Harp of Perthshire

Author(s): Various


Songs, Ballads, and other Poetical Pieces
Author of "Thistledown," and Editor of "Auld Scots Ballants," etc.
Publisher to Her Majesty the Queen
Page 78, line 43 — for "to" read "by."
Page 112, line 30 — for "Lyndoch" read "Lynedoch."
Page 398, line 21 — for "master-place" read "muster-place.
"Page 438, line 39 — for "Aberdeen" read "Glasgow."
IT has been remarked by more than one writer whose
attention has been led to the subject that Perthshire
has not produced any one who, in the loftier sense of
the word, may be described as a great poet. And this
is no doubt true. But, verily, there is only one shire
in all Scotland that can, with uplifted head, claim for
itself such rare distinction. And if Perthshire has not
produced a Robert Burns, or any poet that may be
ranked within measurable distance of the "glorious Ayrshire
ploughman," the County, methinks, that can name
as its own the gifted lady of Gask, who, next to the
National Poet, has given more songs of enduring fame
to the world than any other single singer that Scotland
has seen; the County that gave birth to, and nurtured
the early genius of Robert Nicoll, of Tullybeltane;
James Stewart, of Dunkeld; Charles Spence, of Rait;
and many another singer of scarcely less merit that
might be named; whose scenes of natural beauty, and
types of female loveliness, have attracted the Muse of
nearly every poet of note in the land — as witness the
Perthshire songs of Burns, Scott, Hogg, and Tannahill
— has distinct claims to consideration in the matter of
its Poets and Poetry.
The home poets of Perthshire, indeed, as we hope
this work will satisfactorily demonstrate, have neither
been few in respect of numbers, nor contemptible in
regard to merit. Reviewing them in their chronological
sequence, as the reader will find examples of their work
arranged in the succeeding pages, from the time of
Gavin Douglas, of Dunkeld, down to the present day,
we discover a galaxy of authors of whom any County
or district may be reasonably proud, and such a large
number of songs and poems of more than parochial
fame, the most of them by Perthshire writers, as will
more than justify the publication of a work such as is
here presented. Following the illustrious Bishop of
Dunkeld, who flourished in the end of the fifteenth and
in the beginning of the sixteenth centuries, and in
addition to "The Palace of Honour," and "King Hart,"
and other works of a strikingly original and highly
poetical character, "gave," as Scott in Marmion reminds
us, "rude Scotland Virgil's page," we find Henry Adamson,
the author of "The Muses Threnodie," whose
writings in 1637 attracted the favourable notice of
Drummond of Hawthornden, who recommended their
publication, because, as he said, "longer to conceal
them will be to wrong your Perth of her due honour,
who deserveth no less of you than that she should be
thus blazoned and registrate to posterity." Next comes
into view Alexander Robertson, of Struan, with his
curious medley of verses, serious and satiric — the great
"Struan" — who fought under Dundee at Killiecrankie,
under Mar at Sheriffmuir, and under Prince Charlie at
Culloden; who is followed by the Rev. John Barclay,
the founder of the Bereans, a native of Muthill, who
wrote a rhymed version of the Psalms, and is the
reputed author of one of the various ballads extant
which celebrate the historic battle of Sheriffmuir. Then
comes David Malloch, or Mallet, of the same fertile
district, with his imperishable song of "The Birks of
Invermay," and his beautiful and pathetic ballad of
"William and Margaret," the latter of which, on its
original publication in Aaron Hill's Plain Dealer, in
1724, set literary London positively by the ears. A
few years later we discover Dugald Buchanan, of Balquhidder,
the well known Gaelic poet, who is followed
by Duncan Ban Macintyre, still dear to Breadalbane
and the hills of Glenorchy; Andrew Sharpe, of Bridgend,
the author of "Corunna's Lone Shore," and Alexander
Campbell, of Tombea, editor of Albyn's Anthology,
and the author of "Row weel, my Boatie, row weel."
Following these in their course we are brought down
towards the end of the eighteenth century, when the
lyric muse of Robert Burns was making glorious the
very hill tops of Scotland, and the "Flower of Strathearn"
— as yet unseen — was blossoming into song in the
"Auld House " of Gask, and surreptitiously adding to
the "Land o' the Leal," the "Laird o' Cockpen," and
many of her finest lyrics. And now comes into view
Charles Spence, of Raitt, with his songs of "The Twa
Bumbees" and "Linn Magray," etc., who is followed
by David Drummond and his "Bonnie Lass o' Levenside;"
William Clyde, with "St. Johnstoun's Bells;"
David Webster, with "Tak' it, Man, Tak' it;" James
Beattie, of Leetown, with his poems of "The Spring
Lark," and "The Rainbow," and other songs of delicate
beauty and tender emotion. Next we see James
Stewart, of Dunkeld, with his graphic and clever character
songs of "Our Little Jock," "Fouscanhaud," and
"The Tailor o' Monzie;" and William Wilson, of
Crieff, with "Jean Linn," and "Auld Johnny Graham."
Now we catch a glimpse of the bright morning star of
Tullybeltane — Robert Nicoll — with his "Bonnie Bessie
Lee," "The Folk o' Ochtergaen," "The Toun where I
was Born," and many other familiar songs and poems.
At his elbow is his younger brother, William, with one
or two thoughtful pieces. Then comes David Millar,
with his long and loving poem of "The Tay;" Caroline
Oliphant, the younger; dear old Mrs. Sandeman, of
Bonskeid and Springland — worthy grand-niece of the
authoress of "The Land o' the Leal" — with her good
and gifted daughter, Mrs. Barbour, recently deceased,
and still more highly gifted grandson, the late Rev.
Robert W. Barbour, each with songs of exalted fancy,
richly imbued with spiritual suggestiveness.
Conspicuous among a number who follow each other
in rapid succession towards the middle of the current
century, there is discovered just behind Alexander
Maclagan, the author of "A Cronie o' Mine," and
"Hurrah for the Thistle," the giant form of the Rev.
George Gilfillan, the one eloquent expounder of mysterious
"Night;" Dr. Charles Mackay, author of "Cheer
Boys, Cheer," who was a native of Perth; the late Sir
William Stirling Maxwell, of credit and renown, for
many years the County's able representative in Parliament;
the Rev. Dr. J. R. Macduff, of Bonhard, a
voluminous writer in prose and verse; Dr. John Anderson,
the revered and gifted minister of Kinnoull; the
Rev. Dr. William Blair, of Dunblane; the late Peter
Norval, of Collace; D. H. Saunders, of Blairgowrie,
the well known "Christian Democrat;" Duncan Macgregor
Crerar, familiarly known as "The Breadalbane
Bard," for many years resident in America; the Rev.
Peter Anton, of Kilsyth, who is a native of the Carse
of Gowrie; James Ferguson, of Stanley ("Nisbet
Noble"); and many more.
From among those we have named, it will be seen
there are not less than a dozen who enjoy a literary
reputation that is co-extensive with the language in
which they wrote and sang: while of the others, with
the forty to fifty more, notice of whom will be found in
the body of the work, it may, we think, be said without
prejudice or fear of contradiction, that they have each
produced something worthy of at least local preservation.

The anonymous muse has also made contributions to
Perthshire literature, which cannot be overlooked in a
popular collection; some of them being of great beauty,
and not a few possessing considerable historic interest.
And the inclusion of the more prominent of these—
"The Weary Coble o' Cargill," "Bessie Bell and Mary
Gray," "Killiecrankie," the various ballads celebrating
the Battle of Sheriffmuir, and "The Lass o' Cowrie,"
etc., with the notes which accompany them — may prove
to many readers not the least interesting feature in the
In addition to all these, we have embraced, in a
separate department, the more notable Perthshire songs
of Burns, Scott, Hogg, and Tannahill, and others,
because, by reason of their own inherent merit, as well
as the subjects they variously celebrate, they have come
to be esteemed as essentially a part and parcel of our
local literature. Much more might have been included;
many more local authors might have found representation
in the work; and many more poems and songs by
outside writers, bearing upon local subjects, might have
found admittance. To make, however, anything like
an exhaustive collection of the poetry of Perthshire,
not one, but a number of volumes would be required.
At the same time, we think it will be generally admitted
that all that is best and of most vital interest in the
poetical literature of our beautiful and well beloved
County has found a place in these pages.
The work of collecting and arranging the material
has been to ourselves, in large measure, a labour of
love, and we look for our reward mainly in the pleasure
which we anticipate the book will afford to natives of
Perthshire at home and abroad, many of whom have
manifested the keenest interest in the progress and
completion of the undertaking.
In the matter of size and general construction only may
the present work be said to be uniform with its illustrious
prototype, The Harp of Renfrewshire. The first series
of that earlier work, which rose under the capable hand
of William Motherwell, contains many poems and songs
which have no connection with Renfrewshire, either in
the matter of subject or authorship; but here not a
single verse will be found that has not a claim to a place
in the volume by the one good reason or the other.
Perhaps a higher uniformity of merit could have been
maintained had we chosen to ransack Scottish literature
for gems wherewith to adorn the brow of our
native County; but we preferred to "pick and wale"
only among such effusions as belong to Perthshire
by titular or native right. And herein lies the chief
value of the book to those whom we expect to be
moved by it. It is all our own; and is the first earnest
attempt to afford a fairly comprehensive and popular
representation of the poetry of the richly song-favoured
and restricted district to which the title applies. The
selections are not all of equal merit (this were next to
impossible in a work of the kind), but a fair standard
of excellence has been set up, and, we think, has been
honourably maintained throughout. Such differences
in quality as will be found existing, may be compared
to the beauty of one flower, or the stately elegance of
one tree, as contrasted with another, and will give a
charm of variety to the work, which perhaps a stricter
uniformity of tone and colour would fail to yield.
If into these pages, forsooth, we have been able to
gather an abundant harvest of poesy — much of it, too,
of excellent quality — and we think we have — it is surely
not more than might be expected from the field that
has yielded the crop. Perthshire is rich beyond measure
in such scenery as is best calculated to inspire the
beholder to articulate song. "Among all the provinces
in Scotland," says Sir Walter Scott, "if an intelligent
stranger were asked to describe the most varied and
the most beautiful, it is probable he would name the
County of Perth. … The most picturesque, if
not the highest, hills are to be found here. The rivers
find their way out of the mountainous region by the
wildest leaps, and through the romantic passes connecting
the Highlands with the Lowlands. … Its
lakes, woods, and mountains may vie in beauty with
any that the Highland tour exhibits; while Perthshire
contains, amidst this romantic scenery, and in some
places, in connection with it, many fertile and habitable
tracts which may vie with the richness of merry
England herself."
"'Behold the Tiber!' the vain Roman cried,
Viewing the ample Tay from Baiglie's side;
But where's the Scot that would the vaunt repay,
And hail the puny Tiber for the Tay?"
Now, enough by the way of preface. We will be
joining the reader here and there in the notes throughout
the volume, and for a more lengthened period in the
biographical notices at the close. Until that longer
meeting he will form many new friendships, and revive
a good many old ones, and, we hope, will spend many
a pleasant half-hour.
Our thanks are due, and are gratefully recorded, to
the various authors and publishers who have readily
granted permission to make extracts from copyright
works, and to the ladies and gentlemen who have
furnished books and manuscripts for the purpose of
making selections.
To Miss Stewart, the sole surviving niece of Lady
Nairne — who at the advanced age of ninety-eight is,
happily, still hale and well — we have to express our
special thanks. It is to her kindly disposition that the
reader, as well as the publisher and editor, is indebted
for the fac-simile of the original MS. of "The Land o'
the Leal."
GLASGOW, 1893.
A Cronie o' Mine, Maclagan, 206
A Dialogue between Will Lickladle and
Tom Clean Cogue, Barclay, 59
A Highland Funeral, R. W. Barbour, 354
Allan Mac Allan Dhu, Stewart, 157
Allan Water, R. M. Fergusson, 365
Alma, Countess of Breadalbane, Crerar, 293
A Legend of the Daisy, Whittet, 277
A May Song, W. Robertson, 330
"A Midsummer Nicht's Dream," Jessie M. King, 371
Answer to "I'm Wearin' awa', John," Gray 123
A Prelude, Whittet, 276
Archy o' Kilspindie, Finlay, 417
Around Benchonzie's Purple Crest, Edwards, 361
A Soliloquy, Sim, 98
A Tale o' Kirrie, Geddes, 339
Athol Cummers, Hogg, 405
Auld Johnny Graham, Wilson, 163
Auld Johnny Shaw, M'Culloch, 235
Autumn Thoughts, Jessie M. King, 372
A Valentine, Cromb, 319
Aye Fen' for Yersel', White, 195
Bessie Bell and Mary Gray, Anon., 46
Bewitched, Young, 271
Biggin' a Nest, Ford, 318
Blythe, Blythe and merry was She, Burns, 394
Bonnie Bessie Lee, .Nicoll, 167
Bonnie Ochtertyre, Kippen, 286
By Allan Stream, Burns, 396
Caledonia's Blue Bells, Crerar, 292
Caller Herrin', Baroness Nairne, 111
Cam' ye by Athol Hogg, 403
Charming Phillis, Nicol, 87
Corunna's Lone Shore, Sharpe, 91
Craigie Hill, Clyde, 137
Cromlet's Lilt, Anon., 30
Death, M. F. Barbonr, 260
Donald Gunn, Webster, 141
Donald Macinroy, Saunders, 290
Duncan Ker, Stewart, 159
Dunsinane, Ferguson, 308
Elegiac, Sir W. S. Maxwell, 243
Epistle to Tammas Bodkin, J. Campbell, 201
Epitaph on Alexander Robertson of
Struan, Nicol, 88
'Ες 'Αει R. W. Barbour, 353
Fair Helen and Lord William, Shain, 178
Fallen Leaves, Fraser, 374
Farewell, W. .Nicoll, 177
Farewell to Aberfoyle, Richardson, 75
For Lack of Gold, Austin, 74
Fouscanhaud, Stewart, 153
Gilderoy, Anon., 42
Glen Ogil, D. M. Smith, 326
Glentulchan's Sweet Flower, Mercer, 214
Golden Gorse, Blair, 280
Hail to the Chief, Scott, 399
Hansel Mononday, A. M. Scott, 385
Hereafter, Steven, 266
Her Reply, Anon., 32
Hey the Rantin' Murray's Ha', Baroness Nairne, 112
Home in Heaven, Oliphant, 185
Hurrah for the Thistle, Maclagan, 209
Hymn to Fire, Gilfillan, 219
In the Gloaming M. B. White, 382
It's a' Owre, Dryerre, 324
Jean Linn, Wilson, 162
Jeanie Brown, James Craig, 349
Jenny Whitelaw, Gairns, 190
Kate o' Gowrie, Reid, 119
Kilbryde Kirkyard, Blair, 279
Killiecrankie, Anon., 51
King Hart, Douglas, 11
Kinnaird, A. M. Scott, 386
Kinnoull Cliff, F. Buchanan, 263
Kitty Reid's House, Baroness Nairne, 109
Lady Keith's Lilt, Drummond, 64
Lassie wi' the Yellow Coatie, Duff, 131
Life is short, but Love is long, R. M Fergusson, 365
Linn-Ma-Gray, Spence, 128
Lord Ruthven; or the Waes o' Dupplin'
Field, Pyott, 340
"Love of Right and Scorn of Wrong," Macduff, 244
Lumbago, Young, 267
Maggie Lyle, F. Buchanan, 263
Mary Morrison, Wilson, 165
Mary of Sweet Aberfoyle, Glen, 135
Mary of Tombea, Scott, 397
Mary Rose, Stewart, 160
Maternal Night, Jacque, 192
Morning in May, Douglas, 7
Morning Musings in the Highlands, Robertson, 191
Mount Pilatus, Gilfillan, 222
My Auld Grannie's Leather Pouch, Maclagan, 209
My Auld Scottish Bonnet, Peacock, 238
My Bairn, Imrie, 203
My Bonnie Bit Lassie Anderson, 386
My Bonnie Rowan Tree, Crerar, 295
My Father an' my Mither, John Paul, 351
My First Saumon, Graham, 148
My Friend, Murray, 288
My Grannie's Bible, James Paul, 363
Neil Gow's Farewell to Whisky, Lyon, 410
Now Winter's Wind Sweeps, A. Campbell, 94
Och, Hey, Hum, Mitchell, 375
Oh, Never! No, Never! Oliphant, 184
Oor Auld Wife, Ford, 317
Oor Hoose at E'en, S. J. Stewart, 313
Ossian's Grave, Wordsworth, 416
Our Last Flittin', White, 197
Our Little Jock, Stewart, 151
Pibroch of Bonnie Strathearn, Kippen, 286
Piper M'Nee, Farquharson, 216
Piscator Dolorosus, Anton, 332
Poor Anne, Lewis, 407
Pursuit o' Prince Charlie Spence, 125
Quitting the Manse, Sandeman, 186
Receive, Resign, Restore, M. F. Barbour, 261
Rob Roy's Grave, Wordsworth, 412
Row Weel, my Boatie, A. Campbell, 94
Ruth, Sir W. S. Maxwell, 240
St. Johnstoun's Bells, Clyde, 136
Scotland, Land of Liberty, Edwards, 359
Scottish Song of Victory, Macnaughton, 231
Shallum, Sir W. S. Maxwell, 243
Since Loyalty is still the Same, Robertson, 49
Sing, Little Bird, Steven, 265
Sir James the Rose, Anon., 37
Song of the Royal Highland Regiment, Maclaggan, 89
Song of the Tay, Ferguson, 307
Sonnet: Scottish Heather, M. B. White, 384
Sonnet: To a favourite Evening Retreat, Main, 332
Sonnet: To Chaucer, Main, 331
Strathallan's Lament, Burns, 395
Sunlicht an' Munelicht, Pyott, 344
Tak it, Man, Tak it, Webster, 139
Tayis Bank, Anon., 13
That Horn Spoon the Tinkler made, Mitchell, 378
The Athol Gathering, Anon., 68
The Auld Carle's Courtship, Norval, 283
The Auld Craw's Lament, Taylor, 297
The Auld House, Baroness Nairne, 105
The Banks of Allan Water, Lewis, 406
The Battle of Corriemuckloch, Anon., 248
The Battle of Luncarty, Vedder, 420
The Battle of Sheriffmuir, M'Leman, 54
The Birks of Aberfeldy, Burns, 394
The Birks of Invermay, Mallet, 69
The Birks o' Invermay, Anon., 71
The Blind Exile's Return, Macnaughton, 232
The Bonnie Banks o' Fordie, Anon., 27
The Bonnie Burnie, Mackay, 226
The Bonnie Earl of Moray, Anon., 40
The Bonnie Lass o' Levenside, Drummond, 133
The Bonnie Wee Rose Bud, Agnew, 142
The Bower of Tay, Hogg, 404
The Braes abune Stobha', Ford, 315
The Braes o' Balquhither, Tannahill, 409
The Braes o' Mount Blair, A. Fergusson, 300
The Braes roun' aboot Auchterairder, Neish, 388
The Brooch of Lorn, Scott, 400
The Burnie's Sang, Neish, 389
The City Pent, W. Nicoll, 176
The Croaker, James Paul, 362
The Darwinian Theory, Young, 269
The Deil and M'Ommie, Sim, 95
The Deil's Stane, D. M. Smith, 327
The Duke o' Athol's Nurse, Anon., 35
The Eirlic Well, Crerar, 293
The English Knight, Norval, 285
The Faithful Swain, Spence, 124
The Fate of the Looking-Glass, Robertson, 51
The Flower o' Dunblane, Tannahill, 408
The Folk o' Ochtergaen, Nicoll, 168
The Forsaken, Nicoll, 170
The Frozen Burn, Whittet, 278
The Garb of Old Gaul, Sir Harry Erskine(?) 77
The Garb of Old Gaul, Anon., 80
The Gathering of the Hays, Anon., 66
The Goldfinch's Nest, Beattie, 145
The Graces' Spell, Tovani, 380
The Gude Wallace, Anon., 17
The Hero of Barossa, Duff 132
The Hills o' Breadalbane, Maclagan, 213
The Holocaust of the Witch of Monzie, Blair, 252
The Hundred Pipers, Baroness Nairne, 114
The Iron Horse, Balfour, 246
The Kilted Hielandmen, J. Campbell, 198
The Laird o'Cockpen, Baroness Nairne, 102
The Lament of Benedict, the Married
Man, Nicoll, 172
The Land o' the Leal, Baroness Nairne, 99
The Lass o' Glenshee, Anon., 146
The Lass o' Gowrie, Anon., 116
The Lass o' Gowrie, Col. Ramsay, 117
The Lass o' Gowrie, Baroness Nairne, 118
The Last Adieu to the Hills, Macintyre, 84
The Lauch in the Sleeve, Anton, 335
The Lofty Lomonds, Norval, 282
"The Lord is my Shepherd," Macduff, 245
The Macgregor's Gathering, Scott, 402
The Maiden wha shore in the Bandwin'
wi' me, W. Robertson, 328
The Maid of Isla's Lament, A. Fergusson, 302
The Muir o' Gorse and Broom, Nicoll, 169
The Muses Threnodie, Adamson, 1
Then and Now, Sandeman, 187
The Old Hearse, Jacque, 193
The Past, Anderson, 258
The Poet's Grave, W. Nicoll, 175
The Power of Love, Anderson, 257
The Priest o' Kinfauns, Millar, 182
The Queen's Visit, S. Fergusson, 272
The Rainbow, Beattie, 145
The Romance of the Rose, Anderson, 369
The Rose, Richardson, 76
The Rowan Tree, Baroness Nairne, 113
The Scottish Plaid, Murray, 287
The Skull, Buchanan, 81
The Spring Lark, Beattie, 143
The Summons of Love, Cromb, 320
The Sunday Cough, Anderson, 259
The Sunny Side, S. J. Stewart, 314
The Sun's on the Heather, James Craig, 350
The Tailor o' Monzie, Stewart, 155
The Tay, Millar, 180
The Tollman's Lament, John Craig, 345
The Toun where I was Born, Nicoll, 166
The Twa Bumbees, Spence, 126
The Valley of the Earn, Nelson, 204
The Valley of the Shadow, Geddes, 336
The Viking's Bride, R. M. Fergusson, 366
The Weary Coble o' Cargill (Old), Anon., 21
The Weary Coble o' Cargill (Modern), Anon., 24
The Weaver's Bairn, Pringle, 356
The Wheel of Life, Robertson, 48
The Wifie o' Cargill, A. Fergusson, 301
The Windy Gowl, J. Smith, 304
The Wisdom o' my Granny, Farquharson, 218
The Witch on the Brae, W. Stewart, 250
The Wounded Soldier, J. J. S. Stewart, 303
The Wraith o' Garry Water, Mackay, 227
Tibby and the Laird, Maclagan, 212
To Wordsworth, M. B. White, 384
Tullymet, Ferguson, 309
Turlum, Dryerre, 321
Twa Auld Fouk, Dryerre, 323
Twilights, R. W. Barbour, 355
Wearied and Worn, J. Campbell, 199
"Weel thro' the Valley," Mitchell, 377
We'll Hunker Doon to Nane, J. Smith, 306
We'll mak' the Warld better yet, .Nicoll, 174
We're a' a'e Mither's Bairns, Peacock, 236
Whaur Shaggie Sings, Edwards, 360
When ye gang awa', Jamie, Anon., 121
William and Margaret, Mallet, 71
Willie's Hay Stack, Gain's, 188
Will ye go to Sheriffmuir, Anon., 63
Wi' the Pipers, Taylor, 298
Yell Mount, Gudeman, Baroness Nairne, 107
ANDERSON, Rev. JOHN, D.D., 432
ANTON, Rev. PETER, 434
BARBOUR, Mrs. M. F., 436
BLAIR, Rev. WILLIAM, D. D., 441
CAMPBELL, JOHN ("Will Harrow,") 445
FERGUSSON, Rev. R. M., M.A., 458
MACDUFF, Rev. J. R., D.D., 471
MITCHELL, Rev. D. G., 484
OLIPHANT, CAROLINE, The Younger, 496
PAUL, Rev. JAMES, 497
ROBERTSON, WILLIAM (p. 192), 501
ROBERTSON, WILLIAM (p. 330), 501
SAUNDERS, D. H., 504
Now must I mourn for GALL, since he is gone,
And ye, my Gabions, help me him to mone;
And in your courses sorrow for his sake,
Whose matchless Muse immortal did you make.
Who now shall pen your praise and make you knowne?
By whom now shall your virtues be forth showne?
Who shall declare your worth? Is any able?
Who dare to meddle with Apelles' table?*
Ah me! there's none: And is there none indeed?
Then must ye mourn, of force, there's no remeed:
And I, for my part, with you, in my turne,
Shall keep a doleful consort whilst ye mourne:
And thus, with echoing voice, shall howl and cry,
Gall, sweetest Gall, what ailèd thee to die?
Now first my Bowes begin this dolefull song:
No more with clangors let your shafts be flung
* Apelles was a celebrated painter in the days of Alexander the
Great, who would allow no other painter to draw his portrait; he left
an imperfect picture of Venus; no painter would venture to finish it.
— Cant.
In fields abroad, but in my cabine stay,
And help me for to mourn till dying day.
With dust and cobwebs cover all your heads,
And take you to your matins and your beads:
A requiem sing unto that sweetest soul,
Which shines now sainted above other pole.
And ye, my clubs, you must no more prepare
To make your balls flee whistling in the air:
But hing your heads, and bow your crooked crags,
And dress you all in sackcloath and in rags:
No more to see the sun, nor fertile fields,
But closely keep you mourning in your bields;
And for your part the treble do you take,
And when you cry, make all your crags to crake,
And shiver, when you sing, alas! for Gall!
Ah! if our mourning might thee now recall!
And ye, my loadstones of Lednochian lakes,*
Collected from the loughs, where watrie snakes
Do much abound, take unto you a part,
And mourn for Gall, who loved you with his heart.
In this sad dump and melancholick mood,
The burdown ye must bear, not on the flood
Or frozen watrie plaines, but let your tuning
Come help me for to weep by mournfull cruning.
And ye, the rest, my Gabions less and more,
Of noble kind, come help me for to roare
And of my woefull weeping take a part,
Help to declare the dolour of mine heart:
How can I choose, but mourne? when I think on
Our games, Olympick-like, in times agone.
Chiefly wherein our cunning we did try,
And matchless skill in noble archerie.
In these, our days, when archers did abound
* Lednoch is situated about four computed miles north from Perth,
on the banks of Almond river: about this place the best curling-stones
were found. The gentlemen of Perth, fond of this athletic winter
diversion on the frozen river, sent and brought from Lednoch their
curling-stones. — Cant.
In Perth, then famous for such pastimes found:
Among the first, for archers we were known,
And for that art our skill was loudly blown:
What time Perth's credit did stand with the best
And bravest archers this land hath possesst.*
We spar'd nor gaines nor paines for to report
To Perth the worship, by such noble sport;
Witness the links of Leith, where Cowper, Grahame,
And Stewart won the prize, and brought it home;
And in these games did offer ten to three
There to contend: Quorum pars magni fui.
I mourn, good Gall, when I think on that stead,
Where yee did hail your shaft unto the head;
And with a strong and steadfast eye and hand,
So valiantly your bow yee did command;
A sliddrie shaft forth of its forks did fling,
Clank gave the bow, the whistling air did ring,
The bowlt did cleave the clouds, and threat the skyes,
And thence down falling to the mark it flies.
What shall be said of other martial games?
None was inlaking from whence bravest stemmes;
Victorious trophees, palmes, and noble pynes,
Olives, and lawrels, such as auncient times
Decor'd the Grecian victors in their playes,
And worthie Romanes in their brave assayes,
For tryal of their strength each match'd the other,
Whose beauty was, sweat mixed with dust together:
Such exercises did content us more,
Than if we had possess'd King Crœsus' store.
But O! ye fields, my native Perth neerby,
* Archerie, of which the gentlemen of Perth were great masters, was
made an indispensable article of education from the days of James the
First. (Guthrie's History). This most accomplished and wise prince
passed an act, forbidding the favorite diversion of foot-ball, substituting
in its place that of shooting with bows and arrows. Every boy,
when he came to the age of thirteen, was obliged at stated times to
practice archerie at certain bow-marks: there is a piece of ground.
without the north port, on the left of the road leading to Huntingtower,
called the Bow-butt, where this exercise was practised. — Cant.
Prays you to speak, and truly testifie:
What matchless skill we prov'd in all these places,
Within the compass of three thousand paces
On either side, while as we went a-shooting,
And strongly strove who should bring home the booting,
Alongst the flowrie banks of Tay to Almond:
Ay when I hit the mark I cast a gamound;
And there we view the place where sometime stood
The ancient Bertha, now o'erflow'd with flood
Of mighty waters, and that princely hold
Where dwelt King William, by the stream down rol'd,
Was utterly defaced, arid overthrown,
That now the place thereof can scarce be known:*
Then through these haughs of fair and fertile ground,
Which, with fruit trees, with corns and flocks abound,
Meand'ring rivers, sweet flowres, heavenly honey,
More for our pastime than to conquesh money:
We went a-shooting both through plain and park,
And never stayed till we came to Lows-wark:
Built by our mighty Kings for to preserve us,
That henceforth waters should not drown, but serve us;
Yet condescending, it admits one rill,
Which all these plains with christal brooks loth fill;
And by a conduit, large three miles in length,
Serves to make Perth impregnable for strength,
At all occasions when her dowses fall,
Making the water mount up to her wall.
* About the year one thousand, two hundred and ten, Berth, or
Bertha, which stood near to the river Tay, about two English miles
north from Perth, was destroyed in the night-time by a very great
inundation. So violent was the torrent, that the whole town was
undermined, the houses levelled, and many persons of both sexes lost
their lives. The royal palace did not escape. The King's youngest
son John, with his nurse, were carried down the river and drowned,
with about fourteen of the King's domesticks. William the First, surnamed
the Lyon, did not long survive the catastrophe, for he dyed
A.D. 1214. He laid the foundation of the present town of Perth, and
endowed it with ample privileges, which were confirmed by the succeeding
monarchs, with many additional privileges, and was the first
royal burgh of the kingdom. The Kings of Scotland preceding James
the Second were crowned at Scone, and resided at Perth, as the metropolis
of the nation. — Cant.
When we had viewed this mighty work at Randon,
We thought it best these fields for to abandon.*
And turning home, we spared nor dyke nor fowsie,
Untill we came unto the Boot of Bowsie; †
Alongst this aqueduct, and there our station
We made, and viewed Balhousie's situation.
O'erlooking all that spacious pleasant valley,
With flowers damasked, levell as an alley,
Betwixt and Perth, thither did we repair,
(For why the season was exceeding fair:)
Then all alongst this valley did we hye,
And there the place we clearly did espye,
The precinct, situation, and the stead,
Where ended was that cruel bloody fead
Between these cursed clans Chattan and Kay,
Before King Robert John, upon the day
Appointed, then and there, who did convene
Thirty 'gainst thirty, matched upon that greene,
Of martial fellows, all in raging mood,
Like furious Ajax, or Orestes wood;
Alonely arm'd with long two-handed swords,
Their sparkling eyes cast fire instead of words;
Their horride beards, thrown browes, brustled mustages,
Of deadly blows t' inshew, were true presages.
Thus standing, fortunes event for to try,
And thousands them beholding, one did cry,
With loud and mighty voice, "Stay I hold your hands!
* Lowswark, about half-a-mile north west from Ruthven Castle, now
Huntingtower, is a very fine stone building which turns part of the
river into an aqueduct that descended and washed the walls of Perth.
The citizens of Perth, on any emergency, by means of sluices, filled the
ditch without the walls to a great height, and rendered the city almost
impregnable before the invention of fire-arms. The aqueduct serves
to turn the flower, barley, malt, and snuff-mills of the town of Perth.
— Cant.
† The boot, or boult of Balhousie, is a strong stone-work on the east
bank of the aqueduct, in which is a round hole with a ring of iron at
both ends, thirty-two inches round, for conveying water from the
aqueduct to the mill of Balhousie, by contract and agreement betwixt
the Eviots of Balhousie and the town of Perth. — Cant.
A little space, we pray, the case thus stands:
One of our number is not here to-day."
This sudden speech did make some little stay
Of this most bloody bargain, th' one party fight
Would not, unless the number were made right
Unto the adverse faction; nor was any
That would take it in hand among so many
Beholders of all ranks, into that place
On th' other side; none would sustain disgrace,
To be debarred from his other fellowes,
He rather hung seven years upon the gallawes.
Thus, as the question stood, was found at length
One Henrie Winde, for tryal of his strength
The charge would take; a sadler of his craft,
I wot not well, whether the man was daft;
But for an half French crown he took in hand
Stoutly to fight so long as he might stand;
And if to be victorious should betide him,
They should some yearly pension provide him.
The bargaine holds; and then with all their maine
Their braikens buckled to the fight again;
Incontinent the trumpets loudlie sounded,
And mightilie the great bagpipes were winded:
Then fell they to 't as fierce as any thunder,
From shoulders arms, and heads from necks they
All raging there in blood, they hew'd and hash'd,
Their skincoats with the new cut were outslashed;
And scorning death, so bravely did outfight it,
That the beholders greatlie were affrighted;
But chiefly this by all men was observed,
None fought so fiercely, nor so well deserved
As this their hired souldier, Henrie Winde,
For by his valour victory inclinde
Unto that side; and ever since those dayes
This proverb current goes, when any sayes-How
come you here? this answer doth he finde,
I'm for mine owne hand, as fought Henrie Winde.
So finely fought he, ten with him escap't,
And of the other but one, in flood who leap't
And sav'd himself by swimming over Tay,
But to speak more of this we might not stay.*
As fresh Aurore, to mighty Tithon spouse,
Ished of her saffron bed and ivor house,
In cram'sy clad and grained violate,
With sanguine cape, and selvage purpurate,
Unshet the windows of her large hall,
Spread all with roses, arid full of balm royal,
And eke the heavenly portis chrystalline
Unwarps braid, the warld till illumine;
The twinkling streamers of the orient
Shed purpour spraings, with gold and azure ment.
Eous, the steed, with ruby harness red,
Above the seas liftis furth his head,
Of colour sore, and somedeal brown as berry,
For to alichten and glad our emispery
The flame out-bursten at the neisthrils,
So fast Phaeton with the whip him whirls.
* Buchanan informs us that, in the sixth year of the reign of Robert
the Third, there was irreconcilable enmity betwixt the M'Intoshes and
M'Kays, two powerful and fierce clans. The King sent the Earls of
Dunbar and Crawfurd with an army to reduce them to order. They
wisely tried to make up the matter, by proposing to the chiefs to pick
out thirty men on each side, and decide the quarrel on the North Inch
of Perth, in presence of the King, and they undertook that the conquering
party should be honoured by him. They accepted the proposals,
thirty on each side were chosen by their chieftains; they met in
a place surrounded by a deep trench, around which galleries were
built for the spectators. When they were ready to engage, one of the
M'Intoshes was seiz'd with a panick and hid himself. This accident
stop'd them, till Henrie Winde, a sadler in Perth, advanced and offered
to supply his place for half a French gold-dollar. The terms were
accepted: the combat began, and was carried on with redoubled fury
on both sides, untill twenty-nine of the M'Kays were killed. The
renaming one unwounded, wisely judging that he could not resist the
impetuosity of Henrie Winde, and ten M'Intoshes who were left alive,
jump'd into the River Tay, swam to the other side, and escaped. — Cant.
While shortly, with the bleezand torch of day
Abulyit in his lemand fresh array,
Forth of his palace royal ishit Phœbus,
With golden crown and visage glorious,
Crisp hairs, bricht as chrysolite or topaz,
For whase hue micht nane behald his face.
The auriate vanes of his throne soverane
With glitterand glance o'erspread the oceane
The largè fludes, lemand all of licht,
But with ane blink of his supernal sicht.
For to behald it was ane glore to see,
The stabled windis, and the calmed sea,
The soft season, the firmament serene,
The loune illuminate air and firth amene.
And lusty Flora did her bloomis spread
Under the feet of Phœbus' sulyart-steed;
The swarded soil embrode with selcouth hues,
Wood and forest, obnumbrate with bews.
Towers, turrets, kirnals, and pinnacles hie,
Of kirks, castles, and ilk fair citie,
Stude painted, every fane, phiol, and stage,
Upon the plain ground by their awn umbrage.
Of Eolus' north blasts havand no dreid,
The soil spread her braid bosom on-breid;
The corn-crops and the beir new-braird,
With gladsome garment revesting the yerd.
The prai besprent with springand sprouts despers
For caller humours on the dewy nicht,
Rendering some place the gerse-piles their Licht;
As far as cattle the lang summer's day
Had in their pasture eat and nip away:
And blissful blossoms in the bloomed yerd,
Submit their heids to the young sun's safe-guard.
Ivy leaves rank o'erspread the barmkin wall;
The bloomed hawthorn clad his pikis all;
Furth of fresh bourgeons the wine grapes ying
Endland the trellis did on twistis hing;
The loukit buttons on the gemmed trees
O'erspreadand leaves of nature's tapestries;
Soft grassy verdure after balmy shouirs,
On curland stalkis smiland to their flouirs.
The daisy did on-breid her crownal small,
And every flouer unlappit in the dale.
Sere downis small on dentelion sprang,
The young green bloomed strawberry leaves amang;
Jimp jeryflouris thereon leaves unshet,
Fresh primrose and the purpour violet;
Heavenly lilies, with lockerand toppis white,
Opened and spew their crestis redemite.
Ane paradise it seemed to draw near
Thir galyard gardens and each green herbere
Maist amiable wax the ameraut meads;
Swarmis souchis through out the respand reeds.
Over the lochis and the fludis gray,
Searchand by kind ane place where they should lay.
Phoebus' red fowl, his cural crest can steer,
Oft streikand furth his heckle, crawand cleir.
Amid the wortis and the rutis gent
Pickand his meat in alleys where he went,
His wivis Toppa and Partolet him by —
A bird all-time that hauntis bigamy.
The painted powne pickand with plumes gym,
Kest up his tail ane proud plesand wheel-rim,
Ishrouded in his feathering bright and sheen,
Shapand the prent of Argus' hundred een.
Amang the bowis of the olive twists,
Sere small fowls, workand crafty nests,
Endlang the hedges thick, and on rank aiks
Ilk bird rejoicand with their mirthful maiks
In corners and clear fenestres of glass,
Full busily Arachne weavand was.
To knit her nettis and her wobbis slie,
Therewith to catch the little midge or flie.
So dusty powder upstours in every street,
While corby gaspit for the fervent heat.
Under the bowis bene in lufely vales,
Within fermance and parkis close of pales,
The busteous buckis rakis furth on raw,
Herdis of hertis through the thick wood-shaw.
The young fawns followand the dun daes,
Kids, skippand through, runnis after raes.
In leisurs and on leyis, little lambs
Full tait and trig socht bletand to their dams.
On salt streams wolk Dorida and Thetis,
By rinnand strandis, Nymphis and Naiadis,
Sic as we clepe wenches and damysels,
In gersy graves wanderand by spring wells;
Of bloomed branches and flouirs white and red,
Plettand their lusty chaplets for their head.
Some sang ring-songes, dances, leids, and rounds,
With voices shrill, while all the dale resounds,
Whereso they walk into their caroling,
For amorous lays does all the rockis ring.
Ane sang, "The ship sails over the salt faem,
Will bring the merchants and my leman hame."
Some other sings, "I will be blythe and licht,
My hert is lent upon so goodly wicht."
And thoughtful lovers rounis to and fro,
To leis their pain, and plein their jolly woe.
After their guise, now singand, now in sorrow,
With heartis pensive the lang summer's morrow.
Some ballads list indite of his lady;
Some livis in hope; and some all utterly
Despairit is, and sae quite out of grace
His purgatory he finds in every place.
Dame Nature's menstrels, on that other part,
Their blissful lay intoning every art.
And all small fowlis singis on the spray,
Welcome the lord of licht, and lampe of day,
Welcome fosterer of tender herbis green,
Welcome quickener of flourist flouirs sheen,
Welcome support of every rute and vein,
Welcome comfort of all kind fruit and grain,
Welcome the birdis bield upon the breir,
Welcome master and ruler of the year,
Welcome wellfare of husbands at the plows,
Welcome repairer of woods, trees, and hews,
Welcome depainter of the bloomit meads,
Welcome the life of everything that spreads,
Welcome storer of all kind bestial,
Welcome be thy bricht beamis gladdand all.
(Extract from Canto First.)
KING HART, into his cumlie castell strang,
Closit about with craft and meikill ure,
So seimlie wes he set his folk amang,
That he no doubt had of misaventure;
* This was the celebrated Bishop of Dunkeld's first work of any
extent, and it is impossible, as Mr. Fraser Tytler remarks, to give an
analysis of it in more striking language than the author's own. "The
hart of man," says he "beand his maist noble part, and the fountain
of his life," is here put for man in general, and holds the chief place
in the poem under the title of "King Hart." This mystical king is
first represented in the bloom of youth, with his lusty attendants, the
attributes of qualities of youth. Next is pictured forth the Palace of
Pleasure, near by the castle of King Hart, with its lovely inhabitants.
Queen Pleasance, with the help of her ladies, assails King Hart's
castle, and takes him and most of his servitors prisoners. Pity at last
releases them, and they assail the Queen Pleasance, and vanquish her
and her ladies in their turn. King Hart then weds Queen Pleasance,
and solaces himself long in her delicious castle. So far is man's
dealing with pleasure; but now, when King Hart is past mid eild,
comes another scene. For Age, arriving at the castle of Queen Pleasance,
with whom King Hart dwelt ever since his marriage with her,
So proudlie was he polist, plaine, and pure,
With youtheid and his lustie levis grene;
So fair, so fresche, so liklie to endure,
And als so blyth, as bird in symmer schene.
For wes he nevir yit with schouris schot,
Nor yit our run with rook, or ony rayne;
In all his lusty lecam nocht ane spot;
Na never had experience into payne,
But alway into lyking mocht to layne;
Onlie to love, and verrie gentilnes,
He wes inclynit cleinlie to remane,
And woun under the wyng of wantownes.
Yit wes this wourthy wicht king under ward;
For wes he nocht at fredom utterlie.
Nature had lymmit folk, for thair reward,
This gudlie king to governe and to gy;
For so thai kest thair tyme to occupy.
In welthis for to wyne for thai him teitchit;
All lustis for to love, and underly,
So prevelie thai preis him and him preitchit.
First war thair Strenth, and Rage, and Wantounes,
Grein Lust, Disport, Jelosy, and Invy;
Freschnes, New Gate, Waist-gude, and Wilfulnes,
Delyvernes, Full-hardenes thairby:
insists for admittance, which he gains. So King Hart takes leave of
Youthheid with much sorrow. Age is no sooner admitted than Conscience
comes also to the castle and forces entrance, beginning to
chide the King, whilst Wit and Reason take part in the conference.
After this and other adventures, Queen Pleasance suddenly leaves the
King, and Reason and Wisdom persuade King Hart to return to his
own palace: that is, when pleasure and the passions leave man,
reason and wisdom render him his own master. After some other
matters, Decrepitude attacks and mortally wounds the King, who dies
after making his testament.
"King Hart" abounds with much noble poetry, and one often forgets,
in the vivid descriptions and stirring incidents, the moral aim of
the author.
Gentrice, Fredome, Pitie, Privy espy
Want-wit, Vaingloir, Prodigalitie,
Unrest, Nicht-walk, and felon Gluttony;
Unricht, Dyme-sicht, with Slicht, and Subtiltie.
Thir war the inwarde ythand servitouris,
Quhilk governours war to this nobil king;
And kepit him inclynit to thair curis.
So wes thair nocht in erde that evir micht bring
Ane of thir folk awa fra his dwelling,
Thus to thair terme thai serve for thair rewarde;
Dansing, disporting, singing, revelling,
With Bissines all blyth to pleis the lairde.
This folk, with all the femell thai micht fang,
Quhilk numerit ane milyon and weil mo,
That wer upbred as servitours of lang,
And with this king wald woun, in weil and wo,
For favour, nor for feid, wald found him fro;
Unto the tyme thair daft be run and past;
That gold nor gude micht gar thame fro him go;
Nor greif, nor grane, suld grayth thame so agast.
QUHEN Tayis bank was blumyt brycht,
With blosumes brycht and bred,
By that river that ran doun rycht
Vndir the ryss I red;
* This is perhaps the oldest Perthshire ballad extant, and, like the
minstrelsy of the olden time generally, is probably more a thing of
actual history than a creature of the poet's imagination. It belongs
to the latter end of the fifteenth or the early years of the sixteenth
century, and is one of the most perfect lyrical specimens of its time.
Its authorship has been attributed to King James IV., and the
ascription is backed by some show of probability; the poetic fire was
in his blood — the verses contain evidence of a high paternity — and
whether himself the "makkar" or not, his Majesty is obviously the
The merle meltit with all her mycht
And mirth in mornying maid,
Throw solace, sound, and semely sicht,
Alswth a sang I said.
Vndir that bank, quhair bliss had bene,
I bownit me to abyde;
Ane holene, hevinly hewit grene,
Rycht heyndly did me hyd;
The sone schyne our the schawis schene
Full semely me besyd;
In bed of blumes bricht besene
A sleip cowth me ourslyd.
About all blumet was my hour
With blosumes broun and blew,
Orfret with mony fair fresch flour,
Helsum of hevinly hew;
With shakeris of the schene dew schour
Schynnyng my courtenis schew,
Arrayit with a rich vardour
Of natouris werkis new.
Rasing the birdis fra thair rest,
The reid sun raiss with rawis;
The lark sang loud, quhill, liycht nycht lest
A lay of luvis lawis;
The nythingall woik of hir nest
Singing the day vpdawis;
The mirthfull maveiss merriest
Schill schowttit throw the schawiss.
first person in the ballad. The ill-fated "Bonnie Margaret Drummond"
is as obviously the heroine of the verses; and the beautiful banks of
the river Tay in the vicinity of Stobhall will henceforth possess an
additional attraction for all who may here meet with the effusion for
the first time. Our royal wooer, we can well imagine, while a guest at
Stobhall, had stolen unobserved from the Castle to keep tryst with his
inamorata in the sweet, inviting seclusion afforded by the wooded
bank of the river, and impatient to enjoy unfettered admiration of his
"dyament of delyt," as he calls her, within "that semely schaw," he
had gone early, and wiled away the laggard moments inditing verses
to his mistress's eyebrows.
All flouris grew that firth within,
That cowth haif in mynd;
And in that flud all fische with fyn,
That creat wer be kynd;
Vnder the rise the ra did ryn,
Our ron, our rute, our rynd,
The dvn deir dansit with a dyn,
And herdis of hairt and hynd.
Wod winter with his wallow and wynd,
But weir, away wes went;
Brasit about with wyld wodbynd
Wer bewis on the bent;
Allone vndar the lusty lynd
I saw ane lusum lent
That fairly war so fare to fynd
Vnder the firmament.
Scho wes the lustiest on lyve,
Allone lent on a land,
And fairest figuor, be set, Syve,
That evir in firth I fand,
Her comely cullour to discryve
I dar nocht tak on hand;
Moir womanly borne of a wyfe
Wes neuer, I dar warrand.
To creatur that wes in cair,
Or cauld of crewelty,
A blicht blenk of her vesage bair
Of baill his bute mycht be;
Hir hyd, her hew, her hevinly hair
Mycht havy hairtis uphie;
So angelik vnder the air
Neuir wicht I saw with E.
The blosumes that were blycht and brycht
By hir wer blacht and blew;
Scho gladit all the foull of flicht
That in the forrest flew;
Scho mycht haif comfort king or knicht
That ever in cuntre I knew,
As waill, and well of warldly wicht
In womanly vertew.
Hir cullour cleir, hir countinance,
Hir cumly cristell ene,
Hir portratour of most plesance,
All pictour did prevene.
Off every vertew to avance
Quhen ladies prasit bene,
Rychtest in my remembrance
That rose is rutit grene.
This myld, meik mensuet Mergrite,
This perle polist most quhyte,
Dame Natouris deir dochter discreit,
The dyament of delyt;
Never formit wes to found on feit
Ane figour more perfyte.
Nor non on mold that did hir meit,
Mycht mend hir wirth a myte.
This myrthfull maid to meit I went,
And merkit furth on mold;
Bot sone within a wane sho went,
Most hevinly to behold;
The bricht sone with his bemys blent
Vpoun the bertis bold,
Farest vnder the firmament
That formit wes on fold.
A paradyce that place but peir
Wes plesant to my sicht;
Of forrest, and of fresch reveir,
Of firth, and fowll of flicht,
Of birdis, bath on bonk and breir,
With blumes breck and bricht
As hevin in to this erd doun heir,
Hertis to hald on hicht,
So went this womanly away
Amang thir woddis wyd,
And I to heir thir birdis gay
Did in a Bonk abyd;
Quhair ron and ryss raiss in aray
Endlang the reuer syd;
This hapnit me in a time in May
In till a morning tyd.
The reuer throw the ryse cowth rowt,
And roseris raiss on raw;
The schene birdis full schill cowth schowt
Into that semely schaw;
Joy was within and joy without,
Vnder that vnlenkest waw,
Quhair Tay ran down with stremis stout
Full strecht vnder Stobschaw.
WALLACE wicht upon a nicht,
Cam' riding over a linn;
And he has to his leman's bouir,
And tirl'd at the pin.
"O sleep ye, or wake ye, lady?" he cried,
"Ye'll rise and let me in."
"O wha is this at my bouir-door,
That knocks, and knows my name?"
"My name is William Wallace,
Ye may my errand ken."
* The heroic Wallace was doubtless the subject of many ballads and
songs that have been lost in the lapse of ages. A fragment of the
present one originally appeared in Johnson's Museum. The subject
will be found in the fifth book of Blind Harry's Wallace, where Lochmaben,
in Dumfriesshire, is cited as the scene where the incidents
occurred. Perth, where the liberator was much in evidence, may,
nevertheless, be the real ground of the ballad.
"The truth to you I will rehearse —
The secret I'll unfauld;
Into your enemies hand this night,
I fairly hae you sauld."
"If that be true ye tell to me,
Do ye repent it sair?"
"Oh, that I do, dear Wallace,
And will do evermair.
"The English did surround my house,
And forcit me theretill;
But for your sake, my dear Wallace,
I could burn on a hill."
Then he gae her a loving kiss,
The tear drapt frae his e'e:
Says, "Fare-ye-weel for evermair,
Your face nae mair I'll see."
She dress'd him in her ain claithing,
And frae her house he came;
Which made the Englishman admire
To see sic a stalwart dame.
Now Wallace to the Hielands went,
Where meat nor drink had he;
Said, "Fa' me life, or fa' me death,
To some town I maun drie."
He steppit ower the river Tay —
On the North Inch steppit he;
And there he saw a weel-faur'd May,
Was washing aneath a tree.
"What news, what news, ye weel-faur'd
What news hae ye to me?
What news, what news, ye weel-faur'd
What news in the South countrie?"
"O see ye, sir, yon hostler-house,
That stands on yonder plain,
This very day have landed in it
Full fifteen Englishmen,
"In search of Wallace, our champion,
Intending he should dee!"
"Then, by my sooth," says Wallace wicht,
"These Englishmen I'se see.
"If I had but in my pocket
The worth of a single pennie,
It's I wad to the hostler-house
These gentlemen to see."
She put her hand in her pocket,
And pull'd out half a-croun,
Says, "Tak ye that, ye belted knicht,
And pay your lawin' doun."
As he went frae the weel-faur'd May
A beggar bold met he,
Was cover'd wi' a clouted cloak,
In his hand a trustie tree.
"What news, what news, ye silly auld man?
What news hae ye to gie?"
"Nae news, nae news, ye belted knicht,
Nae news hae I to thee;
But fifteen lords in the hostler-house,
Waiting Wallace for to see."
"Ye'll lend to me your clouted cloak,
That covers ye frae heid to shie;
And I'll go to the hostler-house,
To ask for some supplie."
Now he's gane to the West-muir wood,
And pull'd a trustie tree;
And then he's to the hostler-house,
Asking there for charitie.
Doun the stair the captain conies,
The puir man for to see,
"If ye be captain as gude's you look,
Ye'll gie me some supplie."
"Where were ye born, ye cruikit carle?
Where, and in what countrie?"
"In fair Scotland, sir, was I born,
Cruikit carle as ye ca' me."
"O I wad give ye fifty pounds
Of gold and white monie;
O I wad give ye fifty pounds,
If Wallace ye wad let me see."
"Tell doun your money," quo' the cruikit carle,
"Tell doun your money good;
I'm sure I have it in my pouir,
And ne'er had a better bode."
The money was told upon the table,
Of silver pounds fiftie;
"Now here I stand!" quo' the gude Wallace,
And his cloak frae him gar'd flee.
He slew the captain where he stood;
The rest they did quake and rain;
He slew the rest around the room,
Syne ask'd were there ony mair.
"Get up, get up, gudewife," he says,
"And get me some dinner in haste,
For it soon will be three lang days' time,
Sin' a bit o' meat I did taste."
The dinner was na well readie,
Nor yet on the table set,
When other fifteen Englishmen
Were lichtit at the yett.
"Come out, come out, thou traitor Wallace,
For this day ye maun dee!"
"I lippen nae sae little to God," he says,
"Though I be but ill wordie."
The gudewife had an auld gudeman,
By gude Wallace he stiffly stude,
Till ten o' the fifteen Englishmen
Lay weltering in their blood.
The other five he took alive,
To the greenwood as they ran;
And he has hang'd them, but mercie,
Up heich upon a grain.
Now he is on the North Inch gane,
Where the May wash'd tenderlie;
And By my sooth," said the gude Wallace,
"It's been a sair day's wark to me."
He's put his hand in his pocket,
And pull'd out twenty pounds;
Says, "Tak' ye that, ye weel-faur'd May,
For the gude luck o' your half-croun."
Full five-and-twenty men he slew,
Five hang'd upon a grain;
On the morn he sat wi' his merry men a',
In Lochmaben toun at dine.
Gude man o' appearance o' Cargill,
I wat this bluid rins in the flude
Sae sair against his parents' will.
* This fine old ballad was first printed by William Motherwell in
his Minstrelsy, Ancient and Modern, who had it from the recitation
of an old woman then residing in the neighbourhood of Cambus
She was the lass o' Ballathy toun,
And he the butler o' Stobhall,
And mony a time she wauked late
To bore the Coble o' Cargill.
His bed was made in Kercock ha',
O' gude clean sheets and o' the hay,
He wadna rest a'e nicht therein,
But on the proud waters he wad gae.
Michael, in the parish of St. Martins. In Motherwell's opinion it
possesses the elements of good poetry, and he adds that, had it fallen
into the hands of those who make no scruple of interpolating and corrupting
the text of oral song, it might have been made, with little
trouble, a very interesting and pathetic composition. According to
tradition, the ill-fated hero of the ballad, who was a butler to Chancellor
Drummond of Stobhall, had a leman, or sweetheart, in each of
the two villages of Kercock and Ballathy, on the opposite side of the
Tay, and it was on the occasion of his paying a visit to his Kercock
love that she of Ballathie, in a frenzy of jealousy and revenge, scuttled
the boat in which he was to recross the Tay to Stobhall. There are
two versions of the ballad; the original, recovered by Motherwell, and
a modern improved version which has been seldom printed. A serious
defect of the older copy is seen in the fact that it gives no reason
why "the lass o' Ballathy toun " should have scuttled the boat in
which her lover was to recross the river. It says "his bed was made
in Kercock ha', o' gude clean sheets and o' the hay;" but that can
scarcely be regarded as sufficient cause for jealousy when it is immediately
followed by the assurance that "he wadna rest a'e nicht therein,
but on the proud waters he wad gae." The modern version wisely
provides a casus belli.
David Drummond, the hero of the ballad, was, tradition says, the
son of a certain John Drummond in Kercock, and that the heroine was
named Jeanie Low, or Gow, and was daughter of the joiner of the then
laird of Ballathy — hence her acquaintance with the fatal augur.
Tradition further tells that the "lass of Ballathy toun" had no sooner
"bored the coble in seven parts" than she relented the cruel deed,
and hastened to fashion seven pins wherewith to plug the fatal holes;
but before her return with these her fickle lover had "put his feet
into the boat" and left the shore, and she reached the bank of the
river just in time to hear his cries for help, and witness the coble
sinking in mid waters. She went out of her reason; and the terrible
cause of her mental derangement continued to pull at the tangled
ends of her ravelled memory, she persistently made pins to the end of
her days. Since her demise her patient ghost has "kept on the business;"
and there are people living who aver that "when winter nights
are dark and drear" the ghost of "Pinnie" may still be heard on the
banks of the Tay.
His bed was made in Ballathy toun,
O' gude clean sheets and o' the strae,
But I wat it was far better made
Into the bottom o' bonnie Tay.
She bored the Coble in seven parts,
I wat her heart micht hae been sair,
For there she got the bonnie lad lost,
Wi' the curly locks and the yellow hair.
He put his foot into the boat,
He little thocht o' ony ill;
But before that he was mid waters,
The weary Coble began to fill.
"Wae be to the lass o' Ballathy toun,
I wat an ill death may she dee,
For she bored the Coble in seven parts,
And let the waters perish me!
"Help! oh help! I can get nane,
Nae help o' man can to me come,"
This was about his dying words,
When he was chok'd up to the chin.
"Gae tell my father and my mother,
It was naebody did me this ill,
I was a-going my ain errands
Lost at the Coble o' bonnie Cargill."
She bored the boat in seven parts,
I wat she bored it wi' gude will,
And there they got the bonnie lad's corpse
In the kirk shot * o' bonnie Cargill.
Oh, a' the keys o' bonnie Stobhall,
I wat they at his belt did king;
But a' the keys o' bonnie Stobhall
They now lie low into the stream.
* The fishing station almost opposite Ballathy House is still known
as the Kirk Shot, and the inference here is that the salmon fishers
brought the hero's body from the river in their net.
A braver page unto his age
Ne'er set a foot upon the plain;
His father to his mother said,
"Oh, sae sune's we've wanted him!"
I wat they had mair love than this
When they were young and at the schule,
But for his sake she wauked late
And bored the Coble o' bonnie Cargill.
"There's ne'er a clean sark gae on my back,
Nor yet a kame gae in my hair;
There's neither coal nor candle licht
Shine in my bower for evermair.
"At kirk or market I'se ne'er be at,
Nor yet a blythe blink in my e'e;
There's ne'er a ane shall say to anither,
That's the lassie gar'd the young man dee.
"Between the yetts o' bonnie Stobhall
And the Kirkstyle o' bonnie Cargill,
There is mony a man and mother's son,
That was at my luve's burial."
THE course o' true love ne'er runs smooth,
So say the sages o' langsyne,
My waefu' tale upbears the truth —
This weary, waefu' tale o' mine.
A youthfu' pair wha offer'd fair
O' nuptial joy to drink their fill,
But ither drink for them was brewed
Within the Coble o' Cargill.
The lad was Chanc'llor Drummond's page,
When gude Earl James was wi' the King,
And a' the keys o' bonnie Stobha',
I wat they at his belt did hing.
She was the belle o' Ballathie toun,
O' lovers she had wile and will;
But sad her fate — she waukit late,
And bor'd the Coble o' Cargill.
She bor'd the Coble in seven parts,
Na doot her heart was sick and sair,
When there she sealed the laddie's fate,
Wi' the curly locks and the yellow hair.
His bed was made in Kercock ha',
O' gude clean sheets and o' the strae,
But he wadna' sleep a'e nicht therein,
For a' a mither's lips could say.
He would across the flooded Tay,
He wadna bruik o' ony ill,
And wi' wary step he bent his gaet,
To the weary Coble o' Cargill.
Wi' youthfu' airm he grasped the oar,
I trow he grasp'd it wi' gude will,
But e'er he was mid waters through
The weary Coble began to fill.
He baled the boat wi' baith his hands,
Forsooth he baled it heartily,
But augur's skaith soon stopped his breath,
And gart the bonnie laddie dee.
"Oh, help, oh, help, I can get nane,
Nae help o' man can come to me,
For the rollin' flow o' the burden'd stream
Is hastenin' on my destiny.
"My bed was made in Kercock ha',
O' gude clean sheets and o' the hay,
But gentler hands hae smooth'd the sands,
And I maun sleep beneath the Tay.
"Gae hame and tell my parents baith
I blame mysel' for a' this ill;
When waukin' late I met my fate
By the weary Coble o' Cargill."
Deceitfu' barge, thy helpless charge,
Is laid behind yon sacred fane,
Where vesper bell and native song
Shall ne'er be heard by him again.
And a' within the barony
Were present at his funeral,
And bore him from his master's ha'
To the lonely kirkyard o' Cargill.
Alas, for Jean! when a' was dune,
Her conscience work'd and wadna still,
Confessed the fate that drove her late
To bore the Coble o' Cargill.
"On Beltane e'en upon the Green
He danced wi' Bess o' Bishopha',
Her witchin' glance and winnin' een
I thocht had wiled his heart awa'.
"A fearfu' frame crept o'er me then,
And held o' me the mastery,
And my wither'd heart was blawn in flame
By that dread demon, jealousy.
"Our early vows made fause by him,
The very thocht my heart did kill,
And spell-bound, driven by that dream,
I bor'd the Coble o' Cargill.
"Oh, wha could guess 'twad come to this
When we were young and at the schule,
And pu'd the slaes on Ballathie Braes,
And broke the weirdly cake at Yule.
"There's ne'er a sark gae on my back,
Nor yet a kame gae in my hair,
Nor will there coal or candle licht
Shine in my bower for evermair.
"At kirk or fair I'se ne'er be seen,
Nor yet a blythe blink in my e'e,
Nae finger's end shall point to Jean
And say I gart my laddie dee.
"Yon ruin'd walls shall be my hame,
Where ghaists and howlets nightly cry;
And the sadd'nin' sound o' the rollin' stream
Shall nichtly sing my lullaby.
"This bracken bush shall be my bower,
Where aften by the moon I see
Yon spectre boat wi' my love afloat,
Wha wags his windin'-sheet at me."
THERE were three ladies lived in a bower,
Ech, wow, bonnie!
An' they went forth to pu' a flower
On the bonnie banks o' Fordie.
* This old ballad was long a popular favourite in the southern
parishes of Perthshire; and, I believe, is still occasionally heard by
the cottage and bothy inglesides. Its historical bearing (if any) and
exact locality have never been clearly defined. Sometimes it is found.
under the title of "Baby-Lon," sometimes "The Duke of Perth's
Three Daughters." But there is no tradition in the Perth ducal
family corresponding with the story. There is, of course, the burn of
Ordie in Perthshire — about equi-distant between Perth and Dunkeld
— and no stream in Scotland of the name of Fordie; and since editors
They hadna pu'd a flower but ane,
Ech, wow, bonnie!
When up their started a banish'd man
On the bonnie banks o' Fordie.
He's taen the first sister by the hand,
Ech, wow, bonnie!
An' he's turned her round and made her stand
On the bonnie banks o' Fordie.
"Now, whether will ye be a rank robber's wife,"
Ech, wow, bonnie!
"Or will ye dee by my wee penknife
On the bonnie banks o' Fordie?"
"It's I'll no' be a rank robber's wife,"
Ech, wow, bonnie!
"But I'll rather dee by your wee penknife
On the bonnie banks o' Fordie."
He's killed this May, an' he's laid her by,
Ech, wow, bonnie!
For to bear the red rose companie
On the bonnie banks o' Fordie.
He has ta'en the second ane by the hand,
Ech, wow, bonnie!
An' he's turned her round and made her stand
On the bonnie banks o' Fordie.
"It's whether will ye be a rank robber's wife,"
Ech, wow, bonnie!
"Or will ye dee by my wee penknife
On the bonnie banks o' Fordie?"
generally name Perthshire as the native locality of the ballad, may the
original phraseology of the oft repeated refrain not have been "The
bonnie banks of Ordie"? From that to "the bonnie banks o' Fordie"
would be a simple and likely transition — probably is a clerical error.
The name of the hero, "Baby-Lon," is presumably a corruption by
the reciters of "Burd-alane," signifying "The Solitary."
"It's I'll no' be a rank robber's wife,"
Ech, wow, bonnie!
"But I'll rather dee by your wee penknife
On the bonnie banks o' Fordie."
He's kill'd this May, an' he's laid her by,
Ech, wow, bonnie!
For to bear the red rose companie
On the bonnie banks o' Fordie.
Then he's ta'en the youngest by the hand,
Ech, wow, bonnie!
An' he's turned her round and made her stand
On the bonnie banks o' Fordie.
Says "Will ye be a rank robber's wife,"
Ech, wow, bonnie!
"Or will ye dee by my wee penknife
On the bonnie banks o' Fordie? "
"It's I'll no' be a rank robber's wife,"
Ech, wow, bonnie!
"Nor will I dee by your wee penknife
On the bonnie banks o' Fordie.
"For I hae a brither in this wood,"
Ech, wow, bonnie!
"An' gin ye kill me, it's he'll kill thee
On the bonnie banks o' Fordie."
"Now, tell me what is thy brother's name?"
Ech, wow, bonnie!
"My brother's name is Baby-Lon,
On the bonnie banks o' Fordie."
"O, sister, sister, was be to me,"
Ech, wow, bonnie!
"O, have I done this ill to thee
On the bonnie banks o' Fordie?
"The lift shall lie on yonder green,"
Ech, wow, bonnie!
"Or ever I shall again be seen
On the bonnie banks o' Fordie."
So he's ta'en out his wee penknife.
Ech, wow, bonnie!
An' he's twyned himsel' o' his ain sweet life
On the bonnie banks o' Fordie.
SINCE all thy vows, false maid,
Are blown to air,
And my poor heart betrayed
To sad despair,
Into some wilderness
My grief I will express,
And thy hard-heartedness,
O cruel fair!
Have I not graven our loves
On every tree
In yonder spreading groves,
Though false thou be?
* Robert Burns, in his notes to Johnson's Museum, says: — "The
following interesting account of this plaintive dirge was communicated
to Mr. Riddel by Alexander Tytler, Esq. of Woodhouselee: — 'In the
latter end of the 16th Century, the Chisholms were proprietors of the
estate of Cromleck (now possessed by the Drummonds). The eldest
son of that family was very much attached to the daughter of Stirling
of Ardoch, commonly known by the name of Fair Helen of Ardoch.
At that time the opportunities of meeting between the sexes were more
rare, consequently more sought after than now; and the Scottish
ladies, far from priding themselves in extensive literature, were thought
sufficiently book-learned if they could make out the Scriptures in their
mother tongue. Writing was entirely out of the line of female education.
At that period the most of our young men of family sought a
fortune or found a grave in France. Cromleck, when he went abroad
to the war, was obliged to leave the management of his correspondence
with his mistress to a lay-brother of the monastery of Dunblane, in
Was not a solemn oath
Plighted betwixt us both —
Thou thy faith, I my troth —
Constant to be?
Some gloomy place I'll find,
Some doleful shade,
Where neither sun nor wind
E'er entrance had;
Into that hollow cave,
There will I sigh and rave,
Because thou dost behave
So faithlessly.
the immediate neighbourhood of Cromleck, and near Ardoch. This
man, unfortunately, was deeply sensible of Helen's charms. He artfully
prepossessed her with stories to the disadvantage of Cromleck;
and, by misinterpreting, or keeping up the letters and messages
entrusted to his care, he entirely irritated both. All connexion was
broken off betwixt them. Helen was inconsolable; and Cromleck has
left behind him, in the ballad "Cromleck's Lilt," a proof of the
elegance of his genius, as well as the steadiness of his love. When the
artful monk thought time had sufficiently softened Helen's sorrow, he
proposed himself as a lover. Helen was obdurate; but at last, overcome
by the persuasions of her brother, with whom she lived, and
who, having a family of thirty-one children, was probably very well
pleased to get her off his hands, she submitted rather than consented
to the ceremony. But there her compliance ended; and, when forcibly
put into bed, she started quite frantic from it, screaming out that,
after three gentle raps on the wainscot at the bed-head, she heard
Cromleck's voice crying "O! Helen, Helen, mind me!" Cromleck
soon after coming home, the treachery of the confidant was discovered,
her marriage annulled, and Helen became Lady Cromleck.
Margaret Murray, mother to these thirty-one children, was daughter
to Murray of Strewan, one of the seventeen sons of Tullybardine, and
whose youngest son, commonly called the Tutor of Ardoch, died in
the year 1715, aged 111 years."
Burns, Riddel of Glenriddel, and Tytler of Woodhouselee, one or
other, or all, had been misinformed on an important point here.
Helen Stirling was not the daughter of Stirling of Ardoch, but the
daughter of William, a younger brother of the laird's, whose name
was Henry. William Stirling's house was in Dunblane, and it was to
it that Sir James Chisholm came on the occasion of Helen's reluctant
marriage. The hero and heroine were united in the bonds of holy
wedlock in 1591, and their immediate descendants were the last Chisholm
lairds of Cromlix.
The song or dirge is given in Ramsay's Tea-Table Miscellany, with
the signature X., signifying that the author is unknown. It is also
given, with the music, in the Orpheus Caledonius (1725). The tune is
the well-known one of "Robin Adair."
Wild fruit shall be my meat,
I'll drink the spring,
Cold earth shall be my seat;
For covering
I'll have the starry sky
My head to canopy,
Until my soul on high
Shall spread its wing.
I'll have no funeral fire,
Nor tears nor sighs,
No grave do I desire,
Nor obsequies;
The courteous redbreast, he
With leaves will cover me,
And sing my elegy
With doleful voice.
And when a ghost I am
I'll visit thee,
O thou deceitful dame,
Whose cruelty
Has killed the fondest heart
That e'er felt Cupid's dart,
And never can desert
From loving thee."
HE whom I most affect
Doth me disdain;
His causeless disrespect
Makes me complain;
Wherefore I'll me address
Into some wilderness,
Where instead I'll express
My anxious pain.
* This has been seldom printed. It was given from an old broadside,
by James Maidment, in his Scottish Songs and Ballads in 1859.
Did we not both conjure
By Stygian lake,
That sacred oath most pure
The gods did take,
That we should both prove true;
You to me, I to you,
By that most solemn vow
We both did make?
But thou perfidiously
Didst violate
Thy promise made to me,
To my regret;
For all the great respect
Wherewith I thee affect,
Is paid with such neglect,
Love's turned to hate.
What tyrant e'er could hatch,
Though inhumane,
A torturing rack, and match
To this my pain?
O, barbarous cruelty,
That I, for loving thee,
Should basely murdered be
By thy disdain.
I'll go find out a cell,
Where light ne'er shined;
There I'll resolve to dwell
And be confined,
Until it pleaseth thee
With love to pity me,
Forsake thy cruelty,
And prove more kind.
In that dark vault I'll call
For bats and owls;
The starth-owl, worst of all
Prodigious fowls,
Shall be my mate by day,
By night with her I'll stay,
In dark and uncouth way,
'Mongst wandering souls.
And in that strange exile
I'll thee arrest
Amongst those monsters vile,
To be my guest
Until that thou relent,
And thy hard heart repent,
Freely to give consent
To my request.
No cloth shall deck my skin,
No raiment soft,
But haircloth rough and thin,
That's comely wrought;
No bed will I lie on,
My pillow shall be a stone,
Each accent prove a groan
Repeated oft.
No dainty dish I'll eat,
Composed by art,
No sauces for my meat,
Sweet, sour, or tart;
My food shall be wild fruits,
Green herbs and unboiled roots,
Such as poor hermits eat
In wild deserts.
All solace, mirth, and game
I will despise;
A doleful mourning then,
With watery eyes,
Shall be my music sound,
Till all the hills resound,
And fill the valleys round
With piteous cries.
Yet for all this I'll not
Abandon thee,
Nor alter in a jot
My first decree;
But in despite of fate,
Thy griefs to aggravate,
I'll love thee, though thou hate,
Until I dee.
As I gaed in by the Duke o' Athol's yett,
I heard a fair maid singing;
Her voice was sweet, she sang sae complete,
That all the woods were ringing.
"O it's I am the Duke o' Athol's nurse,
And I wat it weel does set me;
But I wad gie a' my half-year's fee,
For a'e sicht o' my Johnie."
"Keep weel, keep weel your half-year's fee,
Ye'll sure get a sicht o' your Johnie;"
"O here is my hand, but anither has my heart,
And I daurna mair come near ye."
"Ohon, and alace, if anither has your heart,
These words ha'e fair undone me;
But let us set a tryst to meet again,
Then in gude friends ye will twine me."
"Ye will do' ye doun to yon change-house,
And drink till the day be clawing,
And as sure as I ance had a love for you,
I'll come there and clear your lawing.
"Ye'll spare not the wine, altho' it be fine,
Nor Malago, tho' it be rarely,
But ye'll aye drink the bonnie lassie's health,
That's to clear your lawing fairly."
Then he's done him down to yon change-house,
And drank till the day was dawing,
And aye he drank the bonnie lassie's health,
That was coming to clear his lawing.
And aye as he birled, and aye as he drank,
The gude beer and the brandy,
He spared not the wine, altho' it was fine —
The sack nor the sugar-candy.
"It's a wonder to me," the knight he did say,
"My bonnie lassie's sae delaying;
She promis'd as sure as she loved me ance,
She would be here by the dawing."
He's dune him to the shot-window,
To see gin she were coming;
And there he spy'd her nine brithers bauld,
That ower the hill cam' running.
"Where sall I rin, O where sall I gang,
Or where now sall I lay me?
For she that ance was my ain true-love,
Has sent nine men to slay me!"
He's gave to the landlady o' the house,
Says, "O can ye supply me:
For she that was to meet me in friendship this day
Has sent nine men to slay me?"
She ga'e him a suit o' her ain female claes:
"Your life sall no be taken;"
The bird ne'er sang mair sweet on the bush,
Nor the knight sang at the baking.
Sae loudlie as they rappit at the yett,
Sae loudlie as they were ca'ing;
"Had ye a young man here yestreen?
We'll shortly clear his lawing."
"I had nae stranger here last night
That drank till the day was dawing,
But ane that took a pint and paid it ere he went,
And there's naething to clear o' his lawing."
They stabbed the house baith but and ben,
The curtains they spared nae riving;
But for a' that they did search and ca',
For a kiss o' the knight they were striving.
A'e lad amang the rest being o' a merry mood,
To the young knight fell a talking;
The wife took her foot and ga'e him a kick,
Says, "Be busy, ye jilt, at your baking."
They searched the house a' round and round,
And they spared nae the curtains to tear them;
But little they wist it was him they socht
That was baking the bread sae near them.
So they gaed as they cam', and left a' undone,
Though the bonnie lad's heart was quaking,
While the landlady stude upo' the stair-head
Crying, "Maid, be busy at your baking."
O HEARD ye o' Sir James the Rose,
The young heir o' Baleichan?
For he has killed a gallant squire,
Whase friends are out to take him.
* This pathetic and beautifully simple old Perthshire ballad is well
known all over Scotland, there being one ancient (the present), and
Now he is gane to the house o' Mar,
Whaur nane might seek to find him,
To seek his dear he did repair,
Weening she would befriend him.
"Whaur are ye gaun, Sir James," she said,
"Or whaur awa' are ye riding?"
"O I am bound to a foreign land,
And now I'm under hiding;
"Whaur shall I gae, whaur shall I run,
Whaur shall I hie to stay me?
For I hae kill'd a gallant squire,
And his friends they seek to slay me."
"O gae ye doun to yon laigh house,
And I'll pay there your lawing;
And as I am your leman true,
I'll meet ye at the dawing."
"I'll no gae doun to yon laigh house,
For you to pay my lawing,
But I'll lie doun upon the bent,
And bide there till the dawing."
He's turned him richt and round about,
And rowed him in his brechan,
And he has gane to take a sleep,
In the lawlands o' Baleichan.
He wasna weel gane out o' sight,
Nor was he past Millstrethen,
When four-and-twenty belted knights
Cam' riding owre the Lethan.
two modern versions of it; one of the latter — perhaps the most popular
of the three — being from the pen of Michael Bruce, the author of the
immortal "Ode to the Cuckoo." The ballad has been claimed for
other parts of Scotland, but the mention of "the Heights o' Lundie,"
together with "Baleichan," and other slightly-disguised names in the
district, point to Ballechan, near Ballinluig, as very clearly being the
scene of the tragedy.
"O hae ye seen Sir James the Rose,
The young heir o' Baleichan?
For he has kill'd a gallant squire,
And we're sent out to take him."
"O I ha'e seen Sir James," she said,
"He pass'd by here on Monday,
Gin the steed be swift that he rides on,
He's past the Heights o' Lundie."
But as wi' speed they rode awa',
She loudly cried behind them,
"Gin ye'll gie me a worthy meed,
I'll tell ye whaur to find him."
"O tell, fair maid, and on our band,
Ye'se get his purse and brechan."
"He's in the bank aboon the mill,
In the lawlands o' Baleichan."
They sought the bank aboon the mill,
In the lawlands o' Baleichan,
And there they found Sir James the Rose,
Lying sleeping in his brechan.
Then out and spak' Sir John the Græme,
Who had the charge in keeping,
"It's ne'er be said, my stalwart feres,
We kill'd a man when sleeping."
They seized his braid sword and his targe,
And closely him surrounded;
And when he waked out o' his sleep,
His senses were confounded.
"Rise up, rise up, Sir James," he said,
"Rise up, since now we've found ye,
We've ta'en the broadsword frae your side,
And angry men are round ye."
"O pardon, pardon, gentlemen,
Ha'e mercy now upon me!"
"Such as you gave, such shall you have,
And so we fall upon thee."
"Donald, my man, wait till I fa'
And ye sall get my brechan,
Ye'll get my purse, though fu' o' gowd,
To tak' me to Loch Lagan."
Syne they took out his bleeding heart,
And set it on a spear;
They took it to the house o' Mar,
And showed it to his dear.
"We couldna gi'e ye Sir James's purse,
Nor yet could we his brechan,
But ye sall ha'e his bleeding heart,
But and his bloody tartan."
"Sir James the Rose, oh! for thy sake
My heart is now a-breaking;
Cursed be the day I wrought thy wae,
Thou brave heir o' Baleichin."
Then up she raise, and forth she gaes,
And in that hour o' tein,
She wander'd to the dowie glen,
And never mair was seen.
YE Highlands, and ye Lowlands,
Oh! where hae ye been?
They hae slain the Earl of Moray,
And hae lain him on the green.
* James Stuart, celebrated in song and history as " The Bonnie Earl
of Moray," was the elder son of Lord Doune, who died in 1590. He
acquired the title of Moray by marrying Elizabeth, eldest daughter of
the "Good Regent," on whose death, without male issue, the earldom
had reverted to the Crown. He was singularly handsome in person,
Now, wae be to thee, Huntly!
And wherefore did ye sae
I bade ye bring him wi' you,
But forbade you him to slay.
He was a braw gallant,
And he rade at the ring;
And the bonnie Earl of Moray,
Oh! he might hae been a King.
He was a braw gallant,
And he played at the ba';
And the bonnie Earl of Moray
Was the flower amang them a'.
He was a braw gallant,
And he played at the glove;
And the bonnie Earl of Moray,
Oh! he was the Queen's love.
and beautiful in countenance. Queen Anne regarded him with much
favour, which fact stirred the jealousy of King James, who commissioned.
his deadly enemy, the Earl of Huntly, to bring the Earl of
Moray into his presence, on the pretence of his having harboured the turbulent
Earl of Bothwell. Huntly surrounded the castle of Donibristle,
whence the Earl had gone on a visit to his mother, and summoned him
to surrender. He refused, whereupon the castle was set on fire.
Dunbar, Sheriff of Moray, who was with the Earl at the time, said to
him, with self-sacrificing generosity, "Let us not stay to be burned in
the flaming house. I will go out first, and the Gordons, taking me for
your Lordship, will kill me, while you may escape in the confusion."
The noble sacrifice was unavailing. Dunbar rushed out, and met
instant death. Moray followed, hut the silken tassels of his skull-cap
or helmet having caught fire as he passed through the flames, betrayed
him to his enemies, who pursued and killed him. Huntly himself, as
one account bears, stabbed him in the face, to whom he said with his
last breath, "You have spoiled a better face than your own."
The Countess Dowager of Moray carried to Edinburgh on litters the
bodies of her son and the Sheriff, and had them buried in the aisle of
St. Giles' Church. She appealed to the King for justice on their
murderers, and sought in vain to move his heart by presenting to him
a picture of her son's mangled. corpse.
There are three versions of the ballad extant; two with the above
title, and one usually printed under the heading of "Young Waters."
Oh! lang will his lady
Look ower the Castle Doune,
Ere she see the Earl of Moray
Come sounding through the toun.
O GILDEROY was a bonny boy;
Had roses till his shoon;
His stockings were of silken soy,
Wi' garters hanging doon,
It was, I weep, a comely sight,
To see sae trim a boy;
He was my joy, my heart's delight,
My handsome Gilderoy.
This old song has yet a certain popularity in most country districts
in Scotland. The subject of it was a man named Patrick Macgregor,
but more familiarly Gillieroy (the red-haired lad), whose life and
morals were, like those of his more illustrious namesake, framed on
"The good old rule, the simple plan,
That they should take who have the power,
And they should keep who can."
Gilderoy was, in fact, a notorious freebooter, or cattle-lifter, who
flourished in the early part of the seventeenth century, and was the
leader of a numerous gang of caterans, who practised stouthrief and
robbery with violence far and wide, but chiefly in the Highlands of
Perthshire and Aberdeenshire. In February, 1636, seven of his accomplices
were taken, tried, condemned, and executed at Edinburgh.
They were apprehended, chiefly through the exertions of the Stewarts
of Athole, and in revenge Gilderoy burned several houses belonging to
the Stewarts, which act proved his speedy ruin. A reward of a thousand
pounds was offered for his apprehension; and he was soon taken,
along with five more accomplices (some accounts say ten), and the
whole gang were executed at the Cross of Edinburgh on the 27th July,
1636, the leader, as a mark of unenviable distinction, receiving a higher
gibbet than the others — a circumstance which is alluded to in the
ballad. Some wonderful stories are told of this wild cateran, such as
his having picked the pocket of Cardinal Richelieu while he was celebrating
high mass in the church of St. Dennis, Paris; his having
carried off with consummate assurance a trunk of plate from the house
of the Duke Medina-Celi at Madrid; and his having attacked Oliver
Cromwell and two servants while travelling from Portpatrick to GlasO,
sic twa charming een he had;
His breath as sweet's a rose;
He never wore a Highland plaid,
But costly silken clothes;
He gained the love of ladies gay,
Nane e'er to him was coy;
Ah, wae's me! I mourn the day,
For my dear Gilderoy.
My Gilderoy and I were born
Baith in a'e toun thegither:
We scant were seven years before,
We 'gall to love each other,
Our daddies and our mammies, they
Were fill'd with meikle joy,
To think upon the bridal day
'Twixt me and Gilderoy.
For Gilderoy, that love of mine,
Gude faith, I freely bought
A wedding sark of holland fine,
Wi' silken flowers wrought,
And he gied me a wedding ring,
Which I received with joy;
Nae lad and lassie e'er could sing
Like me and Gilderoy.
Wi' meikle joy we spent our prime,
Till we were baith sixteen;
And aft we pass'd the langsome time
Amang the leaves sae green;
gow, and shooting the Protector's horse, which fell upon him and
broke his leg, whereupon he placed Oliver on an ass, tied his legs
under its belly, and dismissed the pair to seek their fortune. The
ballad itself is said to have been originally composed by the hero's
mistress, a young woman belonging to the higher ranks of life, who
had become attached to the noted cateran, and was induced to live
with him. It is to be found in black letter broadsides as far back as
1650. The present improved version was first printed in Durfey's
Pills to Purge Melancholy, volume v., 1719, and is said to have been
re-set by Lady Wardlaw, authoress of the well-known ballad of
"Hardyknute." The original, according to Percy, contained "some
indecent luxuriances that required the pruning hook."
Aft on the banks we'd sit us there,
And sweetly kiss and toy;
Wi' garlands gay wad deck my hair,
My handsome Gilderoy.
O, that he still had been content
Wi' me to lead his life;
But ah, his manfu' heart was bent
To stir in feats of strife;
And he in many a venturous deed
His courage bauld wad try,
And now this gars my heart to bleed
For my dear Gilderoy.
And when of me his leave he took,
The tears they wat mine e'e,
I gave him a love-parting look,
"My benison gang wi' thee
God speed thee weel, mine ain dear heart,
For gane is all my joy;
My heart is rent sith we maun part,
My handsome Gilderoy."
My Gilderoy baith far an near
Was fear'd in ilka toun,
And bauldly bear away the gear
Of mony a lowland loun;
Nane e'er durst meet him hand to hand,
He was sae brave a boy;
At length wi' numbers he was ta'en
My handsome Gilderoy.
The Queen of Scots possessit nought,
That my love lat me want;
For cow and ewe he to me brought,
And e'en when they were scant;
All those did honestly possess,
He never did annoy,
Who never failed to pay their cess
To my love Gilderoy.
Wae worth the loun that made the laws
To hang a man for gear!
To reave of life, for ox or ass,
For sheep, or horse, or mear.
Had not their laws been made so strict
I ne'er had lost my joy;
Wi' sorrow ne'er had wat my cheek,
For my dear Gilderoy.
Gif Gilderoy had done amiss,
He might have banish'd been;
Ah, what sair cruelty is this,
To hang sic handsome men!
To hang the flower o' Scottish land,
Sae sweet and fair a boy!
Nae lady had sae white a hand
As thee, my Gilderoy
Of Gilderoy sae fear'd they were,
They bound him meikle strong;
Till Edinburgh they led him there,
And on a gallows hung;
They hung him high abune the rest,
He was sae trim a boy;
There died the youth whom I loved best,
My handsome Gilderoy.
Thus having yielded up his breath,
I bore his corpse away;
Wi' tears that trickled for his death,
I washed his comely clay;
And siccar in a grave sae deep,
I laid the dear loved boy;
And now for ever maun I weep
For winsome Gilderoy.
O BESSIE BELL and Mary Gray,
They were twa bonnie lasses,
They biggit a bower on yon burn-brae,
And theekit it o'er wi' rashes.
* The story on which this popular ballad is founded has been often
told, and is so charged with tender pathos that it never fails to command
attentive hearing. It belongs to the time of the great plague, or
pestilence, which, down to the year 1665, was the terror of Scotland,
and which at one time reduced the city of Perth of about one-sixth of
its population. The common tradition is that Bessie Bell and Mary
Gray were the daughters of two country gentlemen in the neighbourhood
of Perth, and an intimate friendship subsisted between them.
Bessie Bell, daughter of the laird of Kinvaid, was on a visit to Mary
Gray, at her father's house of Lednock, now called Lynedoch, when
the plague of 1666 broke out in the country. To avoid the infection,
the two young ladies built themselves a bower in a very retired and
romantic spot known as the Burn-braes, on the side of the Brachie
Burn, situated about three-quarters of a mile west from Lynedoch
House. Here they lived for some time; but the plague raging with
great fury, they caught the infection from a young gentleman of Perth
who, it is said, was in love with the one or the other, or with them
both; and who, having discovered their rural habitation and the scanty
fare it afforded, had made it his daily duty to supply them with provisions
from the "Borough toun." According to a traditionary story
which I have received at various times from the lips of old persons in
Perthshire, the provisions were not the vehicle by which the pestilence
was conveyed. But the young gentleman on one of his visits having
brought with him, among other presents for their gratification, a rare
necklace which he had purchased of a Jew, and which had unhappily
been originally the property of one who had died of the plague, the
infection was in this way communicated to the young ladies, and
proved fatal to them both. According to custom in cases of the plague,
they were not buried in the ordinary place of sepulture, but in a
secluded spot called the Dronach-haugh, at the foot of the brae of the
same name, and near to the bank of the river Almond. The young
man having also died of the plague, was laid at their feet. Dranoch,
or Dronoch, in the Gaelic means sorrowful, therefore the likelihood is
that this piece of ground takes its name from the fact of these hapless
young persons being buried in it.
The earliest authentic information concerning the grave of Bessie
Bell and Mary Gray is found contained in a letter dated 21st June,
1781, written by Major Barry of Lednock, and published in the Transactions
of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, Vol. II., 1822.
This gentleman explains that when he came first to Lednock he was
shown in a part of the grounds called the Dronach-haugh, a heap of
stones almost covered with briers, thorn, and fern, and which he was
assured was the burial place of the hapless ladies whose names are
immortalised in the fragment of ballad poetry bearing their names as
They theekit it o'er wi' rashes green,
They theekit it o'er wi' heather;
But the pest cam' frae the Borough's toun,
And slew them baith thegither.
its title. Major Barry caused all the rubbish to be removed from the
little spot of classic ground, and inclosed it with a wall, planted it
round with flowering shrubs, made up the grave double, and fixed a
stone in the wall, on which were engraved the names of Bessie Bell
and Mary Gray.
In 1787 Lynedoch estate passed into the possession of Mr. Thomas
Graham of Balgowan, afterwards Lord Lynedoch, and the wall erected
round the graves in the Dronach-haugh by Major Barry half a century
before, being discovered by this later proprietor, on his return from a
lengthened pilgrimage abroad, to have fallen into a dilapidated state,
he had the remains of the wall removed and a neat stone parapet and
iron railings five feet high placed round the spot. He also covered the
graves with a stone slab, on which were inscribed the words, "They
lived, they loved, they died." This railing still stands; but the stone
slab within the railing is not visible to the eye, being covered with
stones heaped up cairn-wise, brought hither by the many visitors who
have made pilgrimages to this famous Scottish shrine.
The verses were first printed by Charles Kirkpatrick Sharpe, under
the title of "The Twa Lasses."
Starting with the first four lines of the original, Allan Ramsay produced
a song which is frequently printed in the collections. It is a
performance not without merit, but as the author has dared to transform
the burden of the verses from tender pathos to lively humour, we
give him credit for it with a grudge, for the good reason that in so far
as his version gains popularity a sweetly-pathetic historic romance
loses its hold on the public mind.
Here are Ramsay's verses: —
O, Bessie Bell and Mary Gray,
They were twa bonnie lasses,
They biggit a bow'r on yon burn brae,
And theekit it ower wi' rashes.
Fair Bessie Bell I lo'ed yestreen,
And thocht I ne'er could alter;
But Mary Gray's twa pawkie een
Gar'd a' my fancy falter.
Bessie's hair's like a lint-tap,
She smiles like a May mornin',
When Phœbus starts frae Thetis' lap,
The hills wi' rays adornin';
White is her neck, saft is her hand,
Her waist and feet fu' genty,
Wi' ilka grace she can command.
Her lips, Oh, now, they're dainty.
They thocht to lie in Methven kirkyard,
Amang their noble kin;
But they maun lie in Dronach haugh,
And beik fornenst the sun.
And Bessie Bell and Mary Gray,
They were twa bonnie lasses,
They biggit a bower on yon burn-brae,
And theekit it o'er wi' rashes.
A Song.
THE wheel of life turns whimsically round,
And nothing in this world of constancy is found;
No principle, no tie, in either Church or State,
But int'rest overrules; such is the will of fate.
Mary's locks are like the craw,
Her een like diamonds glances;
She's aye sae clean, redd-up, and braw,
She kills whene'er she dances.
Blythe as a kid, wi' wit at will,
She blooming, tight, and tall is,
And guides her airs sae gracefu' still —
Oh, Jove, she's like thy Pallas!
Young Bessie Bell and Mary Gray,
Ye unto sair oppress us;
Our fancies jee between ye twa,
Ye are sic bonnie lasses.
Wae's me! for baith I canna get,
To ane by law we're stintit;
Then I'll draw cuts and tak' my fate,
And be wi' ane contentit.
One of the only two poems which Robert Nicoll allowed to drift into
print before the publication of his Poems and Lyrics dealt with the
fate of "Bessie Bell and Mary Gray." And a long but somewhat
flabby ballad on the subject was written by James Duff, "the Methven
poet," and appears in the volume of his poems published in Perth
in 1816; also in Auld Scots Ballants (Paisley: Alex. Gardner, 1889).
The Churchman, who in faith should be refined,
The weathercock does blame that wheels with ev'ry
Yet touch him with your coin, and you shall quickly see
The needle to the pole wheels not so fast as he.
The Lawyer swears he's sure your case is just,
And bids you, with a smile, on him repose your trust;
But if a greater fee into his hand they slide,
He straight begins to doubt, and wheels to the other
The Soldier, who with honour is replete,
By solemn oath is bound to serve the King and State;
But if contending two Pretenders come in play,
He wheels about to him that gives the greater pay.
The Courtier turns to gain his private ends,
Till he's so giddy grown he quite forgets his friends;
Prosperity of time deceives the proud and vain,
It wheels them in so fast, it wheels them out again.
Thus all mankind on Fortune's wheel do go,
And, as some mount on high, some others tumble low;
From whence we all agree, though many think it
No sublunary thing can live without a change.
Then fill about a bumper to the brim,
Till all repeat it round, and every noddle swim;
How pleasing is the charm that makes our table reel,
And all around it laugh at Fortune and her wheel.
SINCE loyalty is still the same,
Whether to win or lose the game,
To flinch it were a burning shame,
Since Mar has gained a battle;
Let each brave, true-hearted Scot
Improve the victory he has got,
Resolving all shall go to pot,
Or James the Eighth to settle.
Let those unmanly men of fears,
With downcast looks and hanging ears,
Who think each shadow that appears
An enemy pursuing:
Let such faint-hearted souls begone!
The dangers of the field to shun,
We'll make Argyll once more to run,
And think on what he's doing.
Can poor, low-country water-rats
Withstand our furious mountain-cats
The dint of whose well-armed pats
So fatally confoundeth,
When many hundred warlike men
Were so well cut and so well slain,
That they can scarce get up again*
When the last trumpet soundeth?
Come, here's to the victorious Mar,
Who bravely first conceived the war,
And to all those who went so far
To shake of Union's slavery;
Whose fighting for so good a cause,
As king, and liberty, and laws,
Must from their foes e'en force applause,
In spite of their own knavery.
* They must be regarded as very effectually put to death whose
chance of future awaking is doubtful.
POOR Strephon's aspect and his air,
When young, could captivate the fair,
And, easily gazing in his glass,
Narcissus-like, he loved his face;
The glass was true, which made him glad,
For Strephon was a comely lad.
Now Strephon's fifty years and more,
Declining swiftly to three score;
And at that age the bloom's decayed,
When wrinkles and grey hairs invade:
The glass, still true, sincerely told,
To Strephon's grief, that he was old.
Quoth he, "My darling looking-glass,
With transitory things must pass:
The faithful with the faithless go,
The gods and I will have it so;
And yet thy doom is most undue,
Pronounced alone for being true."
Thus having said, he lifted high
The glass, in which he fixed his eye,
And, still displeased the change to see,
'Twixt twenty-one and fifty-three,
"Adieu," said he, "Old friends at length must part,
And if I break not thee, thou'lt break my heart!"
CLAVERSE and his Highlandmen
Came down upon the raw, man;
Who, being stout, gave mossy a shout;
The lads began to claw, then.
* The Battle of Killiecrankie, which decided the fate of the Jacobite
surrection in 1689, is a subject of familiar history. The insurrection
Wi' sword and targe into their hand,
Wi' which they werena slaw, man,
Wi' mony a fearfu' heavy sigh
The lads began to claw, then.
was headed by Viscount Dundee, the "Bloody Claverse," and the
object of it was to overturn the Revolution settlement, and to restore
the exiled Stuarts to the throne. To effect this daring design, Dundee,
after he had been denounced an outlaw and a rebel, retired to the
Highlands, and raised and organised the clans. In the middle of July
he left Moy, in Inverness-shire, and made a rapid march to the south.
General Mackay was sent north by the Government, at the head of a
superior force, to oppose him. The rival forces met in the Pass of Killiecrankie,
and the result, as everybody knows, was complete victory
to the clans. And surely never was a fiercer conflict witnessed beneath
the sun. "I dare be bold to say," says the writer of the Memoirs of
Viscount Dundee, "there were scarce ever such strokes given in Europe
as were given that day by the Highlanders. Many of General Mackay's
officers and soldiers were cut down through the skull and neck to the
breasts; others had their skulls cut above their ears like nightcaps;
some soldiers had both their bodies and cross-belts cut through at one
blow; pikes and small swords were cut like willows, and whoever
doubts this may consult the witnesses of the tragedy." About two
thousand of the Royalists were killed, and five hundred of them made
prisoners, while their baggage, cannon, and stores fell into the hands
of the conquerors. But the victory was purchased at a cost which was
the ruin of the cause of the victors. Claverhouse himself was among
the slain. At the beginning of the action, says Macaulay, Dundee
had taken his place in front of his little band of cavalry. He bade
them follow him, and rode onward. But it seemed to be decreed on
that day the Lowland Scotch should appear to disadvantage in both
armies. The horse hesitated. Dundee turned round, stood up in his
stirrups, and waving his hat invited them to come on. As he lifted his
arm his cuirass rose and exposed the lower part of his left side. A
musket ball struck him, his horse sprang forward, and plunged into a
cloud of smoke and dust, which hid from both armies the face of the
victorious General. As he fell from his horse he asked "How goes the
day" of the man who caught him. "Well for the King, but I am
sorry for your Lordship," was the answer. "Since the day goes well
for my master," was the reply, "It matters little for me." He never
spoke again.
The Viscount was buried in the church of Blair Athole, and, as has
been strikingly and truly said, "With him was buried the cause of
King James in Scotland."
Various poets, including Burns and Aytoun, have found in Killiecrankie
a theme of immortal song. In the oldest and best known
ballad — the one here quoted — the chief attention is directed to the
mode of fighting, and the sentiments and expressions of the mountaineer
Ower bush, ower bank, ower ditch, ower stank,
She flang amang them a', man;
The butter-box gat mony knocks;
Their riggings paid for a', then.
They gat their paiks wi' sudden straiks,
While, to their grief, they saw, man,
Wi' clinkum-clankum over their crowns,
The lads began to fa', then.
Her leap'd about, her skipp'd about,
And flang amang them a', man;
The English blades gat broken heads,
Their crowns were cleaved in twa, then;
The durk and dour made their last hour,
And proved their final fa', man;
They thocht the devil had been there
That played them sic a paw, man.
The Solemn League and Covenant
Cam' whigging up the hill, man;
Thocht Highland trews durst not refuse
For to subscribe their bill, then;
In Willie's name they thocht nae ane
Durst stop their course at a', man;
But Her-nain-sel', wi' mony a knock,
Cried, Furich, Whigs, awa', man.
Sir Evan Dhu and his men true
Cam' linking up the brink, man;
The Hoggan Dutch, they feared such,
They bred a horrid stink, then.
The true MacLean and his fierie men
Cam' in amang them a', man;
Nane durst withstand his heavy hand,
A' fled and ran awa', then.
Och on a righ och on a righ!
Why should she lose King Shames, man?
Och rig in di! och rig in di!
She shall break a' her banes, then;
With furichiuich, and stay a while,
And speak a word or twa, man;
She's gie ye a straik out ower the neck,
Before ye win awa', then.
Oh, fie for shame, ye're three for ane!
Her-nain-sel's won the day, man,
King Shames' redcoats should be hung up,
Because they ran awa', then.
Had they bent their bows like Highland trews,
And made as ling a stay, man,
They'd saved their King, that sacred thing,
And Willie'd run awa', then.
THERE'S some say that we wan, and some say that they
And some say that nane wan at a', man;
But a'e thing I'm sure, that at Sheriffmuir
A battle there was, that I saw, man.
And we ran, and they ran; and they ran and we
And we ran, and they ran awa', man.
* There are no fewer than four songs — all more or less popular —
descriptive of the famous Battle of Sheriffmuir, in each of which its
wavering proceedings and uncertain issue, together with the particular
behaviour of many of the chief persons engaged on both sides, are
humorously and cleverly hit oft The battle was fought on the 13th
November, 1715, and took place at Sheriffmuir, situated in the parish
of Dunblane. The struggle was between the clans under the Earl of Mar
and the royal forces under John, Duke of Argyll. The principal feature
in the battle — the one to which it owes its popular repute, as also the
attention of the humorous poets — was that both parties were partially
successful and partially defeated — the right wings of both armies being
triumphant, and the left wings routed. Briefly, there had been running
on both sides, and on that circumstance most of the humorous
sarcasm of the songs is formed. Of the four songs on the subject I
give first the oldest — in many respects the best — said by Burns to have
been written by the Rev. Murdoch M'Lennan, minister of Crathie, on
Brave Argyll and Belhaven,1 not like frighted Leven,2
Which Rothes 3 and Haddington4 saw, man;
For they all, with Wightman,5 advanced to the right,
While others took flight, being raw, man.
Lord Roxburgh6 was there, in order to share
With Douglas,7 who stood not in awe, man,
Volunteerly to ramble with Lord Loudoun Campbell;8
Brave Islay9 did suffer for a', man.
Sir John Shaw,10 that great knight, with broadsword
most bright,
On horseback he briskly did charge, man,
A hero that's bold, none could him withhold,
He stoutly encountered the targemen.
Deeside, who died in 1783. Whether the reverend author witnessed
in person the semi-farce of Sheriffmuir, as is indicated in the opening
verse of the song, there is no means of knowing; and, indeed, the
knowledge of such a circumstance is of little consequence. Living
contemporaneous with the event he would have the fullest knowledge
of the particulars, and this granted, it must be said to his credit that
his description is most appreciably impartial. With respect to the
reference to Rob Roy in the song as having "stood watch on a hill, for
to catch the booty," it has been explained, in extenuation, that that
redoubted hero was prevented, by mixed motives, from joining either
party; he could not fight against the Earl of Mar consistently with
his conscience, nor could he oppose the Duke of Argyll without forfeiting
the protection of a powerful friend.
1, 2, 3, 4. Lord Belhaven, the Earl of Leven, and the Earls of Rothes
and Haddington, all of whom bore arms as volunteers in the royal
5. Major-General Joseph Wightman, who commanded the centre of
the royal army.
6. John, first Duke of Roxburgh, a loyal volunteer.
7. Archibald, Duke of Douglas, who commanded a body of his
vassals in the royal army.
8. Hugh Campbell, third Earl of Loudoun, of the royal army.
9. The Earl of Islay, brother to the Duke of Argyll. He came up
to the field only a few hours before the battle, and had the misfortune
to get wounded.
10. Sir John Shaw of Greenock, an officer in the troop of volunteers,
noted for his keen Whiggish spirit.
For the cowardly Whittam,11 for fear they should cut
Seeing glittering broadswords will apa', man,
And that in such thrang, made Baird aide-de-camp,
And from the brave clans ran awa', man.
The great Colonel Dow gaed foremost, I trow,
When Whittam's dragoons ran awa', man;
Except Sandy Baird and Naughton, the laird,
Their horse showed their heels to them a', man.
Brave Mar and Panmur12 were firm I am sure,
The latter was kidnapped awa', man;
But with brisk men about brave Harry13 retook
His brother, and laughed at them a', man.
Grave Marshall,14 and Lithgow,15 and Glengarry's16 pith
Assisted by brave Logie A'mon',17
And Gordons, the bright, sae boldly did fight,
The redcoats took flight and awa', man.
Strathmore18 and Clanronald19 cried still "Advance,
Till both of these heroes did fa', man;
For there was sic hashing, and broadsword a-clashing,
Brave Forfar20 himsel' got a claw, man.
11 Major-General Whitham, who commanded the left wing of the
King's army.
12. James, Earl of Panmure.
13. The Honourable Harry Maule of Kellie, brother to the foregoing,
whom he recaptured after the engagement.
14, 15. The Earls of Marischal and Linlithgow.
16. The Chief of Glengarry.
17. Thomas Drummond of Logie-Almond.
18. The Earl of Strathmore, killed in the battle.
19. The Chief of Clanranald.
20. The Earl of Forfar — on the King's side — wounded in the engagement.

