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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.
CHARLES BAILLIE, ESQ.,
SHERIFF OF STIRLINGSHIRE,
CONVENER OF THE ACTING COMMITTEE FOR REARING
A NATIONAL MONUMENT
ILLUSTRIOUS DEFENDER OF SCOTTISH INDEPENDENCE,
THIS SIXTH VOLUME
The Modern Scottish Minstrel
WITH SENTIMENTS OF THE HIGHEST RESPECT AND ESTEEM,
HIS VERY OBEDIENT FAITHFUL SERVANT,
OBSERVATIONS ON SCOTTISH SONG. BY HENRY SCOTT RIDDELL, xx
CHARLES MACKAY, LL.D., 1 Love aweary of the world, 8 The lover's second thoughts on world weariness, 9 A candid wooing, 11 Procrastinations, 12 Remembrances of nature, 13 Believe, if you can, 15 Oh, the happy time departed, 17 Come back! come back! 17 Tears, 18 Cheer, boys, cheer, 20 Mourn for the mighty dead, 21 A plain man's philosophy, 22 The secrets of the hawthorn, 24 A cry from the deep waters, 25 The return home, 26 The men of the North, 28 The lover's dream of the wind, 29
ARCHIBALD CRAWFORD, 31 Bonnie Mary Hay, 33 Scotland, I have no home but thee, 33
GEORGE DONALD, 35 The spring time o' life, 36 The scarlet rose-bush, 37
HENRY GLASSFORD BELL, 39 My life is one long thought of thee, 40 Why is my spirit sad? 41 Geordie Young, 42 My fairy Ellen, 44 A bachelor's complaint, 45
WILLIAM BENNET, 47 Blest be the hour of night, 48 The rose of beauty, 49 I 'll think on thee, love, 50 There 's music in a mother's voice, 51 The brig of Allan, 52
GEORGE OUTRAM, 54 Charge on a bond of annuity, 55
HENRY INGLIS, 59 Weep away, 59
JAMES MANSON, 61 Ocean, 61 The hunter's daughter, 63 An invitation, 63 Cupid and the rose-bud, 64 Robin Goodheart's carol, 65
JAMES HEDDERWICK, 67 My bark at sea, 68 Sorrow and song, 69 The land for me, 70 The emigrants, 72 First grief, 73 The linnet, 76
WILLIAM BROCKIE, 78 Ye 'll never gang back to yer mither nae mair, 78
ALEXANDER M'LACHLAN, 80 The lang winter e'en, 80
THOMAS YOUNG, 81 Antoinette; or, The Falls, 81
ROBERT WILSON, 84 Away, away, my gallant bark, 84 Love, 85
EDWARD POLIN, 87 A good old song, 88
ALEXANDER BUCHANAN, 89 I wander'd alane, 89 Katie Blair, 91
DAVID TAYLOR, 92 My ain gudeman, 92
ROBERT CATHCART, 94 Mary, 94
WILLIAM JAMIE, 96 Auld Scotia's sangs, 96
JOHN CRAWFORD, 98 My auld wifie Jean, 102 The land o' the bonnet and plaid, 103 Sing on, fairy Devon, 104 Ann o' Cornylee, 105 My Mary dear, 106 The waes o' eild, 107
JOHN STUART BLACKIE, 109 Song of Ben Cruachan, 115 The braes of Mar, 117 My loves, 118 Liking and loving, 120
WILLIAM STIRLING, M.P., 121 Ruth, 122 Shallum, 126
THOMAS C. LATTO, 127 The kiss ahint the door, 128 The widow's ae bit lassie, 129 The yellow hair'd laddie, 130 Tell me, dear, 131
WILLIAM CADENHEAD, 133 Do you know what the birds are singing, 134 An hour with an old love, 135
ALLAN GIBSON, 137 The lane auld man, 138 The wanderer's return, 139
THOMAS ELLIOTT, 141 Up with the dawn, 142 Clyde boat song, 143 Dimples and a', 144 Bubbles on the blast, 145 A serenade, 146 A song of little things, 147 My ain mountain land, 148 When I come hame at e'en, 149
WILLIAM LOGAN, 151 Jeanie Gow, 151
JAMES LITTLE, 153 Our native hills again, 154 Here 's a health to Scotia's shore, 155 The days when we were young, 156 Lizzy Frew, 158
COLIN RAE BROWN, 159 Charlie 's comin', 160 The widow's daughter, 161
ROBERT LEIGHTON, 163 My muckle meal-pock, 163
JAMES HENDERSON, 165 The wanderer's deathbed, 165 The song of Time, 167 The Highland hills, 168 My native land, 169
JAMES MACLARDY, 171 The sunny days are come, my love, 172 Oh, my love was fair, 173
ANDREW JAMES SYMINGTON, 176 Day dream, 177 Fair as a star of light, 179 Nature musical, 180
ISABELLA CRAIG, 182 Our Helen, 182 Going out and coming in, 184 My Mary an' me, 185 A song of summer, 186
ROBERT DUTHIE, 187 Song of the old rover, 187 Boatman's song, 189 Lisette, 190
ALEXANDER STEPHEN WILSON, 192 Things must mend, 193 The wee blink that shines in a tear, 194 Flowers of my own loved clime, 195
JAMES MACFARLAN, 196 Isabelle, 197 Household gods, 198 Poor companions, 199
WILLIAM B. C. RIDDELL, 201 Lament of Wallace, 202 Oh! what is in this flaunting town, 203
MARGARET CRAWFORD, 205 My native land, 206 The emigrant's farewell, 207 The stream of life, 207 Day-dreams of other years, 209 Affection's faith, 211
GEORGE DONALD, JUN., 212 Our ain green shaw, 212 Eliza, 213
JOHN JEFFREY, 215 War-cry of the Roman insurrectionists, 216
PATRICK SCOTT, 218 The exile, 218
JOHN BATHURST DICKSON, 220 The American flag, 221
EVAN M'COLL, 222 The hills of the heather, 223
JAMES D. BURNS, 224 Rise, little star, 224 Though long the wanderer may depart, 225
GEORGE HENDERSON, 227 I canna leave my native land, 228
HORATIUS BONAR, D.D., 229 The meeting-place, 230 Trust not these seas again, 233
JOHN HALLIDAY, 234 The auld kirk bell, 234 The auld aik-tree, 236
JAMES DODDS, 238 Trial and death of Robert Baillie of Jervieswoode, 239
METRICAL TRANSLATIONS FROM THE MODERN GAELIC MINSTRELSY.
DUNCAN MACFARLAN, 249 The beauty of the shieling, 250
JOHN MUNRO, 251 The Highland welcome, 252
JOHN MACDONALD, JUN., 254 Mary, the fair of Glensmole, 254
EVAN M'COLL, 256 The child of promise, 256
As if pointing to a condition of primeval happiness, Poetry has been the first language of nations. The Lyric Muse has especially chosen the land of natural sublimity, of mountain and of flood; and such scenes she has only abandoned when the inhabitants have sacrificed their national liberties. Edward I., who massacred the Minstrels of Wales, might have spared the butchery, as their strains were likely to fall unheeded on the ears of their subjugated countrymen. The martial music of Ireland is a matter of tradition; on the first step of the invader the genius of chivalric song and melody departed from Erin. Scotland retains her independence, and those strains which are known in northern Europe as the most inspiriting and delightful, are recognised as the native minstrelsy of Caledonia. The origin of Scottish song and melody is as difficult of settlement as is the era or the genuineness of Ossian. There probably were songs and music in Scotland in ages long prior to the period of written history. Preserved and transmitted through many generations of men, stern and defiant as the mountains amidst which it was produced, the Minstrelsy of the North has, in the course of centuries, continued steadily to increase alike in aspiration of sentiment and harmony of numbers.
The spirit of the national lyre seems to have been aroused during the war of independence, and the ardour of the strain has not since diminished. The metrical chronicler, Wyntoun, has preserved a stanza, lamenting the calamitous death of Alexander III., an event which proved the commencement of the national struggle.
"Quhen Alysandyr oure kyng wes dede, That Scotland led in luve and le, Away wes sons of ale and brede, Of wyne and wax, of gamyn and gle: Oure gold wes changyd into lede. Cryst, borne in-to virgynyte Succour Scotland and remede, That stad is in perplexyte."
The antiquity of these lines has been questioned, and it must be admitted that the strain is somewhat too dolorous for the times. Stung as they were by the perfidious dealings of their own nobility, and the ruthless oppression of a neighbouring monarch, the Minstrels sought every opportunity of astirring the patriotic feelings of their countrymen, while they despised the efforts of the enemy, and anticipated in enraptured paeans their defeat. At the siege of Berwick in 1296, when Edward I. began his first expedition against Scotland, the Scottish Minstrels ridiculed the attempt of the English monarch to capture the place in some lines which have been preserved. The ballad of "Gude Wallace" has been ascribed to this age; and if scarcely bearing the impress of such antiquity, it may have had its prototype in another of similar strain. Many songs, according to the elder Scottish historians, were composed and sung among the common people both in celebration of Wallace and King Robert Bruce.
The battle of Bannockburn was an event peculiarly adapted for the strains of the native lyre. The following Bardic numbers commemorating the victory have been preserved by Fabyan, the English chronicler:—
"Maydens of Englande, Sore may ye morne, For your lemmans, ye Haue lost at Bannockysburne. With heue-a-lowe, What weneth the king of England, So soon to have won Scotland? Wyth rumbylowe."
Rhymes in similar pasquinade against the south were composed on the occasion of the nuptials of the young Prince, David Bruce, with the daughter of Edward II., which were entered into as a mean of cementing the alliance between the two kingdoms.
After the oblivion of a century, the Scottish Muse experienced a revival on the return, in 1424, of James I. from his English captivity to occupy the throne. Of strong native genius, and possessed of all the learning which could be obtained at the period, this chivalric sovereign was especially distinguished for his skill in music and poetry. By Tassoni, the Italian writer, he has been designated a composer of sacred music, and the inventor of a new kind of music of a plaintive character. His poetical works which are extant—"The King's Quair," and "Peblis to the Play"—abound not only in traits of lively humour, but in singular gracefulness. To his pen "Christ's Kirk on the Green" may also be ascribed. The native minstrelsy was fostered and promoted by many of his royal successors. James III., a lover of the arts and sciences, delighted in the society of Roger, a musician; James IV. gave frequent grants to Henry the Minstrel, cherished the poet Dunbar, and himself wrote verses; James V. composed "The Gaberlunzie Man" and "The Jollie Beggar," ballads which are still sung; Queen Mary loved music, and wrote verses in French; and James VI., the last occupant of the Scottish throne, sought reputation as a writer both of Latin and English poetry. Under the patronage of the Royal House of Stewart, epic and lyric poetry flourished in Scotland. The poetical chroniclers Barbour, Henry the Minstrel, and Wyntoun, are familiar names, as are likewise the poets Henryson, Dunbar, Gavin Douglas, and Sir David Lyndsay. But the authors of the songs of the people have been forgotten. In a droll poem entitled "Cockelby's Sow," ascribed to the reign of James I., is enumerated a considerable catalogue of contemporary lyrics. In the prologue to Gavin Douglas' translation of the AEneid of Virgil, written not later than 1513, and in the celebrated "Complaynt of Scotland," published in 1549, further catalogues of the popular songs have been preserved.
