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"Glasgerion, (says Mr Scott,) whose story is preserved in Percy's Reliques of Ancient Poetry, was a Celtic bard, as appears from his high birth, and fatal intimacy with the daughter of a prince, as well as from the epithet of Chaucer, who terms him " The British Glaskerion." A copy of his legend has been preserved, in the remote parts of Scotland, by oral recitation.— His musical powers are curiously described:
Glaskerion was the best harper
He could harp the fish out of the sea,
The water out o' the stane,
That bairn had never nane.
His musical powers, indeed, were the theme of admiration with our ancient Scottish poets, as well as their more southern brethren. Bishop Douglas, in his " Palace of Honour," classes him with Orpheus. The whole passage on music is exceedingly amusing, but too long for insertion; the following stanza is, however, too singular to be omitted:
Na mair I understude thair numbers fine,
Saif that me think sweit soundis gude to heir:
How that thair musick tones war mair cleir,
And dulcer, than the moving of the spheir;
Glaskeriane maid na noyis compeir.
In the " Complaynt of Scotland," we find a list of tales and romances, which were popular
in Scotland about the year 1540; among them there is one entitled, " Skail Gillenderson, the king's son of Skellye," which probably relates to the same personage;—the variation of the name is trifling. The tale, however, is now lost, provided it be not the identical one published here.
Glasgerion was a kinges owne sonne,
And a harper he was goode;
Where cuppe and caudle stoode:
And soe did he in the queenes chambere,
Till ladyes waxed glad ;*
These were the wordes she sayd:
"Strike on, strike on, Glasgerion, Of thy striking'doe not blinne; f
There's never a stroke comes o'er thy harpe, But it glads my harte withinne."
* Wood, MS. t Blinne, cease.