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Wia man singt ba lass Vk\i ru^ig ttubir, 
^ijse p;^ns£^c« l^ahn hein« f ub^r. 

— German Proverb. 





















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The title which this httle volume bears, sufficiently explains 
the reason of its appearance, and whatever small claims it 
may be able to advance for originality in a theme so often 
and so ably handled by experts in the folk-lore and the 
popular music of their country. I have no pretensions 
either to the scientific knowledge or to the curious literary 
research which might enable me to compete with these 
men of skill, and to share in any part of the praise which 
they have so justly earned; I only thought I might do 
some good, in an age urged by various stimulating forces 
to seek after what is new rather than to hold by what is 
true, if I should present, in a sort of dramatic totality, the 
wealth of moral, intellectual, and aesthetical nutriment of the 
best kind that lies stored in our heritage of national song. 
My task, therefore, was simply one of collection and 
selection, and presenting, so to speak, in a moral nosegay 

viii Prefatory Note. 

the lyrical blossoms that stood around me, as thick as 
flowers in the green meadow, or trouts in the amber pool. 
My selection was guided in the main by the currency 
which the songs had obtained in the life of the great mass 
of the people ; though sometimes also I had to complete 
the picture by productions equally significant of what is 
best in Scottish Hfe, but which had not found their way 
so widely into the popular ear. In making my selections, 
with accompanying historical remarks where they might 
appear useful or pleasant, I have used a great variety of 
the best authorities, which will be found acknowledged in 
the text; specially, however, I have to return thanks to 
those eminent musical publishers who have, with the 
greatest liberality, allowed me to make free use of those 
musical illustrations which had not yet passed from their 
special protectorship into the large arena of unclaimed 
melody. These gentlemen are, Messrs Paterson & Sons, 
Edinburgh; J. Muir Wood, Joseph Ferrie, and John 
Cameron, Glasgow ; Messrs Field & Tuer, J. Blockley, and 
Swan & Sons, London. I have also particularly to ac- 
knowledge the valuable assistance which I have received 
from Mr Alan Reid, Edinburgh, in the revision of the airs. 

9 Douglas Crescent, Edinburgh, 
20th December 1888. 













"A people which takes no pride in the noble achievements of remote 
ancestors will never achieve anything worthy to be remembered by remote 
descendants. Such pride is a sentiment which belongs to the higher and 
nobler part of human nature, and which adds not a little to the strength of 
states."— Macaulay. 

We have long been troubled with the feeling that there 
is something radically wrong in the place which Music 
holds in the moral life and social atmosphere of the people 
of these islands, especially of Scotland. It is more of an 
exhibition and an accomplishment, less of an educative 
force, than it ought to be in a well-balanced system of 
national culture. It is looked upon too much as an out- 

2 Scottish Song. 

side affair, belonging to a professional or specially gifted 
few, not as a healthy atmosphere which all ought to 
breathe, and a girdle of strength to brace the manhood 
of the people. With the Greeks, who are our models 
in all the higher culture, it was not so. With them Music 
— Movo-tKi} — occupied the whole field of artistic expression 
for the mass of the people, except what was covered by the 
eloquence of the popular assemblies and the law courts ; 
and even their prose, as we see from the writings of the 
rhetoricians, was cultivated with a rhythmical curiousness 
which distinctly pointed to the musical cradle in which it 
had been nursed. When Homer, or any of the grand 
old school of Chian minstrels who gave circulation to his 
heroic cantos, commenced their recital with the words, 
"Sing, O Muse," they were not using a phrase as un- 
meaning as when a proud man signs himself at the bottom 
of a letter " your humble servant." They did sing. And 
the great festal compositions which we call the Greek 
drama or the Greek tragedy were in fact more lyrical than 
dramatic in their nature, and, if they are to bear a name 
expressive of their true character and significance, ought 
rather to be called sacred and patriotic operas. That they 
were accepted by the people as song, not as drama, followed 
naturally from the stirring power of the ixiXo^, or melody, 
as distinguished from the somewhat formal and stately 

National Music. 3 

attitude of the Xc^i?, or prose dialogue — an effect of which 
a striking witness remains to the present day in the word 
rpayovSi, or tragedy^ which in modern Greek simply means 
a song. But in Great Britain, both north and south of the 
Tweed, we are compelled to say, not without sorrow, and 
we may hope also with a certain shame, that our great store 
of sacred and secular tradition has not been used, as the 
Greeks would have used it, to enrich the blood and to brace 
the nerve of the people ; and, though our splendid oratorios 
compensate in some degree for the loss of that happy union 
between the pulpit and the stage indicated by the mys- 
teries of the middle ages, and do give us, only without 
the scenic accompaniment, what may well be called the soul 
of a sacred opera, yet these grand efforts of professional 
skill are more of the nature of a brilliant exhibition for the 
few than of a popular delight for the many. Our hymns, 
psalms, and spiritual songs also, in the weekly temple ser- 
vices, present to us the most solemn lessons, in strains not 
less popularly effective than the most sublime moralising 
in the choruses of ^^schylus and Sophocles ; but neither 
in the magnificent harmonies of the oratorio nor in the 
solemn soothings of the cathedral chant is there any place 
found for the native, national, and patriotic element so 
strongly pronounced in the national drama, or opera, of 
the Greeks. Shakespeare's historical plays, no doubt, as 

4 Scottish Song. 

the Baron von Bunsen well remarked, are the true Iliad of 
the English people ; but they are dramas, not operas. Not 
less notable in the sesthetical use of historical and heroic 
tradition are the " Lady of the Lake " and other poems of 
Scott ; but they are read, not sung. For the purely native, 
patriotic, and national element so potent in Greek art we 
seek in vain, except in the sphere of the popular song or 
Volkslied — a domain of musical expression, therefore, 
which has peculiar claims on our attention, as retaining 
those charms of native growth, native atmosphere, native 
incident, and native heroism, from which the higher 
branches of the art have so unfortunately been divorced. 
It is natural in a certain class of persons of high culture, 
or who move on a certain elevated social platform, to look 
with indifference or contempt on the ballads of the people 
that are hawked about the street, and sung in rainy weather 
by ragged minstrels with a cracked voice ; but it is not wise. 
The songs that please the great mass of the people are the 
songs that flowed most directly and most potently from the 
heart of the people ; and whosoever wishes to know the 
people, must know to love their songs. If, as Richter with 
his usual wisdom said, the way to a mother's heart is 
through her children, and the way to a people's heart is 
through their mother-tongue, the utterance of this mother- 
tongue which goes most directly to the popular heart is 

The Volkslied. 5 

the popular song ; and whoever has to do with the people — 
whether as politician, landlord, or spiritual guide — will find 
that a single well-timed verse from a popular ballad will 
prove more effective to point his address, and to strengthen 
his influence, than the most weighty sentence from an in- 
fallible Aristotle or a universal Shakespeare. Nor is this 
without reason, — the people do not feed on soap-bubbles : 
the songs which they sing are not pretty fancies or dainty 
conceits, but have a root in fact, a growth in experience, 
a blossom in the dramatic incidents, and a fruit in the ripe 
wisdom of life. They are the stuff of which Homer is 
made, — Homer who may be anybody, or nobody, as the 
Wolfians will have it, but is always the Greek people. So 
the Scottish songs are not the songs of Ramsay, or Burns, 
or Ballantine, as men with a special personality to reveal, 
but the songs of the Scottish people, of whom Ramsay, and 
Bums, and a host of others, were merely the spokesmen for 
the nonce. It is quite otherwise with the poetry of such 
men as Milton, Shelley, Southey, Byron, Wordsworth, 
Browning. These men, however diverse in the distinctive 
type of their genius, speak mainly for themselves : they not 
only do not declare the genius of the people in whose lan- 
guage they sing, but, like the prophets among the Jews, 
they not seldom deliver themselves of a burden directly 
antagonistic to it. Individual genius has its sphere of 

6 Scottish Song. 

exalted influence among the sympathetic few ; but unless 
its productions be, like Shakespeare's, as popular as they are 
peculiar, they never can compete in interest with the poetry 
which is the glowing expression and the typical embodiment 
of the higher life, and the notable fates of a whole people. 
This poetry, though it cannot boast the rarity, the novelty, 
or the originality of a few extraordinary and brilliantly 
abnormal men, is, like the heather on the hills and the 
birch in the glen, the more agreeable the more catholic 
it is in its diffusion, and the more characteristic in its 

Of all the species of the genus Volkslied^ so generally 
appreciated since Cowper and Wordsworth brought poetry 
back to Nature, the most extensively known and the most 
largely acknowledged is the Scotch. This extensive 
recognition it owes, no doubt, in some degree, to the 
far-travelled habits of the people to whom it belongs; 
partly to the crown put upon its glory by the fervid 
genius of Burns and the wide human sympathies of Scott, 
but unquestionably also, in no small degree, to its own 
intrinsic excellence. Had there been no Scottish song of 
real excellence before him and round about him, even the 
strong intellect of that inspired ploughman might not have 
prevailed to give a world-wide circulation to the Scottish 
Volkslied. It would have been Burns in that case that the 

Robert Bums. 7 

world would have admired, not Scotland. But the simplest 
glance at any of our collections of popular Scottish songs 
will show that, though the Ayrshire singer stands out 
naturally as the Corypheus of the chorus, not a few of the 
individual members of that tuneful band are in no wise 
inferior to their leader, either in force or in tenderness, 
in keen perception of character, in sound sense, in shrewd 
humour, in dramatic effectiveness of incident, or in pictur- 
esque environment of scenery. His national poetry, there- 
fore, is a heritage of which every loyal-hearted Scot ought to 
be proud ; a heritage which, taken along with the evangelic 
constructiveness of Knox, the mechanical inventiveness of 
Watt, the economic subtlety of Smith, and the large human 
catholicity of Scott, has obtained for him a place among the 
independent nationalities of Europe which it will be his 
own shame if he shall lose. 

Is there, then, any danger that the charm of such an 
ignoble self-disownment may fall in these days on a people 
that has so long been known for the fervour of its national 
sentiment and the strength of its sturdy self-esteem ? Yes, 
unquestionably ; and that not only from the operation of 
the truth contained in the well-known saying that "far 
birds have fair feathers," which causes the eyes of fools 
to wander to the end of the earth for flowers which bloom 
more fairly at their feet, but from the combination of a 

8 Scottish Song. 

number of causes that tend to make the Scotsman of the 
present hour less a Scot than he was in the day when the 
Baroness Nairne sang the praises of "the auld house," 
when Burns gave new wings to the memory of the Bruce 
as he paced the field of Bannockburn, and Scott raised 
to worthy fellowship with Chaucer and Shakespeare the 
local heroism of the Lowland straths and the Highland 
lochs. The first of these causes lies in the natural in- 
fluence which a large country exercises on a smaller 
country when united to it politically for the purposes of 
common action, in virtue of which a certain process of 
assimilation will take place, tending to rub off the more 
salient features of the smaller body, and replace it with 
a superinduced paste of imperial uniformity. Such a 
smoothing over and wiping out of national peculiarities 
we see, to a considerable extent, in the Germanisation of 
Hungary, notwithstanding its possession of a local parlia- 
ment and national guarantees of a very strong kind, but 
which must manifest itself much more strikingly when the 
union of the smaller with the greater kingdom has been 
accompanied with a complete transfer of all legislative and 
governmental machinery to the capital of the larger factor 
in the contract. In this view the framers of the Union of 
1707, while they deserve all praise for preserving our 
dearly bought ecclesiastical, legal, and educational organisa- 

Ififlucfice of England. g 

tion intact, in divesting Edinburgh of its historical position 
as a centre of national life cannot be acquitted of the 
charge of sapping the roots of our national character by 
formally depriving us of all locus standi in the political 
world. The evil effects of this ill-advised centralisation of 
all British business in the English capital soon became ap- 
parent. The nobility, who, for various reasons, are generally 
the least national class of society, were taught to look upon 
London, not Edinburgh, as the headquarters of their social 
life, and felt themselves more at home dangling about the 
purlieus of St James's than in faithful service to the country 
by whose industry they were supported, and by whose 
manhood they had been ennobled. This general faithless- 
ness to the local interests of Scotland received an addi- 
tional impetus, so far as the Highland gentry were con- 
cerned, by the unfortunate rising of the 1 745 — a sentimental 
blunder soon followed by the penalty of diminished im- 
IX)rtance in the local gentry, absenteeism with factorial 
management, and the substitution of a purely mercantile- 
minded economy for the kindly personal superintendence 
of a resident gentry. Less prominently before the eyes 
of the public, but not less effectively than these political 
and social forces, were certain great defects in the Scottish 
scholastic system, tending towards the Anglification of an 
influential section of the rising youth of the country. Born 

10 Scottish Song. 

north of the Tweed, but not bred, after five years' EngHsh 
training at Harrow, and other five, it may be, at Oxford, 
they returned to the land whence they drew their blood 
utterly innocent of all patriotic fervour, prepared to doubt 
whether, after all, Wallace might not be a myth, roundly to 
assert that John Knox was a boor, and to believe firmly 
with Charles II. of pious memory that " Episcopacy is the 
only religion for a gentleman." All this educative trans- 
muting of stout young Scotsmen into fine young English- 
men took place, and is taking place more and more every 
day, as the natural and necessary result of the neglect of 
the middle, or, as the Germans call it, learned school or- 
ganism, as a middle stage between the university and the 
primary or parochial schools. Under such a perverse sys- 
tem, or rather lack of system, the gentry were scarcely to be 
blamed for sending their hopeful progeny to schools where 
alone an education and a society was offered them which 
they had a right to claim ; though they might have been to 
blame certainly, judged by the highest standard of patriotic 
duty, for not having done anything to enable their country- 
men to clothe with living bone and sinew the well-ordered 
scheme of educational gradation laid down by Knox in the 
* First Book of Discipline.'^ But this was not the only 
great neglect of the Scottish people, which worked, and is 
^ Chap. VII., Of Schools and Universities. 

Education. 1 1 

working slowly and surely, to the undermining of the foun- 
dations of their noble nationality. Whether from their com- 
parative poverty in the time when universities were being 
founded, or from the prepossession of the public mind by 
the revived learning of Greece and Rome, uniting as it did 
at that time the charm of novelty with the grace of inherent 
excellence, certain it is that in the course of study laid down 
for the aspirants to academical degrees, no provision was 
made except here and there in the most superficial and 
elementary style for any historical teaching, much less 
for any special indoctrination in the pregnant facts and 
heroic memories of the history of the fatherland — insomuch 
that in the University of Edinburgh, which in some depart- 
ments is more richly provided with chairs than the sister 
institutions, the hopeful youth of Scotland are regularly 
trained, according to a rigid routine, to take the highest 
honours in arts, without the slightest taste of native histor- 
ical criticism, or the slightest breath of patriotic inspiration. 
And so it has come to pass that a knowledge of the history 
and archaeology of his own country, which ought to be the 
household furniture, so to speak, of every educated Scots- 
man, was left to be sought after by a few antiquarian special- 
ists like Skene, Anderson, and Mitchell, or patriotic enthusi- 
asts like Walter Scott and William Bums. Compare this with 
any scheme of lectures in the meanest and most ill-furnished 

12 Scottish Song. 

German university, and then say whether what a dis- 
tinguished EngHsh writer calls our " insular ignorance " 
is not more than matched by our educational absurdity. 
In the primary schools, which in some respects may have 
been more conformable to nature than the university 
curriculum, how much or how little of what I should 
call a Scottish, or in the Highlands a Celtic Plutarch, 
occupies its just position under the operation of the recent 
London-made codes, I cannot say : but in schools of higher 
pretensions I am afraid it is a universal fact that a youth of 
good parts shall sooner be able to tell you what Miltiades 
and Themistocles did for Greece more than two thousand 
years ago, than what Bruce and Wallace did to give Scots- 
men a firm tread and a manly footing on the heather of 
their native hills. And if a general patriotic foundation 
is thus neglected in the more earnest domain of historical 
prose, it is not to be expected that the national music and 
the popular song should have received any recognition 
from a race of pedagogues who had been taught to believe 
that the one orthodox discipline for a young human Scottish 
soul is to conjugate an irregular Greek verb, or to twist a 
nice Ciceronian sentence into shape. For here not only the 
vulgar prejudice for a smattering of the two learned lan- 
guages — a forced growth, all thorns and no berries — must 
be taken into account, but the yet more dangerous notion 

Edtication. 1 3 

from which we started, that music is habitually regarded in 
Scotland rather as an amusing accomplishment than as an 
educative force, and in a scholastic point of view is looked 
upon exceptionally as the refined luxury of the few, not as 
the healthy diet of the many. In this respect our national 
culture has certainly notably declined from the days — now 
three hundred years ago — when the indoctrination of the 
youthhood in music was held to be of such importance as to 
call forth a special Act of Parliament for its encouragement 
and enforcement.^ This low estimate of the educative value 
of the divinest of the arts is no doubt to be attributed, in 
no small degree, to the hardness of the severe struggle 
which the nation had to go through in the defence of its 
liberties against the despotism of the Stuarts, and to the 
excess of severe and ungenial antagonism into which it 
was driven as a revolt against their intrusive Episcopacy : 
anyhow, it was a great loss to Scotland that the rich tradi- 
tion of choicest Scottish song should have been left to the 
exercitation of a wandering ballad-singer, or the exhilara- 
tion of a company of village topers. I remember in a 
mixed company, some forty or fifty years ago, to have 
been reproved by a young lady for singing a Scotch song, 
not because it was Scotch, but because it was a song, and 
because the practice of singing had a tendency to bring 
* Scottish Acts, 1579, chap. 98. 

14 Scottish Song. 

people into bad company ! This observation, silly as it 
may appear, was only the natural fruit of the idea, still so 
common in Scotland, that popular song, while it does 
nothing for the higher culture, may, like wine and women, 
often lead a man into very slippery proximities. The three 
generations that have seen the wonderful changes of the 
nineteenth century have doubtless done not a little to 
render the expression of such prosaic ideas as ridiculous as 
it is unreasonable, and to claim for national music and 
national song the same place in Scotland that they main- 
tained in Palestine under King David, and as they continu- 
ously maintained in Protestant Germany from the days of 
Martin Luther to the present hour. In the primary schools 
especially, I have good reason to believe that music is 
generally looked upon and handled as an educative force, 
though I doubt if even there the distinctive elements of 
Scottish patriotic tradition, shrewd Scottish wisdom, tender 
Scottish sentiment, and thoughtful Scottish humour, receive 
that prominence which, in a healthy national system of 
youthful training, they deserve ; and certain I am that the 
higher we rise in the scale of Scottish schools, even where 
music receives its just place in the curriculum, the less 
shall we expect to find anything distinctively Scotch in 
the educational equipment of a Scottish gentleman. 
So much for our political and educational position as 

Fashion. 1 5 

regards our national songs. We may now cast a glance more 
in detail at the operation of the principle mentioned above, 
that " far birds have fair feathers." It is not an uncom- 
mon occurrence that, when you ask a Scottish young lady in 
a Scottish West-End drawing-room to fill with a little sweet 
vocalism the void which nature abhors, she will sing a 
German or an Italian song, or a light French ariette, but 
she will not sing a Scotch song — at least, she will not sing 
it unless exceptionally, and by special desire, and with 
special urgency on the part of the petitioner. What is 
the reason of this ? She has more reasons than one, — some 
which she will be prone to confess ; others that, from your 
own knowledge of female nature or fashionable life, you 
will find it not difficult to supply. In the first place, she 
will likely say, with a very pretty modesty no doubt, she 
thinks that she cannot sing Scotch songs, they are so 
difficult : they go so low and mount so high, that it is im- 
possible for a voice of ordinary compass to embrace them. 
This is true of some Scotch songs, perhaps, because many 
of them were originally adapted for the fiddle ; but it is not 
true of the whole of them, or even the majority of them— 
certainly not true with regard to some of the most popular. 
It is true of "Caller Herrin'," of " Gloomy Winter's noo 
awa'," " Lady Keith's Lament," and others ; but it is not 
true of " Ye Banks and Braes o' Bonnie Doon," " Jock o' 

1 6 Scottish Song. 

Hazeldean," "Ae Fond Kiss and then we sever," and 
many others. Besides, every singer knows that the same 
air may be set to various keys, so as to suit the quality 
and the compass of every variety of voice. Driven from 
this position, if strongly pressed the fair performer may 
be led to say there is such a range of various feeling, 
and such a power of dramatic expression and character, in 
Scottish songs, that it requires a touch of the histrionic 
art beyond the mere craft of a good voice to represent 
them. So far as this is true, it merely proves the utter 
shallowness and falsehood of the musical training to which 
the fair objectors may have been submitted : it proves that 
they have been taught to sing with their throat only, and not 
with their soul — a very different style of singing from that 
practised by the merle and the mavis in the month of May, 
we may depend on it. In a good song the throat is only 
the instrument — the soul is always the performer. A song 
without the soul is as a flower without the fragrance, hke 
a pudding without the seasoning, like a word without the 
accent, or like beautiful features with no expression. Self- 
exhibition in some shape, instead of the true presentation 
of nature, is the besetting sin of all art ; and he who sings 
with his throat mainly, and not with his soul, is making 
an exhibition of his dexterity as a musical artist, not an 
utterance of his emotions as a man. As to the alleged 

The Scottish Language. 17 

dramatic talent necessary for singing a Scotch song, it is 
enough to say that man is naturally a dramatic, or, as Aris- 
totle has it, a mimetic animal ; and that a certain amount 
of dramatic feeling and gesture belongs to every healthy- 
minded human being, from the chief of a Red Indian tribe 
to a popular orator or a street preacher. And, if it be the 
effect of any education, musical or academical, to make 
a public singer or a speaker the slave of a piece of printed 
paper, instead of being the free master of his emotions and 
his movements, one can only say that such training strangles 
the nature which it should have nursed ; and that it is far 
better for all moral purposes to sing or to speak naturally, 
without any training at all, than to be trained to a force 
without fervour and a dexterity without soul. But again, 
our poor disnatured young victim of false methods may 
allege that she would gladly sing Scotch songs if they 
were only written in English ; but the Scotch language is 
too broad and guttural for her, and so with a wise absten- 
tion she early makes up her mind to let it drop. Poor 
creature ! sweet little sophist ! who has been trained 
away from the sweetness and the roundness of her native 
Scottish dialect, and trained into the clippings and the 
mincings and the sibilations of the unmusical English 
tongue; who, perhaps, while she eschews a Scotch song 
for the difficulty of saying loch instead of lake^ will trill you 

1 8 Scottish Song. 

off a German Volkslied in which the same guttural occurs 
six times for once that it occurs in the Scotch ; and whose 
organs are too refined, she deems, for broad Scotch, at the 
very moment when she is learning Italian in order to improve 
her voice with the musical broad Italian «, which is at the 
same time the distinctive and dominant vowel-sound in every 
popular Scotch song ! Nothing can be more silly, indeed, 
and more significant of the false culture and gross ignor- 
ance so common in what is called "fashionable society," 
than the manner in which they talk of the beautiful Scotch 
language, which indeed is not, properly speaking, a dif- 
ferent language, but only the most uncorrupted and the 
most musical dialect of our common English tongue — ''that 
noble Doric which," as a fine poetical genius did not 
hesitate to say, is " at once rustic and dignified, heroic and 
vernacular." ^ It is sad, indeed, and shameful, that well- 
dressed young gentlemen and ladies with Scottish blood 
in their veins should allow themselves to talk contemptu- 
ously of a language which one of the most original and 
most cultured of modern English poet-thinkers is proud 
to imitate ; but this is only one of the unfortunate results 
of the process of denationalising our upper classes by 
making them pendants to a centralising metropolis out- 

1 Sydney Dobell, in a note to the " Market-Wife Song" in * England 
in Time of War.' 

Fashionable Society. 19 

side of their natural home, and of the lamentable omission 
of the national element in our schools and colleges noted 
above, which leaves to the chance fancy of an occasional 
amateur what ought to have been the sacred care of a 
united people. The Greeks whom we profess to honour 
acted otherwise. They placed their vulgar Doric in the 
front van of their choral music : we look on quietly, and 
allow ours to die. 

Along with these political and educational influences, 
tending to give to English far feathers a wider acceptance 
with native Scots than Scottish fair ones, we must notice 
specially the vanity of mothers — especially of those whose 
highest ambition for their children is that they should be 
able to figure with all the conceits and conventions of the 
hour in what is called fashionaj^le society. What is fashion- 
able society ? A phase of human aggregation somewhat 
difficult to define. But if fashion in social intercourse has 
any kinship with the same potency as we see it operating 
in ladies' bonnets and in ladies' skirts, we shall not expect 
to find reason one of its dominant elements. So far as I 
have been able to generalise on the subject, I perceive in 
fashionable society a habit of mind and life which inclines 
to put a value on outward form and display, gold and 
gewgaws, pedigrees and coronets, and all sorts of glittering 
and imposing externalities, rather than on the breezy atmo- 

20 Scottish Song. 

sphere of a stirring and manly soul, the radiance of a pure 
and noble inspiration, and the spontaneous flow of living 
waters from within ; and the fashionable man, taken over- 
head — for of course, here as elsewhere, there are big trouts 
plashing among the minnows of the pool — is a creature who 
habitually sacrifices strength to polish, substance to show, na- 
ture to convention, and a fervid instinct to a cold propriety. 
Now the mother who wishes her daughter to shine in such 
society will naturally seek out for her some fellowship with 
the brilliant displays of Italian and German music which a 
great metropolis commands, rather than with the common- 
ness, the homeliness, and what she may possibly call the 
vulgarity, of Scottish songs. It would be in vain to ask 
such a mother what she means by vulgarity. Is it vulgar 
to be true to nature, to hate all affectation, and to call a 
spade a spade roundly, as Shakespeare did, and the English 
Bible, and Robert Burns ? Is it vulgar to be patriotic, and 
to love the land which came to you from your father's blood 
and with your mother's milk ? Is it vulgar to pour forth 
from the heart melody of native growth as fresh and bright 
and strong as the heather on the Scottish braes, or the 
fountains that leap from the rim of Scottish crags, instead 
of piping forth soap-bells of shallow sentiment to tickle the 
ear of dreamy girls and shallow foplings in a drawing-room? 
She would not understand the question. My Lord B. or 

The Song of tJie People. 2 1 

my Lady C. are to-night to have a grand reception, with 
the famous Italian cantatrice of the season to exhibit her 
splendid tuneful somersets : my daughter shall take her 
model from that. Italian, German, and Hungarian airs 
belong to good society ; but let " Bonnie Jean " and 
" Bessy Bell," and even the classical " Newhaven Fish- 
wives," be left to the streets and to the ballad-singers ! 

• Leaving these devotees of a spurious gentility in the 
West-End paradise where they delight to display their 
painted faces and their gilded fans, we shall now endeavour 
to state articulately the peculiar features of excellence in the 
VolksHed, or popular song, which have always secured to it 
a place of honour in the hearts of the wise and the good 
and the healthy-minded of all nations. And here, gene- 
rally, we may say that the song of the people is natural, 
not artistical ; catholic, not special, breathing always the 
common breath of humanity modified by nationality, but 
affording no field for the display of individual talent, ab- 
normal genius, or brilliant transcendentalism. In Shelley's 
poetry you always see Shelley, and in Byron's Byron ; but 
in "Bonnie Jean" and ''Wandering Willie," though you 
may know that there was a Bums, you never feel person- 
ally that he is there. In his songs, whatever he may be 
in his letters, Scotland is everywhere. Bums nowhere. 
Art, of course, and personality, in one sense, there must 

22 Scottish Song. 

be in all excellent presentation of the beautiful ; but in 
popular song it is an art which does not parade itself, 
and a personality in the human love that stirred it.^ 
Popular song is opposed to what is called literature, as the 
rich melodious roll of full joyous vitality from the throat of 
a mavis or a blackbird in the month of May is to the deft 
execution of agile fingers on the keynotes of a piano ; or 
as the roll and the swell and the swirl of waters in a High- 
land stream is to the start, and the leap, and the dash of 
an artificial waterfall at a German Wilhelmshohe, or other 
prettily got up display of the non-natural picturesque ; or 
again, we may say that the poetry of the people is to the 
poetry of sentimental young gentlemen saying pretty things, 
as the native dances of the peasantry in any country are to 
the exhibition of highly strained muscle and curiously 
supple joints in the dances of professional ballet-dancers, 
which no doubt are wonderful performances, but are apt 
to sin as much against the simplicity of true art as the 

^ This subordination of the personal element explains the fact, so 
noticeable in some of the best of our Scotch songs, that nobody knows 
who wrote them ; or as Chambers has it (Poetry before Burns, ch. xii.), 
in looking over the roll of the most popular of our old songs, we con- 
stantly stumble on the phenomenon of " striking incidents inimitably 
crystallised into verse through the medium of som^ mind that was poeti- 
cal without knowing what poetry was ;" — only another illustration of 
what the sweet singer of Israel said (Psalm viii. 2), " Out of the mouth 
of babes and sucklings Thou hast perfected praise." 

The Song of i/ie People. 23 

modesty of nature. Then as to personal peculiarities, in- 
dividuals may easily deflect from the line of typical truth in 
nature, either by some congenital want of balance, or in the 
delight in the exhibition of a strong point which turns art 
into mannerism and caricature; but the seduction which 
leads the professional artist, or the original genius of a lit- 
erary age, into this aberration, for the maker of a popular 
song does not exist. He is always true in tone, because 
he has no motive to be false ; he must stir the popular heart 
by touching a universally human heartstring, otherwise he is 
nothing. He does not live in an age or move in an atmo- 
sphere where literary cliques will make a pet of his foibles, 
and pay an idol-worship to his eccentricities. In this way 
he is practically infallible, because nature is infallible ; and 
whosoever is moved simply and singly by the direct indica- 
tion and inspiration of nature cannot go wrong. It is with 
poetry as with philosophy and morals, as Cicero has it, — not 
the novelty which makes people stare, but the truth which 
makes people feel, is most agreeable to the nature of man : 
'^ quod verum simplex^ sincerutnque sit^ id est naturae hominis 
aptissimum" * And as nature in her normal presentation 
always means health, and health means cheerfulness, so 
the song of the people is never falsely delicate, or sentiment- 
ally morbid, or artificially sublime, but healthy and vigor- 
• Cicero, Off., i. 4. 

24 Scottish Song. 

ous, of fine texture, strong nerve, and ruddy hue, manly and 
valorous, ever wise to temper laughter with grace and to 
sweeten sorrow with resignation. A second notable point 
in the poetry of the people, and eminently of our Scottish 
popular song, is its practical wisdom and thoughtful 
humour : for the general mass of the people, trained as 
they are in the school of stern work and honest struggle, 
have too much stout earnestness in their habit to find any 
satisfaction in the dainty conceits and petty affectations 
that flatter the vanity, or tickle the ears, or dangle about 
the skirts of persons with whom life has no sequence of 
earnest work to ennoble it. The poetry of the people, like 
their life, must be intensely real ; and practical wisdom, or 
the harmonious dealing with the facts of life, is the only 
form of reality that has any claim to shape itself into 
song. As for the humour which we find so abundant in 
our Scottish national songs, that is a part of the wisdom of 
life with which an earnest people like the Scotch could not 
do without ; for as a sportive play with the high and the 
low, the great and the small, in human fates, it acts as a foil 
of fence against the serious invasion of sad thoughts that, 
if allowed full swing, might seriously incommode, overload, 
and overwhelm us. We may say, indeed, of the humour 
of a true Scotsman, as it appears in his popular songs and 
in his representative men, what Wolfgang Menzel said in 
reply to certain of his countrymen who spoke contemptu- 

GoetJie. 25 

ously of the English as a people having no philosophy. 
" Excuse me, sirs," said the great German critic — " VerzeiJmi 
sie mir. John Bull ist ein grosser Philosoph : seift Humor 
ist seine Philosophie." " John Bull is a great philosopher : 
his humour is his philosophy." 

I conclude these remarks on the general literary value 
and social significance of popular, and specially Scottish, 
song, by giving the opinion of two very different men — 
but both, from their special field of experience, entitled 
to speak on this subject with an authority that will weigh 
more with the intelligent than whole volumes of com- 
mendatory dissertation. The first is that great spokesman 
of our thoughtful cousins, the Germans, whom Matthew 
Arnold has quaintly and truly characterised as the greatest 
poet of our times, and the greatest critic of all times. 


"We admire the tragedies of the ancient Greeks; but, 
to take a correct view of the case, we ought to admire the 
period and the nation in which their production was pos- 
sible, rather than the individual authors ; for, though these 
pieces differ in some points from each other, and though 
one of these poets appears somewhat greater and more 
finished than the other, still, taking all things together, 
only one decided character runs through the whole. This 
is the character of grandeur, fitness, soundness, human 

26 Scottish Song. 

perfection, elevated wisdom, sublime thought, pure strong 
intuition, and other qualities one might enumerate. But 
when we find all these qualities, not only in the dramatic 
works which have come down to us, but also in their 
lyrical and epic works — in the philosophers, orators, and 
historians — and in an equally high degree in the works of 
plastic art that have come down to us, — we must feel con- 
vinced that such qualities did not merely belong to in- 
dividuals, but were the current property of the nation and 
the period. 

" Now, take up Burns. How is he great, except through 
the circumstance that the songs of his predecessors lived 
in the mouth of the people — that they were, so to speak, 
sung at his cradle ; that, as a boy, he grew up amongst 
them, and the high excellence of these models so pervaded 
him that he had therein a living basis on which he could 
proceed further ? Again, why is he great but from this, 
that his own songs at once found susceptible ears amongst 
his compatriots ; that, sung by reapers and sheaf-binders, 
they at once greeted him in the field ; and that his boon- 
companions sang them to welcome him at the alehouse? 


*' The special value of what we call national songs, or 
ballads, is that their inspiration comes fresh from nature. 

William Thorn, 27 

They are never got up ; they flow from a pure spring. 
The poet of a literary age might avail himself of this 
advantage, if he only knew how. There is always one 
thing, however, in which the former assert their advantage. 
The unsophisticated man is more the master of direct 
effective expression in few words than he who has received 
a regular literary training." ^ 

My second witness is from an altogether opposite quarter 
of the literary world, as far below the common platform of 
cultivated intellect as Goethe was above it — a poor Aber- 
deenshire weaver, and for one stretch' of his short career 
a wandering penniless pedlar, — William Thom of Inverury, 
one of that noble army of untitled and untutored minstrels 
whose productions have done, and are still doing, more to 
make rich the blood and strong the pulse of Scotland than 
all the vaunted Greek and Latin of the schools. 

" Moore was doing all he could for love-sick boys and 
girls, yet they never had enough. Nearer and dearer to 
hearts like ours was the Ettrick Shepherd, then in his full 
tide of song and story ; but nearer and dearer still than he 
or any tuneful songster was our ill-fated fellow-craftsman 
Tannahill ! Poor weaver child, what we owe to you ! 

1 Wisdom of Goethe, by J. S. B., pp. no, 136, from Eckermann's 

28 Scottish Song. 

Your ' Braes o' Balquhidder,' and ' Yon Burnside,' and 
' Gloomy Winter,' and the minstrel's wailing ditty, and 
the noble ' GlenifFer,' — oh, how did they ring above the 
rattle of a thousand shuttles ! Let me again proclaim the 
debt we owe to these song-spirits, as they walked in melody 
from loom to loom, ministering to the lone-hearted ; and, 
when the breast was filled with everything but hope and 
happiness, let only break out the healthy and vigorous 
chorus, ' A man's a man for a' that,' and the fagged 
weaver brightens up. Who dare measure the restraining 
influences of these songs? To us all they were instead 
of sermons. Had one of us been bold enough to enter a 
church, he must have been ejected for the sake of decency. 
His forlorn and curiously patched habihments would have 
contested the point of attraction with the ordinary pulpit 
eloquence of that period. Church bells rang not for us. 
Poets were indeed our priests : but for these, the last 
relics of moral existence would have passed away. Song 
was the dewdrop which gathered during the long night of 
despondency, and was sure to glitter in the very first blink 
of the sun. You might have seen ' Auld Robin Gray ' 
melt the eyes that could be tearless amid cold and hunger, 
and weariness and pain." i 

1 Rhymes and Recollections of a Handloom Weaver, in Murray's 
Ballads and Songs of Scotland. London : 1874. 




"Epus aviKare fxdxav, 
(re otjT adavdruv tpv^ijios ovhfis 
oijd' oLfiepiuv avdpwTrwv, 


In the popular poetry of all countries, love-songs occupy a 
prominent place — generally, in fact, in one shape or other, 
stand in the van ; and whosoever looks reverently into 
human motives, and the constitution of the universe, will 
find there a very good reason for this. Nearly three 
thousand years ago now, the old Boeotian theologer, 
Hesiod, with the close insight into the nature of things 
which distinguishes the genial mythology of the Greeks, 
sang of the creation, or, as they preferred to express it, 
generation of the world, to the effect that out of the 
primordial Chaos the first two potencies to emerge were 
Earth and Hades, and after them came forth ** Eros or 

30 Songs of Love, Courtship, and Marriage. 

Love ; the most beautiful of all the immortals, whose thril- 
ling power subdues the limbs of all gods and all men, and 
prevails even to control the soul, and to confound the 
counsel of the wisest sages." ^ This primeval theological 
Eros is a very different character from the little wanton 
boy with wings on his shoulders, and bow and arrows in 
his hand, who, from the days of Sappho and Alcaeus 
downwards, has played such harmful sport with the hearts 
of susceptible young ladies, fervid young gentlemen, and 
Platonic young poets ; but a theologico-philosophical figure 
as real as any in the creeds, and believed in as potently 
by the most profound thinkers and the most accurate 
scientists of the present day, as by any protesting Scot 
that ever talked of shooting himself for the sake of an 
Annie Laurie or a Bonnie Jean. It is, in fact, nothing 
less than what in the physical world we call attraction, — 
the power which gives electric affinities in the laboratory 
of the chemist, and the monogynic and polyandric alliances 
of the vegetable inflorescence. In the moral world, as a 
higher platform for the display of cognate divine mysteries, 
the same force dominates everywhere. An absolutely single 
self-contained loveless human soul, a Mephistopheles made 
up of sneering all round, is a monster of the most rare 
occurrence; and we must say roundly that in the great 
^ Hesiod, Theog., ii6. 

Philosophy of Love. 3 1 

symphony of kindred existences which we call life, every 
human being instinctively seeks some cognate other to 
make his complement, just as one note in music demands 
another to make a harmony. The most impassioned poets, 
and the most stoical philosophers, have agreed in enunciat- 
ing this great law of love, which pervades the universe, as, 
in fact, the great selecting and appropriating power which 
makes a universe possible, and, as the good old Boeotian 
plainly means, causes the hubbub of confusion in chaos 
to blossom into an orderly cosmos. So the most meta- 
physical of our poets, Percy Bysshe Shelley, has it — 

" Nothing in the world is single : 
All things by a law divine 
In one another's being mingle ; 
Then why not I with thine?" 

So the grand old imperial Stoic, Marcus Aurelius : " We 
are bom for one another, as the teeth of the upper jaw for 
the teeth of the under jaw ; " — a common illustration, no 
doubt, but conveying a profound truth, which Whig and 
Tor)', and other antagonistic parties in Church and State, 
would do well to recognise. One other witness I will ad- 
duce from the wisest of the wise poets of the Greeks — for 
with the Greeks a poet was always a cro<^o? — to prove not 
only the universality but the sovereignty of this noble 
affection — a sovereignty so absolute as to make the persons 

32 Songs of Love ^ Courtships and Marriage. 

who are the subjects of it, when contrasted with those not 

under its sway, appear mad ; and mad indeed they are, not 

with the human madness which disturbs the machinery, 

but with the divine madness that intensifies the steam 

force of the brain. Sophocles in the "Antigone" sings 

thus : — 

" O, Love unvanquished in the fight, 
Then when thou puttest forth thy might 
O'er hearts and homes of men ; 
Or where the gloss is soft and fair 
On maiden's cheek, thou lodgest there, 
Or o'er wide seas dost bravely swim. 
Breasting the billows foamy rim, 
Or watching by a wattled pen 
With shepherds in a grassy glen ; 
Whate'er thy place, whate'er thy shape. 
Thy craft no being can escape. 
Nor man, nor god, nor lass, nor lad ; 
And he who owns thy sway is mad ! " 

And if so, then we certainly have to do not only with a 
very sacred matter which demands pious cherishing, but 
with a delicate affair which requires careful regulation — 
for the more divine the draught, the greater the danger 
that poor human nature may drink to intoxication; and 
the stronger the steam, the greater need to guard against 
explosion. But, though nature forbids excess, she does not 
enjoin abstinence : she triumphs in control. In love, as 
in all other matters, total abstinence is the shield of weak- 

Philosophy of Love. 33 

ness, and the despair of virtue. If you have no nerve to 
run any risk, better not try the game. Better not fight 
at all, than fight to encounter an adversary to whom you 
are sure you must succumb. But this chief and whole- 
sale way of avoiding the dangers of falling in love, Nature 
generally does not allow. The great principle to hold by 
here is, as Aristotle has it, that man must always love 
according to the characteristic excellency of his human 
nature, as a reasonable being made in the image of the 
Supreme Reason, as a self-dominant Power, not a mere 
servile devotee of an instinct which he shares with the 
lowest animals. This is an idea common to Aristotle and 
Moses, fi-om which not only love but all human emotions 
must receive their legitimate consecration. In the some- 
what severe religiousness of Scotland, devout consecra- 
tion is popularly connected only with the stem sanction 
of the moral law; the admiration of beauty is left to 
poetical fancy, which has nothing to do with the sanctify- 
ing power of the Gospel. But this is a mistake. The 
True, the Beautiful, and the Good, — these three, a sort of 
natural Trinity, — are equally divine, but not equally ne- 
cessary. The blossom of Beauty is appropriated by Love ; 
the facts of growth by science; the fruit of growth by 
goodness ; but all equally have their root in God. 
Divorced from God, love degenerates into lust, science 

34 Songs of Love, Cotirtship, and Marriage, 

into a cold calculation of heartless and purposeless forces ; 
and goodness becomes impossible. In other words, there 
must always be in man, so long as he does not disown 
himself, an aristocratic element that justly holds rule, — 
what the Stoics, those grand gospellers of antiquity, called 
the rjyefxovLKov. There is a spiritual and a carnal or material 
element in all existence, of which the one is the natural 
lord of the other. Wherever this relationship is reversed, 
wherever the servant usurps the mastership (Eccles. x. 7) 
on his own motive, as if no master were necessary, there 
we have divorce, rebellion, and usurpation, with the natural 
sequence of degradation and ruin. Love in its human 
nobility can no more be separated from holiness than 
beauty from health. Undermine the health, and the beauty 
vanishes. As the paint from a thousand rouge -boxes 
cannot restore the divine virtue of the vital flush which 
belongs to health, so no attractions, no graces, no en- 
dearments, no accomplishments, no witchery of smiles, 
no fascination of glances, can confer dignity on that love 
which has disowned the supremacy of a moral ideal. 
It is better to be cool and creeping with the most prosaic 
of earth-treading mortals, than to be winged with a rapture 
that does not bring us nearer to the gods. 

Love, therefore, in the wide and philosophical sense of the 
term, is the name for those emotional feelers, so to speak, 

Woinajt. 35 

^vith which the God-created soul of man rapturously and 
reverentially lays hold of the God-created beauty which 
blossoms and burgeons everywhere in this beautiful world ; 
and the love with which we have to do in our popular 
love-songs, the love of fair women, is for obvious reasons 
the most popular and universally appreciated species of the 
genus. If we may define love in the widest sense to be 
the impassioned admiration of congenial excellence, or the 
rapturous recognition of an ideal, where can we find this 
ideal more potently operating than in that fair being, the 
necessary complement of the sinless Adam, in whom the 
beauty that charms every sense in the rose and the lily and 
the violet of the fields is elevated by intellect, harmonised 
by grace, and ennobled by character ? The man, if there 
be such a creature, who is not moved by this display of 
the matchless skill of the great Fountain of all being, is a 
poor creature, and less than a brute ; for brute creatures, as 
Darwin teaches, make selection of fair feathers for procre- 
ative purposes sometimes; but such a loveless, unimpas- 
sioned, unfeathered human biped, capable only as a scientist 
of registering dry bones, or as a gentleman of fashion sur- 
rounding himself with the glittering show of the mere exter- 
nalities of life, is a monster of whom nothing can be ex- 
pected in any wise worthy of the human name which he 
bears. Truly Anacreon was right when he sang — what the 

36 Songs of Love, Courtship, and Marriage. 

history of many wars and of many courts, of many evan- 
gelists and of many wise men, largely proves — that there is 
no power on earth in the hand of God sometimes more 
mighty for achieving the noblest ends in the most pleasant 
way than a beautiful woman, when she is a woman indeed in 
all the completeness of her divine dual nature, — not a mere 
well -put -together, well- chiselled, well -coloured, and well- 
dressed piece of flesh and blood, in which virtues she may be 
matched, and overmatched, by many a plumy bird, or light- 
footed fawn upon the mountains. Hear what the merry old 
bard of Teos says in the Iambic lines beginning with Averts 
Kc/aara raopot?, which, while translating, we shall venture to 
expand by way of adaptation to our modern life : — 

Nature gave hoofs to horses, horns to bulls, 

Far-ranging thought to men, laughter to fools. 

To birds fleet pinions, a sharp nose to dogs, 

Running to hares, and leaping power to frogs, 

To fishes fins, to monkeys nimble tails. 

Talons to eagles, mighty jaws to whales. 

To lawyers tongues, to dancing girls agility. 

To editorial scribes infallibility, 

Learning to scholars, to good boys apple-pies. 

To churchmen pride, to politicians lies, 

Money to brewers, shopkeepers, and bankers. 

To the wise man a heart that's free from cankers, 

To woman, what? so slender, slim, and slight, 

'Mid coarse-grained things of masterdom and might ; 

She gave weak woman Beauty, with a power 

More strong than fire or iron, as her dower. 

Burns on Woman. 37 

And, if the voluptuous old singer of sunny Ionia felt this 
power so strongly, our own Robert Burns, the stout son of 
the cloudy North, owed the greater part of his literary 
reputation to the wise worship, and some part of his social 
offences to the unwise worship, of the fair sex. In refer- 
ence to this dominant passion of the man who has been 
baptised by one of his admirers " the Laureate of love," his 
sister, Mrs Begg, with equal humour and truth, remarked, 
" Robin had aye an unco wark wi' the lasses. I wonder 
what he saw in them. I prefer a lad to the whole lot 
of them ! " No doubt ; for the element of sex comes in 
here, as also the important principle enunciated by Plato 
in The Banquet, that the grand attractive force of love in 
the physical and in the moral world makes itself felt by 
contraries in some points, as much as by correspondence 
in others. The poet himself, who is always honest in his 
confessions, and given to use language as a song-writer 
with a strong lyrical accentuation, has expressed himself 
on this subject in several notable passages. In one short 
phrase he calls woman " the blood-royal of creation " ; 
and in one of his impassioned letters to Clarinda we read, 
" He who sees you and does not love you, deserves to be 
damned for his stupidity; and he who loves you and 
would injure you, to be doubly damned for his villainy." 
Not less strong is the language with which he expresses his 

38 So7tgs of Love, Courts hip y and Marriage . 

admiration of the beautiful Miss Burnet, daughter of the cele- 
brated scholar and philosopher, Lord Monboddo, one of that 
bright array of beauty and culture to which the ploughman 
bard was introduced during his visit to Edinburgh, and 
whose aristocratic splendour caused the ill-starred adven- 
ture with " Bonnie Jean" to be thought of with less regret 
for a season. " The heavenly Miss Burnet," says he in a 
letter to Mr Chalmers, written in December 1786; " there 
has not been anything nearly like her in all the combina- 
tions of beauty, grace, and goodness the great Creator has 
formed since Milton's Eve on the first day of her existence." 
But with these glowing superlatives for this unequalled 
specimen of the Divine workmanship in the shape of 
woman, the taste of Burns was as remarkable for its catho- 
licity as for its intensity. " When I meet," he writes to 
one of his fair female correspondents, " with a person after 
my own heart, I positively feel what an orthodox Protestant 
would call a species of idolatry, which works on my fancy 
like inspiration j and I can no more resist rhyming than an 
^olian harp can refuse its tones to the streaming air. A 
distich or two would be the consequence, though the 
object which hit my fancy were grey-bearded age; but 
when my theme is youth and beauty, — a young lady whose 
personal charms, wit, and sentiment are equally striking 

Robert Burns. 39 

and unaffected, — ye heavens ! though I had lived threescore 
years a married man, and threescore years before I was 
married, my imagination would hallow the very idea ! " ^ — a 
passage which gives us a penetrating glance into the inmost 
heart of our great ploughman's inspiration, and which at 
the same time carries with it the most important moral, 
that fair ladies given to be touched by the mean passion of 
jealousy should never marry poets. 

We see, therefore, there is a double reason for giving 
love-songs the leading place in this little book — the general 
reason of the catholicity of the passion in all well-constituted 
minds, and the special reason of these songs having been 
placed by the genius of our great national lyrist on a pedes- 
tal of classicality overtopped by none in the rich repertory 
of popular song. Wherever a love-song of the purest and 
best quality is felt and understood, from the Ganges to the 
St Lawrence — wherever the sun shines on the wide empire 
of Queen Victoria — there the name of Bums is named with 
the first. But we must not suppose that in this chapter we 
have to deal only, or mainly, with the songs of the farmer 
of Ellisland. The love-songs of Scotland are as rich and 
various as the flowers of the field, and poured out from all 
quarters as spontaneously and as sweetly as the song of 
* Burns to Miss Davies — Curric, ii. No. Ixi. 

40 Songs of Love, Courtships and Marriage. 

the mavis in May. Of course, in the midst of such 
abundance I could only form a bouquet of the choicest 
gems of song that had either laid strong hold of my fancy, 
or had struck deep roots in the popular affection ; and 
when I had chalked out my scheme of classification, I was 
not a little surprised, and at the same time delighted, to 
find that only a small proportion of the whole belonged to 
the Coryphaeus of the Choir. This, of course, proves the 
extraordinary wealth of our lyrical vegetation. Burns, in 
fact, never would have been the man he was, had he not 
derived an inspiration from the people, and breathed an 
atmosphere of popular song from the cradle ; and to stand 
before his countrymen in the solitary sublimity of a Shelley 
or a Byron, would have been as hateful to his nature as 
it was foreign from his genius. I will therefore, in this 
bouquet of love-lilts, give no preference to Burns, except 
where he comes in unsought for as the first among equals, 
the most prominent, and the most popular specimen of 
the class which he is called on to illustrate; and the 
classes under which all love-songs naturally arrange them- 
selves are four : love-songs of joy ; love-songs of sadness ; 
love-songs of wooing and courtship ; and lastly, love-songs 
of marriage and connubial life. 
I begin then now with — 

Love- Songs of Joy, 


Love-Songs of Joy, 

— as indeed joy is the end of all existence ; and love, as 
the rapturous recognition of an ideal, is, and must ever be, 
the potentiation of the highest human joy; and if there 
be any that would give a preference to woful ballads and 
sentimental sighs in their singing of love-songs, let them 
know that they are out of tune with the great harmonies 
of Nature, and that, though it be the divine virtue of 
love -songs, in certain cases, to sweeten sorrow, their 
primary purpose is to give wings to joy. As an example 
of the sweetness of soul and sereneness of delight that 
belong to the Scottish love -song, we cannot do better 
than commence here with — 

When the Kye comes Hame. 

G>me all ye jol • ly shcp - herds that whistle through the glen, I'll 

tell ye o' a se • cret that courtiers din • na ken. What is the greatest 

bliss that the tongue o' mancannamel'Tis to woo a bon-nie las-sie 


when the kye comes hame. When the kye comes hame, when the kye comeshame, 

Twcen the gleam • in' and the mirk, when the kye comes hame. 

42 Songs of Love J Courtship, and Marriage. 

'Tis not beneath the burgonet, nor yet beneath the crown, 
'Tis not on couch of velvet, nor yet on bed of down : 
'Tis beneath the spreading birch, in the dell without a name, 
Wi' a bonnie, bonnie lassie, when the kye comes hame. 

Then the eye shines sae bright, the haill soul to beguile. 
There's love in every whisper, and joy in every smile ; 
O who would choose a crown, wi' its perils and its fame, 
And miss a bonnie lassie when the kye comes hame. 

See yonder pawky shepherd that lingers on the hill — 
His yowes are in the fauld, and his lambs are lying still ; 
Yet he downa gang to rest, for his heart is in a flame 
To meet his bonnie lassie when the kye comes hame. 

Awa' wi' fame and fortune— what comfort can they gie ? — 
And a' the arts that prey on man's life and libertie ! 
Gie me the highest joy that the heart o' man can frame, 
My bonnie, bonnie lassie, when the kye comes hame. 

In this beautiful lyric observe three things — the persons, 
the scenery, and the season of the year. It was long a 
fashion to identify lovers with shepherds or swains, till 
the affectation and the triteness of the notion made the 
Muse sick of it ; but it nevertheless had reason in it, as 
the life of a shepherd is far more favourable both to 
thoughtful meditation and to tender contemplation than 
professions that put forth their energies amid the bustle 
of business, the whir of industrial wheels, or the parade 
of public life. The man who composed this song was a 
shepherd living in a land of shepherds, and in him it 

Shepherds and Swains, 43 

could be no affectation ; but whether shepherd or not, 
the man who wishes to compose or quietly to enjoy a 
love -song, or, what is better, a loving soul, will more 
naturally transport himself to the green slopes and the 
broomy knowes of a quiet land of shepherds, than to the 
splendid roll of chariots in the Park at London, or the 
motley whirl of holiday - keepers on Hampstead Heath. 
The scenery of the best love -songs in all languages is 
decidedly rural. No doubt there may be love, and very 
wise love too, in a London lane, as " Sally in our Alley " 
and other songs abundantly testify; but they will want 
something to stamp on them the type of the highest 
classicality, and that something will be found not far 
from Yarrow braes and Ettrick shaws, "when the kye 
comes hame." Love in a green glade, or by a river 
side, or on a heather brae, is poetical; for there the 
living glory of the raptured soul within finds itself har- 
monised with the glory of the living mantle of the God- 
head without : whereas love in a fashionable saloon, a 
gay drawing-room, or a glittering train of coaching gen- 
tility, is both less congruous on account of its artificial 
surroundings, and apt to degenerate into flirtation, which 
is a half- earnest imitation of the least earnest half of 
love. Observe also the season of the year, though indi- 
cated only by a single word in the song: **'Tis beneath 
the spreading birch," the most graceful, the most fragrant. 

44 Songs of Love^ Courtships and Marriage. 

and the most Scottish of all trees ; and the birch spreads 
its tresses not till May or June. It is, therefore, in May, 
"when the birds sing a welcome to May, sweet May," 
and the "zephyrs as they pass make a pause to make 
love to the flowers," ^ that love-songs should be aired and 
marriages made, if they are meant to be touched with 
the finest bloom of the poetry of Nature. 

The author of this song, we said, was a shepherd, and we 
need scarcely say that the shepherd was Hogg — a name that 
will go down in literary tradition, along with Burns and 
Scott, John Wilson and Lord Cockburn, as typical repre- 
sentatives of the best virtues of the Scottish character in 
an age when Scotland had not begun to be ashamed 
of her native Muse, and to lose herself amid the splendid 
gentilities of the big metropohs on the Thames. In out- 
ward condition and social circumstance, Hogg was more 
nearly allied to Burns than to Scott : if Burns was a 
ploughman on the banks of Doon in Ayrshire, Hogg was 
first a cowherd, then a shepherd, and then a farmer, first 
in his own native parish of Ettrick, in the high land of 
Selkirkshire, and afterwards on Yarrow braes, not far from 
the sweet pastoral seclusion of St Mary's Loch. But in 
the tone of his mind, as well as the traditional influences 
of his birthplace, he belonged to Scott. In literature they 

^ Sweet May : words by J. Little. Music by A. Hume. Lyric 
Gems of Scotland, i. 96. 

James Hogg. 45 

were both story-tellers rather than song-writers; and in 
politics they were both Conservatives, nourishing their 
souls in a sweet-blooded way on the heroic traditions and 
pleasant memories of their forefathers. The moving tales 
and strange legends from the fertile pen of the Shepherd, 
for generations to come, will help innocently to entertain 
the fancy of many an honest cottar's fireside in the long 
winter nights ; while the strange unearthly weirdness of his 
*' Fife Witch's " nocturnal ride, and the spiritual sweetness 
of his " Bonnie Kilmeny," will secure their author a high 
place among the classical masters of imaginative narrative 
in British literature; but his appearance on the field of 
narrative poetry in the same age with the more rich and 
powerful genius of Scott, was unfavourable to his asserting 
a permanent position as a poetical story-teller. It is as a 
song-writer, therefore, that he is likely to remain best 
known to the general public; for, though in this depart- 
ment he has no pretensions to the wealth or the power or 
the fire of Bums, he has prevailed to strike out a few 
strains of no common excellence, that have touched a 
chord in the popular heart and found an echo in the 
public ear : and this, indeed, is the special boast of good 
popular songs, that they are carried about as jewels and as 
charms in the breast of every man that has a heart, while 
intellectual works of a more imposing magnitude, like 
palatial castles, are seen only by the few who purposely 

46 Songs of Love, Courtship, and Marriage. 

go to see them or accidentally pass by them. Small 
songs are the circulating medium of the people. The 
big bullion lies in the bank.^ 

We proceed to instance a few other classical examples 
of that sweet pensive musing of the lover, quietly feeding 
upon beauty as the honey-bee feeds on the flower, — a 
cheerfulness and a lusciousness of pure emotion much 
more chaste, much more safe, and much more permanent 
than the passion which glows like a furnace, or the steam 
which threatens to explode. Take first one of Tannahill's, 
perhaps not the best, but certainly at one time the most 
popular of his love-songs : — 

Jessie, the Flower o' Dunblane. 

The sun has gane down o'er the lof - ty Ben Lo-mond, And 
J : ^rT-^. ^ N 1^ 

left the red clouds to pre - side o'er the scene ; While lane - ly 

stray in the calm sim-mer gloamin', To muse on sweet Jes-sie, the 


flow'r o' Dun-blane. How sweet is the brier, wi' its saft fauld-ing 

f^^^^M ^^ 



bios - som, And sweet is the birk, wi' its man-tie o' green ; Yet 

1 An excellent Life of Plogg will be found in Rogers's Scottish 
Minstrel, Edinburgh, 1870. 

Jessie 6* Dunblane" 


sweet -er an' fair-er, an' dear to this bo-som, Is love- ly young 

Jes-sie, the flow'r o' Dun-blane, Is . . love - ly young Jes-sie, Is . . 

love - ly young Jessie, Is love - ly young Jessie, the flow'r o' Dun-blane. 

