Project Gutenberg's The Modern Scottish Minstrel , Volume I., by Various

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Title: The Modern Scottish Minstrel , Volume I.
       The Songs of Scotland of the past half century

Author: Various

Editor: Charles Rogers

Release Date: May 15, 2006 [EBook #18396]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1


Produced by Ted Garvin, Susan Skinner and the Online
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Lithographed for the Modern Scottish Minstrel, by Schenck & McFarlane.






Memoirs of the Poets,










[Pg ii]


[Pg iii]






The Modern Scottish Minstrel






[Pg iv]

[Pg v]


Scotland has probably produced a more patriotic and more extended minstrelsy than any other country in the world. Those Caledonian harp-strains, styled by Sir Walter Scott "gems of our own mountains," have frequently been gathered into caskets of national song, but have never been stored in any complete cabinet; while no attempt has been made, at least on an ample scale, to adapt, by means of suitable metrical translations, the minstrelsy of the Gaël for Lowland melody. The present work has been undertaken with the view of supplying these deficiencies, and with the further design of extending the fame of those cultivators of Scottish song—hitherto partially obscured by untoward circumstances, or on account of their own diffidence—and of affording a stimulus towards the future cultivation of national poetry.

The plan of the work is distinct from that of every previous collection of Scottish song—the more esteemed lyrical compositions of the various bards being printed[Pg vi] along with the memoirs of the respective authors, while the names of the poets have been arranged in chronological order. Those have been considered as modern whose lives extend into the past half-century; and the whole of these have consequently been included in the work. Several Highland bards who died a short period before the commencement of the century have, however, been introduced. Of all the Scottish poets, whether lyrical or otherwise, who survived the period indicated, biographical sketches will be supplied in the course of the publication, together with memoirs of the principal modern collectors, composers and vocalists. The memoirs, so far as is practicable, will be prepared from original materials, of which the Editor, after a very extensive correspondence, has obtained a supply more ample and more interesting than, he flatters himself, has ever been attained by any collector of northern minstrelsy. The work will extend to six volumes, each of the subsequent volumes being accompanied by a dissertation on a distinct department of Scottish poetry and song. Each volume will be illustrated with two elegant engravings. In the course of the work, many original compositions will be presented, recovered from the MSS. of the deceased poets, or contributed by distinguished living bards.

For the department of the "Modern Gaelic Minstrelsy," the Editor has obtained the assistance of a learned friend, intimately familiar with the language and poetry of the Highlands. To this esteemed co-[Pg vii]adjutor the reader is indebted for the revisal of the Gaelic department of this work, as well as for the following prefatory observations on the subject:—

"Among the intelligent natives of the Highlands, it is well known that the Gaelic language contains a quantity of poetry, which, how difficult soever to transfuse into other tongues and idioms, never fails to touch the heart, and excite enthusiastic feelings. The plan of 'The Modern Scottish Minstrel' restricts us to a period less favourable to the inspirations of the Celtic muse than remoter times. If it is asked, What could be gained by recurring to a more distant period? or what this unlettered people have really to shew for their bardic pretensions? we answer, that there is extant a large and genuine collection of Highland minstrelsy, ranging over a long exciting period, from the days of Harlaw to the expedition of Charles Edward. The 'Prosnachadh Catha,' or battle-song, that led on the raid of Donald the Islander on the Garioch, is still sung; the 'Woes of the Children of the Mist' are yet rehearsed in the ears of their children in the most plaintive measures. Innerlochy and Killiecrankie have their appropriate melodies; Glencoe has its dirge; both the exiled Jameses have their pæan and their lament; Charles Edward his welcome and his wail;—all in strains so varied, and with imagery so copious, that their repetition is continually called for, and their interest untiring.

"All that we have to offer belongs to recent times; but we cannot aver that the merit of the verses is inferior. The interest of the subjects is certainly immeasurably less; but, perhaps, not less propitious to the lilts and the luinneags, in which, as in her music and imitative dancing, the Highland border has found her best Lowland acceptation.

"We are not aware that we need except any piece, out of the more ancient class, that seems not to admit of being rivalled by some of the compositions of Duncan Ban (Macintyre), Rob Donn, and a few others that come into our own series, if we exclude the[Pg viii] pathetic 'Old Bard's Wish,' 'The Song of the Owl,' and, perhaps, Ian Lom's 'Innerlochy.'

"But, while this may be so far satisfactory to our readers, we are under the necessity of claiming their charitable forbearance for the strangers of the mountain whom we are to introduce to their acquaintance. The language, and, in some respects, the imagery and versification, are as foreign to the usages of the Anglo-Saxon as so many samples of Orientalism. The transfusion of the Greek and Latin choral metres is a light effort to the difficulty of imitating the rhythm, or representing the peculiar vein of these song-enamoured mountaineers. Those who know how a favourite ode of Horace, or a lay of Catullus, is made to look, except in mere paraphrase, must not talk of the poorness or triteness of the Highlander's verses, till they are enabled to do them justice by a knowledge of the language. We disdain any attempt to make those bards sing in the mere English taste, even if we could so translate them as to make them speak or sing better than they do. The fear of his sarcasms prevented Dr Johnson from hearing one literal version during his whole sojourn in the Highlands. Sir Walter Scott wished that somebody might have the manliness to recover Highland poetry from the mystification of paraphrase or imposture, and to present it genuine to the English reader. In that spirit we promise to execute our task; and we shall rejoice if even a very moderate degree of success should attend our endeavours to obtain for the sister muse some share of that popularity to which we believe her entitled."

In respect of the present volume of "The Modern Scottish Minstrel," the Editor has to congratulate himself on his being enabled to present, for the first time in a popular form, the more esteemed lays of Carolina, Baroness Nairn, author of "The Laird o' Cockpen," "The Land o' the Leal," and a greater number of[Pg ix] popular lyrics than any other Caledonian bard, Burns alone excepted. Several pieces of this accomplished lady, not previously published, have been introduced, through the kindness of her surviving friends. The memoir of the Baroness has been prepared from original documents entrusted to the Editor. For permission to engrave "The Auld House o' Gask," Lady Nairn's birth-place, the Editor's thanks are due to Mr Paterson, music-seller in Edinburgh.

While the present volume of "The Modern Scottish Minstrel" is offered to the public with becoming diffidence, the Editor is not without a faint ray of hope that, if health and sufficient leisure are afforded him, the present publication may be found the most ample and satisfactory repository of national song which has at any period been offered to the public.

Argyle House, Stirling,
April 18, 1855.



[Pg 1]



Among those modern Scottish poets whose lives, by extending to a considerably distant period, render them connecting links between the old and recent minstrelsy of Caledonia, the first place is due to the Rev. John Skinner. This ingenious and learned person was born on the 3d of October 1721, at Balfour, in the parish of Birse, and county of Aberdeen. His father, who bore the same Christian name, was parochial schoolmaster; but two years after his son's birth, he was presented to the more lucrative situation of schoolmaster of Echt, a parish about twelve miles distant from Aberdeen. He discharged the duties of this latter appointment during the long incumbency of fifty years. He was twice married. By his first union with Mrs Jean Gillanders, the relict of Donald Farquharson of Balfour, was born an only child, the subject of this memoir. The mother dying when the child was only two years old, the charge of his early training depended solely on his father, who for several years remained a widower. The paternal duties were adequately performed: the son,[Pg 2] while a mere youth, was initiated in classical learning, and in his thirteenth year he became a successful competitor for a bursary or exhibition in Marischal College, Aberdeen. At the University, during the usual philosophical course of four years, he pursued his studies with diligence and success; and he afterwards became an usher in the parish schools of Kemnay and Monymusk.

From early youth, young Skinner had courted the Muse of his country, and composed verses in the Scottish dialect. When a mere stripling, he could repeat, which he did with enthusiasm, the long poem by James I. of "Christ-kirk on the Green;" he afterwards translated it into Latin verse; and an imitation of the same poem, entitled "The Monymusk Christmas Ba'ing," descriptive of the diversions attendant on the annual Christmas gatherings for playing the game of foot-ball at Monymusk, which he composed in his sixteenth year, attracting the notice of the lady of Sir Archibald Grant, Bart. of Monymusk, brought him the favour of that influential family. Though the humble usher of a parish school, he was honoured with the patronage of the worthy baronet and his lady, became an inmate of their mansion, and had the uncontrolled use of its library. The residence of the poet in Monymusk House indirectly conduced towards his forming those ecclesiastical sentiments which exercised such an important influence on his subsequent career. The Episcopal clergyman of the district was frequently a guest at the table of Sir Archibald; and by the arguments and persuasive conversation of this person, Mr Skinner was induced to enlist his sympathies in the cause of the Episcopal or non-juring clergy of Scotland. They bore the latter appellation from their refusal, during the existence of the exiled family of Stewart, to take the oath of allegiance to the House of[Pg 3] Hanover. In 1740, on the invitation of Mr Robert Forbes, Episcopal minister at Leith, afterwards a bishop, Mr Skinner, in the capacity of private tutor to the only son of Mr Sinclair of Scolloway, proceeded to Zetland, where he acquired the intimate friendship of the Rev. Mr Hunter, the only non-juring clergyman in that remote district. There he remained only one year, owing to the death of the elder Mr Sinclair, and the removal of his pupil to pursue his studies in a less retired locality. He lamented the father's death in Latin, as well as in English verse. He left Scolloway with the best wishes of the family; and as a substantial proof of the goodwill of his friend Mr Hunter, he received in marriage the hand of his eldest daughter.

Returning to Aberdeenshire, he was ordained a presbyter of the Episcopal Church, by Bishop Dunbar of Peterhead; and in November 1742, on the unanimous invitation of the people, he was appointed to the pastoral charge of the congregation at Longside. Uninfluenced by the soarings of ambition, he seems to have fixed here, at the outset, a permanent habitation: he rented a cottage at Linshart in the vicinity, which, though consisting only of a single apartment, besides the kitchen, sufficed for the expenditure of his limited emoluments. In every respect he realised Goldsmith's description of the village pastor:—

"A man he was to all the country dear,
And passing rich with forty pounds a-year;
Remote from towns he ran his godly race,
Nor e'er had changed, nor wish'd to change his place."

Secluded, however, as were Mr Skinner's habits, and though he never had interfered in the political movements of the period, he did not escape his share in those[Pg 4] ruthless severities which were visited upon the non-juring clergy subsequent to the last Rebellion. His chapel was destroyed by the soldiers of the barbarous Duke of Cumberland; and, on the plea of his having transgressed the law by preaching to more than four persons without subscribing the oath of allegiance, he was, during six months, detained a prisoner in the jail of Aberdeen.

Entering on the sacred duties of the pastoral office, Mr Skinner appears to have checked the indulgence of his rhyming propensities. His subsequent poetical productions, which include the whole of his popular songs, were written to please his friends, or gratify the members of his family, and without the most distant view to publication. In 1787, he writes to Burns, on the subject of Scottish song:—"While I was young, I dabbled a good deal in these things; but on getting the black gown, I gave it pretty much over, till my daughters grew up, who, being all tolerably good singers, plagued me for words to some of their favourite tunes, and so extorted those effusions which have made a public appearance, beyond my expectations, and contrary to my intentions; at the same time, I hope there is nothing to be found in them uncharacteristic or unbecoming the cloth, which I would always wish to see respected." Some of Mr Skinner's best songs were composed at a sitting, while they seldom underwent any revision after being committed to paper. To the following incident, his most popular song, "Tullochgorum," owed its origin. In the course of a visit he was making to a friend in Ellon (not Cullen, as has been stated on the authority of Burns), a dispute arose among the guests on the subject of Whig and Tory politics, which, becoming somewhat too exciting for the comfort of the lady of the[Pg 5] house, in order to bring it promptly to a close, she requested Mr Skinner to suggest appropriate words for the favourite air, "The Reel of Tullochgorum." Mr Skinner readily complied, and, before leaving the house, produced what Burns, in a letter to the author, characterised as "the best Scotch song ever Scotland saw." The name of the lady who made the request to the poet was Mrs Montgomery, and hence the allusion in the first stanza of the ballad:—

"Come gie 's a sang, Montgomery cried,
And lay your disputes all aside;
What signifies 't for folks to chide
For what was done before them?
Let Whig and Tory all agree," &c.

Though claiming no distinction as a writer of verses, Mr Skinner did not conceal his ambition to excel in another department of literature. In 1746, in his twenty-fifth year, he published a pamphlet, in defence of the non-juring character of his Church, entitled "A Preservative against Presbytery." A performance of greater effort, published in 1757, excited some attention, and the unqualified commendation of the learned Bishop Sherlock. In this production, entitled "A Dissertation on Jacob's Prophecy," which was intended as a supplement to a treatise on the same subject by Dr Sherlock, the author has established, by a critical examination of the original language, that the words in Jacob's prophecy (Gen. xlix. 10), rendered "sceptre" and "lawgiver" in the authorised version, ought to be translated "tribeship" and "typifier," a difference of interpretation which obviates some difficulties respecting the exact fulfilment of this remarkable prediction. In a pamphlet printed in 1767, Mr Skinner again vindicated the claims and authority of his Church; and on[Pg 6] this occasion, against the alleged misrepresentations of Mr Norman Sievewright, English clergyman at Brechin, who had published a work unfavourable to the cause of Scottish Episcopacy. His most important work, "An Ecclesiastical History of Scotland, from the first appearance of Christianity in that kingdom," was published in the year 1788, in two octavo volumes. This publication, which is arranged in the form of letters to a friend, and dedicated, in elegant Latin verse, "Ad Filium et Episcopum," (to his son, and bishop), by partaking too rigidly of a sectarian character, did not attain any measure of success. Mr Skinner's other prose works were published after his death, together with a Memoir of the author, under the editorial care of his son, Bishop Skinner of Aberdeen. These consist of theological essays, in the form of "Letters addressed to Candidates for Holy Orders," "A Dissertation on the Sheckinah, or Divine Presence with the Church or People of God," and "An Essay towards a literal or true radical exposition of the Song of Songs," the whole being included in two octavo volumes, which appeared in 1809. A third volume was added, containing a collection of the author's compositions in Latin verse, and his fugitive songs and ballads in the Scottish dialect—the latter portion of this volume being at the same time published in a more compendious form, with the title, "Amusements of Leisure Hours; or, Poetical Pieces, chiefly in the Scottish dialect."

Though living in constant retirement at Linshart, the reputation of the Longside pastor, both as a poet and a man of classical taste, became widely extended, and persons distinguished in the world of letters sought his correspondence and friendship. With Dr Gleig, afterwards titular Bishop of Brechin, Dr Doig of Stirling,[Pg 7] and John Ramsay of Ochtertyre, he maintained an epistolary intercourse for several years. Dr Gleig, who edited the Encyclopædia Britannica, consulted Mr Skinner respecting various important articles contributed to that valuable publication. His correspondence with Doig and Ramsay was chiefly on their favourite topic of philology. These two learned friends visited Mr Skinner in the summer of 1795, and entertained him for a week at Peterhead. This brief period of intellectual intercourse was regarded by the poet as the most entirely pleasurable of his existence; and the impression of it on the vivid imagination of Mr Ramsay is recorded in a Latin eulogy on his northern correspondent, which he subsequently transmitted to him. A poetical epistle addressed by Mr Skinner to Robert Burns, in commendation of his talents, was characterized by the Ayrshire Bard as "the best poetical compliment he had ever received." It led to a regular correspondence, which was carried on with much satisfaction to both parties. The letters, which chiefly relate to the preparation of Johnson's Musical Museum, then in the course of publication, have been included in his published correspondence. Burns never saw Mr Skinner; he had not informed himself as to his locality during the prosecution of his northern tour, and had thus the mortification of ascertaining that he had been in his neighbourhood, without having formed his personal acquaintance. To Mr Skinner's son, whom he accidentally met in Aberdeen on his return, he expressed a deep regret for the blunder, as "he would have gone twenty miles out of his way to visit the author of 'Tullochgorum.'"

As a man of ingenuity, various acquirements, and agreeable manners, Mr Skinner was held in much[Pg 8] estimation among his contemporaries. Whatever he read, with the assistance of a commonplace-book, he accurately remembered, and could readily turn to account; and, though his library was contained in a closet of five feet square, he was abundantly well informed on every ordinary topic of conversation. He was fond of controversial discussion, and wielded both argument and wit with a power alarming to every antagonist. Though keen in debate, he was however possessed of a most imperturbable suavity of temper. His conversation was of a playful cast, interspersed with anecdote, and free from every affectation of learning. As a clergyman, Mr Skinner enjoyed the esteem and veneration of his flock. Besides efficiently discharging his ministerial duties, he practised gratuitously as a physician, having qualified himself, by acquiring a competent acquaintance with the healing art at the medical classes in Marischal College. His pulpit duties were widely acceptable; but his discourses, though edifying and instructive, were more the result of the promptitude of the preacher than the effects of a painstaking preparation. He abandoned the aid of the manuscript in the pulpit, on account of the untoward occurrence of his notes being scattered by a startled fowl, in the early part of his ministry, while he was addressing his people from the door of his house, after the wanton destruction of his chapel.

In a scene less calculated to invite poetic inspiration no votary of the muse had ever resided. On every side of his lonely dwelling extended a wild uncultivated plain; nor for miles around did any other human habitation relieve the monotony of this cheerless solitude. In her gayest moods, Nature never wore a pleasing aspect in Long-gate, nor did the distant prospect compensate for[Pg 9] the dreary gloominess of the surrounding landscape. For his poetic suggestions Mr Skinner was wholly dependent on the singular activity of his fancy; as he derived his chief happiness in his communings with an attached flock, and in the endearing intercourse of his family. Of his children, who were somewhat numerous he contrived to afford the whole, both sons and daughters, a superior education; and he had the satisfaction, for a long period of years, to address one of his sons as the bishop of his diocese.

The death of Mr Skinner's wife, in the year 1799, fifty-eight years after their marriage, was the most severe trial which he seems to have experienced. In a Latin elegy, he gave expression to the deep sense which he entertained of his bereavement. In 1807, his son, Bishop Skinner, having sustained a similar bereavement, invited his aged father to share the comforts of his house; and after ministering at Longside for the remarkably lengthened incumbency of sixty-five years, Mr Skinner removed to Aberdeen. But a greater change was at hand; on the 16th of June 1807, in less than a week after his arrival, he was suddenly seized with illness, and almost immediately expired. His remains were interred in the churchyard of Longside; and the flock to which he had so long ministered placed over the grave a handsome monument, bearing, on a marble tablet, an elegant tribute to the remembrance of his virtues and learning. At the residence of Bishop Skinner, he had seen his descendants in the fourth generation.

Of Mr Skinner's songs, printed in this collection, the most popular are "Tullochgorum," "John o' Badenyon," and "The Ewie wi' the Crookit Horn." The whole are pervaded by sprightliness and good-humoured[Pg 10] pleasantry. Though possessing the fault of being somewhat too lengthy, no song-compositions of any modern writer in Scottish verse have, with the exception of those of Burns, maintained a stronger hold of the Scottish heart, or been more commonly sung in the social circle.[Pg 11]



Come gie 's a sang, Montgomery cried,
And lay your disputes all aside,
What signifies 't for folks to chide
For what was done before them:
Let Whig and Tory all agree,
Whig and Tory, Whig and Tory,
Whig and Tory all agree,
To drop their Whig-mig-morum;
Let Whig and Tory all agree
To spend the night wi' mirth and glee,
And cheerful sing alang wi' me
The Reel o' Tullochgorum.


O Tullochgorum 's my delight,
It gars us a' in ane unite,
And ony sumph that keeps a spite,
In conscience I abhor him:
For blythe and cheerie we'll be a',
Blythe and cheerie, blythe and cheerie,
Blythe and cheerie we'll be a',
And make a happy quorum;
For blythe and cheerie we'll be a'
As lang as we hae breath to draw,
And dance, till we be like to fa',
The Reel o' Tullochgorum.
[Pg 12]


What needs there be sae great a fraise
Wi' dringing dull Italian lays?
I wadna gie our ain Strathspeys
For half a hunder score o' them;
They're dowf and dowie at the best,
Dowf and dowie, dowf and dowie,
Dowf and dowie at the best,
Wi' a' their variorum;
They're dowf and dowie at the best,
Their allegros and a' the rest,
They canna' please a Scottish taste,
Compared wi' Tullochgorum.


Let warldly worms their minds oppress
Wi' fears o' want and double cess,
And sullen sots themsells distress
Wi' keeping up decorum:
Shall we sae sour and sulky sit,
Sour and sulky, sour and sulky,
Sour and sulky shall we sit,
Like old philosophorum?
Shall we sae sour and sulky sit,
Wi' neither sense, nor mirth, nor wit,
Nor ever try to shake a fit
To th' Reel o' Tullochgorum?


May choicest blessings aye attend
Each honest, open-hearted friend,
And calm and quiet be his end,
And a' that's good watch o'er him;
[Pg 13] May peace and plenty be his lot,
Peace and plenty, peace and plenty,
Peace and plenty be his lot,
And dainties a great store o' them:
May peace and plenty be his lot,
Unstain'd by any vicious spot,
And may he never want a groat,
That 's fond o' Tullochgorum!


But for the sullen, frumpish fool,
That loves to be oppression's tool,
May envy gnaw his rotten soul,
And discontent devour him;
May dool and sorrow be his chance,
Dool and sorrow, dool and sorrow,
Dool and sorrow be his chance,
And nane say, Wae 's me for him!
May dool and sorrow be his chance,
Wi' a' the ills that come frae France,
Wha e'er he be that winna dance
The Reel o' Tullochgorum.



When first I cam to be a man
Of twenty years or so,
I thought myself a handsome youth,
And fain the world would know;
[Pg 14] In best attire I stept abroad,
With spirits brisk and gay,
And here and there and everywhere
Was like a morn in May;
No care I had, nor fear of want,
But rambled up and down,
And for a beau I might have past
In country or in town;
I still was pleased where'er I went,
And when I was alone,
I tuned my pipe and pleased myself
Wi' John o' Badenyon.


Now in the days of youthful prime
A mistress I must find,
For love, I heard, gave one an air
And e'en improved the mind:
On Phillis fair above the rest
Kind fortune fix'd my eyes,
Her piercing beauty struck my heart,
And she became my choice;
To Cupid now, with hearty prayer,
I offer'd many a vow;
And danced and sung, and sigh'd and swore,
As other lovers do;
But, when at last I breathed my flame,
I found her cold as stone;
I left the girl, and tuned my pipe
To John o' Badenyon.


When love had thus my heart beguiled
With foolish hopes and vain;
[Pg 15] To friendship's port I steer'd my course,
And laugh'd at lovers' pain;
A friend I got by lucky chance,
'Twas something like divine,
An honest friend 's a precious gift,
And such a gift was mine;
And now whatever might betide
A happy man was I,
In any strait I knew to whom
I freely might apply.
A strait soon came: my friend I try'd;
He heard, and spurn'd my moan;
I hied me home, and tuned my pipe
To John o' Badenyon.


Methought I should be wiser next,
And would a patriot turn,
Began to doat on Johnny Wilkes
And cry up Parson Horne.[1]
Their manly spirit I admired,
And praised their noble zeal,
Who had with flaming tongue and pen
Maintain'd the public weal;
But e'er a month or two had pass'd,
I found myself betray'd,
'Twas self and party, after all,
For a' the stir they made;
At last I saw the factious knaves
Insult the very throne,
I cursed them a', and tuned my pipe
To John o' Badenyon.
[Pg 16]


What next to do I mused awhile,
Still hoping to succeed;
I pitch'd on books for company,
And gravely tried to read:
I bought and borrow'd everywhere,
And studied night and day,
Nor miss'd what dean or doctor wrote
That happen'd in my way:
Philosophy I now esteem'd
The ornament of youth,
And carefully through many a page
I hunted after truth.
A thousand various schemes I tried,
And yet was pleased with none;
I threw them by, and tuned my pipe
To John o' Badenyon.


And now, ye youngsters everywhere,
That wish to make a show,
Take heed in time, nor fondly hope
For happiness below;
What you may fancy pleasure here,
Is but an empty name,
And girls, and friends, and books, and so,
You 'll find them all the same.
Then be advised, and warning take
From such a man as me;
I 'm neither Pope nor Cardinal,
Nor one of high degree;
You 'll meet displeasure everywhere;
Then do as I have done,
E'en tune your pipe and please yourselves
With John o' Badenyon.
[Pg 17]



Were I but able to rehearse
My Ewie's praise in proper verse,
I 'd sound it forth as loud and fierce
As ever piper's drone could blaw;
The Ewie wi' the crookit horn,
Wha had kent her might hae sworn
Sic a Ewe was never born,
Hereabout nor far awa';
Sic a Ewe was never born,
Hereabout nor far awa'.


I never needed tar nor keil
To mark her upo' hip or heel,
Her crookit horn did as weel
To ken her by amo' them a';
She never threaten'd scab nor rot,
But keepit aye her ain jog-trot,
Baith to the fauld and to the cot,
Was never sweir to lead nor caw;
Baith to the fauld and to the cot, &c.


Cauld nor hunger never dang her,
Wind nor wet could never wrang her,
Anes she lay an ouk and langer
Furth aneath a wreath o' snaw:
Whan ither ewies lap the dyke,
And eat the kail, for a' the tyke,
My Ewie never play'd the like,
But tyc'd about the barn wa';
My Ewie never play'd the like, &c.
[Pg 18]


A better or a thriftier beast
Nae honest man could weel hae wist,
For, silly thing, she never mist
To hae ilk year a lamb or twa':
The first she had I gae to Jock,
To be to him a kind o' stock,
And now the laddie has a flock
O' mair nor thirty head ava';
And now the laddie has a flock, &c.


I lookit aye at even' for her,
Lest mishanter should come o'er her,
Or the fowmart might devour her,
Gin the beastie bade awa;
My Ewie wi' the crookit horn,
Well deserved baith girse and corn,
Sic a Ewe was never born,
Hereabout nor far awa';
Sic a Ewe was never born, &c.


Yet last ouk, for a' my keeping,
(Wha can speak it without greeting?)
A villain cam' when I was sleeping,
Sta' my Ewie, horn, and a':
I sought her sair upo' the morn,
And down aneath a buss o' thorn
I got my Ewie's crookit horn,
But my Ewie was awa';
I got my Ewie's crookit horn, &c.
[Pg 19]


O! gin I had the loon that did it,
Sworn I have as well as said it,
Though a' the warld should forbid it,
I wad gie his neck a thra':
I never met wi' sic a turn
As this sin' ever I was born,
My Ewie, wi' the crookit horn,
Silly Ewie, stown awa';
My Ewie wi' the crookit horn, &c.


O! had she died o' crook or cauld,
As Ewies do when they grow auld,
It wad na been, by mony fauld,
Sae sair a heart to nane o's a':
For a' the claith that we hae worn,
Frae her and her's sae aften shorn,
The loss o' her we could hae born,
Had fair strae-death ta'en her awa';
The loss o' her we could hae born, &c.


But thus, poor thing, to lose her life,
Aneath a bleedy villain's knife,
I 'm really fleyt that our guidwife
Will never win aboon 't ava:
O! a' ye bards benorth Kinghorn,
Call your muses up and mourn,
Our Ewie wi' the crookit horn
Stown frae 's, and fell'd and a'!
Our Ewie wi' the crookit horn, &c.
[Pg 20]


Tune"Dumbarton Drums."


O! why should old age so much wound us?[2]
There is nothing in it all to confound us:
For how happy now am I,
With my old wife sitting by,
And our bairns and our oys all around us;
For how happy now am I, &c.


We began in the warld wi' naething,
And we 've jogg'd on, and toil'd for the ae thing;
We made use of what we had,
And our thankful hearts were glad,
When we got the bit meat and the claithing;
We made use of what we had, &c.


We have lived all our lifetime contented,
Since the day we became first acquainted:
It 's true we 've been but poor,
And we are so to this hour,
But we never yet repined or lamented;
It 's true we 've been but poor, &c.
[Pg 21]


When we had any stock, we ne'er vauntit,
Nor did we hing our heads when we wantit;
But we always gave a share
Of the little we could spare,
When it pleased a kind Heaven to grant it;
But we always gave a share, &c.


We never laid a scheme to be wealthy,
By means that were cunning or stealthy;
But we always had the bliss—
And what further could we wiss?—
To be pleased with ourselves, and be healthy;
But we always had the bliss, &c.


What though we cannot boast of our guineas?
We have plenty of Jockies and Jeanies;
And these, I 'm certain, are
More desirable by far
Than a bag full of poor yellow steinies;
And these, I am certain, are, &c.


We have seen many wonder and ferly,
Of changes that almost are yearly,
Among rich folks up and down,
Both in country and in town,
Who now live but scrimply and barely;
Among rich folks up and down, &c.
[Pg 22]


Then why should people brag of prosperity?
A straiten'd life we see is no rarity;
Indeed, we 've been in want,
And our living 's been but scant,
Yet we never were reduced to need charity;
Indeed, we 've been in want, &c.


In this house we first came together,
Where we 've long been a father and mither;
And though not of stone and lime,
It will last us all our time;
And I hope we shall ne'er need anither;
And though not of stone and lime, &c.


And when we leave this poor habitation,
We 'll depart with a good commendation;
We 'll go hand in hand, I wiss,
To a better house than this,
To make room for the next generation;
We 'll go hand in hand, I wiss, &c.
Then why should old age so much wound us? &c.



It has long been my fate to be thought in the wrong,
And my fate it continues to be;
The wise and the wealthy still make it their song,
And the clerk and the cottar agree.
[Pg 23] There is nothing I do, and there 's nothing I say,
But some one or other thinks wrong;
And to please them I find there is no other way,
But do nothing, and still hold my tongue.


Says the free-thinking Sophist, "The times are refined
In sense to a wondrous degree;
Your old-fashion'd faith does but fetter the mind,
And it 's wrong not to seek to be free."
Says the sage Politician, "Your natural share
Of talents would raise you much higher,
Than thus to crawl on in your present low sphere,
And it 's wrong in you not to aspire."


Says the Man of the World, "Your dull stoic life
Is surely deserving of blame?
You have children to care for, as well as a wife,
And it 's wrong not to lay up for them."
Says the fat Gormandiser, "To eat and to drink
Is the true summum bonum of man:
Life is nothing without it, whate'er you may think,
And it 's wrong not to live while you can."


Says the new-made Divine, "Your old modes we reject,
Nor give ourselves trouble about them:
It is manners and dress that procure us respect,
And it 's wrong to look for it without them."
Says the grave peevish Saint, in a fit of the spleen,
"Ah! me, but your manners are vile:
A parson that 's blythe is a shame to be seen,
And it 's wrong in you even to smile."
[Pg 24]


Says the Clown, when I tell him to do what he ought,
"Sir, whatever your character be,
To obey you in this I will never be brought,
And it 's wrong to be meddling with me."
Says my Wife, when she wants this or that for the house,
"Our matters to ruin must go:
Your reading and writing is not worth a souse,
And it 's wrong to neglect the house so."


Thus all judge of me by their taste or their wit,
And I 'm censured by old and by young,
Who in one point agree, though in others they split,
That in something I 'm still in the wrong.
But let them say on to the end of the song,
It shall make no impression on me:
If to differ from such be to be in the wrong,
In the wrong I hope always to be.


Tune"Tibbie Fowler i' the Glen."


There lives a lassie i' the braes,
And Lizzy Liberty they ca' her,
When she has on her Sunday's claes,
Ye never saw a lady brawer;
So a' the lads are wooing at her,
Courting her, but canna get her;
Bonny Lizzy Liberty, there 's ow'r mony wooing at her!
[Pg 25]


Her mither ware a tabbit mutch,
Her father was an honest dyker,
She 's a black-eyed wanton witch,
Ye winna shaw me mony like her:
So a' the lads are wooing at her,
Courting her, but canna get her;
Bonny Lizzy Liberty, wow, sae mony 's wooing at her!


A kindly lass she is, I 'm seer,
Has fowth o' sense and smeddum in her,
And nae a swankie far nor near,
But tries wi' a' his might to win her:
They 're wooing at her, fain would hae her,
Courting her, but canna get her;
Bonny Lizzy Liberty, there 's ow'r mony wooing at her!


For kindly though she be, nae doubt,
She manna thole the marriage tether,
But likes to rove and rink about,
Like Highland cowt amo' the heather:
Yet a' the lads are wooing at her,
Courting her, but canna get her;
Bonny Lizzy Liberty, wow, sae mony 's wooing at her.


It 's seven year, and some guid mair,
Syn Dutch Mynheer made courtship till her,
A merchant bluff and fu' o' care,
Wi' chuffy cheeks, and bags o' siller;
[Pg 26] So Dutch Mynheer was wooing at her,
Courting her, but cudna get her;
Bonny Lizzy Liberty has ow'r mony wooing at her.


Neist to him came Baltic John,
Stept up the brae, and leukit at her,
Syne wear his wa', wi' heavy moan,
And in a month or twa forgat her:
Baltic John was wooing at her,
Courting her, but cudna get her;
Filthy elf, she 's nae herself, wi' sae mony wooing at her.


Syne after him cam' Yankie Doodle,
Frae hyne ayont the muckle water;
Though Yankie 's nae yet worth a boddle,
Wi' might and main he would be at her:
Yankie Doodle 's wooing at her,
Courting her, but canna get her;
Bonny Lizzy Liberty, wow, sae mony 's wooing at her.


Now Monkey French is in a roar,
And swears that nane but he sall hae her,
Though he sud wade through bluid and gore,
It 's nae the king sall keep him frae her:
So Monkey French is wooing at her,
Courting her, but canna get her;
Bonny Lizzy Liberty has ow'r mony wooing at her.
[Pg 27]


For France, nor yet her Flanders' frien',
Need na think that she 'll come to them;
They 've casten aff wi' a' their kin,
And grace and guid have flown frae them;
They 're wooing at her, fain wad hae her,
Courting her, but canna get her;
Bonny Lizzy Liberty, wow, sae mony 's wooing at her.


A stately chiel they ca' John Bull
Is unco thrang and glaikit wi' her;
And gin he cud get a' his wull,
There 's nane can say what he wad gi'e her:
Johnny Bull is wooing at her,
Courting her, but canna get her;
Filthy Ted, she 'll never wed, as lang 's sae mony 's wooing at her.


Even Irish Teague, ayont Belfast,
Wadna care to speir about her;
And swears, till he sall breathe his last,
He 'll never happy be without her:
Irish Teague is wooing at her,
Courting her, but canna get her;
Bonny Lizzy Liberty has ow'r mony wooing at her.


But Donald Scot 's the happy lad,
Though a' the lave sud try to rate him;
Whan he steps up the brae sae glad,
She disna ken maist whare to set him:
[Pg 28] Donald Scot is wooing at her,
Courting her, will maybe get her;
Bonny Lizzy Liberty, wow, sae mony 's wooing at her.


Now, Donald, tak' a frien's advice—
I ken fu' weel ye fain wad hae her;
As ye are happy, sae be wise,
And ha'd ye wi' a smackie frae her:
Ye 're wooing at her, fain wad hae her,
Courting her, will maybe get her;
Bonny Lizzy Liberty, there 's ow'r mony wooing at her.


Ye 're weel, and wat'sna, lad, they 're sayin',
Wi' getting leave to dwall aside her;
And gin ye had her a' your ain,
Ye might na find it mows to guide her:
Ye 're wooing at her, fain wad hae her,
Courting her, will maybe get her;
Cunning quean, she 's ne'er be mine, as lang 's sae mony 's wooing at her.


Tune"A Cobbler there was," &c.


How happy a life does the Parson possess,
Who would be no greater, nor fears to be less;
Who depends on his book and his gown for support,
And derives no preferment from conclave or court!
Derry down, &c.
[Pg 29]


Without glebe or manse settled on him by law,
No stipend to sue for, nor vic'rage to draw;
In discharge of his office he holds him content,
With a croft and a garden, for which he pays rent.
Derry down, &c.


With a neat little cottage and furniture plain,
And a spare room to welcome a friend now and then;
With a good-humour'd wife in his fortune to share,
And ease him at all times of family care.
Derry down, &c.


With a few of the Fathers, the oldest and best,
And some modern extracts pick'd out from the rest;
With a Bible in Latin, and Hebrew, and Greek,
To afford him instruction each day of the week.
Derry down, &c.


What children he has, if any are given,
He thankfully trusts to the kindness of Heaven;
To religion and virtue he trains them while young,
And with such a provision he does them no wrong.
Derry down, &c.


With labour below, and with help from above,
He cares for his flock, and is bless'd with their love:
Though his living, perhaps, in the main may be scant,
He is sure, while they have, that he 'll ne'er be in want.
Derry down, &c.
[Pg 30]


With no worldly projects nor hurries perplex'd,
He sits in his closet and studies his text;
And while he converses with Moses or Paul,
He envies not bishop, nor dean in his stall.
Derry down, &c.


Not proud to the poor, nor a slave to the great,
Neither factious in church, nor pragmatic in state,
He keeps himself quiet within his own sphere,
And finds work sufficient in preaching and prayer.
Derry down, &c.


In what little dealings he 's forced to transact,
He determines with plainness and candour to act;
And the great point on which his ambition is set,
Is to leave at the last neither riches nor debt.
Derry down, &c.


Thus calmly he steps through the valley of life,
Unencumber'd with wealth, and a stranger to strife;
On the bustlings around him unmoved he can look,
And at home always pleased with his wife and his book.
Derry down, &c.


And when, in old age, he drops into the grave,
This humble remembrance he wishes to have:
"By good men respected, by the evil oft tried,
Contented he lived, and lamented he died!"
Derry down, &c.
[Pg 31]


Tune"Miss Ross's Reel."


When fops and fools together prate,
O'er punch or tea, of this or that,
What silly poor unmeaning chat
Does all their talk engross!
A nobler theme employs my lays,
And thus my honest voice I raise
In well-deserved strains to praise
The worthy Man of Ross.


His lofty soul (would it were mine!)
Scorns every selfish, low design,
And ne'er was known to repine,
At any earthly loss:
But still contented, frank, and free,
In every state, whate'er it be,
Serene and staid we always see
The worthy Man of Ross.


Let misers hug their worldly store,
And gripe and pinch to make it more;
Their gold and silver's shining ore
He counts it all but dross:
'Tis better treasure he desires;
A surer stock his passion fires,
And mild benevolence inspires
The worthy Man of Ross.
[Pg 32]


When want assails the widow's cot,
Or sickness strikes the poor man's hut,
When blasting winds or foggy rot
Augment the farmer's loss:
The sufferer straight knows where to go,
With all his wants and all his woe;
For glad experience leads him to
The worthy Man of Ross.


This Man of Ross I 'll daily sing,
With vocal note and lyric string,
And duly, when I 've drank the king,
He 'll be my second toss.
May Heaven its choicest blessings send
On such a man, and such a friend;
And still may all that 's good attend
The worthy Man of Ross.


Now, if you ask about his name,
And where he lives with such a fame,
Indeed, I 'll say you are to blame,
For truly, inter nos,
'Tis what belongs to you and me,
And all of high or low degree,
In every sphere to try to be
The worthy Man of Ross.
[Pg 33]


Tune"Broom of the Cowdenknows."


When I began the world first,
It was not as 'tis now;
For all was plain and simple then,
And friends were kind and true:
Oh, the times, the weary, weary times!
The times that I now see;
I think the world 's all gone wrong,
From what it used to be.


There were not then high capering heads,
Prick'd up from ear to ear;
And cloaks and caps were rarities,
For gentle folks to wear:
Oh, the times, the weary, weary times! &c.


There 's not an upstart mushroom now,
But what sets up for taste;
And not a lass in all the land,
But must be lady-dress'd:
Oh, the times, the weary, weary times! &c.


Our young men married then for love,
So did our lasses too;
And children loved their parents dear,
As children ought to do:
Oh, the times, the weary, weary times! &c.
[Pg 34]


For oh, the times are sadly changed—
A heavy change indeed!
For truth and friendship are no more,
And honesty is fled:
Oh, the times, the weary, weary times! &c.


There 's nothing now prevails but pride,
Among both high and low;
And strife, and greed, and vanity,
Is all that 's minded now:
Oh, the times, the weary, weary times! &c.


When I look through the world wide,
How times and fashions go,
It draws the tears from both my eyes,
And fills my heart with woe:
Oh, the times, the weary, weary times!
The times that I now see;
I wish the world were at an end,
For it will not mend for me!
[Pg 35]


William Cameron, minister of Kirknewton, in the county of Edinburgh, was educated in Marischal College, Aberdeen, where he was a pupil of Dr Beattie, "who ever after entertained for him much esteem." A letter, addressed to him by this eminent professor, in 1774, has been published by Sir William Forbes;[3] and his name is introduced at the beginning of Dr Beattie's "Letter to the Rev. Hugh Blair, D.D., on the Improvement of Psalmody in Scotland. 1778, 8vo:"—"The message you lately sent me, by my friend Mr Cameron, has determined me to give you my thoughts at some length upon the subject of it."

He died in his manse, on the 17th of November 1811, in the 60th year of his age, and the 26th year of his ministry. He was a considerable writer of verses, and his compositions are generally of a respectable order. He was the author of a "Collection of Poems," printed at Edinburgh in 1790, in a duodecimo volume; and in 1781, along with the celebrated John Logan and Dr Morrison, minister of Canisbay, he contributed towards the formation of a collection of Paraphrases from Scripture, which, being approved of by the Ge[Pg 36]neral Assembly, are still used in public worship in the Church of Scotland. A posthumous volume of verses by Mr Cameron, entitled "Poems on Several Occasions," was published by subscription in 1813—8vo, pp. 132. The following song, which was composed by Mr Cameron, on the restoration of the forfeited estates by Act of Parliament, in 1784, is copied from Johnson's "Musical Museum." It affords a very favourable specimen of the author's poetical talents.[Pg 37]


Tune"As I came in by Auchindoun."


As o'er the Highland hills I hied,
The Camerons in array I spied;
Lochiel's proud standard waving wide,
In all its ancient glory.
The martial pipe loud pierced the sky,
The bard arose, resounding high
Their valour, faith, and loyalty,
That shine in Scottish story.
No more the trumpet calls to arms,
Awaking battle's fierce alarms,
But every hero's bosom warms
With songs of exultation.
While brave Lochiel at length regains,
Through toils of war, his native plains,
And, won by glorious wounds, attains
His high paternal station.
Let now the voice of joy prevail,
And echo wide from hill to vale;
Ye warlike clans, arise and hail
Your laurell'd chiefs returning.
O'er every mountain, every isle,
Let peace in all her lustre smile,
And discord ne'er her day defile
With sullen shades of mourning.
[Pg 38]
M'Leod, M'Donald, join the strain,
M'Pherson, Fraser, and M'Lean;
Through all your bounds let gladness reign,
Both prince and patriot praising;
Whose generous bounty richly pours
The streams of plenty round your shores;
To Scotia's hills their pride restores,
Her faded honours raising.
Let all the joyous banquet share,
Nor e'er let Gothic grandeur dare,
With scowling brow, to overbear,
A vassal's right invading.
Let Freedom's conscious sons disdain
To crowd his fawning, timid train,
Nor even own his haughty reign,
Their dignity degrading.
Ye northern chiefs, whose rage unbroke
Has still repell'd the tyrant's shock;
Who ne'er have bow'd beneath his yoke,
With servile base prostration;—
Let each now train his trusty band,
'Gainst foreign foes alone to stand,
With undivided heart and hand,
For Freedom, King, and Nation.
[Pg 39]


Anne Home was born in the year 1742. She was the eldest daughter of Robert Home, of Greenlaw, in Berwickshire, surgeon of Burgoyne's Regiment of Light Horse, and afterwards physician in Savoy. By contracting an early marriage, in which affection overcame more prudential considerations, both her parents gave offence to their relations, who refused to render them pecuniary assistance. Her father, though connected with many families of rank, and himself the son of a landowner, was consequently obliged to depend, in the early part of his career, on his professional exertions for the support of his family. His circumstances appear subsequently to have been more favourable. In July 1771, Miss Home became the wife of John Hunter, the distinguished anatomist, to whom she bore two children. She afforded evidence of her early poetical talent, by composing, before she had completed her twenty-third year, the song beginning, "Adieu! ye streams that smoothly glide." This appeared in the Lark, an Edinburgh periodical, in the year 1765. In 1802, she published a collection of her poems, in an octavo volume, which she inscribed to her son, John Banks Hunter.

During the lifetime of her distinguished husband,[Pg 40] Mrs Hunter was in the habit of receiving at her table, and sharing in the conversation of, the chief literary persons of her time. Her evening conversazioni were frequented by many of the more learned, as well as fashionable persons in the metropolis. On the death of her husband, which took place in 1793, she sought greater privacy, though she still continued to reside in London. By those who were admitted to her intimacy, she was not more respected for her superior talents and intelligence, than held in esteem for her unaffected simplicity of manners. She was the life of her social parties, sustaining the happiness of the hour by her elegant conversation, and encouraging the diffident by her approbation. Amiable in disposition, she was possessed of a beautiful countenance and a handsome person. She wrote verses with facility, but she sought no distinction as a poet, preferring to be regarded as a good housewife and an agreeable member of society. In her latter years, she obtained amusement in resuming the song-writing habits of her youth, and in corresponding with her more intimate friends. She likewise derived pleasure in the cultivation of music: she played with skill, and sung with singular grace.

Mrs Hunter died at London, on the 7th January 1821, after a lingering illness. Several of her lyrics had for some years appeared in the collections of national poetry. Those selected for the present work have long maintained a wide popularity. The songs evince a delicacy of thought, combined with a force and sweetness of expression.[Pg 41]


The sun sets in night, and the stars shun the day,
But glory remains when their lights fade away.
Begin, ye tormentors, your threats are in vain,
For the son of Alknomook will never complain.
Remember the arrows he shot from his bow;
Remember your chiefs by his hatchet laid low.
Why so slow? Do you wait till I shrink from the pain?
No! the son of Alknomook shall never complain.
Remember the wood where in ambush we lay,
And the scalps which we bore from your nation away:
Now the flame rises fast; ye exult in my pain;
But the son of Alknomook can never complain.
I go to the land where my father is gone;
His ghost shall rejoice in the fame of his son.
Death comes, like a friend, to relieve me from pain,
And thy son, O Alknomook! has scorn'd to complain.


My mother bids me bind my hair
With bands of rosy hue,
Tie up my sleeves with ribbons rare,
And lace my boddice blue.
[Pg 42]
"For why," she cries, "sit still and weep,
While others dance and play?"
Alas! I scarce can go or creep,
While Lubin is away.
'Tis sad to think the days are gone,
When those we love were near;
I sit upon this mossy stone,
And sigh when none can hear.
And while I spin my flaxen thread,
And sing my simple lay,
The village seems asleep or dead,
Now Lubin is away.


Adieu! ye streams that smoothly glide,
Through mazy windings o'er the plain;
I 'll in some lonely cave reside,
And ever mourn my faithful swain.
[Pg 43]
Flower of the forest was my love,
Soft as the sighing summer's gale,
Gentle and constant as the dove,
Blooming as roses in the vale.
Alas! by Tweed my love did stray,
For me he search'd the banks around;
But, ah! the sad and fatal day,
My love, the pride of swains, was drown'd.
Now droops the willow o'er the stream;
Pale stalks his ghost in yonder grove;
Dire fancy paints him in my dream;
Awake, I mourn my hopeless love.


The season comes when first we met,
But you return no more;
Why cannot I the days forget,
Which time can ne'er restore?
O! days too sweet, too bright to last,
Are you, indeed, for ever past?
The fleeting shadows of delight,
In memory I trace;
In fancy stop their rapid flight,
And all the past replace;
But, ah! I wake to endless woes,
And tears the fading visions close!
[Pg 44]


Oh, tuneful voice! I still deplore
Those accents which, though heard no more,
Still vibrate in my heart;
In echo's cave I long to dwell,
And still would hear the sad farewell,
When we were doom'd to part.
Bright eyes! O that the task were mine,
To guard the liquid fires that shine,
And round your orbits play—
To watch them with a vestal's care,
And feed with smiles a light so fair,
That it may ne'er decay!


Dear to my heart as life's warm stream,
Which animates this mortal clay;
For thee I court the waking dream,
And deck with smiles the future day;
And thus beguile the present pain,
With hopes that we shall meet again!
Yet will it be as when the past
Twined every joy, and care, and thought,
And o'er our minds one mantle cast,
Of kind affections finely wrought.
[Pg 45] Ah, no! the groundless hope were vain,
For so we ne'er can meet again!
May he who claims thy tender heart,
Deserve its love as I have done!
For, kind and gentle as thou art,
If so beloved, thou 'rt fairly won.
Bright may the sacred torch remain,
And cheer thee till we meet again!


When hope lies dead within the heart,
By secret sorrow close conceal'd,
We shrink lest looks or words impart
What must not be reveal'd.
'Tis hard to smile when one would weep,
To speak when one would silent be;
To wake when one should wish to sleep,
And wake to agony.
Yet such the lot by thousands cast,
Who wander in this world of care,
And bend beneath the bitter blast,
To save them from despair.
But Nature waits her guests to greet,
Where disappointments cannot come,
And Time guides, with unerring feet,
The weary wanderers home.
[Pg 46]


Alexander, the fourth Duke of Gordon, was born in the year 1743, and died on the 17th of January 1827, in the eighty-fourth year of his age. Chiefly remembered as a kind patron of the poet Burns, his name is likewise entitled to a place in the national minstrelsy as the author of an excellent version of the often-parodied song, "Cauld Kail in Aberdeen." Of this song, the first words, written to an older tune, appeared in the second volume of Herd's "Collection," in 1776. These begin—

"Cauld kail in Aberdeen,
And castocks in Strabogie;
But yet I fear they 'll cook o'er soon,
And never warm the cogie."