Lord Perth21 stood the storm, Seaforth,22 but lukewarm,
Kilsyth23 and Strathallan24 not slaw, man;
And Hamilton25 pled the men were not bred,
For he had no fancy to fa', man.
Brave, generous Southesk,26 Tullibardine27 was brisk,
Whose father, indeed, would not draw, man,
Into the same yoke, which served for a cloak,
To keep the estate 'twixt them twa, man.
Lord Rollo,28 not feared, Kintore29 and his beard,
Pitsligo30 and Ogilvie31 a', man,
And brothers Balfours, they stood the first stours;
Clackmannan32 and Burleigh33 did claw, man.
But Cleppan34 acted pretty, and Strowan,35 the witty,
A poet that pleases us a', man,
For mine is but rhyme, in respect o' what's fine,
Or what he is able to draw, man.
For Huntly36 and Sinclair,37 they baith played the tinkler,
With conscience black like a craw, man;
21. James, Lord Drummond, eldest son of the Earl of Perth, was
Lieutenant-General of Horse under Mar, and behaved with great
22. William Mackenzie, fifth Earl of Seaforth.
23. The Viscount Kilsyth.
24. The Viscount Strathallan.
25. Lieutenant-General George Hamilton, commanding under the
Earl of Mar.
26. James, fifth Earl of Southesk.
27. The Marquis of Tullibardine, eldest son of the Duke of Athole.
28. Lord Rollo.
29. The Earl of Kintore.
30. Lord Pitsligo.
31. Lord Ogilvie, son of the Earl of Airlie.
32. Bruce, Laird of Clackmannan.
33. A relation of Lord Burleigh, an excitable person, almost a
34. Major William Clephane.
35. Alexander Robertson of Struan, the chief of the Robertsons, a
poet, noticed in this work, who died in 1799.
36. Alexander, Marquis of Huntly, afterwards Duke of Gordon.
37. The master of Sinclair.
Some Angus and Fife men, they ran for their life, man,
And ne'er a Lot's wife there at a' man.
Then Lawrie,38 the traitor, wha betrayed his master,
His King, and his country and a', man,
Pretending Mar might give orders to fight,
To the right of the army awa', man.
Then Lawrie, for fear of what he might hear,
Took Drummond's best horse and awa', man;
'Stead of going to Perth, he crossed the Forth,
Alongst Stirling Bridge and awa', man.
To London he pressed, and there he addressed,
That he behaved best o' them a' man;
And there, without strife, got settled for life,
A hundred a year to his fa', man.
In Borrowstounness, he rides with disgrace,
Till his neck stands in need o' a draw, man;
And then in a tether, he'll swing from a ladder,
And go off the stage with a pa', man.
Rob Roy39 stood watch on a hill, for to catch
The booty, for aught that I saw, man;
For he never advanced from the place he was stanced,
Till no more to do there at a', man.
So we all took the flight, and Mowbray, the wright,
But Letham, the smith, was a braw man,
For he took the gout, which truly was wit,
By judging it time to withdraw, man.
38. A person who left the Duke of Argyll and joined the Earl of
Mar before the battle, intending to act as a spy; and being employed
by Mar to inform the left wing that the right was victorious, gave a
contrary statement, and, after seeing them retire, went back to the
royal army.
39. The celebrated Rob Roy.
40. An honorary popular title of the Duke of Gordon.
41. Carnegie of Finhaven.
And trumpet M'Lean, whose breeks were not clean,
Through misfortune he happened to fa', man;
By saving his neck, his trumpet did break,
Came off without music at a', man.
So there such a race was, as ne'er in that place was,
And as little chase was at a', man;
From other they ran, without took of drum,
They did not make use of a paw, man.
Whether we ran, or they ran, or we wan, or they wan,
Or if there was winning at a', man,
There's no man can tell, save our brave generall,
Wha first began running awa', man.
Wi' the Earl o' Seaforth, and the Cock o' the North:40
But Florence ran fastest ava', man,
Save the Laird of Finhaven,41 wha swore to be even,
Wi' ony general or peer o' them a', man.
And we ran, and they ran; and they ran, and we
And we ran, and they ran awa', man.
W. — Pray came you here the fight to shun,
Or keep the sheep wi' me, man?
Or was you at the Sherra-muir,
And did the battle see, man
* Burns wrote an improved version of this song for Johnson's
Pray tell whilk o' the parties won,
For weel I wat I saw them run,
Baith north and south when they begun
To pell and mell, and kill and fell,
With muskets snell, and pistol's knell,
And some to hell did flee, man.
Hooch! hey dum dirrum hey dum dan,
Hooch! hey dum dirrum dey dan,
Hooch! hey dum dirrum hey dum dandy,
Hey dam dirrum dey dan.
T. — But, my dear, Will, I kenna still
Whilk o' twa did lose, man;
For weel I wat they had gude skill
To set upo' their foes, man.
The redcoats they were train'd, you see,
The clans always disdain to flee:
Wha then should gain the victory
But the Highland race, all in a brace,
With a swift pace to the Whigs' disgrace,
Did put to chase their foes, man.
Hooch! hey dum dirrum, etc.
W. — Now, how deil, Tam, can this be true?
I saw the chase gae north, man;
T. — But weel I wat they did pursue
Them even unto Forth, man.
Frae Dumblane they ran in my ain sight,
And gat o'er the bridge wi' a' their might,
And those at Stirling took their flight;
Gif only ye had been wi' me,
You had seen them flee of each degree,
For fear to dee wi' sloth, man.
Hooch! hey dum dirrum, etc.
W. — My sister Kate came o'er the hill,
Wi' crowdie unto me, man,
She swore she saw them running still
Frae Perth unto Dundee, man.
The left wing general had nae skill,
The Angus lads had nae gude-will
That day their neighbours' blood to spill:
For fear, by foes, that they should lose
Their cogues o' brose, all crying woes —
Yonder them goes, d'ye see, man?
Hooch! hey dum dirrum, etc.
T. — I see but few like gentlemen
Among yon frighted crew, man,
I fear my Lord Panmure be slain,
Or that he's ta'en just noo, man.
For though his officers obey,
His cowardly commons run away,
For fear the redcoats should them slay:
The sodgers' hail made their hearts fail,
See how they skail, and turn their tail
And run to flail and plough, man.
Hooch! hey dum dirrum, etc.
W. — But now brave Angus comes again
Into the second fight, man:
They swear they'll either die or gain,
No foes shall them afright, man;
Argyll's best forces they'll withstand,
And boldly fight them sword in hand,
Give them a general to command,
A man of might, that will but fight,
And take delight to lead them right,
And ne'er desire the flight, man.
Hooch! hey dum dirrum, etc.
But Flanderkins they have nae skill
To lead a Scottish force, man;
Their motions do our courage spill,
And put us to a loss, man.
You'll hear of us far better news,
When we attack wi' Highland trews,
To hash, and smash, and slash, and bruise,
Till the field, though braid, be all o'erspread,
But coat or plaid, wi' corpses dead,
In their cauld bed, that's moss, man.
Hooch! hey dum dirrum, etc.
T. — Twa generals frae the field did run,
Lords Huntly and Seaforth, man:
They cried, and run, grim death to shun,
Those heroes of the North, man.
They're fitter far for book or pen,
Than under Mar to lead on men;
Ere they came there they might weel ken
That female hands could ne'er gain lands,
'Tis Highland brands that countermands,
Argathlean bands frae Forth, man.
Hooch! hey dum dirrum, etc.
W. — Camerons scour'd as they were mad,
Lifting their neighbours' cows, man.
M‘Kenzie and the Stewart fled,
But philebeg or trews, man,
Had they behav'd like Donald's core,
And killed all those came them before,
Their king had gone to France no more;
Then each Whig saint wad soon repent
And straight recant his covenant,
And rent it at the news, man.
Hooch! hey dum dirrum, etc.
T. — M'Gregors they far off did stand,
Badenoch and Athol, too, man;
I hear they wanted the command,
For I believe them true, man.
Perth, Fife, and Angus, wi' their horse,
Stood motionless, and some did worse,
For though the redcoats went them cross,
They did conspire for to admire
Clans run and fire, left wings retire,
While rights entire pursue, man.
Hooch! hey dum dirrum, etc.
W. — But Scotland has not much to say
For such a fight as this is,
Where baith did fight, baith ran away:
The devil take the miss is,
That every officer was not slain,
That run that day and was not ta'en,
Either flying to or from Dumblane
When Whig and Tory, in their fury,
Shore for glory, to our sorrow
This sad story hush is.
Hooch! hey dam dirrum, etc.
WILL ye go to Sheriffmuir,
Bauld John o' Innisture,
There to see the noble Mar,
And his Highland laddies;
A' the true men o' the north,
Angus, Huntly, and Seaforth,
Scouring on to cross the Forth,
Wi' their white cockadies?
There you'll see the banners flare,
There you'll hear the bagpipes rair,
And the trumpets deadly blare,
Wi' the cannon's rattle;
* This song was first published by Hogg in the Jacobite Relics.
"Had I only rescued six such pieces as this from oblivion," he says,
"I conceive posterity should be obliged to me; not on account of the
intrinsic merit of the songs, but for the specimens left them of the
music and poetry of the age, so ingeniously adapted to one another.
I have no conception who 'bauld John o' Innisture' was. The other
four noblemen mentioned in the first verse were among the principal
leaders of the highland army. It is likely, from the second stanza,
where only three of the clans are mentioned, that some verses have
been lost."
"Bauld John o' Innisture" is evidently a corruption of "Bauld
John o' Inchture."
There you'll see the bauld M'Craws,
Cameron's and Clanranald's raws,
And a' the clans, wi' loud huzzas,
Rushing to the battle.
There you'll see the noble Whigs,
A' the heroes o' the brigs,
Raw hides and wither'd wigs,
Riding in array, man.
Riven hose and raggit hools,
Sour milk, and girnin' gools,
Psalm-beuks, and cutty-stools,
We'll see never mair, man.
Will ye go to Sheriffmuir,
Bauld John o' Innisture?
Sic a day and sic an hour,
Ne'er was in the north, man.
Siccan sichts will there be seen,
And, gin some be nae mista'en,
Fragrant gales will come bedeen,
Frae the water o' Forth, man.
I MAY sit in my wee croo house,
At the rock and the reel to toil fu' dreary;
I may think on the day that's gave,
And sigh and sab till I grow weary,
* Lady Mary Drummond, who, it is alleged, wrote this song for the
purpose of encouraging her two sons in their action in the cause of the
Pretender, was the daughter of John, fourth Earl of Perth, commonly
called "The Chancellor." She married William, ninth Earl Marischal,
and bore him two sons — George and James. On the death of his
father George succeeded to the title and estates — the which, for his
action in the rebellion of 1715, he forfeited to the Crown. The circumstances
are thus detailed in Sharpe's Peerage: — "The extensive property
of the family having been dilapidated during the civil wars, it
was reduced to the three estates of Dunottar, Fetteresso, and InveruI
ne'er could brook, I ne'er could brook,
A foreign loon to own or flatter;
But I will sing a rantin' sang,
That day our King comes over the water.
O, gin I live to see the day,
That 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 reignin' byke to scatter;
And I'll put on the bridal-gown,
That day our King comes ower the water.
I hae seen the gude auld day,
The day o' pride and chieftain glory,
When Royal Stuarts bare the sway,
And ne'er heard tell o' Whig or Tory,
Though lyart be my locks and grey,
And eild has crooked me down — what matter?
I'll dance and sing a'e ither day,
The day our King comes ower the water.
gie; and the Earl preferring a military life, was by favour of Queen
Anne, constituted in February, 1714, captain of the Scotch troop of
horse grenadier guards. He signed the proclamation of King George
the First, but being unacceptable to John, Duke of Argyll, was
deprived of his command at the same time that his cousin, the Earl of
Mar, was dismissed from office as Secretary of State. The Earl Marischal
set out for Scotland in disgust, and meeting his brother James at
York, on his way to town in pursuit of military promotion, they
returned home under strong feelings of irritation together, where they
were easily instigated by their mother, who was strongly attached to
the abdicated family, to enter into the Rebellion of 1715." Ruin of
course followed, and "the office of Marischal, which had been seven
centuries in the family, was with his titles and estates forfeited to the
The song appears in Hogg's collection, without any indication of its
origin, and its rare beauty as a pathetic effusion provokes in Dr.
Chambers' mind a suspicion of its genuineness; indeed, he says it
bears all the marks of having proceeded from the Shepherd's own pen.
Hogg's known love of the mysterious gives force to this or any such
suspicion. Still, until there is positive proof to the contrary, we prefer
to regard the song as the production of Lady Mary Keith. The air
to which it is sung is a variety of "The Boyne Water."
A curse on dull and drawling Whig,
The whining, ranting, low deceiver,
Wi' heart sae black, and look sae big,
And canting tongue o' clish-ma-claver!
My father was a gude lord's son,
My mother was an earl's daughter;
And I'll be Lady Keith again,
The day our King comes ower the water.
MACGARADH! MacGaradh! red race of the Tay,
Ho! gather! ho! gather! like hawks to the prey.
MacGaradh, MacGaradh, MacGaradh, come fast,
The flame's on the beacon, the horn's on the blast;
The standard of Errol unfolds its white breast,
And the falcon of Luncarty stirs in her nest.
Come away, come away, come to the tryst,
Come in MacGaradh, from east and from west.
MacGaradh! MacGaradh! MacGaradh! come forth,
Come from your bowers, from south and from north,
Come in all Gowrie, Kinnoul, and Tweeddale,
Drumelzier and Naughton come locked in your mail,
Come Stuart, come Stuart, set up thy white rose,
Killour and Buccleugh, bring thy bills and thy bows,
Come in MacGaradh, come armed for the fray,
Wide is the war cry, and dark is the day.
* This was first published in 1822 from a copy found pasted into an
old MS. History of the family by John Hay Allan. The first stanza,
he says, is of considerable antiquity, the second belongs to the period
after 1646, and the rest is traditionally ascribed to Captain James Hay
about the time that the Earl of Erroll joined the Pretender's standard.
at the Braes o' Mar. "Holleu MacGaradh" was the slogan of the
Hays of Erroll.
The Hay! the Hay! the Hay! the Hay!
MacGaradh is coming, give way! give way!
The Hay! the Hay! the Hay! the Hay!
MacGaradh is coming, give way,
MacGaradh is coming, clear the way,
MacGaradh is coming, hurra! hurra!
MacGaradh is coming, clear the way,
MacGaradh is coming, hurra!
MacGaradh is coming, like beam of war:
The blood-red shields are glinting far;
The Stuart is up, his banner white
Is flung to the breeze like a flake of light.
Dark as the mountain's heather wave
The rose and the misle are coming brave.
Bright as the sun which gilds its thread,
King James's tartan is flashing red,
Upon them, MacGaradh, bill and bow,
Cry, holleu! MacGaradh! holleu holleu!
MacGaradh is coming! like stream from the hill,
MacGaradh is coming, lance, claymore, and bill,
Like thunder's wild rattle
Is mingled the battle,
With cry of the falling, and shout of the charge.
The lances are flashing,
The claymores are clashing,
And ringing the arrows on buckle and targe.
MacGaradh is coming! the banners are shaking,
The war-tide is turning, the phalanx is breaking.
The Southrons are flying,
"Saint George!" vainly crying,
And Brunswick's white horse on the field is borne down.
The red cross is shattered,
The red roses scattered,
And bloody and torn the white plume in its crown.
Far shows the dark field the streams of Cairn Gorm,
Wild, broken, and red, in the skirt of the storm:
Give the spur to the steed,
Give the war-cry its holleu,
Cast loose to wild speed,
Shake the bridle, and follow;
The rout's in the battle,
Like blast in the cloud,
The flight's mingled rattle
Peals thickly and loud.
Then holleu MacGaradh! holleu, MacGaradh!
Holleu! holleu! holleu! MacGaradh!
WHA will ride wi' gallant Murray?
Wha, will ride wi' Geordie's sel'?
He's the flow'r o' a' Glenisla,
And the darling o' Dunkel'.
See the white rose in his bonnet!
See his banner o'er the Tay!
His gude sword he now has drawn it,
And has flung the sheath away.
* This song, says Hogg, seems to have been taken from an anonymous
Jacobite poem of some merit, evidently written at the very time
the clans were rising in 1745. Lord George Murray, fifth son of the
first Duke of Athole, joined Prince Charles' standard at Perth in September,
1745. He was appointed Lieutenant-General of the Prince's
forces, and acted as such at the battles of Prestonpans, Falkirk, and
Culloden, marched into England with them, and brought up the rear in
their retreat from thence. He was attainted of high treason by Act
of Parliament, but escaped to the Continent, and arrived at Rome on
21st March, 1747, where he was received with great distinction by
Prince Charles, who fitted up an apartment for him in his palace, and
introduced him to the Pope. He died at Medeublinck, in Holland,
11th October, 1760.
Every faithful Murray follows,
First of heroes! best of men!
Every true and trusty Stewart
Blythely leaves his native glen.
Athol lads are lads of honour,
Westland rogues are rebels a';
When we come within their border,
We may gar the Campbells claw.
Menzies he's our friend and brother;
Gask and Strowan are nae slack;
Noble Perth has ta'en the field,
And a' the Drummonds at his back.
Let us ride wi' gallant Murray,
Let us fight for Charlie's crown;
From the right we'll never sinder,
Till we bring the tyrants down.
Mackintosh, the gallant soldier,
Wi' the Grahams and Gordons gay,
They hae ta'en the field of honour,
Spite of all their chiefs could say.
Bend the musket, point the rapier,
Shift the brog for Lowland shoe,
Scour the dirk, and face the danger —
Mackintosh has all to do.
THE smiling morn, the breathing spring,
Invite the tuneful birds to sing;
And while they warble from each spray,
Love melts the universal lay.
* To these verses by Mallet, the original title and refrain of which
found expression in "The Shades of Endermay," the following stanzas
composed by the Rev. Alexander Bryce of Kirknewton, have been
frequently added in the collections. They are distinctly inferior both
Let us, Amanda, timely wise,
Like them improve the hour that flies;
And in soft raptures spend the day,
Among the birks of Invermay.
For soon the winter of the year,
And Age, Life's winter, will appear,
At this thy living bloom must fade,
As that will strip the vernal shade.
Our taste of pleasure then is o'er,
The feathered songsters love no more;
And when they droop, and we decay,
Adieu the birks of Invermay.
in sentiment and execution, and for that reason, primarily, are here
cut adrift from the original song: —
The laverocks, now, and lintwhites sing,
The rocks around with echoes ring;
The mavis and the blackbird vie,
In tuneful strains, to glad the day.
The woods now wear their summer suits:
To mirth all nature now invites;
Let us be blythesome, then, and gay,
Among the birks of Invermay.
Behold the hills and vales around
With lowing herds and flocks abound;
The wanton kids and frisking lambs
Gambol and dance around their dams;
The busy bees, with humming noise,
And all the reptile kind rejoice:
Let us, like them, then, sing and play,
About the birks of Invermay.
Hark, how the waters, as they fall,
Loudly my love to gladness call;
The wanton waves sport in the beams,
And fishes play throughout the streams.
The circling sun does now advance,
And all the planets round him dance:
Let us as jovial be as they,
Among the birks of Invermay.
THE e'enin' sun was glintin' bricht,
On Invermay's sweet glen and stream,
The rocks and woods, in ruddy licht,
Were kythin' like a fairy dream.
In lovin' fear I took my gate,
To seek the tryst that happy day,
Wi' bonnie Mary, young and blate,
Amang the birks o' Invermay.
It wasna till the sklent moon's shine
Was glancin' deep in Mary's e'e,
That, a' in tears, she said, "I'm thine,
And ever will be true to thee!"
A'e kiss, the lover's pledge, and then,
We spak' o' a' that lovers say,
Syne lingered hameward through the glen,
Amang the birks o' Invermay.
'TWAS at the silent solemn hour,
When night and morning meet;
In glided Margaret's grimly ghost
And stood at William's feet.
* This beautiful and much admired ballad was first printed in a
London periodical entitled The Plain Dealer, in the year 1724, while
the author of it was yet a very young man. In a letter addressed to
the editor of the journal, Mallet vouchsafed the information that the
poem was founded on a fact which had shortly before occurred under
his own observation. A young lady of an agreeable person, and
possessed of many intellectual accomplishments, was courted and
seduced by a vain, presuming, unprincipled, young man, whom her
unsuspecting heart had too credulously trusted. When she could no
longer conceal her imprudence and dishonour, her father, formerly unacquainted
with her situation, now applied to the deceitful lover, and
generously offered him the half of his fortune provided he would marry
His face was like an April morn,
Clad in a wintry cloud;
And clay-cold was her lily hand,
That held her sable shroud.
So shall the fairest face appear,
When youth and years are flown:
Such is the robe that kings must wear,
When death has reft their throne.
Her bloom was like the springing flower,
That sips the silver dew;
The rose was budded in his cheek,
Just opening to the view.
But love had, like the canker-worm,
Consumed her early prime;
The rose grew pale, and left her cheek;
She died before her time.
his daughter. This offer the perfidious wretch indignantly rejected,
notwithstanding the entreaties and tears by which it was urged, and
even proceeded so far as to accuse, with the most injurious and public
indecency, the innocence of her whom he had thus villainously
betrayed. The news of this treatment so deeply affected the young
lady that a fever ensued, which, bringing on premature labour, quickly
put an end to her life and sufferings, when both she and her child were
buried in one grave.
The ballad immediately won for its author a place among the poets
of the day, and soon numbered him among the friends of Pope and
Young, and other eminent men of letters. It has been greatly praised
by some. Ritson calls it one of the finest ballads that was ever
written. Scott, on the other hand, says, "The ballad, though the
best of Mallet's writing, is certainly inferior to its original, which I
presume to be the very fine and even terrific old Scottish tale beginning

