang; But I snapp'd my thumb, and said, "gae hang, Gin that's the best ye can do." O sirs, but he was a silly auld man, Nae mair he spak' o' his gear an' lan'; An' through the town like lightning ran, The tale o' auld Peter's lo'e.
An' sae the auld carle spiel'd up the craft, And raved and stamp'd like ane gane daft, Till tears trickled owre his burning chaft, Sin' he couldna win my lo'e. "Far better be single," the folk a' said, "Than a warming pan in an auld man's bed;" He will be cunning wha gars me wed, Wi' ane that I never can lo'e; Na, na! he maun be a fine young lad, A canty lad, an' a dainty lad; Oh, he maun be a spirited lad, Wha thinks to win my lo'e.
THE FLOWER OF KEIR.
O what care I where love was born; I know where oft he lingers, Till night's black curtain 's drawn aside, By morning's rosy fingers. If you would know, come, follow me, O'er mountain, moss, and river, To where the Nith and Scar agree To flow as one for ever.
Pass Kirk-o'-Keir and Clover lea, Through loanings red with roses; But pause beside the spreading tree, That Fanny's bower encloses. There, knitting in her shady grove, Sits Fanny singing gaily; Unwitting of the chains of love, She 's forging for us daily.
Like light that brings the blossom forth, And sets the corn a-growing, Melts icy mountains in the north, And sets the streams a-flowing; So Fanny's eyes, so bright and wise, Shed loving rays to cheer us, Her absence gives us wintry skies, 'Tis summer when she 's near us!
O, saw ye ever such a face, To waken love and wonder; A brow with such an arch of grace, And blue eyes shining under! Her snaring smiles, sweet nature's wiles, Are equall'd not by many; Her look it charms, her love it warms, The flower of Keir is Fanny.
Oh! I have traversed lands afar, O'er mountains high, and prairies green; Still above me like a star, Serene and bright thy love has been; Still above me like a star, To gladden, guide, and keep me free From every ill. Oh, life were chill, Apart, my love, apart from thee.
Other eyes might beam as bright, And other cheeks as rosy be; Other arms as pure and white, And other lips as sweet to pree; But ruddy lips, or beaming eyes, However fond and fair to see, I could not, would not love or prize Apart, my love, apart from thee.
Other friendships I have known, Friendships dear, and pure, and kind; Liking soon to friendship grown, Love is friendship's ore refined. Oh, what is life, with love denied? A scentless flower, a leafless tree; My song with love,—my love with pride, Are full,—my love, are full of thee.
MY BONNIE WEE WIFIE.
My bonnie wee wifie, I 'm waefu' to leave thee, To leave thee sae lanely, and far frae me; Come night and come morning, I 'll soon be returning; Then, oh, my dear wifie, how happy we 'll be! Oh, cauld is the night, and the way dreigh and dreary, The snaw 's drifting blindly o'er moorland an' lea; All nature looks eerie. How can she be cheery, Since weel she maun ken I am parted frae thee?
Oh, wae is the lammie, that 's lost its dear mammy, An' waefu' the bird that sits chirping alane; The plaints they are making, their wee bit hearts breaking, Are throbbings o' pleasure compared wi' my pain. The sun to the simmer, the bark to the timmer, The sense to the soul, an' the light to the e'e, The bud to the blossom, sae thou 'rt to my bosom; Oh, wae 's my heart, wifie, when parted frae thee.
There 's nae guid availing in weeping or wailing, Should friendship be failing wi' fortune's decay; Love in our hearts glowing, its riches bestowing, Bequeaths us a treasure life takes not away. Let nae anxious feeling creep o'er thy heart, stealing The bloom frae thy cheek when thou 'rt thinking of me; Come night and come morning, I 'll then be returning; Nae mair, cozie wifie, we parted shall be.
THE BONNIE BIRD.
Oh, where snared ye that bonnie, bonnie bird? Oh, where wiled ye that winsome fairy? I fear me it was where nae truth was heard, And far frae the shrine o' guid St Mary.
I didna snare the bonnie, bonnie bird, Nor try ony wiles wi' the winsome fairy, But won her young heart where the angels heard, In the bowery glen of Inverary.
And what want ye wi' sic a bonnie bird? I fear me its plumes ye will ruffle sairly; Or bring it low down to the lane kirkyard, Where blossoms o' grace are planted early.
As life I love my bonnie, bonnie bird, Its plumage shall never be ruffled sairly; To the day o' doom I will keep my word, An' cherish my bonnie bird late an' early.
