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POETS.

Up the gavel-end thick spreading
Crap the clasping ivy green,
Back owre firs the high craigs cleadin,
Raised a' round a cosey screen.
Down below a flowery meadow

Joined the burnie's rambling line;
Here it was that Howe the widow
That same day set up her sign.
Brattling down the brae, and near its
Bottom, Will first marvelling sees
'Porter, Ale, and British Spirits,'

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!
A' their youthfu' beauty gane!
Davered, doited, daized, and blinking-
Worn to perfect skin and bane!
In the cauld month o' November
(Claise and cash and credit out),
Cowering o'er a dying ember,

Wi' ilk face as white's a clout!
Bond and bill and debts a' stoppit,

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',
Sometimes helpit, Will gat forth;
On a cart, or in a wagon,
Hirpling aye towards the north.
Tired ae e'ening, stepping hooly,
Pondering on his thraward fate,
In the bonny month o' July,

Willie, heedless, tint his gate.
Saft the southland breeze was blawing,
Sweetly sughed the green aik wood;
Loud the din o' streams fast fa'ing,

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.

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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

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ROBERT TANNAHILL.

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

lines:

The Filial Vow.

Why heaves my mother oft the deep-drawn sigh?
Why starts the big tear glistening in her eye?
Why oft retire to hide her bursting grief!
Why seeks she not, nor seems to wish relief?
'Tis for my father, mouldering with the dead,
My brother, in bold manhood, lowly laid,
And for the pains which age is doomed to bear,
She heaves the deep-drawn sigh, and drops the secret

tear.

Yes, partly these her gloomy thoughts employ,
But mostly this o'erclouds her every joy;
She grieves to think she may be burdensome,
Now feeble, old, and tottering to the tomb.

O hear me, Heaven! and record my vow;
Its non-performance let thy wrath pursue!
I swear, of what thy providence may give,
My mother shall her due maintenance have.
'Twas hers to guide me through life's early day,'
To point out virtue's paths, and lead the way:
Now, while her powers in frigid languor sleep,
"Tis mine to hand her down life's rugged steep;
With all her little weaknesses to bear,
Attentive, kind, to soothe her every care.
"Tis nature bids, and truest pleasure flows
From lessening an aged parent's woes.

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Robert Tannahill.

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;
and he used to say he was more pleased at this evi-
dence of his popularity, than at any tribute which
had ever been paid him. He afterwards contributed
some songs to Mr George Thomson's Select Melo-
dies, and exerted himself to procure Irish airs, of
which he was very fond. Whilst delighting all
classes of his countrymen with his native songs, the
poet fell into a state of morbid despondency, aggra-
vated by bodily weakness, and a tendency to con-
sumption. He had prepared a new edition of his
poems for the press, and sent the manuscript to Mr
Constable the publisher; but it was returned by that
gentleman, in consequence of his having more new
works on hand than he could undertake that season.
This disappointment preyed on the spirits of the
sensitive poet, and his melancholy became deep and
habitual. He burned all his manuscripts, and sank
into a state of mental derangement. Returning
from a visit to Glasgow on the 17th of May 1810,
the unhappy poet retired to rest; but suspicion
having been excited, in about an hour afterwards it
was discovered that he had stolen out unperceived.
Search was made in every direction, and by the
dawn of the morning, the coat of the poet was dis-
covered lying at the side of the tunnel of a neigh-The
bouring brook, pointing out but too surely where
his body was to be found.'* Tannahill was a modest
and temperate man, devoted to his kindred and
friends, and of unblemished purity and correctness
of conduct. His lamentable death arose from no
want or irregularity, but was solely caused by that
morbid disease of the mind which at length over-Yon
threw his reason. The poems of this ill-starred son
of genius are greatly inferior to his songs. They
have all a commonplace artificial character. His
lyrics, on the other hand, are rich and original both
in description and sentiment. His diction is copious
and luxuriant, particularly in describing natural
objects and the peculiar features of the Scottish
landscape. His simplicity is natural and unaffected;
and though he appears to have possessed a deeper
sympathy with nature than with the workings of
human feeling, or even the passion of love, he is
often tender and pathetic. His 'Gloomy winter's
now awa' is a beautiful concentration of tenderness
and melody.