'There came a ghost to Margaret's door.'"
Mallet himself had admitted that the opening lines of an old ballad,
which he supposed to be lost, were the stimulating means of his own,
and this is quite likely. The editor of the first series of The harp of
Renfrewshire makes an elaborate but unsuccessful attempt to deprive
Mallet of the authorship of the ballad altogether. Another editor
claims it for Andrew Marvell. There can be no doubt that David
Mallet was the author of "William and Margaret," even although it
is true that he never wrote anything else in the same line nearly so
"Awake!" she cried, "thy true love calls,
Come from her midnight grave;
Now let thy pity hear the maid
Thy love refused to save.
"This is the dark and dreary hour,
When injur'd ghosts complain;
Now yawning graves give up their dead,
To haunt the faithless swain.
"Bethink thee, William, of thy fault,
Thy pledge, and broken oath;
And give me back my maiden vow,
And give me back my troth.
"Why did you promise love to me,
And not that promise keep?
Why did you swear mine eyes were bright,
Yet leave those eyes to weep?
"How could you say my face was fair,
And yet that face forsake?
How could you win my virgin heart,
Yet leave that heart to break?
"Why did you say my lip was sweet,
And made the scarlet pale?
And why did I, young, witless maid,
Believe the flattering tale?
"That face, alas! no more is fair,
Those lips no longer red;
Dark are my eyes, now closed in death,
And every charm has fled.
"The hungry worm my sister is;
This winding-sheet I wear;
And cold and weary lasts our night,
Till that last morn appear.
"But hark! the cock has warned me hence;
A long and last adieu!
Come see, false man, how low she lies,
Who died for love of you."
The lark sung loud, the morning smiled
With beams of rosy red;
Pale William shook in ev'ry limb,
And raving left his bed.
He hied him to the fatal place
Where Margaret's body lay,
And stretch'd him on the grass-green turf,
And wrapped her breathless clay.
And thrice he called on Margaret's name,
And thrice he wept full sore;
Then laid his cheek to her cold grave,
And word spake never more.
FOR lack of gold she has left me, O,
And of all that's dear she's bereft me, O;
She me forsook for Athole's Duke,
And to endless woe she has left me, O.
* "This song," says Burns, "was written by the late Dr. Austin,
physician at Edinburgh. He had courted a lady, to whom he was
shortly to have been married; but the Duke of Athole, having seen
her, became so much in love with her, that he made proposals of
marriage, which were accepted of, and she jilted the doctor." The
lady in question was Jean, daughter of John Drummond, Esq., of
Megginch. Her cousin, Adam Austin, M.D., Edinburgh, a native of
Kilspindie, who had been brought up from childhood within the radius
of her charms, had been paying his addresses to Miss Jean, if he was
not actually her accepted lover, when at an assembly held at Perth in
October, 1748, she met James, Duke of Athole. Duke James at this
time was a man above middle life, and a widower. He was smitten
with the charms of Jean Drummond, proposed and was accepted by
her, the marriage being solemnized in May, 1749. Surviving his
Grace, by whom she had no issue, she married, as her second husband,
Lord Adam Gordon, fourth son of Alexander, second Duke of Gordon,
A star and garter have more art
Than youth, a true and faithful heart;
For empty titles we must part —
For glittering show she has left me, O.
No cruel fair shall ever move
My injured heart again to love,
Through distant climates I must rove,
Since Jeanie she has left me, O.
Ye powers above, I to your care
Resign my faithless, lovely fair;
Your choicest blessings on her share,
Though she's for ever left me, O.
To thee my filial bosom beats,
On thee may heaven indulgent smile,
And glad thy innocent retreats,
And bless thee, lovely Aberfoyle.
How pleasing to my pensive mind
The memory of thy bold cascade,
Thy green woods waving in the wind,
And streams in every vocal glade!
and commander of the forces in Scotland. She died in 1795.
Although Dr. Austin says —
"No cruel fair shall ever move
My injured heart again to love,"
he did not keep his vow of eternal celebacy, but in 1754 married Anne
Sempill, sister of the Right Honourable Lord Sempill, by whom he had
a large family. The song, which appeared first in The Charmer, published.
in 1751, has taken a place among the popular ballads of Scotland.

The simple church, the schoolhouse green,
The gambols of the schoolboy crew,
Meadows and pools that gleam between,
Rush on my retrospective view;
Shades, too, and lanes by old age sought,
To wander in at close of day,
To ruminate the pious thought
And pray for children far away.
Timely descend, ye fostering showers!
With plenty bliss that humble vale;
And fair arise, ye fragrant flowers,
And healthful blow, thou western gale.
And there, meand'ring, Avendow,
By no invidious fen defiled;
Clear may thy youthful current flow,
And love to linger in the wild!
SAID INO, "I prefer the Rose
To every vernal flower that blows;
For when the smiling seasons fly,
And winds and rain deform the sky,
And Roses lose their vivid bloom,
Their leaves retain a sweet perfume.
Emblem of Virtue! Virtue stays
When Beauty's transient hue decays;
Nor Age, nor Fortune's frown efface
Or injure her inherent grace."
"True," answered DAPHNIS; "but observ
Unless some careful hand preserve
The leaves before their tints decay,
They fall neglected; blown away
By wintry winds and beating rains,
No vestige of perfume remains.
Some kindly hand must interpose,
For sore the wintry tempest blows,
And weak and delicate the Rose.
IN the garb of old Gaul, with the fire of old Rome,
From the heath-covered mountains of Scotia we come;
Where the Romans endeavoured our country to gain,
But our ancestors fought, and they fought not in vain.
* Mr. Whitelaw says, this song, which appears in The Lark (1765),
and also in Herd's Collection (1769), was written by Lieutenant--
General Sir Harry Erskine, Bart. and M.P., who succeeded his uncle,
the Hon. General St. Clair, in the command of the Royal Scots in
1762, and died at York in 1765. And Mr. W. Anderson, in The Scottish
Nation (1870), and Mr. Ogle in The Songs of Scotland (1871), and
other collectors, give the same authorship, with almost similar notanda.
Notwithstanding, the authorship is disputed. Colonel David Stewart
of Garth, in his Sketches of the Highlanders (1820), says: — "The
words to 'The Garb of Old Gaul' were originally composed in Gaelic,
and the officers had all assisted at the translation; the names of these
officers are recorded, but I am unwilling to mention one in preference
to another. Mr. Maclagan, the chaplain, who was himself a, poet,
composed words of his own in Gaelic to the same music; also to the
quick march of 'The Highland Laddie.'" Colonel Stewart joined the
42nd in 1789, while the traditions of the regimental song were necessarily
quite fresh. To bear himself out in the above statement lie goes
on to say: — "An intelligent officer who nearly sixty years ago (1762)
commenced a service in the 42nd Regiment relates — 'I cannot at this
distance of time recollect the name of the man who composed "The
Garb of Old Gaul," but he was from Perthshire, as also John Du
Cameron, who was drum-major when I joined, and who sang and
repeated several of the man's poems, and says that he thought his
manner of speaking the Gaelic words of "The Garb of Old Gaul" preferable
to the English. Before my time there were many poets and
bards among the soldiers. Their original compositions were generally
in praise of their officers and comrades who had fallen in battle, and
many of them beautiful.'" The late Mr. P. R. Drummond, of Perth,
says there is nothing in the song characteristic of a man in Sir Harry
Erskine's position, "but it is precisely the language of the ranks —
clever, but full of Highland. gasconade." The same writer, supporting
the claim of his native shire, further adds — "In a trial for murder, it
is absolutely necessary to have a corpus delicti, and here it will be
found in the fourth verse of the song —
Such is our love of liberty, our country, and our laws,
That, like our ancestors of old, we'll stand in freedom's
We'll bravely fight like heroes bold, for honour and
And defy the French, with all their art, to alter our
'Quebec and Cape Breton, the pride of old France,
… sued for a truce,'
and at Paris, on the 11th of February, 1763, Cape Breton was finally
ceded to the British nation and the conquest of Canada sustained.
Here was ground for exultation — here was a subject for celebration in
song; and a soldier of the 42nd composed one, and the Major set it
to music: This must have been done between February, 1763 (date of
the armistice), and October, 1765 (date of The Lark). Now, where
was Captain Erskine during these two years? Such an absurd vision
as his presence here never rose before men. There had been no Captain
Erskine for very many years. It took Reid twenty years to creep
up from Lieutenant-General to Major (two steps). How long would
it take Erskine to mount from Captain to Lieutenant-General (four
steps) in the same time? — possibly not forty years, nor thirty, nor
twenty, but certainly ten years. Thus, a Lieutenant-General of 1762
suggests a Captain of 1752, seven years before Cape Breton was disturbed
by the British. We are not only asked to believe that Captain
Erskine wrote this song in 1773, but we are left to imagine how a man
who had been, to our knowledge, six years a Lieutenant-General in
command of a brigade, a Baronet, and a Member of Parliament, could
become a Captain and the author of a regimental lyric like this."
After all that is said above, it seems to have entirely escaped the
knowledge of Mr. Drummond, and the various song-collectors previously
mentioned as well — whose finding Mr. Drummond so strenuously
and — on the line taken — successfully combats — that there are
two English versions of "The Garb of Old Gaul," and this being so,
there may be facts on both sides. Sir Harry Erskine may have written
a version of the song. Whether the original or the improved one, it
were hazardous to say — yea, even somewhat hazardous to say which
is the original and which not. Time and chance may have "mixed
those babies up" as well as have "mixed" their authors, I don't, of
course, affirm that there has been any "mixing" in the matter; only,
there are two songs and two claimants for authorship, and I simply
place these before you, my reader, make my bow, and leave you to
make your own arrangement. The tune — "The Highland or 42nd
Regiment's March" — unquestionably, was composed to General John
Reid, who bequeathed a sum of money for establishing a professorship of
music in Edinburgh College. In connection with this latter, in terms
of the testator's will, an annual concert is given in Edinburgh at
which "The Garb of Old Gaul" must be sung.
No effeminate customs our sinews embrace,
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 is our love of liberty, etc.
We're tall as the oak on the mount of the vale,
And swift as the roe which the hounds doth assail;
As the full moon in autumn our shields do appear,
Ev'n Minerva would dread to encounter our spear.
Such is our love of liberty, etc.
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 is our love of liberty, etc.
Quebec and Cape Breton, the pride of old France,
In their numbers 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 is our love of liberty, etc.
In our realm may the fury of faction long cease,
May our councils be wise, and our commerce increase;
And in Scotia's cold clime may each of us find
That our friends still prove true, and our beauties prove
Then we'll defend our liberty, our country, and our
And teach our late posterity to fight in freedom's
That they, like their ancestors bold, for honour and
Maydefy the French, with all their art, to alter our
IN the garb of old Gaul, and the fire of old Rome,
From the heath-covered mountains of Scotia we come;
On those mountains the Romans attempted to reign,
But our ancestors fought, and they fought not in vain.
Though no city nor Court of our garment approve,
'Twas presented by Mars at the senate to Jove,
And when Pallas observed at a ball 'twould look odd,
Mars received from his Venus a smile and a nod.
No intemperate tables our sinews unbrace,
Nor French faith nor French Popery our country
Still the hoarse-sounding pipe breathes the true martial
And our hearts still the true Scottish valour retain.
'Twas with anguish and woe that of late we beheld
Rebel forces rush down from the hills to the field;
For our hearts are devoted to George and the laws,
And we'll fight like true Britons in liberty's cause.
But still at a distance from Briton's lov'd shore
May her foes in confusion her mercy implore!
May her coasts ne'er with foreign invasions be spread!
Nor detested rebellion again raise its head!
May the fury of party and 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
* Copied from The Edinburgh Musical Miscellany (1792.)
As I sat by the grave, at the brink of its cave,
Lo! a featureless skull on the ground;
The symbol I clasp, and detain in my grasp,
While I turn it around and around.
Without beauty or grace, or a glance to express
Of the by-stander nigh a thought;
Its jaw and its mouth are tenantless both,
Nor passes emotion its throat.
No glow on its face, no ringlets to grace
Its brow, and no ear for my song;
Hush'd the caves of its breath, and the finger of death
The raised features hath flattened along.
The eyes' wonted beam, and the eyelids' quick gleam —
The intelligent sight, are no more;
But the worms of the soil, as they wriggle and coil,
Come hither their dwellings to bore.
No lineament here is left to declare
If monarch or chief wert thou:
Alexander the Brave, as the portionless slave
That on dunghill expires, is as low.
Thou delver of death, in my ear let thy breath
Who tenants my hand unfold,
That my voice may not die without a reply
Though the ear it addresses is cold.
Say, wert thou a may, of beauty a ray,
And flatter'd thine eye with a smile?
Thy meshes didst set, like the links of a net,
The hearts of the youth to wile?
* This poem is strongly suggestive of — what its author had almost
certainly never read — Hamlet's moralizings by Ophelia's grave.
Alas! every charm that a bosom could warm
Is changed to the grain of disgust!
Oh! fie on the spoiler for daring to soil her
Gracefulness all in the dust!
Say, wise in the law, did the people with awe
Acknowledge thy rule o'er them —
A magistrate true, to all dealing their due.
And just to redress or condemn?
Or was righteousness sold for handfuls of gold
In the scales of thy partial decree;
While the poor were unheard when their suit they
And appeal'd their distresses to thee?
Say, once in thine hour, was thy medicine of power
To extinguish the fever of ail;
And seem'd, as the pride of thy leech-craft e'en tried,
O'er omnipotent death to prevail?
Alas! that thine aid should have ever betray'd
Thy hope when the need was thine own;
What salve or annealing sufficed for thy healing
When the hours of thy portion were flown?
Or, wert thou a hero, a leader to glory,
While armies thy trencheon obey'd;
To victory cheering, as thy foemen careering
In flight, left their mountains of dead?
Was thy valiancy laid, or unhilted thy blade,
When came onwards in battle array
The sepulchre-swarms, ensheathed in their arms,
To sack and to rifle their prey?
How they joy in their spoil, as thy body the while
Besieging, the reptile is vain,
And her beetle-mate blind hums his gladness to find
His defence in the lodge of thy brain!
Some dig where the sheen of the ivory has been,
Some, the organ where music repair'd;
In rabble and rout they came in and came out
At the gashes their fangs have bared.
Do I hold in my hand a whole lordship of land,
Represented by nakedness here?
Perhaps not unkind to the helpless thy mind,
Nor all unimparted thy gear;
Perhaps stern of brow to thy tenantry thou!
To leanness their countenances grew —
'Gainst their crave for respite, when thy clamour for
Required, to a moment, its due;
While the frown of thy pride to the aged denied
To cover their head from the chill,
And humbly they stand, with their bonnet in hand,
As cold blows the blast of the hill.
Thy serfs may look on, unheeding thy frown,
Thy rents and thy mailings unpaid;
All praise to the stroke their bondage that broke!
While but claims their obeisance the dead.
Or a head do I clutch whose devices were such
That death must have lent them his sting —
So daring they were, so reckless of fear,
As Heaven had wanted a king?
Did the tongue of the lie, while it couch'd like a spy
In the haunt of thy venomous jaws,
Its slander display, as poisons its prey
The devilish snake in the grass?
That member unchained by strong bands is restrain'd,
The inflexible shackles of death;
And its emblem, the trail of the worm, shall prevail
Where its slaves once harbour'd beneath.
And, oh! if thy scorn went down to thine urn,
And expired with impenitent groan;
To repose where thou art is of peace all thy part,
And then to appear — at the throne!
Like a frog, from the lake that leapeth, to take
To the Judge of thy actions the way,
And to hear from His lips, amid nature's eclipse,
Thy sentence of termless dismay.
The hardness thy bones shall environ,
To brass-links the veins of thy frame
Shall stiffen, and the glow of thy manhood shall grow
Like the anvil that melts not in flame.
But wert thou the mould of a champion bold
For God and His truth and His law;
Oh! then, though the fence of each limb and each sense
Is broken — each gem with a flaw —
Be comforted thou! For rising in air
Thy flight shall the clarion obey;
And the shell of thy dust thou shalt leave to be crush'd,
If they will, by the creatures of prey.
YESTREEN I stood on Ben Dorain, and paced its dark
grey path,
Was there a hill I did not know — a glen, or grassy
* Donacha Ban was seventy-eight years old when, in September,
1802, on a visit to his native wilds, he wandered a whole day among
the scenes he loved so well, and then and there composed his "Last
Adieu to the Hills," which, every competent critic maintains, is the most
beautiful of all his poems.
Oh! gladly in the times of old I trod that glorious
And the white dawn melted in the sun, and the red-deer
cried around.
How finely swept the noble deer across the morning
While fearless played the fawn and doe beside the
running rill;
I heard the black and red cock crow, and the bellowing
of the deer —
I think those are the sweetest sounds that man at dawn
may hear.
Oh! wildly, as the bright day gleamed, I climbed the
mountain's breast,
And when I to my home returned, the sun was in the
'Twas health and strength, 'twas life and joy, to wander
freely there,
To drink at the fresh mountain stream, to breathe the
mountain air.
And oft I'd shelter for a time within some shieling low,
And gladly sport in woman's smile, and woman's kindness
Ah, 'twas not likely one could feel for long a joy so gay,
The hour of parting came full soon — I sighed, and went
And now the cankered, withering wind has struck my
limbs at last;
My teeth are rotten and decayed, my sight is failing
If hither now the chase should come, 'tis little I could
Though I were hungering for food, I could not now
But though my locks are hoar and thin, my beard and
whiskers white,
How often have I chased the stag with dogs full swift
of flight!
And yet, although I could not join the chase if here it
The thought of it is charming still, and sets my heart on
Ah! much as I have done of old, how ill could I wend
By glen and strath, and rocky path, up to the mountain's
How ill could I the merry cup quaff deep in social cheer!
How ill now could I sing a song in the gloaming of the
Those were the merry days of spring, the thoughtless
times of youth;
'Tis fortune watches over us, and helps our need,
Believing that, though poor enough, contentedly I live,
For George's daughter† every day my meat and drink
doth give.
Yestreen I wandered in the glen; what thoughts were
in my head!
There had I walked with friends of yore — where are
those dear ones fled!
I looked and looked; where'er I looked was nought but
sheep! sheep! sheep!
A woeful change was in the hill! World, thy deceit was
From side to side I turned mine eyes — alas! my soul
was sore —
The mountain bloom, the forest's pride, the old men
were no more —
† "George's Daughter " was the musket carried by the author as a
member of the City Guard of Edinburgh, and a servant of King George.
Nay, not one antler'd stag was there, nor doe so soft and
No bird to fill the hunter's bag — all, all were fled from
Farewell, ye forests of the heath! hills where the bright
day gleams!
Farewell, ye grassy dells! farewell, ye springs and leaping
Farewell, ye mighty solitudes, where once I loved to
dwell —
Scenes of my spring-time and its joys — for ever fare-you--
As charming Phillis, all alone,
Walk'd on the banks of Isla water,
The fish up to the surface came,
The birds on ev'ry tree did chatter.
All joined so in the harmony,
As if it was by them concerted,
How to engage her to the place,
Or how she should be there diverted.
So slowly How'd the gentle stream,
As if it meant she should discover,
By its aversion to depart,
How much it also was her lover.
But when press'd on by the next wave
Which also made all haste to have her,
It mourn'd, and murmur'd all along,
That it should be constrain'd to leave her.
Then Phœbus lifted up his head
To see this much admired creature,
He blush'd that she should him exceed,
And spread his rays o'er ev'ry feature.
Thinking that, by his scorching heat,
He should have made those eyes to cover,
That him of light and life defeat,
And made each creature her fond lover.
But whilst she then did him attack,
The nimble deer came out to meet her,
And to their silent shades and groves,
With all their art they did invite her.
With armed heads and winged heels,
So cheerfully they tripp'd before her;
And when she stood they stop'd and gaz'd
As if they humbly would adore her.
By accident I passed by,
While thus each creature she alarms;
None was more captivate than I,
Nor more engaged to her charms.
I fix'd mine eyes on ev'ry part,
And them I turn'd up to heav'n,
Wishing the gods might send relief
To cure the wound that she had giv'n.
POOR Struan's eyes are closed, he lies
Now in death's darksome shade;
His cheerful voice and mirthful joys
Are all in silence laid;
In this he err'd, that he preferr'd
The man he hated most
To be his heir, and took not care
Till his estate was lost.
He in his life had not a wife
Among the human race;
But the nine lasses of Parnassus
By turns he did embrace;
No children did from him proceed
Of the terrestrial kind,
But thousands stand in well-ranged bands,
The produce of his mind;
These will show forth his fame and worth
Through ages to ensue;
No time can waste, nor envy blast
A character so true.
What he desired he ne'er acquired,
And that was once to see
Each ancient lord to's own restored
And James supreme to be;
But all may know that here below
None can be satisfied;
For all men wish some certain bliss
That is by heaven denied.
But now his shade is from us fled,
And joined the seraphs blest,
There to complete the numbers sweet
That here he oft express'd.
Let Scotsmen all, both great and small,
Lament the death of Struan,
And every thing that seems to bring
About their country's ruin.
FOR success a prayer, with a farewell, bear
To the warriors dear of the muir and the valley —
The lads that convene in their plaiding of green,
With the curtal coat and the sweeping eil-e.
In their belts array'd, where the dark blue blade
Is hung, with the dirk at the side;
When the sword is at large, and uplifted the targe,
Ha! not a foe the boys will abide.
The followers in peril of Ian the Earl,
The race of the wight of hand;
Sink the eyes of the foe, of the friend's mounts the
When the Murdoch's high blood takes command.
With Loudon to lead ye, the wise and the steady,
The daring in fight and the glorious,
Like the lightning ye'll rush, with the sword's bright
And return to your mountain victorious.
Oh, sons of the lion! your watch is the wildlands,
The garb of the Highlands is mingled with blue,
Though the target and bosses are bright in the Highlands,

The axe in your hands might be blunted well, too.
Then forward — and see ye be huntsmen true,
And, as erst the red-deer felling,
So fell ye the Gaul, and so strike ye all
The tribes in the backwoods dwelling.
Where ocean is roaring, let top-sails be towering,
And sails to the motion of helm be flying;
Though high as the mountain, or smooth as the fountain,

Or fierce as the boiling floods angrily crying;
Though the tide with a stroke be assailing the rock,
Oh, once let the pibroch's wild signal be heard,
Then the waves will come bending in dimples befriending,

And beckoning the friends of their country on board.
The ocean-tide's swelling, its fury is quelling,
In salute of thunder proclaiming your due;
And methinks that the hum of a welcome is come,
And is warbling the Jorram to you.
When your levy is landed, oh, bright as the pearls
Shall the strangers who welcome you, gladly, and
Speak beautiful thoughts; aye, the beautiful girls
From their eyes shall the tears o'er the ruby be
And encounter ye, praying, from the storm and the
"From the stranger, the enemy, save us, oh, save!
From rapine and plunder, oh, tear us asunder,
Our noble defenders are ever the brave!"
"If the fondest ye of true lovers be,"
So cries each trembling beauty,
"Be bold in the fight, and give transport's delight
To your friends and the fair, by your duty."
"Oh, yes!" shall the beautiful hastily cry:
"Oh, yes!" in a word, shall the valiant reply;
"By our womanly faith we pledge you for both,
For where'er we contract, and where'er we betroth,
We vow with the daring to die!"
Faithful to trust is the lion-like host,
Whom the dawn of their youth cloth inure
To hunger's worst ire, and to action's bold fire,
And to ranging the wastes of the moor.
Accustom'd so well to each enterprise snell,
Be the chase or the warfare their quarry;
Aye ever they fight the best for the right,
To the strike of the swords when they hurry.
Do you weep for the woes of poor wandering Nelly
I love you for that, but I love now no more;
All I had long ago lies entomb'd with my Billy,
Whose grave rises green on Corunna's lone shore.
* Mr. P. B. Drummond, in Perthshire in Byegone Days, says: —
The chain of unfortunate circumstances which suggested to the mind
of Andrew Sharpe the composition of the ode, 'Corunna's Lone
Oh! they tell me my Billy looked noble when dying,
That round him the noblest in battle stood crying,
While from his deep wound life's red floods were
At evening's pale close on Corunna's lone shore.
That night Billy died, as I lay on my pillow,
I thrice was alarmed by a knock at my door;
Thrice my name it was called in a voice soft and mellow,
And thrice did I dream of Corunna's lone shore.
Shore,' was shortly this. In the year 1808, William Herdman, a
handsome and well-conducted young tradesman, lived in a land of
houses facing the river, which has been lately removed to make way
for Tay Street, and on the opposite side dwelt Ellen Rankine, whose
father was gardener at Bellwood. Frequently passing and repassing
across the river, the two formed a fond mutual attachment, which was
about to resolve itself into their becoming man and wife, when a misunderstanding
of a very trivial nature arose between Herdman and
Ellen's father, which became aggravated into a quarrel, and the young
man, being too proud to submit, took revenge on all by enlisting in
the 92nd Regiment, then under orders for foreign service. Within a
few months he was carrying a musket and knapsack across the trodden
and hungry orange groves of Old Castile, and under Sir David Baird,
eventually joined Sir John Moore's retreat upon Corunna. The same
evening, the 16th of January, 1809, that they buried Sir John Moore
in the centre of the battery at Corunna, they buried William Herdman
under the green turf on the outside of the battery walls, and within a
few feet of the ebbing and flowing waters of the Bay of Biscay.
The first news William Herdman's father and mother heard of him,
after his enlistment, were the news of his death — terribly distracting
news to them, accompanied as they were with full details of his last
moments on the field of battle.
Andrew Sharpe had observed that, since Herdman's departure, Ellen
Rankine was greatly changed. Her passionate blue eyes had begun to
fade, and her luxuriant brown hair, the pride of better days, to get
tangled and dry; but when the news of his death came she sank into
helpless idiocy, and, despite the careful watchings of her distressed
parents, she stole from them in a luckless moment, and, taking the
back of the hill, went crooning and singing for a whole week away
through the howe of Strathmore, the burden of her song taken no
doubt from Sharpe —
Oh! Corunna's lone shore.
The interest taken in the beautiful but crazed maiden, and the kindness
shown to her wherever she went, have been the theme of many a
story. She has been described by those who had seen her as walking
at a rapid pace, bare-headed and bare-footed, waving a red handkerchief
in her right hand, and under her white, naked left arm carrying
her masses of brown hair tied up in an inextricable bundle."
Methought Billy stood on the beach where the billow
Boom'd over his head, breaking loud, long, and hollow,
In his hand he held waving a flag of green willow,
"Save me, God!" he exclaimed on Corunna's lone
And now when I mind on't, my dear Billy told me,
While tears wet his eyes, but those tears are no more,
At our parting, he never again would behold me,
'Twas strange, then I thought on Corunna's lone shore.
But shall I ne'er see him when drowsy-eyed night falls,
When through the dark arch Luna's tremulous light
As o'er his new grave slow the glow-worm of night
And ghosts of the slain trip Corunna's lone shore?
Yes, yes, on this spot shall these arms enfold him,
For here hath he kissed me a thousand times o'er;
How bewildered's my brain, now methinks I behold
All bloody and pale on Corunna's lone shore.
Come away, my sweetheart, come in haste, my dear
On the wind's wafting wing to thy languishing Nelly;
I've got kisses in store, I've got secrets to tell thee,
Come, ghost of my Bill, from Corunna's lone shore.
Oh! I'm told that my blue eyes have lost all their
That my locks, once so yellow, now wave thin and
'Tis, they tell me, because I'm so restless to wander,
And from thinking so much on Corunna's lone shore.
But, God help me, where shall I go to forget him,
If to father's, at home in each corner I meet him,
The arbour, alas! where he used aye to seat him,
Says, "Think, Nellie, think on Corunna's lone shore."
And here as I travel all tattered and torn,
By bramble and briar, over mountain and moor,
Ne'er a bird bounds aloft to salute the new morn,
But warbles aloud, "Oh! Corunna's lone shore."
It is heard in the blast when the tempest is blowing,
It is heard in the white broken waterfall flowing,
It is heard in the songs of the reaping and mowing,
Oh, my poor bleeding heart! Oh, Corunna's lone
Row weel, my boatie, row weel,
Row weel, my merry men, a',
For there's dool arid there's was in Glenflorich's bowers,
And there's grief in my father's ha'.
And the skiff it danced light on the merry wee waves,
And it flew o'er the water sae blue,
And the wind it blew light, and the moon it shone
But the boatie ne'er reached Allandhu.
Ohon! for fair Ellen, ohon!
Ohon! for the pride of Strathcoe, —
In the deep, deep sea, in the salt, salt bree,
Lord Reoch, thy Ellen lies low.
Now Winter's wind sweeps o'er the mountains,
Deeply clad in drifting snow;
* This beautiful song was set to music by the author's friend, Mr. R.
A. Smith, and was long a concert favourite throughout Scotland.
Soundly sleep the frozen fountains,
Ice-bound streams forget to flow:
The piercing blast howls loud and long,
The leafless forest oaks among.
Down the glen, lo! comes a stranger,
Wayworn, drooping, all alone:—
Haply, 'tis the deer-haunt ranger!
But alas! his strength is gone!
He stoops, he totters on with pain, —
The hill he'll never climb again.
Age is being's, winter season,
Fitful, gloomy, piercing cold;
Passion, weaken'd, yields to reason,
Man feels then himself grown old;
His senses one by one have fled,
His very soul seems almost dead.
A'E nicht when I ga'e owre my wark,
An' took a range doun thro' the park,
It was na late, but yet was dark
Thro' a' the nation,
For nox had spread his sable sark
Owre the creation.
Syne just as I gaed owre the hicht,
Doun in the howe there was a licht,
That put me in an eerie fricht —
I maist did swoon,
Yet I gaed on to see the sicht,
An' sat me doun.
Syne Hornie did present himsel';
I didna like his seety smell,
Nor yet could I his likeness tell,
It was sae queer,
He looked as he had been in hell
For mony a year.
"Auld lad," quo' I, "ye are na' blate,
To pitch your tent on our estate,
I redd you gae some ither gate
Before the morn;
Than you, I'm sure, a greater cheat
Was never born."
"Young man," quo' he, "gin that be a
For whilk you do me sae misca',
Your reasons are na' worth a flaw;
I winna lee,
Amo' yoursel's there's hunders twa,
Waur cheats than me.
"Witness M'Ommie o' Newmill,
I wish that he may burn his kiln,
For mony a time he's dune me ill,
An' I'm afraid
My cheatin' trade he'll fairly spill,
An' brak' my bread.
"He rides an' rins to ilka airth,
He squeezes a' the shire o' Perth,
He's the first man that rises dearth
Amo' the meal;
There's not a rub like him on earth,
Nor yet in hell.
"Just here upon St. John's-day fair,
He to Perth Borough did repair,
Among meal-sellers raised a steer,
That greedy snake;
He gar'd them hicht their costly ware
Two-pence a peck.
"It's but of late that he did tell
The honest fouks about Dunkel',
Had he a sharper till himsel'
They dung should eat,
An' gar them their ain bairns fell,
To be their meat.
"Guid corn he buys up for meal,
An' manufactures them for sale,
But micht as weel your siller steal
Out o' your hand;
To mix them up he does na fail
Wi' dust an' sand."
"Ay, ay," quoth I, "you're fairly out,
Your bread is broken here, I doubt,
But micht na ye tak' him a clowt,
An' drive him blae?
There's no a puir man hereabout
That wad be wae."
Quo' he, "I had him ance on wing,
An' ready for to tak' his swing,
He wad hae danced his hin'most spring
Upo' the gallows,
But his vile servants lowsed the string —
Shame fa' the fellows.
"But I've been thinkin' o' a plot,
Whilk aiblins yet will be his lot;
My bastard son will gie'm a shot
Thro' head an' brains,
Or draw a whittle owre his throat,
To mak' amends.
"Syne I'll provide for him a lodgin',
Where he maun gae spite o' his grudgin';
For a' his wiles, an' his hudgemudgin',
He'll be nae fainer;
I'll pluck his wings, like ony pigeon
Fit for a dinner.
"The worm within his soul shall gnaw,
An' I without will gie'm the law,
While nane will say for him fu's a'?'
Nor for him care;
I'll place him in the squeezer raw,
An' haud him there."
AND must I die, and leave this earth?
Must I my soul resign
To that great God who gave me birth,
Infinite and divine?
Must I before the judgment-seat
Of my Creator come,
Where everyone, both small and great,
Receive their final doom?
Is heaven prepared for God's elect?
Are sinners sent to hell?
In one of these must I expect
For evermore to dwell?
Yes, true it is that I must die,
And at God's bar appear,
Nor from his presence can I fly —
He's present everywhere.
If I to Heaven be doomed to go,
His presence fills the Throne,
Where countless millions, bending low,
Adore the great Three-One.
If I in hell be doomed to spend,
Mine endless years in pain,
There sovereign mercy's at an end,
Strict justice then remains.
A fiery deluge God maintains,
From vials of His rage,
That swell through all those dire domains,
And never will assuage.
O thou, my soul, when wilt thou fly
To shun those scenes of horror?
When God Himself's thine enemy,
And every object terror.
Fly to the Saviour, and confess
Thy sins, which many be,
Pray that His spotless righteousness
He may impute to thee.
Lord, bring me to that happy place,
Where doth Thine honour dwell;
Make me a trophy of Thy grace,
Triumphant over hell!
And tune my heart, that I may sing
That sweet celestial song,
Which will cause heaven's wide arches ring
Eternity along.
AIR. — "Hey tutti taiti."
I'M wearin' awa', John,
Like snaw-wreaths in thaw, John,
I'm wearin' awa'
To the land o' the leal.
* By reason of the delicate beauty of this lyric, and the fact that it
appeared first of all anonymously, and only a short time after Burns's
death, whilst unknown poems and songs of his were still frequently
being discovered, it was, in its still well-known tinkered form —
"Jean" being substituted for "John" — made to appear as Burns's
last song to his wife. As this, too, it was long popularly accepted,
There's nae sorrow there, John,
There's neither cauld nor care, John,
The day is aye fair
In the land o' the leal.
although no editor of Burns, happily, was led to incorporate it in his
collected works. For nearly half a century the most ingenious and
indefatigable collectors and editors of Scottish songs endeavoured to
penetrate the secret of the authorship without success. In his Songs
of Scotland, published at Edinburgh in 1848, Mr. G. Farquhar Graham
includes "The Land o' the Leal," with the following note: — "The
excellent verses here given were published about the year 1800; the
author is still unknown. The words were originally 'I'm wearin'
awa', John;' they seem to have been altered with the intention of
making the song appear to be the parting address of Burns to his wife.
The fifth and seventh stanzas have generally been omitted, and it is
doubtful whether the latter is not an interpolation by a different
hand." In Mr. Graham's version the following stanzas have been interpolated:

"Ye've been leal and true, Jean,
Your task is ended noo, Jean,
And I'll welcome you
To the land o' the leal.
"A' our friends are gane, Jean,
We've lang been left alane, Jean,
We'll a' meet again
In the land o' the leal."
After an extensive correspondence, it was the privilege of the late
Dr. Charles Rogers to make known to the world who was the author
of the song, and to relate the affecting circumstances under which it
was produced. Briefly stated, the facts are as follows:— In the course
of the year 1798, whilst Carolina Oliphant (afterwards Baroness
Nairne) was staying with her brother's family in the North of England,
Mrs. Campbell Colquhoun, of Killermont, an early and attached friend
of the poetess, had to mourn the death of her first-born child, which
had died when scarcely a year old. When tidings of her friend's
bereavement reached her, Carolina despatched to her a letter of condolence,
accompanied by the verses which have since become so dear to
every Scottish heart. Mrs. Colquhoun was entreated not to divulge
the authorship, and she strictly fulfilled her friend's request, for she
did not entrust any one with the secret. "Many years after," says
Dr. Rogers, "when Lady Nairne was verging on old age, she wrote
concerning the origin of 'The Land o' the Leal' in these words'"The
Land o' the Leal" is a happy rest for the mind in this dark
pilgrimage …. O, yes! I was young then. I wrote it merely
because I liked the air so much, and I put these words to it, never
fearing questions as to the authorship. However, a lady would know,
and took it down, and I had not Sir Walter's art of denying. I was
present when it was asserted that Burns composed it on his death-bed,
and that he had it Jean instead of John, but the parties could not
Our bonnie bairn's there, John,
She was baith gude 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'ning e'e, John,
My saul langs to be free, John,
And angels beckon me
To the land o' the leal.
Oh! haud ye leal and true, John,
Your day it's wearin' through, John,
And I'll welcome you
To the land o' the leal.
decide why it never appeared in his works, as his last song should have
done. I never answered.'"
In its original form, it may be remarked, the song consisted of seven
four-line verses. At a subsequent period, when the writer became
more enlightened respecting the Gospel scheme, she incorporated these
"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 leak"
Three double stanzas, as a rule, only are sung, or printed even in the
collections, the third being omitted. Altogether, "The Land o' the
Leal" is a song of the purest womanly affection, the sex of the writer
being made conspicuously evident in the verse beginning —
"Our bonnie bairn's there, John."
It is a mother's thought that Heaven will be more dear and desirable
because her child is there. And why the tinkered version has maintained
a greater popularity than the original must be a puzzle to
people of the finest taste. Henceforth, by all means, let the word be
"John," and not "Jean."
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.
THE Laird o' Cockpen, he's proud and he's great;
His mind is ta'en up wi' affairs o' the state;
He wanted a wife his braw house to keep;
But favour wi' wooin' was fashious to seek.
* The authorship of "The Laird o' Cockpen" has been variously
attributed to Sir Alexander Boswell, the son of the famous biographer
of Johnson, and himself the undisputed author of several popular
songs, including "Jenny Hang the Weaver," "Jenny's Bawbee," and
others; to Miss Ferrier, the authoress of Marriage and Destiny, and
other novels of distinguished merit; and to Baroness Nairne, the
authoress of "The Land o' the Leal." Nowadays, and with good
reason, it is universally ascribed to the last-named writer. Lady
Nairne composed the song in the Auld House of Gask, while she was
still young, and the name M'Clish, contained in the second verse,
may have been suggested to her by that of the parish minister of
Gask, who, in 1746, refused to pray for the family, and rode to Perth
to bring on them the vengeance of the Duke of Cumberland. Old Mr.
Oliphant of Gask wrote — "May God forgive the minister, as I do;"
and the authoress must often have heard her father deprecate the
conduct of the heartless ecclesiastic. The song was written by Lady
Nairne with a view to supersede an older set of words which were
connected with the air, "When she cam' ben she bobbit," and which
were much in vogue on account of the excellence of the melody. The
older version, entitled "Cockpen," and believed to belong to the reign
of Charles II., was exceptional on the score of refinement. Burns
purged it of its indecencies, but left a poor enough song when that was
done. Let us see: —
"O, when she cam' ben she bobbit fu' law,
O, when she cam' ben she bobbit fu' law;
And when she cam' ben she kissed Cockpen,
And syne she denied that she did it at a'.
And wasna Cockpen richt saucy witha',
And wasna Cockpen richt saucy witha',
In leaving the dochter of a lord,
And kissing a collier lassie an' a'?
Down by the dyke-side a lady did dwell,
At his table-head he thought she'd look well;
M'Clish's a'e daughter o' Clavers-ha' Lee,
A penniless lass wi' a lang pedigree.
O, never look down, my lassie, at a',
O, never look down, my lassie, at a',
Thy lips are as sweet, and thy figure complete,
As the finest dame in castle or ha'.
Though thou has nae silk and holland sae sma',
Though thou hae nae silk and holland sae sma',
Thy coat and thy sark are thy ain handywark,
And Lady Jean was never sae braw."
How much Lady Nairne here improved on Burns does not require to
be pointed out. The song as it left her ladyship's hands forms a
lyrical character sketch unexcelled in British literature, Some persons,
however, will not let well alone; and Miss Ferrier, the novelist, or
some one else, added two verses which have followed the song like an
ill-conditioned ghost, and bring ruin on the splendid conception on
every occasion where they are allowed to intrude. They are these: —
"And now that the Laird. his exit had made,
Mrs. 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 weel-tappit hen,
But as yet there's nae chickens appeared at Cockpen."
It is a gross violation of artistic taste, and utterly at variance with the
character of the Laird of Cockpen, as expressed in the original song;
to insinuate even that the woman who once refused the offer of his
hand should ever receive another opportunity. Why, look at the
man! "He was proud, he was great." His mind was absorbed in
State affairs. He wanted a wife to adorn the head of his table — not
to love. He condescended to ask Miss M'Clish of Clavers-ha'Lee.
Was "dumfoundered" when she refused him. But not heart-broken,
mark you; for "nae sigh did he gie." He went off in a rage, indeed,
"And after he thought, as he rade through the glen,
She's daft to refuse the Laird o' Cockpen."
Miss M'Clish's answer, too — so coolly decisive, and so creditable to
her — left no hope for further advances. She never hesitated a second,
but coldly said
And wi' a laich curtsey she turned awa'."
There was an end to the wooing at that point at once and for ever, and
there the song should end.
His wig was weel pouther'd, as gude as when new,
His waistcoat was white, his coat it was blue;
He put on a ring, a sword, and cock'd hat, —
And wha could refuse the Laird wi' a' that?
He took the gray mare and rade cannilie,
And rapped at the yeti o' Clavers-ha' 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-flower wine;
"And what brings the Laird at sic a like time?"
She put aff her apron, and on her silk gown,
Her mutch wi' red ribbons, and gaed awa' down.
As to the real Laird of Cockpen — the hero of the old song of the
same name — an anecdote has been preserved which affords some idea
of his odd character. He is represented as having been the attached
friend of his Sovereign. And having been engaged with his countrymen
at the battle of Worcester in the cause of Charles, be accompanied
the Monarch to Holland, and forming one of the little Court at the
Hague, amused his royal master by his humour, and especially by his
skill in Scottish music. In playing the tune "Brose and Butter" he
particularly excelled. And it became a request of the King that he
should be lulled to sleep every night and wakened every morning by
this enchanting air. At the Restoration, Cockpen found his estate
confiscated for his attachment to the royal cause, and had the mortification
to discover that he had suffered on behalf of an ungrateful
Prince, who gave no response to his many petitions for the restoration
of his inheritance. Visiting London, he was denied an audience, but
he still entertained the hope that, by securing a personal conference
with the King, he might attain his object. 'to accomplish this, he had
recourse to the following artifice. He formed an intimacy with the
organist of the Chapel-Royal, and obtained permission to officiate as
his substitute when the King came to service. All going as he had
wished, at the dismissal he struck up His Majesty's old favourite,
"Brose and Butter." The artifice succeeded. The King proceeded to
the organ-gallery, where he found Cockpen, whom he saluted
familiarly, declaring he had "almost made him dance." "I could
dance, too," said Cockpen, "if I had my lands again." The request to
which every other entreaty could gain no response, was yielded to the
power of music. Cockpen was restored to his possessions. The
estate, it may be worth noting, which is situated in the parish of
Cockpen, in Edinburghshire, is now the property of the Earl of Dalhousie.