Oh, whence rings out that merry, merry peal? The laugh and the sang are cherish'd rarely; It is—it is the bonny, bonny bird, Wi' twa sma' voices a' piping early.
For he didna snare that bonny, bonny bird, Nor did he beguile the winsome fairy, He had made her his ain, where the angels heard, At the holy shrine o' the blest St Mary.
COME WHEN THE DAWN.
Come when the dawn of the morning is breaking, Gold on the mountain-tops, mist on the plain, Come when the clamorous birds are awaking Man unto duty and pleasure again; Bright let your spirits be, Breathing sweet liberty, Drinking the rapture that gladdens the brain.
High o'er the swelling hills shepherds are climbing, Down in the meadows the mowers are seen, Haymakers singing, and village bells chiming; Lasses and lads lightly trip o'er the green, Flying, pursuing, Toying, and wooing— Nature is now as she ever has been.
Then when the toils of the day are all over, Gathered, delighted, set round in a ring— Youth, with its mirthfulness—age, with its cheerfulness, Brimful of happiness, cheerily sing, "Bright may our spirits be— Happy and ever free. Blest are the joys that from innocence spring."
Good morrow, good morrow! warm, rosy, and bright, Glow the clouds in the east, laughing heralds of light; Whilst still as the glorious colours decay, Full gushes of music seem tracking their way. Hark! hark! Is it the sheep-bell among the ling, Or the early milkmaid carolling? Hark! hark! Or is it the lark, As he bids the sun good-morrow?— Good-morrow; Though every day brings sorrow.
The daylight is dying, the night drawing near, The workers are silent; yet ringing and clear, From the leafiest tree in the shady bowers, Comes melody falling in silvery showers. Hark! hark! Is it the musical chime on the hill, That sweetly ringeth when all is still? Hark! hark! Oh, sweeter than lark, Is the nightingale's song of sorrow, Of sorrow; But pleasure will come to-morrow.
 One of the stanzas of this song is the composition of the late Mary Russell Mitford and appears in her tale of Atherton. The other stanza was composed by Mr Bennoch, at the urgent request of his much loved friend.
OH, WAE'S MY LIFE.
Oh, wae's my life, and sad my heart, The saut tears fill my e'e, Willie, Nae hope can bloom this side the tomb, Since ye hae gane frae me, Willie. O' warl's gear I couldna' boast, But now I'm poor indeed, Willie; The last fond hope I leant upon, Has fail'd me in my need, Willie.
For wealth or fame ye've left your Jean, Forgat your plighted vow, Willie; Can honours proud dispel the cloud, That darkens on your brow, Willie? Oh, was I then a thing sae mean, For nought but beauty prized, Willie; Caress'd a'e day, then flung away, A fading flower despised, Willie?
Sin' love has fled, and hope is dead, Soon my poor heart maun break, Willie; As your ain life, oh, guard your wife— I 'll love her for your sake, Willie. Through my despair, oh, mony a prayer, Will rise for her and ye, Willie; That ye may prove to her, in love, Mair faithfu' than to me, Willie.
HEY, MY BONNIE WEE LASSIE.
Hey, my bonnie wee lassie, Blythe and cheerie wee lassie, Will ye wed a canty carle, Bonnie, bonnie wee lassie?
I ha'e sheep, an' I ha'e kye, I ha'e wheat, an' I ha'e rye, An' heaps o' siller, lass, forbye, That ye shall spen' wi' me, lassie! Hey, my bonnie wee lassie, Blythe and cheerie wee lassie, Will ye wed a canty carle, Bonnie, bonnie wee lassie?
Ye shall dress in damask fine, My goud and gear shall a' be thine, And I to ye be ever kin'. Say,—will ye marry me, lassie? Hey, my bonnie wee lassie, Blythe and cheerie wee lassie, Will ye wed a canty carle, Bonnie, smiling wee lassie?
Gae hame, auld man, an' darn your hose, Fill up your lanky sides wi' brose, An' at the ingle warm your nose; But come na courtin' me, carle. Oh, ye tottering auld carle, Silly, clavering auld carle, The hawk an' doo shall pair, I trew, Before I pair wi' ye, carle!
Your heart is cauld an' hard as stanes, Ye ha'e nae marrow in your banes, An' siller canna buy the brains That pleasure gie to me, carle! Oh, ye tottering auld carle, Silly, clavering auld carle, The hound an' hare may seek ae lair, But I'll no sleep wi' ye, carle.