The poetic gift had an influence upon the Reformation both of a favourable and an unfavourable character. By exposing the vices of the Popish clergy, Sir David Lyndsay and the Earl of Glencairn essentially tended to promote the interests of the new faith; while, on the event of the Reformation being accomplished, the degraded condition of the Muse was calculated to undo the beneficial results of the ecclesiastical change. The Church early attempted to remedy the evil by sanctioning the replacement of profane ditties with words of religious import. Of this nature the most conspicuous effort was Wedderburne's "Book of Godly and Spiritual Ballads," a work more calculated to provoke merriment than to excite any other feeling.
On the union of the Crowns a new era arose in the history of the Scottish Muse. The national spirit abated, and the poets rejoiced to write in the language of their southern neighbours. In the time of Barbour, the Scottish and English languages were almost the same; they were now widely dissimilar, and the Scottish poets, by writing English verse, required to translate their sentiments into a new tongue. Their poetry thus became more the expression of the head than the utterance of the heart. The national bards of this period, the Earl of Stirling, Sir Robert Aytoun, and Drummond of Hawthornden, have, amidst much elegant versification, left no impression on the popular mind. Other poets of that and the succeeding age imitated Buchanan, by writing in Latin verse. Though a considerable portion of our elder popular songs may be fairly ascribed to the seventeenth century, the names of only a few of the writers have been preserved. The more conspicuous song writers of this century are Francis Semple, Lord Yester, Lady Grizzel Baillie, and Lady Wardlaw.
The taste for national song was much on the wane, when it was restored by the successful efforts of Allan Ramsay. He revived the elder ballads in his "Evergreen," and introduced contemporary poets in his "Tea Table Miscellany." The latter obtained a place on the tea table of every lady of quality, and soon became eminently popular. Among the more conspicuous promoters of Scottish song, about the middle of last century, were Mrs Alison Cockburn, Miss Jane Elliot of Minto, Sir Gilbert Elliot, Sir John Clerk of Pennycuik, Dr Austin, Dr Alexander Geddes, Alexander Ross, James Tytler, and the Rev. Dr Blacklock. The poet Robert Fergusson, though peculiarly fond of music, did not write songs. Scottish song reached its climax on the appearance of Robert Burns, whose genius burst forth meteor-like amidst circumstances the most untoward. He so struck the chord of the Scottish lyre, that its vibrations were felt in every bosom. The songs of Caledonia, under the influence of his matchless power, became celebrated throughout the world. He purified the elder minstrelsy, and by a few gentle, but effective touches, completely renovated its fading aspects. "He could glide like dew," writes Allan Cunningham, "into the fading bloom of departing song, and refresh it into beauty and fragrance." Contemporary with Burns, being only seven years his junior, though upwards of half a century later in becoming known, Carolina Oliphant, afterwards Baroness Nairn, proved a noble coadjutor and successor to the rustic bard in renovating the national minstrelsy. Possessing a fine musical ear, she adapted her lyrics with singular success to the precise sentiments of the older airs, and in this happy manner was enabled rapidly to supersede many ribald and vulgar ditties, which, associated with stirring and inspiring music, had long maintained a noxious popularity among the peasantry. Of Burns' immediate contemporaries, the more conspicuous were, John Skinner, Hector Macneill, John Mayne, and Richard Gall. Grave as a pastor, Skinner revelled in drollery as a versifier; Macneill loved sweetness and simplicity; Mayne, with a perception of the ludicrous, was plaintive and sentimental; Gall was patriotic and graceful.
Sir Walter Scott, the great poet of the past half century, if his literary qualifications had not been so varied, had obtained renown as a writer of Scottish songs; he was thoroughly imbued with the martial spirit of the old times, and keenly alive to those touches of nature which give point and force to the productions of the national lyre. Joanna Baillie sung effectively the joys of rustic social life, and gained admission to the cottage hearth. Lady Anne Barnard aroused the nation to admiration by one plaintive lay. Allan Cunningham wrote the Scottish ballad in the peculiar rhythm and with the power of the older minstrels. Alike in mirth and tenderness, Sir Alexander Boswell was exquisitely happy. Tannahill gave forth strains of bewitching sweetness; Hogg, whose ballads abound with supernatural imagery, evinced in song the utmost pastoral simplicity; Motherwell was a master of the plaintive; Robert Nicoll rejoiced in rural loves. Among living song-writers, Charles Mackay holds the first place in general estimation—his songs glow with patriotic sentiment, and are redolent in beauties; in pastoral scenes, Henry Scott Riddell is without a competitor; James Ballantine and Francis Bennoch have wedded to heart-stirring strains those maxims which conduce to virtue. The Scottish Harp vibrates to sentiments of chivalric nationality in the hands of Alexander Maclagan, Andrew Park, Robert White, and William Sinclair. Eminent lyrical simplicity is depicted in the strains of Alexander Laing, James Home, Archibald Mackay, John Crawford, and Thomas C. Latto. The best ballad writers introduced in the present work are Robert Chambers, John S. Blackie, William Stirling, M.P., Mrs Ogilvy, and James Dodds. Amply sustained is the national reputation in female lyric poets, by the compositions of Mrs Simpson, Marion Paul Aird, Isabella Craig, and Margaret Crawford. The national sports are celebrated with stirring effect by Thomas T. Stoddart, William A. Foster, and John Finlay. Sacred poetry is admirably represented by such lyrical writers as Horatius Bonar, D.D., and James D. Burns. Many thrilling verses, suitable for music, though not strictly claiming the character of lyrics, have been produced by Thomas Aird, so distinguished in the higher walks of Poetry, Henry Glassford Bell, James Hedderwick, Andrew J. Symington, and James Macfarlan.
Of the collections of the elder Scottish Minstrelsy, the best catalogue is supplied by Mr David Laing in the latest edition of Johnson's Musical Museum. Of the modern collections we would honourably mention, "The Harp of Caledonia," edited by John Struthers (3 vols. 12mo); "The Songs of Scotland, Ancient and Modern" (4 vols. 8vo), edited by Allan Cunningham; "The Scottish Songs" (2 vols. 12mo), edited by Robert Chambers; and, "The Book of Scottish Song," edited by Alexander Whitelaw. Most of these works contain original songs, but the amplest collections of these are M'Leod's "Original National Melodies," and the several small volumes of "Whistle Binkie." The more esteemed modern collections with music are "The Scottish Minstrel," edited by R. A. Smith (6 vols. 8vo); "The Songs of Scotland, adapted to their appropriate Melodies arranged with Pianoforte Accompaniments," edited by G. F. Graham, Edinburgh: 1848 (3 vols. royal 8vo); "The Select Songs of Scotland, with Melodies, &c." Glasgow: W. Hamilton, 1855 (1 vol. 4to); "The Lyric Gems of Scotland, a Collection of Scottish Songs, Original and Selected, with Music," Glasgow: 1856 (12mo). Of district collections of Minstrelsy, "The Harp of Renfrewshire," published in 1820, under the editorship of Motherwell, and "The Contemporaries of Burns," containing interesting biographical sketches and specimens of the Ayrshire bards, claim special commendation.
The present collection proceeds on the plan not hitherto attempted in this country, of presenting memoirs of the song writers in connexion with their compositions, thus making the reader acquainted with the condition of every writer, and with the circumstances in which his minstrelsy was given forth. In this manner, too, many popular songs, of which the origin was generally unknown, have been permanently connected with the names of their authors. In the preparation of the work, especially in procuring materials for the memoirs and biographical notices, the editor has been much occupied during a period of four years. The translations from the Gaelic Minstrelsy have been supplied, with scarcely an exception, by a gentleman, a native of the Highlands, who is well qualified to excel in various departments of literature.
 Thomas of Ercildoune, better known as the Rhymer, lived in the reign of Alexander III. No lyric of his composition has been preserved.
 The ballads of Professor Aytoun, it is hardly necessary to remark, would have been an ornament to any age.
 The publisher of this meritorious little work, Mr David Robertson of Glasgow, was a native of Port of Menteith, Perthshire; he died at Glasgow on the 6th of October 1854. Mr Robertson maintained an extensive correspondence with the humbler bards, and succeeded in recovering many interesting lyrics, which would otherwise have perished. He was also reputed as the publisher of the facetious collection of anecdotes which appeared under the title of the "Laird of Logan."
 Robert Archibald Smith, so justly celebrated in connexion with the modern history of Scottish Music, was born at Reading, Berkshire, on the 16th November 1780. In his twentieth year he settled in Paisley, where he formed the acquaintance of Tannahill, whose best songs he subsequently set to music. In 1823, he became precentor in St George's Church, Edinburgh, on the recommendation of its celebrated pastor, the late Dr Andrew Thomson. His numerous musical works continue to be held in high estimation. His death took place at Edinburgh on the 3d January 1829.
OBSERVATIONS ON SCOTTISH SONG:
REMARKS ON THE GENIUS
LADY NAIRN, THE ETTRICK SHEPHERD, AND ROBERT TANNAHILL.
BY HENRY SCOTT RIDDELL.
Songs are the household literature of the Scottish people; they are especially so as regards the rural portion of the population. Till of late years, when collections of song have become numerous, and can be procured at a limited price, a considerable trade was carried on by itinerant venders of halfpenny ballads. Children who were distant from school, learned to read on these; and the aged experienced satisfaction in listening to words and sentiments familiar to them from boyhood. That the Scots, a thoughtful and earnest people, should have evinced such a deep interest in minstrelsy, is explained in the observation of Mr Carlyle, that "serious nations—all nations that can still listen to the mandates of Nature—have prized song and music as the highest." Deep feeling, like powerful thought, seeks and finds relief in expression; the wisdom of Divine benevolence has so arranged, that what brings relief to one, generally affords peace or pleasure to another. And, further, where there is a susceptibility, a capacity of enjoyment, there will be efforts made in order to its gratification. The human heart loves the things of romance, and in the exercise of its native privilege, delights to feel. Scottish song has been written in harmony with nature, scenery, and circumstances; and fledged in its own melodies, which seem no less the outpouring of native sensibility, has borne itself onward from generation to generation.