And when she cam ben, he bowed fu' low;
And what was his errand he soon let her know;
Amazed was the Laird when the lady said, "Na,"
And wi' a laich curtsey she turned awa'.
Dumfoundered he stood, but nae sigh did he gie;
He mounted his mare, and he rade cannilie;
And aften he thought as he rade through the glen,
"She's daft to refuse the Laird o' Cockpen."
OH, the auld house, the auld house,
What tho' the rooms were wee!
Oh! kind hearts were dwelling there,
And bairnies fu' o' glee;
The wild rose and the jessamine
Still hang upon the wa',
How mony cherish'd memories
Do they, sweet flowers, reca'!
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 shelter'd Scotland's heir,
And clipt a lock wi' her ain hand †
Frae his lang yellow hair.
* The old house of Gask in which Lady Nairne was born. It stood
on a hill, overlooking the Earn, about fifty yards below the present
mansion, which was commenced in 1801. Being much infested by
rats, which on one occasion assailed the baby heir in his cradle, it was
pulled down, with the exception of a small portion left to mark the site.
† In this description the poetess afterwards acknowledged she had
indulged a poetic license. The lock was acquired under circumstances
less romantic. "I enclose," she writes to an Edinburgh friend, "a
The mavis still Both sweetly sing,
The bluebells sweetly blaw,
The bonny Earn's clear winding still,
But the auld house is awa'.
The auld house, the auld house,
Deserted tho' ye 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 often 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 mair.
For they are a' wide scattered now,
Some to the Indies gane,
And ane, alas! to her lang hame;
Not here we'll meet again.
The kirkyard, the kirkyard!
Wi' flowers 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 doon!
The cloudy splendour raised our hearts
To cloudless skies aboon!
few of Charlie's hairs which were given to my grandmother, Strowan,
the day they were cut, by the man who cut them, one John Stewart,
an attendant of the Prince. This is marked on the paper in her own
handwriting. I have heard her mention this John Stewart, who
dressed the Prince's hair. The writing had been done in James's lifetime,
for an outer paper is marked. 'The King's hair,' to correct the
inner, which is inscribed 'The Prince's hair.'"
* "I have heard," writes Mr. Kington Oliphant, "one of the
bairnies of the song, then an old woman, reproach herself for having
cribbed pears from the auld pear tree."
The auld dial, the auld dial,
It tauld how time did pass;
The wintry winds hae dung it doon,
Noo hid 'mang weeds and grass.
"YE'LL mount, gudeman; ye'll mount and ride;
Ye'll cross the burn, syne down the loch side,
Then up 'mang the hills, thro' the muir and the heather
And join great Argyle where loyal men gather."
* In a note appended to this song in Lays from Strathearn, the
heroine is described as one of the Homes of Wedderburn. This seems
to be an error. Margaret Blair Carnegie and John, twelfth Lord Gray,
were married in 1741, when, as the result of said union, the estate of
Kinfauns passed to the noble House of Gray, which still retains it.
The anecdote of the kettle is historical. Lord Gray hail, as Lord--
Lieutenant of Perthshire, waited on the Duke of Cumberland at
Dundee, when his Royal Highness was there on his way to the North
to quench the Rebellion of 1745 in the blood of Culloden. He was
coldly received by the haughty Hanoverian, and felt so insulted that
he rode home hastily to Kinfauns determined to immediately join the
standard of Prince Charlie. His lady knew too well his lordship's
obstinate temper to appear to oppose him in his determination, but,
as he complained of fatigue, she recommended him to have his feet
bathed. before retiring to rest. She lovingly herself undertook the
bathing process, and when his lordship's unclothed limbs were placed
in the bath, she, through an apparent awkward blunder, spilled a kettle
of boiling water on them, and exclaimed, "Let them join the Prince
that may, yell stay at hame and be Laird o' Kinfauns." The Baron
was so scalded that he was not able to leave his room for several weeks;
and in the meantime, the public career of Prince Charlie had closed on
Drummossie Moor.
Exercising the poet's license, the authoress has made it appear that
it was not in feet-bathing, but in making a "dish" for his lordship,
before he should leave, that the kettle was "coupit" as also that there
was an argument between the couple which led up to the leg-scalding
"Indeed, honest luckie, I think ye're no blate,
To bid loyal men gang ony sic gate;
For I'm gaun to fecht for true loyaltie,
Had the Prince ne'er anither, he still will ha'e me."
"About Charlie Stuart we ne'er could agree;
But dearie, for ance, be counsell'd by me;
Tak' nae pairt at a'; bide quietly at hame,
And ne'er heed a Campbell, M'Donald, or Graham."
"Na, na, gudewife, for that winna do,
My Prince is in need, his friends they are few;
I aye lo'ed the Stuarts: I'll join them the day:
Sae gi'e me my boots, for my boots I will ha'e."
"Oh! saftly, gudeman, I think ye're gane mad;
I ha'e na the heart to preen on your cockaud;
The Prince, as ye ca' him, will never succeed;
Ye'll lose your estate, and maybe your head."
"Come, cheer ye, my dear, and dry up your tears!
I ha'e my hopes, and I ha'e my fears;
But I'll raise my men, and a' that is given,
To aid the gude cause — then leave it to Heaven.
"But, haste ye now, haste ye, for I maun be gaun,
The mare's at the yett, the bugle is blawn,
Gie me my bonnet, it's far in the day,
I'm no for a dish, there's nae time to stay."
"Oh, dear! tak' but ane, it may do ye ode!"
But what ails the woman? she surely is mad!
She's lifted the kettle, but somehow it coup'd
On the legs o' the laird, wha roar'd and wha loup'd.
"I'm brint! I'm brint! how cam' it this way?
I fear I'll no ride for mony a day!
Send aff the men, and to Prince Charlie say,
My heart is wi' him, but I'm tied by the tae."
The wily wife fleech'd, and the laird didna see,
The smile on her cheek thro' the tear in her e'e —
"Had I kent the gudeman wad ha'e had siccan pain,
The kettle, for me, sud hae coupit its lane."
HECH! hey! the mirth that was there,
The mirth that was there,
The mirth that was there;
Hech! how! the mirth that was there,
In Kitty Reid's house on the green, jo.
* A short way east of the Cross, on the South side of the High Street
of Perth, is a house, in the front of which a marble stone is inserted,
bearing the arms of the Mercers of Aldie and Meikleour. and with this
inscription, "Here stood the House of the Green." It was on this
spot, according to the legend, that the British temple dedicated to
Mars stood, in which Agricola is said to have worshipped, and which
had been built by the son of Regan, who governed Britain long before
the birth of the Saviour. The house raised by the Mercers on this site
early in the fifteenth century, after having been long their town residence,
was demolished in the seventeenth century; and was succeeded
by that which was called "The House of the Green." This latter was
a famous hostelry, and the favourite resort of the country lairds. Its
hostess, when it was in the height of its popularity, was one Kitty
There was laughin' an' singin', an' dancin' an' glee,
In Kitty Reid's house, in Kitty Reid's house;
There was laughin' an' singin', an' dancin' an' glee,
In Kitty Reid's house on the green, jo.
Hech! hey! the fright that was there,
The fright that was there,
The fright that was there,
Hech! how! the fright that was there,
In Kitty Reid's house on the green, jo.
The light glimmer'd in thro' a crack i' the wa',
An' a' body thought the lift it wad fa',
An' lads an' lasses they sune ran awa',
Frae Kitty Reid's house on the green, jo.
Hech! hey! the dule that was there,
The dule that was there,
The dule that was there,
The birds an' beasts it wauken'd them a',
In Kitty Reid's house on the green, jo.
Reid, whence it was also called "Kitty Reid's House." An old song
of which it was the subject names many of the guests who were in the
habit of frequenting it: —
"Kirkpottie, Kintullo, Pitcur, en' Laird Rollo,
Cam' a' to this house, to Kitty Reid's house;
Invermay, Monivaird, Balbeggie, Kinnaird,
Cam' a' to the house on the green, jo.
Hech, hey, the mirth that was there, etc.,
Gan' tell Tullylum, that he's wanted to come,
To Kitty Reid's house, to Kitty Reid's house;
Tell Bousie, an' Kerr, an' Ruthven the peer,
To come to the house on the green, jo.
Hech, hey, the mirth that was there, etc.,
Most of these would be familiar names to Lady Nairne, but that
fact alone did not lead her to the composition of her own version of the
song, as Dr. Rogers infers. The verses themselves afford the clearest
evidence that they were written to hit off the serio-comic terror and
confusion which had been caused to a social party by the collapse of a
part, or the whole, of the ramshackle building.
The wa' gie'd a hurly an' scattered them a',
The piper, the fiddler, an' Kitty an' a',
The kye fell a-routin', the cocks they did craw,
In Kitty Reid's house on the green, jo.
WHA'LL buy my caller herrin'?
They're bonnie fish and halesome farin';
Wha'll buy my caller herrin',
New drawn frae the Forth?
When ye were sleepin' on your pillows,
Dreamed ye aught of our puir fellows,
Darkling as they faced the billows,
A' to fill the woven willows?
Buy my caller herrin',
New drawn frae the Forth.
Wha'll buy my caller herrin'?
They're no brought here without great darin';
Buy my caller herrin',
Haul'd through wind and rain.
Wha'll buy my caller herrin'? etc.
Wha'll buy my caller herrin'?
Oh, ye may ca' them vulgar farin',
Wives and mithers, waist despairin',
Ca' them lives o' men.
Wha'll buy my caller herrin'? etc.
* This song was written for the benefit of Nathaniel Gow, musical
composer, son of the more celebrated Niel Gow. The MS., written in
a borrowed hand, was conveyed to Gow by an Edinburgh gentlewoman,
to whom Lady Nairne had confided her great secret. In the
letter which enclosed the song to her friend, the Authoress wrote: —
"If it is to be any use to Nathaniel, perhaps it should be dedicated to
the Duchess of Athole.". The advice was followed, and the words
together with Gow's music have often been printed.
When the creel o' herrin' passes,
Ladies clad in silk and laces,
Gather in their braw pelisses,
Cast their heads and screw their faces.
Wha'll buy my caller herrin'? etc.
Caller herrin's no got lightly,
He can trip the spring fu' tightly,
Spite o' tauntin', flauntin', flingin',
Gow has set you a' a-singin'.
Wha'll buy my caller herrin'? etc.
Neebour wives, now tent my tellin';
When the bonnie fish ye're sellin',
At a'e word be in your dealin' —
Truth will stand when a' thing's failin'.
Wha'll buy my caller herrin'? etc.
HEY the rantin' Murray's Ha'
Mirth and glee amang them a'!
The courtly laird, the leddy braw,
They'll welcome ye to Murray's Ha'.
Come ye hungry, come ye dry,
Nane had ever need to wait;
Come ye brisk, or come ye shy,
They'll meet ye or ye're at the yett.
* At the hospitable residence of Mr. John Graeme Murray, Carolina
Oliphant and her sisers spent many happy days during the period of
their youth. The "General" whose valour is commended in the song
is the celebrate Thomas Graham of Balgowan, the hero of Barossa,
afterwards Lord d Lyndoch, who was a near relation of the Laird of
Murray's Hall. The details of the story of the ghaist that haunted the
Ha' have not come down to the present day; but if it be true that the
apparition was frightsome enough to send terror to thet soul of the
gallant Graham he may be considered to have quit the district for the
district's good.
Some were feastin' in the ha',
Some at sports upon the green;
Peggie, flower amang them a',
Dancin' like a Fairy Queen.
Blythest o' my blythesome days
I ha'e spent at Murray's Ha',
But oh, my heart was like to break
When I saw Peggie gang awa'.
Whan she gaed, or why gaed she,
Few were there that weel could tell;
I thought it was to lightlie me —
She maybe scarcely kenn'd hersel'.
They said a ghaist was in the wa',
Sometimes aneath, sometimes aboon;
A' body heard — naebody saw,
But a' were sure they'd see it soon.
Some say the General, honest man
That fear'd na bullets, great or soma',
Wad rather face the Mons Meg gun
Than meet the ghaist o' Murray's Ha'.
'Tis no the gate I think ava,
To lay a ghaist wi' mirth and glee,
Scholar'd lads and lasses brave
Need nae ghaist nor goblin dree.
OH! rowan tree, oh! rowan tree, thou'lt aye be dear
to me;
Entwin'd thou art wi' mony ties o' hame and infancy.
Thy leaves were aye the first o' spring, thy flow'rs the
simmer's pride;
There was na sic a bonnie tree in a' the country side.
Oh! rowan tree.
How fair wert thou in simmer time, wi' a' thy clusters
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.
We sat aneath thy spreading shade, the bairnies round
thee ran,
They pu'd thy bonnie berries red, and necklaces they
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, singing the
Martyr's psalm!
Now a' are gane! we meet nae mair aneath the rowan
But hallowed thoughts around thee twine o' hame and
Oh! rowan tree.
WI' a hundred pipers, an' a', an' a',
Wi' a hundred pipers, an' a' an' a';
We'll up an' gie them a blaw, a blaw,
Wi' a hundred pipers, an' a' an' a'.
* On receiving the submission of the civic authorities and the
surrender of the castle, Prince Charles Edward entered Carlisle, on
Oh, it's ower the Border awa', awa',
It's ower the Border awa', awa';
We'll on an' we'll march to Carlisle Ha',
Wi' it's yetts, it's castle, an' a' an' a'.
Oh, our sodger lads looked braw, looked braw,
Wi' their tartan kilts, an' a', an' a',
Wi' their bonnets, and feathers, and glittering gear,
And pibrochs sounding sweet and clear.
Will they a' return to their ain dear glen?
Will they a' return, our Highland men?
Second-sichted Sandy looked fu' wae,
And mithers grat when they marched away.
Wi' a hundred pipers, etc.
Oh, wha is foremost o' a', o' a'?
Oh, wha does follow the blaw, the blaw?
Bonnie Charlie, the king o' us a', hurra!
Wi' his hundred pipers an' a', an' a',
His bonnet an' feather, he's wavin' high,
His prancin' steed mist seems to fly,
The nor' wind plays wi' his curly hair,
While the pipers blaw in an unco flare.
Wi' a hundred pipers, etc.,
The Esk was swollen, sae red and 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.
Monday, the 18th November, 1745, preceded by one hundred pipers.
So far our poetess has sung truly. But she is historically at fault with
reference to the "two thousand." So many Highlanders of the
Chevalier's army did indeed wade across the Esk; but it was in flight,
not in triumph. They waded the Esk on their return to Scotland from
an expedition which boded disaster. That they "danced themselves
dry to the pibroch's sound" is literally correct. Mr. George G.
Mounsey, Author of "Authentic Accounts of the Occupation of
Carlisle," remarks of the Highlanders, that " the moment they reached
the opposite side the pipers, struck up, and they danced reels until they
were dry again." Probably Lady Nairne's father witnessed the scene. —
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, etc.
'TWAS on a summer's afternoon,
A wee before the sun gaed doon,
A lassie wi' a brave new gown
Cam' ower the hills to Gowrie.
The rosebud wet wi' morning shower
Blooms fresh within the sunny bower,
But Katie was the fairest flower
That ever bloomed in Gowrie.
There are no fewer than four versions of this song extant. The
above — perhaps the best of them all, and the one to which public opinion
has given the stamp of its approval — being of unknown authorship.
One is ascribed to Colonel James Ramsay of Stirling Castle, which was
revised from an old stall copy by Dr. Thomas Lyle; one is by Baroness
Nairne; and one — "Kate o' Gowrie" — by William Reid of Glasgow,
an inveterate song tinker, who tried his hand on Burns's "O' a' the
airts the wind can blaw," "John Anderson, my Jo," and other well--
known songs. Whether the heroine was a real or an imaginary "lass,"
no one seems to know. Whitelaw, in The Book of Scottish Song,
introduces two additional verses, between the second and third of the
above, which are clearly out of harmony with the rest of the song,
and tend to a confusion of the sense of it. They are never sung.
Here they are: —
"A silken gown o' siller grey
My mither coft last New Year's Day,
And buskit me frae tap to tae,
To keep me oot o' Gowrie.
Daft Will, short syne, cam' coortin' Nell,
And wan the lass, but what befel,
Or whare she's gane; she kens hersel';
She staid na lang in Gowrie."
Sic thoughts, dear Katie, ill combine
Wi' beauty rare, and wit like thine;
I praised her beauty loud and lang;
Around her waist my arms I flang,
And said, "My dearie, will ye gang
To see the carse o' Gowrie?
I'll tak' ye to my father's ha'
In yon green field beside the Shaw;
I'll mak' ye lady o' them a' —
The brawest wife in Gowrie."
Saft kisses on her lips I laid;
The blush upon her cheek soon spread:
She whispered modestly and said —
"I'll gang wi' you to Gowrie."
The auld fouks soon gae their consent;
Syne to Mess John we quickly went,
Wha tied us to our hearts' content;
And now she's Lady Gowrie.
A WEE bit north frae yon green wood,
Whare draps the sunny showerie,
The lofty elm trees spread their boughs
To shade the braes o' Gowrie.
An' by yon burn you scarce can see
There stands a rustic bowerie,
Whar lives a lass mair dear to me
Than a' the maids in Gowrie.
Nae gentle bard e'er sang her praise,
'Cause fortune ne'er left dowrie;
The rose blaws sweetest in the shade,
So does the flower o' Gowrie.
Except yoursel', my bonnie quean,
I care for nought in Gowrie.
Since first I saw you in the shiel,
To you my heart's been true and leal;
The darkest night I fear nae de'il,
Warlock, or witch, in Gowrie."
When April strews her garlands roun'
Her bare feet treads the flowerie;
Her sang gars a' the woodlands ring
That shade the braes o' Gowrie.
Her modest blush and downcast e'e
A flame sent beating through me;
For she surpasses a' I've seen
This peerless flower o' Gowrie.
I've lain upon the dewy green
Until the evening hourie,
An' thought gin e'er I durst ca' mine
The bonnie lass o' Gowrie.
The bushes that o'erhang the burn,
Sae verdant, and sae flowerie,
Can witness that I lo'e alane
The bonny lass o' Gowrie.
Let ithers dream, an' sigh for wealth,
And fashion fleet and flowerie;
Gi'e me that heav'nly innocence
Upon the braes o' Gowrie.
'TWAS on a summer's afternoon,
A wee afore the sun gaed doon,
A lassie wi' a braw new goun
Cam' ower the hills to Gowrie.
The rosebud wash'd in summer's shower,
Bloom'd fresh within the sunny bower;
But Kitty was the fairest flower
That e'er was seen in Gowrie.
To see her cousin she came there,
An' oh! the scene was passing fair;
For what in Scotland can compare
Wi' the Carse o' Gowrie?
The sun was setting on the Tay,
The blue hills melting into grey,
The mavis and the blackbird's lay
Were sweetly heard in Gowrie.
Oh, lang the lassie I had woo'd,
An' truth an' constancy had vow'd,
But cam' nae speed wi' her I lo'ed,
Until she saw fair Gowrie.
I pointed to my faither's ha',
You bonnie bield ayont the Shaw,
Sae lown that there nae blast could blaw, —
Wad she no bide in Gowrie?
Her faither was baith glad an' wae;
Her mither she wad naething say;
The bairnies thocht they wad get play,
If Kitty gaed to Gowrie.
She whiles did smile, she whiles did greet;
The blush an' tear were on her cheek —
She naething said, an' hung her head,
But now she's Leddy Gowrie.
WHEN Katie was scarce out nineteen,
Oh, but she had twa coal-black een!
A bonnier lass ye wadna seen
In a' the Carse o' Gowrie.
Quite tired o' livin' a' his lane,
Pate did to her his love explain,
And swore he'd be, were she his ain,
The happiest lad in Gowrie.
Quo' she, "I winna marry thee,
For a' the gear that ye can gi'e;
Nor will I gang a. step ajee,
For a' the gowd in Gowrie.
My father will gi'e me twa kye;
My mother's gaun some yarn to dye;
I'll get a gown just like the sky,
Gif I'll no gang to Gowrie."
"Oh, my dear Katie, say nae sae!
Ye little ken a heart that's wae;
Hae there's my hand: hear me, I pray
Sin' thou'lt no gang to Gowrie?
Since first I met thee at the shiel,
My saul to thee's been true and leal;
The darkest night I fear nae deil,
Warlock, or witch, in Gowrie.
"I fear nae want o' claes, nor aught;
Sic silly things my mind ne'er taught.
I dream a' nicht, and start about,
And wish for thee in Gowrie.
I lo'e thee better, Kate, my dear,
Than a' my rigs and out-gaun gear;
Sit down by me till ance I swear,
Thou'rt worth the Carse o' Gowrie.'
Syne on her mou' sweet kisses laid,
Till blushes a' her cheeks o'erspread;
She sigh'd, and in soft whispers said,
"Oh, Pate, tak' me to Gowrie!"
Quo' he, "Let's to the auld folk gang;
Say what they like, I'll bide their bang,
And bide a' nicht, though beds be thrang;
But I'll hae thee to Gowrie."
The auld folk sune baith gi'ed consent;
The priest was ca'd — a' were content;
And Katie never did repent
That she gaed hame to Gowrie.
For routh o' bonnie bairns had she;
Mair strappin' lads ye wadna see;
And her braw lasses bore the gree
Frae a' the rest o' Gowrie.
She — WHEN ye gang awa, Jamie,
Far across the sea, laddie;
When ye gang to Germanie,
What will ye send to me, laddie?
He — I'll send ye a braw new gown, Jeanie,
I'll send ye a braw new gown, lassie;
And it shall be o' silk and gowd,
Wi' Valenciennes set round, lassie.
* The original of this popular song, under the title of "The Duke of
Athol," was first printed in Mr. Kinloch's collection, where it is said
to have been taken from the recitation of an idiot boy in Wishaw. It
runs as follows: —
"I am gaing awa', Jeanie,
I am gaing awa',
I am gaing ayont the saut seas,
I am gaing sae far awa'."
"Whan will ye marry me, Jamie?
Whan will ye marry me?
Will ye tak' me to your countrie,
Or will ye marry me?"
"How can I marry thee, Jeanie,
How can I marry thee?
When I've a wife and bairns three,
Twa wad na weill agree."
"Wae be to your fause tongue, Jamie,
Wae be to your fause tongue;
Ye promised for to marry me,
And has a wife at hame."
"If my wife wad dee, Jeanie,
And sae my bairns three,
I wad tak' ye to my ain countrie,
And married we wad be."
"O, an' your head war sair, Jamie,
O, an' your head war sair,
I'd tak' the napkin frae my neck,
And tie doun your yellow hair."
"I hae nae wife at a', Jeanie,
I hae nae wife at a',
I hae neither wife nor bairns three,
I said it to try thee.
She — That's nae gift ava, Jamie,
That's nae gift ava, laddie;
There's ne'er a gown in a' the toun,
I'd like, when ye're awa', laddie.
He — When I come back again, Jeanie,
When I come back, lassie,
I'll bring wi' me a gallant gay,
To be your ain gudeman, lassie.
She — Be my gudeman yoursel', Jamie,
Be my gudeman yoursel', laddie,
An' tak' me ower to Germanie,
Wi' you at hame to dwell, laddie.
He — I ken na how that would do, Jeanie,
I ken na how that can be, lassie,
For I've a wife and bairnies three,
An' I'm feart ye wadna gree, lassie,
She — You should tell'd me that in time, Jamie,
You should tell'd me that in time, laddie,
For had I kent o' your fause heart,
You ne'er had gotten mine, laddie.
He — Your een were like a spell, Jeanie,
Your een were like a spell, lassie;
That ilka day bewitch'd me sae,
I couldna help mysel', lassie.
She — Gae back to your wife and hame, Jamie,
Gae back to your bairnies three, laddie,
And I will pray they ne'er may thole,
A broken heart like me, laddie.
"Blair in Athol is mine, Jeanie,
Blair in Athol is mine;
Bonnie Dunkeld is whare I dwell,
And the boats o' Garry's mine."
Whether the narrative had any origin in fact no one appears to know.
There is a rendering of the song by the Baroness Nairne, but the above
version, the author of which is unknown, is the one of universal favour.
He — Dry that tearfu' e'e, Jeanie,
My story's a' a lee, lassie,
I've neither wife nor bairnies three,
And I'll wed nane but thee, lassie.
She — Think weel for fear ye rue, Jamie,
Think weel for fear ye rue, laddie,
For I hae neither gowd nor lands,
To be a match for you, laddie.
He — Blair in Athole's mine, Jeanie,
Little Dunkeld is mine, lassie,
St. Johnston's bower, and Hunting-tower,
An' a' that's mine is thine, lassie.
OH! you are happy now, jo,
Your care is a' through, jo,
Nae pain reaches you
In the land o' the leal.
Our lassie wan awa, jo,
Nor muckle sorrow saw, jo:
Now I mourn twa
In the land o' the leal.
But a' is gude and weel, jo,
Though nature it maun feel, jo,
Ilk pain will he heal
In the land o' the leal.
My locks are thin and grey, jo,
My powers fast decay, jo,
I'm laith lang to stay
Frae the land o' the leal.
But my tears drap in vain, jo,
Alane I maun remain, jo,
Till we meet again
In the land o' the leal.
Though trouble here us tries, jo,
'Tis blessing in disguise, jo,
To mak' us mair prize
The land o' the leal.
KEEN blaws the blast on the high hill o' Gaston,
And thick through the Shandy wood drives the cauld
You boughs, bending heavy wi' bonny green ivy,
The pitiless tempest is tearing awa'.
The shepherds, affrighted, their flocks leave benighted,
All hungry and heartless they lag on the lea;
But caulder the blast shall blaw,
Thicker shall drive the snaw,
Ere it keep me awa',
Nanny, frae thee.
The broad moon arising the eastlands illuming,
The wast was in saft starry beauty arrayed,
When we parted in tears where the heather was blooming,