I winna share your gowd wi' ye, Your withering heart, an' watery e'e; In death I'd sooner shrouded be Than wedded to ye, auld carle! Oh, ye tottering auld carle, Silly, clavering auld carle, When roses blaw on leafs o' snaw, I'll bloom upon your breast, carle.
But there's a lad, an' I'm his ain, May heaven blessings on him rain! Though plackless, he is unco fain, And he's the man for me, carle! Oh, youth an' age can ne'er agree; Though rich, you're no the man for me. Gae hame, auld carle, prepare to dee; Pray heaven to be your bride, carle.
Oh, mony a year has come and gane, An' mony a weary day, Sin' frae my hame, my mountain hame, I first was lured away, To wander over unco lands, Far, far ayont the sea; But no to find a land like this, The hame o' Bess an' me!
I've traversed mony a dreary land, Across the braid, braid sea; But, oh, my native mountain hame, My thochts were aye wi' thee. As certain as the sun wad rise, And set ahint the sea, Sae constant, Bessie, were my prayers, At morn an' nicht for thee;
When I return'd unto my hame, The hills were clad wi' snow; Though they look'd cold and cheerless, love, My heart was in a glow. Though keen the wintry north wind blew, Like summer 'twas to me; For, Bess, my frame was warm wi' love, Of country, kindred, thee!
Nae flower e'er hail'd wi' sweeter smiles Returning sunny beams, Than I then hailed my native hame, Its mountains, woods, and streams. Now we are met, my bonnie Bess, We never mair will part; Although to a' we seem as twa, We only hae ae heart!
We 'll be sae loving a' the nicht, Sae happy a' the day, That though our bodies time may change, Our love shall ne'er decay: As gently as yon lovely stream Declining years shall run, An' life shall pass frae our auld clay, As snow melts 'neath the sun.
Yestreen on Cample's bonnie flood The summer moon was shining; While on a bank in Chrichope wood Two lovers were reclining: They spak' o' youth, an' hoary age, O' time how swiftly fleeting, Of ilka thing, in sooth, but ane,— The reason of their meeting!
When Willie thoucht his heart was firm, An' might declare its feeling, A glance frae Bessy's starry een Sent a' his senses reeling; For aye when he essay'd to speak, An' she prepared to hear him, The thought in crimson dyed his cheek, But words would no come near him!
'Tis ever thus that love is taught By his divinest teacher; He silent adoration seeks, But shuns the prosy preacher. Now read me right, ye gentle anes, Nor deem my lesson hollow; The deepest river silent rins, The babbling brook is shallow.
Together, dearest, we have play'd, As girl and boy together; Through storm and calm, in sun and shade, In spring and wintry weather. Oh! every pang that stinging came But made our love the dearer; If danger lower'd—'twas all the same, We only clung the nearer.
In riper years, when all the world Lay bathed in light before us, And life in rainbow hues unfurl'd Its glowing banner o'er us, Amid the beauty storms would rise And flowers collapsing wither, While open friends turned hidden foes— Yet were we blest together.
But now the battle's fought and won, And care with life is flying, While, setting slowly like the sun, Ambition's fires are dying. We gather hope with fading strength, And go, we know not whither, Contented if in death at last We sleep in peace together.
With lofty song we love to cheer The hearts of daring men; Applauded thus, they gladly hear The trumpet's call again. But now we sing of lowly deeds Devoted to the brave, Where she, who stems the wound that bleeds, A hero's life may save: And heroes saved exulting tell How well her voice they knew; How sorrow near it could not dwell, But spread its wings and flew.
Neglected, dying in despair, They lay till woman came To soothe them with her gentle care, And feed life's flickering flame. When wounded sore, on fever's rack, Or cast away as slain, She called their fluttering spirits back And gave them strength again. 'Twas grief to miss the passing face That suffering could dispel; But joy to turn and kiss the place On which her shadow fell.
When words of wrath profaning rung, She moved with pitying grace; Her presence still'd the wildest tongue, And holy made the place. They knew that they were cared for then, Their eyes forgot their tears; In dreamy sleep they lost their pain, And thought of early years— Of early years, when all was fair, Of faces sweet and pale. They woke: the angel bending there Was—Florence Nightingale!
 She would speak to one and to another, and nod and smile to many more, but she could not do it to all; but we could kiss her shadow as it fell, and lay our heads on the pillow again, content.—Soldier's Letter from the Crimea.
 "Before she came there was cussin' and swearin', but after that it was as holy as a church."—Ibid.