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So merrily we'll sing,

As the storm rattles o'er us,
Till the dear shieling ring

Wi' the light lilting chorus.
Now the summer's in prime

Wi' the flowers richly blooming,
And the wild mountain thyme
A' the moorlands perfuming;
To our dear native scenes

Let us journey together,
Where glad innocence reigns
'Mang the braes o' Balquhither.

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
Amang the broom bushes by Stanley green shaw!
The wild flowers o' summer were spread a' sae bonnie,
The mavis sang sweet frae the green birken tree;
But far to the camp they hae marched my dear Johnie,

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

And

Johnie ;

'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

fountain,

That murmured sae sweet to my laddie and me.
It's no its loud roar on the wintry wind swellin',
It's no the cauld blast brings the tear i' my e'e;
For O! gin I saw but my bonnie Scots callan,
The dark days o' winter were summer to 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;
For guileless simplicity marks her its ain:
And far be the villain, divested of feeling,

Wha'd blight in its bloom the sweet flower o' Dum-
blane.

Sing on, thou sweet mavis, thy hymn to the e'ening;
Thou'rt dear to the echoes of Calderwood glen:
Sae dear to this bosom, sae artless and winning,

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;
I ne'er saw a nymph I would ca' my dear lassie,
Till charmed wi' sweet Jessie, the flower o' Dum-
blane.

Though mine were the station o' loftiest grandeur,
Amidst its profusion I'd languish in pain,
And reckon as naething the height o' its splendour,
If wanting sweet Jessie, the flower o' Dumblane.

Gloomy Winter's now Awa.

Gloomy winter's now awa,
Saft the westlin breezes blaw:
'Mang the birks o' Stanley-shaw

The mavis sings fu' cheerie O.
Sweet the craw-flower's early bell
Decks Gleniffer's dewy dell,
Blooming like thy bonnie sel',

My young, my artless dearie O.
Come, my lassie, let us stray,
O'er Glenkilloch's sunny brae,
Blithely spend the gowden day

Midst joys that never wearie 0.
Towering o'er the Newton woods,
Lavrocks fan the snaw-white clouds;
Siller saughs, wi' downie buds,

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.

RICHARD GALL.

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,
Nor ither warldly care wad hae,
Till life's warm stream forgot to play,
My only jo and dearie O.

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;
Scenes of wo and scenes of pleasure,

Now a sad and last adieu!
Bonny Doon, sae sweet at gloaming,
Fare thee weel before I gang-
Bonny Doon, where, early roaming,
First I weaved the rustic sang!
Bowers adieu! where love decoying,

First enthralled this heart o' mine;
There the saftest sweets enjoying,

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.

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.

Logan Braes.

By Logan streams that rin sae deep,
Fu' aft wi' glee I've herded sheep;
Herded sheep and gathered slaes,
Wi' my dear lad on Logan braes.
But wae's my heart, thae days are gane,
And I wi' grief may herd alane,
While my dear lad maun face his faes,
Far, far frae me and Logan braes.

Nae mair at Logan kirk will he
Atween the preachings meet wi' me;
Meet wi' me, or when it's mirk,
Convoy me hame frae Logan kirk.
I weel may sing thae days are gane:
Frae kirk and fair I come alane,
While my dear lad maun face his faes,
Far, far frae me and Logan braes.

At e'en, when hope amaist is gane,
I dauner out and sit alane;
Sit alane beneath the tree
Where aft he kept his tryst wi' me.
Oh! could I see thae days again,
My lover skaithless, and my ain!
Beloved by friends, revered by faes,
We'd live in bliss on Logan braes!

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,
For, night and day, on me she cries;
And, like an angel, to the skies
Still seems to beckon me!
For me she lived, for me she sighed,
For me she wished to be a bride;
For me in life's sweet morn she died
On fair Kirkconnel-Lee!

Where Kirtle-waters gently wind,
As Helen on my arm reclined,
A rival with a ruthless mind,
Took deadly aim at me:
My love, to disappoint the foe,
Rushed in between me and the blow;
And now her corse is lying low
On fair Kirkconnel-Lee!

Though heaven forbids my wrath to swell,
I curse the hand by which she fell-
The fiend who made my heaven a hell,
And tore my love from me!
For if, where all the graces shine-
Oh! if on earth there's aught divine,
My Helen! all these charms were thine-
They centered all in thee!

Ah! what avails it that, amain,

I clove the assassin's head in twain ? No peace of mind, my Helen slain,

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