And the craik's thrilling note sounded far o'er the
My first love was true love, I'll ne'er cherish new love,
Though richer and fairer than her I may see;
And caulder the blast shall blaw,
Thicker shall drive the snaw,
Ere it keep me awa',
Nanny, frae thee.
By Annat's young wood, where the beech tree now
Beneath the green pines, where the wild birds repose,
And round the Raith hill, where the sunny wreath
Wi' her I hae pu'd the sweet gowan and rose.
Daylight is departing, my speed of foot thwarting,
Far wrang I may wander while drift blinds my e'e;
But caulder the blast shall blaw,
Thicker shall drive the snaw,
Ere it keep me awa',
Nanny, frae thee.
BIRD of the budding bush,
Sing soft and sparely,
See how the redcoats rush,
Hunting Prince Charlie,
Beating the broomy fells
Over and over;
Shaking the heather bells,
Scaring the plover.
See by yon lonely cave,
Wistfully weeping,
Over our Prince, the brave
Flora watch keeping!
Lichen and liver grass,
And the moss willow,
Curtain the narrow pass,
And her stone pillow.
Bird of the budding spray,
Sing not so clearly,
Lest your shrill notes betray,
Him we lo'e dearly.
Sing not so late at night,
Sing not so early,
Till they have ta'en their flight,
Flora and Charlie.
THERE were twa bumbees met on a twig,
Fim-fam, fiddle-faddle, fum, fizz!
Said "Whaur will we gang our byke to big?"
Tig-a-leery, twig-a-leery, bum, bizz!
The modest Miss, bein' rather shy,
Twigg'd round her head and look'd awry
And ga'e her Dandy nae reply,
But "Tig-a-leery, twig-a-leery, bum, bizz!"
O! we will gang to yon sunny bank,
Fim-fam, fiddle-faddle, fum, fizz!
Whaur the flowers bloom fair, and the fog grows rank,
Tig-a-leery, twig-a-leery, bum, bizz!"
They sought the bank frae side to side,
In every hole baith straucht and wide,
But nane they saw could please the Bride,
Tig-a-leery, twig-a-leery, bum, bizz!
* This song appeared in print for the first time, at my instigation, in
the Dundee Weekly News some time ago, and will be welcomed here
by not a few local literary antiquaries, and others, who have been in
quest of it for a number of years back. The song owes its existence
to the late Mr. George Porter, schoolmaster of Moneydie, an excellent
and esteemed man, who was equal in many respects as a poet to
Charles Spence himself, and far surpassed him, indeed, in the tender
and graceful — the natural reflex of his own lovable character. George
Porter and Charles Spence were bosom friends from their youth time
upwards, and two more genial and kindly spirits never sat knee to
knee. Porter, though possessing very little of a voice, was always
ready in company to take his turn at a song. But sometimes, by
reason of this shortcoming, the effect of his effort was not all that
could be desired; so, in course of time, he asked Spence to compose a
song for him, such that its wit and humour would make it tell,
irrespective of musical execution. The result was "The Twa
Bumbees," well known in these parts as Mr. Porter's own special song.
When they had sought frae noon till six,
Fim-fam, fiddle-faddle, fum, fizz!
And on nae place their choice could fix,
Tig-a-leery, twig-a-leery, bum, bizz!
They saw a hole beneath a tree,
"O! this our dwelling place shall be,"
They said, and entered cheerfully,
Tig-a-leery, twig-a-leery, bum, bizz!
Jenny Wren cam' hame at night,
Fim-fam, fiddle-faddle, fum, fizz!
And, O, but she got an unco fright,
Tig-a-leery, twig-a-leery, bum, bizz!
She entered in, ne'er dreading harm,
When in her chamber snug and warm,
The roving pair rang the alarm,
Tig-a-leery, twig-a-leery, bum, bizz!
Jenny Wren bein' smit with fear,
Fim-fam, fiddle-faddle, fum, fizz!
Flew aff and ne'er again cam' near,
Tig-a-leery, twig-a-leery, bum, bizz!
Quoth the gudewife to the gudeman,
"When night her mantle has withdrawn,
And Phœbus shines upon the lawn,
Tig-a-leery, twig-a-leery, burn, bizz!
"We'll gather honey from each flower,
Fim-fam, fiddle-faddle, fum, fizz!
And when the day begins to lower,
Tig-a-leery, twig-a leery, bum, bizz!
We'll hither hie, and here we'll meet,
All shielded from the wind and weet,
And a' night lang enjoy the sweet,
Tig-a-leery, twig-a-leery, bum, bizz!"
They hadna been lang beneath the tree,
Fim-fam, fiddle-faddle, fum, fizz!
When out cam' bumbees, ane, twa, three,
Tig-a-leery, twig-a-leery, bum, bizz!
Quoth Mr. Bum to Mrs. Bee,
"O! had ye a' these bees by me?"
Whilst jealousy lurk'd in his e'e,
Tig-a-leery, twig-a-leery, bum, bizz!
Quoth Mrs. Bee to Mr. Bum,
"Fim-fam, fiddle-faddle, fum, fizz!
They're a' as like you's mum's like mum,
Tig-a-leery, twig-a-leery, bum, bizz
I cowed the horns frae aff your brow!"
Quoth Mr. Bum, "O, wow, wow, wow!
And had I horns then to cowe?
Tig-a-leery, twig-a-leery, bum, bizz!
"O! a' ye bumbees whaur'er you be,
Fim-fam, fiddle-faddle, fum, fizz!
I pray a warning tak' by me,
Tig-a-leery, twig-a-leery, bum, bizz!
Far rather lead a single life
Than wed a wayward wanton wife
Wha'll cause you meikle dule and strife,
Tig-a-leery, twig-a-leery, bum, bizz!"
LINN-MA-GRAY I long to see
Thy heathy heights and broomy lea;
Whaur linnets lilt, and leverets play
Around the roar of Linn-ma-Gray.
* Linn-ma-Gray — or in its true Gaelic rendering, Linne-mo-Ghraidh
— meaning the linn of my darling, or the dell of the devoted lover, is,
though a small, yet a beautiful and romantic waterfall, situated on the
south side of the Sidlaw Hills, about a mile and a half west from the
village of Kinnaird, in the Carse of Gowrie. Its wild and rugged depth,
overshadowed by the tall ash trees which spring from its bottom, and
the foaming of its troubled waters as they dash headlong down the
precipitous rocks, give a hallowed and awe-striking impression to the
lonely spectator as he winds his way up the sylvan glade, and is withal,
a spot well suited to impress the author with the deep sense of poetic
Linn-ma-Gray, when to the street
Crowds follow crowds, in crowds to meet,
I wend my solitary way,
An' climb the cliffs of Linn-ma-Gray.
Linn-ma-Gray, each mountain spring
From age to age doth tribute bring,
And rushing onward to the Tay,
Augment the stream of Linn-ma-Gray.
Linn-ma-Gray, round Baron hill
I've aften gave wi' richt gude will,
An' sat an' seen the dashing spray
Lash the dark rocks of Linn-ma-Gray.
Linn-ma-Gray, when in yon ha'
The merry wassailers gather a',
In vain their weel-trained bands essay
The minstrelsy of Linn-ma-Gray.
feeling here displayed in verse, The heroine of the song was, I believe,
a Jeanie Bruce, a young woman who lived at Evelick, and with whom
Spence fell deeply in love. They were to have been married, but the
girl's mother forbade the banns. "What!" said she, "would you
marry a poet?" Spence retalliated with:—
"Wow! Jeanie, wow! what ails you now?
To lichtly me, and a' that,
Although I choose to court the muse,
Am I the worse for a' that?"
Nay verily, but the truth is, this poetic shaft from Spence was blunted
by the fact that, through his intense love of poetry and nature, that
to which he owed his bread and butter was often allotted a secondary
place in his arduous life-struggle. Poor Jeanie died, and Spence
eventually married one Anne Bissett.
An engraved picture of Spence and his Jean, by Alexander Cares,
finds a place at page 49 of Knox's Topography of the Basin of the Tay.
It represents the loving pair contemplating the beautiful waterfall, and
has the following verse-motto printed below:—
"Up the heights of Baron Hill
I've led my Jean with right goodwill,
And sat and seen the foamy spray
Lash the dark rocks of Linn-ma-Gray."
Linn-ma-Gray, an' ye were mine
Wi' birk an' beech, an' yew an' pine,
An' ash an aik, I would pourtray
The loveliness of Linn-ma-Gray.
Linn-ma-Gray, high on thy crest
The wag-tail builds her felty nest,
And down amid the misty spray
The snipe finds hame at Linn-ma-Gray.
Linn-ma-Gray, the cushats cool
Their pinions, fluttering in thy pool,
Where sunbeam never found its way
Far ben the Black of Linn-ma-Gray.
Linn-ma-Gray, thy hazels green
Lodge the thrush an' finch at e'en,
Lodge me too at close o' day —
I tune my harp at Linn-ma-Gray.
Linn-ma-Gray, another linn,
May hae its beauties, hearts to win;
But never can they wile away,
My wish to muse at Linn ma-Gray.
Linn-ma-Gray the time has been
When I, unchallenged, here was seen
By those who now may come and say —
"Hence, vagrant, hence from Linn-ma-Gray."
Linn-ma-Gray, thy cliffs and streams,
What though an earthly lordling claims?
I only recognise the sway
Of Nature's God at Linn-ma-Gray.
Linn-ma-Gray, the holy sound
Of music in thy gorge profound
Might well the tyrant challenge stay
For those who muse at Linn-ma-Gray.
Linn-ma-Gray, if I might have
A wish — some friend would dig a grave,
Where they my cauld remains might lay
Beside the fall of Linn-ma-Gray.
My coronach would be its cry —
No stream the lack of tears supply;
And soundly till the rising day
I would sleep on at Linn-ma-Gray,
Linn-ma-Gray, a long farewell —
Nae mair thy solitary dell
Shall listen to my roundelay —
Nae mair I visit Linn-ma-Gray.
LASSIE wi' the yellow coatie,
Will ye wed a muirlan' Jockie?
Lassie wi' the yellow coatie,
Will ye busk an' gang wi' me?
I hae meal an' milk in plenty,
I hae kail an' cakes fu' dainty,
I've a but an' ben fu' genty,
But I want a wife like thee.
Lassie wi' the yellow coatie, etc.
Although my mailin' be but sma',
An' little gowd I hae to shaw,
I hae a heart without a flaw,
An' I will gie it a' to thee.
Lassie wi' the yellow coatie, etc.
Wi' my lassie an' my doggie,
Ower the lea an' through the boggie,
Nane on earth was e'er sae vogie
Or sae blythe as we will be.
Lassie wi' the yellow coatie, etc.
Haste ye, lassie, to my bosom,
While the roses are in blossom,
Time is precious, dinna lose them;
Flowers will fade, an' sae will we.
Lassie wi' the yellow coatie,
Ah! tak' pity on your Jockie;
Lassie wi' the yellow coatie,
I'm in haste, an' sae should ye!
ASSIST me ye muses of dear native Scotia,
While thus in the praise o' your hero I sing,
Wha lately displayed on the heights of Barossa,
Sic zeal for his kintry, an' love to his king.
'Twas there he despis'd ev'ry danger an' peril;
'Twas there he resolv'd British valour to shew;
And there our brave vet'ran was crown'd wi' fresh laurels,
For there he encounter'd an' vanquish'd the foe.
The cause o' his country first call'd him to arms,
And soon were the proofs o' his valour display'd:
Sweet rural retirement could yield him no charms,
Compar'd to what drums an' the trumpet convey'd.
At Toulon an' Malta, no valour was wantin',
And mournful Corunna, where Moore met his fall,
The fate o' his friend could the Graham never dauntin',
But that of Barossa surpasses them all.
* The battle of Barossa was fought and won by our gallant countryman,
General Sir Thomas Graham, on the 5th March, 1811. On that
day the British arms were victorious, over nearly three times their
number. — Author's Note.
No wonder the French were soon all in confusion,
And fled frae their Eagles wi' terror and shame.
To rally again were the height o' delusion,
Or cope with an army led on by the Graham;
A name sae Lang famed in the history of Scotia,
For sake o' that chieftain at Falkirk wha fell,*
And now made immortal so late at Barossa,
Which Frenchmen for ages wi' sorrow may tell.
The bluid o' that hero still seems to pervade him,
His name and his valour, his lineage proclaim.
La Pena† may blush, that he basely betrayed him,
Or flinch'd frae the side o' a sodger like Graham.
That day he was deaf to the cries o' his nation,
Regardless what shame his misconduct might bring,
While Graham, as a hero, stood true to his station,
And fought like a lion for kintra an' king.
This feat of Barossa, oh! could I explain it,
But language would fail to express what I feel,
To tell how brave Graham, by the point o' the bay'net,
Taught Frenchmen that Britons had plenty o' steel.
Then fill an' we'll drink to this son of auld Scotia,
His name an' his country wi' transport we own,
For know that the hero, wha shone at Barossa,
Was our honour'd chief, gallant Graham of Balgow'n.
How sweet are Leven's silver streams,
Around her banks the wild flowers blooming;
On every bush the warblers vie,
In strains of bosom-soothing joy.
* Sir John the Graeme. † A Spanish General.
This song was written by Drummond while a clerk in Kirkland
Works, near Leven, previous to his embarkation for India, and was
inspired by the charms of a Miss Wilson, daughter of the proprietor
But Leven's banks that bloom sae braw,
And Leven's streams that glide sae saucy,
Sic joy and beauty couldna shaw,
An' 'twerna for my darling lassie;
Her presence fills them a' wi' pride,
The bonnie lass o' Levenside.
When sober eve begins her reign,
The little birds to cease their singing,
The flowers their beauty to renew
Their bosoms bathe in diamond dew;
When far behind the Lomonds high
The wheels of day are downwards rowing,
And a' the western closing sky
Wi' varied tints of glory lowing.
'Tis then my eager steps I guide
To meet the lass o' Levenside.
The solemn sweetness Nature spreads,
The kindly hour to bliss inviting,
Within our happy bosoms move
The softest sigh of purest love;
Reclined upon the velvet grass,
Beneath the balmy birky blossom,
What words could a' my joys express,
When claspèd to her beating bosom!
How swells my heart with rapture's tide,
When wi' the lass o' Levenside!
of Pirnie, near Leven. The lady, it appears, subsequently became
engaged to be married to the author, and for the consummation of the
mutual agreement sailed for India in 1816. On her arrival she was
kindly received by her affianced lover, but, in the interval, she became
desirous of withdrawing from her engagement and returning home.
Observing her coldness Drummond acceded to the request, and offered
to pay the expense of her passage back to Scotland. Presently she
was seized with fever, and died. Report alleged that her lover had
been unfaithful, and that she had died of a broken heart, and thus the
memory of Drummond has been unjustly aspersed.
The song was first printed with the author's consent, though without
acknowledgment, in a small volume of poems by William Rankin,
Leven, published in 1812. Subsequently it has been claimed by
William Glass, a painter-rhymster of Edinburgh, who gave it as his
own in a volume of poems entitled Scenes of Gloamin', published in
1814. Drummond is certainly the Author.
She never saw the splendid ball,
She never gazed on courtly grandeur;
But, like her native lily's bloom,
She cheerfu' gilds her humble home;
The pert reply, the modish air,
To soothe the soul were never granted,
When modest sense and love are there
The guise o' art may weel be wanted;
O, Fate! gi'e me to be my bride
The bonnie lass o Levenside!
THE sun hadna peep'd frae behind the dark billow,
The slow-sinking moon half illumined the scene,
As I lifted my head frae my care-haunted pillow,
And wander'd to muse on the days that were gane.
Sweet hope seem'd to smile o'er ideas romantic,
And gay were the dreams that my soul would beguile;
But my eyes filled wi' tears as I viewed the Atlantic,
An' thought on my Mary of sweet Aberfoyle.
Though far frae my Name in a tropical wildwood,
Yet the fields o' my forefathers rose on my view:
An' I wept when I thought on the days of my childhood,
An' the vision was painful the brighter it grew.
* William Glen, author of "Wae's me for Prince Charlie," though a
native of Glasgow, was intimately connected with Perthshire. He
married a MacFarlane of Aberfoyle, whom he wooed and won on the
banks of the lovely Loch Ard, where he also composed many of his
sweetest songs and here he spent, on the farm of Rainagour, the
last eight years of his brief career. His widow, who, with their only
daughter; had the management of the Orphan Institution at Aberfoyle,
survived. him by thirty-two years. She died at Craigie Cottage only a
few years ago. Glen for some time resided in the West India Islands,
where his commercial enterprises led him; and it was while sojourning
there that he celebrated his betrothed in the present beautiful song.
Sweet days when my bosom with rapture was swelling,
Though I knew it not then, it was love made me smile;
Oh! the snaw-wreath is pure where the moonbeams are
Yet as pure is my Mary of sweet Aberfoyle.
Now far in the east the sun slowly rising,
Brightly gilded the top of the tall cabbage tree;
An' sweet was the scene such wild beauties comprising,
As might have filled the sad mourner with rapture
and glee.
But my heart felt nae rapture — nae pleasant emotion,
The saft springs o' pleasure had lang, lang been seal'd;
I thought on my home 'cross the wide stormy ocean,
And wept for my Mary of sweet Aberfoyle.
The orange was bathed in the dews of the morning,
An' the bright drops bespangled the clustering vine;
White were the blossoms the lime-tree adorning,
An' brown was the apple that grew on the pine.
Were I as free as an Indian chieftain,
Sic beautiful scenes might gi'e pleasure the while;
But the joy o' a slave is aye waverin' an' shiftin',
An' a slave I'm to Mary of sweet Aberfoyle.
When the mirk cloud o' fortune aboon my head gathers,
An' the golden shower fa's where it ne'er fell before;
Oh! then I'll revisit the land o' my fathers,
An' clasp to this bosom the lass I adore.
Hear me, ye angels, who watch o'er my maiden,
Like ane o' yoursel's she is free frae a' guile,
Pure as was love in the garden o' Eden,
Sae pure is my Mary of sweet Aberfoyle.
AIR. — "Dumbarton, drums beat bonny, O!"
St. Johnstoun's bells ring bonny, O!
And awaken echoes mony, O!
But I'll never think them sweet
Since again I canna meet
On the banks o' the Tay
Wi' my Johnny, O!
When the day had passed, and the gloamin', O!
Brought the hour for careless roaming, O!
How glad I stole away
For a summer hour to stray,
On the bonny banks o' Tay,
Wi' my Johnny, O!
Chorus — St. Johnstoun's bells, etc.
I'll aye mind the hour when he left me, O!
And of every joy bereft me, O!
When my head lay on a breast
That was very ill at rest,
Yet to soothe me his best
Did my Johnny, O!
Chorus — St. Johnstoun's bells, etc.
But my laddie sighed for glory, O!
And too soon he graced a story, O!
He bartered love for fame,
His hame left for a name,
And he fought where gallant Graham
Led my Johnny, O!
Chorus — St. Johnstoun's bells ring bonny, O!
And awaken echoes mony, O!
But I'll never think them sweet
Since again we canna meet,
For Barossa's turf
Covers Johnny, O!
THE praise of Yarrow, Teviot, Tweed,
Ben Lomond's height, Gleniffer's dell;
Of Lugar, Irvine, Ayr, and Doon,
Our woodland echoes often tell.
'Mid matchless grandeur, rich and gay,
Muse of the North! then say, why still
Unsung the glorious banks of Tay,
And sunny slopes of Craigie Hill?
Tay's "combinations of bright scenes
Breathe music" — then no more be mute,
Whilst thousand rhymes on meaner floods
Aid shepherd's pipe or lover's lute.
Sons of our mountains, ever brave —
Maids of our glens, though chaste not chill —
These be thy theme, with banks of Tay,
And sunny slopes of Craigie Hill.
The Romans, following from afar
Agricola to northern wars,
In Tay and its fair banks beheld
Their Tiber and their Field of Mars.
That landscape stopped the veterans' march
Till admiration gazed its fill;
Their shouts resound along the Tay,
And up the slopes of Craigie Hill.
Those shouts soon roused, o'er many a glen,
The Caledonians in their pride —
"If worthy conquest, then our land
Is worth defence!" they fiercely cried.
Italia's soldiers bit the dust,
Their red blood died the mountain rill;
A thinn'd, desponding band recross'd
The sunny slopes of Craigie Hill.
Are not yon fair fields Luncarty?
Is not St. Johnstoun at our feet?
Where Dane and Southron our bold sires
In the death struggle dared to meet;
Whence Charlie march'd his scanty band —
For kingdoms three struck with a will;
They failed, although with gallant hearts
They left the slopes of Craigie Hill.
And in our time, when Britain stood
Against a banded world alone,
From the Unconquerable Isle
The noblest of her youth were gone;
Lads of crisp locks and bearing free
Tay sent, resolved their blood to spill,
Ere alien flag should float above
The sunny slopes of Craigie Hill.
Roll on, proud Tay, by tower and town,
Amid thy gorgeous scenery;
Aye be thy Strath unequalled for
Luxuriant fertility.
The dwellers on thy banks the Muse
Has sung. One part awaits her skill —
To chant thy beauties as they lie
View'd from the slopes of Craigie Hill.
WHEN I was a miller in Fife,
Losh! I thought that the sound o' the happer
Said, Tak' hame a wee flow to your wife,
To help to be brose to your supper.
Then my conscience was narrow and pure,
But someway by random it rackit;
For I lifted twa neivefu' or mair,
While the happer said, Tak' it, man, tak' it.
Hey for the mill and the kill,
The garland and gear for my cogie;
Hey for the whisky and yill,
That washes the dust frae my craigie.
Although it's been lang in repute
For rogues to mak' rich by deceiving,
* This happily conceived and cleverly executed song was popular in
the country districts of Perthshire from forty to fifty years ago, and
may still occasionally be heard resounding from the bothy, the village
inn, and the cottage ingle-nook in these parts. The more popular and
effective way of delivering it is for the singer to be seated on a chair
and to beat a mill-clapper-like accompaniment with his elbows and
fists on a table before him.
Yet I see that it doesna' weel suit
Honest men to begin to the thieving;
For my heart it gaed dunt upon dunt,
Oh! I thought ilka dunt it would crackit;
Sae I flang frae my neive what was in't,
Still the happer said, Tak' it, man, tak' it.
Hey for the mill, etc.
A man that's been bred to the plough,
Might be leaved wi' its clamorous clapper;
Yet there's few but would suffer the sough,
After kenning what's said by the happen
I whiles thought it scoff'd me to scorn,
Saying, Shame, is your conscience no chackit
But when I grew dry for a horn,
It changed aye to, Tak' it, man, tak' it.
Hey for the mill, etc.
The smugglers whiles cam' wi' their pocks,
'Cause they kent that I liket a bicker;
Sae I bartered whiles wi' the gowks,
Ga'e them grain for a soup o' their liquor.
I had tang been accustomed to drink,
And aye when I purposed to quat it,
That thing wi' its clappertie clink,
Said aye to me, Tak' it man, tak' it.
Hey for the mill, etc.
But the warst thing I did in my life,
Nae doubt but you'll think I was wrang o't,
O'd! I tauld a bit bodie in Fife
A' my tale, and he made a bit sang o't;
I have aye had a voice a' my days,
But for singing I ne'er got the knack o't;
Yet I try whiles, just thinking to please
The greedy wi', Tak' it, man, tak' it.
Hey for the mill, etc.
Now, miller and a' as I am,
This far I can see through the matter,
There's men mair notorious to fame,
Mair greedy than me or the muter!
For 'twad seem that the hale race o' men,
Or wi' safety, the hauf we may mak' it,
Had some speaking happer within,
That said to them, Tak' it, man, tak' it.
Hey for the mill and the kill,
The garland and gear for my cogie,
Hey for the whisky and yill,
That washes the dust frae my craigie.
HEARD ye e'er o' Donald Gunn,
Ance sae daddy, douf, and needy,
Now a laird in yonder toon,
Callous-hearted, proud, and greedy?
Up the glen aboon the linn
Donald met wi' Maggie Millar,
Wooed the lass amang the whins
Because she had the word o' siller;
Meg was neither trig nor braw,
Had mae fauts than ane laid till her;
Donald lookit ower them a',
A' his thought was on the siller.
Heard ye e'er, etc.
* "The ballad of 'Donald Gunn,'" says Mr. P. R. Drummond, "is
founded on circumstances which occurred in the parish of Kilpatrick,
in Dumbartonshire. A farmer's daughter had an only brother who
had long been in Demerara, and, dying, had left her a large fortune.
During the time the news was on the way, she committed herself to a
working man in the neighbourhood, and unfortunately when the news
came she was not in a position to resile, so that in the matter of choice
her money did no service. However, the husband-elect kept his position,
and a marriage ensued, which turned out a happy one. The
amusing part of the story is that as soon as the news of the great legacy
broke out, the poor girl was haunted by all the fortune-seeking sparks
about Glasgow, until the denouement changed the boast into a query,
'When were you at Duntocher?' Webster's treatment of the married
life of the husband is very highly coloured, and he was a good deal
found fault with for it." Might we venture the hint that it was probably
a case of "sour grapes," for, tell it not on Parnassus, "e'en
poets they ha'e been ken'd" to "dearly lo'e the penny siller.'
Donald grew baith braid and braw,
Ceased to bore the whinstone quarry,
Maggie's siller pays for a',
Breeks instead o duddy barrie:
Tho' he's ignorant as a stirk,
Tho' he's doure as ony donkey;
Yet, by accidental jirk,
Donald rides before a flunkey.
Heard ye e'er, etc.
Clachan bairnies roar wi' fright,
Clachan dogs tak' to their trotters;
Clachan wives the pathway dicht
To tranquillise his thraward features:
Gangrel bodies in the street
Beck and bow to mak' him civil,
Tenant bodies in his debt,
Shun him as they'd shun the devil.
Heard ye e'er, etc.
Few gangs trigger to the fair,
Few gangs to the kirk sae gaucie —
Few wi' Donald can compare
To keep the cantel o' the causie:
In his breast a bladd o' stane,
'Neath his hat a box o' brochan,
In his neive a wally cane,
Thus the tyrant rules the clachan.
Heard ye e'er, etc.
A BONNIE wee rosebud grows down by yon burnie,
A bonnie wee rosebud as e'er you did see,
Wi' soft silken leaves underneath a green thornie,
O spare the wee rosebud, O spare it for me!
The redbreast sings wanton around the sweet blossom,
Sae fond to make love doth this wee birdie be,
But wha'd be as cruel as steal frae my bosom
This bonnie wee rosebud, O spare it for me!
Now, fain would I change for the wee birdie's station,
Now blythe would I chirp 'neath the green thorn tree,
Enraptured to muse and transported to gaze on
This bonnie wee rosebud, O spare it for me!
O hasten the moment, blest moment o' pleasure,
When locked to my breast the sweet rosebud shall be,
United for ever, my soul's dearest treasure,
O spare the wee rosebud, O spare it for me!
IN the purple of heaven, on the pinions of light,
The spring lark ascends, and her bosom is bright;
With glory and joy, from the sun's burning brim,
Lo! she sings and she soars like the young cherubim.
Far, far from her nest, and the dwellings of men,
Will she ever revisit the green earth again?
She ascends and she sings in the blue fields of ether,
Leaving danger and death in the low world beneath her;
Rejoicing in fulness and freeness of spirit
That the ocean of air is her own to inherit.
On the amber edged clouds she is resting her wings,
In a shrine of magnificent glory she sings.
The gush of her praises like incense ascends,
Refreshing men's hearts to the earth's utmost ends.
Thou seemest a link in the chain yet unriven
Might draw a stray sheep to the pasture of heaven.
Thou art welcome, for ever, to sing in our skies,
If thou bring with thee flowers in their manifold dyes;
If thou bring with thee sunshine, and summer perfumes,
And all the rich radiance of ripe living blooms.
Oh! welcome to sing in the regions above,
And cherish our hearts with an anthem of love.
But winter will come, and thy music will cease,
And the tempest will roar in the desolate place;
The flow'rs that o'ershadow'd thy nest shall be gone,
And thou shalt be houseless, and weary, and lone.
The blue skies of beautiful summer are fled,
And the rose of the wilderness leafless and dead;
Yet the days of reviving in visions are come,
The spring of refreshing in beauty and bloom.
Oh! then shall the place where the tempest hath swept,
In the gold and the amber of morning be dipt;
Lo! the bright bow of mercy shall bend o'er the glen;
And the flow'rs shall look up fair and lovely again.
Ye have sung o'er the living, sweet bird of the morn;
And ye sing o'er the dead in your daily sojourn:
Oh, yes, ye will sing, when we all shall be gone,
When the green grass grows o'er us, and moss on our
Thou wilt bathe thy grey breast in the day's chrystal urn,
Ere it shines on the dewdrops that spangle the thorn.
O'er the deep shady glens of the North, as ye soar,
The hymns of the morning, how sweetly ye pour;
On the day that is holy, thy notes are the sweetest,
On the day that is lovely, thy wings are the fleetest,
And thy soul-stirring song, more rich and more sweet,
While you spurn the wide earth, as it were, from your
Most refreshing to him who is up and abroad,
And rejoiceth like thee in the light of his God.
He hears thee on high, in the far upper air,
And thinks on the time he will follow thee there;
He thinks on the hour when, his spirit set free,
He shall soar up rejoicing and gladsome as thee.
No frosts of the winter, no cold dropping rain,
No trouble, no toil, shall molest him again.
FAR in the west, there is a nest,
Wrought like a pearly shell;
The burn below, runs clear and slow,
Pure as a mountain well.
The wee bird sits and sings, by fits,
A bless'd and bonnie tune,
Five eggs are there, like blobs of air,
From blue, blue heaven abune.
Oh! in this nest by Nature dress'd,
Love's banners are unfurled;
True joy and peace are in this place,
If they're in all the world.
On that green bough, there's music now —
The ancient chestnut tree;
That wee bird sings, with fluttering wings,
Like birds beyond the sea.
Through leafy boughs, the sunlight glows —
The setting sun of gold;
And shadows still the waters fill,
Deep, deep, and manifold.
Oh! pilgrim, come to this sweet home,
At morning, noon, or even,
For here are wings and holy things,
That tell of earthly heaven.
WE stood within a green alcove,
And saw the bow of heaven,
Bending most gloriously above
The golden gates of even;
Then fell a soft and quiet shower,
Feeding, with beauty, leaf, and flower.
A glorious spirit dwells on high,
That lovely arch he threw;
He spreads the clouds along the sky,
He sends the rain and dew
And from the rainbow's purple crown
He sheds the ancient promise down.
Green earth, and all her flow'rs look up
And smile to heaven again;
Red life is in the rose's cup,
The spirit of the rain.
Heaven path her rainbow and her showers,
And earth her beauty and her flowers.
Hope shines as fair, and builds as high,
As ever rainbows were,
How can the splendid vision die
That promiseth so fair?
All earthly hopes must fade away,
With man, the tenant of a day;
Yet shall he, like yon star, arise,
His heaven-born hope to realise.
A'E braw summer day, when the heather was blooming
And the silent hills hummed wi' the honey-lade bee,
I met a fair maid as I homeward was roaming,
A-herdin' her sheep on the hills o' Glenshee.
The rose on her cheek, it was gem'd wi' a dimple,
And blythe was the blink o' her bonnie blue e'e;
Her face was enchantin', sae sweet and sae simple,
My heart soon belanged to the lass o' Glenshee.
I kiss'd and caress'd her, and said, "My dear lassie,
If you will but gang to St. Johnstone wi' me,
There's nano o' the fair shall set foot on the causeway,
Wi' clothing mair fine than the lass o' Glenshee.
"A carriage o' pleasure ye shall ha'e to ride in,
And folks shall say 'madam' when they speak to thee;
An' servants ye'll ha'e for to beck at your biddin';
I'll make you my lady, sweet lass o' Glenshee."
"Oh! mock na' me, sir, wi' your carriage to ride in,
Nor think that your grandeur I value a flee;
I would think mysel' blessed in a coatie o' plaidin',
Wi' an innocent herd on the hills o' Glenshee."
"Believe me, dear lass, Caledonia's clear waters
May alter their course and run back frae the sea —
Her brave hardy sons may submit to the fetters,
But alter what will I'll be constant to thee.
"The lark may forget his sweet sang in the mornin',
The spring may forget to revive on the lea,
But never will I, while my senses do govern,
Forget to be kind to the lass o' Glenshee."
"Oh, leave me, sweet lad, for I'm sure I would blunder,
And set a' the gentry a-laughin' at me;
They are book-taught in manners baith auld and young
A thing we ken nocht o' up here in Glenshee.
"They would say, look at him wi' his dull Highland
Set up for a show in a window sae hie,
Roll'd up like a witch in a hameit-spun plaidie,
And, pointing, they'd jeer at the lass o' Glenshee."
"Dinna think o' sic stories, but come up behind me,
Ere Phoebus gae round my sweet bride you shall be —
This night, in my arms, I'll dote on you kindly;"
She smiled, she consented, I took her wi' me.
Now years ha'e gane by since we buskit thegither,
And seasons ha'e changed, but nae change is wi' me,
she's ever as gay as the fine summer weather,
When the sun's at it's height on the hills o' Glenshee.
To meet wi' my Jenny my life I would venture,
She's sweet as the echo that rings on the lea;
She's spotless and pure as the snaw-robe o' winter,
When laid out to bleach on the hills o' Glenshee.
WHEN first I gaed to live on Tweed,
To spend a month's vacation,
I had to share in what is there
The common recreation.
Sae I coft a rod wi' brass weel shod,
The heicht o' Peebles Steeple;
And bulky books wi' braw busked hooks,
That stunned the Tweeddale people.
For fishin' gear I didna spare —
Creels, boots, and gaff, an' a' man;
For I had fairly set my mind
On grippin' nocht but saumon.
I thrashed a week, through pool and creek,
Till I was clean dumfounder'd;
For fient a fin I e'er brocht in,
And wife and bairnies wonder'd.
The neibours roun', and folks frae toun,
In mockery lamented;
And poachers sly, as they passed by,
Glower'd at me as demented.
While I, with keen and eident look,
Sae cunnin' and sae slaw, man
Endeavour'd wi' my patent hook,
To wile out my first saumon.
I thocht, indeed, o' leavin' Tweed —
I cudna thole sic scornin' —
Till frae my bed, by instinct led,
I bang'd up a'e grey mornin',
Resolved ance mair that stream to dare
When nane wad be observin';
For the evil eye of passers-by
Aye kept my fingers swervin',
And doon wad thud my ravelled snood,
Creatin' sic a jaw, man,
That little prospect e'er had I
O' ocht but frichtin' saumon.
When I gaed oot, cam' fear and doubt,
For o'er the water porin'
Twa Tweeddale clods wi' rusty rods
The streams were sly explorin'.
They looked on me wi' scornfu' e'e,
As ane wi' little gumption,
But wha, intent on sic a scent,
Show'd plenty o' presumption.
"For wha," they mutter'd, "ever heard
O' sic a want o' awe, man,
As for a fisher a'e week auld
To think o' catchin' saumon?"
But luck at last ga'e me a cast —
My stars they noo were brichtenin' —
My licht-thrown snood scarce touched the flood
When doun it flew like lichtenin'.
My heart resiled, my een grew wild,
The landscape round gaed whirlin';
But, quick as licht, I wauken'd bricht,
To my pirn wildly skirlin',
Which noo I held to like a helm,
And sae tentily did thraw, man,
That I had noo a nearer view
O' grippin' my first saumon.
The Tweeddale loons they heard the soun's,
And saw the fierce contention;
Sae doun they ran to lend a han'
Wi' traitorous pretension.
I cried "Haud aff — let go the gaff!"
And spite o' their persuasion,
I spurn'd their help, for noo I felt
I rose to the occasion;
Sae gi' ein' line, and fishin' fine,
I let him gently draw, man;
And when he took a sulky fit,
I tickled my first saumon.
Hoo can I tell a' that befel?
I fished like inspiration;
And mason lads frae dykes in squads,
Look'd on wi' admiration.
Frae neebour hills ran shepherd chiels,
Wi' collies mad careerin',
While by the flood in envious mood
The Tweeddale lads stood jeerin',
Expectin' still, wi' richt ill-will,
That something might befa', man,
Which yet a novice might deprive
O' grippin' his first saumon.
At last cleek'd fair wi' cannie care,
In silver sheen sae splendid,
A saumon sound, o' thirty pound,
Lay on the bank extended,
Nae tasteless dish o' lying fish,
But ane run fresh frae ocean;
The first that year in Peeblesshire —
Was ever sic commotion?
Sae fresh was he run frae the sea
The lice stood in a raw, man;
And laced like beads the sonsy sides
Of this, my maiden saumon.
The news flew aff like telegraph,
And reached the toun before me,
And auld and young their wark doun fit
To stare at and adore me.
My eldest loun, wi' parritch spoon,
Hauf naked, ran to meet me,
While at the door, wi' smiles in store,
The gudewife stood to greet me —
Protestin' loud before the crowd
That she n e'er heard or saw, man,
O' sic a monster o' the deep
As this, the gudeman's saumon.
"What wad ye wish done wi' the fish?"
My wife began inquirin';
"The minister maun ha'e a share —
His kindness is untirin'."
Sae doon it went, and up was sent
A dinner invitation;
Syne to a party, saumon-pang'd,
I gave a lang narration,
O' hoo I wrought, and hoo I fought,
And still held by the maw, man,
This leviathan o' the Tweed —
My first — my champion saumon.
Noo, far and wide, through a' Tweedside,
I'm looked on as perfection,
In manse and ha', I crousely craw —
I've formed a wide connection —
The Scotsman, scanned through a' the land,
Announced the feat astoundin';
Next in the Field it was revealed,
And in Bell's Life in London —
A' tellin' o' an Embro' chiel',
A sportsman, fresh and raw, man,
Wha had sic luck, and showed sic pluck,
In grippin' his first saumon.
HE'S hallicut an' wild, he's gane ower his mither's
He's like a sunny summer day owercome by winter's
Lauchin' like to split his sides, or greetin' like to choke,
Sae fu' o' fun an' devilry is our little Jock.
His towsy head is seldom kaim'd, he claws't for ever
His een, I ken, are skellie baith, an' glower — I kenna
His mou' is like a mill-door, his nose is on the cock,
How beautiful — Oh! beautiful, is our little Jock.
He winna bide within doors, nor gang to kirk nor skule,
He wore a suit o' claes to rags, frae Lammas day to
He ran through winter's frost an' snaw, without a shoe
or sock,
A hardy, stumpy, dumpy loon, is our little Jock.
His pouches, like a broker's shop, are crammed wi' orra
Buttons, bools, an' bits o' cawk, wi' peeries, taps, an'
A broken file, a roosty knife, an' siclike laddie troke,
Wi' dawds o' crumpy aiten cake — the life o' little Jock.
If he behaud a herrin' cairt, or see a sweetie stand,
Be sure he's herryin' craw's nests, if he's no close at
Barkin' like a tinkler's dog, or crawin' like a cock,
There ne'er was sick a funny loon as our little Jock.
An' Jock's a drummer in his way — he rattles on a pan,
An' fifer likewise to himsel' — he whistles just aft han';
How quickly a' his sodgers fire when he cries "Prime
an' cock!"
The Queen has not a general like our little Jock.
Whaure'er there is a dog-fecht, he's there withouten fail,
Whaure'er an empty sugar-cask, he's at it tooth an' nail;
Whaure'er there is a wanton ploy, amo' the youthy fock,
The foremost aye amo' them a' is our little Jock,
ARE you be climb the hielant hill,
To shoot the bonnie moorcock?
Are you be sneeshan in a mull,
To gie a sneesh to poor folk?
Here's your good health, sir, by the nose;
That be good snuff; sir, me suppose —
A bonnie box, too — hoo hor close?
You'll no be faund a box so grand
In ony hielant shentlam's hand —
The sass'nach's braw be our folk.
* The term Fouscanhaud, — i.e., fou's can hand, signifying dead
drunk, — is generally applied in Western Perthshire to Celtic keepers
of low tippling-houses. The song here given with that word as its
title was first sung at a concert in Crieff, and originated from the
following circumstances. "An acquaintance of mine," says the author
in a letter addressed to one of the editors of the posthumous volume of
his poems, "a teacher of music, who at the close of his season, resolved
as is usual with the 'profession,' to have a grand concert,
beseechingly requested me to write a comic song for him." The song
of "Fouscanhaud." was composed. immediately, and being sung at the
concert, was received with the greatest enthusiasm. Next morning it
was the talk of the town, and an innkeeper there conceiving himself
the hero of the piece, seems to have resolved upon the personal chastisement
of the daring satirist. "Next day," continues Stewart, "a
villanous trick was played me. Three fellows who had been bribed
with the promise of a fill-fou, if by any possibility they could entice
me into the house, came to me, and professing great friendship, asked
if I would take a share of a dram with them. This offer, of course, in
the 'half-fou' state I was, met with a ready acceptance. But, mark!
— no house with them was more preferable than that of —. I
demured to going there. But, said they — what was I afraid of? — were
not they with me — and would they not prevent any collision? — and
would not all of us get a glorious laugh on seeing the impotent rage of
mine host and hostess? It was soon settled. My courage, I thought,
must not be doubted; and so I accompanied them. I had scarcely
crossed the threshold, however, when the hostess knocked me down
with the poker. The three scoundrels bolted off, as if afraid, but took
very good care to lock the door on the outside, the key having been
left purposely for this act of treachery. I was struck down upon the
floor, and mine host, threw heavily above me, with an open pen-knife
in his hand, with which I believe, he would have cut my throat, had I
not like Roderick Dhu, hit him in the left hand while he was clearing
the way to get at my, jugular. I forced myself to my feet, but in the
struggle his knife grazed one of my eyebrows. I bear the mark yet. I
Did you'll be heard o' Fou's-can-haud?
Her nainsel' just be me, man;
Are you be weary, dull, or sad? —
Just come her drink an' prie, man.
The better drink no cross your mouth —
The better drink no kill your drouth —
As fades the death me tells the truth,
So you just micht come in this nicht
To her nain house to see the sicht,
Get famous funs an' glee, man.
Mo chaileag laghach* — hoots, that be Earse:
But what she'll gone to mean, man,
Her nainsel's wife he comes from Perse,
Hims name they calls him Shean, man.
Hims be the bonnie lassie braw —
Hims skin be white's Ben-Vorlich's snaw —
Hims ee be black as hielant craw —
An' she be crouse in her rain house,
Wi' Shean her wife, the clever mouse;
Hooch! likes o' him's no seen, man
And Sheanie mak' the braxy kail,
And Sheanie brew the tea, man;
Her nainsel fill the drams an' ale,
And gather the bawbee, man.
That's Alster Faysac 'wa oot noo,
Within her house there's Pharig Dhu,
soon squeezed the knife out of his hand, but a blow from the wife on
my right shoulder-blade with the poker, instantly made me relinquish
the weapon. I had now disarmed mine host; but I had still to disarm
his tigress. In a twinkling I snatched the poker, and — you may
believe me! — they both got an abundant tasting of it, and gave audible
demonstrations of the hearty punishment they were receiving. All this
took place in a few minutes; and before anybody had notice of the
row, I was out upon the street victorious, with the poker flourishing
in my hand, — having smashed the window for an egress, after the door
had baffled all my attempts to open it." It is not surprizing to learn
that after this tragi-comic incident, the author found it necessary for
his own comfort and peace of mind to quit the confines of Crieff, never
to return.
* My pretty girl.
And Shemus Beg — cod man, they're fou',
They'll drank by more than stoups a score,
And plenty siller till the fore;
Hooch I they're the man's for me, man.
They say should must a sangs be made
On her and Sheans her lamb, man;
But what me cares? she'll plenty trade,
In selling whisky dram, man.
Be mony shentlams her good freen',
That drinks wi' her and spokes wi' Shean,
So you'll be ken she's no to mean:
And as me said, she's plenty trade, —
Be thousand sangs about her made,
She dinna gie a tam, man!
Now, what you'll thocht to took a dram,
This moment's very time, man?
Maybe you'll took a collop ham?
Her Sheanie mak' her prime, man;
Come 'wa', no stand on stapping stones,
A dram will strong your very bones;
When me be sair, and cry Och hones!
Me seldom long, till she's among
The bottle wi' the double strong —
Best doctor for the wame, man.
OUR gudeman's breeks were riven sair,
The tailor cam' to mak' a pair;
When gloamin' fell assembl'd were
O's a' 'bout thretty three, man:
On stools an' mild tree roots we sat,
An' O, sae muckle fun's we gat,
Frae funny Patio Whip-the-cat,
The tailor o' Monzie, man.
O, he's a curiosity,
A curious curiosity,
A perfect curiosity,
The tailor o' Monzie, man.
The lasses' spindles hadna space
To whirl an' bob their circlin' race,
For head an' thrawart, back an' face,
We sat promiscouslie, man,
"Like midges i' the motty sun,
Or corbie craws on tawtie grun'!"
Sae thick were we to hear the fun
Frae Patie o' Monzie, man.
O, he's a curiosity, etc.
A lang dispute anent the State,
Gley'd Andro Toshack held wi' Pate,
Wha drawin' a steek wi' nettled heat,
Drobb'd Andro's ringle e'e, man.
Andro' roar'd, grew pale an' faint,
"My feth," quo' the gudeman, "I kent,
He'd gi'e ye piercing argument,
Our tailor o' Monzie, man."
O, he's a curiosity, etc.
Wee Gibbie Bryce was greetin' vext,
That he had made the Kirk his text,
For Patie gat him jamm'd an' fixt
In Patronage's plea, man.
* The genuine old traveling tailor, or whip-the-cat, as he was generally
termed throughout Scotland, is now extinct. To our forefathers
the arrival of the tailor in the way of his calling was an advent long
remembered. He very often united in his person the talent of wit with
an accurate knowledge of mankind; being likewise a chronicle of all
the gossip in his rounds, few people received such a hearty welcome
within the hallan as the tailor. The author of the following sketch
has seen in his younger years something akin to what he attempts to
describe. — Author's Note.
He rave poor Gibbie's sense to rags,
Made him a lauchin'-stock to wags
The hale house waved their arms like flags,
"Hurrah for Pate Monzie, man!"
O, he's a curiosity, etc.
Wi' canty tale an' funny joke,
Wi' lauchin' when the tailor spoke,
The nicht wore by till twal' o'clock,
In loud guffaw an' glee, man;
The gudewife reavilt a' her yarn,
She tint the thread-end o' her pirn,
Lauchin' like her youngest bairn,
At Patie o' Monzie, man.
O, he's a curiosity, etc.
'Twad tak' a tale as lang's an ell,
'Twad tak' an hour that tale to tell,
O' what I heard an' saw mysel',
That nicht o' nicht's to me, man.
If there's a man that we should dawt,
Wham Nature's made without a faut,
He's surely Patie Whip-the-cat,
The tailor o' Monzie, man.
O, he's a curiosity, etc.
WAUKEN, O wauken, Allan Mac Allan Dhu,
High Cairn Gower gleams red in the sun,
Wauken, O wauken, Allan Mac Allan Dhu,
The hairst's in the south, whaur a fee can be won.
Tak' a wee pickle meal on the road to mak' sturroch,
Tie your brogues, Allan Dhu, hasten and run;
Allan Mac Allan Dhu, why do ye furroch?
The hairst's in the south, whaur a fee can be won.
Fear na but Allan has donn'd his blue bonnet,
There's haste in his looks, there's dew on his shoon;
Eager yet kindly he cheers on his Shonat,
While Shonat, poor lassie, mair fain wad sit door.
The mists o' Ben Vrackie nae larger enfauld him,
He rins wi' the Tummel, he marches wi' Tay,
The steep crags o' Birnam canna withhauld him —
He hails the braw Lowlands wi' Highland "Good-day."
Far, far he wanders for Sassenach siller,
Sair, sair he labours that siller to gain;
A pairt's for the laird, an' pairt for the miller —
Allan Dhu's honest — they'll baith get their ain.
Say na poor Allan is beggarly greedy,
Say that he's provident — naething's mair true;
Allan has wants, but amang a' the needy,
Charity hasna beheld Allan Dhu.
What though the Lowlander jeer honest Allan?
Allan has virtues a king might revere;
Wha that has stappit within his clay hallan
Faund unproffer'd welcome, or unproffer'd cheer?
Be that Lowlander famish'd 'mid fulness and plenty,
Unhoused when the north winds shall raise their haloo,
Unheard in his wailings, uncheer'd by his dainty,
Wha winna show kindness to Mac Allan Dhu.
HARK the tweedle-dum!
That bow-hand hath fleetness,
Gusts o' music come,
Rich in Highland sweetness.
Hearts an' heels bestir —
Rise my bonny hinny —
Dance to Duncan Ker,
The Atholl Paganini.
The bridal ha' is lit,
Bickers round are foamin',
Licht the dancers flit,
As the wind o' gloamin';
Bobbin' through the reel,
Like a water-waggie,
"Play," cries ilka chiel',
"Tullochgorum, Pagie."
A bonnet meets his broo,
Thrissle-badged, an' cockit,
Round him a surtout,
I' the fashion — dockit;
Short's a plant o' fir,
Onything but scraggie;
Such is Duncan Ker,
Atholl's famous Pagie.
* The late Duncan M'Kerracher of Dunkeld, better known as
"Atholl's Paganini," was widely esteemed from thirty to fifty years
ago as one of the foremost reel and Strathspey fiddlers in Scotland.
The author of these verses, of course, knew him well. I have myself
seen "Pagie" and heard him play, and whether it be true or not, as
has been stated, that he was displeased with the portraiture, I can
vouch that, in its personal and other aspects as well, the description is
to the very life.
A civil body, Pag,
Pleasant as his fiddle,
Whistle, cry, or wag,
At your beck he'll triddle;
Seat him on a firm,
Near a whisky kaggie,
The mavis canna chirm
Sweeter notes than Pagie.
Bridals, balls, an' ploys,
Haud the bottle clunkin';
They wha there rejoice,
Need the aid o' Duncan;
Dull wad be the stir,
To Highland Jock an' Maggie,
Wantin' Dhonnach Ker,
Atholl's famous Pagie.
Fastly flee the clouds,
Driven by the storm,
Faster sorrow howds,
Ilka gait before 'im.
Weel may we infer,
A' his days are sunny;
Wha's like Duncan Ker,
The Atholl Paganini?
WE a' hae fond remembrances;
Our early anes how dear!
They shine like stars in Mem'ry's sky —
Bright, mystical, and clear.
* Mary Rose, or rather Ross, used to visit my father's fireside when
I was a "wee raggit laddie." She was of the old school, and a very
kind-creature to boot. Well do I remember her barm-bannocks. She
was an adept at baking, and many a piece I had of them, spread o'er
They glint a gladness round our hearts,
Where'er our footsteps stray;
How dear are the remembrances
O' boyhood's cloudless day!
Around my faither's ingle-lowe
What happy beings there
At gloamin' met — their toils forgot —
In social cracks to share! —
The pawky sutor fu' o' wit,
The tailor sae jocose,
An' mony mair, and wi' them there
Was canty Mary Rose.
O Mary was my mither's friend:
An' when they were alane,
I drew my creepie by their side
Upo' the warm hearth-stane,
An' heard their thoughts o' by-gane days —
O' ploys when they were young;
An' whiles methought in Mary's e'e
A tear o' sorrow hung.
The blinks o' fifty summer suns
Had bleached her silken hair;
Whaur ance a dimple gemm'd her cheek,
A wrinkle furrowed there.
Yet still she would in blythesome mood
Count owre an' owre her foes;
Though ane by ane cool'd in his love,
An' slighted Mary Rose.
Poor Mary had a woman's heart —
O' gentleness 'twas fou';
with butter till not a blister raised by the girdle could be seen. Her
death was a melancholy one, poor body. When age crept on her, and
she could not win her bread, her Scottish pride would not accept a
morsel if she was given to understand it in the light of charity. The
consequence was that poor Mary, unattended by a friend, was found
dead in bed one day. Alas! poor Mary! — Author's Note.
Although it met wi' cauldrife love,
It withered not, I trees.
A spirit whispered in her dreams
Sweet words that fley'd her woes,
An' time ere lang brought happiness
To slighted Mary Rose.
In Mary's dwelling mony a day,
Atween the hours o' schule,
I've sat wi' neebor youngster loons
Upon her buffet stule, —
An' as her spinnin' wheel birr'd round,
Wild legends she'd disclose,
Till we believed that Fairyland
Was kent to Mary Rose.
O, sweetly, sweetly, Mary sang
The cradle balaloo
To mony a mither's waukrife bairn,
Till sleep had smooth'd its broo.
Nane kent the bairnies frets an' ails,
Nane mixed the healing doze,
Nor band their bruises, cuts, an' scars,
Like gentle Mary Rose.
In after years I left my hame,
'Mang strangers to sojourn;
If sorrow miss'd me when awa',
It waited my return:
I fand my faither 'neth the yird,
My wither bowed wi' woes;
An' death — oh, death! — had stown awa'
Kind, couthy Mary Rose.
OH, haud na' your noddle sae hie, ma doo!
Oh, haud na' your noddle sae hie!
The days that ha'e been may be yet again seen,
Sae, look na' sae lightly on me, ma doo!
Sae, look na' sae lightly on me!
Oh, geck na' at hame hodden grey, Jean Linn!
Oh, geck na' at hame hodden grey!
Yer gutcher an' mine wad thocht themsel's fine
In cleidin' sae bien, bonnie May, bonnie ay,
In cleidin' sae bien, bonnie May.
Ye mind when we won'd in Whinglen, Jean Linn,
Ye mind when we won'd in Whinglen;
Your daddie, douse carle, was cotter to mine,
An' our herd was yer bonnie sel', then, Jean Linn!
An' our herd was yer bonnie sel', then!
Oh, then ye were a'thing to me, Jean Linn!
Oh, then ye were a'thing to me!
An' the moments flew by like birds through the sky,
When tendin' the ousen wi' thee, Jean Linn,
When tendin' the ousen wi' thee.
I twined ye a bower by the burn, Jean Linn,
I twined ye a bower by the burn;
But dreamt na' that hour as we sat in the bower
That fortune wad tak' sic a turn, Jean Linn,
That fortune wad tak' sic a turn.
Ye busk noo in satins fu' braw, Jean Linn,
Ye busk noo in satins fu' braw;
Yer daddy's a laird, mine's i' the kirkyaird,
An' I'm yer puir ploughman, Jock Law, Jean Linn,
An' I'm yer puir ploughman, Jock Law.
DEAR Aunty, what think ye o' auld Johnny Graham?
The carle sae pawkie and glee!
He wants a bit wifie to tend his bien hame,
And the bodie has ettled at me.
Wi' bonnet sae vaunty, an' owerlay sae clean,
An' ribbon that waved 'boon his bree,
He cam' doun the cleugh at the gloamin' yestreen,
An' rappit, an' sune speir't for me.
I bade him come ben whaur my Minnie sae thrang
Was birlin' her wheel eidentlie,
An', foul fa' the carle, he wasna that lang
Ere he tauld out his errand to me.
"Hech, Tibby, lass! a' yon braid acres o' land,
Wi' ripe craps that wave bonnilie,
An' meikle mair gear shall be at yer command,
Gin ye will look kindly on me.
"Yon herd o' fat owsen that rout i' the glen,
Sax naigies that nibble the lea;
The kye i' the sheugh, an' the sheep i' the pen,
I'se gi'e a', dear Tibby, to thee.
"An' lassie, I've gowpens o' gowd in a stockin',
An' pearlin's wad dazzle yer e'e;
A mettled, but canny young yaud for the yokin',
When ye wad gae jauntin' wi' me.
"I'll hap ye an' fend ye, an' busk ye an' tend ye,
An' mak' ye the licht o' my e'e
I'll comfort an' cheer ye, an' daut ye an' dear ye,
As couthy as couthy can be.
"I've lo'ed ye, dear lassie, sin' first, a bit bairn,
Ye ran up the knowe to meet me;
An' deckit my bonnet wi' blue-bells an' fern,
Wi' meikle glad laughin' an' glee.
"An' noo, woman grown, an' mensefu' an' fair,
An' gracefu' as gracefu' can be;
Will ye tak' an' auld carle wha ne'er had a care
For woman, dear Tibby, but thee?"
Sae, Auntie, ye see, I'm a' in a swither,
What answer the bodie to gie,
But aften I wish he wad tak' my auld mither,
An' let puir young Tibby abee.
FAREWEEL for aye to bonnie Tay,
Fareweel to Craigie Lea,
Fareweel my native Highland hame,
And fareweel aye to thee, Mary Morrison,
And fareweel aye to thee.
The lily blooms in Logie bowers,
The rose in Logie Shaw;
But I maun broken-hearted lea'
The fairest flower o' a', Mary Morrison,
The fairest flower o' a'.
Oh, hadst thou been a cottage maid,
And I a cottar swain,
I might hae ta'en thee to the kirk,
And made thee a' my ain, Mary Morrison,
And made thee a' my ain.
But wae on fickle woman's love,
And wae on warld's gear,
And wae be on the fause, fause loon
That wiled awa my dear, Mary Morrison,
That wiled awa my dear.
I'll trust nae mair to woman's faith,
I'll woo nae mair her smile,
I'll lean nae mair on woman's love;
'Tis a cheating wile, Mary Morrison,
'Tis a' a cheating wile.
Adieu to bonnie, blythe Dundee,
And Mary, fare thee weel;
Fause as thou art, yet near my heart
I'll wear thy image leal, Mary Morrison,
I'll wear thy image leal.
THE loch where first the stream doth rise
Is bonniest to my e'e;
An' yon auld-warld hame o' youth
Is dearest aye to me.
My heart wi' joy may up be heez'd,
Or doun wi' sorrow worn,
But O! it never can forget
The toun where I was born!
The lowly hames beside the burn,
Where happy hearts were growin';
The peasant huts where, purely bright,
The light o' love was flowin';
The wee bit glebes, where honest men
Were toilin' e'en an' morn,
Are a' before me, when I mind
The toun where I was born.
O! there were bonnie faces there,
An' hearts baith high an' warm,
That neebors loved, an' strained fu' sair
To keep a freend frae harm.
Nae wealth had they; but something still
They spared when ane forlorn,
The puir auld beggar bodie, ca'd,
The toun where I was born.
The gray auld man was honour'd there,
The matron's words were cherish'd;
An' honesty in youthfu' hearts
By age's words was nourished;
An' though e'en there we couldna get
The rose without the thorn,
It was a happy, happy place,
The toun where I was born.
Yon heather-theekit hames were blithe,
When winter nights were lay,
Wi' spinnin' wheels, an' jokin' lads,
An' ilka lassie's sang.
At Hansel-Monday we had mirth,
An' when the hairst was shorn,
The maidens cam' — 'twas cheerf a' aye
The toun where I was born.
I maist could greet, I am sae wae —
The very wa's are gane —
The autumn shilfa sits an' chirps
Upon ilk cauld hearthstane;
Ae auld aik tree, or maybe twa,
Amang the wavin' corn,
Is a' the mark that time has left
O' the toun where I was born.
BONNIE Bessie Lee had a face fu' o' smiles,
And mirth round her ripe lips was aye dancing slee;
And light was the footfa', an' winsome the wiles,
O' the flower o' the parochin, our ain Bessie Lee.
Wi' the bairns she would rin, and the school laddies paik,
And o'er the broomy braes like a fairy would flee,
Till auld hearts grew young again wi' love for her sake: —
There was life in the blythe blink o' bonnie Bessie Lee!
She grat wi' the waefu', and laughed wi' the glad,
And light as the wind 'mang the dancers was she;
And a tongue that could jeer, too, the little limmer had,
Whilk keepit aye her ain side for bonnie Bessie Lee!
She could sing like the lintwhite that sports 'mang the
And sweet was her note as the bloom to the bee —
It has aft thrilled my heart whaur yon wee burnie rins,
Whaur a'thing grew fairer wi' bonnie Bessie Lee.*
*The last four lines of this verse were introduced by Mr. Alexander
Wilson, of Perth, to prevent the occurrence of an odd half stanza which
had hitherto interfered with the effective singing of the song.
And she whiles had a sweetheart, and sometimes had
twa —
A limmer o' a lassie! — but, a'tween you and me,
Her warm wee bit heartie she ne'er threw awa'
Though mony a ane had sought it frae bonnie Bessie
But ten years had gane since I gazed on her last —
For ten years had parted my mild hame and me;
And I said to mysel', as her mither's door I passed,
Will I ever get anither kiss frae bonnie Bessie Lee?
But Time changes a'thing — the ill-natured loon!
Were it ever sae rightly, he'll no let it be;
And I rubbit at my een, and I thought I would swoon;
How the carle had come roun' about our ain Bessie
The wee laughing lassie was a gudewife grown auld,
Twa weans at her apron, and ane on her knee,
She was douce, too, and wise like — and wisdom's sae
I would rather hae the ither ane than this Bessie Lee.
HAPPY, happy be their dwallin's,
By the burn an' in the glen —
Cheerie lassies, cantie callans,
Are they a' in Ochtergaen.
Happy was my youth among them —
Rantin' was my boyhood's hour;
A' the winsome ways about them,
Now when gane, I number o'er.
Weel I mind ilk wood an' Burnie,
Couthie hame and muirland fauld, —
Ilka sonsie, cheerfu' mither,
An' ilka father douce an' auld!
Weel I mind the ploys an' jokin'
Lads an' lasses used to ha'e —
Moonlight trysts and Sabbath wanders
O'er the haughs an' on the brae.
Truer lads an' bonnier lasses
Never danced beneath the moon;
Love and friendship dwalt amang them,
An' their daffin' ne'er was dune —
I ha'e left them now for ever;
But, to greet wad bairnly be;
Better sing, an' wish kind Heaven
Frae a' dule may keep them free.
Where'er the path o' life may lead me,
Ae thing's sure — I winna mane
If I meet wi' hands an' hearts
Like those o' cantie Ochtergaen.
Happy, happy be their dwallins,
By the burn an' in the glen —
Cheerie lassies, cantie callans,
Are they a' in Ochtergaen.
I WINNA bide in your castle ha's,
Nor yet in your lofty towers, —
My heart is sick o' your gloomy hame,
An' sick o' your darksome bowers;
An' O! I wish I were far awa'
Frae their grandeur an' their gloom,
Where the freeborn lintie sings its sang
On the muir o' gorse and broom.
Sae weel as I like the healthfu' gale
That blads fu' kindly there,
An' the heather brown, an' the wild blue-bell,
That wave on the muirland bare;
An' the singing birds, an' the humming bees,
And the little lochs that toom
Their gushin' burns to the distant sea,
O'er the muir o' gorse an' broom.
O! if I had a dwallin' there,
Biggit laich by a burnie's side,
Where a'e aik-tree, in the simmer-time,
Wi' its leaves that hame might hide, —
O! I wad rejoice frae day to day,
As blythe as a young bridegroom;
For dearer than palaces to me
Is the muir o' gorse and broom.
In a lanely cot on a muirland wild,
My wither nurtured me:
O' the meek wild-flowers I playmates made,
An' my name wi' the wandering bee:
An' O,! if I were far awa',
Frae your grandeur an' your gloom,
Wi' them again, an' the bladdin' gale,
On the muir o' gorse an' broom!
THE rowing waves, the ocean tides,
Are changefu' baith at e'en and morn, —
Like sunshine and its following shade
Upon the dew-wet, yellow corn;
The burn sings saftly o'er the lea,
Where ance it like a torrent ran;
But a' are steadfastness itsel'
When liken'd to the heart o' man.
Ane sought my love, when in my teens,
A thoughtless lassie, I was gay!
I trusted, as a woman trusts,
And made his love my bosom's stay;
And when, to gather gowd. he gaed
To some far land ayont the main,
I lang'd at e'en, I lang'd at morn,
To see my loved one back again.
I ne'er gaed near the youngsters' dance;
But when the light o' day grew dim,
I sought the broomy trysting knowe,
Where quietness dwelt, to think on him.
Years cam' and gaed; but hame to me
He hied na, as he should ha'e dune;
But, O! I ne'er mistrusted him —
His name I cherish'd late and sune.
My father and my mother baith
Were laid aneath the cauldrife yird,
And I was left alane, alane,
A mourning and a mateless bird.
He came at length, — and O! my heart
Was glad as heart can ever be, —
He came wi' a' his treasured love,
He came to gi'e it a' to me.
I heard his foot on my door-stane —
He stood upon my lanely floor —
I gazed upon the manly form
That did my lassie's heart allure;
And bitter thoughts came in my breast;
For pride was dancing in the e'e
Whence love should ha'e been smiling sweet,
To bless, and glad, and comfort me.
I saw his glance o' meikle scorn
Upon my lanely maiden hame;
And O! thought my heart wad break
Where laigh I murmur'd forth his name.
He gazed upon my alter'd form, —
I kept what in his e'e did gleam;
He thought na, in his cruelty,
The change was wrought by waiting him.
He cauldly spake o' youthfu' days;
And o' his plighted faith spake he;
And syne I scorned the world's slave,
And proudly told him he was free.
He turn'd him wi' a mocking smile,
And offer'd gowd and offer'd gear;
And then I sought in vain to dee, —
For this I couldna, couldna bear.
Truth, love, and woman's faith, in youth,
A dwellin' place had biggit me, —
A hame where joy upon my heart
Had blinkit sunshine wondrouslie;
But falsehood came, and to the earth
That palace o' the soul did fa';
For woman's trustin' faith was gave,
And truth and love were far awa'.
I bared my breast beneath a ray
Sent frae love's bonnie summer sun;
But, ere I wist, cauld winter cam',
And hope and joy gaed one by one.
I maybe loved a thing o' earth
Ower weel, and Heaven burst the chain;
I ken na; but my heart is sair,
And age is comin' cauld and lane!
I ANCE was a wanter, as happy 's a bee;
I meddled wi' nane, and nane meddled wi' me;
I whiles had a crack o'er a cog o' gude yill,
Whiles a bicker o' swats — whiles a heart-heezin gill.
And I aye had a groat if I hadna a pound,
On the earth there were nane meikle happier found.
But my auld mither died in the year auchty-nine,
And I ne'er hae had peace in this warld sin syne.
Fu' sound may she sleep! a douce woman was she,
Wi' her wheel, and her pipe, and her cuppie o' tea;
My ingle she keepit as neat as a preen,
And never speered questions as "Whaur 'hae ye been?"
Or "What were you Join'?" an' "Wha was ye wi'?" —
We were happy thegither my mither and me.
But the puir bodie died in the year auchty-nine,
An' I ne'er hae had peace in the warld sin syne.
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 sune gat, and I aye hae her yet,
And folks think thegither we unto weel fit.
But my ain mind hae I, tho' I maunna speak o't,
For mair than her gallop I like my ain trot.
O! my auld mither died in the year auchty-nine,
An' I ne'er hae had peace in the warld sin syne.
If I wi' a crony be takin' a drap,
She'll yammer and ca' me an auld drucken chap.
If an hour I bide out, loud she greets and she yowls,
And bans a' gude fellows, baith bodies and sowls.
And then sic a care she has o' her gudeman!
Ye wad think I were doited — I canna but ban!
O! my auld mither died in the year auchty-nine,
An' I ne'er hae had peace in the warld sin syne.
Our gilpie young dochters are lookin' for men,
An' I'll be a grandsire or ever I ken.
The laddies are thinkin' o' rulin' the roast,
Their faither, puir body, 's deaf as a post.
But he sees they're upsettin', sae crouse and sae bauld;
O! why did I marry, and wherefore grow auld?
My auld mither died in the year auchty-nine,
An' I ne'er hae had peace in the warld sin syne!
THE braw folk crush the puir folk down,
An' blood an' tears are rinnin' het;
An' meikle ill an' meikle wae,
We a' upon the earth have met.
An' Falsehood aft comes boldly forth,
An' on the throne of Truth doth sit;
But true hearts a' — gae work awa' —
We'll mak' the Warld better yet!
Though Superstition, hand in hand
Wi' Prejudice — that gruesome hag —
Gangs linkin' still; though misers make
Their heaven o' a siller bag;
Though Ignorance, wi' bloody hand,
Is tryin' Slavery's bonds to knit —
Put knee to knee, ye bold an' free,
We'll mak' the Warld better yet!
See yonder coof wha becks an' bows
To yonder fool wha's ca'd a lord;
See yonder gowd-bedizzen'd wight —
Yon fopling o' the bloodless sword.
Baith slave, an' lord, an' soldier too,
Maun honest grow or quietly flit;
For freemen a', baith grit an' sma', —
We'll mak' the Warld better yet!
Yon dreamer tells us o' a land
He frae his airy brain bath made —
A land where Truth and Honesty
Have crushed the serpent Falsehood's head.
But by the names o' Love and Joy,
An' Commonsense, an' Lear an' Wit,
Put back to back, — and in a crack,
We'll mak' our Warld better yet!
The Knaves an' Fools may rage and storm,
The growling Bigot may deride —
The trembling Slave awa' may rin,
An' in his Tyrant's dungeon hide;
But Free and Bold, and True and Good,
Unto this oath their seal have set —
"Frae pole to pole we'll free ilk soul, —
The Warld shall be better yet!"
(Written in North Leith Churchyard).
Is the poet's grave in some lonely spot,
Is his requiem sung by the wild-bird's throat,
Where the forest flowers are first in bloom,
Is this the place of the poet's tomb?
Do his bones repose on his native hills,
Is his spirit soothed by their dashing rills,
Where the heather waves and the free winds come,
Is this the place of the poet's tomb?
Is his last, long sleep made in hallowed mould,
Where the bones of his fathers rest of old,
Doth the same grey stone record his doom,
Is this the place of the poet's tomb?
No! alas, bright thoughts of a deathless name,
With o'ermastering power on his spirit came;
And his childhood's home, and his father's hearth,
He forsook for the busy haunts of earth!
* These remarkable elegaic verses give every indication of the
possession of a poetical faculty of a high order, and they of themselves
are sufficient, in my opinion, to place the writer in high rank among
the poets of his time, although he had never written another line.
The tale of his brother's life and death, and how he buckled on his
helmet and went to battle against oppression and pain, is better told
in these few stanzas than many men's lives have been in volumes. How
any young man living on the very outer edge of the world of letters could,
at one sitting, produce such a noble tribute to the memory of his
deceased brother, and such a finished piece of versification, is difficult
to understand. — P. R. Drummond.
He had dreamed a dream in the moorland glen,
Of oppression and pain 'mongst his fellow men;
He buckled his helmet with clasps of gold,
But fell ere half his tale was told.
Nor tree, nor flower o'er his lowly bed,
Their bright spring tears, or sere leaves, shed,
For, 'mid countless graves, and a city's gloom,
Sleeps Nature's child, in a nameless tomb.
I WISH I were on a green hillside,
With the breezes round me blowing,
While far beneath is the swelling tide,
With murmurs onward flowing;
To hold free converse with Nature there,
And heavenward mount on the wings of prayer.
Oh! would I were in the forest dim, —
For true hearts still 'tis the holiest fane, —
When the gay lark carols his matin hymn,
And the echoing woods return the strain,
No roof but God's blue sky above me;
None nigh but one true heart to love me.
Oh! that I were in a cottage low
In some far glen, aye there to bide,
With loved ones round me, that dearest grow
Because unloved by all beside.
There wear out, in the joy of the dear caress,
All that life can give of happiness.
Oh! far would I live from the city's din,
Its senseless noise and its sordid care,
Where outside glare hides a dusk within,
And the hollow smile gilds dark despair,
And men barter that God sent-soul away
At the shrine of its image of dross and clay.
ADIEU! sweet maid, adieu for ever,
Once how loved let Memory tell;
One fond kiss, and then we sever;
One bitter pang, and then farewell.
Yet e'er we part, say will one thought,
One kindly thought e'er turn on him,
Whose early love unstained, unbought,
Made thee the goddess of his dream?
Wilt thou with interest view his path,
Along of life the stormy wave,
Or should he sink beneath its wrath,
One tear shed o'er his nameless grave?
Wilt thou when others loud condemn,
In accents mild defend his name,
Whose heart to thee, if not to them,
Once burned with friendship's purest flame?
E'en should the world's cankerous breath
His name with blighting influence scar,
Wilt thou even in that worse than death,
Remember that he once was dear,
And o'er his frailties draw a veil,
And deem in secret he may mourn?
The heart from purity may fail,
Then seek to hide regret in scorn.
And when another voice is sweet
Unto thine ear, as once was mine —
When other eyes responsive meet
With answering thought each glance of thine.
Oh! think not of me, then I'd be
No rude intruder on thy joy:
But hours like these too quickly flee,
And sorrows come, and cares annoy.
But should the hand of sorrow cloud
In coming years that brow so fair,
Though newer scenes may memory shroud,
That sorrow let my friendship share;
But now we part; alas! for ever;
No tie, but that which memory brings
Remains for worldly cares to sever,
And to that tie the heart still clings.
That midst the world's cares and sadness,
I'll think of thee as what thou wert,
My early love, when joy and gladness
Danced gaily through my youthful heart.
Again adieu! again endeavour
To crush the thoughts my bosom swell,
And while this heart forgets thee never,
With bursting sigh I say farewell!
THE, village eyes for love and truth,
Fair Helen fixed upon;
The joy of all the virtuous youth,
The fair maid's paragon.
To parents she was dutiful,
To everyone sincere;
To rivals she was beautiful,
To all the village dear.
Lord William, in an evil hour,
Espied the luckless fair,
Her fate — submission to his power;
Her guerdon — sad despair.
Her father saw her altered form,
Her visage pale and wan;
And though he felt a rising storm,
Suppressed it as a man.
Apart her mother wiped the tear,
Though smiles to her were shown;
For Helen was to her most dear,
Of all her heart had known.
To soothe a father's rending care,
Which time could ne'er remove,
A mother's tenderness to spare,
And show her filial love.
Lord William, in his walk, she sought,
The cause of her undoing.
Alas! poor Helen little thought
She sought her final ruin!
"At eve," he said, "on yonder beach,
You'll meet me at the tide,
And I'll save you from slander's reach,
For you shall be my bride."
"Oh! spare my life, Lord William, spare!
'Tis all your Helen craves!"
A ruthless pair the female bear,
And dash her in the waves.
The two had rowed, for murder hired,
Till out of reach of hearing,
Where Helen in the deep expired,
And he no witness fearing.
"You've done your part full well," he said;
"She can tease me no more.
Now, would you wish your hire well paid,
Row quickly to the shore."
She was his bride; for he cried "Save!"
As they to land were sailing.
The villains met a watery grave,
And none to help their wailing.
An Extract.
I STAND upon a bridge that spans
A gentle current far below;
No longer now the light breeze fans
The lake's unruffled glow.
How peacefully it rests, with all
Its mountains mirrowed on its bosom —
Field, crag, and cot, and waterfall,
Green wavy branch, and wild flower's blossom!
How calm, how blest! …
… Then stay thee, stay,
Nor leave thy parent lake to-day!
Yes, stay! But no; thou art onward still,
The happy dupe of thy playful will,
With thy dimpling smiles and thy merry song,
Swirling, eddying, glancing along;
By bush and bank, in sun and shade,
Peebles below and leaves o'erhead,
And well the listening muse could deem
Thy murmured thoughts, sweet froward stream;
For well could'st thou list her counsels sage,
And well can'st scorn the voice of age,
As youth ever does. If it were not a dream
Are these not thy murmurings, beautiful stream? —
"Oh, who would bide 'mid these mountains lone,
A lifeless thing, unnoticed, unknown?
When all around is cold and tame,
Changeless still, and ever the same
Torrents unaltered from their birth,
What have they for a young heart's mirth
An old oak bending over the face
Of a rifted rock from its rooted place,
Like a weeping ghost, by night and by day,
Ever the same, and never away!
The sombre swell of each mountain form,
Unvaried aye in calm or storm,
All grey with crag, or brown with heath,
Or swathed in fogs like shrouded death,
Where nothing new or pleasant appears,
But ever the same for a thousand years;
Crowding their images over my face,
And hugging me up in an iron embrace!
O who would bide 'mid these lone hills, pray,
If able and free to bound away?
"I go, I go, with dance and song —
Sparkling, whirling, rushing along —
By bushy bank and flowery brae,
Sporting at will by night and by day.
Now gliding slow, without ripple or din,
Where arching boughs so closely entwine
That scarcely day dares enter in;
Now sparkling free in the broad sunlight,
Like a silver belt with diamonds dight;
Or dashing over the wild cascade,
White with foam, but never afraid!
Gliding, gushing, glancing on,
By ruin grey and warrior stone,
City proud and knightly hall,
Prized, and praised, and loved by all!
A thing of majesty and pride —
Old burly ocean's mountain bride!
Our tryst is by a lonely tower,
When the pale moon slants an eastern ray,
And there he has reared the bridal bower
Of his blue-eyed Highland Tay!"
The Tay! the Tay! pure placid stream!
Well do I know my native river —
My youthful muse's favourite theme,
The brightest wonder of her dream —
Yes, glide, and glide for ever!
My fathers loved thy sparkling flood—
And they are gone — and youth from me
Is parting like an autumn cloud —
Yet still thou'rt young and fair to see!
Age is not years — at least with thee.
The forest monarch feels his prime,
And fades, all stubborn though he be:
And mountains crumbling yield to time;
But thou, though old, art ever young,
Beginning still but to begin;
Thy lullaby is yet unsung,
Although thy lusty youth could win
An "Ecce, Ecce Tiber!" from
Rome's warriors in her warrior day;
Yet there thou glidest sweetly on,
As if thy waters ne'er had shone,
With sunlight till to-day.
O, DID ye ne'er hear o' the Priest o' Kinfauns,
Wi' his black gown an' beads, an' his lang skleeny
hauns —
His thin sallow face, and his big bricht e'en,
The whilk their marrows were never seen?
Did ye never hear tell how he fastit an' prayed,
How mony ghostly visits he paid
To Elcho nuns, in their straits an' their stauns —
What a godly man was the Priest o' Kinfauns!
The Priest he fastit, the Priest he prayed,
Yet few kent weel what he did or said;
He sleepit the day, an' he waukit the nicht,
An' he countit the stars till the morning licht.
But tho' he was holy as holy could be,
Nane likit the Priest wi' the big black e'e;
Though clad like a saunt, an' tho' free wi' his aums,
What a fearfu' man aye was the Priest o' Kinfauns!
He gae to the puir, but he gae wi' a growl,
Or a look that gaed cauld to a puir body's soul;
He prayed for the sick, an' he prayed for the sair,
Till the hale an' the thrivin' were trembling wi' fear.
Though his shrivin' was short an' the penance but sma',
Yet his shrive-days were sad days to ane an' to a';
But how they were sae still there's nane understauns —
What a terrible man was the Priest o' Kinfauns!
It was said through the country, an' a' thocht it true,
That the langer the Priest lived the better he grew:
For late an' for lang, baith at mornin' an' mirk,
He prayed to the Virgin for hours in the kirk.
An' often the wanderer, whan a' thing was still,
An' the last streak o' daylight had sunk o'er the hill,
Would hear in't strange soonds like the singin' o' saums —
What a marvellous man was the Priest o' Kinfauns!
That ook the fair Beatrice frae Elcho was missed —
Nae sister sae bonnie the rude ever kissed —
He prayed to the saunts baith the day an' the nicht
For the peace o her soul, or the place o' her flicht,
Till its said that the Virgin, his faith to reward,
Cam' down in the e'en to that eerie kirkyard,
Nor left him till da'in was gray on the lawns —
What a high favoured man was the Priest o' Kinfauns!
But what she then tauld him there's nae ane can tell,
But strange were the soonds an' the sichts that befel!
Ae day, as the e'enin' gae place to the mirk,
Wild screamin' and lauchter were heard in the kirk;
And twice at the winnock, could fowk trust their e'en,
An' eerie Licht blazed an' a lady was seen!
The trials o' the godly there's nane understauns —
What a sair wrastlin' man was the Priest o' Kinfauns!
It's strange! owre the parish nae e'e closed that nicht,
An' the dogs yaufft an' youl'd till the grey daylicht,
An' yet there was little on earth or in air,
O' sicht or o' soond, to breed terror or care;
The bairnies a' sabbit, an' kye at the sta'
Shuk wi' fear till the swyte ow'r their hurdies did fa',
An' horse quat the stake, spite o' bridle an' banns:
There was ne'er sic a nicht near the kirk o' Kinfauns!
Neist mornin' the dew-draps glanced thick on the lea,
An' sweet sang the wee birds on ilka green tree;
A'thing luk't the same, but the kirkyard was gane,
An' priest, kirk, or kirkyard, were never mair seen,*
But a wee loch shone clear on the place whaur they
An' a wull-duke already was soomin' its flude.
Fouk may say what they like, but for houses an' launs,
Few ere would coont kin wi' the Priest o' Kinfauns!
OH, never! no, never!
Thou'lt meet me again!
My spirit for ever
Has burst from its chain;
The links thou bast broken
Are all that remain,
For never, oh! never,
Thou'lt meet me again.
Like the sound of the viol,
That dies on the blast;
Like the shade on the dial,
Thy spirit has pass'd.
* The manse of Kinfauns, tradition avers, at one time stood about a
furlong south from the present situation, and where there is now a
pool of water called the Kaitress Loch. In the broad light of day it
was observed to suddenly and mysteriously sink into the ground, and
the loch referred to has ever since occupied the place. Many years
afterward, upon a report arising that there was a golden cradle in this
submarine manse, the people of Kirkstyle undertook to drain off the
water, and had advanced so far with the work that they were in great
expectation of obtaining the prize, when, looking round, they observed
their houses all in flames. They at once ran home to save their goods
and chattels, and, on coining back to the loch, to their great surprise
it was as full of water as before. It is almost unnecessary to add that
further search for the golden cradle was indefinitely postponed.
The breezes blow round me,
But give back no strain;
The shade on the dial
Returns not again.
Where roses enshrine thee,
In light trellis'd shade,
Still hoping to find thee,
How oft have I strayed!
Thy desolate dwelling
I traverse in vain; —
The stillness has whisper'd
Thou'lt ne'er come again.
I still haste to meet thee,
When footsteps I hear;
And start when to greet me
Thou dost not appear;
Then afresh o'er my spirit
Steals mem'ry of pain, —
For never, oh! never,
Thou'lt meet me again.
A WIND-BOUND exile far from home,
While standing near th' unfathomed main,
My eyes the far horizon roam,
To see the land I long to gain.
Though dim with mists and faintly blue,
The hills of bliss e'en now I view;
Oh! when will Heaven's soft breezes come
And waft the weary exile home?
Let those who know no lovelier shore
Their shells and sea-weed idly heap,
Then mourn to see their paltry store
Dispersed and sinking in the deep.
My storehouse lies beyond the wave,
My treasure fears no wat'ry grave.
And oh! I wish fair winds would come
And waft me o'er to that blest home.
Already some I hold most dear,
Have safe arrived on yonder strand;
Their backs afar like specks appear,
The exiles now have gained the land.
Their parting signals wave no more,
No signs of woe float from that shore!
And soon the skiff for me will come,
And Heaven's own breath will waft me home.
WE are leaving the scenes of our happiest hours,
So gay and so lovely with Spring's opening flowers;
Our children's last look to their homes has been given,
And faith's eye is fixed on her mansion in heaven.
Now, Scotland, our task is accomplished for thee,
And the Church of our country is faithful and free!
Last week in His house we united in prayer,
And we felt that the God of our father's was there;
* "When May, 1843, came," says her biographer, "Mrs. Stewart
Sandeman joined the Free Church; and although she could not be in
Edinburgh in person, her son and her daughter saw the whole proceedings
of that memorable day. Early in the morning they were in
St. Andrew's Church with the multitude, hearing the protest of
ministers and elders read, seeing the Lord Commissioner withdraw
overcome, and then they left the church along with the last outgoing
men. Whilst the procession marched on towards Tanfield Hall, the
crowd upon the pavements walked faster and arrived sooner. Thus
they had a view of the entire procession, recognising many an honoured
and well-known form. Thousands of young people received a life-long
impulse from that scene."In her journal of date 26th May, 1843,
Mrs. Sandeman has these verses, which give expression to a feeling
then surging in many a tender heart.
Yet 'twas solemn and sad thus in parting to pray,
And the last song of praise on our lips died away.
Now, Scotland, our task is accomplished for thee,
And the Church of our country is faithful and free!
Yes, secured to thee now is the Gospel's sweet sound,
And our conscience is peaceful, our fetters unbound;
The shield of His truth He will over us fling,
And the shout that ye hear is the shout of a King!
The crown on His brow shall for ever endure,
His throne as eternity stedfast and sure.
Now, Scotland, our task is accomplished for thee,
And the Church of our fathers is faithful and free!
FORTY-FIVE years have passed away
Since the bells rang out for church, as now,
I sat alone, as I sit to-day,
To take on the morrow the marriage vow.
This very hour they proclaimed me bride,
And his heart was full of joy and pride:
There was love, there was joy, in the bride's heart too,
Yet clouds were floating across her sky;
For an earthly love was a light, 'tis true,
But the other Sun she could scarce descry,
And fears would rise, and a tear would fall —
'Twas an earthly portion after all.
The morrow came, the loved were there,
The bride and bridegroom's troth was plighted,
Loud acclamations rent the air,
The gathered townsfolk cheered delighted.
A long, a prosperous wedded life,
Was waiting for the new-made wife.
The scene is changed. For that bride to-day
The bells ring out to church e'en now.
I sit alone, with changed array,
In his house who received my marriage vow;
But father and mother, and bridesmaids too,
And bridegroom, death hath hid from view:
Brothers and friends who formed the train,
The patriarch who joined our hands,
Three noble sons and infants twain,
Have followed them into the silent land.
I gaze on the flood whose ruthless sweep
Earth's hopes has buried in the deep.
But my hand is striking triumphal chords,
And my voice is tuned to a deathless strain,
For the King of kings and Lord of lords
Hath bidden my soul be glad again.
At this very hour He calls me bride
By a union that ever shall abide.
No clouds are floating before me now;
Yon glorious Sun drives all away.
No sad foreboding shades my brow
As I sit me down alone to-day.
Let joy's full tide my bosom swell,
With "Jesus only" all is well.
A morrow comes. All loved are there;
Bride and Bridegroom are on the throne.
Loud acclamations rend the air;
An angel-voice cries, "It is done!"
Eternal bliss is ours to share:
The Lamb is all the glory there.
WE'VE haen a sair winter, likewise a cauld spring;
An' the gowk, though in May, has been scarce heard to
O' could wintry weather we've haen a lang track,
Whilk has wroucht a great change on Willie's hay
An' wha hasna' heard o' Willie's hay stack!
O' wha hasna' heard o' Willie's hay stack!
'Twas squared like a soo on the road to your view,
An' theekit wi' broom was Willie's bay stack.
It stood high an' dry for years half a score,
An' moray ane wonder'd to see't to the fore;
Some gaed to Australia, got rich, an' cam back,
But aye there, untouched, stood Willie's hay stack.
There wasna' ane near him but wha's pickle hay,
Tho' e'er sae weel haen'd, wis dune lang ere May;
O' farmers an' cottars there wasna' ane slack
To covet an' grummil at Willie's hay stack.
The carters they tried it, but it widna' draw,
Sae hard an' sae dry, it aye brak' in twa;
They widna' been laith a good burden to tak',
If they could hae got it frae Willie's hay stack.
Ye ken that last summer the drouth was severe;
Mony ane o' their neeps cud scarce get a brier;
The little they had gaed dune in a crack,
Whilk made mair than Willie to try their hay stack.
When a' thing gaed dune, Willie seized the hay-knife;
His hand shook and trimmel'd like takin' a life;
There's nae muckle wonder suppose he did shak'
When a' his beas' meat was dune but the stack.
Noo a'body's lauchin' as by they do gang,
They see Willie's stack it canna last lang;
It's like an auld chair wi' a turned up back,
Ere lang they'll a' see an end to the stack.
Some young cummers giggle at nicht gaen hame,
As they pass the auld stethel they're like to think
They mind o' the nicht when they got a bit smack,
ile scoogin' a shower ahint Willie's hay stack.
A BIT counsel I'll gi'e to you lasses,
Wha young are, an' bonnie, an' braw;
Try an' mak' hay i' the sunshine,
An' no be like Jenny Whitelaw.
Jenny's a decent auld bodie,
An' a' her wants are but sma' —
Nae fear for the time that is comin' —
Contented is Jenny Whitelaw.
Last year, at the shearin' at Colen,
There last the auld bodie I saw;
Sair alter'd sin' she was in Gairdrum —
Little buiket is Jenny Whitelaw.
She toil'd an' she swat for a mouthfu',
Though a' she cou'd mak' was but sma';
She wants to ha'e something for winter —
Richt thochtfu' is Jenny Whitelaw.
I mind weel, when I was a laddie,
Her hair was as black as a craw;
But three score o' summers ha'e whiten'd
The locks o' puir Jenny Whitelaw.
Some neebours gang aften to see her,
An' ithers they ne'er gang ava;
I wish they wad a' mind an' gi'e her,
For needfu' is Jenny Whitelaw.
Ah, lasses, though thrang at the courtin',
Ye needna aboot yer lads blaw;
In her youth she had nae lack o' sweethearts —
Muckle thocht o' was Jenny Whitelaw.
I GAZE on sunshine warm and bright,
Upon yon lofty pine-clad height;
For down dark shadows creep;
The distant bills are towering high;
Their bold outlines against the sky
In mazy grandeur sweep.
The golden rays have found their way
Through splinter'd rocks and boulders grey,
And down the glen they stream;
See, glancing o'er the hoary peaks,
A sparkling flow of sunny streaks
In dazzling radiance gleam.
From shelter'd depths have moved the sheep,
To bask upon each grassy steep,
And welcome in the day;
Where the blithe morning minstrels sing,
The hawk darts down on hasty wing,
In search of early prey.
A narrow stripe of waterfall
Pours down a dark and rocky wall,
A mass of show'ry spray,
Till, lost in shady depths below,
Where stunted oaks and hazels grow,
It urges on its way.
High perched upon a pointed peak,
A lonely raven opes his beak
And croaks his warning notes;
Then spreads his wings and cleaves the air —
Ye timid fledgelings pray beware,
For o'er ye now he floats.
'Tis something like our social plan,
When weaklings fear the stronger man,
And might usurps the right;
Subjected to despotic rules,
The weak are treated just as tools,
To toil, to slay, to fight.
Around me scenes sublime and grand —
The home once of a noble band,
Brave heroes of high fame,
Missed in our brawny ranks of war;
They've gone to distant lands afar,
That sportsmen may have game.
Well may we miss those gallant men,
Sons of the mountain and the glen —
No braver ever bled.
What foe could stem the rushing charge
Of clansmen with claymore and targe,
When by their chieftains led!
These hills have seen a noble sight
Of stalwart forms on every height,
In tartan, proud array;
His sturdy ranks each Chieftain scans,
While wild "The Gathering of the Clans"
The stately pipers play.
Ye foamy streams and whisp'ring rills!
Ye hoary craigs and rugged hills,
Brake, bourne, and waterfall!
Ye weirdly wild and wooded glens,
And lonely lakes and boggy fens,
I dearly love ye all!
MATERNAL Night came gently forth,
As waned the setting sun,
And all the stars in heaven's roof,
She lighted one by one.
And when her num'rous task was done,
She bent her dewy head.
And lifted up her warning hand,
And ope'd her mouth and said, —
"Now let no mirth or noise be made,
For I must put them all to bed."
She straightway shut the insect's wing,
And stretched the beast to rest,
And stilled the fish in stream and sea,
And bird in brake and nest,
And laid the babe on mother's breast,
And labour s limbs composed,
And care surprised, and sickness soothed,
And sorrow's eyelids closed.
"Now let there be no noise," she said,
"For I have put them all to bed."
And all night long she sat and watched
Within that chamber vast,
And when the full-orbed moon arose,
She clouds around her cast;
And called upon the piping winds,
And warbling waves and streams,
To sing their softest lullabies,
And give unbroken dreams.
And there she sat and vigil kept,
And mother's tears she o'er them wept,
And soothed and blessed them while they slept.
"THE hearse is coming!" shouted, as they ran,
A crowd of boys and girls. And maid and man
Flung windows up, or rushed into the street —
And some ran off the vehicle to meet;
For it was deemed a wonder to be seen,
And had for weeks the village topic been.
"The hearse is coming!" — on the tidings flew!
Down with a clang the smith his hammer threw.
Away went weaver's lay and delver's spade,
And forth from tub and wheel rushed wife and maid
And age took up its staff and stuttered out,
To see what all the hubbub was about.
"The hearse is come! hurrah!" the children cried,
And noisy curs with bound and bark replied.
And there it was at last, with flaunting plume
And glossy sides, the chariot of the tomb!
"It was an honour to the town!" they said.
The old man mused, the widow shook her head.
Back to its wooden house, amidst the throng,
The idol of the day was borne along.
And all that day they feasted on the sight,
And spent in ale and gossip half the night.
And there it dwelt full forty years and more,
And child and mother, son and sire, it bore
Down to the silent tomb, until at last,
Of all who had in the forgotten past
Its advent hailed, but few remained to tell
What mirth and clamour on that day befell.
But earthly grandeur has its little day,
And must, like man, surrender to decay.
Year after year it old and crazy grew,
And through its chinks the winter tempests blew.
The worm was busy in its mouldering frame,
And foul reproach was heaped upon its name.
Until 'twas doomed to stand, inert, alone,
Its ancient prestige and employment gone.
Its wooden house, with tufts of moss bedeck'd,
No more its age from insult could protect.
By night the vagrant easy entrance found,
And slept within or 'neath it on the ground;
By day it was the favourite resort
Of boys from school, to ply their noisy sport.
Perched on its box, a mimic driver held
Fictitious reins, and fancied steeds impelled,
Whilst down below rose shout and fierce debate,
Where erst the dead had lain, in solemn state.
And as caprice evoked a different mood,
A ready target for their aim it stood;
And as a stone a rib or rafter split,
A loud huzza announced the happy hit.
And — worst of all — its plumes were reckless torn
From out their place, and in derision worn
In cap and bonnet, to be flung anon
Upon the dusty ground, and trod upon,
Or torn by dogs, and scattered here and there,
Which watchful sparrow picked up to repair
Its piebald nest and winds would fragments pitch
Into the ash-pit foul or stagnant ditch.
And last of all, by piecemeal, plank and spoke,
It vanished from the earth in chimney-smoke.
"Sic transit" — but the moral is so stale,
That to repeat it were of small avail.
THERE'S heichts and there's howes
On baith sides o' Life's brae,
Whaur Care aften meets
Wi' her twin sister Wae;
But hear life's rebuffs
Tho', nae doot, unco snell,
For still there's a way
Aye to fen' for yersel'.
There's true mither wit
I' the auld-fashion'd tale
"Let ilk' herrin' hang,
By its ain siller tail".
Frae this maxim learn,
Self-control is the spell,
That opes Plenty's horn,
When ye fen' for yersel'.
Let Truth be yer shield,
And yer best coat o' mail;
And Time your estate,
Tho' nae lasting entail,
For pelf and for power
Yer best birthright ne'er sell,
But keep the straucht gaet,
And aye fen' for yersel'.
To press yer just claims,
A moment ne'er swither,
The puir simple snool's
The beggar's ain brither;
When worth is sair chill'd
Whiles in puirtith's cauld well,
E'en then be a man,
And aye fen' for yersel'.
Ne'er miss a richt chance
When it comes in yer way,
To hain yer spare gear
For a cauld rainy day;
In need it mak's freen's
Wha, the plain truth to tell,
Will like ye the mair
That ye fen' for yersel'.
Ne'er fawn nor despair,
Though the wolf's at the door,
But aft bend the knee,
And mair strength aye implore
Life's burdens to bear
And Care's dark doubts repel:
For God helps the man
Wha, in faith, helps himsel'.
LIFE'S lease is unco short, John,
And the term is comin' fast,
The flittin' day we'll min', John,
Lest sorrow come at last.
A treasure we'll lay up, John,
A' safe frae ilka fae,
Whaur ne'er a warnin's gien, John,
A hame without a wae.
Come when the flittin' may, John,
We'll e'en now do our best,
And aye look up for grace, John,
To bring us peace and rest.
Wi' hearts sincere, we'll strive, John,
To keep the narrow way,
And watch wi' jealous e'e, John,
Our last, our flittin' day.
Ye ken we've flitted aft, John,
And sair forfouchen been,
To keep our bairnies sax, John,
And sticks a' neat and clean;
But oh, it mak's me wae, John,
(My only pride and stay)
To think that we might part, John,
When comes the flittin' day.
Through a' our cares and toils, John,
We've helpit ane anther,
And e'en when at the worst, John,
We closer drew thegither.
Our bonnie bairnies few, John,
Noo clad in white array,
We'll meet, if we hae faith, John,
When comes the flittin' day.
We've warnin's had fu' aft, John,
That filled our hearts wi' wae,
To tell us baith the truth, John,
We're creepin' down the brae;
A' these were wisely sent, John,
Sure inklin's o' decay,
That whisper'd aye, tak' tent, John,
Ere comes the flittin' day.
I SAW a licht lowp ower the hill,
I saw it glintin' through the glen;
It was the swift-winged fiery cross
To rouse the kilted Hielandmen.
Auld Scotia's stalwart Hielandmen,
Her fearless, dauntless Hielandmen,
The swift-winged flickerin' fiery cross
To rouse the kilted Hielandmen.
Whene'er the tide o' war has surged,
Through city pent or open plain,
There, foremost 'mang the rushing brave,
Are Scotland's kilted Hielandmen.
They shook the little Corsican,
In Egypt, Belgium, and in Spain;
"The hero of a hundred fights"
Was frighted at the Hielandmen.
At Scotland's kilted Hielandmen,
Her fearless, dauntless Hielandmen,
The eagle eye that erst ne'er quailed
Was frighted at the Hielandmen.
On Balaclava's heights they stood
When Russian horse like hurricane
Swept on to break the single line
Of Scotland's brawny Hielandmen.
"O Colin, man, how dared you risk?
You should hae triple lined your men,"
Quoth he, "Wi' ither troops I should,
But no' wi' kilted Hielandmen.
Auld Scotland's darling Hielandmen,
Her fearless, dauntless Hielandmen,
I didna think it worth my while
Wi' Scotland's kilted Hielandmen."
The savage Sepoys they did chase
Through flood an' field, an' break an' fen,
The hero Havelock thwacked them sair
Wi' fifteen hundred Hielandmen.
An' yet, ye heartless Hieland lairds,
You've stocked your every hill an' glen
Wi' moorcocks, hares, an' antler'd deer,
An' harried out the Hielandmen.
When foemen on your borders press;
When despots howl around ye; then,
When fightin' for your hames and hearths
You'll maybe miss the Hielandmen.
Auld Scotland's brawny Hielandmen,
Her fearless, dauntless Hielandmen,
Your fine preserves of petted game
Are puir exchange for Hielandmen.
JOHN CAMPBELL ("Will Harrow.")
Written in Africa.
AULD and crazy, wearied and worn,
I creep alang the shore;
I hirple ower the shining sand,
While my heart is awa' in a far off land,
My land, alas! no more.
And I sadly muse on brighter days —
Days now for ever flown;
For here I feebly creep an' cringe,
In every fibre feel a twinge,
An ache in every bone.
When I was young, then on my brow
Grief ventured not to trace
The sorrows that becloud it now,
When I am fading like a bough
That's torn from its place.
Ah! what a mingled play we see
Here on life's shifting stage,
Ever mingling life with death,
The coming with the parting breath —
Bright youth with gloomy age.
"All flesh is grass," and o'er the field
The mighty reaper goes;
And soon or late, no stalk is missed;
Yet o'er the world's perish'd dust
Life's stream still gaily flows.
The number'd hour that's on the wing,
'Tis well we do not know;
All that we know is only this —
Such ignorance is really bliss —
When to the earth we go.
When comes my time, as come it will,
Then my remains inhume
Within a verdant sunny slope,
Whereon the gladsome birdies hop,
Among the golden broom.
Among the bonnie yellow broom,
That breezes wanton wave,
The golden tassels wet "wi' dew"
(That every morning will renew),
To gem my nameless grave.
On the wide uncultured moor,
Far from the noisy town,
Where uncaged birdies blythely sing —
Where the untended wild flowers spring —
There lay me gently down.
JOHN CAMPBELL ("Will Harrow.")
Written in Africa.
I'm sittin' 'mang the burnin' sand,
Elbow on knee and chin on loof,
Musin' on life's ravelled web,
Entangled warp an' woof;
An' like to greet wi' bootless grievin'
At the claith sae marred in weavin'.
Some folk hae talents nine or ten,
Some only ane or twa;
The feck o' folk hae less or mair,
But I had nane ava.
An' though you shak' the napkin oot
Ye'll no find ochtlins i' the cloot.
When folks wi' talents gathered gear —
They wha had hands and barns —
I boost be goavin' i' the air
An' glowering at the starns.
I hadna' talents — what was worse,
I had nae siller i' my purse.
An' sae the wolf began to howl,
An' chased me far away;
Far frae the braes o' sweet Strathmore,
An' flowery banks o' Tay;
Doon the Tay an' owre the Tyne,
An' far besouth earth's central line.
An' here I am 'mang burnin' sand,
Whaur rude sou'-easters blow,
That lift the sand up bodily,
An' drive it to an' fro;
An' whirl it through the blazin' lift,
Mair fierce than e'en Kingussie drift.
There's no a runnin' river here
In a' this parched land;
They're maistly a' a string o' pools
Slow sinkin' through the sand.
Or owre the scaurs, as at Lodore,
A gill a minute, less or more.
Musin' on my ain dear Tay,
That fond remembered river,
That sweeps around my natal ground,
Majestical as ever —
Musin' on that lovely stream
I fell asleep and dreamed a dream.
I dreamed I lay on Table Bay,
The "sounding sea" before,
An' there I saw Poe's classic crow
Hop, hopping on the shore.
Hopping, hopping ever hopping,
Hopping on the sandy shore.
Wi' quivering lips I cried, "O, raven,
Will I ever see Kinclaven,
Or Strathmore, or ony place,
On Scotia's classic shore?"
But the prophetic carrion crow —
The oracle of Edgar Poe —
Sat croaking — "Nevermore."
JOHN CAMPBELL ("Will Harrow.")
OH! but the day was fair and bricht
My bairn was ta'en awa';
The sun shed a' his gowden licht
Ower mountains, vale an' ha'.
The fields were in their summer dress,
The birds sang forth in glee,
But oh! they brocht nae gladness —
Nae strains o' joy to me.
His faither press'd me to his breast,
An' spak' o' promise given,
That tho' we sink in death's dark rest,
We'll wauken a' in heaven;
And that we'd meet our laddie there,
Frae a' earth's sorrow free,
A bricht and bonnie cherub fair —
But oh! it sooth'd na me.
Oh! he was aye sae meek an' mild
He seemed nae bairn o' earth;
An' at its pleasure aft he smiled —
He joy'd na in its mirth;
An' yet I see his saddest smile
Illume ilk' saft blue e'e,
An' oh! thae thochts forever wile
The big saut tears frae me.
I see him by the ingle-cheek
When the sun is at its hicht;
An' in my dreams for him I seek
At the lane mid oor o' nicht.
Oh! wha can ken a mither's love
Oh! wha her soul can see;
Or wha her anguish, can reprove!
My bairn was dear to me!
SCOTLAND, wi' thy hills sae mony,
Silent glens, and wimpling burns,
Scotland, wi' thy haughs sae bonnie,
Still to thee fond memory turns.
Memories tipped wi' golden tints
Ere I trod life's miry way,
Limpid streams and dewy lawns
That glittered in life's morning ray.
I can see my native valley,
As on Keltie's heights I stand,
Glowing in the summer sunset,
Radiant as a fairy land.
There's not a knoll, nor pleasing hollow,
Where my young feet were wont to rove,
But what's enshrined in mem'ry's landscape,
Like a ne'er forgotten love.
And the green hills dance before me,
Laughing in the month of June;
Flowers and heather gang thegither
Wi' the wild bee's humming tune.
I can see my native Dunning
Running o'er its stony bed,
Hastening on to join the Earn,
Where in youth sweet sports I've had.
Every grassy bank's remembered,
So is every weel kenn'd stane,
Where the speckled trout I grop'd for
In the days sae lang syne gane.
And Dunruib, I love to linger
Round thy auld walks and parks sae green,
And dream my boyish dreams again
When love and hope endeared ilk scene.
And wander round thy streets O Dunning,
And gambol o'er my auld play grounds,
Or view the church and auld grey tower
Amang the graveyard's lowly mounds.
I enter now my father's cottage,
I see my mither in her chair,
My brither and my sisters greet me,
I hear my father's fervent prayer.
And now the evening shadows gather,
I've seen the sun's departiug ray;
It burnish'd up auld Dupplin's towers,
And shone on birks of Invermay.
It glinted on the braes of Gask,
It purpled Earn's dark blue stream,
It shed a glory 'mang the groves
Where Nairne wont to muse and dream.
O, pleasant land! O, fruitful vale!
I see thy fields of waving corn;
The fragrance of thy summer flowers
Upon the evening breeze is borne.
The blackbird sits upon the bough,
And sings to Heaven his parting lay;
The craik and beetle bee unite,
And saftest gloamin' shrouds the day.
O Nairne, Queen of Scottish Song!
Thy "Land o' Leal" fa's on mine ear,
As if an angel's harp sent forth
Its dulcet music, saft aud clear.
The poet's sang, the flowers and birds
That wont to charm in youthful prime;
Your echoes float around me still,
Sublimely o'er the sands of time.
I ken this land is fair and young,
And kindly voices greet mine ears;
But Scotia, we have parted been
By the wild waves for thirty years.
Yet still I love thee a' the same,
And my last wish to Heaven shall be,
May choicest blessing still be poured,
My country, upon thine and thee.
And on thy banks, my beauteous Earn,
Thy sunny banks sae fair and high,
While calm descend life's evening shades,
There let me live, there let me die.
Near the murmur of thy waters,
By thy wavelets ever bright,
I could lay me down in peace,
And calmly bid the world good-night.
Air — "The Days o' Langsyne."
YE'LL mount your bit naggie, an' ride your wa's doun,
'Bout a mile an' a half frae the neist borough toun,
There wons an auld blacksmith, wi' Janet his wife —
An' a queerer auld cock ye ne'er met i' your life
As this cronie o' mine, this cronie o' mine;
O! be sure that ya ca' on this cronie o' mine.
Ye'll find him, as I do, a trustworthy chiel',
Weel tempered wi' wit frae his head to his heel,
Wi' a saul in his body Auld Nick ne'er could clout,
An' a spark in his throat, richt ill to droon out —
This cronie o' mine, this cronie o' mine,
For a deil o' a drouth has this cronie o' mine.
His smiddie ye'll ken by the twa trough stanes
At the auld door-cheeks, an' the black battered panes —
By the three airn cleeks that he drave in the wa',
To tie up wild yad's when high customers ca';
O! this cronie o' mine, this cronie o' mine!
Sure the hail country kens him, this cronie o' mine.
Up agen the auld gable 'tis like you may view
A tramless cart, or a couterless plough,
An auld teethless harrow, a brechem ring rent,
Wi' mae broken gear, that are meant to be men't
By this cronie o' mine, this cronie o' mine;
He's a richt handy craftsman, this cronie o' mine.
There's an auld broken sign-board looks to the hie
Whilk tells ilka rider where his naig may be shod;
There's twa or three wordies that yell hae to spell,
But ye needna find fault, for he wrote it himsel';
This cronie o' mine, this cronie o' mine,
He's an aul'-farrant carle this cronie o' mine.
When ye find this auld smiddie, ye'll like, there's nae
To see the inside o't as weel as the oot;
Then stap ye in bauldly, altho' he be thrang,
Gif the pint-stoup but clatter, ye'll ken him ere lang,
This cronie o' mine, this cronie o' mine,
Baith wit, fun, and fire has this cronie o' mine.
Twa or three chiel's frae the toon-en' are sure to be
there —
There's the bauld-headed butcher, wha tak's aye the
'Mang the querest auld fallows, ae way an' anither,
That ere in this warld were clubbit thegither;
A' cronies o' mine, a' cronies o' mine,
They'll a' mak' ye welcome, thae cronies o' mine.
There's Dominie Davie, sae glib i' the mou',
But it's like ye will fin' the auld carle blin' fou';
Wi' the wee barber bodie, an' his wig fu' o' news,
Wha wad shave ony chap a' the week for a booze;
A' cronies o' mine, a' cronies o' mine,
They'll a' mak' ye welcome, thae cronies o' mine.
There's our auld Town Clerk, wha has ta'en to the pack,
That is naething in bulk to the humph on his back;
His knees are sae bow'd, his splay feet sae thrawn,
Troth it's no easy tellin' the road whilk they're gaun,
Tho' a cronie o' mine, a bauld cronie o' mine,
They'll a' mak' ye welcome, thae cronies o' mine.
There's Robin the ploughman, wha's cram'd fu' o' fun;
Wee gamekeeper Davie, wi' bag, dog, an' gun;
An' the miller, wha blythely the pipes can play on,
So you're sure to fa' in wi' the "Miller o' Drone —"
A' cronies o' mine, a' cronies o' mine,
They'll a' mak' ye welcome, thae cronies o' mine.
Then wi' thumpin' o' hammers, an' tinklin' o' tangs,
Wi' auld-fashioned stories wrought into queer sangs,
Wi' this soun' and that, ye'll aiblins be deaved —
An' tak' care o' your breeks that they dinna get sieved —
Wi' this cronie o' mine, this cronie o' mine,
For an arm o' might has this cronie o' mine,
Then the Vulcan his greybeard is aye sure to draw
Frae a black sooty hole whilk ye'll see i' the wa',
An' lang ere its empty, frien', I meikle doubt,
Gif the tae chap kens weel what the tither's about.
Wi' this cronie o' mine, this cronie o' mine,
O! be sure that ye ca' on this cronie o' mine.
Come now, my gude frien', gie's a shak' o' yer haun',
The nicht's wearin' thro', an' ye maun be gaun;
The callan' will bring down your naig in a blink,
But before that ye mount, again let us drink —
To this cronie o' mine, this cronie o' mine,
Here's lang life an' pith to this cronie o' mine.
HURRAH for the thistle! the brave Scottish thistle,
The evergreen thistle of Scotland for me!
A fig for the flowers in your lady-built bowers —
The strong-bearded, weel-guarded thistle for me!
'Tis the flower the proud eagle greets in his flight,
When he shadows the stars with the wings of his might;
'Tis the flower that laughs at the storm as it blows,
For the stronger the tempest the greener it grows!
Hurrah for the thistle, etc.
Round the love-lighted hames o' our ain native land —
On the bonnetted brow, on the hilt of the brand —
On the face o' the shield, 'mid the shouts of the free,
May the thistle be seen where the thistle should be!
Hurrah for the thistle, etc.
Hale hearts we ha'e yet to bleed in its cause;
Bold harps we ha'e yet to sound its applause;
How then can it fade, when sic chiels an' sic cheer,
And sae mony braw sprouts o' the thistle are there?
Then hurrah for the thistle, the brave Scottish thistle,
The evergreen thistle of Scotland for me!
A fig for the flowers in your lady-built bowers —
The strong-bearded, weel-guarded thistle for me!
DEAR frien's, ye'll think me daft, nae doubt,
My wee bit blink o' wit blawn out,
To deave your learned lugs about
My auld grannie's leather pouch!
I mind in life's sweet sunny springs,
When we were laughin', toddlin' things,
How blythe we were to loose the strings
O' auld grannie's leather pouch!
Sae queer it's look — sae strange the shape,
Sae strongly bound wi' red silk tape,
Sae awfu' wide the mou' did gape,
O' auld grannie's leather pouch!
There's preens, an' sweeties, raisins, rock,
There's A B abs, for Will and Jock,
There's ribbons for a braw wee frock,
In auld grannie's leather pouch!
A pair o' specks, a pair o' shears,
A preen-cod, aged fifty years,
Aye danglin' at the side appears
O' auld grannie's leather pouch!
There's bodkins, thummels, hanks o' thread,
There's awfu' whangs o' cheese an' bread,
The beggars' bairns an' hens to feed,
In auld grannie's leather pouch!
There's sangs that sing o' Scotland's richt,
O' Wallace, wi' his arm o' micht,
O' Bruce's battle-axe sae bricht,
In auld grannie's leather pouch!
Some ditties hae a favoured place,
Sir James the Hose, an' Chevy Chase,
An' some about the Stuart race,
In auld grannie's leather pouch!
We kent to time her kind, kind look,
When she took up the Holy Book,
We kent the time when we micht pook
At auld grannie's leather pouch!
But gif we broke decorum's laws,
We had to flee like frichtit craws,
A' tremblin', for the lang-taed tawse
In auld grannie's leather pouch!
An' if we went to open strife,
When taunts an blows were rather rife,
We fled before the "Butcher's knife,"
In auld grannie's leather pouch!
We kent richt weel to wale ilk word,
We kent there was a "little bird,"
Whilk blabbit ilka thing it heard,
In auld grannie's leather pouch!
E'en pussie durstna mak' a din,
When she sat doun to read or spin,
For fear it wad be stappit in
To auld grannie's leather pouch!
Gif kames or buckles went astray,
When lads and lasses made the hay,
'Twas queer that a'thing faund its way
To auld grannie's leather pouch!
I've kent o' pouches rather queer,
Some fou' o' wun', some fou' o' gear,
But never ane that e'er cam' near
My auld grannie's leather pouch!
When ye want sermons, salves, or saws,
For mendin' heads, or hearts, or laws,
Mak' up your minds, an' gang your wa's
To auld grannie's leather pouch!
AULD Robin, our laird, thocht o' changin' his life,
But he didna weel ken whaur to wale a gude wife.
A plump quean had he, wha had served him for years;
"Ho, Tibby!" he cried. Lo! douce Tibby appears.
"Sit doun," said the laird; "ye are wanted awee,"
"Very weel, sir," quo' Tibby, "sae let it be."
"Noo, Tibby," quo' he, "there's a queer rumour rins,
Through the hale country-side, that there's naebody
Bakes, washes, or brews, wi' sic talents as you;
An' what a' body says, ye ken, maun be true,
Sae ye ought to be gratefu' for their courtesie; "
"Very weel, sir," quo' Tibby, "sae let it be."
"Noo, it seemeth but just, an' richt proper to me,
That ye milk your ain cow 'neath your ain fig-tree;
That a servant sae thrifty a gude wife will mak',
Is as clear as daylicht, sae a man ye maun tak',
Wha will haud ye as dear as the licht o' his e'e,"
"Very weel, sir," quo' Tibby, "sae let it be."
"The pearl may be pure, Tib, though rough be the
shell —
Sae I'm determined to wed ye mysel' —
An' a' that a lovin' an' leal heart can grant
O' this warld's wealth, lass, troth, ye shall nae want;
Sae a kiss to the bargain ye maun gie to me,"
"Very weel, sir," quo' Tibby, "sae let it be."
The weddin'-day came, wi' bride-cake an' ban's,
Fand Tib i' the kitchen, 'mang tubs, pats, an' pans;
"Bless me," quo' the laird, "what on earth hauds you
Our frien's a' are met, in their braw bridal gear;
Ye maun busk in your best, lass, an' that speedilie,"
"Very weel, sir," quo' Tibby, "sae let it be."
When the blessin' was said, an' the feastin' was dune,
Tib crap to her bed i' the garret abune;
When she heard the laird's fit, an' his tap at her door,
She wonder'd — he ne'er took sic freedoms before.
"Come, Tibby, my lass, ye maun listen to me,"
"Very weel, sir," quo' Tibby, "sae let it be."
"Noo Tibby, ye ken, we were wedded this nicht,
An' that ye should be here, haith, I think is no richt.
It canna be richt; for, when women an' men
Are wedded, they ought to be bedded, ye ken;
Sae come doon the stair, Tib, an' e'en sleep wi' me,"
"Very weel, sir," quo' Tibby. "sae let it be!"
HURRAH, for the Hills of Breadalbane!
Hurrah, for the soul stirring sight!
Hurrah, for the hopes of the patriot's soul,
When he looks on their beauty and might!
Hurrah, for the lightnings that flash
Their fires on the face of the lake!
Hurrah, for the thunders round lofty Ben Lawers!
Hurrah, for the music they make!
Then, here's to the Hills of Breadalbane —
The snow-clad, the green, and the gray!
Where the proud eagle mirrors the wings of his
In the bright-beaming breast of Loch Tay!
Sing, hurrah, for the haunts of the deer,
Down the glens where the wild rivers run!
Hurrah, for their joy when they leap o'er the hills,
Like the beams of the morning sun!
Sing, Hurrah, for the fleet-footed roe!
Hurrah for the life and the light
Of their glad-glowing eyes, when they break through
the mist,
Like stars through the shadows of night!
Then, here's to the Hills of Breadalbane —
The snow clad, the green, and the gray!
Where the proud eagle mirrors the wings of his
In the bright-beaming breast of Loch Tay!
As oft as I roam by the Almond's clear water,
Whether at skreigh of dawn or the soft gloaming
My thoughts are absorb'd by the innkeeper's daughter,
The charming young Jessie, Glentulchan's sweet
If she only deigns a bright smile to cast on me,
Neither sunshine nor moonlight have o'er me such
Her grace and her beauty have wholly undone me —
The lovely young Jessie, Glentulchan's sweet flower.
I have lived two score years in this world, and I well
Every wile and each art that o'er beauty bath power;
And though they ne'er fail with the proud city belle, no
Such arts can I try with Glentulchan's sweet flower.
* On the occasion many years ago of an Anglo-Indian gentleman
paying a visit to Glentulchan House, he suddenly fell over head and
ears in love with a rustic beauty of the neighbourhood, and Mr. Mercer
having noticed his guest's penchant wrote the above verses and left a
copy of them on the enamoured swain's dressing-table over night that
they might meet his eye the first thing in the morning. What the
effect was we cannot tell.
Oh! if she'd not scorn me, I care for no neighbour —
Confiding in Jessie as in a strong tower —
I'd retire from this world and from life's eerie labour
With my own darling Jessie, Glentulchan's sweet
Yet 'tis humbling for one who has been such a rover,
Who has killed his twelve elephants ere breakfast
To be checked in his roaming and thus tumbled over
By a well-planted shot from Glentulchan's sweet
I never can think of the herds on their wooded-hills
Roving free and unscath'd, but grief does me devour;
But, pshaw! I'm grown old and gray — love now my
bosom fills,
Ardent, strong, and most pure, for Glentulchan's
sweet flower.
Oh! would she but wed me, I'd sell Kattaboolé,
Kooroowakké I'd settle upon her as dower;
My evening of life I would relish most truly
With her who was once of Glentulchan the flower.
Oh! how happy I'd be with my dear Mrs. Allway
In the wilds of Glenbrain, in our heathery bower!
I would fish, shoot, and stalk, and make love in no small
With her who was once of Glentulchan the flower.
Should the gled of adversity round us e'er hover,
Like a poor wounded bird to my bosom she'd cower;
There she'd nestle in safety till danger was over,
And then be as gay as my Glentulchan flower.
And our dear darling babes we with kindness would
How they'd shield us in age should misfortune then
How proud they would be of so faultless a mother
As Jessie! — no longer Glentulchan's sweet flower.
And when grim old Death, of all terror divested,
Should have lured us like dicky birds into his power,
All calmly we'll sleep, as if we from life rested,
Or had faded, mown down like a Glentulchan flower.
No tablet we'd need, for our memory would cling fast
To our dear children's hearts until their last hour;
And when they went hence we should be as a thing past,
Nor cared for so much as a Glentulchan flower.
I WINNA sing sorrows, I ha'e nane to sing,
Nor mope owre the evils to-morrow may bring,
I'll tune up my reed on a happier key,
An' gi'e ye a lilt aboot Piper M'Nee.
The piper is windy an' weel he can blaw,
A' gloomy distempers he frichtens awa',
A cure mair effectual than whisky or tea,
Leaps forth frae the chanter o' Piper M'Nee.
He lives in a hoose by the side o' a burn,
Whaur the jucks an' the puddocks wallop in turn,
Tho' hairy and Hielan', an' fond o' a spree,
A capital piper is Piper M'Nee.
When the grey o' the gloamin' begins to come doon,
He screws up his pipes an' he pits them in tune.
Then laddies an' lassies o' every degree
Come loupin' an' laughin' roon' Piper M'Nee.
When Katie an' Lizzie come in frae the kye,
An' synd their milk coggies an' lay them a' by;
Then few are the gentry sae lichtsome as we,
Wha dance to the chanter o' Piper M'Nee.
Oor health is oor wealth, an' contentment oor store,
We always hae plenty, an' dainties galore;
We jump an' we thump, an' cry oot in oor glee,
"Success to the chanter o' Piper M'Nee."
Gran'faither is hoochin' an' crackin' his thooms,
An' granny's forgettin' her toothache an' rheums,
Their hearts are sae gladdened the young anes to see,
A' dance to the chanter o' Piper M'Nee.
The motties that trouble the too open eye,
They fash us but little, or never come nigh,
The dark spots o' the warl', if ony such be,
Are' scattered and brichtened by Piper M'Nee.
Oors are the pleasures that never breed pain,
That after-thochts sweeten an' seek for again,
Such pleasures as happy hearts ever shall pree,
That dance to the chanter o' Piper M'Nee.
If gout or rheumatics e'er trouble your banes,
Or the cares o' the warl' e'er jumble your brains,
Jist come to the Hielan's gin summer wi' me,
An' dance to the chanter o' Piper M'Nee.
If foemen should ever endeavour to land
Oor ticht little island, to brag or to brand,
The lads o' Balquhidder wad gie them their fee,
If led to the battle by Piper M'Nee.
Then health to the piper, an' blest be the feet
That trip it sae neatly to music sae sweet,
Lang may they be soople an' willin' an' free
To dance to the chanter o' Piper M'Nee.
MY granny wis a worthy dame,
Her word wis seldom dootit,
The neebor wives aft to her came
Wi' maitters sair disputit.
She brocht me up wi' meikle care,
She ca'ed me guid an' bonnie,
An' saftly whispered in my ear
"Be carfu' o' yer money."
I min' a'e day we were alane
Whaur nane cud clashes carry,
I spak' richt up an' said "my gran',
I think I'm gaun to mairry."
"Wow! wow!" quo' she, "remember
A thorny path, my sonny,
Its joys are few, aweel I wat,
Unless they're backed wi' money."
There's Mary White, an' Katie Black,
Twa gay an' dashy lasses,
But a' their tocher's on their back,
In useless, gaudy dresses.
An' puir he'll be whae'er will tak
Sic like for bosom crony,
For gab an' chat he winna lack,
But ne'er a plack o' money.
My laddie, whan ye need a wife
I'll tell ye whaur to seek her,
'Mang decent fouk, whaur siller's rife,
An' nae whaur else bespeak her.
Learn then an' tak example by
Oor rulin' elder, Johnny!
For he's ta'en Parson Mammon's May
Wha has a mint o' money.
Money is honour, trust, an' worth,
An' fules they are wha doot it,
The fairest face, the noblest birth,
Are bubbles a' withoot it.
The houp o' youth, the staff o' age
Mak's ilka day sae sunny,
If ye wad pass for saunt or sage,
Be carefu' o' yer money.
For money's a'thing that ye please,
It's faither, wife an' mither,
A frien' yer hardships will release
Mair faithfu' than a brither.
Money's the worth o' a' kent thing,
The bee, the flower, the honey,
The maiden's smile, the marriage ring,
The king o' life is — money.
ANCIENT and eternal fire,
Unto thee I string my lyre,
And sing thy power supreme;
God within and over all,
Thee undoubtingly I call,
All else to thee is dream!
Rapid, restless in thy course,
Strong, resistless in thy force,
Wild panther of the sky;
Springing o'er black gulfs of night
In thy swift and furious might,
Without or term or tie;
Pressing forward in thy sweep,
Gaining ever on the deep,
Fearlessly plunging on,
Darkness before, and light behind,
Thou flashest, and art gone!
Still wave on wave, as from an eye,
Pour thy billows through the sky,
Nor ever rest or pause;
Always changing, ne'er delaying,
They with tireless tongues are saying,
"Ours are eternal laws!"
Foe tremendous! friend sincere!
Thou the cottage-hearth dost cheer,
And the palace burnest
In the mountain's entrails thou
Plantest pangs that scorch his brow,
And him to Tophet turnest;
Dreadful art thou in thy course,
Mystic, distant in thy source,
Yet fruitful, too, and kind.
Nursing nature with thy beam,
Pouring daylight on thy stream,
Feeding all human kind.
Beauty on thy steps attendeth,
Love with thee her nature blendeth,
With thee in hand she goes;
Thine the rainbow's starry arch,
Thine the season's ceaseless march,
And thine the blushing rose;
The milk of motherhood is thine,
And the virgin's blush divine,
And the young lover's rage;
Thine on the poet's brow the flush,
And thine the wild and fervent gush
Of heart which fires his page:
Thou swim'st undrowned the blood of men,
Thou lurkest in the lions' den,
And breathest in his breath;
Thou gleamest on the serpent's skin,
Thou edgest, too, the sabre keen,
Barbest the shaft of death.
All precious stones through thee are bright
Sitting in their central night,
The wonders of the mine;
Thine, too, the sea's phosphoric waves,
And thine the deep and sparry caves,
Though shivering they shine;
The rich red clouds of morn and even,
Praise thee and the Autumn heaven,
The while the ripened grain
Sending back thy light and power
In an upward rushing shower,
Asserts thy golden reign.
Eternal snow itself from thee
Derives its stern divinity,
From thee its glitt'ring sheen,
As towering in the Andes high,
It seems to fret the blue-black sky
With thousand needles keen.
They say that these serene abodes
Are temples of the living gods
Exalted 'bove the earth,
Because at even and morn they shine
With the lustre half divine
To which, thou, Fire, giv'st birth!
The earth appears a dull, cold clod,
With scorn rejecting thee as God,
All save those faithful slaves,
Etna, Vesuvius, and the rest
Which love thee, worship thee the best,
With their labouring waves.
No! for within that cold, chill globe,
With mountain border, grassy robe,
There beats a burning heart,
Traitor to it, but true to thee,
And which, on opportunity,
Shall take its parent's part,
And burn, but burn not earth alone,
But all the works that are their own,
Man, Nature, in one pyre,
Proclaiming in a thunder strain
Once, and again, and yet again,
Thy glorious god-head, Fire!
MIDNIGHT among the Alps! Pilatre* stern
Rises upon my vision, with the shade
Of Pilate washing in the "Infernal Lake,"
And thus let me essay to paint the scene:—
In the gloom Pilatus stands
Washing aye his gory hands,
Crying to himself alone,
Half a shriek, and half a moan —
"Shadow I, is that a shade?
It has never yet decayed,
Since the hour when hopeless I,
Upon a spur of Calvary
(With those eyes so calm and meek,
With that pale and ghastly cheek,
With that brow so lofty, lone,
Rising like a silver throne,
Silver, not with years, but care,
Standing quiet before me there!)
In dreadful doubt and terror cried,
Like dying wretch, with thirst adried,
For 'water, water;' it was brought,
And I washed my hands, methought,
In a wave which, bubbling up,
Of red blood became a cup,
While a voice rang in mine ear,
'Wash, and wash, for ever there;
Wash thy hands, and wash thy head,
Wash thee till this man be dead;
Yes, and after long years past,
Be this wave thy looking-glass,
Shadowing the hopeless woe
* In "Anne of Geierstein" Scott mentions the tradition of Pilate's
ghost being sometimes seen washing his hands as if from the blood of
Christ, in a lake called the Infernal Lake, where it is said he drowned
himself; and at such times tempests are said to arise with great fury,
and Mount Pilatre (or Pilatus) to get dark and lowering.
Which with thee shall onward go,
From Calvary to Alpine hills,
Where to end thine earthly ills —
Banish'd, tortured, lonely, left,
Thou shalt seek a sullen cleft,
Where a lake in wrath upcurled
From the first day of the world,
Waits for thee, and pants the while,
To give its first and latest smile,
As thy wrecked and wretched soul
To perdition down shall roll!'
"I laughed at it, and took no heed —
Fiend-driven, I went and did the deed;
And now for ages here I stand
On this dim and dreary strand,
Heaving up my lonely stone,*
Pouring out my weary moan,
Filling aye my riddled sieve;†
Seeking aye my soul's reprieve;
But it stoops not from the mountains,
And it wells not up the fountains,
Down the wild blast comes with clouds,
Bringing demons all in crowds;
How they mock me at my task!
As with fiendish glee they ask,
Pilatus, hath a single stain,
Yielded to wave, or wind, or rain?
Do thy fingers flush no more
With that pure and God-like gore?
Know that Christ's blood, when spilt in ire,
Is an everlasting fire,
And the worm that never dies
Round thy neck for ever lies!'
Then, and oh! how oft, alas!
Since here I stood, soft breezes pass;
* Alluding to Sisyphus.
† Alluding to the punishment of the Danaides in hell.
But they minister no calm,
And they drop no drop of balm,
Nay, they whisper words of fear,
Who is this wretch? what doth he here?
Why, fiends, not burn him limb by limb?'
"Morning comes, no morn to me,
Evening smiles, I still must dree
My deep woe, and midnight dark
Hears me at my labour stark;
Stars look out and gaze at me,
Million eyes above I see,
Each like His at Calvary,
And with a dart in every beam,
And with a fire in every stream,
Till all scathed and shrunk I sink,
Down upon the water's brink,
Shading myself with bloody hands
From the stern heaven that o'er me stands.
"Sometimes, my wife beside me seems,
Her eye still laden with her dreams,
Her voice still moaning, 'Pilate, stay,
Beware of what thou dost to-day!
In vision I have seen the Man,
With bleeding brow and visage wan,
Surrendered by thy will to die
Upon the cross at Calvary.
And o'er that cross I saw a throne,
And the judge that sate thereon
Was the God of earth and heaven;
He into thy power is given
At whose bar thou, I, and all,
Must appear, to stand or fall.
Dream of dread! I shrieked to see,
Beware lest it be read by thee.'
"And now I see a ghostly form
Astride upon a sullen storm;
His brow it is a midnight cloud,
His dress it is a seamless shroud;
His eye it is the comet's glare,
Dabbled o'er with blood his hair,
A rope all scarlet winding there!
Blistered and black his lurid lips,
Like edges of the moon's eclipse,
Which erst the Master's mouth drew nigh,
Sealing the damnèd treachery.
Ever at his neck he touches,
O'er a bag he eager crouches —
A bag that rattles like the hail,
Or the shiver of struck mail,
He stands by me; the blast shrieks by,
And he looks me in the eye,
And cries, 'Pilatus, knowest thou me?
We are twins in infamy,
Judas I, this bag the price
Of my raging avarice,
This rope the badge of suicide.
Oh, that with me thy soul could ride,
Tied in torment to each other,
Like a demon and his brother.
In my endless misery,
'Twere relief to sail with thee;
But I leave thee to the hell
Thine own sin hath earned so well,
And if one devil rides with me,
Seven are left to wash with thee!'
I see him gain the blast before,
And am alone, I and this gore;
Gore eternal! Crucified!
Shall Thy wrath ne'er be satisfied?
Thy murderers thou didst forgive,
And saidst to dead and lost ones, live!
Me, me Thy murderer, set free,
Look on this blood and pity me!"
No answer from the midnight came —
None, or in words of lurid flame!
For, lo! a thunder-cloud in wrath
Lowered above the mountain path,
And on the "Infernal Lake" there fell
A shadow like the frown of hell,
And wingèd lightnings cast a-glow
On all the woods and hills below,
And a furious hurricane
Rushed infatuate o'er the plain;
And through the gloom I marked afar
The secret shining of a Star,
Breaking 'mid a murky cloud,
Like a soft eye through a shroud,
And it looked upon the lake,
And it left on it a flake
Of widest splendour, like the beam
Of moonshine on a lonely stream;
And then I saw the lost one rise
With a glory in his eyes,
And a hope that pierced the skies!
Full the Star looked down on him,
Lighting up his visage dim,
And his hands, all barked with blood,
Shone out gold in that bright flood;
And then, like night, the landscape o'er,
Darkness fell — I saw no more. — From "Night."
BONNIE runs the burnie down,
Down the benty hill,
Darting, turning, glinting, spurning
At its own sweet will.
Wandering 'mid the heather bells,
Hiding in the fern,
A creeping, peeping, sweeping, leaping,
Cantie little burn.
Weel I ken the sang it sings
A' the day and night,
Wild and gladly, soft and sadly,
In its fresh delight.
Making music as it flows,
At each twist and turn,
A creeping, peeping, sweeping, leaping,
Cantie little burn.
Would you know its secret thought!
List, and I'll reveal;
Love's a bliss beyond a blessing,
If the heart is leal.
Nothing in the world's so sweet
As love that meets return,
Sings the peeping, creeping, leaping,
Bonnie little burn!
"Go, Evan! go — the heart you swore
In weal and woe alike to cherish,
You've broken by your cold deceit,
And thrown upon the world to perish.
"A woman's curse is hard to bear —
But may be turned, if love endeavour;
But the curse of a man with hoary hair,
It weighs upon the soul for ever.
"And for the wrong that you have done,
Upon your head all sorrow gather,
And in your soul, for evermore,
Deep sink the curses of a father!"
The old man bared his grey, grey head,
And clasp'd his wither'd hands together;
And Evan curl'd his lip in scorn,
And rode his way across the heather.
"Why should I heed this dotard's words?
The needle from the pole will vary —
And time will wear, and hearts will change; —
I love no more his bonnie Mary!
"I trust that happy she may be,
Nor pine with sorrow overladen;
And she may love another man,
And I will love another maiden."
The night was fair — the moon was up —
The wind blew low among the gowans;
Or fitful rose o'er Athol woods,
And shook the berries from the rowans.
And Evan rode through Garry strath,
And quite forgot the old man's daughter;
And when he came to Garry stream,
It ran a red and roaring water.
The summer rains had fallen fast,
The voice of streams made music merry;
And brae-side burnies leap'd and danced,
And mingled in the tide of Garry.
And Bruar raised a joyful shout,
And Tilt to Ben-y-Gloe resounded;
And Tummel in his pride of strength,
Down to his fall, rejoicing, bounded.
Green were the birks on Garry braes,
Soft through their leaves the moon was peeping;
And 'mid the heather on the rock
There sat a bonnie maiden weeping.
Her kirtle seemed of velvet green;
Her robes were azure, loosely flowing;
Her eyes shone bright amid her tears;
Her lips were fresh as gowans growing.
"What brings thee here, my lily-flower?
High on the strath the storm-winds tarry;
The night is chill, the hour is late —
Why weep'st thou by the banks of Garry?"
The maiden raised her tearful eyes,
And with her silvery voice replying,
Said, smoothing back her yellow locks,
And speaking low and softly sighing;
"Though dark and swift the waters pour,
Yet here I wait in dool and sorrow;
For bitter fate must I endure,
Unless I pass the stream ere morrow.
"Oh! aid me in this deep distress,
Nor seek its causes to unravel;
My strength, alas! is weak at best,
And I am worn with toil and travel."
"Though swift," said Evan "is the flood,
My good bay mare is strong and steady;
So trust thee, lassie, to my care,
And quickly mount and make thee ready.
"For one glance of those eyes of blue
Thy bonnie burden I will carry;
For one kiss of those honey lips
I'll guide thee o'er the raging Garry,
"What is it ails my good bay mare?
What is it makes her start and shiver?
She sees a kelpie in the stream,
Or fears the rushing of the river!
"Ah, coward jade! but heed her not,
For, maiden dear, we may not tarry;
The beast has swum a swifter flood —
I'll see thee safely through the Garry."
He, mounted on the good bay mare —
But vainly Evan strove to guide her;
Through all her frame a tremour crept —
She trembled at her bonnie rider.
Then as she heard the maiden's voice,
And felt her gentle fingers pat her,
She gave a neigh as loud and shrill
As if an evil sprite had sat her.
And with a desperate bound she sprang
High from the bank into the current,
While sounds of laughter seem'd to mix
Amid the roaring of the torrent.
The waters rush'd in eddying whirls,
And dash'd the foam-drops o'er the heather;
And winds that seem'd asleep till then,
Let loose their fury all together.
Down — down — the awaken'd tempest blew —
And faster down the flood came pouring —
And horse and riders, overwhelm'd,
Sank 'mid the rush of waters roaring.
But on the surface of the flood,
Her yellow locks with spray — fall dripping,
The maiden with the kirtle green,
And azure robe, came lightly tripping.
And now she sank, now rose again,
And dash'd the waves in rain-like shiver;
Then lay afloat, or tiptoe stood
Upon the foam-bells of the river; —
And laugh'd the while, and clapp'd her hands —
Until at last the storm subsided,
When, like a gleam of parting light,
Away upon the mist she glided.
And Evan's corpse at morn was found,
Far down by Tummel, pale and mangled,
His features bruised by jutting rocks,
His auburn locks with gore entangled.
Few were the mourners at his grave,
But 'mid them two — a sire and daughter;
And loud she sobb'd, and loud she wept,
Though tenderly her sire besought her.
"He loved me — and he did me wrong,"
She said, "and darken'd all my morrow;
But in his grave Resentment sleeps,
While Love survives to feed on Sorrow."
THERE'S hope for servile England yet,
Erin would fain be free;
But Scotland still the vanguard holds
Of all the nations three.
Hurrah for dear auld Scotland yet,
Land of the brave and free;
In Freedom's sacred cause to lead,
Who else so fit as she?
When haughty Rome, in days of old,
Aroused her patriot ire,
Even Rome's imperial legions quailed
Before her martial fire.
Hurrah, etc.
When Lochlin's vikings, daring, fierce,
Infested every land,
Taught by defeat in many frays,
They shunned the Scottish strand.
Hurrah, etc.
When Saxon kings, with pomp and power,
Sought Freedom to o'erturn,
The coup they met at Scotland's hand
Was glorious Bannockburn.
Hurrah, etc.
When Gallia fought by sea and land,
Her conquests to enlarge,
Experience taught her warlike sons
To fear the Scottish charge.
Hurrah, etc.
To fetter Thought and dictate Faith,
When kings and priests combined,
"The Solemn League and Covenant"
Bespoke the Scottish mind.
Hurrah, etc.
Despotic chiefs within her coasts
Assailed her in their turn;
But still within her children's breasts
The fires of Freedom burn.
Hurrah for dear auld Scotland yet,
Land of the brave and free;
In Freedom's sacred cause to lead,
Who else so fit could be?
"MY eyes are dark," said a blind old man
To his young and faithful guide,
"But methinks the breezes that fan my cheek
Are those of the loved Tayside.
Then describe thou the skies, and the landscapes round,
To the spot whereon we stand;
That I may know, ere I breathe my last,
If this be the Fatherland."
"The skies are not like our eastern skies,
Lit up with a radiant glow,
Through the open rents in the drifting clouds
A fainter azure they show,
Whence the sun at times looks fitfully out,
With a gleam more cold and pale,
While shadows and light, alternately chased,
Flit over the bosky vale."
"They seem to be those of my own loved isle
On a changeful April day,
Ere the summer assumes its sultry throne,
Though tempests have passed away;
The shadows the same as in childhood I sought
To grasp in my tiny hand,
Ere phantoms as shadowy lured me away
From my dear old Fatherland."
"The mountains are nought to the towering height
Of the Himalayahs sublime;
Nor can they compare with the hoary Alps
We saw in the Switzer's clime;
But one, to the west, hath a lofty crest,
And wrapped in a mantle of snow,
While around the hills have a dusky shade
With the heath descending low."
"Ben Lawers! on whose rugged and giant form
In boyhood I loved to gaze,
As with tremulous radiance, dazzling white,
It shone in the sun's bright rays.
The scenes where in youth at the moss I toiled
With the happy peasant band,
Oh! how they have haunted my waking dreams,
When far from the Fatherland."
"The knolls that rise on the slopes of the vale
With a dark green shrub are clad,
While under their sheltering sunny sides
The lambkins are sporting glad;
Away through meadows and fertile domains
A bounteous river rolls,
Now placidly winding its sinuous course
Then foaming o'er rocks and falls."
The broom, the broom! where we herded the kine,
And kindled our Beltane fires,
And found in pastimes untrammelled by art
Scope for our simple desires:
That river, I ween, is my native stream,
With its brightly glistening sand;
Sweet in fancy's ear was its murmuring flow,
When far from the Fatherland."
"Before us a village in ruins lies,
Its timbers and walls o'erthrown,
Its site, where the throbbings of life have been,
With brambles and moss o'ergrown;
An old mill stands by the side of the burn
With a sad forsaken air,
For no wheel revolves in the waterfall
Nor sound of grinding is there."
"Is my native village a ruined heap?
Are its humble hearths all gone?
Is the children's glee on the common hushed?
Are its brave and leal hearts flown?
Industrious in peace, in the muster for war
Ever prompt at their king's command;
Failed worth so potent for them to secure
A home in the Fatherland?"
His soul's Polar star was that Fatherland,
All bright it glowed in his dreams;
In fancy he traversed its heath-clad hills
And roved by its winding streams.
Home-sick, and stricken with blindness at last,
He hied to its sea-girt strand:
He came, alas! but to grieve for its wrongs —
He wept for the Fatherland!
AULD Johnny Shaw lived near by the Cross,
An' noo that he's gane we a' ken the loss;
Ye micht seek for his match, an' seek a lang while,
For the equal o' Johnny doon by the kirk-stile.
Johnny Shaw was a soutar o' soutars the chief,
There wasna his equal in Muthill or Crieff,
Nor yet in Blackford, or the toon lang an' sma',
For a wonderfu' soutar was auld Johnny Shaw.
He could mak' ye dress boots, or mend yer auld shoes,
Could hone yer auld razor, or tell ye the news,
Could set yer watch richt wi' the ancient toon clock,
Or file an auld key doon to fit an auld lock;
Put a valve in yer bellows or a foot to yer pat,
Or brush up like new an auld battered hat;
He could box ye the compass or leather a ba',
For a versatile genius was auld Johnny Shaw.
A wonderfu' place was his warkshop, I ween;
Sic marvels o' nick-nacks were there to be seen!
And the soutar — himsel' a mechanical riddle —
Micht be makin' a boot or mendin' a fiddle
Thumpin' the lapstone, the glue-pot a-boiling,
Or bent owre a last, at an in-seam hard toiling;
For a boot he could mak', or a fiddle fu' braw,
An' fit on the cat-gut could auld Johnny Shaw.
He had bottles on shelves fu' o' scorpions an' snakes,
An' queer-looking fish frae the rivers an' lakes;
Had sharks' teeth an' spears frae the cannibal isles,
An' fragments o' pottery an' auld-warld tiles;
An auld parritch-pat frae the days o' the Bruce,
An' lang rusty dirks that were ance o' some use;
A big shoe frae Lapland for trampin' owre snaw,
An' mony mair fairlies had auld Johnny Shaw.
He keepit a squirrel that turned roond a wheel,
An' a nest o' white mice in an auld tattie-creel;
A wonderfu' monkey, weel keen'd through the toon,
That folk ran to see, young an' auld, up and doon;
He had linties frae Dornock, an' starlings in cages,
He could tell ye their pedigrees, sexes, an' ages;
An' a droll gabbie parrot, besides a jackdaw,
For a student o' nature was auld Johnny Shaw.
He had beetles in boxes, and puddocks an' teads,
An' een for stuffed birds, just like strings o' glass beads;
He had stuffed birds an' butterflees, stuffed mice an' rats;
He had hedehogs an' wild cats, an' otters an' bats;
He could stuff ye a cat, or a pig, or a dog,
An eel frae the loch, or a snipe frae the bog;
He could stuff ony beast, frae a horse to a craw —
There ne'er was a stuffer like auld Johnny Shaw.
But his hammer nae larger is heard at the Cross,
An' aiblins his lapstane is covered wi' moss;
His birds an' his fiddles, that strangers gaed seein',
Hae lang, lang ere this time been "barkin' an' fleein'."
A rare hand was the soutar — the wonder o' Crieff,
Amang the bright natives auld Johnny was chief;
But noo he has gane to his lang hame awa',
An' nane fills the bannet o' auld Johnny Shaw.
THERE'S freedom on the auld grey hills,
And joy amang the trees;
The woods, and rocks, and pebbly rills
Are singin' wi' the breeze.
There's harmony in Nature's law,
Tho' man nae muckle learns;
And love unbounded breathes thro' a' —
We're a' a'e mither's bairns.
O, gin the warld frae Nature's book
Wad only tak' a leaf;
A' men wad hae a blyther look,
An' lichter loads o' grief;
And life wad hae less heichs and howes,
And mair o' fruits than ferns;
A' hearts uphold what truth avows —
We're a' a'e mither's bairns.
We want less greed o' gowd, and mair
O' love for a' that's leal,
A lesser gap 'tween rich and puir,
And mair o' hearts that feel.
That sune micht fa' foul wrang, and a'
Oppressions deadly airns;
And men revere a'e richteous law —
We're a' a'e mither's bairns.
A' born to do the best we can
For ithers and oursel',
And leave the future warld o' man
A better tale to tell.
O' friendly help we a' hae need
To cheer life's crook and cairns;
Ne'er mind the kintry or the creed —
We're a' a'e mither's bairns.
The chield that's down, oh! dinna scorn,
But help him gin ye can,
Tho' aff the path o' virtue borne,
He's aye a brither man.
Be't he wha pines in prison chains,
Or he wha toils and earns,
Or lord, or king o' wide domains —
We're a' a'e mither's bairns.
It's no oursel's that moulds us what
We a' appear to be,
The pauper, prince, and beggar brat
Were made like you and me.
Necessity's eternal law
Our weal and was concerns,
Tho' born in hovel, hut, or ha' —
We're a' a'e mither's bairns.
Tho' poortith be a brither's lot,
Owre toiled and starved by turns,
Yet aft beneath a raggit coat
The noblest friendship burns;
And tho' we a' may frown or fret,
We ha'ena got our ser'ns,
We'll a' be better brithers yet —
We're a' a'e mither's bairns.
The stamp o' man is in the deed,
And principle within,
And no the kintry, claes, or creed,
Or colour o' the skin.
Humanity's great bond we claim,
As glorious truth discerns,
Tho' differin' a' and no the same —
We're a' a'e mither's bairns.
I ANCE had a bonnet, a bonnie blue bonnet,
Weel worthy a sermon, a sang, or a sonnet,
My young head it happit for mony a year,
Thro' poortith an' plenty, an' trouble, an' steer.
For mony cauld winters an' brave simmers gane,
Whan toilin', an' moilin', an' wanderin' my lane,
Owre mony strange kintries, an' far owre the sea,
A guid couthie hap was my bonnet to me.
Wi' braw tappie-toorie, my bonnet o' blue
Was wove in Auld Killie o' guid Hielan' woo',
An' proud I was o't aye, as gin it had been
The gowden love gift o' the bonniest queen.
It sat on my head, an' sae weel may I sing,
Mair blythe than the crown on the head o' a king.
A crown has its flaws that ane fashes awee,
But saft was the hap o' my bonnet to me.
At meetin', or market, the fast, or the fair,
'Mang gentle, or simple, the rich, or the puir,
It mattered nae whither that bonnet o' mine
Was doff'd ne'er to ane but the leal and the kin';
Nor left the lang locks that it sheltered sae weel,
Save aye in respect to some guid honest chiel',
Whan a' ither fouk in the fashion wad be,
My auld Scottish bonnet clang couthie to me.
Fu' aft in my wand'rings when dowie and dry,
I've boo'd to the burnie clear murmurin' by,
And drank o' its waters far sweeter than wine —
The croon o' my bonnet the cup that was mine.
An' whan I was weary wi' wand'ring, an' wae,
An' e'enin's grey curtain fell darkly owre day,
To sleep I hae gane 'neath the bonnie moon's e'e,
My bonnet a saft, soothin' pillow to me.
In mony queer places, baith hovels an' ha's,
'Mang lairdlin's an' leddies, an' baubles an' braws;
My bonnet has aye been wi' me, an' the same
As gin I was stappin' the threshold o' hame.
But ance it was lent to a mountebank chiel' —
To play Cuddy Headrig, or Robin the Deil —
Wha had it lang spoutin', or pawned for the spree,
Till ance it cam' back like an auld freen to me.
A'e summer I swat like a slave in the sun,
My broo wi' my bonnet a' dappled an' dun;
It hadna been scoor'd sin' it fell in the Tyne,
Sae I doff'd it for ane o' a gentler kin'.
An' noo in the land o' the puir opprest Paddie
It haps the red head o' a wee Irish laddie,
Wha rugs raggit rack frae the rocks o' the sea,
An's blythe wi' the bonnet ance cosy to me.
THE golden smile of morning
On the hills of Moab play'd,
When at the city's western gate
Their steps three women stay'd.
One laden was with years and care,
A gray and faded dame,
Of Judah's ancient lineage,
And Naomi her name;
And two were daughters of the land,
Fair Orpah and sweet Ruth.
Their faces wearing still the bloom,
Their eyes the light of youth;
But all were childless widows
And garb'd in weeds of woe,
And their hearts were full of sorrow,
And fast their tears did flow,
For the Lord God from Naomi
Her spouse and sons had taken,
And she and these that were their wives,
Are widow'd and forsaken;
And wish or hope her bosom knows
None other but to die,
And lay her bones in Bethlehem,
Where all her kindred lie.
So gives she now upon the way
To Jordan's western waters —
Her farewell kisses and her tears
Unto her weeping daughters;
"Sweet daughters mine, now turn again
Unto your homes," she said,
"And for the love ye bear to me,
The love ye bear the dead,
The Lord with you deal kindly,
And give you joy and rest,
And send to each a faithful mate
To cheer her widow'd breast."
Then long and loud their weeping was,
And sore was their lament,
And Orpah kiss'd sad Naomi,
And back to Moab went;
But gentle Ruth to Naomi
Did cleave with close embrace,
And earnest spake, with loving eyes
Up-gazing in her face —
"Entreat me not to leave thee,
Nor sever from thy side,
For where thou goest I will go,
Where thou bidest I will bide;
Thy people still my people,
Thy God my God shall be;
And where thou diest I will die,
And make my grave with thee."
So Naomi, not loath, was won
Unto her gentle will;
And thence with faces westward set,
They fared o'er plain and hill;
The Lord their staff, till Bethlehem
Rose fair upon their sight,
A rock-built town with towery crown,
In evening's purple light,
'Midst slopes in vine and olive clad,
And spread along the brook,
White fields with barley waving,
That woo'd the reaper's hook.
Now for the sunny harvest field
Sweet Ruth her mother leaves,
And goes a-gleaning after
The maids that bind the sheaves.
And the great lord of the harvest
Is of her husband's race,
And looks upon the lovely one
With gentleness and grace;
And he loves her for the brightness
And freshness of her youth,
And for her unforgetting love,
Her firm enduring truth —
The love and truth that guided Ruth
The border mountains o'er,
Where her people and her own land
She left for evermore;
So he took her to his home and heart,
And years of soft repose
Did recompense her patient faith,
Her meekly-suffered woes;
And she became the noblest dame
Of palmy Palestine,
And the stranger was the mother
Of that grand and glorious line
Whence sprung our royal David,
In the tide of generations,
The anointed King of Israel,
The terror of the nations;
Of whose pure seed hath God decreed
Messiah shall be born,
When the day-spring from on high shall light
The golden lands of morn;
Then heathen tongues shall tell the tale
Of tenderness and truth —
Of the gentle deed of Boaz,
And the tender love of Ruth.
OH, waste not thy woe on the dead, nor bemoan him,
Who finds with his fathers the grave of his rest;
Sweet slumber is his, who at night-fall hath thrown him
Near bosoms that waking did love him the best.
But sorely bewail him, the weary world-ranger,
Shall ne'er to the home of his people return;
His weeping worn eyes must be closed by the stranger,
No tear of true sorrow shall hallow his urn.
And mourn for the monarch that went out of Zion,
King Shallum, the son of Josiah the Just;
For he the cold bed of the captive shall die on,
Afar from his land, nor return to its dust.
SISTER, these woods have seen ten summers fade,
Since thy dear dust in yonder church was laid.
A few more winters and this heart, the shrine
Of thy fair memory, shall be cold as thine.
Yet may some stranger, lingering in these ways,
Bestow a tear on grief of other days;
For if he, too, have wept o'er grace and youth,
Goodness and wisdom, faith, and love, and truth,
Untinged with worldly guile or selfish strain,
And ne'er hath looked upon thy like again,
Then imaged in his sorrow, he may see
All that I loved, and lost, and mourn in thee.
* In the old burying-ground of Lecropt, within the home park of
Keir, there is an ornamental stone cross, elaborately carved, which
has a brass plate fixed on its base bearing these very beautiful elegiac
lines, composed by Sir William to the memory of his sister Hannah
Ann Stirling. Her body lies in the family vault below Lecropt Church.
'Fraudulent Bankruptcy of the old established firm of —
etc., etc." — DAILY PAPER.
MUST we wail in dirgeful numbers,
Over an apostate age;
And arraign a nation — faithless
To her noblest heritage?
Why these stoops to base intriguing?
Where has high-soul'd Honour fled?
Why the beauteous shrine so empty
Where she once was worshippèd?
What erewhile was Britain's glory
Chronicled in prose and song,
Reckoned an effete old story —
"Love of right, and scorn of wrong."
Vain to boast, "her meteor-pennon
Braves the battle and the breeze;"
That her adamantine navies
Ride the champions of the seas:
Vain that on gigantic anvils
Hundred thousand hammers ring,
Wealth of brain and power of muscle
Cyclop trophies fashioning: —
If she suffer pelf and mammon,
Lording o'er her million throng,
To eclipse her yeoman motto —
"Love of right, and scorn of wrong."
Owners of her fields of plenty,
Ye who reap the golden grain,
As ye store your harvest treasures,
Hold in scorn illicit gain.
As ye walk the marts of commerce,
As ye plant, or build, or sell,
Let all arts of over-reaching
Shunned be as the gates of hell.
Keep your conscience pure, untainted;
Be existence short or long,
Hold aloft the golden watchword —
"Love of right, and scorn of wrong."
THE Lord is my Shepherd, nought else shall I need!
Once far from His fold in my loneliness pining,
To His own verdant pastures He brought me to feed,
And by the still waters I now am reclining.
Though darkness, at times, should be shrouding my sky,
And I gaze on a wilderness blighted and dreary;
The meadows seem withered, the rivulets dry,
I wander through thorny-brakes, footsore and weary:—
'Tis only in order my soul to restore,
And for His Name's sake in a right path to guide me:
My Shepherd would teach me to seek for no more
Save the pastures His wisdom sees meet to provide me.
Yea, though I should journey through Death's shadow'd
No evil I fear, for His arms will enfold me:
With His Presence vouchsafed, not a foe can assail,
His rod and His staff through the gloom will uphold
The Keeper of Israel a table has spread
Prepared in the presence of foes that surround me;
With oil, rare and precious, anointing my head,
The wastes of the desert made fragrant around me.
Surely Goodness and Mercy, with blessings anew,
Will follow me on to the brink of the river;
The rush of its waters conducting me through,
To dwell in the house of Jehovah for ever
COME Hieland man, come Lowland man, come every
man on earth, man,
And I'll tell you how I got on atween Dundee and
Perth, man;
I gaed upon an iron road, a rail they did her ca', man;
It was ruggit wi' an iron horse, an awfu' beast to draw,
Sing fal lal la.
Then, first and foremost, near the door, there was a wee
bit wicket,
It was there they gar'd me pay my ride, and they gi'ed
me a ticket,
I gaed awa' up through the house, sat down upon a
kist, man.
To tak' a look o' a' I saw on the great big iron beast,
Sing fal lal la.
There was hooses in a lang straught raw, a' stannin' upon
wheels, man;
And then the chiels that fed the horse were as black's a
pair o' deils, man;
An' the ne'er a thing they ga'e the brute but only coals
to eat, man —
He was the queerest beast that e'er I saw, for he had
wheels for feet, man.
Sing fal lal la.
A chap cam' up, an' round his cap he wore a yellow
band, man;
He bad' me gang an' tak' my seat. Says I, "I'd rather
stand, man."
He speer'd if I was gaun to Perth. Says I, "an' that I
be, man;
But I'm weel enough just whaur I am, because I want to
see, man."
Sing fal lal la.
He said I was the greatest fule that e'er he saw on
earth, man;
For it was just the hooses on the wheels that gaed frae
this to Perth, man.
An' then he laugh't an' wondered hoo I hadna mair discernment,

