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and I,” which appeared in Cromek’s Nithsdale and Galloway Songs, 1810.
In 1666 was published the first edition of Forbes's Cantus, so frequently alluded to in this work. Here, strange to say, in a book published at Aberdeen, and for the entertainment and solace of Scotsmen, we find, among upwards of fifty songs, not one of the characteristically Scottish ditties which are proven to have then existed, and not one air now popular as a Scottish air. The songs are partly of the godly kind already described, and partly of English composition; and the airs are also altogether foreign to the object of the present essay. It may seem strange that such a thing should be. But it is perfectly explicable by the theory laid down at the commencement of this essay, that neither Scottish song nor Scottish music was fashionable, or esteemed worthy of publication, till an era somewhat later.
The beautiful song of “Waly, waly, gin love be bonny,” will be found, from the notes appended to it in this collection, to have been composed in the reign of Charles II., and probably in the decade of 1670-80. The reader will also find reason to believe that the popular songs of “ Tweedside," (old set,) “ John Hay's bonnie Jassie," and the “ Broom of the Cowdenknowes,” (early set,) are of the same era.
The airs, called “ The bonny broom,” “ I'll never leave thee,' and “ We'll all go pull the badder,” are mentioned in the preface to a volume of spiritual songs, published at Edinburgh in 1683, being the compilation of a Mr William Geddes. “ Katherine Ogie” is said to have been sung in London in 1686. There is an air, and probably there was a song, called “ The fourteenth of October,” which, Ritson informs us, was composed in honour of the birth-day of King James VII." “ The battle of Killiecrankie,” which is known to have been written immediately after the incident it commemo« rates, must also be considered a song of this era.
A manuscript collection of airs for the viol de game ba, dated 1683-92, and which I have had the good fortune to see, * contains a considerable number of Scottish airs, which, together with their appropriate songs, are still popular. Some of them are under different names from those which they now bear.
« Nancy's to the greenwood gane," for instance, is called Tow to spin ; which suggests the idea of a ludicrous familiar song ; because, to this day, in Scotland, when a younger sister is first married, she is said to leave her senior the tow to spin ; which unhappy circumstance was probably the subject of the composition. The tune of Ramsay's song, “ My mother's ay glowran ower me,” is here called A health to Betty.t
• Lochaber no more” is called King James's march to Ireland ; 66 Tweedside," Doun Tweedside. The airs called Allan water, For lack of gold she left me, Haud awa frae me, and Where Helen lies, are all here under their present names ; as also an air, now out of fashion, entitled, “ Weel hoddlet, luckie,” [Well danced, old woman !] which the author of Waverley, in consequence of seeing Mr Blaikie's curious manuscript, has represented in his novel of Redgauntlet, as the air which Sir Robert Redgauntlet requested Wandering Willie's father to play to him in hell
. In another collection of airs written soon after the Revolution, being for the Lyra viol, Mr Leyden informs us, that he found the following Scottish tunes, which are at the same time, of course, the names of songs : Ower the muir to Maggie ; Robin and Jonnet; My dearie, if thou die; Money in both pockets ; The
* It is at present in the possession of Mr Andrew Blaikie, engraver, Paisley.
+ I have heard a tradition, that “ My mother's ay glowran ower me" was not written by Ramsay, but by Lady Betty Wemyss, an ancient virgin of that noble family, who lived in Edinburgh till towards the end of the last century.
lady's goune ; Bonnie Nanie; Meggie, I must love thee; Where Helen lays; Strick upon a strogin ; Hallo even ; Happie man is he; Woman's wark will never be done; Jocke the laird's brother; Bonie lassie ; Jenny, I told you ; The gilliflower ; The bonny brow; The new kirk gavell; The nightingall; Jockie went to the wood ; Sweet Willie ; Bonny roaring Wil
Tweedside; When she cam ben she bobbit; Foul fa' my eyes ; When the bride cam ben she becked; The collyer's daughter; Foull tak the wars; The milkeine pail; and The bonie brookit lassie, blew beneath the eyes.
