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Up the gavel-end thick spreading
Joined the burnie's rambling line;
Painted bright between twa trees. 'Godsake, Tam! here's walth for drinking! Wha can this new-comer be?'
'Hout,' quo' Tam, 'there's drouth in thinkingLet's in, Will, and syne we'll see.'
The rustic friends have a jolly meeting, and do not separate till ''tween twa and three' next morning. A weekly club is set up at Maggy Howe's, a newspaper is procured, and poor Will, the hero of the tale, becomes a pot-house politician, and soon goes to ruin. His wife also takes to drinking.
Wha was ance like Willie Gairlace?
Wha in neebouring town or farm? Beauty's bloom shone in his fair face, Deadly strength was in his arm. Whan he first saw Jeanie Miller,
Wha wi' Jeanie could compare? Thousands had mair braws and siller, But war ony half sae fair?
See them now!-how changed wi' drinking!
Wi' ilk face as white's a clout!
Ilka sheaf selt on the bent; Cattle, beds, and blankets roupit Now to pay the laird his rent. No anither night to lodge here
No a friend their cause to plead ! He's ta'en on to be a sodger,
She wi' weans to beg her bread!
The little domestic drama is happily wound up: Jeanie obtains a cottage and protection from the Duchess of Buccleuch; and Will, after losing a leg in battle, returns, placed on Chelsea's bounty,' and finds his wife and family.
Sometimes briskly, sometimes flaggin',
Willie, heedless, tint his gate.
Strack the ear wi' thundering thud: Ewes and lambs on braes ran bleating; Linties chirped on ilka tree;
Frae the west the sun, near setting, Flamed on Roslin's towers sae hie.
Hae ye seen the bird fast fleeing,
Drap when pierced by death mair fleet? Then see Jean wi' colour deeing, Senseless drap at Willie's feet. After three lang years' affliction
(A' their waes now hushed to rest), Jean ance mair, in fond affection, Clasps her Willie to her breast.
The simple truth and pathos of descriptions like these appealed to the heart, and soon rendered Macneill's poem universally popular in Scotland. Its moral tendency was also a strong recommendation, and the same causes still operate in procuring readers for the tale, especially in that class best fitted to appreciate its rural beauties and homely pictures, and to receive benefit from the lessons it inculcates. Macneill wrote several Scottish lyrics, but he wanted the true genius for song-writing-the pathos, artlessness, and simple gaiety which should accompany the flow of the music. He published a descriptive poem, entitled The Links of Forth, or a Parting Peep at the Carse of Stirling; and some prose tales, in which he laments the effect of modern 489
ROBERT TANNAHILL, a lyrical poet of a superior order, whose songs rival all but the best of Burns's in popularity, was born in Paisley on the 3d of June 1774. His education was limited, but he was a diligent reader and student. He was early sent to the loom, weaving being the staple trade of Paisley, and continued to follow his occupation in his native town until his twenty-sixth year, when, with one of his younger brothers, he removed to Lancashire. There he continued two years, when the declining state of his father's health induced him to return. He arrived in time to receive the dying blessing of his parent, and a short time afterwards we find him writing to a friend My brother Hugh and I are all that now remain at home, with our old mother, bending under age and frailty; and but seven years back, nine of us used to sit at dinner together.' Hugh married, and the poet was left alone with his widowed mother. On this occasion he adopted a resolution which he has expressed in the following
The Filial Vow.
Why heaves my mother oft the deep-drawn sigh?
Yes, partly these her gloomy thoughts employ,
O hear me, Heaven! and record my vow;
years. Though Tannahill had occasionally composed verses from a very early age, it was not till after this time that he attained to anything beyond mediocrity. Becoming acquainted with Mr R. A. Smith, a musical composer, the poet applied himself sedulously to lyrical composition, aided by the encouragement and the musical taste of his friend. Smith set some of his songs to original and appropriate airs, and in 1807 the poet ventured on the publication of a volume of poems and songs, of which the first impression, consisting of 900 copies, were sold in a few weeks. It is related that in a solitary walk on one occasion, his musings were interrupted
by the voice of a country girl in an adjoining field singing by herself a song of his own—
We'll meet beside the dusky glen, on yon burnside;
So merrily we'll sing,
As the storm rattles o'er us,
Wi' the light lilting chorus.
