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unconsciously to imitate what he great- ject--and having á vague notion, that ly admires ; and it requires an effort the traditional songs of Scotland were over himself, a government of his own pathetic and beautiful, he was ready powers, to detach them from that ad- to accept, as such, all verses written miration, and confine them within the in the Scottish dialect, that breathed sphere of their proper agency. Much the sentiments and passions of lowly more when he has once begun to give and rural life. In Dumfries-shire he himself to a public, he has involved became acquainted with Mr Allan himself with their admiration ; and it Cunningham, at that time a common is far more difficult to him to recover stone-mason, and certainly one of the his mind to its own independence. He most original poets Scotland has prohas to shut out from his thoughts the duced, who communicated to him a world from which he derives his cele- vast quantity of most amusing and inbrity, to withdraw into himself, and teresting information concerning the in silence and forgetfulness of the manners and customs of the people of world, to discover in his own bosom Nithsdale and Galloway. Much of the sources of his powers.
this is to be found in the appendix to The genius of English poetry, may this volume. That appendix is ostenit be said without envy, discovers in sibly written by Mr Cromek, and pera high degree this adaptation of intel- haps a few sentences and paragraphs, lect to poetry. Her greatest and most here and there, are from his pen ; but national poetry is intellectual. Such no person of ordinary penetration can strains as the heart of Scotland has for a moment doubt, that as a whole breathed she does not know. Her na- it was fairly composed and written out tional poetry is that of Shakspeare, of by the hand of Allan Cunningham. Milton, of Spenser, minds in which Every thing is treated of in the famiimagination was throned in the seat of liar and earnest style of a man speakintellect. The poetry of Dryden and ing of what he has known from his Pope is still of an intellectual order. youth upwards, and of what has inAnd in another age and in another fuenced and even formed the happikind, of Collins, of Cowper, of Words- ness of his life. Allusions are made worth. It may much be doubted if to persons deceased and things gone English poets will ever do justice to by, in the affectionate and even pasthemselves who forget this character sionate language of a heart that had of the mind of their country. While loved or enjoyed them; and every they adhere to it, they will raise their now and then bright and beaming own mind and that of the people to images rise up of the past, which bewhom they speak. When they forget tray the secret of the author's characit, they must lower their own fame, ter and situation, and prove, that none and the intellectual power of the na- buta Scotchman could have so thought, tion who consent to lavish on them and felt, and written of Scotland. We their ill-merited applause.
refer, for proofs of this, such of our We have fallen into this train of readers as are fortunate enough to posthought, with a little volume of poet- sess the volume, (for we believe it is ry lying before us, * which we eve now out of print), to the articles in the attracted considerable attention, eight appendix, " Scottish Games,” “ Takor ten years ago, when it was first ing the Beuk” “ Character of the published, and over which there has Scottish Lowland Fairies,” and the all along been felt to hang something “ Account of Billy Blin, the Scotch of a mystery. For our own part, we Brownie." believe, that the most beautiful things But the best of the poetry, too, bein it are not poems of the olden time longs to Allan Cunningham. No at all, but have been created by a man doubt, there are still floating all over of genius still alive, in the very spirit Scotland, on the unextinguishable of antiquity. The late Mr Cromek breath of popular tradition, many was a man of considerable enthusiasm songs, and snatches of songs, that and ability ; but he knew little about have never found their way into any poetry, and absolutely nothing about collection. We have ourselves heard the poetry of Scotland. He was pre- sung in the country many such fragcisely that kind of person to believe
But they are, though often every thing he was told on that sub- beautiful, all corrupt and imperfect
* Remains of Nithsdale and Galloway Song : with Historical and Traditional Notices, relative to the Manners and Customs of the Peasantry. Now first collected by R. H.