It is supposed that the very first Scottish air which appeared in print is the well-known one entitled, “Up in the morning early.” Under the title of “ I'se gae wi' thee, iny Peggy,” this tune appears, as a catch, in John Hilton's Collection, 1652. That it continued to be admired for a considerable time afterwards, is proved by an anecdote, which has been related by Sir John Hawkins, in his General History of Music. The tune was, it appears, a great favourite of Mary, the consort of King William; and she once affronted the celebrated Purcell, by requesting to have it sung to her, when he was present; the story is as follows. The Queen, having a mind one afternoon to be entertained with music, sent to Mr Gostling, (then one of the chapel, and afterwards subdean of St Paul's,) to Henry Purcell, and Mrs Arabella Hunt, who had a very fine voice, with a request to attend her; which they immediately obeyed. Mr Gostling and Mrs Hunt sung several compositions of Purcell, who accompanied them on the harpsichord. At length, as there is nothing so fine but it will at last grow disagreeable, and even partridges were found nauseous by the King of France's confessor, her majesty grew tired of so much fine music, and asked Mrs Hunt if she could not sing the old Scots ballad, “ Cold and raw.” [This
was a name which the tune had latterly assumed, from being set to a song beginning,
Cold and raw, the wind does blaw,
Up in the morning early.] Mrs Hunt answered, “ Yes,” and sung it to her lute. Purcell was all the while sitting at the harpsichord, unemployed, and not a little nettled at the Queen's preference of a vulgar ballad to his music; but, seeing her Majesty delighted with the tune, he determined that she should hear of it on another occasion. Accordingly, in the next birth-day song, namely, that for the year 1692, he composed an air to the words, “ May her bright example chase vice in troops * out of the land,” the bass whereof was the tune to “ Cold and raw." It is printed in the second part of his Orpheus Britannicus, and is note for note the same with the Scottish tune, as at present sung..
It would appear that about this period, or a little before, the Scottish airs for the first time fell under the notice of the better orders of society, or became at all known in England. Hitherto, in both Scotland and England, people of education and condition only practised the elaborate sort of music, and knew nothing of the touching beauties of simple national melody. As their poets had imitated the intricate and regular compositions of the Italians, rather than followed the dictates of nature, so did they themselves relish only the artificial combinations and endless involvements of labyrinthine harmony, instead of possessing souls to be affected by the simple, straightforward eloquence of natural sound. The modulation of the shepherd's pipe might be very exquisite, might cause the dull cattle to stand and gaze,
Charmed with the melodye,”
Query_Of what ?
and might speak volumes to the rural divinity whose charms were the burden of its lay; but it was all as nought to the man of refinement, whose evenings were spent in the mysteries of fugue and canon. At length, however, the
classes became alive to the heauties of what they had so long neglected; and hefore the end of the seventeenth century, not only were the Scottish airs introduced into places of public amusement at London, but the best English composers thought proper to imitate them. That singular genius, Tom D'Urfey, and other Grubstreeters of the day, exerted themselves to fit the airs thus imported from the north with appropriate verses ; for the original Scotch songs seem to have been found quite inadmissible into genteel company. Their efforts were attended with execrable results, as may be instanced in a note found attached in this collection to the song of “ Katherine Ogie." But, nevertheless, the fact that they did so is gratifying, as a proof that at least the native music of Scotland was then found worthy of the approbation of lords and ladies gay. The number of Scottish airs, and imitations of such, in Tom D'Urfey's grand collection, called “ Pills to Purge Melancholy, 1719," is very considerable; and if they had had no real charms to recommend them to the notice of the public, they must have now been sufficiently conspicuous, for Tom's six successive volumes, although full of all kinds of filth, were dedicated to the highest people in England, and became the bosom books of high and low. What was then fashionable in England, must, of course, bave been also fashionable in Scots land. Accordingly, we find Scottish music and song Bo much in vogue among the upper ranks in their na. tive country, that Ramsay, only a few years after, dedicated his collection, entitled the Tea-Table Miscellany, to both extremes of society
To ilka lovely British lass,
Frae Ladies Charlotte, Anne, and Jean,