The song is anonymous, as is the version, first published in Dale's "Scottish Songs," beginning—

"There 's cauld kail in Aberdeen,
And castocks in Strabogie,
Where ilka lad maun hae his lass,
But I maun hae my cogie."

A third version, distinct from that inserted in the text, was composed by William Reid, a bookseller in Glasgow, who died in 1831. His song is scarcely known.[Pg 47] The Duke's song, with which Burns expressed himself as being "charmed," was first published in the second volume of Johnson's "Musical Museum." It is not only gay and animating, but has the merit of being free of blemishes in want of refinement, which affect the others. The "Bogie" celebrated in the song, it may be remarked, is a river in Aberdeenshire, which, rising in the parish of Auchindoir, discharges its waters into the Deveron, a little distance below the town of Huntly. It gives its name to the extensive and rich valley of Strathbogie, through which it proceeds.[Pg 48]


There 's cauld kail in Aberdeen,
And castocks in Strabogie;
Gin I hae but a bonnie lass,
Ye 're welcome to your cogie.
And ye may sit up a' the night,
And drink till it be braid daylight;
Gi'e me a lass baith clean and tight,
To dance the reel o' Bogie.
In cotillions the French excel,
John Bull loves country dances;
The Spaniards dance fandangoes well;
Mynheer an all'mande prances;
In foursome reels the Scots delight,
At threesomes they dance wondrous light,
But twasomes ding a' out o' sight,
Danced to the reel o' Bogie.
Come, lads, and view your partners weel,
Wale each a blythesome rogie;
I'll tak this lassie to mysel',
She looks sae keen and vogie.
Now, piper lads, bang up the spring,
The country fashion is the thing,
To pree their mou's ere we begin
To dance the reel o' Bogie.
[Pg 49]
Now ilka lad has got a lass,
Save yon auld doited fogie,
And ta'en a fling upon the grass,
As they do in Strabogie.
But a' the lasses look sae fain,
We canna think oursel's to hain,
For they maun hae their come again,
To dance the reel o' Bogie.
Now a' the lads hae done their best,
Like true men o' Strabogie,
We 'll stop a while and tak' a rest,
And tipple out a cogie.
Come now, my lads, and tak your glass,
And try ilk ither to surpass,
In wishing health to every lass,
To dance the reel o' Bogie.
[Pg 50]


Mrs Grant of Carron, the reputed author of one song, which has long maintained a favoured place, was a native of Aberlour, on the banks of the Spey, in the county of Banff. She was born about the year 1745, and was twice married—first, to her cousin, Mr Grant of Carron, near Elchies, on the river Spey, about the year 1763; and, secondly, to Dr Murray, a physician in Bath. She died at Bath about the year 1814.

In his correspondence with George Thomson, Burns, alluding to the song of Mrs Grant, "Roy's Wife," remarks that he had in his possession "the original words of a song for the air in the handwriting of the lady who composed it," which, he adds, "are superior to any edition of the song which the public has seen." He subsequently composed an additional version himself, beginning, "Canst thou leave me thus, my Katie?" but this, like others of the bard's conversions of Scottish songs into an English dress, did not become popular. The verses by his female friend, in which the lady is made to be the sufferer by misplaced affection, and commencing, "Stay, my Willie, yet believe me," though published, remain likewise in obscurity. "Roy's Wife" was originally written to an old tune called the "Ruf[Pg 51]fian's Rant," but this melody is now known by the name of its favourite words. The sentiment of the song is peculiarly pleasing. The rejected lover begins by loudly complaining of his wrongs, and the broken assurances of his former sweetheart: then he suddenly recalls what were her good qualities; and the recollection of these causes him to forgive her marrying another, and even still to extend towards her his warmest sympathies.[Pg 52]


Roy's wife of Aldivalloch,
Roy's wife of Aldivalloch,
Wat ye how she cheated me
As I cam' o'er the braes of Balloch!
She vow'd, she swore she wad be mine,
She said she lo'ed me best o' onie;
But, ah! the fickle, faithless quean,
She 's ta'en the carl, and left her Johnnie!
Roy's wife, &c.
Oh, she was a canty quean,
An' weel could dance the Hieland walloch!
How happy I, had she been mine,
Or I been Roy of Aldivalloch!
Roy's wife, &c.
Her hair sae fair, her e'en sae clear,
Her wee bit mou' sae sweet and bonnie!
To me she ever will be dear,
Though she's for ever left her Johnnie!
Roy's wife, &c.
[Pg 53]


Dr Couper was born in the parish of Sorbie, in Wigtonshire, on the 22d of September 1750. His father rented the farm of Balsier in that parish. With a view towards the ministry in the Scottish Church, he proceeded to the University of Glasgow in 1769; but being deprived of both his parents by death before the completion of the ordinary period of academical study, and his pecuniary means being limited, he quitted the country for America, where he became tutor to a family in Virginia. He now contemplated taking orders in the Episcopal Church, but on the outbreak of the War of Independence in 1776 he returned to Britain without fulfilling this intention. He resumed his studies at Glasgow preparatory to his seeking a surgeon's diploma; and he afterwards established himself as a medical practitioner in Newton-Stewart, a considerable village in his native county. From this place he removed to Fochabers, about the year 1788, on being recommended, by his friend Dr Hamilton, Professor of Anatomy at Glasgow, as physician to the Duke of Gordon. Before entering on this new sphere of practice, he took the degree of M.D. At Fochabers he remained till the year 1806, when he again returned to the south. He died at[Pg 54] Wigton on the 18th January 1818. From a MS. Life of Dr Couper, in the possession of a gentleman in Wigton, and communicated to Dr Murray, author of "The Literary History of Galloway," these leading events of Dr Couper's life were first published by Mr Laing, in his "Additional Illustrations to the Scots Musical Museum," vol. iv. p. 513.

Dr Couper published "Poetry, chiefly in the Scottish Language" (Inverness, 1804), 2 vols. 12mo. Among some rubbish, and much tawdry versification, there is occasional power, which, however, is insufficient to compensate for the general inferiority. There are only a few songs, but these are superior to the poems; and those following are not unworthy of a place among the modern national minstrelsy.[Pg 55]


Tune"Neil Gow."

Red gleams the sun on yon hill-tap,
The dew sits on the gowan;
Deep murmurs through her glens the Spey,
Around Kinrara rowan.
Where art thou, fairest, kindest lass?
Alas! wert thou but near me,
Thy gentle soul, thy melting eye,
Would ever, ever cheer me.
The lav'rock sings among the clouds,
The lambs they sport so cheerie,
And I sit weeping by the birk:
O where art thou, my dearie?
Aft may I meet the morning dew,
Lang greet till I be weary;
Thou canna, winna, gentle maid!
Thou canna be my dearie.


Tune"The Mucking o' Geordie's Byre."

Oh, grand bounds the deer o'er the mountain,
And smooth skims the hare o'er the plain;
At noon, the cool shade by the fountain
Is sweet to the lass and her swain.
[Pg 56] The ev'ning sits down dark and dreary;
Oh, yon 's the loud joys of the ha';
The laird sings his dogs and his dearie—
Oh, he kens na his singin' ava.
But oh, my dear lassie, when wi' thee,
What 's the deer and the maukin to me?
The storm soughin' wild drives me to thee,
And the plaid shelters baith me and thee.
The wild warld then may be reeling,
Pride and riches may lift up their e'e;
My plaid haps us baith in the sheeling—
That 's a' to my lassie and me.


Oh, mind ye the ewe-bughts, my Marion?
It was ther I forgather'd wi' thee;
The sun smiled sweet ower the mountain,
And saft sough'd the leaf on the tree.
Thou wast fair, thou wast bonnie, my Marion,
And lovesome thy rising breast-bane;
The dew sat in gems ower thy ringlets,
By the thorn when we were alane.
There we loved, there thou promised, my Marion,
Thy soul—a' thy beauties were mine;
Crouse we skipt to the ha' i' the gloamin',
But few were my slumbers and thine.
[Pg 57]
Fell war tore me lang frae thee, Marion,
Lang wat'ry and red was my e'e;
The pride o' the field but inflamed me
To return mair worthy o' thee.
Oh, aye art thou lovely, my Marion,
Thy heart bounds in kindness to me;
And here, oh, here is my bosom,
That languish'd, my Marion, for thee.
[Pg 58]


Lady Anne Lindsay was the eldest of a family of eight sons and three daughters, born to James, Earl of Balcarres, by his spouse, Anne Dalrymple, a daughter of Sir Robert Dalrymple, of Castleton, Bart. She was born at Balcarres, in Fife, on the 8th of December 1750. Inheriting a large portion of the shrewdness long possessed by the old family of Lindsay, and a share of talent from her mother, who was a person of singular energy, though somewhat capricious in temper, Lady Anne evinced, at an early age, an uncommon amount of sagacity. Fortunate in having her talents well directed, and naturally inclined towards the acquisition of learning, she soon began to devote herself to useful reading, and even to literary composition. The highly popular ballad of "Auld Robin Gray" was written when she had only attained her twenty-first year. According to her own narrative, communicated to Sir Walter Scott, she had experienced loneliness on the marriage of her younger sister, who accompanied her husband to London, and had sought relief from a state of solitude by attempting the composition of song. An old Scottish[Pg 59] melody,[7] sung by an eccentric female, an attendant on Lady Balcarres, was connected with words unsuitable to the plaintive nature of the air; and, with the design of supplying the defect, she formed the idea of writing "Auld Robin Gray." The hero of the ballad was the old herdsman at Balcarres. To the members of her own family Lady Anne only communicated her new ballad—scrupulously concealing the fact of her authorship from others, "perceiving the shyness it created in those who could write nothing."

While still in the bloom of youth, the Earl of Balcarres died, and the Dowager Countess having taken up her residence in Edinburgh, Lady Anne experienced increased means of acquainting herself with the world of letters. At her mother's residence she met many of the literary persons of consideration in the northern metropolis, including such men as Lord Monboddo, David Hume, and Henry Mackenzie. To comfort her sister, Lady Margaret Fordyce, who was now a widow, she subsequently removed to London, where she formed the acquaintance of the principal personages then occupying the literary and political arena, such as Burke, Sheridan, Dundas, and Windham. She also became known to the Prince of Wales, who continued to entertain for her the highest respect. In 1793, she married Andrew Barnard, Esq., son of the Bishop of Limerick, and afterwards secretary, under Lord Macartney, to the colony at the Cape of Good Hope. She accompanied her husband to the Cape, and had meditated a voyage to New South Wales, that she might minister, by her[Pg 60] benevolent counsels, towards the reformation of the convicts there exiled. On the death of her husband in 1807, she again resided with her widowed sister, the Lady Margaret, till the year 1812, when, on the marriage of her sister to Sir James Burges, she occupied a house of her own, and continued to reside in Berkeley Square till the period of her death, which took place on the 6th of May 1825.

To entire rectitude of principle, amiability of manners, and kindliness of heart, Anne Barnard added the more substantial, and, in females, the more uncommon quality of eminent devotedness to intellectual labour. Literature had been her favourite pursuit from childhood, and even in advanced life, when her residence was the constant resort of her numerous relatives, she contrived to find leisure for occasional literary réunions, while her forenoons were universally occupied in mental improvement. She maintained a correspondence with several of her brilliant contemporaries, and, in her more advanced years, composed an interesting narrative of family Memoirs. She was skilled in the use of the pencil, and sketched scenery with effect. In conversation she was acknowledged to excel; and her stories[8] and anecdotes were a source of delight to her friends. She was devotedly pious, and singularly benevolent: she was liberal in sentiment, charitable to the indigent, and sparing of the feelings of others. Every circle was charmed by her presence; by her condescension she inspired the diffident; and she banished dulness by the brilliancy of her humour. Her countenance, it should[Pg 61] be added, wore a pleasant and animated expression, and her figure was modelled with the utmost elegance of symmetry and grace. Her sister, Lady Margaret Fordyce, was eminently beautiful.

The popularity obtained by the ballad of "Auld Robin Gray" has seldom been exceeded in the history of any other metrical composition. It was sung in every fashionable circle, as well as by the ballad-singers, from Land's-end to John o' Groat's; was printed in every collection of national songs, and drew tears from our military countrymen both in America and India. With the exception of Pinkerton, every writer on Scottish poetry and song has awarded it a tribute of commendation. "The elegant and accomplished authoress," says Ritson, "has, in this beautiful production, to all that tenderness and simplicity for which the Scottish song has been so much celebrated, united a delicacy of expression which it never before attained." "'Auld Robin Gray,'" says Sir Walter Scott, "is that real pastoral which is worth all the dialogues which Corydon and Phillis have had together, from the days of Theocritus downwards."

During a long lifetime, till within two years of her death, Lady Anne Barnard resisted every temptation to declare herself the author of the popular ballad, thus evincing her determination not to have the secret wrested from her till she chose to divulge it. Some of those inducements may be enumerated. The extreme popularity of the ballad might have proved sufficient in itself to justify the disclosure; but, apart from this consideration, a very fine tune had been put to it by a doctor of music;[9] a romance had been founded upon it by a man[Pg 62] of eminence; it was made the subject of a play, of an opera, and of a pantomime; it had been claimed by others; a sequel had been written to it by some scribbler, who professed to have composed the whole ballad; it had been assigned an antiquity far beyond the author's time; the Society of Antiquaries had made it the subject of investigation; and the author had been advertised for in the public prints, a reward being offered for the discovery. Never before had such general interest been exhibited respecting any composition in Scottish verse.

In the "Pirate," published in 1823, the author of "Waverley" had compared the condition of Minna to that of Jeanie Gray, in the words of Lady Anne, in a sequel which she had published to the original ballad:—

"Nae langer she wept, her tears were a' spent;
Despair it was come, and she thought it content;
She thought it content, but her cheek it grew pale,
And she droop'd like a snowdrop broke down by the hail!"

At length, in her seventy-third year, and upwards of half a century after the period of its composition, the author voluntarily made avowal of the authorship of the ballad and its sequel. She wrote to Sir Walter Scott, with whom she was acquainted, requesting him to inform his personal friend, the author of "Waverley," that she was indeed the author. She enclosed a copy to Sir Walter, written in her own hand; and, with her consent, in the course of the following year, he printed "Auld Robin Gray" as a contribution to the Bannatyne Club.

The second part has not acquired such decided popularity, and it has not often been published with it in former Collections. Of the fact of its inequality, the accomplished author was fully aware: she wrote it[Pg 63] simply to gratify the desire of her venerable mother, who often wished to know how "the unlucky business of Jeanie and Jamie ended." The Countess, it may be remarked, was much gratified by the popularity of the ballad; and though she seems, out of respect to her daughter's feelings, to have retained the secret, she could not resist the frequent repetition of it to her friends.

In the character of Lady Anne Barnard, the defective point was a certain want of decision, which not only led to her declining many distinguished and advantageous offers for her hand, but tended, in some measure, to deprive her of posthumous fame. Illustrative of the latter fact, it has been recorded that, having entrusted to Sir Walter Scott a volume of lyrics, composed by herself and by others of the noble house of Lindsay, with permission to give it to the world, she withdrew her consent after the compositions had been printed in a quarto volume, and were just on the eve of being published. The copies of the work, which was entitled "Lays of the Lindsays," appear to have been destroyed. One lyric only has been recovered, beginning, "Why tarries my love?" It is printed as the composition of Lady Anne Barnard, in a note appended to the latest edition of Johnson's "Musical Museum," by Mr C. K. Sharpe, who transcribed it from the Scots Magazine for May 1805. The popular song, "Logie o' Buchan," sometimes attributed to Lady Anne in the Collections, did not proceed from her pen, but was composed by George Halket, parochial schoolmaster of Rathen, in Aberdeenshire, about the middle of the last century.[Pg 64]


Part I.

When the sheep are in the fauld, and the kye 's come hame,
And a' the warld to rest are gane,
The waes o' my heart fa' in showers frae my e'e,
Unkent by my gudeman, wha sleeps sound by me.
Young Jamie lo'ed me weel, and he sought me for his bride,
But saving a crown-piece, he had naething beside;
To make the crown a pound, my Jamie gaed to sea,
And the crown and the pound they were baith for me.
He hadna been gane a twelvemonth and a day,
When my father brake his arm, and the cow was stown away;
My mither she fell sick—my Jamie at the sea;
And auld Robin Gray came a-courting me.
My father couldna wark, and my mither couldna spin;
I toil'd day and night, but their bread I couldna win;—
Auld Rob maintain'd them baith, and, wi' tears in his e'e,
Said, "Jeanie, oh, for their sakes, will ye no marry me?"
[Pg 65]
My heart it said na, and I look'd for Jamie back;
But hard blew the winds, and his ship was a wrack;
The ship was a wrack—why didna Jamie dee?
Or why am I spared to cry, Wae is me?
My father urged me sair—my mither didna speak;
But she look'd in my face till my heart was like to break;
They gied him my hand—my heart was in the sea—
And so Robin Gray he was gudeman to me.
I hadna been his wife a week but only four,
When, mournfu' as I sat on the stane at my door,
I saw my Jamie's ghaist, for I couldna think it he,
Till he said, "I'm come hame, love, to marry thee."
Oh, sair, sair did we greet, and mickle say of a';
I gied him a kiss, and bade him gang awa';—
I wish that I were dead, but I'm nae like to dee;
For though my heart is broken, I'm but young, wae is me!
I gang like a ghaist, and carena much to spin;
I darena think o' Jamie, for that wad be a sin;
But I'll do my best a gude wife to be,
For oh, Robin Gray, he is kind to me!

Part II.

The spring had pass'd over, 'twas summer nae mair,
And, trembling, were scatter'd the leaves in the air;
"Oh, winter," cried Jeanie, "we kindly agree,
For wae looks the sun when he shines upon me."
[Pg 66]
Nae langer she wept, her tears were a' spent;
Despair it was come, and she thought it content;
She thought it content, but her cheek was grown pale,
And she droop'd like a snow-drop broke down by the hail.
Her father was sad, and her mother was wae,
But silent and thoughtfu' was auld Robin Gray;
He wander'd his lane, and his face was as lean
As the side of a brae where the torrents have been.
He gaed to his bed, but nae physic would take,
And often he said, "It is best, for her sake!"
While Jeanie supported his head as he lay,
The tears trickled down upon auld Robin Gray.
"Oh, greet nae mair, Jeanie!" said he, wi' a groan;
"I 'm nae worth your sorrow—the truth maun be known;
Send round for your neighbours—my hour it draws near,
And I 've that to tell that it 's fit a' should hear.
"I 've wrang'd her," he said, "but I kent it o'er late;
I 've wrang'd her, and sorrow is speeding my date;
But a 's for the best, since my death will soon free
A faithfu' young heart, that was ill match'd wi' me.
"I lo'ed and I courted her mony a day,
The auld folks were for me, but still she said nay;
I kentna o' Jamie, nor yet o' her vow;—
In mercy forgi'e me, 'twas I stole the cow!
"I cared not for crummie, I thought but o' thee;
I thought it was crummie stood 'twixt you and me;
[Pg 67] While she fed your parents, oh! did you not say,
You never would marry wi' auld Robin Gray?
"But sickness at hame, and want at the door—
You gi'ed me your hand, while your heart it was sore;
I saw it was sore, why took I her hand?
Oh, that was a deed to my shame o'er the land!
"How truth, soon or late, comes to open daylight!
For Jamie cam' back, and your cheek it grew white;
White, white grew your cheek, but aye true unto me.
Oh, Jeanie, I 'm thankfu'—I 'm thankfu' to dee!
"Is Jamie come here yet?" and Jamie he saw;
"I 've injured you sair, lad, so I leave you my a';
Be kind to my Jeanie, and soon may it be!
Waste no time, my dauties, in mournin' for me."
They kiss'd his cauld hands, and a smile o'er his face
Seem'd hopefu' of being accepted by grace;
"Oh, doubtna," said Jamie, "forgi'en he will be,
Wha wadna be tempted, my love, to win thee?"
       *       *       *       *       *
The first days were dowie, while time slipt awa';
But saddest and sairest to Jeanie of a'
Was thinking she couldna be honest and right,
Wi' tears in her e'e, while her heart was sae light.
But nae guile had she, and her sorrow away,
The wife of her Jamie, the tear couldna stay;
A bonnie wee bairn—the auld folks by the fire—
Oh, now she has a' that her heart can desire!
[Pg 68]

In an earlier continuation of the original ballad, there are some good stanzas, which, however, the author had thought proper to expunge from the piece in its altered and extended form. One verse, descriptive of Robin Gray's feelings, on observing the concealed and withering grief of his spouse, is beautiful for its simplicity:—

"Nae questions he spier'd her concerning her health,
He look'd at her often, but aye 'twas by stealth;
When his heart it grew grit, and, sighin', he feign'd
To gang to the door to see if it rain'd."


Why tarries my love?
Ah! where does he rove?
My love is long absent from me.
Come hither, my dove,
I 'll write to my love,
And send him a letter by thee.
To find him, swift fly!
The letter I 'll tie
Secure to thy leg with a string.
Ah! not to my leg,
Fair lady, I beg,
But fasten it under my wing.
Her dove she did deck,
She drew o'er his neck
A bell and a collar so gay;
She tied to his wing
The scroll with a string,
Then kiss'd him and sent him away.
[Pg 69]
It blew and it rain'd,
The pigeon disdain'd
To seek shelter; undaunted he flew,
Till wet was his wing,
And painful his string,
So heavy the letter it grew.
It flew all around,
Till Colin he found,
Then perch'd on his head with the prize;
Whose heart, while he reads,
With tenderness bleeds,
For the pigeon that flutters and dies.
[Pg 70]


John Tait was, in early life, devoted to the composition of poetry. In Ruddiman's Edinburgh Weekly Magazine for 1770, he repeatedly published verses in the Poet's Corner, with his initials attached, and in subsequent years he published anonymously the "Cave of Morar," "Poetical Legends," and other poems. "The Vanity of Human Wishes, an Elegy, occasioned by the Untimely Death of a Scots Poet," appears under the signature of J. Tait, in "Poems on Various Subjects by Robert Fergusson, Part II.," Edinburgh, 1779, 12mo. He was admitted as a Writer to the Signet on the 21st of November 1781; and in July 1805 was appointed Judge of Police, on a new police system being introduced into Edinburgh. In the latter capacity he continued to officiate till July 1812, when a new Act of Parliament entrusted the settlement of police cases, as formerly, to the magistrates of the city. Mr Tait died at his house in Abercromby Place, on the 29th of August 1817.

"The Banks of the Dee," the only popular production from the pen of the author, was composed in the year 1775, on the occasion of a friend leaving Scotland to join the British forces in America, who were then[Pg 71] vainly endeavouring to suppress that opposition to the control of the mother country which resulted in the permanent establishment of American independence. The song is set to the Irish air of "Langolee." It was printed in Wilson's Collection of Songs, which was published at Edinburgh in 1779, with four additional stanzas by a Miss Betsy B——s, of inferior merit. It was re-published in "The Goldfinch" (Edinburgh, 1782), and afterwards was inserted in Johnson's "Musical Museum." Burns, in his letter to Mr George Thomson, of 7th April 1793, writes—"'The Banks of the Dee' is, you know, literally 'Langolee' to slow time. The song is well enough, but has some false imagery in it; for instance—

"'And sweetly the nightingale sung from the tree.'

In the first place, the nightingale sings in a low bush, but never from a tree; and, in the second place, there never was a nightingale seen or heard on the banks of the Dee, or on the banks of any other river in Scotland. Creative rural imagery is always comparatively flat."

Thirty years after its first appearance, Mr Tait published a new edition of the song in Mr Thomson's Collection, vol. iv., in which he has, by alterations on the first half stanza, acknowledged the justice of the strictures of the Ayrshire bard. The stanza is altered thus:

"'Twas summer, and softly the breezes were blowing,
And sweetly the wood-pigeon coo'd from the tree;
At the foot of a rock, where the wild rose was growing,
I sat myself down on the banks of the Dee."

The song, it may be added, has in several collections been erroneously attributed to John Home, author of the tragedy of "Douglas."[Pg 72]


'Twas summer, and softly the breezes were blowing,
And sweetly the nightingale sung from the tree,
At the foot of a rock where the river was flowing,
I sat myself down on the banks of the Dee.
Flow on, lovely Dee, flow on, thou sweet river,
Thy banks' purest stream shall be dear to me ever,
For there first I gain'd the affection and favour
Of Jamie, the glory and pride of the Dee.
But now he 's gone from me, and left me thus mourning,
To quell the proud rebels—for valiant is he;
And, ah! there 's no hope of his speedy returning,
To wander again on the banks of the Dee.
He 's gone, hapless youth! o'er the rude roaring billows,
The kindest and sweetest of all the gay fellows,
And left me to wander 'mongst those once loved willows,
The loneliest maid on the banks of the Dee.
But time and my prayers may perhaps yet restore him,
Blest peace may restore my dear shepherd to me;
And when he returns, with such care I 'll watch o'er him,
He never shall leave the sweet banks of the Dee.
The Dee then shall flow, all its beauties displaying,
The lambs on its banks shall again be seen playing,
While I with my Jamie am carelessly straying,
And tasting again all the sweets of the Dee.
[Pg 73]


Hector Macneill was born on the 22d of October 1746, in the villa of Rosebank, near Roslin; and, to to use his own words, "amidst the murmur of streams and the shades of Hawthornden, may be said to have inhaled with life the atmosphere of a poet."[10] Descended from an old family, who possessed a small estate in the southern district of Argyllshire, his father, after various changes of fortune, had obtained a company in the 42d Regiment, with which he served during several campaigns in Flanders. From continued indisposition, and consequent inability to undergo the fatigues of military life, he disposed of his commission, and retired, with his wife and two children, to the villa of Rosebank, of which he became the owner. A few years after the[Pg 74] birth of his son Hector, he felt necessitated, from straitened circumstances, to quit this beautiful residence; and he afterwards occupied a farm on the banks of Loch Lomond. Such a region of the picturesque was highly suitable for the development of those poetical talents which had already appeared in young Hector, amidst the rural amenities of Roslin. In his eleventh year, he wrote a drama, after the manner of Gay; and the respectable execution of his juvenile attempts in versification gained him the approbation of Dr Doig, the learned rector of the grammar-school of Stirling, who strongly urged his father to afford him sufficient instruction, to enable him to enter upon one of the liberal professions. Had Captain Macneill's circumstances been prosperous, this counsel might have been adopted, for the son's promising talents were not unnoticed by his father; but pecuniary difficulties opposed an unsurmountable obstacle.

An opulent relative, a West India trader, resident in Bristol, had paid the captain a visit; and, attracted by the shrewdness of the son Hector, who was his namesake, offered to retain him in his employment, and to provide for him in life. After two years' preparatory education, he was accordingly sent to Bristol, in his fourteenth year. He was destined to an adventurous career, singularly at variance with his early predilections and pursuits. By his relative he was designed to sail in a slave ship to the coast of Guinea; but the intercession of some female friends prevented his being connected with an expedition so uncongenial to his feelings. He was now despatched on board a vessel to the island of St Christopher's, with the view of his making trial of a seafaring life, but was provided with recommendatory letters, in the event of his preferring employment on[Pg 75] land. With a son of the Bristol trader he remained twelvemonths; and, having no desire to resume his labours as a seaman, he afterwards sailed for Guadaloupe, where he continued in the employment of a merchant for three years, till 1763, when the island was ceded to the French. Dismissed by his employer, with a scanty balance of salary, he had some difficulty in obtaining the means of transport to Antigua; and there, finding himself reduced to entire dependence, he was content, without any pecuniary recompense, to become assistant to his relative, who had come to the town of St John's. From this unhappy condition he was rescued, after a short interval. He was possessed of a knowledge of the French language; a qualification which, together with his general abilities, recommended him to fill the office of assistant to the Provost-Marshal of Grenada. This appointment he held for three years, when, hearing of the death of his mother and sister, he returned to Britain. On the death of his father, eighteen months after his arrival, he succeeded to a small patrimony, which he proceeded to invest in the purchase of an annuity of £80 per annum. With this limited income, he seems to have planned a permanent settlement in his native country; but the unexpected embarrassment of the party from whom he had purchased the annuity, and an attachment of an unfortunate nature, compelled him to re-embark on the ocean of adventure. He accepted the office of assistant-secretary on board Admiral Geary's flag-ship, and made two cruises with the grand fleet. Proposing again to return to Scotland, he afterwards resigned his appointment; but he was induced, by the remonstrances of his friends, Dr Currie, and Mr Roscoe, of Liverpool, to accept a similar situation on board the flag-ship of Sir Richard[Pg 76] Bickerton, who had been appointed to take the chief command of the naval power in India. In this post, many of the hardships incident to a seafaring life fell to his share; and being present at the last indecisive action with "Suffrein," he had likewise to encounter the perils of war. His present connexion subsisted three years; but Macneill sickened in the discharge of duties wholly unsuitable for him, and longed for the comforts of home. His resources were still limited, but he flattered himself in the expectation that he might earn a subsistence as a man of letters. He fixed his residence at a farm-house in the vicinity of Stirling; and, amidst the pursuits of literature, the composition of verses, and the cultivation of friendship, he contrived, for a time, to enjoy a considerable share of happiness. But he speedily discovered the delusion of supposing that an individual, entirely unknown in the literary world, could at once be able to establish his reputation, and inspire confidence in the bookselling trade, whose favour is so essential to men of letters. Discouraged in longer persevering in the attempt of procuring a livelihood at home, Macneill, for the fourth time, took his departure from Britain. Provided with letters of introduction to influential and wealthy persons in Jamaica, he sailed for that island on a voyage of adventure; being now in his thirty-eighth year, and nearly as unprovided for as when he had first left his native shores, twenty-four years before. On his arrival at Kingston, he was employed by the collector of customs, whose acquaintance he had formed on the voyage; but this official soon found he could dispense with his services, which he did, without aiding him in obtaining another situation. The individuals to whom he had brought letters were unable or unwilling to render him assistance, and the unfortu[Pg 77]nate adventurer was constrained, in his emergency, to accept the kind invitation of a medical friend, to make his quarters with him till some satisfactory employment might occur. He now discovered two intimate companions of his boyhood settled in the island, in very prosperous circumstances, and from these he received both pecuniary aid and the promise of future support. Through their friendly offices, his two sons, who had been sent out by a generous friend, were placed in situations of respectability and emolument. But the thoughts of the poet himself were directed towards Britain. He sailed from Jamaica, with a thousand plans and schemes hovering in his mind, equally vague and indefinite as had been his aims and designs during the past chapter of his history. A small sum given him as the pay of an inland ensigncy, now conferred on him, but antedated, sufficed to defray the expenses of the voyage.

Before leaving Scotland for Jamaica, Macneill had commenced a poem, founded on a Highland tradition; and to the completion of this production he assiduously devoted himself during his homeward voyage. It was published at Edinburgh in 1789, under the title of "The Harp, a Legendary Tale." In the previous year, he published a pamphlet in vindication of slavery, entitled, "On the Treatment of the Negroes in Jamaica." This pamphlet, written to gratify the wishes of an interested friend, rather than as the result of his own convictions, he subsequently endeavoured to suppress. For several years, Macneill persevered in his unsettled mode of life. On his return from Jamaica, he resided in the mansion of his friend, Mr Graham of Gartmore, himself a writer of verses, as well as a patron of letters; but a difference with the family caused him to quit this hos[Pg 78]pitable residence. After passing some time with his relatives in Argyllshire, he entertained a proposal of establishing himself in Glasgow, as partner of a mercantile house, but this was terminated by the dissolution of the firm; and a second attempt to succeed in the republic of letters had an equally unsuccessful issue. In Edinburgh, whither he had removed, he was seized with a severe nervous illness, which, during the six following years, rendered him incapable of sustained physical exertion. With a little money, which he contrived to raise on his annuity, he retired to a small cottage at St Ninians; but his finances again becoming reduced, he accepted of the hospitable invitation of his friends, Major Spark and his lady, to become the inmate of their residence of Viewforth House, Stirling. At this period, Macneill composed the greater number of his best songs, and produced his poem of "Scotland's Skaith, or the History of Will and Jean," which was published in 1795, and speedily gained him a wide reputation. Before the close of twelvemonths, it passed through no fewer than fourteen editions. A sequel, entitled "The Waes o' War," which appeared in 1796, attained nearly an equal popularity. The original ballad was composed during the author's solitary walks along the promenades of the King's Park, Stirling, while he was still suffering mental depression. It was completed in his own mind before any of the stanzas were committed to paper.

The hope of benefiting his enfeebled constitution in a warm climate induced him to revisit Jamaica. As a parting tribute to his friends at Stirling, he published, in 1799, immediately before his departure, a descriptive poem, entitled "The Links of Forth, or a Parting Peep at the Carse of Stirling," which, regarded[Pg 79] as the last effort of a dying poet, obtained a reception fully equal to its merits.

On the oft-disappointed and long unfortunate poet the sun of prosperity at length arose. On his arrival in Jamaica, one of his early friends, Mr John Graham, of Three-Mile-River, settled on him an annuity of £100 a-year; and, in a few months afterwards, they sailed together for Britain, the poet's health being essentially improved. Macneill now fixed his permanent residence in Edinburgh, and, with the proceeds of several legacies bequeathed to him, together with his annuity, was enabled to live in comparative affluence. The narrative of his early adventures and hardships is supposed to form the basis of a novel, entitled "The Memoirs of Charles Macpherson, Esq.," which proceeded from his pen in 1800. In the following year, he published a complete edition of his poetical works, in two duodecimo volumes. In 1809, he published "The Pastoral, or Lyric Muse of Scotland," in a thin quarto volume; and about the same time, anonymously, two other works in verse, entitled "Town Fashions, or Modern Manners Delineated," and "Bygone Times and Late-come Changes." His last work, "The Scottish Adventurers," a novel, appeared in 1812, in two octavo volumes.

The latter productions of Hector Macneill, both in prose and verse, tended rather to diminish than increase his fame. They exhibit the sentiments of a querulous old man, inclined to cling to the habits of his youth, and to regard any improvement as an act of ruthless innovation. As the author of some excellent songs, and one of the most popular ballads in the Scottish language, his name will continue to be remembered. His songs, "Mary of Castlecary," "My boy, Tammie," "Come[Pg 80] under my plaidie," "I lo'ed ne'er a laddie but ane," "Donald and Flora," and "Dinna think, bonnie lassie," will retain a firm hold of the popular mind. His characteristic is tenderness and pathos, combined with unity of feeling, and a simplicity always genuine and true to nature. Allan Cunningham, who forms only a humble estimate of his genius, remarks that his songs "have much softness and truth, an insinuating grace of manners, and a decorum of expression, with no small skill in the dramatic management of the stories."[11] The ballad of "Scotland's Skaith" ranks among the happiest conceptions of the Scottish Doric muse; rural life is depicted with singular force and accuracy, and the debasing consequences of the inordinate use of ardent spirits among the peasantry, are delineated with a vigour and power, admirably adapted to suit the author's benevolent intention in the suppression of intemperance.

During his latter years, Macneill was much cherished among the fashionables of the capital. He was a tall, venerable-looking old man; and although his complexion was sallow, and his countenance somewhat austere, his agreeable and fascinating conversation, full of humour and replete with anecdote, rendered him an acceptable guest in many social circles. He displayed a lively, but not a vigorous intellect, and his literary attainments were inconsiderable. Of his own character as a man of letters, he had evidently formed a high estimate. He was prone to satire, but did not unduly indulge in it. He was especially impatient of indifferent versification; and, among his friends, rather discouraged than commended poetical composition. Though long unsettled himself, he was loud in his [Pg 81]commendations of industry; and, from the gay man of the world, he became earnest on the subject of religion. For several years, his health seems to have been unsatisfactory. In a letter to a friend, dated Edinburgh, January 30, 1813, he writes:—"Accumulating years and infirmities are beginning to operate very sensibly upon me now, and yearly do I experience their increasing influence. Both my hearing and my sight are considerably weakened, and, should I live a few years longer, I look forward to a state which, with all our love for life, is certainly not to be envied.... My pen is my chief amusement. Reading soon fatigues, and loses its zest; composition never, till over-exertion reminds me of my imprudence, by sensations which too frequently render me unpleasant during the rest of the day." On the 15th of March 1818, in his seventy-second year, the poet breathed his last, in entire composure, and full of hope.[Pg 82]


Tune"Bonnie Dundee."

"Oh, saw ye my wee thing? saw ye my ain thing?
Saw ye my true love, down on yon lee?
Cross'd she the meadow yestreen at the gloamin'?
Sought she the burnie whare flow'rs the haw-tree?
Her hair it is lint-white; her skin it is milk-white;
Dark is the blue o' her saft rolling e'e;
Red, red her ripe lips, and sweeter than roses:
Whare could my wee thing wander frae me?"
"I saw na your wee thing, I saw na your ain thing,
Nor saw I your true love, down on yon lea;
But I met my bonnie thing, late in the gloamin',
Down by the burnie whare flow'rs the haw-tree.
Her hair it was lint-white; her skin it was milk-white;
Dark was the blue o' her saft rolling e'e;
Red were her ripe lips, and sweeter than roses:
Sweet were the kisses that she ga'e to me!"
"It was na my wee thing, it was na my ain thing,
It was na my true love, ye met by the tree:
Proud is her leal heart—modest her nature;
She never lo'ed ony till ance she lo'ed me.
[Pg 83] Her name it is Mary; she 's frae Castlecary;
Aft has she sat, when a bairn, on my knee;—
Fair as your face is, were 't fifty times fairer,
Young bragger, she ne'er would gi'e kisses to thee."
"It was, then, your Mary; she 's frae Castlecary;
It was, then, your true love I met by the tree;—
Proud as her heart is, and modest her nature,
Sweet were the kisses that she ga'e to me."
Sair gloom'd his dark brow, blood-red his cheek grew;
Wild flash'd the fire frae his red rolling e'e—
"Ye 's rue sair, this morning, your boasts and your scorning;
Defend, ye fause traitor! fu' loudly ye lie."
"Awa' wi' beguiling," cried the youth, smiling;—
Aff went the bonnet; the lint-white locks flee;
The belted plaid fa'ing, her white bosom shawing—
Fair stood the lo'ed maid wi' the dark rolling e'e.
"Is it my wee thing? is it mine ain thing?
Is it my true love here that I see?"
"Oh, Jamie, forgi'e me! your heart 's constant to me;
I 'll never mair wander, dear laddie, frae thee!"


"Whare hae ye been a' day,
My boy, Tammy?
Whare hae ye been a' day,
My boy, Tammy?"
[Pg 84] "I 've been by burn and flow'ry brae,
Meadow green, and mountain gray,
Courting o' this young thing,
Just come frae her mammy."
"And whare got ye that young thing,
My boy, Tammy?"
"I gat her down in yonder howe,
Smiling on a broomy knowe,
Herding a wee lamb and ewe
For her poor mammy."
"What said ye to the bonnie bairn,
My boy, Tammy?"
"I praised her een, sae bonny blue,
Her dimpled cheek, and cherry mou';
I pree'd it aft, as ye may true;—
She said she 'd tell her mammy.
"I held her to my beating heart,
My young, my smiling lammie!
'I hae a house, it cost me dear;
I 've wealth o' plenishin' and gear;—
Ye 'se get it a', were 't ten times mair,
Gin ye will leave your mammy.'
"The smile gaed aff her bonnie face—
'I maunna leave my mammy;
She 's gi'en me meat, she 's gi'en me claise,
She 's been my comfort a' my days;
My father's death brought mony waes—
I canna leave my mammy.'"
[Pg 85]
"We 'll tak her hame, and mak her fain,
My ain kind-hearted lammie;
We 'll gi'e her meat, we 'll gi'e her claise,
We 'll be her comfort a' her days."
The wee thing gi'es her hand and says—
"There! gang and ask my mammy."
"Has she been to kirk wi' thee,
My boy, Tammy?"
"She has been to kirk wi' me,
And the tear was in her e'e;
But, oh! she 's but a young thing,
Just come frae her mammy."


Tune"Bonnie Dundee."

"Oh, tell me, bonnie young lassie!
Oh, tell me how for to woo!
Oh, tell me, bonnie sweet lassie!
Oh, tell me how for to woo!
Say, maun I roose your cheeks like the morning?
Lips, like the roses, fresh moisten'd wi' dew;
Say, maun I roose your een's pawkie scorning?
Oh, tell me how for to woo!
[Pg 86]
"Far hae I wander'd to see thee, dear lassie!
Far hae I ventured across the saut sea;
Far hae I travell'd ower moorland and mountain,
Houseless and weary, sleep'd cauld on the lea.
Ne'er hae I tried yet to mak love to onie,
For ne'er lo'ed I onie till ance I lo'ed you;
Now we 're alane in the green-wood sae bonnie—
Oh, tell me how for to woo!"
"What care I for your wand'ring, young laddie?
What care I for your crossing the sea?
It was na for naething ye left poor young Peggie;
It was for my tocher ye cam' to court me.
Say, hae ye gowd to busk me aye gaudie?
Ribbons, and perlins, and breast-knots enew?
A house that is canty, with wealth in 't, my laddie?
Without this ye never need try for to woo."
"I hae na gowd to busk ye aye gaudie;
I canna buy ribbons and perlins enew;
I 've naething to brag o' house, or o' plenty,
I 've little to gi'e, but a heart that is true.
I cam' na for tocher—I ne'er heard o' onie;
I never lo'ed Peggy, nor e'er brak my vow:
I 've wander'd, puir fule! for a face fause as bonnie:
I little thocht this was the way for to woo."
"Our laird has fine houses, and guineas o' gowd
He 's youthfu', he 's blooming, and comely to see.
The leddies are a' ga'en wud for the wooer,
And yet, ilka e'ening, he leaves them for me.
Oh, saft in the gloaming, his love he discloses!
And saftly, yestreen, as I milked my cow,
He swore that my breath it was sweeter than roses,
And a' the gait hame he did naething but woo."
[Pg 87]
"Ah, Jenny! the young laird may brag o' his siller,
His houses, his lands, and his lordly degree;
His speeches for true love may drap sweet as honey,
But trust me, dear Jenny, he ne'er lo'ed like me.
The wooin' o' gentry are fine words o' fashion—
The faster they fa' as the heart is least true;
The dumb look o' love 's aft the best proof o' passion;
The heart that feels maist is the least fit to woo."
"Hae na ye roosed my cheeks like the morning?
Hae na ye roosed my cherry-red mou'?
Hae na ye come ower sea, moor, and mountain?
What mair, Johnnie, need ye to woo?
Far ye wander'd, I ken, my dear laddie;
Now that ye 've found me, there 's nae cause to rue;
Wi' health we 'll hae plenty—I 'll never gang gaudie;
I ne'er wish'd for mair than a heart that is true."
She hid her fair face in her true lover's bosom,
The saft tear o' transport fill'd ilk lover's e'e;
The burnie ran sweet by their side as they sabbit,
And sweet sang the mavis aboon on the tree.
He clasp'd her, he press'd her, and ca'd her his hinny;
And aften he tasted her honey-sweet mou';
And aye, 'tween ilk kiss, she sigh'd to her Johnnie,
"Oh, laddie! weel can ye woo."


Lassie wi' the gowden hair,
Silken snood, and face sae fair;
Lassie wi' the yellow hair,
Thinkna to deceive me.
[Pg 88] Lassie wi' the gowden hair,
Flattering smile, and face sae fair,
Fare ye weel! for never mair
Johnnie will believe ye.
Oh, no! Mary Bawn, Mary Bawn, Mary Bawn;
Oh, no! Mary Bawn, ye 'll nae mair deceive me.
Smiling, twice ye made me troo,
Twice, poor fool! I turn'd to woo;
Twice, fause maid! ye brak your vow;
Now I 've sworn to leave ye.
Twice, fause maid! ye brak your vow;
Twice, poor fool! I 've learn'd to rue;
Come ye yet to mak me troo?
Thrice ye 'll ne'er deceive me.
No, no! Mary Bawn, Mary Bawn, Mary Bawn;
Oh, no! Mary Bawn; thrice ye 'll ne'er deceive me.
Mary saw him turn to part;
Deep his words sank in her heart;
Soon the tears began to start—
"Johnnie, will ye leave me?"
Soon the tears began to start,
Grit and gritter grew his heart;
"Yet a word before we part,
Love could ne'er deceive ye.
Oh, no! Johnnie doo, Johnnie doo, Johnnie doo;
Oh, no! Johnnie doo—love could ne'er deceive ye."
Johnnie took a parting keek;
Saw the tears drap owre her cheek;
Pale she stood, but couldna speak—
Mary 's cured o' smiling.
[Pg 89] Johnnie took anither keek—
Beauty's rose has left her cheek;
Pale she stands, and canna speak.
This is nae beguiling.
Oh, no! Mary Bawn, Mary Bawn, dear Mary Bawn;
Oh, no; Mary Bawn—love has nae beguiling.


Tune"Johnnie M'Gill."

"Come under my plaidie, the night 's gaun to fa';
Come in frae the cauld blast, the drift, and the snaw;
Come under my plaidie, and sit down beside me,
There 's room in 't, dear lassie, believe me, for twa.
Come under my plaidie, and sit down beside me,
I 'll hap ye frae every cauld blast that can blaw:
Oh, come under my plaidie, and sit down beside me!
There 's room in 't, dear lassie, believe me, for twa."
"Gae 'wa wi' your plaidie, auld Donald, gae 'wa,
I fear na the cauld blast, the drift, nor the snaw;
Gae 'wa wi' your plaidie, I 'll no sit beside ye;
Ye may be my gutcher;—auld Donald, gae 'wa.
I 'm gaun to meet Johnnie, he 's young and he 's bonnie;
He 's been at Meg's bridal, fu' trig and fu' braw;
Oh, nane dances sae lightly, sae gracefu', sae tightly!
His cheek 's like the new rose, his brow 's like the snaw."
"Dear Marion, let that flee stick fast to the wa';
Your Jock 's but a gowk, and has naething ava;
The hale o' his pack he has now on his back—
He 's thretty, and I am but threescore and twa.
[Pg 90] Be frank now and kindly; I 'll busk ye aye finely;
To kirk or to market they 'll few gang sae braw;
A bein house to bide in, a chaise for to ride in,
And flunkies to 'tend ye as aft as ye ca'."
"My father 's aye tauld me, my mither and a',
Ye 'd mak a gude husband, and keep me aye braw;
It 's true I lo'e Johnnie, he 's gude and he 's bonnie;
But, waes me! ye ken he has naething ava.
I hae little tocher; you 've made a gude offer;
I 'm now mair than twenty—my time is but sma';
Sae gi'e me your plaidie, I 'll creep in beside ye—
I thocht ye 'd been aulder than threescore and twa."
She crap in ayont him, aside the stane wa',
Whare Johnnie was list'ning, and heard her tell a';
The day was appointed, his proud heart it dunted,
And strack 'gainst his side as if bursting in twa.
He wander'd hame weary, the night it was dreary;
And, thowless, he tint his gate 'mang the deep snaw;
The owlet was screamin' while Johnnie cried, "Women
Wad marry Auld Nick if he 'd keep them aye braw."


I lo'ed ne'er a laddie but ane,
He lo'ed ne'er a lassie but me;
He 's willing to mak' me his ain,
And his ain I am willing to be.
[Pg 91] He has coft me a rokelay o' blue,
And a pair o' mittens o' green;
The price was a kiss o' my mou',
And I paid him the debt yestreen.
Let ithers brag weel o' their gear,
Their land and their lordly degree;
I carena for aught but my dear,
For he 's ilka thing lordly to me:
His words are sae sugar'd and sweet!
His sense drives ilk fear far awa'!
I listen, poor fool! and I greet;
Yet how sweet are the tears as they fa'!
"Dear lassie," he cries, wi' a jeer,
"Ne'er heed what the auld anes will say;
Though we 've little to brag o', near fear—
What 's gowd to a heart that is wae?
Our laird has baith honours and wealth,
Yet see how he 's dwining wi' care;
Now we, though we 've naething but health,
Are cantie and leal evermair.
"O Marion! the heart that is true,
Has something mair costly than gear!
Ilk e'en it has naething to rue,
Ilk morn it has naething to fear.
Ye warldlings! gae hoard up your store,
And tremble for fear aught ye tyne;
Guard your treasures wi' lock, bar, and door,
While here in my arms I lock mine!"
He ends wi' a kiss and a smile—
Wae 's me! can I tak' it amiss?
My laddie 's unpractised in guile,
He 's free aye to daut and to kiss!
[Pg 92] Ye lasses wha lo'e to torment
Your wooers wi' fause scorn and strife,
Play your pranks—I hae gi'en my consent,
And this nicht I 'm Jamie's for life!



When merry hearts were gay,
Careless of aught but play,
Poor Flora slipt away,
Sadd'ning to Mora;[17]
Loose flow'd her yellow hair,
Quick heaved her bosom bare,
As to the troubled air
She vented her sorrow.


