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With sighing and sobbing, and sad lamentation,
Saying, My black bird most royal is flown. My thoughts they deceive me, reflections do grieve me,
And I am o'erburden'd wi' sad miserie; Yet if death should blind me, as true love inclines me,
My black bird I'll seek out wherever he be.
Once into fair England my black bird did flourish;
He was the flower that in it did spring; Prime ladies of honour his person did nourish,
Because he was the true son of a king : But since that false fortune, which still is uncertain,
Has caused this parting between him and me, His name I'll advance in Spain and in France,
And seek out my black bird wherever he be.
The turtle has chosen to dwell with the dove ;
love. He's all my heart's treasure, my joy and my pleasure ;
And justly, my love, my heart follows thee, Who art constant and kind, and courageous of mind ;
All bliss on my black bird, wherever he be !
bites, about the beginning of the last century, couched their treasonable sentiments. The allegory of this poem is curious enough. The black bird was one of the nick names of the Chevalier de St George, being suggested by his complexion, which was so excessively dark as to form a miraculous contrast with the light fair countenance of his unfortunate son Charles. Ramsay, though said to have been a devout Jacobite, was so extremely cautious a man, that his admission of such a song into his collection is somewhat surprising ; for, though its ostensible meaning be the most innocent in the world, the allegory is by no means so well managed as to conceal altogether the real meaning, while the decussation of the word blackbird into two words almost entirely neutralizes it. There can be no doubt, moreover, that the Jacobite ladies, in singing this lamentation for the foreign residence
of their political idol, would pause upon the syllable black, with an emphasis equally significant and endearing. It would appear that the black complexion of the personage in question was a matter of great notoriety, and was much harped upon by his party; as in a ring, now in the possession of a Jacobite family in Forfarshire, there is a small parcel o. his raven locks, with this flattering proverbial inscription—" The black man's the brauest."
In England my black bird and I were together,
Where he was still noble and generous of heart. Ah! woe to the time that first he went thither!
Alas! he was forced from thence to depart ! In Scotland he's deem'd, and highly esteem'd;
In England he seemeth a stranger to be ; Yet his fame shall remain in France and in Spain ;
All bliss to my black bird, wherever he be !
What if the fowler my black bird has taken !
Then sighing and sobbing will be all my tune; But if he is safe I'll not be forsaken,
And hope yet to see him in May or in June. For him, through the fire, through mud and through mire,
I'll go; for I love him to such a degree, Who is constant and kind, and noble of mind,
Deserving all blessings, wherever he be!
It is not the ocean can fright me with danger,
Nor that like a pilgrim I wander forlorn ; I may meet with friendship from one is a stranger,
More than of one that in Britain is born. I pray Heaven, so spacious, to Britain be gracious,
Though some there be odious to both him and me. Yet joy and renown, and laurels shall crown
My black bird with honour, wherever he be.
JOHN OF BADENYON.
REV. MR SKINNER.
TUNE_John o' Badenyon.
When first I came to be a man, of twenty years, or so, I thought myself a handsome youth, and fain the world
would know ;
In best attire I stept abroad, with spirits brisk and gay ; And here, and there, and every where, was like a morn
in May. No care I had, no fear of want, but rambled up and down; And for a beau I might have pass'd in country orin town: I still was pleased where'er I went; and, when I was
alone, I tuned my pipe, and pleased myself wi' John o' Ba
Now in the days of youthful prime,a mistress I must find; For love, they say, gives one an air, and ev'n improves
the mind : On Phillis fair, above the rest, kind fortune fix'd mine
eyes ; Her piercing beauty struck my heart, and she became
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 of Badenyon.
When love had thus my heart beguiled with foolish
hopes and vain, 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 may betide, a happy man was I, In any strait I knew to whom I freely might apply. A strait soon came; my friend I tried-he laugh’d, and
spurn'd my moan; I hied me home, and tuned my pipe to Jobn of Ba
I thought I should be wiser next, and would a patriot turn, Began to doat on Johnie Wilkes, and cry up parson
Horne; Their noble spirit Iadmired, and praised their noble zeal, Who had, with flaming tongue and pen, maintain'd the
public weal. But, ere a month or two had pass’d, I found myself
betray'd; 'Twas Self and Party, after all, for all the stir they made. At last I saw these factious knaves insult the very throne; I cursed them all, and tuned my pipe to John of Ba
What next to do I mused a while, still hoping to succeed; I pitch'd on books for company, and gravely tried to
read : I bought and borrowed every where, 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 of Ba
denyon. And now, ye youngsters every where, who wish to make
a show, Take heed in time, nor vainly hope for happiness below; What you may fancy pleasure here is but an empty name; And girls, and friends, and books also, 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 every where; then do as I have
doneE'en tune your pipe, and please yourself with John of
WALY, WALY, GIN LOVE BE BONNIE.
O WALY, waly up the bank,
And waly, waly down the brae,
Where I and my love wont to gae !
I thoucht it was a trusty tree ;
Sae my true love did lichtly me.
* From Johnson's Scots Musical Museum, vol. III. 1790.
# This beautiful old song has hitherto been supposed to refer to some circumstance in the life of Queen Mary, or at least to some unfortunate love affair which happened in her court. It is now discovered, from a copy which has been found as forming part of a ballad, in the Pepysian Library at Cambridge, (published in Motherwell's “ Minstrelsy, Ancient and Modern," Glasgow, 1827,) to have been occasioned by the affecting tale of Lady Barbara Erskine, daughter of John, ninth Earl of Mar, and wife of James, second Marquis of Douglas. This lady, who was married in 1670, was divorced, or at least expelled from the society of her husband, in consequence of some malignant scandals, which a former and disappointed lover, Lowrie of Blackwood, was so base as to insinuate into the ear of the Marquis. What added greatly to the distress of her case, she was confi. ned in child-bed at the time when the base plot took effect against her. Lord Douglas never again saw her. Her father, on learning what had taken place, came to the house and conveyed her away. The line of the Douglas family has not been continued through her. Her only son died Earl of Angus, at the battle of Steinkirk, unmarried; and the late venerable Lord Douglas was grandson of her ladyship's husband by his second wife. It must be allowed to add greatly to the pathetic interest of the song, that it thus refers, not, as hitherto supposed, to an unfortunate amour, but to the more meritorious distresses of wedded love."
Waly, a Scottish exclamation of distress. The first verse may be thus paraphrased, for the behoof of the English reader: “ Alas! what reason have I to bewail my walks with my lover up yon bank, down yon brae, and along yon river side !"