She's modest as ony, an' blythe as she's bonnie, 

For guileless simplicity marks her its ain ; 
An' far be the villain, divested o' feeling, 

Wha'd blight in its bloom the sweet flow'r o' Dunblane. 
Sing on, thou sweet mavis, thy hymn to the e'enin', 

Thou'rt dear to the echoes o' Calderwood glen ; 
Sae dear to this bosom, sae artless and winning, 

Is charming young Jessie, the flow'r o' Dunblane. 

It is recorded by those who are versed in the detailed 
history of Scottish song, that there never was such a Jessie 
beneath the shade of Leighton's grand old cathedral, and 
that Ben Lomond is not visible from that venerable haunt 
of Scottish Episcopacy called Dunblane, — a fact worthy of 
note, not because it in any wise detracts from the singable 
excellence of the song, but because it is in this respect an 
exception to the general character of Scottish songs, which 
always spring from a strong root in reality, never deal with 
imaginary persons, — an Amaryllis or an Amanda for the 
nonce, — and are in fact as true as a photograph to the 
person and place celebrated. Here is another ditty in a 

48 Sojtgs of Love, Courtships and Marriage. 

similar strain, composed by the poet under the immediate 
inspiration of the grassy slopes, wooded hills, dewy dells, 
and wimpling brooks of his own beautiful Renfrewshire ; a 
poem which, for picturesqueness of pastoral scenery, is, I 
will venture to say, unsurpassed in the lyrical literature of 
any language, ancient or modern : — 

Gloomy Winter's noo awa'. 


Gloom - y win - ter's noo a - wa', Saft the west - lin' breez - es blaw, 



N I = 
'Mang the birks o' Stan - ley shaw The ma-vis sings fu' cheer-ie, O. 



"N — r 

Sweet the craw-flower's ear - ly bell, Decks Glen- if- fer's dew - y dell, 

Bloom-in' like thy bon - nie sel', ]\Iy young, my art - less dear - ie, O. 





r ^ 

-^ — p^ — c — \ 

Come, my las  sie, let us stray O'er Glenkilloch's sun - ny brae, 

Blythe-ly spend the gowden day, 'Midst joys that ne - ver wea- ry, O. 

Tow'ring o'er the Newton woods, 
Lav'rocks fan the snaw-white clouds, 
Siller saughs, wi' downy buds. 
Adorn the banks sae briery, O. 

Tanttahill. 49 

Round the sylvan fairy nooks, 
Feath'ry breckans fringe the rocks, 
'Neath the brae the burnie jouks, 

And ilka thing is cheerie, O. 
Trees may bud, and birds may sing, 
Flowers may bloom and verdure spring, 
Joy to me they canna bring, 

Unless wi' thee, my dearie, O. 

Poor Tannahill ! Paisley truly has good reason to be 
proud of her handloom weaver, who knew to mingle the 
whir of his busy loom, not with the jarring notes of political 
fret or atheistic pseudo-philosophy, but with the sweet 
music of Nature in the most melodious season of the year. 
Sad to think that the author of this song, one of the most 
lovable, kindly, and human-hearted of mortals, and who, 
in spite of the deficiencies of his early culture, had achieved 
a reputation second only to Burns among the song-writers 
of his tuneful fatherland, should have bade farewell to the 
sweet light of the sun and the fair greenery of his native 
glens at the early age of thirty-six — drowning himself, poor 
fellow ! in a pool not far from the place of his birth. 
"Frail race of mortals, these poets !" some one will be quick 
to exclaim. " Bums and Byron died at thirty-seven, Shelley 
at thirty, Keats at twenty-six, and Kirke White even 
younger. Let no man envy the gift of song, and seek to 
batten on the delicious food that is seasoned with poison 
and sauced with death ! " But this is a mistake. Many 


50 So7igs of Love^ Courtship, and Marriage. 

poets live long, and the biggest often the longest. Ana- 
creon lived long, Sophocles lived long, Chaucer lived long, 
Goethe lived long, Wordsworth lived long. South ey lived 
long, Wilson lived within a year of the legitimate seventy, and 
Scott, had it not been for unfortunate commercial mishaps, 
which caused him to overstrain his powers, with another 
decade added to his years, had stuff in him to rival that 
rich union of mellow thought and melodious verse which all 
men admire in the octogenarian poet-thinker of Weimar. 
It is not poets, but a particular kind of poets, that die early: 
they had some unhappy ferment in their blood, that would 
have made them die early, as men, had they never written 
a verse. It was not poetry that killed Robert Burns ; it 
was untempered passion : it was not poetry that drowned 
Tannahill ; it was constitutional weakness. 

It would be unfair, in recalling the image of the great 
Paisley songster, not to mention the distinguished musical 
composer to whose friendly aid he owed no small share of 
his abiding popularity. Robert Archibald Smith, though 
born in Reading, was of Scotch descent, and restored to 
his native country in the year 1800, when he was twenty 
years of age. A native of East Kilbride, his father had 
followed the profession of silk-weaving at Paisley ; and on 
his return from Reading, betook himself to the weaving of 
muslin in that town. The son, following the father's lines, 

R. A. Smith. 51 

commenced likewise as a weaver of webs ; but he was too 
often found scratching crotchets and quavers on the frame- 
work of the loom, when he ought to have been watching 
the interfacings or the snappings of the thread. The star- 
vation of his intellectual strivings by the monotony of the 
loom operated disadvantageously on a constitution not 
naturally strong ; and the depression of spirits into which 
he was falling acted as a wise warning for his father to let 
the poor bird out of the cage, and be free to flap his wings 
in the musical atmosphere for which he was born. He 
accordingly threw the loom aside, and commenced a dis- 
tinguished musical career, first as leader of the choir in 
the Abbey Church, Paisley, and then in St George's 
Church, Edinburgh, where he enjoyed the stimulating and 
influential fellowship of Dr Andrew Thomson, a theologian 
distinguished not less for his refined musical taste than for 
the warmth of his evangelical zeal, and the slashing vigour 
of his polemics. While holding this situation, he sent forth 
a series of well-known and highly esteemed musical publi- 
cations, both in the sacred and secular sphere of the noble 
art which he professed ; and, though he had but finished half 
what might have been prophesied as his destined career, he 
achieved enough to cause his name to be remembered in 
the history of Scottish culture as the pioneer of a new era, 
and the first mover in a necessary reform. The church 

52 Songs of Love, Courtship, and Marriage. 

service of Scotland had suffered too long from the barbarism 
of a certain Puritanical severity that had no better reason for 
the neglect of music in religious worship than that it was 
cherished by the Romanists and the Episcopalians \ and the 
name of R. A. Smith, the friend and fellow-songster of 
Tannahill, will live in the grateful memory of the Scottish 
people as the herald of the advent of a wiser age which 
reconciles devotion to her natural ally music, and removes 
from Presbytery the reproach of cultivating only the bald 
prose of the temple service, while the graces of the divinest 
of the arts are left in the exclusive possession of other 
churches, whose doctrine may be less sound, and their 
preaching less effective, but whose attitude is more digni- 
fied, and whose dress is more attractive.^ 

We shall content ourselves with three more specimens 
of this initiatory stage of present sweetness and prospective 
joy in love, and then pass to songs of wooing and court- 
ing, which, while they are more richly marked by dramatic 
situation and incident, are at the same time seldom free 
from difficulties and entanglements of various kinds, over 
which even the persistency that belongs to all strong 
instincts and noble passions cannot always triumph. The 
first is the popular Dumfriesshire song of — 

1 For full particulars with regard both to Tannahill and Smith, see 
The Works of Tannahill. A. Fullarton & Co., Edinburgh. 

Annie Laurie' 


Annie Laurie. 

me her pro - mise true, Which ne'er for - got will be, And for 

bon • nie An • nie Lau - rie I'd 

lay me down and dee. 

Her brow is like the snaw-drift, 

Her neck is like the swan, 
Her face it is the fairest 

That e'er the sun shone on — 
That e'er the sun shone on, 

And dark blue is her e'e ; 
And for bonnie Annie Laurie 

I'd lay me down and dee. 

Like dew on the gowan lying 

Is the fa' o' her fairy feet ; 
And like winds in summer sighing, 

Her voice is low and sweet — 
Her voice is low and sweet, 

And she's a' the world to me ; 
And for bonnie Annie Laurie 

I'd lay me down and dee. 

The heroine of this song was, as Chambers informs us,^ 
' Chambers's Scottish Songs (Edinburgh, 1829), p. 284. 

54 Songs of Love, Courtship, and Marriage. 

a daughter of Sir Robert Laurie, first Baronet of Maxwel- 
ton; and the devoted admirer who sang her praises was 
a Mr Douglas of Fingland. It may be interesting to com- 
pare the above verses, as now commonly sung, with the 
original verses as given by Chambers : — 

Maxwelton braes are bonnie 

Where early fa's the dew ; 
Where me and Annie Laurie 

Made up the promise true — 
' Made up the promise true, 

And never forget will I ; 
And for bonnie Annie Laurie 

I'll lay me down and die. 

She's backit like the peacock, 

She's briestit like the swan ; 
She's jimp about the middle, 

Her waist ye weel micht span — 
Her waist ye weel micht span, 

And she has a rolling eye ; 
And for bonnie Annie Laurie 

I'll lay me down and die. 

Our second is 


Com-in' thro' the craigs o' Kyle, A - mang the bon-nie bloomin' heather. 

There I met a bon - nie lass - ie, Keep-in' a' her ewes the-gith-er. 

Jean Glover. 


Owre the muir a-mang the heather, Owre the muir a-mang the heather, 

There I met a bon-nie las- sie Keep-in' a' her ewes the-gith-er. 

Says I, my dear, where is thy hame 
In muir, or dale, pray tell me whether? 

Says she, I tent thae fleecy flocks 

That feed amang the blooming heather. 

Owre the muir, (Sec. 

We sat us down upon a bank, 

Sae warm and sunny was the weather : 

She left her flocks at large to rove 
Amang the bonnie blooming heather. 

Owre the muir, &c. 

She charmed my heart, and aye sinsyne 

I couldna think on ony ither ; 
By sea and sky ! she shall be mine. 

The bonnie lass amang the heather. 

Owre the muir, &c. 

This song comes to us with a whiff of the mountain heather, 
particularly grateful and specially salubrious in an age when 
so much of the best music is condemned to be sung in the 
hot air of fashionable saloons, where the poetry of Nature 
is utterly ignored and the laws of health systematically 
violated. The authoress was Jean Glover, a Kilmarnock 
girl, who had the misfortune to unite her fates in life to 
a pleasant fellow, a strolling -player or mountebank, with 

56 Songs of Love, Courtship, and Marriage, 

whom she travelled over the country, frequenting fairs and 
markets, supporting herself and entertaining the public with 
show and song in an irregular sort of way. Burns, who 
picked up the song from her in one of her strolling expedi- 
tions, has spoken of her in very disparaging terms (for 
which see Chambers, p. 49); but his severe judgment, 
in Miss Tytler's delightful work on *The Songstresses 
of Scotland,' receives a kindly mitigation. She died at 
Letterkenny, in Ireland, when not much past the middle 
term of life. It requires very little knowledge of human 
nature to know that the power of striking out a good song 
is no guarantee for the steady march or the fruitful issue 
of a well-rounded life-drama. Sensibility finds a vent in 
song; purpose shapes a career. 

Our third song differs from this in being a song of absence 
of the beloved one ; and yet it is a song of pure and placid 
enjoyment, as the arrival of the fair from her sojourn beyond 
the western hills was near and certain. It was written by 
Burns shortly after his settlement on his farm at Ellisland 
on the Nith, when his house was not yet ready for the 
reception of Jean Armour, to whom, after many plunges 
and variations of passion, he had at last been firmly united 
in the bonds of honourable wedlock. Jean was with her 
father at Mauchline, in Ayrshire, where the poet had first 
made her acquaintance, and was now preparing to make 

Bonnie Jean. 


her final flitting eastward with due equipment of marriage 
gifts, when her expectant mate was crooning these beautiful 
lines with his face to the west : — 

O' a' the Airts the Wind can Blaw. 

O' a' the airts the wind can blaw, I dear-ly lo'e the west ; For 

there the bon - nie las - sie lives, The lass that I lo'e best ; Tho' 

day and night rny fan • cy's flight Is e • ver wi' my Jean. 

I sec her in the dew - y flow'r, Sae love - ly sweet an' fair ; 

hear her voice in il • ka bird, Wi' mu • sic charms the air ; There's 

-*« — y . — i^— • 
no' a bon-nie flow'r that springs By fountain, shaw, or green, Nor 

yet a bon • nie bird that tings, But minds me o' my Jean. 

O blaw, ye westlin' winds, blaw saft, 

Amang the leafy trees ; 
Wi' gentle gale, frae muir and dale, 

Bring hame the laden bees ; 

58 Songs of LovCy Courtship, and Marriage. 

An' bring the lassie back to me 

That's aye sae neat an' clean ; 
Ae blink o' her wad banish care, 

Sae lovely is my Jean. 

What sighs an' vows amang the knowes 

Ha'e past atween us twa ; 
How fain to meet, how wae to part, 

That day she gaed awa'. 
The powers aboon can only ken, 

To whom this heart is seen. 
That nane can be sae dear to me 

As my sweet lovely Jean. 

We now advance to the incidents of courtship, and the 
stages that lead towards matrimony. By the law of Nature, 
the man, as the more energetic creature, makes the advance ; 
but, though he is more forward to march, the woman, as of 
a more sensitive and specially loving nature, is often more 
quick to feel; and so, from the time of Solomon down- 
wards, in all lyrico - dramatic expressions of the divine 
passion of love, she is put forward as a principal speaker. 
Of this we have in our Scottish repertory some admirable 
examples, in which the quiet, graceful, sly humour so char- 
acteristic of our people gleams forth in all its fascinating 
simplicity. The persons who are called in to work out the 

dramatic situation here are the persons most nearly alHed 


to the prospective bride, and most interested in her pro- 
posed change of state — the mother and the sisters ; inter- 

" Kind Robin Ides Me: 


ested nobly and wisely no doubt, in many cases, partly as 
experienced in the serious step about to be taken, partly 
from their unimpassioned position as impartial judges of 
the merits of the lover; but, in some cases, also ignobly 
and foolishly moved to thwart the desire of the loved one, 
whether from a lust of dictation, unreasonable prejudice, 
impertinent intermeddling, or it may be even a petty 
jealousy. But, whatever the motive of the objectors may 
be, where there is real love on both sides, the impassioned 
sister, if she be a woman of purpose and worth having for 
a wife, in nine cases out of ten with a little patience and 
a little management will have her own way, as in the fol- 
lowing ditty, too rarely sung, which smacks of the good old 
times when Nature was not afraid to be Nature, and women 
could express their preference for a well-accentuated kiss 
without being supposed to be coarse : — 

Kind Robin lo'es Me. 

art to lo'e, So to hU suit I mean to bow, He • 

I ken he lo'es me. Hap • py, hap • py 

6o Songs of Love, Courtship, and Marriage. 

first o' love I fand the pow'r, And kenn'd that Ro - bin lo'ed me. 
Old A irfor last/ojir lines, front Mac/arlane MS. 1740. 

hey, Ro - bin, quo' she, 

hey, Ro-bin, quo' she, 

hey, Ro • bin, quo' she. Kind Ro - bin 

They speak o' napkins, speak o' rings, 
Speak o' gloves and kissing strings. 
And name a thousand bonnie things, 

And ca' them signs he lo'es me. 
But I'd prefer a smack o' Rob, 
Sporting on the velvet fog, 
To gifts as lang's a plaiden wab, 

Because I ken he lo'es me. 

He's tall and sonsy, frank and free, 
Lo'ed by a', and dear to me ; 
Wi' him I'd live, wi' him I'd dee, 

Because my Robin lo'es me ! 
My sister Mary said to me 
Our courtship but a joke wad be, 
And I, or lang, be made to see 

That Robin didna lo'e me. 

But little kens she what has been 
Me and my honest Rob between, 
And in his wooing, O so keen 
Kind Robin is that lo'es me. 

Mo titers and Sisters. 6i 

Then fly, ye lazy hours, away, 
And hasten on the happy day, 
When " Join your hands," Mess John shall say, 
And mak' him mine that lo'es me. 

Till then let every chance unite 
To weigh our love, and fix delight, 
And ril look down on such wi' spite 

Wha doubt that Robin lo'es me. 
O hey, Robin, quo' she, 
O hey, Robin, quo* she, 
O hey, Robin, quo' she. 

Kind Robin lo'es me. 

But it is the mother, of course, that has the principal in- 
terest in the marriage of her daughters ; and acting on the 
wise principle of obsta principiis^ she will naturally put her- 
self forward with a troublesome prominence to both parties. 
We have one song with the burden to this effect : — 

" My mither's aye glowrin' o'er me, 
Though she did the same before me ; 
I canna get leave to look at my love, 
Or else she'd be like to devour me ! " 

In another admirable skit of humour, the mothers are 
roundly declared to be "a bore." All persons versed in 
the fine art of osculation know that behind the door is the 
proper place for stealing a taste of such sweet enjoyment, 
and not, as Bums did to his own shame and sorrow one 
night near Dumfries, marching up to the fair lady of the 

62 So7igs of Love, Courtship, ajid Marriage. 

house in the middle of the drawing-room, and giving her 
a fervid salute on the lips, smelling more of wine than of 
poetry ;i but not even behind the door, especially when 
the gentleman is unwisely emphatic, can a kiss always de- 
ceive the ears of the wakeful mother within : — 

The Kiss ahint the Door. 


O mei-kle bliss is in a kiss,Whyles mair than in a score ; But 
/TN Pine. 


wae be - tak' the stou - in' smack I took a - hint the door. O 





lad-die, whisht, for sic a fricht I ne'er was in a - fore, 


fe^^^^t^^SEEfefe^^^^ ^ 


braw-ly did my mith-er hear The kiss a - hint the door. The 

wa's are thick, ye need-na fear. But gin they jeer an' mock, I'll 







swear it was 

start - it cork. Or wyte the rus - ty lock. — Cho. 

We stappit ben, while Maggie's face 

Was like a lowin' coal, 
An' as for me, I could hae crept 

Into a mouse's hole : 

Life of Burns, by J. S. B. (London, 1888), p. 136 

Thomas C. Latto. 63 

The mither look't, saufiTs how she look't ! 

Thae mithers are a bore, 
An' gleg as ony cat to hear 

A kiss ahint the door. 

O meikle, &c. 

The douce gudeman, though he was there, 

As weel micht been in Rome, 
For by the fire he fuffed his pipe, 

And never fash'd his thoom ; 
But tittrin' in a comer stood 

The gawky sisters four, 
A winter's nicht for me they micht 

Hae stood ahint the door. 

O meikle, &c. 

" How daur ye tak' sic freedoms here ? " 

The bauld gudewife be^an ; 
Wi' that a foursome yell gat up, 

I to my heels an' ran ; 
A besom whisket by my lug, 

An' dishclouts half-a-score, 
Catch me again, though fidgin' fain. 

At kissing 'hint the door. 

O meikle, &c. 

The author of this song was Thomas C. Latto, born 
in December 181 8, in the parish of Kingsbarns, in Fife. 
After studying at the University of St Andrews, he obtained 
his livelihood first by acting as a lawyer's clerk to two well- 
known Edinburgh gentlemen — the late John Hunter, auditor 
of the Court of Session, and Professor Aytoun, the bard of 

64 Songs of Love, Courtship, and Marriage, 

the Cavaliers — and then as commission agent in Glasgow, 
whence he removed to the United States and occupied 
himself with commercial and literary work in New York. 
But more delicate and daintily sly in its humour, and 
indicative throughout of the master-hand of Burns, is the 
following : — 

Tam Glen. 




-=i— ^ 


My heart is a • breaking, dear tit - tie ! Some coun - sel un - 


d ! I I ^ 

to me come len' 

To an - ger them a' is a pi • ty, 



1 — 
I'm think-in', wi' sic a braw 



what will I do wi' Tam Glen' 

fer=1: N r --X-N- 





fal - low. In poor - tith I might mak' a fen', What care I 

rich - es to wal - low, If I maun-na mar - ry Tam Glen. 

There's Lowrie, the laird o' Drumeller, 

" Gude day to you," coof, he comes ben ; 
He brags and he blaws o' his siller, 

But when will he dance like Tam Glen ? 
My minnie does constantly deave me. 

And bids me beware o' young men ; 
They flatter, she says, to deceive me — 

But wha can think sae o' Tam Glen ? 

" Saw ye Johnnie comin' ?" 65 

My daddie says, gin I'll forsake him, 

He'll gie me gude hunder merks ten ; 
But, if it's ordain'd I maun tak' him, 

O wha will I get but Tam Glen ? 
Yestreen, at the valentines' dealin', 

My heart to my mou' gied a sten' ; 
For thrice I drew ane without failin', 

And thrice it was written — Tam Glen. 

The last Hallowe'en I was waukin' 

My drookit sark sleeve, as ye ken, 
His likeness cam' up the house staukin', 

And the very grey breeks o' Tam Glen. 
Come, counsel, dear tittie, don't tarry : 

I'll gie ye my bonnie black hen, 
Gin ye will advise me to marry 

The lad I lo'e dearly, Tam Glen. 

Scarcely inferior to this stealing approval from the dear 
sister is the delicate tact with which the artful maiden 
works upon her father in the hiring of her lover for farm 
service ; the words by Joanna Baillie, a lady of whom we 
shall have something to say by-and-by, when we come to 
the consummation of courting in actual marriage : — 

Saw ye Johnnie comin'? quo' She. 

Saw y« Johnnie comob'Tquo' »hc, Saw yc Johnnk com^In't 

66 Songs of Love, Courtship, and Marriage. 

J — ^— #- 




=S^^^=^— br 

bon-net on his head, An' his dog-gie rin - nin'. Wi' his blue bon-net 

g ^^Eg ^^^^g^^^^ .iS=J^ 

on his head, An' his doggie rin-nin', quo' she, An' his dog-gie rin • nin', 

Fee him, father, fee him, quo' she. 

Fee him, father, fee him ; 
Fee him, father, fee him, quo' she. 

Fee him, father, fee him ; 
For he is a gallant lad, 

And a weel-doin' ; 
And a' the wark about the house 

Gaes wi' me when I see him, quo' she, 

Wi' me when I see him. 

What will I do wi' him, hizzie? 

What will I do wi' him ? 
He's ne'er a sark upon his back. 

And I ha'e nane to gi'e him. 
I ha'e twa sarks into my kist. 

And ane o' them I'll gi'e him, 
And for a merk o' mair fee 

Dinna stand wi' him, quo' she, 

Dinna stand wi' him. 

For weel do I lo'e him, quo' she, 

Weel do I lo'e him ; 
For weel do I lo'e him, quo' she, 

Weel do I lo'e him. 
O fee him, father, fee him, quo' she, 

Fee him, father, fee him ; 
He'll haud the pleugh, thrash in the barn, 

And crack wi' me at e'enin', quo' she, 

And crack wi' me at e'enin'. 

Muirland Willie: 


Let us now see how the gentlemen comport themselves. 
The following is a specimen in the direct old style, some- 
what sudden and rough, no doubt — courtship and marriage 
at one bold stroke — but not the less honest for that, and 
not the less happy in its results. A brave woman likes a 
bold lover: — 

Muirland Willie. 

O hearken aiid I will tell you how Young Muirland Willie cam' 

truth I tclJ to you. . . But aye he cries what- 

e'er be • tide, Mag • gie I'se hae to be my bride, With a 

fal da ra, fal Id da ra la, fal lal da ra lal da ral la. . 

On his gray yade as he did ride, 
Wt' dirk and pistol by his side, 
He prick'd her on wi' meiklc pride, 

Wi' meikle mirth and glee, 
Out o'er yon moss, out o'er yon muir, 
Till he cam* to her daddic's door. 

With a fal da ra, &c. 

68 Songs of Love, Courtship, and Marriage. 

Gudeman, quoth he, be ye within ? 
I'm come your dochter's love to win, 
I carena for making meikle din ; 

What answer gi'e ye me ? 
Now wooer, quoth he, would ye light down, 
I'll gi'e ye my dochter's love to win, 

With a fal da ra, &c. 

Now, wooer, sin' ye are lighted down, 
Where do ye won, or in what town ? 
I think my dochter winna gloom 

On sic a lad as ye. 
The wooer he stepp'd up the house. 
And wow but he was wondrous crouse. 

With a fal da ra, &c. 

The maid put on her kirtle brown ; 
She was the brawest in a' the town : 
I wat on him she didna gloom, 

But blinkit bonnilie. 
The lover he stended up in haste, 
And gript her hard about the waist. 

With a fal da ra, &c. 

The maiden blush'd and bing'd fu' law, 
She hadna will to say him na, 
But to her daddie she left it a*, 

As they twa could agree. 
The lover gi'ed her the tither kiss. 
Syne ran to her daddie, and tell'd him this. 

With a fal da ra, &c. 

The bridal day it came to pass, 
Wi' mony a blithesome lad and lass ; 

" The Cauldrife Wooer." 6g 

But siccan a day there never was, 

Sic mirth was never seen. 
This winsome couple straiked hands, 
Mess John ty'd up the marriage bands, 

With a fal da ra, &c. 

Our next presents the opposite picture, of a backward 
and cool, and therefore a bungling lover; for love, like 
war, is ever a hot business, in which to feel or to show in- 
difference is the sure pledge of defeat : — 

The Cauldrife Wooer. 

There cam' a young man to my dad • die's door, My dad • die's door, my 

dad • die's door ; There cam' a young man to my dad • die's door, Cam' 

seek'ing me to woo. . . And vow but he was a bra 

lad, A brUk jroung lad, and a braw young lad ; And vow but 

he was a braw young lad, Cam' se«k-ing me to woo. 

But I was bakin' when he cam', 
When he cam', when he cam* ; 
I took him in and gied him a scone, 
To thowe his frozen mou'.— And, &c. 

70 Songs of Love, Courtship, and Marriage. 

I set him in aside the bink, 
I gied him bread and ale to drink ; 
But ne'er a blythe styme wad he blink 
Until his wame was fou. — And, &c. 

Gae get you gane, you cauldrife wooer, 
Ye sour-looking cauldrife wooer ! 
I straightway showed him to the door, 
Saying, Come nae mair to w^oo. — And, &c. 

There lay a deuk-dub before the door. 
Before the door, before the door ; 
There lay a deuk-dub before the door, 
And there fell he, I trow. — And, &c. 

Out cam' the gudeman, and heigh he shouted. 
Out cam' the gudewife, and laigh she louted ; 
And a' the toun-neebors were gathered about it, 
And there lay he, I trow. — And, &c. 

Then out cam' I, and sneer'd and smil'd. 
Ye cam' to woo, but ye're a' beguil'd ; 
YeVe fa'en i' the dirt, and ye're a' befyl'd ; 
We'll ha'e nae mair o' you. — And, &c. 

Willie, whose name is connected with Melville Castle, 
is a quite different character, both from the rude and rough 
Muirland Willie and from the well-dressed low-spirited diver 
into the deuk-dub before the door. He was a cavalier and 
a gallant of the first water, and with a blithe confidence in 
himself — ready to carry off, not one fair willing maiden only, 
but half-a-dozen, or a score, had it been his fortune to have 
been born an old Hebrew monarch, or a Zulu chief, or a 

" Willies zane to Melville Castle:' 


Turk. But as things are here, he had to content himself with 
one; and there was a great competition for him among 
the ladies, as the song most dramatically sets forth : — 

Willie's gane to Melville Castle.^ 

O I Wil-lie's gane to Mel-ville Cas-tle, Boots and spurs an' a", To 

Willie's young and blithe and bonnie, Lo'ed by ane an' a', O ! 

what will a' the lass • es do When Wil-lie gaes a • wa'? 

The first he met was Lady Kate, 

She led him thro' the ha', 
And wi' a sad and sorry heart 

She let the tear doon fa' ; 
Beside the fire stood Lady Grace, 

Said ne'er a word ava — 
She thocht that she was sure o' him 

Before he gaed awa'. 

Then ben the hoose cam' Lady Bell— 

" Gude troth, ye needna craw. 
Maybe the lad will fancy me, 

An* disappoint ye a* I ** 

* Air by kind permission of J. Blocklcy, Argyll Street, Regent 
Street, London. 

^2 Songs of Love, Courtship, and Marriage. 

Down the stair trip't Lady Jean, 

The flow'r amang them a' — 
" Oh I lasses, trust in Providence, 

And ye'll get husbands a' ! " 

When on his horse he rode awa'. 

They gaithered roond the door, 
He gaily waved his bonnet blue, 

They set up sic a roar ! 
Their cries, their tears, brocht Willie back, 

He kissed them ane an' a' ; 
" Oh ! lasses, bide till I come hame, 

And then I'll wed ye a' ! " 

The excellence of love never appears in stronger relief 
than when it is contrasted with money — two forces as natur- 
ally diverse as the ballast of a ship from the sails, but which 
must learn to act in some not uncomfortable way together, 
the moment courtship takes the decisive step into a 
proposal of marriage. A man falls in love — a most signifi- 
cant phrase — without knowing it, as a traveller through a 
Sahara stumbles on an oasis, or a botanist on some rare 
flower in a dell ; a delicious luxury, and a stimulating sur- 
prise : but marriage is a business, and, like other kinds of 
business, cannot be managed wisely without the help of 
bankers and lawyers — two classes of men the most difficult 
of all to be made to interflow with the passion of the song- 
writer or the meditation of the sonneteer. It is a general 
principle in the constitution of things that the union of con- 

Love and Money. 73 

traries is perfection, as when Apollo, the favourite deity of 
the Greeks, unites the strength of the archer god with the 
grace of the leader of the Muses ; and in this fashion, where 
love and money unite, we have the ecstasy of an unself- 
ish passion perfected in the just course of things by a com- 
fortable settlement and pleasant surroundings; whereas, 
love rushing with its single strength into marriage leads 
lightly into discomfort, and may often end in ruin, as, on the 
other hand, single-handed money without love, making a 
contract of marriage, as it commenced with baseness, so in 
baseness it must end. Love is the great magician divinely 
commissioned to disenthrall the world in the vestibule of 
manhood from the grasp of the triform demon composed 
of a tiger, a fox, and a bear, called in moral philosophy 
<^iAxivrta, OF love of self \ and the man who at the first serious 
step in life has allowed himself to be defrauded of the 
opportunity to do an act of i)ure disinterestedness, when 
the will to do was most natural and most imperious, is, we 
may truly say, in Scripture language, "damned already," 
and no good thing can be expected from him ; and whoso- 
ever, with a profession of love in his mouth, secretly knows, 
or even is not ashamed publicly to own, that he marries, not 
the woman with the money, but the money with the woman, 
falls under the curse which the fervid apostle pronounced 
on Simon Magus, when that vainglorious Samaritan 

74 Songs of Love, Courtship, and Marriage, 

mountebank offered money to buy the gift of the Holy 
Ghost to eke out the legerdemain tricks of his professional 
platform : " Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast 
thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money. 
Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter. ^^ And so it must 
be ever ; as in the matter of evangelic apostleship, so, in 
the constitution of the family bond, the man who marries 
for money, or worldly status in any form, has neither part 
nor lot in the best emotions of the heart or the best songs 
of the people. Money represents only the exchangeable 
value of things external, the mere furnishings and trappings 
of human life; it is utterly destitute of any originating 
force or creative inspiration : at best it supplies only the 
tools with which the workman works, and can neither 
project for him a worthy field for his operations, nor guide 
him to fruitful issues when the work is found. It has, in 
fact, altogether an ancillary and a servile function ; and the 
moment it pretends to anything higher, its dominion be- 
comes a usurpation, as much as when the saddle of the 
knight is mounted by the groom, or the throne of Majesty 
by the master of ceremonies. In this view the love of 
money is condemned both by apostles and philosophers as 
the root of all evil ; and if it be so even in matters of trade, 
where money is in its natural place, it must be doubly so 
in love, where neither the passion nor the object of the 

Love and Money. 


passion has any money value. The man who marries for 
money, when you gauge him truly, is not a lover but a 
merchant, not a husband but a huckster; and as such, 
never fails to be estimated at his true value, if not in the 
hollow society which he courts, certainly in the true-hearted 
song of the people, where he is systematically set forth as 
a man who meddles with what does not belong to him, and 
has no more to do with love than an atheist in the Church 
of God, or a pig in a drawing-room. 

In Scottish song the antagonism between true love and 
marriage for money and worldly position is often put into 
the mouth of the fair maid who has fixed her affections 
on some honest labourer of the district, while her ambitious 
parents are eager for her union with a man of more lofty 
pretensions, more costly furnishings, and a weightier money- 
bag. This is natural enough, no doubt, in papa and mamma; 
but the song always takes the side of the daughter : — 


O Lo • gie o' Buch'Sn, O Lo • gie the laird, They ha'e 

ta'en a • wa' Jam>ie that delv'd in the yaird, Wha play'd on the 

pipe an' the vi • ol tae uma* ; Theyha'e ta'cn a • wa' Jain-ic the 

'j6 Songs of LovCy Courtships and Marriage. 



-■^ I I 

flow'r o' them a' : He said, Think na lang las-sie, tho' I gang a  

Tho' Sandy has owsen, has gear, and has kye, 
A house and a haddin, and siller forbye ; 
Yet I'd tak' my ain lad wi' his staff in his hand, 
Before I'd hae him wi' his houses and land. 
But simmer is comin', cauld winter's awa'. 
An' he'll come an' see me in spite o' them a'. 

My daddy looks sulky, my minny looks sour. 
They frown upon Jamie because he is poor ; 
Though I like them as weel as a dochter should do, 
They're nae hauf so dear to me, Jamie, as you. 
He said, Think na lang, lassie, tho' I gang awa', 
For I'll come an' see thee in spite o' them a'. 

I sit on my creepie and spin at my wheel. 
And think on the laddie that lo'ed me sae weel ; 
He had but ae saxpence, he brake it in twa, 
And he gied me the half o't when he gaed awa'. 
But the simmer is comin', cauld winter's awa'. 
An' he'll come an' see me in spite o' them a'. 

This excellent song, in its simplicity, its sweetness, and its 
picturesqueness quite worthy of Burns, was composed, we 
are informed, by an Aberdeenshire schoolmaster, who died 
in the year 1756, three years before Burns was born.^ It 

1 See Bards of Bon Accord, by Walker (Aberdeen, 1887), p. 798. 

Sir Alexander BoswelL 


is one of the few popular songs that date from the some- 
what cold atmosphere of the granite city, — in this respect 
contrasting unfavourably with the lyric fertility of Glasgow, 
Paisley, and the fervid West. 

Our next specimen, " Jenny's Bawbee," is a composition 
in which the lovers of the money and the lover of the maid 
are humorously contrasted in pictorial detail. The author 
was Sir Alexander Boswell of Auchinleck, in Ayrshire, son 
of the well-known biographer of the stout father of English 
dictionaries, and known less creditably for his death in a 
duel with James Stuart of Dunearn, brought on by ill-con- 
sidered and hasty language towards that gentleman used 
by the song-maker in one of his fiery humours : ^ — 

Jenny's Bawbee. 

I . . . met four chaps yon birks a-mang, Wi' hing • in' lugs and 

fa • ces lang: I spier'd at nee>bour Bauldy Strang, Wha's they I Me ? 

Quo' he, Ilk cream-lac'd paw • ky chiel Thocht he was cun>niti 

* as the deil, And here they cam' a • wa' to »teal Jen^n/s baw • bee. 

bcc Lord Cockburn's Personal Memoirs (Edinburgh, 1856), chap, vi 

yS Songs of Love ^ Courtship, and Marriage. 

The first, a Captain to his trade, 

Wi' skull ill-lined, but back weel-clad, 

March'd round the barn, and by the shed, 

And pappit on his knee : 
Quo' he, " My goddess, nymph, and queen. 
Your beauty's dazzled baith my een ! " 
But deil a beauty he had seen 

But — Jenny's bawbee. 

A Lawyer neist, wi' blatherin' gab, 
Wha speeches wove like ony wab, 
In ilk ane's corn aye took a dab, 

And a' for a fee. 
Accounts he owed through a' the toun 
And tradesmen's tongues nae mair could drown 
But now he thocht to clout his gown 

Wi' Jenny's bawbee. 

A Norland Laird neist trotted up, 

Wi' bawsand naig and siller whup. 

Cried, "There's my beast, lad, hand the grup, 

Or tie't till a tree ; 
What's gowd to me ? — I've walth o' Ian' ! 
Bestow on ane o' worth your han' ! " — 
He thocht to pay what he was awtt 

Wi' Jenny's bawbee. 

Drest up just like the knave o' clubs, 
A THING came neist, (but life has rubs,) 
Foul were the roads, and fu' the dubs, 

And Jaupit a' was he. 
He danc'd up, squinting thro' a glass. 
And grinn'd, " I' faith, a bonnie lass ! " 
He thought to win, wi' front o' brass, 

Jenny's bawbee. 

" Jenny's Bawbee ^ 79 

She bade the Laird gae kame his wig, 
The Sodger no' to strut sae big, 
The Lawyer no' to be a prig, 

The fool, he cried, " Tehee ! 
I kenn'd thafi could never fail ! " 
But she preen'd the dishclout to his tail. 
And soused him wi' the water-pail, 

And kept her bawbee. 

Then Johnnie cam', a lad o' sense, 
Although he had na mony pence, 
And took young Jenny to the spence, 

Wi' her to crack a wee. 
Now Johnnie was a clever chiel. 
And here his suit he press'd sae weel, 
That Jenny's heart grew saft as jeel, 

And she birl'd her bawbee. 

In this song the lady is master of the position, and 
having plenty of money of her own, and plenty of good 
sense, she gives both her beauty and her bawbee to the 
man who is most worthy of her love. This happy case, 
however, is apt to be reversed when Jenny has no bawbee, 
and when the parents on both sides, like Jean Armour's 
father, when Burns entangled himself with her, see that 
there is a poor outlook for the daughter, if blithe young 
Johnnie, without a penny in his pocket, is preferred to 
rich old Donald with a fine house, and a chaise to ride in, 
and flunkeys to wait upon her call. In this case the sacri- 
fice of love to position on the part of the damsel is made so 

8o Songs of Love y Courtships and Marriage. 

much the more tragic, or virtuous in a worldly sense if you 
please, by the difference between thirty and sixty years of 
age. This is the state of the case in the favourite old song 
of " Come under my Plaidie," written by Hector M'Neill, 
one of the most notable of our Scottish song-writers. He 
was born in October 1746, near Roslin, in Mid-Lothian, and 
after education in the grammar-school, Stirling, went out 
to the West Indies, where he engaged in commercial 
business; and returned to Scotland in 1795, ^J^^> ^.fter 
publishing " Scotland's Scaith " and other classical pieces, 
died at Edinburgh in the year 181 8, having reached the 
ripe age of seventy-two : ^ — 

Come under my Plaidie. 



: ^ ^—^- 


->— J&- 


Come un-der my plaid -ie, the nicht's gaun to fa'; Come in frae the 


^ — h — F 
-^ -*- -^ 

cauld blast, the drift and the snaw : Come un • der my plaid-ie, and 

sit down be - side me, There's room in't, dear las- sie, be - lieve me, for twa. 

Come un - der my plaid • ie, and sit down be - side me, I'll hap ye frae 

1 Irving, Book of Eminent Scotsmen. 

" Come under my Plaidier 


ev • 'ry cauld blast that can blaw ; O come un - der my plaid-ie, and 

^ -1^ -jT -ar 
sit down be - side me.There's room in't, dear las • sie, be - lieve me for twa. 

" Gae 'wa wi' yer plaidie ! auld Donald, gae 'wa ; 

I fear na the cauld blast, the drift, nor the snaw ! 

Gae 'wa wi' yer plaidie ! I'll no' sit beside ye ; 

Ye micht be my gutcher ! auld Donald, gae 'wa. 

I'm gaun to meet Johnnie — he's young and he's bonnie ; 

He's been at Meg's bridal, fu' trig and fu' braw ! 

Nane dances sae lichtly, sae gracefu', sae tichtly. 

His cheek's like the new rose, his brow's like the snaw !" 

" Dear Marion, let that flee stick fast to the wa' ; 
Your Jock's but a gowk, and has naething ava ; 
The hail o' his pack he has now on his back ; 
He's thretty, and I am but threescore and twa. 
Be frank now, and kindly — I'll busk ye aye finely ; 
To kirk or to market there'll few gang sae braw ; 
A bien house to bide in, a chaise for to ride in, 
And flunkeys to 'tend ye as aft as ye ca'." 

" My father aye tauld me, my mither and a', 
Ye'd mak' a gude husband, and keep me aye braw. 
It's true I lo'e Johnnie ; he's young and he's bonnie 
But, wac's me ! I ken he has naething ava ! 
I hae little tocher ; ye've made a gude offer ; 
Tm now mair than twenty ; my time is but sma' ! 
Sac gic me your plaidie ; I'll creep in beside ye ; 
I ihocht ye'd been aulder than threescore and twa I 

82 So?igs of Love y Courtship, and Marriage. 

She crap in ayont him, beside the stane wa', 
Whare Johnnie was list'ning, and heard her tell a' ; 
The day was appointed ! — his proud heart it dunted, 
And strack 'gainst his side, as if bursting in twa. 
He wander'd hame weary, the nicht it was dreary, 
And, thowless, he tint his gate 'mang the deep snaw : 
The howlet was screamin', while Johnnie cried, "Women 
Wad marry auld Nick, if he'd keep them aye braw." 

The tragic sorrow of the miscalculating lover in this case 
causes the singer to overlook any small amount of pru- 
dential virtue that might have led the lady to prefer the 
cool shelter of the plaidie from a respectable old gentle- 
man of threescore and two, to the warm refuge of the same 
cover from a brisk young lad of thirty; but the small 
amount of prudential virtue which in this case charity 
may be willing to allow, is elevated into a grace of self- 
sacrificing duty in " Auld Robin Gray," a ballad which, for 
piety, pathos, and popularity, stands in the very first rank 
of the rich lyrical repertory of the British Islands : — 

Auld Robin Gray. 

Young Ja - mie lo'ed me weel, and ask'd me for his bride But 

sav • ing a crown, he had nae - thing else be • side. To 

make the crown a pound, my Ja • mie gaed to sea. And the 

"Anld Robin Gray.' 


He had na been gane a . ,. 

. week but on - ly twa, When my 

'- — --; ^=: ^ 

fai - ther brake his arm, and our cow was stoun a • wa ; My 

mi • ther she fell sick, and my Jam • ie at the sea, 


Ro - bin Gray came a • court 

My faither couldna work, and my mither couldna spin, 
I toil'd day and night, but their bread I couldna win ; 
Auld Rob maintain'd them baith, and wi' tears in his e'e, 
Said, Jenny, for their sakes, will ye marry me ? 

My heart it said nay, I look'd for Jamie back ; 
But the wind it blew high, and the ship it was a wrack ; 
The ship it was a wrack, why didna Jenny die? 
And why do I live to say, wae is me ! 

My faither urged me sair, tho' my mither didna speak. 
She looked in my face till my heart was like to break ; 
So I gied him my hand though my heart was on the sea. 
And auld Robin Gray is gudeman to me. 

I hadna been a wife a week but only four. 
When sitting sae mournfully at my ain door, 
I saw my Jamie's wraith, for I couldna think it he. 
Till he said, I'm come back, love, to marry thee. 

O sair did we greet, and mickle did we say ; 

We took but ae kiss, and we tore ourselves away : 

84 So7igs of Love, Courtship, and Marriage. 

I wish I were dead, but I'm no like to dee : 
Oh, why do I live to say, wae is me ! 

I gang like a ghaist, and I carena to spin ; 

I darena think on Jamie, for that would be a sin ; 

But I'll do my best a gude wife to be, 

For auld Robin Gray is kind unto me. 

The authoress of this beautiful ballad. Lady Anne 
Barnard, like many of the most distinguished members of 
the Scottish peerage, belonged to a family of Norman ex- 
traction, whose name appears prominently in the political 
and literary history of Scotland from the time of saintly 
King David to the present hour. Anne, the eldest 
daughter of James, fifth Earl of Balcarres in Fife, had the 
double happiness, first of inheriting a gay and sprightly 
spirit from the " Lindsay's light " of the old ballads, and 
again of living in the good old times when Scottish lords 
and lairds delighted to live for the greater part of the 
year on the family property from which they drew their 
birth, and in terms of kindly intercourse and wise guidance 
with the people from whom they drew their rents. She 
was brought up accordingly, not in the luxurious style of 
metropolitan saloons, but with a truly Spartan maternal 
discipline, and a play of kindly charities at home ; a healthy 
atmosphere, to which, along with her happy Norman tem- 
perament, she owed that rare combination of unaffected 

Lady An?ie Barnard. 85 

naturalness, bright intelligence, and well-seasoned hardi- 
hood, that distinguished her so favourably among the noble 
lady-singers of Scotland. With a wise self-reliance, and a 
cheerful independence not over-common in her sex, she 
abstained from amorous seductions and connubial en- 
tanglement till she reached the mature age of forty, and 
then allied herself to Andrew Barnard, Esq., son of the 
Bishop of Limerick, with whom she lived in quiet domestic 
peace and satisfaction for fourteen years, till his death in 
1808. Him, in the year 1797, she accompanied to the 
Cape of Good Hope, whither he went in the capacity of 
private secretary to Lord Macartney, the first Governor of 
the newly acquired colony ; and here, for a period of five 
years, she performed the duties of her official position with 
all that mixture of graceful dignity and homely geniality 
which belonged to the native Scotch aristocracy of the 
good old times. In the hall of ceremonial receptions in 
the Governor's house, or on the summit of the Table 
Mount amid a bevy of jolly Dutch boors, she was equally 
in her element. In 1802, the peace of Amiens giving the 
Cape Colony back to the Dutch, the secretary's wife re- 
turned to England, where, in her house in Berkeley Square, 
she had lived with her sister Margaret, on terms of inti- 
macy with Horace Walpole, the Ailesburys, the Berrys, 
and even his Royal Highness the Prince Regent, who 

S6 Songs of Love, Courtship, and Marriage. 

presented her with a gold chain, and showed the warmth 
of his affections in a more impressive fashion, by familiarly 
calling her " Sister Anne." After the death of her husband 
in 1808, and of her stout old mother, a bold Dalrymple, at 
the age of ninety-three in 1820, she continued to reside 
in London, with occasional visits to Balcarres and Edin- 
burgh, till the year of her death in 1825, aged seventy- 
five. To the last she was distinguished for that con- 
tinuity of cheerful and fruitful activity which makes her 
life so interesting; and among her papers we find a 
scrap of good advice, which, if it were acted on sys- 
tematically by seekers after happiness, would save not a 
few human beings from the foolish snapping after excite- 
ment of various kinds with which they are fond to fill up 
the vacuities of their unprofitable existence. " When 
alone," she writes, " I am not above five-and-twenty. I 
can entertain myself with a succession of inventions, which 
would be more effective if they were fewer. I forget that 
I am sixty-eight; and if by chance I see myself in the 
glass looking very abominable, I do not care. What is the 
moral of this? That as far as my poor experience goes 
(and it is said that we must all be fools or physicians at 
forty), occupation is the best nostrum in the great laboratory 
of human life for all the pains, cares, mortifications, and 
ennui that flesh is heir to." Excellent ! Plutarch, in his 

''Auld Robin Grayr 87 

admirable discourse Ilcpt cv^v/xm?, never wrote anything 

About the famous ballad of ** Auld Robin Gray " stories 
are told that may be worth mentioning. Like the Baroness 
Nairne, and other intellectual ladies of the age, Lady Anne 
Barnard entertained a strong aversion to the sort of pub- 
licity which accompanies the confessed fact of literary 
utterance in any form. She therefore for many years, long 
after the ballad had obtained a currency both in England 
and Scotland superior to any range of popularity that even 
the best lyrical productions of Moore or Burns could boast, 
still obstinately maintained her incognito, and repelled 
in the sharpest manner any attempt of impertinent inter- 
viewers to extract a confession from her breast. To the 
secretary of an antiquarian society who submitted her to 
a cross-examination on the point with a pertinacity only 
pardonable in a professional pleader at a jury trial, she 
replied : " The ballad in question has, in my opinion, met 
with an attention beyond its deserts. It is set off by having 
a very fine tune set to it by a doctor of music ; ^ was sung 
by youth and beauty for five years and more ; had a 
romance composed from it by a man of eminence ; was 
the subject of a play, of an opera, and a pantomime ; was 
sung by the united armies in America, and afterwards 
* The Rev. W. Leeves, rector of Wrington, Somerset. 

88 Songs of Love, Courtship, and Marriage. 

danced by dogs in the street ; but never more honoured than 
by the present investigation'^ The confession, however, at 
a later period of her life, was wrung from her by a very 
complimentary mention of herself as authoress of the poem 
in Sir Walter Scott's novel of ' The Pirate.' ^ 

Of the hero of this famous ballad, what is known, 
though it will fail to gratify the minute curiosity of a cer- 
tain class of inquirers, will go to prove the general truth of 
what Goethe said of his own poems — that all true poetry 
springs out of a root of real experience. Robin Gray 
was the name of an old shepherd at Balcarres, familiar 
to the young ladies, and who on one occasion had pre- 
sumed to use his shepherd's staff in the way of checking 
their playful ramblings, instead of confining it to the 
guardianship of his four-footed subjects. The lady, some 
years afterwards, when in ripe womanhood, revisiting the 
haunts of her girlhood, took her revenge of the old casti- 
gator by making him enact the part of a prosaic husband 
in a pitiful love-ballad. This is all. 

So much for the distinguished authoress of this most 
admired of all Scottish ballads. But it is not to be 
expected that the self-denying virtue here celebrated will 
ever become general. In all countries where women have 
attained to true personal dignity, and are not disposed 
1 The Pirate, chap. xxvi. 

" Jock o' Hazeldean" 


of in marriage in the way of family bargain by the paternal 
merchant, a young lady of spirit will not consent to be 
yoked for life to an old gentleman of sixty-two, for whom 
she does not care a straw, from a mere dutiful defer- 
ence to her father's will; or to be cooped up in the 
ancestral hall by a monopolising mother, who, in her 
pride of ladyhood, forgets that she ever was a girl. 
Nature \\'ill not be mocked in this wise ; and elope- 
ments will occasionally take place from parents who are 
more prudent than wise, and actuated more by the cold 
calculations of worldly ambition than by the kindly prompt- 
ings of the human heart. To parents of this unkindly 
caste, Gall's song — 

" I'll never come back to my mammy again ; 
I've held by her apron these aucht years and ten. 
But I'll never come back to my mammy again " — 

may serve as a useful warning ; and Scott's famous song 
of "Jock o' Hazeldean" is a text from which a useful 
sermon to the same effect may be preached : — 

Jock o' Hazeldean. 

Why weep ye by the tide, ladye ? Why weep ye by the tide? I'll 

my youog-ett son, And ye sail be his bride : 

90 Songs of Love, Coiwtship, and Marriage. 


And ye sail be his bride, la -dye, Sae come-Iy to be seen;" — But 


aye she loot the tears doon fa' For Jock o' Ha - zel -dean. 

" Now let this wilfu' grief be done, 

And dry that cheek so pale ; 
Young Frank is chief of Errington, 

And lord of Langley dale ; 
His step is first in peacefu' ha', 

His sword in battle keen" — 
But aye she loot the tears doon fa' 

For Jock o' Hazeldean. 

"A chain o' gold ye sail not lack, 

Nor braid to bind your hair. 
Nor mettled hound, nor managed hawk, 

Nor palfrey fresh and fair ; 
And you, the foremost o' them a', 

Shall ride our forest queen " — 
But aye she loot the tears doon fa' 

For Jock o' Hazeldean. 

The kirk was decked at morning-tide. 

The tapers glimmered fair ; 
The priest and bridegroom wait the bride, 

But ne'er a bride cam' there : 
They sought her baith by bower and ha', 

The ladye wasna seen ! — 
She's ower the Border and awa' 

Wi' Jock o' Hazeldean ! 

I will conclude this division of the subject with two 
humorous portraitures of the secular or prosaic lover, — the 

" The Laird d Cockpen'' 


lover who either never knew what love meant, or who 
thinks it is a mere juvenile whim or fancy or whiff of 
passion with which a serious business like marriage has 
nothing to do. The first is the consequential or patronis- 
ing suitor, the lord of the manor perhaps, what we call 
in Scotland the laird, who considers that any lady whom 
he finds it convenient to ask will be only too proud of 
the honour of sitting at his table-head, and being the 
most prominent article of furniture in his hall as often 
as he has occasion to enact the big man of the district 
before admiring dependants. The popular song "The 
Laird o' Cockpen " is the composition of the grand old 
Jacobite lady, the Baroness Nairne, of whom we shall 
have something more special to say by-and-by: — 

The Laird o' Cockpen. 

The laird o' Cock-pen he's proud and he's great, His mind is ta'en 

wi' the things o' the state ; He want • ed a wife his 

braw house to keep, But fa - vour wi* woo - in' was fashious to seek. 

Doun by the dyke-side a lady did dwell, 
At his table-head he thought she'd look well ; 
M'Cleish's ae daughter o* Claversha* Lee, 
A penniless lass wi* a lang pedigree. 

92 Songs of Love, Courtships and Marriage. 

His wig was weel pouther'd, an* as gude as new, 
His waistcoat was white, his coat it was blue ; 
He put on a ring, a sword, an* cock'd hat. 
An' wha could refuse the Laird wi' a' that? 

He took the grey mare, an' rode cannilie, 

An' rapp'd at the yett o' Claversha' Lee : 

" Gae tell Mistress Jean to come speedily ben ; 

She*s wanted to speak wi' the Laird o' Cockpen." 

Mistress Jean she was makin' the elder-flow'r wine : 
" An' what brings the Laird at sic a like time ? " 
She put aff her apron, an' on her silk gown, 
Her mutch wi* red ribbons, an' gaed awa' down. 

An' when she cam' ben, he bowed fu' low ; 
An' what was his errand he soon let her know : 
Amaz'd was the Laird when the lady said, Na ! 
An' wi' a laigh curtsie she turned awa'. 

Dumfounder'd was he, but nae sigh did he gi'e, — 
He mounted his mare, an' rade cannilie ; 
And aften he thought, as he gaed through the glen. 
She's daft to refuse the Laird o' Cockpen. 

An' now that the Laird his exit had made. 
Mistress Jean she reflected on what she had said ; 
Oh, for ane I'll get better, it's waur I'll get ten, 
I was daft to refuse the Laird o' Cockpen. 

Neist time that the Laird and the Lady were seen, 
They were gaun arm-in-arm to the kirk on the green ; 
Now she sits in the ha' like a crouse tappit hen. 
But as yet there's nae chickens been seen in Cockpen. 

Miss Ferrier. 93 

It will be observed that this excellent ballad, if it be 
made to conclude at the end of the seventh verse, contains 
one moral; but if the two last are added, an altogether 
different one : and the fact of the matter is, that the song 
originally ended with the seventh verse, and the two last 
verses were added by Miss Ferrier, the accomplished 
novelist, an intimate friend of Sir Walter Scott, and aunt 
of the late Professor Ferrier of St Andrews, the eminent 
metaphysician, and son-in-law to the celebrated Christopher 
North. The moral of the song, as it originally stood, is 
doubtless the better of the two — viz., that such wooers 
should receive a negative answer once for all, with the 
cool dignity which the song indicates ; but the moral of 
the addition that " second thoughts are best," as we have 
it also in Bums's " Duncan Gray," if not equally noble, 
is equally natural, and has been sung so often as an 
integral part of the song, that it can scarcely be omitted 
without creating a feeling of disappointment. 

Our second song gives the portrait, not of a consequential 
person, but merely of a self-satisfied male mortal of moder- 
ate ambition, well lined as he deems, and well accoutred, 
and who presents himself as a shopkeeper presents his 
wares to any fair damsel who may have sense to accept 
a well-provided, well-to-do domestic article called a hus- 
band, without any of those dainty sentiments and ambi- 

94 Songs of Love, Courtship, and Marriage. 

tious expectations which are generally, as he deems, enter- 
tained by foolish young ladies, only to be disappointed : — 

Lass, gin ye lo'e Me, tell Me noo. 

n 2 If lu 


4w- -i -^i; — 1 h^ 

— 5— N s — \ 

~ns ^ J J i" 

J -•- ,* '^ 

ha'e laid a her-rin' in saut, Lass, gin ye lo'e me, 




tell me noo; 


ha'e brew 'd a for - pit o' maut. An' I 

soon be a cow, Lass, gin ye lo'e me, tell me noo ; I ha'e a pig will 




soon be a sow, An' I can-na come 

ka day 

I ha'e a house on yonder muir, 

Lass, gin ye lo'e me, tell me noo ; 
Three sparrows may dance upon the floor, 

An' I canna come ilka day to woo. 
I ha'e a but, an' I ha'e a ben, 

Lass, gin ye lo'e me, tell me noo ; 
I ha'e three chickens an' a fat hen, 

An' I canna come ony mair to woo. 

I ha'e a hearth wi' a blazing log, 
Lass, gin ye lo'e me, tell me noo ; 

A bawsint cat, an' a collie dog. 
An' I canna come ilka day to woo. 

I ha'e a yard wi' tawties good. 
Lass, gin ye lo'e me, tell me noo ; 

Joanna Baillie, 95 

Wi' mint, sweet-william, and southern-wood. 
An' I canna come ony mair to woo. 

I ha'e a hen wi' a happity leg, 

Lass, gin ye lo'e me, tell me noo ; 
An' ilka day she lays me an t.g%. 

An' I canna come ilka day to woo. 
I ha'e a goodly kebbuck o' cheese, 

Far owre big for a single mou' ; 
Share it wi' me, and live at your ease, 

An' bless the day when I cam' to woo ! 

I ha'e laid a herring in saut, 

Lass, gin ye lo'e me, tell me noo ; 
I ha'e brewed a forpit o' maut. 

An' I canna come ilka day to woo. 
Mony a flighty fusionless goose, 

Mair fine-spun phrase would weave to you, 
But I am here, and ye canna refuse 

A man like me, when I come to woo !^ 

We have now to deal with the blooming crown and the 
midsummer heyday of love — marriage; and here at the 
very threshold we encounter unquestionably the noblest 
name among the many noble ladies who have immor- 
talised themselves by the high place which they hold 
among the composers of Scottish song. Joanna Baillie, 

^ The oldest form of this song has been traced back to Henry VI IL 
(Chambers's Songs before Bums). The form now generally sung is 
ascribed to James Tytler, commonly called Balloon Tytler, from his 
having been the first in Scotland to ascend in a balloon, and described 
by Bums (Chambers, iv. 284). The complete form, as given in the text, 
contains some additions and alterations made by myself, and published 
in the 'Celtic Magazine.' 