"Loud howls the stormy wist,
Cold, cold is winter's blast;
Haste, then, O Donald, haste,
Haste to thy Flora!
Twice twelve long months are o'er,
Since on a foreign shore
You promised to fight no more,
But meet me in Mora."
[Pg 93]


"'Where now is Donald dear?'
Maids cry with taunting sneer;
'Say, is he still sincere
To his loved Flora?'
Parents upbraid my moan,
Each heart is turn'd to stone:
'Ah, Flora! thou 'rt now alone,
Friendless in Mora!'


"Come, then, O come away!
Donald, no longer stay;
Where can my rover stray
From his loved Flora!
Ah! sure he ne'er can be
False to his vows and me;
Oh, Heaven!—is not yonder he,
Bounding o'er Mora!"


"Never, ah! wretched fair!"
Sigh'd the sad messenger,
"Never shall Donald mair
Meet his loved Flora!
Cold as yon mountain snow
Donald thy love lies low;
He sent me to soothe thy woe,
Weeping in Mora.


"Well fought our gallant men
On Saratoga's plain;
Thrice fled the hostile train
From British glory.
[Pg 94] But, ah! though our foes did flee,
Sad was such victory—
Truth, love, and loyalty
Fell far from Mora.


"'Here, take this love-wrought plaid,'
Donald, expiring, said;
'Give it to yon dear maid
Drooping in Mora.
Tell her, O Allan! tell
Donald thus bravely fell,
And that in his last farewell
He thought on his Flora.'"


Mute stood the trembling fair,
Speechless with wild despair;
Then, striking her bosom bare,
Sigh'd out, "Poor Flora!
Ah, Donald! ah, well-a-day!"
Was all the fond heart could say:
At length the sound died away
Feebly in Mora.
[Pg 95]


Tune"Ye Jacobites by name."

My luve 's in Germanie, send him hame, send him hame;
My luve 's in Germanie, send him hame;
My luve 's in Germanie,
Fighting brave for royalty:
He may ne'er his Jeanie see—
Send him hame.
He 's as brave as brave can be—send him hame, send him hame;
He 's as brave as brave can be—send him hame;
He 's as brave as brave can be,
He wad rather fa' than flee;
His life is dear to me—
Send him hame.
Your luve ne'er learnt to flee, bonnie dame, bonnie dame,
Your luve ne'er learnt to flee, bonnie dame;
Your luve ne'er learnt to flee,
But he fell in Germanie,
In the cause of royalty,
Bonnie dame.
He 'll ne'er come ower the sea—Willie 's slain, Willie 's slain;
He 'll ne'er come ower the sea—Willie 's gane!
[Pg 96] He 'll ne'er come ower the sea,
To his love and ain countrie:
This warld 's nae mair for me—
Willie 's gane!


Tune"Clunie's Reel."

"Oh, dinna think, bonnie lassie, I 'm gaun to leave thee!
Dinna think, bonnie lassie, I 'm gaun to leave thee;
Dinna think, bonnie lassie, I 'm gaun to leave thee;
I 'll tak a stick into my hand, and come again and see thee."
"Far 's the gate ye hae to gang; dark 's the night, and eerie;
Far 's the gate ye hae to gang; dark 's the night, and eerie;
Far 's the gate ye hae to gang; dark 's the night, and eerie;
Oh, stay this night wi' your love, and dinna gang and leave me."
"It 's but a night and hauf a day that I 'll leave my dearie;
But a night and hauf a day that I 'll leave my dearie;
[Pg 97] But a night and hauf a day that I 'll leave my dearie;
Whene'er the sun gaes west the loch, I 'll come again and see thee."
"Dinna gang, my bonnie lad, dinna gang and leave me;
Dinna gang, my bonnie lad, dinna gang and leave me;
When a' the lave are sound asleep, I 'm dull and eerie;
And a' the lee-lang night I 'm sad, wi' thinking on my dearie."
"Oh, dinna think, bonnie lassie, I 'm gaun to leave thee!
Dinna think, bonnie lassie, I 'm gaun to leave thee;
Dinna think, bonnie lassie, I 'm gaun to leave thee;
Whene'er the sun gaes out o' sight, I 'll come again and see thee."
"Waves are rising o'er the sea; winds blaw loud and fear me;
Waves are rising o'er the sea; winds blaw loud and fear me;
While the winds and waves do roar, I am wae and drearie;
And gin ye lo'e me as ye say, ye winna gang and leave me."
"Oh, never mair, bonnie lassie, will I gang and leave thee!
Never mair, bonnie lassie, will I gang and leave thee;
Never mair, bonnie lassie, will I gang and leave thee;
E'en let the world gang as it will, I 'll stay at hame and cheer ye."
[Pg 98]
Frae his hand he coost his stick; "I winna gang and leave thee;"
Threw his plaid into the neuk; "Never can I grieve thee;"
Drew his boots, and flang them by; cried, "My lass, be cheerie;
I 'll kiss the tear frae aff thy cheek, and never leave my dearie."
[Pg 99]


Mrs Anne Grant, commonly styled of Laggan, to distinguish her from her contemporary, Mrs Grant of Carron, was born at Glasgow, in February 1755. Her father, Mr Duncan Macvicar, was an officer in the army, and, by her mother, she was descended from the old family of Stewart, of Invernahyle, in Argyllshire. Her early infancy was passed at Fort-William; but her father having accompanied his regiment to America, and there become a settler, in the State of New York, at a very tender age she was taken by her mother across the Atlantic, to her new home. Though her third year had not been completed when she arrived in America, she retained a distinct recollection of her landing at Charlestown. By her mother she was taught to read, and a well-informed serjeant made her acquainted with writing. Her precocity for learning was remarkable. Ere she had reached her sixth year, she had made herself familiar with the Old Testament, and could speak the Dutch language, which she had learned from a family of Dutch settlers. The love of poetry and patriotism was simultaneously evinced. At this early period, she read Milton's "Paradise Lost" with[Pg 100] attention, and even appreciation; and glowed with the enthusiastic ardour of a young heroine over the adventures of Wallace, detailed in the metrical history of Henry, the Minstrel. Her juvenile talent attracted the notice of the more intelligent settlers in the State, and gained her the friendship of the distinguished Madame Schuyler, whose virtues she afterwards depicted in her "Memoirs of an American Lady."

In 1768, along with his wife and daughter, Mr Macvicar returned to Scotland, his health having suffered by his residence in America; and, during the three following summers, his daughter found means of gratifying her love of song, on the banks of the Cart, near Glasgow. The family residence was now removed to Fort-Augustus, where Mr Macvicar had received the appointment of barrack-master. The chaplain of the fort was the Rev. James Grant, a young clergyman, related to several of the more respectable families in the district, who was afterwards appointed minister of the parish of Laggan, in Inverness-shire. At Fort-Augustus, he had recommended himself to the affections of Miss Macvicar, by his elegant tastes and accomplished manners, and he now became the successful suitor for her hand. They were married in 1779, and Mrs Grant, to approve herself a useful helpmate to her husband, began assiduously to acquaint herself with the manners and habits of the humbler classes of the people. The inquiries instituted at this period were turned to an account more extensive than originally contemplated. Mr Grant, who was constitutionally delicate, died in 1801, leaving his widow and eight surviving children without any means of support, his worldly circumstances being considerably embarrassed.

On a small farm which she had rented, in the[Pg 101] vicinity of her late husband's parish, Mrs Grant resided immediately subsequent to his decease; but the profits of the lease were evidently inadequate for the comfortable maintenance of the family. Among the circle of her friends she was known as a writer of verses; in her ninth year, she had essayed an imitation of Milton; and she had written poetry, or at least verses, on the banks of the Cart and at Fort-Augustus. To aid in supporting her family, she was strongly advised to collect her pieces into a volume; and, to encourage her in acting upon this recommendation, no fewer than three thousand subscribers were procured for the work by her friends. The celebrated Duchess of Gordon proved an especial promoter of the cause. In 1803, a volume of poems appeared from her pen, which, though displaying no high powers, was favourably received, and had the double advantage of making her known, and of materially aiding her finances. From the profits, she made settlement of her late husband's liabilities; and now perceiving a likelihood of being able to support her family by her literary exertions, she abandoned the lease of her farm. She took up her residence near the town of Stirling, residing in the mansion of Gartur, in that neighbourhood. In 1806, she again appeared before the public as an author, by publishing a selection of her correspondence with her friends, in three duodecimo volumes, under the designation of "Letters from the Mountains." This work passed through several editions. In 1808, Mrs Grant published the life of her early friend, Madame Schuyler, under the designation of "Memoirs of an American Lady," in two volumes.

From the rural retirement of Gartur, she soon removed to the town of Stirling; but in 1810, as her circum[Pg 102]stances became more prosperous, she took up her permanent abode in Edinburgh. Some distinguished literary characters of the Scottish capital now resorted to her society. She was visited by Sir Walter Scott, Francis Jeffrey, James Hogg, and others, attracted by the vivacity of her conversation. The "Essays on the Superstitions of the Highlanders of Scotland" appeared in 1811, in two volumes; in 1814, she published a metrical work, in two parts, entitled "Eighteen Hundred and Thirteen;" and, in the year following, she produced her "Popular Models and Impressive Warnings for the Sons and Daughters of Industry."

In 1825, Mrs Grant received a civil-list pension of £50 a-year, in consideration of her literary talents, which, with the profits of her works and the legacies of several deceased friends, rendered the latter period of her life sufficiently comfortable in respect of pecuniary means. She died on the 7th of November 1838, in the eighty-fourth year of her age, and retaining her faculties to the last. A collection of her correspondence was published in 1844, in three volumes octavo, edited by her only surviving son, John P. Grant, Esq.

As a writer, Mrs Grant occupies a respectable place. She had the happy art of turning her every-day observation, as well as the fruits of her research, to the best account. Her letters, which she published at the commencement of her literary career, as well as those which appeared posthumously, are favourable specimens of that species of composition. As a poet, she attained to no eminence. "The Highlanders," her longest and most ambitious poetical effort, exhibits some glowing descriptions of mountain scenery, and the stern though simple manners of the Gaël. Of a few songs which proceed from her pen, that commencing, "Oh, where,[Pg 103] tell me where?" written on the occasion of the Marquis of Huntly's departure for Holland with his regiment, in 1799, has only become generally known. It has been parodied in a song, by an unknown author, entitled "The Blue Bells of Scotland," which has obtained a wider range of popularity.[Pg 104]


"Oh, where, tell me where, is your Highland laddie gone?
Oh, where, tell me where, is your Highland laddie gone?"
"He 's gone, with streaming banners, where noble deeds are done,
And my sad heart will tremble till he come safely home.
He 's gone, with streaming banners, where noble deeds are done,
And my sad heart will tremble till he come safely home."
"Oh, where, tell me where, did your Highland laddie stay?
Oh, where, tell me where, did your Highland laddie stay?"
"He dwelt beneath the holly-trees, beside the rapid Spey,
And many a blessing follow'd him, the day he went away.
He dwelt beneath the holly-trees, beside the rapid Spey,
And many a blessing follow'd him, the day he went away."
"Oh, what, tell me what, does your Highland laddie wear?
Oh, what, tell me what, does your Highland laddie wear?"
[Pg 105] "A bonnet with a lofty plume, the gallant badge of war,
And a plaid across the manly breast that yet shall wear a star;
A bonnet with a lofty plume, the gallant badge of war,
And a plaid across the manly breast that yet shall wear a star."
"Suppose, ah, suppose, that some cruel, cruel wound,
Should pierce your Highland laddie, and all your hopes confound!"
"The pipe would play a cheering march, the banners round him fly;
The spirit of a Highland chief would lighten in his eye;
The pipe would play a cheering march, the banners round him fly,
And for his king and country dear with pleasure he would die!"
"But I will hope to see him yet, in Scotland's bonny bounds;
But I will hope to see him yet, in Scotland's bonny bounds.
His native land of liberty shall nurse his glorious wounds,
While, wide through all our Highland hills, his warlike name resounds;
His native land of liberty shall nurse his glorious wounds,
While, wide through all our Highland hills, his warlike name resounds."
[Pg 106]


Air"Bealach na Gharraidh."

Oh, my love, leave me not!
Oh, my love, leave me not!
Oh, my love, leave me not!
Lonely and weary.
Could you but stay a while,
And my fond fears beguile,
I yet once more could smile,
Lightsome and cheery.
Night, with her darkest shroud,
Tempests that roar aloud,
Thunders that burst the cloud,
Why should I fear ye?
Till the sad hour we part,
Fear cannot make me start;
Grief cannot break my heart
Whilst thou art near me.
Should you forsake my sight,
Day would to me be night;
Sad, I would shun its light,
Heartless and weary.
[Pg 107]


John Mayne, chiefly known as the author of "The Siller Gun," a poem descriptive of burgher habits in Scotland towards the close of the century, was born at Dumfries, on the 26th of March 1759. At the grammar school of his native town, under Dr Chapman, the learned rector, whose memory he has celebrated in the third canto of his principal poem, he had the benefit of a respectable elementary education; and having chosen the profession of a printer, he entered at an early age the printing office of the Dumfries Journal. In 1782, when his parents removed to Glasgow, to reside on a little property to which they had succeeded, he sought employment under the celebrated Messrs Foulis, in whose printing establishment he continued during the five following years. He paid a visit to London in 1785, with the view of advancing his professional interests, and two years afterwards he settled in the metropolis.

Mayne, while a mere stripling, was no unsuccessful wooer of the Muse; and in his sixteenth year he produced the germ of that poem on which his reputation chiefly depends. This production, entitled "The Siller Gun," descriptive of a sort of walkingshaw, or an an[Pg 108]cient practice which obtained in his native town, of shooting, on the king's birth-day, for a silver tube or gun, which had been presented by James VI. to the incorporated trades, as a prize to the best marksman, was printed at Dumfries in 1777, on a small quarto page. The original edition consisted of twelve stanzas; in two years it increased to two cantos; in 1780, it was printed in three cantos; in 1808, it was published in London with a fourth; and in 1836, just before his death, the author added a fifth. The latest edition was published by subscription, in an elegant duodecimo volume.

In 1780, in the pages of Ruddiman's Weekly Magazine, Mayne published a short poem on "Halloween," which suggested Burns's celebrated poem on the same subject. In 1781, he published at Glasgow his song of "Logan Braes," of which Burns afterwards composed a new version.

In London, Mayne was first employed as printer, and subsequently became joint-editor and proprietor, along with Dr Tilloch, of the Star evening newspaper. With this journal he retained a connexion till his death, which took place at London on the 14th of March 1836.

Besides the humorous and descriptive poem of "The Siller Gun," which, in the opinion of Sir Walter Scott, surpasses the efforts of Ferguson, and comes near to those of Burns,[21] Mayne published another epic production, entitled "Glasgow," which appeared in 1803, and has passed through several editions. In the same year he published "English, Scots, and Irishmen," a chivalrous address to the population of the three kingdoms. To the literary journals, his contributions, both in prose and verse, were numerous and interesting. Many of his[Pg 109] songs and ballads enriched the columns of the journal which he so long and ably conducted. In early life, he maintained a metrical correspondence with Thomas Telford, the celebrated engineer, who was a native of the same county, and whose earliest ambition was to earn the reputation of a poet.[22]

Possessed of entire amiability of disposition, and the utmost amenity of manners, John Mayne was warmly beloved among the circle of his friends. Himself embued with a deep sense of religion, though fond of innocent humour, he preserved in all his writings a becoming respect for sound morals, and is entitled to the commendation which a biographer has awarded him, of having never committed to paper a single line "the tendency of which was not to afford innocent amusement, or to improve and increase the happiness of mankind." He was singularly modest and even retiring. His eulogy has been pronounced by Allan Cunningham, who knew him well, that "a better or warmer-hearted man never existed." The songs, of which we have selected the more popular, abound in vigour of expression and sentiment, and are pervaded by a genuine pathos.[Pg 110]


By Logan's streams, that rin sae deep,
Fu' aft wi' glee I've herded sheep,
I've herded sheep, or gather'd slaes,
Wi' my dear lad, on Logan braes.
But, waes 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, whan 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.
[Pg 111]
At e'en, when hope amaist is gane,
I daunder dowie and forlane;
I sit alane, beneath the tree
Where aft he kept his tryste 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.


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 sigh'd,
For me she wish'd 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.
[Pg 112] My love, to disappoint the foe,
Rush'd 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, when all the graces shine,
Oh! if on earth there 's aught divine,
My Helen! all these charms were thine,
They centred all in thee!
Ah! what avails it that, amain,
I clove the assassin's head in twain?
No peace of mind, my Helen slain,
No resting-place for me.
I see her spirit in the air—
I hear the shriek of wild despair,
When murder laid her bosom bare,
On fair Kirkconnel-Lee!
Oh! when I 'm sleeping in my grave,
And o'er my head the rank weeds wave,
May He who life and spirit gave
Unite my love and me!
Then from this world of doubts and sighs,
My soul on wings of peace shall rise,
And, joining Helen in the skies,
Forget Kirkconnel-Lee.
[Pg 113]


The winter sat lang on the spring o' the year,
Our seedtime was late, and our mailing was dear;
My mither tint her heart when she look'd on us a',
And we thought upon those that were farest awa'.
Oh, were they but here that are farest awa'!
Oh, were they but here that are dear to us a'!
Our cares would seem light and our sorrow but sma',
If they were but here that are far frae us a'!
Last week, when our hopes were o'erclouded wi' fear,
And nae ane at hame the dull prospect to cheer;
Our Johnnie has written, frae far awa' parts,
A letter that lightens and hauds up our hearts.
He says, "My dear mither, though I be awa',
In love and affection I 'm still wi' ye a';
While I hae a being ye 'se aye hae a ha',
Wi' plenty to keep out the frost and the snaw."
My mither, o'erjoy'd at this change in her state,
By the bairn she doated on early and late,
Gi'es thanks night and day to the Giver of a',
There 's been naething unworthy o' him that 's awa'!
Then here is to them that are far frae us a',
The friend that ne'er fail'd us, though farest awa'!
Health, peace, and prosperity wait on us a';
And a blithe comin' hame to the friend that 's awa'!
[Pg 114]


Air"Johnnie's Gray Breeks."

Jenny's heart was frank and free,
And wooers she had mony, yet
The sang was aye, "Of a' I see,
Commend me to my Johnnie yet.
For ear' and late, he has sic gate
To mak' a body cheerie, that
I wish to be, before I dee,
His ain kind dearie yet."
Now Jenny's face was fu' o' grace,
Her shape was sma' and genty-like,
And few or nane in a' the place,
Had gowd or gear mair plenty, yet
Though war's alarms, and Johnnie's charms,
Had gart her oft look eerie, yet
She sung wi' glee, "I hope to be
My Johnnie's ain dearie yet.
"What though he's now gane far awa',
Whare guns and cannons rattle, yet
Unless my Johnnie chance to fa'
In some uncanny battle, yet
Till he return my breast will burn
Wi' love that weel may cheer me yet,
For I hope to see, before I dee,
His bairns to him endear me yet."
[Pg 115]


The troops were all embark'd on board,
The ships were under weigh,
And loving wives, and maids adored,
Were weeping round the bay.
They parted from their dearest friends,
From all their heart desires;
And Rosabel to Heaven commends
The man her soul admires!
For him she fled from soft repose,
Renounced a parent's care;
He sails to crush his country's foes,
She wanders in despair!
A seraph in an infant's frame
Reclined upon her arm;
And sorrow in the lovely dame
Now heighten'd every charm:
She thought, if fortune had but smiled—
She thought upon her dear;
But when she look'd upon his child,
Oh, then ran many a tear!
"Ah! who will watch thee as thou sleep'st?
Who 'll sing a lullaby,
Or rock thy cradle when thou weep'st,
If I should chance to die?"
[Pg 116]
On board the ship, resign'd to fate,
Yet planning joys to come,
Her love in silent sorrow sate
Upon a broken drum.
He saw her lonely on the beach;
He saw her on the strand;
And far as human eye can reach
He saw her wave her hand!
"O Rosabel! though forced to go,
With thee my soul shall dwell,
And Heaven, who pities human woe,
Will comfort Rosabel!"
[Pg 117]


Of the personal history of John Hamilton only a few particulars can be ascertained. He carried on business for many years as a music-seller in North Bridge Street, Edinburgh, and likewise gave instructions in the art of instrumental music to private families. He had the good fortune to attract the favour of one of his fair pupils—a young lady of birth and fortune—whom he married, much to the displeasure of her relations. He fell into impaired health, and died on the 23d of September 1814, in the fifty-third year of his age. To the lovers of Scottish melody the name of Mr Hamilton is familiar, as a composer of several esteemed and beautiful airs. His contributions to the department of Scottish song entitle his name to an honourable place.[Pg 118]


Ae morn, last ouk, as I gaed out
To flit a tether'd ewe and lamb,
I met, as skiffin' ower the green,
A jolly, rantin' Highlandman.
His shape was neat, wi' feature sweet,
And ilka smile my favour wan;
I ne'er had seen sae braw a lad
As this young rantin' Highlandman.
He said, "My dear, ye 're sune asteer;
Cam' ye to hear the lav'rock's sang?
Oh, wad ye gang and wed wi' me,
And wed a rantin' Highlandman?
In summer days, on flow'ry braes,
When frisky are the ewe and lamb,
I 'se row ye in my tartan plaid,
And be your rantin' Highlandman.
"Wi' heather bells, that sweetly smell,
I 'll deck your hair, sae fair and lang,
If ye 'll consent to scour the bent
Wi' me, a rantin' Highlandman.
We 'll big a cot, and buy a stock,
Syne do the best that e'er we can;
Then come, my dear, ye needna fear
To trust a rantin' Highlandman."
[Pg 119]
His words, sae sweet, gaed to my heart,
And fain I wad hae gi'en my han';
Yet durstna, lest my mither should
Dislike a rantin' Highlandman.
But I expect he will come back;
Then, though my kin should scauld and ban,
I 'll ower the hill, or whare he will,
Wi' my young rantin' Highlandman.


Cauld blaws the wind frae north to south;
The drift is drifting sairly;
The sheep are cow'rin' in the heuch;
Oh, sirs, it 's winter fairly!
Now, up in the mornin's no for me,
Up in the mornin' early;
I'd rather gae supperless to my bed
Than rise in the mornin' early.
Loud roars the blast amang the woods,
And tirls the branches barely;
On hill and house hear how it thuds!
The frost is nippin' sairly.
Now, up in the mornin's no for me,
Up in the mornin' early;
To sit a' nicht wad better agree
Than rise in the mornin' early.
[Pg 120]
The sun peeps ower yon southland hills,
Like ony timorous carlie;
Just blinks a wee, then sinks again;
And that we find severely.
Now, up in the mornin's no for me,
Up in the mornin' early;
When snaw blaws in at the chimley cheek,
Wha 'd rise in the mornin' early?
Nae linties lilt on hedge or bush:
Poor things! they suffer sairly;
In cauldrife quarters a' the nicht,
A' day they feed but sparely.
Now, up in the mornin's no for me,
Up in the mornin' early;
A pennyless purse I wad rather dree,
Than rise in the mornin' early.
A cosie house and canty wife
Aye keep a body cheerly;
And pantries stowed wi' meat and drink,
They answer unco rarely.
But up in the mornin'—na, na, na!
Up in the mornin' early!
The gowans maun glint on bank and brae
When I rise in the mornin' early.
[Pg 121]


Go to Berwick, Johnnie;
Bring her frae the Border;
Yon sweet bonnie lassie,
Let her gae nae farther.
English loons will twine ye
O' the lovely treasure;
But we 'll let them ken
A sword wi' them we 'll measure.
Go to Berwick, Johnnie,
And regain your honour;
Drive them ower the Tweed,
And show our Scottish banner.
I am Rob, the King,
And ye are Jock, my brither;
But, before we lose her,
We 'll a' there thegither.


Farewell, ye fields an' meadows green!
The blest retreats of peace an' love;
Aft have I, silent, stolen from hence,
With my young swain a while to rove.
[Pg 122] Sweet was our walk, more sweet our talk,
Among the beauties of the spring;
An' aft we 'd lean us on a bank,
To hear the feather'd warblers sing.
The azure sky, the hills around,
Gave double beauty to the scene;
The lofty spires of Banff in view—
On every side the waving grain.
The tales of love my Jamie told,
In such a saft an' moving strain,
Have so engaged my tender heart,
I 'm loth to leave the place again.
But if the Fates will be sae kind
As favour my return once more,
For to enjoy the peace of mind
In those retreats I had before:
Now, farewell, Banff! the nimble steeds
Do bear me hence—I must away;
Yet time, perhaps, may bring me back,
To part nae mair from scenes so gay.


Tell me, Jessie, tell me why
My fond suit you still deny?
Is your bosom cold as snow?
Did you never feel for woe?
Can you hear, without a sigh,
Him complain who for you could die?
If you ever shed a tear,
Hear me, Jessie, hear, O hear!
[Pg 123]
Life to me is not more dear
Than the hour brings Jessie here;
Death so much I do not fear
As the parting moment near.
Summer smiles are not so sweet
As the bloom upon your cheek;
Nor the crystal dew so clear
As your eyes to me appear.
These are part of Jessie's charms,
Which the bosom ever warms;
But the charms by which I 'm stung,
Come, O Jessie, from thy tongue!
Jessie, be no longer coy;
Let me taste a lover's joy;
With your hand remove the dart,
And heal the wound that 's in my heart.


Last midsummer's morning, as going to the fair,
I met with young Jamie, wh'as taking the air;
He ask'd me to stay with him, and indeed he did prevail,
Beneath the pretty hawthorn that blooms in the vale—
That blooms in the valley, that blooms in the vale,
Beneath the pretty hawthorn that blooms in the vale.
He said he had loved me both long and sincere,
That none on the green was so gentle and fair;
I listen'd with pleasure to Jamie's tender tale,
Beneath the pretty hawthorn that blooms in the vale—
That blooms in the valley, &c.
[Pg 124]
"Oh, haste," says he, "to hear the birds in the grove,
How charming their song, and enticing to love!
The briers that with roses perfume the passing gale,
And meet the pretty hawthorn that blooms in the vale"—
That blooms in the valley, &c.
His words were so moving, and looks soft and kind,
Convinced me the youth had nae guile in his mind;
My heart, too, confess'd him the flower of the dale,
Beneath the pretty hawthorn that blooms in the vale—
That blooms in the valley, &c.
Yet I oft bade him go, for I could no longer stay,
But leave me he would not, nor let me away;
Still pressing his suit, and at last did prevail,
Beneath the pretty hawthorn that blooms in the vale—
That blooms in the valley, &c.
Now tell me, ye maidens, how could I refuse?
His words were so sweet, and so binding his vows!
We went and were married, and Jamie loves me still,
And we live beside the hawthorn that blooms in the vale—
That blooms in the valley, that blooms in the vale,
We live beside the hawthorn that blooms in the vale.


Oh, blaw, ye westlin' winds, blaw saft
Amang the leafy trees!
Wi' gentle gale, frae muir and dale,
Bring hame the laden bees;
[Pg 125] And bring the lassie back to me,
That 's aye sae neat and clean;
Ae blink of her wad banish care,
Sae lovely is my Jean.
What sighs and vows, amang the knowes,
Hae pass'd atween us twa!
How fain to meet, how wae to part,
That day she gaed awa'!
The Powers aboon can only ken,
To whom the heart is seen,
That nane can be sae dear to me
As my sweet, lovely Jean.
[Pg 126]


Joanna Baillie was born on the 11th of September 1762, in the manse of Bothwell, in Lanarkshire. Her father, Dr James Baillie, was descended from the old family of Baillie of Lamington, and was consequently entitled to claim propinquity with the distinguished Principal Robert Baillie, and the family of Baillie of Jerviswood, so celebrated for its Christian patriotism. The mother of Joanna likewise belonged to an honourable house: she was a descendant of the Hunters of Hunterston; and her two brothers attained a wide reputation in the world of science—Dr William Hunter being an eminent physician, and Mr John Hunter the greatest anatomist of his age. Joanna—a twin, the other child being still-born—was the youngest of a family of three children. Her only brother was Dr Matthew Baillie, highly distinguished in the medical world. Agnes, her sister, who was eldest of the family, remained unmarried, and continued to live with her under the same roof.

In the year 1768, Dr Baillie was transferred from the parochial charge of Bothwell to the office of collegiate minister of Hamilton,—a town situate, like his former parish, on the banks of the Clyde. He was subse[Pg 127]quently elected Professor of Divinity in the University of Glasgow. After his death, which took place in 1778, his daughters both continued, along with their widowed mother, to live at Long Calderwood, in the vicinity of Hamilton, until 1784, when they all accepted an invitation to reside with Dr Matthew Baillie, who had entered on his medical career in London, and had become possessor of a house in Great Windmill Street, built by his now deceased uncle, Dr Hunter.

Though evincing no peculiar promptitude in the acquisition of learning, Joanna had, at the very outset of life, exhibited remarkable talent in rhyme-making. She composed verses before she could read, and, before she could have fancied a theatre, formed dialogues for dramatic representations, which she carried on with her companions. But she did not early seek distinction as an author. At the somewhat mature age of twenty-eight, after she had gone to London, she first published, and that anonymously, a volume of miscellaneous poems, which did not excite any particular attention. In 1798, she published, though anonymously at first, "A Series of Plays: in which it is attempted to delineate the stronger Passions of the Mind, each Passion being the subject of a Tragedy and a Comedy." In a lengthened preliminary dissertation, she discoursed regarding the drama in all its relations, maintaining the ascendency of simple nature over every species of adornment and decoration. "Let one simple trait of the human heart, one expression of passion, genuine and true to nature," she wrote, "be introduced, and it will stand forth alone in the boldness of reality, whilst the false and unnatural around it fades away upon every side, like the rising exhalations of the morning." The reception of these plays was sufficient to satisfy the[Pg 128] utmost ambition of the author, and established the foundation of her fame. "Nothing to compare with them had been produced since the great days of the English drama; and the truth, vigour, variety, and dignity of the dramatic portraits, in which they abound, might well justify an enthusiasm which a reader of the present day can scarcely be expected to feel. This enthusiasm was all the greater, when it became known that these remarkable works, which had been originally published anonymously, were from the pen of a woman still young, who had passed her life in domestic seclusion."[28] Encouraged by the success of the first volume of her dramas on the "Passions," the author added a second in 1802, and a third in 1812. During the interval, she published a volume of miscellaneous dramas in 1804, and produced the "Family Legend" in 1810,—a tragedy, founded upon a Highland tradition. With a prologue by Sir Walter Scott, and an epilogue by Henry Mackenzie, the "Family Legend" was produced at the Edinburgh theatre, under the auspices of the former illustrious character; and was ably supported by Mrs Siddons, and by Terry, then at the commencement of his career. It was favourably received during ten successive performances. "You have only to imagine all that you could wish to give success to a play," wrote Sir Walter Scott to the author, "and your conceptions will still fall short of the complete and decided triumph of the 'Family Legend.' The house was crowded to a most extraordinary degree; many people had come from your native capital of the west; everything that pretended to distinction, whether from rank or literature, was in the boxes; and in the pit, such an aggregate mass of humanity as I have seldom, if ever, witnessed[Pg 129] in the same space." Other two of her plays, "Count Basil" and "De Montfort," brought out in London, the latter being sustained by Kemble and Siddons, likewise received a large measure of general approbation; but a want of variety of incident prevented their retaining a position on the stage. In 1836, she produced three additional volumes of dramas; her career as a dramatic writer thus extending over the period of nearly forty years.

Subsequent to her leaving Scotland, in 1784, Joanna Baillie did not return to her native kingdom, unless on occasional visits. On the marriage of her brother to a sister of the Lord Chief-Justice Denman, in 1791, she passed some years at Colchester; but she subsequently fixed her permanent habitation at Hampstead. Her mother died in 1806. At Hampstead, in the companionship of her only sister, whose virtues she has celebrated in one of her poems, and amidst the society of many of the more distinguished literary characters of the metropolis, she continued to enjoy a large amount of comfort and happiness. Her pecuniary means were sufficiently abundant, and rendered her entirely independent of the profits of her writings. Among her literary friends, one of the most valued was Sir Walter Scott, who, being introduced to her personal acquaintance on his visit to London in 1806, maintained with her an affectionate and lasting intimacy. The letters addressed to her are amongst the most interesting of his correspondence in his Memoir by his son-in-law. He evinced his estimation of her genius by frequently complimenting her in his works. In his "Epistle to William Erskine," which forms the introduction to the third canto of "Marmion," he thus generously eulogises his gifted friend:[Pg 130]

"Or, if to touch such chord be thine,
Restore the ancient tragic line,
And emulate the notes that wrung
From the wild harp, which silent hung
By silver Avon's holy shore,
Till twice a hundred years roll'd o'er;
When she, the bold Enchantress, came,
With fearless hand and heart on flame!
From the pale willow snatch'd the treasure,
And swept it with a kindred measure,
Till Avon's swans, while rung the grove
With Montfort's hate and Basil's love,
Awakening at the inspiréd strain,
Deem'd their own Shakspeare lived again."

To Joanna, Scott inscribed his fragmental drama of "Macduff's Cross," which was included in a Miscellany published by her in 1823.

Though a penury of incident, and a defectiveness of skill in sustaining an increasing interest to the close, will probably prevent any of her numerous plays from being renewed on the stage, Joanna Baillie is well entitled to the place assigned her as one of the first of modern dramatists. In all her plays there are passages and scenes surpassed by no contemporaneous dramatic writer. Her works are a magazine of eloquent thoughts and glowing descriptions. She is a mistress of the emotions, and

"Within her mighty page,
Each tyrant passion shews his woe and rage."

The tragedies of "Count Basil" and "De Montfort" are her best plays, and are well termed by Sir Walter Scott a revival of the great Bard of Avon. Forcible and energetic in style, her strain never becomes turgid or diverges into commonplace. She is masculine, but graceful; and powerful without any ostentation of[Pg 131] strength. Her personal history was the counterpart of her writings. Gentle in manners and affable in conversation, she was a model of the household virtues, and would have attracted consideration as a woman by her amenities, though she had possessed no reputation in the world of letters. She was eminently religious and benevolent. Her countenance bore indication of a superior intellect and deep penetration. Though her society was much cherished by her contemporaries, including distinguished foreigners who visited the metropolis, her life was spent in general retirement. She was averse to public demonstration, and seemed scarcely conscious of her power. She died at Hampstead, on the 23d of February 1851, at the very advanced age of eighty-nine, and a few weeks after the publication of her whole Works in a collected form.

The songs of Joanna Baillie immediately obtained an honourable place in the minstrelsy of her native kingdom. They are the simple and graceful effusions of a heart passionately influenced by the melodies of the "land of the heath and the thistle," and animated by those warm affections so peculiarly nurtured in the region of "the mountain and the flood." "Fy, let us a' to the wedding," "Saw ye Johnnie comin'?" "It fell on a morning when we were thrang," and "Woo'd, and married, and a'," maintain popularity among all classes of Scotsmen throughout the world. Several of the songs were written for Thomson's "Melodies," and "The Harp of Caledonia," a collection of songs published at Glasgow in 1821, in three vols. 12mo, under the editorial care of John Struthers, author of "The Poor Man's Sabbath." The greater number are included in the present work.[Pg 132]


I 've no sheep on the mountain, nor boat on the lake,
Nor coin in my coffer to keep me awake,
Nor corn in my garner, nor fruit on my tree—
Yet the maid of Llanwellyn smiles sweetly on me.
Soft tapping, at eve, to her window I came,
And loud bay'd the watch-dog, loud scolded the dame;
For shame, silly Lightfoot; what is it to thee,
Though the maid of Llanwellyn smiles sweetly on me?
Rich Owen will tell you, with eyes full of scorn,
Threadbare is my coat, and my hosen are torn:
Scoff on, my rich Owen, for faint is thy glee
When the maid of Llanwellyn smiles sweetly on me.
The farmer rides proudly to market or fair,
The clerk, at the alehouse, still claims the great chair;
But of all our proud fellows the proudest I 'll be,
While the maid of Llanwellyn smiles sweetly on me.
For blythe as the urchin at holiday play,
And meek as the matron in mantle of gray,
And trim as the lady of gentle degree,
Is the maid of Llanwellyn who smiles upon me.
[Pg 133]


The sun is sunk, the day is done,
E'en stars are setting one by one;
Nor torch nor taper longer may
Eke out the pleasures of the day;
And since, in social glee's despite,
It needs must be, Good night, good night!
The bride into her bower is sent,
And ribbald rhyme and jesting spent;
The lover's whisper'd words and few
Have bade the bashful maid adieu;
The dancing-floor is silent quite—
No foot bounds there, Good night, good night!
The lady in her curtain'd bed,
The herdsman in his wattled shed,
The clansman in the heather'd hall,
Sweet sleep be with you, one and all!
We part in hope of days as bright
As this now gone—Good night, good night!
Sweet sleep be with us, one and all!
And if upon its stillness fall
The visions of a busy brain,
We 'll have our pleasure o'er again;
To warm the heart, to charm the sight,
Gay dreams to all! Good night, good night!
[Pg 134]


Though richer swains thy love pursue,
In Sunday gear and bonnets new;
And every fair before thee lay
Their silken gifts, with colours gay—
They love thee not, alas! so well
As one who sighs, and dare not tell;
Who haunts thy dwelling, night and noon,
In tatter'd hose and clouted shoon.
I grieve not for my wayward lot,
My empty folds, my roofless cot;
Nor hateful pity, proudly shown,
Nor altered looks, nor friendship flown;
Nor yet my dog, with lanken sides,
Who by his master still abides;
But how wilt thou prefer my boon,
In tatter'd hose and clouted shoon?


Air"Todlin' Hame."

When white was my owrelay as foam of the linn,
And siller was chinking my pouches within;
When my lambkins were bleating on meadow and brae,
As I gaed to my love in new cleeding sae gay—
Kind was she, and my friends were free;
But poverty parts gude companie.
[Pg 135]
How swift pass'd the minutes and hours of delight!
The piper play'd cheerly, the cruisie burn'd bright;
And link'd in my hand was the maiden sae dear,
As she footed the floor in her holiday gear.
Woe is me! and can it then be,
That poverty parts sic companie?
We met at the fair, and we met at the kirk;
We met in the sunshine, we met in the mirk;
And the sound of her voice, and the blinks of her een,
The cheering and life of my bosom have been.
Leaves frae the tree at Martinmas flee,
And poverty parts sweet companie.
At bridal and in fair I 've braced me wi' pride,
The bruse I hae won, and a kiss of the bride;
And loud was the laughter, gay fellows among,
When I utter'd my banter, or chorus'd my song.
Dowie to dree are jesting and glee,
When poverty parts gude companie.
Wherever I gaed the blythe lasses smiled sweet,
And mithers and aunties were mair than discreet,
While kebbuck and bicker were set on the board;
But now they pass by me, and never a word.
So let it be; for the worldly and slie
Wi' poverty keep nae companie.
But the hope of my love is a cure for its smart;
The spaewife has tauld me to keep up my heart;
For wi' my last sixpence her loof I hae cross'd,
And the bliss that is fated can never be lost.
Cruelly though we ilka day see
How poverty parts dear companie.
[Pg 136]


Fy, let us a' to the wedding,
For they will be lilting there;
For Jock's to be married to Maggie,
The lass wi' the gowden hair.
And there will be jilting and jeering,
And glancing of bonnie dark een;
Loud laughing and smooth-gabbit speering
O' questions, baith pawky and keen.
And there will be Bessy, the beauty,
Wha raises her cock-up sae hie,
And giggles at preachings and duty;
Gude grant that she gang nae ajee!
And there will be auld Geordie Tanner,
Wha coft a young wife wi' his gowd;
She 'll flaunt wi' a silk gown upon her,
But, wow! he looks dowie and cowed.
And braw Tibby Fowler, the heiress,
Will perk at the top o' the ha',
Encircled wi' suitors, whase care is
To catch up the gloves when they fa'.
Repeat a' her jokes as they 're cleckit,
And haver and glower in her face,
When tocherless Mays are negleckit—
A crying and scandalous case.
[Pg 137]
And Mysie, whase clavering aunty
Wad match her wi' Jamie, the laird;
And learns the young fouk to be vaunty,
But neither to spin nor to caird.
And Andrew, whase granny is yearning
To see him a clerical blade,
Was sent to the college for learning,
And cam' back a coof, as he gaed.
And there will be auld Widow Martin,
That ca's hersel' thretty and twa!
And thrawn-gabbit Madge, wha for certain
Was jilted by Hab o' the Shaw.
And Elspy, the sewster, sae genty—
A pattern of havens and sense—
Will straik on her mittens sae dainty,
And crack wi' Mess John in the spence.
And Angus, the seer o' ferlies,
That sits on the stane at his door,
And tells about bogles, and mair lies
Than tongue ever utter'd before.
And there will be Bauldy, the boaster,
Sae ready wi' hands and wi' tongue;
Proud Paty and silly Sam Foster,
Wha quarrel wi' auld and wi' young.
And Hugh, the town-writer, I 'm thinking,
That trades in his lawyerly skill,
Will egg on the fighting and drinking,
To bring after grist to his mill.
And Maggie—na, na! we 'll be civil,
And let the wee bridie abee;
A vilipend tongue it is evil,
And ne'er was encouraged by me.
[Pg 138]
Then fy, let us a' to the wedding,
For they will be lilting there,
Frae mony a far-distant ha'ding,
The fun and the feasting to share.
For they will get sheep's-head and haggis,
And browst o' the barley-mow;
E'en he that comes latest and lagis
May feast upon dainties enow.
Veal florentines, in the o'en baken,
Weel plenish'd wi' raisins and fat;
Beef, mutton, and chuckies, a' taken
Het reekin' frae spit and frae pat.
And glasses (I trow 'tis nae said ill)
To drink the young couple gude luck,
Weel fill'd wi' a braw beechen ladle,
Frae punch-bowl as big as Dumbuck.
And then will come dancing and daffing,
And reelin' and crossin' o' han's,
Till even auld Lucky is laughing,
As back by the aumry she stan's.
Sic bobbing, and flinging, and whirling,
While fiddlers are making their din;
And pipers are droning and skirling,
As loud as the roar o' the linn.
Then fy, let us a' to the wedding,
For they will be lilting there;
For Jock 's to be married to Maggie,
The lass wi' the gowden hair.
[Pg 139]


Oh, neighbours! what had I to do for to marry?
My wife she drinks posset and wine o' Canary;
And ca's me a niggardly, thrawn-gabbit cairly.
O gin my wife wad drink hooly and fairly!
Hooly and fairly, hooly and fairly;
O gin my wife wad drink hooly and fairly!
She sups, wi' her kimmers, on dainties enow,
Aye bowing, and smirking, and wiping her mou';
While I sit aside, and am helpit but sparely.
O gin my wife wad feast hooly and fairly!
Hooly and fairly, hooly and fairly;
O gin my wife wad feast hooly and fairly!
To fairs, and to bridals, and preachings an' a',
She gangs sae light-headed, and buskit sae braw,
In ribbons and mantuas, that gar me gae barely.
O gin my wife wad spend hooly and fairly!
Hooly and fairly, hooly and fairly;
O gin my wife wad spend hooly and fairly!
I' the kirk sic commotion last Sabbath she made,
Wi' babs o' red roses, and breast-knots o'erlaid;
The dominie stickit the psalm very nearly.
O gin my wife wad dress hooly and fairly!
Hooly and fairly, hooly and fairly;
O gin my wife wad dress hooly and fairly!
[Pg 140]
She 's warring and flyting frae mornin' till e'en,
And if ye gainsay her, her een glower sae keen;
Then tongue, neive, and cudgel, she 'll lay on me sairly.
O gin my wife wad strike hooly and fairly!
Hooly and fairly, hooly and fairly;
O gin my wife wad strike hooly and fairly!
When tired wi' her cantrips, she lies in her bed—
The wark a' negleckit, the chalmer unred—
While a' our gude neighbours are stirring sae early.
O gin my wife wad wark timely and fairly!
Timely and fairly, timely and fairly;
O gin my wife wad wark timely and fairly!
A word o' gude counsel or grace she 'll hear none;
She bandies the elders, and mocks at Mess John;
While back in his teeth his own text she flings sairly.
O gin my wife wad speak hooly and fairly!
Hooly and fairly, hooly and fairly;
O gin my wife wad speak hooly and fairly!
I wish I were single, I wish I were freed;
I wish I were doited, I wish I were dead;
Or she in the mouls, to dement me nae mairly.
What does it 'vail to cry, Hooly and fairly!
Hooly and fairly, hooly and fairly;
Wasting my health to cry, Hooly and fairly.
[Pg 141]


A young gudewife is in my house,
And thrifty means to be,
But aye she 's runnin' to the town
Some ferlie there to see.
The weary pund, the weary pund, the weary pund o' tow,
I soothly think, ere it be spun, I 'll wear a lyart pow.
And when she sets her to her wheel,
To draw her threads wi' care,
In comes the chapman wi' his gear,
And she can spin nae mair.
The weary pund, &c.
And then like ony merry May,
At fairs maun still be seen,
At kirkyard preachings near the tent,
At dances on the green.
The weary pund, &c.
Her dainty ear a fiddle charms,
A bagpipe 's her delight,
But for the crooning o' her wheel
She disna care a mite.
The weary pund, &c.
"You spake, my Kate, of snaw-white webs
Made o' your hinkum twine,
But, ah! I fear our bonnie burn
Will ne'er lave web o' thine.
The weary pund, &c.
[Pg 142]
"Nay, smile again, my winsome mate,
Sic jeering means nae ill;
Should I gae sarkless to my grave,
I'll loe and bless thee still."
The weary pund, &c.


A lively young lass had a wee pickle tow,
And she thought to try the spinnin' o't;
She sat by the fire, and her rock took alow,
And that was an ill beginnin' o't.
Loud and shrill was the cry that she utter'd, I ween;
The sudden mischanter brought tears to her een;
Her face it was fair, but her temper was keen;
O dole for the ill beginnin' o't!
She stamp'd on the floor, and her twa hands she wrung,
Her bonny sweet mou' she crookit, O!
And fell was the outbreak o' words frae her tongue;
Like ane sair demented she lookit, O!
"Foul fa' the inventor o' rock and o' reel!
I hope, gude forgi'e me! he 's now wi' the d—l,
He brought us mair trouble than help, wot I weel;
O dole for the ill beginnin' o't!
"And now, when they 're spinnin' and kempin' awa',
They 'll talk o' my rock and the burnin' o't,
While Tibbie, and Mysie, and Maggie, and a',
Into some silly joke will be turnin' it:
[Pg 143] They 'll say I was doited, they 'll say I was fu';
They 'll say I was dowie, and Robin untrue;
They 'll say in the fire some luve-powther I threw,
And that made the ill beginning o't.
"O curst be the day, and unchancy the hour,
When I sat me adown to the spinnin' o't!
Then some evil spirit or warlock had power,
And made sic an ill beginnin' o't.
May Spunkie my feet to the boggie betray,
The lunzie folk steal my new kirtle away,
And Robin forsake me for douce Effie Gray,
The next time I try the spinnin' o't."


The gowan glitters on the sward,
The lav'rock's in the sky,
And collie on my plaid keeps ward,
And time is passing by.
Oh, no! sad and slow,
And lengthen'd on the ground;
The shadow of our trysting bush
It wears so slowly round.
My sheep-bells tinkle frae the west,
My lambs are bleating near;
But still the sound that I lo'e best,
Alack! I canna hear.
Oh, no! sad and slow,
The shadow lingers still;
And like a lanely ghaist I stand,
And croon upon the hill.
[Pg 144]
I hear below the water roar,
The mill wi' clacking din,
And lucky scolding frae the door,
To ca' the bairnies in.
Oh, no! sad and slow,
These are nae sounds for me;
The shadow of our trysting bush
It creeps sae drearily!
I coft yestreen, frae chapman Tam,
A snood o' bonnie blue,
And promised, when our trysting cam',
To tie it round her brow.
Oh, no! sad and slow,
The mark it winna pass;
The shadow o' that dreary bush
Is tether'd on the grass.
O now I see her on the way!
She 's past the witch's knowe;
She 's climbing up the brownie's brae—
My heart is in a lowe.
Oh, no! 'tis not so,
'Tis glamrie I hae seen;
The shadow o' that hawthorn bush
Will move nae mair till e'en.
My book o' grace I 'll try to read,
Though conn'd wi' little skill;
When collie barks I 'll raise my head,
And find her on the hill.
Oh, no! sad and slow,
The time will ne'er be gane;
The shadow o' our trysting bush
Is fix'd like ony stane.
[Pg 145]


"Saw ye Johnnie comin'?" quo' she;
"Saw ye Johnnie comin'?
Wi' his blue bonnet on his head,
And his doggie rinnin'.
Yestreen, about the gloamin' time,
I chanced to see him comin',
Whistling merrily the tune
That I am a' day hummin'," quo' she;
"I am a' day hummin'.
"Fee him, faither, fee him," quo' she;
"Fee him, faither, fee him;
A' the wark about the house
Gaes wi' me when I see him:
A' the wark about the house
I gang sae lightly through it;
And though ye pay some merks o' gear,
Hoot! ye winna rue it," quo' she;
"No; ye winna rue it."
"What wad I do wi' him, hizzy?
What wad I do wi' him?
He 's ne'er a sark upon his back,
And I hae nane to gi'e him."
"I hae twa sarks into my kist,
And ane o' them I 'll gi'e him;
And for a merk o' mair fee,
Oh, dinna stand wi' him," quo' she;
"Dinna stand wi' him.
[Pg 146]
"Weel do I lo'e him," quo' she;
"Weel do I lo'e him;
The brawest lads about the place
Are a' but hav'rels to him.
Oh, fee him, father; lang, I trow,
We 've dull and dowie been:
He 'll haud the plough, thrash i' the barn,
And crack wi' me at e'en," quo' she;
"Crack wi' me at e'en."