Wi' the flowers richly blooming,
Let us journey together,
The Braes o' Gleniffer.
Keen blaws the win' o'er the braes o' Gleniffer,
The auld castle turrets are covered with snaw;
How changed frae the time when I met wi' my lover
And now it is winter wi' nature and me.
Then ilk thing around us was blithesome and cheerie,
Then ilk thing around us was bonnie and braw; Now naething is heard but the wind whistling drearie, And naething is seen but the wide-spreading snaw. trees are a bare, and the birds mute and dowie; They shake the cauld drift frae their wings as they flee; chirp out their plaints, seeming wae for my
'Tis winter wi' them, and 'tis winter wi' me.
cauld sleety cloud skiffs alang the bleak mountain,
And shakes the dark firs on the steep rocky brae, While down the deep glen bawls the snaw-flooded
That murmured sae sweet to my laddie and me.
The Flower o' Dumblane.
The sun has gane down o'er the lofty Benlomond,
And left the red clouds to preside o'er the scene, While lanely I stray in the calm summer gloamin,
To muse on sweet Jessie, the flower o' Dumblane. How sweet is the brier, wi' its saft fauldin' blossom! And sweet is the birk, wi' its mantle o' green; Yet sweeter and fairer, and dear to this bosom,
Is lovely young Jessie, the flower o' Dumblane.
She's modest as ony, and blithe as she's bonnie;
Wha'd blight in its bloom the sweet flower o' Dum-
Sing on, thou sweet mavis, thy hymn to the e'ening;
Is charming young Jessie, the flower o' Dumblane.
How lost were my days till I met wi' my Jessie!
The sports o' the city seemed foolish and vain;
Though mine were the station o' loftiest grandeur,
Gloomy Winter's now Awa.
Gloomy winter's now awa,
The mavis sings fu' cheerie O.
My young, my artless dearie O.
Midst joys that never wearie 0.
Adorn the banks sae brierie O. Round the sylvan fairy nooks, Feathery brekans fringe the rocks, 'Neath the brae the burnie jouks,
And ilka thing is cheerie O. Trees may bud, and birds may sing, Flowers may bloom, and verdure spring, Joy to me they canna bring,
Unless wi' thee, my dearie O.
Contemporary with Tannahill, and possessing a kindred taste in song-writing, was RICHARD GALL (1776-1801), who, whilst employed as a printer in Edinburgh, threw off some Scottish songs that were justly popular. My only jo and dearie O,' for pleasing fancy and musical expression, is not unworthy Tannahill. I remember,' says Allan Cunningham, ' when this song was exceedingly popular: its sweetness and ease, rather than its originality and vigour, might be the cause of its success. The third verse contains a very beautiful picture of early attachment-a sunny bank, and some sweet soft schoolgirl, will appear to many a fancy when these lines are sung.'
My only Jo and Dearie 0. Thy cheek is o' the rose's hue,
My only jo and dearie O; Thy neck is like the siller-dew
Upon the banks sae briery 0; Thy teeth are o' the ivory, O sweet's the twinkle o' thine ee! Nae joy, nae pleasure, blinks on me, My only jo and dearie O.
The birdie sings upon the thorn
Its sang o' joy, fu' cheerie O, Rejoicing in the summer morn,
Nae care to mak it eerie O; But little kens the sangster sweet Aught o' the cares I hae to meet, That gar my restless bosom beat,
My only jo and dearie O.
Whan we were bairnies on yon brae, And youth was blinking bonnie O, Aft we wad daff the lee-lang day,
Our joys fu' sweet and mony O; Aft I wad chase thee o'er the lea, And round about the thorny tree, Or pu' the wild flowers a' for thee, My only jo and dearie O.