96 Songs of Love^ Courtship, and Marriage. 

the authoress of the popular song, " Woo'd and Married 
and aV was bom in the parish of Bothwell, on the 
picturesque banks of the Clyde, not far from Glasgow, 
where her father was minister. Her name witnesses her 
connection with Principal Robert Baillie, a man who 
played a prominent part in the political and ecclesiastical 
history of the seventeenth century, and Baillie of Jervis- 
woode ; while on the mother's side she claimed close 
connection with Dr John Hunter, the greatest anatomist 
of his age. On the death of her father in 1784, she 
removed to London, and resided there with her brother, 
Dr Matthew Baillie, a gentleman of high repute in the 
medical world. During her residence in London, at the 
ripe age of thirty-six, she published the first series of her 
' Plays on the Passions,' which, as an exhibition of dramatic 
force and fervour worthy of the most masculine intellect, 
took the literary mind of the day by storm, and gained 
to the authoress, among other distinguished persons, the 
intimate friendship of Sir Walter Scott, who, in his intro- 
duction to the third canto of " Marmion," speaks of her 

as the — 

" Bold Enchantress who came 
With fearless hand and heart on flame ; " 

and, by the potent magic of her strain, made the swains 
of Avon deem — 

" That their own Shakespeare lived again." 

Joanna Baillie. 97 

After her brother*s marriage and her mother's death, she 
removed from the historical house in Great Windmill 
Street to Hampstead, the most picturesque old breezy 
suburb of London, on which the names of so many dis- 
tinguished men of English and of Scottish blood have 
been stamped, making rich the memory of the place : here 
she lived in literary ease and dignity with her sister till 
her death in the year 185 1, at the patriarchal age of eighty- 
nine. Her house is still shown in the upper part of the 
town, near the church, where her remains lie. Though 
her dramas can no longer boast that command of the 
stage which might have been anticipated from the triumph 
which her * Family Legend ' achieved on the Edinburgh 
boards early in the century, with the impersonating genius 
of Mrs Siddons, and the enthusiastic patronage of Sir 
Walter Scott, this will not be attributed by thoughtful per- 
sons so much to their want of high dramatic excellence, as 
to the peculiar demands of modem English theatre-goers, 
stimulated to such a degree by motley variety of charac- 
ter, startling incident, and brilliant scenic show, that the 
best possible drama, formed on a more chaste and classical 
type, with all the force of iEschylus and all the pathos of 
Euripides, would fall ineffective on their ears. But it is as 
a song-writer that we have to do with her here ; and it will 
always be a delightful contemplation to the student of 


98 Songs of Love, Courtship, and Marriage. 

literary history, that the Scottish lady who made her ideal 
figures tread the stage with all the grace of a Sophocles 
and the majesty of a Corneille, could at the same time 
give utterance to the kindUest and gentlest of human 
feeHngs, with all the sly humour and shrewd merriment 
that belong to a masterpiece of Scottish song. In this 
double form of presentation she, like Burns and Scott, was 
bilingual in the noblest sense : while she held converse 
on an equal platform with the first masters of the noble 
English tongue, she could at the same time address the 
meanest peasant of her native land in the musical and ex- 
pressive speech which they had imbibed with their mother's 
milk ; and verily she has had her reward. Her plays will 
win the admiration of the few ; her songs warm the hearts 
of the many : — 

Woo'd and Married and a'. 

— 1^ — 

The bride she is winsome and bonnie, Her hair it is snooded fu' sleek ; And 



7 U ^- 


faith-fu' and kind is her John-nie, Yet fast fa' the tears down her cheek. 






New pearlings the cause o' her sorrow, New pearlings and plenish -ing too; The 

bride that has a' thing to bor-row, Has e'en right muc - kle a - do. 

Wood and Married and a' 



h^ ^ ^ _^- 

— t— 





Woo'd and mar - ried and 


li-* M — U-L " 

Mar- ried and woo'd and 






^^^-v— g^ ' — ^ 


-w^ ^ [ 

^-J— ^-^-^ 


-1 — 1 

is - na she ve - ry weel aff, To be woo'd and mar - ried an' 

Her mither then hastily spak',— 

" The lassie is glaiket wi' pride ; 
In my pouches I hadna a plack, 

The day that I was a bride. 
E'en tak' to your wheel and be clever, 

And draw out your thread in the sun ; 
The gear that is gifted, it never 
Will last like the gear that is won." 
Woo'd and married and a*, 
Tocher and havings sae sma' ; 
I think ye are very weel aff, 
To be woo'd and married and a'. 

" Toot, toot," quo' the g^ay-headed faither, 

" She's less o' a bride than a bairn ; 
She's ta'en like a cowt frae the heather, 

Wi' sense and discretion to learn. 
Half husband, I trow, and half daddy, 

As humour inconstantly leans, 
A chiel maun be constant and steady. 
That yokes wi' a lass in her teens." 
Kerchief to cover sae neat, 
Locks the wind used to blaw ; 
I'm baith like to laugh and to greet, 
When I think o' her married at a'. 

Then out spak' the wily bridegroom — 
Wccl waled were his wordics I wccn — 

100 Songs of Love y Courtships and Marriage. 

" I'm rich, though my coffer be toom, 

Wi' ae blink o* your bonnie blue een : 
I'm prouder o' you by my side, 

Though your rufifies and ribbons be few, 
Than if Kate o' the Croft were my bride, 
Wi' purfles and pearlings enew. 
Dear and dearest o' ony, 
Ye're woo'd and bookit and a' ; 
And do ye think scorn o' your Johnnie, 
And grieve to be married at a' ? " 

She turn'd, and she blush'd, and she smil'd, 

And she lookit sae bashfully down ; 
The pride o' her heart was beguil'd, 

And she play'd wi' the sleeve o' her gown : 
She twirl'd the tags o' her lace. 

And she nippit her bodice sae blue ; 
Syne blinket sae sweet in his face, 
And aff like a maukin she flew. 
Woo'd and married and a,' 
Married and carried awa' ; 
She thinks hersel' very weel aff. 
To be woo'd and married and a'. 

The original germ and general scheme of this excellent 
epithalamium was taken by the gifted authoress from a 
much older ditty, and modified with equal wisdom and 
good taste so as to suit the nerves of more dainty times ; 
for who does not see that the very first verse of the song 
in its seventeenth-century dress — 

•' The bride she cam' out o' the byre, 
And cried as she dighted her cheeks, 

" TJie Bride she cam* out d the Byre.'' loi 

' I'm to be married the nicht, 

And hae neither blankets nor sheets, 

Nor scarce a coverlet too ' " — 

if ventilated in any West End assembly of London or 
Edinburgh, would cause a general fainting-fit, or a hor- 
rified symphony of screams, a soured look of displeas- 
ure, or a billowy burst of genteel laughter, through the 
whole length of the saloon? And the last verse, which 
brings the sister into the scene, and makes her declare 
before the public unblushingly, that she has only one 
desire, — viz., to be redeemed from the misery of single 
maidenhood, and to pass into the biform bliss of matri- 
mony with all possible speed, — would certainly not mend 
the matter — 

" Out spak' the bride's sister, 

As she cam' in frae the byre, — 
' O gin I were but married, 

It's a* that I desire : 
But we puir folk maun live single, 

And do the best that we can ; 
I dinna care what I should want 
If I could get but a man.' 

Woo'd and married," &c. 

The wedding ceremony being thus completed, whether 
with the grave sobriety of the Presbyterian or with the 
hymeneal pomp of the Episcopal service, and the honey- 
moon having run its varied course of pleasant exhilara- 

I02 Songs of Love, Courtship, and Marriage. 

tion, the serious business of married life commences : and 
here we are not to expect the same luxuriant crop of songs 
that festoons the courtship, partly because the security of 
the position renders stirring incident, and the play of fear 
and hope, the stimulants of song, comparatively rare ; partly 
because, while the good a man longs for finds its natural 
utterance in song, the good a man possesses rests in the 
quiet satisfaction of the enjoyment : the bud in the spring 
is moved, by a certain restless eagerness, to burst into the 
blossom ; but the blossom, once disclosed, spreads its petals 
to the sun, and has nothing to do but to receive. Never- 
theless there are married songs, expressive of the ripe 
satisfaction which flows from the wise conduct of the 
nice and delicate relations which the married life implies. 
Though growing out of the same root, and fostered by the 
same sun, no two things, in some important respects, can 
be more different than love and marriage. To love is to 
ramble over clover meads with a pleasant companion, 
and no concern beyond the pleasure of the mere ramble ; 
marriage is to draw yoked and harnessed in a wain : or, 
to take another simile, love is a temple for the worship 
of beauty ; marriage is a school for the practice of mutual 
appreciation and sympathetic co-operation — a school in 
which the capacity to learn does not by any means neces- 
sarily exist in every brisk young man who, in the first 

Sir Douglas Maclagan. 


transport of passion, may feel himself moved to pile a 
sonnet or to pour a song to the object of his affections. 
But the wise man, the alone true king, as the Stoics call 
him, will learn here as in the best of all the schools, of 
which human life has many ; and the lesson learnt will be 
the ripe and mellow fruit of which young love gave only 
the promise. The following is one of the best specimens 
of this fruit, dropped from the life-experience of one of the 
best song-writers that the east of Scotland, less fervid than 
the west, has in these latter days produced : ^ — 


Love, they say, b like a flow 'r, Bon -nie while it blaws, Liz-zie; 



r g s r^rrr^ 

But, en-du-rin' for an hour, Sune to earth it fa's, Lii-zie: 

This is love wi'ienseless queans That dream a- bout it in their teens. Ye 

bet • ter ken what true love means, Ye ken that this is fause, Lis^zie: 

* Nugae Canorse Medicse, by Sir Douglas Maclagan, Edinburgh, 
1873. '^o ^c same happy matrimonial key is set an excellent song 
by a good Scotch singer, Alexander Logan — **Wifie, faithfu', fond, 
and bonnie," published in * Kohler's Musical Treasury,' No. 104. 

104 Songs of Love, Courtships and Marriage. 

Twen-ty years ha'e come and gane Sin' first I socht thee for myain;The 
love that cam' in blos-som then Yet wi'blos-som beams, Liz-zie. 

Little gear we had, ye ken, 

To begin our life, Lizzie ; 
Treasure I had neist to nane, 

Binna in my wife, Lizzie. 
To my wishes kindest Heaven 
Better treasure couldna given ; 
Gowd wad maybe no hae thriven 

E'en had it been rife, Lizzie. 
Gowd, they say, gets everything, 
But true heart-love it canna bring ; 
Gowd is readier aye to fling 

Discord in and strife, Lizzie. 

Sunshine, thanks to Heaven, has shed 

Licht within our ha', Lizzie, 
Though a cloud or twa hae spread 

Shadows o'er us twa, Lizzie. 
But when sorrow, grief, or care, 
Frae Lizzie's ee wrang out the tear, 
Our mutual love but grew the mair 

Wi' ilka watery fa', Lizzie. 
Love and flowers agree in this — 
A blink o' sunshine's no amiss, 
But were nae rain the grun' to bless. 

They wadna grow ava, Lizzie. 

There's nae Luck aboot the Hooser 


Time begins to lay his han' 

And to show his power, Lizzie ; 
We maun yield as ithers maun 

To the carle dour, Lizzie. 
Winter winds may round us blaw, 
Our heads be white wi' winter snaw, 
But warmth o' love, in spite them a', 

Shall cheer our wintry hour, Lizzie. 
Then, though it come stormy weather. 
Gin we're spared to ane anither, 
Auld and canty we'll thegither 

Bide the wintry stour, Lizzie. 

But there are incidents also in the routine of married 
life which render it as capable of dramatic representation 
in skilful hands as the most romantic events in the varied 
course of a happy or unhappy courtship ; and of these un- 
questionably the masterpiece in our Scottish language is 
the universal favourite — "There's nae Luck aboot the 

There's nae Luck aboot the Hoose. 

And are yetiare the news is true? And are ye sure he's weel? Is 

thb a time to think o' wark? Ye jades, fling by your wheel I 

Is this a time to think o' wark, When Co - tin's at the door ? Rax 

io6 Songs of Love ^ Courtship, mid Marriage. 

me my cloak, I'll to the quay And see him come a - shore. 

For there's nae luck a - boot the hoose,There's nae luck a - va.There's 

lit - tie plea-sure in the hoose When oor guid-man's a - 

Rise up and mak' a clean fireside, 

Put on the muckle pot ; 
Gie little Kate her cotton gown, 

And Jock his Sunday coat. 
And mak' their shoon as black as slaes, 

Their hose as white as snaw ; 
It's a' to please my ain guidman, 

For he's been lang awa'. 
For there's, &c. 

There's twa fat hens upon the bauk, 

They've fed this month and mair ; 
Mak' haste and thraw their necks about, 

That Colin weel may fare. 
And spread the table neat and clean, 

Gar ilka thing look braw ; 
For wha can tell how Colin fared, 

When he was far awa' 'i 
For there's, &c. 

And gie to me my bigonet, 
My bishop-satin gown ; 

For I maun tell the bailie's wife 
That Colin's come to town. 

" TJures nae Luck aboot tJie Hoose" 107 

My Sunday's shoon they maun gae on, 

My hose o' pearl blue ; 
It's a' to please my ain guidman, 

For he's baith leal and true. 
For there's, &c. 

Sae true his heart, sae smooth his speech, 

His breath like caller air ; 
His very foot has music in't, 

As he comes up the stair. 
And will I see his face again ? 

And will I hear him speak.? 
I'm downright dizzy wi' the thought, — 

In troth I'm like to greet. 
For there's, &c. 

The cauld blasts o' the winter wind, • 

That tirled through my heart, 
They're a' blawn by, I hae him safe, 

Till death we'll never part. 
But what puts parting in my head ? 

It may be far awa' ; 
The present moment is oor ain. 

The neist we never saw. 
For there's, &c. 

Since Colin's weel, I'm weel content, 

I hae nae mair to crave ; 
Could I but live to mak' him blest, 

I'm blest aboon the lave. 
And will I see his face again ? 

And will 1 hear him speak } 
I'm downright dizzy wi' the thought, — 

In troth I'm like to greet. 
For there's, &c. 

io8 Songs of Love, Courtship, and Marriage. 

The authoress of this delightful song, as seems now 
pretty generally recognised, was a Jean Adam, a school- 
mistress ^ in Greenock, of some literary talent, who lived 
in the first half of the last century, before Robert Burns 
was born. Whether from imprudence in the conduct of 
life, or from misfortune, certainly without any vice, she 
fell into wandering ways, with very uncertain means of 
subsistence, and died at last in the year 1765, as an in- 
mate of the poorhouse in Glasgow. 

So much for the harmonies of married life ; but we must 
look also to the jars and discords, which strike the ear the 
more that they offend against the general character of the 
relation, as the sins of the saints are always more noted 
than the sins of the sinners, and the accidental oddities that 
attach to the wise man more talked of than his wisdom. 
The causes that give rise to these jars and discords are 
only too obvious. The sexes being in some respects as 
different as in other respects they are similar, it follows 
that their tastes, habits, and inclinations must be not 
rarely antagonistic and apt to clash ; whence the practice 
of wedded life, if it is to be a success, must in not a few 
cases become a delicate balance of contraries and a nice 
adjustment of things not naturally well fitted ; and this is 
1 See her Life in the Songstresses of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 40. 

" The Married Mail's Lament^ 


a business demanding a fine feeling and a tact not to be 
expected from every love-sick fool, or every love-mad hero 
on whom an amiable young lady may have been willing 
to bestow her affections. Hence those explosions of temper 
and those scenes of back-to-back altercation, even in the 
course of the honeymoon, which we may have all seen 
occasionally in the genteel comedy of the stage. But 
besides faults of temper, there are men either too self-con- 
tained or of too independent habits to pay those frequent 
delicate attentions to the wife in which a wife delights; 
while, on the other hand, there are wives whose fussy affec- 
tionateness will display itself in an officious concern for the 
affairs and the trappings of the male, which a certain 
class of husbands is apt to resent as an impertinence and 
an offence. A connubial mis -relation of this kind is 
sketched with genuine Scottish humour in — 

The Married Man's Lament. 

ance was a wan -ter as hap • py's a bee, I med - died wi' 

nane and nanc med .died wi' me ; I whiles had a crack o'er a cog o' 

gnde yill, Whilcta bick-«r o' swau, whiles a heart'heaz-ing gill. And I 

I lo So7tgs of Lovey Courtship, and Marriage. 

aye had a groat if I had - na a pound, On this earth there was nanemeikle 

hap - pi-erfound; Butmyauld mith-er dee'd in the year auch-ty-nine, And 


ne'er hae had peace in the world sin syne. My auld mither dee'd in the 

year auch-ty  nine, And I ne'er hae had peace in the world sin syne. 

Fu' soun' may she sleep, — a douce woman was she — 
Wi' her wheel, and her cat, and her cuppie o' tea. 
My ingle she keepit as trig as a preen, 
And she never speer'd questions as, " Where hae ye been ? " 
Or, "What were ye doing?" an' " W^ha was ye wi'?" 
We were happy thegither, my mither and me. 
But my auld, &c. 

When my mither was gane, for a while I was wae. 
But a young chap was I, and a wife I wad hae ; 
A wife I soon got, and I aye hae her yet, 
An' the folks think thegither we unco weel fit ; 
But my ain mind hae I, tho' I daurna speak o't, 
For mair than her gallop I like my ain trot. 
But my auld, &c. 

When I wi' a crony am taking a drop. 
She'll yammer and ca' me an auld drucken sot, 
If an hour I bide out, loud she greets and she yowls, 
And bans a' gude fellows, baith bodies and souls ; 
And yet what a care she has o' her gudeman. 
You'd think I was doited — I canna but ban. 
But my auld, &c. 

Robert Nicoll. ill 

Now, my gilpie young dochters are looking for men, 
An' I'll be a grandsire ere ever I ken ; 
The laddies are thinking o' ruling the roast ; 
Their faither, puir body, 's as deaf as a post ; 
But he sees their upsetting, sae crouse and sae bauld ; 
Oh ! why did I marry, and wherefore grow auld ? 
But my auld, &c. 

The author of this clever piece was Robert Nicoll, in 
social position, as in lyrical genius, the brother of Bums, 
and who, like Burns, came to a premature end; not like 
Burns, however, by unreined strength, but by overstrained 
faculty. Bom the son of a farmer at Auchtergaven, in 
Perthshire, he earned his living as a cowherd in the 
summer months, in order to pay for his education in the 
winter. Like Bums, he had a voracious appetite for 
books; wrote verses when he was thirteen, and when 
quite a youth commenced a literary life in Edinburgh, 
under the patronage of William Tait, the well-known 
Radical publisher. From Edinburgh he was transferred 
to Leeds, where he gained his living in the capacity of 
editor to a Radical newspaper called the * Leeds Times,' 
the worst of all occupations for a young poet, for it not 
only caused him to breathe an atmosphere of narrow views 
and one-sided emotions, unfavourable to the human catho- 
licity of the Muse, but it undermined his health by the 
constant fret and hurry of matters not to be handled 

112 Songs of Love, Courtship, and Marriage. 

without a certain robustness of nerve and coarseness of 
fibre, which he did not possess. He accordingly suc- 
cumbed to the strain, and removed to Edinburgh, where 
he died at the early age of twenty-four. ^ 

Miscalculations in married life, and other disappoint- 
ments, turning an expected paradise into a real purgatory, 
as pictured in the above song, will occur now and then, 
so as to realise for the nonce the traditional introductory 
formula to the marriage ceremony credibly attributed to 
a certain minister of Lyne, near Peebles — " Marriage, my 
dear friends, is a curse to many, a blessing to few, a great 
risk to all ! " But on the whole, we may hope that con- 
nubial couples, even when not approaching the beatitude 
of Sir Douglas Maclagan and his Lizzie, and in spite of 
considerable disparity of dispositions, manage to jog on 
comfortably enough, with such occasional antagonisms 
and altercations as, like showers in summer weather, 
will disturb but not destroy the serenity of the domestic 
firmament. Altercations of this kind offer the best pos- 
sible situations for the exercise of the humorous dramatic 
song, so prominent in our lyrical repertory. Three 
of the most popular of these we will here append, 
with the general remark, that, however various in concep- 

1 See his Works, with Life, 3d edition, Paisley, 1877; and Rogers's 
Scottish Minstrel, p. 299. 

''John Gruvilier 113 

tion, they all contain one moral — viz., that, whatever the 
matter in dispute may be, whether an industrial differ- 
ence about connubial work, an economical one about an 
old cloak, or a mere point of precedence about rising from 
a chair and barring a door, the unbearded party in the case 
is sure to have her own way, if she will only keep her eye 
on the mollia tempora fandi, which she ought to know well, 
and use the artillery of her tongue with that nice dexterity 
and sly fascination for which the sex is so noted ; and this 
not only when she is in the right — which she generally will 
be, for husbands are apt to be bearish — but when she is 
in the wrong ; adding of course, in this case, to her fasci- 
nating eloquence, that persistency of purpose which is also 
one of her strong points, and feeling confident that the 
husband, whether from the love of peace, or from piety, as 
St Peter has it, doing honour to the weaker vessel, will 
yield the point rather than run the risk of a prolonged fret 
or a violent explosion. The first is — 

John Grumlie. 

John Gram •!{• fwort by Um light o' the moon, AodthtgrMoltavwoo the 

tree. That h« oodd do m«« work in a day,ThjuihU wife could 

1 14 Songs of Love, Courtship, and Marriage. 

do in three. His wife rose up in the mom - ing Wi' cares and 

^^f gj zgg n^ ^ 



trou-bles e - now; John Grum-lie bide at hame, John, And I'll go 





hand the plow. Sing -ing fal de lal lal de ral lal, fal lal lal lal lal 



: ^ J— g 



1 1- 

la, John Grum-He bide at hame. John,And I'll go baud the plow. 

" First ye maun dress your children fair, 
And put them a' in their gear ; 
And ye maun turn the malt, John, 

Or else ye'll spoil the beer. 
And ye maun reel the tweel, John, 

That I span yesterday ; 
And ye maun ca' in the hens, John, 
Else they'll a* lay away." 
Singing, fal de lal lal, &c. 

O he did dress his children fair, 

And he put them a' in their gear ; 
But he forgot to turn the malt. 

And so he spoiled the beer. 
And he sang aloud as he reel'd the tweel 

That his wife span yesterday ; 
But he forgot to put up the hens. 

And the hens a' lay'd away. 
Singing, fal de lal lal, &c. 

The hawket crummie loot down nae milk 
He kirned, nor butter gat ; 

" Get up and Bar the Door," 


And a' gaed wrang, and nought gaed right ; 

He danced wi' rage, and grat. 
Then up he ran to the head o* the knowe, 

Wi* mony a wave and shout ; 
She heard him as she heard him not, 

And steered the stots about. 
Singing, fal de lal lal, &c. 

John Grumlie's wife cam' hame at e'en, 

And laugh'd as she'd been mad, 
When she saw the house in siccan a plight. 

And John sae glum and sad. 
Quoth he, " I gie up my housewifeskep, 

ril be nae mair gudewife." 
" Indeed," quo' she, '* I'm weel content. 

Ye may keep it the rest o* your life." 
Singing, fal de lal lal, &c. 

" The deil be in that ! " quo* surly John, 

" 1*11 do as Tve dune before." 
Wi' that the gudewife took up a stout rung, 

And John made off to the door. 
" Stop, stop, gudewife ! I'll haud my tongue- 

I ken I'm sair to blame ; 
But henceforth I maun mind the plow, 

And ye maun bide at hame." 
Singing, fal de lal lal, &c. 

The next is — 

Get up and Bar the Door. 

then, Q ! When onr gudc • wif« had poddbp to male', And ih« 

1 1 6 Songs of Love, Courtships and Marriage. 


^ . •— • m— ,-^^.-g_ 

boil'd them in the pan, O ! And the bar - rin' o' oor door 

{lower notes ad lib.) 




weel, weel, And the bar • rin' o' oor door weel. 

The wind blew cauld frae north to south, 

And blew in to the floor, O ! 
Quoth our gudeman to our gudewife, 

" Get up and bar the door, O ! " 

" My hand is in my housewifeskep, 

Gudeman, as ye may see, O ! 
An' it shouldna be barred this hunder year, 

It's no' be barred for me, O ! " 

They made a paction 'tween them twa. 

They made it firm and sure, O ! 
Whaever spak' the foremost word. 

Should rise and bar the door, O ! 

Then by there came twa gentlemen, 

At twelve o'clock at night, O ! 
And they could see nor house nor ha'. 

Nor coal nor candle light, O ! 

Now, whether is this a rich man's house, • 

Or whether is it a poor, O ? 
But never a word wad ane o' them speak. 

For barring o' the door, O ! 

And first they ate the white puddings, 

And then they ate the black, O ! 
Tho' muckle thought the gudewife to hersel'. 

Yet ne'er a word she spak', O ! 

" TJie Waggiii o' oor Dogs Taiir 1 17 

Then said the ane unto the other — 

" Here, man, tak' ye my knife, O ! 
Do ye tak* aff the auld man's beard. 

And I'll kiss the gudewife, O I " 

" But there's nae water in the house, 

And what shall we do then, O ? " 
** What ails you at the puddin' bree 

That boils into the pan, O ? ' 

O up then started our gudeman. 

And an angry man was he, O ! 
" Will ye kiss my wife before my een, 

And scaud me wi' puddin' bree, O?" 

Then up and started our gudewife, 

Gied three skips on the floor, O ! 
" Gudeman, ye've spoken the foremost word, 

Get up and bar the door, O ! " ^ 

' Though in strict order belonging to our next chapter, we may insert 
here the late Dr Norman Macleod's humorous song (the Macleods are 
all poets), set to the same tune, " The Waggin' o' oor Dog's Tail." 

We hae a dog that wags his tail — 
He's a bit o' a wag himsel*. O ; 
A' day he wanders through the street — 
At nicht he's news to tell, O. 
And the waggin' o' oor dog's tail, tail, tail, 
And the waggin' o' oor dog's tail. 

He saw the provost o' the toon 

Paraudin' doon the street, O ; 
Quo' he, " My lord, you're no' like me — 

Ye canna see yer feet, O." 

He saw an M.P. unco proud, 

And a' thro' i^aoe and pay, O ; 
Quo' he. "Your tail is cockit hdch— 

Ilka dog has just his day. O.'* 

1 1 8 Songs of Love, Courtship, and Marriage. 

Our third is decidedly the best, and the most popular, 
having been sung by the celebrated Scottish vocaUst, John 
Wilson, and included in his list of the Songs of Scotland, 

He saw the doctor drivin' aboot, 

And pu'in' at every bell, O ; 
Quo' he, ' ' I've been as sick's a dog. 

But I aye could cure mysel', O." 

He saw some ministers fechtin' sair — 
What an awfu' thing is pride, O ; 

Quo' he, " Isn't it a pity when dogs fa' out 
Aboot their ain fireside, O." 

He heard a lord and lady gay 

Singin' heich a grand duet, O ; 
Quo' he, ' ' I Ve heard a cat and dog 

Could yowl as weel as that, O." 

He saw a youth gaun swaggerin' by 

Frae tap to tae sae trim, O ; 
Quo' he, ' ' It's no' for a dog to lauch 

That ance was a puppy like him, O." 

He saw a man grown unco puir, 

And lookin' sad and sick, O ; 
Quo' he, ' ' Cheer up, for ilka dog 

Is sure o' a bane to pick, O." 

He saw a man gaun staggering hame. 
His face baith black and blue, O ; 

Quo' he, "I think shame o' a bnite hke that, 
For the never a dog gets fou, O." 

Our doggie he cam' hame at e'en, 

And scartit baith his lugs, O ; 
Quo' he, " If men had only tails. 

They're near as guid as dogs, O." 

TaM your Auld Cloak about ye' 


sung by him, and dedicated to Queen Victoria in the year 
1842. There is a delicate touch about it which the others 
want, and which entitles it to the praise of classical in its 
kind. It has also the merit of antiquity ; the original germ, 
if not the extended form of it in our present version, being 
found in Shakespeare : ^ — 

Tak' your Auld Cloak about ye. 

In win - tcr when the rain rain'dcauld. And frost andsnaw on 

il - ka hill ; And Bor • eas wi' bis blasts sae bauld, Was 

threat-'ning a' our kye to kill. Then Bell, my wife, wha 


>_ J J " J l J >=J-3'^ -J^^^ 

— g- 

lo'es nae Mrife, She >atd to me right has • ti • ly, Get 

My Crummie is a usefu' cow, 
An' she is come o' a gude kin' ; 

Aft has she wet the bairns' mou', 
An' I am laith that she should tyne. 

> Othello, Act ii. sr. iii. 

120 Songs of Love, Courtship, and Marriage. 

Get up, gudeman, it is fu' time, 
The sun shines in the lift sae hie ; 

Sloth never made a gracious end ; 
Gae, tak* your auld cloak about ye. 

My cloak was ance a gude gray cloak, 

When it was fitting for my wear ; 
But now it's scantly worth a groat, 

For I hae worn't this thretty year ; 
Let's spend the gear that we hae won, 

We little ken the day we'll dee : 
Then I'll be proud, since I have sworn 

To hae a new cloak about me. 

In days when our King Robert rang, 

His trews they cost but half-a-croun 
He said they were a groat owre dear. 

And ca'd the tailor thief and loon. 
He was the king that wore a croun. 

And thou'rt a man o' laigh degree ; 
'Tis pride puts a' the country doun, 

Sae tak' your auld cloak about ye. 

Ilka land has its ain lauch, 

Ilk kind o' corn has its ain hool : 
I think the world is a' gane wrang, 

When ilka wife her man maun rule. 
Do ye no' see Rob, Jock, and Hab, 

How they are girded gallantlie. 
While I sit hurklin i' the ase .<* 

I'll hae a new cloak about me ! 

" John AftdersoJiyViy Jo" 121 

Gudeman, I wat it's thretty year 

Sin we did ane anither ken ; 
And we hae had atween us twa 

Of lads and bonnie lasses ten : 
Now they are women grown and men, 

I wish and pray weel may they be ; 
If you would prove a guid husband, 

E'en tak' your auld cloak about ye. 

Bell, my wife, she lo'es nae strife, 

But she would guide me, if she can ; 
And, to maintain an easy life, 

I aft maun yield, tho' I'm gudeman. 
Nocht's to be gain'd at woman's hand. 

Unless ye gie her a' the plea ; 
Then I'll leave aff where I began, 

And tak' my auld cloak about me. 

We conclude our sequence of marriage-songs with one 
which bears the same relation to the love-songs of joy, with 
which we started, that the mellow sweetness of the fruit in 
autumn bears to the exuberant flush of vegetation in the 
spring. Bums wrote not a few things in his best moments 
brighter than "John Anderson, my Jo," but none better: — 

John Anderson, my Jo. 

John An • der • too, my jo, John, When wc were first ac- 


^ 5 

-■Ljj.1 r r "i^^f^=f^ 

— _^. 

Your lodu were like the ra . ven. Your bon - nie brow was 

122 Songs of Love, Courtship, and Marriage. 

brent; But now your brow is beld, John, Your locks are like the 

snaw, But blessings on your fros- ty powjohn An- der-son, my jo. 

John Anderson, my jo, John, 

We clamb the hill thegither, 
And mony a canty day, John, 

We've had wi' ane anither; 
Now me maun totter down, John, 

But hand in hand we'll go, 
And we'll sleep thegither at the foot, 

John Anderson, my jo.^ 

We now come to the last division of this fertile theme — 
love-songs of sadness and sorrow ; and here, of course, we 

1 The verse — 

John Anderson, my jo, John, 

When Nature first began 
To try her canny hand, John, 

Her maister-wark was man ; 
And you, amang the lave, John, 

Sae trig frae tap to toe — 
She prov'd hersel' nae journey- wark, 

John Anderson, my jo — 

generally interjected as the second, was not written by Bums (see 
Johnson's Museum, vol. iii. p. 269), nor indeed could have been, as con- 
trary to the well-known compliment of the bard paid to his favourite 
sex in the lines : — 

Auld Nature swears the lovely dears 

Her noblest work she classes, O ! 

Her prentice han' she tried on man, 

And then she made the lasses, O ! 

Love- Songs of Sorrow. 123 

can scarcely fail to be reminded of what Shakespeare says 
in the well-known lines — 

" Ah me ! for aught that I could ever read, 
Could ever hear by tale or history, 
The course of true love never did run smooth." 

Or, as it stands in Shelley's more poignant exclamation — 

" Most wretched men 
Are cradled into poetry by wrong ; 
They learn in suffering what they teach in song." 

Which of course, like all lyrical utterances, is true — so far as 
it is true, that is, in the circumstances to which it applies, 
and in the degree which the intensity of impassioned senti- 
ment demands. Curious philosophers and theologians have 
busied themselves with asking the question, why evil exists 
in a world the creation of a perfectly good Being, — they 
would have been wiser if they had asked how it possibly 
could have been avoided. In a world which, taken as a 
whole, is a putting forth and a play of forces, with a certain 
measurable momentum, it is perfectly plain that, if any 
force, whether moral or physical, be strained beyond its 
average tension, a reaction must take place which will 
be felt painfully in proportion to the highly potentiated 
pleasure which accompanied the strain ; and in the case 
of love there is this additional element, that the rapturous 
pleasure is occasioned by the presence of another person 

124 Songs of Love y Courtships and Marriage. 

whose agency acts as a responsive note, forming a har- 
monious chord in the sentiment of the impassioned party ; 
the necessary consequence of which is, that, if any circum- 
stance, — of which in this so complex world there are many, 
— causes the touch of the responsive note to be removed, 
the soul-thrilling harmony will cease altogether, or be re- 
placed by a dissonance and a jar more painful, by contrast, 
than the blank occasioned by the removal. And here we 
have before us opened up the whole domain of those songs 
of sadness which modulate into, sweetness the sad separa- 
tion of the loved from the lover, through all the various 
phases which it may assume in the experience of life, from 
the farewell of a few days, whose cloudy aspect will cer- 
tainly cease with the returning sun, to the farewell of long 
years in the case of the departing emigrant, and the fare- 
well for ever on this side the grave in the awfulness of 
death. Of these love-songs of parting not a few of the 
best are by Bums, the fire and force of whose amorous 
passion when in full career of enjoyment was not more 
significant of his intensely songful and soulful nature than 
the deep pathos and delicate tenderness of his strains of 
bereavement. The following is in the person of the bereaved 
fair one : — 

" Wandering Willie. 


Wandering Willie. 

Here a - wa', there a - wa', wan - der - in' Wil - lie, Here a - wa'. 

ain on-ly dear-ie. Tell me, thou bring'st me my Wil - lie the same. 

Win- ler winds blew loud an' cauld at our part - ing, Fears for my 

Wil -lie brought tears in my e'e ; Welcome now sim - mer, and welcome my 

Wil- lie. The sim- mer to na - ture, my Wil - lie to me. 

Rest, ye wild storms, in the cave of your slumbers, 

How your dread howling a lover alarms ! 
Wauken, ye breezes ! row gently, ye billows ! 

And waft my dear laddie ance mair to my arms. 
But oh ! if he's faithless, and minds nae his Nannie, 

Flow still between us, thou wide roaring main ! 
May I never see it, may I never trow it, 

But dying, believe that my Willie's my ain ! 

The next is in the person of the gentleman, and has been 
supposed to refer to Mrs Agnes Maclehose, on her depar- 
ture to America to venture the dutiful but hopeless experi- 
ment of reclaiming her worthless husband ; but the proof 
is insufficient:* — 

* Sec the Clarinda Correspondence (Edinburgh, 1843), p. 278; and 
Paterson's Bams, yoI. vi. p. 229. 

126 Songs of Love, Courtships and Marriage. 
My Nannie's awa'. 

Now in her green man-tie blythe Na- ture ar- rays, And lis - tens the 

lamb- kins that bleat ower the braes, While birds war- ble wel-come in 




ka green shaw; But to me it's de - lightless, my Nannie's a - wa'. 

^-^=^5— •:•= 



But to me it's de - light-less, my Nan - nie's a - wa'. 

The snaw-drap and primrose our woodlands adorn, 
And violets bathe in the weet o' the morn ; 
They pain my sad bosom, sae sweetly they blaw ! 
They mind me o' Nannie — and Nannie's awa. 

Thou laverock, that springs frae the dews of the lawn, 
The shepherd to warn of the gray-breaking dawn, 
And thou mellow mavis, that hails the night-fa' ; 
Give over for pity — my Nannie's awa'. 

Come, autumn, sae pensive, in yellow and gray, 
And soothe me wi' tidings o' Nature's decay : 
The dark, dreary winter, and wild-driving snaw, 
Alane can delight me — my Nannie's awa.' 

About the following, however, there can be no doubt, 
as it was enclosed in a letter to the lady, from Dumfries, 
dated 27th December 1791. The plaintive Highland air 
to which it is adapted has found an honoured place in 
the 'Songs of the North,' Field & Tuer, London, by 
whose kind permission it appears here. 



Ae fond Kiss. 

weel, and then for cv - er ! Deep in heart - wrung 

tears I'll pledge thee. War- ring sighs and groans I'll wage thee. 

Who shall say that Fortune grieves him 
While the star of hope she leaves him ? 
Me, nae cheerful twinkle lights me, 
Dark despair around benights me. 

I'll ne'er blame my partial fancy, 
Naething could resist my Nancy; 
But to see her was to love her, 
Love but her, and love for ever. 

Had we never loved sae kindly, 
Had we never loved sae blindly, 
Never met, or never parted, 
We had ne'er been broken-hearted ! 

Fare thee weel, thou first and fairest, 
Fare thee weel, thou best and dearest ; 
Thine be ilka joy and treasure, 
Peace, enjoyment, love, and pleasure ! 

Ae fond kiss, and then we sever ! 

Ae farewell, alas ! for ever ! 

Deep in heart-wrung tears I'll pledge thee, 

Warring sighs and groans I'll wage thee. 

128 So7tgs of Love, Courts hipy and Marriage. 

Our next specimen of this class refers to that heart-rend- 
ing incident in so many a Scotsman's life, his farewell to 
his dear-loved native land, in migrating to a far strange 
shore beyond the seas, in all likelihood never to return — a 
banishment not for seven years or fourteen, the damnatory 
penalty so current in the Justiciary Court, but for life. The 
scene of the song is a picturesque ravine with a foaming 
stream, in the west end of Glasgow — like the Water of 
Leith in the west end of Edinburgh — fifty years ago a 
wooded and sequestered country retreat, fit for love-making 
and love -songs; now, in this miraculous age, when the 
town marches into the country with fevered speed, part 
of the north-western wing of the huge metropolis of the 
west. The author of the song was a surgeon, Thomas 
Lyle, one of the illustrious roll of poetical Scotsmen who 
conspire in conferring on Paisley the honour of being the 
lyrical capital of the west. Like most poets, he does not 
appear to have had any special capacity for what is called 
making a fortune by the exercise of his profession; but 
besides the beautiful song of " Kelvin Grove," which will 
live for ever, he distinguished himself by a volume on the 
ancient ballads and songs of Scotland, published in 1827, 
which will be of permanent value to the students of Scottish 
poetry. He died in 1759, having attained to the respectable 
age of sixty-seven : — 

" Kelvin Grove' 


Let us haste to Kelvin Grove. 

las - sic, O, Through its ma - zes let us rove, bon - oie 

las - sie, O ; Where the rose in all her pride, Paints the hoi- low din 

; p- ^ — ,. .^_ — ^  

gle side. Where the mid-night fair-ies glide, bon-nie las • sie, O. 

Let us wander by the mill, bonnie lassie, O, 
To the cove beside the rill, bonnie lassie, O ; 

Where the glens rebound the call 

Of the roaring waterfall, 
Through the mountain's rocky hall, bonnie lassie, O. 

O Kelvin's banks are fair, bonnie lassie, O, 
When in summer we are there, bonnie lassie, O ; 

There the May-pink's crimson plume 

Throws a soft but sweet perfume. 
Round the yellow banks of broom, bonnie lassie, O. 

Though I dare not call thee mine, bonnie lassie, O, 
As the smile of fortune's thine, bonnie lassie, O ; 

Yet with fortune on my side, 

I may stay thy father's pride. 
And win thee for my bride, bonnie lassie, O. 

But the frowns of fortune lower, bonnie lassie, O, 
On thy lover at this hour, bonnie lassie, O ; 

130 Songs of Love^ Courtships and Marriage. 

Ere yon golden orb of day 
Wake the warblers from the spray, 
From this land I must away, bonnie lassie, O. 

Then farewell to Kelvin grove, bonnie lassie, O, 
And adieu to all I love, bonnie lassie, O ; 

To the river winding clear. 

To the fragrant scented brier, 
And to thee, of all most dear, bonnie lassie, O. 

And when on a foreign shore, bonnie lassie, O, 
Should I fall 'midst battle's roar, bonnie lassie, O, 

Then, Helen ! shouldst thou hear 

Of thy lover on his bier. 
To his memory drop a tear, bonnie lassie, O. 

These are classical specimens of such sorrow in the sep- 
aration of lovers, as every loving heart in the changeful 
experience of life at one time or other must have shared. 
But sad as they are, leaving often after many years an 
inward bleeding which cannot be healed, they carry nothing 
with them but the pang of the separation : there was no 
treachery in the' lifelong divorce of two souls once so near 
and so dear ; a sting there was, and a sting remained ; 
but there was no poison on its point. A salt tear might 
flow ever and anon, when a significant day recurred or a 
speaking scene was recalled; but there was no rankling 
memory of fair professions falsified, or innocent confidence 
abused. What a beautiful thing is a rose ! — for hue and 

''Bonnie Doon," 


fragrance, and rich broad-bosomed luxury of growth, the 
pride of the world of flowers ; but what a sad thing, on 
the other hand, when the lovely and blushing petals are 
rudely torn away, and so scattered and trampled under foot, 
that only the thorn remains ! Yet this is literally the treat- 
ment which a pure-minded loving girl may have received 
from a carnal or cowardly villain, professing to be actuated 
by that noblest passion which both philosophy and piety 
rightly declare to be the fulfilling of the law. Verily some 
songs are the best of sermons ; and here follows one, by 
our great master-singer, perhaps in its shortness and sim- 
plicity the very best. A long talk, however serious, in such 
depth of sadness would have been out of place : — 

Ye Banks and Braes o' Bonnie Doon. 

fmh and fair? How can ye chant, y« lit - tie birds, And 

auodsoM o' da • part*«d joy», Dt • part>«d n« • ver to return. 

132 Songs of Love, Courtship, and Marriage. 

Oft have I roamed by bonnie Doon, 
To see the rose and woodbine twine ; 
And ilka bird sang o' its love, 
And fondly so sang I o' mine. 
Wi' lightsome heart I pu'd a rose, 
Fu' sweet upon its thorny tree ; 
But my false lover stole my rose, 
And ah ! he left the thorn to me ! 

Scarcely less pathetic than this gem is the following well- 
known love-wail, in which the allusion to Arthur's Seat and 
St Anthony's Well betrays its composition in the cold and 
stately metropolis of the east, a city whose atmosphere, 
partly from the larger infusion of sober Saxon blood in 
the inhabitants, partly, it may be, from the dominant 
east wind, partly also, no doubt, from the chilling in- 
fluence of judicial dignity, seems to be less favourable 
to the inspirations of the Lyrical Muse than the regions 
of the west, where life is less prone to be tainted with 
formalism, and the race has a more liberal infusion of warm 
Celtic blood :— 

O Waly ! Waly ! 


^^gg ^g=^^§=ggE^ ^ 

O wa- ly! wa - ly ! up the bank, An* wa- ly ! wa - ly ! down the brae ; An' 

, ^^j^ — 1 JL :-, 

wa - ly ! by yon burn - side, Where I an' my love wont to gae. 

Waly! IVafy/" 


leant my back un • to an aik, I thought it was a tnis-ty tree; But 

first it bow'd an' syne it brake. An' so did my fause love to me. 

O waly, waly, but love is bonnie 

A little time while it is new ; 
But when it's auld, it waxes cauld. 

And fades away like morning dew. 
O wherefore should I busk my heid, 

Or wherefore should I kame my hair? 
For my true love has me forsook, 

And says he'll never love me mair. 

Now Arthur's Seat shall be my bed, 

The sheets shall ne'er be pressed by me, 
St Anton's Well shall be my drink, 

Since my true love has forsaken me. 
Martinmas wind, when wilt thou blaw, 

And shake the green leaves aff the tree ? 
O gentle death, when wilt thou come? 

For of my life I am wearic 

Tis not the frost that freezes fell ; 

Nor blawing snaw's inclcmencic; 
Tis not sic cauld that makes me cry ; 

But my love's heart's grown cauld to mc. 
When we came in by Glasgow town. 

We were a comely sicht to see ; 
My love was clad in the black velvet, 

And I mysel* in cramasie. 

134 Songs of Love y CourtsJiip, and Marriage. 

But had I wist, before I kiss'd, 

That love had been sae ill to win, 
I'd lock'd my heart in a case of gold, 

And pinn'd it wi' a siller pin. 
Oh, oh ! if my young babe were born, 

And set upon the nurse's knee, 
And I myself were dead and gane, 

And the green grass growing over me. 

These are sharp sorrows indeed, piercing like a sword, 
in a different sense from St Paul's, even to the dividing 
asunder of the joints and marrow, leaving a wound in 
sensitive natures often incurable, and inflicting a wrong, 
as human laws are, often unpunishable. But the wound 
is not always so sharp, nor the wrong so atrocious ; some- 
times there maybe no wrong at all, as in Carlile's^ favourite 
song of " Wha's at the Window, wha, wha ? " ; a case in 
which the more fortunate lover, by natural preference of 
the fair one, has plucked the lovely flower which the less 
fortunate one had counted to plant in his bosom. Here 
we have only to admire the evangelical sweetness of the 
sorrowful resignation with which the loss is borne : — 

^ This is another of that group of lyrical poets that have made Paisley 
so illustrious in the annals of Scottish song. Mr Alexander Carlile 
was born at Paisley in 1788, the year in which Burns settled at Ellis- 
land. He varied and enriched his life as a manufacturer in his native 
town by wooing the Lyrical Muse, and ended a life full of all sweetness 
at the ripe age of seventy-two. — Wilson's Poets and Poetry of Scot- 
land, vol. ii. p. 99. 

"(9 Whasatthe Window, Wha, Wlia?'' 135 

O Wha's at the Window, Wha, Wha? 


O wha's at the wm - dow, wha, wha? O wha's at the win-dow, 


wha, wha?WhabutblytheJa-mie Glen, He's come sax miles and ten. To 


tak' bonnie Jean-ie a - wa*, a - wa', To tak' bonnie Jean - ie a - wa'. 

He has plighted his troth an' a', an' a', 
Leal love to gie an* a', an' a' ; 

And sae has she done, 

By a' that's aboon, 
For he lo'es her, she lo'es him, 'boon a', 'boon a'. 
He lo'es her, she lo'es him, 'boon a'. 

Bridal maidens are braw, braw, 
Bridal maidens are braw, braw ; 

But the bride's modest ee, 

An' warm cheek are to me, 
'Boon pearlins and brooches, an' a', an' a', 
'Boon pearlins and brooches, an' a'. 

There's mirth on the green, in the ha', the ha*, 
There's mirth on the green, in the ha', the ha', 

There's laughing, there's quaffing, 

There's jesting, there's daffing. 
And the bride's father's blythest of a', of a'. 
And the bride's father's blythest of a'. 

1 36 Sojigs of Love^ Courtships and Marriage. 

It's no that she's Jamie's ava, ava, 
It's no that she's Jamie's ava, ava, 

That my heart is sae eerie, 

When a' the lave's cheerie, 
But it's just that she'll aye be awa', awa', 
But it's just that she'll aye be awa'. 

Sometimes, when money interferes, or any other cause 
strong enough to produce what, in the annals of unhappy 
courtship, is called jilting, the pang is sharper — for no 
one likes to be cheated; but cases of this kind are 
always open to the consolation that the offending party, 
whether from light -heartedness, or base-heartedness, or 
mere feeble-heartedness, has proved himself altogether un- 
worthy of the confidence so lightly lavished by the offended. 
Under the influence of such considerations, though the 
lost loved one may continue to lurk in some corner of 
the heart of the lover, the recuperative energy of a healthy 
nature will show itself in a certain air of gaiety and indif- 
ference, which the consciousness of honourable sentiment 
so naturally inspires. This gay and graceful indifference, 
combined with the kindliest reminiscence of the sweet- 
ness of the lost fair one, is the key-note of Mrs Grant of 
Carron's popular song, " Roy's Wife of Aldivalloch " : ^ — 

^ Born at Aberlour, in Speyside, Banffshire, about 1745 ; married 
first her cousin, Mr Grant of Carron near Elchies, and then Dr Murray, 
a physician in Bath, where she died in 1814. — Chambers's Songs before 
Bums, p. 433. 

''Rofs Wife of Aldivallochr 


Roy's Wife of Aldivalloch. 


Roy's wife of Al - di-val-loch, Roy's wife of Al - di-val-loch, 

Wat ye how shecheat-ed me As I cam' o'er the braes o* Bal-loch. 

.^_ .,. -. ^ ^ . ^^ 

She vow'd, she swore she wad be mine, She said she lo'ed me best of 

o- ny; But oh I the fick - le, faith - less quean, She's ta'en the carle, and 

left her Johnnie. Roy's wife of Al - di-valloch, Roy's wife of Al - di-valloch. 


Wat ye how she cheat-ed me, As I cam' o'er the braes o' Bal-Ioch. 

And O, she was a canty quean, 

And weel could dance the Highland walloch 
How happy I, had she been mine, 

Or I'd been Roy of Aldivalloch. 
Roy's wife, &c. 

Her hair sac fair, her een sae clear, 
Her wee bit mou' sae sweet and bonnie; 

To me she ever will be dear. 
Though she's for ever left her Johnnie. 
Roy's wife, &c. 

But pleasant as is the fashion in which the air of gay and 
kindly indifference presents itself, here we have an older 

138 Songs of Love y Courts hip y and Marriage. 

song, in which the high-hearted self-sustainment of the de- 
serted fair one rises to a height of real heart-heroism, and 
evangelical charity seldom realised so perfectly in fact, and 
never, perhaps, expressed so happily in- song: — 

I'm glad my Heart's my ain. 

sense to wed a guid wife. I'm glad my heart's my ain. 

I hae seven goons o' my ain, 
And seven just lying to mak' ; 

For a' the guid goons that I hae, 
My laddie has turned his back. 
Xm. glad, &c. 

There's nae thriftier lassie than I, 
An' that a' my neebors can tell 

For a' the guid goons that I hae, 
I spint them a' mysel'. 
I'm glad, &c. 

" The Quaker's Wife!' 139 

But noo, sin' they're buckled thegither, 
I wish them baith happy thro' life ; 

But the man that marries for siller, 
Will ne'er be guid to his wife. 
I'm glad, &c. 

But there is yet another phase of the self-healing power 
in the breast of the wounded lover. Hope lives immortal 
in the human breast, it has been suiig when everything 
else dies ; and so, in the humorous song of " The Quaker's 
Wife," with which we wind up this chapter, the disappointed 
lover comforts himself with the reflection that the rich old 
drab-coated intruder, who ousted him of his place in the 
fair maid's affections, is not immortal, and may at no 
distant date be called upon to restore his soul to his 
Maker, and his mate to the original owner, from whom, by 
the glamour of his gold, she had been unworthily with- 
drawn. The words of this excellent song I have not met 
with in any of my collections, and I never heard any one 
sing it but my father, who was a Kelso man, and likely 
picked it up in that quarter. I enlarged it by three or four 
verses of my own composition, and got it pubhshed by Mr 
Roy Paterson, a gentleman to whom Scottish music lies 
under deep obligations, and by whose kind permission it 
appears here : — 

140 Softgs of Love, Courtship, and Marriage. 

The Quaker's Wife. 

-#- ' — =^ * ^— ^ ^ 

But wae's my heart, she's cheat - ed me, And 

thinks nae on her John - nie. The Qua - ker he had 

»neugh o' gear, 'Twas this that caught her fan - cy : 

am, , 1 s-T wmmm N- 


now she is the Qua-ker's dear Wha was my love-ly Nan - cy. 

The Quaker's wife was brisk and gay, 

And like her werena ony ; 
But now she wears the mantle grey, 

And thinks nae on her Johnnie. 
Aye whan we met we used to be 

As blythe as lark or sparrow ; 
But wae's my heart, she's cheated me, 

To be the Quaker's marrow. 

The Quaker's wife had ilka charm 

That Nature could allow her ; 
How happy I if in my arm 

Kind fortune had bestowed her. 
The Quaker's wife, whene'er I see, 

It stings my heart wi' sorrow, 
It gars the tears rin frae my ee, 

Like waters in a furrow. 

" The Quakers Wife!' 141 

The Quaker's wife, whene'er I see, 

I curse the fate mischancy, 
A house and ha' that envied me, 

To furnish wi' my Nancy. 
'Tis lack o' cash that ruins kings, 

And clips the poet's fancy ; 
For lack o' cash I droop my wings, 

And sigh in vain for Nancy. 

The de'il confound his wooden face, 

Wha stole frae me my Nancy, 
That sic a lass o' lightsome grace 

Should touch his wooden fancy. 
Wi' purple robe a beggar loon, 

A turnip wi' a pansy. 
An ass that's shod wi' silver shoon, 

Is he wi' lovely Nancy. 

Of all the solemn prigs that go, 

I chiefly hate the Quakers ; 
They're like a lump o' tasteless dough, 

That ne'er went to the baker's. 
The strangest thing that earth contains 

Is this, that one so stupid 
Should nurse within his sluggish veins 

So brisk an imp as Cupid. 

The Quaker's wife I'll ne'er forget, 

While I can aught remember ; 
For I ne'er lo'ed anither yet. 

Sin' the first day I kenn'd her. 
O gin the Quaker he wad dee. 

And liberty restore her, 
My ain the Quaker's wife should be, 

For oh ! 1 do adore her ! 




'E;/ /uLvpTov K^^adl rh ^i<pos (popT^cro}, 
oJcTTrep 'Ap/jiSSios k' 'ApiffToyeiTuv, 
Sre rhv rvpavvov Kravenqv 
laou6fji.ov5 T* 'A07jj'as iTronjcrdrTjy. 

We now come to a chapter in the record of popular poetry, 
not quite so rich, various, and catholic as love-songs, but 
in the song-literature of every healthy, vigorous, and manly 
people, occupying a prominent place — songs of patriotism 
and of war; for common love of country and common 
determination to assert the rights of country, are the moral 
forces by virtue of which loose masses of men are mar- 
shalled and organised into what we call a nation. All 
great nations, whatever that sweet-blooded people the 
Friends may say, have been cradled in war ; and there is 
good reason for it. In a world of such complex variety 
of character and tendency, adverse interests and con- 
flicting claims must exist ; and where passions are strong 
and judgment partial, and an impartial arbiter nowhere to 

Philosophy of War. 143 

be found, in such circumstances the contending claims of 
antagonistic parties must be left to the decision of the 
sword ; a tiger-like fashion, no doubt, in some views, of 
settling a dispute ; but tigers and men, though they both 
may fight on occasions with like fierceness, are very dif- 
ferent creatures, and fight from very different impulses, and 
for very different ends : the battle-field of tigers is a mere 
arena of ferocity ; the battle-field of men is a school of 
manhood, and a discipline of virtue. The people which 
has not spirit to assert its rights, is not worthy to enjoy 
them ; and it is a law of Nature, inherent in the system of 
things, that the highest goods can be enjoyed permanently 
by none who are not willing to hold them by their strength, 
and, if need be, to purchase them with their lives. But 
more than this. This readiness to purchase essential 
pleasure by accidental pain calls forth, in its realisation, 
every noblest quality by which a moral being can be dis- 
tinguished : courage to face danger ; resolution to persist in 
a calculated plan of action ; chivalrous devotion to a noble 
cause; and systematic subordination of the individual to 
the good of the community to which he belongs. It is 
a bloody blossom, no doubt, a battle-field ; but a battle- 
field like Marathon or Bannockbum is a blossom nothing 
the less, which, as it grows out of the deepest root of moral 
earnestness, so it ripens into the richest fruit of social life. 

144 Patriotic Songs. 

Mighty Rome and subtle Greece, holy Palestine and stout 
Scotland, equally grew great by battles. 

All patriotic songs are not war-songs ; but all war-songs, 
at least those which fall under the category of poetry, are 
patriotic songs ; and as the Jacobite songs of Scotland are 
the finest combination of poetry, patriotism, and war that 
the history of literature knows, we shall give the songs in 
praise of the fatherland, war-songs, and the Jacobite ballads 
in one chapter together, as it were the positive, comparative, 
and superlative degrees of the same noble passion. And 
we cannot do better than take the start with Lord Byron, 
who, though he was only half a Scot, did not write Scotch, 
and had very little of the sweet Scotch blood in his veins, 
had nevertheless a soul so grandly in sympathy with 
some of the most picturesque features of our sublime 
Scottish landscape, that we shall search in vain among 
thoroughbred Scots for anything superior to his well- 
known verses, written under the inspiration of dark Loch- 
na-gar and the clear-flowing Dee : — 

Away, ye Gay Landscapes. 


A - way, ye gay landscapes, ye gar-dens of ros-es!In you let the 

min - ions of lux - u - ry rove ; Re - store me the rocks where the 

" Atcafyj'e Gay Laiidscapcsr 


snow-flake re-pos - es, If still they are sa - cred to free-dom and love. 

-I (*i*-r- --, K— .^ r^ ^ V- 

Yet, Ca - le-don - ia, dear are thymountains,Roundtheirwhite summits tho' 

e - le - ments war, Tho' ca - ta • ractsfoam 'stead of smooth-flowing 

rf. -^ rail. ^ 

foun - tains, I sigh for the val - ley of dark Loch - na - gar. 

Ah ! there my young footsteps in infancy wander'd, 

My cap was the bonnet, my cloak was the plaid ; 
On chieftains departed my memory ponder'd, 

As daily I stray'd through the pine-cover'd glade. 
I sought not my home till the day's dying glory 

Gave place to the rays of the bright polar star, 
For fancy was cheer'd by traditional story, 

Disclosed by the natives of dark Loch-na-gar. 