It fell on a morning when we were thrang—
Our kirn was gaun, our cheese was making,
And bannocks on the girdle baking—
That ane at the door chapp'd loud and lang;
But the auld gudewife, and her Mays sae tight,
Of this stirring and din took sma' notice, I ween;
For a chap at the door in braid daylight
Is no like a chap when heard at e'en.
Then the clocksie auld laird of the warlock glen,
Wha stood without, half cow'd, half cheerie.
And yearn'd for a sight of his winsome dearie,
Raised up the latch and came crousely ben.
His coat was new, and his owrelay was white,
And his hose and his mittens were coozy and bein;
But a wooer that comes in braid daylight
Is no like a wooer that comes at e'en.
[Pg 147]
He greeted the carlin' and lasses sae braw,
And his bare lyart pow he smoothly straikit,
And looked about, like a body half glaikit,
On bonny sweet Nanny, the youngest of a':
"Ha, ha!" quo' the carlin', "and look ye that way?
Hoot! let nae sic fancies bewilder ye clean—
An elderlin' man, i' the noon o' the day,
Should be wiser than youngsters that come at e'en."
"Na, na," quo' the pawky auld wife; "I trow
You 'll fash na your head wi' a youthfu' gilly,
As wild and as skeigh as a muirland filly;
Black Madge is far better and fitter for you."
He hem'd and he haw'd, and he screw'd in his mouth,
And he squeezed his blue bonnet his twa hands between;
For wooers that come when the sun 's in the south
Are mair awkward than wooers that come at e'en.
"Black Madge she is prudent." "What 's that to me?"
"She is eident and sober, has sense in her noddle—
Is douce and respeckit." "I carena a boddle;
I 'll baulk na my luve, and my fancy 's free."
Madge toss'd back her head wi' a saucy slight,
And Nanny run laughing out to the green;
For wooers that come when the sun shines bright
Are no like the wooers that come at e'en.
Awa' flung the laird, and loud mutter'd he,
"All the daughters of Eve, between Orkney and Tweed, O:
Black and fair, young and old, dame, damsel, and widow,
May gang, wi' their pride, to the wuddy for me."
[Pg 148] But the auld gudewife, and her Mays sae tight,
For a' his loud banning cared little, I ween;
For a wooer that comes in braid daylight
Is no like a wooer that comes at e'en.


The bride she is winsome and bonnie,
Her hair it is snooded sae sleek;
And faithful and kind is her Johnnie,
Yet fast fa' the tears on her cheek.
New pearlings are cause o' her sorrow—
New pearlings and plenishing too;
The bride that has a' to borrow
Has e'en right muckle ado.
Woo'd, and married, and a';
Woo'd, and married, and a';
And is na she very weel aff,
To be woo'd, and married, and a'?
Her mither then hastily spak—
"The lassie is glaikit wi' pride;
In my pouches I hadna a plack
The day that I was a bride.
E'en tak to your wheel and be clever,
And draw out your thread in the sun;
The gear that is gifted, it never
Will last like the gear that is won.
[Pg 149] Woo'd, and married, an' a',
Tocher and havings sae sma';
I think ye are very weel aff
To be woo'd, and married, and a'."
"Toot, toot!" quo' the gray-headed faither;
"She 's less of a bride than a bairn;
She 's ta'en like a cowt frae the heather,
Wi' sense and discretion to learn.
Half husband, I trow, and half daddy,
As humour inconstantly leans;
A chiel maun be constant and steady,
That yokes wi' a mate in her teens.
Kerchief to cover so neat,
Locks the winds used to blaw;
I 'm baith like to laugh and to greet,
When I think o' her married at a'."
Then out spak the wily bridegroom,
Weel waled were his wordies, I ween,—
"I 'm rich, though my coffer be toom,
Wi' the blinks o' your bonnie blue een;
I 'm prouder o' thee by my side,
Though thy ruffles or ribbons be few,
Than if Kate o' the Craft were my bride,
Wi' purples and pearlings enew.
Dear and dearest of ony,
I 've woo'd, and bookit, and a';
And do you think scorn o' your Johnnie,
And grieve to be married at a'?"
She turn'd, and she blush'd, and she smiled,
And she lookit sae bashfully down;
The pride o' her heart was beguiled,
And she play'd wi' the sleeve o' her gown;
[Pg 150] She twirl'd the tag o' her lace,
And she nippit her boddice sae blue;
Syne blinkit sae sweet in his face,
And aff like a maukin she flew.
Woo'd, and married, and a',
Married and carried awa';
She thinks hersel' very weel aff,
To be woo'd, and married, and a'.
[Pg 151]


Though the author of a single popular song, William Dudgeon is entitled to a place among the modern contributors to the Caledonian minstrelsy. Of his personal history, only a very few facts have been recovered. He was the son of a farmer in East-Lothian, and himself rented an extensive farm at Preston, in Berwickshire. During his border tour in May 1787, the poet Burns met him at Berrywell, the residence of the father of his friend Mr Robert Ainslie, who acted as land-steward on the estate of Lord Douglas in the Merse. In his journal, Burns has thus recorded his impression of the meeting:—"A Mr Dudgeon, a poet at times, a worthy, remarkable character, natural penetration, a great deal of information, some genius, and extreme modesty." Dudgeon died in October 1813, about his sixtieth year.[Pg 152]


Up among yon cliffy rocks
Sweetly rings the rising echo,
To the maid that tends the goats
Lilting o'er her native notes.
Hark, she sings, "Young Sandy 's kind,
An' he 's promised aye to lo'e me;
Here 's a brooch I ne'er shall tine,
Till he 's fairly married to me.
Drive away, ye drone, Time,
And bring about our bridal day.
"Sandy herds a flock o' sheep;
Aften does he blaw the whistle
In a strain sae saftly sweet,
Lammies list'ning daurna bleat.
He 's as fleet 's the mountain roe,
Hardy as the Highland heather,
Wading through the winter snow,
Keeping aye his flock together;
But a plaid, wi' bare houghs,
He braves the bleakest norlan' blast.
"Brawly can he dance and sing,
Canty glee or Highland cronach;
Nane can ever match his fling,
At a reel or round a ring,
In a brawl he 's aye the bangster:
A' his praise can ne'er be sung
By the langest-winded sangster;
Sangs that sing o' Sandy,
Seem short, though they were e'er sae lang."
[Pg 153]


William Reid was born at Glasgow on the 10th of April 1764. His father, a baker by trade, was enabled to give him a good education at the school of his native city. At an early age he was apprenticed to Messrs Dunlop and Wilson, booksellers; and in the year 1790, along with another enterprising individual, he commenced a bookselling establishment, under the firm of "Brash and Reid." In this business, both partners became eminently successful, their shop being frequented by the literati of the West. The poet Burns cultivated the society of Mr Reid, who proved a warm friend, as he was an ardent admirer, of the Ayrshire bard. He was an enthusiastic patron of literature, was fond of social humour, and a zealous promoter of the interests of Scottish song. Between 1795 and 1798, the firm published in numbers, at one penny each, "Poetry, Original and Selected," which extended to four volumes. To this publication, both Mr Reid, and his partner, Mr Brash, made some original contributions. The work is now very scarce, and is accounted valuable by collectors. Mr Reid died at Glasgow, on the 29th of November 1831, leaving a widow and a family.[Pg 154]


Will ye gang o'er the lea rig,
My ain kind dearie, O!
And cuddle there fu' kindly
Wi' me, my kind dearie, O!
At thorny bush, or birken tree,
We 'll daff and never weary, O!
They 'll scug ill een frae you and me,
My ain kind dearie, O!
Nae herds wi' kent or colly there,
Shall ever come to fear ye, O!
But lav'rocks, whistling in the air,
Shall woo, like me, their dearie, O!
While ithers herd their lambs and ewes,
And toil for warld's gear, my jo,
Upon the lea my pleasure grows,
Wi' thee, my kind dearie, O!
At gloamin', if my lane I be,
Oh, but I'm wondrous eerie, O!
And mony a heavy sigh I gie,
When absent frae my dearie, O!
[Pg 155] But seated 'neath the milk-white thorn,
In ev'ning fair and clearie, O!
Enraptured, a' my cares I scorn,
When wi' my kind dearie, O!
Whare through the birks the burnie rows,
Aft hae I sat fu' cheerie, O!
Upon the bonny greensward howes,
Wi' thee, my kind dearie, O!
I've courted till I've heard the craw
Of honest chanticleerie, O!
Yet never miss'd my sleep ava,
Whan wi' my kind dearie, O!
For though the night were ne'er sae dark,
And I were ne'er sae weary, O!
I'd meet thee on the lea rig,
My ain kind dearie, O!
While in this weary world of wae,
This wilderness sae dreary, O!
What makes me blythe, and keeps me sae?
'Tis thee, my kind dearie, O!


John Anderson, my jo, John,
I wonder what ye mean,
To rise sae early in the morn,
And sit sae late at e'en;
[Pg 156] Ye 'll blear out a' your een, John,
And why should you do so?
Gang sooner to your bed at e'en,
John Anderson, my jo.
John Anderson, my jo, John,
When Nature first began
To try her canny hand, John,
Her masterpiece was man;
And you amang them a', John,
Sae trig frae tap to toe—
She proved to be nae journeyman,
John Anderson, my jo.
John Anderson, my jo, John,
Ye were my first conceit;
And ye needna think it strange, John,
That I ca' ye trim and neat;
Though some folks say ye 're auld, John,
I never think ye so;
But I think ye 're aye the same to me,
John Anderson, my jo.
John Anderson, my jo, John,
We 've seen our bairns' bairns;
And yet, my dear John Anderson,
I 'm happy in your arms;
And sae are ye in mine, John,
I 'm sure ye 'll ne'er say, No;
Though the days are gane that we have seen,
John Anderson, my jo.
[Pg 157]


Tune"Ye Banks and Braes o' bonnie Doon."

Fair, modest flower, of matchless worth!
Thou sweet, enticing, bonny gem;
Blest is the soil that gave thee birth,
And bless'd thine honour'd parent stem.
But doubly bless'd shall be the youth
To whom thy heaving bosom warms;
Possess'd of beauty, love, and truth,
He 'll clasp an angel in his arms.
Though storms of life were blowing snell,
And on his brow sat brooding care,
Thy seraph smile would quick dispel
The darkest gloom of black despair.
Sure Heaven hath granted thee to us,
And chose thee from the dwellers there;
And sent thee from celestial bliss,
To shew what all the virtues are.


Tune"Locherroch Side."

When Katie was scarce out nineteen,
Oh, but she had twa coal-black een!
A bonnier lass ye wadna seen
In a' the Carse o' Gowrie.
[Pg 158] Quite tired o' livin' a' his lane,
Pate did to her his love explain,
And swore he 'd be, were she his ain,
The happiest lad in Gowrie.
Quo' she, "I winna marry thee,
For a' the gear that ye can gi'e;
Nor will I gang a step ajee,
For a' the gowd in Gowrie.
My father will gi'e me twa kye;
My mother 's gaun some yarn to dye;
I 'll get a gown just like the sky,
Gif I 'll no gang to Gowrie."
"Oh, my dear Katie, say nae sae!
Ye little ken a heart that 's wae;
Hae! there 's my hand; hear me, I pray,
Sin' thou 'lt no gang to Gowrie:
Since first I met thee at the shiel,
My saul to thee 's been true and leal;
The darkest night I fear nae deil,
Warlock, or witch in Gowrie.
"I fear nae want o' claes nor nocht,
Sic silly things my mind ne'er taught;
I dream a' nicht, and start about,
And wish for thee in Gowrie.
I lo'e thee better, Kate, my dear,
Than a' my rigs and out-gaun gear;
Sit down by me till ance I swear,
Thou 'rt worth the Carse o' Gowrie."
Syne on her mou' sweet kisses laid,
Till blushes a' her cheeks o'erspread;
[Pg 159] She sigh'd, and in soft whispers said,
"Oh, Pate, tak me to Gowrie!"
Quo' he, "Let 's to the auld folk gang;
Say what they like, I 'll bide their bang,
And bide a' nicht, though beds be thrang;
But I 'll hae thee to Gowrie."
The auld folk syne baith gi'ed consent;
The priest was ca'd: a' were content;
And Katie never did repent
That she gaed hame to Gowrie.
For routh o' bonnie bairns had she;
Mair strappin' lads ye wadna see;
And her braw lasses bore the gree
Frae a' the rest o' Gowrie.


Upon the banks o' flowing Clyde
The lasses busk them braw;
But when their best they hae put on,
My Jeanie dings them a';
In hamely weeds she far exceeds
The fairest o' the toun;
Baith sage and gay confess it sae,
Though drest in russit goun.
[Pg 160]
The gamesome lamb that sucks its dam,
Mair harmless canna be;
She has nae faut, if sic ye ca't,
Except her love for me;
The sparkling dew, o' clearest hue,
Is like her shining een;
In shape and air wha can compare,
Wi' my sweet lovely Jean.
[Pg 161]


A miscellaneous writer, a poet, and a musical composer, Alexander Campbell first saw the light at Tombea, on the banks of Loch Lubnaig, in Perthshire. He was born in 1764, and received such education as his parents could afford him, which was not very ample, at the parish school of Callander. An early taste for music induced him to proceed to Edinburgh, there to cultivate a systematic acquaintance with the art. Acquiring a knowledge of the science under the celebrated Tenducci and others, he became himself a teacher of the harpsichord and of vocal music, in the metropolis. As an upholder of Jacobitism, when it was scarcely to be dreaded as a political offence, he officiated as organist in a non-juring chapel in the vicinity of Nicolson Street; and while so employed had the good fortune to form the acquaintance of Burns, who was pleased to discover in an individual entertaining similar state sentiments with himself, an enthusiastic devotion to national melody and song.

Mr Campbell was twice married; his second wife was the widow of a Highland gentleman, and he was induced to hope that his condition might thus be permanently improved. He therefore relinquished his original[Pg 162] vocation, and commenced the study of physic, with the view of obtaining an appointment as surgeon in the public service; but his sanguine hopes proved abortive, and, to complete his mortification, his wife left him in Edinburgh, and sought a retreat in the Highlands. He again procured some employment as a teacher of music; and about the year 1810, one of his expedients was to give lessons in drawing. He was a man of a fervent spirit, and possessed of talents, which, if they had been adequately cultivated, and more concentrated, might have enabled him to attain considerable distinction; but, apparently aiming at the reputation of universal genius, he alternately cultivated the study of music, poetry, painting, and physic. At a more recent period, Sir Walter Scott found him occasional employment in transcribing manuscripts; and during the unhappy remainder of his life he had to struggle with many difficulties.

One of his publications bears the title of "Odes and Miscellaneous Poems, by a Student of Medicine in the University of Edinburgh," Edinburgh, 1790, 4to. These lucubrations, which attracted no share of public attention, were followed by "The Guinea Note, a Poem, by Timothy Twig, Esquire," Edinburgh, 1797, 4to. His next work is entitled, "An Introduction to the History of Poetry in Scotland, with Illustrations by David Allan," Edinburgh, 1798, 4to. This work, though written in a rambling style, contains a small proportion of useful materials very unskilfully digested. "A Dialogue on Scottish Music," prefixed, had the merit of conveying to Continental musicians for the first time a correct acquaintance with the Scottish scale, the author receiving the commendations of the greatest Italian and German composers. The work likewise contains "Songs of the[Pg 163] Lowlands," a selection of some of the more interesting specimens of the older minstrelsy. In 1802 he published "A Tour from Edinburgh through various parts of North Britain," in two volumes quarto, illustrated with engravings from sketches executed by himself. This work met with a favourable reception, and has been regarded as the most successful of his literary efforts. In 1804 he sought distinction as a poet by giving to the world "The Grampians Desolate," a long poem, in one volume octavo. In this production he essays "to call the attention of good men, wherever dispersed throughout our island, to the manifold and great evils arising from the introduction of that system which has within these last forty years spread among the Grampians and Western Isles, and is the leading cause of a depopulation that threatens to extirpate the ancient race of the inhabitants of those districts." That system to which Mr Campbell refers, he afterwards explains to be the monopoly of sheep-stores, a subject scarcely poetical, but which he has contrived to clothe with considerable smoothness of versification. The last work which issued from Mr Campbell's pen was "Albyn's Anthology, a Select Collection of the Melodies and Vocal Poetry Peculiar to Scotland and the Isles, hitherto Unpublished." The publication appeared in 1816, in two parts, of elegant folio. It was adorned by the contributions of Sir Walter Scott, James Hogg, and other poets of reputation. The preface contains "An Epitome of the History of Scottish Poetry and Music from the Earliest Times." His musical talents have a stronger claim to remembrance than either his powers as a poet or his skill as a writer. Yet his industry was unremitted, and his researches have proved serviceable to other writers who have followed him on the same themes. Only a few[Pg 164] lyrical pieces proceeded from his pen; these were first published in "Albyn's Anthology." From this work we have extracted two specimens.

Mr Campbell died of apoplexy on the 15th of May 1824, after a life much chequered by misfortune. He left various MSS. on subjects connected with his favourite studies, which have fortunately found their way into the possession of Mr Laing, to whom the history of Scottish poetry is perhaps more indebted than to any other living writer. The poems in this collection, though bearing marks of sufficient elaboration, could not be recommended for publication. Mr Campbell was understood to be a contributor to The Ghost, a forgotten periodical, which ran a short career in the year 1790. It was published in Edinburgh twice a week, and reached the forty-sixth number; the first having appeared on the 25th of April, the last on the 16th of November. He published an edition of a book, curious in its way—Donald Mackintosh's "Collection of Gaelic Proverbs, and Familiar Phrases; Englished anew!" Edinburgh, 1819, 12mo. The preface contains a characteristic account of the compiler, who described himself as "a priest of the old Scots Episcopal Church, and last of the non-jurant clergy in Scotland."[Pg 165]


Now winter's wind sweeps o'er the mountains,
Deeply clad in drifting snow;
Soundly sleep the frozen fountains;
Ice-bound streams forget to flow:
The piercing blast howls loud and long,
The leafless forest oaks among.
Down the glen, lo! comes a stranger,
Wayworn, drooping, all alone;—
Haply, 'tis the deer-haunt Ranger!
But alas! his strength is gone!
He stoops, he totters on with pain,
The hill he 'll never climb again.
Age is being's winter season,
Fitful, gloomy, piercing cold;
Passion weaken'd, yields to reason,
Man feels then himself grown old;
His senses one by one have fled,
His very soul seems almost dead.
[Pg 166]


The hawk whoops on high, and keen, keen from yon' cliff,
Lo! the eagle on watch eyes the stag cold and stiff;
The deer-hound, majestic, looks lofty around,
While he lists with delight to the harp's distant sound;
Is it swept by the gale, as it slow wafts along
The heart-soothing tones of an olden times' song?
Or is it some Druid who touches, unseen,
"The Harp of the North," newly strung now I ween?
'Tis Albyn's own minstrel! and, proud of his name,
He proclaims him chief bard, and immortal his fame!—
He gives tongue to those wild lilts that ravish'd of old,
And soul to the tales that so oft have been told;
Hence Walter the Minstrel shall flourish for aye,
Will breathe in sweet airs, and live long as his "Lay;"
To ages unnumber'd thus yielding delight,
Which will last till the gloaming of Time's endless night.
[Pg 167]


Helen D'Arcy Cranstoun, the second wife of the celebrated Professor Stewart, is entitled to a more ample notice in a work on Modern Scottish Song than the limited materials at our command enable us to supply. She was the third daughter of the Hon. George Cranstoun, youngest son of William, fifth Lord Cranstoun. She was born in the year 1765, and became the wife of Professor Dugald Stewart on the 26th July 1790. Having survived her husband ten years, she died at Warriston House, in the neighbourhood of Edinburgh, on the 28th of July 1838. She was the sister of the Countess Purgstall (the subject of Captain Basil Hall's "Schloss Hainfeld"), and of George Cranstoun, a senator of the College of Justice, by the title of Lord Corehouse.

The following pieces from the pen of the accomplished author are replete with simple beauty and exquisite tenderness.[Pg 168]


Tune"Ianthe the Lovely."

The tears I shed must ever fall:
I mourn not for an absent swain;
For thoughts may past delights recall,
And parted lovers meet again.
I weep not for the silent dead:
Their toils are past, their sorrows o'er;
And those they loved their steps shall tread,
And death shall join to part no more.
Though boundless oceans roll'd between,
If certain that his heart is near,
A conscious transport glads each scene,
Soft is the sigh and sweet the tear.
E'en when by death's cold hand removed,
We mourn the tenant of the tomb,
To think that e'en in death he loved,
Can gild the horrors of the gloom.
But bitter, bitter are the tears
Of her who slighted love bewails;
No hope her dreary prospect cheers,
No pleasing melancholy hails.
Hers are the pangs of wounded pride,
Of blasted hope, of wither'd joy;
The flattering veil is rent aside,
The flame of love burns to destroy.
[Pg 169]
In vain does memory renew
The hours once tinged in transport's dye;
The sad reverse soon starts to view,
And turns the past to agony.
E'en time itself despairs to cure
Those pangs to every feeling due:
Ungenerous youth! thy boast how poor,
To win a heart, and break it too!
No cold approach, no alter'd mien,
Just what would make suspicion start;
No pause the dire extremes between—
He made me blest, and broke my heart:[39]
From hope, the wretched's anchor, torn,
Neglected and neglecting all;
Friendless, forsaken, and forlorn,
The tears I shed must ever fall.


Returning spring, with gladsome ray,
Adorns the earth and smoothes the deep:
All nature smiles, serene and gay,
It smiles, and yet, alas! I weep.
[Pg 170]
But why, why flows the sudden tear,
Since Heaven such precious boons has lent,
The lives of those who life endear,
And, though scarce competence, content?
Sure, when no other bliss was mine
Than that which still kind Heaven bestows,
Yet then could peace and hope combine
To promise joy and give repose.
Then have I wander'd o'er the plain,
And bless'd each flower that met my view;
Thought Fancy's power would ever reign,
And Nature's charms be ever new.
I fondly thought where Virtue dwelt,
That happy bosom knew no ill—
That those who scorn'd me, time would melt,
And those I loved be faultless still.
Enchanting dreams! kind was your art
That bliss bestow'd without alloy;
Or if soft sadness claim'd a part,
'Twas sadness sweeter still than joy.
Oh! whence the change that now alarms,
Fills this sad heart and tearful eye,
And conquers the once powerful charms
Of youth, of hope, of novelty?
'Tis sad Experience, fatal power!
That clouds the once illumined sky,
That darkens life's meridian hour,
And bids each fairy vision fly.
[Pg 171]
She paints the scene—how different far
From that which youthful fancy drew!
Shews joy and freedom oft at war,
Our woes increased, our comforts few.
And when, perhaps, on some loved friend
Our treasured fondness we bestow,
Oh! can she not, with ruthless hand,
Change even that friend into a foe?
See in her train cold Foresight move,
Shunning the rose to 'scape the thorn;
And Prudence every fear approve,
And Pity harden into scorn!
The glowing tints of Fancy fade,
Life's distant prospects charm no more;
Alas! are all my hopes betray'd?
Can nought my happiness restore?
Relentless power! at length be just,
Thy better skill alone impart;
Give Caution, but withhold Distrust,
And guard, but harden not, my heart!
[Pg 172]


The author of the celebrated "American Ornithology" is entitled to an honourable commemoration as one of the minstrels of his native land. Alexander Wilson was born at Paisley on the 6th of July 1766. His father had for some time carried on a small trade as a distiller; but the son was destined by his parents for the clerical profession, in the National Church—a scheme which was frustrated by the death of his mother in his tenth year, leaving a large family of children to the sole care of his father. He had, however, considerably profited by the instruction already received at school; and having derived from his mother a taste for music and a relish for books, he invoked the muse in solitude, and improved his mind by miscellaneous reading. His father contracted a second marriage when Alexander had reached his thirteenth year; and it became necessary that he should prepare himself for entering upon some handicraft employment. He became an apprentice to his brother-in-law, William Duncan, a weaver in his native town; and on completing his indenture, he wrought as a journeyman, during the three following years, in the towns of Paisley, Lochwinnoch, and Queensferry. But the occupation of weaving, which had from the first been[Pg 173] unsuitable to his tastes, growing altogether irksome, he determined to relinquish it for a vocation which, if in some respects scarcely more desirable, afforded him ample means of gratifying his natural desire of becoming familiar with the topography of his native country. He provided himself with a pack, as a pedlar, and in this capacity, in company with his brother-in-law, continued for three years to lead a wandering life. His devotedness to verse-making had continued unabated from boyhood; he had written verses at the loom, and had become an enthusiastic votary of the muse during his peregrinations with his pack. He was now in his twenty-third year; and with the buoyancy of ardent youth, he thought of offering to the public a volume of his poems by subscription. In this attempt he was not successful; nor would any bookseller listen to proposals of publishing the lucubrations of an obscure pedlar. In 1790, he at length contrived to print his poems at Paisley, on his own account, in the hope of being able to dispose of them along with his other wares. But this attempt was not more successful than his original scheme, so that he was compelled to return to his father's house at Lochwinnoch, and resume the obnoxious shuttle. His aspirations for poetical distinction were not, however, subdued; he heard of the institution of the Forum, a debating society established in Edinburgh by some literary aspirants, and learning, in 1791, that an early subject of discussion was the comparative merits of Ramsay and Fergusson as Scottish poets, he prepared to take a share in the competition. By doubling his hours of labour at the loom, he procured the means of defraying his travelling expenses; and, arriving in time for the debate in the Forum, he repeated a poem which he had prepared, entitled the "Laurel Disputed," in[Pg 174] which he gave the preference to Fergusson. He remained several weeks in Edinburgh, and printed his poem. To Dr Anderson's "Bee" he contributed several poems, and a prose essay, entitled "The Solitary Philosopher." Finding no encouragement to settle in the metropolis, he once more returned to his father's house in the west. He now formed the acquaintance of Robert Burns, who testified his esteem for him both as a man and a poet. In 1792, he published anonymously his popular ballad of "Watty and Meg," which he had the satisfaction to find regarded as worthy of the Ayrshire Bard.

The star of the poet was now promising to be in the ascendant, but an untoward event ensued. In the ardent enthusiasm of his temperament, he was induced to espouse in verse the cause of the Paisley hand-loom operatives in a dispute with their employers, and to satirise in strong invective a person of irreproachable reputation. For this offence he was prosecuted before the sheriff, who sentenced him to be imprisoned for a few days, and publicly to burn his own poem in the front of the jail. This satire is entitled "The Shark; or, Long Mills detected." Like many other independents, he mistook anarchy in France for the dawn of liberty in Europe; and his sentiments becoming known, he was so vigilantly watched by the authorities, that he found it was no longer expedient for him to reside in Scotland. He resolved to emigrate to America; and, contriving by four months' extra labour, and living on a shilling weekly, to earn his passage-money, he sailed from Portpatrick to Belfast, and from thence to Newcastle, in the State of Delaware, where he arrived on the 14th July 1794. During the voyage he had slept on deck, and when he landed, his finances consisted only of[Pg 175] a few shillings; yet, with a cheerful heart, he walked to Philadelphia, a distance of thirty-three miles, with only his fowling-piece on his shoulder. He shot a red-headed woodpecker by the way,—an omen of his future pursuits, for hitherto he had devoted no attention to the study of ornithology.

He was first employed by a copperplate-printer in Philadelphia, but quitted this occupation for the loom, at which he worked about a year in Philadelphia, and at Shepherdstown, in Virginia. In 1795, he traversed a large portion of the State of New Jersey as a pedlar, keeping a journal,—a practice which he had followed during his wandering life in Scotland. He now adopted the profession of a schoolmaster, and was successively employed in this vocation at Frankford, in Pennsylvania, at Milestown, and at Bloomfield, in New Jersey. In preparing himself for the instruction of others, he essentially extended his own acquaintance with classical learning, and mathematical science; and by occasional employment as a land-surveyor, he somewhat improved his finances. In 1801, he accepted the appointment of teacher in a seminary in Kingsessing, on the river Schuylkill, about four miles from Philadelphia,—a situation which, though attended with limited emolument, proved the first step in his path to eminence. He was within a short distance of the residence of William Bartram, the great American naturalist, with whom he became intimately acquainted; he also formed the friendship of Alexander Lawson, an emigrant engraver, who initiated him in the art of etching, colouring, and engraving. Discovering an aptitude in the accurate delineation of birds, he was led to the study of ornithology; with which he became so much interested, that he projected a work descriptive, with drawings, of all the birds[Pg 176] of the Middle States, and even of the Union. About this period he became a contributor to the "Literary Magazine," conducted by Mr Brockden Brown, and to Denny's "Portfolio."

Along with a nephew and another friend, Wilson made a pedestrian tour to the Falls of Niagara, in October 1804, and on his return published in the "Portfolio" a poetical narrative of his journey, entitled "The Foresters,"—a production surpassing his previous efforts, and containing some sublime apostrophes. But his energies were now chiefly devoted to the accomplishment of the grand design he had contemplated. Disappointed in obtaining the co-operation of his friend Mr Lawson, who was alarmed at the extent of his projected adventure, and likewise frustrated in obtaining pecuniary assistance from the President Jefferson, on which he had some reason to calculate, he persevered in his attempts himself, drawing, etching, and colouring the requisite illustrations. In 1806, he was employed as assistant-editor of a new edition of Rees' Cyclopedia, by Mr Samuel Bradford, bookseller in Philadelphia, who rewarded his services with a liberal salary, and undertook, at his own risk, the publication of his "Ornithology." The first volume of the work appeared in September 1808, and immediately after its publication the author personally visited, in the course of two different expeditions, the Eastern and Southern States, in quest of subscribers. These journeys were attended with a success scarcely adequate to the privations which were experienced in their prosecution; but the "Ornithology" otherwise obtained a wide circulation, and, excelling in point of illustration every production that had yet appeared in America, gained for the author universal commendation. In January 1810, his second volume appeared, and in a[Pg 177] month after he proceeded to Pittsburg, and from thence, in a small skiff, made a solitary voyage down the Ohio, a distance of nearly six hundred miles. During this lonely and venturous journey he experienced relaxation in the composition of a poem, which afterwards appeared under the title of "The Pilgrim." In 1813, after encountering numerous hardships and perils, which an enthusiast only could have endured, he completed the publication of the seventh volume of his great work. But the sedulous attention requisite in the preparation of the plates of the eighth volume, and the effect of a severe cold, caught in rashly throwing himself into a river to swim in pursuit of a rare bird, brought on him a fatal dysentery, which carried him off, on the 23d of August 1813, in his forty-eighth year. He was interred in the cemetery of the Swedish church, Southwark, Philadelphia, where a plain marble monument has been erected to his memory. A ninth volume was added to the "Ornithology" by Mr George Ord, an intimate friend of the deceased naturalist; and three supplementary volumes have been published, in folio, by Charles Lucien Bonaparte, uncle of the present Emperor of the French.

Amidst his extraordinary deserts as a naturalist, the merits of Alexander Wilson as a poet have been somewhat overlooked. His poetry, it may be remarked, though unambitious of ornament, is bold and vigorous in style, and, when devoted to satire, is keen and vehement. The ballad of "Watty and Meg," though exception may be taken to the moral, is an admirable picture of human nature, and one of the most graphic narratives of the "taming of a shrew" in the language. Allan Cunningham writes: "It has been excelled by none in lively, graphic fidelity of touch: whatever was present to his eye and manifest to his ear, he could[Pg 178] paint with a life and a humour which Burns seems alone to excel."[41] In private life, Wilson was a model of benevolence and of the social virtues; he was devoid of selfishness, active in beneficence, and incapable of resentment. Before his departure for America, he waited on every one whom he conceived he had offended by his juvenile escapades, and begged their forgiveness; and he did not hesitate to reprove Burns for the levity too apparent in some of his poems. To his aged father, who survived till the year 1816, he sent remittances of money as often as he could afford; and at much inconvenience and pecuniary sacrifice, he established the family of his brother-in-law on a farm in the States. He was sober even to abstinence; and was guided in all his transactions by correct Christian principles. In person, he was remarkably handsome; his countenance was intelligent, and his eye sparkling. He never attained riches, but few Scotsmen have left more splendid memorials of their indomitable perseverance.[42][Pg 179]


Dark lowers the night o'er the wide stormy main,
Till mild rosy morning rise cheerful again;
Alas! morn returns to revisit the shore,
But Connel returns to his Flora no more.
For see, on yon mountain, the dark cloud of death,
O'er Connel's lone cottage, lies low on the heath;
While bloody and pale, on a far distant shore,
He lies, to return to his Flora no more.
Ye light fleeting spirits, that glide o'er the steep,
Oh, would ye but waft me across the wild deep!
There fearless I'd mix in the battle's loud roar,
I'd die with my Connel, and leave him no more.


Ye dark rugged rocks, that recline o'er the deep,
Ye breezes, that sigh o'er the main,
Here shelter me under your cliffs while I weep,
And cease while ye hear me complain.
For distant, alas! from my dear native shore,
And far from each friend now I be;
And wide is the merciless ocean that roars
Between my Matilda and me.
[Pg 180]
How blest were the times when together we stray'd,
While Phœbe shone silent above,
Or lean'd by the border of Cartha's green side,
And talk'd the whole evening of love!
Around us all nature lay wrapt up in peace,
Nor noise could our pleasures annoy,
Save Cartha's hoarse brawling, convey'd by the breeze,
That soothed us to love and to joy.
If haply some youth had his passion express'd,
And praised the bright charms of her face,
What horrors unceasing revolved though my breast,
While, sighing, I stole from the place!
For where is the eye that could view her alone,
The ear that could list to her strain,
Nor wish the adorable nymph for his own,
Nor double the pangs I sustain?
Thou moon, that now brighten'st those regions above,
How oft hast thou witness'd my bliss,
While breathing my tender expressions of love,
I seal'd each kind vow with a kiss!
Ah, then, how I joy'd while I gazed on her charms!
What transports flew swift through my heart!
I press'd the dear, beautiful maid in my arms,
Nor dream'd that we ever should part.
But now from the dear, from the tenderest maid,
By fortune unfeelingly torn;
'Midst strangers, who wonder to see me so sad,
In secret I wander forlorn.
[Pg 181]
And oft, while drear Midnight assembles her shades,
And Silence pours sleep from her throne,
Pale, lonely, and pensive, I steal through the glades,
And sigh, 'midst the darkness, my moan.
In vain to the town I retreat for relief,
In vain to the groves I complain;
Belles, coxcombs, and uproar, can ne'er soothe my grief,
And solitude nurses my pain.
Still absent from her whom my bosom loves best,
I languish in mis'ry and care;
Her presence could banish each woe from my heart,
But her absence, alas! is despair.
Ye dark rugged rocks, that recline o'er the deep;
Ye breezes, that sigh o'er the main—
Oh, shelter me under your cliffs while I weep,
And cease while ye hear me complain!
Far distant, alas! from my dear native shore,
And far from each friend now I be;
And wide is the merciless ocean that roars
Between my Matilda and me.
[Pg 182]


From the village of Leslie, with a heart full of glee,
And my pack on my shoulders, I rambled out free,
Resolved that same evening, as Luna was full,
To lodge, ten miles distant, in old Auchtertool.
Through many a lone cottage and farm-house I steer'd,
Took their money, and off with my budget I sheer'd;
The road I explored out, without form or rule,
Still asking the nearest to old Auchtertool.
At length I arrived at the edge of the town,
As Phœbus, behind a high mountain, went down;
The clouds gather'd dreary, and weather blew foul,
And I hugg'd myself safe now in old Auchtertool.
An inn I inquired out, a lodging desired,
But the landlady's pertness seem'd instantly fired;
For she saucy replied, as she sat carding wool,
"I ne'er kept sic lodgers in auld Auchtertool."
With scorn I soon left her to live on her pride;
But, asking, was told there was none else beside,
Except an old weaver, who now kept a school,
And these were the whole that were in Auchtertool.
[Pg 183]
To his mansion I scamper'd, and rapp'd at the door;
He oped, but as soon as I dared to implore,
He shut it like thunder, and utter'd a howl
That rung through each corner of old Auchtertool.
Deprived of all shelter, through darkness I trode,
Till I came to a ruin'd old house by the road;
Here the night I will spend, and, inspired by the owl,
My wrath I 'll vent forth upon old Auchtertool.
[Pg 184]


Carolina Oliphant was born in the old mansion of Gask, in the county of Perth, on the 16th of July 1766. She was the third daughter and fifth child of Laurence Oliphant of Gask, who had espoused his cousin Margaret Robertson, a daughter of Duncan Robertson of Struan, and his wife a daughter of the fourth Lord Nairn. The Oliphants of Gask were cadets of the formerly noble house of Oliphant; whose ancestor, Sir William Oliphant of Aberdalgie, a puissant knight, acquired distinction in the beginning of the fourteenth century by defending the Castle of Stirling against a formidable siege by the first Edward. The family of Gask were devoted Jacobites; the paternal grandfather of Carolina Oliphant had attended Prince Charles Edward as aid-de-camp during his disastrous campaign of 1745-6, and his spouse had indicated her sympathy in his cause by cutting out a lock of his hair on the occasion of his accepting the hospitality of the family mansion. The portion of hair is preserved at Gask; and Carolina Oliphant, in her song, "The Auld House," has thus celebrated the gentle deed of her progenitor:—

"The Leddy too, sae genty,
There shelter'd Scotland's heir,
An' clipt a lock wi' her ain hand
Frae his lang yellow hair."
[Pg 185]

The estate of Gask escaped forfeiture, but the father of Carolina did not renounce the Jacobite sentiments of his ancestors. He named the subject of this memoir Carolina, in honour of Prince Charles Edward; and his prevailing topic of conversation was the reiterated expression of his hope that "the king would get his ain." He would not permit the names of the reigning monarch and his queen to be mentioned in his presence; and when impaired eyesight compelled him to seek the assistance of his family in reading the newspapers, he angrily reproved the reader if the "German lairdie and his leddy" were designated otherwise than by the initial letters, "K. and Q." This extreme Jacobitism at a period when the crime was scarcely to be dreaded, was reported to George III., who is related to have confessed his respect for a man who had so consistently maintained his political sentiments.

In her youth, Carolina Oliphant was singularly beautiful, and was known in her native district by the poetical designation of "The Flower of Strathearn." She was as remarkable for the precocity of her intellect, as she was celebrated for the elegance of her person. Descended by her mother from a family which, in one instance,[44] at least, had afforded some evidence of poetical talents, and possessed of a correct musical ear, she very early composed verses for her favourite melodies. To the development of her native genius, her juvenile condition abundantly contributed: the locality of her[Pg 186] birthplace, rich in landscape scenery, and associated with family traditions and legends of curious and chivalric adventure, might have been sufficient to promote, in a mind less fertile than her own, sentiments of poesy. In the application of her talents she was influenced by another incentive. A loose ribaldry tainted the songs and ballads which circulated among the peasantry, and she was convinced that the diffusion of a more wholesome minstrelsy would essentially elevate the moral tone of the community. Thus, while still young, she commenced to purify the older melodies, and to compose new songs, which were ultimately destined to occupy an ample share of the national heart. The occasion of an agricultural dinner in the neighbourhood afforded her a fitting opportunity of making trial of her success in the good work which she had begun. To the president of the meeting she sent, anonymously, her verses entitled "The Ploughman;" and the production being publicly read, was received with warm approbation, and was speedily put to music. She was thus encouraged to proceed in her self-imposed task; and to this early period of her life may be ascribed some of her best lyrics. "The Laird o' Cockpen," and "The Land o' the Leal," at the close of the century, were sung in every district of the kingdom.

Carolina Oliphant had many suitors for her hand: she gave a preference to William Murray Nairn, her maternal cousin, who had been Baron Nairn, barring the attainder of the title on account of the Jacobitism of the last Baron. The marriage was celebrated in June 1806. At this period, Mr Nairn was Assistant Inspector-General of Barracks in Scotland, and held the rank of major in the army. By Act of Parliament, on the 17th June 1824, the attainder of[Pg 187] the family was removed, the title of Baron being conferred on Major Nairn. This measure is reported to have been passed on the strong recommendation of George IV.; his Majesty having learned, during his state visit to Scotland in 1822, that the song of "The Attainted Scottish Nobles" was the composition of Lady Nairn. The song is certainly one of the best apologies for Jacobitism.

On the 9th of July 1830, Lady Nairn was bereaved of her husband, to whom she had proved an affectionate wife. Her care had for several years been assiduously bestowed on the proper rearing of her only child William, who, being born in 1808, had reached his twenty-second year when he succeeded to the title on the death of his father. This young nobleman warmly reciprocated his mother's affectionate devotedness; and, making her the associate of his manhood, proved a source of much comfort to her in her bereavement. In 1837, he resolved, in her society, to visit the Continent, in the hope of being recruited by change of climate from an attack of influenza caught in the spring of that year. But the change did not avail; he was seized with a violent cold at Brussels, which, after an illness of six weeks, proved fatal. He died in that city on the 7th of December 1837. Deprived both of her husband and her only child, a young nobleman of so much promise, and of singular Christian worth, Lady Nairn, though submitting to the mysterious dispensations with becoming resignation, did not regain her wonted buoyancy of spirit. Old age was rapidly approaching,—those years in which the words of the inspired sage, "I have no pleasure in them," are too frequently called forth by the pressure of human infirmities. But this amiable lady did not sink[Pg 188] under the load of affliction and of years: she mourned in hope, and wept in faith. While the afflictions which had mingled with her cup of blessings tended to prevent her lingering too intently on the past,[45] the remembrance of a life devoted to deeds of piety and virtue was a solace greater than any other earthly object could impart, leading her to hail the future with sentiments of joyful anticipation. During the last years of her life, unfettered by worldly ties, she devoted all her energies to the service of Heaven, and to the advancement of Christian truth. Her beautiful ode, "Would you be young again?" was composed in 1842, and enclosed in a letter to a friend; it is signally expressive of the pious resignation and Christian hope of the author.

After the important era of her marriage, she seems to have relinquished her literary ardour. But in the year 1821, Mr Robert Purdie, an enterprising music-seller in Edinburgh, having resolved to publish a series of the more approved national songs, made application to several ladies celebrated for their musical skill, with the view of obtaining their assistance in the arrangement of the melodies. To these ladies was known the secret of Lady Nairn's devotedness to Scottish song, enjoying as they did her literary correspondence and private intimacy; and in consenting to aid the publisher in his undertaking, they calculated on contributions from their accomplished friend. They had formed a correct estimate: Lady Nairn, whose extreme diffidence had hitherto proved a barrier to the fulfilment of the best wishes of her heart, in effecting the reformation of[Pg 189] the national minstrelsy, consented to transmit pieces for insertion, on the express condition that her name and rank, and every circumstance connected with her history, should be kept in profound secrecy. The condition was carefully observed; so that, although the publication of "The Scottish Minstrel" extended over three years, and she had several personal interviews and much correspondence with the publisher and his editor, Mr R. A. Smith, both these individuals remained ignorant of her real name. She had assumed the signature, "B. B.," in her correspondence with Mr Purdie, who appears to have been entertained by the discovery, communicated in confidence, that the name of his contributor was "Mrs Bogan of Bogan;" and by this designation he subsequently addressed her. The nom de guerre of the two B.'s[46] is attached to the greater number of Lady Nairn's contributions in "The Scottish Minstrel."

The new collection of minstrelsy, unexceptionable as it was in the words attached to all the airs, commanded a wide circulation, and excited general attention. The original contributions were especially commended, and some of them were forthwith sung by professed vocalists in the principal towns. Much speculation arose respecting the authorship, and various conjectures were supported, each with plausible arguments, by the public journalists. In these circumstances, Lady Nairn expe[Pg 190]rienced painful alarm, lest, by any inadvertence on the part of her friends, the origin of her songs should be traced. While the publication of the "Minstrel" was proceeding, her correspondents received repeated injunctions to adopt every caution in preserving her incognita; she was even desirous that her sex might not be made known. "I beg the publisher will make no mention of a lady," she wrote to one of her correspondents, "as you observe, the more mystery the better, and still the balance is in favour of the lords of creation. I cannot help, in some degree, undervaluing beforehand what is said to be a feminine production." "The Scottish Minstrel" was completed in 1824, in six royal octavo volumes, forming one of the best collections of the Scottish melodies. It was in the full belief that "Mrs Bogan" was her real name, that the following compliment was paid to Lady Nairn by Messrs Purdie and R. A. Smith, in the advertisement to the last volume of the work:—"In particular, the editors would have felt happy in being permitted to enumerate the many original and beautiful verses that adorn their pages, for which they are indebted to the author of the much-admired song, 'The Land o' the Leal;' but they fear to wound a delicacy which shrinks from all observation."

Subsequent to the appearance of "The Scottish Minstrel," Lady Nairn did not publish any lyrics; and she was eminently successful in preserving her incognita. No critic ventured to identify her as the celebrated "B. B.," and it was only whispered among a few that she had composed "The Land o' the Leal." The mention of her name publicly as the author of this beautiful ode, on one occasion, had signally disconcerted her. While she was resident in Paris, in 1842, she writes to an intimate friend in Edinburgh on this subject:—"A[Pg 191] Scottish lady here, Lady——, with whom I never met in Scotland, is so good as, among perfect strangers, to denounce me as the origin of 'The Land o' the Leal!' I cannot trace it, but very much dislike as ever any kind of publicity." The extreme diffidence and shrinking modesty of the amiable author continued to the close of her life; she never divulged, beyond a small circle of confidential friends, the authorship of a single verse. The songs published in her youth had been given to others; but, as in the case of Lady Anne Barnard, these assignments caused her no uneasiness. She experienced much gratification in finding her simple minstrelsy supplanting the coarse and demoralising rhymes of a former period; and this mental satisfaction she preferred to fame.

The philanthropic efforts of Lady Nairn were not limited to the purification of the national minstrelsy; her benevolence extended towards the support of every institution likely to promote the temporal comforts, or advance the spiritual interests of her countrymen. Her contributions to the public charities were ample, and she

"Did good by stealth, and blush'd to find it fame."

In an address delivered at Edinburgh, on the 29th of December 1845, Dr Chalmers, referring to the exertions which had been made for the supply of religious instruction in the district of the West Port of Edinburgh, made the following remarks regarding Lady Nairn, who was then recently deceased:—"Let me speak now as to the countenance we have received. I am now at liberty to mention a very noble benefaction which I received about a year ago. Inquiry was made at me by a lady, mentioning that she had a sum at her disposal, and that she wished to apply it to charitable purposes; and she[Pg 192] wanted me to enumerate a list of charitable objects, in proportion to the estimate I had of their value. Accordingly, I furnished her with a scale of about five or six charitable objects. The highest in the scale were those institutions which had for their design the Christianising of the people at home; and I also mentioned to her, in connexion with the Christianising at home, what we were doing at the West Port; and there came to me from her, in the course of a day or two, no less a sum than £300. She is now dead; she is now in her grave, and her works do follow her. When she gave me this noble benefaction, she laid me under strict injunctions of secrecy, and, accordingly, I did not mention her name to any person; but after she was dead, I begged of her nearest heir that I might be allowed to proclaim it, because I thought that her example, so worthy to be followed, might influence others in imitating her; and I am happy to say that I am now at liberty to state that it was Lady Nairn of Perthshire. It enabled us, at the expense of £330, to purchase sites for schools, and a church; and we have got a site in the very heart of the locality, with a very considerable extent of ground for a washing-green, a washing-house, and a play-ground for the children, so that we are a good step in advance towards the completion of our parochial economy."

After the death of her son, and till within two years of her own death, Lady Nairn resided chiefly on the Continent, and frequently in Paris. Her health had for several years been considerably impaired, and latterly she had recourse to a wheeled chair. In the mansion of Gask, on the 27th of October 1845, she gently sunk into her rest, at the advanced age of seventy-nine years.

Some years subsequent to this event, it occurred to the relatives and literary friends of the deceased Baroness that[Pg 193] as there could no longer be any reason for retaining her incognita, full justice should be done to her memory by the publication of a collected edition of her works. This scheme was partially executed in an elegant folio, entitled "Lays from Strathearn: by Carolina, Baroness Nairn. Arranged with Symphonies and Accompaniments for the Pianoforte, by Finlay Dun." It bears the imprint of London, and has no date. In this work, of which a new edition will speedily be published by Messrs Paterson, music-sellers, Edinburgh, are contained seventy songs, but the larger proportion of the author's lyrics still remain in MS. From her representatives we have received permission to select her best lyrics for the present work, and to insert several pieces hitherto unpublished. Of the lays which we have selected, several are new versions to old airs; the majority, though unknown as the compositions of Lady Nairn, are already familiar in the drawing-room and the cottage. For winning simplicity, graceful expression, and exquisite pathos, her compositions are especially remarkable; but when her muse prompts to humour, the laugh is sprightly and overpowering.

