Imagens da página

gie Lauder.” I cannot help thinking it likely, on this account, that this song was the composition of either Dishington himself, or of some equally witty, wicked, regardless associate of the Beggar's Bennison.

While I am upon the subject of “ Maggie Lauder," I may be permitted to introduce a very curious and interesting anecdote of the lady herself, which I had the good fortune to discover in an old manuscript volume of genealogical collections in the Library of the Faculty of Advocates. It occurs in the shape of a note to an account of the ancient family of Lauder of the Bass; to which family, it thus appears, we are indebted for at least the name, if not also the character, of the heroine.

« Note. There hath been a tradition in the Burgh of North Berwick, and country about, handed down to this time from father to son, that when Oliver Cromwell, that grand usurper, hypocrite, and great wicked man, lay with his army encamped about Dunbar, before the battle of Downhill

, that he had sent a party to North Berwick, where Sir Robert Lauder, then of Bass, had his house, with barn-yard and other office-houses. The party entered the barn, where the corn was sacked up, ready to be carried out to be sown; the party having offered to carry off the corn for the use of their master, the Lord Protector (as they called him) bis army, Sir Robert's servant went into the house, and acquainted Mrs Margaret alias Maggy Lauder, Sir Robert's sister, who had the management of his family and affairs. She immediately ordered the sharpest knife and fail to be brought to her, and went into the barn, where, after upbraiding the party, she ripped up the sacks, and managed the flail with such dexterity, that she beat off the party; for which she most deservedly may be accounted amongst the greatest and most glorious heroines of that

age. Sir Robert was obliged at that time to abscond, because he was a loyalist, as all of that

and other families of that name have almost always been, and still continue,"

As to “ She rase and loot me in,” the third song ascribed by tradition to Semple, some doubts may

also be entertained regarding its authorship. The tune is well known to be one of those imitations of the Scotch manner, which were produced in such numbers at London during the time of Tom D'Urfey. The original song, moreover, though marked by Ramsay as one of indefinite antiquity, has all the appearance of an English imitation : there being not a single idea in it at all characteristic of Scotland, while the language is only English somewhat vulgarized.

We now come to consider the publication of “ the Tea-Table Miscellany," the first edition of which ap. peared in 1724.

The impulse which had been given to the public taste for Scottish song and music about the end of the seventeenth, and the beginning of the eighteenth century, was the proximate cause of this invaluable publication. The time had now gone past when the modulations of sound and sentiment which nature dictated to the simple swain, were esteemed as only fit to charm the class of society which gave them birth, and when music and poetry were only to be relished in proportion as they were artificially and skilfully elaborated. Society, emancipated from its childhood, during which, like individual man, it is always an imitator, bad now ventured to feel and profess an appreciation of what was originally and truly beautiful in these divine arts; and the Muse of the heart had at length asserted her empire over all ranks of men. Poetry was now no longer supposed to consist in awkward allusions to an exploded mythology, or in accurate versification. Music was not now believed to consist only in an ingenious machinery of collusive sounds. Men bad at length permitted themselves, like the Vicar of Wakefield's family, to be happy without regard to system.

The Tea-Table Miscellany, the very name of wbich proves it to have been designed for the use of the upper ranks of society, might be said to consist in four different sorts of song.

I. Old characteristic songs, the productions of unknown poets of the populace; of which kind there were the following: Muirland Willie; Nancy's to the greenwood gane; Maggie's tocher ; My jo Janet (probably); Peggy and Jocky; Katherine Ogie (probably); Jocky said to Jenny ; Fy, let us a' to the bridal; The auld gudeman; The shepherd Adonis ; She rase and loot me in; John Ochiltree; In January last; General Lesley's march; Todlen hame; Although I be but a country lass ; Waly, waly, gin love be bonny; Ower the hills, and far away; Norland Jocky and Southland Jenny; Andro and his cutty gun.

II. Songs of the same sort, but altered and enlarged at the discretion of the Editor; of wbich kind there were the following: Lucky Nancy; Auld Rob Morris; The Ewe-buchts; Omnia vincit amor ; The auld wife ayont the fire; Sleepy body, drowsy body; Jocky blythe and gay; Haud awa' frae me, Donald ; The Peremptor Lover; My Jeany and I have toiled; Jocky fou, Jenny fain; Jeany, where hast thou been ?