Shades of the dead, have I not heard your voices 

Rise on the night-rolling breath of the gale? 
Surely the soul of the hero rejoices, 

And rides on the wind o'er his own Highland vale. 
Round Loch-na-gar while the stormy mist gathers, 

Winter presides in his cold icy car ; 
Clouds there encircle the forms of my fathers, 

They dwell 'mid the tempests of dark Loch-na-gar. 

Ill-starr'd, though brave, did no vision foreboding 
Tell you that fate had forsaken your cause ? 

Ah ! were ye then destined to die at Culloden, 
Though victory crown'd not your fall with applause? 


14^ Patriotic Sojigs. 

Still were ye happy in death's earthy slumbers ; 

You rest with your clan in the caves of Braemar ; 
The pibroch resounds to the piper's loud numbers, 

Your deeds to the echoes of wild Loch-na-gar. 

Years have roll'd on, Loch-na-gar, since I left you ! 

Years must roll on ere I see you again ; 
Though Nature of verdure and flowers has bereft you, 

Yet still thou art dearer than Albion's plain. 
England, thy beauties are tame and domestic 

To one who has rov'd on the mountains afar ! 
Oh ! for the crags that are wild and majestic, 

The steep frowning glories of dark Loch-na-gar ! 

But grand as these verses are, and worthy of the land 
that, even more than Switzerland, boasts the happy union 
of the sublime with the picturesque, they are character- 
istically more Byron ic than Scotch ; certainly far removed 
from the tone of the Scottish patriotic song, of which the 
lovely and the kindly, not the majestic and the awful, is the 
habitual key-note. It is notable in this juvenile essay of 
Byron's lofty fancy, that, though the Scottish pine receives 
its due honour, neither the graceful birch, nor the blooming 
heather, nor the yellow broom, nor the fragrant furze, nor the 
prickly thistle, receives mention ; rightly enough, no doubt, 
for the tone of the poet's mind, but deficient lamentably in 
the dominant features of the landscape that are dearest to 
every Scottish heart. Whether it be Andrew Park or 
Henry Scott Riddell, whether a singer from Paisley fertile 

The Scottish Thistle. 147 

in song, or from the Border rich in story, the cloud-cleaving 

Bens and the sky-sweeping eagles never appear without the 

blush of the bonnie blooming heather, and the bristling 

grace of the thistle. From the earliest times, indeed, 

the sturdy independence of the people, which foiled the 

ambitious subtlety of the Plantagenets, was fitly symbolised 

by the prickly plant, which seems to say to every rude 

invasive hand, in the words of the song : — 

" He's pu'd the rose o' English clowns, 
And broken the harp o' Irish loons, 
But our Scotch thistle will jag his thooms, 
This wee, wee, German Lairdie." 

Heraldic tradition asserts that the thistle was borne in 
the royal achievement of Scotland so early as King Achaius, 
when he made an alliance with the Emperor Charlemagne ; 
and we are also informed that when Slains Castle in 
Buchan was attacked by the Danes in loio, their repulse 
was owing in no small measure to the reception which their 
shins met with from the thick array of thistles that bristled 
in the moat.^ Certain it is, that in the well-known poem 
of " The Thistle and the Rose," by William Dunbar, who 
flourished at the end of the fifteenth century, the thistle 
is specially lauded as indicative of the instinct of bristling 

* See Mackenzie's Heraldry, p. 98 ; and Palliser's Historic De- 
vices, p. 328. These notices I owe to G. Seton, Esq., advocate, the 
highest authority on the subject. 


Patriotic Songs, 

independence, expressed in the national motto, Nemo me 
impune laces sit : — 

" Then called she all flouris that grew on feild, 
Discirning all their fassiones and effeiris ; 
Upon the awful thistle she beheld, 
And saw him kepit with a busche of speiris ; 
Considering him so able for the weiris, 
A radius crown of rubies she him gaif, 
And said, * In feild go forth, and fend the laif.'" 

In this view Alexander Maclagan, one of the best of our 
martial song-writers, had good reason to say : — 

"Hurrah for the thistle, the bonnie Scotch thistle! 
The evergreen thistle of Scotland for me ; 
Awa' wi' the flowers in your lady-built bowers, 
The strong-bearded, weel-guarded thistle for me." 

In the following well-known song, also in the best vein 
of Scottish patriotism, the traditional significance of the 
strong-bearded weed is well preserved : — 

Scotland yet.^ 

Gae bring my guidauld harp ancemair,Gae bring it free and fast; For 

^gZJE^^S >~^lA 

trow ye as I sing, my lads, Th^ bur - den o't shall be. 


^ Air by kind permission of J. Blockley. 

Scotland yet! 


Scotland's howes.and Scotland's knowes, And Scotland's hills for me ; 



the honours 

The heath waves wild upon her hills, 

And, foaming frae the fells, 
Her fountains sing o' freedom still 

As they dance down the dells. 
And weel I lo'e the land, my lads. 

That's girded by the sea ; 
Then Scotland's dales, and Scotland's vales. 

And Scotland's hills for me ; 
ril drink a cup to Scotland yet, 

Wi' a' the honours three. 

The thistle wags upon the fields 

Where Wallace bore his blade. 
That gave her foemen's dearest bluid 

To dye her auld gray plaid. 
And looking to the lift, my lads, 

He sang this doughty glee, 
Auld Scotland's right, and Scotland's might, 

And Scotland's hills for me; 
I'll drink a cup to Scotland yet, 

Wi' a' the honours three. 

They tell o' lands wi' brighter skies, 
Where freedom's voice ne'er rang ; 

Gi'e me the hills where Ossian dwelt, 
And Coila's minstrel sang ; 

For I've nae skill o' lands, my lads. 
That ken na to be free. 

150 Patriotic Songs. 

Then Scotland's right, and Scotland's might, 

And Scotland's hills for me ; 
We'll drink a cup to Scotland yet, 

Wi' a' the honours three. 

The title of this excellent song is sadly significant of the 
change which has been passing over Scotland since the 
days when Burns and Scott stood before the intellectual 
world, as at once the most human and the most Scottish 
of writers. We have now a generation growing up who, 
subdued by the seductions of London luxury, the glitter 
of metropolitan and the despotism of official centralisa- 
tion, are content to sit down as second fiddle and first 
flunkey to the imperial John Bull — glorying, as St Paul 
has it, in their shame; so that a national song-writer, 
feeling all around him the enervating approaches of this in- 
sidious foe, is obliged to make Scotland yet ! the refrain 
of his song : notwithstanding all this danger and all this 
degeneracy, Scotland shall still be Scotland, at least in the 
breast of her native singers, redolent of the blooming 
heather and the bracing breeze, and not prinkt over with 
scraps of all sorts of borrowed leaflets from the South. 
The author of the song, Henry Scott Riddell, like Burns 
and Hogg, was a shepherd, the son of a shepherd, and 
amid "the hills of Ettrick wild and lone" grew up in an 
atmosphere far more favourable to a healthy culture, than a 

Hetiry Scott Riddell. 151 

drill in the trick of Latin hexameters and Greek iambics 
in the fashionable English schools. But, though he could 
write good poetry without Greek, he could not enter the 
Church, the top step in the ladder to which every am- 
bitious young Scottish peasant, of intellectual aspirations, 
naturally points. Bom in 1798, on his father's death leav- 
ing the cows to some less ambitious cowherd, he went 
to school at Biggar, and thence to the University of Edin- 
burgh. From this start, in due course, and furnished with 
laudatory certificates from the professors of Greek and 
philosophy, he walked into the regular arena of clerical 
duty in a small manse at Teviothead, under the patronage of 
the Duke of Buccleuch, with a salary of £^^0 a-year. Here 
he performed the duties of his rural episcopacy faithfully and 
unobtrusively for nine years, till in 1841 he was obliged, 
from bad health, to remit active work, but was allowed, by 
the kindness of the Duke of Buccleuch, to remain in the 
dwelling where he had exercised the ministerial function, 
and to cultivate his plot of ground, and serve the Border 
Muses quietly during the rest of his life. He died in 1870, 
at the ripe age of seventy-two. He was the author of not 
a few literary works besides songs; and among others, 
philologers will note with pleasure his translation of the 
Gospel of St Matthew and the Book of Psalms into Low- 
land Scotch, made at the request of Lucien Bonaparte. 

152 Patriotic Songs. 

The patriotic song given above was set to music by Peter 
M'Leod, and published in a separate form, and the profits 
of the pubHcation expended upon the erection of a parapet 
and railing around the monument of our great national poet 
on the Calton Hill. 

It is a commonplace of morality that people never know 
the full value of the blessings which they enjoy till they are 
deprived of them ; so husbands are found sometimes to 
write more gracious inscriptions on the tombstones of their 
dead wives, than their living estimate of them would have 
led us to expect ; and in the same way the natives of any 
country, whether it be a flat country of dykes and ditches 
like Holland, or a country of heaven -scaling Bens like 
Scotland, never know how closely the joys of their human 
life were bound up with their surroundings, till they are 
forced to leave them. Scotsmen, it is commonly observed, 
except, of course, a few featureless souls, who lightly accept 
a foreign stamp, are more Scotch in London than in Edin- 
burgh ; and the Gaelic language, which is the very body and 
breath of Celtic nationality, is, I am credibly informed, 
spoken with more purity and preserved with more piety in 
some Canadian settlements, than in the winding glens and 
swelling braes of its mountain home. Manfully as the 
Scotch have on all occasions confronted the necessity of 
leaving their native hills, and fruitfully as they have cleared 

" Oh ! ivhy left I my Hame ? 


the forests and garnered the crops in far lands beyond the 
seas, there is not one of them, we may safely say, however 
prosperous in his new abode, who has not sung to himself 
in moments of pensive thought, or listened to the echo in 
his heart of Gilfillan's beautiful song — 

Oh ! WHY LEFT I MY HaME ? ^ 

OH ! why left I my hame? Why did I cross the deep? Oh! 

sigh for Sco - tia's shore, And I gaze a - cross the sea, But 




The palm-tree waveth high, 

And fair the myrtle springs 
And to the Indian maid 

The bulbul sweetly sings. 
But I dinna see the broom, 

\Vi' its tassels on the lea ; 
Nor hear the lintie's sang 

O' my ain countrie. 

Oh ! here no Sabbath bell 
Awakes the Sabbath morn, 

* Air by kind permission of J. Blockley. 

154 Patriotic Songs. 

Nor song of reapers heard 

Amang the yellow corn ; 
For the tyrant's voice is here, 

And the wail o' slaverie ; 
But the sun of freedom shines 

In my ain countrie. 

There's a hope for every woe, 

And a balm for every pain ; 
But the first joys of our heart 

Come never back again. 
There's a track upon the deep, 

And a path across the sea ; 
But for me there's nae return 

To my ain countrie. 

The author of this patriotic song was born in Dun- 
fermline, a town dear to the memory of every true Scot, 
as containing the bones of the royal warrior who founded 
our nationality at Bannockburn in the glorious June of 
13 14. Like the majority of our patriotic song-writers, he 
belonged to the lower classes of society ; but after serving 
as apprentice to a cooper in Leith, he was in due season 
advanced to the dignity of clerk to an extensive wine 
merchant, and ended his career in the respectable posi- 
tion of collector of police-rates, in that town. His songs 
had an extensive circulation, and his name will go far, 
along with that of Ballantine, to secure to the cold East 
of Scotland some share of that lyrical reputation which is 

The Roast-beef of Old England. 1 5 5 

the special glory of the West. Gilfillan died in 1850, at the 
early age of fifty-two, and his remains rest in South Leith 
churchyard, along with those of Home, the well-known 
author of 'Douglas.' 

One other phase of the Scottish patriotic song, more in 
the humorous style, we may not omit to mention. It was 
a favourite notion with the London philosopher Mr Buckle, 
that the character of different races of men depends on the 
kind of food on which they are nourished ; and no doubt 
there is a certain amount of truth in his view ; enough, at 
all events, to give a hue of philosophic plausibility to Field- 
ing's famous song, in which the eating of roast-beef is 
accredited with the production of that stout warrior-breed 
of the seas, each one of whom, Nelson used to say, was 
equal to three Frenchmen : — 

" When mighty roast-beef was the Englishman's food, 
It ennobled our hearts and enriched our blood, 
Our soldiers were brave, and our courtiers good, — 
Oh, the roast-beef of Old England, 
And oh, the Old English roast-beef ! " 

This song, naturally a great favourite with the substantial 
feeders of the English army and navy, happened to be 
played persistently by an English regiment in the granite 
capital of the north, when stationed there during the time 
of the American war. The Aberdonians are good Scots- 

156 Patriotic Songs, 

men, boasting indeed the toughest brains and the broad- 
est skulls of all broad Scotland; they also glory in the 
birth or in the entertainment of not a few very notable 
poets, as Barbour, Ross, Beattie, William Thom (above, 
p. 27), Skinner, Still, Grant, Dr Walter Smith, and not 
a few others ;i so it was but natural that the constant 
echo of this English glorification of beef- eating should 
rouse a counter -blast in favour of Scottish diet, as 
it did in the breast of Alexander Watson, a tailor and 
deacon of the incorporated trades in the city that lies 
between two rivers. Watson was a man of no literary 
pretensions, and sang, like many of our best popular song- 
writers, so to speak, only by accident, and "for fun," as 
Burns used to say; his pride, so far as he had any, was 
confined to the fact that he had made Lord Byron's " first 
pair o' breeks," of which Moore, in his Life of the noble 
rhymer, failed to make due mention ; but his hard-headed 
fellow -citizens will be prouder of his singing than of his 
tailoring; and the "Kail Brose of Auld Scotland" will be 
sung from the Ganges to the Mississippi, on festive occa- 
sions, as long as Highland tartan shall not duck before Lon- 
don red-tape, and genuine Highlanders, bred on the hills, 
shall not be ashamed of showing their brawn: — 

1 See the Bards of Bon Accord from 1375 to i860, by W. Walker. 
Aberdeen, 1887. 

TJie Kail Brose of Atdd Scot land!' 


The Kail Brose of Auld Scotland. 

When our an - cient fore - fa - thers a - greed wi' the laird For a 

spot o' guid ground for to be a kail - yard. It 

was to the brose that they paid their re • gard. Oh, the kail 

brose of auld Scot - land, And oh for the Scot-tish kail brose. 

When Fergus, the first of our kings, I suppose, 
At the head of his nobles had vanquish'd our foes, 
Just before they began they'd been feasting on brose. 
Oh, the kail brose, &c. 

Then our sodgers were dress'd in their kilts and short hose, 
With bonnet and belt which their dress did compose, 
And a bag of oatmeal on their back to make brose. 
Oh, the kail brose, &c. 

In our free, early ages, a Scotsman could dine 
Without English roast-beef, or famous French wine ; 
Kail brose, when weel made, he aye thought it divine. 
Oh, the kail brose, &c. 

At our annual election of bailies or mayor, 
Nae kickshaws of puddings or tarts were seen there. 
But a cog of kail brose was the favourite fare. 
Oh, the kail brose, &c. 

But now since the thistle is joined to the rose, 
And the English nae langer are counted our foes, 
We've lost a guid part of our relish for brose. 
Oh, the kail brose, &c. 

158 War- Sony's. 

But each true-hearted Scotsman, by nature jocose, 
Can cheerfully dine on a dishful of brose ; 
And the grace be a wish to get plenty of those. 
Oh, the kail brose, &c. 

War-songs, as we remarked, are a species of the genus 
patriotic. So closely indeed does the enjoyment of our 
national life hang on the valour with which we defend our 
country from the invader, that even in peaceful patriotic 
songs the allusion to the broadsword is never far from the 
praise of the thistle and the kail brose. In the well-known 
song, " In the Garb of Old Gaul," of which the music 
was composed by General Reid, the founder of the Music 
Chair in the University of Edinburgh, and the words by 
another gallant soldier, Sir Harry Erskine of Alva, the 
martial spirit is so decidedly dominant that it may well 
serve as a transition from the gentle patriotism of peace 
to the patriotism of sharp warfare, to which we must 
now proceed : — 

In the Garb of Old Gaul. 

In the garb of old Gaul, with the fire of old Rome, From the 




heath - co - ver'd mountains of Sco - tia we come, Where the 


. jj3^ 

____ — 

— »— ^-■^— •-r— pr 

1 N- 




-g=wr^— :^- 

— — 


Ro- mans en-deavour'd our coun-try to gain But our an- ces-tors 

" In the Garb of Old Gauir 


fought, and they fought not in vain. Such our love of li - ber- ty, our 

coun- tr>*,and our laws, That like our an - cestors of old, we stand by 

freedoms cause; We'll bravely fight, like he- roes bright, for honour and ap- 

plause. And de - fy the French, with all their art, to al - ter ourlaws. 

No effeminate customs our sinews unbrace, 
No luxurious tables enervate our race ; 
Our loud-sounding pipe breathes the true martial strain, 
And our hearts still the old Scottish valour retain. 
Such our love, &c. 

As a storm in the ocean when Boreas blows, 
So are we enraged when we rush on our foes ; 
We sons of the mountains, tremendous as rocks, 
Dash the force of our foes with our thundering strokes. 
Such our love, &c. 

We're tall as the oak on the mount of the vale, 
Are swift as the roe which the hound doth assail ; 
As the full moon in autumn our shields do appear, 
And Minerva would dread to encounter our spear. 
Such our love, &c. 

Quebec and Cape Breton, the pride of old France, 
In their troops fondly boasted till we did advance ; 
But when our claymores they saw us produce. 
Their courage did fail and they sued for a truce. 
Such our love, &c. 

l6o War- Soups. 


In our realm may the fury of faction long cease, 
May our councils be wise, and our commerce increase; 
And in Scotia's cold climate may each of us find 
That our friends still prove true, and our beauties prove kind. 
Then w^e'U defend our liberty, our country, and our laws, 
And teach our late posterity to fight in freedom's cause ; 
That they like our bold ancestors, for honour and applause. 
May defy the French, with all their art, to alter our laws. 

As a pendant to this, and sung to the same air, whoso- 
ever chooses may sing "The Broadswords of Scotland," 
by Sir Walter Scott's distinguished son-in-law and biogra- 
pher, John Gibson Lockhart;^ but we must pass on. 

Of war-songs proper — that is, born out of the bosom, 
and breathing the atmosphere of hostile movements — we 
have in the Jacobite ballads, I hesitate not to say, the 
finest and most complete collection that the popular 
literature of any country can boast. These ballads have 
the double advantage of being at once real contemporary 
history, and real popular poetry of the most classical 
type; and though in point of political significance and 
lasting good results they can in no wise bear com- 
parison with the war-songs of the German Liberation war 
in 1813-14, in point of nobility of sentiment, picturesque- 
ness of situation, and dramatic effect, they are vastly 

1 See Rogers's Scottish Minstrel, p. 239, where also will be found 
the humorously descriptive song, " Captain Paton no mo'e," that 
originally appeared in 'Blackwood's Magazine.' 

The Jacobite Ballads. i6l 

superior. In fact, these ballads in their natural historical 
sequence present to the eye a ready-made national opera 
of the finest elements and the most effective points, 
possessing as they do an interesting central figure round 
which every variety of martial enthusiasm, romantic adven- 
ture, broad popular humour, delicate pathos, gathers itself 
with a natural grace and a completeness of effect which 
no art could improve. Such rich materials, with all the 
sweetness of native song and all the strength of native 
drama, a people like the ancient Greeks, with a complete 
and well-rounded national culture, would have developed 
into a trilogy of the most magnificent character and the 
most potent inspiration ; and that it has not done so 
in Scotland, can be attributed only to the action of that 
severe and one-sided Calvinism which banished scientific 
music from the Church, and proclaimed an unnatural di- 
vorce between the pulpit and the stage. But, though our 
Jacobite ballads, within the narrow limits of a year's mili- 
tary action, contain a complete repertory of every scene and 
situation that the popular song can appropriate and trans- 
mute into national poetry, they are naturally not the only 
expression of the military life of a people whose boast it has 
been to maintain by steady industry the rights which they 
gained by gallant achievement. We shall therefore fitly, as 
a sort of overture to the Jacobite opera, put in the fore- 


1 62 War- Songs. 

ground a few of our most popular war-songs, which have 
either no special historical root, or at least none that dis- 
tinctly connects them with the rising of the 1 745 ; and here 
we shall not be surprised that the Celtic element enters 
largely into the account — for the ardour of attack, and the 
chivalry of sentiment that make the great soldier, are the 
peculiar glory of the Celt in all countries, and especially 
in the Scottish Highlands; as indeed it is quite certain, 
historically, that the perfervid genius of the Scot, mani- 
fested so strongly in our great preachers, flows down to us 
from the original Celtic element, to which the Saxons and 
Scandinavians in the south-east and north-west were willing 
to contribute their ration of less irritable nerve and more 
sober blood. Broadly, we must say that it is to the High- 
landers that Scottish men owe whatever reputation they 
enjoy for soldiership ; as sailors. Nelson did not even own 
our existence ; and, had it not been for the tartan, and the 
Celtic blood in our veins, we Scotsmen might have gone 
down to posterity merely as the rivals of Manchester in 
Titanic industry, and as the great utilisers of the material 
world by steam-power and bank-notes. 

One of the first incidents at the outbreak of a war is 
the parting of the soldier from his home and from his 
sweetheart. Sometimes, indeed, the sweetheart may have 
strength of mind enough to follow her soldier laddie in 

My dear Highland Laddie, O! 


some capacity to the wars; but still there is a pang, 
especially to a Highland lassie, who >vill certainly find the 
orange-groves of Italy, or the palm-trees of Egypt, a poor 
exchange for the blaeberries that fringed the woods, the 
cloudberry that drooped its rich yellow fruit over the 
upland moor, or the rowan-tree that hung its crimson 
clusters over the wild and giddy sweep of her native 
torrents. All this is finely brought out in the following 
song, not so often sung as it deserves. The words are by 
Tannahill ; the air Gaelic : — 

My dear Highland Laddie, O. 

Blythe was the time when he fee'd wi' my fa - ther, O ; 

Sweet were the hoon when he row'd me in his plaid-ie, O, And 

rail. ^ 

vow'd to be mine, my dear High - land lad- die, O. 

But, ah, waes me, wi* their sodgering sae gaudy, O, 
The laird's wil'd awa' my braw Highland laddie, O ; 
Misty are the glens, and the dark hills sac cloudy, O, 
That aye seem'd sae blythe wi' my dear Highland laddie, O. 

164 War-Songs. 

The blaeberry banks now are lanesome and dreary, O. 
Muddy are the streams that gush'd down sae clearly, O, 
Silent are the rocks that echoed sae gladly, O, 
The wild melting strains o' my dear Highland laddie, O. 

He pu'd me the crawberry, ripe frae the boggy fen, 
He pu'd me the strawberry, red frae the foggy glen, 
He pu'd me the rowan frae the wild steep sae giddy, O, 
Sae loving and kind was my dear Highland laddie, O. 

Fareweel my ewes, and fareweel my doggie, O, 
Fareweel ye knowes, now sae cheerless and scroggie, O, 
Fareweel Glenfeoch, my mammy and my daddie, O, 
I will lea' you a' for my dear Highland laddie, O.^ 

A pendant to this is the more sad adieu to the High- 
land hills, by a soldier going abroad to foreign war — an 
air familiar to most Scottish ears under the name of 
"Lochaber no more." The music, of course, is Gaelic, 
the words by Allan Ramsay, the father of our post-Refor- 
mation Scottish poetry, and to whose long literary con- 
nection with the capital of his native country the citizens 
of Edinburgh have erected a becoming tribute in a statue 
prominently placed in the Gardens of beautiful Princes 
Street. Ramsay, who was a Lanarkshire man, and died 
in Edinburgh in the year 1758, the year before Burns was 

^ The same sorrowful wrench which war so often gives to love, gives 
the key-note to the old song, "De'il tak' the Wars," to which Burns 
wrote the song, " Sleep'st thou, or wak'st thou, fairest creature?" 
Burns's Works, Philadelphia, 1887, vol. vi. p. 33. 

Lochaber 7io more. 


born, as a song-writer has been put out of view by the 
superior force and fervour of his Ayrshire successor ; but 
he will live for ever by the rural charm of his "Gentle 
Shepherd," in the bucolic company of Theocritus among 
the Greeks, and Virgil among the Romans : — 

Lochaber no more. 

more, Loch - a - ber no more, We'll may - be re 

- turn to Loch - a • ber no more. These tears that I 

• tend'ing on weir ; Tho' borne on rough Mas to a far dU - tant 

shore, Ma]r - be to re • turn to Loch • a - ber no more. 

Though hurricanes rage, and rise ev'ry wind, 
They'll ne'er make a tempest like that in my mind 
Though loudest of thunders on louder waves roar, 
That's naelhing like leaving my love on the shore. 

1 66 War- Songs. 

To leave thee behind me, my heart is sair pain'd ; 
But by ease that's inglorious no fame can be gain'd 
And beauty and love's the reward of the brave : 
And I maun deserve it before I can crave. 

Then glory, my Jeanie, maun plead my excuse ; 
Since honour commands me, how can I refuse ? 
Without it, I ne'er can have merit for thee ; 
And, wanting thy favour, I'd better not be. 
I gae then, my lass, to win glory and fame ; 
And if I should chance to come glorious hame, 
I'll bring a heart to thee with love running o'er, 
And then I'll leave thee and Lochaber no more. 

Next in order follows the gathering of the scattered 
warriors, their ordering into battalions, the march to the 
battle-field, and the clash of hostile spears in deadly array ; 
but we shall defer this wisely to its place in the great 
lyrical drama of the 1745. To the same stage, however, 
in the general array of Scottish war-songs, belong Scott's 
" Blue Bonnets over the Border," Maclagan's " We'll hae 
nana but Highland Bonnets here," and Burns's world-famed 
psean over the routed Plantagenet at Bannockburn. 
Though Scott was not specifically and prominently a 
song-writer, he had the spirit of song in his soul, a soul 
rich in the wellspring of all wisdom, the large receptive 
enjoyment of his surroundings; and so, though locally 
belonging to Edinburgh, yet with the blood of the Ruther- 

" Blue Bonnets over the Border!' 


fords and the Scotts in his veins, it was as natural to him 
to sing the gallantry of a Border foray, as for the mountain 
streams at the head of Dumfriesshire to flow down into St 
Mary's Loch : — 

Blue Bonnets over the Border. 


March, march, Et - trick and Te-viot dale, Why, my lads, din-na ye march 


for - watd in or -der? March, march, Esk-dale and Lid-des - dale, 

^ Fine. 

> > r??a — V 

All the blue bon - nets are o - ver the Bor - der. 

Ma - ny a crest that is fa - mous in sto • ry; 

glo^ ry.CHO. 

Come from the hills where your hirsels are grazing, 
Come from the glen of the buck and the roe ; 

Come to the crag where the beacon is blazing ; 
Come with the buckler, the lance, and the bow. 
March, march, &c. 

1 68 Wai^- Songs. 

Trumpets are sounding, war-steeds are bounding; 

Stand to your arms, and march in good order; 
England shall many a day tell of the bloody fray, 

When the blue bonnets came over the Border. 
March, march, &c. 

Alexander Maclagan, whose name will go down to pos- 
terity along with the record of the famous charge of our 
gallant Highlanders on the heights of Alma, was, like most 
of our noble band of native song-writers, of peasant origin. 
Born at Brigend, near Perth, in the same year with Thack- 
eray (1811), he left his father's farming business, and earned 
his livelihood first as a clerk in a jeweller's shop, and then 
as a journeyman plumber in Edinburgh. But the Muse of 
Coila, who has always shown a grandly human appreciation 
of the stuff of which the honest artificer is made, did not 
in any wise stint her visitations to her chosen military bard, 
in consideration of the plebeian character of his employment ; 
out of the mouths of shepherds, and plumbers, and plough- 
men she hath perfected praise, while she denied her in- 
spiration to the fine gentlemen and nice Greeklings who 
turned their back on her native charms, and preferred to 
distinguish themselves by the artificial trickery of dancing 
on Greek and Latin tight-ropes at Eton and Oxford. Mac- 
lagan seized every moment that could be spared from his 
honest handicraft to add another noble name to the roll of 
Scottish song-writers ; and in this noble endeavour achieved 

" We'll Jiae nane but Highland Bonnets here!' 169 

the friendship and patronage of the men of the last genera- 
tion — Wilson, Glassford Bell, Francis Jeffrey, and Henry 
Cockbum, whose names at that time made Edinburgh 
notable as a great centre of literary life. With the true 
military spirit, so closely allied to the poetic, he in i860 
joined a company of Highland volunteers, having some 
years previously been honoured with a royal pension. He 
died in 1879. The song which follows took its key-note 
from the well-known words of Sir Colin Campbell, when 
the Guards were pressing on to share the honour of taking 
the first guns with the Highlanders, " Well hae nane but 
Highland bonnets here" knowing well, as indeed all the 
world knows, that whenever anything first-class in the 
dashing style is to be done in a field of battle, the High- 
landers are the men to do it : — 

We'll hae nane but Highland Bonnets here. 

Al • ma, field of be - roes, hail ! Al • ma, glo • rious to the Gael, 

Glo-rioos to tRe s>-m • bol dear, Glo-rioiu to the moun-taineer; Hark, 

hark, to Caropbeirs bat -tie • cry ! It led the brave to vic-to-r>% It 

^ attmpo. _^ _ 

thon-iler'd through tfie charing cheer, Well hae nane but High -land 






bon-nets here. We'll hae nane but High-land bon-nets here, We'll hae 

nana but High-land bon-nets here. It thunder'd through the charg-ing 
^^ a tempo. 


cheer. We'll hae nane but High - land bon - nets here. 

See, see the heights where fight the brave ! 
See, see the gallant tartans wave ! 
How wild the work of Highland steel, 
When conquered thousands backward reel. 
See, see the warriors of the north, 
To death or glory rushing forth ! 
Hark to their shout from front to rear, 
"We'll hae nane but Highland bonnets here ! " 

We'll hae nane but Highland bonnets here ! 

We'll hae nane but Highland bonnets here ! 

Hark to their shout from front to rear. 

We'll hae nane but Highland bonnets here ! 

Braver field was never won, 

Braver deeds were never done ; 

Braver blood was never shed. 

Braver chieftain never led ; 

Braver swords were never wet 

With life's red tide when heroes met ! 

Braver words ne'er thrilled the ear, 

" We'll hae nane but Highland bonnets here ! " 

We'll hae nane but Highland bonnets here ! 

We'll hae nane but Highland bonnets here ! 

Braver words ne'er thrilled the ear. 

We'll hae nane but Highland bonnets here ! 

" Scots, wha hae wi^ Wallace bled" 


Let glory rear her flag of fame, 

Brave Scotland cries " This spot I claim ! " 

Here will Scotland bare her brand, 

Here will Scotland's lion stand ! 

Here will Scotland's banner fly, 

Here Scotland's sons will do or die ! 

Here shout above the "symbol dear," 

"We'll hae nane but Highland bonnets here !" 

We'll hae nane but Highland bonnets here ! 

We'll hae nane but Highland bonnets here ! 

It thundered through the charging cheer, 

We'll hae nane but Highland bonnets here ! 

Scots, wha hae wi' Wallace bled. 

Scots, wha hae wi' Wal-lace bled, Scots.wham Bruce has af- ten led 

Wel - come to your go - ry bed. Or to vie - to - rie 

NoVs the day and now's the hour ; See the front of bat - tie lour- 
See ap-proach proud Ed-ward's power.Chains and sla - ve • rie 

Wha will be a traitor knave ? 
Wha will fill a coward's grave ? 
Wha sae base as be a slave ? 

Let him turn and flee ! 
Wha, for Scotland's king and law, 
Freedom's sword will strongly draw, 
Freeman stand, or freeman fa', 

Let him follow me ! 

172 War- Songs. 

By oppression's woes and pains, 
By your sons in servile chains, 
We will drain our dearest veins, 

But they shall be free. 
Lay the proud usurpers low ! 
Tyrants fall in every foe ! 
Liberty's in every blow ! 

Let us do or dee ! 

Of course, as every glorious victory on the one side must 
be accompanied with a tearful defeat on the other, we can- 
not expect to have our Bannockburn in Scottish history 
without our Flodden Field, our paeans and odes of triumph 
without our wails of defeat. James IV. of Scotland, 
whose name is identified with that bloody business on the 
English Border, which lopped the heads of our nobility 
wholesale, as the Borean blast levels the pine-forests, was 
a man of more genius and gallantry than of wisdom, and 
more fitted to shine amongst lute-players, and in tournament 
than in the council chamber of grave statesmanship. So, 
under the influence of some poetical sensibility, or knightly 
ideas of honour, he dared to make war on his big father-in- 
law, the eighth Harry, and paid the penalty of his rashness 
on the banks of the Till, in a catastrophe which has taken 
hold of the Scottish Lyrical Muse in a fashion second only 
to the potent charm of "Scots wha hae." Of the sad 
mowing down of noble heads on that disastrous field of 
Flodden in the summer of 15 13, we have two musical 

" TJie Flowers of the Forest" 173 

memorials, composed by two members of that band of 
accomplished and patriotic ladies who led the society of 
Scotland in an age when Edinburgh had not yet learned 
to be ashamed of herself, and to find a shallow satisfaction 
in aping the manner and adopting the tone of the English 
metropolis. Miss Jane Elliot, who wrote the oldest and 
most characteristically Scottish set of " The Flowers of the 
Forest" (p. 175 infra\ was a native of Teviotdale, in 
Roxburghshire, a fair shoot of a noble tree, and the sister 
of Lord Heathfield, whose defence of Gibraltar against 
the combined fleets of France and Spain in the last quarter 
of the last century is familiar to all students of English 
history, and to most frequenters of print-shops and pic- 
ture-galleries. Mrs Alison Cockburn, who wrote the 
other and more current verses to the same air, was by 
birth Miss Rutherford of Femielea, situated in that most 
picturesque stretch of river landscape which lies between 
Abbotsford and Innerleithen, and where the ruins of the 
stately old castle, overgrown by (alas ! blasted) ivy, are 
still admired by tourists whom the memory of our great 
Border-minstrel, or the celebrity of Mr Thomson's vinery 
at Clovenfords, attracts to that classical region. Between 
the age of twenty and thirty, when the wisest marriages 
are made, she became the wife of a Scottish barrister, 
Patrick Cockburn of Ormiston, and through him trans- 


War- Sony's, 

ferred her life-stage to Edinburgh, of whose society, in 
the age immediately before Burns, with her bUtheness, 
brightness, and fresh - heartedness, she soon became a 
leading ornament. She died in her house, Crichton Street, 
Edinburgh, at the ripe age of eighty -two, proving there- 
by, like Joanna Baillie, Lady Ann Barnard, Mrs Grant of 
Laggan, and not a few other lady-devotees of the Muse 
of Coila, that the culture of purified passion in song, tends 
not only to sweeten our lives while we live, but to lengthen 
our little span for the enjoyment of its sweetness : ^ — 

The Flowers of the Forest. 

I've seen the smi-ling of for - tune be - guil - ing, I've felt all its 

fa  vours, and found its de-cay : Sweet was its bless - ing, 

kind its ca- ress - ingjButnow 'tis . .fled, . .'tis fled far a-way ; 

've seen the for - est a - dor-nedthe fore-most.Withflow-ersof the 

^ The life of Mrs Cockburn in the ' Songstresses of Scotland,' vol. i. 
p. 52, is full of interesting and instructive material. A full account of 
the lords of Ormiston, and their worthy achievements — ecclesiastical, 
judicial, and agricultural — will be found in the Statistical Account, 

" Pve heard the Liltin\' 


fiEiir - est, most plea - sant and gay, Sae bon-nie was their blooming.their 

f. — N /■ — 

scent the air pex^fum-iog. But now they are wi-ther'd and a'wedea-way. 

I've seen the morning with gold the hills adorning. 
And the dread tempest roaring before parting day; 

I've seen Tweed's silver streams 

Glitt'ring in the sunny beams, 
Grow drumlie and dark as they roll'd on their way. 

O fickle fortune ! why this cruel sporting ? 
O why thus perplex us, poor sons of a day ? 

Thy frowns cannot fear me, 

Thy smiles cannot cheer me. 
For the Flowers of the Forest are a' wede away. 

I've heard the Liltin'. 

the For - tai are 

- way. 

At buchts in the momin', nae blythe lads are scornin', 
Lasses are lanely, and dowie, and wae ; 

Nae daffin', nae gabbin', but sighin' and sabbin', 
Ilk ane lifts her laiglin and hies her away. 

176 Jacobite Ballads. 

In har'st at the shearin', nae youths now are jeerin', 
The bandsters are runkled, and lyart, and gray; 

At fair or at preachin', nae wooin', nae fleechin', — 
The Flowers of the Forest are a' wede away. 

At e'en, in the gloamin', nae swankies are roamin' 
'Bout stacks, 'mang the lassies at bogle to play; 

But each ane sits dreary, lamentin' her dearie, — 
The Flowers of the Forest are a' wede away. 

Dool and wae for the order sent our lads to the Border, 
The English for ance by guile wan the day; 

The Flowers of the Forest, that fought aye the foremost, 
The prime o' our land now lie cauld in the clay. 

We'll hear nae mair liltin' at our ewe-milkin', 

Women and bairns are dowie and wae ; 
Sighin' and moanin' on ilka green loanin', — 

The Flowers of the Forest are a' wede away. 

We shall now fitly confine ourselves to the special ground 
of the Jacobite ballads, what we called a ready-made musi- 
cal drama of war, complete in all its range and perfect in 
all its parts. And as this grand procession of native Scottish 
song is a continuous record of notable facts, as well as a 
consistent unity of lyrical art, we will first sketch the histori- 
cal root out of which the luxuriant lyrical blossom grew. 

The designation by which this rich body of popular 
poetry is known — Jacobite — carries us back to James II. 
of England, the last of the ill-starred Stuart dynasty, the 

King James II. 177 

restoration of which to their forfeited throne was the object 
of the two Highland risings of the last century — the first 
in 17 15, and the second in 1745, what the Highlanders call 
"the year of Charlie." Strictly speaking, however, the 
birth of the Jacobite ballads is contemporary with the 
grand struggle for civil liberty carried on against the auto- 
cratic and sacerdotal pretensions of Charles II.; and the 
baptism with which James was honoured in this popular 
designation was owing simply to the fact that he was the 
greatest and most prominent fool of the party, and, by the 
catastrophe which his own persistent stupidity evolved, left 
that impression on the public mind which the final act of 
a great dramatic spectacle is calculated to produce. The 
first ballad in Hogg's collection,^ " The King shall enjoy 
his own again," was composed as early as 1643, forty years 
after the accession of the Stuart dynasty in the person of 
James I.: — 

" For forty years our royal throne 
Has been his father's, and his own, 
• Nor is there any one but he 

With right can there a sharer be. 
For who better may 
Our high sceptre sway 

* The Jacobite Relics of Scotland, by James Hogg (Paisley, Gardinei, 
1874) ; and Jacobite Ballads, by MacQuoy (London, 18S8). 


178 Jacobite Ballads. 

Than he whose right it is to reign ; 

Then look for no peace, 

For the wars will never cease 
Till the king shall enjoy his own again !" 

But the military glory as well as the lyrical excellence 
of the 1745, so completely eclipsed all previous loyal utter- 
ances in favour of the discrowned race, that for purposes 
of popular recreation and patriotic memory they have 
mostly died out of the public ear. Some of them are in 
every way deserving of the oblivion into which they have 
fallen, being vulgar party abuse, cleverly versified, as in the 
well-known ditty, with the refrain "Hey then up go we ! " 
charging the friends of liberty and constitutional right with 
all sorts of irreligion, profanity, tastelessness, and mad rev- 
olutionary schemes, as thus : — 

" We'll break the windows which the whore 

Of Babylon hath painted ; 
And when the popish saints are down. 

Then Burges shall be sainted. 
There's neither cross nor crucifix 

Shall stand for men to see ; 
Rome's trash and trumpery shall go down. 

And hey then up go we ! 

Whate'er the popish hands have built. 

Our hammers shall undo ; 
We'll break their pipes, and burn their copes. 

And burn down churches too. 

TJu Rising in I'ji^. 1 79 

We'll exercise within the groves, 

And preach beneath the tree ; 
We'll make a pulpit of a cask, 

And hey then up go we ! 

We'll down with all the 'Versities, 

Where learning is profest, 
Because they practise and maintain 

The language of the Beast. 
We'll drive the doctors out of doors 

And parts, whate'er they be ; 
We'll cry all arts and learning down, 

And hey then up go we ! 

We'll down with deans and prebends too, 

And I rejoice to tell ye. 
How that we will eat pigs at will, 

And capons by the belly. 
We'll burn the fathers' learned books. 

And make the schoolmen flee ; 
We'll down with all that smells of wit, 

And hey then up go we ! " * 

Of the rising in 17 15 — "a lamentable failure," as Green 
has it, " from the cowardice and want of conduct in the 
Elarl of Mar " — only two echoes still linger pleasantly in the 
general ear. The first is a humorous description of the 
battle of Sheriffmuir, near Dunblane, in November 1715, 
which may serve as a model for all time of that equivocal 
style of battle in which both parties gain a partial victory 
* Hogg, vol. i. p. 15. 


Jacobite Ballads. 

and both bear a partial loss \ and of which the result is to be 
sought for, not on the scene of contest, but on the move- 
ments which follow. A drawn battle to-day becomes a 
ruinous defeat to-morrow, when the party whose interests 
required him to advance, or to maintain his ground, is 
obliged to retreat. The words that have obtained the 
largest currency are by Burns ; though those who are 
curious about minute traits of historical verity will no 
doubt prefer the older version, with which Hogg's second 
volume takes its start : — 


The Battle of Sheriffmuir. 

T— K X— W .. 1 — N 





O cam' youhere the fight to shun, Or herd the sheep wi' me, man ; Or 

was ye at the Sher - ra-muir, And did the bat - tie see, man ? 

> ^_ »_»__,IL 

saw the bat -tie, sairand teuch,And reek-in' red ran mo-ny asheuch,My 




heart, for fear, ga'e sough for sough. To hear the thuds, and see the cluds, C 
_b_ - , (• M I ^^ m-x—m-. — • — F- 



clans frae wuds, in tar - tan duds, Whaglaum'dat kingdoms three, man. Huh ! 






hey dum dir-rum, hey dum dan.Huh! hey dum dir-rum dey dan; Huh! 




hey dum dir-rum, hey dum dan, Huh! hey dum dir-rum dey dan. 

" The Battle of Sheriffimiirr 1 8 1 

The red-coat lads wi' black cockades, 

To meet them werena slaw, man ; 
They rush'd, and push'd, and bluid out gush'd, 

And mony a bouk did fa', man. 
The great Argyle led on his files, 
I wat they glanced twenty miles. 
They hough'd the clans like nine-pin kyles ; 
They hack'd and hash'd, while broadswords clash'd, 
And through they dash'd, and hew'd and smash'd, 

Till feymen died awa', man, 
Huh ! hey, &c. 

But had you seen the philabegs, 

And skyrin' tartan trews, man. 
When in the teeth they daur'd our Whigs, 

And Covenant true-blues, man. 
In lines extended lang and large, 
When bayonets opposed the targe. 
And thousands hastened to the charge ; 
Wi' Highland wrath, they frae the sheath 
Drew blades o' death, till out o' breath, 

They fled like frighted doos, man. 
Huh ! hey, &c. 

O, how de'il, Tarn, can that be true ? 

The chase gaed frae the north, man ; 
I saw mysel' they did pursue 

The horsemen back to Forth, man. 
And at Dunblane, in my ain sight, 
They took the brig wi' a' their might, 
And straught to Stirling wing'd their flight. 
But, cursed lot, the gates were shut. 
And mony a huntit puir red-coat, 

For fear amaist did swarf, man. 
Huh ! hey, &c. 

1 82 Jacobite Ballads. 

My sister Kate cam' up the gate 

Wi' crowdie unto me, man ; 
She swore she saw some rebels run 

To Perth and to Dundee, man. 
Their left-hand general had nae skill. 
The Angus lads had nae guid-will 
That day their neighbours' bluid to spill ; 
For fear, by foes, that they should lose 
Their cogs o' brose, they scared at blows. 

And hameward fast did flee, man. 
Huh ! hey, &c. 

They've lost some gallant gentlemen 

Amang the Highland clans, man ; 
I fear my Lord Panmure is slain. 

Or in his enemies' hands, man. 
Now wad ye sing this double fight. 
Some fell for wrang, and some for right ; 
And mony bade the world guid night. 
Say pell and mell, wi' musket knell. 
How Tories fell, and Whigs to hell 

Flew aff in frighted bands, man. 
Huh ! hey, &c. 

The next lyrical memorial of that crude adventure, " Ken- 
mure's on an' awa','' takes its present form also from our 
great ploughman - bard ; and has for its hero, William 
Gordon, Viscount Kenmure, who, while the Earl of Mar 
was raising the Stuart standard in the North, conceited 
himself strong enough to make a dash from Galloway into 
Lancashire, where he paid for his folly by being taken 

" Kenimires on an azva\ Willie.'' 


prisoner at Preston, and thence conducted to London, 
where he suffered the inglorious martyrdom that follows 
gallantry without policy, by laying his head beneath the 
axe of the executioner on Tower Hill, in November 
1716 : — 

O Kenmure's on an' aw a', Willie. 

wa ; And Kenmure's lord's the brav-est lord That e - ver Gal - loway 

Sue -cess to Kenmure's band, Wil-He, Suc-cess to Kenmure's 

band; There's no' a heart that fears a Whig.That rides by Kenmure's hand. 

Here's Kenmure's health in wine, Willie, 

Here's Kenmure's health in wine ; 
There ne'er was a coward o' Kenmure's bluid, 

Nor yet o' Gordon's line. 
O Kenmure's lads are men, Willie, 

O Kenmure's lads are men ; 
Their hearts and swords are metal true. 

And that their faes shall ken. 

They'll live or die wi* fame, Willie, 
They'll live or die wi' fame ; 

But soon wi' sounding victory 
May Kenmure's lord come hame. 

184 Jacobite Ballads. 

Here's him that's far awa,' Willie, 

Here's him that's far awa' ; 
And here's the flow'r that I lo'e best, 

The rose that's like the snaw.^ 

We shall now cast a hasty glance over the remarkable 
series of events in the rising of the '45, of which the Jacobite 
ballads are the lyrical commentary ; but, before doing this, 
we must give a distinct recognition to one of the most 
popular of those ballads, which stands in the anomalous 
position of being associated in the popular ear with " the 
year of Charlie," but without any historical warrant for such 
fellowship. We allude to " The Ronnie House o' Airlie," 
a ballad which describes an attack made by the Campbells 
from the West country, stout adherents of Scottish Liberal- 
ism in Church and State, against the Ogilvies in the East, 
equally noted for their loyalty to the Stuarts; an attack, 
however, of which no trace is found in the familiar record 
of the '45. We are therefore forced to recognise here one 
of the common tricks of the traditional memory of the 
common people, in virtue of which, historical events of a 
kindred hue and drift are massed round some central 
figure that happens to stand most prominent in the cycle 
of events to which it belongs. In this way, as Hogg 
informs us, an attack made by the Marquis of Argyll 
against the castle of Airlie in the year 1640, at the instance 
^ See the song " The Snow-white Rose." J. Muir Wood, Glasgow. 

TJie Bonnie House d Airlier 


of the Estates of the Scottish Parliament, in order to punish 
Lord Ogilvie for refusing to subscribe to the Covenant, was 
by the popular imagination uprooted from its native soil, 
and made to form part of a cognate drama that happened 
a hundred and five years afterwards ; possibly on no more 
profound suggestion than the easy rhyme that the familiar 
name of the Prince formed with the old castle of the 
Ogilvies. Of this beautiful ballad, distinguished even 
among the distinguished company to which it belongs, by 
its dramatic picturesqueness, and the alternation of vigour 
and pathos which it presents, there exists, as was to have 
been expected from its equivocal birth, a variety of versions ; 
but the best for singing purposes is, I think, that given in 
* The Lyric Gems of Scotland,' and which follows here : — 

The Bonnie House o' Airlie. 

dans were a' 

Char - lie, That there fell oot a great dis-pute, Be- 

tween Ar-gyft and Air •He. Ar-gyll hasrais'd a hundred o' his men, To 

in the mom - ing 

• ly, And he has gane down by the 

back o' Dan-lceld, To plun^der the bon>nic house o' Air • lie. 

1 86 Jacobite Ballads. 

Lady Ogilvie look'd frae her high castle wa', 

And O but she sighed sairly, 
To see Argyll and a' his men 

Come to plunder the bonnie house o' Airlie. 
" Come doon, come doon, Lady Ogilvie," he cried, 

" Come doon and kiss me fairly, 
Or ere the morning daylight dawn 

I'll no' leave a standing stane in Airlie." 

" I wadna come doon, proud Argyll," she cried, 

" I wadna kiss thee fairly ; 
I wadna come doon, thou false lord," she cried, 

"Tho' ye leave na a standing stane in Airlie. 
But were my ain gude lord at hame, 

As this night he's wi' Charlie, 
It's nae Argyll nor a' his men 

Durst plant a foot within the ha' o' Airlie. 

O I hae born him seven bonnie sons, 

The last ne'er saw his daddie, 
But gin I had as mony o'er again 

They su'd a' gang and serve Prince Charlie." 
Argyll in a rage attacked the bonnie ha', 

And his men to the plundering fairly, 
And tears tho' he saw like dew-draps fa', 

In a lowe he set the bonnie house o' Airlie. 

"What lowe is yon ?" quo' the gude Lochiel, 

" That rises this morning sae early ; " 
" By the God o' my kin," cried the young Ogilvie, 

" It's my ain bonnie house o' Airlie. 
It's no' my bonnie house, nor my lands a' reft, 

That grieves my heart sae sairly, 
It's for my winsome wife, and the sweet babes I left, 

They'll be smor'd in the dark reek o' Airlie." 

The Rising of the 1 745 . 187 

" Draw your dirks, draw your dirks," cried the brave Lochiel, 

** Unsheath your swords," cried Charlie, 
" And we'll kindle sic a lowe round the false Argyll, 

And licht it wi' a spark out o' Airlie." 

The motive forces which gave rise to the rebellion of 
the '45 lie on the surface. Nothing comes more easily 
to human beings than, while they fret against the discom- 
forts of the present, to feed on the glories of the past real 
or imaginary, and to revel in the prospect of a more con- 
genial future. To this, in the case of a dethroned dynasty, 
must be added the reverential affection of a dissentient 
party, which will always exist, and which, while it exists, 
will serve as a convenient nucleus round which less noble 
elements of dissatisfaction may cluster. In this way it was 
natural that the Highlanders, who had never felt strongly 
the pressure of the Stuart despotism, and who, moreover, 
from the inspiration of the clan system, were royalists and 
legitimists, while magnifying the stupidities and vexations 
of the Hanoverian Government, should forget the blessings 
that came in with the dethronement of James, and promise 
to themselves a sort of political millennium with the resto- 
ration of the exiled race. Not a few of them also were 
Catholics ; and the man who honestly believes in ecclesi- 
astical absolutism, is always sure to prefer the divine right 
of kings to any governmental arrangement that savours 

1 88 Jacobite Ballads. 

of a social contract. Not a few Episcopalians also, as 
claiming cousinship with the Bishop of Rome, and dis- 
owning all alliance with priestless Presbyterianism, what- 
ever their political principles might be, could not but 
secretly wish for the success of a despotism which used its 
divine right to exalt their party and to humiliate the adverse. 
These considerations, no doubt, weighed with various 
persons and classes in the Lowlands, as well as far north 
among the granite Bens ; but the rising in favour of Charlie 
was nevertheless, both in soul and body, a Highland 
movement, and could not have advanced a single step 
out of its cradle had it been started in any other quarter. 
The men of the Pentlands, the Merse, and the straths of 
the South Highlands, and the moors of the West, had 
smarted too recently under the scourge of a graceless 
king, an unpatriotic court, and an unfeeling soldiery, to 
dream, even for a moment, of displacing the dull Hano- 
verian Government by a recall of the tiger fierceness and 
fox-like subtlety of the Stuarts. A few gallant cavaliers, 
fond of dashing adventure, and inspired by a traditional 
loyalty to a native race of kings, might picture it as a very 
brave business to recall an exiled prince and restore a 
disowned Government ; but the vague sentiment of loyalty 
to kingship and Stuarts, which set the Celtic fancy in a 
blaze, was in the Lowlands transformed into a firm convic- 

The Stuarts. 1 89 

tion that it was better to have no kingship at all, than such 
kings as Scotland had sent to England only to betray her 
trust and to trample on her independence. The Lowlanders 
had the living image before them of four kings of Scottish 
descent who, full of lofty conceit to acclimatise the oriental 
idea of absolute monarchy on European soil, had paid the 
penalty of their folly by decapitation and deportation : James 
I., a bookish pedant and a timid trickster, a man without 
any kingly quality, striving to undermine secretly the 
national faith which he had not the courage openly to 
attack; Charles I., a dignified gentleman and a good 
Christian, but with all his virtues persistent in his devout 
adherence to the dogma of a foolish father, and his stout 
blindness to the rights of a manly people; Charles II., 
the most easy-going, unprincipled of sensualists whose 
worthless souls ever died enswathed in Episcopacy and 
embalmed in Popery; and James II., the most narrow- 
minded religionist, the most intense stony-hearted bigot, 
and the most pig-headed blunderer that ever sat on a throne, 
— these were portraits of kingship that stood stark in all 
their staring lineaments in the picture-gallery of Lowland 
memories, when, in the spring of 1 745, the young grandson 
of this same blundering James conceived the idea of mak- 
ing a descent on his ancestral home, and a dash on the 
British cro\ni. Of course, in the face of such memories, 

1 90 Jacobite Ballads. 

strong not in Presbyterian Scotland only, but generally 
in Episcopal England, he could not succeed. Even with 
the whole Highlands at his back — had he been able to get 
that instead of the section which actually adhered to him — 
success was impossible ; and we may safely assert that no 
mihtary expedition was ever more false in principle, more ill- 
advised in policy, and more ruinous in its results than the 
Stuart rising of 1 745. And yet none was ever more brilliant, 
more picturesque, more poetical in its progress, or more 
permanently popular in its lyrical expression. No national 
songs ever were so pervasive, so dramatic, so pathetic at 
once and so humorous, as the Jacobite ballads ; none ever 
so rich and so exuberant; the lyrical growth which grew 
directly out of the events having been succeeded by a rich 
after-growth of cognate inspiration for at least two genera- 
tions. How was this? For two reasons : first because their 
inspiration, though going in the teeth of all sound judg- 
ment and all probable calculation, was in the highest degree 
noble, chivalrous, devoted, and self-sacrificing. No doubt 
we should have felt a more deep-rooted satisfaction in 
singing these songs, if, as at Bannockburn in 13 14, and 
at Leipzig in 18 13, the cause had been as good as the 
venture was noble ; but, in one view, the want of wisdom 
in the policy only sets in a stronger light the unselfishness 
and the loyalty of the persons who, in a cause which 

Poetry and Policy. 191 

seemed to ihem so sacred, were forward to hope against 
hope, and to believe that political, like religious faith, on 
great occasions may prevail to remove mountains, and who 
flung their lives into the scale with a grand confidence in 
the feeling that, as Burns has it — 

"The heart's aye 
The part aye 
That makes us richt or vvrang." 

Few things, indeed, are more difficult to reconcile on 
slippery occasions than sentiment and policy ; and so it 
may come to pass that, while sound policy, as in the case 
of Queen Elizabeth, may be so utterly destitute of any 
noble element as to create a certain moral revulsion rather 
than the admiration which it claims, nobility of senti- 
ment and gallantry of conduct will be readily accepted as 
a sufficient compensation for the worthlessness of the cause 
in which they have been enlisted, and the fatal conse- 
quences which they have entailed. Certain in this case 
it is, that the good of the inspiring principle remains to all 
ages, while the evil of the accidental misapplication is for- 
gotten or condoned ; and thus the breeze of loyalty, which 
blows with such exuberant freshness in the Jacobite 
ballads, will continue to fan the best sentiments of public 
life in the British breast long after the blindness that caused 
them or the blood that followed them shall have been 

192 Jacobite Ballads, 

forgotten. And another reason that has given the lyrical 
memorials of the '45 so striking a dramatic effect, so 
well-rounded a dramatic completeness, and such an un- 
disputed sway over the hearts of all lovers of national song, 
is that they naturally disposed themselves round a central 
figure in the highest degree attractive by his person, by his 
station, by his conduct, by the memory of past misfortune 
and the hope of imminent success. Without such a cen- 
tral figure no career of military achievement, however 
glorious, can shape for itself an enduring place in the 
poetical literature of its country. Such a figure to the 
English in our naval warfare was Nelson, to the French 
Napoleon, to the Germans in the Liberation war Bliicher, 
to the Italians Garibaldi ; but none of these typical men 
of the people, though superior in not a few other respects, 
were, from an sesthetical point of view, so well equipped 
as Prince Charlie, with all the trappings that belong to 
a grand cycle of patriotic song and military adventure. 

Prince Charlie landed at Arisaig on the 25th July i745j 
with a handful of adventurous adherents. He had touched 
at Eriskay, one of the southmost Hebrides, some days 
before; but found Clanranald there too well girt with 
the wisdom of caution to risk his life and the fate of the 
Highlands on such a miscalculated throw. At Arisaig he 
had a meeting with Lochiel, the head of the Cameron clan, 

Prince Charlie at Arisaig. 193 

mighty in those parts ; and here, in the face of wise advice 
to the contrary, he threw himself dramatically on the 
fidelity of his loyal Highlanders, and sentiment carried the 
day over policy. It required no divination, indeed, with 
a cool head, to see from the start that there was no hope 
of success in the business. One-half of the Highlands 
planted against nine-tenths of the Lowlands, and ninety- 
nine out of every hundred in England, was a game which 
might start with a brilliant dash of surprise, but could not 
end otherwise than with dire discomfiture and defeat. A 
very slight infusion of prudence might have taught the 
gallant young aspirant to a forfeited throne, that it was 
madness to attempt an expedition from the far north 
against the English throne without a combined movement 
from the east and south on the part of France. And, in 
fact, the sound instinct of the people had already sung — 

" When France had her assistance lent, 
A royal prince to Scotland sent, 

Welcome, Royal Charlie !" 