Respecting these airs or melodies, a few remarks may be offered. The genius of our mountain land, as if prompted alike by thought and feeling, has in these wrought a spell of matchless power—a fascination, which, reaching the hearts both of old and young, maintains an imperishable sway over them. One has said,—
"'Tis not alone the scenes of glen and hill, And haunts and homes beside the murmuring rill; Nor all the varied beauties of the year, That so can Scotland to our hearts endear— The merry both and melancholy strain, Their power assert, and o'er the spirit reign; Indebted more to nature than to art, They reach the ear to fascinate the heart; And waken hope that, animating, cheers, Or bathe our being in the flow of tears."
Native, as well as foreign writers, assert that King James the First was the inventor of a new kind of music, which they further characterise as being sweet and plaintive. These terms certainly indicate the leading features of Scottish music. There is something not only of wild sweetness, but touches of pathos even in its merriest measures. Though termed a new kind of music, however, it was not new. The king took up the key-note of the human heart—the primitive scale, or what has been defined the scale of nature, and produced some of those wild and plaintive strains which we now call Scottish melodies. His poetry was descriptive of, and adapted to the feelings, customs, and manners of his countrymen; and he followed, doubtless, the same course in the music which he composed. By his skill and education, he rendered his compositions more regular and palpable, than those songs and their airs which had been framed and sung by the sad-hearted swain on the hill, or the love-lorn maiden in the green wood.
Not in music only, but in the words of song, some of the Scottish kings had such a share as to stamp the art and practice of song-writing with royal sanction. Thus encouraged, the native minstrelsy was fostered by the whole community, receiving accessions from succeeding generations. A people who, along with their heroic leader, possessed sufficient courage to face, with such appalling odds, the foe at Bannockburn—who, at an after date, fought at Flodden against both their better wit and will, rather than gainsay their king—and who, in more recent times, protected him whom they regarded as their rightful prince, at the risk of life and fortune, were not likely to fail in advancing what royalty had loved, especially when it was deemed so essential to their happiness. The poetic spirit entered in and arose out of the heart of the people. The song and air produced in the court, represented the sentiment of the cottage. It is still the same. Rights and privileges have been lost, manners and customs have changed, but song, the forthgiving of the heart, does not on the heart quit its claim.
Within the modern period, the harp of Caledonia gives forth similar utterances in the hands of Lady Nairn, the Ettrick Shepherd, and Robert Tannahill. Different in station and occupations—even in motives to composition—these three great lyrists were each deeply influenced by that peculiar acquaintance with Scottish feeling which, brilliantly illustrated by their genius, has deeply impressed their names on the national heart.
Lady Nairn, highly born and educated, delighted to sympathise with the people. If among these she found the forthgivings of human nature less sophisticated, the principles upon which she proceeded impelled her to write for the humbler classes of society, and the result has been that she has written for all. In every class human nature is essentially the same; and though hearts may have wandered far from the primitive truths which belong to the life and character of mankind in common, they may yet be brought back by that which tells winningly upon them—by that which awakens native feeling and early associations. There is much of this kind of efficiency in song, when song is what it ought to be. If, when the true standard is adhered to by those who exercise their powers in producing it, and who have been born and bred in circumstances of life so different, it can establish a unity of sentiment—it must necessarily effect, in a greater or less degree, the same thing among those who learn and sing the lays which they produce. And, indeed, it would seem a truth that, by the congenial influences of song, the hearts of a nation are more united—more willing to be subdued into acquiescence and equality, than by any other merely human instrumentality.
If, in Scotland till of late years, writing for fortune was rather than otherwise regarded as disreputable, writing for fame was never so accounted. But even than for fame Lady Nairn had a higher motive. She knew that the minstrels of ruder times had composed, and, through the aid of the national melodies, transmitted to posterity strains ill fitted to promote the interests of sound morality, yet that the love of these sweet and wild airs made the people tenacious of the words to which they were wedded. Her principal, if not her sole object, was to disjoin these, and to supplant the impurer strains. Doubtless that capacity of genius, which enabled her to write as she has done, might, as an inherent stimulus, urge her to seek gratification in the exercise of it; but, even in this case, the virtue of her main motive underwent no diminution. She was well aware how deeply the Scottish heart imbibed the sentiments of song, so that these became a portion of its nature, or of the principles upon which the individuals acted, however unconsciously, amid the intercourse of life. Lessons could thus be taught, which could not, perhaps, be communicated with the same effect by any other means. This pleasing agency of education in the school of moral refinement Lady Nairn has exercised with genial tact and great beauty; and, liberally as she bestowed benefactions on her fellow-kind in many other respects, it may be said no gifts conferred could bear in their beneficial effects a comparison to the songs which she has written. Her strains thrilled along the chords of a common nature, beguiling ruder thought into a more tender and generous tone, and lifting up the lower towards the loftier feeling. If feeling constitutes the nursery of much that is desirable in national character, it is no less true that well assorted and confirmed nationality will always prove the most trustworthy and lasting safeguard of freedom. It is the combination of heart—the universal unity of sentiment—which renders a people powerful in the preservation of right and privilege, home and hearth; and few things of merely human origin will serve more thoroughly to promote such unity, than the songs of a song-loving people. The continual tendency of these is to imbue all with the same sentiment, and to awaken, and keep awake, those sympathies which lead mankind to a knowledge of themselves individually, and of one another in general, thus preventing the different grades of society from diverging into undue extremes of distinction. Nor ought the observation to be omitted, that if a lady of high standing in society, of genius, refined taste and feeling, and withal of singular purity of heart, could write songs that the inhabitants of her native land could so warmly appreciate as by their singing to render them popular, it would evince no inconsiderable worth in that people that she could so sympathise and so identify herself with them.
From the position and circumstances of Lady Nairn, those of the Ettrick Shepherd were entirely different. Hogg was one of the people. To write songs calculated to be popular, he needed only to embody forth in poetic shape what he felt and understood from the actual experiences of life amid the scenes and circumstances in which he had been born and bred; his compeers, forming that class of society in which it has been thought the nature of man wears least disguise, were his first patrons. He required, therefore, less than Lady Nairn the exercise of that sympathy by which we place ourselves in the circumstances of others, and know how in these, others think and feel. His poetic effusions were homely and graphic, both in their sprightful humour and more tender sentiment. They were sung by the shepherd on the hill, and the maiden at the hay-field, or when the kye cam' hame at "the farmer's ingle," and in the bien cottage of the but and ben, where at eventide the rustics delighted to meet. As experience gave him increased command over the hill harp, his ambition to produce strains of greater beauty and refinement also increased. By and by his minstrel numbers manifested a vigour and perfection which rendered them the admiration of persons of higher rank, and more competent powers of judgment.
If, with the very simple and seemingly insignificant weapon of Scottish song, the Baroness Nairn "stooped," the Shepherd stood up "to conquer." Both adhered to the dictates of nature, and in both cases the result was the same; nor could the most marked inconveniences which circumstances imposed hinder that result. A time comes when false things shew their futility, and things depending upon truth assert their supremacy. The difference between the authoress and the author lay in those external circumstances of station and position which could not long, much less always, be of avail. Their minds were directed by a power of nature to do essentially the same thing; the difference only being that each did it in her and his own way. We may suppose that while Lady Nairn in her baronial hall wrote—
"Bonnie Charlie 's now awa', Safely ower the friendly main, Mony a heart will break in twa Should he ne'er come back again;"
the Ettrick Shepherd seated on "a moss-gray stane," or a heather-bush, and substituting his knee for his writing desk, might be furnishing forth for the world's entertainment the lament, commencing—
"Far over yon hills of the heather sae green, And down by the corrie that sings to the sea, The bonnie young Flora sat sighing alane, Wi' the dew on her plaid and the tear in her e'e."
Or when the lady was producing "The land o' the leal," a lay which has reached and sunk so deeply into all hearts, the Shepherd might be singing among the wild mountains the affecting and popular ditty, the truth of which touched his own heart so powerfully, of "The moon was a' waning," or saying to the skylark—
"Bird of the wilderness, Blithesome and cumberless, Sweet be thy matin o'er moorland and lea; Emblem of happiness, Blest is thy dwelling-place, Oh! to abide in the desert with thee!"
Tannahill has likewise written a number of songs which have been deservedly admired, loved, and sung. Allan Cunningham used to say, that if he could only succeed in writing two songs which the inhabitants of his native land would continue to sing, he would account it sufficient fame. Tannahill has accomplished this, and much more. In temperament, as well as circumstances, he differed widely both from Lady Nairn and the Ettrick Shepherd. Amiable and good in all her ways, Lady Nairn's career appears to have been lovely and alluring as the serene summer eve; the Shepherd was rich as autumn, in the enjoyment of life itself, and all that life could bring; but Tannahill's nature was cloudy, sensitive, and uncertain as the April day. Lady Nairn, ambitious of doing good and promoting happiness, dwelt, in heart at least, "among her own people," giving and receiving alike those charms of unbroken delight which spring from the kindness of the kind, and fearing nothing so much as public notoriety. Hogg loved fame, yet took no pains to secure it. Fame, nevertheless, reached him; but when found, it was with him a possession much resembling the child's toy. His heart to the last appeared too deeply imbued with the unsuspicious simplicity and carelessness of the boy to have much concern about it. On this point Tannahill was morbidly sensitive; his was an unfortunate cast of temperament, which, deepening more and more, surrounded him with imaginary evils, and rendered life insupportable. Lady Nairn was too modest not to be distrustful of the extent of her genius, and presumed only to exercise it in composing words to favourite melodies. The genius of Tannahill was more circumscribed, and he was consequently more timid and painstaking. Hogg, ambitious of originality, was bold and reckless. He had the power of assuming many distinct varieties of style, his mind, taking the tone of the subject entered upon, as easily as the musician passes from one note to another. In education, Tannahill had the advantage over the Shepherd, but in nothing else. The Shepherd's occupation was much more calculated to inspire him with the feelings, and more fitted in everything to urge to the cultivation of poetry, than the employment at which Tannahill was doomed to labour. The beauty and grandeur of nature, solemn and sublime, surround the path of him who tends the flocks. Though occasionally called upon to face the blast, and wrestle with the storm, he still experiences a charm. But when the broad earth is green below, and the wide bending sky blue above, the voice of nature in the sounding of streams, the song of birds, and the bleating of sheep differ widely from what the susceptible and poetic mind is destined to experience amidst the clanking din of shuttles in the dingy, narrow workshop of the handloom weaver. Here the breath of the light hill breeze cannot come; the form is bowed down, and the cheek is pale. Life, however buoyant and aspiring at first, necessarily ere long becomes saddened and subdued. To poor Tannahill it became a burden—more than he could bear. Yet it was among these circumstances that he contrived to compose those chaste and beautiful songs which have delighted, and still continue to delight, the hearts of so many. Though not marked with much that can be termed strikingly original, this, instead of militating against them, may have told in their favour. Wayward conceits, fanciful thoughts and expressions in songs, are like the hectic hue on the cheek of the unhealthy; it may appear to give a surpassing beauty, but it is a beauty which forebodes decay. "Oh, are ye sleeping, Maggie?" may be regarded as the most original of Tannahill's songs. It is more ardent in tone, and in every respect more poetic, than his other lyrics. The imagery is not only striking, but true to nature, though in maintaining the simple and tender, it does more than approach the sublime. His style is uniformly distinguished by a chaste simplicity, and well sustained power.