The writer of several good songs, which have been published with music, Joseph Macgregor, followed the profession of an accountant in Edinburgh. Expert as a man of business, he negotiated the arrangement of the city affairs at the period of the municipal bankruptcy. A zealous member of the Liberal party, he took a prominent interest in the Reform Bill movement, and afterwards afforded valuable assistance in the election of Francis Jeffrey as one of the representatives of the city in Parliament. He latterly occupied Ramsay Lodge, the residence of the poet Allan Ramsay, where he died about the year 1845, at a somewhat advanced age. The following songs from his pen are published by the kind permission of Messrs Robertson & Co., musicsellers, Edinburgh.
LADDIE, OH! LEAVE ME.
Down whar the burnie rins whimplin' and cheery, When love's star was smilin', I met wi' my dearie; Ah! vain was its smilin'—she wadna believe me, But said wi' a saucy air, "Laddie, oh! leave me; Leave me, leave me, laddie, oh! leave me."
"I 've lo'ed thee o'er truly to seek a new dearie, I 've lo'ed thee o'er fondly, through life e'er to weary, I 've lo'ed thee o'er lang, love, at last to deceive thee; Look cauldly or kindly, but bid me not leave thee;" Leave thee, leave thee, &c.
"There 's nae ither saft e'e that fills me wi' pleasure, There 's nae ither rose-lip has half o' its treasure, There 's nae ither bower, love, shall ever receive me, Till death break this fond heart—oh! then I maun leave thee;" Leave thee, leave thee, &c.
The tears o'er her cheeks ran like dew frae red roses; What hope to the lover one tear-drop discloses! I kiss'd them, and blest her—at last to relieve me She yielded her hand, and sigh'd, "Oh! never leave me;" Leave me, leave me, &c.
HOW BLYTHELY THE PIPE.
AIR—"Kinloch of Kinloch."
How blythely the pipe through Glenlyon was sounding, At morn when the clans to the merry dance hied; And gay were the love-knots, o'er hearts fondly bounding, When Ronald woo'd Flora, and made her his bride. But war's banner streaming soon changed their fond dreaming— The battle-cry echoed, around and above Broad claymores were glancing, and war-steeds were prancing; Up, Ronald! to arms for home and your love.
All was hush'd o'er the hill, where love linger'd despairing, With her bride-maids still deck'd in their gay festal gear! And she wept as she saw them fresh garlands preparing, Which might laurel Love's brow, or be strew'd o'er his bier! But cheer thee, fond maiden—each wild breeze is laden With victory's slogan, through mountain and grove; Where death streams were gushing, and war-steeds were rushing, Lord Ronald has conquer'd for home and for love!
WILLIAM DUNBAR, D.D.
A native of Dumfries, William Dunbar, received his elementary education in that town. Having studied at the University of Edinburgh, he was in 1805 licensed as a probationer of the Established Church. During the vacations of his theological curriculum, and the earlier portion of his probationary career, he resided chiefly in the Hebrides. At this period he composed the popular song, entitled, "The Maid of Islay," the heroine being a Miss Campbell of the island of Islay. In several collections the song has been erroneously ascribed to Joseph Train. Mr Dunbar was, in May 1807, ordained to the parish of Applegarth, Dumfriesshire. Long reputed as one of the most successful cultivators of the honey-bee, Dr Dunbar was, in 1840, invited to prepare a treatise on the subject for the entomological series of the "Naturalist's Library." His observations were published, without his name, in a volume of the series, with the title, "The Natural History of Bees, comprehending the uses and economical management of the British and Foreign Honey-Bee; together with the known wild species. Illustrated by thirty-six plates, coloured from nature, with portrait and memoir of Huber." The publication has been pronounced useful to the practical apiarian and a valuable contribution to the natural history of the honey-bee.
In the fiftieth year of his pastorate, Dr Dunbar enjoys the veneration of a flock, of whom the majority have been reared under his ministerial superintendence.
THE MAID OF ISLAY.
Rising o'er the heaving billow, Evening gilds the ocean's swell, While with thee, on grassy pillow, Solitude! I love to dwell. Lonely to the sea-breeze blowing, Oft I chant my love-lorn strain, To the streamlet sweetly flowing, Murmur oft a lover's pain.
'Twas for her, the Maid of Islay, Time flew o'er me wing'd with joy; 'Twas for her, the cheering smile aye Beam'd with rapture in my eye. Not the tempest raving round me, Lightning's flash or thunder's roll; Not the ocean's rage could wound me, While her image fill'd my soul.