But it remained only a verse in a song; and the assist- 
ance, whether promised or not, never came. The only 
bit of calculation, or what looked like calculation, in the 
matter, was the fact that, when the Prince effected his 
landing on the extreme west nook of Scotland, the English 
army was engaged on the Continent in the entanglement of 


194 Jacobite Ballads. 

the Austrian succession war, caused by the death of the 
Emperor Charles VI. without male issue. But this was an 
advantage that could serve the young adventurer only at 
the start : the Duke of Cumberland, commander of the 
English army, who had been wounded at Dettingen, and 
fought with distinguished valour at Fontenoy about two 
months before the rising, could "come o'er the water" as 
well as Charlie ; and so he did in due season. Meanwhile, 
however, all England was in alarm j and Sir John Cope 
was sent up with what soldiers he could command, to 
meet the kilted insurgents in the north. But they were 
too many for him ; and besides, they were on their own 
ground, of which they were fully master. Sir John, finding 
the way blocked to Fort Augustus, turned off by a side 
route to Inverness; and from Inverness, where he found 
himself little more comfortable, turned back by sea to 
Dunbar ! Thus the way south was clear for Charlie ; and 
accordingly, marching through Atholl to Perth, he appeared 
at Doune on the Teith about the middle of September, 
and thence proceeded through Linlithgow to Edinburgh, 
entered Holyrood in triumph, and in a few days showed 
himself to admiring crowds of his countrymen on the top 
casement of the south-west tower of Holyrood Palace. 
Never first blow of a gallant insurrection was struck more 
brilliantly, or apparently with better promise of success; 

Prestoupans. 1 9 5 

but, as we have said, it was only a brilliant surprise and a 
sentimental show : the movement, as it started, so it re- 
mained, a Highland, not a Scotch business. Many were 
pleased to stare at the procession of red-lion banners and 
white-rose badges which rode gallantly down the Canon- 
gate, but who were too shrewd and too far-sighted, and, 
as true Scots, too cautious, to take any active part in an 
insurrection which, like the blaze of furze on fire in a 
hot summer day, rises with a sounding whiz, but soon 
crackles into ashes. However, Highlanders could not 
rise without giving the Saxons a very tangible token of 
the stuff of which they were made. Sir John Cope, acting 
unwisely on the defensive, found his men bowled down 
like ninepins before the sweep of the Gaelic claymore. 
Prestonpans proved that Highlanders could fight as well 
as sing, and were more than a match for the English red- 
coats even on their own low grounds. But brilliant as this 
stroke was, it was coincident with the first warning of the 
coming failure. The kilted host, so forward to strike a 
single effective blow, for a prolonged campaign wanted 
equipment, training, and perseverance. Prestonpans testi- 
fied loudly to the mettle of Highland soldiers; but Edinburgh 
Castle was not taken. After the battle Charles remained 
six weeks in Edinburgh, by an enforced delay no doubt, 
but not the less fatal. As the Duke of Wellington said, 

196 Jacobite Ballads. 

" time is everything in war ; " and the benefit of a surprise 
is lost when the surprised party has time to recover and 
take a sober view of the situation. It was soon apparent 
that the flashing suddenness of the start had left it without 
basis or bones. The young Chevalier, leaving Edinburgh 
in the hands of the Government, marched in three divi- 
sions — by Peebles, Hawick, and Kelso — to Carlisle, and 
entered that city, with the blast of pipers and the flash of 
claymores, in a fashion which made it more conspicuous 
than glorious in the annals of the Border. His victorious 
foot was now on English ground \ and the road to London 
through Lancashire, where the Catholic party was strong, 
to the fervid imagination of the princely adventurer 
seemed straight as an arrow. ' But the unsubstantial 
dreaminess of the assumption on which the insurrection 
had proceeded, now appeared in all the nakedness of fact. 
The march through Manchester by a sergeant, a drummer, 
and "a bonnie lassie," produced only the meagre result 
of 180 recruits, followed by an enforced show of tallow 
candles, called an illumination. From Manchester the 
route went straight to Derby; but here they stopped. 
They had reached the limit where daring self-confidence 
must give place to wise deUberation. They had hastily 
thrust themselves into the midst of an ordered array of 
legitimate force, gathering surely around them, and were in 

Falkirk and Culloden. 197 

a position where their only safety lay in retreat — and 
retreat in such circumstances meant defeat. Only the 
impetus of a continued advance could be strong enough 
to overcome resistance in a cause which had law, and habit, 
and sober-mindedness, and established force in its favour. 
The retreat was commenced forthwith, and Carlisle re- 
visited under very different auspices, and with very dif- 
ferent omens, from those which had accompanied its 
submission to the hundred pipers a few weeks before. 
Planting themselves on the high ground above Falkirk, 
the Prince's army made a stand, which his partial adherents 
at the moment might call a victory ; but a battle only half 
gained by one party, and only half lost by the other party, 
when followed by the retreat of the victorious party, as we 
had occasion to remark above, is virtually a defeat : the 
battle was not for a few acres of ground in the neighbour- 
hood of Falkirk, but for a permanent position to the 
claimant of the British crown, south of the Forth; and 
the going north to Inverness which soon followed, was 
certainly not the way to strike for a crown in London and 
to drive " the wee German lairdie " back to his Hanoverian 
kail-yard. Culloden followed; and what with superiority 
of numbers on the part of the Government, the power of 
artillery, the buffeting of the weather, and the want of a 
substantial breakfast, the Celtic claymore yielded to the 

igS Jacobite Ballads. 

Saxon bayonet. What remains is a scene of mingled 
sorrow and horror — sorrow which only song can beautify, 
and horror from which even prose revolts. Hounded from 
glen to glen and from isle to isle by the victorious royalists, 
inspired with all the fierceness which a civil strife so natu- 
rally engenders, the fugitive Prince owed his escape and 
his life to the fidelity and the honour so nobly rooted in 
the breast of the Highlander ; while of those who had most 
distinguished themselves in aiding and abetting his revolt, 
three notable persons — Lords Balmerino and Kilmarnock, 
and Fraser of Lovat — paid the penalty of their daring under 
the executioner's axe on Tower Hill. The bafiled Prince 
retired to France whence he came : there he found ample 
leisure to indulge no very pleasant meditations on the 
vanity of his own juvenile dream, and the ruin which his 
hasty romance had brought on his countrymen. Poets of 
strongly pronounced Jacobite tendencies have composed, 
and even in this nineteenth century may here and there com- 
pose, sympathetic ballads on his woful precipitation from so 
lofty a platform ; but Clio, the Muse of history, records 
her verdict with impartial pen — he hath reaped as he 
sowed. Pity in such case is human ; but Justice is divine. 
While the moral nobility and the lyrical virtue of his 
daring adventure remain with his followers, the shame 
and the penalty of his juvenile folly remain with himself. 

Lady Keith. 199 

So much for the historical sequence of facts, alongside of 
which the lyrical accompaniment arranges itself naturally in 
five divisions, thus, — (i) songs of expectation, invitation, 
and preparation ; (2) songs of welcome and gathering of 
the clans ; (3) songs of the different points of the military 
progress ; (4) songs of lamentation and wail for the sad 
issue of the rising; (5) songs of the bloody sequel. We 
shall give specimens of each division in their order. 

One of the best specimens of the first class, both for 
words and air, announces its character by its title, " When 
the King comes owre the Water." It was written by Lady 
Keith,' the mother of the famous Marshal Keith, or by 
some one in her name. She was a Drummond, daughter 
of the Elarl of Perth, and a Roman Catholic. Her son 
George, the elder brother of the Field - Marshal, was 
attainted for the share he took in the rebellion of 17 15, 
with whose attainder she lost her social status and dignity. 
No lady of the time had a better hereditary right to feel 
warmly in the cause of the old royal blood of Scotland ; 
for both her father's family and that of her husband traced 
their ancestral honours and their patriotic character back 
to the glorious field of Bannockbum. This very justifiable 
pride of ancestry shines clearly forth in the song : — 


Jacobite Ballads. 

When the King comes owre the Water. 

I may sit in my wee croo house, At the rock and the reel to 

_|^ ^ 1 N— Hv4- ~ 

sigh and sab till I grow wear-y. I ne'er could brook, I ne'er could 

smg a ran - tin' sang. That day our king comes owre the wa - ter. 

gin I live to see the day, 

Tliat I hae begg'd, and begg'd frae heaven, 
I'll fling my rock and reel away, 

And dance and sing frae morn till even : 
For there is ane I winna name, 

That comes the reigning bike to scatter ; 
And I'll put on my bridal gown, 

That day our king comes owre the water. 

1 hae seen the gude auld day, 

The day o' clans and chieftain glory. 
When royal Stuarts bore the sway, 

And ne'er heard tell o' Whig nor Tory. 
Though lyart be my locks and grey. 

And eild has crook'd me down — what matter.^ 
I'll dance and sing some ither day. 

That day our king comes owre the water. 

Prominence of the Ladies. 20 1 

A curse on dull and drawling Whig, 

The whining, ranting, low deceiver, 
Wi' heart sae black, and look sae big. 

And canting tongue o' clishmaclaver ! 
My father was a good lord's son, 

My mother was an earl's daughter. 
And I'll be Lady Keith again, 

That day our king comes owre the water. 

In connection with this song, a remark may be made which 
applies generally to the whole sentiment of the time and of 
the songs — viz., that the fair sex makes itself particularly 
prominent. In the lament, for instance, for Lord Max- 
well, who rose in the '15, and was enabled to make his 
escape from the Tower by the craft of his wife Lady Niths- 
dale, we find the lines — 

" O merry was the lilting amang our ladies a', 
They danced i' the parlour, and sang in the ha' — 
O Charlie he's come o'er, and he'll put the Whigs awa' !"* 

And when the head of the Clan M'Intosh refused to join 
the rising, we find that the lady of Moy herself came boldly 
forth at the head of two hundred gallant adherents. In 
the same chivalrous style, when the Prince made his pro- 
cession down the High Street, Lady Murray of Broughton, 
Peeblesshire, appeared on horseback profusely bedizened 
with white ribbons.^ But the great female protagonist of the 
* Hogg, vol. ii. p. 14. '•' Chambers, vol. i. p. 121. 

202 Jacobite Ballads. 

drama was a member of the gallant Clan Cameron, bearing 
the good Scotch Christian name of Jenny. This lady, when 
her nephew, a youth and a lad of small capacity, refused to 
follow the call of the chief, without a moment's hesitation 
took the cause into her own hand, and appeared in the 
headquarters of the Prince at the head of 250 well-armed 
men. She was dressed in a sea-green riding-habit, with 
a scarlet lapel trimmed with gold, her hair tied behind 
in loose buckles, with a velvet cap and scarlet feather ; she 
rode on a bay gelding decked with green furniture which 
was trimmed with gold ; and instead of a whip she carried a 
naked sword in her hand. The Prince, of course, received 
her with all courtesy, and she accompanied his army till 
their march into England ; joined it again at Annandale 
on their return from Derby; and being at the battle of 
Falkirk, she was taken prisoner there and committed to 
prison, from which, however, by some kindly personal inter- 
vention, aided by the grace of her virgin chivalry, she got 
free, and lived quietly on her nephew's estate till her death.^ 
It thus appears pretty plainly that the ladies were, from a 
Government point of view, the ringleaders of the Rebellion, 
and from a lyrical point of view, the breeze that blew up 
the flame of the patriotic rising.^ And the ladies had three 

1 Hogg, vol. ii. p. 351. 

2 Ibid., p. 290, Song xxxviii. 

Personal Charm of CJiarlie. 203 

good reasons, or at least fair pleas, for the part which they 
took in that notable exploit. For Charlie, in the first place, 
was, by universal testimony and by witness of well-known 
portraits, a handsome young man, described thus in one of 
the Gaelic songs : — 

" As he stood in the glen that brave young fellow, 
While streamed o'er his neck his locks so yellow, 
Like the call of the cuckoo in May month early 
Was the voice to me of bonnie Prince Charlie. 

Sweet was thy kiss like French wine glowing. 
Thy cheeks like bright berry on mountain growing, 
Thy full blue eye with eyebrows arched rarely : 
Who could behold and not follow Prince Charlie.'*"^ 

Again, Charlie was not only a handsome young man, but a 
handsome young prince ; and carried about with that addi- 
tion a fascination, a mingled charm of love and loyalty, to 
which the best specimens of the fair sex would be the first 
to yield. He was also an unfortunate prince, the son of 
an exiled father, bom and bred in the land of exile. But 
noble as this divine madness — Qda, fiavCa — for the hand- 
some prince certainly was, and admirable rather than 
blamable in the emotional breasts from which it proceeded, 
it was not to be expected that the sound-hearted, sober- 
minded, thoughtful, sagacious Presbyterians besouth the 

* Popular Songs of the Scotti&h Highlanders — in Macmillan's Maga< 
tine for August 1885— by J. S. B. 


Jacobite Ballads. 

Forth should allow themselves to be juggled out of their 
self-possession by a flash of Celtic fire of this description 
however brilliant. The women would go out, and wear 
the cockade, and see the show, and shout for the old Scot- 
tish throne ; but the " douce gudeman " sat at his fireside 
crooning to himself his neglected warnings, to the following 
tune : — 

The Women are a' gane Wud. 


The wo-men are a' gane wud ; O that he had bid-den a - wa' ! He's 

turn 'd their heads, the lad, And ru - in will bring on us a'. 

aye was a peace-a - ble man, My wife she diddouce-ly be-have; But 

Repeat Chorus. 

do a' that I can, She's just as wild as the lave. 

My wife she wears the cockade, 

Though she kens it's the thing that I hate ; 
There's ane too prinn'd on her maid, 

And baith will tak' the gate. 
The women are, &c. 

I've lived a' my days in the strath ; 

Now Tories infest me at hame ; 
An' though I tak' nae part at a', 

Baith sides do gie me the blame. 
The women are, &c. 

The Two Georges. 205 

The senseless creatures ne'er think 
What ill the lad will bring back ; 

We'll hae the Pope an' the de'il, 
An' a' the rest o' the pack. 
The women are, &c. 

The wild Highland lads they did pass, 

The yetts wide open they flee ; 
They ate the very house bare. 

An' ne'er speir'd leave o' me. 
The women are, &c. 

But when the red-coats gaed by. 
D'ye think they'd let them alane ? 

They a' the louder did cry — 

Prince Charlie will soon get his ain. 
The women are, &c. 

But if the loyal sentiment, of which women are the best 
exponents, must be set down as the great positive force 
that set the rising in motion, we must not omit to empha- 
sise the impulse given to this force by the want of any 
strong counteracting force from the side of the Government. 
As representative leaders of a great people, proud of the 
achievements of a noble ancestry, the Hanoverians were a 
complete failure. There was nothing kingly about them ; 
nothing to attract the popular eye or to stir the popular 
heart They were men sitting on a high seat called a 
throne, and nothing more. Hear how Green, in his great 
History, describes them : — 

2o6 Jacobite Ballads. 

" Both were honest and straightforward men, who frankly 
accepted the irksome position of Constitutional Kings. But 
neither had any qualities which could make their honesty 
attractive to the people at large. The temper of George the 
First was that of a Gentleman Usher, and his one care was 
to get money for himself and his favourites. The temper of 
George the Second was that of a drill-sergeant, who believed 
himself master of his realm,, while he repeated the lessons 
he had learned from his wife, and his wife had learned 
from the minister. Their Court is familiar enough in the 
witty Memoirs of the time, but as political figures the 
two Georges are almost absent from our history."^ 

And of the contempt felt by the Highlanders, accustomed 
as they were to follow the leading of men of real manhood 
and mettle, no better testimony can be given than we have 
in the popular humorous song of — 

The wee, wee German Lairdie. 



Wha the deil hae we got - ten for a king. But a wee, wee Ger - maii 


Lair-die ; Whenwegaedowretobringhimhame,Hewasdelvin'in hiskail-yardie. 

^ Green, vol. iv. p. 123. 

" TJie ivee^ wcc Gcnnmi Lairdic! 


He was sheughing kail, and lay - ing leeks, With-out the hose, and but the 

breeks.And up his beggar duds he cleeks, This wee, wee German Lair -die. 

And he's clappit down in our gudeman's chair, 

The wee, wee German Lairdie ; 
And he's brought fouth o' his foreign trash, 

And dibbled them in our yardie. 
He's pu'd the rose o' English clowns, 

And broken the harp o' Irish loons ; 
But our Scotch thistle will jag his thooms, 

This wee, wee German Lairdie. 

Come up amang our Hieland hills, 

Thou wee, wee German Lairdie, 
And see the Stuart's lang-kail thrive, 

They hae dibbled in our kail-yardie. 
But if a stock ye daur to pu'. 

Or haud the yokin' o' a plough. 
We'll break your sceptre owre your mou', 

Ye feckless German Lairdie. 

Auld Scotland, thou'rt owre cauld a hole, 

For nursin' siccan vermin ; 
But the very dogs in England's Court, 

They bark and howl in German. 
Then keep thy dibble in thy ain hand, 

And on their ain legs stoutly stand ; 
For wha the deil now claims your land. 

But a wee, wee German Lairdie. 

The soil being thus richly prepared by sour discontent on 


Jacobite Ballads. 

the negative side, and sweet hope on the positive, the in- 
vitation to the Prince to cross the water naturally comes 
next ; and some are so eager to see the Prince that they 
will not wait his coming, but will give the ferryman another 
halfpenny to " ferry them over to Charlie." Of the note 
of invitation two of the most popular specimens may 
suffice : — 

OwRE THE Water to Charlie. 


Come,boat me owre,comerowme owre,Comeboatme owreto Char - lie ; I'll 

gi'e John Ross an - ith - er bavv- bee To row me owre to Char -lie. We'll 

re the water, we'll owre the sea, We'll owre the wa-ter to Char-lie;Come 


weal, come woe, we'll ga-therand go, And live or die wi' Char -lie. 

It's weel I lo'e my Charlie's name, 
Though some there be abhor him ; 

But, oh ! to see Auld Nick gaun hame, 
And Charlie's faes before him. 
We'll owre the water, &c. 

I swear by moon and stars sae bright. 
And the sun that glances early ; 

If I had twenty thousand lives, 
I'd gie them a' for Charlie. 
We'll owre the water, &c. 

" Come o'er the Stream, Charlie^ 


I ance had sons, I now hae nane — 

I bred them, toiling sairly ; 
But I would bear them a' again, 

And lose them a' for Charlie. 
We'll owre the water, &c. 

The next is that commonly called "MacLean's Wel- 
come," though, strictly speaking, it is not a welcome to the 
Prince on landing, but an invitation to him to come where 
he will be sure of receiving a hearty welcome. The words 
are by Hogg — a free rendering, as he says, from the Gaelic. 
Hogg, like Scott, had a strong element in him of what we 
may call poetical Toryism, and the boon companions with 
whom he associated at Ambrose's Hotel and Tibbie Shiel's 
were all Tories of the same pleasant description ; and like 
Professor Aytoun, who followed on the same stage after- 
wards, it was the humour of these gentlemen to throw a loyal 
glamour over the stupidities, pedantries, and brutalities of 
the Stuarts, and represent them as alone worthy of every 
praise to which the healthy instincts of the country could 
give utterance : — 

Come o'er the Stream, Chaklii.. 

Come o'er tb«Mream, Charlie, dear Char-lie,breve Charlie, Come o'er the Mream, 


Jacobite Ballads. 

mak' your heart chee-rie, And wel- come our Char -lie and his loy-al train 

g — r- l ^ -^— -^ixig: 

Verses 2 &* 3 commence here. 






We'll bring down the red deer,vve'll bring down the black steer , The lamb from the 






1 ' 1- 

breck- an, and doe from the glen ; The salt sea we'll har - ry, and 

brinsc to our Char-lie, The cream from the bo - thy,and curdfromthe pen. 

Come o'er the stream.Char - lie, dear Char - lie, brave Char- lie, Come 

o'er the stream,Charlie,and dine wi' Mac-Lean; And tho' you be \vea-ry,we 



mak' your heart chee-rie. And wel-come our Char-lie and his roy-al train. 

And you shall drink freely the dews of Glen Sheerly, 
That stream in the starlight, when kings dinna ken ; 

And deep be your meed of the wine that is red, 
To drink to your sire and his friend the MacLean. 
Come o'er the stream, &:c. 

If aught will invite you, or more will delight you, 
'Tis ready — a troop of our bold Highlandmen 

Shall range on the heather, with bonnet and feather, 
Strong arms and broad claymores, three hundred and ten. 
Come o'er the stream, &c. 

We now come to the real hand-to-hand welcome. 
Charlie stands on Celtic ground at Arisaig, and the chorus 

Welcome, Royal Cliarlie" 


of applausive reception leaps vigorously from rock to rock 
and from creek to creek, as follows : — 

Welcome, Royal Charlie. 

When Fiancehadher as-sist-ancelent, A roy -al prince to Scotland sent ; Then 

to the north his course he bent, Hi< name was Roy - al Char -lie. 

But, O ! he was lang o* com - in', Lang, lang, lang o* com • in', 

a tempo, f 

OI he was lang o' com - in' I Wei -come, Roy - al Char - lie ! 

When he on Moidart's shore did stand, 
The friends he had within the land 
Came down and shook him by the hand. 
And welcomed Royal Charlie. 
An' O ! yeVe been lang o' comin', 
Lang, lang, lang o' comin' ; 
O ! he was lang o' comin', 
Welcome, Royal Charlie ! 

The dress that our Prince Charlie had. 
Was bonnet blue and tartan plaid ; 
And O he was a handsome lad, 
A true king's son was Charlie. 
But O ! he was lango' comin', 
Lang, lang, lang, o' comin'. 
Oh ! he was lang o' comin', 
Welcome, Royal Charlie ! 


Jacobite Ballads. 

These verses — for there are many words to the same 
tune, and in the same dramatic attitude — are particularly 
interesting, as showing in the very first line the false notion 
from which the insurrection started, that there was to be 
a combined movement of the Highlanders and the French; 
and, in the last stanza, the impression of princely dignity 
and manly beauty made by the Prince. The same charm 
of personal appearance, and its effect on the loyal young 
ladies wherever he showed himself, is effectively expressed 
in a song of very amphibious parentage : ^ — 

Charlie is my Darling. 

/-^ Chorus. 


Oh ! Char - lie is my dar - ling, my dar - ling, my dar - ling ; Oh ! 




Char - lie is my dar - ling, The young Che - va - lier. 






-t>» ^- '■ ^ — '-^ hi*- 

I. 'Twas on a Mon - day morn - in' Richt ear - ly in the year, When 

roll, e dim. ^-^ D.C. 

Char -lie cam' to our toon, The young Che - va - lier. Cho. 

As he cam' marchin' up the street, 
The pipes played lood an' clear, 
An' a' the folk cam' rinnin' oot 
To meet the Chevalier. 

Oh ! Charlie is my darling, &c. 

^ Balmoral Scottish Songs, p. 221. 

" W/ia wadna fight for Charlie ?" 213 

Wi' Hieland bonnets on their heads, 
An' claymores bricht an' clear, 
They cam' to fecht for Scotland's richt, 
An' the young.Chevalier. 

Oh ! Charlie is my darling, &c. 

The/ve left their bonnie Hieland hills, 
Their wives an' bairnies dear, 
To draw the sword for Scotland's lord, 
The young Chevalier. 

Oh ! Charlie is my darling, &c. 

Oh ! there were mony beatin' hearts, 
An' mony hopes an' fears ; 
An' mony were the prayers put up 
For the young Chevalier. 
Oh ! Charlie is my darling, &c. 

The enthusiasm with which the war-cry was raised, the 
fervid soul of loyalty which would have secured victory 
against great odds, had victory been possible, comes strongly 
out in the two following ballads, the first from Buchan, 
a district of Aberdeenshire long famed for its Episcopal 
proclivities and Episcopal genius:^ — 

Wha wadna fight for Charlie? 

Wba wad • oa ap and ral • ly At the roy • al prio - ce 'sword f 

1 See Btrds of Bon Accord, by Walker, 1S87* P- 1^4' 


Jacobite Ballads. 

Think on Sco - tia's an -cient he -roes, Think on fo - reign foes re-pell'd 

Think on glo - rious Bruce and Wal-lace, Wha the proud u- surp-ers quell'd. 

:^z:=tf=z=:g--f — *- _? ta- 


Wha wad - na fight for Char - lie ? Wha wad - na draw the sword ? 


WL K — 1 W- ' ^ <^ » " 

.Wha wad - na up and ral - ly At the roy - al prin - ce's word ? 

Rouse, rouse, ye kilted warriors ! 

Rouse, ye heroes of the north ! 
Rouse, and join your chieftain's banners, — 

'Tis your prince that leads you forth. 
Shall we basely crouch to tyrants ? 

Shall we own a foreign sway ? 
Shall a royal Stuart be banish'd, 

While a stranger rules the day ? 
Wha wadna fight, &c. 

See the northern clans advancing, 

See Glengarry and Lochiel ; 
See the brandish'd broadswords glancing, 

Highland hearts are true as steel. 
Now our prince has raised his banner. 

Now triumphant is our cause ; 
Now the Scottish lion rallies — 

Let us strike for prince and laws. 
Wha wadna fight, &c. 

Wka'll be King but Charlie ?" 215 

Wha'll be King but Charlie? 

The news frae Moidart cam' yestreen, Will soon gar mo- ny fer - lie, For 

^ , • ^ T-T— I- 

ships o' war ha'e just come in, And land-ed Roy - al Char -lie. Come 

-I .^ .: , 1 1: .^ n 1- 

throughthe heather, a- round him ga- ther.Ye're a' the wel-com-er 

ear- ly ; A-round him cling,wi' a' your kin; For wha'll be king but Charlie? 
J .^-.^ ,-4. 

Come through the heather,around him gather ;Come Ronald, come Donald,come a" the- 

" 4- 

gither,And claim your rightfu', law- fu' king, For wha'll be king but Char-lie ? 

The Highland clans wi' sword in hand, 
Frae John o' Groat's to Airly, 

Hae to a man declared to stand 
Or fa' wi' Royal Charlie. 
Come through the heather, &c. 

The Lowlands a', baith great an' sma', 
Wi' mony a lord an' laird, hae 

Declared for Scotia's king an' law. 
An' speir ye wha, but Charlie ? 
Come through the heather, &c. 

There's ne'er a lass in a' the land, 
But vows baith late an' early. 

2 1 6 Jacobite Ballads. 

To man she'll ne'er gie heart or han' 
Wha wadna fecht for Charlie. 
Come through the heather, &c. 

Then here's a health to Charlie's cause, 

An' be't complete an' early ; 
His very name our heart's blood warms, 

To arms for Royal Charlie. 
Come through the heather, &c. 

Perhaps the best specimen of the gathering-song proper 
is that of the " McDonald's Gathering," in Hogg, vol. ii. 
p. 84, containing the verse — 

" Gather, gather, gather ! 
From Loch Morar to Argyle. 
Come from Castle Tuirim, 
Come from Moidart and the Isles." 

But as that has not obtained any general hold of the 
popular ear, we shall let it pass. In the ' Songs of the 
North,' dedicated to her Majesty Queen Victoria, and put 
forth under the editorship of Harold Boulton and a 
daughter of the late Dr Norman Macleod, and the musical 
direction of Malcolm Lawson, there is a very brisk and 
lively song of the rising, giving to the Macdonalds of 
Glencoe the prominent place which their traditions as- 
signed them in the ranks of Highland loyalty. The Gaelic 
title of this song, " Gabhaidh Sinn an Rathad Mor,^ has 

" Gabhaidh Sinn an Rathad Mor! 


been almost literally preserved in the English version, " We 
¥dll take the Good Old Way." The English rendering of 
the song is from the hand of the Rev. Dr Alexander 
Stewart of Nether Lochaber, a gentleman well known in 
the literary circles of the North, not more for his remark- 
able wealth of popular tradition, than for his nice observa- 
tion of nature and the ways of beasts and birds in the 
picturesque regions where he exercises his Presbyterian 
episcopate : — 

Gabhaidh Sinn an Rathad Mor.^ 

-^ c e: hi — * k: ^— /->\-i 4t 

Let Mac- in- tyres say what they may, Let Mac - in - tyres say 

what they may : We'll take and keep the good old way, Let them say their 

good old way, Take and keep the good old way, Let them say their will, O ! 

Up the Steep and heathery Ben, 
Down the bonnie winding glen, 
We march a band of loyal men, 
Let them say their will, O ! 
We will take, &c. 

^ Air inserted here by kind pennission of Field & Tuer, Leadenhall 
Street, London. 

2 1 8 Jacobite Ballads. 

We will march adown Glencoe, 
We will march adown Glencoe, 
By the ferry we will go, 
Let them say their will, O ! 
We will take, &c. 

To Glengarry and Lochiel, 
Loyal hearts with arms of steel, 
These will back you in the field. 
Let them say their will, O ! 
We will take, &c. 

Cluny will come down the brae, 
Keppoch bold will lead the way, 
Toss thine antlers Cabar Feidh,^ 
Let them say their will, O ! 
We will take, &c. 

Forward, sons of bold Rob Roy ! 
Stewarts — conflict is your joy ; 
We'll stand together /^z/r le Roy, 
Let them say their will, O ! 
We will take, &c. 

But certainly the most popular and the most widely sung 
of the gathering-songs is that which belongs to the Athole 
district, and to the Murrays, who took a leading part in the 
insurrection. Lord George Murray, indeed, the direct an- 
cestor of the present Duke of Athole, was Lieutenant-General 
of the Prince's army, and approved himself through the 

1 The Mackenzies designated here, from the stag's head on their 
scutcheon. Cabar, a rafter or antler ; zxid.feidh, a deer. 

''Cam'yeby Ai/iol?" 


campaign as admirably qualified for such a responsible 
post. The song "Cam' ye by Athol?" owes great part 
of its popularity, no doubt, to the combination of musical 
and poetical genius from which it drew its birth. Like 
not a few others of the best-known Jacobite songs, though 
its inspiration came from the Highlands, its cradle was in 
the Lowlands ; the contagion of that right chivalrous loyalty 
having acted so powerfully on the Scottish mind, that for 
more than one generation after the date of the dashing 
adventure, the patriotic pulse was strong enough to shape 
forth not a few songful utterances, not less genuine and 
not less vivid than the sparks which were shot directly from 
the glowing furnace of the collision. The musical artist 
who allied himself with the Ettrick Shepherd to give 
immortality to the chivalrous loyalty of the lords of 
Athole, was himself a Perthshire man, being the youngest 
son of Neil Gow, the distinguished violinist, contemporary 
of Bums, and of whom our great master of song makes 
honourable mention in his Highland tour : — 

Cam' ye by Athol? 

Cam' ye by A • thol.Ud wt' the phi • la-beg, Down by the Tummel, or 

banks o' the Gar-r>'? Saw ye tlie lads wi' their bon*neU 


Jacobite Ballads. 

Fol - low thee.fol - low thee, wha wadna fol - low thee ? Lang hast thou 

lo'ed an' trust - ed us fair - ly ! Char- lie, Char- lie, wha wadna 
rail. ,-^ a tempo. 

fol - low thee ? King o' the Highland hearts, bon- nie Prince Char - lie. 

I hae but ae son, my gallant young Donald ; 

But if I had ten they should follow Glengarry ; 
Health to Macdonald and gallant Clanronald, 

For these are the men that will die for their Charlie. 
Follow thee, follow thee, &c. 

I'll to Lochiel and Appin, and kneel to them ; 

Down by Lord Murray and Roy of Kildarlie ; 
Brave Mackintosh, he shall fly to the field wi' them ; 

These are the lads I can trust wi' my Charlie. 
Follow thee, follow thee, &c. 

Down through the Lowlands, down wi' the Whigamore, 
Loyal true Highlanders, down wi' them rarely ; 

Ronald and Donald drive on wi' the braid claymore, 
Over the necks of the foes of Prince Charlie. 
Follow thee, follow thee, &c. 

As an interesting pendant to these gathering-songs we 
may place here the popular song written by a Banffshire 
Roman Catholic, Bishop Alexander Geddes, contemporary 
of Burns : — 

" send Lewie Gordon Hamcr 


O SEND Lewie Gordon Hame. 

O send Lew - ie Gor - don hame, And the lad I daur - na name ; 

Though his baclc be at the wa', Here's to him that's far a - wa. 

0-hon! my High- land -man; Oh! my bon - nie High - land - man. 

Wcel wad I my true love ken A - mang ten thou-sand Highlandmen. 

Oh ! to see his tartan trews, 
Bonnet blue, and laigh-heel'd shoes, 
Philabeg aboon his knee, 
That's the lad that I'll gang wi*, 
Ohon ! my Highlandman, &c. 

Princely youth, of whom I sing, 
Thou wert born to be a king ; 
On thy breast a royal star 
Shines on Highland hearts afar. 
Ohon ! my Highlandman, &c. 

Oh ! to see the princely one 
Seated on a royal throne ; 
Disasters a' would disappear, 
Then begins the jubilee year. 
Ohon ! my Highlandman, &c. 

The person thus eagerly invited to join the great rising 
was a younger brother of the then Duke of Gordon, and 
had been bred to the sea ; but on the breaking out of the 
rebellion, he left the naval service, joined the Prince's 

222 Jacobite Ballads. 

standard, fought at Culloden, and surviving that tragic 
business, retired to France, where he died not long after. 
We now come to the serious part of the business — to 
hard blows and bloody battles ; but, though every step in 
the military progress is faithfully recorded in the ballads of 
the day, we must not expect to find here the same rich 
material for popular singing as in the events that precede 
and follow the great battles. It is for military history to 
deal with the strategic movements that bring on a great 
battle, and with the tactical movements which decide it; 
but it is in the incidents that rise out of a war, strongly 
marked by personal character and dramatic situation, that 
the popular song finds its themes ready-made. We shall 
not, therefore, be surprised to find that the first great stroke 
of success in Charlie's progress, the battle of Prestonpans, 
fell more naturally into the hands of the jocund Thalia, and 
the mocking Momus of popular humour, than of any more 
dignified Muse. That the trained troops of a great power 
like England should have been blown about like straw 
before the apparition of a yellow-haired laddie of no ex- 
perience in warfare, a hasty rush of kilted mountaineers, 
and a savage blast of screeching bagpipes, could afford 
material for nothing but a burst of broad popular humour ; 
and such it accordingly received. Sir John Cope might 
have been a very respectable man, and a good soldier for 

''Johnnie Coper 


common occasions ; but the popular Muse judges of char- 
acter, as schoolmasters are paid under the existing Code, 
by results ; and the result here was destined simply to be 
that the king's champion, after much preparation, marching 
and countermarching, found himself planted face to face 
with his insurrectionary antagonist, only to run away. On 
the morning of the i8th September, three days before the 
battle, Cope was at Dunbar, on the coast, nearly thirty 
miles east from Edinburgh ; and from this point the popular 
song introduces him as sending a challenge to the Prince, 
who was stationed at Prestonpans, a small town on the 
Firth of Forth, about ten miles east of Edinburgh. The 
allusion in the refrain is to the coal-mines at Tranent, in 
the neighbourhood of Prestonpans ; and the author of the 
song, Adam Skirving, a farmer in the district, humorously 
supposes one of the miners of the neighbourhood being in 
a greater hurry to go to his daily underground task, than 
the king's general was to leave his bed and do his military 
duty. Here follows the song : — 

Johnnie Cope. 

meet me gin ye daur. And III show yon the art o* war, If you'll 


Jacobite Ballads. 

1 ^ 

meet me in the morn - ing. Then hey ! John-nie Cope, are ye 

wauk-ing yet? Or are your drums a - beat - ing yet? If 

ye were wauking I would wait, To gang to the coals i' the morning. 

When Charlie look'd the letter upon, 
He drew his sword the scabbard from ; 
" Come, follow me, my merry, merry men, 
And we'll meet Johnnie Cope i' the morning." 
Hey! Johnnie Cope, &c. 

When Johnnie Cope he heard o' this, 
He thought it wadna be amiss 
To hae a horse in readiness. 
To flee awa' i' the morning. 
Hey! Johnnie Cope, &c. 

Fy, Johnnie ! now get up and rin, 
The bagpipes mak' an unco din ; 
It's best to sleep in a hale skin, 
For 'twill be a bluidy morning. 
Hey! Johnnie Cope, &c. 

When Johnnie Cope to Dunbar came. 
They speir'd at him, where's a' your men ? 
" The de'il confound me gin I ken, 
For I left them a' i' the morning." 
Hey! Johnnie Cope, &c. 

" Now, Johnnie, troth ye werena blate, 
To come wi' the news o' your ain defeat, 

''Johnnie Cope!' 225 

And leave your men in sic a strait, 
Sae early i' the morning." 
Hey! Johnnie Cope, &c. 

" r faith," quo' Johnnie, " I got a fleg, 
Wi' their lang claymores and philabegs ; 
If I face them again, de'il break my legs, 
Sae I wish you a guid morning." 
Hey ! Johnnie Cope, are ye wauking yet? 

Or are your drums a-beating yet? 
If ye were wauking I would wait. 
To gang to the coals i' the morning. 

The next stage in the progress is Carlisle, where, however, 
after a short show of resistance, the white flag was displayed, 
the gates opened, and the castle surrendered, and the 
mayor, like Sir John Cope, dishonourably immortalised 
in the popular ballad : — 

" O Pattison, ohone ! ohone ! 

Thou wonder of a mayor ! 
Thou blest thy lot thou wert no Scot, 

And bluster'd like a player. 
What hast thou done with sword or gun 

To baffle the Pretender? 
Of mouldy cheese and bacon grease 

Thou much more fit defender." * 

But the real lyrical gem of this stage of the progress is the 
favourite song of— 

' Hogg, vol. ii. p. 135. 



Jacobite Ballads. 

The Hundred Pipers.^ 


— N h s 

:q s — ^ — iszqi^ 

-i-*'— ST--* 

3^^ES E^ 

Wi' a hun-dred pi -pers, an' a', an' a', Wi' a hun-dred pi-pers an' 

a', an' a'; We'll up and gi'e them a blaw, a blaw, Wi' a hun-dred 

owre the Bor-der, a - wa', a - wa'; We'll on an' we'll march to Car -lisle 

Chorus after each Verse. 

ha', Wi' its yetts, its cas - tie, an' a', an' a'. Wi' a hun-dred pi-pers, an 

a', an' a', Wi' a hun - dred pi-pers, an' a', an' a', We'll up an' 

=1^n — g =g4=^ J—: 

:g — » ^ g 1 I — I -* — * 

i'e them a blaw, a blaw, Wi' a hun-dred pi-pers, an' a', an' a' 

Oh ! our sodger lads look'd braw, look'd braw, 
Wi' their tartans, kilt, an' a', an' a', 
Wi' their bonnets an' feathers, an' glitterin' gear, 
An' pibrochs sounding loud and clear. 
Will they a' return to their ain dear glen ? 
Will they a' return, our Highland men ? 
Second-sighted Sandy look'd fu' wae. 
And mithers grat when they march'd away. 
Wi' a hundred pipers, &c. 

1 This and the other airs of the songs of Lady Nairne in this volume 
inserted by the kind permission of Roy Paterson, Esq., musical pub- 
lisher, Edinburgh. 

" TJte Hundred Pipers:' 227 

Oh ! wha is foremost o' a', o' a' ? 
Oh ! wha is foremost o' a', o' a' ? 
Bonnie Charlie, the king o' us a', hurrah ! 
Wi' his hundred pipers, an' a', an' a'. 
His bonnet an' feather he's wavin' high, 
His prancing steed maist seems to fly ; 
The nor' wind plays wi' his curly hair, 
While the pipers blaw wi' an unco flare ! 
Wi' a hundred pipers, &c. 

The Esk was swollen, sae red an' sae deep ; 
But shouther to shouther the brave lads keep ; 
Twa thousand swam ower to fell English ground, 
And danced themselves dry to the pibroch's sound. 
Dumfounder'd, the English saw, they saw, 
Dumfounder'd, they heard the blaw, the blaw ; 
Dumfounder'd, they a' ran awa', awa', 
Frae the hundred pipers, an' a', an' a'. 
Wi' a hundred pipers, &c. 

The authoress of this song was a noble lady whom we 
have already had occasion to mention (p. 91), and whose 
appearance, in that case as here, invites particular notice to 
the fact that our notable Scottish lady-lyrists were no less 
distinguished for the delicate humour than for the tender 
pathos of their genius. Caroline Oliphant was bom in the 
old mansion of Cask, in the county of Perth, in the year 
1766, seven years later than Robert Bums. Her family 
were devoted Jacobites ; and, after taking part in the rising 
of the '45, her father and grandfather spent ten years in 

228 Jacobite Ballads. 

exile, before they found it safe to return to their native 
land, where they remained in no wise better affected to 
the dynasty of "the wee German lairdie" than they had 
departed. In her youth she was so notable for her personal 
charms that she was known in popular language as the 
Flower of Strathearn ; and the beauty of her mind, mani- 
fested in an early occupation with music and lyrical poetry, 
was not inferior to the fascination of her person. She lived 
single till she was forty years of age, and then married 
Captain William Murray Nairne, a military gentleman of 
noble descent, whose duties as inspector-general of barracks 
in Scotland forced him to reside in Edinburgh. The house 
which she occupied, still recognised by the visitor in the 
letters C. N. above the portal, is pleasantly situated beneath 
the shadow of the lofty Arthur's Seat, looking eastward 
towards Portobello and the Forth. In this abode Lady 
Nairne dwelt for about thirty years, performing her part 
gracefully in the literary society of the Modern Athens, 
and at the same time, as a Christian woman, signalising 
herself, in her own modest way, by contributing munificently 
towards the support of the popular charities, then rising 
into notice under the intelligent apostleship of Dr Chalmers. 
Her husband, Major Nairne, after being restored to his 
rank in the peerage, died in 1830; and her only son. Lord 
Nairne, who seems to have been of a delicate constitution, 

The Baroness Nairne. 229 

died not many years afterwards. This double bereavement 
naturally lay heavily on the soul of the good lady ; and from 
that time she resided principally on the Continent. She 
died at Cask, in the old mansion, at the advanced age of 
seventy-nine ; affording another proof to the many already 
brought forward in these pages, of the fact that the occupa- 
tion of the lyrical poet, so far, as is sometimes said, from 
shortening the span of human life, rather tends, by harmo- 
nising the whole emotional soul with the nervous machinery 
of emotional expression, to prevent those frets and jerks 
and plunges of disorderly passion, which, like a rough road, 
cause the car to break down before the natural termination 
of the journey. It is not song, but unsanctified, unregu- 
lated, and overstrained energy of all kinds, that ruins the 
health, which only a wise balance and a harmonious 
moderation can preserve. 

We have run to the end of our triumphs ; and our song, 
so far as it follows the sequence of decisive military strokes, 
naturally ceases. For, though the Highlanders have a 
lyrical record of the whole campaign — it being not in 
their habit to write prose, but to sing songs as in the 
Homeric age — this complete record did not pass into the 
general currency of the popular ear, partly on account 
of the melancholy nature of the subject, partly on ac- 
count of the concentration of poetic interest on the 

230 Jacobite Ballads. 

person of the misfortuned hero of the adventure after 
the crowning catastrophe of Culloden. After the re- 
treat from Derby, the first notable halt was made at Car- 
lisle ; and we can have little doubt that to this retreat of 
female camp-attendants the favourite song of "The bonnie, 
bonnie Braes o' Loch Lomond" (No. III. in the 'Songs of 
the North ') must refer. The battle of Falkirk Muir which 
followed, like Prestonpans, gave occasion to the Comic Muse 
to disport herself; but the sort of panic which dispersed 
the whole army in the one case, seized only a wing in the 
other, and the victory which in the first affair was followed 
by an important advance, in the second served only to 
cover an ill-omened retreat with a boastful semblance of 
success. So the song was sung in vain : — 

" Says brave Lochiel, pray have we won ? 
I see no troop, I hear no gun. 
Says Drummond, faith, the battle's done, 
I know not how nor why, man. 
But, my good lords, this thing I crave, 
Have we defeat these heroes brave ? 
Says Murray, I believe we have ; 
If not, we're here to try, man ! 

But tried they up, or tried they doun, 
There was nae foe in Falkirk toun, 
Nor yet in a' the country roun', 
To break a sword at a', man." 

And equally vain was the satirical skit against the com- 

Falkirk and Culloden. 231 

mander-in-chief of the royal army, made to the refrain of 
an old song — " Up and war them a', Willie " : — 

"Up and rin awa', Hawley ! 
Up and rin awa', Hawley ! 
The philabegs are coming doun 
To gi'e your lugs a claw, Hawley. 
Young Charlie's face at Dunipace 
Has gi'en your mou' a thraw, Hawley ; 
A blasting sight for bastard wight, 
The warst that e'er he saw, Hawley." ^ 

Alas, poor Charlie ! neither at Dunipace nor elsewhere 
since he retraced his steps from central England, did his 
face show either terror to his foes or encouragement to his 
friends. His game lay in a surprise ; and the surprise had 
failed. In the council of war held at Derby, the delusive 
show of success at Falkirk, and the fatal eclipse of all hope 
at Culloden, lay in embryo, and its pulse was felt boding 
disaster in the bosom of the ill-starred adventurer. The 
disastrous overthrow of all Stuart hopes on that fatal field re- 
ceived from native and from sympathetic Lowland singers its 
lyrical celebration ; but, for the reasons already mentioned, 
and also because the Highlands are only a part of Scot- 
land, it never received such a classical place in the temple 
of Scottish historical song as its fellow in disaster on the 
banks of the Till. Quite recently the genius of Malcolm 
* Hogg> vol. ii. pp. 1 36- 1 38. 

232 Jacobite Ballads. 

Lawson has buckled itself to the task of giving musical 
expression to Shairp's admirable verses on this tragic 
theme, in a composition which well deserves to become 
popular; in the meantime we content ourselves with the 
words, referring the singer to the well-known work for the 
music ; ^ — 


The moorland, wide, and waste, and brown. 
Heaves far and near, and up and down. 
Few trenches green the desert crown. 
And these are the graves of Culloden ! 

Alas ! what mournful thoughts they yield. 
Those scars of sorrow yet unhealed. 
On Scotland's last and saddest field ! 
O ! the desolate moor of Culloden I 

Ah me ! what carnage vain was there ! 
What reckless fury, mad despair. 
On this wide moor such odds to dare ! 
O ! the wasted lives of Culloden ! 

For them laid there, the brave and young, 
How many a mother's heart was wrung, 
How many a coronach sad was sung ! 
O ! the green, green graves of Culloden ! 

Here Camerons clove the red line through. 
There Stewarts dared what men could do. 
Charged lads of Athol, staunch and true, 
To the cannon-mouths on Culloden. 

^ Songs of the North, "Culloden Muir," p. 94. 

" Culloden Muir" 233 

What boots it now to point and tell — 
Here the Clan Chattan bore them well 
Shame-maddened, yonder, Keppoch fell, 
Lavish of life at Culloden ? 

In vain the wild onset, in vain 
Claymores cleft English skulls in twain, 
The cannon-fire poured in like rain. 
Mowing down the clans on Culloden ? 

Through all the glens, from shore to shore. 
What wailing went ! But that is o'er ; 
Hearts now are cold that once were sore 
For the loved ones lost on Culloden. 

Now strangers come to pry and peep, 
Above the mounds where clansmen sleep ; 
But what do we, their kinsmen, reap 
For our sires' blood shed on Culloden ? 

Our small farms turned to deserts dumb. 
Where smoke no homes, no people come. 
Save English hunters, — that's the sum 
Of what we have reaped for Culloden. 

This too will pass — the hunter's deer. 
The drover's sheep will disappear; 
But when another race will ye rear 
Like the men that died at Culloden? 

The civil strife, so far as the public interest was con- 
cerned, being thus concluded, the Muse of Coila, willing 
to find a close to her great lyrical drama, not unworthy of 
its brilliant start, drew her inspiration exclusively from the 

234 Jacobite Ballads. 

personal adventures of the unfortunate Prince. And here, 

as all the world knows, she found not only a hero — for 

a prince in misfortune is always a hero — but a heroine, 

worthy of her most pathetic strains. Perhaps the most 

touching of these sorrowful memorials, these heartrending 

wails from wives harshly bereft of loving husbands, and 

mothers of hopeful sons, is the lament of Christiana Fer- 

gusson over her husband, who fell at CuUoden. This 

most pathetic utterance of chaste and reverential sorrow 

is found, so far as I know, only in the Gaelic, from which 

I transfer it here, along with the short note of the editor of 

the collection.^ 

"Christiana Fergusson was a native of the parish of 

Contin, Ross-shire, where her father was a blacksmith, 

chiefly employed in making dirks and other implements 

of war. She was married to a brave man of the name of 

Chisholm, a native of Strathglass (a near kinsman of the 

chief of that name). On the memorable day of Culloden, 

William was flag-bearer or banner-man of the clan, and the 

task of preserving the bratach choimheach from the disgrace 

of being struck down could not have fallen into better 

hands. He fought long and manfully; and even after 

1 ' Sar Obair nan Bard Gaidheil,' by John Mackenzie ; Sth edition, 
Edinburgh, 1882, p. 373. A monument to Mackenzie stands on the 
roadside near Gairloch inn, in the north-west Highlands. The trans- 
lation was printed in my article in ' Macmillan, ' above, p. 203. 

Christiana Fergiisson. 235 

the rout became general, he rallied and led his clansmen 
again and again to the charge, but in vain. A body of 
the Chisholms ultimately sought shelter in a barn, which 
was soon surrounded by hundreds of the red-coats, who 
panted for blood. At this awful conjuncture William 
literally cut his way through the Government forces. He 
then stood in the barn-door, and with his trusty blade high 
raised, and in proud defiance, guarded the place. In vain 
did their spears and bayonets aim their thrusts at his fear- 
less heart ; he hewed down all who came within reach of 
his sword, and kept a semicircle of eight feet clear for 
himself in the teeth of his desperate enemies. At length 
he was shot by some Englishmen who climbed up to the 
top of the barn from behind, where he fell as a hero would 
wish to fall, with seven bullets lodged in his body. His 
wife forthwith composed the following beautiful and heart- 
touching lament, which is altogether worthy of a high- 
hearted and affectionate woman : — 

" O Charlie, brave young Stuart, 
From thee came my heart's sore bleeding ! 
All my best, my all I gave thee 
In the battle for thy speeding. 
Not for sheep, and not for cattle, 
Now I give my tears not sparely ; 
Who was all the world to me, 
Him I gave to die for Charlie. 

236 Jacobite Ballads. 

Who will draw the sword for Charlie ? 
Who will fill his chair to-morrow? 
Little cares me now to ask, 
Pining here in widowed sorrow. 
And yet, and yet, I may not blame thee ; 
Though by thee I'm ruined fairly, 
Though by thee my lord lies bleeding. 
Thou art still my king, my Charlie ! 

Oh, but thou wert tall and comely, 
From top to toe equipped completely ; 
Never swan more stately fair ; 
Never honey flowed more sweetly 
Than thy kisses ; with thy brown locks 
Down thy neck so richly flowing. 
Thou didst draw all eyes, the honour 
Of thy manly beauty showing. 

Broad thy shoulders ; and thy waist 
Nicely shaped for supple beauty ; 
Not a prentice hand was his 
Who did for thee the tailor's duty. 
Who for thee would trim the trews, 
He must cut the cloth not scanty ; 
No light work to fit short hose, 
To thy stout legs with step so jaunty. 

Thou didst lay the finny people 

Glancing on the river's border ; 

Lightly, lightly on the heather 

Trod thy foot with gun in order. 

When the deer were on the hill, 

No man rated thy delaying; 

Sweetest music to my ears 

Were thy hounds when they were baying. 

The Brave Cliisholm. 237 

When the social cup was circling 

Thou wert ever stout and able ; 

Thou didst stand and pay thy scot 

When all weak brains were 'neath the table ; 

Never o'er the foaming ale 

Didst thou teach thy wits to maunder, 

Never gave thy foot loose rein 

From thy faithful wife to wander. 

O waly, waly woe, my sorrow, 
Would the truth might be a lie now ! 
Far from me be mirth and joy 
When thou in death dost lowly lie now ! 
Who will show another like thee, 
Brain and brawn well joined together? 
No red blood from veins more loyal 
At Culloden stained the heather. 

Many a silken-vested lady, 
Titled dames, and dainty misses, 
Envied me the right to claim, 
As a wife may claim, thy kisses. 
All the wealth of Guinea mines 
Might not make me to disclaim thee ; 
I'd sooner break all God's commands 
Than say amen to who should blame thee ! 

Woe's me ! woe that I must drag 
Days and nights in groans and moaning ; 
Weary, weary, wakeful nights. 
With no hope for thy returning ! 
Never more shall fife or fiddle 
Rouse my love where he is sleeping, 
Never more his dear voice whisper 
Kindly words to stay my weeping. 

238 Jacobite Ballads. 

When he left me I was hoping — 
Hoping nightly, hoping daily — 
He would come back from the battle 
With his banner floating gaily. 
But the time is past for hoping ; 
I shall see thee never, never ; 
'Neath the turf my hopes I bury 
With my dear heart's love for ever. 

There's many a widow weeping sore 
From Trotternish to Sleat in Skye now ; 
But never widow wept a lord 
So worthy of hot tears as I now. 
When he was here, how bright my life ! 
How dim, how dark, with him departed ! 
No sorriest wight would envy me 
In Skye this day so dreary-hearted !" 

The loyal devotion of Flora Macdonald, and her gallant 
achievement of guiding the unfortunate Prince to ultimate 
safety, through the roaring dangers of the sea, and the 
bristling environment of his eager pursuers, has gained for 
her a place in the romance of history second only to that 
enjoyed by the familiar figures in Greek and Roman story, 
who had the good fortune to find a Homer and a Virgil to 
immortalise their praises. She was the daughter of Mac- 
donald of Milton, in the island of South Uist, and a person 
of such goodly presence, sound sense, sprightly manner, 
and brave purpose, as the Lyrical Muse delights to find in 
the deliverer of a misfortuned prince. For the details of 

Skye Boat' Song' 


her character and conduct we refer to Chambers, and 
more especially to the valuable volume of Mr Jolly ; ^ for 
our purpose it is enough to present her lyrically in two 
pictures, one of which, the English version written by 
Hogg, has long enjoyed a large popularity, and the other 
in the fair way to enjoy a similar wide recognition through 
the * Songs of the North,' a book specially patronised by 
the Royal Lady of Balmoral, which we have already laid 
under tribute. We shall take it first; the words by Mr 
Lawson's accomplished co-operator, Mr Harold Boulton; 
the music by kind permission of the publishers : — 

Skye Boat-Song. 

With animation, and 7vcll accented. 
Chorus to begin a/iereach verse. 

^ - . m m ' '  • — 2=rT- 

Speed, bonnie boat, like a bird on the wing, Onward the sail - ors cry 

Loud the winds howl, loud the waves roar, Thunder-clouds rend the air; 
f— X -^ K 1 , fc h y. 

Baf- fled, our foes stand by the shore, Fol • low they will not dare. 


* Flora Macdonald in Uist : A Story of the Heroine in her Native 
Surroundings. By William Jolly, H.M.I. S. Perth, 1886. 

240 Jacobite Ballads. ^ 

Though the waves leap, soft shall ye sleep ; 

Ocean's a royal bed. 
Rocked in the deep, Flora will keep 

Watch by your weary head. 

Speed, bonnie boat, &c. 

Many's the lad fought on that day, 

Well the claymore could wield, 
When the night came silently lay 

Dead on Culloden's field. 

Speed, bonnie boat, &c. 

Burned are our homes, exile and death 

Scatter the loyal men ; 
Yet ere the sword cool in the sheath, 

Charlie will come again. 

Speed, bonnie boat, &c. 

The other song represents the heroine — her royal charge 
being now safely beyond the reach of his pursuers — as sit- 
ting lonely on the lonely shore of Skye, thrown back on 
those sorrowful meditations of hopeless bereavement, from 
which the excitement of the sea voyage and the gallant 
rescue had for a short interval delivered her : — 

Flora Macdonald's Lament. 


ver yon hills of the hea-ther sae green, And down by the 

cor - rie that sings to the sea, The bon - nie young Flo- ra sat 

""^ Flora Macdonald's Lament r 


sigh- ing her lane. The dew on her plaid, and the tear in her e'e. She 

look 'd at a boat, with the breez-es that swung, A- way on the wave, like a 


-*■— «^ — ««il — ^»-" ^ — t- — bi»-- ^   -- *  

of the main ; And aye as it lessen'd, she sigh'd and she sung, Fare- 

weel to the lad I maun ne'er see a - gain ! Fare -weel to my he-ro, the 

gal-lant and young ! Fare-weel to the lad I shall ne'er see a -gain!' 

The moorcock that craws on the brow of Ben Connal, 

He kens o' his bed in a sweet mossy hame ; 
The eagle that soars on the cliffs of Clanronald, 

Unawed and unhunted, his eyrie can claim; 
The solan can sleep on his shelve of the shore, 

The cormorant roost on his rock of the sea ; 
But oh ! there is one whose hard fate I deplore, 

Nor house, ha', nor hame in this country has he. 
The conflict is past, and our name is no more : 

There's naught left but sorrow for Scotland and me. 

A lament of a similar nature, though in every respect 
inferior, we find in Burns.^ It wants both the scenery and 
the atmosphere of the '45 ; and seems, in fact, to have been 
rather cooked up for Edinburgh purposes, than to have 
grown vigorously out of the genius of the poet ; and, if it 

> Paterson, vol. ii. p. 150. Set to music by Mackenzie. Roy Pater- 
son, Edinburgh, 1888,— by whose kind permission it appears here. 



Jacobite Ballads. 

ever should have the good luck to supplant Hogg's, it will 
owe it to the genius of the great composer who has wedded 
it to sweet sounds, more than to its own merit : — 

The Chevalier's Lament. 

The small birds re-joice in the green leaves re-turn - ing, The 

mur - mur-ing stream-let winds clear thro' the vale ; The prim -ros - es 

blow in the dews of the morn- ing,And wild scat-ter'd cow-slips be 

deck the green dale. But what can give pleasure,or what can seem fair, When the 










lin -ger-ing mo-ments are num-ber'd by care ? No birds sweetly singing, nor 


flow'rs gai-lyspring-ing, Can soothe the sad bo - som of joy - less 



des-pair. Can soothe the sad 

som of joy - less des-pair. 

The deed that I dar'd, could it merit such malice, 
A king and a father to place on his throne? 
His right are these hills, and his right are these valleys, 
Where wild beasts find shelter, but I can find none. 
But 'tis not my sufferings, thus wretched, forlorn, 
My brave gallant friends, 'tis your ruin I mourn ; 
Your faith proved so loyal in hot bloody trial, 
Alas ! can I make it no sweeter return ? 