In these observations, we have pointed to that affinity of mind which unites in sentiment those possessing it, in spite of worldly distinctions. And song, too, we have found, is a prevalent and far-pervading agency, which become the mean of binding together a nation's population on the ground of that which is true to nature. It, therefore, does so in a manner more congenial and pleasurable than most other ties which bind; those of interest and necessity may be stronger, indeed, but these ties being much more selfish, are also, in most instances, much less harmonious. Song-writing is the highest attribute of poetic genius. The epic poet has to do with the exercise of energies, which produce deeds that are decided, together with the operation of passions and feelings which are borne into excess. These are more easily depicted than the gentler sentiments and feelings, together with the lights and shades of national character which constitute the materials of song. Nor will strains which set forth the actions of mankind as operating in excess, ever be so popular as simple song. Though communities are liable to periods of excitement, this is not their natural condition. Songs founded upon such, may be popular while the excitement lasts, but not much longer. Philosophers and inquiring individuals may revert to and dwell upon them, but the generality of the people will renounce them. Those who linger over them, will do so through a disposition to ascertain the causes which gave them birth, and how far these were natural in the circumstances. He who sings, feels that the same ardour cannot be re-awakened; and the sentiments which the poet has expressed become as things that are false and foolish.
Nearly all the poems of Burns proceed on the same principles upon which popular song proceeds. He approved himself considerably original and singularly interesting, by taking up and saying, in the language best suited for the purpose, what his countrymen had either already, to one extent or other, thought and felt, or were, at his suggestion, fully prepared to think and feel. It is thus that song becomes the truest history of a people; they, properly speaking, have rarely any other historian than the poet. History, in its stateliness, does not deign to dwell upon their habits, their customs and manners, and, therefore, cannot unfold their usual modes of thinking and feeling; it only notices those more anomalous emergencies when the ebullitions of high passion and excitement prevail; and such not being the natural condition of any people, a true representation of their real character is not given. If song equally tends to strengthen the bonds of nationality, it is also that from which the true cast of a land's inhabitants can be gathered. From habits and training, together with the native shades of peculiar character, there is in human nature great variety; so, consequently, is there also in song, for perhaps it might be difficult to fix upon one of these peculiarities, whether of outward manner or inward disposition, which song has not taken up and illustrated in its own way. Every song, of course, has an aim or leading sentiment pervading it. It either tells a tale calculated to interest human nature and revive feeling, or sets forth a sentiment which human nature entertains, so that it shall be turned to better account. This involves the field which song has it in its power to cultivate and improve. But neither the pure moralist, nor the accomplished critic, must expect a very great deal to be done on this field at once. The song-writer has difficulties to contend with, both in regard to those by whom he would have his songs sung, and the airs to which he writes them. If in the latter case he would willingly substitute classical and sounding language for monosyllables and contracted words, the measures which the air require will not allow him; and should he suddenly lift up and bear high the standard of moral refinement, those who should attend may fail to appreciate the movement, and refuse to follow him. If he can contrive, therefore, to interest and entertain with what is at least harmless, it is much, considering how wide a field even one popular song occupies, and how many of an undesirable kind it may meanwhile displace and eventually supersede. The tide of evil communications cannot be barred back at once, and song remedy the evil which song in its impurer state has done. Nor is the critic, who weighs these disadvantages, likely to pronounce a very decided judgment upon the superiority and inferiority of songs, whether in general or individually.
Few of the different classes of society may view them in the same light, and estimate them on the same grounds that he does. If he thinks, the people feel; and they overturn his decisions by the songs which they adopt and render popular. It is by no means so much the correct beauty of the composition, as the suitableness of the sentiment, which insures their patronage. Few of the songs of Burns are so correctly and elegantly composed as "The lass of Ballochmyle;" yet few of his songs have been more rarely sung.
MODERN SCOTTISH MINSTREL.
CHARLES MACKAY, LL.D.
Our first volume contained the portrait of Sir Walter Scott; our sixth and concluding volume is adorned by the portrait of Charles Mackay. In these distinguished men there is not only a strong mental similarity, but also a striking physical resemblance. Those who are curious in such matters will do well to compare the two portraits. The one was the most prolific and popular writer at the commencement of the century; the other is the most prolific and popular song-writer of the present day. Wherever the English language is heard and patriotic songs are sung, Charles Mackay will be present in his verse. He rejoices in his English songs; but Scotland claims him as a son.
Charles Mackay is of ancient and honourable extraction. His paternal ancestors were the Mackays of Strathnaver, in Sutherlandshire; while, on the mother's side, he is descended from the Roses of Kilravock, near Inverness, for many centuries the proprietors of one of the most interesting feudal strongholds in the Highlands. The Mrs Rose of Kilravock, whose name appears in the "Correspondence" of Burns, was Charles Mackay's maternal grandmother.
He was born at Perth in 1814; but his early years were spent in London, his parents having removed to the metropolis during his infancy. There he received the rudiments of an education which was completed in the schools of Belgium and Germany. His relation, General Mackay, intended that he should adopt the military profession; but family arrangements and other circumstances prevented the fulfilment of that intention.
The poetical faculty cannot be acquired; it must be born with a man, growing with his growth, and strengthening with his strength, until developed by the first great impulse that agitates his being, and generally that is love. There are versifiers innumerable who are not poets, but there are no poets whose hearts remain unstirred by the exciting passion of irrepressible love, when song becomes the written testimony of the inner life. Whether it was so with Charles Mackay we have not ascertained, nor have we cared to inquire. His love-songs, however, are exquisitely touching, and among the purest compositions in the language. Certain it is that the poetical power was early manifested; for we find that, in 1836, he gave his first poems to the public. The unpretending volume attracted the attention of John Black, who was then the distinguished editor of the Morning Chronicle. Ever ready to recognise genius wherever it could be found, and always prepared to lend a hand to lift into light the unobtrusive author who laboured in the shade, he offered young Mackay a place on the paper, which was accepted, and filled with such ability that he was rapidly promoted to the responsible position of sub-editor. He soon became one of the marked men of the time in connexion with the press; and, in 1844, he undertook the editorship of the Glasgow Argus, a journal devoted to the advocacy of advanced liberal opinions.
This paper he conducted for three years, and returned to London, where he received the appointment of editor of the Illustrated London News, a situation which, considering the peculiar character of the paper, he fills with consummate tact. Some of the great organs of public opinion may thunder forth embittered denunciations, others, in the silkiest tone, will admonish so gently that they half approve the misconduct of people in power if their birth happens to have been sufficiently elevated. The distinguishing characteristics of the political articles written by Charles Mackay are their manly and thoroughly independent spirit, avoiding alike fulsome adulation and indiscriminate abuse. His censure and his praise are always governed by strictest impartiality. Whether he condemns or whether he applauds he secures the respect even of those from whom he differs the most. It is no small merit to possess such a power in the conflict and strife of politics. We happen to know a circumstance which speaks volumes on this subject. The peculiarities of the press of England were being discussed in the presence of a foreign nobleman, of high rank and political influence, who expressed himself to this effect:—"Some of your newspapers are feared, some simply tolerated, some detested, and some merit our contempt, but the Illustrated London News is respected. It is admitted everywhere, it is read everywhere; and, although it is sometimes severe, its very severity is appreciated, because it is the expression of earnest conviction and sterling good sense; the result is, that it has, on the Continent, a wider influence than any paper published in England."
Mackay's works have been numerous and various. Without presuming to be perfectly accurate, we shall attempt a list of his several publications. His first, as we have already stated, was a small volume of "Poems," published in 1836. This was followed by the "Hope of the World," a poem, in heroic verse, published in 1839. Soon afterwards appeared "The Thames and its Tributaries," a most suggestive, agreeable, and gossiping book. In 1841 appeared his "Popular Delusions," a work of considerable merit; and next came, in 1842, his romance of "Longbeard, Lord of London," so well conceived and cleverly executed, that an archaeologist of considerable pretensions mistook it for a genuine historical record of the place on which it was written. His next work, and up till that period his noblest poem, "The Salamandrine, or Love and Immortality," appeared in 1843. As there is no hesitation in his thought, there is no vagueness in his language; it is terse, clear, and direct in every utterance. An enemy to spasms in every form, he abhors the Spasmodic School of Poets. If the true poet be the seer—the far seer into futurity—he should see his way clear before him. He should write because he has a thought to utter, and ought to utter it in the clearest and the fittest language, and this is the principle which manifestly governs the compositions of Charles Mackay. The "Salamandrine" lifted his works high in the poetic scale, and permanently fixed him, not only in the ranks, but marked him as a leader of the host of eminent British poets. His residence in Scotland enabled him to visit many places famous in Scottish history. The results were his "Legends of the Isles," published in 1845 and his "Voices from the Mountains" in 1846. A few months before the publication of the last named volume, the University of Glasgow conferred upon him the degree of LL.D.
When the London Daily News was started, he contributed some stirring lyrics, under the title of "Voices from the Crowd." They arrested the attention of the public, and tended greatly to popularise and establish the reputation of that journal. In 1847 appeared his "Town Lyrics," a series of ballads which harrowed the soul by laying bare many of the secret miseries of the town. In 1850 was published his exquisite poem of "Egeria," probably the most refined and artistic of all his productions; and in 1856 he gave to the world "The Lump of Gold," and "Under Green Leaves," two volumes of charming poetry; the first tracing the evils that flow from unrestrained cupidity; the second the delights of the country, under every circumstance that can or does occur. Latterly he has composed some popular airs, set to his own lyrics; thus giving to the melody he has conceived the immortality of his verse. With the late Sir Henry Bishop he was associated in re-arranging a hundred of the choicest old English melodies. The music has been re-arranged; and many a lovely air, inadmissible to cultivated society from its being associated with vulgar or debasing words, has been re-admitted to the social circle, and is fast floating into public favour in union with the words composed by Mackay.