Farewell, days of purest pleasure, Long your loss my heart shall mourn! Farewell, hours of bliss the measure, Bliss that never can return! Cheerless o'er the wild heath wand'ring, Cheerless o'er the wave-worn shore, On the past with sadness pond'ring, Hope's fair visions charm no more.
The well known editor of the Literary Gazette, William Jerdan, was born at Kelso, Roxburghshire, on the 16th April 1782. The third son and seventh child of John Jerdan, a small land proprietor and baron-bailie under the Duke of Roxburghe, his paternal progenitors owned extensive possessions in the south-east of Scotland. His mother, Agnes Stuart, a woman of superior intelligence, claimed descent from the Royal House of Stuart. Educated at the parochial school of his native town, young Jerdan entered a lawyer's office, with a view to the legal profession. Towards literary pursuits his attention was directed through the kindly intercourse of the Rev. Dr Rutherford, author of the "View of Ancient History," who then assisted the minister of Kelso, and subsequently became incumbent of Muirkirk. In 1801 he proceeded to London, where he was employed as clerk in a mercantile establishment. Returning to Scotland, he entered the office of a Writer to the Signet; but in 1804 he resumed his connexion with the metropolis. Suffering from impaired health, he was taken under the care of a maternal uncle, surgeon of the Gladiator guard-ship. On the recommendation of this relative, he served as a seaman for a few months preceding February 1806. A third time seeking the literary world of London, he became reporter to the Aurora, a morning paper, of temporary duration. In January 1807, he joined the Pilot, an evening paper. Subsequently, he was one of the conductors of the Morning Post and a reporter for the British Press. Purchasing the copyright of the Satirist, he for a short time edited that journal. In May 1813, he became conductor of The Sun, an appointment which he retained during a period of four years, but was led to relinquish from an untoward dispute with the publisher. He now entered on the editorship of the Literary Gazette, which he conducted till 1850, and with which his name will continue to be associated.
During a period of nearly half a century, Mr Jerdan has occupied a prominent position in connexion with literature and politics. He was the first person who seized Bellingham, the murderer of Percival, in the lobby of the House of Commons. With Mr Canning he was on terms of intimacy. In 1821 he aided in establishing the Royal Society of Literature. He was one of the founders of the Melodist's Club, for the promotion of harmony, and of the Garrick Club, for the patronage of the drama. In the affairs of the Royal Literary Fund he has manifested a deep interest. In 1830 he originated, in concert with other literary individuals, the Foreign Literary Gazette, of which he became joint-editor. About the same period, he wrote the biographical portion of Fisher's "National Portrait Gallery." In 1852-3 appeared his "Autobiography," in four volumes; a work containing many curious details respecting persons of eminence. In 1852 Mr Jerdan's services to literature were acknowledged by a pension of L100 on the Civil List, and about the same time he received a handsome pecuniary testimonial from his literary friends.
THE WEE BIRD'S SONG.
I heard a wee bird singing, In my chamber as I lay; The casement open swinging, As morning woke the day. And the boughs around were twining, The bright sun through them shining, And I had long been pining, For my Willie far away— When I heard the wee bird singing.
He heard the wee bird singing, For its notes were wondrous clear; As if wedding bells were ringing, Melodious to the ear. And still it rang that wee bird's song; Just like the bells—dong-ding, ding-dong; While my heart beat so quick and strong— It felt that he was near! And he heard the wee bird singing.
We heard the wee bird singing, After brief time had flown; The true bells had been ringing, And Willie was my own. And oft I tell him, jesting, playing, I knew what the wee bird was saying, That morn, when he, no longer straying, Flew back to me alone. And we love the wee bird singing.
 Here first published.
WHAT MAKES THIS HOUR?
What makes this hour a day to me? What makes this day a year? My own love promised we should meet— But my own love is not here! Ah! did she feel half what I feel, Her tryst she ne'er would break; She ne'er would lift this heart to hope, Then leave this heart to ache; And make the hour a day to me, And make the day a year; The hour she promised we should meet— But my own love is not here.
Alas! can she inconstant prove? Does sickness force her stay? Or is it fate, or failing love, That keeps my love away, To make the hour a day to me, And make the day a year? The hour and day we should have met— But my own love is not here.