The hopelessness so justly felt and so finely expressed 

Will you ltd come back again ? 


by the lady in Hogg's poem, was not, of course, shared by 
all who had taken part in that ill-starred enterprise. A 
loyal movement from the heart of a loyal people, that had 
half succeeded under unfavourable circumstances, might 
succeed altogether on some not far-distant day, when the 
continued unpopularity of the Georges should combine 
with changes in European policy to render the restoration 
of the exiled dynasty as much a matter of politic desire 
to the mass of the British people, as it was a chivalrous 
passion in the breast of the Highlander. France and 
Ireland were always at hand to give a riskful jog to 
the unsteady basement of the Hanoverian thyone. Such 
imaginations, not altogether fanciful, and fondly cherished 
by persons in whom it was a necessity, for the moment, 
to hope against hope, and to believe in the improbable, 
gave birth to the popular song — 

Will you no' come back again? 

Roy - al Char-He '• now a - wa', Safe • ly owre the friend-Iy main ; 
Mon -y a heart will break in twa. Should he ne'er come back a • gain. 

Will you no' comeback a -gain? Will you no' come back a -gain? 

Bct-tcr lo'ed you1l ne • ver 

244 Jacobite Ballads. 

Mony a traitor 'mang the isles 

Brak' the band o' nature's law ; 
Mony a traitor, wi' his wiles, 

Sought to wear his life awa'. 
Will he no' come back again ? &c. 

The hills he trod were a' his ain, 

And bed beneath the birken tree ; 
The bush that hid him on the plain, 

There's none on earth can claim but he. 
Will he no' come back again ? &c. 

Whene'er I hear the blackbird sing, 

Unto the e'ening sinking down, 
Or merle that makes the woods to ring. 

To me they hae nae ither soun', 
Than, will he no' come back again ? &c. 

Mony a gallant sodger fought, 

Mony a gallant chief did fa' ; 
Death itself was dearly bought, 

A' for Scotland's king and law. 
Will he no' come back again ? &c. 

Sweet the lav'rock's note and lang, 

Lilting wildly up the glen ; 
And aye the o'ercome o' the sang 

Is, "Will he no' come back again?" 
Will he no' come back again? &c. 

In singing this song we recommend that the second verse 
be omitted — as the fidelity of the clans was as true to 
fact as to poetry; and anything deserving the name of 
treachery belonged to an exceptional individual, not to the 

"A Wee Bird cam' to our Ha' Door: 


class. Perhaps the writer of the song had in his eye the 
chiefs of the Western Isles who refused from the beginning 
to take part in the rising ; but to call this treachery were 
an abuse of language which not even in an impassioned 
Celtic Pindar can be excused. 

We conclude our strains of lamentation and exile with 
one which has always appeared to the present writer as 
the most perfect in the whole series of these so admir- 
able ballads ; a song which is as widely appreciated as it 
is finely conceived, and which addresses itself with equal 
power to the cultivated taste of the most fashionable audi- 
ence, as to the untrained susceptibilities of a poor High- 
land cottar. This charm it owes to that combination of 
picturesque scenery, dramatic attitude, and genuine natural 
pathos, which gives the stamp of classicality to so many 
Scottish songs : — 

A Wee Bird cam' to our Ha' Door. 

A wee bird cam' to our ha' door, He war-bled sweet and clear- 

ly, An' aye the o'er-come o hb sang Was" Wae's me for Prince Charliel" 

Oh! when I heard the bonnie.bonnie bird. The tears cam' drappin' rare -ly ; 
t - _ .^ 'IS 

1 — h**— "— --I uf I J f m—^ . 

took my bon-oet aff my head. For wecl I lo'ed Prince Char- 

246 Jacobite Ballads. 

Quoth I, " My bird, my bonnie, bonnie bird. 

Is that a sang ye borrow ? 
Are these some words yeVe learnt by heart, 

Or a lilt o' dool and sorrow ? " 
" Oh ! no, no, no," the wee bird sang, 

" I've flown sin' morning early. 
But sic a day o' wind an' rain — 

Oh ! wae's me for Prince Charlie ! 

" On hills that are by right his ain, 

He roams a lonely stranger. 
On ilka hand he's press'd by want, 

On ilka side by danger : 
Yestreen I met him in a glen, 

My heart maist burstit fairly ; 
For sairly changed indeed was he — 

Oh ! wae's me for Prince Charlie ! 

" Dark night cam' on, the tempest roar'd 

Cold o'er the hills and valleys ; 
An' whaur was't that your prince lay down, 

Whase hame should been a palace ? 
He row'd him in a Highland plaid. 

Which cover'd him but sparely, 
An' slept beneath a bush o' broom — 

Oh ! wae's me for Prince Charlie ! " 

But now the bird saw some red-coats, 

An' he shook his wings wi' anger ; 
" Oh ! this is no' a land for me ; 

I'll tarry here nae langer." 
A while he hover'd on the wing, 

Ere he departed fairly. 
But weel I mind the fareweel strain 

Was, " Wae's me for Prince Charlie ! ' 

William Glen. 247 

The writer of this gem was William Glen, one of that nota- 
ble troop of singers whose names, as we have had frequent 
occasion to mention, so characteristically illustrate the 
western districts of Scotland. His family appears with 
observation in the history of Renfrewshire; while himself 
was bom in Glasgow, where his father was a merchant in 
the Russian trade. After a short essay of the military life, 
his Glasgow connection brought him back to take part in 
the West India trade ; and, engaged in this branch of the 
mercantile profession, he resided for some time in one of 
the West Indian islands. Makers of verses, however, are 
seldom makers of money ; so we find him, after a few years' 
vain attempt to do battle in economic fields, living in 
retirement near Aberfoyle, where he died of consumption in 
1826, like Bums and Byron, at the early age of thirty-seven. 
His principal poems will be found in Rogers's * Minstrel,' 
and in Wilson's * Poets of Scotland,' from which these 
notes are taken. 




' ' Poetry is the blossom of any sort of experience, rooted in truth and 
growing up into beauty." — Leigh Hunt. 

We now pass to a diverse chapter, the pictures and inci- 
dents of peace as celebrated in popular song, a chapter no 
doubt more pleasing to a great number of singers; for, 
though war stirs more powerful passions and spurs the 
Muse to loftier strains, there is always an undercurrent of 
sadness connected with it which music may veil pleasantly 
but cannot altogether conceal. Peace, on the contrary, or 
peaceful work as the common pace of the cosmic move- 
ment, has no horrors to hide ; like the breath of a bright 
summer day, it is satisfied with its own fragrance, and fears 
no poison beneath its blossom. Of course the love-songs 
with which we started are specially songs of peace ; but 
what we have elected for this chapter are such healthy 

'My A in Fireside: 


scenes and striking incidents of daily life as, like the pic- 
tures on the walls of a parlour, entertain the eye pleasantly 
without tempting the spectator to rise from his easy-chair. 
Under this rubric we can commence with nothing more 
fitly than — 

My Ain Fireside. 

lords an' 'mang la - dies, a' cov - er'd wi' braws ; But a sight sae de- 




light - fu' 

trow I ne'er spied, As the bon - niebly the blink o' my 

As the bon - nie biythe blink o' my ain fire - side. 

Ance mair, heaven be praised ! round my ain heartsome 

Wi* the friends o* my youth I cordially mingle; 
Nae forms to compel me to seem wae or glad, 
I may laugh when I'm merry, and sigh when I'm sad. 

My ain fireside, my ain fireside, 

O there's nought to compare wi' ane's ain fireside. 

Nae falsehood to dread, and nae malice to fear. 
But truth to delight me, and kindness to cheer; 

250 Songs of Character and Incident in Daily Life. 

O' a' roads to pleasure that ever were tried, 
There's nane half sae sure as ane's ain fireside. 
My ain fireside, my ain fireside, 
O sweet is the blink o' my ain fireside.^ 

The writer of this song was Mrs Elizabeth Hamilton, the 
author of a well-known popular novel, ' The Cottagers of 
Glenburnie,' that still commands readers, and of a work 
on education, which was notable enough in its day to 
command public commendation from Professor Dugald 
Stewart, during the first quarter of the present century, the 
great Edinburgh authority on all matters of social philo- 
sophy. Elizabeth Hamilton was a lady who had the great 
advantage of combining Scottish descent with Irish nur- 
ture ; a mixture which naturally tends to give to the Irish 
element that stability which is so necessary in the root, 
and to the Scottish element that sprightliness which is so 
attractive in the blossom, of human character. Though 
born in Belfast in 1758, she was brought up with her aunt 
in the neighbourhood of Stirling, where she had the best of 
all possible educations for a Scotch literary lady, amid the 
historical traditions of castle and river and crag in which 
that picturesque old town is embosomed, and with the 
grand outlook to the green Ochills and the purple Gram- 
pians which the situation commands. She was a young 
^ See a third verse in ' Songstresses of Scotland.' 

Elizabeth Hamilton, 251 

woman, essentially healthy-minded, sensible, cheerful, and 
practical, and brought up in the middle condition of life, 
where her intellectual tendencies were neither dissipated 
by indulgence nor depressed by poverty. Unfortunate in 
her first early attachment, she lived single through life, 
first at Bath with her sister, where she enjoyed the society 
of Lucy Aikin, Joanna Baillie, Madame d'Arblay, Horace 
Walpole's favourite Mary Berry, and other literary nota- 
bles of the time. In the year 1803, like a true Scot she 
yielded to a long-suppressed instinct of home-sickness, and 
passing through the English Lake district, took up her 
residence in Edinburgh, where her house soon became 
a familiar haunt to Stewart, Playfair, Alison, and other 
Academic notabilities, and among persons of her own sex, 
chiefly to the celebrated Mrs Grant of Laggan. Shortly 
after her settlement in Edinburgh, her health began to 
decline ; " but," says her biographer, " amid fast-failing 
strength, she was engaged in every intellectual, charitable, 
and truly religious enterprise of old Edinburgh." ^ She 
died at Harrogate in 181 6, in her fifty-eighth year. 

The author of the next song, also a Hamilton, but of 

the stronger sex, was an Edinburgh man, who had by no 

means a position in the literary world entitling him to 

rank with this accomplished lady ; nevertheless the Muse, 

* Songstresses of Scotland, vol. i. p. 320. 

252 Songs of Character and Incident in Daily Life. 

who is no respecter of persons, inspired him with an effusion 
of the most characteristically Scotch type, both in scenery 
and sentiment, that in these latter times has laid a firm hold 
of the popular ear. John Hamilton was a music-seller and 
music-teacher in Edinburgh. He died there in the year 
before the battle of Waterloo, at the early age of fifty-three. 
The air seems to have been originally English : ^ — 

Up in the Morning early. 

Cauld blaws the windfrae north to south, And drift is driv -in' sair-ly; The 

sheep are cow'r-ing in the heuch, O sirs, 'tis win - ter fair - ly. 

Then up in the morning's no' for me, Up in the morn -ing ear-Iy; I'd 

ra-ther gae sup- per-less to my bed, Than rise in the morning ear-ly. 

Loud roars the blast among the woods, 

And tirls the branches barely; 
On hill and house hear how it thuds ! 

The frost is nippling sairly. 
Now up in the morning's no' for me, 

Up in the morning early; 
To sit a' nicht wad better agree, 

Than rise in the morning early. 

1 See the Balmoral edition of Scottish Songs, full of excellent histor- 
ical notes. J. Muir Wood & Co., Buchanan Street, Glasgow. 

" up in the Morning early." 253 

The sun peeps owre yon southland hills 

Like ony timorous carlie, 
Just blinks a wee then sinks again, 

And that we find severely. 
Now up in the morning's no' for me, 

Up in the morning early ; 
When snaw blaws in at the chimley-cheek, 

Wha'd rise in the morning early ? 

Nae linties lilt on hedge or bush : 

Poor things, they suffer sairly ; 
In cauldrife quarters a' the nicht ; 

A' day they feed but sparely. 
Now up in the morning's no' for me, 

Up in the morning early; 
A pennyless purse I wad rather dree, 

Than rise in the morning early. 

A cosie house and cantie wife 

Aye keep a body cheerly ; 
And pantries stowed wi' meat and drink, 

They answer unco rarely. 
But up- in the morning — na, na, na ! 

Up in the morning early ; 
The gowans maun glent on bank and brae, 

When I rise in the morning early. 

In countries which, like Italy and Greece, can count 
upon a long continuity of bright days and clear mornings, 
such a song would be the freak of an individual or the 
exceptional utterance of an ill-conditioned nervous system ; 
but in Scotland, where, as an American expressed it, we 
have no climate but only weather, and where the weather 

254 Songs of Character and Incident in Daily Life. 

is as unsteady as the character of the people is the reverse, 
such a song is as full of native expression as the heather on 
the brae or the blaeberry in the wood. 

The next two songs are by a noble lady whom we have 
already had more than once on our stage — the Baroness 
Nairne, a songstress whose lyrical sympathies were more 
broad and various than her other fair competitors in the 
service of the Lyrical Muse, most of whom maintain their 
popularity only by the virtue of a single song : — 

The Rowan Tree.^ 

A. K - r^ — 

^gi^^^^^ B ^ 

Oh! row-an tree, oh I row-an tree, thou 'It aye be dear to me; En - 

twin'd thou art wi' men - y ties o' hame and in - fan-cy. Thy 

leaves were aye the first o' spring,thy flow'rsthe sim - mer's pride ; There 

was - na sic a bon-nie tree in a' the coun-try side. Oh ! row- an tree. 

How fair wert thou in simmer time, wi' a' thy clusters white ! 
How rich and gay thy autumn dress, wi' berries red and 

bright ! 
On thy fair stem were mony names, which now nae mair I see, 
But they're engraven on my heart, forgot they ne'er can be, 

Oh ! rowan tree. 

^ Air of this and the following song by kind permission of Paterson 
& Sons. 

"The Atdd Housed 255 

We sat aneath thy spreading shade, the bairnies round thee 

They pu'd thy bonnie berries red, and necklaces they Strang ; 
My mither, oh ! I see her still, she smiled our sports to see, 
Wi' little Jeanie on her lap, and Jamie at her knee. 

Oh ! rowan tree. 

Oh ! there arose my father's prayer in holy evening's calm, 
How sweet was then my mother's voice, in the martyr's psalm! 
Now a' are gane ! we meet nae mair aneath the rowan tree, 
But hallowed thoughts around thee turn o' hame and infancy. 

Oh ! rowan tree. 

The Auld House. 

Oh ! the auld house, the auld house. What tho' the rooms were wee ; Oh ! 

-I ^ 1, — K 

kind hearts were dwell- ing there, And bair - nies fu' o' glee. The 
^ . m . m m r-- >^ 1« 1- 

-W — V- 

wild rose and the jas - a - mine Still hang up • on the wa' ; How 

4 ,,,_^ . ^ 

mo-ny che-rish'd me - mo - ries Do they, sweet flow'rs, re • ca' ! 

Oh ! the auld laird, the auld laird, 
Sae canty, kind, and crouse ; 

How mony did he welcome 
To his ain wee dear auld house ! 

And the leddy too, sae genty. 
There sheltei'd Scotland's heir, 

256 Songs of Character and Incident in Daily Life. 

And dipt a lock wi' her ain hand 
Frae his lang yellow hair. 

The mavis still doth sweetly sing, 

The blue-bells sweetly blaw ; 
The bonnie Earn's clear winding still, 

But the auld house is awa'. 
The auld house, the auld house, 

Deserted though you be, 
There ne'er can be a new house 

Will seem sae fair to me. 

Still flourishing the auld pear-tree 

The bairnies liked to see ; 
And oh ! how aften did they speir 

When ripe they a' wad be .? 
The voices sweet, the wee bit feet, 

Aye rinnin' here and there ; 
The merry shout — oh ! whiles we greet 

To think we'll hear nae main 

For they are a' wide scatter'd now, 

Some to the Indies gane ; 
And ane, alas ! to her lang hame, 

Not here we'll meet again. 
The kirkyard, the kirkyard, 

Wi' flow'rs o' every hue ; 
Shelter'd by the holly's shade. 

And the dark sombre yew. 

The setting sun, the setting sun, 
How glorious it gaed down ! 

The cloudy splendour raised our hearts 
To cloudless skies aboon. 

Poetry and Politics. 257 

The auld dial, the auld dial, 

It tauld how time did pass ; 
The wintry winds hae dang it down, 

Now hid 'mang weeds and grass.^ 

This is a song that, with a large interpretation of its 
significance and a liberal recall of its associations — for the 
lairds of the auld house of Gask were all arch-Jacobites — 
may well be called the poetry of Toryism, as Burns's " A 
Man's a Man for a' that " is the best lyrical expression of 
all that is best in Liberalism. It is the glory of the popular 
song to belong to no party ; and to make " Whig and Tory 
a' agree " is the great harmony of the national heart. 

But, though there is a poetry of Toryism and a poetry of 
Liberalism, there is a poetry of something wider than either 
— a poetry, in fact, which includes both, and by its gracious 
influences harmonises for the moment, even with the most 
narrow-minded, the jars and discords that are apt to arise 
out of the antagonistic stirrings by which the social machine 
is worked, — the poetry of humanity and of catholic social 
sympathy. The popular song that does not perform this 
blessed harmonising function, is like a stimulant drug that 
stirs only one limb of the body social to excited action, 

* The copyright of these and other songs of this noble lady belongs 
to Roy Paterson, musical publisher, Edinburgh, by whose kind per- 
mission they appear here. 


258 Songs of Character and Incident in Daily Life. 

while the general heart beats feebly, and the veins swell 
faintly with pulses of watery blood. No Scottish song- 
writer acknowledged more powerfully than the author of 
*' Tullochgorum " this harmonising and humanising function 
of song; and in the particular song with which his name 
is popularly associated, he has, with a happy instinct, 
wedded the lyrical expression of his catholic humanity to 
the national Scottish dance — a reel. The Greeks, with that 
fine sesthetical sensibility which was their special gift, knew 
to unite piety, poetry, and philosophy with the dance, 
which of all arts is the most universal expression of that 
fulness of exuberant vitality in which, so to speak, the 
power of the divine creativeness revels in its own energy. 
In Scotland, where the severe aspect of religion has been 
abnormally accentuated, this so natural union of divinity 
with dancing has been disowned, to such a degree indeed 
in some districts, as to have dancing and card-playing, 
theatrical representations, and every graceful sportiveness 
of healthy nature, relegated into the region of sin and pro- 
fanity. But this awful sort of piety never extended beyond 
the pale of the extreme Presbyterian party, of whose Cal- 
vinism it was the natural outcome ; while the Episcopalians, 
to which body the bard of " Tullochgorum " belonged, what- 
ever sacerdotal pedantries they might fondle, never com- 
mitted the great mistake of proclaiming a formal divorce 

" Tiillochgorum'* 


between sacred reverence and social sport. Here follows 
the song: — 


Come, gie's a sang,Montgom'rycried,And lay your dis-putesa' a-side;What 

sig - ni - fies for folks to chide For what was done be - fore them. Let 


Whig and To - ry a' a - gree, Whig and To - ry, Whig and To - ry, 

\Vhig and To - ry a' a -gree, To drap their whig-mig - mo - rum ; Let 

Whig and To - ry a' a - gree, To spend this night in mirth and 

-"—— ^^ -^— 353 

glee, And cheer - fu' sing a - lang wi' me, The reel o' Tul -loch -go • rum. 

O, Tullochgorum's my delight, 

It gars us a' in ane unite, 

And ony sumph that keeps up spite, 

In conscience I abhor him. 
Blythe and merry we'll be a', 
Blythe and merry, blythe and merry, 
Blythe and merry we'll be a', 

An' male' a cheerfu' quorum. 
For blythe and merry we'll be a' 
As lang as we hae breath to draw, 
And dance till we be like to fa'. 

The reel o' Tullochgorum. 

26o Songs of Character and Incident in Daily Life. 

What need's there be sae great a fraise, 
Wi' dringin', dull Italian lays ; 
I wadna gie our ain strathspeys 

For half-a-hunder score o' them. 
They're dowf and dowie at the best, 
Dowf and dowie, dowf and dowie, 
Dowf and dowie at the best, 

Wi' a' their variorum. 
They're dowf and dowie at the best ; 
Their allegros and a' the rest, 
They canna please a Scottish taste 

Compared wi' Tullochgorum. 

Let worldly worms their minds oppress 
Wi' fears o' wants and double cess. 
And sullen sots themsel's distress 

Wi' keeping up decorum. 
Shall we sae sour and sulky sit.^ 
Sour and sulky, sour and sulky. 
Sour and sulky shall we sit, 

Like auld philosophorum .'' 
Shall we sae sour and sulky sit, 
Wi' neither sense, nor mirth, nor wit. 
Nor ever rise to shake a fit 

To the reel o' Tullochgorum.? 

May choicest blessings aye attend 
Each honest, open-hearted friend. 
And calm and quiet be his end. 

And a' that's guid watch o'er him. 
May peace and plenty be his lot, 
Peace and plenty, peace and plenty, 
Peace and plenty be his lot. 

And dainties a great store o' them : 

John Skinner. 261 

May peace and plenty be his lot, 
Unstained by ony vicious spot, 
And may he never want a groat 
That's fond o' Tullochgorum. 

But for the discontented fool, 
Wha wants to be oppression's tool, 
May envy gnaw his rotten soul, 

And discontent devour him. 
May dool and sorrow be his chance, 
Dool and sorrow, dool and sorrow ; 
Dool and sorrow be his chance, 

And nane say, " Wae's me, for him ! " 
May dool and sorrow be his chance, 
And a' the ills that come frae France, 
Whae'er he be that winna dance 

The reel o' Tullochgorum. 

The author of this song, which Burns declared to be one 
of the best in our rich lyrical roll, was a man of whom, in- 
dependently of his contributions to the song-literature of 
his country, Scotland has every reason to be proud ; a man 
from whose healthiness of mind, large human sympathies, 
rare moral courage, and great-hearted cheerfulness, dis- 
played on a humble and remote stage, those who are 
willing to learn may learn more of the wisdom of life 
than from many a loudly trumpeted and widely belauded 
actor in the great events of the time. The Rev. John 
Skinner was the son of an Aberdeen man, who performed 
the onerous but too often ill-rewarded duties of a parochial 

262 So7tgs of Character and Incident in Daily Life. 

schoolmaster for more than fifty years, first at Birse, where 
our singer was born in the year 1721, and then down in 
the low part of the county at Echt, not far from that. 
He enjoyed the advantages which every lad of fair 
talent at the period was sure to have within his power at 
a good parish school, and at the early age of thirteen was 
so far advanced in his Latin studies as to gain a bursary, 
which enabled him to pass through the four years of the 
University curriculum of Marischal College with all the 
honour and all the profit that belonged to young Academi- 
cians in the granite metropolis of the North. To a lad so 
precociously equipped with bookish lore, the Church pre- 
sented itself as the natural field of his life-work. He had 
been brought up a Presbyterian; but, while residing at 
Monymusk, a beautiful country district on Donside, where 
he acted for a short time as assistant schoolmaster, with a 
mind ever open to new impressions, he saw reason to 
change his views, and join himself to the Episcopalian 
Church, a body at that time so low in social estimation 
that nothing but the purest and most disinterested motives 
could have led any young man a born Presbyterian to 
court its communion. A short course of theological study 
was sufficient to prepare so proved a Latinist for the sacred 
ministry; and in 1742 we find him settled in what St Paul 
would have called the overseership of the parish of Long- 

The Stipendless Parson. 


side, passing rich on £^^0 a-year, not many years before 
the time when not a few persons thought Robert Burns very 
scurvily served by getting £^10 a-year as an exciseman. 
How wisely and how sweetly he spent his long life in the 
unobtrusive routine of parochial work here — far from 
human dwellings, and in a district as remarkable for the 
prose of its landscape as the upper part of the same county 
is for its poetry — the following autobiographical sketch in 
verse, as a model of evangelical contentment to all under- 
paid curates and country parsons, though more indeed of a 
sermon than a song, deserves a place here : — 

The Stipendless Parson. 

K i fc N , = 1 1 ^ M N 

How bap-py a life does the par-son possess Who would be no great -er nor 

-m-^. — ' — r 

fears to be less ! Who depends on his book and gown for sup-port, And de- 
^ a tempo. 

sires no preferment from conclave or court. Dcrrydown, derrydown, derrydown. 

Without glebe or manse settl'd on him by law, 
No stipend to sue for, nor vic'rage to draw ; 
In discharge of his office he holds him content, 
With a croft and a garden, for which he pays rent 
Derry down, &c. 

With a neat little cottage and furniture plain. 

And a spare room to welcome a friend now and then ; 

264 Songs of Character and Incident in Daily Life. 

With a good-humour'd wife in his fortune to share, 
And ease him at all times of family care. 
Derry down, &c. 

With a few of the fathers, the oldest and best, 
And some modern extracts pick'd out from the rest ; 
With a Bible in Latin, and Hebrew, and Greek, 
To afford him instruction each day of the week. 
Derry down, &c. 

With a pony to carry him when he has need, 
And a cow to provide him some milk to his bread ; 
With a mug of brown ale when he feels himself for't, 
And a glass of good whisky in place of red port. 
Derry down, &c. 

What children he has, if any are given, 
He thankfully trusts to the kindness of Heaven ; 
To religion and virtue he trains them while young. 
And with such a provision he does them no wrong. 
Derry down, &c. 

With labour below, and with help from above. 
He cares for \{\s flock, and is blest with their love ; 
Though his living perhaps in the main may be scant. 
He is sure, while they have, that he'll ne'er be in want. 
Derry down, &c. 

With no worldly projects nor hurries perplext. 
He sits in his closet and studies his text ; 
And while he converses with Moses or Paul, 
He envies not bishop, nor dean in his stall. 
Derry down, &c. 

" The Stipendless P arsons 265 

Not proud to the poor, nor a slave to the great, 
Neither factious in Church, nor pragmatic in State, 
He keeps himself quiet within his own sphere, 
And finds work sufficient in preaching and pray'r. 
Derry down, &:c. 

In what little dealings he's forc'd to transact. 
He determines with plainness and candour to act ; 
And the great point on which his ambition is set. 
Is to leave at the last neither riches nor debt. 
Derry down, &c. 

Thus calmly he steps through the valley of life, 
Unencumber'd with wealth, and a stranger to strife ; 
On the bustlings around him unmov'd he can look. 
And at home always pleas'd with his wife and his book. 
Derry down, &c. 

And when in old age he drops into the grave. 
This humble remembrance he wishes to have : 
" By good men respected, by evil oft tried. 
Contented he liv'd, and lamented he died ! " 
Derry down, &c. 

In the year 1753 this most excellent man had the 
honour of suffering imprisonment for six months, as a 
violator of one of those monstrous laws of intolerant 
malignity which characterised the Hanoverian Govern- 
ment in that course of brutal revenge which followed on 
the catastrophe of Culloden. As a considerable number, 
perhaps the majority, of those who took part in the chival- 
rous rising of the '45 were either Roman Catholics or Epis- 

266 Sojigs of Character and Incident in Daily Life. 

copalians, the Government, after the battle had drenched 
the field with the warm blood of the gallant clansmen, pro- 
ceeded in cold blood, or in a fit of nervous tremor un- 
worthy of a manly Government, to pass an Act that no 
person of the Episcopal persuasion should be allowed to 
minister in sacred things to any assembly consisting of 
more than four persons besides the members of the house- 
hold. Against this most inhuman and most unchristian 
enactment the kindly-hearted singer of " Tullochgorum " 
had been led to offend, and was in consequence surprised 
one morning by an order from the sheriff-substitute of 
Aberdeen, in virtue of which he was confined in prison 
for six months. 

Connected with this period of shameful restriction on 
the freedom of preaching, is an anecdote which may stand 
here as containing an interesting lesson to young preachers. 
In both Churches, but especially in the Episcopalian, there 
has been allowed to grow up the lazy or timorous habit of 
reading from dead paper, instead of speaking from living 
heart to heart with a direct manly appeal; a habit that, 
after being followed for a period of years, is only too apt 
to generate in the mind of our pulpit-prelectors the notion 
that to speak freely, as a Greek or Roman would have 
done, without paper, is a feat impossible to the modern 
occupier of the sacred rostrum. The effect of the labori- 

Preaching and Reading, 267 

ous course of education which the candidates for the 
sacred ministry in our country undergo, results too fre- 
quently, not in a greater command of language, or a ready 
power of utterance, when occasion may demand, but simply 
in being dumb, or in reading from a paper in circum- 
stances when to read, if the instincts of nature are to be 
regarded, is as much out of place as it would be to make 
love to a fair damsel by the recitation of a formal epis- 
tolary composition, instead of looking in her face and 
holding her hand. The Episcopal presbyter of Longside 
had, like his fellow-orators in big cathedrals at the present 
day, been bred to the slavishness of this artificial style of 
addressing his fellow-sinners, and would have gone on to 
his last sermon preaching in the same style of respectable 
tameness had not the following little incident occurred. 
No chapel being tolerated to men of his persuasion, and it 
being forbidden to admit more than four persons into his 
dwelling for ministerial purposes, he fell upon the device of 
preaching from an open window to the people assembled 
on the outside in the open air. One Sunday, shortly after 
the sermon commenced, a hen, which had somehow or 
other got into the house, set up a cackling which both 
annoyed the speaker and disturbed the hearers; on this, 
one of the most sensible of the auditors contrived so 
dexterously to plant himself inside the room where the 

268 So?igs of Character and Incident in Daily Life. 

gallinaceous concert was being enacted, that he left no 
means of escape to the cackling intruder but right over 
the shoulder of the preacher, in performing which evolu- 
tion with an unceremonious haste justified to the gallin- 
aceous mind by the strange and critical nature of the 
situation, the winged fugitive with a tremendous flap of both 
wings scattered the unstitched pages of the sermon to a wan- 
ton distance all around. An effort was made by some of 
the pious congregation to collect them ; but " Never mind 
them ! " cried the preacher j " a fowl shall not shut my mouth 
again ; " and so, trusting to nature, he was redeemed 
henceforth from the slavery of the paper, and preached 
with much extempore power to the end of his life, using 
as much natural intonation and gesture as any Red Indian 
in the Transatlantic West, or a fervid prophetess in the 
early Christian Church. 

Born nearly forty years before Burns, the author of 
" Tullochgorum " survived our great national singer eleven 
years, and died, as he had lived, at Longside, on the i6th 
June 1807.1 

But we must not take leave of this admirable man with- 
out introducing, to those who have the misfortune not to 
know it, the other most popular song of the reverend min- 
strel, " The Ewie wi' the Crookit Horn," which here fol- 

^ Songs and Poems by the Rev. John Skinner, with a Sketch of his 
Life by H. S. Reid. Peterhead, 1859. 

" The Ezvie zcz' tJic Crookit Hoj-n." 


lows — a composition in which the tender kindliness and 
broad catholic sensibility of the singer stand out as char- 
acteristically and as favourably as the well-known verses of 
Bums to the Daisy and the Field-mouse. It is indeed, as 
is well remarked by a pious student of the great peasant- 
singer,! in this fine perception of the idealism that underlies 
the commonest things that the magic craft of the great poet 
resides. Any ambitious young man with a gift of lyrical 
utterance may be moved to strain after things great and 
lofty, which cannot escape the notice even of the vulgar 
spectator; but it is the special privilege of genius, as it is 
the greatest grace of a truly evangelical temper, to " mind 
not high things, but to condescend to men of low estate ; " 
and so a poor sheep with a crooked horn comes in for a 
poetical glorification, on the same principle that Lazarus, 
whose sores the dogs licked, gets into Paradise before the 
rich man : — 

The Ewie wi' the Crookit Horn.^ 

verse, I'd sound it forth as loud and fierce As ev-er piper's drone could blaw. 

* Burns in Mossgiel, by W. Jolly. Paisley, 1881. 

* The vulgar notion that this is merely an allegory of ** A Whisky 
Still," a notion that would utterly destroy the poetry of the conception, 
is distinctly disproved by the author of the Life above quoted. 

2/0 Songs of Character and Incident in Daily Life. 

The ew-ie wi' the crook - it horn! Wha had kent her might hae sworn, 

a ewe was nev - er born, Here - a - bout, nor far 

I never needed tar nor keil, 
To mark her upo' hip or heel ; 
Her crookit hoiaiie did as weel, 
To ken her by amang them a'. 

She never threaten'd scab nor rot, 
But keepit aye her ain jog-trot ; 
Baith to the fauld and to the cot, 
Was never sweirt to lead nor ca'. 

Cauld nor hunger never dang her, 
Wind nor weet could never wrang her ; 
Ance she lay an ouk and langer 
Furth aneath a wreath o' snaw. 

Whan ither ewies lap the dyke, 
And ate the kail for a' the tyke, 
My ewie never play'd the like, 
But tyc'd about the barn wa'. 

A better or a thriftier beast 
Nae honest man could weel hae wist 
For, silly thing, she never misst 
To hae, ilk year, a lamb or twa. 

The first she had I ga'e to Jock, 
To be to him a kind o' stock ; 
And now the laddie has a flock 
O' mair nor thirty head ava. 

** The Ewie wV the Crookit Horn!' 271 

I lookit aye at even for her, 
Lest mishanter should come o'er her, 
Or the foumart might devour her, 
Gin the beastie bade awa'. 

My ewie wi' the crookit horn, 
Weel deserv'd baith gerse and corn ; 
Sic a ewe was never born, 
Hereabout, or far awa'. 

Yet, last ouk, for a' my keeping, 
(Wha can speak it without greeting?) 
A villain cam' when I was sleeping, 
Sta' my ewie, horn and a'. 

I sought her sair upo' the morn ; 
And down aneath a buss o' thorn, 
I got my ewie's crookit horn. 
But my ewie was awa'. 

1 gin I had the loon that did it. 
Sworn I have, as weel as said it, 
Though a' the warld should forbid it, 
1 wad gi'e his neck a thraw. 

O ! a' ye bards benorth Kinghorn, 
Call your Muses up and mourn 
Our ewie wi' the crookit horn 
Stown frae's, and fell'd an' a' ! 

Next comes a no less valuable lyric gem from the pen 
of that versatile songstress, whom we have once and again 
laid under tribute, the Baroness Caroline Naime; a song 
which is inferior to none, whether we regard the vivid 

2/2 Songs of Character and Incident in Daily Life. 

picturesqueness of its expression, the aptness of its musical 
accompaniment, or its power of touching the general heart 
of the people. In " Caller Herrin' " the noble authoress 
has interpreted, for all times, the poetic significance of a 
costume as characteristic of the streets of Edinburgh as 
the grey plaid is of the Lowland shepherd, and the tartan 
kilt of the Highland soldier. The music, dramatically ex- 
pressing the mingled harmony of the bells in St Andrew's 
Church, and the clear, mellow, prolonged cry of the fish- 
wives as they pace, heavy-laden with the creel, the cold 
pavement of the Modern Athens, was composed by Nathan- 
iel, the son of the celebrated Neil Gow, the genial violinist 
of Strathbran in Perthshire : ^ — 

Caller Herrin'.^ 






Wha'llbuymy cal-ler herr - in'?They'rebon-nie fish and hale-some far- in' 

S — S — N—N ^qi r- I K =^. 



i^— Sai 

i^ — ^ 

Buy my cal-ler herr - in', New drawn frae the Forth. When ye were sleep-ing 

fJi A ji^ ^ ^^ :^: ^^ ^ 


r m m m m-J^- 


-^■zUcr^^^L^ V ^ '-i 

t* * ^ 

on your pillows, Dreamt ye aught o'our puir fellows, Darkling as they faced the billows. 

•^ There is a similar song celebrating "Caller Oysters" (Edinburgh, 
Paterson), which the student of street music will not wisely neglect, 
offering, as it does, such a mellow qualification to the harshness of the 
east wind, which blows with such an unkindly sweep through the long- 
drawn streets of Dunedin. 

^ By permission from Paterson & Sons. 

''Caller Herrin: 


A* to fill the wo-ven willows? Buy my cal-lerherrin',They'rebon-nie fish and 

hale-some far - in'; Buy my cal-ler herr - in', New drawn frae the Forth. 


Wha'U buy my cal-ler herr-in'?They'reno'broughtherewithoutbravedar-in'; 

Buy my cal - ler herr • in", Ye lit - tie ken their worth. Wha'll 

Wives and mith-ers, maist de - spair • in', Ca' them lives o' men. 

But when the creel o' herrin' passes, 
Ladies clad in silks and laces, 
Gather in their braw pelisses, 
Cast their heads and screw their faces. 

Wha'll buy my caller herrin' .? &c. 

Caller herrin's no* got lichtlie, 
Ye can trip the spring fu* tightlie, 
Spite o' tauntin', flauntin,' flingin', 
Gow has set you a' a-singin*. 

Wha'll buy my caller herrin'.? &c. 

Noo neebour wives come tent my tellin', 
When the bonnie fish you're sellin', 
At ae word aye be your deal in', 
Truth will stand when a* things failin'. 

Wha'll buy my caller herrin'? &c.* 

* Verses 2, 3, and 4 begin at *. 

The coda is sung after each verse, or after the last verse only, ad lib. 


2/4 Songs of Character and Incident in Daily Life. 

Our next song is one of which Edinburgh has every 
reason to be proud; for, though Lady Nairne drew her 
blood from Perthshire, and sojourned only in the romantic 
town for a season. Sir Douglas Maclagan is a man in every 
way identified with Edinburgh, and has the honour of com- 
posing a song that, not only for lyrical excellence, but for 
legal and political significance, has no superior in the whole 
range of our national song. If any class of men deserve 
to be specially immortalised in the songs of the Scottish 
people, it is the Highland crofters, who from their humble 
cabins have sent forth so many stout-hearted workers to 
furnish our great towns with preachers and teachers, and 
our battle-fields with the most gallant soldiers and the 
most daring captains. But great as these services were, 
and proud as the men of Great Britain naturally were of 
them in the hour of victory, in times of peace they are 
too readily forgotten by a people engrossed with schemes 
of industrial enterprise, and a nobility, by the unequal 
terms of the Union of 1707, and other superinduced in- 
fluences, withdrawn more and more from living connection 
with their faithful dependants, whom it is their special 
function in the social system to cherish, to cultivate, and 
to guide. Favoured by laws which, instead of protecting 
the weak against the strong — the first object of. all wise 
legislation — had a direct tendency to make the strong 

Deer-Forests and Large Farms. 275 

stronger, and the great greater, and acting under no check 
of a healthy pubHc opinion, these gentlemen proceeded, 
in the self-indulgence of an unpatriotic lordship, to such 
a pitch of insolence as to block up all the natural lines of 
communication betwixt glen and glen in the Highlands, 
and to claim the whole range of the mountain-land as an 
exclusive possession for game and gamekeepers, and mighty 
hunters before the Lord ; and not only did they do this 
for their personal indulgence in a favourite sport, as if 
holding land for themselves, and not as members of a 
social system, but they sold their interest in the soil on 
purely mercantile principles to Lowland farmers in hot 
haste to be rich by gigantic sheep-farms, or to English 
plutocrats and American millionaires willing to pay any 
amount of money for a free range over the haunts of 
artificially accumulated deer. Nor was this all; as if 
willing to show that they cared as little for the interests 
of science as for the welfare of the human beings com- 
mitted to their charge, they passed a practical interdict 
against all botanists and geologists presuming to study 
the ways and works of the Creator in regions which they 
had consecrated to the service of wild beasts. This stretch 
of insolence brought their monstrous pretensions directly 
under the public eye ; an Edinburgh professor of botany, 
heading a party of students, was not a person to be 

276 Songs of Character and Incident in Daily Life. 

stopped in his scientific pedestrianism without observa- 
tion; and so it chanced that in the month of August 
1847, the then guide of the professional students under 
his charge, Professor Balfour, was stopped in the old Glen 
Tilt road from Braemar to Blair-Atholl, by the venatorial 
Duke. This event, which soon after led to a law plea, 
in which the Duke was worsted, was one, from its dramatic 
incidents as well as its social significance, peculiarly cal- 
culated to stir the humorous vein of which Sir Douglas 
Maclagan is so great a master; and so "The Battle o' 
Glen Tilt " appeared, a song first - class of its kind, and 
which will continue to give healthy amusement to social 
gatherings, and a great lesson to political thinkers, so long 
as Scotland remains Scotland. The air, very appropriate- 
ly, is the same as that sung to " The Battle of Sheriffmuir," 
above, p. 180: — 

The Battle o' Glen Tilt. 

" O cam' ye here to hear a lilt, 
Or hae a crack wi' me, man ; 
Or was ye at the Glen o' Tilt, 

An' did the shindy see, man?" 
" I saw the shindy sair an' teugh, 
The flytin' there was loud an' rough ; 
The Duke cam' o'er, 
Wi' gillies four, 
To mak' a stour 
An' drive Balfour 
Frae 'yont the Hielan' hills, man. 

" Tlie Battle d Glen Tilt." 277 

" The Sassenach chap they ca' Balfour, 

Wi' ither five or sax, man, 
Frae 'yont the braes o' Mar cam' o'er, 

Wi' boxes on their backs, man. 
Some thocht he was a chapman chiel — 
Some thocht they cam' the deer to steal ; 
But nae ane saw 
Them, after a', 
Do ocht ava 
Against the law, 
Amangthe Hielan' hills, man. 

" Some folk '11 tak' a heap o' fash 

For unco little en', man ; 
An' meikle time an' meikle cash 

For nocht ava they'll spen', man. 
Thae chaps had come a hunder mile 
For what was hardly worth their while : 

'Twas a' to poo 

Some gerse that grew 

On Ben M'Dhu, 

That ne'er a coo 
Would care to pit her mouth till. 

" The gerse was poo't, the boxes fiU't, 

An' syne the hail clamjamfrie 
Would tak' the road by Glen o' Tilt, 

Awa* to whar' they cam' frae. 
The Duke at this put up his birse ; 
He vowed, in English an' in Erse, 

That Saxon fit 

Sud never get 

Ae single bit 

Throughout his yett, 
Amang the Hielan' hills, man. 

2/8 Songs of Character and Incident in Daily Life. 

" Balfour he had a mind as weel 
As ony Duke could hae, man ; 
Quo' he, ' There's ne'er a kilted chiel 
Shall drive us back this day, man. 
It's justice an' it's public richt ; 
We'll pass Glen Tilt afore the nicht. 

For Dukes shall we 

Care ae bawbee ? 

The road's as free 

To you an' me 
As to his Grace himsel', man.' 

" The Duke was at an unco loss 

To manage in a hurry, 
Sae he sent roun' the fiery cross. 

To ca' the clan o' Murray. 
His men cam' doon frae glen an' hill — 
Four gillies an' a writer chiel — 
In kilts and hose, 
A' to oppose 
Their Saxon foes. 
An' gie them blows, 
An' drive them frae the hills, man. 

" When Hielan' chiefs, in days o' yore, 

Gaed oot to fecht the foe, man, 
The piper he gaed on afore, 

The line o' march to show, man. 
But noo they've ta'en anither plan — 
They hae a pipe for ilka man : 

Nae chanter guid 

Blaws pibroch loud. 

But a' the crowd 

Noo blaw a cloud 
Frae cutty pipes o' clay, man. 

" The Battle d Glen Tiltr 279 

" Balfour he wadna fled frae fire, 

Frae smoke he wadna flee, man ; 
The Saxons had but ae desire — 

It was the foe to see, man. 
Quo' he to them — ' My bonny men, 
Tak' tent when ye gang doon the glen ; 

Keep calm an' douce, 

An' quiet as puss, — 

For what's the use 

To mak' a fuss 
Amang the Hielan' hills, men ?' 

•• To keep them cool aboot the head 
The Sassenachs did atten', man ; 
The Duke himsel' was cool indeed, 

But at the ither en', man ; 
For win' an' rain blew up Glen Tilt, 
An' roun' his houghs an' through his kilt, 

Baith loud an' lang. 

An' cauld an' Strang, 

Wi' mony a bang. 

It soughed alang 
Amang the Hielan' hills, man. 

" The Sassenachs they cam' doon to Blair, 

An' marched as bauld as brass, man ; 
The glen was closed when they got there. 

And out they couldna pass, man : 
The Duke he glower'd in through the yett. 
An' said that out they sudna get ; 

'Twas trespass clear 

Their comin' here, 

For they wad fear 

Awa' his deer, 
Amang the Hielan' hills, man. 

28o Songs of Character and Incident in Daily Life. 

" Balfour he said it was absurd ; 
The Duke was in a rage, man ; 
He said he wadna hear a word, 

Although they spak' an age, man. 
The mair they fleeched, the mair they spoke, 
The mair the Duke blew out his smoke. 

He said, (guid lack !) 

Balfour micht tak' 

An' carry back 

His Saxon pack 
Ayont the Hielan' hills, man. 

" The gangin' back was easier said 

Than it was dune, by far, man ; 
The nearest place to rest their head 

Was up ayont Braemar, man : 
'Twas best to seek Blair-Atholl Inn, 
For they were drookit to the skin : 

Sae syne they a' 

Lap o'er a wa', 

An' ran awa', 

Wi' a guffaw. 
An' left the Hielan' hills, man. 

" The battle it was ended then, 
Afore 'twas focht ava, man ; 
An' noo some ither chaps are gaen 

To tak' the Duke to law, man. 
Ochon ! your Grace, my bonny man, 
An' ye had sense as ye hae Ian', 

Ye'd been this hour 

Ayont the poor 

O' lawyers dour. 

An' let Balfour 
Gang through your Hielan' hills, man."^ 

^ Nugse Canorse Medicse : Edinburgh, Douglas, 1873. The Glen 

Dr Walter Sinith. 281 

We give now a l)Tical effusion, of which the sufferings of 
the Highland crofters are the theme, from the pen of a 
reverend gentleman who has done much in various publica- 
tions to purify the moral atmosphere of his native country 
by that combination of piety, poetry, and good sense, which 
makes piety enjoyable, and poetry salubrious, and gives 
common-sense wings ; we mean the Rev. Dr Walter Smith. 
The crofter question, of which we hear so much every 
winter, like other questions, has two sides. While the 
misery of some parts of the Highlands is justly attributed 
to the rage for large farms, and the depopulation of large 
tracts of country consequent on that phase of agricultural 
economy, other districts have suffered not less from over- 
population, produced by the lack of foresight in the crofters, 
and the want of wise and firm superintendence on the part 
of resident landlords ; the indulgence of good fathers of the 
people being sometimes the cause of as great evils as the 
severity of absentee lords, who devolve their local duties 
on land agents. Anyhow, the feelings of the expatriated 
cottars, so vividly expressed in the following lines, will 
meet with no stinted measure of righteous sympathy from 
all Christian people who have their hearts exercised in the 

Tilt song refers exclusively to the count of deer-slalking ; the rage for 
large farms has found a lyrical memorial in my song called "Bonnie 
Strathnaver " — Edinburgh : Paterson & Sons. 

282 Songs of Character and hicident in Daily Life. 

habitual response to the grand apostolic text, Rejoice with 
those who rejoice^ and weep with those who weep : — 

Kenneth's Song. 

There is no fire of the crackling boughs 

On the hearth of our fathers; 
There is no lowing of brown-eyed cows 

On the green meadows, 
Nor do the maidens whisper vows 

In the still gloaming, 

There is no bleating of sheep on the hill, 

Where the mists linger ; 
There is no sound of the low hand-mill 

Ground by the women; 
And the smith's hammer is lying still, 

By the brown anvil, 

Ah ! we must leave thee, and go away 

Far from Ben Luibh ; 
Far from the graves where we hoped to lay 

Our bones with our fathers ; 
Far from the kirk where we used to pray 

Lowly together, 

We are not going for hunger of wealth. 

For the gold and silver ; 
We are not going to seek for health 

On the flat prairies ; 

" Kenneth's Sojigr 283 

Nor yet for the lack of fruitful tilth, 
On thy green pastures, 

Content with the croft and the hill were we, 

As all our fathers ; 
Content with the fish in the lake to be 

Carefully netted, 
And garments spun of the wool from thee, 

O black-faced wether 
Of Glenaradale. 

No father here but would give a son 

For the old country, 
And his mother the sword would have girded on 

To fight her battles ; 
Many's the battle that has been won 

By the brave tartans, 

But the big-horned stag and his hinds, we know, 

In the high corries, 
And the salmon that swirls the pool below 

Where the stream rushes, 
Are more than the hearts of men, and so 

We leave thy green valley, 

Any attempt to give the general public a notion of the 
social significance of Scottish song would be extremely 
imperfect that did not give prominence to the part the 

* Kildrostan: A Dramatic Poem. By the author of * Olrig Grange.* 
Gla^ow: Maclehose, 1S84. 

284 Songs of Character and Incident in Daily Life. 

members of the Bar have played in enlarging and enriching 
our lyrical repertory. No doubt law, in its strictly legal 
manifestation, has nothing to do with poetry ; as the most 
severe and formal, it is certainly the least emotional and 
the least humorous of the professions ; and no man looks 
among the gentlemen of the long robe for the full flow of 
sentiment and that furnace-glow of passion which makes a 
Burns or a Byron. Nevertheless, though it is perhaps as 
impossible a thing for a great lawyer to be a great poet as 
it is for an elephant to be an eagle, there are fields in the 
wide domain of lyrical exercitation which the distinguished 
members of that most intellectual profession have ever 
been forward to claim as specially their own. We mean, 
of course, the field of the humorous and the characteristic ; 
as indeed any one may see when present at a jury trial, 
that in this form of eliminating right the wall of partition 
is broken down that separates the severe and often arti- 
ficial formalism of strict law from the genial humanities of 
common life. At the Scottish bar specially, it was always 
a boast that barristers in the largest practice were not 
seldom those who possessed an amount of various literary 
culture which redeemed their social intercourse from the 
pedantry of what is familiarly called shop. Sir Walter 
Scott, as everybody knows, was not only a lawyer, but a 
very sound-headed county judge; and some of our most 

George Out ram. 285 

popular songs, with a broadly humorous brush, proceeded 
from the genial touch of Sir Alexander Boswell of Auchin- 
leck, son of the biographer of Johnson. But perhaps the 
most distinguished of our legal humorists, and one who exer- 
cised his wit with great success on strictly legal themes, was 
George Outram, a native, like so many other singers, of 
the Celtic west, born at the Clyde Ironworks, near Glasgow, 
in the year 1805.^ Like many young men of marked in- 
tellectuality, though without any special genius for law, he 
became a member of the Faculty of Advocates, Edinburgh. 
Here, after pacing the boards of the Parliament House for 
a few years, and refreshing with his rich flow of kindly 
humour the socialities of his brethren of the wig and gown, 
he found his literary leanings too strong to allow him to 
hope for advancement in that most engrossing of all 
severely intellectual professions; so he accepted an in- 
vitation to Glasgow, to act as editor of the leading western 
newspaper, the * Glasgow Herald,' a function which he 
performed with a gentlemanly moderation and a wise dis- 
crimination that did honour to the Conservative party, of 
which he was a member. He died at Rosemore, on the 
Holy Loch, in the fifty-second year of his age. 
Of his songs, not a few are too legal in their allusions 

^ Of Lord Neaves we shall have occasion to speak afterwards, under 
another head. 

286 So7igs of Character and Incident in Daily Life. 

and in their vocabulary to be fit for being received into the 
general body of popular song. Some, however, are either 
quite human, or free enough from any legal formalism, 
to be relished by the general public. Of these, "The 
Annuity," describing the misfortuned plight of a speculator 
who had sold an annuity to an old lady, apparently not far 
distant from the churchyard, but who lived to the age of 
ninety-four, and not even then had any thought of dying, 
is one of the most comical, certainly the most cunningly 
rhymed of any song in the language : — 

" The Bible says the age o' man 

Threescore an' ten perchance may be ; 

She's ninety-four; — let them wha can 
Explain the incongruity. 

She should hae lived afore the Flood — 

She's come o' Patriarchal blood — 

She's some auld Pagan, mummified 
Alive for her annuity." 

But as a lay of the law, and yet with a distinct human 
intelligibility, we prefer to give here at length his famous 
song on a process for division of commonty, called in the 
technical language of Scottish Law — 

SouMiN an' Roumin. 





q — r I ^ - 


MyGran-nie! — she was a worthy auld woman; She keep -it three geese 


I > -r 

-1 1 

an' a cow on a com-mon. Puir bo-dy ! — she sune made her fu' purse a 

Soiunin an RotuninP 


/TN '^ 

toom ane,By rals-tng a Pro-cess o' Soum-in an' Roum - in. Soum- in an' 

Roum-in, Soum-in an' Roum-in— By raising a Pro-cess o' Soum-in an' Roum-in. 

A young writer lad put it into her head ; 
He gied himsel' out for a dab at the trade— 
For guidin' a plea, or a proof, quite uncommon. 
And a terrible fellow at Soumin an' Roumin. 

Soumin an' Roumin, &c. 

He took her three geese to get it begun, 
And he needit her cow to carry it on, 
Syne she gied him her band for the cost that was comin', 
And on went the Process o' Soumin an' Roumin. 
Soumin an' Roumin, &c. 

My Grannie she grieved, and my Grannie she graned. 
As she paid awa' ilk honest groat she had hained ; 
She sat in her elbow-chair, glow'rin' and gloomin' — 
Speakin' o' naething but Soumin an' Roumin. 

Soumin an' Roumin, (Sic. 

She caredna for meat, and she caredna for drink — 
By night or by day she could ne'er sleep a wink ; 
" O Lord, pity me, for a wicked auld woman ! 
It's a sair dispensation this Soumin an' Roumin." 
Soumin an' Roumin, &c. 

In vain did the writer lad promise success- 
Speak of Interim Decrees, and final redress; 
In vain did he tell her that judgment was comin' — 
" It's a judgment already this Soumin an' Roumin ! " 
Soumin an' Roumin, &c. 

288 Songs of Character and Incident in Daily Life. 

The Doctor was sent for — but what could he say ? 
He allowed the complaint to be out o' his way ; 
The Priest spak' o' Job — said to suffer was human — 
But she said "Job kent naething o' Soumin' an' Roumin." 
Soumin an' Roumin, &c. 

The Priest tried to read, and the Priest tried to pray. 
But she wadna attend to ae word that he'd say ; 
She made a bad end for sae guid an auld woman — 
Her death-rattle sounded like " Soumin an' Roumin." 
Soumin an' Roumin, &c. 

I'm Executor — heir-male — o' line — an' provision, — 
An' the writer lad says that he'll manage the seisin ; 
But of a' the Estate, there's naething forthcomin'. 
But a guid-gangin' Process o' Soumin an' Roumin. 
Soumin an' Roumin, &c.i 

Perhaps the most delicately touched sketch of character 
in the whole range of Scottish poetry, is " The Lament of 
Captain Paton," by John Gibson Lockhart, the distinguished 
son-in-law and biographer of Sir Walter Scott. Though not 
specially a song-writer, Mr Lockhart's classical translations 
from the Spanish ballads display an amount of lyrical talent 
which, had he lived some centuries earlier in the days of 
the minstrels, instead of in the age of Quarterly Reviews, 
would have given him a high place in the fellowship of 

^ Legal and other Lyrics. By George Outram. Edited by J. H. 
Stoddart, LL.D, With Life by Henry Glassford Bell. Edinburgh, 

" Captain Paton no mo'e ! " 


Thomas the Rhymer, and the royal author of " Pebhs to 
the Play:"— 

Captain Paton no mo'eI^ 

- m t 
Touch once more a so - ber mea-sure. And let punch and tears be shed. For a 

prince of good old fel - lows That, a - lack - a - day I is dead : For a 

prince of wor - thy fel - lows, And a pret - ty man al - so, That has 

left the Salt - mar - ket In sor - row, grief, and woe. • Oh ! we 

ne'er shall see the like of Cap - tain Pa • ton no mo'e ! 

His waistcoat, coat, and breeches, 

Were all cut off the same web, 
Of a beautiful snuff colour. 

Or a modest genty drab. 
The blue stripe in his stocking, 

Round his neat slim leg did go ; 
And his ruffles of the cambric fine, 

They were whiter than the snow. 
Oh ! &c. 

His hair was curl'd in order. 

At the rising of the sun, 
In comely rows and buckles smart, 

That about his ears did run. 

* By kind permission of J. Muir Wood, Buchanan Street, Glasgow, 
from the Balmoral Edition of Scottish Songs, Glasgow, 1887, p. 374. 

290 Songs of Character and Incident in Daily Life 

And before there was a toupee 

That some inches up did go ; 
And behind there was a long queue, 

That did o'er his shoulders flow. 
Oh ! &c. 

And whenever we forgather'd, 

He took off his wee three-cockit, 
And he profler'd you his snufF-box, 

Which he drew from his side pocket ; 
And on Burdett or Bonaparte 

He would make a remark or so, 
And then along the plainstanes 

Like a provost he would go. 
Oh ! &c. 

In dirty days he picked well 

His footsteps with his rattan ; 
Oh ! you ne'er could see the least speck 

On the shoes of Captain Paton ! 
And on entering the cofl"ee-room 

About two^ all men did know 
They would see him with his ' Courier' 

In the middle of the row. 

Oh ! &c. 

Now and then upon a Sunday, 

He invited me to dine 
On a herring and a mutton-chop, 

Which his maid dress'd very fine. 
There was also a little Malmsey 

And a bottle of Bordeaux, 
Which between me and the Captain 

Passed nimbly to and fro. 

Oh ! &c. 

" Captain Paton no inoe ! " 291 

Or if a bowl was mention'd, 

The Captain he would ring, 
And bid Nelly to the West-Port, 

And a stoup of water bring. 
Then would he mix the genuine stuff, 

As they made it long ago, 
With limes that on his property 

In Trinidad did grow. 

Oh ! &c. 

And then all the time he would discourse 

So sensible and courteous, 
Perhaps talking of the last sermon 

He had heard from Dr Porteous ; 
Or some little bit of scandal 

Of Mrs So-and-so, 
Which he scarce could credit, having heard 

The C07t, but not the/r^. 

Oh ! &c. 

Or when the candles were brought forth, 

And the night was (fairly) setting in, 
He would tell some fine old stories 

About Minden-field or Dettingen ; 
How he fought with a French major, 

And despatched him at a blow, 
While his blood ran out like water 

On the soft grass below. 

Oh ! &c. 

But at last the Captain sicken'd, 

And grew worse from day to day, 
And all miss'd him in the coffee-room. 

From which now he stay'd away. 

292 Sojtgs of Character and Incident in Daily Life. 

On Sabbaths, too, the Wynd Kirk 

Made a melancholy show, 
All for wanting of the presence 

Of our venerable beau. 

Oh ! &c. 

And in spite of all that Cleghorn 

And Corkindale could do, 
It was plain, from twenty symptoms, 

That death was in his view. 
So the Captain made his testament, 

And submitted to his foe, 
And we laid him by the Ram's-horn Kirk ; 

'Tis the way we all must go. 
Oh ! &c. 