Here we stop. This is not the time, nor is it the place, to discuss, with any great elaboration, the merits or peculiarities of Charles Mackay as an author. We have to do with him as the most successful of song-writers. Two of his songs, perhaps not among his best, have obtained a world-wide popularity. His "Good Time Coming," and his "Cheer, Boys, Cheer," have been ground to death by barrel-organs, but only to experience a resurrection to immortality. On the wide sea, amid the desert, across the prairies, in burning India, in far Australia, and along the frozen steppes of Russia are floating those imperishable airs suggested by the "Lyrics" whose names they bear. The soldier and the sailor, conscious of impending danger, think of beloved ones at home; unconsciously they hum a melody, and comfort is restored. The emigrant, forced by various circumstances to leave his native land, where, instead of inheriting food and raiment, he had experienced hunger, nakedness, and cold, endeavours to express his feelings, and is discovered crooning over the tune that correctly interprets his emotions, and thrills his heart with gladness. The poet's song has become incorporated with the poor man's nature. You may see that it fills his eyes with tears; but they are not of sorrow. His cheek is flushed with hope, and a radiant expectation, founded on experience, which seems to illuminate and gild his future destiny. Marvellous, indeed, are the influences of a true song; and while they are rare, they are by fashion rarely appreciated. In it are embodied the best thoughts in the best language. By it the best of every class in every clime are swayed. In it they find expression for sensations, which, but for the poet, might have slumbered unexpressed till the day of doom.
Whether we think of Charles Mackay as a journalist, as a novelist, as a poet, or as a musician, he wins our admiration in all. Possessing, as he does in a high degree, a fine imagination, allied to the kindliest feelings springing from a sensitive and considerate heart, he is beloved by his friends, and cares little for the vulgar admiration of the crowd. The pomp, and circumstance, and self-exaltation, so current now-a-days, he utterly despises. But the kindliness, the glowing sympathies of a few kindred spirits gladden him and make him happy. Though modest and retiring in his disposition, he has no shamefacedness. His conversation is like his verse; there is neither tinsel nor glitter, but genuine, solid stuff. Something that bears examination; something you can take up and handle; something to brood over and reflect upon; something that wins its way by its truthfulness, and compels you to accept it as a principle; something that sticks close, and springs up in the future a very fountain of pure and unadulterated joy; from all this it will be inferred that no man can remain long in his company without feeling that he is not only a wiser, but a better man for the privilege enjoyed. He is still in the prime of life and the maturity of his intellect. May we not, in concluding this slight notice of his life and character, express a hope which we know to be a general one—that he may yet live to write many more poems and many more songs, as good or better than those which he has already given to the world?
 The present Memoir has been prepared, at our request, by Francis Bennoch, Esq.
LOVE AWEARY OF THE WORLD.
Oh! my love is very lovely, In her mind all beauties dwell; She, robed in living splendour, Grace and modesty attend her, And I love her more than well. But I 'm weary, weary, weary, To despair my soul is hurl'd; I am weary, weary, weary, I am weary of the world!
She is kind to all about her, For her heart is pity's throne; She has smiles for all men's gladness, She has tears for every sadness, She is hard to me alone. And I 'm weary, weary, weary, From a love-lit summit hurl'd; I am weary, weary, weary, I am weary of the world!
When my words are words of wisdom All her spirit I can move, At my wit her eyes will glisten, But she flies and will not listen If I dare to speak of love. Oh! I 'm weary, weary, weary, By a storm of passions whirl'd; I am weary, weary, weary, I am weary of the world!
True, that there are others fairer— Fairer?—No, that cannot be— Yet some maids of equal beauty, High in soul and firm in duty, May have kinder hearts than she. Why, by heart, so weary, weary, To and fro by passion whirl'd?— Why so weary, weary, weary, Why so weary of the world?
Were my love but passing fancy, To another I might turn; But I 'm doom'd to love unduly One who will not answer truly, And who freezes when I burn. And I 'm weary, weary, weary, To despair my soul is hurl'd; I am weary, weary, weary, I am weary of the world!
THE LOVER'S SECOND THOUGHTS ON WORLD WEARINESS.
Heart! take courage! 'tis not worthy For a woman's scorn to pine, If her cold indifference wound thee, There are remedies around thee For such malady as thine. Be no longer weary, weary, From thy love-lit summits hurl'd; Be no longer weary, weary, Weary, weary of the world!
If thou must be loved by woman, Seek again—the world is wide; It is full of loving creatures, Fair in form, and mind, and features— Choose among them for thy bride. Be no longer weary, weary, To and fro by passion whirl'd; Be no longer weary, weary, Weary, weary of the world!
Or if Love should lose thy favour, Try the paths of honest fame, Climb Parnassus' summit hoary, Carve thy way by deeds of glory, Write on History's page thy name. Be no longer weary, weary, To the depth of sorrow hurl'd; Be no longer weary, weary, Weary, weary of the world!
Or if these shall fail to move thee, Be the phantoms unpursued, Try a charm that will not fail thee When old age and grief assail thee— Try the charm of doing good. Be no longer weak and weary, By the storms of passion whirl'd; Be no longer weary, weary, Weary, weary of the world!
Love is fleeting and uncertain, And can bate where it adored, Chase of glory wears the spirit, Fame not always follows merit, Goodness is its own reward. Be no longer weary, weary, From thine happy summit hurl'd; Be no longer weary, weary, Weary, weary of the world!
A CANDID WOOING.
I cannot give thee all my heart, Lady, lady, My faith and country claim a part, My sweet lady; But yet I 'll pledge thee word of mine That all the rest is truly thine;— The raving passion of a boy, Warm though it be, will quickly cloy— Confide thou rather in the man Who vows to love thee all he can, My sweet lady.
Affection, founded on respect, Lady, lady, Can never dwindle to neglect, My sweet lady; And, while thy gentle virtues live, Such is the love that I will give. The torrent leaves its channel dry, The brook runs on incessantly; The storm of passion lasts a day, But deep, true love endures alway, My sweet lady.
Accept then a divided heart, Lady, lady, Faith, Friendship, Honour, each have part, My sweet lady. While at one altar we adore, Faith shall but make us love the more; And Friendship, true to all beside, Will ne'er be fickle to a bride; And Honour, based on manly truth, Shall love in age as well as youth, My sweet lady.
If Fortune with a smiling face Strew roses on our way, When shall we stoop to pick them up? To-day, my love, to-day. But should she frown with face of care, And talk of coming sorrow, When shall we grieve—if grieve we must? To-morrow, love, to-morrow.
If those who 've wrong'd us own their faults And kindly pity pray, When shall we listen and forgive? To-day, my love, to-day. But if stern Justice urge rebuke, And warmth from memory borrow, When shall we chide—if chide we dare? To-morrow, love, to-morrow.
If those to whom we owe a debt Are harm'd unless we pay, When shall we struggle to be just? To-day, my love, to-day. But if our debtor fail our hope, And plead his ruin thorough, When shall we weigh his breach of faith? To-morrow, love, to-morrow.
If Love, estranged, should once again His genial smile display, When shall we kiss his proffer'd lips? To-day, my love, to-day, But, if he would indulge regret, Or dwell with bygone sorrow, When shall we weep—if weep we must? To-morrow, love, to-morrow.
For virtuous acts and harmless joys The minutes will not stay; We 've always time to welcome them To-day, my love, to-day. But care, resentment, angry words, And unavailing sorrow Come far too soon, if they appear To-morrow, love, to-morrow.
REMEMBRANCES OF NATURE.
I remember the time, thou roaring sea, When thy voice was the voice of Infinity— A joy, and a dread, and a mystery.
I remember the time, ye young May flowers, When your odours and hues in the fields and bowers Fell on my soul as on grass the showers.
I remember the time, thou blustering wind, When thy voice in the woods, to my youthful mind, Seem'd the sigh of the earth for human kind.
I remember the time, ye suns and stars, When ye raised my soul from its mortal bars And bore it through heaven on your golden cars.
And has it then vanish'd, that happy time? Are the winds, and the seas, and the stars sublime Deaf to thy soul in its manly prime?
Ah, no! ah, no! amid sorrow and pain, When the world and its facts oppress my brain, In the world of spirit I rove—I reign.
I feel a deep and a pure delight In the luxuries of sound and sight— In the opening day, in the closing night.
The voices of youth go with me still, Through the field and the wood, o'er the plain and the hill, In the roar of the sea, in the laugh of the rill.
Every flower is a lover of mine, Every star is a friend divine: For me they blossom, for me they shine.
To give me joy the oceans roll, They breathe their secrets to my soul, With me they sing, with me condole.
Man cannot harm me if he would, I have such friends for my every mood In the overflowing solitude.
Fate cannot touch me: nothing can stir To put disunion or hate of her 'Twixt Nature and her worshipper.
Sing to me, flowers! preach to me, skies! Ye landscapes, glitter in mine eyes! Whisper, ye deeps, your mysteries!
Sigh to me, wind! ye forests, nod! Speak to me ever, thou flowery sod! Ye are mine—all mine—in the peace of God.
BELIEVE IF YOU CAN.
Music by the Author.
Hope cannot cheat us, Or Fancy betray; Tempests ne'er scatter The blossoms of May; The wild winds are constant, By method and plan; Oh! believe me, believe me, Believe if you can!
Young Love, who shews us His midsummer light, Spreads the same halo O'er Winter's dark night; And Fame never dazzles To lure and trepan; Oh! believe me, believe me, Believe if you can!
Friends of the sunshine Endure in the storm; Never they promise And fail to perform. And the night ever ends As the morning began; Oh! believe me, believe me, Believe if you can!
Words softly spoken No guile ever bore; Peaches ne'er harbour A worm at the core; And the ground never slipp'd Under high-reaching man; Oh! believe me, believe me, Believe if you can!
Seas undeceitful, Calm smiling at morn, Wreck not ere midnight The sailor forlorn. And gold makes a bridge Every evil to span; Oh! believe me, believe me, Believe if you can.
OH, THE HAPPY TIME DEPARTED!
Air by Sir H. R. Bishop.
Oh, the happy time departed! In its smile the world was fair; We believed in all men's goodness; Joy and hope were gems to wear; Angel visitants were with us, There was music in the air.
Oh, the happy time departed! Change came o'er it all too soon; In a cold and drear November Died the leafy wealth of June; Winter kill'd our summer roses; Discord marr'd a heavenly tune.