In society, Lady Nairn was reserved and unassuming. Her countenance, naturally beautiful, wore, in her mature years, a somewhat pensive cast; and the characteristic by which she was known consisted in her enthusiastic love of music. It may be added, that she was fond of the fine arts, and was skilled in the use of the pencil.[Pg 194]


There 's high and low, there 's rich and poor,
There 's trades and crafts enew, man;
But, east and west, his trade 's the best,
That kens to guide the pleugh, man.
Then, come, weel speed my pleughman lad,
And hey my merry pleughman;
Of a' the trades that I do ken,
Commend me to the pleughman.
His dreams are sweet upon his bed,
His cares are light and few, man;
His mother's blessing 's on his head,
That tents her weel, the pleughman.
Then, come, weel speed, &c.
The lark, sae sweet, that starts to meet
The morning fresh and new, man;
Blythe though she be, as blythe is he
That sings as sweet, the pleughman.
Then, come, weel speed, &c.
All fresh and gay, at dawn of day
Their labours they renew, man;
Heaven bless the seed, and bless the soil,
And Heaven bless the pleughman.
Then, come, weel speed, &c.
[Pg 195]


Wha 'll buy caller herrin'?
They 're bonnie fish and halesome farin';
Wha 'll buy caller herrin',
New drawn frae the Forth?
When ye were sleepin' on your pillows,
Dream'd ye ought o' our puir fellows,
Darkling as they faced the billows,
A' to fill the woven willows.
Buy my caller herrin',
New drawn frae the Forth.
Wha 'll buy my caller herrin'?
They 're no brought here without brave daring;
Buy my caller herrin',
Haul'd thro' wind and rain.
Wha 'll buy caller herrin'? &c.
Wha 'll buy my caller herrin'?
Oh, ye may ca' them vulgar farin'!
Wives and mithers, maist despairin',
Ca' them lives o' men.
Wha 'll buy caller herrin'? &c.
[Pg 196]
When the creel o' herrin' passes,
Ladies, clad in silks and laces,
Gather in their braw pelisses,
Cast their heads, and screw their faces.
Wha 'll buy caller herrin'? &c.
Caller herrin 's no got lightlie;
Ye can trip the spring fu' tightlie;
Spite o' tauntin', flauntin', flingin',
Gow has set you a' a-singin'.
Wha 'll buy caller herrin'? &c.
Neebour wives, now tent my tellin',
When the bonny fish ye 're sellin',
At ae word be in yer dealin'—
Truth will stand when a' thing 's failin'.
Wha 'll buy caller herrin'? &c.


I 'm wearin' awa', John,
Like snaw wreaths in thaw, John;
I 'm wearin' awa'
To the land o' the leal.
There 's nae sorrow there, John;
There 's neither cauld nor care, John;
The day 's aye fair
I' the land o' the leal.
[Pg 197]
Our bonnie bairn 's there, John;
She was baith gude and fair, John;
And, oh! we grudged her sair
To the land o' the leal.
But sorrows sel' wears past, John,
And joy 's a-comin' fast, John—
The joy that 's aye to last
In the land o' the leal.
Sae dear 's that joy was bought, John,
Sae free the battle fought, John,
That sinfu' man e'er brought
To the land o' the leal.
Oh, dry your glist'ning e'e, John!
My saul langs to be free, John;
And angels beckon me
To the land o' the leal.
Oh, haud ye leal and true, John!
Your day it 's wearin' thro', John;
And I 'll welcome you
To the land o' the leal.
Now, fare ye weel, my ain John,
This warld's cares are vain, John;
We 'll meet, and we 'll be fain,
In the land o' the leal.
[Pg 198]


The Laird o' Cockpen he 's proud and he 's great,
His mind is ta'en up with the things o' the state;
He wanted a wife his braw house to keep,
But favour wi' wooin' was fashious to seek.
Down by the dyke-side a lady did dwell,
At his table-head he thought she 'd look well;
M'Clish's ae daughter o' Claverse-ha' Lee,
A penniless lass wi' a lang pedigree.
His wig was weel pouther'd, and as gude as new;
His waistcoat was white, his coat it was blue;
He put on a ring, a sword, and cock'd hat,
And wha' could refuse the Laird wi' a' that?
He took the gray mare, and rade cannily—
And rapp'd at the yett o' Claverse-ha' Lee;
"Gae tell Mistress Jean to come speedily ben,
She 's wanted to speak to the Laird o' Cockpen."
[Pg 199]
Mistress Jean was makin' the elder-flower wine,
"And what brings the Laird at sic a like time?"
She put aff her apron, and on her silk gown,
Her mutch wi' red ribbons, and gaed awa' down.
And when she cam' ben, he bowed fu' low,
And what was his errand he soon let her know;
Amazed was the Laird when the lady said "Na;"
And wi' a laigh curtsie she turned awa'.
Dumbfounder'd he was, nae sigh did he gie;
He mounted his mare—he rade cannily;
And aften he thought, as he gaed through the glen,
She 's daft to refuse the Laird o' Cockpen.
And now that the Laird his exit had made,
Mistress Jean she reflected on what she had said;
"Oh! for ane I 'll get better, it 's waur I 'll get ten,
I was daft to refuse the Laird o' Cockpen."
[Pg 200]
Next time that the Laird and the Lady were seen,
They were gaun arm-in-arm to the kirk on the green;
Now she sits in the ha' like a weel-tappit hen,
But as yet there 's nae chickens appear'd at Cockpen.



In all its rich wildness, her home she is leaving,
In sad and tearful silence grieving,
And still as the moment of parting is nearer,
Each long cherish'd object is fairer and dearer.
Not a grove or fresh streamlet but wakens reflection
Of hearts still and cold, that glow'd with affection;
Not a breeze that blows over the flowers of the wild wood,
But tells, as it passes, how blest was her childhood.
And how long must I leave thee, each fond look expresses,
Ye high rocky summits, ye ivy'd recesses!
How long must I leave thee, thou wood-shaded river,
The echoes all sigh—as they whisper—for ever!
Tho' the autumn winds rave, and the seared leaves fall,
And winter hangs out her cold icy pall—
Yet the footsteps of spring again ye will see,
And the singing of birds—but they sing not for me.
The joys of the past, more faintly recalling,
Sweet visions of peace on her spirit are falling,
And the soft wing of time, as it speeds for the morrow,
Wafts a gale, that is drying the dew-drops of sorrow.
[Pg 201] Hope dawns—and the toils of life's journey beguiling,
The path of the mourner is cheer'd with its smiling;
And there her heart rests, and her wishes all centre,
Where parting is never—nor sorrow can enter.


The bonniest lass in a' the warld,
I 've often heard them telling,
She 's up the hill, she 's down the glen,
She 's in yon lonely dwelling.
But nane could bring her to my mind
Wha lives but in the fancy,
Is 't Kate, or Shusie, Jean, or May,
Is 't Effie, Bess, or Nancy?
Now lasses a' keep a gude heart,
Nor e'er envy a comrade,
For be your een black, blue, or gray,
Ye 're bonniest aye to some lad.
The tender heart, the charming smile,
The truth that ne'er will falter,
Are charms that never can beguile,
And time can never alter.
[Pg 202]


Will ye gang ower the lea-rig,
My ain kind dearie, O?
Will ye gang ower the lea-rig,
My ain kind dearie, O?
Gin ye'll tak heart, and gang wi' me,
Mishap will never steer ye, O;
Gude luck lies ower the lea-rig,
My ain kind dearie, O!
There 's walth ower yon green lea-rig,
My ain kind dearie, O!
There 's walth ower yon green lea-rig,
My ain kind dearie, O!
Its neither land, nor gowd, nor braws—
Let them gang tapsle teerie, O!
It 's walth o' peace, o' love, and truth,
My ain kind dearie, O!


Air"The Muckin' o' Geordie's Byre."

He 's lifeless amang the rude billows,
My tears and my sighs are in vain;
The heart that beat warm for his Jeanie,
Will ne'er beat for mortal again.
[Pg 203] My lane now I am i' the warld,
And the daylight is grievous to me;
The laddie that lo'ed me sae dearly
Lies cauld in the deeps o' the sea.
Ye tempests, sae boist'rously raging,
Rage on as ye list—or be still;
This heart ye sae often hae sicken'd,
Is nae mair the sport o' your will.
Now heartless, I hope not—I fear not,—
High Heaven hae pity on me!
My soul, tho' dismay'd and distracted,
Yet bends to thy awful decree.


Air"I'll never leave thee."

Joy of my earliest days,
Why must I grieve thee?
Theme of my fondest lays,
Oh, I maun leave thee!
Leave thee, love! leave thee, love!
How shall I leave thee?
Absence thy truth will prove,
For, oh! I maun leave thee!
When on yon mossy stane,
Wild weeds o'ergrowin',
Ye sit at e'en your lane,
And hear the burn rowin';
[Pg 204] Oh! think on this partin' hour,
Down by the Garry,
And to Him that has a' the pow'r,
Commend me, my Mary!


Air"Landlady count the lawin'."

Oh, weel's me on my ain man,
My ain man, my ain man!
Oh, weel's me on my ain gudeman!
He 'll aye be welcome hame.
I 'm wae I blamed him yesternight,
For now my heart is feather light;
For gowd I wadna gie the sight;
I see him linking ower the height.
Oh, weel's me on my ain man, &c.
Rin, Jamie, bring the kebbuck ben,
And fin' aneath the speckled hen;
Meg, rise and sweep about the fire,
Syne cry on Johnnie frae the byre.
For weel's me on my ain man,
My ain man, my ain man!
For weel's me on my ain gudeman!
I see him linkin' hame.
[Pg 205]


Robin is my ain gudeman,
Now match him, carlins, gin ye can,
For ilk ane whitest thinks her swan,
But kind Robin lo'es me.
To mak my boast I 'll e'en be bauld,
For Robin lo'ed me young and auld,
In summer's heat and winter's cauld,
My kind Robin lo'es me.
Robin he comes hame at e'en
Wi' pleasure glancin' in his e'en;
He tells me a' he 's heard and seen,
And syne how he lo'es me.
There 's some hae land, and some hae gowd,
Mair wad hae them gin they could,
But a' I wish o' warld's guid,
Is Robin still to lo'e me.


Air"Country Bumpkin."

Hech, hey! the mirth that was there,
The mirth that was there,
The mirth that was there;
Hech, how! the mirth that was there,
In Kitty Reid's house on the green, Jo!
[Pg 206] There was laughin' and singin', and dancin' and glee,
In Kitty's Reid's house, in Kitty Reid's house,
There was laughin' and singin', and dancin' and glee,
In Kitty Reid's house on the green, Jo!
Hech, hey! the fright that was there,
The fright that was there,
The fright that was there;
Hech, how! the fright that was there,
In Kitty Reid's house on the green, Jo!
The light glimmer'd in through a crack i' the wa',
An' a'body thocht the lift it wad fa',
And lads and lasses they soon ran awa'
Frae Kitty's Reid's house on the green, Jo!
Hech, hey! the dule that was there,
The dule that was there,
The dule that was there;
The birds and beasts it wauken'd them a',
In Kitty Reid's house on the green, Jo!
The wa' gaed a hurley, and scatter'd them a',
The piper, the fiddler, auld Kitty, and a';
The kye fell a routin', the cocks they did craw,
In Kitty Reid's house on the green, Jo!


Air"Lochiel's awa' to France."

Their nest was in the leafy bush,
Sae soft and warm, sae soft and warm,
And Robins thought their little brood
All safe from harm, all safe from harm.
[Pg 207] The morning's feast with joy they brought,
To feed their young wi' tender care;
The plunder'd leafy bush they found,
But nest and nestlings saw nae mair.
The mother cou'dna leave the spot,
But wheeling round, and wheeling round,
The cruel spoiler aim'd a shot,
Cured her heart's wound, cured her heart's wound.
She will not hear their helpless cry,
Nor see them pine in slavery!
The burning breast she will not bide,
For wrongs of wanton knavery.
Oh! bonny Robin Redbreast,
Ye trust in men, ye trust in men,
But what their hard hearts are made o',
Ye little ken, ye little ken.
They 'll ne'er wi' your wee skin be warm'd,
Nor wi' your tiny flesh be fed,
But just 'cause you 're a living thing,
It 's sport wi' them to lay you dead.
Ye Hieland and ye Lowland lads,
As birdies gay, as birdies gay,
Oh, spare them, whistling like yoursel's,
And hopping blythe from spray to spray!
Their wings were made to soar aloft,
And skim the air at liberty;
And as you freedom gi'e to them,
May you and yours be ever free!
[Pg 208]


Saw ye nae my Peggy?
Saw ye nae my Peggy?
Saw ye nae my Peggy comin'
Through Tillibelton's broom?
I 'm frae Aberdagie,
Ower the crafts o' Craigie,
For aught I ken o' Peggie,
She 's ayont the moon.
'Twas but at the dawin',
Clear the cock was crawin',
I saw Peggy cawin'
Hawky by the brier.
Early bells were ringin',
Blythest birds were singin',
Sweetest flowers were springin',
A' her heart to cheer.
Now the tempest's blawin',
Almond water 's flowin',
Deep and ford unknowin',
She maun cross the day.
Almond waters, spare her,
Safe to Lynedoch bear her!
Its braes ne'er saw a fairer,
Bess Bell nor Mary Gray.
[Pg 209]
Oh, now to be wi' her!
Or but ance to see her
Skaithless, far or near,
I 'd gie Scotland's crown.
Byeword, blind 's a lover—
Wha 's yon I discover?
Just yer ain fair rover,
Stately stappin' down.


The best o' joys maun hae an end,
The best o' friends maun part, I trow;
The langest day will wear away,
And I maun bid fareweel to you.
The tear will tell when hearts are fu',
For words, gin they hae sense ava,
They 're broken, faltering, and few:
Gude nicht, and joy be wi' you a'!
Oh, we hae wander'd far and wide,
O'er Scotia's lands o' frith and fell!
And mony a simple flower we 've pu'd,
And twined it wi' the heather-bell.
We 've ranged the dingle and the dell,
The cot-house, and the baron's ha';
Now we maun tak a last farewell:
Gude nicht, and joy be wi' you a'!
My harp, fareweel! thy strains are past,
Of gleefu' mirth, and heartfelt care;
The voice of song maun cease at last,
And minstrelsy itsel' decay.
[Pg 210] But, oh! whar sorrow canna win,
Nor parting tears are shed ava',
May we meet neighbour, kith, and kin,
And joy for aye be wi' us a'!


There 's cauld kail in Aberdeen,
There 's castocks in Strabogie;
And morn and e'en, they 're blythe and bein,
That haud them frae the cogie.
Now, haud ye frae the cogie, lads;
O bide ye frae the cogie!
I 'll tell ye true, ye 'll never rue,
O' passin' by the cogie.
Young Will was braw and weel put on,
Sae blythe was he and vogie;
And he got bonnie Mary Don,
The flower o' a' Strabogie.
Wha wad hae thocht, at wooin' time,
He 'd e'er forsaken Mary,
And ta'en him to the tipplin' trade,
Wi' boozin' Rob and Harry?
Sair Mary wrought, sair Mary grat,
She scarce could lift the ladle;
Wi' pithless feet, 'tween ilka greet,
She 'd rock the borrow'd cradle.
[Pg 211] Her weddin' plenishin' was gane,
She never thocht to borrow:
Her bonnie face was waxin' wan—
And Will wrought a' the sorrow.
He 's reelin' hame ae winter's nicht,
Some later than the gloamin';
He 's ta'en the rig, he 's miss'd the brig,
And Bogie 's ower him foamin'.
Wi' broken banes, out ower the stanes,
He creepit up Strabogie;
And a' the nicht he pray'd wi' micht,
To keep him frae the cogie.
Now Mary's heart is light again—
She 's neither sick nor silly;
For auld or young, nae sinfu' tongue,
Could e'er entice her Willie;
And aye the sang through Bogie rang—
"O had ye frae the cogie;
The weary gill 's the sairest ill
On braes o' fair Strabogie."


He 's ower the hills that I lo'e weel,
He 's ower the hills we daurna name;
He 's ower the hills ayont Dunblane,
Wha soon will get his welcome hame.
[Pg 212]
My father's gane to fight for him,
My brithers winna bide at hame;
My mither greets and prays for them,
And 'deed she thinks they 're no to blame.
He 's ower the hills, &c.
The Whigs may scoff, the Whigs may jeer;
But, ah! that love maun be sincere
Which still keeps true whate'er betide,
An' for his sake leaves a' beside.
He 's ower the hills, &c.
His right these hills, his right these plains;
Ower Hieland hearts secure he reigns;
What lads e'er did our laddies will do;
Were I a laddie, I 'd follow him too.
He 's ower the hills, &c.
Sae noble a look, sae princely an air,
Sae gallant and bold, sae young and sae fair;
Oh, did ye but see him, ye 'd do as we've done!
Hear him but ance, to his standard you 'll run.
He 's ower the hills, &c.
Then draw the claymore, for Charlie then fight;
For your country, religion, and a' that is right;
Were ten thousand lives now given to me,
I 'd die as aft for ane o' the three.
He 's ower the hills, &c.
[Pg 213]


Air"Loch Erroch Side."

'Twas on a summer's afternoon,
A wee afore the sun gaed down,
A lassie, wi' a braw new gown,
Cam' ower the hills to Gowrie.
The rose-bud, wash'd in summer's shower,
Bloom'd fresh within the sunny bower;
But Kitty was the fairest flower
That e'er was seen in Gowrie.
[Pg 214]
To see her cousin she cam' there,
An', oh, the scene was passing fair!
For what in Scotland can compare
Wi' the Carse o' Gowrie?
The sun was setting on the Tay,
The blue hills melting into gray;
The mavis' and the blackbird's lay
Were sweetly heard in Gowrie.
Oh, lang the lassie I had woo'd!
An' truth and constancy had vow'd,
But cam' nae speed wi' her I lo'ed,
Until she saw fair Gowrie.
[Pg 215] I pointed to my faither's ha',
Yon bonnie bield ayont the shaw,
Sae loun' that there nae blast could blaw;
Wad she no bide in Gowrie?
Her faither was baith glad and wae;
Her mither she wad naething say;
The bairnies thocht they wad get play
If Kitty gaed to Gowrie.
She whiles did smile, she whiles did greet,
The blush and tear were on her cheek;
She naething said, an' hung her head;
But now she's Leddy Gowrie.


There grows a bonnie brier bush in our kail-yard,
And white are the blossoms o't in our kail-yard,
Like wee bit white cockauds to deck our Hieland lads,
And the lasses lo'e the bonnie bush in our kail-yard.
An' it 's hame, an' it 's hame to the north countrie,
An' it 's hame, an' it 's hame to the north countrie,
Where my bonnie Jean is waiting for me,
Wi' a heart kind and true, in my ain countrie.
"But were they a' true that were far awa?
Oh! were they a' true that were far awa'?
They drew up wi' glaikit Englishers at Carlisle Ha',
And forgot auld frien's that were far awa.
[Pg 216]
"Ye 'll come nae mair, Jamie, where aft ye 've been,
Ye 'll come nae mair, Jamie, to Atholl's green;
Ye lo'ed ower weel the dancin' at Carlisle Ha',
And forgot the Hieland hills that were far awa'."
"I ne'er lo'ed a dance but on Atholl's green,
I ne'er lo'ed a lassie but my dorty Jean,
Sair, sair against my will did I bide sae lang awa',
And my heart was aye in Atholl's green at Carlisle Ha'."
       *       *       *       *       *
The brier bush was bonnie ance in our kail-yard;
The brier bush was bonnie ance in our kail-yard;
A blast blew ower the hill, that gae Atholl's flowers a chill,
And the bloom 's blawn aff the bonnie bush in our kail-yard.


He 's a terrible man, John Tod, John Tod,
He 's a terrible man, John Tod;
He scolds in the house,
He scolds at the door,
He scolds on the vera hie road, John Tod,
He scolds on the vera hie road.
The weans a' fear John Tod, John Tod,
The weans a' fear John Tod;
When he 's passing by,
The mithers will cry,—
Here 's an ill wean, John Tod, John Tod,
Here 's an ill wean, John Tod.
[Pg 217]
The callants a' fear John Tod, John Tod,
The callants a' fear John Tod;
If they steal but a neep,
The callant he 'll whip,
And it 's unco weel done o' John Tod, John Tod,
It 's unco weel done o' John Tod.
An' saw ye nae wee John Tod, John Tod?
Oh, saw ye nae wee John Tod?
His bannet was blue,
His shoon maistly new,
An' weel does he keep the kirk road, John Tod,
Oh, weel does he keep the kirk road.
How is he fendin', John Tod, John Tod?
How is he wendin', John Tod?
He 's scourin' the land,
Wi' his rung in his hand,
An' the French wadna frighten John Tod, John Tod,
An' the French wadna frighten John Tod.
Ye 're sun-brunt and batter'd, John Tod, John Tod
Ye 're tantit and tatter'd, John Tod;
Wi' your auld strippit coul,
Ye look maist like a fule,
But there 's nouse i' the lining,[57] John Tod, John Tod,
But there 's nouse i' the lining, John Tod.
He 's weel respeckit, John Tod, John Tod,
He 's weel respeckit, John Tod;
He 's a terrible man,
But we 'd a' gae wrang
If e'er he sud leave us, John Tod, John Tod,
If e'er he sud leave us, John Tod.
[Pg 218]


Bonnie Charlie 's now awa',
Safely ower the friendly main;
Mony a heart will break in twa
Should he ne'er come back again.
Will ye no come back again?
Will ye no come back again?
Better lo'ed ye canna be—
Will ye no come back again?
Ye trusted in your Hieland men,
They trusted you, dear Charlie!
They kent your hiding in the glen,
Death or exile braving.
Will ye no, &c.
English bribes were a' in vain,
Tho' puir, and puirer, we maun be;
Siller canna buy the heart
That beats aye for thine and thee.
Will ye no, &c.
We watch'd thee in the gloamin' hour,
We watch'd thee in the mornin' gray;
Though thirty thousand pound they gi'e,
Oh, there is none that wad betray!
Will ye no, &c.
Sweet 's the laverock's note, and lang,
Lilting wildly up the glen;
But aye to me he sings ae sang,
Will ye no come back again?
Will ye no, &c.
[Pg 219]


Air"The Rock and the Wee Pickle Tow."

Send a horse to the water, ye 'll no mak him drink,
Send a fule to the college, ye 'll no mak him think;
Send a craw to the singin', an' still he will craw,
An' the wee laird had nae rummulgumshion ava.
Yet is he the pride o' his fond mother's e'e,
In body or mind, nae fau't can she see;
"He 's a fell clever lad, an' a bonny wee man,"
Is aye the beginnin' an' end o' her sang.
An' oh! she 's a haverin' lucky, I trow,
An' oh! she 's a haverin' lucky, I trow;
"He 's a fell clever lad, an' a bonny wee man,"
Is aye the beginnin' an' end o' her sang.
His legs they are bow'd, his een they do glee,
His wig, whiles it 's aff, and when on, it 's ajee;
He 's braid as he 's lang, an' ill-faur'd is he,
A dafter-like body I never did see.
An' yet for this cratur' she says I am deein',
When that I deny, she 's fear'd at my leein';
Obliged to put up wi' this sair defamation,
I'm liken to dee wi' grief an' vexation.
An' oh! she 's a haverin' lucky, &c.
An' her clishmaclavers gang a' through the toun,
An' the wee lairdie trows I 'll hang or I 'll droun.
Wi' his gawky-like face, yestreen he did say,
"I 'll maybe tak you, for Bess I 'll no hae,
Nor Mattie, nor Effie, nor lang-legged Jeanie,
Nor Nelly, nor Katie, nor skirlin' wee Beenie."
[Pg 220] I stappit my ears, ran aff in a fury—
I 'm thinkin' to bring them afore judge an' jury.
For oh! what a randy auld luckie is she, &c.
Freen's! gi'e your advice!—I 'll follow your counsel—
Maun I speak to the Provost, or honest Toun Council,
Or the writers, or lawyers, or doctors? now say,
For the law on the lucky I shall an' will hae.
The hale toun at me are jibin' and jeerin',
For a leddy like me it 's really past bearin';
The lucky maun now hae dune wi' her claverin',
For I 'll no put up wi' her nor her haverin'.
For oh! she 's a randy, I trow, I trow,
For oh! she 's a randy, I trow, I trow;
"He 's a fell clever lad, an' a bonny wee man,"
Is aye the beginnin' an' end o' her sang.


Air"Happy Land."

Songs of my native land,
To me how dear!
Songs of my infancy,
Sweet to mine ear!
Entwined with my youthful days,
Wi' the bonny banks and braes,
Where the winding burnie strays,
Murmuring near.
Strains of my native land,
That thrill the soul,
Pouring the magic of
Your soft control!
[Pg 221] Often has your minstrelsy
Soothed the pang of misery,
Winging rapid thoughts away
To realms on high.
Weary pilgrims there have rest,
Their wand'rings o'er;
There the slave, no more oppress'd,
Hails Freedom's shore.
Sin shall then no more deface,
Sickness, pain, and sorrow cease,
Ending in eternal peace,
And songs of joy!
There, when the seraphs sing,
In cloudless day;
There, where the higher praise
The ransom'd pay.
Soft strains of the happy land,
Chanted by the heavenly band,
Who can fully understand
How sweet ye be!


Oh, Castell Gloom! thy strength is gone,
The green grass o'er thee growin';
On hill of Care thou art alone,
The Sorrow round thee flowin'.
[Pg 222] Oh, Castell Gloom! on thy fair wa's
Nae banners now are streamin',
The houlet flits amang thy ha's,
And wild birds there are screamin'.
Oh! mourn the woe, oh! mourn the crime,
Frae civil war that flows;
Oh! mourn, Argyll, thy fallen line,
And mourn the great Montrose.
Here ladies bright were aften seen,
Here valiant warriors trod;
And here great Knox has aften been,
Wha fear'd nought but his God!
But a' are gane! the guid, the great,
And naething now remains,
But ruin sittin' on thy wa's,
And crumblin' down the stanes.
Oh! mourn the woe, &c.
Thy lofty Ochils bright did glow,
Though sleepin' was the sun;
But mornin's light did sadly show,
What ragin' flames had done.
Oh, mirk, mirk was the misty cloud,
That hung o'er thy wild wood!
Thou wert like beauty in a shroud,
And all was solitude.
Oh! mourn the woe, &c.
[Pg 223]


Lane, on the winding Earn there stands
An unco tow'r, sae stern an' auld,
Biggit by lang forgotten hands,
Ance refuge o' the Wallace bauld.
Time's restless fingers sair hath waur'd
And rived thy gray disjaskit wa',
But rougher hands nor Time's hae daur'd
To wrang thee, bonnie Gascon Ha'!
Oh, may a muse unkent to fame
For this dim greesome relic sue,
It 's linkit wi' a patriot's name,
The truest Scotland ever knew.
Just leave in peace each mossy stane
Tellin' o' nations' rivalry,
An' for succeeding ages hain
Remains o' Scottish chivalry.
       *       *       *       *       *
What though no monument to thee
Is biggit by thy country's hand;
Engraved are thy immortal deeds
On every heart o' this braid land.
Rude Time may monuments ding doun,
An' tow'rs an' wa's maun a' decay;
Enduring, deathless, noble chief,
Thy name can never pass away!
[Pg 224]
Gi'e pillar'd fame to common men,—
Nae need o' cairns for ane like thee;
In every cave, wood, hill, and glen,
"Wallace" remember'd aye shall be.


Oh, the auld house, the auld house!
What though the rooms were wee?
Oh, kind hearts were dwelling there,
And bairnies fu' o' glee!
The wild-rose and the jesamine
Still hang upon the wa';
How mony cherish'd memories
Do they, sweet flowers, reca'!
Oh, the auld laird, the auld laird!
Sae canty, kind, and crouse;
How mony did he welcome to
His ain wee dear auld house!
And the leddy too, sae genty,
There shelter'd Scotland's heir,
And clipt a lock wi' her ain hand
Frae his lang yellow hair.
The mavis still doth sweetly sing,
The blue bells sweetly blaw,
The bonnie Earn 's clear winding still,
But the auld house is awa'.
The auld house, the auld house,
Deserted though ye be,
There ne'er can be a new house,
Will seem sae fair to me.
[Pg 225]
Still flourishing the auld pear tree
The bairnies liked to see,
And oh, how aften did they speir
When ripe they a' wad be!
The voices sweet, the wee bit feet
Aye rinnin' here and there,
The merry shout—oh! whiles we greet
To think we 'll hear nae mair.
For they are a' wide scatter'd now,
Some to the Indies gane,
And ane, alas! to her lang hame;
Not here we 'll meet again.
The kirkyaird, the kirkyaird,
Wi' flowers o' every hue,
Shelter'd by the holly's shade,
An' the dark sombre yew.
The setting sun, the setting sun,
How glorious it gaed down;
The cloudy splendour raised our hearts
To cloudless skies aboon!
The auld dial, the auld dial,
It tauld how time did pass;
The wintry winds hae dung it down,—
Now hid 'mang weeds and grass.
[Pg 226]


Air"Hundred Pipers."

Wi' a hundred pipers, an' a', an' a',
Wi' a hundred pipers, an' a', an' a',
We 'll up, and we 'll gi'e them a blaw, a blaw,
Wi' a hundred pipers, an' a', an' a'.
It is ower the border, awa', awa',
It is ower the border, awa', awa',
Oh, we 'll on, an' we 'll march to Carlisle ha',
Wi' its yetts, its castel, an' a', an' a'.
Oh, our brave sodger lads look'd braw, an' braw,
Wi' their tartans, their kilts, an' a', an' a',
Wi' bannets an' feathers, an' glittrin' gear,
An' pibrochs soundin' sae sweet an' clear.
Will they a' come hame to their ain dear glen?
Will they a' return, our brave Hieland men?
Oh, second-sighted Sandie look'd fu' wae,
An' mithers grat sair whan they march'd away.
Wi' a hundred pipers, &c.
Oh, wha is the foremaist o' a', o' a'?
Wha is it first follows the blaw, the blaw?
Bonnie Charlie, the king o' us a', us a',
Wi' his hundred pipers, an' a', an' a'.
[Pg 227] His bannet and feather, he 's waving high,
His prancin' steed maist seems to fly;
The nor' wind plays wi' his curly hair,
While the pipers blaw up an unco flare!
Wi' his hundred pipers, &c.
The Esk was swollen sae red an' sae deep,
But shouther to shouther the brave lads keep;
Twa thousand swam ower to fell English ground,
An' danced themselves dry to the pibroch sound.
Dumfounder'd the English were a', were a',
Dumfounder'd they a' heard the blaw, the blaw,
Dumfounder'd they a' ran awa', awa',
Frae the hundred pipers, an' a', an' a'.
Wi' a hundred pipers, &c.


The women are a' gane wud,
Oh, that he had biden awa'!
He 's turn'd their heads, the lad,
And ruin will bring on us a'.
George was a peaceable man,
My wife she did doucely behave;
But now dae a' that I can,
She 's just as wild as the lave.
My wife she wears the cockade,
Tho' I 've bidden her no to do sae,
She has a true friend in her maid,
And they ne'er mind a word that I say.
[Pg 228] The wild Hieland lads as they pass,
The yetts wide open do flee;
They eat the very house bare,
And nae leave 's speer'd o' me.
I 've lived a' my days in the Strath
Now Tories infest me at hame,
And tho' I tak nae side at a',
Baith sides will gae me the blame.
The senseless creturs ne'er think
What ill the lad wad bring back;
The Pope we 'd hae, and the d—l,
And a' the rest o' his pack.


St Leonard's hill was lightsome land,
Where gowan'd grass was growin',
For man and beast were food and rest,
And milk and honey flowin'.
A father's blessing follow'd close,
Where'er her foot was treading,
And Jeanie's humble, hamely joys
On every side were spreading wide,
On every side were spreading.
The mossy turf on Arthur's Seat,
St Anthon's well aye springin';
The lammies playing at her feet,
The birdies round her singin'.
[Pg 229] The solemn haunts o' Holyrood,
Wi' bats and hoolits eerie,
The tow'ring crags o' Salisbury,
The lowly wells o' Weary, O[62]
The lowly wells o' Weary.
But evil days and evil men,
Came ower their sunny dwellin',
Like thunder-storms on sunny skies,
Or wastefu' waters swellin'.
What aince was sweet is bitter now,
The sun of joy is setting;
In eyes that wont to glame wi' glee,
The briny tear is wetting fast,
The briny tear is wetting.
Her inmost thoughts to Heaven is sent,
In faithful supplication;
Her earthly stay 's Macallummore,
The guardian o' the nation.
A hero's heart—a sister's love—
A martyr's truth unbending;
They 're a' in Jeanie's tartan plaid—
And she is gane, her leefu' lane,
To Lunnon toun she 's wending!
[Pg 230]


Gaelic Air"Mo Leannan Falnich."

I 'll no be had for naething,
I 'll no be had for naething,
I tell ye, lads, that 's ae thing,
So ye needna follow me.
Oh, the change is most surprising,
Last year I was plain Betty Brown,
Now to me they 're a' aspiring,—
The fair Elizabeth I am grown!
What siller does is most amazing,
Nane o' them e'er look'd at me,
Now my charms they a' are praising,
For my sake they 're like to dee.
The Laird, the Shirra, and the Doctor,
Wi' twa three Lords o' high degree;
Wi' heaps o' Writers I could mention—
Oh, surely this is no me!
But I 'll no, &c.
The yett is now for ever ringing,
Showers o' valentines aye bringing,
Fill'd wi' Cupids, flames, and darts,
Fae auld and young, wi' broken hearts.
The siller, O the weary siller!
Aft in toil and trouble sought,
But better far it should be sae,
Than that true hearts should e'er be bought.
Sae I 'll no, &c.
[Pg 231]
But there is ane, when I had naething,
A' his heart he gi'ed to me;
And sair he toil'd for a wee thing,
To bring me when he cam frae sea.
If ever I should marry ony,
He will be the lad for me;
For he was baith gude and bonny,
And he thought the same o' me.
Sae I 'll no, &c.


The mitherless lammie ne'er miss'd its ain mammie,
We tentit it kindly by night and by day,
The bairnies made game o't, it had a blithe hame o't,
Its food was the gowan—its music was "mai."
Without tie or fetter, it couldna been better,
But it would gae witless the world to see;
The foe that it fear'd not, it saw not, it heard not,
Was watching its wand'ring frae Bonnington Lea.
Oh, what then befell it, 't were waefu' to tell it,
Tod Lowrie kens best, wi' his lang head sae sly;
He met the pet lammie, that wanted its mammie,
And left its kind hame the wide world to try.
We miss'd it at day-dawn, we miss'd it at night-fa'in',
Its wee shed is tenantless under the tree,
Ae dusk i' the gloamin' it wad gae a roamin';
'T will frolic nae mair upon Bonnington Lea.
[Pg 232]


Oh, some will tune their mournfu' strains,
To tell o' hame-made sorrow,
And if they cheat you o' your tears,
They 'll dry upon the morrow.
Oh, some will sing their airy dreams,
In verity they're sportin',
My sang 's o' nae sic thieveless themes,
But wakin' true misfortune.
Ye Scottish nobles, ane and a',
For loyalty attainted,
A nameless bardie 's wae to see
Your sorrows unlamented;
For if your fathers ne'er had fought
For heirs of ancient royalty,
Ye 're down the day that might hae been
At the top o' honour's tree a'.
For old hereditary right,
For conscience' sake they stoutly stood;
And for the crown their valiant sons
Themselves have shed their injured blood;
And if their fathers ne'er had fought
For heirs of ancient royalty,
They 're down the day that might hae been
At the top o' honour's tree a'.
[Pg 233]


True love is water'd aye wi' tears,
It grows 'neath stormy skies,
It 's fenced around wi' hopes and fears
An' fann'd wi' heartfelt sighs.
Wi' chains o' gowd it will no be bound,
Oh! wha the heart can buy?
The titled glare, the warldling's care,
Even absence 'twill defy,
Even absence 'twill defy.
And time, that kills a' ither things,
His withering touch 'twill brave,
'Twill live in joy, 'twill live in grief,
'Twill live beyond the grave!
'Twill live, 'twill live, though buried deep,
In true heart's memorie—
Oh! we forgot that ane sae fair,
Sae bricht, sae young, could dee,
Sae young could dee.
Unfeeling hands may touch the chord
Where buried griefs do lie—
How many silent agonies
May that rude touch untie!
But, oh! I love that plaintive lay—
That dear auld melodie!
For, oh, 'tis sweet!—yet I maun greet,
For it was sung by thee,
Sung by thee!
[Pg 234]
They may forget wha lichtly love,
Or feel but beauty's chain;
But they wha loved a heavenly mind
Can never love again!
A' my dreams o' warld's guid
Aye were turn'd wi' thee,
But I leant on a broken reed
Which soon was ta'en frae me,
Ta'en frae me.
'Tis weel, 'tis weel, we dinna ken
What we may live to see,
'Twas Mercy's hand that hung the veil
O'er sad futurity!
Oh, ye whose hearts are scathed and riven,
Wha feel the warld is vain,
Oh, fix your broken earthly ties
Where they ne'er will break again,
Break again!


Ah, little did my mother think
When to me she sung,
What a heartbreak I would be,
Her young and dautit son.
And oh! how fond she was o' me
In plaid and bonnet braw,
When I bade farewell to the north countrie,
And marching gaed awa!
[Pg 235]
Ah! little did my mother think
A banish'd man I 'd be,
Sent frae a' my kith and kin,
Them never mair to see.
Oh! father, 'twas the sugar'd drap
Aft ye did gi'e to me,
That has brought a' this misery
Baith to you and me.


Air"Ailen Aroon."

Would you be young again?
So would not I—
One tear to memory given,
Onward I 'd hie.
Life's dark flood forded o'er,
All but at rest on shore,
Say, would you plunge once more,
With home so nigh?
If you might, would you now
Retrace your way?
Wander through stormy wilds,
Faint and astray?
Night's gloomy watches fled,
Morning all beaming red,
Hope's smiles around us shed,
[Pg 236]
Where, then, are those dear ones,
Our joy and delight?
Dear and more dear though now
Hidden from sight.
Where they rejoice to be,
There is the land for me;
Fly, time, fly speedily;
Come, life and light.


What 's this vain world to me?
Rest is not here;
False are the smiles I see,
The mirth I hear.
Where is youth's joyful glee?
Where all once dear to me?
Gone, as the shadows flee—
Rest is not here.
Why did the morning shine
Blythely and fair?
Why did those tints so fine
Vanish in air?
Does not the vision say,
Faint, lingering heart, away,
Why in this desert stay—
Dark land of care!
Where souls angelic soar,
Thither repair;
Let this vain world no more
Lull and ensnare.
[Pg 237] That heaven I love so well
Still in my heart shall dwell;
All things around me tell
Rest is found there.


Air"Here 's a health to ane I lo'e weel."

Here 's to them, to them that are gane;
Here 's to them, to them that are gane;
Here 's to them that were here, the faithful and dear,
That will never be here again—no, never.
But where are they now that are gane?
Oh, where are the faithful and true?
They 're gane to the light that fears not the night,
An' their day of rejoicing shall end—no, never.
Here 's to them, to them that were here;
Here 's to them, to them that were here;
Here 's a tear and a sigh to the bliss that 's gane by,
But 'twas ne'er like what 's coming, to last—for ever.
Oh, bright was their morning sun!
Oh, bright was their morning sun!
Yet, lang ere the gloaming, in clouds it gaed down;
But the storm and the cloud are now past—for ever.
Fareweel, fareweel! parting silence is sad;
Oh, how sad the last parting tear!
But that silence shall break, where no tear on the cheek
Can bedim the bright vision again—no, never.
[Pg 238] Then, speed to the wings of old Time,
That waft us where pilgrims would be;
To the regions of rest, to the shores of the blest,
Where the full tide of glory shall flow—for ever.



Fareweel, O fareweel!
My heart it is sair;
Fareweel, O fareweel!
I 'll see him nae mair.
Lang, lang was he mine,
Lang, lang—but nae mair;
I mauna repine,
But my heart it is sair.
His staff 's at the wa',
Toom, toom is his chair!
His bannet, an' a'!
An' I maun be here!
But oh! he 's at rest,
Why sud I complain?
Gin my soul be blest,
I 'll meet him again.
Oh, to meet him again,
Where hearts ne'er were sair!
Oh, to meet him again,
To part never mair!
[Pg 239]


Go, call for the mourners, and raise the lament,
Let the tresses be torn, and the garments be rent;
But weep not for him who is gone to his rest,
Nor mourn for the ransom'd, nor wail for the blest.
The sun is not set, but is risen on high,
Nor long in corruption his body shall lie—
Then let not the tide of thy griefs overflow,
Nor the music of heaven be discord below;
Rather loud be the song, and triumphant the chord,
Let us joy for the dead who have died in the Lord.
Go, call for the mourners, and raise the lament,
Let the tresses be torn, and the garments be rent;
But give to the living thy passion of tears
Who walk in this valley of sadness and fears,
Who are press'd by the combat, in darkness are lost,
By the tempest are beat, on the billows are toss'd.
Oh, weep not for those who shall sorrow no more,
Whose warfare is ended, whose combat is o'er;
Let the song be exalted, be triumphant the chord,
And rejoice for the dead who have died in the Lord.
[Pg 240]


James Nicol, the son of Michael Nicol and Marion Hope, was born at Innerleithen, in the county of Peebles, on the 28th of September 1769. Having acquired the elements of classical knowledge under Mr Tate, the parochial schoolmaster, he was sent to the University of Edinburgh, where he pursued study with unflinching assiduity and success. On completing his academical studies, he was licensed as a probationer by the Presbytery of Peebles. His first professional employment was as an assistant to the minister of Traquair, a parish bordering on that of Innerleithen; and on the death of the incumbent, Mr Nicol succeeded to the living. On the 4th of November 1802, he was ordained to the ministerial office; and on the 25th of the same month and year, he espoused Agnes Walker, a native of Glasgow, and the sister of his immediate predecessor, who had for a considerable period possessed a warm place in his affections, and been the heroine of his poetical reveries. He had for some time been in the habit of communicating verses to the Edinburgh Magazine; and he afterwards published a collection of "Poems, chiefly in the Scottish Dialect," Edinburgh, 1805, 2 vols. 12mo. This publication, which was well received, contains some lyrical effusions that entitle the author to a respectable rank among the modern cultivators of national poetry; yet it is to be regretted that a deep admiration of Burns has led him into an imitation, somewhat servile, of that immortal bard.[Pg 241]

At Traquair Mr Nicol continued to devote himself to mental improvement. He read extensively; and writing upon the subject of his studies was his daily habit. He was never robust, being affected with a chronic disorder of the stomach; and when sickness prevented him, as occasionally happened, from writing in a sitting posture, he would for hours together have devoted himself to composition in a standing position. Of his prose writings, which were numerous, the greater number still remain in MS., in the possession of his elder son. During his lifetime, he contributed a number of articles to the Edinburgh Encyclopædia, among which are "Baptism," "Baptistry," "Baptists," "Bithynia," and "Cranmer." His posthumous work, "An Essay on the Nature and Design of Scripture Sacrifices," was published in an octavo volume in the year 1823.

Mr Nicol was much respected for his sound discernment in matters of business, as well as for his benevolent disposition. Every dispute in the vicinity was submitted to his adjudication, and his counsel checked all differences in the district. He was regularly consulted as a physician, for he had studied medicine at the University. From his own medicine chest he dispensed gratuitously to the indigent sick; and without fee he vaccinated all the children of the neighbourhood who were brought to him. After a short illness, he died on the 5th of November 1819. Of a family of three sons and three daughters, the eldest son predeceased him; two sons and two daughters still survive. The elder son, who bears his father's Christian name, is Professor of Civil and Natural History in Marischal College, Aberdeen, and is well known as a geologist. Mrs Nicol survived her husband till the 19th of March 1845.[Pg 242]


Blaw saftly, ye breezes, ye streams, smoothly murmur,
Ye sweet-scented blossoms, deck every green tree;
'Mong your wild scatter'd flow'rets aft wanders my charmer,
The sweet lovely lass wi' the black rollin' e'e.
For pensive I ponder, and languishin' wander,
Far frae the sweet rosebud on Quair's windin' stream!
Why, Heaven, wring my heart wi' the hard heart o' anguish?
Why torture my bosom 'tween hope and despair?
When absent frae Nancy, I ever maun languish!—
That dear angel smile, shall it charm me nae mair?
Since here life 's a desert, an' pleasure 's a dream,
Bear me swift to those banks which are ever my theme,
Where, mild as the mornin' at simmer's returnin',
Blooms the sweet lovely rosebud on Quair's windin' stream.


By yon hoarse murmurin' stream, 'neath the moon's chilly beam,
Sadly musin' I wander, an' the tear fills my e'e;
Recollection, pensive power, brings back the mournfu' hour,
When the laddie gaed awa' that is dear, dear to me.
[Pg 243]
The tender words he said, and the faithfu' vows he made,
When we parted, to my bosom a mournfu' pleasure gie;
An' I lo'e to pass the day where we fondly used to stray,
An' repeat the laddie's name that is dear, dear to me.
Though the flow'rets gem the vales, an' scent the whisperin' gales,
An' the birds fill wi' music the sweetly-bloomin' tree;
Though nature bid rejoice, yet sorrow tunes my voice,
For the laddie 's far awa' that is dear, dear to me!
When the gloamin' brings alang the time o' mirth an' sang,
An' the dance kindles joy in ilka youthfu' e'e,
My neebours aften speir, why fa's the hidden tear?
But they kenna he's awa' that is dear, dear to me.
Oh, for the happy hour, when I shall hae the power,
To the darlin' o' my soul, on wings o' love, to flee!
Or that the day wad come, when fortune shall bring home,
The laddie to my arms that is dear, dear to me.
But if—for much I fear—that day will ne'er appear,
Frae me conceal in darkness the cruel stern decree;
For life wad a' be vain, were I ne'er to meet again,
Wi' the laddie far awa' that is dear, dear to me.
[Pg 244]


Meg, muckin' at Geordie's byre,
Wrought as gin her judgment was wrang;
Ilk daud o' the scartle strake fire,
While loud as a lavrock she sang.
Her Geordie had promised to marry,
An' Meg, a sworn fae to despair,
Not dreamin' the job could miscarry,
Already seem'd mistress an' mair.
"My neebours," she sang, "aften jeer me,
An' ca' me daft haluckit Meg,
An' say they expect soon to hear me,
I' the kirk, for my fun, get a fleg.
An' now, 'bout my marriage they 'll clatter,
An' Geordie, puir fallow, they ca'
An auld doited hav'rel,—nae matter,
He 'll keep me aye brankin an' braw.
"I grant ye, his face is kenspeckle,
That the white o' his e'e is turn'd out,
That his black beard is rough as a heckle,
That his mou' to his lug 's rax'd about;
But they needna let on that he 's crazie,
His pikestaff will ne'er let him fa';
Nor that his hair 's white as a daisy,
For fient a hair has he ava'.
"But a weel-plenish'd mailin has Geordie,
An' routh o' gude gowd in his kist,
An' if siller comes at my wordie,
His beauty I never will miss 't.
[Pg 245] Daft gowks, wha catch fire like tinder,
Think love-raptures ever will burn?
But wi' poortith, hearts het as a cinder,
Will cauld as an iceshugle turn.
"There 'll just be ae bar to my pleasures,
A bar that 's aft fill'd me wi' fear,
He 's sic a hard near-be-gawn miser,
He likes his saul less than his gear.
But though I now flatter his failin',
An' swear nought wi' gowd can compare,
Gude sooth! it shall soon get a scailin',
His bags sall be mouldie nae mair!
"I dreamt that I rode in a chariot,
A flunkie ahint me in green;
While Geordie cried out he was harriet,
An' the saut tear was blindin' his een.
But though 'gainst my spendin' he swear aye,
I 'll hae frae him what ser's my turn;
Let him slip awa' whan he grows wearie;
Shame fa' me, gin lang I wad mourn!"
But Geordie, while Meg was haranguin',
Was cloutin' his breeks i' the bauks;
An' whan a' his failin's she brang in,
His strang hazel pikestaff he taks,
Designin' to rax her a lounder,
He chanced on the lather to shift,
An' down frae the bauks, flat 's a flounder,
Flew like a shot starn frae the lift!
[Pg 246]


My dear little lassie, why, what 's a' the matter?
My heart it gangs pittypat—winna lie still;
I 've waited, and waited, an' a' to grow better,
Yet, lassie, believe me, I 'm aye growin' ill!
My head 's turn'd quite dizzy, an' aft, when I 'm speakin',
I sigh, an' am breathless, and fearfu' to speak;
I gaze aye for something I fain would be seekin',
Yet, lassie, I kenna weel what I would seek.
Thy praise, bonnie lassie, I ever could hear of,
And yet, when to ruse ye the neebour lads try—
Though it 's a' true they tell ye—yet never sae far off
I could see 'em ilk ane, an' I canna tell why.
When we tedded the hayfield, I raked ilka rig o't,
And never grew weary the lang simmer day;
The rucks that ye wrought at were easiest biggit,
And I fand sweeter scented around ye the hay.
In har'st, whan the kirn-supper joys mak us cheerie,
'Mang the lave o' the lasses I preed yer sweet mou';
Dear save us! how queer I felt whan I cam' near ye—
My breast thrill'd in rapture, I couldna tell how.
When we dance at the gloamin', it 's you I aye pitch on;
And gin ye gang by me, how dowie I be!
There 's something, dear lassie, about ye bewitching,
That tells me my happiness centres in thee.
[Pg 247]


James Montgomery, the spiritual character of whose writings has gained him the honourable designation of the Christian Poet, was born at Irvine, in the county of Ayr, on the 4th of November 1771. His father, John Montgomery, was a missionary of the Moravian Brethren, and in this capacity came to Irvine from Ireland, only a few days before the birth of James, his eldest son. In his fourth year he returned to Ireland with his parents, and received the rudiments of his education from the village schoolmaster of Grace Hill, a settlement of the Moravian Brethren in the county of Antrim. In October 1777, in his seventh year, he was placed by his father in the seminary of the Moravian settlement of Fulneck, near Leeds; and on the departure of his parents to the West Indies, in 1783, he was committed to the care of the Brethren, with the view of his being trained for their Church. He was not destined to see his parents again. His mother died at Barbadoes, in November 1790, and his father after an interval of eight months.