Join all in chorus, jolly boys. 

And let punch and tears be shed, 
For this prince of good old fellows, 

That, alack-a-day ! is dead : 
For this prince of worthy fellows, 

And a pretty man also, 
That has left the Saltmarket 

In sorrow, grief, and woe ! 
Oh ! &c. 

We conclude this chapter with a song born of that de- 
light in field-sports in which, from the days of Nimrod 
downwards, all well-constituted and vigorous peoples have 
rejoiced. In Scotland it is notable that we have no 
hunting-songs ; how this comes to pass let the gentlemen 
who follow the bushy-tailed marauder of the farmyard and 

Thomas Tod Stoddart. 293 

the hen-house explain.^ But to compensate for this we 
have angling - songs of classical excellence, and among 
these specially "The Muckle May-Flee" of Ballantine, 
and "The Taking of the Salmon," by Thomas Tod 
Stoddart, one of that genial company of large human- 
hearted gentlemen who for so many years enlivened 
with their flashes of honest mirth and skits of uncon- 
ventional wisdom the Ambrosian nights of Blackwood's 
supper-parties, and the pastoral joviality of St Mary's 
Loch. Mr Stoddart was an Edinburgh man, who, with a 
decided poetical talent, like Outram joined the society of 
advocates, as an honourable brotherhood, without having 
any serious intention of following out the profession in 
actual practice; and, after a few years' formal display of 
the gown and wig, and saturation with the gossip of the 
Parliament House, having a small independence and no 
ambition for what is called rising in the world in any hot- 
spurred career of severe brain-labour, he settled in the 
picturesque Border town of Kelso, and from that as head- 
quarters followed the profession of an angler through all the 
wimpling brooks and rolling rivers of auld Scotland, from 
Tweed to Spey, with a dexterity and a persistency which 

* Though not strictly a hunting-song, "The Place where the Old 
Hone died," by the late distinguished novelist, Major Whyte Melville, 
deserves a place in all repertories of the venatorial Muse. 

294 Songs of Character and Incident in Daily Life. 

rendered him at once the highest authority in the prose, 
as he was the best exponent of the poetry, of the craft. 
Here follows one of the most dramatically descriptive, per- 
haps as an angler's song the best, in the language : — 

The Taking of the Salmon.^ 

A birr ! a whirr ! a salmon's on, 

A goodly fish ! a thumper ! 
Bring up, bring up, the ready gaff, 
And if we land him we shall quaff 
Another glorious bumper ! 
Hark ! 'tis the music of the reel, 

The strong, the quick, the steady; 
The line darts from the active wheel. 
Have all things right and ready. 

A birr ! a whirr ! the salmon's out, 

Far on the rushing river ; 
Onward he holds with sudden leap, 
Or plunges through the whirlpool deep, 
A desperate endeavour ! 
Hark to the music of the reel ! 
* The fitful and the grating ; 

It pants along the breathless wheel, 
Now hurried — now abating. 

A birr ! a whirr ! the salmon's off! — 

No, no, we still have got him ; 
The wily fish is sullen grown, 
And, like a bright imbedded stone. 

Lies gleaming at the bottom. 

^ Songs and Poems, by Thomas Tod Stoddart, author of the "Death 
Wake," "Scottish Angler," &c. Edinburgh : Blackwood, 1879. 

" The Taking of tlie Salmon^ 295 

Hark to the music of the reel ! 

'Tis hush'd, it hath forsaken ; 
With care we'll guard the magic wheel, 

Until its notes rewaken. 

A birr ! a whirr ! the salmon's up — 
Give line, give line and measure ; 
But now he turns ! keep down ahead, 
And lead him as a child is led, 
And land him at your leisure. 
Hark to the music of the reel ! 
'Tis welcome, it is glorious ; 
It wanders through the winding wheel. 
Returning and victorious. 

A birr ! a whirr ! the salmon's in, 

Upon the bank extended ; 
The princely fish is gasping slow. 
His brilliant colours come and go, 
All beautifully blended. 
Hark to the music of the reel ! 

It murmurs and it closes ; 
Silence is on the conquering wheel, 
Its wearied line reposes. 

No birr ! no whirr! the salmon's ours. 

The noble fish — the thumper ! 
Strike through his gill the ready gaff. 
And bending homewards, we shall quaft 
Another glorious bumper ! 
Hark to the music of the reel ! 

We listen with devotion ; 
There's something in that circling wheel 
That wakes the heart's emotion I 




Xp^ 5'ej/ ffviiTToaicf), kvXIkwv Trepiviacroficvdcav 
'H5ea KuriWovra KaO-fj/xevop oivoirord^^iv. 

— Phocylides. 

" Eating," says a great German thinker, " is an accentuated 
life : " if so, drinking, as it were a superlative degree of the 
same affection, may aptly be called a potentiated life. The 
instinct of all peoples and the utterance of all literatures 
assert in every variety the inherent superiority of the liquid 
to the solid element, in the nutrimental forces that go to 
build up the complex vitality of that physico-moral wonder 
of the universe — a human being. The Greeks, whose 
imaginative theology was always nicely in harmony with 
Nature, felt this strongly ; and so, while they gave all due 
prominence to the god of drinking, they kept Ceres in the 
background, in the corn-field and the corn-yard, not at the 
dinner-table; and, when they met together to enjoy a social 

Philosophy of Drinking, 297 

meal, they did not call it crvo-<rmov — eating together — the 
word used for the common meal of the Spartans; but 
arvfjLTToa-Lov — drinking together. Alcinous in the 'Odyssey' 
(vi. 309) sits drinking, not eating, "like an immortal god." 
The natural reason of this distinction is manifest. When a 
man is faint, food, even the most choice, can have only 
one result, to give strength to the weak ; but wine, which 
is the best form of the liquid element, not only strengthens 
but quickens and elevates. Eating puts a man on his legs, 
so that, if prostrate, he is normally himself again ; drinking 
gives a man wings, and teaches him to fly for a season, in 
a state of exaltation above his normal level. And, even 
when he does not exactly fly, a glass of good wine gives 
a pleasant spur to his nervous system, making his utterance 
rise from the dull ditch of utilitarian prose to the bickering 
flow of animated conversation. Among the Greeks, not only 
Anacreon, who was specifically an Epicurean, spreading 
himself out luxuriantly on a bank of tender myrtle or 
grassy clover, could sing — 

'Etti /xvpo-tVai? Tcpcimt? 

'EttI Xa/TlVai5 T€ TTOICUS 

Sropccraf ^cXw TrpoTrivtiv — 

but the wise old "Phocylides, a didactic poet, after the 
manner of Theognis, and a sort of Milesian Solomon in 
his day, says emphatically — 

298 Drinking- Songs, Convivial Songs. 

^prj 8'ei/ cr/xTrocrto), KvXiKOiv TrepLVLcra-ofJievdwv 
'H8ea KOiTiXXovTa KaOrjfjL€Vov olvo7roTdt,€Lv — 

a stanza familiarly known from its standing as a motto to the 
' Noctes Ambrosianae ' of ' Blackwood's Magazine/ where 
it had the good fortune to be honoured with the very clever 
version from the pen of glorious John Wilson, or perhaps 
the fine and delicate touch of John Gibson Lockhart : — 

" This is a distich by wise old Phocylides, 
An ancient who wrote crabbed Greek in no silly days ; 
Meaning, "Tis right for good wine-bibbing people, 
Not to let the jug pace round the board like a cripple ; 
But gaily to chat while discussing their tipple.' 
An excellent rule of the hearty old cock 'tis — 
And a very fit motto to put to our NoctesP 

But not only the Greeks, with whom it was a matter not 
only of healthy human enjoyment, but a religious duty in 
honour of Dionysus, to drink wine, gave forth these 
rhythmical expressions of its praise; but the Hebrews, 
whose religion in some aspects savoured more of the fear 
of a jealous God than of sympathy with a genial God, again 
and again bear pious witness to the virtues of the kindly 
stimulating potation. In the Book of Judges (ix. 9), in 
one of those significant parables which are the gems of 
Biblical literature, to an invitation made to the vine to be 
elected king of the trees and reign over the forest, the 

Praise of Wine in the Bible. 299 

sacred tree of Dionysus replies, " Shall I leave my wine 
which cheereth God and man, and go to be promoted 
over the trees?" wisely preaching this doctrine, which 
ambitious souls are apt to forget, that, though power is 
pleasant when pleasantly seasoned, pleasantness without 
power is better than power without pleasantness. And 
King David, or whoever it was that put together that har- 
monious outflow of grateful piety which we read in the 
104th Psalm, after celebrating His goodness who makes 
the grass to grow for the cattle and herbs for the service 
of man, does not forget, with that zest for vital enjoyment 
which belongs to every healthy creature, to praise the 
divine gift of wine, which maketh glad the heart of man, 
and goes hand in hand with the oil which makes his face to 
shine. But not only in the lyric poetry of the Hebrews, but, 
as with the Greeks, in the severe didactic form, the virtues 
of the juice of the grape are not forgotten. In the notable 
concluding chapter of the Book of Proverbs, where a wise 
mother gives her most urgent advices to a wise king, while 
she warns him in the strongest terms against the indulgence 
of strong passions and the imbibing of strong liquors in the 
persons of those who are expounding law and decreeing jus- 
tice to the people, she at the same time does not omit to 
make the significant addition, ** Give strong drink unto him 
that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be 

3CX) Drinking- Songs, Convivial Songs. 

heavy of heart. Let them drink, and forget their poverty, 
and remember their misery no more ! " — displaying in this 
a cathoHc wisdom of sentiment, standing in instructive 
contrast to the hasty logic of not a few in these times 
who cannot see a good thing abused without rushing to the 
conclusion that it is a bad thing, and relegating it wholesale 
into the realms of devildom. In the New Testament we 
find an equal freedom from all one-sided denunciations of 
good things because they are sometimes badly used. When 
alluding in his parables to dancing and wedding parties, 
and personally turning dull water into spirit-stirring wine, 
our blessed Lord showed no tincture of Pharisaic sourness 
or Essenic asceticism ; and though, no doubt. His apostles 
had frequent occasion to denounce the offence of being 
drunk with wine, wherein is excess (Ephes. v. 18), yet the 
fear of this excess, which was the besetting sin both of the 
Greeks to whom he wrote, and of the age in which he lived, 
did not prevent him from saying to the most eminent of his 
young coadjutors, " Take a little wine for your stomach's 
sake, and for your many infirmities." And if the merry 
Greeks and the stern Hebrews were equally averse from 
indulging in the one-sided denunciation of one of the best 
gifts of God, we shall not be slow to find that the stout 
Romans, who were hard-hitting soldiers and strong-brained 
lawyers, showed an equal sympathy with the sparkling wine- 

Praise of Wine in the East. 301 

cup, as the natural accompaniment of all great demonstra- 
tions of social joy. Quinctilian (i. 10) tells us that from 
the old Roman banquets the lyre and the flute were never 
absent ; and Horace sings — 

" Nunc est bibendum ; nunc pede libero 
Pulsanda tellus, nunc Saliaribus, 
Omare pulvinar Deorum 
Tempus erat dapibus sodales ! " ^ 

Of course the Asiatics of the far East, with whom any kind 

of asceticism, or gymnosophistry, was only an exceptional 

reaction from their general luxuriousness, could not be 

behind their Western neighbours in any Bacchabund tri- 

pudiations of this sort ; and so in Goethe's " West- Eastern 

Divan," so thoroughly oriental in its spirit, there is one 

speaker who even dares to say — 

*' Did the Kordn exist for ever? 

I really do not care to know. 

W^as the Kordn a created thing.? 

I know not, but it may be so ; 

That 'tis the best of all books that be, 

This is a dutiful creed with me. 

But that wine from eternity was. 

This as God's truth I receive ; 

Or, if created, created before 

The angels were, I can well believe. 
Anyhow, he who drinks most cheerly. 
Looks God in the face, and sees more clearly." * 

* See Seneca, De Tranquillitate Animi, xv. 14. 

 West-osllicher Divan : Saki-Nameh — Das Schenkenbuch. 

302 Drinking- Songs, Convivial Songs. 

This sounds bold enough, almost profane to a Presbyterian 
sour, or a severe Calvinist, or one of that class of pious 
persons not uncommon in the religious world, who know 
not that in all moral utterances, of which the New Testa- 
ment is full, the letter killeth and the spirit maketh alive. 
Goethe himself, though a person of infinitely more self- 
command than Robert Burns, was in his rollicking zest 
of life in no whit inferior to our great song- writer, and in 
one of his " Gesellige Lieder " goes so far as to make a 
formal confession of the besetting sin of having on various 
occasions abstained from plashing in the pool of festive 
enjoyment with as genial a joviality as a healthy human 
being ought to do. Here it is: — 

General Confession. 

{A Convivial Song.) 

Listen to a good advice, 

When 'tis not denied you ; 
Boldly, ere it be too late, 
For the right decide you. 
For your faults yet to be mended, 
Much begun and little ended, 
Soundly must I chide you. 

Penance must we do at least. 

Once before we die all ; 
Let us, then, confess our sins, 

With an honest sigh all ; 

" General Confessioti" 303 

To forsake what most besets us, 
Care that vexes, freak that frets us, 
Let us nobly vie all. 

Yes, we have, confess we must, 

Waking oft been dreaming, 
Emptied not the friendly cup, 
When the wine was gleaming ; 
Many a roving hour have watched not, 
Many a waiting kiss have snatched not, 
As was well beseeming. 

Often have we sat and gaped. 
Silent when we should not ; 
Pratings of the pedant crew. 
When we could, eschewed not ; 
Listened to their prosy comments 
On a poet's happy moments, 
That they understood not. 

Wilt thou absolution give. 

Of all good things Giver, 

From thy faithful precepts swerve, 

Will thy servants never ; 

And each sorry half-work leaving, 

To the good, the lovely, cleaving, 

Resolute live ever. 

Pedants, while we sit at ease, 

To a smile may move us ; 
Bumpers waiting to be quaffed, 
Shall no more reprove us ; 
Not with empty phrase harangue we, 
But with faithful passion hang we, 
On the lips that love us. 

304 Drinking- Songs, Convivial Songs, 

In England, from the time of Henry II. downwards, and 
further back, no doubt, to those who care to make curious 
inquiry, we have distinct evidence of the popularity of the 
drinking-song. In' the reign of this sagacious and ener- 
getic Norman, when the churchmen played a prominent 
part in public life, and the Latin language was as familiar in 
their mouth as Greek was to Cicero, there came out of 
Wales, or one of the conterminous counties, one of those 
adventurous students, who, in a military age, knew to com- 
bine rare learning with administrative genius, and in virtue 
of their intellectual and moral superiority rose to the 
highest offices in Church and State. This was Walter de 
Mapes, the contemporary of the celebrated Giraldus 
Cambrensis, who, after serving a worthy apprenticeship in 
the household of Thomas k Becket, was raised by the 
discerning patronage of the sovereign to various judicial, 
ecclesiastical, and academical offices, and employed as a 
trustworthy negotiator in several foreign missions of im- 
portance. But as often happens with men engaged in the 
conduct of affairs, while his public virtues are now known 
only to a few students of special history, his memory is 
preserved in one of those spirts of lyrical good-humour 
with which the gravest men do chiefly affect to season 
the severity of an earnest life. The drinking-song from 
his sportive vein which follows, " Mihi est proposituni in 

" Cantilena Potatoria'' 305 

tabema mori,'^ was no doubt originally intended as a satire 
against the very free-and-easy style of comfortable living 
in which many members of the religious orders in those 
days largely indulged ; but taken out of its dramatic 
connection, and holding, as it does, a prominent place 
in the German Cominerslieder and other song-books, it 
may stand as a very fair specimen of the drinking-songs 
in the century before the French Revolution, so largely 
spread in all popular song-books both at home and abroad ; 
and in so far as, like the purring of the cat at the fireside, 
these drinking-songs serve only to express the genial com- 
fort of the physical man in the accentuated vitality of eat- 
ing and drinking, there can be no harm in them : — 

Cantilena Potatoria.^ 

Mihi est propositum in taberna mori ; 
Vinum sit appositum morientis ori : 
Ut dicant, cum venerint, angelorum chori : 
" Deus sit propitius huic potatori ! " 

Poculis accenditur animi lucerna, 
Cor imbutum nectare volat ad superna. 
Mihi sapit dulcius vinum in taberna, 
Quam quod aqua miscuit praesulis pincema. 

* Allgemeines Lieder- und Commersbuch. Von A. Methfessel. 4te 
Auflage. Hamburg und Itzehoe, 1831. 

3o6 Drinking- Songs, Convivial Songs. 

Suum cuique proprium dat natura munus, 
Ego nunquam potui scribere jejunus ; 
Me jejunum vincere posset puer unus, 
Sitim et jejunium odi tanquam funus! 

Tales versus facio, quale vinum bibo, 
Neque possum scribere nisi sumto cibo ; 
Nihil valet penitus, quod jejunus scribo, 
Nasonem post calices carmine prasibo. 

Mihi nunquam spiritus prophetias datur, 
Nisi turn cum fuerit venter bene satur; 
Cum in arce cerebri Bacchus dominatur, 
In me Phoebus irruit, ac miranda fatur. 

But, though this quiet satisfaction in sipping the blood 
of the grape, to the solitary toper is not without a certain 
lyrical value, yet so long as the drinking-song wants the 
element of sociality and conviviality, it falls short of its 
type ; it is a bird without wings : " Didce cum sodalibus 
sapit vinum bonum" gives the true key-note to the poetry of 
drinking-songs. Even in those verses of Mapes it is not 
the mere pleasure of the sipping that gives grace to the 
drinking, it is the emotional elevation that accompanies it 
and finds its utterance in verse : — 

" In my brain's high citadel, when Bacchus holds his sway, then 
Phoebus rushes into me, and pours a fervid lay then." 

And in the same manner, Goethe in one of the versicles of 
the * Saki-Nameh ' expressly says, that unless the solitary cup 

Dr inking y Solitary and Social. 2>^y 

is used to stimulate thinking, as the cigar is boasted to do 
by the devotees of the weed, it has no poetical value, and 
degenerates into mere calculated sottishness : — 

" Here sit I alone 

With myself all my own ; 

And I sip my own wine, 

And I thank God 'tis mine, 
And where no man can fret me with loud disputations, 
I sip and I spin here my own meditations." 

Let these meditative drinkers enjoy their solitary pota- 
tions exceptionally; but the rule holds, as we said, that 
drinking to be poetical must be social : — 

" Dulce cum sodalibus sapit vinum bonum, 
Osculari virgines, dulcius est donum ; 
Donum est dulcissimum lyricen Maronum, 
Si his tribus gaudeam sperno regis thronum." 

Here the drink, even with the boon companions, is put 
in the lowest place, and, unless love and the lyre follow, it 
is not worthy of a man. This is the burden also of all the 
old drinking-songs in our song-books of the last century : — 

" To Anacreon in heaven, where he sat in full glee, 
A few sons of harmony sent a petition 
That he their inspirer and patron would be ; 
When this answer arrived from the jolly old Grecian, 
Voice, fiddle, and flute 
No longer be mute, 

308 Drinking- Songs, Convivial Songs. 

I'll lend you my name, and inspire you to boot ; 
And besides, I'll instruct you like me to entwine 
The myrtle of Venus with Bacchus's vine!"^ 

But this addition of the grace of Venus to the strength 
of Dionysus was not comprehensive enough to satisfy the 
sympathies of the triumphant drinking-song; for good 
liquor, whatever its sins and its dangers may be, has at 
least one good effect, of breaking down the conventional 
barriers that so often separate man from man, so that 
the trite proverb in vino Veritas is scarcely more true 
than in vino humanitas ; and among the grand human 
affections that find their expression in a social drinking- 
song, loyalty or devotion to the public weal, with faithful 
subjection to legitimate authority, seldom fails to take a 
prominent place. So in the popular old English song — 

Down among the Dead Men. 

Here's a health to the Queen, and a lasting peace, 

To faction an end, to wealth increase ; 
Come let us drink it while we have breath. 
For there's no drinking after death. 
And he that will this health deny, 
Down among the dead men, 
Down among the dead men, 
Down, down, down, 
Down among the dead men let him lie ! 

The Edinburgh Musical Miscellany. Edinburgh, 1792. 

"Down among tJie Dead Men'.' 309 

Let charming beauty's health go round, 

In whom celestial joys are found, 
And may confusion still pursue 

The senseless woman-hating crew. 
And they that woman's health deny, &c. 

In smiling Bacchus' joys I'll roll. 

Deny no pleasure to my soul ; 
Let Bacchus' health round briskly move, 

For Bacchus is a friend to love. 

And he that will this health deny, &c. 

May love and wine their rites maintain. 

And their united pleasure reign ; 
While Bacchus' treasures crown the board. 

We'll sing the joys that both afford. 

And they that won't with us comply, &c.^ 

But, with all these additions of loyalty and love, and 
whatever else of healthy sentiment may be thrown into 
the glass, it must be confessed that these drinking-songs 
stand low in lyrical value — are more apt to be abused 
than to be well used — and on the whole, quite worthy of 
the comparative neglect into which they have fallen. It 
is right to love gaiety and pleasure, and to sing gay songs ; 
but the man who delights in them must, like Garrick, 
always know how to "temper his pleasures with refine- 
ment, and make them serve the business of life and pro- 

* Old English Ditties. From VV. Chappell's Popular Music of the 
Olden Time, 2 vols. London : Chappell, 50 New Bond Street. 

310 Drinking- Songs y Convivial Songs. 

moting friendship." ^ Sometimes these songs are redeemed 
from commonplace by a pretty conceit, as in that old 
song of "The brown Jug," where the singer boasts to 
have been made of the clay into which the body of 
Toby Filpot, a stout old toper, had been resolved after 
death; but generally speaking, there are only three ways 
in which a drinking-song can be elevated into the region 
of classical poetry, as distinguished from the mere rhyth- 
mical expression of nervous exhilaration. The first is by 
engrafting philosophy into it, of which the most notable 
example is Schiller's well-known 

Punch Song. 

Mingle them kindly, 

Th' elements four, — 
Mystical Nature 

Works by the four. 

Press ye the citron 

Juicy and tart : 
Life's inner kernel 

Harbours a smart. 

Now with the sugar's 

Mild mellow power 
Tame ye and temper 

Wisely the sour. 

1 Life of Garrick, by Fitzgerald (London, 1868), vol. i. ch. ii. 

''Punch Songr 3 1 1 

Pour then the water 

Flowing and clear, — 
Water embraceth 

Calmly the sphere. 

Now with the spirit 

Charm ye the bowl, — 
Life of the living, 

Soul of the soul. 

Ere it enhaleth, 

Swift be it quaffed : 
Only when glowing 

Strengthens the draught — 

a composition which not even the wise Greeks could have 
managed in better style. The second is by taking it on 
the humorous side, and amusing our fancy with an exhibi- 
tion of frail humanity which, if seriously taken, would be 
purely painful. This humorous fashion of treating the 
drinker, who has lost the sober use of his senses in the 
titillation of his nerves, is admirably managed in the Ger- 
man song, " Gerad aus dem Wirthshaus," in which the toper 
is placed before us in the condition of the foolish jury- 
man, who excused himself for always standing out against 
the verdict of his co-jurors, on the ground that he had 
the misfortune to be regularly the only wise man among 
fourteen fools. So in our German song, the devotee of 
Dionysus, coming out of the atmosphere of the tavern, 

312 Drinking- SongSy Convivial Songs. 

big with beer and dim with tobacco, not recognising 
clearly his whereabout or his whatabout, forthwith con- 
cludes that the external world and all its accompaniments 
are in a state of intoxication. The streets, he says, are 
inverted, the right hand having become the left, and the 
left the right; the moon is making faces, with one eye 
open and the other shut; and the street-lamps — Du lieher 
Gotfl — are all shaking and tumbling about, unable to 
stand on their legs, unquestionably drunk; everything in 
fact is become intoxicated, staggering and reeling into un- 
reasonable chaos ; a world in which no reasonable person 
can enjoy a tolerable existence: therefore he, the alone 
reasonable in a storm of unreason, as a wise man, will not 
venture farther, but go back into the tavern. Here it is : — 

A Blessed Delusion. 

Out from the tavern I come and stand here : 
All things are looking so odd and so queer, 
Right hand with left hand confounded, 'tis clear 
The streets have been drinking too much of the beer. 

And there's the moon, too, aloft in the sky, 
Glinting and squinting, and shutting one eye : 
Fie on you, fie ! you old toper, 'tis clear. 
Moon, you've been drinking too much of the beer. 

And there's the lamps too, all flickering queer. 
Some very far away, some very near, 

Biirschen Songs. 313 

Reeling and wheeling, now here and now there : 
Lamps, you are drunk, this plain truth I declare ! 

Round about, round about, great things and small, 
One only sober — myself — of them all ; 
With such a rout I'll not venture my skin, 
Wisdom commands to go back to the inn.^ 

The third way in which a drinking-song can be redeemed 
from the cheapness of most of these old drinking-songs, 
is by scene, situation, and character ; and here again we 
find that the Germans, our masters in music as well as 
in metaphysics, bear the bell. The character which in 
the drama of real life is most suited for a drinking-song, is 
that of a young man with an exuberant flow of unham- 
pered spirits, plashing about like a young trout in a sunny 
pool, and in whom, as being, to use Aristotle's phrase, under 
the dominion of Tra^o?, or passion, the unbridled expression 
of the rapture of the moment, if not always reasonable, is 
natural and enjoyable; and the scene and situation which 
best suit this display of effervescent vitality is the student- 
life of the German universities. On the banks of the 
Rhine or the Neckar, amid grey old castles, ivy-grown 
monasteries, and vine-clad hills, the Academical Muse of 
Deutschland has found a stage where picturesque surround- 

* Allgemeines Deutsches Commersbuch, 1510 Auflage, Lahr, Moritz 
Schauenburg, p. 198. Englished by J. S. B. 

314 Drinking- Songs, Con vivial Songs. 

ings, patriotic memories, intense vital enjoyment, and un- 
conventional sociality unite to form a poetry of youthful 
life to which not even the merry Greeks, in the days of 
Socrates and Aristophanes, could boast anything superior. 
It is this atmosphere, this scenery, and this life which en- 
velops and plays round us, as with a moral sunshine, when 
we peal forth from lusty lungs such Burschen Lieder as Qa^ 
ca, geschmmiset ! and Cramhainbuli I — 

" Come, don't be mulish, 
March like men where you mean to go. 
I7t loco foolish, 
Dulce you know ! 
Edite, bibite, Collegiales, 
Post paiica scBcula 
Pocula nulla / 

Pipes a-hand yarely, 

No Bursch is he who cries enough ! 

Puff, puff away rarely, 

Drink while you puff ! " 

And so on. Then again — 

" Crambambuli, that is the liquor 

That fires the blood, makes tough the brains ; 
My panacea is the beaker 
For every ill that earth contains. 

At morning bright, at noon, at night, 
Crambambuli is my delight ; 
Crambimbambuli, Crambambuli ! 

" Crambavihdiy 3 1 5 

Ye drink no wine, ye love no lasses, 

Teetotal men — heaven bless the fare I 
Here being stamped and sealed for asses. 
How hope ye to be angels there ? 

Drink water like the blessed swine, 
And dream it is the draught divine 
Of Crambimbambuli, Crambambuli ! 

Whoso at us Crambambulisten 

Proudly turns up his churlish nose. 
He is a heathen, and no Christian, 
For God's best gift away he throws. 

The fool may bawl himself to death, 

I will not give to stop his breath 

One drop Crambambuli, Crambambuli !"^ 

So much for the general human prevalence and social 
significance of drinking-songs. Let us now see what crop 

* Burschen Melodies, by J. S. B., in Tail's Edinburgh Magazine ; 
Edinburgh, 1841. Of Scottish students' songs strictly so called, I 
know none ; for the Academical songs that we have in College Songs 
(Edinburgh, 1886), and Musa Burchicosa, by J. S. B. (Edinburgh, 1869), 
are not by students, but by professors or physicians, notably in Edin- 
burgh a very jovial fraternity. I believe that Professor Lindsay of the 
Free Church College, Glasgow, among other good deeds distinguished 
himself favourably by the encouragement which he gave to the practice 
of social song amongst the students. How far the students in the 
English universities may have succeeded in the production of a 
" Commersbuch " worthy to take rank with the German compends of 
convivial song, I do not know ; but the musical indoctrination which 
they receive at Harrow and other great schools, certainly gives them 
an excellent start for brilliant advances in the same line at the 
University. — See Harrow School Songs, by John Farmer. London : 
Williams, 24 Bemers Street. 


Drinking- Songs, Convivial Songs. 

of the same free revelry Scotland produces. And here, no 
doubt, one might be inclined to think, reasoning a priori^ 
that a country of such severe religiosity and stern Sabbatic 
exercise would shrink from the exhibition of those purple 
blossoms of redundant vital enjoyment which drinking- 
songs contain. But it is not so. Rather the contrary. 
Nature is mighty, and will leap forth on the Monday with 
a more violent bound in proportion as the repressive force 
on the Sunday had been severe. Of this we have an 
admirable example in the song — 

Willie wi' his Wig a-jee.^ 

Oh, saw ye Wil-lie frae the west ? Oh, saw ye Wil-lie in his glee? Oh, 






saw ye Wil-lie frae the west. When he had got his wig a - jee ? There's 

Scots, whaha'e wi' Wallace bled," He towers it up in sic a key ; Oh, 

r-. — 5 — • — _ . r-f» - 



saw ye Willie, hearty lad. When he had got his wig a -jee? 

To hear him sing a canty air, 

He lilts it o'er sae charmingly, 
That in a moment aff flies care, 

When Willie gets his wig a-jee. 

^ Air by kind permission from J. Ferric, Glasgow. 

^' Willie wV his Wig a-Jee" 317 

Let drones croon o'er a winter night, 
A fig for them, whate'er they be. 

For I could sit till morning light, 
Wi' Willie and his wig a-jee. 

At kirk on Sundays, sic a change 

Comes o'er his wig, and mou', and e'e, 
Sae douce — you'd think a cannon-ba' 

Wad scarce ca' Willie's wig a-jee. 
But when on Mondays he begins, 

And rants and roars continually. 
Till ilk owk's end, the very weans 

Gang daft — when Willie's wig's a-jee. 

In this song it is notable that there is no mention of 
drink ; but in harmony with the general tone of such 
exhibitions of lyrical revel in Scotland, it is difficult to 
conceive how, after a long travel from the west, any Scotch 
Willie, Jamie, or Sandy could recreate himself and his 
entertainers with a dry throat, or a throat moistened only 
with water from the well. We venture to suggest, there- 
fore, that the author, William Chalmers, a Paisley man, 
like so many of our best song-writers, would have done 
better had he shaped his last four lines somewhat thus : — 

But when on Monday he begins, 
And laughs and quaffs wi' bickering glee, 

And sips and sings, the very weans 
Gang daft, when Willie's wig's a-jee. 

Of regular drinking-songs, one of the best known is 
" There's cauld Kail in Aberdeen," sometimes, but erron- 


Drinking- Songs, Convivial Songs. 

eously, attributed to Alexander, Duke of Gordon, the same 
who was husband to the genial social Duchess who lionised 
Burns so grandly in his year of Edinburgh sojourn.^ This 
song, though not expanding beyond the pure social enjoy- 
ment of "the cogie" (Gaelic, aiach), aesthetically, if not 
morally, has a charm to the song- lover, not only from 
the completeness of the enjoyment expressed by the toper, 
but from the dramatic contrast so vividly presented between 
the drinker with his cogie and boon companions in the 
ale-house, and the jealous niggardliness of a certain class 
of wives who would restrict their devoted lords to the sober 
monotony of the wife, the fireside, and the bairns : — 

There's cauld Kail in Aberdeen, 

There's cauld kail in A - ber-deen, An' custocks in Stra' -bo - gie,Where 

il - ka lad maun hae his lass, But I maun hae my co - gie. For 




I maun hae my co - gie, sirs, 

can - na want my co - gie ; I 

wad - na gie my three-girr'dcog For a' the wives in Bo - gie. 

1 The words of this song in Johnson's Musical Museum, vol. ii., 

1788, and marked in the index as by the D of G , are quite 


" There s caidd Kail in Aberdeen y 319 

There's Johnnie Smith has got a wife 

Wha scrimps him o' his cogie ; 
But were she mine, upon my life, 

I'd dook her in a bogie. 
For I maun hae my cogie, sirs, 

I canna want my cogie ; 
I wadna gie my three-girr'd cog 

For a* the wives in Bogie. 

An' twa three todlin' weans they hae, 

The pride o* a* Stra'bogie ; 
Whene'er the totums cry for meat, 

She curses aye his cogie ; 
Cr>'ing, "Wae betide the three-girr'd cog ! 

O wae betide the cogie ! 
It does mair skaith than a* the ills 

That happen in Stra'bogie." 

She fand him ance at Willie Sharp's, 

An' what they maist did laugh at, 
She brak' the bicker, spilt the drink, 

An' tightly cufif'd his haffet ; 
Crying, " Wae betide the three-girr'd cog ! 

wae betide the cogie ! 

It does mair skaith than a' the ills 
That happen in Stra'bogie." 

Yet here's to ilka honest soul 

Wha'll drink wi' me a cogie ; 
An' for ilk silly, whinging fool. 

We'll dook him in a bogie. 
For I maun hae my cogie, sirs, 

1 canna want my cogie ; 

I wadna gie my three-girr'd cog 
For a* the wives in Bogie. 


Drinking- Songs y Convivial Softgs. 

As a contrast to this song, and remarkable for the 
subordination of the mere element of stimulating liquor, 
to the large catholic humanities and kindly social feelings 
of which it is the bearer, we fitly place here — 

Sae will we yet. 

Sit ye down here, my cro - nies, and gie . . us your crack, Let the 

win' tak' the cares o' this life on its back ; Our 

^ ^^^ ^ ^-n^vT^^ti 

hearts to des - pon-den-cy we nev-er will sub • mit, For we've 

And sae will we yet, and sae will we yet, For we've 

aye been pro - vi - ded for, and sae will we yet. 

Success to the farmer, and prosper his plough, 
Rewarding his eident toils a' the year through ; 
Our seed-time and harvest we ever will get. 
For we've lippened aye to Providence, and sae will we yet. 
And sae will we yet, &c. 

Lang live the king, and happy may he be, 
And success to his forces by land and by sea ! 

" Sae will we yet. " 321 

His enemies to triumph we never will permit, 
Britons aye hae been victorious, and sae will they yet. 
And sae will they yet, &c. 

Let the glass keep its course and go merrily roun', 
For the sun it will rise tho' the moon has gane down ; 
When the house is rinnin' round about it's time enough to flit, 
When we fell we aye got up again, and sae will we yet. 
And sae will we yet, &c. 

This is one of those songs with which the late lamented 
Scottish vocalist, Mr Kennedy, for so many years recreated 
the souls of the Scot at home, and refreshed the memories 
of the Scot abroad, in a fashion not likely soon to be met 
with again. In Kennedy's musical evenings, given fre- 
quently in the Music Hall, Edinburgh, the hearty humour 
of the father and the graceful sweetness of the daughters 
united to produce an aesthetical and a moral effect of the 
rarest kind, which all the artillery of the most highly paid 
virtuosos in an orchestral entertainment might in point of 
volume have overwhelmed, but in point of purity and depth 
of emotion could not have approached. In this admirable 
drinking-song it will be observed that not only the king on 
the throne, the army, the navy, and the producers of the 
staff of life, receive the loyal and grateful recognition that 
they deserve, but there is a vein of contentment and cheer- 
ful resignation running through it, which elevates the 
drinking-song into a sermon ; and a sermon, too, preached 


322 Drinking- Songs, Convivial Songs. 

on a text not the least prominent in a discourse (Matthew 
vi. 25-34) full of that mellow wisdom which all Christians 
profess to admire, but only a few attempt to realise. 
Another drinking-song not less redolent of a cheerful 
human piety is — 

A WEE Drappie o't.i 

The trees are a' stript o' their mantle sae green, 

The leaves o' the forest nae langer are seen, 

Winter draws near wi' its cauld icy coat, 

And we're a' met thegither owre a wee drappie o't. 
A wee drappie o't, a wee drappie o't, 
And we're a' met thegither owre a wee drappie o't. 

We're a' met thegither owre a glass and a sang, 
We're a' met thegither by special command, 
Free frae all ambition and frae every evil thocht. 
We're a' met thegither owre a wee drappie o't. 
A wee drappie o't, &c. 

When freendship and truth and gude-fellowship reign, 
And folk, growin' auld, are made youthfu' again. 
When ilka heart is happy and a' warldly cares forgot, 
Is just when we're met thegither owre a wee drappie o't, 
A wee drappie o't, &c. 

Job, in his lamentation, says that man was made to mourn, 
That there's nae sic thing as pleesure frae the cradle to the urn ; 
But in his lamentation, oh, he surely has forgot 
The warmth that spreads so sweetly in a wee drappie o't. 
A wee drappie o't, &c. 

1 Air same as " Sae will we yet," p. 320. 

Burns' s Drinking- Songs, 323 

The version here given is as I have heard it sung by the 
late Mr Tod of St Mary's Mount, Peebles, a gentleman 
well known on the banks of the Tweed not less for his 
catholic generosity than for his genial hospitalities and 
graceful surroundings. The air, with other words, will be 
found in the song as arranged by Gleadhill, and published 
by Ferrie, Bath Street, Glasgow. 

Our great national song-writer, Robert Burns, as an 
intensely social man, and living in an extensively drinking 
age, though he indulged largely in the social glass, and 
paid dearly for his indulgence, did not write many drinking- 
songs, certainly none that equal in popularity or approach 
in excellence the classical perfection of his love-songs. I 
have no doubt he felt that, though the society of jovial 
topers in the Freemasons' Hall at Tarbolton, or of jolly 
beggars in Poosey Nancy's ale-house, was highly enjoyable 
for the moment, yet that songs of the type of " Andrew 
with his cutty gun and sappy kisses " were not of the class 
to satisfy the ambition of a man who had tuned his lyre to 
the key-note supplied by such models of female beauty 
and chasteness as Miss Burnett of Monboddo, Mrs 
M'Lehose, Miss Peggy Chalmers, and Mrs Riddell of 
VVoodley Park. Nevertheless he did write drinking-songs, 
and drinking epistles too; his works, indeed, would have 
given the lie to his life had no such compositions been in 


Drinking- Songs, Convivial Songs. 

the record; and two of these, one in the humorous vein, 
and the other consecrated by general acceptance as the 
symbol of Scottish brotherhood and Scottish patriotism all 
over the globe, are sure to survive with the best love-songs 
of the poet wherever Scotsmen do congregate : — 

Willie brewed a Peck o' Maut. 

O Wil - lie brew'd a peck o' maut, And Rab and Al - Ian 

cam' to pree ; Three blyth-er hearts that lee-Iang nicht Ye 
__^ Chorus. 

wad - na find in Chris - ten - die. We are nae fou, we're 

no' that fou, But just a wee drap in our e'e ; The 

-* — mr 
cock may craw, the day may daw, But aye we'll taste the bar - ley-bree. 

Here are we met three merry boys, 
Three merry boys I trow are we ; 

And mony a nicht we've merry been, 
And mony mae we hope to be. 
We are nae fou, &c. 

It is the moon — I ken her horn. 
That's blinkin' in the lift sae hie : 

She shines sae bricht to wile us hame, 

But by my sooth she'll wait a wee. 

We are nae fou, &c. 

" A uld Langsyne" 325 

Wha first shall rise to gang awa", 

A cuckold, coward loon is he ; 
Wha last beside his chair shall fa', 

He is the king amang us three. 
We are nae fou, &c. 

This admirable skit of Bacchanalian humour, which 
forms a worthy pendant to the German '* Gerad aus dem 
Wirthshaus " above mentioned (p. 311), first appeared in 
Johnson's Museum, 1790, vol. iii. p. 301, and was written 
in commemoration of a jovial meeting which the poet had 
at Moffat with his old travelling companion in his High- 
land tour, William Nicol, one of the masters of the High 
School, Edinburgh. The next song, "For auld Langsyne," 
requires no comment. It is as characteristically Scottish 
as the heather on the brae, or the pine-tree in the glen; 
and the Scot who does not sing it heartily whenever he has 
a fine social opportunity, is a poor creature, though he had 
all the symphonies of Beethoven and all the Greek of the 
Athenian dramatists reeling through his brain. 

Auld Langsyne. 

Should auld ac-quain-Unce be for • got, And ne • ver brought to 

mind ; Should auld acquaintance be for>got, And days o' lang syne ? 


Drinking- Songs, Convivial Songs. 


syne ; We'll talc' a cup o' kind-ness yet, For auld lang - syne. 

We twa hae ran about the braes, 

And pu'd the gowans fine ; 
But we've wander'd mony a weary foot 

Sin' auld langsyne. 
For auld, &c. 

We twa hae paidl'd in the burn 

Frae morning sun till dine; 
But seas between us broad hae roar'd 

Sin' auld langsyne. 
For auld, &c. 

And there's a hand, my trusty friend, 

And gie's a hand o' thine ; 
And we'll tak' a richt guid-willie waught 

For auld langsyne. 

For auld, &c. 

And surely ye'll be your pint stoup, 

And surely I'll be mine ; 
And we'll tak' a cup o' kindness yet 

For auld langsyne. 

For auld, &c. 

We have now to append a humorous old drinking-song 
of the time before Burns, which leads to reflections of a 
very different description, and brings before us a most 
striking illustration of the adage, corruptio optinii pessima. 

"Afy Wife has to! en the Gee!' 


If a glass of wine is a good thing, and tends to recreate 
the weak and to enliven the dull, it does not in any 
wise follow that a bottle is a better thing. Here, as 
in every other province of vital action, Aristotle's famous 
ethical principle approves itself an absolute law — all 
right conduct, and, indeed, all excellence of every kind, 
is a mean between too much and too little, or, in other 
words, all extremes are wrong : — 

My Wifj, has ta'en the Gee. 

A friend o' mine cam' here yestreen, And he wad hae me down, To 

drink a pot o' ale wi' him, In the nebt bo • rough town. But 

oh, a • lake ! it was the waur. And sair the waur for me ; For 

lang or e'er that I cam' hame, My wife had ta'en the gee. 

We sat sae late, and drank sae stout. 

The truth I'll tell to you, 
That lang or ever midnight cam* 

We baith were roarin' fou. 
My wife sits by the fireside, 

And the tear blinds aye her e'e ; 
The ne'er a bed will she gae to, 

But sit and tak' the gee. 

328 Drinking- Songs, Convivial Songs. 

In the morning soon, when I come down, 

The ne'er a word she spak' ; 
But mony a sad and sour look, 

And aye her head she'd shake. 
" My dear," quo' I, "what aileth thee, 

To look sae sour at me ? 
I'll never do the like again, 

If ye'U ne'er tak' the gee." 

When that she heard, she ran, she flang 

Her arms about my neck, 
And twenty kisses in a crack. 

And, poor wee thing, she grat. 
" If ye'll ne'er do the like again, 

But stay at hame wi' me, 
I'll lay my life, I'se be the wife 

That never tak's the gee." 

Here we have in the form of a song the identical story 
so often brought home to respectable firesides by benevo- 
lent ladies, or home missionaries, from the haunts of the 
slums and dark places of our great cities. The husband 
spends his day's wages at night in some tippling-shop, 
while his wife sits in misery and rags, and his bairns, 
instead of going to school, infest the streets with the 
*^ evening paper " ! or any catalogue of the devil's doings 
that may be the talk of the hour. Now, no doubt this 
is a very serious business, and ought to be seriously weighed 
by all singers of drinking-songs. They are not to be 
sung on all occasions or in all companies ; never, where 

Drinking- So7tgs mid Drunkenness. 329 

they might add a spur when a rein is more necessary, 
or where they might be construed to fling a pseudo-halo 
of glorification over the beastly vice of drunkenness. But 
the fact is, I believe that as drinking-songs are never 
made by drunkards — who indeed are not capable of writing 
anything — so they very seldom have been the occasion 
to any man of sinking to the low level of bibulous 
degradation or Bacchanalian riot. It is weakness of the 
spiritual principle — the to iJyc/xovtKov as the Stoics called it 
— the feeling of a void that cries out for being filled, 
or a lassitude craving a stimulus, that leads people to 
drown their reason in the sensualities of the gin -palace 
or the wine-vault. The worst that can be said of them in 
the way of being an incentive to drunkenness, is that the 
drinking-song of the lowest style, containing nothing but 
the element of drink, though intended humorously, may, 
when taken seriously by a low class of topers, add a 
certain poetical charm to the prose of drinking, which 
makes the carnal indulgence look a little more respectable 
for the nonce. On the other hand, the best drinking- 
songs, where the social element, as in "Auld Langsyne," 
prevails, are never sung by drunkards; and "A wee 
Drappie o't" will sound rather as a reproach in the ear 
of those swashbucklers of drink who are never content 
till they drown their reason in the element which was 

330 Drinking- Songs, Convivial Songs. 

meant only to enliven their fancy. Certainly the above 
ditty, describing so vividly the situation of the drinking 
husband whose wife had " ta'en the gee," could never be 
sung by a regular drunkard at any ale - house : it is 
rather like so many of the best Scotch popular ditties, a 
sermon in the guise of a song ; and might be used with 
the best eifect by any society of total abstainers ambitious 
to enlist a witness from the classic age of Scottish song 
in favour of their ascetic evangel. And with regard to 
abstinence generally, though it is not so great a virtue 
as temperance, is rather, strictly judged, a refuge of despair 
for those who are not strong enough to practise modera- 
tion, yet we have the highest authority for saying that in 
certain cases, and for certain persons, it is not only a 
wise precaution, but an imperative duty to abstain from 
the enjoyment of that which cannot be used without the cer- 
tainty or the near probability of its abuse. For " if thy right 
eye offend thee," said He who spake as never man spake, 
" pluck it out, and cast it from thee : it is profitable for 
thee that one of thy members should perish, and not 
that thy whole body should be cast into hell." And 
this law holds good, not only for the sake of the individual 
himself, but in certain special cases where a man may 
wisely curtail himself of his natural liberties for the sake 
of others, or a good landlord will often stint himself 

Bacchanalian Rites in Rome. 331 

of his just rent for the respect which he loves to show 
to a good tenant. " For it is good," says the great 
apostle of the Gentiles, " neither to eat flesh, nor to 
drink wine, nor do anything whereby thy brother stumbleth, 
or is offended, or is made weak." But on this side of 
the question also, of course, moderation must be used 
in a reasonable discrimination of cases ; for the difficulty 
here, as in all moral questions, lies not so much in 
the rule as in the application of the rule: when^ where, 
how, and how much, — these are the words that give the 
wise doer pause. The ancient Romans, who, before they 
became infected with those Oriental and Hellenic sen- 
sualities which St Paul in the introduction to Romans 
lashes with such effective indignation, were no doubt, 
like the Scotch, a very stout, sturdy, serious, and sober 
people; but, when at the middle of the second century 
B.C. they had humbled their great commercial adversary 
in the command of the Mediterranean seas, a wide 
door was opened to foreign influences, which speedily 
rushed in like a restrained flood from the removal of a 
dam. Accordingly we find in the year 188 b.c. a re- 
markable notice in Livy to the effect that among other 
foreign importations the peace and purity of old Rome 
had been invaded by a band of ignoble Greeklings, who, 
passing through Tuscany, brought with them to the 

332 Drinking- Songs, Cojtvivial Songs. 

capital of the empire certain Bacchanalian rites, charac- 
terised not only by riotous drinking and sensual excess, 
but by the practice of such gross impurities and lustful 
licence as went directly to poison the blood of the people, 
and to pull up by the root the sound-hearted growth 
of the family, which the Romans justly cherished with 
a holy jealousy as the seminary of the commonwealth. 
Against this monstrous apparition of a worship destitute 
of every spiritual element, the Roman Senate passed a 
celebrated decree;^ an act of wise interference with 
what the devotees of Dionysus might, in modern 
language, have styled their liberty of conscience, but 
which as necessarily called for repression by a wise 
government, as the city police is entitled to treat as 
criminals those persons who block the streets with filth, 
or taint the atmosphere with poisonous fumes. But 
the same Romans who acted thus wisely in stamping 
out the grossness of sensualism in the worship of the 
foreign Dionysus, did not interfere with the kindly 
festivities of the old Latin Liber, or wine-god, in whose 
honour annual processions were made, with priests and 
priestesses adorned with ivy, and carrying wine, and honey, 
and cakes, and sweetmeats, in grateful acknowledgment 
of the gods, whom the Greeks loved to name Swr^pcs cawi/, 

^ Livy, xxxix. 8 and i8. 

Total A bstineftce. 333 

givers of good things. Let this moderation be our rule ; 
and, while we give all liberty to those who, from whatever 
motives, prefer water - drinking to wine, let us beware 
of raising the exceptional restraint in favour of a few 
into the dignity of a law to tyrannise over the many. 
The charity which condescends to prop up the weakness 
of the weak loses half its virtue when it conspires to 
paralyse the strength of the strong. ^ 

^ There cannot be any doubt that in a country like Scotland, where the 
drinking of strong intoxicating liquors, without any redeeming element, 
has long exercised a debasing influence on large classes of the people, 
Total Abstinence Societies have acted and continue to act with the 
most excellent social results ; and in discarding strong drinks, let it 
be mentioned with praise that the teetotallers have not discarded 
popular song, but taken care to supply that musical relish to the 
drinkers of water which the mass of embruted tipplers of strong 
drink are not in a condition to enjoy. Of this excellent wisdom, 
'The Scottbh Temperance Songs, to Scottish Airs,' by the late Thomas 
Knox, a man whose memory is fragrant in Edinburgh, and 'Songs 
and Hymns for the Band of Hope,' both published by Parlane in 
Paisley, give the most pleasing evidence. 



Ho, my bonnie boatie ! 
Thou bonnie boatie mine ! 
So trim and tight a boatie 
Was never launched on brine ! 
Ho, my bonnie boatie ! 
My praise is justly thine, 
Above all bonnie boaties 
Were builded on Loch Fyne. 

—John Macleod of Morvern. 

In this chapter, for the first time, we find our rich and 
various Scottish Muse at a discount. Except in the 
domain of the formal lament, coronach, wail, or Marh- 
rann as the Highlanders call it, which is a purely Gaelic 
phenomenon, there is no department of popular song 
in Scotland so meagrely furnished as the sea-song, boat- 
song, or nautical song. All the most popular composi- 
tions that smell of the sea, from "Ye Gentlemen of 
England that live at home at ease," which dates from the 

Efiglish Naval Songs. 335 

early period of the seventeenth century, and " Hearts of 
Oak are our Men," of which the words came from Garrick 
and the music from Boyce, down to " Tom BowHng " and 
whatsoever of good nautical stuff has taken possession of 
the popular ear since the death of Charles Dibdin, have 
an English ring about them with which a Scotsman may 
be proud to sympathise, though he must be conscious 
that he had no share in their production. Even those 
Dioscuri of nautical poetry, "The Battle of the Baltic" 
and "Ye Mariners of England," though written by a 
Scotsman with one of the most widely spread of Scottish 
names, are altogether English, as the very first line de- 
clares, " Ye Mariners of England " ; and it is well that it 
should be so. If England is upon the whole not such 
a songful country in the popular heritage as Scotland, 
it is good that it should be able to claim, in one highest 
department of national song, an undisputed pre-eminence ; 
and every large-hearted Scot will feel his pulse beat as 
warmly to the praises of Nelson and the Nile, as the 
generous Englishman is proud to acknowledge the heroism 
of the Scot in the glories of the blue bonnet at Waterloo 
and the Crimea. How it came about that the poetical 
side of the life of the sailor should have been so left in 
the shade by the Muse of Coila, may be difficult to ex- 
plain : in this, as in every other region of human senti- 

33^ Sea- Songs, Naval Songs, and Boat- Songs. 

ment, contagion is strong, and example imperious; and, 
if a great singer of the people gains the lordship of the 
popular ear, with a constant reference to the plough and 
the threshing-floor, and not a word in favour of the oar 
and the helm, there are sure to be hundreds following 
in his track for one that is stirred by a counter-inspira- 
tion.^ Long before Burns, however, the destiny of Scottish 
song in the rural, rather than in the nautical direction, was 
fixed. The typical seamen of the middle ages, before the 
battle of Largs in 1263, were strangers and rovers, and 
besides, for four hundred years, held their own so stoutly 
in the Western seas that the Saxon of the Lowlands was 
content to be dumb in a region where he had no glories 
to celebrate. The field which Fortune kept open for him 
was in the debatable land of the Border, where the Scotts, 
the Douglases, the Pringles, the Riddells, and the Ruther- 
fords furnished materials enough for those ballads of dar- 
ing adventure and pathetic incident which fed the early 
genius of Sir Walter Scott. As little do the Celts of 
the northern half of the island ever seem to have main- 
tained their position on the watery element against those 

1 How entirely the sea and sailor life is ignored by Burns has been 
set forth in detail, along with other interesting local features of his 
poetry, in a valuable pamphlet, 'Burns and his Times,' by J. O. Mitchell, 
originally published in the * Glasgow Herald,' 25th January 1888. 

Highlajid A irs. 337 

potent sea-rovers who possessed the coasts and the islands 
of the North and West, and baptised the fringe of the 
land all round with Scandinavian names, patently legible 
in the topographical nomenclature of the present day. 
The Highlander was a soldier, not a sailor, and as such, 
has approved himself, from Fontenoy and Waterloo to 
the Indies and the Soudan, as the right arm of British 
soldiership; but in the sea service he is an altogether 
secondary figure, represented by an occasional marked 
personality, as a M'Clintock or a Maclure, but not 
typically dominant in the waters of the deep. 

By Scottish song, I mean generally in this book Low- 
land song — song composed originally in the language of 
the Saxon of the Lowlands, familiarly known as such, in 
distinction from the Celt of the Highlands. But the dis- 
tinction, as the reader will have noted, and specially in 
the case of the Jacobite ballads, is not always strictly to be 
observed. Not a few Highland airs have been adopted 
by Scottish song-writers; and the genuine popular songs 
of the Highlands, too long neglected by foolish fashion and 
ignorant prejudice, are coming yearly more and more into 
the great stream of national Scottish poetry. We find in 
them not a little that has a distinct kinship with our native 
songs — a marked originality both in the music, in the 


33^ Sea- Songs, Naval Songs, and Boat- Songs. 

scenery, and in the subjects, with which we should be fools 
not to enrich ourselves.^ Let us take, therefore, one of 
their boat-songs — iorram, as they call them : for boat- 
songs, they must have plashing about habitually like ducks 
in those West waters, though the majesty of the nautical 
ode and the glory of the naval victory have been denied. 
Here is one in the true Gaelic style, not even rhymed, 
but delighting in loose assonance, after the fashion of the 
Spaniards, not always lightly caught by the English ear; 
but this does not affect the rhythmical flow, which is 
pleasant enough : — 

Ho RO, Clansmen ! 






Ho ro, 

clansmen ! 

A long, strong pull to - ge - ther ! 

K 1 1 



X-^1 ff m~ 

. — — . L_| J_l_w J_ 

m ^ 


1 F— 

H_^_ 1 «_ 

-\ Fr- 



clans - men ! 

Send the bior - linn on 


^^^m . 



Cheer • i 


and all to - ge - ther.— C^, 

Bend your oars and send her foaming 
O'er the dashing, swelling billows. 
Ho ro, &c. 

1 On the poetry and songs of the Highlands generally, see The 
Language and Literature of the Scottish Highlands, by J. S. B. 
Edinburgh : Douglas, 1876. 

''Ho ro. Clansmen!'' 339 

Give her way and show her wake, 
'Mid showering spray and curling eddies. 
Ho ro, &c. 

Through the eddying tide we'll guide her, 
Round each isle and breezy headland. 
Ho ro, &c. 

O'er the wave we'll send her bounding, 
As the staghound bounds o'er the heather. 
Ho ro, &c. 

See the diver as he eyes her 
Dips with wonder under water. 
Ho ro, &c. 

The gannet high in midway sky 
Triumphs wildly as we're passing. 
Ho ro, &c. 

The sportive sunbeams gleam around her 
As she bounds through shining waters. 
Ho ro, &c. 

Clansmen, cheer ! the wind is veering, 
Soon she'll tear and clear the billows. 
Ho ro, &c. 

Soon the flowing breeze will blow, 
We'll show the snowy canvas on her. 
Ho ro, &c 

Wafted by the breeze of morn 
We'll quaff the joyous horn together. 
Ho ro, &c. 

340 Sea- Songs, Naval Songs, and Bo at- Songs. 

Another cheer ! our isle appears — 
Our biorlinn bears her on the faster. 
Ho ro, &c. 

Ahead she goes ! our biorlinn knows 
What eyes on shore are gazing on her. 
Ho ro, &c. 

Ahead she goes ! the land she knows — 
She holds the shore, she holds it bravely. 

Ho ro, clansmen ! 
Stoutly did we pull together, 

My brave clansmen ! ^ 

The author of this spirited song was the late Dr John 
Macleod of Morvern, in the Sound of Mull, not far from 
Tobermory. This reverend gentleman, commonly known 
in the district, from his majestic personal presentment,^ as 
the high priest of Morvern, was brother to the celebrated 
Dr Macleod of St Columba, Glasgow, author of the classical 
Gaelic work * Caraid nan Gaidheal,' father of the cele- 
brated Dr Norman Macleod, the Queen's friend, and uncle 
of the present talented editor of 'Good Words.' Like 
every active servant of God in those parts, he had to 

1 From the Killin Collection of Gaelic Songs. By Charles Stewart, 
Killin. Music here by kind permission of Messrs Maclachlan & 
Stewart, Edinburgh. 

^ I am informed on the best authority that the stature of this bishop 
of the Isles was six feet eight inches ; but he was so well proportioned 
that the majesty of his appearance did not suffer, as with tall men it so 
often does, by the intrusive analogy of a May-pole. 

" Rory Beag Sabhairiy 341 

perform his round of parochial visitations as much by sea 
as by land ; and in performing these rounds, the sympathy 
which he showed with sea life and sea danger served to 
endear him so much the more to the stout fellows under 
his pastoral care \ for the pious people in those far regions, 
though they object to fiddling and dancing in a preacher 
of the Gospel generally, would not object to boating — 
though they might perhaps find a scruple about boat- songs 
on Sunday. As an illustration of the lusty nautical spirit 
which fired the bosom, not only of this Dr John, but of 
the minister of St Columba, we may give here the following 
lines by him addressed to his favourite boatman, Roderick 
or Rory : — 

Rory Beag Sabhairi. 

