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O fickle fortune ! why this cruel sporting ?
Why thus perplex us poor sons of a day? Thy frowns cannot fear me, thy smiles cannot cheer
me, Since the flowers of the forest are a' wede awae.*
These verses, “ adapted to the ancient air of the Flowers of the Forest, are, like the Elegy which precedes them, the production of a lady. The late Mrs. Cockburn, daughter of Rutherford of Fairnalie, in Selkirkshire, and relict of Mr. Cockburn of Ormiston, was the authoress. Mrs. Cockburn has been dead but a few years. Even at ap age, advanced beyond the usual bounds of humanity, she retained a play of imagination, and an activity of intellect, which was almost preternatural at her period of life. Her active benevolence, keeping pace with her genius, rendered her equally an object of love and admiration."
Border Minstrelsy, vol. iii. p. 130.
This tune is said to be the composition of John M-Gill, fiddler, in Girvan. He called
He called it after his
O, wilt thou go wi' me, sweet Tibbie Dunbar ;
me, sweet Tibbie Dunbar; Wilt thou ride on a horse, or be drawn in a car,
Or walk by my side, O sweet Tibbie Dunbar?
I carena thy daddie, his lands and his money,
I carena thy kin, sae high and sae lordly: But say thou wilt hae me for better for waur,
And come in thy coatie, sweet Tibbie Dunbar!
This plaintive ballad ought to have been called Child Maurice, and not Gill Morice. In its pre
* Gray, in one of his letters, thus remarks on Child Maurice: “ I have got the old Scotch ballad on which Douglas was found
sent dress, it has gained immortal honor from Mr. Home's taking from it the ground-work of his fine tragedy of Douglas. But I am of opinion that the present ballad is a modern composition; perhaps not much above the age of the middle of the last century; at least I should be glad to see or hear of a copy of the present words prior to 1650. That it was taken from an old ballad, called Child Maurice, now lost, I am inclined to believe; but the present one may be classed with Hardyknute, Kenneth, Duncan, the Laird of Woodhouselie, Lord Livingston, The Death of Monteith, and many other modern productions, which have been swallowed by many readers, as antient fragments of old poems. This beautiful plaintive tune was composed by Mr. M'Gibbon, the selector of a collection of Scots tunes.
ed; it is divine, and as long as from hence (Cambridge) to Aston. Have you never seen it? Aristotle's best rules are observed in it, in a manner that shews the authór had never read Aristotle. It begins in the fifth act of the play: you may read it two-thirds through without guessing what it is about: and yet, when you come to the end, it is impossible not to understand the whole story. I send you the two first stanzas."
In addition to the observations on Gill Morris, I add, that of the songs which Capt. Riddel mentions, Kenneth and Duncan are juvenile compositions of Mr. Mackenzie, The Man of Feeling.-Mackenzie's father shewed them in MS. to Dr. Blacklock, as the productions of his son, from which the Doctor rightly prognosticated that the young poet would make in his more advanced years, a respectable figure in the world of letters.
This I had from Blacklock.
Saw ye the thane o' meikle pride,
Red anger in his ee?
Red anger frights na me.
For I have stude whar honour bad,
Though death trod on his heel;
Nae sic may Duncan feel.
Hark! bark ! or was it but the wind,
That through the ha' did sing;
The black woods round do ring.
'Tis na for naught, bauld Duncan cry'd,
Sic shoutings on the wind : Syne up he started frae his seat,
A thrang of spears behind.
Haste, haste, my valiant hearts, he said,
Anes mair to follow me ;
I guess wha they may be.
But wha is he that speids fae fast,
Frae the slaw marching thrang? Sae frae the mirk cloud shoots a beam,
The sky's blue face alang.
Some messenger it is, mayhap,
Then not at peace I trow.
And say these words to you:
Restore again that blooming rose,
Your rude hand pluckt awa';
shall rue his fa'. Three strides the gallant Duncan tuik, He struck his forward spear:
: Gae tell thy master, beardless youth,
We are nae wont to fear.