In consequence of his indolent habits, which were incorrigible, young Montgomery was removed from the seminary at Fulneck, and placed in the shop of a baker at Mirfield, in the vicinity. He was then in his sixteenth year; and having already afforded evidence[Pg 248] of a refined taste, both in poetry and music, though careless of the ordinary routine of scholastic instruction, his new occupation was altogether uncongenial to his feelings. He, however, remained about eighteen months in the baker's service, but at length made a hasty escape from Mirfield, with only three shillings and sixpence in his pocket, and seemingly without any scheme except that of relieving himself from an irksome employment. But an accidental circumstance speedily enabled him to obtain an engagement with a shopkeeper in Wath, now a station on the railway between London and Leeds; and in procuring this employment, he was indebted to the recommendation of his former master, whose service he had unceremoniously quitted. But this new situation had few advantages over the old, and he relinquished it in about a year to try his fortune in the metropolis. He had previously sent a manuscript volume of poetry to Harrison, the bookseller of Paternoster Row, who, while declining to publish it, commended the author's talents, and so far promoted his views as now to receive him into his establishment. But Montgomery's aspirations had no reference to serving behind a counter; he only accepted a place in the bookseller's establishment that he might have an opportunity of leisurely feeling his way as an author. His literary efforts, however, still proved fruitless. He composed essays and tales, and wrote a romance in the manner of Fielding, but none of his productions could find a publisher. Mortified by his failures, he quitted London in eight months, and returned to the shop of his former employer at Wath. After the interval of another year, he proceeded to Sheffield, to occupy a situation under Mr Joseph Gales, a bookseller, and the proprietor of the Register newspaper.[Pg 249]

Montgomery was now in his twenty-first year, and fortune at length began, though with many lowering intervals, to smile upon his youthful aspirations. Though he occupied a subordinate post in Mr Gales' establishment, his literary services were accepted for the Register, in which he published many of his earlier compositions, both in prose and verse. This journal had advocated sentiments of an ultra-liberal order, and commanding a wide circulation and a powerful influence among the operatives in Sheffield, had been narrowly inspected by the authorities. At length the proprietor fell into the snare of sympathising in the transactions of the French revolutionists; he was prosecuted for sedition, and deemed himself only safe from compulsory exile by a voluntary exit to America. This event took place about two years after Montgomery's first connexion with Sheffield, and he had now reverted to his former condition of abject dependence unless for a fortunate occurrence. This was no less than his being appointed joint-proprietor and editor of the newspaper by a wealthy individual, who, noticing the abilities of the young shopman, purchased the copyright with the view of placing the management entirely in his hands.

The first number of the newspaper under the poet's care, the name being changed to that of The Sheffield Iris, appeared in July 1794; and though the principles of the journal were moderate and conciliatory in comparison with the democratic sentiments espoused by the former publisher, the jealous eye of the authorities rested on its new conductor. He did not escape their vigilance; for the simple offence of printing for a ballad-vender some verses of a song celebrating the fall of the Bastile, he was libelled as "a wicked, malicious, seditious, and evil-disposed person;" and being tried before[Pg 250] the Doncaster Quarter Sessions, in January 1795, was sentenced to three months' imprisonment in the Castle of York. He was condemned to a second imprisonment of six months in the autumn of the same year, for inserting in his paper an account of a riot in the place, in which he was considered to have cast aspersions on a colonel of volunteers. The calm mind of the poet did not sink under these persecutions, and some of his best lyrics were composed during the period of his latter confinement. During his first detention he wrote a series of interesting essays for his newspaper. His "Prison Amusements," a series of beautiful pieces, appeared in 1797. In 1805, he published his poem, "The Ocean;" in 1806, "The Wanderer in Switzerland;" in 1808, "The West Indies;" and in 1812, "The World before the Flood." In 1819 he published "Greenland, a Poem, in Five Cantos;" and in 1825 appeared "The Pelican Island, and other Poems." Of all those productions, "The Wanderer in Switzerland" attained the widest circulation; and, notwithstanding an unfavourable and injudicious criticism in the Edinburgh Review, at once procured an honourable place for the author among his contemporaries. He became sole proprietor of the Iris in one year after his being connected with it, and he continued to conduct this paper till September 1825, when he retired from public duty. He subsequently contributed articles for different periodicals; but he chiefly devoted himself to the moral and religious improvement of his fellow-townsmen. A pension of £150 on the civil list was conferred upon him as an acknowledgment of his services in behalf of literature and of philanthropy; a well-merited public boon which for many years he was spared to enjoy. He died at his residence, The Mount, Sheffield, on the 30th of April[Pg 251] 1854, in the eighty-second year of his age. He bequeathed handsome legacies to various public charities. His Poetical Works, in a collected form, were published in 1850 by the Messrs Longman, in one octavo volume; and in 1853 he gave to the world his last work, being "Original Hymns, for Public, Private, and Social Devotion." Copious memoirs of his life are now in the course of publication.

As a poet, Montgomery is conspicuous for the smoothness of his versification, and for the fervent piety pervading all his compositions. As a man, he was gentle and conciliatory, and was remarkable as a generous promoter of benevolent institutions. The general tendency of his poems was thus indicated by himself, in the course of an address which he made at a public dinner, given him at Sheffield, in November 1825, immediately after the toast of his health being proposed by the chairman, Lord Viscount Milton, now Earl Fitzwilliam:—

"I sang of war—but it was the war of freedom, in which death was preferred to chains. I sang the abolition of the slave trade, that most glorious decree of the British Legislature at any period since the Revolution, by the first Parliament in which you, my Lord, sat as the representative of Yorkshire. Oh, how should I rejoice to sing the abolition of slavery itself by some Parliament of which your Lordship shall yet be a member! This greater act of righteous legislation is surely not too remote to be expected even in our own day. Renouncing the slave trade was only 'ceasing to do evil;' extinguishing slavery will be 'learning to do well.' Again, I sang of love—the love of country, the love of my own country; for,

'Next to heaven above,
Land of my fathers! thee I love;
And, rail thy slanderers as they will,
With all thy faults I love thee still.'

I sang, likewise, the love of home—its charities, endearments and relationships—all that makes 'Home sweet Home,' the recol[Pg 252]lection of which, when the air of that name was just now played from yonder gallery, warmed every heart throughout this room into quicker pulsations. I sang the love which man ought to bear towards his brother, of every kindred, and country, and clime upon earth. I sang the love of virtue, which elevates man to his true standard under heaven. I sang, too, the love of God, who is love. Nor did I sing in vain. I found readers and listeners, especially among the young, the fair, and the devout; and as youth, beauty, and piety will not soon cease out of the land, I may expect to be remembered through another generation at least, if I leave anything behind me worthy of remembrance. I may add that, from every part of the British empire, from every quarter of the world where our language is spoken—from America, the East and West Indies, from New Holland, and the South Sea Islands themselves—I have received testimonies of approbation from all ranks and degrees of readers, hailing what I had done, and cheering me forward. I allude not to criticisms and eulogiums from the press, but to voluntary communications from unknown correspondents, coming to me like voices out of darkness, and giving intimation of that which the ear of a poet is always hearkening onward to catch—the voice of posterity."

[Pg 253]


When "Friendship, Love, and Truth" abound
Among a band of brothers,
The cup of joy goes gaily round,
Each shares the bliss of others.
Sweet roses grace the thorny way
Along this vale of sorrow;
The flowers that shed their leaves to-day
Shall bloom again to-morrow.
How grand in age, how fair in youth,
Are holy "Friendship, Love, and Truth!"
On halcyon wings our moments pass,
Life's cruel cares beguiling;
Old Time lays down his scythe and glass,
In gay good-humour smiling:
With ermine beard and forelock gray,
His reverend part adorning,
He looks like Winter turn'd to May,
Night soften'd into Morning.
How grand in age, how fair in youth,
Are holy "Friendship, Love, and Truth!"
From these delightful fountains flow
Ambrosial rills of pleasure;
Can man desire, can Heaven bestow,
A more resplendent treasure?
Adorn'd with gems so richly bright,
Will form a constellation,
Where every star, with modest light,
Shall gild its proper station.
How grand in age, how fair in youth,
Are holy "Friendship, Love, and Truth!"
[Pg 254]



Oh, when shall I visit the land of my birth—
The loveliest land on the face of the earth?
When shall I those scenes of affection explore,
Our forests, our fountains,
Our hamlets, our mountains,
With pride of our mountains, the maid I adore?
Oh, when shall I dance on the daisy-white mead,
In the shade of an elm, to the sound of a reed?
When shall I return to that lowly retreat,
Where all my fond objects of tenderness meet,—
The lambs and the heifers, that follow my call,
My father, my mother,
My sister, my brother,
And dear Isabella, the joy of them all?
Oh, when shall I visit the land of my birth?—
'Tis the loveliest land on the face of the earth.


Heaven speed the righteous sword,
And freedom be the word;
Come, brethren, hand in hand,
Fight for your fatherland.
[Pg 255]
Germania from afar
Invokes her sons to war;
Awake! put forth your powers,
And victory must be ours.
On to the combat, on!
Go where your sires have gone;
Their might unspent remains,
Their pulse is in our veins.
On to the battle, on!
Rest will be sweet anon;
The slave may yield, may fly,—
We conquer, or we die!
O Liberty! thy form
Shines through the battle-storm.
Away with fear, away!
Let justice win the day.


Night turns to day:—
When sullen darkness lowers,
And heaven and earth are hid from sight,
Cheer up, cheer up;
Ere long the opening flowers,
With dewy eyes, shall shine in light.
[Pg 256]
Storms die in calms:—
When over land and ocean
Roll the loud chariots of the wind,
Cheer up, cheer up;
The voice of wild commotion,
Proclaims tranquillity behind.
Winter wakes spring:—
When icy blasts are blowing
O'er frozen lakes, through naked trees,
Cheer up, cheer up;
All beautiful and glowing,
May floats in fragrance on the breeze.
War ends in peace:—
Though dread artillery rattle,
And ghostly corses load the ground,
Cheer up, cheer up;
Where groan'd the field of battle,
The song, the dance, the feast, go round.
Toil brings repose:—
With noontide fervours beating,
When droop thy temples o'er thy breast,
Cheer up, cheer up;
Gray twilight, cool and fleeting,
Wafts on its wing the hour of rest.
Death springs to life:—
Though brief and sad thy story,
Thy years all spent in care and gloom,
Look up, look up;
Eternity and glory
Dawn through the portals of the tomb.
[Pg 257]


Welcome, pretty little stranger!
Welcome to my lone retreat!
Here, secure from every danger,
Hop about, and chirp, and eat:
Robin! how I envy thee,
Happy child of Liberty!
Now, though tyrant Winter, howling,
Shakes the world with tempests round,
Heaven above with vapours scowling,
Frost imprisons all the ground:
Robin! what are these to thee?
Thou art bless'd with liberty.
Though yon fair majestic river[70]
Mourns in solid icy chains,
Though yon flocks and cattle shiver
On the desolated plains:
Robin! thou art gay and free,
Happy in thy liberty.
Hunger never shall disturb thee,
While my rates one crumb afford;
Colds nor cramps shall ne'er oppress thee;
Come and share my humble board:
Robin! come and live with me—
Live, yet still at liberty.
[Pg 258]
Soon shall Spring, in smiles and blushes,
Steal upon the blooming year;
Then, amid the enamour'd bushes,
Thy sweet song shall warble clear:
Then shall I, too, join with thee—
Swell the hymn of Liberty.
Should some rough, unfeeling dobbin,
In this iron-hearted age,
Seize thee on thy nest, my Robin,
And confine thee in a cage,
Then, poor prisoner! think of me—
Think, and sigh for liberty.


Ages, ages have departed,
Since the first dark vessel bore
Afric's children, broken-hearted,
To the Caribbéan shore;
She, like Rachel,
Weeping, for they were no more.
Millions, millions, have been slaughter'd,
In the fight and on the deep;
Millions, millions more have water'd,
With such tears as captives weep,
Fields of travail,
Where their bones till doomsday sleep.
[Pg 259]
Mercy, Mercy, vainly pleading,
Rent her garments, smote her breast,
Till a voice from Heaven proceeding,
Gladden'd all the gloomy west,—
"Come, ye weary,
Come, and I will give you rest!"
Tidings, tidings of salvation!
Britons rose with one accord,
Purged the plague-spot from our nation,
Negroes to their rights restored;
Slaves no longer,
Freemen,—freemen of the Lord.
[Pg 260]


Andrew Scott, known as the author of the popular ballad of "Symon and Janet," has claims to a wider reputation. He was born of humble parentage, in the parish of Bowden, Roxburghshire, in the year 1757. He was early employed as a cowherd; and he has recorded, in a sketch of his own life prefixed to one of his volumes, that he began to compose verses on the hill-sides in his twelfth year. He ascribes this juvenile predilection to the perusal of Ramsay's "Gentle Shepherd," a pamphlet copy of which he had purchased with some spare halfpence. Towards the close of the American war, he joined the army as a recruit, and soon thereafter followed his regiment across the Atlantic. His rhyming propensities continued; and he occupied his leisure hours in composing verses, which he read for the amusement of his comrades. At the conclusion of the American campaigns, he returned with the army to Britain; and afterwards procuring his discharge, he made a settlement in his native parish. For the period of seventeen years, according to his own narrative, he abandoned the cultivation of poetry, assiduously applying himself to manual labour for the support of his family. An intelligent acquaintance, who had procured[Pg 261] copies of some of his verses, now recommended him to attempt a publication—a counsel which induced him to print a small volume by subscription. This appeared in 1805, and was reprinted, with several additions, in 1808. In 1811 he published "Poems, chiefly in the Scottish Dialect," Kelso, 18mo; another duodecimo volume of poems, at Jedburgh, in 1821; and his last work, entitled "Poems on Various Subjects," at Edinburgh, in 1826. This last volume was inscribed, with permission, to the Duchess of Roxburghe.

The poet's social condition at Bowden was little favourable to the composition of poetry. Situated on the south side of the Eildon hills, the parish is entirely separated from the busy world, and the inhabitants were formerly proverbial for their rustic simplicity and ignorance. The encouragement desiderated at home, the poet, however, experienced elsewhere. He visited Melrose, at the easy distance of two miles, on the day of the weekly market, and there met with friends and patrons from different parts of the district. The late Duke of Roxburghe, Sir Walter Scott, Mr Baillie of Jerviswoode, Mr John Gibson Lockhart, and Mr G. P. R. James, the novelist, who sometimes resided in the neighbourhood, and other persons of rank or literary eminence, extended towards him countenance and assistance.

Scott shared the indigent lot of poets. He remained in the condition of an agricultural labourer, and for many years held the office of beadle, or church-officer, of the parish. He died on the 22d of May 1839, in the eighty-second year of his age; and his remains were interred in the churchyard of Bowden, where his name is inscribed on a gravestone which he had erected to the memory of his wife. His eldest son holds the office of schoolmaster of that parish.[Pg 262]

The personal appearance of the bard appears to have been prepossessing: his countenance wore a highly intellectual aspect. Subsequent to the publication of the first volume of his poems, he was requested to sit for his portrait by the late Mr George Watson, the well-known portrait-painter; and who was so well satisfied with the excellence of his subject, that he exhibited the portrait for a lengthened period in his studio. It is now in the possession of the author's son at Bowden, and has been pronounced a masterpiece of art. A badly executed engraving from it is prefixed to Scott's last two volumes. In manner, the poet was modest and unassuming, and his utterance was slow and defective. The songs selected for this work may be regarded as the most favourable specimens of his muse.[71][Pg 263]


Air"The Rock and the Wee Pickle Tow."

I 'm now a guid farmer, I 've acres o' land,
And my heart aye loups light when I 'm viewing o't,
And I hae servants at my command,
And twa dainty cowts for the plowin' o't.
My farm is a snug ane, lies high on a muir,
The muircocks and plivers aft skirl at my door,
And whan the sky low'rs I 'm aye sure o' a show'r,
To moisten my land for the plowin' o't.
Leeze me on the mailin that 's fa'n to my share,
It taks sax muckle bowes for the sawin' o't;
I 've sax braid acres for pasture, and mair,
And a dainty bit bog for the mawin' o't.
A spence and a kitchen my mansionhouse gies,
I 've a cantie wee wifie to daut whan I please,
Twa bairnies, twa callans, that skelp o'er the leas,
And they 'll soon can assist at the plowin' o't.
My biggin' stands sweet on this south slopin' hill,
And the sun shines sae bonnily beamin' on 't,
And past my door trots a clear prattlin' rill,
Frae the loch, whare the wild-ducks are swimmin' o't;
And on its green banks, on the gay simmer days,
My wifie trips barefoot, a-bleachin' her claes,
And on the dear creature wi' rapture I gaze,
While I whistle and sing at the plowin' o't.
[Pg 264]
To rank amang farmers I hae muckle pride,
But I mauna speak high when I 'm tellin' o't,
How brawlie I strut on my shelty to ride,
Wi' a sample to shew for the sellin' o't.
In blue worset boots that my auld mither span,
I 've aft been fu' vanty sin' I was a man,
But now they 're flung by, and I 've bought cordivan,
And my wifie ne'er grudged me a shillin' o't.
Sae now, whan to kirk or to market I gae—
My weelfare what need I be hiddin' o't?—
In braw leather boots shinin' black as the slae,
I dink me to try the ridin' o't.
Last towmond I sell'd off four bowes o' guid bear,
And thankfu' I was, for the victual was dear,
And I came hame wi' spurs on my heels shinin' clear,
I had sic good luck at the sellin' o't.
Now hairst time is o'er, and a fig for the laird,
My rent 's now secure for the toilin' o't;
My fields are a' bare, and my crap 's in the yard,
And I 'm nae mair in doubts o' the spoilin' o't.
Now welcome gude weather, or wind, or come weet,
Or bauld ragin' winter, wi' hail, snaw, or sleet,
Nae mair can he draigle my crap 'mang his feet,
Nor wraik his mischief, and be spoilin' o't.
And on the douf days, whan loud hurricanes blaw,
Fu' snug i' the spence I 'll be viewin' o't,
And jink the rude blast in my rush-theekit ha',
Whan fields are seal'd up from the plowin' o't.
My bonny wee wifie, the bairnies, and me,
The peat-stack, and turf-stack our Phœbus shall be,
Till day close the scoul o' its angry ee,
And we 'll rest in gude hopes o' the plowin' o't.
[Pg 265]
And whan the year smiles, and the lavrocks sing,
My man Jock and me shall be doin' o't;
He 'll thrash, and I 'll toil on the fields in the spring,
And turn up the soil at the plowin' o't.
And whan the wee flow'rets begin then to blaw,
The lavrock, the peasweep, and skirlin' pickmaw,
Shall hiss the bleak winter to Lapland awa,
Then we 'll ply the blythe hours at the sawin' o't.
And whan the birds sing on the sweet simmer morn,
My new crap I 'll keek at the growin' o't;
Whan hares niffer love 'mang the green-bairdit corn,
And dew draps the tender blade shewin' o't,
On my brick o' fallow my labours I 'll ply,
And view on their pasture my twa bonny kye,
Till hairst-time again circle round us wi' joy,
Wi' the fruits o' the sawin' and plowin' o't.
Nor need I to envy our braw gentle focks,
Wha fash na their thumbs wi' the sawing o't,
Nor e'er slip their fine silken hands in the pocks,
Nor foul their black shoon wi' the plowin' o't:
For, pleased wi' the little that fortune has lent,
The seasons row round us in rural content;
We 've aye milk and meal, and our laird gets his rent,
And I whistle and sing at the plowin' o't.


Air"Fy, let us a' to the Bridal."

Surrounded wi' bent and wi' heather,
Whare muircocks and plivers are rife,
For mony lang towmond thegither,
There lived an auld man and his wife.
[Pg 266]
About the affairs o' the nation,
The twasome they seldom were mute;
Bonaparte, the French, and invasion,
Did saur in their wizens like soot.
In winter, when deep are the gutters,
And night's gloomy canopy spread,
Auld Symon sat luntin' his cuttie,
And lowsin' his buttons for bed.
Auld Janet, his wife, out a-gazin',
To lock in the door was her care;
She seein' our signals a-blazin',
Came runnin' in, rivin' her hair.
"O Symon, the Frenchmen are landit!
Gae look man, and slip on your shoon;
Our signals I see them extendit,
Like red risin' blaze o' the moon!"
"What plague, the French landit!" quo' Symon,
And clash gaed his pipe to the wa',
"Faith, then there's be loadin' and primin',"
Quo' he, "if they 're landit ava.
"Our youngest son 's in the militia,
Our eldest grandson 's volunteer:
O' the French to be fu' o' the flesh o',
I too in the ranks shall appear."
His waistcoat pouch fill'd he wi' pouther,
And bang'd down his rusty auld gun;
His bullets he put in the other,
That he for the purpose had run.
[Pg 267]
Then humpled he out in a hurry,
While Janet his courage bewails,
And cried out, "Dear Symon, be wary!"
And teughly she hang by his tails.
"Let be wi' your kindness," quo' Symon,
"Nor vex me wi' tears and your cares,
For now to be ruled by a woman,
Nae laurels shall crown my gray hairs."
Quo' Janet, "Oh, keep frae the riot!
Last night, man, I dreamt ye was dead;
This aught days I tentit a pyot
Sit chatt'rin' upo' the house-head.
"And yesterday, workin' my stockin',
And you wi' the sheep on the hill,
A muckle black corbie sat croakin';
I kend it foreboded some ill."
"Hout, cheer up, dear Janet, be hearty,
For ere the next sun may gae down,
Wha kens but I 'll shoot Bonaparte,
And end my auld days in renown?"
"Then hear me," quo' Janet, "I pray thee,
I 'll tend thee, love, living or dead,
And if thou should fa' I 'll die wi' thee,
Or tie up thy wounds if thou bleed."
Syne aff in a fury he stumpled,
Wi' bullets, and pouther, and gun;
At 's curpin auld Janet too humpled,
Awa to the next neighb'rin' town.
[Pg 268]
There footmen and yeomen paradin',
To scour aff in dirdum were seen,
Auld wives and young lasses a-sheddin'
The briny saut tears frae their een.
Then aff wi' his bannet gat Symon,
And to the commander he gaes;
Quo' he, "Sir, I mean to gae wi' ye, man,
And help ye to lounder our faes.
"I 'm auld, yet I 'm teugh as the wire,
Sae we 'll at the rogues have a dash,
And, fegs, if my gun winna fire,
I 'll turn her butt-end, and I 'll thrash."
"Well spoken, my hearty old hero,"
The captain did smiling reply,
But begg'd he wad stay till to-morrow,
Till daylight should glent in the sky.
Whatreck, a' the stour cam to naething;
Sae Symon, and Janet his dame,
Hale skart frae the wars, without skaithing,
Gaed bannin' the French again hame.


Air"Braw Lads of Gala Water."

Whan winter winds forget to blaw,
An' vernal suns revive pale nature,
A shepherd lad by chance I saw,
Feeding his flocks by Coquet water.
[Pg 269]
Saft, saft he sung, in melting lays,
His Mary's charms an' matchless feature,
While echoes answer'd frae the braes,
That skirt the banks of Coquet water.
"Oh, were that bonnie lassie mine,"
Quoth he, "in love's saft wiles I'd daut her;
An' deem mysel' as happy syne,
As landit laird on Coquet water.
"Let wealthy rakes for pleasure roam,
In foreign lands their fortune fritter;
But love's pure joys be mine at home,
Wi' my dear lass on Coquet water.
"Gie fine focks wealth, yet what care I,
Gie me her smiles whom I lo'e better;
Blest wi' her love an' life's calm joy,
Tending my flocks by Coquet water.
"Flow fair an' clear, thou bonnie stream,
For on thy banks aft hae I met her;
Fair may the bonnie wild-flowers gleam,
That busk the banks of Coquet water."


Air"Far frae Hame," &c.

Fain wad I, fain wad I hae the bloody wars to cease,
An' the nations restored again to unity an' peace;
Then mony a bonnie laddie, that 's now far owre the sea,
Wad return to his lassie, an' his ain countrie.
[Pg 270]
My lad was call'd awa for to cross the stormy main,
An' to face the battle's bray in the cause of injured Spain;
But in my love's departure hard fate has injured me,
That has reft him frae my arms, an' his ain countrie.
When he bade me adieu, oh! my heart was like to break,
An' the parting tear dropp'd down for my dear laddie's sake;
Kind Heavens protect my Willie, wherever he be,
An' restore him to my arms, an' his ain countrie.
Yes, may the fates defend him upon that hostile shore,
Amid the rage of battle, where thund'ring cannons roar;
In the sad hour of danger, when deadly bullets flee,
Far frae the peacefu' plains of his ain countrie.
Wae 's me, that vice had proven the source of blood an' war,
An' sawn amang the nations the seeds of feud an' jar:
But it was cruel Cain, an' his grim posterity,
First began the bloody wark in their ain countrie.
An' oh! what widows weep, an' helpless orphans cry!
On a far foreign shore now, the dear, dear ashes lie,
Whose life-blood stain'd the gowans of some far foreign lea,
Far frae their kith an' kin, an' their ain countrie.
Hail the day, speed the day, then, when a' the wars are done!
An' may ilk British laddie return wi' laurels won;
On my dear Willie's brows may they flourish bonnily,
An' be wi' the myrtle twined in his ain countrie.
[Pg 271]
But I hope the time is near, when sweet peace her olive wand
To lay the fiend of war shall soon stretch o'er every land,
When swords turn'd into ploughshares and pruning-hooks shall be,
An' the nations a' live happy in their ain countrie.


There was a musician wha play'd a good stick,
He had a sweet wife an' a fiddle,
An' in his profession he had right good luck
At bridals his elbow to diddle.
But ah! the poor fiddler soon chancéd to die,
As a' men to dust must return;
An' the poor widow cried, wi' the tear in her e'e,
That as lang as she lived she wad mourn.
Alane by the hearth she disconsolate sat,
Lamenting the day that she saw,
An' aye as she look'd on the fiddle she grat,
That silent now hang on the wa'.
Fair shane the red rose on the young widow's cheek,
Sae newly weel washen wi' tears,
As in came a younker some comfort to speak,
Wha whisper'd fond love in her ears.
"Dear lassie," he cried, "I am smit wi' your charms,
Consent but to marry me now,
I 'm as good as ever laid hair upon thairms,
An' I 'll cheer baith the fiddle an' you."
[Pg 272]
The young widow blush'd, but sweet smiling she said,
"Dear sir, to dissemble I hate,
If we twa thegither are doom'd to be wed,
Folks needna contend against fate."
He took down the fiddle as dowie it hung,
An' put a' the thairms in tune,
The young widow dighted her cheeks an' she sung,
For her heart lap her sorrows aboon.
Now sound sleep the dead in his cauld bed o' clay,
For death still the dearest maun sever;
For now he 's forgot, an' his widow's fu' gay,
An' his fiddle 's as merry as ever.


He 's no more on the green hill, he has left the wide forest,
Whom, sad by the lone rill, thou, loved dame, deplorest:
We saw in his dim eye the beam of life quiver,
Its bright orb to light again no more for ever.
Loud twang'd thy bow, mighty youth, in the foray,
Dread gleam'd thy brand in the proud field of glory;
And when heroes sat round in the Psalter of Tara,
His counsel was sage as was fatal his arrow.
When in war's loud commotion the hostile Dane landed,
Or seen on the ocean with white sail expanded,
[Pg 273] Like thee, swoll'n stream, down our steep vale that roarest,
Fierce was the chieftain that harass'd them sorest.
Proud stem of our ancient line, nipt while in budding,
Like sweet flowers' too early gem spring-fields bestudding,
Our noble pine 's fall'n, that waved on our mountain,—
Our mighty rock dash'd from the brink of our fountain.
Our lady is lonely, our halls are deserted—
The mighty is fallen, our hope is departed—
Loud wail for the fate from our clan that did sever,
Whom we shall behold again no more for ever.


Adieu, lovely Summer! I see thee declining,
I sigh, for thy exit is near;
Thy once glowing beauties by Autumn are pining,
Who now presses hard on thy rear.
The late blowing flowers now thy pale cheek adorning,
Droop sick as they nod on the lea;
The groves, too, are silent, no minstrel of morning
Shrill warbles his song from the tree.
Aurora peeps silent, and sighs a lorn widow,
No warbler to lend her a lay,
No more the shrill lark quits the dew-spangled meadow,
As wont for to welcome the day.
[Pg 274]
Sage Autumn sits sad now on hill, dale, and valley,
Each landscape how pensive its mien!
They languish, they languish! I see them fade daily,
And losing their liv'ry of green.
O Virtue, come waft me on thy silken pinions,
To where purer streamlets still flow,
Where summer, unceasing, pervades thy dominions,
Nor stormy bleak wint'ry winds blow.
[Pg 275]


Sir Walter Scott, the most chivalrous of Scottish poets, and the most illustrious of British novelists, was born in Edinburgh, on the 15th of August 1771. His father, Walter Scott, Writer to the Signet, was descended from a younger branch of the baronial house of the Scotts of Harden, of which Lord Polwarth is the present representative. On his mother's side his progenitors were likewise highly respectable: his maternal grandfather, Dr John Rutherford, was Professor of the Practice of Physic in the University of Edinburgh, and his mother's brother, Dr Daniel Rutherford, an eminent chemist, afterwards occupied the chair of Botany. His mother was a person of a vigorous and cultivated mind. Of a family of twelve children, born to his parents, six of whom survived infancy, Walter only evinced the possession of the uncommon attribute of genius. He was born a healthy child, but soon after became exposed to serious peril by being some time tended by a consumptive nurse. When scarcely two years old he was seized with an illness which deprived him of the proper use of his right limb, a loss which continued during his life. With the view of retrieving his strength, he was sent to reside with his paternal grandfather, Robert[Pg 276] Scott, who rented the farm of Sandyknowe, in the vicinity of Smailholm Tower, in Roxburghshire. Shortly after his arrival at Sandyknowe, he narrowly escaped destruction through the frantic desperation of a maniac attendant; but he had afterwards to congratulate himself on being enabled to form an early acquaintance with rural scenes. No advantage accruing to his lameness, he was, in his fourth year, removed to Bath, where he remained twelve months, without experiencing benefit from the mineral waters. During the three following years he chiefly resided at Sandyknowe. In his eighth year he returned to Edinburgh, with his mind largely stored with border legends, chiefly derived from the recitations of his grandmother, a person of a romantic inclination and sprightly intelligence. At this period, Pope's translation of Homer, and the more amusing songs in Ramsay's "Evergreen," were his favourite studies; and he took delight in reading aloud, with suitable emphasis, the more striking passages, or verses, to his mother, who sought every incentive to stimulate his native propensity. In 1778 he was sent to the High School, where he possessed the advantage of instruction under Mr Luke Fraser, an able scholar, and Dr Adam, the distinguished rector. His progress in scholarship was not equal to his talents; he was already a devotee to romance, and experienced greater gratification in retiring with a friend to some quiet spot in the country, to relate or to listen to a fictitious tale, than in giving his principal attention to the prescribed tasks of the schoolroom. As he became older, the love of miscellaneous literature, especially the works of the great masters of fiction, amounted to a passion; and as his memory was singularly tenacious, he accumulated a great extent and variety of miscellaneous information.[Pg 277]

On the completion of his attendance at the High School, he was sent to reside with some relations at Kelso; and in this interesting locality his growing attachment to the national minstrelsy and legendary lore received a fresh impulse. On his return to Edinburgh he entered the University, in which he matriculated as a student of Latin and Greek, in October 1793. His progress was not more marked than it had been at the High School, insomuch that Mr Dalziel, the professor of Greek, was induced to give public expression as to his hopeless incapacity. The professor fortunately survived to make ample compensation for the rashness of his prediction.

The juvenile inclinations of the future poet were entirely directed to a military life; but his continued lameness interposed an insuperable difficulty, and was a source of deep mortification. He was at length induced to adopt a profession suitable to his physical capabilities, entering into indentures with his father in his fourteenth year. To his confinement at the desk, sufficiently irksome to a youth of his aspirations, he was chiefly reconciled by the consideration that his fees as a clerk enabled him to purchase books.

Rapid growth in a constitution which continued delicate till he had attained his fifteenth year, led to his bursting a blood-vessel in the second year of his apprenticeship. While precluded from active duty, being closely confined to bed, and not allowed to exert himself by speaking, he was still allowed to read; a privilege which accelerated his acquaintance with general literature. To complete his recovery, he was recommended exercise on horseback; and in obeying the instructions of his physician, he gratified his own peculiar tastes by making himself generally familiar with locali[Pg 278]ties and scenes famous in Scottish story. On the restoration of his health, he at length became seriously engaged in the study of law for several continuous years, and, after the requisite examinations, was admitted as an advocate, on the 10th of July 1792, when on the point of attaining his twenty-first year.

In his twelfth year, Scott had composed some verses for his preceptor and early friend Dr Adam, which afforded promise of his future excellence. But he seems not to have extensively indulged, in early life, in the composition of poetry, while his juvenile productions in prose wore a stiff formality. On being called to the bar, he at first carefully refrained, according to his own statement, from claiming the honour of authorship, lest his brethren or the public should suppose that his habits were unsuitable to a due attention to the duties of his profession. He was relieved of dependence on professional employment by espousing, in December 1797, Miss Carpenter, a young French gentlewoman, possessed of a considerable annuity, whose acquaintance he had formed at Gilsland, a watering-place in Cumberland. In 1800 he was appointed Sheriff of Selkirkshire, with a salary of £300 a year. While he continued in his father's office he had made himself familiar with the French and Italian languages, and had read many of their more celebrated authors, especially the writings of Tasso and Ariosto. Some years after he came to the bar, he was induced to acquaint himself with the ballad poetry of Germany, then in vogue, through the translations of Mr Lewis, whose friendship he had recently acquired. In 1796 he made his first adventure as an author by publishing translations of "Lenoré," and "The Wild Huntsman" of Bürger. The attempt proved unsuccessful; but, undismayed, he again essayed his skill[Pg 279] in translation by publishing, in 1799, an English version of Goëthe's "Goetz of Berlichingen." His success as an author was, however, destined to rest on original performances, illustrative of the chivalry of his own land.

Towards the recovery and publication of the ancient ballads and songs of the Scottish borders, which had only been preserved by the recitations of the peasantry, Scott had early formed important intentions. The independence of his circumstances now enabled him to execute his long-cherished scheme. He made periodical excursions into Liddesdale, a wild pastoral district on the Scottish border, anciently peopled by the noted Elliots and Armstrongs, in quest of old ballads and traditions; and the fruits of his research, along with much curious information, partly communicated to him by intelligent correspondents, he gave to the world, in 1802, in two volumes octavo, under the title of "Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border." He added in the following year a third volume, consisting of imitations of ancient ballads, composed by himself and others. These volumes issued from the printing-press of his early friend and school-fellow, Mr James Ballantyne of Kelso, who had already begun to indicate that skill in typography for which he was afterwards so justly celebrated. In 1804 he published, from the Auchinleck Manuscript in the Advocates' Library, the ancient metrical tale of "Sir Tristrem;" and, in an elaborate introduction, he endeavoured to prove that it was the composition of Thomas of Ercildoune, better known as Thomas the Rhymer. He published in 1805 "The Lay of the Last Minstrel," an original ballad poem, which, speedily attaining a wide circulation, procured for him an extensive reputation, and the substantial reward of £600.

The prosperity of the poet rose with his fame. In[Pg 280] the year following that which produced the "Lay," he received his appointment as a principal clerk of the Court of Session, an office which afterwards brought him £1200 a-year. To literary occupation he now resolved to dedicate his intervals of leisure. In 1808 he produced "Marmion," his second great poem, which brought him £1000 from the publisher, and at once established his fame. During the same year he completed the heavy task of editing the works of Dryden, in eighteen volumes. In 1809 he edited the state papers and letters of Sir Ralph Sadler, and became a contributor to the Edinburgh Annual Register, conducted by Southey. "The Lady of the Lake," the most happily-conceived and popular of his poetical works, appeared in 1810; "Don Roderick," in 1811; "Rokeby," in 1813; and "The Lord of the Isles," in 1814. "Harold the Dauntless," and "The Bridal of Triermain," appeared subsequently, without the author's name.

As a poet, Scott had now attained a celebrity unrivalled among his contemporaries, and it was in the apprehension of compromising his reputation, that, in attempting a new species of composition, he was extremely anxious to conceal the name of the author. The novel of "Waverley," which appeared in 1814, did not, however, suffer from its being anonymous; for, although the sale was somewhat heavy at first, the work soon afterwards reached the extraordinary circulation of twelve thousand copies. Contrary to reasonable expectation, however, the author of "Waverley" did not avow himself, and, numerous as was the catalogue of prose fictions which, for more than twenty years, proceeded from his pen, he continued as desirous of retaining his secret as were his female contemporaries, Lady Nairn[Pg 281] and Lady Anne Barnard, to cast a veil over their poetical character. The rapidity with which the "Great Unknown" produced works of fiction, was one of the marvels of the age; and many attempts were made to withdraw the curtain which concealed the mysterious author. Successive years produced at least one, and often two, novels of a class infinitely superior to the romances of the past age, all having reference to the manners and habits of the most interesting and chivalrous periods of Scottish or British history, which, in these works, were depicted with a power and vivacity unattained by the most graphic national historians. Subsequently to the publication of "Guy Mannering" and "The Antiquary," in 1815 and 1816, and as an expedient to sustain the public interest, Scott commenced a new series of novels, under the title of "Tales of my Landlord," these being professedly written by a different author; but this resort was abandoned as altogether unnecessary for the contemplated object. Each successive romance by the author of "Waverley" awakened renewed ardour and enthusiasm among the public, and commanded a circulation commensurate with the bounds in which the language was understood. Many of them were translated into the various European languages. In the year 1814 he had published an edition of the works of Swift, in nineteen volumes octavo.

For some years after his marriage, Scott had occupied a cottage in the romantic vicinity of Lasswade, near Edinburgh; but in 1804 he removed to Ashestiel, an old mansion, beautifully situated on the banks of the Tweed, seven miles above Selkirk, where, for several years, he continued to reside during the vacation of the Court. The ruling desire of his life was, that by the proceeds of his intellectual labour he might acquire an ample[Pg 282] demesne, with a suitable mansion of his own, and thus in some measure realise in his own person, and in those of his representatives, somewhat of the territorial importance of those olden barons, whose wassails and whose feuds he had experienced delight in celebrating. To attain such distinction as a Scottish laird, or landholder, he was prepared to incur many sacrifices; nor was this desire exceeded by regard for literary reputation. It was unquestionably with a view towards the attainment of his darling object, that he taxed so severely those faculties with which nature had so liberally endowed him, and exhibited a prolificness of authorship, such as has rarely been evinced in the annals of literary history. In 1811 he purchased, on the south bank of the Tweed, near Melrose, the first portion of that estate which, under the name of Abbotsford, has become indelibly associated with his history. The soil was then a barren waste, but by extensive improvements the place speedily assumed the aspect of amenity and beauty. The mansion, a curious amalgamation, in questionable taste, of every species of architecture, was partly built in 1811, and gradually extended with the increasing emoluments of the owner. By successive purchases of adjacent lands, the Abbotsford property became likewise augmented, till the rental amounted to about £700 a-year—a return sufficiently limited for an expenditure of upwards of £50,000 on this favourite spot.

At Abbotsford the poet maintained the character of a wealthy country gentleman. He was visited by distinguished persons from the sister kingdom, from the Continent, and from America, all of whom he entertained in a style of sumptuous elegance. Nor did his constant social intercourse with his visitors and friends interfere with the regular prosecution of his literary[Pg 283] labours: he rose at six, and engaged in study and composition till eleven o'clock. During the period of his residence in the country, he devoted the remainder of the day to his favourite exercise on horseback, the superintendence of improvements on his property, and the entertainment of his guests. In March 1820, George IV., to whom he was personally known, and who was a warm admirer of his genius, granted to him the honour of a baronetcy, being the first which was conferred by his Majesty after his accession. Prior to this period, besides the works already enumerated, he had given to the world his romances of "The Black Dwarf," "Old Mortality," "Rob Roy," "The Heart of Midlothian," "The Bride of Lammermoor," "A Legend of Montrose," and "Ivanhoe." The attainment of the baronetcy appears to have stimulated him to still greater exertion. In 1820 he produced, besides "Ivanhoe," which appeared in the early part of that year, "The Monastery" and "The Abbot;" and in the beginning of 1821, the romance of "Kenilworth," being twelve volumes published within the same number of months. "The Pirate" and "The Fortunes of Nigel" appeared in 1822; "Peveril of the Peak" and "Quentin Durward," in 1823; "St Ronan's Well" and "Redgauntlet," in 1824; and "The Tales of the Crusaders," in 1825.

During the visit of George IV. to Scotland, in 1822, Sir Walter undertook the congenial duty of acting as Master of Ceremonies, which he did to the entire satisfaction of his sovereign and of the nation. But while prosperity seemed to smile with increasing brilliancy, adversity was hovering near. In 1826, Archibald Constable and Company, the famous publishers of his works, became insolvent, involving in their bankruptcy[Pg 284] the printing firm of the Messrs Ballantyne, of which Sir Walter was a partner. The liabilities amounted to the vast sum of £102,000, for which Sir Walter was individually responsible. To a mind less balanced by native intrepidity and fortified by principle, the apparent wreck of his worldly hopes would have produced irretrievable despondency; but Scott bore his misfortune with magnanimity and manly resignation. He had been largely indebted to both the establishments which had unfortunately involved him in their fall, in the elegant production of his works, as well as in respect of pecuniary accommodation; and he felt bound in honour, as well as by legal obligation, fully to discharge the debt. He declined to accept an offer of the creditors to be satisfied with a composition; and claiming only to be allowed time, applied himself with indomitable energy to his arduous undertaking, at the age of fifty-five, in the full determination, if his life was spared, of cancelling every farthing of his obligations. At the crisis of his embarrassments he was engaged in the composition of "Woodstock," which shortly afterwards appeared. The "Life of Napoleon," which had for a considerable time occupied his attention, was published in 1827, in nine vols. octavo. In the course of its preparation he had visited both London and Paris in search of materials. In the same year he produced "Chronicles of the Canongate," first series; and in the year following, the second series of those charming tales, and the first portion of his juvenile history of Scotland, under the title of "Tales of a Grandfather." A second portion of these tales appeared in 1829, and the third and concluding series in 1830, when he also contributed a graver History of Scotland in two volumes to Lardner's Cabinet Cyclopædia. In 1829[Pg 285] likewise appeared "Anne of Geierstein," a romance, and in 1830 the "Letters on Demonology and Witchcraft." In 1831 he produced a series of "Tales on French History," uniform with the "Tales of a Grandfather," and his novels, "Count Robert of Paris," and "Castle Dangerous," as a fourth series of "Tales of My Landlord." Other productions of inferior mark appeared from his pen; he contributed to the Edinburgh Review, during the first year of its career; wrote the articles, "Chivalry," "Romance," and "Drama," for the sixth edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica; and during his latter years contributed somewhat copiously to the Quarterly Review.

At a public dinner in Edinburgh, for the benefit of the Theatrical Fund, on the 23d of February 1827, Sir Walter made his first avowal as to the authorship of the Waverley Novels,—an announcement which scarcely took the public by surprise. The physical energies of the illustrious author were now suffering a rapid decline; and in his increasing infirmities, and liability to sudden and severe attacks of pain, and even of unconsciousness, it became evident to his friends, that, in the praiseworthy effort to pay his debts, he was sacrificing his health and shortening his life. Those apprehensions proved not without foundation. In the autumn of 1831, his health became so lamentably broken, that his medical advisers recommended a residence in Italy, and entire cessation from mental occupation, as the only means of invigorating a constitution so seriously dilapidated. But the counsel came too late; the patient proceeded to Naples, and afterwards to Rome, but experiencing no benefit from the change, he was rapidly conveyed homewards in the following summer, in obedience to his express wish, that he might have the satisfaction of closing his eyes at Abbotsford. The wish was gratified: he arrived at[Pg 286] Abbotsford on the 11th of July 1832, and survived till the 21st of the ensuing September. According to his own request, his remains were interred in an aisle in Dryburgh Abbey, which had belonged to one of his ancestors, and had been granted to him by the late Earl of Buchan. A heavy block of marble rests upon the grave, in juxtaposition with another which has been laid on that of his affectionate partner in life, who died in May 1826. The aisle is protected by a heavy iron railing.

In stature, Sir Walter Scott was above six feet; but his personal appearance, which had otherwise been commanding, was considerably marred by the lameness of his right limb, which caused him to walk with an awkward effort, and ultimately with much difficulty. His countenance, so correctly represented in his numerous portraits and busts, was remarkable for depth of forehead; his features were somewhat heavy, and his eyes, covered with thick eyelashes, were dull, unless animated by congenial conversation. He was of a fair complexion; and his hair, originally sandy, became gray from a severe illness which he suffered in his 48th year. His general conversation consisted in the detail of chivalric adventures and anecdotes of the olden times. His memory was so retentive that whatever he had studied indelibly maintained a place in his recollection. In fertility of imagination he surpassed all his contemporaries. As a poet, if he has not the graceful elegance of Campbell, and the fervid energy of Byron, he excels the latter in purity of sentiment, and the former in vigour of conception. His style was well adapted for the composition of lyric poetry; but as he had no ear for music, his song compositions are not numerous. Several of these, however, have been set to music, and maintain[Pg 287] their popularity.[72] But Scott's reputation as a poet is inferior to his reputation as a novelist; and while even his best poems may cease to be generally read, the author of the Waverley Novels will only be forgotten with the disuse of the language. A cabinet edition of these novels, with the author's last notes, and illustrated with elegant engravings, appeared in forty-eight volumes a short period before his decease; several other complete editions have since been published by the late Mr Robert Cadell, and by the present proprietors of the copyright, the Messrs Black of Edinburgh.

As a man of amiable dispositions and incorruptible integrity, Sir Walter Scott shone conspicuous among his contemporaries, the latter quality being eminently exhibited in his resolution to pay the whole of his heavy pecuniary liabilities. To this effort he fell a martyr; yet it was a source of consolation to his survivors, that, by his own extraordinary exertions, the policy of life insurance payable at his death, and the sum of £30,000 paid by Mr Cadell for the copyright of his works, the whole amount of the debt was discharged. It is, however painfully, to be remarked, that the object of his earlier ambition, in raising a family, has not been realised. His children, consisting of two sons and two daughters, though not constitutionally delicate, have all departed from the scene, and the only representative of his house is the surviving child of his eldest daughter, who was married to Mr John Gibson Lockhart, the late editor of the Quarterly Review, and his literary executor. This sole descendant, a grand-daughter, is the wife of Mr[Pg 288] Hope, Q.C., who has lately added to his patronymic the name of Scott, and made Abbotsford his summer residence. The memory of the illustrious Minstrel has received every honour from his countrymen; monuments have been raised to him in the principal towns—that in the capital, a rich Gothic cross, being one of the noblest decorations of his native city. Abbotsford has become the resort of the tourist and of the traveller from every land, who contemplate with interest and devotion a scene hallowed by the loftiest genius.

"The grass is trodden by the feet
Of thousands, from a thousand lands—
The prince, the peasant, tottering age,
And rosy schoolboy bands;
All crowd to fairy Abbotsford,
And lingering gaze, and gaze the more;
Hang o'er the chair in which he sat,
The latest dress he wore."[73]
[Pg 289]


It was an English ladye bright
(The sun shines fair on Carlisle wall),
And she would marry a Scottish knight,
For Love will still be lord of all.
Blithely they saw the rising sun,
When he shone fair on Carlisle wall;
But they were sad ere day was done,
Though Love was still the lord of all.
The sire gave brooch and jewel fine,
Where the sun shines fair on Carlisle wall;
Her brother gave but a flask of wine,
For ire that Love was lord of all.
For she had lands, both meadow and lea,
Where the sun shines fair on Carlisle wall,
And he swore her death, ere he would see
A Scottish knight the lord of all.
That wine she had not tasted well
(The sun shines fair on Carlisle wall),
When dead in her true love's arms she fell,
For Love was still the lord of all.
[Pg 290]
He pierced her brother to the heart,
Where the sun shines fair on Carlisle wall—
So perish all would true love part,
That Love may still be lord of all!
And then he took the cross divine
(Where the sun shines fair on Carlisle wall),
And died for her sake in Palestine,
So Love was still the lord of all.
Now all ye lovers, that faithful prove,
(The sun shines fair on Carlisle wall)
Pray for their souls who died for love,
For Love shall still be lord of all!


