« AnteriorContinuar »
The powers aboon can only ken,
To whom the heart is seen,
As my sweet lovely Jean.*
TUNE_Humours of Glen. Their groves o' sweet myrtle let foreign lands reckon,
Where bright-beaming summers exhale the perfume; Far dearer to me's yon lone vale o' green
breckan, Wi' the burn stealing under the long yellow broom.
Far dearer to me are yon humble broom bowers,
Where the blue-bell and gowan lurk lowly unseen: For there, lightly tripping amang the wild flowers,
A-list'ning the linnet, aft wanders my Jean. Though rich is the breeze in their gay sunny valleys,
And cauld Caledonia's blast on the wave, Their sweet-scented woodlands, that skirt the proud
palace, What are they ?--the haunt of the tyrant and slave !
The slave's spicy forests and gold-bubbling fountains
The brave Caledonian views wi' disdain ;
Save love's willing fetters, the chains of his Jean.t
* Burns wrote this song in compliment to Mrs Burns during their honeymoon. The air, with many others of equal beauty, was the composition of a Mr Marshall, who, in Burns's time, was butler to the Duke of Gordon.
This beautiful song-beautiful for both its amatory and its patriotic sentiment seems to have been composed by Burns during the period when he was courting the lady who afterwards became his wife. The present generation is much interested in this lady, and deservedly; as, in addition to her poetical history, which is an extremely interesting one, she is a personage of the greatest private worth, and in every respect deserving to be esteemed as the widow of Scotland's best and most endeared bard. The following anecdote will perhaps be held as testifying, in no inconsiderable degree, to a quality which she may not hitherto have been supposed to possess-her wit.
THE BRISK YOUNG LAD.
TUNE-Bung your eye in the morning.
And wow ! but he was a braw young lad,
Cam seeking me to woo.
But I was baking when he came,
To thowe his frozen mou.
I set him in aside the bink ;
bim bread and ale to drink ;
Until his wame was fou.
It is generally known, that Mrs Burns has, ever since her husband's death, occupied exactly the same house in Dumfries, which she inhabited before that event, and that it is customary for strangers, who happen to pass through or visit the town, to pay their respects to her, with or without letters of introduction, precisely as they do to the churchyard, the bridge, the harbour, or any other public object of curiosity about the place. A gay young English gentleman one day visited Mrs Burns, and after he had seen all that she had to show-the bedroom in which the poet died, his original portrait by Nasmyth, his family-bible, with the names and birth-days of himself, his wife, and children, written on a blank-leaf by his own hand, and some other little trifles of the same nature-he proceeded to intreat that she would have the kindness to present him with some relic of the poet, which he might carry away with him, as a wonder, to show in his own country, “ Indeed, sir," said Mrs Burns, “ I have given away so many relics of Mr Burns, that, to tell ye the truth, I have not one left.” — " oh, you must surely have something," said the persevering Saxon ;
any thing will do-any little scrap of his handwriting—the least thing you please. All I want is just a relic of the poet; and any thing, you know, will do for a relic." Some further altercation took place, the lady reasserting that she had no relic to give, and he as repeatedly renewing his request. At length, fairly tired out with the man's importunities, Mrs Burns said to him, with a smile, “ 'Deed, sir, unless ye tak mysell, then, I dinna see how you are to get what you want; for, really, I'm the only relic o' him that i ken o'.” The petitioner at once withdrew his request.
Gae, get you gone, you cauldrife wooer,
Saying, Come nae mair to woo.
There lay a deuk-dub before the door,
And there fell be, I trow !
Out cam the guidman, and high he shouted ;
And there lay be, I trow !
We'll hae nae mair o' you !*
Oh, how could I venture to love one like thee,
Oh, how shall I fauld thee, and kiss a'thy charms,
* From Herd's Collection, 1776.
Oh, where is the maid that like thee ne'er can cloy, Whose wit can enliven each dull pause of joy ; And when the short raptures are all at an end, From beautiful mistress turn sensible friend ?
In vain do I praise thee, or strive to reveal,
* This impassioned lyric is said to have been the composition of Dr Alexander Webster, one of the ministers of Edinburgh, who died in 1784. There is a tradition, that he wrote it in early life, in consequence of a lady of superior rank, whom he was engaged to woo for another, condescending to betray a passion for him. He was a young man about the year 1710, when he was distinguished by his concern in a strange species of religious madness, which possessed the people of Cambuslang in Lanarkshire, generally termed “ The Cambuslang Wark." I subjoin a different and less
copious version, copied from the Scots Ma. gazine for November, 1747. It is probable that this is the author's first draught of the song, and that it never was printed in any shape before.
0, how could I venture to love one like thee,
COME UNDER MY PLAIDIE.
Come under my plaidie ; the night's gaun to fa';
Gae 'wa wi' yere plaidie ! auld Donald, gae 'wa;
Dear Marion, let that flee stick to the wa’;
When I see thee I love thee, but hearing adore,