Let them pass—the days departed— What befell may ne'er befall; Why should we with vain lamenting Seek a shadow to recall? Great the sorrows we have suffer'd— Hope is greater than them all.
COME BACK! COME BACK!
Come back! come back! thou youthful Time, When joy and innocence were ours, When life was in its vernal prime, And redolent of sweets and flowers. Come back—and let us roam once more, Free-hearted, through life's pleasant ways, And gather garlands as of yore— Come back—come back—ye happy days!
Come back! come back!—'twas pleasant then To cherish faith in love and truth, For nothing in dispraise of men Had sour'd the temper of our youth. Come back—and let us still believe The gorgeous dream romance displays, Nor trust the tale that men deceive— Come back—come back—ye happy days!
Come back!—oh, freshness of the past, When every face seem'd fair and kind, When sunward every eye was cast, And all the shadows fell behind. Come back—'twill come; true hearts can turn Their own Decembers into Mays; The secret be it ours to learn— Come back—come back—ye happy days!
Music by Sir H. R. Bishop.
O ye tears! O ye tears! that have long refused to flow, Ye are welcome to my heart—thawing, thawing, like the snow; I feel the hard clod soften, and the early snowdrops spring, And the healing fountains gush, and the wildernesses sing.
O ye tears! O ye tears! I am thankful that ye run; Though ye trickle in the darkness, ye shall glitter in the sun; The rainbow cannot shine if the rain refuse to fall, And the eyes that cannot weep are the saddest eyes of all.
O ye tears! O ye tears! till I felt you on my cheek, I was selfish in my sorrow, I was stubborn, I was weak. Ye have given me strength to conquer, and I stand erect and free, And know that I am human by the light of sympathy.
O ye tears! O ye tears! ye relieve me of my pain; The barren rock of pride has been stricken once again; Like the rock that Moses smote, amid Horeb's burning sand, It yields the flowing water to make gladness in the land.
There is light upon my path, there is sunshine in my heart, And the leaf and fruit of life shall not utterly depart. Ye restore to me the freshness and the bloom of long ago— O ye tears! happy tears! I am thankful that ye flow.
CHEER, BOYS! CHEER!
Cheer, boys! cheer! no more of idle sorrow; Courage, true hearts, shall bear us on our way! Hope points before, and shews the bright to-morrow— Let us forget the darkness of to-day! So farewell, England! much as we may love thee, We 'll dry the tears that we have shed before; Why should we weep to sail in search of fortune? So farewell, England! farewell evermore! Cheer, boys! cheer! for England, mother England! Cheer, boys! cheer! the willing strong right hand; Cheer, boys! cheer! there 's work for honest labour, Cheer, boys! cheer! in the new and happy land!
Cheer, boys! cheer! the steady breeze is blowing, To float us freely o'er the ocean's breast; The world shall follow in the track we 're going, The star of empire glitters in the west. Here we had toil and little to reward it, But there shall plenty smile upon our pain; And ours shall be the mountain and the forest, And boundless prairies, ripe with golden grain. Cheer, boys! cheer! for England, mother England! Cheer, boys! cheer! united heart and hand! Cheer, boys! cheer! there 's wealth for honest labour, Cheer, boys! cheer! in the new and happy land!
MOURN FOR THE MIGHTY DEAD.
Music by Sir H. R. Bishop.
Mourn for the mighty dead, Mourn for the spirit fled, Mourn for the lofty head— Low in the grave. Tears such as nations weep Hallow the hero's sleep; Calm be his rest, and deep— Arthur the brave!
Nobly his work was done; England's most glorious son, True-hearted Wellington, Shield of our laws. Ever in peril's night Heaven send such arm of might— Guardian of truth and right— Raised in their cause!
Dried be the tears that fall; Love bears the warrior's pall, Fame shall his deeds recall— Britain's right hand! Bright shall his memory be! Star of supremacy! Banner of victory! Pride of our land.
A PLAIN MAN'S PHILOSOPHY.
Music by the Author.
I 've a guinea I can spend, I 've a wife, and I 've a friend, And a troop of little children at my knee, John Brown; I 've a cottage of my own, With the ivy overgrown, And a garden with a view of the sea, John Brown; I can sit at my door By my shady sycamore, Large of heart, though of very small estate, John Brown; So come and drain a glass In my arbour as you pass, And I 'll tell you what I love and what I hate, John Brown.
I love the song of birds, And the children's early words, And a loving woman's voice, low and sweet, John Brown; And I hate a false pretence, And the want of common sense, And arrogance, and fawning, and deceit, John Brown; I love the meadow flowers, And the brier in the bowers, And I love an open face without guile, John Brown; And I hate a selfish knave, And a proud, contented slave, And a lout who 'd rather borrow than he 'd toil, John Brown.
I love a simple song That awakes emotions strong, And the word of hope that raises him who faints, John Brown; And I hate the constant whine Of the foolish who repine, And turn their good to evil by complaints, John Brown; But ever when I hate, If I seek my garden gate, And survey the world around me, and above, John Brown, The hatred flies my mind, And I sigh for human kind, And excuse the faults of those I cannot love, John Brown.
So, if you like my ways, And the comfort of my days, I will tell you how I live so unvex'd, John Brown; I never scorn my health, Nor sell my soul for wealth, Nor destroy one day the pleasures of the next, John Brown; I 've parted with my pride, And I take the sunny side, For I 've found it worse than folly to be sad, John Brown; I keep a conscience clear, I 've a hundred pounds a-year, And I manage to exist and to be glad, John Brown.
THE SECRETS OF THE HAWTHORN.
Music by the Author.
No one knows what silent secrets Quiver from thy tender leaves; No one knows what thoughts between us Pass in dewy moonlight eves. Roving memories and fancies, Travellers upon Thought's deep sea, Haunt the gay time of our May-time, O thou snow-white hawthorn-tree!
Lovely was she, bright as sunlight, Pure and kind, and good and fair, When she laugh'd the ringing music Rippled through the summer air. "If you love me—shake the blossoms!" Thus I said, too bold and free; Down they came in showers of beauty, Thou beloved hawthorn-tree!
Sitting on the grass, the maiden Vow'd the vow to love me well; Vow'd the vow; and oh! how truly, No one but myself can tell. Widely spreads the smiling woodland, Elm and beech are fair to see; But thy charms they cannot equal, O thou happy hawthorn-tree!
A CRY FROM THE DEEP WATERS.
From the deep and troubled waters Comes the cry; Wild are the waves around me— Dark the sky: There is no hand to pluck me From the sad death I die.
To one small plank, that fails me, Clinging low, I am dash'd by angry billows To and fro; I hear death-anthems ringing In all the winds that blow.
A cry of suffering gushes From my lips As I behold the distant White-sail'd ships O'er the white waters gleaming Where the horizon dips.
They pass; they are too lofty And remote, They cannot see the spaces Where I float. The last hope dies within me, With the gasping in my throat.
Through dim cloud-vistas looking, I can see The new moon's crescent sailing Pallidly: And one star coldly shining Upon my misery.
There are no sounds in nature But my moan, The shriek of the wild petrel All alone, And roar of waves exulting To make my flesh their own.
Billow with billow rages, Tempest trod; Strength fails me; coldness gathers On this clod; From the deep and troubled waters I cry to Thee, my God!
THE RETURN HOME.
The favouring wind pipes aloft in the shrouds, And our keel flies as fast as the shadow of clouds; The land is in sight, on the verge of the sky, And the ripple of waters flows pleasantly by,— And faintly stealing, Booming, pealing, Chime from the city the echoing bells; And louder, clearer, Softer, nearer, Ringing sweet welcome the melody swells; And it 's home! and it 's home! all our sorrows are past— We are home in the land of our fathers at last.
How oft with a pleasure akin to a pain, In fancy we roam'd through thy pathways again, Through the mead, through the lane, through the grove, through the corn, And heard the lark singing its hymn to the morn; And 'mid the wild wood, Dear to childhood, Gather'd the berries that grew by the way; But all our gladness Died in sadness, Fading like dreams in the dawning of day;— But we 're home! we are home! all our sorrows are past— We are home in the land of our fathers at last.
We loved thee before, but we 'll cherish thee now With a deeper emotion than words can avow; Wherever in absence our feet might delay, We had never a joy like the joy of to-day; And home returning, Fondly yearning, Faces of welcome seem crowding the shore— England! England! Beautiful England! Peace be around thee, and joy evermore! And it 's home! and it 's home! all our sorrows are past— We are home in the land of our fathers at last.
THE MEN OF THE NORTH.
Fierce as its sunlight, the East may be proud Of its gay gaudy hues and its sky without cloud; Mild as its breezes, the beautiful West May smile like the valleys that dimple its breast; The South may rejoice in the vine and the palm, In its groves, where the midnight is sleepy with balm: Fair though they be, There 's an isle in the sea, The home of the brave and the boast of the free! Hear it, ye lands! let the shout echo forth— The lords of the world are the Men of the North!
Cold though our seasons, and dull though our skies, There 's a might in our arms and a fire in our eyes; Dauntless and patient, to dare and to do— Our watchword is "Duty," our maxim is "Through!" Winter and storm only nerve us the more, And chill not the heart, if they creep through the door: Strong shall we be In our isle of the sea, The home of the brave and the boast of the free! Firm as the rocks when the storm flashes forth, We 'll stand in our courage—the Men of the North!
Sunbeams that ripen the olive and vine, In the face of the slave and the coward may shine; Roses may blossom where Freedom decays, And crime be a growth of the Sun's brightest rays. Scant though the harvest we reap from the soil, Yet Virtue and Health are the children of Toil: Proud let us be Of our isle of the sea, The home of the brave and the boast of the free! Men with true hearts—let our fame echo forth— Oh, these are the fruit that we grow in the North!
THE LOVER'S DREAM OF THE WIND.
I dream'd thou wert a fairy harp Untouch'd by mortal hand, And I the voiceless, sweet west wind, A roamer through the land. I touch'd, I kiss'd thy trembling strings, And lo! my common air, Throbb'd with emotion caught from thee, And turn'd to music rare.
I dream'd thou wert a rose in bloom, And I the gale of spring, That sought the odours of thy breath, And bore them on my wing. No poorer thou, but richer I— So rich, that far at sea, The grateful mariners were glad, And bless'd both thee and me.
I dream'd thou wert the evening star, And I a lake at rest, That saw thine image all the night Reflected on my breast. Too far!—too far!—come dwell on Earth! Be Harp and Rose of May;— I need thy music in my heart, Thy fragrance on my way.