Oh, young Lochinvar is come out of the west,
Through all the wide border his steed was the best;
And save his good broadsword he weapons had none,
He rode all unarm'd, and he rode all alone.
So faithful in love, and so dauntless in war,
There never was knight like the young Lochinvar.
He stay'd not for brake, and he stopp'd not for stone,
He swam the Eske river where ford there was none;
But ere he alighted at Netherby gate,
The bride had consented, the gallant came late:
For a laggard in love, and a dastard in war,
Was to wed the fair Ellen of brave Lochinvar.
[Pg 291]
So boldly he enter'd the Netherby Hall,
Among bridesmen, and kinsmen, and brothers, and all:
Then spoke the bride's father, his hand on his sword,
(For the poor craven bridegroom said never a word)
"Oh, come ye in peace here, or come ye in war,
Or to dance at our bridal, young Lord Lochinvar?"
"I long woo'd your daughter, my suit you denied;—
Love swells like the Solway, but ebbs like its tide—
And now am I come, with this lost love of mine,
To lead but one measure, drink one cup of wine;
There are maidens in Scotland more lovely by far,
That would gladly be bride to the young Lochinvar."
The bride kiss'd the goblet; the knight took it up,
He quaff'd off the wine, and he threw down the cup;
She look'd down to blush, and she look'd up to sigh,
With a smile on her lips, and a tear in her eye.
He took her soft hand, ere her mother could bar—
"Now tread we a measure!" said young Lochinvar.
So stately his form, and so lovely her face,
That never a hall such a galliard did grace;
While her mother did fret, and her father did fume,
And the bridegroom stood dangling his bonnet and plume;
And the bride-maidens whisper'd, "'Twere better, by far,
To have match'd our fair cousin with young Lochinvar."
One touch to her hand, and one word in her ear,
When they reach'd the hall-door, and the charger stood near;
So light to the croupe the fair lady he swung,
So light to the saddle before her he sprung!
[Pg 292] "She is won! we are gone, over bank, bush, and scaur;
They 'll have fleet steeds that follow," quoth young Lochinvar.
There was mounting 'mong Græmes of the Netherby clan;
Forsters, Fenwicks, and Musgraves, they rode and they ran:
There was racing, and chasing, on Cannobie Lea,
But the lost bride of Netherby ne'er did they see.
So daring in love, and so dauntless in war,
Have ye e'er heard of gallant like young Lochinvar?


Where shall the lover rest,
Whom the fates sever
From his true maiden's breast,
Parted for ever?
Where, through groves deep and high,
Sounds the far billow;
Where early violets die
Under the willow.
Eleu loro, &c.
Soft shall be his pillow.
There, through the summer day,
Cool streams are laving;
There, while the tempests sway,
Scarce are boughs waving;
[Pg 293] There, thy rest shalt thou take,
Parted for ever;
Never again to wake,
Never, O never!
Eleu loro, &c.
Never, O never!
Where shall the traitor rest,
He, the deceiver,
Who could win maiden's breast,
Ruin, and leave her?
In the lost battle,
Borne down by the flying,
Where mingle war's rattle
With groans of the dying.
Eleu loro, &c.
There shall he be lying.
Her wing shall the eagle flap
O'er the false-hearted;
His warm blood the wolf shall lap
Ere life be parted.
Shame and dishonour sit
By his grave ever;
Blessing shall hallow it,—
Never, O never!
Eleu loro, &c.
Never, O never!
[Pg 294]


Soldier, rest! thy warfare o'er,
Sleep the sleep that knows not breaking;
Dream of battle-fields no more,
Days of danger, nights of waking.
In our isle's enchanted hall,
Hands unseen thy couch are strewing,
Fairy strains of music fall,
Every sense in slumber dewing.
Soldier, rest! thy warfare o'er,
Dream of fighting fields no more;
Sleep the sleep that knows not breaking,
Morn of toil, nor night of waking.
No rude sound shall reach thine ear,
Armour's clang, or war-steed champing;
Trump nor pibroch summon here,
Mustering clan, or squadron tramping.
Yet the lark's shrill fife may come
At the daybreak from the fallow;
And the bittern sound his drum,
Booming from the sedgy shallow.
Ruder sounds shall none be near,
Guards nor wardens challenge here;
Here 's no war-steed's neigh and champing,
Shouting clans, or squadrons' stamping.
Huntsman, rest! thy chase is done;
While our slumbrous spells assail ye,
Dream not, with the rising sun,
Bugles here shall sound reveillé.
[Pg 295] Sleep! the deer is in his den;
Sleep! nor dream in yonder glen,
How thy gallant steed lay dying.
Huntsman, rest! thy chase is done,
Think not of the rising sun,
For at dawning to assail ye,
Here no bugles sound reveillé.


Hail to the chief who in triumph advances!
Honour'd and bless'd be the ever-green pine!
Long may the tree, in his banner that glances,
Flourish, the shelter and grace of our line!
Heaven send it happy dew,
Earth lend it sap anew,
Gaily to bourgeon, and broadly to grow,
While every Highland glen
Sends our shout back agen,
Roderigh Vich Alpine dhu, ho! ieroe!
Ours is no sapling, chance-sown by the fountain,
Blooming at Beltane, in winter to fade;
When the whirlwind has stripp'd every leaf on the mountain,
The more shall Clan-Alpine exult in her shade;
Moor'd in the rifted rock
Proof to the tempest shock,
[Pg 296] Firmer he roots him the ruder it blow;
Menteith and Breadalbane, then,
Echo his praise agen,
Roderigh Vich Alpine dhu, ho! ieroe!
Proudly our pibroch has thrill'd in Glen Fruin,
And Bannochar's groans to our slogan replied;
Glen Luss and Ross-dhu, they are smoking in ruin,
And the best of Loch Lomond lie dead on her side.
Widow and Saxon maid
Long shall lament our raid,
Think of Clan-Alpine with fear and with woe;
Lennox and Leven-Glen
Shake when they hear agen,
Roderigh Vich Alpine dhu, ho! ieroe!
Row, vassals, row, for the pride of the Highlands!
Stretch to your oars for the ever-green pine!
Oh, that the rosebud that graces yon islands
Were wreathed in a garland around him to twine!
O that some seedling gem,
Worthy such noble stem,
Honour'd and bless'd in their shadow might grow!
Loud should Clan-Alpine then
Ring from the deepmost glen,
Roderigh Vich Alpine dhu, ho! ieroe!
[Pg 297]


The heath this night must be my bed,
The bracken curtains for my head,
My lullaby the warder's tread,
Far, far from love and thee, Mary.
To-morrow eve, more stilly laid,
My couch may be the bloody plaid,
My vesper song, thy wail, sweet maid!
It will not waken me, Mary!
I may not, dare not, fancy now
The grief that clouds thy lovely brow,
I dare not think upon thy vow,
And all it promised me, Mary.
No fond regret must Norman know;
When bursts Clan-Alpine on the foe,
His heart must be like bended bow,
His foot like arrow free, Mary.
A time will come with feeling fraught,
For if I fall in battle fought,
Thy hapless lover's dying thought
Shall be a thought on thee, Mary.
And if return'd from conquer'd foes,
How blithely will the evening close,
How sweet the linnet sing repose
To my young bride and me, Mary!
[Pg 298]


My hawk is tired of perch and hood,
My idle greyhound loathes his food,
My horse is weary of his stall,
And I am sick of captive thrall;
I wish I were as I have been,
Hunting the hart in forest green,
With bended bow and bloodhound free,
For that 's the life is meet for me.
I hate to learn the ebb of time
From yon dull steeple's drowsy chime,
Or mark it as the sunbeams crawl,
Inch after inch, along the wall.
The lark was wont my matins ring,
The sable rook my vespers sing:
These towers, although a king's they be,
Have not a hall of joy for me.
No more at dawning morn I rise
And sun myself in Ellen's eyes,
Drive the fleet deer the forest through,
And homeward wend with evening dew;
A blithesome welcome blithely meet
And lay my trophies at her feet,
While fled the eve on wing of glee—
That life is lost to love and me!
[Pg 299]


He is gone on the mountain,
He is lost to the forest,
Like a summer-dried fountain,
When our need was the sorest.
The font re-appearing,
From the rain-drops shall borrow;
But to us comes no cheering,
To Duncan no morrow!
The hand of the reaper
Takes the ears that are hoary,
But the voice of the weeper
Wails manhood in glory.
The autumn winds rushing
Wafts the leaves that are searest,
But our flower was in flushing
When blighting was nearest.
Fleet foot on the corrie,
Sage counsel in cumber,
Red hand in the foray,
How sound is thy slumber!
Like the dew on the mountain,
Like the foam on the river,
Like the bubble on the fountain,
Thou art gone, and for ever.
[Pg 300]


"A weary lot is thine, fair maid,
A weary lot is thine!
To pull the thorn thy brow to braid,
And press the rue for wine!
A lightsome eye, a soldier's mien,
A feather of the blue,
A doublet of the Lincoln green,
No more of me ye knew, my love!
No more of me ye knew.
"This morn is merry June, I trow,
The rose is budding fain;
But she shall bloom in winter snow,
Ere we two meet again."
He turn'd his charger as he spake,
Upon the river shore,
He gave his bridle-reins a shake,
Said, "Adieu for evermore, my love!
And adieu for evermore."


Allen-a-Dale has no faggot for burning,
Allen-a-Dale has no furrow for turning,
Allen-a-Dale has no fleece for the spinning,
Yet Allen-a-Dale has red gold for the winning;
Come, read me my riddle! come, hearken my tale!
And tell me the craft of bold Allen-a-Dale.
[Pg 301]
The Baron of Ravensworth prances in pride,
And he views his domains upon Arkindale side,
The mere for his net, and the land for his game,
The chase for the wild, and the park for the tame;
Yet the fish of the lake and the deer of the vale
Are less free to Lord Dacre than Allen-a-Dale.
Allen-a-Dale was ne'er belted a knight,
Though his spur be as sharp, and his blade be as bright;
Allen-a-Dale is no baron or lord,
Yet twenty tall yeomen will draw at his word;
And the best of our nobles his bonnet will vail,
Who at Rere-cross on Stanmore meets Allen-a-Dale.
Allen-a-Dale to his wooing is come;
The mother she asked of his household and home;
"Though the castle of Richmond stand fair on the hill,
My hall," quoth bold Allen, "shows gallanter still;
'Tis the blue vault of heaven, with its crescent so pale,
And with all its bright spangles," said Allen-a-Dale.
The father was steel and the mother was stone,
They lifted the latch, and they bade him be gone;
But loud, on the morrow, their wail and their cry,
He had laugh'd on the lass with his bonny black eye,
And she fled to the forest to hear a love-tale,
And the youth it was told by was Allen-a-Dale.
[Pg 302]


Oh, lady! twine no wreath for me,
Or twine it of the cypress-tree!
Too lively glow the lilies' light,
The varnish'd holly 's all too bright,
The mayflower and the eglantine
May shade a brow less sad than mine;
But, lady, weave no wreath for me,
Or weave it of the cypress-tree!
Let dimpled mirth his temples twine
With tendrils of the laughing vine;
The manly oak, the pensive yew,
To patriot and to sage be due;
The myrtle bough bids lovers live
But that Matilda will not give;
Then, lady, twine no wreath for me,
Or twine it of the cypress-tree!
Let merry England proudly rear
Her blended roses, bought so dear;
Let Albin bind her bonnet blue
With heath and harebell dipp'd in dew.
On favour'd Erin's crest be seen
The flower she loves of emerald green;
But, lady, twine no wreath for me,
Or twine it of the cypress-tree!
Strike the wild harp while maids prepare
The ivy meet for minstrel's hair;
And, while his crown of laurel-leaves,
With bloody hand the victor weaves,
[Pg 303] Let the loud trump his triumph tell;
But when you hear the passing-bell,
Then, lady, twine a wreath for me,
And twine it of the cypress-tree!
Yes, twine for me the cypress bough;
But, O Matilda, twine not now!
Stay till a few brief months are past
And I have look'd and loved my last!
When villagers my shroud bestrew
With pansies, rosemary, and rue,—
Then, lady, weave a wreath for me,
And weave it of the cypress-tree!


While the dawn on the mountain was misty and gray,
My true love has mounted his steed and away,
Over hill, over valley, o'er dale, and o'er down;—
Heaven shield the brave gallant that fights for the crown!
He has doff'd the silk doublet the breastplate to bear,
He has placed the steel cap o'er his long flowing hair,
From his belt to his stirrup his broadsword hangs down—
Heaven shield the brave gallant that fights for the crown!
For the rights of fair England that broadsword he draws,
Her king is his leader, her church is his cause,
His watchword is honour, his pay is renown,—
God strike with the gallant that strikes for the crown!
[Pg 304]
They may boast of their Fairfax, their Waller, and all
The roundheaded rebels of Westminster Hall;
But tell these bold traitors of London's proud town,
That the spears of the north have encircled the crown.
There 's Derby and Cavendish, dread of their foes;
There 's Erin's high Ormond, and Scotland's Montrose!
Would you match the base Skippon, and Massey, and Brown,
With the barons of England that fight for the crown?
Now joy to the crest of the brave cavalier,
Be his banner unconquer'd, resistless his spear,
Till in peace and in triumph his toils he may drown,
In a pledge to fair England, her church, and her crown!


Waken, lords and ladies gay,
On the mountain dawns the day,
All the jolly chase is here,
With hawk, and horse, and hunting-spear!
Hounds are in their couples yelling,
Hawks are whistling, horns are knelling,
Merrily, merrily, mingle they—
"Waken, lords and ladies gay."
Waken, lords and ladies gay,
The mist has left the mountain gray,
Springlets in the dawn are steaming,
Diamonds on the brake are gleaming:
[Pg 305] And foresters have busy been
To track the buck in thicket green;
Now we come to chant our lay,
"Waken, lords and ladies gay."
Waken, lords and ladies gay,
To the green-wood haste away;
We can shew you where he lies,
Fleet of foot and tall of size;
We can shew the marks he made
When 'gainst the oak his antlers fray'd;
You shall see him brought to bay,
"Waken, lords and ladies gay."
Louder, louder chant the lay,
Waken, lords and ladies gay!
Tell them youth, and mirth, and glee,
Run a course as well as we;
Time, stern huntsman! who can baulk,
Stanch as hound, and fleet as hawk?
Think of this, and rise with day,
Gentle lords and ladies gay.


Oh, say not, my love, with that mortified air,
That your spring-time of pleasure is flown;
Nor bid me to maids that are younger repair,
For those raptures that still are thine own.
[Pg 306]
Though April his temples may wreathe with the vine,
Its tendrils in infancy curl'd;
'Tis the ardour of August matures us the wine,
Whose life-blood enlivens the world.
Though thy form, that was fashion'd as light as a fay's,
Has assumed a proportion more round,
And thy glance, that was bright as a falcon's at gaze,
Looks soberly now on the ground—
Enough, after absence to meet me again,
Thy steps still with ecstacy move;
Enough, that those dear sober glances retain
For me the kind language of love.
[Pg 307]



The Modern Gaelic Minstrelsy.

[Pg 308]

[Pg 309]


Robert Mackay, called Donn, from the colour of his hair, which was brown or chestnut, was born in the Strathmore of Sutherlandshire, about the year 1714.

His calling, with the interval of a brief military service in the fencibles, was the tending of cattle, in the several gradations of herd, drover, and bo-man, or responsible cow-keeper—the last, in his pastoral county, a charge of trust and respectability. At one period he had an appointment in Lord Reay's forest; but some deviations into the "righteous theft"—so the Highlanders of those parts, it seems, call the appropriation of an occasional deer to their own use—forfeited his noble employer's confidence. Rob, however, does not appear to have suffered in his general character or reputation for an unconsidered trifle like this, nor otherwise to have declined in the favour of his chief, beyond the necessity of transporting himself to a situation somewhat nearer the verge of Cape Wrath than the bosom of the deer preserve.

Mackay was happily married, and brought up a large family in habits and sentiments of piety; a fact which[Pg 310] his reverend biographer connects very touchingly with the stated solemnities of the "Saturday night," when the lighter chants of the week were exchanged at the worthy drover's fireside for the purer and holier melodies of another inspiration.[87] As a pendant to this creditable account of the bard's principles, we are informed that he was a frequent guest at the presbytery dinner-table; a circumstance which some may be so malicious as to surmise amounted to nothing more than a purpose to enhance the festive recreations of the reverend body—a suspicion, we believe, in this particular instance, totally unfounded. He died in 1778; and he has succeeded to some rather peculiar honours for a person in his position, or even of his mark. He has had a reverend doctor for his editorial biographer,[88] and no less than Sir Walter Scott for his reviewer.[89]

The passages which Sir Walter has culled from some literal translations that were submitted to him, are certainly the most favourable specimens of the bard that we have been able to discover in his volume. The rest are generally either satiric rants too rough or too local for transfusion, or panegyrics on the living and the dead, in the usual extravagant style of such compositions, according to the taste of the Highlanders and the usage of their bards; or they are love-lays, of which the language is more copious and diversified than the sentiment. In the gleanings on which we have ventured, after the illustrious person who has done so much honour to the bard by his comments and selections, we have attempted to draw out a little more of the peculiar character of the poet's genius.[Pg 311]


This is selected as a specimen of Mackay's descriptive poetry. It is in a style peculiar to the Highlands, where description runs so entirely into epithets and adjectives, as to render recitation breathless, and translation hopeless. Here, while we have retained the imagery, we have been unable to find room, or rather rhyme, for one half of the epithets in the original. The power of alliterative harmony in the original song is extraordinary.


At waking so early
Was snow on the Ben,
And, the glen of the hill in,
The storm-drift so chilling
The linnet was stilling,
That couch'd in its den;
And poor robin was shrilling
In sorrow his strain.


Every grove was expecting
Its leaf shed in gloom;
The sap it is draining,
Down rootwards 'tis straining,
And the bark it is waning
As dry as the tomb,
And the blackbird at morning
Is shrieking his doom.
[Pg 312]


Ceases thriving, the knotted,
The stunted birk-shaw;[90]
While the rough wind is blowing,
And the drift of the snowing
Is shaking, o'erthrowing,
The copse on the law.


'Tis the season when nature
Is all in the sere,
When her snow-showers are hailing,
Her rain-sleet assailing,
Her mountain winds wailing,
Her rime-frosts severe.


'Tis the season of leanness,
Unkindness, and chill;
Its whistle is ringing,
An iciness bringing,
Where the brown leaves are clinging
In helplessness, still,
And the snow-rush is delving
With furrows the hill.


The sun is in hiding,
Or frozen its beam
On the peaks where he lingers,
On the glens, where the singers,[91]
[Pg 313] With their bills and small fingers
Are raking the stream,
Or picking the midstead
For forage—and scream.


When darkens the gloaming
Oh, scant is their cheer!
All benumb'd is their song in
The hedge they are thronging,
And for shelter still longing,
The mortar[92] they tear;
Ever noisily, noisily
Squealing their care.


The running stream's chieftain[93]
Is trailing to land,
So flabby, so grimy,
So sickly, so slimy,—
The spots of his prime he
Has rusted with sand;
Crook-snouted his crest is
That taper'd so grand.


How mournful in winter
The lowing of kine;
How lean-back'd they shiver,
How draggled their cover,
How their nostrils run over
With drippings of brine,
So scraggy and crining
In the cold frost they pine.
[Pg 314]


'Tis hallow-mass time, and
To mildness farewell!
Its bristles are low'ring
With darkness; o'erpowering
Are its waters, aye showering
With onset so fell;
Seem the kid and the yearling
As rung their death-knell.


Every out-lying creature,
How sinew'd soe'er,
Seeks the refuge of shelter;
The race of the antler
They snort and they falter,
A-cold in their lair;
And the fawns they are wasting
Since their kin is afar.


Such the songs that are saddest
And dreariest of all;
I ever am eerie
In the morning to hear ye!
When foddering, to cheer the
Poor herd in the stall—
While each creature is moaning,
And sickening in thrall.
[Pg 315]



Mackay was entertained by Macechan, who was a respectable store-farmer, from his earliest life to his marriage. According to his reverend biographer,[94] the last lines of the elegy, of which the following is a translation, were much approved.

I see the wretch of high degree,
Though poverty has struck his race,
Pass with a darkness on his face
That door of hospitality.
I see the widow in her tears,
Dark as her woe—I see her boy—
From both, want reaves the dregs of joy;
The flash of youth through rags appears.
I see the poor's—the minstrel's lot—
As brethren they—no boon for song!
I see the unrequited wrong
Call for its helper, who is not.
You hear my plaint, and ask me, why?
You ask me when this deep distress
Began to rage without redress?
"With Ian Macechan's dying sigh!"


During a long absence on a droving expedition, Mackay was deprived of his mistress by another lover, whom, in fine, she married. The discovery he made, on his return, led to this compo[Pg 316]sition; which is a sequel to another composed on his distant journey, in which he seems to prognosticate something like what happened. Both are selected by Sir Walter Scott as specimens of the bard, and may be found paraphrastically rendered in a prose version, in the Quarterly Review, vol. xlv., p. 371, and in the notes to the last edition of "The Highland Drover," in "Chronicles of the Canongate." With regard to the present specimen, it may be remarked, that part of the original is either so obscure, or so freely rendered by Sir Walter Scott's translator, that we have attempted the present version, not without some little perplexity as to the sense of one or two allusions. We claim, on the whole, the merit of almost literal fidelity.


I fly from the fold, since my passion's despair
No longer must harbour the charms that are there;
Anne's[95] slender eyebrows, her sleek tresses so long,
Her turreted bosom—and Isabel's[96] song;
What has been, and is not—woe 's my thought!
It must not be spoken, nor can be forgot.


I wander'd the fold, and I rambled the grove,
And each spot it reported the kiss of my love;
But I saw her caressing another—and feel
'Tis distraction to hear them, and see them so leal.
What has been, and is not, &c.


Since 'twas told that a rival beguil'd thee away,
The dreams of my love are the dreams of dismay;
[Pg 317] Though unsummon'd of thee,[97] love has captured thy thrall,
And my hope of redemption for ever is small.
Day and night, though I strive aye
To shake him away, still he clings like the ivy.


But, auburn-hair'd Anna! to tell thee my plight,
'Tis old love unrequited that prostrates my might,
In presence or absence, aye faithful, my smart
Still racks, and still searches, and tugs at my heart—
Broken that heart, yet why disappear
From my country, without one embrace from my dear?


She answers with laughter and haughty disdain—
"To handle my snood you petition in vain;
Six suitors are mine since the year thou wert gone,
What art thou, that thou should'st be the favourite one?
Art thou sick? Ha, ha, for thy woe!
Art thou dying for love? Troth, love's payment was slow."[98]


Though my anger may feign it requites thy disdain,
And vaunts in thy absence, it threatens in vain—
[Pg 318] All in vain! for thy image in fondness returns,
And o'er thy sweet likeness expectancy burns;
And I hope—yes, I hope once more,
Till my hope waxes high as a tower[99] in its soar.



This is one of those lyrics, of which there are many in Gaelic poetry, that are intended to imitate pipe music. They consist of three parts, called Urlar, Siubhal, and Crunluath. The first is a slow, monotonous measure, usually, indeed, a mere repetition of the same words or tones; the second, a livelier or brisker melody, striking into description or narrative; the third, a rapid finale, taxing the reciter's or performer's powers to their utmost pitch of expedition. The heroine of the song is the same Isabel who is introduced towards the commencement of the "Forsaken Drover;" and it appears, from other verses in Mackay's collection, that it was not her fate to be "alone" through life. It is to be understood that when the verses were composed, she was in charge of her father's extensive pastoral manége, and not a mere milk-maid or dairy-woman.


Isabel Mackay is with the milk kye,
And Isabel Mackay is alone;
Isabel Mackay is with the milk kye,
And Isabel Mackay is alone, &c.
Seest thou Isabel Mackay with the milk kye,
At the forest foot—and alone?
[Pg 319]


By the Virgin and Son![100]
Thou bride-lacking one,
If ever thy time
Is coming, begone,
The occasion is prime,
For Isabel Mackay
Is with the milk kye
At the skirts of the forest,
And with her is none.
By the Virgin and Son, &c.
Woe is the sign!
It is not well
With the lads that dwell
Around us, so brave,
When the mistress fine
Of Riothan-a-dave
Is out with the kine,
And with her is none.
O, woe is the sign, &c.
Whoever he be
That a bride would gain
Of gentle degree,
And a drove or twain,
His speed let him strain
To Riothan-a-dave,
And a bride he shall have.
Then, to her so fain!
Whoever he be, &c.
[Pg 320]
And a bride he shall have,
The maid that's alone.
Isabel Mackay, &c.
Oh, seest not the dearie
So fit for embracing,
Her patience distressing,
The bestial a-chasing,
And she alone!
'Tis a marvellous fashion
That men should be slack,
When their bosoms lack
An object of passion,
To look such a lass on,
Her patience distressing,
The bestial a-chasing,
In the field, alone.


Oh, look upon the prize, sirs,
That where yon heights are rising,
The whole long twelvemonth sighs in,
Because she is alone.
Go, learn it from my minstrelsy,
Who list the tale to carry,
The maiden shuns the public eye,
And is ordain'd to tarry
'Mid stoups and cans, and milking ware,
Where brown hills rear their ridges bare,
And wails her plight the livelong year,
To spend the day alone.
[Pg 321]


Mackay was benighted on a deer-stalking expedition, near a wild hut or shealing, at the head of Loch Eriboll. Here he found its only inmate a poor asthmatic old man, stretched on his pallet, apparently at the point of death. As he sat by his bed-side, he "crooned," so as to be audible, it seems, to the patient, the following elegiac ditty, in which, it will be observed, he alludes to the death, then recent, of Pelham, an eminent statesman of George the Second's reign. As he was finishing his ditty, the old man's feelings were moved in a way which will be found in the appended note. This is one of Sir Walter Scott's extracts in the Quarterly, and is now attempted in the measure of the original.

How often, Death! art waking
The imploring cry of Nature!
When she sees her phalanx breaking,
As thou'dst have all—grim feature!
Since Autumn's leaves to brownness,
Of deeper shade were tending,
We saw thy step, from palaces,
To Evan's nook descending.
Oh, long, long thine agony!
A nameless length its tide;
Since breathless thou hast panted here,
And not a friend beside.
Thine errors what, I judge not;
What righteous deeds undone;
But if remains a se'ennight,
Redeem it, dying one!
Oh, marked we, Death! thy teachings true,
What dust of time would blind?
Such thy impartiality
To our highest, lowest kind.
[Pg 322] Thy look is upwards, downwards shot,
Determined none to miss;
It rose to Pelham's princely bower,
It sinks to shed like this!
Oh, long, long, &c.!
So great thy victims, that the noble
Stand humbled by the bier;
So poor, it shames the poorest
To grace them with a tear.
Between the minister of state
And him that grovels there,
Should one remain uncounselled,
Is there one whom dool shall spare?
Oh, long, long, &c.!
The hail that strews the battle-field
Not louder sounds its call,
Than the falling thousands round us
Are voicing words to all.
Hearken! least of all the nameless;
Evan's hour is going fast;
Hearken! greatest of earth's great ones—
Princely Pelham's hour is past.
Oh, long, long, &c.!
Friends of my heart! in the twain we see
A type of life's declining;
'Tis like the lantern's dripping light,
At either end a-dwining.
Where was there one more low than thou—
Thou least of meanest things?[101]
And where than his was higher place
Except the throne of kings?
Oh, long, long, &c.!
[Pg 323]


Dougal Buchanan was born at the Mill of Ardoch, in the beautiful valley of Strathyre, and parish of Balquhidder, in the year 1716. His parents were in circumstances to allow him the education of the parish school; on which, by private application, he so far improved, as to be qualified to act as teacher and catechist to the Highland locality which borders on Loch Rannoch, under the appointment of the Society for Propagating Christian Knowledge. Never, it is believed, were the duties of a calling discharged with more zeal and efficiency. The catechist was, both in and out of the strict department of his office, a universal oracle,[102] and his name is revered in the scene of his usefulness in a degree to which the honours of canonization could scarcely have added. Pious, to the height of a proverbial model, he was withal frank, cheerful, and social; and from his extraordinary command of the Gaelic idiom, and its poetic phraseology, he must have lent an ear to many a song and many a legend[103]—a nourishment of the imagination in which, as well as in purity of Gaelic, his[Pg 324] native Balquhidder was immeasurably inferior to the Rannoch district of his adoption.

The composition of hymns, embracing a most eloquent and musical paraphrase of many of the more striking inspirations of scriptural poetry, seems to have been the favourite employment of his leisure hours. These are sung or recited in every cottage of the Highlands where a reader or a retentive memory is to be found.

Buchanan's life was short. He was cut off by typhus fever, at a period when his talents had begun to attract a more than local attention. It was within a year after his return from superintending the press of the first version of the Gaelic New Testament, that his lamented death took place. His command of his native tongue is understood to have been serviceable to the translator, the Rev. James Stewart of Killin, who had probably been Buchanan's early acquaintance, as they were natives of the same district. This reverend gentleman is said to have entertained a scheme of getting the catechist regularly licensed to preach the gospel without the usual academical preparation. The scheme was frustrated by his death, in the summer of 1768.

We know of no fact relating to the development of the poetic vein of this interesting bard, unless it be found in the circumstance to which he refers in his "Diary,"[104] of having been bred a violent Jacobite, and having lived many years under the excitement of strong, even vindictive feelings, at the fate of his chief and landlord (Buchanan of Arnprior and Strathyre), who, with many of his dependents, and some of the poet's relations, suffered death for their share in the last rebellion. While he relates that the power of religion at length quenched this[Pg 325] effervescence of his emotions, it may be supposed that ardent Jacobitism, with its common accompaniment of melody, may have fostered an imagination which every circumstance proves to have been sufficiently susceptible. It may be added, as a particular not unworthy of memorial in a poet's life, that his remains are deposited in perhaps the most picturesque place of sepulture in the kingdom—the peninsula of Little Leny, in the neighbourhood of Callander; to which his relatives transferred his body, as the sepulchre of many chiefs and considerable persons of his clan, and where it is perhaps matter of surprise that his Highland countrymen have never thought of honouring his memory with some kind of monument.

The poetic remains of Dougal Buchanan do not afford extensive materials for translation. The subjects with which he deals are too solemn, and their treatment too surcharged with scriptural imagery, to be available for the purposes of a popular collection, of which the object is not directly religious. The only exception that occurs, perhaps, is his poem on "The Skull." Even in this case some moral pictures[105] have been omitted, as either too coarsely or too solemnly touched, to be fit for our purpose. A few lines of the conclusion are also omitted, as being mere amplifications of Scripture—wonderful, indeed, in point of vernacular beauty or sublimity, but not fusible for other use. Slight traces of imitation may be perceived; "The Grave" of Blair, and some passages of "Hamlet," being the apparent models.[Pg 326]



As I sat by the grave, at the brink of its cave
Lo! a featureless skull on the ground;
The symbol I clasp, and detain in my grasp,
While I turn it around and around.
Without beauty or grace, or a glance to express
Of the bystander nigh, a thought;
Its jaw and its mouth are tenantless both,
Nor passes emotion its throat.
No glow on its face, no ringlets to grace
Its brow, and no ear for my song;
Hush'd the caves of its breath, and the finger of death
The raised features hath flatten'd along.
The eyes' wonted beam, and the eyelids' quick gleam—
The intelligent sight, are no more;
But the worms of the soil, as they wriggle and coil,
Come hither their dwellings to bore.
No lineament here is left to declare
If monarch or chief art thou;
Alexander the Brave, as the portionless slave
That on dunghill expires, is as low.
Thou delver of death, in my ear let thy breath
Who tenants my hand, unfold;
That my voice may not die without a reply,
Though the ear it addresses is cold.
Say, wert thou a May,[106] of beauty a ray,
And flatter'd thine eye with a smile?
Thy meshes didst set, like the links of a net,
The hearts of the youth to wile?
[Pg 327] Alas every charm that a bosom could warm
Is changed to the grain of disgust!
Oh, fie on the spoiler for daring to soil her
Gracefulness all in the dust!
Say, wise in the law, did the people with awe
Acknowledge thy rule o'er them—
A magistrate true, to all dealing their due,
And just to redress or condemn?
Or was righteousness sold for handfuls of gold
In the scales of thy partial decree;
While the poor were unheard when their suit they preferr'd,
And appeal'd their distresses to thee?
Say, once in thine hour, was thy medicine of power
To extinguish the fever of ail?
And seem'd, as the pride of thy leech-craft e'en tried
O'er omnipotent death to prevail?
Alas, that thine aid should have ever betray'd
Thy hope when the need was thine own;
What salve or annealing sufficed for thy healing
When the hours of thy portion were flown?
Or—wert thou a hero, a leader to glory,
While armies thy truncheon obey'd;
To victory cheering, as thy foemen careering
In flight, left their mountains of dead?
Was thy valiancy laid, or unhilted thy blade,
When came onwards in battle array
The sepulchre-swarms, ensheathed in their arms,
To sack and to rifle their prey?
How they joy in their spoil, as thy body the while
Besieging, the reptile is vain,
And her beetle-mate blind hums his gladness to find
His defence in the lodge of thy brain!
[Pg 328] Some dig where the sheen of the ivory has been,
Some, the organ where music repair'd;
In rabble and rout they come in and come out
At the gashes their fangs have bared.
       *       *       *       *       *
Do I hold in my hand a whole lordship of land,
Represented by nakedness, here?
Perhaps not unkind to the helpless thy mind,
Nor all unimparted thy gear;
Perhaps stern of brow to thy tenantry thou!
To leanness their countenances grew—
'Gainst their crave for respite, when thy clamour for right
Required, to a moment, its due;
While the frown of thy pride to the aged denied
To cover their head from the chill,
And humbly they stand, with their bonnet in hand,
As cold blows the blast of the hill.
Thy serfs may look on, unheeding thy frown,
Thy rents and thy mailings unpaid;
All praise to the stroke their bondage that broke!
While but claims their obeisance the dead.
       *       *       *       *       *
Or a head do I clutch, whose devices were such,
That death must have lent them his sting—
So daring they were, so reckless of fear,
As heaven had wanted a king?
Did the tongue of the lie, while it couch'd like a spy
In the haunt of thy venomous jaws,
Its slander display, as poisons its prey
The devilish snake in the grass?
[Pg 329] That member unchain'd, by strong bands is restrain'd,
The inflexible shackles of death;
And, its emblem, the trail of the worm, shall prevail
Where its slaver once harbour'd beneath.
And oh! if thy scorn went down to thine urn
And expired, with impenitent groan;
To repose where thou art is of peace all thy part,
And then to appear—at the Throne!
Like a frog, from the lake that leapeth, to take
To the Judge of thy actions the way,
And to hear from His lips, amid nature's eclipse,
Thy sentence of termless dismay.
       *       *       *       *       *
The hardness of iron thy bones shall environ,
To brass-links the veins of thy frame
Shall stiffen, and the glow of thy manhood shall grow
Like the anvil that melts not in flame!
But wert thou the mould of a champion bold
For God and his truth and his law?
Oh, then, though the fence of each limb and each sense
Is broken—each gem with a flaw—
Be comforted thou! For rising in air
Thy flight shall the clarion obey;
And the shell of thy dust thou shalt leave to be crush'd,
If they will, by the creatures of prey.
[Pg 330]



We submit these further illustrations of the moral maxims of "The Skull." In the original they are touched in phraseology scarcely unworthy of the poet's Saxon models.

As lockfasted in slumber's arms
I lay and dream'd (so dreams our race
When every spectral object charms,
To melt, like shadow, in the chase),
A vision came; mine ear confess'd
Its solemn sounds. "Thou man distraught!
Say, owns the wind thy hand's arrest,
Or fills the world thy crave of thought?
       *       *       *       *       *
"Since fell transgression ravaged here
And reft Man's garden-joys away,
He weeps his unavailing tear,
And straggles, like a lamb astray.
"With shrilling bleat for comfort hie
To every pinfold, humankind;
Ah, there the fostering teat is dry,
The stranger mother proves unkind.
"No rest for toil, no drink for drought,
For bosom-peace the shadow's wing—
So feeds expectancy on nought,
And suckles every lying thing.
[Pg 331]
"Some woe for ever wreathes its chain,
And hope foretells the clasp undone;
Relief at handbreadth seems, in vain
Thy fetter'd arms embrace—'tis gone!
"Not all that trial's lore unlearns
Of all the lies that life betrays,
Avails, for still desire returns—
The last day's folly is to-day's.
"Thy wish has prosper'd—has its taste
Survived the hour its lust was drown'd;
Or yields thine expectation's zest
To full fruition, golden-crown'd?
"The rosebud is life's symbol bloom,
'Tis loved, 'tis coveted, 'tis riven—
Its grace, its fragrance, find a tomb,
When to the grasping hand 'tis given.
"Go, search the world, wherever woe
Of high or low the bosom wrings,
There, gasp for gasp, and throe for throe,
Is answer'd from the breast of kings.
"From every hearth-turf reeks its cloud,
From every heart its sigh is roll'd;
The rose's stalk is fang'd—one shroud
Is both the sting's and honey's fold.
"Is wealth thy lust—does envy pine
Where high its tempting heaps are piled?
Look down, behold the fountain shine,
And, deeper still, with dregs defiled!
[Pg 332]
"Quickens thy breath with rash inhale,
And falls an insect[107] in its toil?
The creature turns thy life-blood pale,
And blends thine ivory teeth with soil.
"When high thy fellow-mortal soars,
His state is like the topmost nest—
It swings with every blast that roars,
And every motion shakes its crest.
"And if the world for once is kind,
Yet ever has the lot its bend;
Where fortune has the crook inclined,
Not all thy strength or art shall mend.
"For as the sapling's sturdy stalk,
Whose double twist is crossly strain'd,
Such is thy fortune—sure to baulk
At this extreme what there was gain'd.
"When Heaven its gracious manna hail'd,
'Twas vain who hoarded its supply,
Not all his miser care avail'd
His neighbour's portion to outvie.
"So, blended all that nature owns,
So, warp'd all hopes that mortals bless—
With boundless wealth, the sufferer's groans;
With courtly luxury, distress.
"Lift up the balance—heap with gold,
Its other shell vile dust shall fill;
And were a kingdom's ransom told,
The scales would want adjustment still.
[Pg 333]
"Life has its competence—nor deem
That better than enough were more;
Sure it were phantasy to dream
With burdens to assuage thy sore.
"It is the fancy's whirling strife
That breeds thy pain—to-day it craves,
To-morrow spurns—suffices life
When passion asks what passion braves?
"Should appetite her wish achieve,
To herd with brutes her joy would bound;
Pleased other paradise to leave,
Content to pasture on the ground.
"But pride rebels, nor towers alone
Beyond that confine's lowly sphere—
Seems as from the Eternal Throne
It aim'd the sceptre's self to tear.
"'Tis thus we trifle, thus we dare;
But, seek we to our bliss the way,
Let us to Heaven our path refer,
Believe, and worship, and obey.
"That choice is all—to range beyond
Nor must, nor needs; provision, grace,
In these He gives, who sits enthroned,
Salvation, competence, and peace."
The instructive vision pass'd away,
But not its wisdom's dreamless lore;
No more in shadow-tracks I stray,
And fondle shadow-shapes no more.
[Pg 334]


Duncan Macintyre (Donacha Ban) is considered by his countrymen the most extraordinary genius that the Highlands in modern times have produced. Without having learned a letter of any alphabet, he was enabled to pour forth melodies that charmed every ear to which they were intelligible. And he is understood to have had the published specimens of his poetry committed to writing by no mean judge of their merit,—the late Dr Stewart of Luss,—who, when a young man, became acquainted with this extraordinary person, in consequence of his being employed as a kind of under-keeper in a forest adjoining to the parish of which the Doctor's father was minister.

Macintyre was born in Druimliart of Glenorchy on the 20th of March 1724, and died in October 1812. He was chiefly employed in the capacity of keeper in several of the Earl of Breadalbane's forests. He carried a musket, however, in his lordship's fencibles; which led him to take part, much against his inclination, in the Whig ranks at the battle of Falkirk. Later in life he transferred his musket to the Edinburgh City Guard.

Macintyre's best compositions are those which are descriptive of forest scenes, and those which he dedicated to the praise of his wife. His verses are, however, very numerous, and embrace a vast variety of subjects. From the extraordinary diffusiveness of his descriptions, and the boundless luxuriance of his expressions, much difficulty has been experienced in reproducing his strains in the English idiom.[Pg 335]



My young, my fair, my fair-hair'd Mary,
My life-time love, my own!
The vows I heard, when my kindest dearie
Was bound to me alone,
By covenant true, and ritual holy,
Gave happiness all but divine;
Nor needed there more to transport me wholly,
Than the friends that hail'd thee mine.
       *       *       *       *       *
'Twas a Monday morn, and the way that parted
Was far, but I rivall'd the wind,
The troth to plight with a maiden true-hearted,
That force can never unbind.
I led her apart, and the hour that we reckon'd,
While I gain'd a love and a bride,
I heard my heart, and could tell each second,
As its pulses struck on my side.
       *       *       *       *       *
I told my ail to the foe that pain'd me,
And said that no salve could save;
She heard the tale, and her leech-craft it sain'd me,
For herself to my breast she gave.
       *       *       *       *       *
Forever, my dear, I 'll dearly adore thee
For chasing away, away,
My fancy's delusion, new loves ever choosing,
And teaching no more to stray.
[Pg 336] I roam'd in the wood, many a tendril surveying,
All shapely from branch to stem,
My eye, as it look'd, its ambition betraying
To cull the fairest from them;
One branch of perfume, in blossom all over,
Bent lowly down to my hand,
And yielded its bloom, that hung high from each lover,
To me, the least of the band.
I went to the river, one net-cast I threw in,
Where the stream's transparence ran,
Forget shall I never, how the beauty[108] I drew in,
Shone bright as the gloss of the swan.
Oh, happy the day that crown'd my affection
With such a prize to my share!
My love is a ray, a morning reflection,
Beside me she sleeps, a star.


Bendourain is a forest scene in the wilds of Glenorchy. The poem, or lay, is descriptive, less of the forest, or its mountain fastnesses, than of the habits of the creatures that tenant the locality—the dun-deer, and the roe. So minutely enthusiastic is the hunter's treatment of his theme, that the attempt to win any favour for his performance from the Saxon reader, is attended with no small risk,—although it is possible that a little practice with the rifle in any similar wilderness may propitiate even the holiday sportsman somewhat in favour of the subject and its minute details. We must commit this forest minstrel to the good-nature of other readers, entreating them only to render[Pg 337] due acknowledgment to the forbearance which has, in the meantime, troubled them only with the first half of the performance, and with a single stanza of the finale. The composition is always rehearsed or sung to pipe music, of which it is considered, by those who understand the original, a most extraordinary echo, besides being in other respects a very powerful specimen of Gaelic minstrelsy.


The noble Otter hill!
It is a chieftain Beinn,[109]
Ever the fairest still
Of all these eyes have seen.
Spacious is his side;
I love to range where hide,
In haunts by few espied,
The nurslings of his den.
In the bosky shade
Of the velvet glade,
Couch, in softness laid,
The nimble-footed deer;
To see the spotted pack,
That in scenting never slack,
Coursing on their track,
Is the prime of cheer.
Merry may the stag be,
The lad that so fairly
Flourishes the russet coat
That fits him so rarely.
'Tis a mantle whose wear
Time shall not tear;
'Tis a banner that ne'er
Sees its colours depart:
[Pg 338] And when they seek his doom,
Let a man of action come,
A hunter in his bloom,
With rifle not untried:
A notch'd, firm fasten'd flint,
To strike a trusty dint,
And make the gun-lock glint
With a flash of pride.
Let the barrel be but true,
And the stock be trusty too,
So, Lightfoot,[110] though he flew,
Shall be purple-dyed.
He should not be novice bred,
But a marksman of first head,
By whom that stag is sped,
In hill-craft not unskill'd;
So, when Padraig of the glen
Call'd his hounds and men,
The hill spake back again,
As his orders shrill'd;
Then was firing snell,
And the bullets rain'd like hail,
And the red-deer fell
Like warrior on the field.


Oh, the young doe so frisky,
So coy, and so fair,
That gambols so briskly,
And snuffs up the air;
[Pg 339] And hurries, retiring,
To the rocks that environ,
When foemen are firing,
And bullets are there.
Though swift in her racing,
Like the kinsfolk before her,
No heart-burst, unbracing
Her strength, rushes o'er her.
'Tis exquisite hearing
Her murmur, as, nearing,
Her mate comes careering,
Her pride, and her lover;—
He comes—and her breathing
Her rapture is telling;
How his antlers are wreathing,
His white haunch, how swelling!
High chief of Bendorain,
He seems, as adoring
His hind, he comes roaring
To visit her dwelling.
'Twere endless my singing
How the mountain is teeming
With thousands, that bringing
Each a high chief's[111] proud seeming,
With his hind, and her gala
Of younglings, that follow
O'er mountain and beala,[112]
All lightsome are beaming.
When that lightfoot so airy,
Her race is pursuing,
Oh, what vision saw e'er a
Feat of flight like her doing?
[Pg 340] She springs, and the spreading grass
Scarce feels her treading,
It were fleet foot that sped in
Twice the time that she flew in.
The gallant array!
How the marshes they spurn,
In the frisk of their play,
And the wheelings they turn,—
As the cloud of the mind
They would distance behind,
And give years to the wind,
In the pride of their scorn!
'Tis the marrow of health
In the forest to lie,
Where, nooking in stealth,
They enjoy her[113] supply,—
Her fosterage breeding
A race never needing,
Save the milk of her feeding,
From a breast never dry.
Her hill-grass they suckle,
Her mammets[114] they swill,
And in wantonness chuckle
O'er tempest and chill;
With their ankles so light,
And their girdles[115] of white,
And their bodies so bright
With the drink of the rill.
[Pg 341] Through the grassy glen sporting
In murmurless glee,
Nor snow-drift nor fortune
Shall urge them to flee,
Save to seek their repose
In the clefts of the knowes,
And the depths of the howes
Of their own Eas-an-ti.[116]


In the forest den, the deer
Makes, as best befits, his lair,
Where is plenty, and to spare,
Of her grassy feast.
There she browses free
On herbage of the lea,
Or marsh grass, daintily,
Until her haunch is greased.
Her drink is of the well,
Where the water-cresses swell,
Nor with the flowing shell
Is the toper better pleased.
The bent makes nobler cheer,
Or the rashes of the mere,
Than all the creagh that e'er
Gave surfeit to a guest.
Come, see her table spread;
The sorach[117] sweet display'd
The ealvi,[118] and the head
Of the daisy stem;
[Pg 342] The dorach[119] crested, sleek,
And ringed with many a streak,
Presents her pastures meek,
Profusely by the stream.
Such the luxuries
That plump their noble size,
And the herd entice
To revel in the howes.
Nobler haunches never sat on
Pride of grease, than when they batten
On the forest links, and fatten
On the herbs of their carouse.
Oh, 'tis pleasant, in the gloaming,
When the supper-time
Calls all their hosts from roaming,
To see their social prime;
And when the shadows gather,
They lair on native heather,
Nor shelter from the weather
Need, but the knolls behind.
Dread or dark is none;
Their 's the mountain throne,
Height and slope their own,
The gentle mountain kind;
Pleasant is the grace
Of their hue, and dappled dress,
And an ark in their distress,
In Bendorain dear they find.
[Pg 343]


So brilliant thy hue
With tendril and flow'ret,
The grace of the view,
What land can o'erpower it?
Thou mountain of beauty,
Methinks it might suit thee,
The homage of beauty
To claim as a queen.
What needs it? Adoring
Thy reign, we see pouring
The wealth of their store in
Already, I ween.
The seasons—scarce roll'd once,
Their gifts are twice told—
And the months, they unfold
On thy bosom their dower,
With profusion so rare,
Ne'er was clothing so fair,
Nor was jewelling e'er
Like the bud and the flower
Of the groves on thy breast,
Where rejoices to rest
His magnificent crest,
The mountain-cock, shrilling
In quick time, his note;
And the clans of the grot
With melody's note,
Their numbers are trilling.
No foot can compare,
In the dance of the green,
With the roebuck's young heir;
And here he is seen
[Pg 344] With his deftness of speed,
And his sureness of tread,
And his bend of the head,
And his freedom of spring!
Over corrie careers he,
The wood-cover clears he,
And merrily steers he
With bound, and with fling,—
As he spurns from his stern
The heather and fern,
And dives in the dern[120]
Of the wilderness deep;
Or, anon, with a strain,
And a twang of each vein
He revels amain
'Mid the cliffs of the steep.
With the burst of a start
When the flame of his heart
Impels to depart,
How he distances all!
Two bounds at a leap,
The brown hillocks to sweep,
His appointment to keep
With the doe, at her call.
With her following, the roe
From the danger of ken
Couches inly, and low,
In the haunts of the glen;
Ever watchful to hear,
Ever active to peer,
Ever deft to career,—
All ear, vision, and limb.
[Pg 345] And though Cult[121] and Cuchullin,
With their horses and following,
Should rush to her dwelling,
And our prince[122] in his trim,
They might vainly aspire
Without rifle and fire
To ruffle or nigh her,
Her mantle to dim.
Stark-footed, lively,
Ever capering naively
With motion alive, aye,
And wax-white, in shine,
When her startle betrays
That the hounds are in chase,
The same as the base
Is the rocky decline—
She puffs from her chest,
And she ambles her crest
And disdain is express'd
In her nostril and eye;—
That eye—how it winks!
Like a sunbeam it blinks,
And it glows, and it sinks,
And is jealous and shy!
A mountaineer lynx,
Like her race that 's gone by.