the faded ghosts of what they must' fathers and their children must have once have been, and breathing, as it often gushed up from that profound were, the faint and obsolete language depth of soul, over whose agitated surof the dead. The finest of our tradi- face fell so black and fiercely
the tional strains, both of music and of storms and troubles of life. But the poetry, have by this time been ga- following beautiful song, though boldthered together into a safer sanctuary ly said to have been written during --and we do not believe, that much the days of the covenant, and afterthat is valuable remains to be gleaned wards to have been sung at trystes among the vallies of humble life. If and merry-meetings by an old greywe are justified in so thinking, can the headed patriarch, with whom have most credulous person believe, that Mr perished many lays of the times which Cromek, an Englishman, an utter were, cannot, as we feel, be thought stranger in Scotland, should have been of in any other light but an exquisite able, during a few days walk through imitation. Nithsdale and Galloway, to collect, not Thou hast sworn by thy God, my Jeanie. a few broken fragments of poetry only, Thou has sworn by thy God, my Jeanie, but a number of finished and perfect By that pretty white hand o' thine, poems, of whose existence none of the And by a' the lowing stars in Heaven, inquisitive literary men or women of That thou wad ay be mine! Scotland had ever before heard? And And I hae sworn by my God, my Jeanie, that, too, in the very country which
And by that kind heart o' thine, Robert Burns had beaten to its every
By a' the stars sown thick owre heaven,
That thou shalt ay be mine! bush-and in every hamlet, of which he
Then foul fa' the hands that wad loose sic sat, both by night and by day, de
bands, lighting the humble inmates by his
An' the heart that wad part sic love; own matchless genius, and eager to But there's nae hand can loose my band, grasp, with passionate love and de
But the finger o' God above. light, every syllable of song that the Tho' the wee, wee cot maun be my bield, inspired peasants of old might have An' my claithing e'er sae mean, breathed, and that time might still I wad lap me up rich i' the faulds o' luve, have spared to gladden the fireside of
Heaven's armfu' o'my Jean ! the cottager ? Could love-songs, full Her white arm wad be a pillow for me,
Fu' safter than the down, of ardent passion, and melting tender
And luve wad winnow owre us his kind, ness, and pastoral imagery, and do
kind, wings mestic joy, and national exultation,
An' sweetly I'd sleep an' soun'. and religious reverence, have been rea
Come here to me, thou lass o' my luve, cited and sung for ages by the Dum- Come here and kneel wi' me, fries-shire peasantry, familiar as house. The morn is fu' o' the presence o' my God, hold words, and yet have never reached An' I canna pray but thee. that ear which was so keenly alive to The morn-wind is sweet ’mang the beds o' all the melodies of his native land ?
new flowers, But independently of all this, the The wee birds sing kindlie an' hie, poems speak for themselves, and for Our gude-man leans owre his Kale-yard Allan Cunningham.
dyke, there are in the volume unquestion- The Beuk maun be taen whan the carle
An' a blythe auld body is he. ably of an old date, (and these, by the
comes hame, way, are not Nithsdale and Galloway Wi' the holie psalmodie, songs at all,) but the compositions, And thou maun speak o' me to thy God, which we intend to quote, are either And I will speak o' thee! entirely modern, or entitled to be call- The following elegiac lines, which, ed ancient, merely because they oc- in a note, are said to have been writ
asionally include some fine old stanza, ten about the time of the Reformar are, with exquisite feeling, filled tion, on a daughter of the Laird Maxvith those thoughts and images well of Cowhill, called by the peawhich were the delight of the simple santry, the Lily of Nithsdale, are pere bards of other days. We meet with fectly beautiful. hey are said to songs said to have been penned and have been given to the editor by the sung by the austere and persecuted same young country girl who favoured covenanters, full of melody, simplicity, him with the preceding song, a maiden elegance, and grace. No doubt such who seems to have been singularly formen had many of them, gentle hearts tunate in recollecting what all the rest --and the love of their wives and their of her countrywomen had forgotten.
But we know them to be Allan Cun- Let nane tell my father, ningham's—written, too, at a time Or my mither sae dear, when he was in the very humblest si- I'll meet them baith in heaven, tuation of life ; and we do not think
At the spring o' the year. that either Bowles, or Campbell, or The two first poems which we have Wordsworth, has written any thing
now quoted, were given to Mr Cromore wildly, and naturally, and so
mek (so he tells us) by Miss Jean lemnly pathetic.
