« AnteriorContinuar »
Creator. Or, if it be said, that the world is not now in the state in which God created it, the sentiments which should be excited by whatever we suffer through the fall of man from his original state of perfection, should be humi. liation and resignation. The Song contains no good sentiment or instruction of any kind.
The Ballad which follows it, by the same writer, “ All in the Downs the fleet was moor'd”, (p. 3.) is of a much more pleasing kind, being a picture of the parting of faithful lovers. The seventh stanza, however, appears to me to be objectionable, and I accordingly omitted it when I inserted the song in my different Collections :
Tho' battle calls me from thy arms,
Let not iny pretty Susan mourn;
Williain shall to his dear return :
Lest precious tears should drop from Susan's eye. The fourth line is too positive and presumptuous; and, if Love be put for Cupid, or merely a personification of the passion, or we will even suppose for a guardian Angel, in the first supposition it is heathen, in the second and third it is presumptuous, and affirming that for which he has no authority.
Mr. Dibdin, in his Song of The Sailor's
Journal, has managed a similar idea with more caution :
Next moro a storm came on at four,
At six the elements in motion
Headlong within the foaming ocean.
For me, it may be only fancy,
To snatch me from the arms of Nancy.
Here, as he speaks of a thing past, had le put Providence, I think there could not have been any objection : he introduces Providence in the next verse :
Scarce the foul hurricane was clear'd,
Scarce winds and wayes had ceas'd to satile,
Aod, dauntless, we prepar’d for batile :
Like lightning, rush'd on ev'ry fancy,
Put up a prayer, and thought on Nancy,
O should it please the pitying powers to call me to the sky,
l'll claim a guardian angel's charge around my love to fly; &c. the claim I consider as presumptuous.
We are indebted to you, Sir, for the next Song, (p. 6.) which begins with “ It was a winter's evening," and which is one of the best in the Collection, for the beauty of its versification. It contains a useful lesson to parents, not to turn their children out of doors and expose them to shame, want and despair, even though they should have been unhappily betrayed by an artful and faithless Seducer, or even with less excuse have been guilty of sin. Under this impression, I inserted it in the second Volume of my Collection of Songs, under the title of The Forsaken Damsel. My attention lias, however, been called to it, by a friend, to whom I have submitted these Letters in manuscript, as likely to make a bad impression upon young persons; as it tends to interest the reader in behalf of a damsel (an unmarried woman) who has had a child, while no alleviating previous circumstances appear to lessen her guilt, and no subsequent penitence to place her in the light of one likely to receive forgiveness. Or, more strictly, no penitence except what may be conjectured from this, that she “ cast her eyes to beaven”. Now a person may do this with various sensations. Lady Randolph, in the Tragedy of Douglas, is represented as doing this in the act of committing suicide :
then lifting up her head
The concluding words of the song are the same as those of the first song. In reading them there, I felt that there was a want of Christian fortitude in the sufferer. And so it seems here. Then as to the lad, the father of the child, mentioned in the second verse, the blame cast on him is merely for fickleness, for leaving one damsel for a richer. He is neither charged with seduction, nor is any blame cast upon him for that of which he certainly was guilty, the having a child before marriage. If he was not guilty of seduction, was only guilty in the same degree with her, even less,--suppose that she was the seducer,-in these cases her guilt is increased, and there is no diminution of guilt on the whole.
To give the song, however, the most favourable interpretation possible, it might be that the reason for which the damsel's cruel father shut his door” upon her, and her cruel mother “ such a sight did see", I suppose without interfering, was the daughter having married without their consent ; and the gold for which the lad left her love, was that which he hoped
to obtain by going to sea. This diminishes the guilt of the damsel in whose behalf the song is intended to interest us, but increases the cruelty of the parents and the husband. It is a pity that her precise case was not stated.
The word despairing in the last verse, I suppose, means only with respect to her prospects in this world, if her casting her eyes to heaven, be in penitence and hope.
However easy the versification of LoCHINVAR (p. 8.) may be, the story surely is not one to be related, as if the conduct of Young Lochinvar was not wrong in carrying off the bride of another man, even though he had first paid his addresses to the lady and been refused by the father. It does not appear that the father had forced the fair Ellen into this marriage ; and, even if he had, she was not then at liberty to forsake him and to go off with another.
In your favourite ballad of Old Robin Gray, Jenny, after she has married Robin against her own will, at the instigation of her parents, thinking her lover Jemmy is dead, when he returns, says,
I darena think on Jemmy, for that would be a sin.
She is clear that, being married to another,