I hae a wish I canna tine, 'Mang a' the cares that grieve me 0; I wish thou wert for ever mine,
And never mair to leave me 0:
Then I wad daut thee night and day,
Farewell to Ayrshire.
[This song of Gall's has been often printed-in consequence of its locality-as the composition of Burns] Scenes of wo and scenes of pleasure,
Scenes that former thoughts renew;
Now a sad and last adieu!
First enthralled this heart o' mine;
Sweets that memory ne'er shall tine! Friends so dear my bosom ever,
Ye hae rendered moments dear; But, alas! when forced to sever,
Then the stroke, oh! how severe ! Friends, that parting tear reserve it, Though 'tis doubly dear to me; Could I think I did deserve it,
How much happier would I be! Scenes of wo and scenes of pleasure,
Scenes that former thoughts renew; Scenes of wo and scenes of pleasure, Now a sad and last adieu!
JOHN MAYNE, author of the Siller Gun, Glasgow, and other poems, was a native of Dumfries-born in the year 1761-and died in London in 1836. He was brought up to the printing business, and whilst apprentice in the Dumfries Journal office in 1777, in his sixteenth year, he published the germ of his Siller Gun' in a quarto page of twelve stanzas. The subject of the poem is an ancient custom in Dumfries, called Shooting for the Siller Gun,' the gun being a small silver tube presented by James VI. to the incorporated trades as a prize to the best marksman. This poem Mr Mayne continued to enlarge and improve up to the time of his death. The twelve stanzas expanded in two years to two cantos; in another year (1780) the poem was pub lished-enlarged to three cantos-in Ruddiman's Magazine; and in 1808 it was published in London in four cantos. This edition was seen by Sir Walter Scott, who said (in one of his notes to the Lady of the Lake) 'that it surpassed the efforts of Fergusson, and came near to those of Burns.' In 1836 the Siller Gun' was again reprinted with the addition of a fifth canto. Mr Mayne was author of a short poem on Halloween, printed in Ruddiman's Magazine in 1780; and in 1781 he published at Glasgow his fine ballad of Logan Braes, which Burns had seen, and two lines of which he copied into his Logan Water. The 'Siller Gun' is humorous and descriptive, and is happy in both. The author is a shrewd and lively observer, full of glee, and also of gentle and affec tionate recollections of his native town and all its people and pastimes. The ballad of 'Logan Braes' is a simple and beautiful lyric, superior to the more elaborate version of Burns. Though long resident in London (as proprietor of the Star newspaper), Mr Mayne retained his Scottish enthusiasm to the last; and to those who, like ourselves, recollect him in advanced life, stopping in the midst of his duties, as a public journalist, to trace some remembrance
of his native Dumfries and the banks of the Nith, or to hum over some rural or pastoral song which he had heard forty or fifty years before, his name, as well as his poetry, recalls the strength and permanency of early feelings and associations.
By Logan streams that rin sae deep,
Nae mair at Logan kirk will he
At e'en, when hope amaist is gane,
Helen of Kirkconnel.
[Helen Irving, a young lady of exquisite beauty and accomplishments, daughter of the Laird of Kirkconnel, in Annandale, was betrothed to Adam Fleming de Kirkpatrick, a young gentleman of rank and fortune in that neighbourhood. Walking with her lover on the sweet banks of the Kirtle, she was murdered by a disappointed and sanguinary rival. This catastrophe took place during the reign of Mary Queen of Scots, and is the subject of three different ballads: the first two are old, the third is the composition of the author of the Siller Gun.' It was first inserted in the Edinburgh Annual Register (1815) by Sir Walter Scott.]
I wish I were where Helen lies,
Where Kirtle-waters gently wind,
Though heaven forbids my wrath to swell,
Ah! what avails it that, amain,
I clove the assassin's head in twain ? No peace of mind, my Helen slain,