Hail to the boy 
With the sharp twinkling eye, 
In coat and in breeches 

So gallantly dressed ! 
You may read in his face 
His descent from the race 
That rules o'er the mist-mantled 

Isle of the West. 

O Angus MacRory, 

How proud wouldst thou be 
If thou wert alive 

Such a brave boy to see ! 

342 Sea- Songs, Naval Songs, and Boat- Songs. 

There's none in the parish 
With him may compare ; 

A gentleman quite, 

With a style and an air — 

Our brave little Rory, 

Our brave little Rory — ho-i-ho-ro ! 

No clerk in the land 

Hath a sturdier pace ; 
Without panting or puffing, 

He's first in the race. 
No clerk in the Synod 

More proudly will ride 
O'er the hissing white crests 

Of the billowy tide. 
When the mast and the sail 

Are pressed by the sway 
Of the strong-winged blasts 

As they bluster and bray, 
Then each sailor cries, 

Yarely, boys, yarely ! 
O'er mountains of billows 

We'll bowl along rarely. 
With brave little Rory— ho-i-ho-ro ! 

When he raises the iorram^ 

Whose soul-stirring note 
Gives strength to the arms 

And gives wings to the boat, 
'Tis then I'd be sitting 

Beneath his command, 
With a song in my breast 

And a flask in my hand ! 

" Ho, my Bonnie Boatie ! " 


There's no man in Suinart, 

Or in Tobermory, 
Who can handle an oar 

With a swing like our Rory ; 
And all the lads cry, 

Be guerdon and glory 
To the blood of Macleod, 

In the stout heart of Rory ! 
Our brave little Rory — ho-i-ho-ro ! ^ 

Another beautiful boat-song, from the author of " Ho ro, 
Clansmen ! " to the tune of a popular love-song, " Mairi 
Laghach," we shall give here ; and with a reference back 
to the Skye boat-song given in our third chapter (p. 239), 
feel that we have done enough to induce the song-lover in 
the Lowlands to drink more largely than he has hitherto 
done from the refreshing wells of such manly music : — 

Ho, MY Bonnie Boatie ! 

Ho, my bon • nie boat • ie I Thou bon • nie boat - ie mine ! So 

trim and tight a boat • • ie Was ne-ver launch'd on brine I 

boo • nie boat 

ta Were build • ed on Loch Fyne. 

From Aluvona, by J. S. B., p. 416. 

344 Sea- Songs, Naval Songs, and Boat- Songs. 

To build thee up so firmly, 

I knew the stuff was good ; 
Thy keel of stoutest elm-tree, 

Well fixed in oaken wood ; 
And timbers ripely seasoned 

Of cleanest Norway pine, 
Well cased in ruddy copper, 

To plough the deep were thine ! 

How lovely was my boatie 

At rest upon the shore. 
Before my bonnie boatie 

Had known wild ocean's roar ! 
Thy deck so smooth and stainless, 

With such fine bend thy rim, 
Thy seams that know no gaping, 

Thy masts so tall and trim ! 

And bonnie was my boatie, 

Afloat upon the bay. 
When smooth as mirror round her 

The heaving ocean lay ; 
While round the cradled boatie 

Light troops of plumy things. 
To praise the bonnie boatie 

Made music with their wings. 

How eager was my boatie 
To plough the swelling seas. 

When o'er the curling waters 
Full sharply blew the breeze ! 

O, 'twas she that stood to windward, 
The first among her peers, 

" Ho, my Bonnie Boatie / " 345 

When shrill the blasty music 
Came piping round her ears ! 

And when the sea came surging 

In mountains from the west, 
And reared the racing billow 

Its high and hissing crest, 
She turned her head so deftly, 

With skill so firmly shown, 
The billows they went their way, 

The boatie went her own. 

And when the sudden squall came 

Black swooping from the Ben, 
And white the foam was spinning 

Around thy top-mast then, 
O never knew my boatie 

A thought of ugly dread. 
But dashed right through the billow, 

With the hot spray round her head ! 

Yet wert thou never headstrong 

To stand with forward will, 
When yielding was thy wisdom 

And caution was my skill. 
How neatly and how nimbly 

Thou turned thee to the wind, 
With thy lee-side in the water, 

And a swirling trail behind ! 

What though a lowly dwelling 

On barren shore I own, 
My kingdom is the blue wave, 

My boatie is my throne I 

346 Sea- Songs, Naval Songs ^ and Boat- Songs, 

I'll never want a dainty dish 

To breakfast or to dine, 
While men may man my boatie, 

And fish swim in Loch Fyne ! ^ 

In one other direction we are entitled to look for good 
specimens of the Scottish boat-song, though even more 
remote from the classical fellowship of Burns, and the 
bards of Ayrshire and Renfrew, than the sea-songs of the 
Macleods, — in Orkney and in Shetland and in Caithness, 
where the Norsemen made permanent settlements, and either 
supplanted or obliterated the original Celtic population — if 
indeed a firmly rooted Celtic population ever was there. 
How rich the repertory of native Norse song in those parts 
may be, I do not personally know j but here follows one 
recommended to me by a gentleman well versed in the 
life and converse of " Ultima Thule," and which certainly, 
both in conception and in tone, is worthy to take its place 
with the most popular productions of Burns or Tannahill. 
" The Tooin' o' wir Boat " is no doubt, in its inspiration, 
like the well-known Gaelic song '' Fearabhata " — the Boat- 
man — a love-song; but whereas in the Gaelic song the 
boat is altogether lost in the love, in this Shetland ditty 
the boat dominates throughout, and the " too, too, too ! " of 
the refrain keeps the ear possessed with the music of the 
sea and the shore from beginning to end of the chant : — 

1 From the Gaelic, by J. S. B. Language and Literature of the 
Highlands, p. 279. 

The Tooin d wir Boat. 


The Tooin' o' wir Boat.^ 

O' a' the sounds by sea or shore There's nane sae dear tae 



oo, oo 1 

My faither aye weel steers the boat, 
Wi' him are brithers three, 

An' Sandy cam' at Beltane time. 
An' just gangs for a fee. 
The tooin', &c. 

O Sandy is a bonnie lad, 

An' saft blue is his e'e. 
An' though oor folk kens naething o't, 

He's unco fond o' me. 
The tooin', &c. 

Sometimes when we gang in the ebb, 
An' when there's nane to see. 

He puts his airm aroond my waist, 
An* aft he kisses me. 
The tooin', &c. 

^ By kind permission of Roy Paterson & Sons, Edinburgh. 

348 Sea- Songs, Naval Songs, and Boat- Songs. 

Whene'er our men are lang lang oot, 

Sic fears come to my heart, 
I canna rest within the hoose, 

But glower in every airt. 
The tooin', &c. 

But when I see her weel-kent sail — 

Her sail is barkit broon — 
My heart is so o'ercome wi' joy, 

The tears come rinnin' doon. 
The tooin', &c. 

My faither says that summer neist 

My Sandy 'ill hae a share, 
For weel he can baith set an' hale, 

An' row upon an aire. 
The tooin', &c. 

An' then when Hallowmas comes roond, 

An' Sandy marries me, 
I'll no' think ony shame to greet 

When he's owre lang at sea. 
The tooin', &c. 

As a contrast to the allegretto tone of this beautiful song, 
we may take " The Tempest is Raging," by David Vedder, 
where, however, Eros, the most insinuating of all the gods, 
is not altogether wanting, as in not a few other songs of 
storm and tempest : — 

" Lashed to the helm. 
Should seas o'erwhelm, 
I'd think of thee, my love ! " 

" The Tempest is Raging^ 349 

David Vedder, the author of the song which we now in- 
sert, was an Orkney man, born in the parish of Burness. 
Having had the misfortune to lose both his parents at an 
early age, he earned his livelihood as a seaman, and with 
the rank of captain performed several voyages to Green- 
land. He afterwards entered the Revenue service, and was 
raised to the post of tide-surveyor, the duties of which office he 
continued to discharge at Montrose, Kirkcaldy, Dundee, and 
Leith, till his death at Edinburgh in 1854. He united the 
faithful performance of his tidal duties with the assiduous 
cultivation of the Muse, and secured for himself a place in 
the lyrical literature of the day, of which Orkney is justly 
proud, and Scotland will not be wise to forget : — 

The Tempest is Raging. 

The tempest is raging, 

And rending the shrouds ; 
The ocean is waging 

A war with the clouds; 
The cordage is breaking, 

The canvas is torn, 
The timbers are creaking, 

The seamen forlorn. 

The water is gushing 
Through hatches and seams, 

'Tis roaring and rushing 
O'er keelson and beams ; 

350 Sea- Songs, Naval Songs, and Boat- Songs. 

And nought save the lightning 

On mainmast or boom, 
At intervals brightening 

The depth of the gloom. 

Though horrors beset me, 

And hurricanes howl, 
I may not forget thee, 

Beloved of my soul ! 
Though soon I must perish 

In ocean beneath, 
Thine image I'll cherish. 

Adored one, in Death.^ 

When we turn from these echoes of the old Scandinavian 
scalds, to the boat-song of genuine Saxon growth, we seek 
for them, as the botanist does for rare herbs in the crevices 
of the rock, or as the Muse of Virgil did for a few heads 
keeping themselves up buoyantly above the multitudinous 
roll of waters that overwhelmed the sinking ship : — 

" Apparent rari nantes in gurgite vasto ; " 

and the one, generally the only one, that peeps forth from 
the musical memory of a Scot, when you ask him for a 
boat-song, though it smells distinctly of the salt water, 
transports the singer more into the region of domestic joys 
and connubial loves than into the stormy element of the 
sea : — 

^ Dr Rogers's Scottish Minstrel, p. 233. 

' The Boatie Rows," 
The Boatie Rows. 


ST' *'• •*• »^' ''v ^ ^ 

O weel may the boat-ie row, And bet-ter may she speed ; And 

^^_^^5-=^= ^ ^ ^ 

The boat-ie rows, the boat-ie rows, The boat-ie rows fu' weel ; And 

mic - kle luck at - tend the boat, The mur-lain, and the creel. 

I cuist my line in Largo bay, 
And fishes I caught nine ; 
There's three to boil, and three to fry, 
And three to bait the line. 

The boatie rows, the boatie rows, 

The boatie rows indeed ; 
And happy be the lot o* a* 
That wish the boatie speed. 

O weel may the boatie row 

That fills a heavy creel, 
And deeds us a' frae head to foot, 
And buys our parritch meal. 
The boatie rows, the boatie rows, 

The boatie rows indeed ; 
And happy be the lot o' a' 
That wish the boatie speed. 

When Jamie vow'd he wad be mine, 

And won frae me my heart, 
O micklc lighter grew my creel ; 

He swore we'd never part. 

352 Sea- Songs, Naval Songs, and Boat- Songs. 

The boatie rows, the boatie rows, 

The boatie rows fu' weel ; 
And mickle lighter is the boat. 

When love bears up the creel. 

My kertch I put upon my head, 
And dress'd mysel' fu' braw ; 
But dowie, dowie was my heart, 
When Jamie gaed awa'. 

But weel may the boatie row. 

And lucky be her part ; 
And lightsome be the lassie's care. 
That yields an honest heart. 

When Sandy, Jock, and Janetie, 

Are up an' gotten lear. 
They'll help to gar the boatie row. 
And lighten a' our care. 

The boatie rows, the boatie rows. 

The boatie rows fu' weel ; 
And lightsome be her heart that bears 
The murlain and the creel. 

And when we're auld and sair bow'd down, 

And hirplin' round the door. 
They'll row to keep us hale and warm, 
As we did them before. 

Then weel may the boatie row, 

And better may she speed ; 
And happy be the lot of a' 
That wish the boatie speed. 

The author of this song was a Montrose man, John 
Ewen by name, born in 1741, and who afterwards trans- 

Hezv Ainslie. 353 

ferred his services as a merchant and a philanthropist to 
the granite metropoHs of the North. The song, deservedly 
placed by Bums in the very first rank of our rich songful 
array, stands as a solitary instance of the author's lyrical 

But the real glory and crown of the Scottish sea-song 
of Lowland origin is "The Rover of Lochryan," a song 
which, notwithstanding the classical excellence both of its 
music and its words, rarely appears in the programme of 
our musical entertainments — a fact which I mention as a 
striking proof of the degree in which the pastoral tone of 
Bums's poetry has overmastered the popular ear, so as to 
throw into comparative obscurity any ballad, however ex- 
cellent, of which the sea-rover, not the plough-follower, is 
the hero. It is worthy of note in this case that the author. 
Hew Ainslie, was bom and schooled as a boy in Ballantrae 
in Ayrshire, a village on the shore of those very seas where 
the predominance of the Vikings of the ninth century is 
distinctly traced in the names of Wigton, the Fleet, and 
other philological witnesses of Scandinavian settlements, in 
a country originally peopled by Celts. Ainslie, like the 
father of Bums when he came to the South, commenced 
life as a gardener : thence moving upwards in the social 
scale, he became first a clerk to a legal gentleman, and by 
* See Songs of Scotland. By J. D. Ross. New York, 1887. 

354 Sea-Songs, Naval Songs, and Boat- Songs. 

this training in the dexterities of the pen, fitted himself for 
an appointment in the General Register House, Edinburgh j 
but having entered into the married state, and finding the 
salary of subordinate officials in that establishment in- 
sufficient for the comfortable maintenance of his family, 
he transported himself, in the year 1822, to America, where 
he engaged in various farming and manufacturing schemes. 
Like Ballantine, he knew to combine the effective perform- 
ance of the duties of a business life with the devout wor- 
ship of the Muse. At Redfield, New York, in the year 
1855, he published two volumes of Scottish songs and 
ballads, which will secure him a high place among the 
lyric poets of his country ; and he died at Louisville in the 
year 1878, in the eighty-sixth year of his age, adding an- 
other proof to the many already brought forward in these 
pages, of the falsity of the vulgar notion that poets die 
young. If they die young sometimes, as they will do, like 
other people, it will not be because they have more vitality 
to expend, but because they do not spend it wisely. In 
the song as we now give it, and with which we conclude 
this short chapter, let the reader note the vivid dramatic 
picturesqueness of the descriptive lines — lines worthy of 
Homer, and which were not surpassed by Burns in his most 
favoured hour : — 

" The Rover of Lochryan hes gane! 


The Rover of Lochryan he's gane. 

-^ • V 



ro - ver of , 

Loch - ry - an he's gane, Wi' his 



m ^ 


-m* ^ 

mer - ry men sae brave : Their hearts are o' the steel, an' a 

rest • less tide, Or the splash o' the gray sea • maw. 

It's no' when the yawl an' the light skiffs crawl 

Owre the breast o' the siller sea, 
That I look to the west for the bark I lo'e best, 

An' the rover that's dear to me. 
But when that the clud lays its cheeks to the flood, 

An' the sea lays its shouther to the shore ; 
When the win' sings high, an' the sea-whaups cry 

As they rise frae the whitening roar. 

It's then that I look to the thickening rook, 
An' watch by the midnight tide ; 

I ken the wind brings my rover hame, 
An' the sea that he glories to ride. 

35^ Sea- Songs, Naval Songs, and Boat- Songs, 

O merry he sits 'mang his jovial crew 

Wi' the helm-heft in his hand ; 
An' he sings aloud to his boys in blue, 

As his ee's upon Galloway's land. 

Unstent an' slack each reef an' tack, 

Gie her sail, boys, while it may sit ; 
She has roar'd through a heavier sea afore, 

An' she'll roar through a heavier yet. 
When landsmen sleep, or wake an' creep, 

In the tempest's angry moan. 
We dash through the drift, an' sing to the lift 

O' the wave that heaves us on. 




"Imprimis hominis est propria veri inquisitio atque indagatio ; ex 
quod intelligitur, quod verum, simplex sincerumque sit, id esse naturae 
hominis aptissimum : Huic veri videndi cupiditati adjuncta est appetitio 
quaedam principatus, ex quo animi magnitudo, humanarumque verum con- 
temptio."— Cicero. 

By songs of thought and sentiment, I mean songs of which 

the object and the purpose, not merely the atmosphere, 

the situation, and the incidents, are a thought, sentiment, 

idea, or principle, what in the formal language of the 

schools might be called a proposition. Of course, there 

is no reason why any great moral truth, or elevating human 

idea, should not take the form of a song: in the oldest 

Greek times all wisdom was clothed in verse ; and didactic 

poetry was as legitimate as any other form of rhythmical 

expression.^ But in the course of time, when the minstrel 

' ** Quis ignorat musicen tantum antiquis temporibus non studii 
mode, verum etiam venerationis habuisse, ut iidem musici, et vates, et 
sapientes jttdicarentur." — Quinctilian, i. lo. 

358 Songs of ThoiigJit and Sentiment. 

had ceased to be the only popular instructor, and a dis- 
tinctly marked prose literature, from Pherecydes of Syros 
downwards, had asserted its separate position, philoso- 
phical ideas or great pervading principles of the universe, 
and forces of society, were formally set forth in prose; 
while the impassioned and dramatic expression of the 
principle in the actual encounters and conflicts of life 
was left in the hands of the singer. So little, however, 
did the modern idea of drawing a broad line of demarca- 
tion betwixt instruction and song receive acknowledgment 
from the Greek mind, that even in the most flourishing 
period of Attic prose, the choral ode, which was the most 
effective element in the Greek drama, had, both as respects 
substance and attitude, more in it of what we should call a 
sermon than a song. The formal intention to teach as in 
a modern lecture or sermon, is indeed wanting in all song 
properly so called ; nevertheless the solemn chorus in the 
' Eumenides ' of ^schylus, beginning with — 

•' Mother Night, that bore me, 
A scourge to go before thee," 

is as much a sermon on conscience as any ever preached 
by the most serious gospeller in a Christian pulpit. And in 
the same way, the choral ode in the ' Antigone ' of Sophocles, 
starting from the sentence — 

Didactic Psalms. 359 

" IIoXAa Ttt Sctva Kttl ovScv 
dv^pwTrov ScivoTcpov ireXet," 

might be adopted word for word by any Christian preacher, 
enlarging on the familiar text of Ecclesiastes, "God hath 
made man upright; but he hath sought out many inven- 
tions." And in consideration of his function as a great 
popular teacher, the poet was always spoken of by the 
Greeks as a (To^6<i or wise man, no less than the philosopher. 
And amongst the Hebrews, though in the Book of Proverbs 
and that singular work just quoted a separate school of 
strictly didactic prose literature had taken shape, it is plain 
that in the time of David, or of the sacred songsters, of 
whom he was the most prominent type, the psalm required 
to make no apology for presenting itself as the exponent of 
moral truth rather than as the expression of lyrical passion. 
Thus the ist Psalm is simply a pious meditation on the 
favourite Hebrew text, that even in this world the way 
to lasting prosperity is the way of righteousness, while the 
apparent strength of the wicked is only for a season, to be 
blown away as chaff before the wind in the day of the 
Lord's judgment. In the same way, the 8th Psalm is a 
discourse on the grand order of the universe, and the 
significant place of man as the crown and master of the 
animated creation. Not less admirable in the same 
view is the familiar 19th Psalm, in whose well-balanced 

360 Songs of Thought and Sentiment. 

roundness the wisdom of the great author of the universe 
is recognised with equal fairness in what the Greeks called 
the di/ayKat, or necessary laws of the physical world, and 
the liberty or responsible individualism of the moral world ; 
two spheres of divine energy which, with the narrowness 
of view so notable in scientific specialists, not a few modern 
thinkers have been foolishly studious to confound, while with 
the great Hebrew poet-king they stood wisely apart, like the 
right hand and the left of the human body in the service 
of the common brain. In modern times the existence of 
a separate popular school of ethics in the Christian Church 
has caused the serious wisdom of the Greek dramatic ode 
to confine itself in the main, under the name of hymns, to 
the service of the Church ; and this has been especially the 
case in Scotland, where the severity of a sternly Calvinistic 
creed stiffly refused to have any communion with the 
lightness and brightness of human joy, which characterised 
the popular song. The consequence was, of course, that 
the popular song became more and more secular; and 
the Monday, as we had occasion in a previous chapter to 
remark, with its riotous and sometimes not over-dainty 
mirth, strove to compensate itself for the enforced awful- 
ness of the Sunday. But the Church was not to be out- 
manoeuvred in this way ; so it borrowed the love-songs of 
the peasantry, and with a few verbal changes, and a direct 

The " Glide and Godly Balladsr 36 1 

spiritual application, made the inspiration of the devil in 
the popular song serve the cause of God, as Balaam was 
made to pour forth a prophetic blessing on the Israelites, 
whom he had been sent to curse. So in the " gude and 
godly ballad " that was published in Edinburgh some three 
hundred years ago and more, we find the young lady 
who had been besieged by amorous addresses from an 
old Highland gentleman, by the single change of Donald 
into Deilj turn a secular love-song into a ballad of stout 
spiritual denunciation : — 

" Haud awa', bide awa', 
Haud awa' frae me, Deilie ! " 

And to the lover who appealed eagerly to be admitted by 
the window to his fair one, translated by the craft of the 
godly Muse into the character of the great spiritual bride- 
groom, not the window only is opened furtively, but the 
door is freely thrown on its hinges : — 

" Quho's at the window ? quho ? 
Go from my window, go ! 
Cry no more like a stranger. 
But in at my door thee go." ^ 

All this was very natural and very fair, and might serve 

* Dauney's Ancient Scottish Melodies, Edinburgh, 1838, p. 37. 
Gude and Godly Ballads, Edinburgh, 1578; republished by David 
Laing, Edinburgh, 1868. 

362 Songs of Thought and Sentiment. 

a good purpose here and there in its day ; but it is evident 
that, however good the intentions were of those spiritualisers 
of the secular songs, they had too much the aspect of 
travesty and caricature to become popular with the great 
mass of the people, who in matters of moral instinct and 
aesthetic propriety have not seldom more good taste than 
the persons who put themselves forward as their guides. 
Anyhow, it seems certain that after all these attempts of 
enforced assimilation, the divorce between sacred and 
secular song remained as it was, and has remained down 
to the present day in Scotland in a very notable degree. 
To such an extreme, indeed, did the Bibliolatry of the 
Scottish Covenanters go, as the natural rebound from the 
enforced Laudian ritualism, that it was looked upon as a 
sin to sing any song in church but the Psalms of David, 
and every utterance of free evangelical spontaneity in the 
domain of song was systematically smothered j and it was 
not till the year 1751^ that a successful attempt was made 
to enlarge the domain of Presbyterian hymnology in Scot- 
land by introducing into the Church service those metrical 
versions of certain passages of Scripture commonly called 
Paraphrases. These lyrical adaptations of the sacred text 
have now been received into full brotherhood with the 
Book of Psalms ; but, though recently even hymns by vari- 
1 Acts of Assembly, May 20, 1751. 

Hymnology in Scotland. 363 

ous modem poets have been received into the singing 
service both of the Free and the Established Churches, there 
remained a strong feeUng against any extension of the 
Davidic hymnology among the more strict adherents of 
the religious traditions of the country; and I remember 
having read in the life of one of those travelling pedlars 
who, before the day of steam-engines and steam printing- 
presses, used to perambulate the country as dispensers of 
knowledge, that when, after a day's weary travel through 
vale and village, he sat down in the evening before a com- 
fortable fire in a hospitable farmhouse, so soon as he felt 
himself refreshed by a stout glass of " the nappy," he forth- 
with waxed eloquent against the dominant evils of the 
time, and specially against the two deadly P's — Popery 
and the Paraphrases. And even to the present hour, in the 
region north of Inverness, the Psalms of David maintain 
so firmly their exclusive hold of the devout ear, that, though 
the worshippers have no objections to listen to uninspired 
sermons and uninspired prayers of any length or of any 
solemnity, they look upon the proposed introduction of 
uninspired songs under the name of hymns into the Church 
service as a profanation and a horror. These facts suf- 
ficiently indicate the reasons why songs of religious thought 
and sentiment are so rare in the rich repertory of the 
Scottish lyre. They are not sung on Sunday because they 

364 Songs of Thought and Sentiment. 

are secular ; and they are not sung on Monday because 
they are in a serious key, with which the associations of 
a Monday audience are not in tune. But there is another 
reason why really pious and devout Scottish songs cannot 
be sung in the church; they are in the Scottish dialect, 
and the Scottish dialect is not the language of the pulpit. 
This reason is good. Not every language is cultivated on 
every side ; and to use a language in a sphere foreign to 
the range of its historical growth, is to call up a whole army 
of hostile associations to disturb the effect of your address. 
It is different with Gaelic. Gaelic is the language not only 
of the fireside, and the familiar colloquy of friend with 
friend, but of the pulpit ; and so, if it had been the will of 
the Gaelic Christians to have adopted the sacred songs of 
Dugald Buchanan or other Gaelic bards into their Church 
service, no ludicrous or undignified associations could have 
interfered with the devout sentiments which they are cal- 
culated to inspire. But in the Lowlands a sermon in the 
Scottish dialect, even from the mouth of the most unedu- 
cated street preacher, would be looked upon as irreverent 
and profane ; as any one may prove to himself by casting a 
glance over the Scottish version of the Psalms put forth by 
that eloquent expounder of Burns, the Rev. Hately Waddell, 
Glasgow. Associations are spoiled children, whom neither 
the gravity of the Bench nor the sanctity of the pulpit will 

''^ Ilka Blade o' Grass keps its ain Drap d Dezv^ 365 

prevent from having their sport in the presence-chamber of 
the brain. 

These remarks seemed necessary in order to account for 
the very small amount of purely gnomic, reflective, or 
meditative poetry to be found in the popular currency of 
Scottish song. The Psalms of David had preoccupied 
the ground ; and, were it not for the prevalent notion that 
the popular song was meant mainly for recreation, while 
the sacred song was meant for edification, there was noth- 
ing but the associations connected with the Scottish lan- 
guage to prevent the following beautiful song on trust in 
Providence from being sung in all the churches alongside 
of the most devout utterances to the same effect in the 
Psalms and other familiar passages of Scripture : — 

Ilka Blade o' Grass keps its ain Drap o' Dew.^ 

Con-fide ye aye in Pro-vi-dence, for Pro-vi-dcnce is kind, An' 

bear ye a' life's chan>ges wi' a calm an' tran-quil mind; Tho' 

press'd and hemm'd on ev • 'ry tide, hae faith and ye'll win through, For 

* Melody by kind permission of Blockley, London. 


Songs of Thoug!it and Sentiment. 


s— p= 




il - ka blade o' grass keps its ain drap o' 





-g -.-#- 


il - ka blade b' grass keps its 

drap o' dew. 

Gin reft frae friends, or cross'd in love, as whiles nae doubt 

ye've been, 
Grief lies deep hidden in your heart, or tears flow frae your 

e'en ; 
Believe it for the best, an' trow there's gude in store for you, 
For ilka blade o' grass keps its ain drap o' dew. 

In lang lang days o' simmer, when the clear an' cludless sky 
Refuses ae wee drap o' rain to Nature parch'd an' dry. 
The genial night, wi' balmy breath, gars verdure spring anew, 
An' ilka blade o' grass keps its ain drap o' dew. 

So lest 'mid Fortune's sunshine we should feel owre proud an' 

An' in our pride forget to wipe the tear frae poortith's e'e ; 
Some wee dark cluds o' sorrow come, we ken nae whence or 

But ilka blade o' grass keps its ain drap o' dew. 

The author of this pious effusion, James Ballantine, or 
"Jamie Ballantine," as he was familiarly called by those 
who had the pleasure to know and to love him, is in 
many views, next to Robert Burns, perhaps the most 
notable of Scottish song-writers. An exception to what 
appears to me the general rule, that the fervid force of 
Scottish song comes from the West, and not from " cold 

James Ballantine. 367 

and stately Edinburgh," Ballantine was born in the very his- 
toric gateway to the capital of his native country, the nota- 
ble West Port. Like Burns, he was of humble parentage, 
and, like him, destined in vivid portraiture to prove how 
little Latin and Greek, and other academical appliances, 
have to do with the formation of a manly character and 
the inspiration of an elevating Muse. His father, who was 
a brewer, died young ; and the boy, thus left with a mother 
and three sisters, had to fight his way through the world 
in the noble style which has so long been the boast of our 
Scottish youth. He was bound apprentice to a house-paint- 
er, and the passion for the beautiful which made him so 
distinguished as a lyrical poet, led him to transfer his 
imaginative colouring to glass, and so he became an artist 
in the elegant craft of decorating window-lights. In this 
capacity he attained such eminence that the designs made 
by him were selected by the Royal Commissioners of the 
Fine Arts for the decoration of the windows of the House 
of Lords, executed under his superintendence. In this 
way he stands before us like Goethe and other poets of 
well-balanced character; his imagination did not become 
wild by being divorced from practical good sense, nor 
his sense debased by being divorced from imagination. 
He was thus, if not as a poet, certainly in character, 
superior to the great Coryphaeus of our national quire ; for, 


Songs of Thought and Sentiment. 

while Burns failed as a farmer, Ballantine prospered as a 
glass -painter ; and thus, to use Lord Cockburn's happy 
phrase, he succeeded in solving the rare practical problem 
of making his business feed the Muses, while the Muses 
graced his business. 

Hardly less wise, if not quite so evangelical, is another 
familiar ditty of our wise-thoughted and kindly -hearted 
glass -artist. How many pilers of hydropathic palaces, 
and other investors in schemes which had only daring and 
distance and novelty to recommend them, might have 
saved themselves and hundreds of innocent people from 
ruin, had they been alive to the wisdom which lies in the 
song of — 

Castles in the Air.^ 

The bon - nie, bon - nie bairn, wha sits po - kin' in the ase, 

Ha ! the young dreamer's big • gin' cas - ties in the air. 

1 Air inserted here by kind permission of Swan & Co., Berners Street, 
Oxford Street, London. 

''Castles in the Air!' 



wee chub-by face, and his tou • zie cur - ly pow, Are 

laugh - in' and nod - din' to the danc - in' lowe ; He'll 

^ — ^ • ■^ ^ 

brown his ro • sy cheeks, and singe his sun • ny hair, 

Glow'r-in' at the imps wi' their cas • ties in the air. 

He sees muckle castles tow'rin* to the moon : 

He sees little sodgers pu'in' them a' doun ! 

Worlds whomblin' up and doun, bleezin' wi* a flare, — 

See how he loups ! as they glimmer in the air. 

For a' sae sage he looks, what can the laddie ken ? 

He's thinkin' upon naething, like mony mighty men ; 

A wee thing mak's us think, a sma' thing mak's us stare,- 

There are mair folk than him biggin' castles in the air. 

Sic a night in winter may weel mak' him cauld : 
His chin upon his buffy hand will soon mak' him auld ; 
His brow is brent sae braid, O, pray that daddy Care, 
Would let the wean alane wi' his castles in the air I 
Hell glower at the fire ! and he'll keek at the light ! 
But mony sparklin' stars are swallow'd up by night ; 
Aulder een than his are glamour'd by a glare, 
Hearts are broken, heads are tum'd wi* castles in the air. 

One more ditty from our brave glass-stainer to show 
how wisely a song-singer can philosophise on our great 
national virtue, the power of work : — 

2 A 

370 Songs of Thought and Sentiment, 

The mair that ye Wark, aye the mair will ye Win.^ 

Be eident, be eident, fleet time rushes on ; 

Be eident, be eident, bricht day will be gone ; 

To stand idle by is a profitless sin. 

The mair that ye wark, aye the mair ye will win. 

The earth gathers fragrance while nursing the flower, 
The wave waxes stronger while feeding the shower. 
The stream gains in speed as it sweeps o'er the linn, 
The mair that ye wark, aye the mair will ye win. 

There's nought got by idling, there's nought got for nought. 
Health, wealth, and contentment by labour are bought ; 
In raising yoursel' ye may raise up your kin. 
The mair that ye wark, aye the mair will ye win. 

Let every man aim in his heart to excel. 

Let every man ettle to fend for himsel' ; 

Aye nourish ye stern independence within, 

The mair that ye wark, aye the mair will ye win.^ 

Of pious songs bearing on their face the distinct stamp 
of Scottish religious tradition, though there are not a few 
in the published poetry of the country worthy to maintain 
their ground against the Cavalier Lays of Professor Aytoun,^ 

^ From Rogers's Scottish Minstrel, p. 413. 

2 The same gospel is preached in an excellent song, ' ' Aye work awa', " 
composed by Joseph Wright, the great Glasgow umbrella-maker, 48 
Argyle Arcade, Glasgow. 

^ See Songs of the Kirk and Covenant, by Mrs Menteith ; Edinburgh, 
1850. Songs of the Covenanters, by James Dodds ; Edinburgh, 1880. 
Songs of the Scottish Worthies, by T. Wellwood ; Paisley, 1881. 

Burns and tJie Covenanters. 371 

there is only one that I ever heard sung in a public concert 
of popular Scottish music, and the singer was that same 
David Kennedy who has done so much to give a world- 
wide reputation to that rich treasure of native song which 
not a few persons at home, trained in the school of fashion- 
able false culture, are ignorant or shallow enough to ignore. 
The Covenanters, to whom with all their faults we owe the 
manliness and the moral seriousness of our national char- 
acter, received from Robert Burns in a passing stanza that 
recognition which a man of his healthy moral and religious 
up-bringing could not fail to bestow : — 

•' The Solemn League and Covenant 

Cost Scotland blood, cost Scotland tears, 
But faith sealed freedom's sacred cause ; 
If thou'rt a slave, indulge thy sneers." 

But he was too deeply involved in the theological con- 
troversies of the day, and had too little of distinctively 
Presbyterian piety in his tone, to induce him to come 
forward as a minstrel of the noble army of martyrs in " the 
killing times." The Covenanting song to which I allude, 
called " The Covenanter's Lament," was the composition of 
a man whose name brings us back to Tannahill, R. A. 
Smith, and the other notable company of native singers in 
the Celtic West. Robert Allan was born in Kilbarchan, 
Renfrewshire, the son of a flax-dresser, in the year 1774, 


Songs of Thought and Sentiment. 

and so contemporary with Scott, Coleridge, and other dis- 
tinguished men, whose youth fell into the stirring period of 
the French Revolution. As a musHn-weaver in his native 
town, he knew, like Ballantine, to unite a laborious trade 
with the worship of the Muse ; but, not so happy as Ballan- 
tine in a career either of worldly prosperity or literary 
recognition, he conceived that he could breathe more 
freely, and work more effectively, and sing more cheerily, 
in the far free land beyond the Atlantic ; and so, though 
advanced in years, he set sail for New York, but alas ! 
destined to find there, not a new start to a new career, but 
a sad end to an old one. He died at New York on ist 
June 1 84 1, only six days after his arrival: — 

There's nae Cov'nant now, Lassie. 

Plaintive. . 



-^ 1 

There's nae Cov - 'nant now, las - sie, There's nae Cov'nant now ; The 

So - lemn League and Co - ve - nant Are 

bro - ken through. 

There's nae Ren-wick now, lassie. There's nae guid Car - gill ; Nor 

ho - ly Sab - bath preach-ing Up  on the Mar - tyrs' Hill. 

" TJiere's nae Covenant now^ Lassie^ 373 

It's naething but a sword, lassie — 

A bluidy, bluidy ane — 
Waving owre puir Scotland 

For her rebellious sin. 
Scotland's a' wrang, lassie, 

Scotland's a' wrang ; 
It's neither to the hill nor glen, 

Lassie, we daur gang. 

The Martyrs' Hill's forsaken, 

In simmer's dusk sae calm ; 
There's nae gathering now, lassie. 

To sing the e'enin' psalm. 
But the martyrs' grave will rise, lassie, 

Aboon the warriors cairn ; 
An' the martyr soun' will sleep, lassie, 

Aneath the wavin* fern. 

Pleasantly chiming with this grateful recognition of what 
our brave Covenanting forefathers did for Scottish inde- 
pendence, Scottish character, and Scottish piety, is the 
following song by George Paulin, a Berwickshire bard, 
and distinguished member of the scholastic profession, 
whose name, along with that of Ballantine, contributes not 
insignificantly to swell the meagre records of the Lyrical 
Muse of Scotland in the East, which we have more than 
once had occasion to mention, as contrasted with the luxuri- 
ance and fertility of her achievements in the West.^ The 

' See a sketch of his life and work in Murdoch's Scottish Poets 
(Glasgow: Morison, 1883), p. 38. 


Songs of Thought and Sentiment. 

music is by Alan Reid, a rising young composer in " our 
own romantic town," and distinguished for his zeal in the 
musical indoctrination of our schools and the popularisation 
of national music, by cheap publications throughout the 
land : — 

Auntie's Sangs.^ 

mind me fu' weel o' the blithe spin-nin' - wheel, And the 


Co - ve - nant sangs o' the Auld Scot - tish Kirk ; And Aunt - ie that 


- r^ w 





sang to the birr o' her reel, In the sweet gloam-ing 'oor 'tween the 
rail. f^ Refrain, a tempo. P 

day - licht and mirk. Tho' aft - en-times ee - rie, we ne - ver were 

rail. • e - dim. 

wear-y, But liked when oor aunt • ie said, "Lis- ten, my dear- ie!' 

She'd mony a rhyme o' the Covenant time, 
O' the mosses and muirs where the brave martyrs fell, 
Jn dark days o' yore when to pray was a crime, 
And the red blude o' saints was the dew o' the dell. 
Tho' oftentimes eerie, &c. 

And sometimes she'd greet — for the mem'ry was sweet 
O' the psalm o' the glen, and the voice o' the heart — 

^ By permission from the National Choir (Parlane, Paisley, 1888), vol. 
i. p. 48. 

The Lajid d the Leaiy 


That the banner should lie in the dust o' the street, 
And the Covenant life frae the land should depart. 
Tho' oftentimes eerie, &c. 

But Auntie is gane and I croon a' alane 
O'er the lilt that was wed to the birr o' the reel ; 
The bonnie birk waves o'er the cauld grave-stane, 
But her spirit's awa' to the land o' the leal ; 

And noo I am eerie, and dowie, and weary, 

I'll ne'er again hear her say, " Listen, my dearie ! " 

But perhaps the very top and crown of all Scottish 
devout songs, and one which, no doubt partly from the 
celebrity of the authoress, has earned for itself a fair cur- 
rency, even in fashionable drawing-rooms and saloons, is 
" The Land o' the Leal," by the Baroness Nairne, with whom 
we have already made, on more occasions than one, such 
inspiring acquaintance. Here it is : — 

The Land o' the Leal.i 

Sl<nv and pathetic. 

I'm wear - in' a • wa , John, Like snaw-wreaths in thaw, John ; I'm 

wear - in' a • wa' To the land o' the leal. There's 

nae sor • row there, John.There's nei-ther cauld nor care, John ; The 

day's aye fair In the land o' the leal. 

* By permission from Paterson & Sons. 

"^T^ Songs of Thought and Sentiment. 

Our bonnie bairn's there, John, 
She was baith guid and fair, John ; 
And oh ! we grudged her sair 
To the land o* the leal. 

But sorrow's sel' wears past, John, 
And joy's a-comin' fast, John ; 
The joy that's aye to last 
In the land o' the leal. 

Sae dear's that joy was bought, John, 
Sae free the battle fought, John, 
That sinfu' man e'er brought 
To the land o' the leal. 

Oh ! dry your glist'nin' e'e, John, 
My saul langs to be free, John, 
And angels beckon me 
To the land o' the leal. 

Oh ! baud ye leal and true, John, 
Your day it's wearin' through, John, 
And I'll welcome you 
To the land o' the leal. 

Now fare-ye-weel, my ain John, 
This warld's cares are vain, John ; 
We'll meet, and we'll be fain 
In the land o' the leal. 

So much for the more strictly, or at least approximately, 
reUgious section of the Scottish contemplative songs. But 

Scientific Poetry. 377 

all contemplation, though reverential, is not necessarily 
religious; a Pythagoras and an Empedocles may dress 
their wisdom in verse as fitly as an Orpheus and an Olen. 
Nay, even science — modem physical science — so sharp, 
so severe, and so exact, may, in the hands of a great 
master, know to present itself in the dress of the Muses, 
with all the grace and sweetness that belongs to the 
spontaneous outflowing of natural song : of this, Goethe's 
well-known poem, "The Metamorphosis of Plants," is a 
capital example. In this poem all that is true in the 
Darwinian doctrine of development is set forth lucidly, 
free from all the narrowness of view and one-sided dog- 
matism which is the besetting sin of the purely scientific 
mind. Against this tendency of the scientist, Scottish 
poetry has a weapon called humour, as potent to expose 
the falsehood as the constructive Muse of the great German 
is to commend the truth that may lie in the stimulant 
novelty of the hour. Of the application of this weapon 
to prune the rampancy of an ingenious physical speculation, 
passing itself off for a philosophy, we could imagine no 
more classic specimen than the following song, familiar 
to not a few of the most cultivated Edinburgh ears, and 
well deserving of a world-wide circulation : — 

3/8 Songs of Thought and Sentiment. 

The Origin of Species. 

A New Song. 

Have you heard of this question the Doctors among, 
Whether all living things from a Monad have sprung? 
This has lately been said, and it now shall be sung, 
Which nobody can deny. 

Not one or two ages sufficed for the feat, 
It required a few millions the change to complete ; 
But now the thing's done, and it looks rather neat, 
Which nobody can deny. 

The original Monad, our great-great-grandsire, 
To little or nothing at first did aspire ; 
But at last to have offspring it took a desire. 
Which nobody can deny. 

This Monad becoming a father or mother, 
By budding or bursting, produced such another ; 
And shortly there followed a sister or brother, 
Which nobody can deny. 

But Monad no longer designates them well — 
They're a cluster of molecules now, or a cell ; 
But which of the two, Doctors only can tell, 
Which nobody can deny. 

These beings, increasing, grew buoyant with life. 
And each to itself was both husband and wife ; 
And at first, strange to say, the two lived without strife. 
Which nobody can deny. 

But such crowding together soon troublesome grew. 
And they thought a division of labour would do ; 

" The Origin of Species r 379 

So their sexual system was parted in two, 

Which nobody can deny. 

Thus Plato supposes that, severed by fate, 
Human halves run about, each in search of its mate. 
Never pleased till they gain their original state. 
Which nobody can deny. 

Excrescences fast were now trying to shoot ; 
Some put out a finger, some put out a foot ; 
Some set up a mouth, and some sent down a root, 
Which nobody can deny. 

Some, wishing to walk, manufactured a limb ; 
Some rigged out a fin, with a purpose to swim ; 
Some opened an eye, some remained dark and dim, 
Which nobody can deny. 

Some creatures grew bulky, while others were small, 
As nature sent food for the few or for all ; 
And the weakest, we know, ever go to the wall, 
Which nobody can deny. 

A deer with a neck that was longer by half 
Than the rest of its family's (try not to laugh). 
By stretching and stretching, became a Giraffe, 
Which nobody can deny. 

A very tall pig, with a very long nose. 
Sends forth a proboscis quite down to his toes ; 
And he then by the name of an Elephant goes, 
Which nobody can deny. 

The four-footed beast that we now call a Whale, 
Held its hind-legs so close that they grew to a tail, 
Which it uses for threshing the sea like a flail. 
Which nobody can deny. 

380 Songs of Thought and Sentiment. 

Pouters, tumblers, and fantails are from the same source; 
The racer and hack may be traced to one Horse : 
So Men were developed from monkeys, of course, 
Which nobody can deny. 

An Ape with a pliable thumb and big brain. 
When the gift of the gab he had managed to gain, 
As a Lord of Creation established his reign, 
Which nobody can deny. 

But I'm sadly afraid, if we do not take care, 
A relapse to low life may our prospects impair ; 
So of beastly propensities let us beware, 

Which nobody can deny. 

Their lofty position our children may lose. 
And reduced to all-fours, must then narrow their views. 
Which would wholly unfit them for filling our shoes. 
Which nobody can deny. 

Their vertebrae next might be taken away, 

When they'd sink to an oyster, or insect, some day. 

Or the pitiful part of a polypus play, 

Which nobody can deny. 

Thus losing Humanity's nature and name, 
And descending through varying stages of shame. 
They'd return to the Monad, from which we all came, 
Which nobody can deny.^ 

The author of this admirable exposition of the vagaries 
of a godless science was Charles Neaves, well known as 
a contributor to ' Blackwood's Magazine,' and as a man 

^ Songs and Verses. By an Old Contributor to Maga. Edinburgh : 
Blackwood, 1869. 

Lord Neaves. 381 

who, like Lord Jeffrey, and other distinguished Scottish 
judges, knew to temper the severity of the Law with the 
grace of poetry and the warmth of song. But Neaves 
did more in this respect than Outram, or any other of the 
contributors to the Parliament House Garland. He made 
severe scientific studies the seed out of which his song 
grew; and whether it were a metaphysical whim of Lord 
Monboddo, or a grand linguistic law of Jacob Grimm, or 
the Danvinian rage of drawing one thing out of another 
thing in a straight line, and all things out of one thing by 
a blind force or blind dance of forces, you saw that he 
was not merely blowing soap-bubbles, or flinging about 
squibs and crackers, with which inferior wits content 
themselves, but he built up his growth of song from a 
living root, and showed, even in his most humorous vein, 
that he was well aware of the germs of truth that lay 
beneath the exuberance of pampered speculation which he 
so gracefully pruned. He had not only, as this song 
shows, made a careful study of the facts of the Darwinian 
theory, but he was an excellent philologer, read Greek 
with pleasurable ease, which very few Scotsmen can do, 
and was one of the first who, in the pages of * Blackwood's 
Magazine,' introduced to Scottish readers the far-reaching 
conclusions of Bopp and other German scholars, on the 
attractive new science of comparative philology. 

382 Songs of Thought and Sentiment. 

We cannot do better than conclude this chapter and 
this little book with that song of Burns which, along with 
the patriotic strain of " Scots wha hae " and the genial 
conviviality of " Auld Langsyne," forms what, to borrow a 
phrase from the musicians, we may call the major third of 
melody, to stir the blood of all true Scotsmen, from the 
extreme West to the extreme East of their multifarious 
wanderings. In " A Man's a Man for a' that," we have the 
finest combination of practical philosophy, evangelical 
piety, and political wisdom that ever was put into a popular 
song. It is grandly human, and therefore philosophical ; 
its key-note of moral brotherhood makes it evangehcal; 
its assertion of the worth of individual character, as opposed 
to conventional distinctions, makes it politically wise. It 
is, moreover, eminently Scotch in the prominence which 
it gives to that estate of honest, and laborious, and self- 
sustaining poverty, the stout root out of which so many 
Scottish virtues have grown and so much social eminence 
has been achieved. I have known persons who in the 
words — 

" A king can mak' a belted knight, 
A marquis, duke, and a' that," — 

saw that narrow jealousy of superior rank and social 
position which shows itself so lovelessly in some specimens 
of the Radical politician. But it is not so. Burns was a 

"A Man's a Man for a' that'. 


Liberal ; but there was no touch of envy, or jealousy, or 
social bitterness in his composition. Certainly in this song 
he soars far above all party feelings, and merely announces 
plainly what is the poet's mission no less than the prophet's, 
to preach from the house-top that there is no respect of 
persons with God, and that whosoever pays worship to any- 
thing in any human being independent of personal worth 
and character, is an idolater and a heretic, with whom no 
professor of a moral and catholic Christianity can hold any 
fellowship. " How can ye believe, who receive honour one 
from another, and seek not the honour which cometh from 
God only ? " is the weighty text that stamps with a truly 
evangelical significance this wise song of our national 
bard: — 

A Man's a Man for a' that. 

Is there for honest po • ver- ly.That hangs his head, and a' that ? The 

cow - ard slave, we pass him by. We dare be poor for a' that ! 

rank is but the guin .• ea's stamp, 'l*he man's the gowd for a' that. 

384 Songs of Thought and Sentiine?it. 

What though on hamely fare we dine, 

Wear hoddin grey, and a' that ; 
Gie fools their silks, and knaves their wine 

A man's a man for a' that. 
For a' that, and a' that. 

Their tinsel show, and a' that ; 
The honest man, though e'er sae poor. 

Is king o' men for a' that. 

Ye see yon birkie, ca'd a lord, 

Wha struts, and stares, and a' that ; 
Though hundreds worship at his word, 

He's but a coof for a' that. 
For a' that, and a' that, 

His riband, star, and a' that ; 
The man of independent mind 

He looks and laughs at a' that. 

A king can mak' a belted knight, 

A marquis, duke, and a' that ; 
But an honest man's aboon his might, 

Guid faith ! he maunna fa that. 
For 2! that, and a' that, 

Their dignities, and a' that ; 
The pith o' sense, and pride o' worth. 

Are higher ranks than a' that, 

Then let us pray that come it may, 

As come it will, for a' that. 
That sense and worth, o'er a' the earth. 

May bear the gree, and a' that. 
For a' that, and a' that. 

It's coming yet, for a' that. 
That man to man, the warl' o'er. 

Shall brithers be for a' that. 



The Scotch, as the Doric or musical dialect of our common 
English tongue, is characterised (i) by the prominence of the 
broad open «, as in daur for darej (2) by the smooth and softly 
sounded 00^ for the canine sound of 011, as in hoose for house, 
doon for down; (3) by the dropping of the final consonant 
to procure a soft vocalic ending, as hd for hall, loe for love, doo 
for dove, and suchlike ; (4) by the dainty and delicate labial 
sound of the Greek vy^i\6v, identical with the 7ie of the Germans, 
for the English 00^ or e^u \n yew, as in guid for good, puir for 
poor; (5) by the slurring of two consonants into one long vowel 
or diphthong with a single consonant, as gowd for gold^ stown 
for stolen; and (6) by the soft aspirate x in Greek and ch in 
German, for the sharp English k, as in loch for lake—zxi^ in 
general, preserving that Hellenico-Teutonic aspirate where the 
English have systematically swamped it, as in richt for right, 
fecht for fight. Attention to these well-pronounced features 
will in the general case enable the Englishman to understand 
Scotch without any help from a glossary ; but there are some 
changes, and some radically different words, which cannot 
be subsumed under any orthoepic category, and for these I 
have endeavoured to provide in the following list : — 

2 15 



A boon — above. 

A hint — behind. 

Ail — vex, annoy. 

Airt — direction, quarter. 

Aise — ashes, hearth. 

A-jee. Seejee. 

Ava — at all. 

Ba irns — children. 

Bank — a cross-beam. 

Bawbee — halfpenny. 

Bawsand — having a white spot on 
the forehead or face. 

Befyle — to soil, dirty. 

Ben — the inner apartment of the 

Bien — good, comfortable. 

Big — to build. 

Bigonet—co\i, head-dress. 

Bing — bend, duck, bow. 

Bink — a bench or seat beside the 

Birk — birch. 

Birkie — a smart young fellow, a 

Birl — to toss down. 

Birr — to make a whirring noise. 

Birse — bristles. 

Blaeberry — bilberry. 

Blaw — to boast. 

Bogle — a play of young people, in 
which one hunts the other round 
the stacks of com in a barn-yard. 

Bothie — a. small wooden hut for 

Bouk — bulk, body, carcass. 

Brae — hill, slope. 

Braw — well dressed, trim, hand- 

Brawly — well, very well. 

Braws — fine dress. 

Breckan — ferns. 

Brent — smooth. 

Brose — a kind of pottage made by 
pouring water or broth on meal, 
which is stirred in while the liquid 
is boiling. 

Bucht — pen or fold for sheep. 

Buffie — fat, purfied. 

Burgonet — a kind of helmet. 

But — the outer apartment of the 

Caller — cool, fresh. 
Canny — cautious. 

Canty — cheerful, pleasant. 

Carle — an old man. 

Chap — a lad, fellow, boy. 

Chiel — lad, fellow. 

Chimley — chimney. 

Clamjamfrie, a pack of low worth- 
less people. 

Cleek — catch as by a hook. 

Clishmaclaver — silly talk. 

Cogie — a cup, a bowl. 

C<3^?/-— simpleton, blockhead. 

Coutsey—^vciTiXi coat. 

Crack — talk freely — familiarly, a 
sharp blow ; — in a crack, immedi- 

Cramasie — crimson cloth. 

Craw — to boast. 

Creel — an osier basket, hamper. 

Creepie — a low stool. 

Croo—a. hovel. 

Croon — to hum or sing in a low 

Crouse — brisk, lively. 

Crowdie — a thick gruel. 

Crummie — a cow. 

Curtch — a woman's cap. 

Custocks — cabbage. 

Cutty — short. 

Daddie — father. 

Baffin — pastime, jesting. 


Deuk-dub — a muddy pool for ducks. 

Ding — beat, surpass, excel. 

Dochter — daughter. 

Dool—-woe, sorrow. 

Douce — sober, quiet. 

i)ci!^r— hard-hearted, merciless. 

Dowf—duW, flat. 

Dowie — dull, doleful. 

Z)r^^— endure. 

Drookit — drenched. 

ZPrww/zV— troubled, dark, muddy. 

Dub — mire, dirt. 

Duds — clothing. 

Dwtifounder — astonish, stun. 

Dunt — beat, knock. 

Eerie — apprehensive, nervous, 

Eident — industrious. 
Ettle — aim, strive. 

jP^jA— to trouble, vex ; adj. fashious. 
Fen — a shift, an expedient. 



Fend—xo shift, make a shift. 
Ferlie — wonder. 
Fidgin — restless, eager. 
F/«<:A— flatter. 
/Vy/e— scold, brawl. 
Forpit—\he fourth part of a peck. 
Fou — drunk. 
Foumart — a polecat. 
Fouth — plenty, abundance. 

Ga*— talk, prattle. 
Gang — go. 
Gar— compel, force. 
Gawky — silly, awkward, ill - man- 
Gear — money. 
Gee — ill-humour, sulks. 
Genty — neat, light, graceful. 
Gerse — grass. 
Gilpie — lively, frolicsome. 
Glaikit — mad. 

Glaum — to aim at, gaze eagerly. 
Gleg — quick, sharp, keen. 
Glent — glint, glance, shine. 
Gloamin — twilight . 
GUnver—XooV. intensely, stare. 
Glum — sulky. 
Gowan — daisy. 
Gr«— superiority, prize. 
Greet — weep. 

Gudeman — the head of the family. 
Guffaw— ?i loud burst of laughter. 
Guid-willie — liberal, kindly. 
G«/<rA^— grandfather. 

Haddin — furniture, stock. 

Haffet — side of the head. 

Haiti — to spare. 

Hap — to cover up. 

Happity — limping. 

Haud — hold, keep. 

Haukit — with a white face. 

Heeze—\o lift up. 

Heft—?L. handle. 

Heuch — a low hollow with steep 
overhanging rocks. 

Hirsel—a. flock, a herd, a drove. 

Hixxie — contemptuous for lass or 

Hool—Yxxxsk, hull. 

Hough— f&ng a stone as at nine- 

Hurkle — to sit crouching. 
/^«jjwji/j^z)>— housewifery. 

Ilka — every. 
Ingle— fixe, fireside. 

Yade — a low word for woman, lass. 

^aupit — bespattered with mud. 

fee — move to one side. 

feel — ^jelly. 

^oe — sweetheart, lover. 

fouk— to move playfully, shift. 

Kail — cole wort, cabbage. 

Kebbuck — a large cheese. 

Keel — ruddle. 

Ken — know. 

Ke^ — catch, receive. 

Kim — chum. 

Kist — chest, trunk. 

Kye — kine. 

Kyle — a throw at nine-pins. 

Laigh — low. 

Lave — the rest, remainder. 

Lavrock — lark. 

Lift — the sky. 

Lilt — air, song, ditty. 

Lintie — linnet. 

Lippen—io trust. 

Loaning— z. long open green space 

or meadow. 
Lout — bend low. 
Lowe — flame. 
Z.«/— -the ear. 
Z-y<zr/— grey. 

Maukin—a. hare. 

Maun — must. 

Mavis — thrush. 

Minnie — mother. 

Mou — mouth. 

Murlain—Si narrow-mouthed basket 

of a round form. 
Mutch — a woman's cap. 

Neist — next. 
Neuch — enough. 

CXercome — a refrain. 
Owyfe— week. 
Owsen — oxen. 

Pawky — arch, shrewd, sly. 




Plack — a small copper coin the third 

of a penny. 
Plenishings — furniture. 
Poortith — poverty. 
Preen— ^m. 

Rax — reach. 
Rook— a. thick mist. 
Rowan — mountain-ash. 
Runkled — wrinkled. 

Sark — shirt. 

Sauff^s — save us ! 

Saugh — willow. 

Scaud — scald. 

Scon — a cake thin and broad. 

Shaw — a branch. 

Sheuch—z. ditch. 

Shindy— %Q.Vif?i&, row. 

Shouther — shoulder. 

Sic — such. 

Skyrin — shining, showy, 

Smack — an accentuated kiss. 

Sodger — soldier. 

Sonsy — good-humoured, well-condi- 
tioned, well-rounded, plump. 

Sough— sob, sigh, panting breath ; to 

Speir — ask. 

Spence — parlour. 

Stappit — stepped. 

Sten or stend — leap, jump, come 
briskly forward. 

Stot — a young bull castrated. 

Stour — disturbance. 

Styme — a whit, a glimpse. 

Sumph — a dull, stupid, boggy-soul- 
ed fellow. 

Swankie — an alert young fellow. 

Swarf— swoon, faint. 

Swats— new ale. 

Syne — long ago, afterwards, then. 

Tappit — with a tuft on the head. 
Tent — tend, watch, attend to. 
Teuch — tough. 

T'^a^— those. 

Thowless — weak, faint. 

Thraw — twist. 

Thud — a blow, a buifet, with 'cog- 
nate verb. 

Tine — to lose. 

Tirl — spin round. 

Tittie — sister. 

Tocher — dower. 

Toddle — to walk with short feeble 
steps like children. 

Toom — empty. 

Tosh — neat, trim. 

Totu?ns — little children. 

Trews — trousers. 

Trig — neat, trim. 

Tweel — thread when spun. 

Tyce — to go slowly. 

Unstent — to loosen — from stent, to 

Wale — to choose. 
Wame — belly, stomach. 
Wanter — a bachelor or widower. 
Wat — know, ken. 
Waucht—z. draught. 
Waur— worse. 
Weans — young children. 
H-^^^— little. 

Whaup — curlew, sea-gull. 
Whomble — wamble. 
W^A^/^j— sometimes. 
W^zV^— seduce, allure. 
Winsome — attractive, pleasant. 
Wow or vow-XxuXy, certainly. 
Wraith— 2i. ghost, apparition. 
Wyte — blame. 

Yade — a mare. 

Yammer — shriek, scream. 

F^//— gate. 

F?7/— ale. 

Yont — beyond. 

Yowe — ewe. 

Yowl — howl. 





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