Walker, who also gave him, as a traShe's gane to dwall in heaven, my lassie,
ditional poem, the “ Mermaid,” a She's gane to dwall in heaven;
most beautiful ballad, which we shall Ye'r owre pure, quo' the voice o' God, quote by and by, and which is now an For dwalling out o' heaven!
avowed composition of Allan CunningO what'l she do in heaven, my lassie ? ham. We are greatly obliged to this O what'l she do in heaven?
amiable young lady, for bringing to She'll mix herain thoughts wi' angel's light so much fine old poetry; but sangs,
she cannot but know, that she first An' make them mair meet for heaven.
heard them all from the lips of that She was beloved by a', my lassie,
ingenious poet. She was beloved by a';
In that part of this volume containBut an' angel fell in luve wi' her,
ing the Jacobite songs, we also trace An' took her frae us a'.
pen of Allan Cunningham. Who Low there thou lies my lassie,
but himself and Miss Jean Walker ever Low there thou lies; A bonnier form ne'er went to the yird,
heard the following ballad previously Nor frae it will arise !
to the publication of these reliques ? Fu' soon I'll follow thee, my lassie,
The sun rises bright in France,
And fair sits he ;
But he has tint the blythe blink he had But took gudeness sel' wi' thee.
In my ain countrie.
That weets ay my ee,
But the dear Marie I left a-hin',
Wi' sweet bairnies three.
Fu' bonnolie lowed my ain hearth,
An' smiled my ain Marie ; An'a lovelier light in the brow of heaven
0, I've left a' my heart behind, Fell time shall ne'er destroy.
In my ain countrie. Thy lips were ruddie and calm, my lassie,
0 I am leal to high heaven,
An' it i'll be leal to me,
An' there I'll meet ye a' soon,
Frae my ain countrie !
The “ Waes o Scotland" is also mo. There's naught but dust now mine, lassie,
dern. This we have always suspectThere's naught but dust now mine ; My saul's wi' thee i' the cauld grave,
ed, and we have occasion to know, An' why should I stay behin?!
that Mr Scott has ever been of the There is a little fragment, of only same opinion: the Ettrick Shepherd, three stanzas, which we also believe too, we see in a note to the first voto be modern-part of a song supposed lume of his collection of Jacobite songs, to be sung by a deserted maiden, and just published, smiles at the idea of which, whether owing to the singu- this being a real Jacobite ballad, and larly plaintive flow of the versification, pays a kind and generous complior to the extreme simplicity of the ment to its real author, whom he calls mourner's grief, which connects itself “ the ingenious Allan Cunningham, with the forms and seasons of external one of the brightest poetical geniuses nature, and with the first and most. that ever Scotland bred, yet who in awful of all human feelings, paternal that light has been utterly neglected.” and filial love, are to us beyond measure Whan I left thee, bonnie Scotland, affecting
Thou wert fair to see,
Fresh as a bonnie bride i' the morn
Whan she maun wedded be;
Whan I came back to thee, Scotland,
Upon a May-morn fair,
A bonnie lass sat at our town-en',
Kaming her yellow hair.
“ O hey! an' wae's me!
There's joy to the Whigs, an' land to the Ae sweet drap fell on her strawberrie lip,
An' I kiss'd it aff I trow!
• whare gat ye that leal maiden, An' nocht but wae to me!
Sae jimpy laced an' sma'? “O hey! O hey!" sung the bonnie lass, O whare got ye that young damsel,
Wha dings our lasses a' “ O hey! an' wae's me!
O whare got ye that bonnie, bonnie lass, There's siccan sorrow in Scotland,
Wi' Heaven in her ee ! As een did never see.
O here's ae drap o' the damask wine;
Sweet maiden, will ye pree? “ O hey! O hey for my father auld !
Fu'white, white was her bonnie neck,
Twist wi' the satin twine,
While she supp'd the bluid-red wine.
• Come, here's thy health, young stranger doo, I had na gane in my ain Scotland
Wha wears the gowden kame :-Mae miles than twa or three
This night will mony drink thy health,
And ken na wha to name. Whan I saw the head o' my ain father
Play me up Sweet Marie,' I cry'd, Coming up the gate to me.
An' loud the piper blew,“A traitor's head !” and “a traitor's head!”
But the fiddler play'd ay Struntum, strum,
And down his bow he threw.