Says I, "the ne'er a ken kept I; I thought the hale
concern went."
Sing fal lal la.
The beast it roared, an' aff we gaed, through water,
earth, and stanes, man;
We ran at sic a fearfu' rate, I thought we'd brak our
banes, man;
Till by and by we stoppit at a place ca'd something
But ne'er a word had I to say, but only sit an' glower
Sing fal lal la.
Then after that we made a halt, an' in comes yellow
band, man;
He asked me for the ticket, an' I a' my pouches fand,
Bnt ne'er a ticket I cud get — I'd tint it on the road,
man —
So he gar'd me pay for't ower again, or else gang aff to
quod, man.
Sing fal lal la.
Then after that we crossed the Tay, an' landit into
Perth, man,
I vow it was the queerest place that e'er I saw on earth,
For the hooses an' the iron horse were far aboon the
land, man,
And hoo they got them up the stair I canna understand,
Sing fal lal la.
But noo I'm safely landit, an' my feet are on the sod,
When I gang to Dundee again I'll tak' anither road, man;
Though I should tramp upon my feet till I'm no fit to
stand, man,
Catch me again when I'm ta'en in wi' a chap in a yellow
band, man.
Sing fal lal la.
DECEMBER, on the twenty-first,
A party o' our Scottish Greys,
Rode up amang the Highland hills,
Some smuggled whisky for to seize;
Wi' sword and pistol by their side
They thocht to mak' a grand attack,
But a' they wanted was to find
Poor Donald wi' his smuggled drap.
Dirrim dye, adoo, aday,
Dirrim dye adoo a daddie,
Dirrim dye adoo aday,
Poor Donald wi' his smuggled drap.
* The authorship of this song, of which there are slightly varied
readings, has given rise to considerable discussion, and does not yet
appear to be settled with any certainty. Among others to whom it
has been confidently attributed was James Stewart, author of
"Sketches of Scottish Character," but Stewart did not go to Crieff
until 1828, whereas the song was popular there in 1824, shortly after
the battle; and, besides, it is far below his powers. A distinguished
Crieff antiquary when reviewing Stewart's "Sketches," ascribed the
song to "a kindred spirit, John Ritchie;" but subsequently, in the
Beauties of Upper Strathearn he declared the piece to be "the joint
production of a pair of local rhymsters," adding, "the poets were, of
course, Crieff men, and enjoyed heartily, like all their townsmen, the
discomfiture of the interloping excisemen," although the names of the
poetic pair are, curiously, withheld. Duncan Campbell, well known
locally by the cognomen of "Millochan," is by some believed to be the
The gauger he drew up his men
And soon poor Donald did surround;
Said he, "your whisky I must seize,
By virtue of the British Crown."
"Hoot, toot!" said Donald, "not so fast —
You ken her whisky's a' her nain;
She fears not you, nor your grey horse,
Nor yet your muckle bearded men."
Dirrim dye, adoo, aday, etc.
Then Donald a' his men drew up,
And Donald he did give command;
But a' the arms poor Donald had
Was a gude oak stick in ilka hand.
And where poor Donald's men drew up,
A gude stane dyke was at their back;
So, when their sticks to proonach went,
Wi' stanes they made a bold attack.
Dirrim dye, adoo, aday, etc.
When the action it was ower,
A horseman lay upon the plain;
Says Donald unto Sandy syne,
"We've killed ane o' the bearded men!"
But up he gat, and aff he ran,
And straight to Aumulree he flew;
And left the rest to do their best,
As they had done at Waterloo.
Dirrim dye, adoo, aday, etc.
Then Donald he took speech in hand,
And garr'd the beardies quit the field,
The gauger loon he thumpit weel,
Afore his pride wad let him yield.
Says Donald — "O you gauger loon,
If e'er you come this gaet again,
As fack as death, she tells you true,
You'll no gang back wi' a'e hale bane!"
Dirrim dye, adoo, aday, etc.
When the battle's din was o'er,
And not a horseman to be seen,
Then Donald to his men did say,
"Come sit ye doon upon the green.
And noo, my lads, ye just shall taste
A drappie o' the thing we hae,
And troth" quo Donald, "they did get
A filthy hurry doon the brae."
Dirrim dye, adoo, aday, etc.
A' THE witches lang syne were humphbackit and auld,
Clad in their tattered rags that scarce kept out the cauld,
A' were bleer-e'ed and toothless, and wrinkled, and din,
Ilk ane had an ugly grey beard on her chin;
But fu' sweet is the smile, and like snaw the bit bosom,
And black are the een — ay, black as the slae —
And as blooming the cheeks as the roses' white blossom,
O' the bonnie young witch that moons on the brae.
They might travel at night in the shape o' a hare,
They might elfshoot a quey, they might lame a grey
They might mak' the guidwife ca' in vain at her kirn,
Loose the loop o' her stocking, or ravel her pirn,
Put the milk frae her cow, and mae tricks as uncanny,
As queer and as deil-like as ony o' thae;
But o' a' the auld witches e'er kent by your granny,
I could wager there's nane like the witch on the brae
'Twere a sin to believe she colleagued wi' the deil;
Yet, for a' that, she casts her enchantments as weel;
And although she ne'er rode on a stick to the moon,
She has set the auld dominie twice aff the tune;
Ay, and even Mess John aince or twice ga'e a stammer,
But brought himsel' right wi' a hum and a hae;
And a'body says it was just wi' some glamour
Frae the twa pawkie een o' the witch on the brae.
No a lad i' the parish e'er gets a night's sleep,
There's nave mak's a tryste that he ever can keep,
Ilk lass far and near fears she'll dee an auld maid,
And the piper and fiddler complain o' dull trade.
For although tailor Rab night an' day has been busy,
Yet there's nae been a waddin' this six months an'
And they say it's a' for that winsome young hizzie,
The bit bonnie young witch that wons on the brae.
She ne'er passes the mill but the dam aye rins out,
For the miller forgets what he should be about;
Neither mason nor sclater can e'en work a turn,
And whene'er the smith sees her some shoe's sure to
And the sergeant ne'er speaks now o' war, fame, and
And the droll drouthy shoemaker, Sandy M'Rae,
Ne'er sings a queer sang now, or tells a queer story,
For they've a' felt the power o' the witch on the brae.
The thin student, puir chid'! ower the linn lap yestreen,
And wad sure hae been drown'd, but by gude luck was
And he says that the witch drove him thus to despair,
For she took his last poem to paper her hair.
Like the rest I was put in a gey eerie swither,
I had nae peace at hame, and nae heart whaur to gae;
But to end baith my sang and her witchcraft thegither,
I will soon be the warlock that wons on the brae.
An Extract.
FROM Fowlis and Logiealmond, even from Perth,
The rabble-multitude poured thick and fast,
Until it seemed as if the conscious earth
Believed this spectacle might be the last
Of Fire and Faggot she would e'er behold,
Lighted by legal cruelty and crime,
For never did such hosts of young and old,
Of tottering crones, and women in their prime,
Of high and low, of poor men and of rich,
Assemble at the burning of a witch.
* Sometime in the latter half of the seventeenth century, one of the
servants in the family of the Græmes of Inchbrakie, was a female
named Kate M'Niven, who was nurse to the laird's young son, Patrick,
afterwards laird of Inchbrakie, who, from his sombre complexion, was
honoured with the soubriqnet of "Black Pate." Kate's nursing of this
sable youth seems to have been none of the kindliest: for, being
impressed with a presentiment that one day or other he would prove
the means of her death, she is said to have frequently attempted to
destroy him by poison. In the meantime she was a witch, and gave
conclusive proofs of it. One of these was memorable. The laird of
Inchbrakie ("Pate's" father) rode over to Dunning to attend some
public meeting, and according to the usage of the times, took his knife
and fork in his pocket. While dining at that place, he was annoyed
by a bee which buzzed about his ears; he laid down his knife and fork
for a moment to make use of his hands in getting rid of the intruder;
the bee soon left him and flew out by the window; he returned to
table; but his knife and fork were gone, and, though all the company
were strictly searched, the articles (at that time rare and precious)
could not be found. When the laird returned to Inchbrakie he mentioned
his misfortune, and immediately the old nurse produced his
identical knife and fork.
Kate's gloomy presentiment was at last realized, and it happened in
this wise. There was an aged thorn at Dunning, with which it would
appear that her fate was mysteriously connected. This thorn was
destroyed in some tumult, and, before it was possible that news of the
event could have reached Inchbrakie, the witch suddenly exclaimed, —
"alas, the thorn's felled, and I'm undone!" Her foster-son, who was
present, and on whom the knife-and-fork affair had not been lost, was
at once confirmed in his suspicions, and had Kate taken up for a witch.
Tradition says there was much difficulty in seizing the accused, for
that, besides being a witch, she was fleet of foot. — At length, however,
she was lodged in "durance vile," and, in course of time, condemned.
When brought to the stake, she appears to have been treated with no
And women's tongues were plying fast and loose,
As the crowd moved along the slippery way;
And much they talked about the roasted goose,
Which Satan would devour that blessed day;
And some opined that such a withered crone
As Kate M'Niven was declared to be,
Would furnish little more than skin and bone
To any of the black fraternity;
While others deemed, that, seasoned well with yew,
A living witch might make a savoury stew.
indulgence; the minister of Monzie and others being "bitter against
her." The laird of Inchbrakie — the same, whose knife and fork she
had purloined at Dunning — was the only influential person who dared,
at the eleventh hour, to interpose in her behalf; and Kate, in the gratitude
of her heart, bit off (for her hands were bound) a bead from her
necklace, and spitting it towards her intercessor, declared, that so long
as the house of Inchbrakie should preserve that charm, it would never
fail of a direct heir, or lose the patrimonial property — adding, that out
of the King's Craig would come what would do them all good. She
likewise predicted, that so long as the Shaggie (a neighbouring stream)
should continue to run in its present course there should not be a
lineal descendant to the house of Monzie, nor should the ministers of
that parish ever prosper; and the parish would never want a mad
woman or a sot. Other accounts make no mention of the necklace, but
merely affirm that she spat out of her mouth a precious stone. This
stone, which is said to be an uncut sapphire, was set in a ring, which
was long carefully preserved in the Inchbrakie family.
Whether the witch's prophecy had been false or the family of the
"Gallant Graeme" had lost the charmed stone is uncertain, but it is
an undoubted fact that the estate which for many generations belonged
to the family was sold in 1882 to the adjoining laird of Abercairney,
and a small mound of stones only is left to indicate the site of the ancient
mansion-house of Inchbrakie. However, the prophecy about the
King's Craig is said to have been fulfilled. At one time "the lands of
Inchbrakie had been pledged in wadset" — the day was close at hand
when either the money was to be paid or the lands to be lost — and the
laird was in extremities. A friend advised him to apply to the Bank of
Strathearn (meaning the Balgowan family, which was called so at that
time). He did apply, and obtained the money; the servant who
received it to carry home thrust it into a cloakbag, and placed it on
his horse in one of the Balgowan stables. The low stable-door would
hardly permit the horse and bag to get out; but the servant pushed.
the latter through, exclaiming when he had done so, that the witch's
prophecy was now fulfilled, for the stable was built out of the King's
The place where Kate M'Niven expiated her witchcraft at the stake
is situated on the south-eastern brow of the Knock, and is known to
this day as M'Niven's Craig.
But some there were who differed from the rest,
And thought, or seemed to think, the witch's fate
Deserved not thus the ribald-laugh and jest,
But rather to be held in righteous hate;
And not a few among that motley throng
Averred that witchery was all a lie,
And urged the controversy loud and long,
Some in deep earnest, some in raillery;
Till short of patience, argument and breath,
All reached at length the destined place of death.
And now the radiant orb of heat and light
Was fast approaching to his western goal,
Where woody Turlem rears his giant height,
And Earn's streams in glittering currents roll;
And countless multitudes, from far and near,
Covered the vale and lined the lofty rocks,
Which made the scene from neighbouring heights appear
A gathering vast of cattle and of flocks;
For never in Monzie had living man
Seen such a multitude since time began.
And soon the crowd, which during many an hour
In silent patience had been lingering there,
Began, like darkening thunderclouds, to lower,
And with impatient shouts to rend the air;
And to and fro, as when the molten glass
Of ocean's mirror is dispersed in spray,
An angry murmur swept the living mass,
Rushed down the hill, and slowly died away;
And then again, still louder and more loud,
It burst into a shout from all the crowd.
At length a movement on the western side,
Proclaimed the object of their rage at hand;
And like a vessel steering through the tide,
A cart, surrounded by a martial band,
Was seen advancing by a winding route,
To where the stake was planted in the ground;
And all the crowd began to hiss and hoot,
And vie in horrid dissonance of sound —
When Kate M'Niven's laithely form was seen,
Attired in mock-habiliments of green.
She uttered not a word, while many a voice
Was shouting imprecations fierce and loud;
But when at length the clamour and the noise
Had died away along the furious crowd —
"Ye hell-hounds," she exclaimed, "ye bring me here,
To die a death which ye would spare a dog!
Beshrew-me, if ye do not pay full dear
For all this waste of faggot and of log!
The time is near when ye shall rue this day,
And call to mind the words which now I say."
"Waeworth the witch!" a thousand voices cried —
"Down with the hag, and tear her limb from limb" —
"No, no," said others, "let the witch be fried;
Perhaps she will not burn, though she can swim."
"Light up the pile," a cruel voice exclaimed,
And spit her on a pitch-fork for a time,
Until her valour is a little tamed,
And then perchance she may confess her crime;
For that's the only Christian plan, I guess,
To make a witch be honest and confess."
"I am a witch — if that be any crime —
A witch I've lived, and as I've lived will die;
But long and sadly ye shall rue the time
That brought ye here to clamour and to cry;
For even now I see a coming flood,
Which ere this very year has passed away,
Shall drench the braes of Sherra'muir with blood,
And many who are here in life this day
Shall think of me, when with their dying breath
They curse the hour they clamoured for my death."
"The torch, the torch!" was now the general shout;
And forthwith she was fastened to the stake,
With pitchy logs encompassed all about,
And many a broken door and shattered flake.
On these she stood as on a lofty mound,
And soon the wreaths of smoke began to rise;
And then it was that, like the deafening sound
Of fierce valcano darting to the skies,
A shout arose, which shook the solid earth,
And, some maintain, was even heard in Perth.
But while the sheets of mingled flame and smoke
Began to thicken round her haggard form,
Old Kate again with imprecations spoke,
Like the controlling spirit of the storm;
And looking round, as if she dared defy
The utmost fury of the yelling mob,
"Ye cowards," she exclaimed, "I die — I die —
And soon this heart of mine shall cease to throb.
Another hour and nought shall live of me,
Except that bitter curse which you must dree.
"A witch I am — and if a witch's curse
Is fraught with mischief or with bale to man,
The parish of Monzie shall fare the worse
And minister and flock shall dree the ban.
You bonnie manse shall ne'er a tenant see
Who shall not yet this bitter day abye,
And never shall the parish of Monzie
Forget the hour that I was doomed to die;
For either a mad woman or a sot
Shall vex the parish while my ashes rot.
"And Auchterarder too shall ashes see
Ere yet the merry-making day of Yule;
And many who are here shall think of me,
When but and ben shall glimmer mirk and gule;
And every house shall be a cinder-heap,
Like that on which you see me stand this day;
While many a mother with her child shall sleep
In wreaths of snow until it melt away;
And then, mayhap, the husband or the nurse
Will think of Kate M'Niven and her curse."
Scarce had the frantic woman ceased to speak,
When the black pile burst out into a blaze;
And then arose a blended shout and shriek
From the dense masses who had come to gaze —
To gaze, and yet to shudder — for the sight
Was horrible to all whose hearts could feel;
And some who saw her in that woeful plight,
Blackened with smoke and struggling to conceal
Her mortal agonies, did now bedene,
That ne'er again they'd come to such a scene.
THERE'S a glory in summer, a beauty in spring,
And the laverock the hymn of the morning will sing;
But the magic of Nature is lost upon me,
For the raven-haired Flora has pride in her e'e.
I'm restless by day, and I'm sleepless by night —
The stream has no music, the sunbeam no light;
I'm weary of life as a mortal can be,
For the raven-haired Flora has pride in her e'e.
I roam through the meadows at gloaming alone,
Musing sadly of pleasures all withered and gone;
Death, often I think, would be welcome to me,
Since the raven-haired Flora has pride in her e'e.
But now, what a change has come over my dream,
Each flower has a grace, and a music each stream;
All Nature is glory and beauty to me,
For my raven-haired lassie has love in her e'e.
WHEN the long farewell is spoken,
And the light of life has fled, —
How blest the simplest token
That recalls the sleeping dead!
That gilds the dear departed
With the olden smile they wore, —
The pure-souled, the sunny-hearted,
Who gladden home no more.
When I walk the dewy meadows,
Some common flower will cast
On my path the gliding shadows
Of those who long have passed, —
Passed away from home's bright numb
From earth and all its joys,
To the bed of dreamless slumber,
To the crowd without a voice.
When, beside the glowing embers,
I muse at close of day,
By that light I well remember
The faces passed away.
Then Memory comes to greet me
With some familiar tone,
And, though shadows only meet me,
I feel not all alone.
And thus I love to wander
Among the dewy flowers,
Or to sit and gently ponder
Through Memory's vesper hours.
Oh! Wisdom, cold thy warning, —
To me 'tis not in vain
To fancy back life's morning,
And live it o'er again.
COUGH! cough! cough!
Oh! but the weather is cold.
Cough! cough! cough!
'Tis the right of the young and the old.
Cough! cough! cough!
And now the weather is warm;
In vain may the parson plead or scold,
For a Sunday cough has a wondrous charm.
Cough! from the battered old man
(A most unearthly note),
To Tommy, who seems to try if he can
Make similar fun from his throat.
Cough! from the elder's pew,
Guttural, steady, and deep;
The beadle would try the luxury too,
If he were not so fast asleep.
What though the sermon prove
The very best of the year,
A thing that the dullest fool might love
With his heart and his soul to hear!
When the passage, so powerfully written,
Is thrilling so touchingly off,
Some reckless throat, by the frenzy smitten,
Goes cough! cough! cough!
What though a friend's devotion
Is ruffled, or something worse,
Till I sadly fear, in the mind's commotion,
His prayer is changed to a curse!
Who can stifle a cough?
Have we not paid for our sitting?
And our neighbours are very well off
If we ape not the Yankee in spitting.
You say 'tis a custom vile
Which a gentleman might suppress;
But live we not in Liberty's Isle?
With the freedom of Church and Press,
To speak and to write as we may?
Our Cousins are scarce better off —
They may spit every hour of the day,
And we have our Sunday Cough!
Weather warm or cold —
Weather freezing or warm —
In vain has the druggist's pill been rolled,
In vain is the parson's weekly scold;
For a Sunday cough to the young and old
Has a most peculiar charm!
THERE'S something noble in thy mien, O Death!
Ghastly indeed and cruel, overswift
To execute a sentence — honest still.
Thou speakest truth. Thy name is on thy brow,
And reading it, the proudest bows himself,
And straight prepares to go away with Thee.
The brigand of the cave, the warrior armed,
The ruler of the empire, bows to Thee!
Not like the stealthy steps of Time and Change
Are thine. Insidiously they creeping come
To sap and undermine, to melt and mar,
What we esteemed as proof against their power.
The Early Dead alone shall never know
What wreck and havoc Time and Change can work, —
Gnawing with cruel teeth the sweets we stored. —
With mouldy hands aye crumbling what in youth
We lived to build, — and then insulting us
By offering salve for wounds we wish to bleed
Until we find again what we have lost.
In the fast chariots of the dewy morn
The Early Dead go Home, leaving us to
The heat of noon, and evening chill. They take
Away with them the choicest flowers
All blooming in high summer's gorgeous tints,
Fit to replant within a heavenly bower.
Yes Death, we can forgive thee, thou sett'st free
The prison'd bird to fly in warmer skies.
Owning His power who wrench'd from thee thy sting,
Thou art His messenger to carry safe
Up to His glory those He longs for there.
For this it was His royal head He bowed
Upon the awful cross: Redeemer! He
Of the saved millions paid their penalty,
And held thee thenceforth as His minister,
To open unto each the gate of life.
Yet what insignia of royalty
He left with Thee, and what a hush of fear
Spreads at thy coming; for the word is pledged,
That of all other foes thou'lt clear the field;
FREELY RECEIVE, is still His royal word,
Once breathed on earth, now sounding from His throne,
Freely Thy gifts I take, ascended Lord!
And with a fearless heart hail them mine own.
As one by one upon this throbbing breast,
Freighted with Thine own love, they richly fall,
Why should I dread their loss, of Thee possessed
They but Thy mirror'd love, and THOU my all,
So when the voice that lately said, RECEIVE,
Shall whisper in love's deeper tones, RESIGN,
Trembling and fainting, back to Thee I'll give
Whate'er Thou claimest back — the earth is Thine.
Thou and Thy heaven are mine, and shall I weep
When Thy sweet gifts to my bright home take wing?
Distance and death do but more surely keep
The treasures to which all my heartstrings cling.
Soon, soon the voice which all the worlds obey
Shall sound throughout His vast domains, RESTORE!
And boundless spheres shall their glad tribute pay
To Jesus and his church for evermore.
Then in heaven's wine-cup, given her running o'er,
And in the weight of glory she shall wear,
Each long-past joy shall endless sweetness pour,
And not a jewel lost, be missing there.
MY lassie sits by yonder burn,
Singin' a' the while,
Saftly blaws the wastlan' wind
Round sweet Maggie Lyle;
Oh, there's nane like Maggie,
Winsome Maggie Lyle;
My love's the queen amang the flowers —
Bonnie Maggie Lyle.
The gowan on the simmer mead —
Whiter than the snaw —
Glints like yonder bonnie star
That's sae far awa;
But it's no' like Maggie,
Wi' her silvery smile —
My love's the queen amang the flowers —
Modest Maggie Lyle.
My Maggie's fairer than the rose
Enframed in vernal green;
Wot ye whaur my wild bud grows
In the brake unseen;
Oh, list, ye slumbering flowers,
Fairy notes beguile,
'Tis your queen that warbles there —
Gentle Maggie Lyle.
The dewdrops glance in summer's morn
Like my Maggie's een,
On the blaworts in the corn
Brichter are na seen;
An' they droop to Maggie,
Trippin' over the style;
My love's the queen amang the flowers —
Blythesome Maggie Lyle.
ROMANTIC scene! once more from thy proud steep,
Kinnoull, I view the prospect far below; —
Stirr'd with the memories of the past I weep,
As in my fancy boyhood's pleasures grow;
Even now I feel as I felt long ago.
Far down beneath me, in the vernal sun,
Majestic Tay, impatient to be free,
Rolls his broad waters, sparkling as they run
Thro' many a lovely spot, towards the sea;
And at this height methinks I hear their minstrelsy.
Full many a happy hour I've roamed, I ween,
On yonder dappled banks in days of yore,
Watching at even the silvery Lunar beam,
And the crimp'd ripple plashing on the shore;
But those gay hours are dead — the past returns no
Kinfauns, thy castle peers amid the trees,
The turrets gilded as with burnished gold;
The crimson standard waving in the breeze,
As it was wont when Longueville the bold
With his retainers fought the Southron 'neath its fold.
And thou, forlorn Elcho, famed in lore
For gallant deeds of noble Wallace wight,
Whose patriot fame is known on every shore;
His mighty arm asserted Scotia's right,
And led her hardy sons triumphant thro' the fight.
Now thy grey walls are crumbling fast away,
And mould'ring ruin seizes thee amain.
These moss-grown gaps tell of Time's potent sway,
And the green woodbine, with its creeping train,
Seems to protect from waste thy tott'ring form in
Dark Moredun, too, rears up his furrow'd head,
Where, long ago, Rome's legions from afar
Swept o'er his craggy heights with thund'rous tread,
Equipp'd in all the barbarous pomp of war —
The spear, the sword and buckler, horse and rattling
Far as mine eye can reach the verdant plain
Displays its gorgeous beauty, rich, serene.
There rears a noble mansion, here again
A clump of lowly cottages is seen,
With woods, green fields, and rivers interspersed
Oh, Scotland! land of peace and happiness,
Of all the climes of this old earth the best;
Beneath thy soil, scenes of my early bliss,
I pray to Heaven my weary bones may rest,
Where oft in boyhood's day my foot the heath hath
Farewell, ye rocky steeps! Sweet Tay, farewell!
Ye woods, ye wilds, and solitudes, adieu!
I may not e'er again (ah, who can tell?)
Thus feast mine eyes upon this matchless view,
Life's but a flickering light — our days are number'd
SING, sing, little bird, sing!
Sing to the morning star,
Ere it fade and die in the brightening sky
With the light that cometh from far.
Sing, sing, happy bird, sing!
Sing to the rising sun:
For sweet is the light on valley and height,
When the long dreary night is gone.
Sing, sing, merry bird, sing!
For the day is wondrous fair,
And sweet is thy song the green leaves among
With never a note of care.
Sing, sweet bird, to the dewy eve,
A tranquil and soothing song,
Ere it pass into night in Time's ceaseless flight
Let thy voice its beauty prolong.
Sing, O sing, till heavenward rise
My soul with thy soaring song;
Till in the bright skies where all sorrow dies
I shall dwell my loved ones among.
WHEN mortal being ends,
And her pure soul ascends
Beyond our vision's range,
Will her fair radiant face
Take on diviner change
To more celestial grace?
I wonder if her voice
Among a thousand, choice,
Sweet, soft, and musical,
Will catch a sweeter strain
That shall no more recall
Love's morning song again.
Shall splendour of her eyes
That life's dull skies,
A glory mid the gloom
Of this dark atmosphere,
New radiance there assume,
Effacing all things here?
Her form of finest mould,
Refined like precious gold,
Fashioned and finely wrought
In grace and symmetry,
To such perfection brought,
Can it more perfect be?
Her hand, whose lightest touch
To me doth mean so much
Of love's most tender grace;
Her lovely lily hand,
Formed for love's soft caress,
Shall I no more command?
My love! my heart's delight!
My dream by day and night,
What will she be to me?
Will she be mine no more.
In love's sweet mystery,
Upon that other shore?
I darkly understand,
To meet in some far land
The child I loved before
In womanhood's ripe grace —
The sweet child's kiss no more;
No more the child's caress.
Sweet rose of womanhood,
So winsome in the bud,
I cannot shape my dream
To form of fairer mould,
Nor in hereafter deem
Diviner grace unfold.
OH, dear, had you ever Lumbago?
It catches the back of the way-go,
And shoots through the spine
When yourself you incline
To sit down to relieve the Lumbago.
Oh, cruel, relentless Lumbago,
Beware every one of the plague, O!
Rheumatics or gout
May be soon physicked out
But it's hard to get rid of Lumbago
I'd as soon ride as tar as Otago
Upon the bare back of a naig, O!
Though tender my hide,
And rough be the ride,
It could not be worse than Lumbago.
A colic is bad, but it may go.
This sticks like a gleg to a staig, O!
And screws up the groins,
And unhinges the loins —
Lay you flat on your back will Lumbago.
If by chance you forget for a while, O!
When addressing a friend with a smile, O!
And turn round quick,
Then something plays "nick,"
And you end in a cursing style, O!
However relentless, you find foe,
You respect him if he has a mind so
To fight in fair tack;
But a stab in the back,
Oh, crickey! it cuts at your wind so.
A treacherous fiend is Lumbago,
The advantage it takes is the plague, O!
For it seizes your hip,
And you cannot get up,
But must lie and submit to Lumbago.
Oh, banish the heartless Lumbago,
Consume it in flames like Chicago,
No more to show face,
Or lay hold of the place
Subjected so long to Lumbago.
AIR— "The King of the Cannibal Islands."
OH! have you heard the news of late,
About our great original state;
If you have not, I will here relate
The grand Darwinian theory.
Take care as you saunter along the street,
How you tread on the dust beneath your feet;
You may crush a cherub in embryo sweet,
For each atom may hold a germ complete,
Which, by some mystical process slow
And selective power, to a monkey may grow,
And from that to a man — the truth to show
Of the grand Darwinian theory.
Oh! hokey-pokey, Kan-yu-wan,
From nothing to something, from monkey to
Oh! this is the great developing plan
Of the grand Darwinian theory.
The beginning of all was a little cell,
Composed of what substance no one can tell;
Endowed with a power to develope and swell
Into general life by this theory.
With a power to select what it wished to be,
A fungus or flower, a bush or a tree,
A fowl of the air, or a fish of the sea,
A cow or a sheep, a bug or a flea,
Or, if tired of these, it may change its plan,
* Darwin's theory of the origin of our species, immediately subsequent
to its promulgation before the members of the British Association,
provoked quite a number of poetical squibs — some of them from the
pens of eminent poets — but than the present certainly no jeu d'esprit
amongst them contained more argument in its nonsense, or more delightsome
nonsense in its argument.
Be a cat or a dog, or O-rang-oo-tan,
But culminating at last in a man
By this grand Darwinian theory.
Oh! hokey-pokey, power of selection,
Choose yourself your particular section
A peasant or lord with a great connection,
By the grand Darwinian theory.
Your attention, ladies — let me win it;
Just think of this theory for a minute;
Is there really not something distressing in it —
To think that you sprung from a monkey?
That delicate hand was a monkey's paw,
Those lovely lips graced a monkey's jaw,
Those handsome ankles, so trim and neat,
One time surmounted a monkey's feet;
Those sparkling eyes a monkey did lend,
That graceful form from one did descend,
From a monkey you borrowed the Grecian bend,
By this grand Darwinian theory.
Oh! hokey-pokey, protoplasm,
'Tween monkey and man there is no chasm;
Why shouldn't you clasp them to your bosom,
They are infant men by this theory.
Such murderers we — far worse than Cain —
For darker deeds our characters stain;
For thousands of brothers we've eaten and slain,
By this grand Darwinian theory.
When sitting at breakfast, and picking the wing
Of a pigeon, or grouse, or some other thing;
Or dining on mutton, or lamb, if in spring,
Or on salmon, or trout, or on cod, or on ling;
Gaze into the future, and you can see
What horrible cannibals we must be,
Devouring the flesh which may yet become we,
By the grand Darwinian theory.
Oh! hokey-pokey, ringo-ging,
The cannibal islands once had a king
Who ate his own kin, but to us he's no-thing
When compared in the light of this theory
But why should the theory end with man?
If he has been less, surely more he can,
And should, by the great developing plan
Of the grand Darwinian theory.
Why should he not on this earth yet be
An angel, or god, like Mercury,
With a wing on each shoulder, each ankle and knee?
Oh, how delightful then it would be,
When sighing and wishing your sweetheart to see,
To wipe your beak, and just upwards flee,
Like birds, and meet your love on a tree,
Or the top of a hill, by this theory.
Oh! hokey-pokey, ringo-ging,
The world then literally on the wing;
No street cabs needed, or any such thing
By the grand Darwinian theory.
I DID a reckless deed yestreen,
The brunt I'll bear for moray a day —
I tint baith wit and wealth, I ween,
Through twa sweet een o' lovely grey.
I vowed their mystic light was blue
(They winna change though I should pray),
I pledged my worth — would it were true —
She proved me wrang, and I maun pay.
Sweet maiden, what is wealth to me,
Could I possess? But nought I may
Than worship what is sweet in thee,
But never own those een o' grey.
Yes! at a distance I must stand,
And envious gaze from day to day,
And see another take thy hand,
And claim those een o' matchless grey.
Blest be thy ignorance o' guile,
Ye little ken the pow'r they sway;
Unconscious thou, yet a' the while
Drivest Cupid's darts frae een o' grey.
Thy face sae fair, thy smile sae sweet,
Far harder hearts than mine would slay;
And doomed is he whose gaze should meet
Those winning een o' witching grey.
(A Condensed Extract)
IN autumn, eighteen forty-two,
At Granton pier was seen,
That noble chief — the bold Buccleuch —
Give welcome to our Queen.
And up along the crowded quay,
He gaily led the way;
And Scotland felt through all its bounds,
O'erjoyed and proud that day.
Dun-Edin's tow'rs gave back again,
The welcome loud and long —
Which loyal hearts repeated oft,
A gay and joyous throng.
As up Dun-Edin's crowded streets
The Royal progress sped,
The deafening cheers were voic'd again,
The Castle guns o'erhead.
The bold Buccleuch has ta'en his way,
All past the Castle gate,
And soon with quicken'd pace they reach
His halls in royal state.
Dalkeith's proud towers a welcome fling
Upon the autumn wind,
And here the Queen and Consort Prince
Each Scottish comfort find.
But short their stay, though full of joy —
Each Scottish heart was gay —
The Royal progress starts again
Upon its northward way.
Dun-Edin — Fifian towns are pass'd —
On by Kinross they speed;
Loch Leven's hoary pile looks grim,
Regretting still that deed,
When Mary's royal hand was forc'd
By caitiff, graceless men,
To abdicate her crown with heart
Reluctant as her pen.
Still on the Royal progress speeds,
By hill and dale they wind,
Till needed rest and welcome cheer,
'Neath Dupplin's tow'rs they find.
Still on they press till Perth is reached,
That ancient city fair,
Where royal lips in thousands join
To cheer the Royal pair.
The good old town revives again
Beneath the Royal tread;
Its ancient glories start to view,
And courtly life long dead.
To Scone proud Scotland's honour'd Queen
With joyous heart proceeds;
To Scone — historic Scone — grown old
In brave and kingly deeds.
Its palace boasts historic fame;
Its site is sacred ground;
For there for ages all our kings
In solemn state were crowned.
The Royal chair, as aged bards
Have dared to dream and sing
Is sacred still to Kenneth's line —
That ancient Scottish King.
Though now its marble seat adorns
Westminster's holy fane,*
'Tis still the coronation chair
For Britain's wide domain.
And as the legend quaintly says —
There still the Scots are found,
And we, rejoicing, bless the day
Our darling Queen was crown'd.
At ancient Scone the Royal guests
With Mansfield's lord abode
One passing eve — then hast'ning on,
They took the Highland road.
Lord Mansfield rode the Queen beside,
Imparting ancient lore,
And pointing out with patriot pride
Those spots renown'd of yore.
* The poet here refers to the "Stone of Destiny," which Kenneth
II., commonly known as Kenneth Mac-Alpine, brought from Dunstaffnage
to Scone, and which was carried to Westminster Abbey by
Edward I., in 1296. This remarkable stone is alleged to have been
Jacob's pillow at Bethel — to have been carried from the East to Spain,
from there to Ireland, from that to Iona, and from Iona to Dunstaffnage,
from whence it was taken to Scone, and thence to Westminster
The grand North Inch is pass'd, where knights
In tourney oft have played —
There stood the lists — and here apart,
The King the scene survey'd.
There too, at times, the battle notes
Rang out with clarion tone,
And stalwart men rush'd down on death,
In those dark ages gone.
The Royal progress, speeding on,
Is viewed by joyous eyes;
At every turn, on every side,
The shouts of welcome rise.
From prattling babe to aged sire
The thrill of joy extends;
In rich and poor, a loyal throng,
One noble feeling blends.
The Queen they love, admire, revere,
With joyous heart hath come,
To smile her love on rich and poor,
And gladden every home.
With loyal shouts they voice their love,
And cheer her on her way;
The Grampian hills, now quite at hand,
How proud they look to-day!
And Birnam Wood rejoicing moves
To welcome Duncan's line;
Though 'neath Rohallion's grateful shade
His halls in ruin pine.
The Royal progress nears Dunkeld,
'Mid varied scenes sublime;
Here let us pause, while pause we may,
And raise a hearty cheer,
God save and bless our noble Queen,
God bless her Consort dear.
Be hers to know how full and deep
Affection's current flows;
And may that eye which never sleep
Preside where'er she goes.
ONE linnet's note the more or less
Within the wildwood's minstrelsy,
Can neither raise nor aught depress
The sense of joyous revelry.
And yet each linnet from the spray
His swelling note melodious flings,
And pipes his own sweet roundelay
Heedless of how another sings.
He has a song 'tis his to sing,
And that he sings right earnestly,
And waiteth not for anything
To urge his heart to minstrelsy.
The skylark sings where bliss belongs,
That song an ampler field be given;
Takes to the clouds his seraph songs —
Throws half to earth and half to heaven.
And some sweet songster, near alight
On thorny perch, amid the throng,
Gives to the passing heart delight,
And cheers it with a joyous song.
So are the songs that poets sing
Within secluded quiet retreat,
But single echoed notes, that bring
Their quota for a choir complete.
Each pipes his own peculiar strain,
On artful lute or simple reed,
And sings, and sings, and sings again,
To satisfy his own heart's need.
Yet may some raptured thought out-reach
Far, far the poet's dream above,
And some faint wavering heart beseech
To deeds of grace, and hope, and love.
To sing has given one heart employ,
And thus did end enough fulfil;
But if, resung, another's joy
Is more enlarged, 'twere better still.
And so, self-pleased, I give the song
That's kept my own past clear and bright,
If that, perchance, some other tongue
May lift the lilt, and find delight.
LONG had sunk the light of day,
When, prostrate on the cold, green sod,
Within Gethsemane, there lay,
Disconsolate, the Son of God.
With bitter sighs His bosom heaved,
In sorrow's voice He cried aloud,
Till, torn with grief, His heart relieved
Itself with sweat of crimson blood.
Down from His quivering brow it fell,
A dropping stream upon the ground;
And long that spot could passers tell,
So bare amid the green around.
And autumn came, and spring-time's showers,
And summer's zephyrs softly blew,
Yet on that spot no other flowers
Save some sweet mountain daisies grew.
And as each raised its drooping head,
Its serrate fringe was crimson dyed:
Memorial of the tears He shed,
And of the hour to blood He sighed.
As in salvation's world-wide flow,
The heaven-inspired apostle band,
First to God's chosen people go,
And then abroad to every land;
So from that spot the daisy bears
To all the world a message brief:
The crimson of its fringe declares
The story of the Saviour's grief.
O WHERE is the wee brook that danced through the
Wha's murmur at gloamin' sae sweet was to me?
Or where are the gowans that decked a' the alley,
And ga'e us, when bairnies, in summer sic glee?
O cauld cam' the rude blast that blew frae the wild
And keen bit the hoar-frost, and fierce drave the
And they've plucked a' the sweet flowers that buskit
the wee rills
And sealed up the burnie's wee wavelets an' a'.
But spring will soon come wi' its buds and its blossoms,
The waving young leaflets will clead ilka tree,
The birdie's sweet love-notes will thrill frae their bosoms,
And this snaw-covered desert an Eden will be.
The wee flowers will peep up their heads by the burnie,
And its waters will dance in the sunbeams again;
Ilk thing that has life in't will flourish and charm ye,
When the life now entombed shall have burst its ice
Sae man, like the burnie when summer is glowing,
Glides on in his rapture, free, lightsome, and gay;
But life has its winter, and towards us 'tis flowing,
And soon will its rude breath freeze us in the clay.
But there is a summer the soul kens is comin',
When life to these temples anew will be given;
Then fret nae, but cheer ye, and comfort yer gloamin' —
The grave has but planted the flowerets for heaven.
O BONNIE grows the gowan in Kilbryde Kirkyard,
An' red-cheekit is the rowan in Kilbryde Kirkyard,
But the gowans fade awa'
An' the rowan berries fa'
When winter haps the graves in Kilbryde Kirkyard.
O the stanes are auld an' gray in Kilbryde Kirkyard,
An' the banes are cauld as clay in Kilbryde Kirkyard,
The moss is owre the stanes,
An' the mould is on the banes,
That hae stood an' lain sae lang in Kilbryde Kirkyard.
O the brae is stey an' weary to Kilbryde Kirkyard,
An' the brig is auld an' eerie near Kilbryde Kirkyard,
The howff where witches met
Ere they forced the iron yett,
To keep their midnicht cantrips in Kilbryde Kirkyard.
O solemn is the Kirk in Kilbryde Kirkyard,
Shaded by a siller birk in Kilbryde Kirkyard,
'Tis the Kirk o' auld Saint Bride,
Within ance deck'd in pride,
But where owls an' bats noo bide, in Kilbryde Kirkyard
There the castle folks are sleepin', in Kilbryde Kirkyard,
An' Death his watch is keepin', in Kilbryde Kirkyard,
In the vaults are knights and dames
O' the Campbells, or the Grahames,
O' Kilbryde an' Aberuchil, in Kilbryde Kirkyard.
O' sweet's the laverock's sang in Kilbryde Kirkyard,
When the summer day is Lang in Kilbryde Kirkyard,
Frae the sky she sends us hope
That the sleeper's eye shall ope
When the final trumpet clangs owre Kilbryde Kirkyard.
GOLDEN gorse, whose stately plume
Waves o'er moorland, crag, and fell,
Nods amid the yellow brume,
Bramble-bank, and bracken-dell.
Where the hip and hawthorn spray
Twine their arms across the brook;
Where the wild rose skirts the way
There thou hast thy cosy nook.
Golden gorse, that gaily gleams
O'er the upland and the dale,
As a royal banner streams
In the freshening summer gale;
Heedless thou of winter's pang,
When the timid snowdrops ope
Dost thy golden tassels hang,
Tokens true of love and hope.
Golden gorse, that gems the wold,
As with splendours of the mine,
Blazoned "floor of cloth of gold" —
Such thy golden spangles shine;
"Burning bush, yet unconsumed,"
Voice of God with tongue of fire,
Horeb's hill its light illumed,
Baleful flame, a portent dire.
Golden gorse, in summer pride,
Rolling like the billowy main,
When the golden even-tide
Pours its flood athwart the plain.
Lo, the fabled gardens rise
The Hesperides of old —
Golden fleece, the Argo's prize,
Or Mida's touch that makes all gold.
Golden gorse, with prickly flower,
Where the linnet makes her nest,
Sheltered in her sunny bower,
Foe nor fear may her molest;
Happy bird, with bower so gay,
Roofed with gold, and fenced with thorn,
Piping love-notes all the day,
Fanned with fragrance till the morn.
'TWAS in my thoughtless boyhood,
When all was bright and gay,
Like summer stole the rosy hours,
And everywhere 'twas May;
We laughed, we sung; let what betide,
We never cared to know,
When we clomb the lofty Lomonds,
A long time ago.
Through rainbow-tints the earth gleamed fair,
As 't ne'er knew fallen time;
For on young hearts the bloom of heaven
Rests, as on Eden's prime;
Go where we may, these days will haunt
Our souls, nor will they go,
Oh, the days we clomb the Lomonds,
A long time ago!
And when the school at noontime
Was free, we'd haste us down
On Leven's shore to wander —
Sweet Leven of renown!
Or range the wild woods over,
That on their steep sides grow,
In the days we clomb the Lomonds,
A long time ago!
Now far apart from friendly ken
Are many loved so well,
To them nor dirge nor song shall reach,
Of griefs or joys to tell —
Some hushed in ocean beds repose,
And scattered to and fro
Is that band which clomb the Lomonds
A long time ago.
And some have gone to distant lands,
Some fallen in battle's tide,
Others beneath ancestral trees
Have lived, and toiled, and died;
But few remain. And never more,
While rivers seaward flow,
Shall we meet to climb the Lomonds
As long, long ago.
Again I've passed me o'er the scene
Of life's romantic day;
How changed! The bounding heart, the dream,
Those voices, where were they?
Farewell, ye spells to memory dear,
Ye came and went like snow!
And farewell the lofty Lomonds
Of long, long ago.
"COME, Kate, d'ye hear? bring my first waddin' coat,
An' busk me richt gallant an' braw;
Syne pu' a red rose for the buttonhole o't,
For I'm aff to the courtin' awa'!
For I'm aff to the courtin' awa'!"
He gaed to the glass — to the keekin' he fell —
An' he lauched till amaist like to fa';
Sae improved was his look that he kentna himsel'
When aff to the courtin' awa',
When aff to the courtin' awa'.
"O! wha is yon carle," quo he, "that's sae smirkie,
An' looks sae weel-pleased ower me a'?
Is he really mysel', that cantie-like birkie,
Wha's aff to the courtin' awa'?
Wha's aff to the courtin' awa'."
He mountit auld Robin, an' bobbit fu' hie,
Wi' siller spurs glancin' sae braw,
An' hat on's grey haffits set gayly agee,
When aff to the courtin' awa',
When aff to the courtin' awa'.
He rantit an' sang to himsel' the hale way,
An' loud his ain trump he did blaw;
An' he swore by the rood he wad carry the day,
Sin' aff to the courtin' awa'.
Sin' aff to the courtin' awa',
"A wheen glaiket gipsies about me are gyte,
Tho' my pow's bare, I'm loesome for't a',
An' at my first offer the hizzies wad bite,
Fegs, catch me them courtin' ava!
Fegs, catch me them courtin' ava!
"Let me see — there's Jean, Ann, and muckle gleyed
An' Bess, wha's as black as a craw;
A' fechtin' like cats wha'll get Tam for gudeman,
An' wad spean me frae courtin' ava'.
An' wad spean me frae courtin' ava.
"They bind their fat bulks wi' their stays an' their lace,
To mak' their waists jimpie an' sma';
An' they caper an' fling like cowtes i' the trace,
Wi' sic nonsense I canna' awa'.
Wi' sic nonsense I canna' awa'.
"Hech! But noo I'm near where my ain lass does bide —
She's the queen an' the flower o' them a';
An' I'll aye bless the day when I made her my bride —
That I gaed to the courtin' awa';
That I gaed to the courtin' awa'."
THE night drove wild over Inkermann,
As the Russian host was flying,
And the river red with the carnage ran
Of the noble dead and dying.
Beneath the folds — lay an English Knight —
Of his country's banner waving
That had streamed so fierce thro' the bloody fight,
No foeman its terrors braving.
More and more faintly he grasped the brand,
Which had many a death deliver'd,
As it flash'd — all the joy — in his martial hand,
Now in countless fragments shiver'd.
"My once faithful steel, why fail," said he,
"Thy lord in the hour of danger?
For I ne'er had, wer't not for thee,
Died thus in the land of the stranger.
"Not so didst thou on the Alma's steep,
Where thou sweptst down the boldest, strewing,
The earth with red heaps of the slaughter deep,
Like the leaves, when wild winds are blowing.
Ne'er more shall the foe dread the lightning play
Of thine edge its rich harvest reaping,
For run is the course of our short bright day,
And with me thou'lt rest where sleeping."
Loud and clear rose an English "Hurrah!"
O'er the din of the battle swelling,
And a smile o'er his dying face did play —
'Twas the rout of the Muscove knelling.
He clapp'd his hands, shouted "Follow me!"
While fast, fast was his life-blood streaming,
But ere kind hands came from all care was he,
On his pale face victory beaming.
How sweet to roam the woods among,
And wander on the hill,
Where heather bells bloom bonnilie
Beside the mountain rill;
When from the Wrest the golden hues
The woods and vales attire,
How charming are the lovely braes
Of bonnie Ochtertyre.
Among the knowes the lambkins play,
In bowers the wild birds sing,
The scented flowers among the groves
Around their fragrance fling;
But ah! I miss the kindest friend
A leal heart could desire —
He loved and was beloved by all,
The Chief of Ochtertyre.
I miss him when the evening star
Is beaming in the sky;
I miss him when my soul is tuned
For sweetest minstrelsy;
But come what will, go where I may,
I'll strike the trembling lyre,
One song at least shall cheer my breast —
I'll sing of Ochtertyre.
I FONDLY would linger in Bonnie Strathearn,
In groves by the river's green banks I would roam;
And climb the proud steeps where the heather bells
And cull the wild flowers of my own Highland home,
The flowers bloom so fair round thy quiet rural cots,
The birds sing their love-notes in woodland and dell;
Thy green sylvan paths and the scene from the hills
Are treasured delights where fond memories dwell.
Though fierce storms sweep over mountain and moor,
And cataracts foam like the wild raging sea,
Though ice binds the river and snow bars the way,
The blithe hearts of home make it summer to me.
Thy daughters are fair as the fairest of flowers,
True-hearted and brave are the sons of the glen,
And music's loved strains lend a pleasure to peace
Or rouse up the spirit of heroes again.
Enshrined are thy glories in story and song,
With tales of the old times by forest and lea;
The lays of the valley float over the land,
And cheer hearts afar o'er the wide rolling sea.
The great in the land seek thy heathery braes,
And breathe balmy zephyrs thy beauties among.
To see is to love thee. Oh, haste let us rove
In bonnie Strathearn, the valley of song.
THE plaid amang our auld forbears
Was lo'ed owre a' their precious wares,
Their dearest joys wad be but cares
Without the plaid.
An' when the auld gudeman was deid,
'Twas aye by a' the house agreed,
That to his auldest son was fee'd
His faither's plaid.
Ah! gin auld plaids cud speak or sing,
Our heids and hearts wad reel and ring
To hear the thrillin' tales that cling
To Scotia's plaid.
To hear hoo Scottish men and maids
'Mang Scotland's hills and glens and glades,
Baith wrocht and focht wi' brains and blades
In thae auld plaids.
The Star o' Scotland ne'er will set,
If we will only ne'er forget
The virtues in our sires, that met
Aneath the plaid.
Amang the Scottish sichts I've seen
Was ane that touched baith heart and een;
A shepherd comin' owre the green
Wi' crook and plaid,
And i' the plaid a limpin' lamb,
That on the hill had lost its dam,
And, like some trustfu' bairnie, cam',
Row'd i' the plaid.
Anither sicht I think I see,
The saddest o' them a' to me —
The Scottish martyrs gaun to dee
I' their auld plaids.
But let's rejoice, the times are changed,
The martyrs ha'e been a' avenged —
An English princess has arranged
To wear the plaid.
RESERVE for me on earth
The man to call my friend:
In whom both mental worth
And heavenly wisdom blend.
The man who has a heart
To sympathize with grief,
And break misfortune's dart
With counsel and relief.
The man whose voice will never
Unrighteousness defend,
But scorneth to discover
The weakness of a friend.
The man who stamps to dust
Vile slander ere it grows,
And who is true and just
Alike to friends and foes.
The man who worlds can trace,
And yet in whom we find,
Combined with cultured grace,
Humility of mind.
The man who's not ashamed,
Though lord of every school,
However wise and famed,
To own himself a fool.
Or, in a word, the man,
Beneath affliction's rod,
Or, high in fortune's van,
Who glorifies his God.
SITTING by the great hall window,
Gazing at the whirling snow,
Listening to the wind's hoarse moaning
In the dark pine-wood below —
Dreaming of the buried summers,
With their scent of faded flowers,
Hearing from the Past, faint echoes,
As of bells in distant towers:
Echoes of the pleasant music
Of young voices in their glee —
Voices that are hushed for ever,
Do they whisper still to me?
Musing thus, the shadowy darkness
Crept across the falling snow,
Till I heard a horse's footsteps
Clatter in the court below.
"Norman Grant rides hither for thee" —
Spake my sister, in surprise —
"Donald Maclnroy is dying,
And must see thee ere he dies."
In my plaid she warmly wrapped me;
Through the drift we quickly rode;
Soon we reached the Highland sheiling,
Donald Maclnroy's abode.
* There is a tradition still existing in the Highlands of Perthshire of
a Donald MacInroy, who was the son of a large sheep-farmer in that
district, and who being, in the phrase of the North, a "pretty man,"
the heiress of the estate fell in love with him. In order to separate
the lovers, Donald was sent to the wars, to serve under the young
lady's father; whence he returned, after many years, to die. The
ballad tells the rest. — AUTHOR'S NOTE.
"Sir," said Donald, "I am thankful
Thou hast come this night to me;
Ere my lips are sealed for ever,
I've a tale to tell to thee.
"When thy brother, the MacGregor,
Took me with him to the war,
'Twas to break a match for ever,
And a secret love to bar.
"For his lovely daughter Alice,
With her eyes of sunny blue —
Alice of the golden tresses —
Loved me tenderly and true.
"And her mother, high and haughty,
Sought that passion to destroy,
Hoping Alice, from me severed,
Would forget her MacInroy.
"O the dreary, dreary parting!
O the bitter tears we shed! —
But her angry mother knew not
That in secret we were wed.
"Then I followed her brave father
To that far and fatal shore
Where he fell, a hero worthy
Of the noble name he bore.
"But my Alice could not greet me
When I came back from the strife:
For the birth-hour of our Colin
Was the last hour of her life.
"Thou shalt find within my Bible
Proofs that we were duly wed,
That the honour's pure and stainless
Of my lovely Alice dead.
"And our Colin, whom thou lovest,
And bast honoured with thy name,
Is the son of love and sorrow,
But is not the child of shame.
"He is rightfully MacGregor —
Blessings be upon the boy!
Let him stand among the proudest,
Son of Donald MacInroy!
"Grandson of the Great MacGregor,
Heir of Rannoch and Dunmore;
Come of soldiers true and gallant,
Worthy those that went before.
"Brave and faithful, may he follow
In the steps his fathers trod,
True to kindred and to honour,
To his country and his God!"
And with faltering lip, still praying
For a blessing on the boy,
To the strain of solemn pibroch,
Passed the soul of MacInroy.
HAIL, bonnie Blue Bells! ye come hither to me
With a brother's warm love from far o'er the sea;
Fair flowerets! ye grew on a calm, sacred spot —
The ruins, alas of my kind father's cot.
Caledonia's Blue Bells, O bonnie Blue Bells!
What memories dear of that cot ye recall,
Though now there remains neither rooftree nor wall!
Alack-a-day! lintel and threshold are gone,
While cold 'neath the weeds lies the hallowed hearthstone!