Alexander Bald was born at Alloa, on the 9th June 1783. His father, who bore the same Christian name, was a native of Culross, where he was originally employed in superintending the coal works in that vicinity, under the late Earl of Dundonald. He subsequently became agent for the collieries of John Francis Erskine, afterwards Earl of Mar. A book of arithmetical tables and calculations from his pen, entitled, "The Corn-dealer's Assistant," was long recognised as an almost indispensable guide for tenant farmers.
The subject of this notice was early devoted to literary pursuits. Along with his friend, Mr John Grieve, the future patron of the Ettrick Shepherd, he made a visit to the forest bard, attracted by the merit of his compositions, long prior to his public recognition as a poet. He established a literary association in his native town, entitled, "The Shakspeare Club;" which, at its annual celebrations, was graced by the presence of men of genius and learning. To the Scots' Magazine he became a poetical contributor early in the century. A man of elegant tastes and Christian worth, Mr Bald was a cherished associate of the more distinguished literary Scotsmen of the past generation. During the period of half a century, he has conducted business in his native town as a timber merchant and brick manufacturer. His brother, Mr Robert Bald, is the distinguished mining engineer.
THE LILY OF THE VALE.
TUNE—'Ye banks and braes o' bonny Doon.'
The lily of the vale is sweet, And sweeter still the op'ning rose, But sweeter far my Mary is Than any blooming flower that blows. Whilst spring her fragrant blossoms spreads, I'll wander oft by Mary's side; And whisper saft the tender tale, By Forth, sweet Forth's meandering tide.
There will we walk at early dawn, Ere yet the sun begins to shine; At eve oft, too, the lawn we'll tread, And mark that splendid orb's decline. The fairest, choicest flowers I'll crop, To deck my lovely Mary's hair; And while I live, I vow and swear, She'll be my chief—my only care.
 This song was originally Published in the Scots' Magazine for October 1806. In the "Book of Scottish Song," it has been attributed to Allan Ramsay.
HOW SWEET ARE THE BLUSHES OF MORN.
How sweet are the blushes of morn, And sweet is the gay blossom'd grove; The linnet chants sweet from the thorn, But sweeter's the smile of my love.
Awhile, my dear Mary, farewell, Since fate has decreed we should part; Thine image shall still with me dwell, Though absent, you'll reign in my heart.
But by winding Devon's green bowers, At eve's dewy hour as I rove, I'll grieve for the pride of her flowers, And the pride of her maidens, my love.
The music shall cease in the grove, Thine absence the linnet shall mourn; But the lark, in strains bearing love, Soft warbling, shall greet thy return.
George Wilson was born on the 20th June 1784, in the parish of Libberton, and county of Lanark. Deprived of both his parents early in life, he was brought to the house of his paternal uncle, who rented a sheep-farm in the vicinity of Peebles. At the burgh school of that place he received an ordinary education, and in his thirteenth year hired himself as a cow-herd. Passing through the various stages of rural employment at Tweedside, he resolved to adopt a trade, and in his eighteenth year became apprenticed to his maternal uncle, a cabinetmaker in Edinburgh. On fulfilling his indenture, he accepted employment as a journeyman cabinetmaker; he subsequently conducted business on his own account. In 1831 he removed from Edinburgh to the village of Corstorphine, in the vicinity; where he continues to reside. He published "The Laverock," a volume of poems and songs, in 1829. The following lyrics from his pen evince no inconsiderable vigour, and seem worthy of preservation.
MILD AS THE MORNING.
Mild as the morning, a rose-bud of beauty, Young Mary, all lovely, had come from afar, With tear-streaming eyes, and a grief-burden'd bosom, To view with sad horror the carnage of war. She sought her brave brother with sighing and sorrow; Her loud lamentations she pour'd out in vain; The hero had fallen, with kinsmen surrounded, And deep he lay buried 'mong heaps of the slain.
"Oh! Donald, my brother, in death art thou sleeping? Or groan'st thou in chains of some barbarous foe? Are none of thy kindred in life now remaining, To tell a sad tale of destruction and woe?" A hero who struggled in death's cold embraces, Whose bosom, deep gash'd, was all clotted with gore— "Alas! Lady Mary, the mighty M'Donald, Will lead his brave heroes to battle no more."
She turn'd, and she gazed all around, much confounded; The tidings of sorrow sunk deep in her heart; She saw her brave kinsman laid low, deadly wounded, He wanted that succour, she could not impart— "Oh! Murdoch, my kinsman," with hands raised to heaven, "Thy strength, bloom, and beauty, alas! all are o'er; And oh, my brave brother, my brave gallant brother, Lies sleeping beside thee, to waken no more."