Here's thy kin' health i'the ruddie red wine,
For never a pair o' een before
Could mar my good bow-hand. I hied me hame to my father's ha',
Her lips were a cloven hinney-cherrie, My dear auld mither to see ;
Sae tempting to the sight;
Her locks owre alabaster brows, But she lay 'mang the black izles
Fell like the morning light. Wi' the death-tear in her ee.
An' o! her hinney breath left her locks O wha has wrocht this bluidy wark ?
As through the dance she flew, Had I the reaver here,
While luve laugh'd in her bonnie blue ec,
An' dwalt on her comely mou'.
-Fair ladie, dare I speak ?
She, trembling, lift lier silky hand
To her red, red flushing cheek. But twa short miles and three,
Ye've drapp'd, ye've drapp'd yere broach o'gowd,
Thou Lord's daughter sae gay,' Till up came a captain o' the Whigs,
The tears o'erbrimm'd her bonnie blue ee, Says, “ Traitor, bide ye me !
0 come, O come away! I grippit him by the belt sae braid,
. O maid, unbar the siller belt,
To my chamber let me win, It birsted i' my hand,
An' take this kiss, thou peasant youth, But I threw him frae his weir-saddle
I daur na let ye in. An' drew my burlie brand.
An'tak,' quo' she, this kame o' gowd,
Wi' my lock o' yellow hair, “ Shaw mercy on me," quo' the lown,
For meikie my heart forbodes to me, An' low he knelt on knee;
I never maun meet ye mair! But by his thie was my father's glaive, The next song we shall quote is preWhilk gude king Brus did gie.
faced by this somewhat suspicious An' buckled roun' him was the broider'd looking notice. belt
“ A fairer specimen of romantic Scottish Whilk my mither's hands did weave, love than is contained in this song, is rarely My tears they mingled wi' his heart's blude,
to be met with. It was first introduced to An reeked upon my glaive.
Nithsdale and Galloway about thirty years I wander a' night ’mang the lands I own'd,
ago, by a lady whose mind was deranged. Whan a' folk are asleep,
She wandered from place to place, followed And I lie oure my father and mither's grave, by some tamed sheep. The old people deAn hour or twa to weep!
scribe her as an amiable and mild creature. O fatherless, and mitherless,
She would lie all night under the shade of Without a ha' or hame,
some particular tree, with her sheep around I maun wander through my dear Scotland, her. They were as the ewe-lamb in the And bide a traitor's blame.
scripture parable ;—they lay in her bosom, There is in this volume, a ballad call- ate of her bread, drank of her cup, and ed “ The Lord's Marie,” which we
were unto her as daughters. Thus she also venture to ascribe almost wholly wandered through part of England, and the to Allan Cunningham. It is founded low part of Scotland ; esteemed, respected, on a traditional story of a daughter of pitied, and wept for by all! She was wont
to sing this song unmoved, until she came the Lord Maxwell of Nithsdale, ac- to the last verse, and then she burst into companying in disguise a peasant to a tears. The old tree, under which she sat rustic dancing-tryste. There is no- with her sheep, is now cut down. The thing more interesting, or better illus- schoolboys always paid a sort of religious trative of ancient manners, in the respect to it. It never was the “ dools,'
nor the but;' nor were the • outs and Minstrelsy of the Border.
ins,' nor the hard-fought game of • EngThe Lord's Marie has kepp'd her locks Up wi' a gowden kame,
land and Scotland,' ever played about it : An' she has put on her net-silk hose,
but there, on fine Sabbath evenings, the old An' awa to the tryste has gane. O saft, saft fell the dew on her locks,
women sat down and read their bibles; the An' saft, saft on her brow;
young men and maidens learned their
Psalms, and then went home full of the • Come here, come here, my ruddie mate, meek and lowly composure of religion.” The gate o' luve to try.'
The lav'roc calls his freckled mate, There's kames o' hinney 'tween my luve's
Frae near the sun's ee-bree, lips,
• Come make on the knowe our nest of An' gowd amang her hair,
luye,' Her breasts are lapt in a holie veil, a
A theme which pleaseth me. Nae mortal een keek there. What lips dare kiss, or what hand dare touch, The hares hae brought forth twins, my love, Or what arm o’luve dare span
Sae has the cushat doo; The hinney lips, the creamy loof,
The raven croaks a safter way, Or the waist o' Ladie Ann.