Caledonia's Blue Bells, O bonnie Blue Bells!
'Twas a straw-roofed cottage, but love abode there,
And peace and contentment aye breathed in its air;
With songs from the mother, and legends from sire,
How blithe were we all round the cheerio peat fire!
Caledonia's Blue Bells, O bonnie Blue Bells!
Our sire long asleep, his fond mem'ry endeared;
The mother still spared us, beloved and revered;
Sweet Blue Bells with charmed recollections entwined
Of scenes in my childhood for ever enshrined.
Caledonia's Blue Bells, O bonnie Blue Bells!
O EIRLIC WELL! dear Eirlic Well,
Again I gaze on thee;
What sacred mem'ries round thee cling,
Fount of mine infancy.
Thy waters laugh and ripple now,
As in the days of yore;
'Mid changes thou art still unchanged,
And ceaseless in thy store.
Long years have passed since last I kissed
Thy gurgling wavelets sweet,
And oft I longed in climes afar
To woo thy wild retreat.
* The Eirlic Well pours a rill into Girron Burn, at Amulree, situated
in the south-eastern part of Breadalbane. Girron Burn is a tributary
of the Fraochie, or Braan, which merges with the Tay at the foot of
Birnam Hill.
Now that again I fondly hear
The music of thy flow,
I sigh for those who with me shared
Thy blessings long ago.
How joyously we bounded forth,
When free from task and school,
To gather round thy mossy brink,
And quaff thy waters cool.
Oh, youthful hearts and innocent,
Pure as those sprays of thine,
Where are they now who clustered round
Thy banks in auld lang syne?
Ah me! they all have gone, and here
In pensive mood alone,
I meditate on bygone days
Upon thy moss-clad stone.
Friends of my youth! the loved, the leal,
I waft, where'er you dwell,
My warmest wishes; bless you all,
Who drank from Eirlic well.
Loved Eirlic Well! flow ever on
Those cooling draughts of thine
The tired and weary aye shall cheer —
Flow on, O boon Divine!
Farewell, charmed spot! I ne'er again
Thy cheerie face may see;
But thou art graven in my heart,
Scene of mine infancy.
COUNTESS beloved! My warmest thanks to thee
For thy most gracious gift — thine image dear —
I waft across the wide Atlantic sea,
With gladdened heart and gratitude sincere.
Here beauteously and faithfully portrayed
Thy graceful form and lovely classic face;
O noble lady, thou art winsome, fair,
And genial, kind, and full of heaven-born grace.
Nor do I thank thee less for friendly words
And warm regard for thine so far away;
No distance can undo the cords of love
That bind us to the home of childhood's day.
Sweet as the fragrance of fresh heather bloom,
The praises reach us of thine acts benign;
Thy charming courtesy and kindness rare
We in our hearts will treasure and enshrine.
O wife devoted of Breadalbane's Lord!
True Freedom's cause a friend has found in thee;
'Twas thine own hand that bravely raised the flag
Which led our Perthshire on to victorie.
Heaven bless you both with peace, and spare you long
To kindly rule your every strath and glen;
No land is richer in romance and song;
No men are braver than Breadalbane men!
THRICE welcome, sweet green spray,
Culled from my Rowan Tree,
By loved ones far away,
In bonnie Amulree.
In boyhood's days thy root
Was planted by my hand,
Just ere I left my dear,
My Scottish fatherland!
* A spray of rowan, culled by my brother John (to whom I inscribe
the verses) from a tree which I had planted in our mother's garden,
thirty years ago. — AUTHOR'S NOTE.
Thou but a sapling then,
Though now a shelt'ring tree,
While warblers in thy boughs
Sing sweetest melodie.
Oh! handsome Rowan Tree!
I'm growing old and gray;
But thou art fresh and green,
Remote from all decay.
One boon for which I pray —
A home in Amulree!
Where friends of yore I'd meet
Beneath thee, Rowan Tree!
The Fraochie wimpling by,
In cadence soft and slow —
Craig Thullich tow'ring high,
The fragrant woods below.
The old Kirk on the knowe,
The graveyard mossy green;
Thy bosky birks, Lubchuil!
Thy streamlet's silv'ry sheen.
With warm Breadalbane hearts,
'Mong those romantic braes,
I happily could spend
The gloaming of my days.
The mem'ries of langsyne —
Bright days of gladsome glee —
We fondly could revive
Beneath thee, Rowan Tree!
FAR up on the braes, in a sweet sunny spot,
A bonnie green howe whaur a burnie rins by,
There stand the remains o' an auld Hielan' cot,
Its flure is the grass, and its roof is the sky.
An' whiles I can fancy some auld-fashioned craw,
Like a weary spirit, forsaken an' lane,
Sittin' croakin' a coronach there on the wa',
Wi' a voice that soun's half 'twixt a sang an' a grane.
Caw, caw, caw, caw;
They've a' gane awa', they've a' gane awa';
The auld an' the young, the stately an' strong,
The hearty an' hopefu', the blythe an' the braw.
O! aften I think o' the days o' langsyne,
The "gude auld times," as the by-word says;
They were glorious days wi' me an' mine,
For peace an' plenty were on the braes.
Then cheery an' bricht was the licht frae the sky,
An' the kind couthie folk made it cheerier still,
Wi' the ducks, an' the hens, an' the horse, an' the kye,
An' the gentle, simple sheep on the hill.
Caw, caw, caw, caw; etc.
How happy in sweet spring-time were we
To follow the plough in the early morn;
How glad when the simmer cam' roan' to see
The bonnie green fields o' wavin' corn.
An' in hairst the joy o' the folk we shared,
When yellow an' ripe the crap they shore;
An gathered it up in the auld stackyard,
A' safe an' soun' for the winter's store.
Caw, caw, caw, caw; etc.
There's the auld fir-tree whaur the bairnies played,
An' the bourtree bush hingin' owre the burn;
An' through the pools whaur they used to wade,
The water rins by wi' a waefu' murn.
O! mony's the joy an' sorrow I've seen,
But few, few fauts o' the folk lived there;
And so in my heart is their memory green,
And aye will be till it beats nae mair.
Caw, caw, caw, caw; etc.
To a far better lan' they whiles spoke about gaun,
Whaur they a' would be angels, as happy's could be,
For ever an' ever, — an', oh! in that lan',
I wonder if there would be room for me.
I would like to be happy, an' bonnie, an' gude;
I've a kind, warm heart, an' wish nae ill ava;
An' I've heard there is Ane that could mak', if He would,
A white-wingit angel e'en out o' a craw.
Caw, caw, caw, caw; etc.
As the Volunteer Pipers were marchin' hame
Ae nicht frae a place that I needna name,
An auld man close by their side was seen,
Wi' a far-awa', wistfu'-like look in his een.
He lookit sae frail, an' his cheeks sae thin,
Ye could tell that the best o' his days were dune;
An' my heart seemed to warm to him there when I saw
Hoo he marched in the crood wi' his thochts far awa'.
The bagpipes were skirlin' up cheery an' bauld,
An' briskly an' blithely stepped young an' auld;
The roads micht be stourie, an' rough, an' hard,
But their step was as lichtsome as on the green sward.
"Were ye speakin', frien'? Did I hear ye richt?
Hard, stourie roads, an' a close sort o' nicht?
Man, my een seemed to look, an' my feet to fa'
On the saft heather hills that are far awa'.
"I felt na the roads, an' I saw na the nicht,
But I seemed in the glow of a glad sunny licht;
For memory had spread a sweet glamour owre a',
Frae the auld heather hills that are far, far awa'.
"The pipes, an' the kilt, an' the plaid, ye see,
Bring the days o' langsyne like a vision to me;
An' I canna tell hoo, but my heart jist fills
Wi' a flush o' the joy frae the auld heather hills.
"It needs but a glint o' the tartan, an' then
I'm a licht-fittit, licht-heartit laddie again;
My hair may be gray, an' my head may be bald,
But the heart an' the spirit'll never grow auld.
"I've lived in the toon for this mony a year,
If ane may ca't livin', the way they dae here;
Nae wonder folk weary, sae rough is life's road,
An' whiles lose their faith baith in man and in God.
"But whatever the world may be turnin' to, noo,
And it looks rather dootfu', between me an' you;
There was honour, an' friendship, an' faith, an' truth,
'Mang the auld Hielan' hills in the days o' my youth.
"The leal-heartit trust o' the frien's that are gane,
In God an' His gudeness has strengthened my ain;
O, surely if e'er there was gude folk ava,
It was there 'mang the Hielan' hills far, far awa'.
"The thocht o' the auld Hielan' hame to mysel'
Has been just like a draucht frae the caller spring well;
It has kept me frae faintin', an' helped me alang,
When a'thing looked cheerless, an' houpless an' wrang.
"To mind the kind heart o' my mither sae dear,
Is better to me than a' worldly gear;
An' my faither's true spirit an' manly worth,
Than a' the houses an' lands on earth.
"I'm sure that the thocht o' their gudeness has been
The richest an' best o' a' legacies, frien';
An' I houp we'll live sae that our bairns may be
As prood when they mind o' their mither an' me.
And so, though the roads micht be rough, ye see,
The soond o' the pipes made them smooth to me;
For saft an' licht seemed my feet to fa'
On the auld heather hills that are far awa'."
WHEN lambkins were playing, and linties were singing,
And woodland and dell looked delightfully fair,
I carelessly wandered, a few hours beguiling,
'Mang beautiful scenes on the Braes o' Mount Blair.
The sun in his splendour, while calmly declining,
Shed brightly his beams on the landscape so rare;
The bee wi' his burden was hameward returning
Frae sipping the sweets on the Braes o' Mount Blair.
The cushat and mavis had there made their dwelling,
The leveret limp'd lightly, its heart free frae care;
And the deer and the roe frae afar were seen bounding
To drink frae the streams on the Braes o' Mount Blair.
While I stood beholding each scene so enchanting,
A maid, with whom Venus alone could compare,
Came tripping up to me — a goddess so blooming —
Eclipsing the scenes on the Braes o' Mount Blair.
Before me she stood wi' a smile sae bewitching —
In ringlets of gold hung her fair flowing hair,
And beauty and health in her cheeks were seen kissing —
The queen and the pride o' the Braes o' Mount Blair.
On the banks o' a burnie, where cowslips were blooming,
We baith sat us doon our fond thochts to declare;
Enchanted wi' beauty sae modest and peerless,
Her hand I bespoke on the Braes o' Mount Blair.
She hung doon her head, while her saft cheeks were
And gied me a sign that I needna despair;
I kissed her sweet dimples, and vowed ere the winter
To mak' her my ain on the Braes o' Mount Blair.
And now she's the pride and the joy o' my dwelling,
For poortith and sorrow we ne'er hae a care;
While peace and contentment around us are smiling,
To crown a' our bliss on the Braes o' Mount Blair.
THERE was a wee wifie ance lived in Cargill;
As cantie a wifie as e'er sell't a gill,
Wi' bandy bit leggies, and twa skelly een —
A queerer wee wifie there never was seen.
On the tap o' her chimla there flourish'd a broom,
As sign to the public she'd plenty o' room,
And plenty o' toddy, and wealth o' gude cheer,
Wi' naething frae warlocks or witches to fear.
When Grisel's gude neebours were a' sleepin' soun',
She mounted her broomstick and rade up and down,
In company wi' Maggie and Katie and Jean,
Three rantin' auld witches that lived at Broadgreen.
They sail'd ower the Tay in an auld washin' tub;
They paidled in Isla as if 'twere a dub,
And Grisel ne'er wanted fresh salmon to fry —
Her beef-boat and girnal they never ran dry.
Ae nicht in her cantrips auld Grisel gat fou',
She fell aff her broomstick, I canna tell hoo,
But she gat sic an unco hard thump on the croon
That she lay till daylicht in a pitifu' swoon.
The de'il he heard tell o't, the deil he was croose,
He awa' to Cargill and he into her hoose;
An' he aff wi' the wife, wi' a laugh and a roar,
And noucht was e'er heard o' her Ladyship more.
I'LL be droon'd in Isla Water,
I'll be found in Isla stream;
My feet they winna keep the gate,
And oh! hoo will I win hame.
Willie he has gane and left me,
Willie wi' the gowden hair;
Oh! my heart is sad and breaking,
Ne'er will I see Willie mair.
Aft I wander'd wi' my Willie
By yon bonnie birken shaw;
Aft I sat the lee-lang gloamin'
Wi' my laddie that's awa'.
The mavis sweetly sang his matin
'Mang the boughs o' yonder tree,
And the lintie caroll'd saftly
To my Willie and to me.
Noo I wander sad and cheerless —
Dowie looks the trysting tree,
Harshly murmurs flowing Isla,
Naewhere Willie can I see.
Cruel the heart that banish'd Willie;
Cruel my parents were to me;
They hae robb'd their only lassie
O' the love they canna gie.
Broken-hearted, sad and weary,
Lay me 'neath the trysting tree;
By the murmuring stream o' Isla,
Till my Willie come to me.
I'll be lost in Isla water,
I'll be found in Isla stream;
I'm broken-hearted, sad, and weary,
I canna think o' gaen hame.
ON the banks of the Ganges, far, far from the shore,
'That claims for her costume the tartans he wore,
A soldier, all bleeding, had sank on the ground,
Where many a comrade lay dying around.
Pale, pale was his cheek, but it was not from fear,
For deep in his side was the mark of a spear;
But the warrior, all wounded, forbore to complain,
Till he thought of the friends he might ne'er see again.
Is it thus! is it thus! Ah! my race is then run;
Farewell, thou green earth, and thou bright setting sun;
Farewell to each hope that my heart had in store;
The morning may come, but 'twill find me no more.
My father, farewell, and my mother, ah me!
Oh! mother, dear mother, I'm woeful for thee;
Fond hearts, but for ye I could die without pain,
But I ne'er shall see you, nor Balquhidder again.
Ye scenes of my childhood, Balquhidder, farewell;
Adieu to the mountain, adieu to the dell;
My blessing is yours, — all I can bequeath,
For no more, ah! no more shall I tread on your heath.
Farewell to the mist, the sunshine, the shade;
Farewell to the rock, to the lake and the glade;
They may send back their echoes to answer the strain
That I never shall hear in Balquhidder again.
Dear father and mother, Oh, weep not, nor sigh,
We will meet in a happier realm on high;
Yes, I'll meet you again in a region of bliss,
In a world that is brighter and better than this.
Farewell then, dear parents, I'll see you no more,
For my sufferings and sorrows will soon be all o'er
In a far distant land I shall sleep with the slain,
For I'll ne'er see my native Balquhidder again.
While thus musing he lay, he could hear from afar
The tumult and din of the unfinished war;
He raised himself up, for now swelled on his ear
The token of vict'ry, a loud British cheer;
"Victory, victory, hurrah!" thus in answer he cried,
Then o'erpowered by the effort, fell fainting, and died;
The sun went to rest, and the night cloud amain,
O'er the hero who'll ne'er see Balquhidder again.
'Tis wind fair or foul
At auld Windygowl,
Ahent Drumnacree on the knowe;
Frae Cathla it comes,
Alang a' the drums,
To shake up the trees o' the howe.
Round front, back, an' en',
Inside, but an' ben,
It rants an' it whistles wi' glee;
Sabbin' an' skirlin',
Twinin' an' twirlin',
Dingin' door a' thing to get free.
A'e mament a hush,
Syne on wi' a rush,
Daddin', bladdin' windock an' door;
The sough or the yell,
O' breeze or o' gale,
Blaws ower Windygowl evermore.
Win's fierce, wild, an' lood,
The ha' has withstood;
It sits like a rock on the knowe,
An' taks in the range,
O' hill, dale, an' grange,
Aloof frae the reek o' the howe.
Fu' aft, weel I trow,
I ca'd up the knowe,
To hae a bit crack wi' the laird;
Oor freendship was true.
A' airts the wind blew,
The warld wagg'd awa', we ne'er cared.
We sat check by jowl
In auld Windygowl
Ower a'e tum'ler juist an' a snack;
Aye hearty an' hale,
Nae lull in oor tale,
An' laith to lave aff wi' oor crack.
Alake, the auld laird,
Lies in the kirkyard,
Nor hears the lood blast that still blaws —
Auld Windygowl peeps
Doon whaur he noo sleeps,
An' lane look the tenantless wa's.
Richt eerie at nicht
Was you peekie o' licht,
Its waur an' waur noo, wi' nae lowe;
Eldritch an' dreary,
Lanesome an' weary,
Looks auld Windygowl ower the howe.
WHILE Freedom's tartan cleids the clan,
Oor land shall hand nae slave;
Straucht in your shoon stan' up each man!
Be honest, true, and brave:
What's line or lineage, birth or bluid,
But mouldrin' dust an' bane?
By love to man, an' a' that's guid,
We'll hunker doon to nane —
By throbbing pulse o' purple bluid,
We'll hunker doon to nane.
You've seen the spider spread his web,
An' on an insect prey;
You've seen the bird seized by the hawk —
Ilk beast has its ain day;
But man, wi' mind unfetter'd, free,
Shall stoop to stock nor stane;
An' man to man by Heaven's decree,
We'll hunker doon to nane:
Man's love to man by Heaven's decree,
We'll hunker doon to nane.
Nor tongue, nor sword, nor tyrant's grasp,
Their selfish sway can hold,
For hand wi' heart we'll fondly clasp, —
Love's stronger far than gold;
It's banner bright o'er earth shall soar,
Its power shall never wane;
When men are men the warl' o'er,
They'll hunker doon to nane —
Then men, be men the warl' o'er,
And hunker doon to nane.
BE'T Dee or Don, be't Clyde or Forth,
The Tweed, or rapid Spey,
Or a' the rivers south or north,
There's nane can match the Tay.
Thro' a' its length, in matchless strength
It rushes wild and free;
And leaps along wi' swellin' song
Frae Kenmore to Dundee.
The rolling Tay, the rushing Tay,
Let hills and valleys ring,
Beneath a patriotic lay,
To Scotland's river King.
The Forth may brag o' Stirling's keep,
The Tweed the Border hold,
The Clyde may murmur in its sleep
And dream of wealth untold.
The Dee and Spey their Highland lay
May sing in accents strong
But all must hush them when the Tay
Uplifts its patriot song.
Stout John de Luce and kingly Bruce
And Wallace wicht have stood
Beside its waves amid their braves
And dyed them with their blood.
And Danish hordes and Roman swords
Were broken on its shores;
And England's yeomen squires and lords
Have felt our keen claymores.
In wintry might all foaming white
It rises wild and grand;
In summer sheen a bonnier scene
Is no in a' the land.
Then chaunt its praise in swelling lays
Like rousing trumpet call;
Let Scotland sing unto the King
Of Scotland's rivers all.
The mighty Tay, the rushing Tay,
Let hills and valleys ring,
Beneath a patriotic lay,
To Scotland's river King.
O'ER the brow of Dunsinane the summer sun glows,
O'er the brow of Dunsinane the summer wind blows,
And fair is the landscape that's spreading beneath
The brow of Dunsinane, the hill of Macbeth.
To the eastward the ocean lies placid and still,
To the northward the Grampians rise hill upon hill,
To the southward and westward the Ochils uprise,
Till the heart of broad Scotland is bared to our eyes.
The past with its wonders is with us again,
And war has awaken'd and marshalled its men,
The war-pipes are sounding their summons of death,
O'er the brow of Dunsinane, the hill of Macbeth.
Roman legions before us go thundering past,
Now the yells of the horsemen arise on the blast,
And then like a tempest through valley and gorge,
The yeomen of England are shouting "St. George."
But spear-points are levelled and claymores flash bright,
Brave Scotland has girded herself for the fight,
And foeman on foeman she sweeps from her path,
'Neath the brow of Dunsinane, the hill of Macbeth.
How brightly the valleys are smiling below,
How brightly the fields in their summer garb glow,
How brightly the rivers are rolling along,
'Neath the splendour of summer with music and song.
And Peace like a queen on her emerald throne,
Is sitting to-day where war's trumpet bath blown,
And sweetness and beauty lie wedded beneath
The brow of Dunsinane, the hill of Macbeth.
Around us for ever heart-reaching and grand,
The strong voice of Freedom gives strength to our land,
And Liberty strides through each valley and glen,
On the feet of fair maidens and earnest-browed men.
From the brow of Dunsinane the proud boast is hurled
To match our broad Scotland we challenge the world;
For truth, worth and valour, and undying faith,
Surround grim Dunsinane, the hill of Macbeth.
FAIR Summer walks among the hills, and flowers rise
up to greet
Her coming with a sunny smile, and kiss her jewelled
The birds are tuned to song, and pour their orisons on
And beauty beams upon our gaze by land, and lake, and
The woods, the mighty harps of earth, to solemn music
High heavenwards to the throne of God the swelling
strains ascend;
The listening earth looks up in love, and quivers like a
With ecstacy of bliss beneath the magic of the song.
The laughing burnies dance for joy beneath the passing
The waving corn-fields respond, and roll like silver seas;
The very shadows seem to smile in sunny Summer's face,
And softly creep to kiss her feet from out each hiding--
A fairer scene on all the earth I've never gazed on yet
Than this that greets my eyes upon the braes of Tullymet.

