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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 birds of the forest all met together;
The turtle has chosen to dwell with the dove; And I am resolved, in foul or fair weather,
Once in the spring to seek out my 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!
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 bel.
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,
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 of his raven locks, with this flattering proverbial inscription—" The black man's the brauest."
Who is constant and kind, and noble of mind,
Deserving all blessings, wherever he be !
Nor that like a pilgrim I wander forlorn ;
More than of one that in Britain is born.
Though some there be odious to both him and me. Yet joy and renown, and laurels shall crown
My black bird with honour, wherever be 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. care I had, no fear of want, but rambled up and down; And for a beau I might have pass'd in countryorin town: I still was pleased where'er I went; and, when I was
alone, I tuned my pipe, and pleased myself wi' John of Ba
denyon. Now in the days of youthful prime, a mistress Imust 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 stoneI 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 John of Ba
I thought I should be wiser next, and would a patriot turn, Began to doat on Johnnie 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 Imused 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
my way. Philosophy I now esteem'd the ornament of youth, And carefully, through many a page, I hunted after
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,
* 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 confined 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 wise. 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
And waly, waly yon burn-side,
Where I and my love wont to gae !
I thoucht it was a trusty tree;
Sae my true love did lichtly me.
A little time while it is new;
And fades away like the morning dew.
Or wherefore should I kame my hair?
he'll never love me mair.
Now Arthur's Seat shall be
Since my true love has forsaken me.
And shake the green leaves aff the tree?
life I am wearie.
For of my
'Tis not the frost that freezes fell,
Nor blawing snaw's inclemencie;
But my love's heart's grown cauld to me.
We were a comely sicht to see ;
And I mysell in cramasie.
But had I wist, before I wed, I
That love had been sae ill to win,
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 !"
* Dress, arrange.
† Arthur's Seat is a hill near Edinburgh, forming part of the chase which surrounds the royal palace of Holyrood. st Anton's, or St Anthony's Well, is a small crystal spring proceeding from the side of Arthur's Seat, and taking its name from a hermitage half way up the hill, which it formerly supplied with water.
“ Kissed,” in orig.