His sootie love to woo :
And nought but luve, luve breathes around, She kisses the lips o' her bonnie red rose
Frae hedge, frae field, an' tree,
Soft whispering luve to Jeanie's heart,
A theme which pleaseth me.
O Lassie, is thy heart mair hard Her jimpy waist maun span,
Than mavis frae the bough ; O she's an armfu' fit for heaven,
Say maun the hale, creation wed, My bonnie Ladie Ann.
And Jean remain to woo ? Her bower casement is latticed wi' flowers,
Say has the holie lowe o' luve
Ne'er lightend in your ee ? Tied up wi' silver thread,
0, if thou canst na feel for pain, An' comely sits she in the midst,
Thou art nae theme for me ? Men's longing een to feed. She waves the ringlets frae her cheek, Burns, though the best song-writer in Wi' her milky, milky han',
the world, has not, in our opinion, An' her cheeks seem touch'd wi' the finger produced six songs equal to Allan o' God,
Cunningham's “ Lass of Preston Mill.” My bonnie Ladie Ann !
Why does it not find its way into mu-
The lark had left the evening cloud,
Its gentle breath amang the flowers
Scarce stirred the thistle's tap of down; Her bonnie eebree's a holie arch
The dappled swallow left the pool, Cast by no earthlie han',
The stars were blinking o'er the hill; An' the breath o' God's atween the lips As I met amang the hawthorns green,
The lovely lass o’ Preston Miß. O’ my bonnie Ladie Ann !
Her naked feet amang the grass, I am her father's gardener lad,
Seemed like twa dew-gemmed lilies fair;
Her brows shone comely 'mang her locks, poor, poor is my fa';
Black curiing owre her shouthers bare: My auld mither gets my wee, wee fee, Her cheeks were rich wi' bloomy youth; Wi' fatherless bairnies twa :
Her lips were like a honey well, My Ladie comes, my Ladie gaes
And heaven seemed looking through her een,
The lovely lass o' Preston Mill.
Where black cocks craw, and plovers cry?
Sax hills are wooly wi' my sheep,
Sax vales are lowing wi' my kye:
By Nithsdale's howmes an' monie a hill;'There is, we think, much true love in
She hung her head like a dew-bent rose, the following stanzas,-warmth, ten- The lovely lass o' Preston Mill. derness, and delicacy.
Quo' I, sweet maiden, look nae down,
But gie's a kiss, and gae wi' me:' Cauld winter is awa, my luve,
A lovelier face, O! never looked up,
And the tears were drapping frae her ee: And spring is in her prime,
I liae a lad, wha's far awa, The breath o' God stirs a' to life,
That weel could win a woman's will; The grasshoppers to chime :
My heart's already fu'o' love,' The birds canna contain themsels
Quo' the lovely lass o' Preston Mill. Upon the sprouting tree,
.O wha is he wha could leave sic a lass,
To seek for love in a far countrie?'But loudlie, loudlie sing o' luve,
Her tears drapped down like simmer dew, A theme which please themsels
I fain wad hae kissed them frae her ee.
I took but ane o' her comelie cheek ; The blackbird is a pawkie loun,
For pity's sake, kind Sir, be still ! An' kens the gate o' luve;
My heart is fu'o' ither love, Fu' weel the sleeket mavis kens
Quo' the lovely lass o’ Preston Mill.
She streeked to heaven her twa white hands, The melting lilt maun muve.
And lifted up her watry ee; The gowdspink woos in gentle note,
*Sae lang's my heart kens ought o' God, And ever singeth he,
Or light is gladsome to my ee ;
While woods grow green, and burns rin clear, • Come here, come here, my spousal dame,'
Till my last drap o' blood be still, A theme which pleaseth me.
My heart sall haud nae ither love,'
Quo' the lovely lass o' Preston Mill. What says the sangster Rose-linnet ?
• There's comelie maids on Dee's wild banks, His breast is beating high,
And Nith's romantic vale is fu';