« AnteriorContinuar »
TO EDOM O' GORDON.
There is an English ballad on the same subject, but •f no value. Some of the stanzas of the present one, towards the conclusion, bear strong marks of modern composition.
Mr Ritson has altered "Edom" into "Adam," as Edom, he says, may be only the local pronunciation of the lady from whose memory it was published. He might have substituted another idiom and orthography for the same reason. In "The Duke of Gordon's three Daughters" he likewise gives us "shoon" (shoes) instead of sheen, which last is the northern pronunciation, and is necessary for the rhyme.
This is given from Johnston's Scots Musical Museum, where there is no notice of its being given from a printed copy, or obtained from recitation. In whatever way it came there, there can be little doubt that it is founded on an incident related in the fifth book of Henry's metrical life of the hero.
— Wallace said, myself will pass in feyr,
And ze be Scotts I cunsaill yow pass by,
Quham evir he strak he byrstyt bayne and lyr,
Perth Edit. 1790, Vol. I. p. 112.
Although the "Gude Wallace" obviously alludes to the same event as that celebrated in the above lines, there is so much discrepancy in the two accounts, that many people may be inclined to think that the ballad is rather composed from some current tradition, than broken down from Henry's narrative.—Of the two opinions, I should be inclined to adopt the latter, as the difference is not greater than what we often find, where episodes have been disjointed from ancient romances. The reader will readily excuse some observations connected with the subject, by Mr Leyden, in his introduction to the "Complaynt of Scotland." "Another favourite object of study (among the Scottish peasantry) is Scottish history; and as few books are so much calculated to gratify national prejudices and partiality as the " Wallace" and the "Bruce," no history obtains equal admiration. The most brilliant episodes are occasionally chaunted to monotonous legendary airs. In this manner, metrical histories are melted down into unconnected songs or rhapsodies, metrical distichs of some antiquity, and songs celebrating imaginary feats of the hero, are added from time to time; and, when they display genius, and obtain popularity, are sometimes repeated as parts of the original metrical history, the incidents of which in this manner accumulate."—P. 225.