Her lodge is in the valley—here
No huntsman, void of notion,
[Pg 346] Should hurry on the fallow deer,
But steal on her with caution;—
With wary step and watchfulness
To stalk her to her resting place,
Insures the gallant wight's success,
Before she is in motion.
The hunter bold should follow then,
By bog, and rock, and hollow, then,
And nestle in the gulley, then,
And watch with deep devotion
The shadows on the benty grass,
And how they come, and how they pass;
Nor must he stir, with gesture rash,
To quicken her emotion.
With nerve and eye so wary, sir,
That straight his piece may carry, sir,
He marks with care the quarry, sir,
The muzzle to repose on;
And now, the knuckle is applied,
The flint is struck, the priming tried,
Is fired, the volley has replied,
And reeks in high commotion;—
Was better powder ne'er to flint,
Nor trustier wadding of the lint—
And so we strike a telling dint,
Well done, my own Nic-Coisean![123]
[Pg 347]


Macintyre acted latterly as a constable of the City Guard of Edinburgh, a situation procured him by the Earl of Breadalbane, at his own special request; that benevolent nobleman having inquired of the bard what he could do for him to render him independent in his now advanced years. His salary as a peace-officer was sixpence a-day; but the poet was so abundantly satisfied with the attainment of his position and endowments, that he gave expression to his feelings of satisfaction in a piece of minstrelsy, which in the original ranks among his best productions. Of this ode we are enabled to present a faithful metrical translation, quite in the spirit of the original, as far as conversion of the Gaelic into the Scottish idiom is practicable. The version was kindly undertaken at our request by Mr William Sinclair, the ingenious author of "Poems of the Fancy and the Affections," who has appropriately adapted it to the lively tune, "Alister M'Alister." The song, remarks Mr Sinclair, is much in the spirit, though in a more humorous strain, of the famous Sword Song, beginning in the translation, "Come forth, my glittering Bride," composed by Theodore Körner of Dresden, and the last and most remarkable of his patriotic productions, wherein the soldier addresses his sword as his bride, thereby giving expression to the most glowing sentiments of patriotism. Macintyre addresses as his wife the musket which he carried as an officer of the guard; and is certainly as enthusiastic in praise of his new acquisition, as ever was love-sick swain in eulogy of the most attractive fair one.

Oh! mony a turn of woe and weal
May happen to a Highlan' man;
Though he fall in love he soon may feel
He cannot get the fancied one;
[Pg 348] The first I loved in time that 's past,
I courted twenty years, ochone!
But she forsook me at the last,
And Duncan then was left alone.
To Edinbro' I forthwith hied
To seek a sweetheart to my mind,
An', if I could, to find a bride
For the fause love I left behind;
Said Captain Campbell of the Guard,
"I ken a widow secretly,
An' I 'll try, as she 's no that ill faur'd,
To put her, Duncan, in your way."
As was his wont, I trow, did he
Fulfil his welcome promise true,
He gave the widow unto me,
And all her portion with her too;
And whosoe'er may ask her name,
And her surname also may desire,
They call her Janet[125]—great her fame—
An' 'twas George who was her grandsire.
[Pg 349]
She 's quiet, an' affable, an' free,
No vexing gloom or look at hand,
As high in rank and in degree
As any lady in the land;
She 's my support and my relief,
Since e'er she join'd me, any how;
Great is the cureless cause of grief
To him who has not got her now!
Nic-Coisean[126] I 've forsaken quite,
Altho' she liveth still at ease—
An' allow the crested stags to fight
And wander wheresoe'er they please,
A young wife I have chosen now,
Which I repent not any where,
I am not wanting wealth, I trow,
Since ever I espoused the fair.
I pass my word of honour bright—
Most excellent I do her call;
In her I ne'er, in any light,
Discover'd any fault at all.
She is stately, fine, an' straight, an' sound,
Without a hidden fault, my friend;
In her, defect I never found,
Nor yet a blemish, twist, or bend.
When needy folk are pinch'd, alas!
For money in a great degree;
Ah, George's daughter—generous lass—
Ne'er lets my pockets empty be;
[Pg 350] She keepeth me in drink, and stays
By me in ale-houses and all,
An' at once, without a word, she pays
For every stoup I choose to call!
An' every turn I bid her do
She does it with a willing grace;
She never tells me aught untrue,
Nor story false, with lying face;
She keeps my rising family
As well as I could e'er desire,
Although no labour I do try,
Nor dirty work for love or hire.
I labour'd once laboriously,
Although no riches I amass'd;
A menial I disdain'd to be,
An' keep my vow unto the last.
I have ceased to labour in the lan',
Since e'er I noticed to my wife,
That the idle and contented man
Endureth to the longest life.
'Tis my musket—loving wife, indeed—
In whom I faithfully believe,
She 's able still to earn my bread,
An' Duncan she will ne'er deceive;
I 'll have no lack of linens fair,
An' plenty clothes to serve my turn,
An' trust me that all worldly care
Now gives me not the least concern.
[Pg 351]


Jan Macodrum, the Bard of Uist, was patronised by an eminent judge of merit, Sir James Macdonald of Skye,—of whom, after a distinguished career at Oxford, such expectations were formed, that on his premature death at Rome he was lamented as the Marcellus of Scotland.

Macodrum's name is cited in the Ossianic controversy, upon Sir James's report, as a person whose mind was stored with Ossianic poetry, of which Macpherson gave to the world the far-famed specimens. A humorous story is told of Macodrum (who was a noted humorist) having trifled a little with the translator when he applied for a sample of the old Fingalian, in the words, "Hast thou got anything of, or on, (equivalent in Gaelic to hast thou anything to get of) the Fingalian heroes?" "If I have," quoth Macodrum, "I fear it is now irrecoverable."

Macodrum, whose real patronymic is understood to have been Macdonald, lived to lament his patron in elegiac strains—a fact that brings the time in which he flourished down to 1766.

His poem entitled the "Song of Age," is admired by his countrymen for its rapid succession of images (a little too mixed or abrupt on some occasions), its descriptive power, and its neatness and flow of versification.[Pg 352]



Should my numbers essay to enliven a lay,
The notes would betray the languor of woe;
My heart is o'erthrown, like the rush of the stone
That, unfix'd from its throne, seeks the valley below.
The veteran of war, that knows not to spare,
And offers us ne'er the respite of peace,
Resistless comes on, and we yield with a groan,
For under the sun is no hope of release.
'Tis a sadness I ween, how the glow and the sheen
Of the rosiest mien from their glory subside;
How hurries the hour on our race, that shall lower
The arm of our power, and the step of our pride.
As scatter and fail, on the wing of the gale,
The mist of the vale, and the cloud of the sky,
So, dissolving our bliss, comes the hour of distress,
Old age, with that face of aversion to joy.
Oh! heavy of head, and silent as lead,
And unbreathed as the dead, is the person of Age;
Not a joint, not a nerve—so prostrate their verve—
In the contest shall serve, or the feat to engage.
To leap with the best, or the billow to breast,
Or the race prize to wrest, were but effort in vain;
On the message of death pours an Egypt of wrath,[127]
The fever's hot breath, the dart-shot of pain.
[Pg 353] Ah, desolate eld! the wretch that is held
By thy grapple, must yield thee his dearest supplies;
The friends of our love at thy call must remove,—
What boots how they strove from thy bands to arise?
They leave us, deplore as it wills us,—our store,
Our strength at the core, and our vigour of mind;
Remembrance forsakes us, distraction o'ertakes us,
Every love that awakes us, we leave it behind.
Thou spoiler of grace, that changest the face
To hasten its race on the route to the tomb,
To whom nothing is dear, unaffection'd the ear,
Emotion is sere, and expression is dumb;
Of spirit how void, thy passions how cloy'd,
Thy pith how destroy'd, and thy pleasure how gone!
To the pang of thy cries not an echo replies,
Even sympathy dies—and thy helper is none.
We see thee how stripp'd of each bloom that equipp'd
Thy flourish, till nipp'd the winter thy rose;
Till the spoiler made bare the scalp of the hair,
And the ivory[128] tare from its sockets' repose.
Thy skinny, thy cold, thy visageless mould,
Its disgust is untold, and its surface is dim;
What a signal of wrack is the wrinkle's dull track,
And the bend of the back, and the limp of the limb!
Thou leper of fear—thou niggard of cheer—
Where glory is dear, shall thy welcome be found?
Thou contempt of the brave—oh, rather the grave,
Than to pine as the slave that thy fetters have bound.
[Pg 354] Like the dusk of the day is thy colour of gray,
Thou foe of the lay, and thou phantom of gloom;
Thou bane of delight—when thy shivering plight,
And thy grizzle of white,[129] and thy crippleness, come
To beg at the door; ah, woe for the poor,
And the greeting unsure that grudges their bread;
All unwelcome they call—from the hut to the hall
The confession of all is, "'Tis time he were dead!"

The picturesque portion of the description here terminates. With respect to the moral and religious application, it is but just to the poet to say, that before the close he appeals in pathetic terms to the young, warning them not to boast of their strength, or to abuse it; and that he concludes his lay with the sentiment, that whatever may be the ills of "age," there are worse that await an unrepenting death, and a suffering eternity.[Pg 355]

Or, Tormaid Ban.

Single-speech Hamilton may be said to have had his marrow in a Highland bard, nearly his contemporary, whose one effort was attended with more lasting popularity than the sole oration of that celebrated person. The clan song of the Mackenzies is the composition in question, and its author is now ascertained to have been a gentleman, or farmer of the better class, of the name of Norman Macleod, a native of Assynt[130] in Sutherland. The most memorable particular known of this person, besides the production of his poetic effort, is his having been the father of a Glasgow professor,[131] whom we remember occupying the chair of Church History in the university in very advanced age, about 1814, assisted by a helper and successor; and of another son, who was the respected minister of Rogart till towards the end of last century.

The date of "Caberfae" is not exactly ascertained. It was composed during the exile of Lord Seaforth, but, we imagine, before the '45, in which he did not take part, and while Macshimei (Lord Lovat) still passed[Pg 356] for a Whig. In Mackenzie's excellent collection (p. 361), a later date is assigned to the production.

The Seaforth tenantry, who (after the manner of the clans) privately supported their chief in his exile, appear to have been much aggrieved by some proceedings of the loyalist, Monro of Fowlis, who, along with his neighbour of Culloden and Lovat, were probably acting under government commission, in which the interests of the crown were seconded by personal or family antagonism. The loyal family of Sutherland, who seem by grant or lease to have had an interest in the estates, also come in for a share of the bard's resentment.

All this forms the subject of "Caberfae," which, without having much meaning or poetry, served, like the celebrated "Lillibulero," to animate armies, and inflame party spirit to a degree that can scarcely be imagined. The repetition of "the Staghead, when rises his cabar on," which concludes every strophe, is enough at any time to bring a Mackenzie to his feet, or into the forefront of battle,—being a simple allusion to the Mackenzie crest, allegorised into an emblem of the stag at bay, or ready in his ire to push at his assailant. The cabar is the horn, or, rather, the "tine of the first-head,"—no ignoble emblem, certainly, of clannish fury and impetuosity. The difficulty of the measure compels us to the use of certain metrical freedoms, and also of some Gaelic words, for which is craved the reader's indulgence.[Pg 357]



A health to Caberfae,
A toast, and a cheery one,
That soon return he may,
Though long and far his tarrying.
The death of shame befal me,
Be riven off my eididh[133] too,
But my fancy hears thy call—we
Should all be up and ready, O!
'Tis I have seen thy weapon keen,
Thine arm, inaction scorning,
Assign their dues to the Munroes,
Their welcome in the morning.
Nor stood the Cátach[134] to his bratach[135]
For dread of a belabouring,
When up gets the Staghead,
And raises his cabar on.
Woe to the man of Folais,[136]
When he to fight must challenge thee;
Nor better fared the Roses[137]
That lent Monro their valiancy.
The Granndach[138] and the Frazer,[139]
They tarried not the melee in;
Fled Forbes,[140] in dismay, sir,
Culloden-wards, undallying.
[Pg 358] Away they ran, while firm remain,
Not one to three, retiring so,
The earl,[141] the craven, took to haven,
Scarce a pistol firing, O!
Mackay[142] of Spoils, his heart recoils,
He cries in haste his cabul[143] on,
He flies—as soars the Staghead,
And raises his cabar on.
Like feather'd creatures flying,
That in the hill-mist shiver,
In haste for refuge hieing,
To the meadow or the river—
So, port they sought, and took to boat,
Bewailing what had happened them,
To trust was rash, the missing flash
Of the rusty guns that weapon'd them.
The coracle of many a skull,
The relics of his neighbour, on,
Monro retreats[144]—for Staghead
Is raising his cabar on.
I own my expectation,—
'Tis this has roused my apathy,
That He who rules creation
May change the dismal hap of thee,
And hasten to restore thee
In safety from thy danger,
To thine own, in joy and glory,
To save us from the stranger.
[Pg 359] With princely grace to give redress,
Nor a taunt to suffer back again;
The fell Monro has felt thy blow,
And should he dare attack again,
Then as he flew, he 'll run anew,
The flames to quench he 'll labour on,
Of castle fired—when Staghead
High raises his cabar on!
I 've seen thee o'er the lowly,
A gracious chieftain ever,
The Cátach[145] self below thee,
And the Gallach[145] cower'd for cover;
But ever more their striving,
When claim'd respect thine eye,
Thy scourge corrected, driving
To other lands to fly.
Thy loyal crew of clansmen true,
No panic fear shall turn them,
With steel-cap, blade, and skene array'd,
Their banning foes they spurn them.
Clan-Shimei[146] then may dare them,
They 'll fly, had each a sabre on,
Needs but a look—when Staghead
Once raises his cabar on.
Mounts not the wing a fouler thing,
Than thy vaunted crest, the eagle,[147] O!
Inglorious chief! to boast the thief,
That forays with the beagle, O!
[Pg 360] For shame! preferr'd that ravening bird![148]
My song shall raise the mountain-deer;
The prey he scorns, the carcase spurns,
He loves the cress, the fountain cheer.
His lodge is in the forest;—
While carion-flesh enticing
Thy greedy maw, thou buriest
Thou kite of prey! thy claws in
The putrid corse of famish'd horse,
The greedy hound a-striving
To rival thee in gluttony,
Both at the bowels riving.
Thou called the true bird![149]—Never,
Thou foster child of evil,[150] ha!
How ill match with thy feather[151]
The talons[152] of thy devilry!
But when thy foray preys on
Our harmless flocks, so dastardly,
How often has the shepherd
With trusty baton master'd thee;
Well in thy fright hast timed thy flight,
Else, not alone, belabouring,
He 'd gored thee with the Staghead,
Up-raising his cabar on.[153]
[Pg 361]
Woe worth the world, deceiver—
So false, so fair of seeming!
We 've seen the noble Siphort[154]
With all his war-notes[155] screaming;
When not a chief in Albain,
Mac-Ailein's[156] self though backing him,
Could face his frown—as Staghead
Arose with his cabar on.
To join thy might, when call'd the right,
A gallant army springing on,
Would rise, from Assint to the crags
Of Scalpa, rescue bringing on.
Each man upon, true-flinted gun,
Steel glaive, and trusty dagaichean;
With the Island Lord of Sleitè,[157]
When up rose thy cabar on!
Came too the men of Muideart,[158]
While stream'd their flag its bravery;
Their gleaming weapons, blue-dyed,[159]
That havock'd on the cavalry.
Macalister,[160] Mackinnon,
With many a flashing trigger there,
The foemen rushing in on,
Resistless shew'd their vigour there.
May fortune free thee—may we see thee
Again in Bràun,[161] the turreted,
Girt with thy clan! And not a man
But will get the scorn he merited.
[Pg 362] Then wine will play, and usquebae
From flaggons, and from badalan,[162]
And pipers scream—when Staghead
High raises his cabar on.
[Pg 363]



A-low, on fire.

Ava, at all.

Ayont, beyond.

Ban, swear.

Bang, to change place hastily.

Bangster, a violent person.

Bawks, the cross-beams of a roof.

Bein, good, suitable.

Bicker, a dish for holding liquor.

Boddle, an old Scottish coin—value the third of a penny.

Boggie, a marsh.

Brag, vaunt.

Braw, gaily dressed.

Busk, to attire oneself.

Buss, bush.

Cantie, cheerful.

Castocks, the pith of stalks of cabbages.

Caw, to drive.

Chat, talk.

Chuckies, chickens.

Chuffy, clownish.

Clavering, talking idly.

Cleeding, clothing.

Clishmaclavers, idle talk.

Clocksie, vivacious.

Cock-up, a hat or cap turned up before.

Coft, purchased.

Cogie, a hollow wooden vessel.

Coozy, warm.

Cosie, snug, comfortable.

Cowt, cattle.

Creel, a basket.

Croft, a tenement of land.

Croon, to make a plaintive sound.

Crouse, brisk.

Crusie, a small lamp.

Cuddle, embrace.

Curpin, the crupper of a saddle.

Cuttie, a short pipe.

Daff, sport.

Daut, caress.

Daud, blow.

Daunder, to walk thoughtlessly.

Dautit, fondled.

Dirdum, tumult.

Disjasket, having appearance of decay.

Doited, stupid.

Dool, grief.

Dorty, a foolish urchin.

Douf, dull.

Dowie, sad.

Draigle, draggle.

Dringing, delaying.

Drone, sound of bagpipes.

Dung, defeated.

Eerie, timorous.

Eident, wary.

Elf, a puny creature.

Fashious, troublesome.

Fauld, a fold.

Ferlies, remarkable things.

Fleyt, frightened.

Fogie, a stupid old person.

Foumart, a pole-cat.

Fraise, flattery.

Frumpish, crumpled.

Gabbit, a person prone to idle talk.

Gart, compelled.

Giggle, unmeaning laughter.

Gin, if.

Girse, grass.

Glaikit, stupid.

Glamrie, the power of enchantment.

Glower, stare.[Pg 364]

Grusome, frightful.

Grist, the fee paid at the mill for grinding.

Gutchir, grandfather.

Gutters, mud, wet dust.

Hain, save, preserve.

Hap, cover.

Havens, endowments.

Henny, honey, a familiar term of affection among the peasantry.

Hinkum, that which is put up in hanks or balls, as thread.

Howe, a hollow.

Hyne, hence.

Kail, cabbages, colewort.

Kebbuck, a cheese.

Keil, red clay, used for marking.

Ken, know.

Kenspeckle, having a singular appearance.

Leal, honest, faithful.

Leese me, pleased am I with.

Lyart, gray-haired.

Loof, the palm of the hand.

Lowin, warm.

Lucky, A, an old woman.

Luntin, smoking.

Mailin, a farm.

Maukin, a hare.

Mirk, dark.

Mishanter, a sorry scrape.

Mittens, gloves without fingers.

Mouldie, crumbling.

Mouls, the earth of the grave.

Mows, easy.

Mutch, a woman's cap.

Neip, a turnip.

Neive, the closed fist.

Nippen, carried off surreptitiously.

Ouk, week.

Owerlay, a cravat.

Perk, push.

Perlins, women's ornaments.

Poortith, poverty.

Preed, tasted.

Randy, a scold, a shrew.

Rate, slander.

Rink, run about.

Routh, abundance.

Rummulgumshin, common sense.

Sabbit, sobbed.

Scant, scarce.

Scartle, a graip or fork.

Scrimply, barely.

Scug, shelter.

Seer, sure.

Shaw, a plantation.

Shiel, a sheep shed.

Skeigh, timorous.

Skiffin, moving lightly.

Smeddum, sagacity.

Snooded, the hair bound up.

Spaewife, a female fortune-teller.

Spence, a larder.

Steenies, guineas.

Sud, should.

Sumph, a soft person.

Swankie, a clever young fellow.

Sweir, indolent.

Syne, then.

Tabbit, benumbed.

Tapsle-teerie, topsyturvy.

Ted, toad.

Thairms, strings.

Thowless, thoughtless.

Thraw, twist.

Tint, lost.

Tirl, to uncover.

Tocher, dowry.

Toss, toast.

Towmond, a year.

Trig, neat, trim.

Tryst, appointment.

Tyced, made diversion.

Vauntit, boasted.

Weel, will.

Whigmigmorum, political ranting.

Wile, choice.

Wist, wished.

Wizen, the throat.

Wow, vow.



[1] This song was composed when Wilkes, Horne, and others, were exciting a commotion about liberty.

[2] This tune requires O to be added at the end of each of the long lines, but in reading the song the O is better omitted.

[3] Forbes's "Life of Beattie," vol. i. p. 375.

[4] Of the "Flowers of the Forest," two other versions appear in the Collections. That version beginning, "I've heard the lilting at our yow-milking," is the composition of Miss Jane Elliot, the daughter of Sir Gilbert Elliot of Minto, Lord Justice-Clerk, who died in 1766. She composed the song about the middle of the century, in imitation of an old version to the same tune. The other version, which is the most popular of the three, with the opening line, "I 've seen the smiling of fortune beguiling," was also the composition of a lady, Miss Alison Rutherford; by marriage, Mrs Cockburn, wife of Mr Patrick Cockburn, advocate. Mrs Cockburn was a person of highly superior accomplishments. She associated with her learned contemporaries, by whom she was much esteemed, and died at Edinburgh in 1794, at an advanced age. "The forest" mentioned in the song comprehended the county of Selkirk, with portions of Peeblesshire and Lanarkshire. This was a hunting-forest of the Scottish kings.

[5] These lines were addressed by Mrs Hunter to her daughter, on the occasion of her marriage.

[6] These verses form a modernised version of the old and popular song, "Will ye gae to the ewe-bughts, Marion?" The air is extremely beautiful.

[7] The name of this old melody is, "The Bridegroom greets when the Sun gangs down."—See Stenhouse's Notes to Johnson's "Musical Museum," vol. iv. p. 280; the "Lives of the Lindsays," by Lord Lindsay, vol. ii., pp. 314, 332, 392. Lond. 1849, 3 vols., 8vo.

[8] "She was entertaining a large party of distinguished guests at dinner, when a hitch occurred in the kitchen. The old servant came up behind her and whispered, 'My lady, you must tell another story—the second course won't be ready for five minutes!'"—Letter of General Lindsay to Lord Lindsay, "Lives of the Lindsays," vol. ii. p. 387.

[9] The Rev. William Leeves, of Wrington, to whose tune the ballad is now sung.—See an account of Mr Leeves' claims to the authorship of the tune, &c., in Johnson's "Musical Museum;" Stenhouse's Notes, vol. iv. p. 231.

[10] We quote from an autobiography of the poet, the original of which is in the possession of one of his surviving friends. We have likewise to acknowledge our obligations to Dr Muschet, of Birkhill, near Stirling, for communicating some interesting letters of Macneill, addressed to his late father. The late Mr John Campbell, Writer to the Signet, had undertaken to supply a memoir for this work, partly from his own recollections of his deceased friend; but, before he could fulfil his promise, he was called to rest with his fathers. We have, however, taken advantage of his reminiscences of the bard, orally communicated to us. An intelligent abridgment of the autobiography appears in Blackwood's Magazine, vol. iv. p. 273. See likewise the Encyclopædia Britannica, vol. xv. p. 307.

[11] "The Songs of Scotland, Ancient and Modern," by Allan Cunningham, vol. i. p. 242. London, 1825; 4 vols. 12mo.

[12] This song was first published, in May 1791, in The Bee, an Edinburgh periodical, conducted by Dr James Anderson.

[13] This beautiful ballad was first printed, in 1791, in The Bee. It is adapted to an old and sweet air, to which, however, very puerile words were attached.

[14] Mr Graham, of Gartmore, an intimate friend of Hector Macneill, composed a song, having a similar burden, the chorus proceeding thus:—

"Then, tell me how to woo thee, love;
Oh, tell me how to woo thee!
For thy dear sake nae care I'll take,
Though ne'er another trow me."

This was published by Sir Walter Scott, in the "Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border," as a production of the reign of Charles I.

[15] The first stanza of this song, along with a second, which is unsuitable for insertion, has been ascribed, on the authority of Burns, to the Rev. John Clunie, minister of Borthwick, in Mid-Lothian, who died in 1819, aged sixty-two. Ritson, however, by prefixing the letters "J. D." to the original stanza would seem to point to a different author.

[16] This fine ballad was written by Macneill, to commemorate the death of his friend, Captain Stewart, a brave officer, betrothed to a young lady in Athole, who, in 1777, fell at the battle of Saratoga, in America. The words, which are adapted to an old Gaelic air, appear with music in Smith's "Scottish Minstrel," vol. iii. p. 28. The ballad, in the form given above, has been improved in several of the stanzas by the author, on his original version, published in Johnson's "Museum." See the "Museum," vol. iv. p. 238.

[17] Mora is the name of a small valley in Athole, so designated by the two lovers.

[18] This song was originally printed on a single sheet, by N. Stewart and Co., Edinburgh, in 1794, as the lament of a lady on the death of an officer. It does not appear in Macneill's "Poetical Works," but he asserted to Mr Stenhouse his claims to the authorship.—Johnson's "Museum," vol. iv. p. 323.

[19] The last verse of this song was added by John Hamilton. The song, on account of this addition, was not included by Macneill in the collected edition of his "Poetical Works." One of Miss Blamire's songs has the same opening line; and it has been conjectured by Mr Maxwell, the editor of her poems, that Macneill had been indebted to her song for suggesting his verses.

[20] From Albyn's "Anthology," vol. i. p. 42. Edinburgh, 1816, 4to.

[21] See Note to "Lady of the Lake."

[22] See the Encyclopædia Britannica, vol. xxi. p. 170.

[23] This song originally consisted of two stanzas, the third stanza being subsequently added by the author. It is adapted to a beautiful old air, "Logan Water," incongruously connected with some indecorous stanzas. Burns deemed Mayne's version an elder production of the Scottish muse, and attempted to modernise the song, but his edition is decidedly inferior. Other four stanzas have been added, by some anonymous versifier, to Mayne's verses, which first appeared in Duncan's "Encyclopædia of Scottish, English, and Irish Songs," printed at Glasgow in 1836, 2 vols. 12mo. In those stanzas the lover is brought back to Logan braes, and consummates his union with his weeping shepherdess. The stream of Logan takes its rise among the hills separating the parishes of Lesmahago and Muirkirk, and, after a flow of eight miles, deposits its waters into the Nethan river.

[24] During the reign of Mary, Queen of Scots, a young lady, of great personal attractions and numerous accomplishments, named Helen Irving, daughter of Irving of Kirkconnel, in Annandale, was betrothed to Adam Fleming de Kirkpatrick, a young gentleman of fortune in the neighbourhood. Walking with her lover on the banks of the Kirtle, she was slain by a shot which had been aimed at Fleming by a disappointed rival. The melancholy history has been made the theme of three different ballads, two of these being old. The present ballad, by Mr Mayne, was inserted by Sir Walter Scott in the Edinburgh Annual Register of 1815.

[25] Burns composed two verses to the same tune, which is very old. It was a favourite of Queen Mary, the consort of William III. In his "Beggar's Opera," Gay has adopted the tune for one of his songs. It was published, in 1652, by John Hilton, as the third voice to what is called a "Northern Catch" for three voices, beginning—"I'se gae wi' thee, my sweet Peggy."

[26] These stanzas are founded on some lines of old doggerel, beginning—

"Go, go, go,
Go to Berwick, Johnnie;
Thou shalt have the horse,
And I shall have the pony."

[27] These verses were written as a continuation to Burns's "Of a' the airts the wind can blaw." Other two stanzas were added to the same song by W. Reid.—See postea.

[28] Literary Gazette, March 1851.

[29] This song was written for Thomson's "Melodies." "Todlin' Hame," the air to which it is adapted, appears in Ramsay's "Tea-Table Miscellany" as an old song. The words begin—"When I hae a saxpence under my thum." Burns remarks that "it is perhaps one of the first bottle-songs that ever was composed."

[30] This song is a new version of "The Blythesome Bridal," beginning, "Fy, let us a' to the bridal," which first appeared in Watson's Collection, in 1706, and of which the authorship was generally assigned to Francis Semple of Beltrees, in Renfrewshire, who lived in the middle of the seventeenth century, though more recently it has been attributed to Sir William Scott of Thirlestane, in Selkirkshire, who flourished in the beginning of last century. The words of the original song are coarse, but humorous.

[31] The style of this song and the chorus are borrowed from "The Drucken Wife o' Gallowa'," a song which first appeared in the "Charmer," a collection of songs, published at Edinburgh in 1751, but the authorship of which is unknown.

[32] "The Wee Pickle Tow" is an old air, to which the words of this song were written.

[33] This song was contributed by Miss Baillie to "The Harp of Caledonia."

[34] Of the song, "Woo'd, and married, and a'," there is another version, published in Johnson's "Musical Museum," vol. i. p. 10, which was long popular among the ballad-singers. This was composed by Alexander Ross, schoolmaster of Lochlee, author of "Helenore, or the Fortunate Shepherdess." A song, having a similar commencement, had previously been current on the Border.

[35] The two first stanzas of this song are the composition of the gifted and unfortunate Robert Fergusson. It is founded on an older ditty, beginning, "I'll rowe thee o'er the lea-rig." See Johnson's "Musical Museum," vol. iv. p. 53.

[36] These stanzas are in continuation of Burns's song, "John Anderson, my jo." Five other stanzas have been added to the continuation by some unknown hand, which will be found in the "Book of Scottish Song," p. 54. Glasgow, 1853.

[37] See postea, in this volume, under article "Lady Nairn."

[38] These two stanzas were written as a continuation of Burns's popular song, "Of a' the airts the wind can blaw." Two other stanzas were added by John Hamilton. See ante, p. 124.

[39] The four first lines of the last stanza are by Burns.

[40] These tender and beautiful verses are transcribed from Johnson's "Musical Museum," in a note to which they were first published by the editor, Mr David Laing. He remarks that he "has reason to believe" that they are from the pen of Mrs Stewart. (See Johnson's "Musical Museum," vol. iv. p. 366, new edition. Edinburgh, 1853.)

[41] The "Songs of Scotland," by Allan Cunningham, vol. i. p. 247.

[42] The most complete collection of his poems appeared in a volume published under the following title:—"The Poetical Works of Alexander Wilson; also, his Miscellaneous Prose Writings, Journals, Letters, Essays, &c., now first Collected: Illustrated by Critical and Explanatory Notes, with an extended Memoir of his Life and Writings, and a Glossary." Belfast, 1844, 18vo. A portrait of the author is prefixed.

[43] We have ventured to omit three verses, and to alter slightly the last line of this song. It was originally published at Paisley, in 1790, to the tune of "One bottle more." Auchtertool is a small hamlet in Fifeshire, about five miles west of the town of Kirkcaldy. The inhabitants, whatever may have been their failings at the period when Wilson in vain solicited shelter in the hamlet, are certainly no longer entitled to bear the reproach of lacking in hospitality. We rejoice in the opportunity thus afforded of testifying as to the disinterested hospitality and kindness which we have experienced in that neighbourhood.

[44] Robertson of Struan, cousin-german of Lady Nairn's mother, and a conspicuous Jacobite chief, composed many fugitive verses for the amusement of his friends; and a collection of them, said to have been surreptitiously obtained from a servant, was published, without a date, under the following title:—"Poems on various Subjects and Occasions, by the Honourable Alexander Robertson of Struan, Esq.—mostly taken from his own original Manuscripts." Edinburgh, 8vo.

[45] Writing to one of her correspondents, in November 1840, Lady Nairn thus remarks—"I sometimes say to myself, 'This is no me,' so greatly have my feelings and trains of thought changed since 'auld lang syne;' and, though I am made to know assuredly that all is well, I scarcely dare to allow my mind to settle on the past."

[46] A daughter of Baron Hume was one of the ladies who induced Lady Nairn to become a contributor to "The Scottish Minstrel." Many of the songs were sent to the Editor through the medium of Miss Hume. She thus expresses herself in a letter to a friend:—"My father's admiration of 'The Land o' the Leal' was such, that he said no woman but Miss Ferrier was capable of writing it. And when I used to shew him song after song in MS., when I was receiving the anonymous verses for the music, and ask his criticism, he said—'Your unknown poetess has only one, or rather two, letters out of taste, viz., choosing "B. B." for her signature.'"

[47] This seems to have been the author's first composition in Scottish verse. See the Memoir.

[48] This song has acquired an extensive popularity, for which it is much indebted, in addition to its intrinsic merits, to the musical powers of the late John Wilson, the eminent vocalist, whose premature death is a source of regret to all lovers of Scottish melody. Mr Wilson sung this song in every principal town of the United Kingdom, and always with effect.

[49] This exquisitely tender and beautiful lay was composed by Lady Nairn, for two married relatives of her own, Mr and Mrs C——, who had sustained bereavement in the death of a child. Such is the account of its origin which we have received from Lady Nairn's relatives.

[50] This humorous and highly popular song was composed by Lady Nairn towards the close of the last century, in place of the older words connected with the air, "When she came ben, she bobbit." The older version, which is entitled "Cockpen," is exceptional on the score of refinement, but was formerly sung on account of the excellence of the air. It is generally believed to be a composition of the reign of Charles II.; and the hero of the piece, "the Laird of Cockpen," is said to have been the companion in arms and attached friend of his sovereign. Of this personage an anecdote is recorded in some of the Collections. Having been engaged with his countrymen at the battle of Worcester, in the cause of Charles, he accompanied the unfortunate monarch to Holland, and, forming one of the little court at the Hague, amused his royal master by his humour, and especially by his skill in Scottish music. In playing the tune, "Brose and Butter," he particularly excelled; it became the favourite of the exiled monarch, and Cockpen had pleasure in gratifying the royal wish, that he might be lulled to sleep at night, and awakened in the morning by this enchanting air. At the Restoration, Cockpen found that his estate had been confiscated for his attachment to the king, and had the deep mortification to discover that he had suffered on behalf of an ungrateful prince, who gave no response to his many petitions and entreaties for the restoration of his possessions. Visiting London, he was even denied an audience; but he still entertained a hope that, by a personal conference with the king, he might attain his object. To accomplish this design, he had recourse to the following artifice:—He formed acquaintance with the organist of the chapel-royal, and obtained permission to officiate as his substitute when the king came to service. He did so with becoming propriety till the close of the service, when, instead of the solemn departing air, he struck up the monarch's old favourite, "Brose and Butter." The scheme, though bordering on profanity, succeeded in the manner intended. The king proceeding hastily to the organ-gallery, discovered Cockpen, whom he saluted familiarly, declaring that he had "almost made him dance." "I could dance too," said Cockpen, "if I had my lands again." The request, to which every entreaty could not gain a response, was yielded to the power of music and old association. Cockpen was restored to his inheritance. The modern ballad has been often attributed to Miss Ferrier, the accomplished author of "Marriage," and other popular novels. She only contributed the last two stanzas. The present Laird of Cockpen is the Marquis of Dalhousie.

[51] The first two lines of this song are borrowed from the "Lea-Rig," a lively and popular lyric, of which the first two verses were composed by Robert Fergusson, the three remaining being added by William Reid of Glasgow. (See ante, article "William Reid.")

[52] The author seems to have composed these stanzas as a sequel to a wooing song of the same name, beginning, "Robin is my only jo," which first appeared in Herd's Collection in 1776. There are some older words to the same air, but these are coarse, and are not to be found in any of the modern Collections.

[53] Another song with the same title, "Saw ye nae my Peggy?" is inserted in the Collections. It first appeared in Herd's Collection, in 1769, though it is understood to be of a considerably older date. Allan Ramsay composed two songs to the same air, but they are both inferior. The air is believed to have originally been connected with some exceptionable words, beginning, "Saw ye my Maggie?"

[54] This excellent ballad is the fourth version adapted to the air, "Cauld Kail in Aberdeen." Some notice of the three former will be found ante, p. 46.

[55] There are several other versions of this highly popular song. One of these, the composition of William Reid of Glasgow, has already been adduced. See ante, p. 157. Another, which is one of the most celebrated, in the first two verses is nearly the same with the opening stanzas of Lady Nairn's version, the sequel proceeding as follows:—

I praised her beauty loud an' lang,
Then round her waist my arms I flang,
And said, "My dearie, will ye gang
To see the Carse o' Gowrie?
"I'll tak ye to my father's ha',
In yon green field beside the shaw;
I'll mak you lady o' them a'—
The brawest wife in Gowrie."
Soft kisses on her lips I laid,
The blush upon her cheek soon spread;
She whisper'd modestly, and said,
"I'll gang wi' you to Gowrie."
The auld folks soon ga'e their consent,
Syne for Mess John they quickly sent,
Wha tied them to their heart's content,
And now she's Lady Gowrie.

Mr Lyle, in his "Ancient Ballads and Songs" (Lond. 1827, 12mo, p. 138), presents an additional version, which we subjoin. Mr Lyle remarks, that he had revised it from an old stall copy, ascribed to Colonel James Ramsay of Stirling Castle.


A wee bit north frae yon green wood,
Whar draps the sunny showerie,
The lofty elm-trees spread their boughs,
To shade the braes o' Gowrie;
An' by yon burn ye scarce can see,
There stan's a rustic bowerie,
Whar lives a lass mair dear to me
Than a' the maids in Gowrie.
Nae gentle bard e'er sang her praise,
'Cause fortune ne'er left dowrie;
The rose blaws sweetest in the shade,
So does the flower o' Gowrie.
When April strews her garlands roun',
Her bare foot treads the flowerie;
Her sang gars a' the woodlands ring,
That shade the braes o' Gowrie.
Her modest blush an' downcast e'e,
A flame sent beating through me;
For she surpasses all I've seen,
This peerless flower o' Gowrie.
I've lain upon the dewy green
Until the evening hourie,
An' thought gin e'er I durst ca' mine
The bonnie lass o' Gowrie.
The bushes that o'erhang the burn,
Sae verdant and sae flowerie,
Can witness that I love alane
The bonnie lass o' Gowrie.
Let ithers dream an' sigh for wealth,
An' fashions fleet and flowery;
Gi'e me that heav'nly innocence
Upon the braes o' Gowrie.

[56] The present is an amended version of an old song, entitled "The Bonnie Brier Bush," altered and added to by Burns for the "Musical Museum."

[57] A familiar Scottish phrase for good sense.

[58] Castle Gloom, better known as Castle Campbell, was a residence of the noble family of Argyll, from the middle of the fifteenth till the middle of the seventeenth century, when it was burnt by the Marquis of Montrose—an enterprise to which he was excited by the Ogilvies, who thus sought revenge for the destruction, by the Marquis of Argyll, of the "bonnie house of Airlie." The castle is situated on a promontory of the Ochil hills, near the village of Dollar, in Clackmannanshire, and has long been in the ruinous condition described in the song. Two hill rivulets, designated Sorrow and Care, proceed on either side of the castle promontory. John Knox, the Reformer, for some time resided in Castle Gloom, with Archibald, fourth Earl of Argyll, and here preached the Reformed doctrines.

[59] "Charles Edward entered Carlisle preceded by a hundred pipers. Two thousand Highlanders crossed the Esk, at Longtown; the tide being swollen, nothing was seen of them but their heads and shoulders; they stemmed the force of the stream, and lost not a man in the passage: when landed, the pipers struck up, and they danced reels until they were dry again."—Authentic Account of Occupation of Carlisle, by George G. Monsey.

[60] These verses are printed from a MS. in possession of one of Lady Nairn's friends, and are, the Editor believes, for the first time published.

[61] The romantic scenery depicted in this song is in the immediate vicinity of the Queen's Drive, Edinburgh.

[62] The wells of Weary are situated near the Windyknowe, beneath Salisbury Crags.

[63] This song is printed from an improved version of the original, by a literary friend of the author.

[64] This song having become known to George IV., it is said to have induced his Majesty to award the royal sanction for the restitution of the title of Baron to Lady Nairn's husband.—(See Memoir.)

[65] Here first printed.

[66] These verses are here first printed.

[67] This song was composed in 1842, when the author had attained her seventy-sixth year. The four lays following, breathing the same devotional spirit, appear to have been written about the same period of the author's life. The present song is printed from the original MS.

[68] These stanzas are printed for the first time. The MS. is not in Lady Nairn's handwriting, but there is every reason to assign to her the authorship.

[69] The simple and sublime original of these stanzas, with the fine air by Hümmel, became the national song of Germany, and was sung by the soldiers especially, during the latter campaigns of the war, when Buonaparte was twice dethroned, and Europe finally delivered from French predominance.

[70] The Ouse.

[71] We have to acknowledge our obligations for several particulars of this sketch to Mr Robert Bower, Melrose, the author of a volume of "Ballads and Lyrics," published at Edinburgh in 1853.

[72] We regret that, owing to the provision of the copyright act, we are unable, in this work, to present four of Sir Walter Scott's most popular songs, "The Blue Bonnets over the Border," "Jock o' Hazeldean," "M'Gregor's Gathering," and "Carle, now the King's come." These songs must, however, be abundantly familiar to the majority of readers.

[73] From "The Grave of Sir Walter Scott," a poem by Thomas C. Latto (see "The Minister's Kail-yard, and other Poems." Edinburgh, 1845, 12mo). To explain an allusion in the last line of the above stanza, it should be noticed, that the last dress of the poet is exhibited to visitors at Abbotsford, carefully preserved in a glass case.

[74] This song appears in the sixth canto of "The Lay of the Last Minstrel." "It is the author's object in these songs," writes Lord Jeffrey, "to exemplify the different styles of ballad-narrative which prevailed in this island at different periods, or in different conditions of society. The first (the above) is conducted upon the rude and simple model of the old border ditties, and produces its effect by the direct and concise narrative of a tragical occurrence."

[75] This song occurs in the fifth canto of "Marmion." It is founded on a ballad entitled "Katharine Janfarie," in the "Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border."

[76] From the third canto of "Marmion."

[77] The song of Lady Margaret in the first canto of "The Lady of the Lake."

[78] The "boat song" in the second canto of "The Lady of the Lake." It may be sung to the air of "The Banks of the Devon."

[79] Song of Norman in "The Lady of the Lake," canto third.

[80] "The Lady of the Lake," canto sixth.

[81] "The Lady of the Lake," canto third.

[82] "Rokeby," canto third.

[83] "Rokeby," canto third.

[84] "Rokeby," canto fifth.

[85] "Rokeby," canto fifth.

[86] First published in the continuation of Strutt's Queenhoohall, 1808, inserted in the Edinburgh Annual Register, of the same year, and set to a Welsh air in Thomson's Select Melodies, vol. iii., 1817.

[87] Songs and Poems of Robert Mackay, p. 38. (Inverness, 1829. 8vo.)

[88] The Rev. Dr Mackintosh Mackay, successively minister of Laggan and Dunoon, now a clergyman in Australia.

[89] Quarterly Review, vol. xlv., April 1831.

[90] "Birk-shaw." A few Scotticisms will be found in these versions, at once to flavour the style, and, it must be admitted, to assist the rhymes.

[91] Birds.

[92] The sides of the cottages—plastered with mud or mortar, instead of lime.

[93] Salmon.

[94] "Poems," p. 318.

[95] "Anne"—Rob's first love, the heroine of the piece. "Similar in interest to the Highland Mary of Burns, is the yellow-haired Anne of Rob Donn."—"Life," p. 18.

[96] "Isabel"—the daughter of Ian Macechan, the subject of other verses.

[97] "Unsummon'd of thee." The idea is rather quaintly expressed in the original thus—"Though thou hast sent me no summons, love has, of his own accord, acted the part of a catchpole (or sheriff's officer), and will not release me." Such are the homely fancies introduced into some of the most passionate strains of the Gaelic muse.

[98] Alluding to his absence, and delay in his courtship.

[99] Rather more modest than the classic's "feriam sidera vertice."

[100] A common Highland adjuration.

[101] At this humiliating apostrophe, the beggar is reported to have instinctively raised his staff—an action which the bard observed just in time to avoid its descent on his back.

[102] "Statistical Account of Fortingall."—Stat. Acc., x., p. 549.

[103] The same account observes that though none of his works are published but his sacred compositions, he composed "several songs on various subjects."

[104] Published at Glasgow, 1836.

[105] These are his descriptions of "The Drunkard," "The Glutton," and "The Good and Wicked Pastor."

[106] Maiden or virgin—orig.

[107] Orig.—The venomous red spider.

[108] Gaelic, "gealag"—descriptive of the salmon, from its glossy brightness.

[109] Anglicised into Ben.

[110] The deer.

[111] Stag of the first head.

[112] Pass.

[113] Any one who has heard a native attempt the Lowland tongue for the first time, is familiar with the personification that turns every inanimate object into he or she. The forest is here happily personified as a nurse or mother.

[114] Bog-holes.

[115] Stripings.

[116] Gaelic—Easan-an-tsith.

[117] Primrose.

[118] St John's wort.

[119] A kind of cress, or marshmallow.

[120] Anglice—dark.

[121] Gaelic—Caoillt; who, with Cuchullin, makes a figure in traditional Gaelic poetry.

[122] Gaelic—King George.

[123] Literally—"From the barrel of Nic-Coisean." This was the poet's favourite gun, to which his muse has addressed a separate song of considerable merit.

[124] The "Auld Town Guard" of Edinburgh, which existed before the Police Acts came into operation, was composed principally of Highlandmen, some of them old pensioners. Their rendezvous, or place of resort, was in the vicinity of old St Giles's Church, where they might generally be found smoking, snuffing, and speaking in the true Highland vernacular. Archie Campbell, celebrated by Macintyre as "Captain Campbell," was the last, and a favourable specimen of this class of civic functionaries. He was a stout, tall man; and, dressed in his "knee breeks and buckles, wi' the red-necked coat, and the cocked hat," he considered himself of no ordinary importance. He had a most thorough contempt for grammar, and looked upon the Lord Provost as the greatest functionary in the world. He delighted to be called "the Provost's right-hand man." Archie is still well remembered by many of the inhabitants of Edinburgh, as he was quite a character in the city. In dealing with a prisoner, Archie used to impress him with the idea that he could do great things for him by merely speaking to "his honour the Provost;" and when locking a prisoner up in the Tolbooth, he would say sometimes—"There, my lad, I cannot do nothing more for you!" He took care to give his friends from the Highlands a magnificent notion of his great personal consequence, which, of course, they aggrandised when they returned to the hills.

[125] A byeword for a regimental firelock.

[126] A favourite fowling-piece, alluded to in Bendourain, and elsewhere.

[127] Alluding to the plagues.

[128] The teeth.

[129] Gaelic—Matted, rough, gray beard.

[130] In Stat. Ac. said to be of Lochbroom, vol. xiv., p. 79.

[131] Hugh Macleod.

[132] Applicable both to the chief and his crest.

[133] Literally, "the dress," (pron. ēidi,) i.e., Highland garb, not yet abolished.

[134] Sutherlanders, or Caithness men.

[135] Banner.

[136] Monro of Fowlis.

[137] Rose of Kilravock and his clan.

[138] Grant of Grant.

[139] Lovat.

[140] Of Culloden.

[141] Of Sutherland.

[142] Lord Reay.

[143] Steed. The Celtic "Cabul" and Latin "Caballus" correspond.

[144] Here the bard is a little obscure; but he seems to mean that the Monroes made their escape over the skulls of the dead, as if they were boats or coracles by which to cross or get away from danger.

[145] The Caithness and Sutherland men.

[146] Lovat's men.

[147] The eagle being the crest of the Monro.

[148] The eagle; the crest of Monro of Fowlis. The filthy and cruel habits of this predatory bird are here contrasted with the forest-manners of the stag in a singular specimen of clan vituperation.

[149] Fioreun, the name of the eagle, signifying true bird.

[150] Literally—Accursed by Moses, or the Mosaic law.

[151] The single eagle's feather crested the chieftain's bonnet.

[152] Literally—If thy feather is noble, thy claws are (of) the devil!

[153] This picture of the eagle is not much for edification—nor another hit at the lion of the Macdonalds, then at feud with the Seaforth. The former is abridged, and the latter omitted; as also a lively detail of the creagh, in which the Monroes are reproached with their spoilages of cheese, butter, and winter-mart beef.

[154] Seaforth.

[155] Literally—Bagpipes.

[156] Macallammore: Argyle.

[157] Macdonald of Sleat.

[158] Clanranald's country.

[159] Literally—Of blue steel.

[160] Mac-Mhic-Alister, the patronymic of Glengary.

[161] Castle Brahan, Seaforth's seat.

[162] Gaelic—Barrels of liquor, properly bùidealan.

End of the Project Gutenberg EBook of The Modern Scottish Minstrel , Volume
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