III. About sixty songs, composed by Ramsay himself, and thirty written by his friends, as substitutes for older compositions, which could not be printed on account of indecency and want of merit. It is customary to hear honest Allan railed against, for thus annihilating so much of the old characteristic poetry of Scotland. But it should be recollected, that, even if preserved, these things could only be interesting in an antiquarian, and not in a literary point of view; and al80 that the new songs thus projected upon the public were possessed of much merit. If the old verses had been better in a literary sense than the new, they would have survived in spite of them. But they were not better; they had no merit at all ; and of course

He says

they perished. Those who declaim against Ramsay for this imaginary offence, forget that, amidst the poems he substituted for the old ones, are, “ The Lass o' Patie's Mill;" “ The last time I came ower the muir;" “ The Yellow-haired Laddie;" “ The Waukin' o' the Faulds ;” and “ Lochaber no more,” by himself: “My dearie, an thou die;" the modern “ Tweedside;" and “ The Bush abune Traquair,” by Crawford: “ The Broom o' the Cowdenknowes,” by somebody signing himself S. R.; some of Mr Hamilton of Bangour's beautiful lyrics : “ Were na my heart licht I wad die," by Lady Grizel Baillie: and a great many more capital compositions, forming, it may be said, a large proportion of what is at present the staple of Scottish song

IV. A multitude of English songs, which, of course, it is not necessary to notice in this place.

Some passages in Ramsay's preface may here be quoted as illustrative of the condition of Scottish music and song at the time of his publication. of the airs, “ Although it be acknowledged that our Scots tunes have not lengthened variety of music, yet they have an agreeable gaiety and natural sweetness that make them acceptable wherever they are known, not only among ourselves, but in other countries. They are, for the most part, so cheerful, that, on bearing them well played or sung, we find a difficulty to keep ourselves from dancing. What further adds to our esteem for them is their antiquity, and their being universally known."

In Ramsay's work there is found yet one other source of illustration for the dark subject in hand-the names of tunes prefixed to the various songs.

Some of these indicate the existence of songs which he does not preserve, and which are now lost. Others refer to songs still popular, or for which other verses have latterly been substituted. It may be worth while to present the reader in this place with a list of all the airs, the age of which, or of the songs connected with

them, the Editor could not, at any other part of the present compilation, find fixed so early, as well as of such as have not now any songs corresponding to their titles : Wae's


heart that we should sunder ; Carle, an the King come ; Auld Lang Syne ; Hallow Even; I wish my

love were in a mire ;* The Fourteenth of October ; The Bonniest Lass in a' the warld; The Kirk wad let me be; Dainty Davie; Saw ye my Peggy; Blink over the burn, sweet Betty; The bonny greyeyed morning ; Logan Water ; Chami ma chattle, na duce skar me; My apron, deary; I fixed my fancy on her; I loo'ed a bonny lady; Mary Scott; Green Sleeves ; Bonny Jean ; The Lass of Livingstone; John Anderson, my joe; Come kiss; Rothes' Lament, or Pinky House; Tibby Fowler in the Glen ; Fy, gae rub her ower wi' strae; The Mill, Mill, O!; Where shall our Gudeman lie; My love Annie's very bonny; Where Helen lies ; [Fair Helen of Kirkconnel ;] Gallowshiels; Ranting Roaring Willie; This is no mine ain house ; Sae merry as we twa hae been ; My Daddie forbad, my Minny forbad; Steer her up, and haud her gaun; Bessy's Haggis ; Jocky blythe and gay; Valiant Jocky; When absent from the nymph I love; Gillikranky; The happy Clown; Jenny beguiled the Wabster ; [surely this must have been an early version of Jenny dang the Weaver"—the song given under it is in the same metre with that admired production ;] I'll gar you be fain to ow me; We'll a' to Kel

go; Love's Ġoddess in a myrtle grove; The glancing of her apron; Auld Sir Simon the King; A roke and a wee pickle tow; Jenny Nettles ; Somebody; The gallant Shoemaker; O! dear mother, what shall I do? Cauld Kale in Aberdeen ; The Mucking o' Geordie's Byre ; Leith Wynd; Hero and Leander ; Kind Robin lo'es

Mr Alexander Campbell has communicated the initial lines of this obsolete song :

“ I wish my love were in a mire,

And I just on aboon her."

« AnteriorContinuar »