Archibald Crawford, a writer of prose and poetry of considerable merit, was born at Ayr in 1785. In his ninth year, left an orphan, he was placed under the care of a brother-in-law, a baker in London. With no greater advantages than the somewhat limited school education then given to the sons of burgesses of small provincial towns, his ardent love of literature and powerful memory enabled him to become conversant with the works of the more distinguished British authors, as well as the best translations of the classics. At the expiry of eight years he returned to Ayr, and soon after entered the employment of Charles Hay, Esq., of Edinburgh, in whose service he continued during a course of years. In honour of a daughter of this gentleman, who had shewn him much kindness during a severe attack of fever, he composed his song of "Bonnie Mary Hay," which, subsequently set to music by R. A. Smith, has become extremely popular. He was afterwards in the employment of General Hay of Rannes, with whom he remained several years. At the close of that period he was offered by his employer an ensigncy in the service of the Honourable East India Company, which, however, he respectfully declined. In 1810 he opened a grocery establishment in his native town; but, with less aptitude for business than literature, he lost the greater part of the capital he had embarked in trade. He afterwards exchanged this business for that of auctioneer and general merchant.
The literary inclinations of his youth had been assiduously followed up, and his employers, sympathising with his tastes, gave him every opportunity, by the use of their libraries, of indulging his favourite studies. With the exception of some fugitive pieces, he did not however seek distinction as an author till 1819, when a satirical poem, entitled "St James's in an uproar," appeared anonymously from his pen. This composition intended to support the extreme political opinions then in vogue, exposed to ridicule some leading persons in the district, and was attended with the temporary apprehension and menaced prosecution of the printer. To the columns of the Ayr and Wigtonshire Courier he now began to contribute a series of sketches, founded on traditions in the West of Scotland; and these, in 1824, he collected into a volume, with the title, "Tales of a Grandmother," which was published by subscription. In the following year the tales, with some additions, were published, in two duodecimo volumes, by Constable and Co.; but the subsequent insolvency of the publishing firm deprived the author of the profits of the sale. Crawford, along with two literary coadjutors, next started a weekly serial at Ayr, entitled The Correspondent, but the publication, in the course of a few months, was abandoned. A similar periodical, under the designation of The Gaberlunzie, appeared under his management in 1827, and extended to sixteen numbers. He latterly contributed articles in prose and verse to the Ayr Advertiser, a weekly newspaper published in that town. His death took place at Ayr on the 6th January 1843, in his 58th year. Much esteemed for his hearty, social nature, with a ready and pungent wit, and much dramatic power as a relater of legendary narrative, he was possessed of strong intellectual capacities, and considerable taste as a poet. His second son, Mr William Crawford, has attained distinction as an artist.
BONNIE MARY HAY.
Bonnie Mary Hay, I will lo'e thee yet, For thy eye is the slae, thy hair is the jet; The snaw is thy skin, and the rose is thy cheek; O! bonnie Mary Hay, I will lo'e thee yet.
Bonnie Mary Hay, will you gang wi' me, When the sun 's in the west, to the hawthorn-tree; To the hawthorn-tree, in the bonnie berry-den, And I 'll tell you, Mary, how I lo'e you then?
Bonnie Mary Hay, it 's haliday to me, When thou art couthie, kind, and free; There 's nae clouds in the lift, nor storms in the sky, My bonnie Mary Hay, when thou art nigh.
Bonnie Mary Hay, thou maunna say me nay, But come to the bower, by the hawthorn brae; But come to the bower, and I 'll tell you a' what 's true, How, Mary, I can ne'er lo'e ane but you.
SCOTLAND, I HAVE NO HOME BUT THEE!
Scotland, thy mountains, thy valleys, and fountains, Are famous in story—the birth-place of song; Thy daughters the fairest, the sweetest, the rarest, Well may thy pilgrims long for their home. Trace the whole world o'er, find me a fairer shore, The grave of my fathers! the land of the free! Joy to the rising race! Heaven send them ev'ry grace; Scotland, dear Scotland, I have no home but thee!
Glow on, ye southern skies, where fruits wear richer dyes To pamper the bigot, assassin, and slave; Scotland, to thee I 'll twine, with all thy varied clime, For the fruits that thou bearest are true hearts and brave. Trace the whole world o'er, find me a fairer shore, The grave of my fathers! the land of the free! Joy to the rising race! Heaven send them ev'ry grace; Scotland, dear Scotland, I have no home but thee!
George Donald was born at Glasgow on the 19th January 1800. His parents being in circumstances of indigence, he was sent to labour in a factory so early as his eighth year. A limited attendance at school he supplemented by devoting his intervals of toil to self-instruction. He began to contribute verses to the public journals in his eighteenth year, and soon after composed a series of poems, entitled "Lays of the Covenanters," which appeared in one of the Glasgow newspapers. Of extreme political opinions, he upheld his peculiar views in a series of satirical compositions both in prose and verse, which, by leading dissolute persons to seek his society, proved the commencement of a most unfortunate career. Habits of irregularity were contracted; he ceased to engage in the duties of his calling: and leaving his wife and family of young children without any means of support, he became a reckless wanderer. He afterwards emigrated to the United States, but at the expiry of sixteen months re-appeared in Glasgow. He now became steady; and joining the Total Abstinence Society, advocated the cause of sobriety in a number of temperance songs. Renouncing his pledge, he soon returned to his former habits. He proceeded to Ireland, where he supported himself as a public reciter of popular Scottish ballads. He contributed to the Banner of Ulster a narrative of his experiences in America; and published at Belfast, in a separate volume, his "Lays of the Covenanters," two abridged editions of which were subsequently printed and circulated in Glasgow. Returning to his native city, he was fortunate in receiving the kindly patronage of Dr John Smith of the Examiner newspaper, who paid him a stipulated salary as a contributor. After a period of illness, his death took place at the village of Thornliebank, near Glasgow, on the 7th December 1851. In "The Songs for the Nursery," an interesting little work published by Mr David Robertson of Glasgow in 1846, ten pieces are from his pen. A poem which he composed in his latter years entitled "The Progress of Society, in five books," is still in MS. Amidst all his failings Donald maintained a sense of religion. Evincing a sincere regret for the errors of his life, he died in Christian hope.
THE SPRING TIME O' LIFE.
AIR—"O wat ye wha I met yestreen?"
The summer comes wi' rosy wreaths, And spreads the mead wi' fragrant flowers, While furthy autumn plenty breathes, And blessings in abundance showers. E'en winter, wi' its frost and snaw, Brings meikle still the heart to cheer, But there's a season worth them a', And that's the spring-time o' the year.
In spring the farmer ploughs the field That yet will wave wi' yellow corn, In spring the birdie bigs its bield In foggy bank or budding thorn; The burn and brae, the hill and dell, A song of hope are heard to sing, And summer, autumn, winter, tell, Wi' joy or grief, the work o' spring.
Now, youth 's the spring-time o' your life, When seed is sown wi' care and toil, And hopes are high, and fears are rife, Lest weeds should rise the braird to spoil. I 've sown the seed, my bairnies dear, By precept and example baith, And may the hand that guides us here Preserve it frae the spoiler's skaith!
But soon the time may come when you Shall miss a mother's tender care, A sinfu' world to wander through, Wi' a' its stormy strife to share; Then mind my words, whare'er ye gang, Let fortune smile or thrawart be, Ne'er let the tempter lead ye wrang— If sae ye live, ye'll happy dee.
THE SCARLET ROSE-BUSH.
AIR—"There grows a bonnie brier bush."
Come see my scarlet rose-bush My father gied to me, That's growing in our window-sill Sae fresh and bonnilie; I wadna gie my rose-bush For a' the flowers I see, Nor for a pouchfu' o' red gowd, Sae dear it is to me.
I set it in the best o' mould Ta'en frae the moudie's hill, And covered a' the yird wi' moss I gather'd on the hill; I saw the blue-bell blooming, And the gowan wat wi' dew, But my heart was on my rose-bush set, I left them where they grew.
I water 't ilka morning Wi' meikle pride and care, And no a wither'd leaf I leave Upon its branches fair; Twa sprouts are rising frae the root, And four are on the stem, Three rosebuds and six roses blawn— 'Tis just a perfect gem!
Come, see my bonnie, blooming bush My father gied to me, Wi' roses to the very top, And branches like a tree. It grows upon our window-sill, I watch it tentilie; O! I wadna gie my dear rose-bush For a' the flowers I see.
HENRY GLASSFORD BELL.
Henry Glassford Bell is the son of James Bell, Esq., advocate. His mother was the daughter of the Rev. John Hamilton, minister of Cathcart. He was born at Glasgow, but his early life was spent chiefly in Edinburgh, whither his parents removed in his sixth year. Having studied at the University of Edinburgh, he passed advocate in 1832. Prior to his commencing the study of law, he much devoted himself to literary pursuits. In 1828 he published, in "Constable's Miscellany," a "Life of Mary, Queen of Scots," in two volumes, of which work several editions have since appeared. About the same time he established the Edinburgh Literary Journal, which he conducted for several years with much acceptance to the public. His other publications are, "My Old Portfolio," a volume of miscellaneous prose and verse, and "Summer and Winter Hours," a volume of lyric poems and songs. Both these works are out of print. Mr Bell has contributed to the principal periodicals, and associated with the leading literary men of his time. Since 1839 he has resided in Glasgow, holding the appointment of a Sheriff-substitute of Lanarkshire.
MY LIFE IS ONE LONG THOUGHT OF THEE.
Say wilt thou, Leila, when alone, Remember days of bliss gone by? Wilt thou, beside thy native Rhone, E'er for our distant streamlets sigh? Beneath thy own glad sun and sky, Ah! Leila, wilt thou think of me? She blush'd, and murmur'd in reply, "My life is one long thought of thee."
Sweet girl! I would not have it so; My destiny must not be thine, For wildly as the wild waves flow, Will pass this fleeting life of mine. "And let thy fate be weal or woe, My thoughts," she smiling said, "are free; And well the watchful angels know My life is one long thought of thee."
Then, Leila, may thy thoughts and prayers Be with me in my hour of need, When round me throng the cold world's cares, And all my heart's fresh sorrows bleed! "Why, dearest, nurse so dark a creed? For full of joy thy years shall be; And mine shall share the blissful meed, For life is one long thought of thee."
WHY IS MY SPIRIT SAD?
Why is my spirit sad? Because 'tis parting, each succeeding year, With something that it used to hold more dear Than aught that now remains; Because the past, like a receding sail, Flits into dimness, and the lonely gale O'er vacant waters reigns!
Why is my spirit sad? Because no more within my soul there dwell Thoughts fresh as flowers that fill the mountain dell With innocent delight; Because I am aweary of the strife That with hot fever taints the springs of life, Making the day seem night!
Why is my spirit sad? Alas! ye did not know the lost, the dead, Who loved with me of yore green paths to tread— The paths of young romance; Ye never stood with us 'neath summer skies, Nor saw the glad light of their tender eyes— The Eden of their glance.
Why is my spirit sad? Have not the beautiful been ta'en away— Are not the noble-hearted turn'd to clay— Wither'd in root and stem? I see that others, in whose looks are lit The radiant joys of youth, are round me yet, But not—but not like them!
I would not be less sad; My days of mirth are past; droops o'er my brow The sheaf of care in sickly paleness now; The present is around me; Would that the future were both come and gone, And that I lay where, 'neath a nameless stone, Crush'd feelings could not wound me!
I 'll no walk by the kirk, mother, I 'll no walk by the manse; I aye meet wi' the minister, Wha looks at me askance.
What ails ye at the minister?— A douce and sober lad; I trow it is na every day That siclike can be had.
I dinna like his smooth-kaim'd hair, Nor yet his pawkie face; I dinna like a preacher, mother, But in a preaching place.
Then ye 'll gang down by Holylee— Ye needna look sae scared— For wha kens but at Holylee Ye 'll aiblins meet the Laird?
I canna bide the Laird, mother, He says sic things to me; Ae half he says wi' wily words, And ae half wi' his e'e.
Awa! awa! ye glaikit thing! It 's a' that Geordie Young; The Laird has no an e'e like him, Nor the minister a tongue!
He 's fleech'd ye out o' a' ye hae, For nane but him ye care; But love can ne'er be lasting, bairn, That aye gangs cauld and bare.
The faithfu' heart will aye, mother, Put trust in ane above, And how can folks gang bare, mother, Wrapp'd in the faulds o' love?
Weel, lassie, walk ye by the burn, And walk ye slow and sly; My certie! weel ye ken the gate That Geordie Young comes by!
His plighted troth is mine, mother, And lang afore the spring I 'll loose my silken snood, mother, And wear the gowden ring.
MY FAIRY ELLEN.
Beautiful moon! wilt thou tell me where Thou lovest most to be softly gleaming? Is it on some rich bank of flowers Where 'neath each blossom a fay lies dreaming? Or is it on yonder silver lake Where the fish in green and gold are sparkling? Or is it among those ancient trees Where the tremulous shadows move soft and darkling? Oh, no! said the moon, with a playful smile, The best of my beams are for ever dwelling In the exquisite eyes, so deeply blue, And the eloquent glance of the fairy Ellen.
Gentlest of zephyrs! pray tell me how Thou lovest to spend a serene May morning, When dew-drops are twinkling on every bough, And violets wild each glade adorning? Is it in kissing the glittering stream, O'er its pebbly channel so gaily rippling? Is it in sipping the nectar that lies In the bells of the flowers—an innocent tippling? Oh no! said the zephyr, and softly sigh'd, His voice with a musical melody swelling, All the mornings of May 'mong the ringlets I play That dance on the brow of the fairy Ellen.
White little lily! pray tell me when Thy happiest moments the fates allow thee? Thou seemest a favourite with bees and men, And all the boys and butterflies know thee; Is it at dawn or at sunset hour That pleasantest fancies are o'er thee stealing? One would think thee a poet, to judge by thy looks, Or at least a pale-faced man of feeling? Oh no! said the lily, and slightly blush'd, My highest ambition 's to be sweet smelling, To live in the sight, and to die on the breast Of the fairest of beings, the fairy Ellen.
Oh! would that I were the moon myself, Or a balmy zephyr, fresh fragrance breathing; Or a white-crown'd lily, my slight green stem Slily around that dear neck wreathing! Worlds would I give to bask in those eyes, Stars, if I had them, for one of those tresses, My heart and my soul, and my body to boot, For merely the smallest of all her kisses! And if she would love me, oh heaven and earth! I would not be Jove, the cloud-compelling, Though he offer'd me Juno and Venus both In exchange for one smile of my fairy Ellen!
A BACHELOR'S COMPLAINT.
They 're stepping off, the friends I knew, They 're going one by one; They 're taking wives to tame their lives, Their jovial days are done; I can't get one old crony now To join me in a spree; They've all grown grave, domestic men, They look askance on me.
I hate to see them sober'd down, The merry boys and true, I hate to hear them sneering now At pictures fancy drew; I care not for their married cheer, Their puddings and their soups, And middle-aged relations round, In formidable groups.
And though their wife perchance may have A comely sort of face, And at the table's upper end Conduct herself with grace, I hate the prim reserve that reigns, The caution and the state, I hate to see my friend grow vain Of furniture and plate.
Oh, give me back the days again, When we have wander'd free, And stole the dew from every flower, The fruit from every tree; The friends I loved they will not come, They've all deserted me; They sit at home and toast their toes, Look stupid and sip tea.
Alas! alas! for years gone by, And for the friends I've lost; When no warm feeling of the heart Was chill'd by early frost. If these be Hymen's vaunted joys, I'd have him shun my door, Unless he quench his torch, and live Henceforth a bachelor.
William Bennet was born on the 29th September, 1802, in the parish of Glencairn, and county of Dumfries. He first wrote verses while apprenticed to a mechanic in a neighbouring parish. In his nineteenth year he published a volume of poems, which excited some attention, and led to his connexion with the newspaper press. He became a regular contributor to the Dumfries Courier, edited by the ingenious John M'Diarmid; and in 1825 and the following year conducted the Dumfries Magazine, in which appeared many interesting articles from his pen. In December 1826, he became editor of the Glasgow Free Press, which supported the liberal cause during the whole of the Reform Bill struggle. Along with Sir Daniel Sandford, he afterwards withdrew from the Whig party, and established the Glasgow Constitutional, the editorship of which he resigned in 1836. In 1832-3, he published a periodical, entitled, "Bennet's Glasgow Magazine." Continuing to write verses, he afterwards published a poetical volume, with the title, "Songs of Solitude." His other separate works are, "Pictures of Scottish Scenes and Character," in three volumes; "Sketches of the Isle of Man;" and "The Chief of Glen-Orchay," a poem in five cantos, illustrative of Highland manners and mythology in the middle ages.
Mr Bennet, subsequent to leaving Glasgow, resided successively in Ireland, and London. He afterwards lived several years in Galloway, and has latterly fixed his abode at Greenmount, near Burntisland. He is understood to be engaged in a new translation of the Scriptures.
BLEST BE THE HOUR OF NIGHT.
Blest be the hour of night, When, his toils over, The swain, with a heart so light, Meets with his lover! Sweet the moon gilds their path, Arm in arm straying; Clouds never rise in wrath, Chiding their staying.
Gently they whisper low: Unseen beside them, Good angels watch, that no Ill may betide them. Silence is everywhere, Save when the sighing Is heard, of the breeze's fall, Fitfully dying.
How the maid's bosom glows, While her swain 's telling The love, that 's been long, she knows, In his heart swelling! How, when his arms are thrown Tenderly round her, Fears she, in words to own What he hath found her!
When the first peep of dawn Warns them of parting, And from each dewy lawn Blythe birds are starting, Fondly she hears her swain Vow, though they sever, Soon they shall meet again, Mated for ever.
THE ROSE OF BEAUTY.
Amang the breezy heights and howes Where winds the Milk sae clearly, A Rose o' beauty sweetly grows, A Rose I lo'e most dearly.
Wi' spring's saft rain and simmer's sun How blooms my Rose divinely! And lang ere blaws the winter wun', This breast shall nurse it kin'ly.
May heaven's dew aye freshly weet My Rose at ilka gloamin', And oh, may nae unhallow'd feet Be near it ever roamin'!
I soon shall buy a snug wee cot, And hae my Rose brought thither; And then, in that lowne sunny spot, We'll bloom and fade thegither.
 A beautiful sylvan stream, falling from the uplands into the Annan, between Ecclefechan and Lockerbie.
I 'LL THINK ON THEE, LOVE.
I 'll think on thee, Love, when thy bark Hath borne thee far across the deep; And, as the sky is bright or dark, 'Twill be my fate to smile or weep; For oh, when winds and waters keep In trust so dear a charge as thee, My anxious fears can never sleep Till thou again art safe with me!
I 'll think on thee, Love, when each hour Of twilight comes, with pensive mood, And silence, like a spell of power, Rests, in its depth, on field and wood; And as the mingling shadows brood Still closer o'er the lonely sea, Here, on the beach where first we woo'd, I 'll pour to heaven my prayers for thee.
Then haply on the breeze's wing, That to me steals across the wave, Some angel's voice may answer bring That list'ning heaven consents to save. And oh, the further boon I crave Perchance may also granted be, That thou, return'd, no more shalt brave The wanderer's perils on the sea!
THERE 'S MUSIC IN A MOTHER'S VOICE.
There 's music in a mother's voice, More sweet than breezes sighing; There 's kindness in a mother's glance, Too pure for ever dying.
There 's love within a mother's breast, So deep, 'tis still o'erflowing, And for her own a tender care, That 's ever, ever growing.
And when a mother kneels to heaven, And for her child is praying, Oh, who shall half the fervour tell That burns in all she 's saying!
A mother, when she, like a star, Sets into heaven before us, From that bright home of love, all pure, Still minds and watches o'er us.
THE BRIG OF ALLAN.
Come, memory, paint, though far away, The wimpling stream, the broomy brae, The upland wood, the hill-top gray, Whereon the sky seems fallin'; Paint me each cheery, glist'ning row Of shelter'd cots, the woods below, Where Airthrie's healing waters flow By bonny Brig of Allan.
Paint yonder Grampian heights sublime, The Roman eagles could not climb, And Stirling, crown'd in after time With Royalty's proud dwallin'; These, with the Ochils, sentry keep, Where Forth, that fain in view would sleep, Tries, from his Links, oft back to peep At bonny Brig of Allan.
Oh, lovely, when the rising sun Greets Stirling towers, so steep and dun, And silver Forth's calm breast upon The golden beams are fallin'! Then, trotting down to join his flood, Through rocky steeps, besprent with wood, How bright, in morning's joyous mood, Appears the stream of Allan!
Upon its banks how sweet to stray, With rod and line, the livelong day, Or trace each rural charm, away From cark of every callin'! There dove-like, o'er my path would brood The spirit pure of solitude; For native each rapt, genial mood Is to the beauteous Allan.
Oh, witching as its scenes, and bright As is its cloudless summer light, Be still its maids, the soul's delight Of every truthful callan'! Be health around it ever spread, To light the eye, to lift the head, And joy on every heart be shed That beats by Brig of Allan!