The spot is hallowed unto me; mayhap 'tis this that
Such glory o'er the spreading scene till all the prospect
And brightens into beauty's best; for here, where now
I stand,
Once stood my mother's baby feet. Here oft my
mother's hand
Hath plucked the flowers from off the braes and gleaned
among the corn;
In this thatched cottage by my side the sainted dead
was born.
No wonder that it seems to me the fairest spot on earth,
No wonder that my heart awakes as if a newer birth
Had fallen on it as I tread the paths she must have trod,
Long ere her gentle soul had flown to walk above with
None knew the love I bore the dead, none now can ever
I feel her presence round me yet wherever I may go.
I would to God that she had lived to train my steps
And teach me how to walk the world, and how to fight
the fight;
A weed upon the sea of time I float about to-day,
The sport of all the waves of thought that o'er my feelings
She left me all too young — she died — I did not loudly
How my struck heart was numbed that day they bore
her to the grave.
The blow was far too deep. It stunned. Its deadening
influence still
Weighs heavily on brain, and nerve, and heart, and
soul, and will.
It made me what I am. Alas! Not what I might have
Had she but lived who loved me so. But let the false
That spreads from that far time to this be buried where
it lies.
Awake! my heart; from yon high heaven my mother's
loving eyes
Look down on me. For her dear sake I'll make an
effort yet,
And tune my life to better things; I swear it, Tullymet.
What stalwart men those braes have reared, my mother's
kinsmen all,
Like sons of Anak trod the land, each buirdly breast a wall
That would have stemmed the tide of force when force
was in its prime,
When Bruce and Wallace shook the hills with Freedom's
battle rhyme.
Their hearts were of the hero stamp, their frames of
hero mould!
True children of the hills they were, the dauntless and
the bold.
We thought of battle as they sped on springing footsteps
And watched to see the beacons blaze, and list the
slogan cry.
But thank the Ruler of the world, such sights and
sounds have gone
Afar from Scotland's rugged side. From off her mountain
Sweet Peace looks down upon the land, and waves its
wand on high,
Till flowers, and fruits, and spreading fields are smiling
to the sky;
And birds, and bees, and waving winds move every hill
and dell
To music, where in olden time hate's horrid discord fell;
And hillsmen test their muscles' strength at tossing
stone and bar,
Instead of cleaving helms and heads filled with the lust
of war.
To pruning hooks the spears are turned, the swords to
scythes are set,
When golden harvest loads the lap of flow'ry Tullymet.
Yet battle's call hath reached them here, e'en in these
times of rest,
And stirred the old fierce spirit up that slumbered in
each breast:
And vine-clad Spain has heard the shout that foemen
know so well,
And France has seen the claymores flash, and trembled
as they fell
With death upon each dripping edge; and every land
earth owns
Is dinted deep by Highland heels, and strewn with
Highland bones.
O, who can dare the mountaineers when mountain blood
is high?
And who can stem the tempest charge of Highland
The Vikings of the sea wentdown beneath its force of yore,
And learnt to dread our land, and shun its thistle--
guarded shore.
The masters of the world were braved when Rome was
in her prime;
Their conquering march was stemmed and stayed in our
unconquered clime,
And England's haughty heart was taught that north
the Tweed we claim,
When Christendom in awe and fear, bent low before
her name.
Untamed as ever still we rush, when battle gives the
O'er sea and shore, and sweep the plain, and storm the
leaguered wall:
And where in all broad Scotland's length does Scotland's
spirit start
So fiercely into force and fire as here within its heart;
Yea, here among the Athole hills, should Scotland's sun
e'er set,
Its last bright rays will linger on the braes of Tullymet.
OH, what merry times we hae,
In oor hoose at e'en;
Ilk ane is blythe and gay,
In oor hoose at e'en;
Tho' the wintry win's may howl
And the storm-duds darkly scowl,
And like hung'ry demons growl,
Roun' oor hoose at e'en.
When oor gudeman comes in
To oor hoose at e'en,
Tired o' fit, wi' drookit skin,
To oor hoose at e'en.
See the willin' han's and feet,
To get in-ower their faither's seat,
And for dry claes change the weet,
In oor hoose at e'en.
Syne the cheery cup o' tea
In oor hoose at e'en
Mak's a' care and sorrow flee
Frae oor hoose at e'en;
Wi' the kindly jokes and smiles,
And the bairnies' winsome wiles,
Aye the langest nicht beguiles
In oor hoose at e'en.
When, wi' hangin' sleepy head,
In oor hoose at e'en,
Ane and a' prepare for bed,
In oor hoose at e'en,
Oh, there's muckle love and bliss
In ilk wee bit darlin's kiss;
E'en their fauts we a' wad miss
In oor hoose at e'en.
Then awa wi' sordid joys
Frae oor hoose at e'en;
For there's pleasure that ne'er cloys
In oor hoose at e'en;
Fain are we it sud be kent
That we're wi' oor lot content,
And the blessin' Heaven has sent
To oor hoose at e'en.
DRAW in your chair, my ain gudeman,
And sit ye doon by me,
And a' the oors recount again
We spent in youthfu' glee.
In fancy we'll gang roun' ance
Each auld familiar scene;
We'll walk thro' Bellfield's woods sae fair,
Or rest us by the Dean.
In thocht we'll hear each croodlin' doo,
Ilk merle and mavis sing;
And there, gudeman, we will renew
Oor vows made in life's spring.
When wandrin' down by Fairy Hill,
Whaur Irvine's stream rins wide,
Yer pawky whisper haunts me still, —
"We'll tak' the sunny side."
That wordie cheer'd when grief and care
Oor youthfu' looks did mar,
And smoothed oor broos when wrinkled sair
Wi' mony an inlaid scar.
Tho' noo oor pows are whitenin' fast,
Wi' warldly toil and strife,
We ha'e Hope's anchor aye to cast
Thro' a' the storms o' life.
Oor hearts we'll free frae ilka clog,
Tho' bluid rins thin and cauld;
And blythely to life's end we'll jog,
Nor mind tho' we grow auld.
Tho' Sorrow's cloud may o'er us loom
Or Death itsel' betide,
Yet we can look ayont the tomb,
And "tak' the sunny side."
THE summer sun shines bonnilie on mountain, loch, and
An' life, an' love, an' beauty thrive whaure'er the e'e
may fa';
Ilk livin' thing is happy like, an' heart-content but me,
An I am wae wi' thinkin' o' the braes abune Stobha'.
We've bonnie braes aroond us here, I view them a' day
An' aft an' sair I'm blamed because I sigh for else
But, oh, our feet they wander gaets our hearts will
hardly gang,
An' mine I fear has never quat the braes abune
'Twas yonder I was born an' bred, an' ilka whinney
Is hallowed by some tale o' love that happen'd lang
Yon roadside cot ayont the kirk held happy hearts, I
An', oh, they'll aye be dear to me, the braes abune
Ochone! but it's a thrawart fate that workin' bodies
Sin' maistly a' to win their bread maun wander far
The family nests get herried sune by dour Necessitie,
'Twas him, the loon, that twyned me frae the braes
abune Stobha'.
Yet owre yon hills abune Dunblane, an' by the banks o'
An', oh, gin I could waft me there but for an oor or
I'd come again wi' pith anew to bide the hoped-for day,
When I'll return, nae mair to lea' the braes abune
They're bonnie in the mornin', they're bonnier at noon,
And, oh, they're ever glorious just ere the gloamin'
The flow'rs that ha'e the sweetest scent, the birds the
sweetest tune,
Are those that bloom an' sing amang the braes abune
IN a' the Lowlands wide, an' the Hielands e'en beside,
Oh, ye ha'ena ance heard o', nor seen,
Sic a rare an' dear auld wife as is oor gude auld wife
An' I ferlie gin her marrow's ever been.
She's dear unto the auld, the young fouk, an' the yauld,
An' she's mair unto us a' than is oor life,
We could barter wi' oor health, we could sunder wi' oor
But neither wi' oor dear auld wife.
She's a dear auld wife, she's a fier auld wife,
She's a fine auld wife, she's a kin' auld wife;
A lichtsome, lithesome, leesome, blythesome,
Free-gaun, hearty body, oor auld wife.
At dancin's on the green, in the bonnie simmer's e'en,
She is there aye, wi' the speerit o' us a',
Gaily linkin' through the reels, an' shakin' o' her heels,
Like a lassie on the laich o' twenty-twa;
If ye fain wad hae a joke, just try her wi' a poke,
An' she'll cut yer gab as gleg as ony knife;
When there's shots o' wit agaun, there's no ane in a' the
Can haud his ain wi' oor auld wife.
She's a slee auld wife, she's a spree auld wife,
She's a smart auld wife, she's a tart auld wife,
A lichtsome, lithesome, leesome, blythesome,
Free-gaun, hearty body, oor auld wife.
Whaur sickness dulls a ha' she daurna be awa',
She's sae lucky! sae skilly! an' sae kind!
There's no ane can row a sair wi' ae-half her canny care;
No, nor speak sic words o' comfort to the mind;
Doctor Dozem, he declares, she's trick'd him o' his fares,
An oor minister is leavin' us for Fife,
For he says, "I canna see ony need ye hae for me,
While ye hae sic a rare auld wife."
She's a rare auld wife, she's a fair auld wife,
She's a grave auld wife, she's a brave auld wife,
A lichtsome, lithesome, leesome, blythesome,
Free-gaun, hearty body, oor auld wife.
At comin' hame o' bairns, an' at marriages an' kirns,
She is head-billie-dawkus aye, be sure:
For the bairnies wadna live, an' the waddin's wadna
An she werena there the drappikie to pour —
Na! she winna pree hersel', binna just the hansel smell,
Nor will gi'e o't whaur it micht breed ony strife,
An' she kens what a' can stan', to a dribble ilka man —
Sic a skilly body's oor auld wife.
She's a leal auld wife, she's a hale auld wife,
She's a grand auld wife, she's a bland auld wife,
A lichtsome, lithesome, leesome, blythesome,
Free-gaun, hearty body, oor auld wife.
A treasure to the auld, a terror to the bauld,
An' the brag an' joy o' a' that wad do weel,
For leal o' heart is she, an' fu' o' furthy glee,
As the miller's ain big girnal's fu' o' meal;
Ye will read o' heroines that flourished langsyne,
But would you see their better in the life?
Come owre some orra day to oor clachan on the Tay,
An' get a glisk o' oor auld wife.
She's a dear auld wife, she's a queer auld wife,
She's a fine auld wife, she's a kin' auld wife,
A lichtsome, lithesome, leesome, blythesome,
Free-gaun, hearty body, oor auld wife.
WE sat on the braeside, Jamie an' I,
An' the sun was wearin' doun,
Twa pairtricks woo'd in the vale below
In a sweet love-favour'd croon.
An' they whiddled about, they piddled about,
They chirm'd, they kiss'd, an' caress'd,
"Oh! Jamie," quo' I, "it's pairin' time,
I'se warrant they're biggin' a nest."
The sun was doun, an' the valley was lown
Ere ane o's neist opened a mou',
An' Jamie began, wi' a "hic" an' a stan',
Like ony whase heart's ower fu'.
An' hirsellin' near wi' a bashfu' care,
He fondled me ticht to his breast,
"Ay! Jeanie," quo' he, "it's pairin' time;
What think ye o' biggin' a nest?"
I didna say no, an' couldna say ay,
For my heart crap' up in my mou',
But the feckfu' grip, an' the heart-hove sigh,
Gae token o' sanction enou';
An' I'll tell ye a plot, tho' dinna speak o't,
For Jamie says quietness is best, —
Ye'll a' get a dance gin Whitsuntide;
We're busily biggin' a nest.
IN days gone by, when knights won maids
By dint of courage in the field,
By dashing skill in lawless raids,
When vanquished chieftains had to yield —
'Twas strong right hand that gained the heart
And doughty bearing charmed the eye;
But love now plays a gentler part,
And strives in other fields to vie.
I seek not men to overthrow,
Nor rudely win thy praise in fight;
If e'er I'd like to strike a blow,
'Twould be for thee and for the right.
But I would like thy love to gain
By noble acts and honest worth —
By easing stricken hearts of pain,
By giving hope a joyful birth;
I'd like to show that courage lends
Itself to humble trials of soul;
That quiet patience oft transcends
Great deeds proclaimed from pole to pole.
'Tis thus I fain would win thy smile,
For this esteem thy word of praise,
When, happy, I with thee beguile
An hour or two 'neath Luna's rays.
And, lassie dear, my fond desire
Is that thy heart be ever mine —
'Twill make mine tuneful as a lyre —
Accept me as THY VALENTINE!
"I WANT you!" — A summons I cannot resist,
A summons I would not resist if I could;
So sweet its surprise, so cheering its tone! —
A call that inspires me with happiest mood.
"I want you!" — I have read the same words before —
The cry of a heart overburdened with pain
Finding vent in its grief to its chosen in love,
And calling him back to itself once again.
"I want you!" — Not a trace of sadness or doubt!
For I've looked close to see whether such were concealed;

"I want you! — e'en though I've nothing to say,"
Is a message by which only love is revealed.
"I want you!" — A call that shall never fall dead
On my ears, ever heark'ning the voice of thy heart.
"I want you!" — Brief phrase, yet it gladdens my soul,
For it tells of thy life that I form a part.
"I want you!" — How pleasant the summons of love!
I hasten to meet thee where named in thy line;
With heart-bounding rapture I'm waiting to greet thee —
To kiss thee, to bless thee, to tell thee I'm thine!
GIN ye ha'e thochts o' warldly care,
An' fain wad hint ye birl them,
Juist tak' a waucht o' caller air,
An' stap awa' to Turlum!
To Turlum tap, hurrah, hurrah!
Through briery bush an' birken shaw
We'll warsel bauldly till we craw
Upo' the tap o' Turlum.
It's a' oor ain, the lan' we see,
Oor lips at lairds we curl them,
Feint ane has mair o' richt than we,
Wha speil the heichts o' Turlum!
To Turlum tap, hurrah, hurrah!
The lairds had better bide awa',
Or aiblins they may get a fa'
As heich's the tap o' Turlum!
* A wooded hill in the neighbourhood of Crieff.
There's Sandy wi' the pawky mou',
My faith, an' he could dirl them!
An' Jock, an' Hal, though douce the noo,
Micht len' a han' on Turlum
To Turlum tap, hurrah, hurrah!
Gin we the lairds should meet ava,
Let's houp they'll no begin to craw
Upo' the heichts o' Turlum!
Hurrah, my lads, the tap at last!
Oor throats wi' will we'll dirl them,
The triumph's oors, the labour's past,
We've struck the heichts o' Turlum.
Hurrah, hurrah, for Turlum tap!
For on the tap there is a cap,
An' in that cap there is a drap —
Here's to ye, bauld auld Turlum!
An' here's to Scotland's hills and plains,
While bonnets heich we birl them;
The Scottish bluid loups in oor veins
Upo' the heichts o' Turlum!
For Turlum, lads, hip, hip, hurrah!
An' sweet Strathearn, the pride o' a'!
We're Scotia's sons, an' weel may blaw
Upo' the heichts o' Turlum!
Again we'll make the welkin ring,
As Scotia's sangs we skirl them,
An' may we never dowfier sing
Than noo we sing on Turlum!
Hurrah, for Turlum tap, hurrah!
Aince mair, hurrah! an' then awa'
We'll ne'er forget this day ower a'
Upo' the heichts o' Turlum!
THERE'S twa auld folk I lo'e richt weel,
An' twa auld fouk lo'e me,
Twa hairts I ken are kind an' leal,
Whate'er the lave may be;
Twa heids weel straiked wi' carefu' grey,
That think for me an' mine,
Twa pair o' een that mony a day
Grat sair for me langsyne.
O douce auld fouk, O dear auld fouk,
How could I've dune withoot ye?
I kenna if to laugh or greet
As noo I sing aboot ye.
It's faither, mither — ye're the twa
That to my heart are dear,
An' mony a nicht, tho' far awa',
In thocht I see ye near.
There's no a breath o' caller air
That blaws frae hameward airt;
But brings fond memories to my min',
King feelings to my heart!
Doon, doon the years, sae swiftly flown,
I see ye baith again,
Ere heads an' hearts had weary grown
Wi' carefu' thocht an' pain.
I hear ye singin' at my bed,
An' greet I kenna hoo,
I feel your han's upo' my head,
Your kisses on my mou'.
I see ye strugglin' thro' the years
To keep us snod an' braw,
I see the saut, saut burnin' tears
Frae weary een doonfa'.
It's late an' ear' ye're up an' doon,
For bairns that gi'e nae heed;
While a' the warl' is sleepin' soon,
Ye're toilin' for oor bread.
But little kept ye when ye thocht
Us a' in slumbers deep,
The little min's that wrocht an' wrocht,
An', thinkin', couldna sleep.
It's faither this, an' mither that,
For us work nicht an' day —
Oh, when we're men an' women, what
For them will we no dae?
An' noo, an' noo ye're auld an' grey,
And in the gloamin' licht,
An' tho' it's little to gi'e we ha'e,
Ye're welcome to it the nicht.
An' may ye live until ye dee!
An' whan ye dee, gae whaur
There's nocht to frichten you or me,
Or than this warl' waur!
O douce auld fouk, O dear auld fouk,
How could I've dune withoot ye?
I kenna if to lauch or greet
As noo I sing aboot ye.
IT'S a' owre! it's a' owre
She gaed last nicht at ten;
Come in, gude neebours, come awa',
An' lat me tak' ye ben.
Ye see, she's sleepin' sounder noo
Than last ye cam' to spier,
She's quiet enouch, the bonnie doo,
She'll wauk nae mair, the dear!
Oh, ay! she spak' na muckle o't,
An' tho' she suffered sair,
We never heard her mak' complaint,
Except, maybe, in prayer.
For whan she thochtna we were by,
She'd aften sab an' greet,
An' eh! 'twas pitifu' to hear
Her tearfu' voice sae sweet.
Na, na; he never cam' ava,
Tho' aft he would, she said,
An' ilka stap upo' the stairs
Would mak' her lift her head.
An' then she'd clasp her wee bit haun's,
An' glower wi' startin' een,
Until the door was opened wide,
An' unco faces seen.
Then doon upon her pillow white
She'd fa' wi' weary sigh,
The tear-draps tricklin' frae her een,
That scarce were ever dry.
Owre to the wa' she'd turn her face
An' greet till sleep wad come,
An' tho' I tried to comfort her,
I micht as weel been dumb.
Ay, but she was a bonnie lass,
An' kind an' leal forbye,
An' tho' she may hae dune some wrang,
'Twas no her blame, say I.
O laddie, whaursoe'er ye be,
I dinna ken or care,
But muckle is the doot in me
Gin ye hae acted fair.
Eh? tak' a payment, did ye say?
Na, na; I'm weel content
To keep this bonnie locket, slipt
Aneath her head unkent.
Twa locks o' glintin' gowden hair,
In lovers' knottie wrocht —
Eh! but there's mony a sair, sair heart,
Aince kiss'd withoot a thocht!
OH, bonnilie on Ogil the simmer sunlicht fa's,
An' cantie croon the burnies by hill an' wooded glen,
An' I wad barter a' I win, an' lea' these city wa's,
To spend in dear Glen Ogil six simmer days again.
The city's dust is on me, an' I am far awa';
Nor mavis' mellow sang is heard, nor happy burnie's
But aft, when labour's ended quite, an' gloamin' shadows
The crested lapwing Memory in the lane glen settles
The moorfowl's whirring cry I hear the grey hill slopes
The whaup's disconsolate wailin', the brawl o' muirland
And weird, as in the days langsyne, the deep glen glacks
The hill winds are hallooin' doon the gorges o' my
The Perthshire hills are bonnie, Schiehallion's steep and
An' grandly rows the buirdly Tay by hut an' lordly
But, gazin' on the wondrous scenes, a tear but dims the
An' thochts o' sweet Glen Ogil will rise an' whirr
The hills abune Glen Ogil I see them a' the day
As veive as when I speel'd them in summer days
langsyne —
The heather purples in my heart, the hill mists gather
An' the licht that glints on tarn and stream my saul
will never tyne.
I lived and loved in Ogil, and, ah! what wad I no
To live again, and lo'e again, in the days that are
But, by St. Tarland's misty croon, an' the subject glens
I vow to see sweet Ogil yet, when simmer breezes
EH, bairns! siccan cantrip the muckle deil played
In the gruesome days langsyne;
Whan's huifs were heard on the laich hoose taps,
An' his voice i' the roarin' linn.
This grey stane, beddit i' the glack o' the glen,
Ance lay on the heich hill tap;
An' roond it at nichts i' the licht o' the mune,
The deil he skirled an' lap.
An' ance on a time, when the win's blew lood,
He lifted it whaur it lay;
An' lauched as he held it in his het luif,
Syne whumilt it doon the brae.
O, muckle he lauch'd, an' lood he skirled,
An' doon the hill spanked he;
But when he stoopit to lift the stane,
'Twas firm as a rock i' the sea.
"Ho, ho!" quo' the deil, "sae I canna lift up
A stane flung by my richt han'!
But here let it rest; what the deil canna do
Is no in the pooer o' man."
An' he danced roond an' roond, an' lauched an' skirled,
Whaur the grey stane's lyin' the noo;
Havers o' Grannie! — weel, the deil's sair misca'd,
But this, bonnie bairns, is true,
That the big, big stane o' his ugsome pooer
He has flung on the sauls o' men;
An' neither oor strength, nor the deil himsel',
Can lift it up again.
WI' ME.*
O BONNIE blooms the heather on Formal hill,
When waves the ripe corn aroun' Corrielea!
'Twas there I first saw bonnie Maggie Cargill,
The maiden wha shore in the bandwin wi' me;
A weel-faured young maiden,
A winsome young maiden,
The maiden wha shore in the bandwin wi' me.
* The days of "bandwins" passed with the extinction of the
"hewk" as the universal implement in harvest work, and the introduction
of the swing scythe, so speedily superseded by the reaping
machine, and many persons even in country places will ere long not be
able to tell what a "bandwin" was. In the days when the harvest
fields were wholly cleared by the reaping hook — and that not so very
long ago — one person, male or female, was delegated to bind, and set
in stooks the sheaves shorn by a certain number of shearers, more or
less according to the deftness of the operators and the quality of the
crop, and each set so appointed formed a "bandwin." Universal as
this custom was, and commonly as the word has been used to indicate
the order of harvest work described, Mr. Robertson is the first, so far
as I have seen, to celebrate it in song, For this fact, as well as for its
inherent beauty, his song deserves to become popular.
An' O, but the lassie was gentle and lo'esome!
I ne'er will forget the love-glance o' her e'e;
Her lang raven locks flowin' roun' her white bosom,
A Ruth 'mang the reapers seemed Maggie to me;
A dark-eyed young maiden,
A lovely young maiden,
The maiden wha shore in the bandwin wi' me.
Her mien i' the corn-field was gracefu' an' queenly,
Though lowly her kindred aroun' Corrielea;
Native beauty an' grace shone aroun' her serenely:
She was peerless wha shore in the bandwin wi' me —
An artless young maiden,
A matchless young maiden,
The maiden wha shore in the bandwin wi' me.
In hairst-time we twa shore the same rig thegither;
At high-twal we rested aneath the same tree;
At e'en fondly pairted, the ane frae the ither,
Near her ain mither's cot richt abune Corrielea;
A loving young maiden,
A guileless young maiden,
The maiden wha shore in the bandwin wi' me.
But ah, cruel Fate! when last autumn had gane,
An' winter storms raged roun' the hills o' Glenshee,
The ill-starred young lassie gaed forth her lea-lane;
Her ewie had strayed far ayont Corrielea.
A tender young maiden,
A kind-hearted maiden,
The maiden wha shore in the bandwin wi' me.
We scoured hill an' dale till the gleamin', syne hurried
A search in the glen as far up as Glenshee,
An' there in a snaw-wreath the lassie lay buried —
Ah! lifeless, the maid wha my bride was to be!
Waes me for the maiden!
My loved an' lost maiden!
The maiden wha shore in the bandwin wi' me.
Ceased the storm, an' through clud-rifts the munelicht
fell streamin'
On her face — oh, I'll mind o't whaure'er I shall be!
An' I couldna hae tauld was I wauken or dreamin'
When they bore my deid maid ower the snaw-covered
No a tear for my maiden,
Nor a sab for my maiden;
But my hert bruik, an' oh! hoo I wished I micht dee!
In Ouchterga'en kirkyaird, all under the willow,
She lies wha was sweeter than life unto me;
Sae I will awa' ower the deep ragin' billow,
For Maggie Cargill never mair I shall see!
Alas! the dear maiden!
Alack! the sweet maiden!
The maiden wha shore in the bandwin wi' me.
Frae scenes o' my youth nae mair joy can I borrow,
Despairin' I wander aroun' Corrielea;
On a far foreign strand I maun hide a heart-sorrow
For the maiden wha shore in the bandwin wi' me;
Then adieu to the maiden!
My fondly loved maiden!
And adieu to the loved scenes aroun' Corrielea!
HILLY ho! hilly ho! hark the bugle horn,
Proclaiming the dawn of the glad May morn!
Come where the wild flowers the greenwood adorn —
'Tis May, vernal May.
The young lambkin sports on the gowany lea,
The blythe birdie warbles love-notes on the tree,
The May sun is shining athwart the blue sea —
'Tis May, gladsome May.
The greensward is gleaming with pearly dew,
The skylark is piping far up in the blue,
Come, my love, come, I am waiting for you —
'Tis May, charming May.
May flowers are blooming on meadow and hill,
They bloom on the banks of the glittering rill;
They bloom round the homestead, the church, and the
mill —
'Tis May, blushing May.
Come, my love, come, to the woodlands gay,
While the sun's bright beams 'mong the dewdrops play,
For bright is the morn of the opening day
Of May, beautiful May.
Let us hie o'er the heath to fair Murthly's dell,
Where the primroses grow and the fairies dwell,
And we'll pledge a love-cup o'er the Bog-bush Well —
'Tis May, joyous May.
Hilly ho! hilly ho! 'tis the bugle horn,
Resounding afar o'er the wild Muir-o'-Thorn,
Where sparkles the dew of the bright May morn —
Come away, love, away!
To Chaucer.
CHAUCER! when in my breast, as autumn wanes,
Sweet Hope begins to droop — fair flowers that grew
With the glad prime, and bloomed the summer
through —
Thou art my chiefest solace. It sustains
My faltering faith, which coming fogs and rains
Might else to their dull element subdue,
That the rude season's spite can ne'er undo
The spring perennial that in thee remains.
Nor need I stir beyond the cricket's chime
Here in the ingle-nook — the cuckoo's cry
Hushed on the hillside, meadows all forlorn —
To breathe the freshness of an April morn.
Mated with thee, thy cheerful minstrelsy
Feeding the vernal heart through winter's clime.
To a favourite evening retreat, near Glasgow.
O LOVED wild hillside, thou hast been a power
Not less than books, greater than preacher's art,
To heal my wounded spirit, and my heart
Retune to gentle thoughts, that hour on hour
Must languish in the city, like a flower
In wayside dust, while on the vulgar mart
We squander for scant gold our better part
From morn till eve, in frost, and sun, and shower!
My soul breaks into singing as I haste,
Day's labour ended, towards thy sylvan shrine
Of rustling beech, hawthorn, and eglantine;
And, wandering in thy shade, I dream of thee
As of green pastures 'mid the desert waste,
Wells of sweet water in the bitter sea.
YE see them a' there —
Twa dizzen an' mair,
Fillin' up half o' the creel;
They're bonnie an' fair,
But they canna compare
Wi' the monster that broke frae my reel.
Deep, deep the stream in
I saw his sides gleamin',
He was four feet lang, an', nae boast,
Was twal pun' at least;
Look'd a saumon amaist,
This wonderfu' troot that I lost!
'Twas doon by the rushes
Whaur the stream hushes
Its sang for a maument awee;
Whaur in the still deep
It tak's a bit sleep,
Ere it sets its face to the sea:
Abune the greystane
That lies there its lane
As my flee was sailin' across't,
Far doon it was sookit,
An' sair he was hookit,
This terrible fish that I lost.
Wi' a wallop an' splash,
A rush an' a dash,
He snuived doon the river fu' braw;
O sair was my trouble,
My rod it bent double,
An' my breath it swarft clean awa'.
Hoo he lap an' flang
An' wi' a great spang
Ten feet in the air he was toss'd,
My heart gae a sten',
My hair stood on en',
A-playing that big fish that I lost!
His back fin — a sail;
The breadth o' his tail
Wad measure twall inches an' twa,
A great muckle felly —
An' O, what a belly.
'Twas just jike a hillside o' snaw!
An' as for his length,
An' as for his strength,
Thae baith I ken to my cost;
My line's a' awa',
My rod broke in twa,
Wi' that awfu' fish that I lost.
In the stir an' the strife
O' the river o' life,
This is what fouk tell us fu' aft,
They mak' the lood maen
Their fish that are gane
Are no' like the fish that they've gaff'd.
When rinnin' a race,
When gettin' a place,
Or landin' some canty bit post,
Keep still an' say naething,
But be sure o' ae thing,
It's aye their best fish that they've lost.
But hover a blink,
I'd hae ye to think,
When 'wailin' lost battles ye've focht,
Hae ye nae a doot
The loss o' yon troot
Was mair for your gude than ye thocht.
Your mind it was on't,
Your heart set upon't,
O' gudes it wad bring ye a host;
But your courage up-pluck,
An' thank mair than your luck
That you braw "speckled beauty" ye've lost.
THERE'S a smile that is bitter, a smile that is sweet;
There's the coarse loud guffaw o' the taproom and street;
There's the smile the maiden gives to her lover,
The smirk that the hollow heart helps to discover.
At the jest o' the wise there's the smile that comes after;
And hark to that thunder, 'tis 'Teufelsdrockh's laughter!
But with Sara's I pass them, and give them their leave,
To sing the best o' them a', the lauch in the sleeve.
The lauch in the sleeve, the lauch in the sleeve,
It's skailin' wi' meanin', the lauch in the sleeve.
Is your heart ever sair wi' fouk's stories an' lees,
Wi' their tweedle-dee-dums and their tweedle-dee-dees?
Or broken in twa wi' their pride and assumption,
Their plenty o' cheek, and scant rummelgumption?
Is your heart ever sick o' their chit and their chat,
Wi' their reasons for this, and their reasons for that?
Fash ye never your thoomb, nor clench ye your nieve,
But just up wi' your elbuck and lauch in your sleeve!
Aye lauch in your sleeve, aye lauch in your sleeve,
Just up wi' your elbuck and lauch in your sleeve.
Are you ever sair tempted a letter to pen,
A just cause to mak' guid in the sight o' a' men?
Are you ever inclined at a word or a worry
To raise up your rung, or to get in a flurry?
Is your brain ever burnin' some fool to expose —
To shut up his coarse mouth, to disjoint a' his nose?
Sic designs put awa' wi', and find your reprieve
In that guid ancient comfort, the lauch in the sleeve.
The lauch in the sleeve, the lauch in the sleeve,
A glorious comfort's the lauch in the sleeve.
There's a story that comes frae auld Grecian days
O' twa * wise men well kept for their saws an' their says —
For the fauts o' his fellows the ane's heart was aye het,
And his cheeks wi' his tears they were never but wet;
* Heraclitus and Democritus.
But as for the ither — what a pawky auld man! —
No' to greet, but to lauch, he aye found the best plan;
The ane sune dwined awa', for he ceased na to grieve,
But the ither lived lang, for he laucht in his sleeve.
He laucht in his sleeve, he laucht in his sleeve,
It's the way to lang life, to lauch in your sleeve.
To flee in a passion at you hardly ken what,
To gang argie and bargie wi' this ane and that;
To see nae way ava' your wrangs how to heal up,
But gie this man a clour and that man a keelup —
Such thochts are a' vain. Brithers, ponder it well,
The far better plany — the bit lauch to yoursel',
Tak' you what scheme you like your fu' heart to relieve —
But you're sure to do weel if you lauch in your sleeve.
If you lauch in your sleeve, just lauch in your sleeve,
Aye victor you'll be if you lauch in your sleeve.
IN the Valley of the Shadow
Dark the road is, rough and narrow.
We into the darkness staring
See no path for those wayfaring;
On its cruel rocks and flowerless
Sure the foot of man were powerless,
And we hearken, but we hear nought
Save the murmurs to our ear brought,
Where the turgid swollen river
Sullenly flows on for ever
Through the Valley of the Shadow.
In the Valley of the Shadow
Dark the road is, rough and narrow.
Who shall guide our gentle sister —
Take her by the hand, assist her —
Timid is she, shrinking, tender —
Who shall from its perils defend her?
Fitter path for her the meadows
With their chastened lights and shadows,
Where the placid flowing river
Calmly sings of peace for ever.
Give her in her pure white ventures
Quiet waters and green pastures;
Not for her the gloomy pathway
Where no sun is, gleam, nor star ray,
O'er the rocks and by the river
With its dirge which halteth never,
In the Valley of the Shadow.
In the Valley of the Shadow
Dark the road is, rough and narrow.
Still she lingers to us clinging
While the summons they are bringing,
For the fell decree is spoken,
And we cry in accents broken —
"Why should He, the Eternal, slay thee,
Perfect as a woman may be?
Leave to earth the pure-souled maiden,
Take us rather, the sin-laden
Through the Valley of the Shadow."
In the Valley of the Shadow
Dark the road is, rough and narrow.
Unlike her, our gentle sister,
We have lost the morning lustre;
Dew of youth has from us faded;
Battle-scarred we are and jaded,
And our armour bright is rusted,
And our souls with stains are crusted.
We endured but yet have fainted,
And our lives are not untainted
With the darkening lines of error:
Still into the vale of terror
Would we go, the world-hardened,
Praying that our sins be pardoned,
So might she the pure and stainless
Find a pathway smooth and painless
Through the Valley of the Shadow.
From the Valley of the Shadow
(Dark the road is, rough and narrow)
Comes an answer — "Every mortal
Wends at last unto this portal."
Innocent she may be wholly,
Timid, still she enters solely;
Human love can not attend her,
Human arms can not defend her;
She must tread alone the pathway
Where no sun is, gleam, nor star ray,
O'er the rocks and by the river
With the dirge that halteth never:
Shield her cannot, friend or brother,
Sister dear, or father, mother!
Yet The Presence, all abiding,
Even in that gloom is hiding —
In the Valley of the Shadow.
In the Valley of the Shadow
Dark the road is, rough and narrow.
O, Divine Almighty Brother!
By the goodness, we implore Thee,
Of the gentle heart that bore Thee —
By Thy pure and virgin mother —
Be not Deity — be human,
Be to her as tender woman,
Keep her in Thy kind embraces
Through the dark and lonesome places,
Soothe her fears until she hear not
The hoarse murmurs of the river,
Give her courage till she fear not
Darkness there that broods for ever,
In the Valley of the Shadow.
In the Valley of the Shadow
Guide her through the gorges narrow,
Till the light of heaven, gleaming,
To the shadow-land is streaming,
Till the songs they sing for ever
Drown the murmurs of the river,
Till its waves, the gloom forsaking,
On the pearly gates are breaking,
Where the pure have their abode
In the citadel of God.
THE breath o' summer, the caller air,
Are no to be boucht wi' gathered gear;
The winter snell and bitter could
May be dear to breasts that are bare an' bauld.
Twa tinker bodies — a man and wife —
Had led for years a stravagin' life;
But auld age cam', an' the pair grew douce,
To settle doon they hae boucht a hoose.
They blankets boucht, and they boucht a bed,
An' sat them doon wi' a roof owerhead;
An' 'oors on end by the chimley cheek
Frae twa auld clay pipes they blew the reek;
An' there in state like a king and queen
They windered hoo tinkers king could hae been.
But the wastlin' winds cam' sighin' in;
O' a pratlin' burn they heard the din.
An' the wind broucht in the scent o' woods;
They saw through the panes the snaw-white cluds.
A hingin' branch that was blawn aboot
Tapped on the glass to wile them oot.
The sparrows cam' to the window pane,
Mavis an blackbird mony an ane.
They keekit in at the crouchin' pair
An' speered "What are they daein' there?"
An' they whistled — "A fig for reprobates
Wha turn their backs on their time-tried mates."
The pair at nicht couldna sleep a wink;
O' the stars they missed the freendly blink.
The rustlin' leaves an' the patterin' shower
Hushed na them ower as they did before.
O, uneasy lie on cauf the heads
That ken the fragrance o' heather beds.
The four stane wa's seemed creepin' in,
They scarce could breathe as they lay within.
In the morn they ta'en ilk ithers han's,
Hung ower their shouthers their pots an' pans,
An' leavin' behin' their but an' ben
They ta'en to their life in the woods again.
"FAUSE Baliol's bark is o'er the wave,
It has touched the Scottish strand;
Then, hey! for the norlan' axe an' glaive
'Gainst Southron bow an' brand.
* Donald, Earl of Mar, was Regent at the time of the battle of
Gae licht a blaze on the castle knowe,
Let the red cross speed thro' the glen,
For this deed will wauken a kindred lowe
In the hearts o' my trusty men.
"Already brave Maxton an' stout Lord Grahame
Hae up an' ridden awa';
An' sall Ruthven lag like a hind at hame
When the gatherin' pibrochs blaw?"
Thus spake Lord Ruthven o' Huntin'tower.
As he strode the chamber roun';
Like the simmer sun frae its mornin' bower
Sweet Ellen cam' glintin' doon.
"Come, Ellen, lace ye my corslet fast,
An' awa' wi' the lave I'll gae;
But, Ellen, why do you seem dooncast?
O, my Teddy, you look wae!"
She flung her arms around his neck;
Was ever heart sae true?
The tears cam' drappin' doon her cheek
Like the mornin' blobes o' dew.
An' saft her yellow ringlets bright
Slid frae the silken band,
An' wandered doon like threads o' light,
Till they touched his mailed hand.
She said: "My lord, you are sick an' sair,
Wi' that auld scaur in yer side;
Tak' heed! tak' heed, ere forth you fare
Ower anither field to ride.
"For I dreamt yestreen that my ain true knicht
On a luckless field lay slain,
Never to ride by the Regent's side
Wi' his bonnie bands again.
"O, I thocht I strayed through a forest wide,
An' mony a sheugh I cross'd;
An' the leaves fell doon on ilka side,
As though seared by sudden frost.
"An' syne I cam' to a dowie stream,
O, the bank was rough an' steep;
But a terrible shadow within my dream
Seem'd to urge me to the deep.
"An' aye I faucht wi' the jawin' wave,
Faucht sair, but never gat through;
For it hemm'd me in like a living grave,
Sae I clung mair close to you.
"Syne my dream was changed, an' on Dupplin heicht
I stood at the midnight hour;
The wan moon glimmered athwart the nicht
Wi' a cauld an' death-like glower.
"Then there cam' a soond frae the waterside
Like a steed's impatient neigh
When the mailed ranks to battle ride
An' the slogan swells on high.
"An' a lurking foe made sudden rush
Our startled tents amang;
On! on they did push through brake an' bush,
Till bills* an' broadswords rang.
"But our stately bands seemed a' in a rout,
An' the foe did them pursue;
O, I wat it wasna a Scottish shout
That pierced the welkin through.
"An' wha did I see but my ain gude lord
On that heath sae mirk an' chill;
A broken brand ye clutched i' yer hand,
But the hand was cauld an' still!"
* The bill was a weapon used by the English infantry.
Up spak her lord wi' a kind, kind glance:
"Sweet Ellen, I gang awa';
But fear nae, love, that sic foul mischance
Sall our bonnie bands befa'.
"For our youthfu' monarch's royal richt
We ha'e drawn the sword this day;
An' yon fair sun sall be quenched in nicht
Ere we own this king o' strae.*
"But my leddy will laugh at sic needless fears,
An' dance me a sprightly fling,
When, to welcome our victorious spears,
St. Johnstone's bells will ring."
The beacon blazed on the castle knowe,
The red cross flashed through the glen,
An' Lord Ruthven marched frae St. Johnstone's gates
Wi' a thousand kilted men.
O, I wat they were a comely sight
That day, as they marched awa';
But Ellen gazed on that pageant bright
Wi' cheeks mist like the snaw.
O, she waited lang, an' she waited late,
The day broke sweet an' fair;
But a horseman stood at St. Johnstone's gate
Wi' the tidings o' black despair.
An' St. Johnstone's hell rang a mournfu' knell
As a bier came sad an' slow;
Then, as fa's the flower i' the bladdin' shower,
The gowden head sunk low.
In their mailed arms they raised her up
Frae the cauld turf where she lay;
An' they pressed the cup to her pallid lip,
But the true heart throbbed nae mae.
* "King of Straw" was a name given to both the Baliols in derision.
So they brought her lord, an', side by side,
They were laid in a stately tomb,
The knicht that had fa'en in manhood's pride
An' the lady in beauty's bloom.
SUNLICHT an' Munelicht they met on the hill,
Says Sunlicht to Munelicht, "You're cauldrife an' chill,
Wi' your wan drumlie visage gae sleep i' the sea,
Or I'll kill ye outricht wi' ae glance o' my e'e.
"I'm the King o' the Dawn, I'm the darling o' day,
Frae the croon o' the lift a' the world I survey;
Frae the morn's rosy lap, as I whisk out my beams,
I straw pearls on the mountains an' gowd on the streams.
"But you, you gang glowerin' an' glimmerin' on high,
Fouk think you're a ghaist as you sail through the sky,
An' for licht or for warmth you are no worth a flee —
Losh! you buik unco sma' i' the big warld's e'e."
Said Munelicht to Sunlicht, "You shine unco bricht,
But if you're King o' Day, I'm the Queen o' the Nicht;
E'en the stars haud their breath as I rise ower the hill,
And mount on the breist o' the midnicht sae still.
"I girdle wi' silver the grey granite Ben,
I chase the dim shadows frae muirland an' glen;
An' the traveller belated aft blesses my ray,
When you're roamin' in far lands, thou bright god o'
Nae mair could I hear o' the crack o' the twa;
But as wee modest Munelicht slade canny awa,
I thocht to mysel' that some use we micht be,
Though we buik unco sma' i' the big warld's e'e.
Tho' we canna a' shine wi' the splendour o' morn,
Yet some cauld nook o' earth we may help to adorn;
E'en a kind word or look to some heart sunk in wae
Yet may bloom in the licht o' eternity's day.
There was Ane that cam' down frae the mansions o' licht
Though His glory was dimmed 'mid our warld's weary
Yet for puir fallen man He was willing to dee,
And to buik unco sma' in the big warld's e'e.
NAE langer can I haud my peace,
Sad day to me an' a' my race,
The toll — the toll will hae to cease
In half an-'oor,
Syne carts an' carriages an' bea's
May pass like stoor.
Nae mair I'll hear the cheery cry
"T-o-a-l!" frae the drivers drawin' nigh,
Nor see them rype their pouch, while I
Haud oot my loof,
But a' ken-kind my noo gae by
Wi' prancin' hoof.
Already in my mind I see
Some farmer pass wi' chucklin' glee;
But whan they'll send him in a wee
The amount in taxes,
A Heelan' wether's face 'ill be
No half sae black's his.
* Toll-bars were abolished in Perthshire, as also in most other counties
in Scotland, at midnight on the 15th of May, 1879, and by and by
the custom of levying toll for vehicular traffic on the principal highways
of the country may have to be explained, but so long as Mr.
Craig's graphic and clever "Lament" survives, knowledge of the Tollman
and his little ways will be obtainable.
Look hoo the schule rates gaed aboon
Fouks thochts, an' garr'd them change their
You'll see a hash ere a' be dune,
Wi' Boords creatin',
They need a gey lang-shankit spoon
That sup wi' Satan.
I mind o' speerin' at a showman,
Aboot a beast wi' an uncommon
Humph on 't's back, just like Ben Lomon',
Ere ye ascend it,
What was the matter wi't, an' so man
He soon explained it.
He said that ance ae hin'most strae
Broke what he can't its vertybrae,
An' what mair warnin' wad ye hae
O what's to happen on 's,
Whan ance we're fixed aneath this a'e,
Board mair they're stappin' on 's.
I'm sure I needna care for ane;
But lang afore a twalmonth's gane
Ye'll a' be wishin' that ye'd taen
My soond advice,
An' left the tollman's gates alane
At ony price.
As lang's they may lat fouk be jolly,
Richt soon they'll come to see their folly,
For though I've keepit on the toll aye,
T' was nae to make o't,
This mony a year I've kept it solely
Just for the sake o't.
Whan first my tollin' days began,
Langsyne whan the "Defiance" ran,
Thae were the times — oh they were gran'!
Wi' ten-score droves,
An' strings o' carts — to think on't man
My bosom hoves.
Weel micht my trade be ca't a roarin' ane,
I sell't a dram, an' keepit corn, an'
Hay for horses. Frae the forenoon
I didna slack,
A' through the nicht until the mornin'
Began to brak'.
Whan market nichts were wearin' late,
My fouk wad never tak' the gate,
So I bo'ed gie them for a treat
A hool o' cheese,
Or dry cod fish, an' ham to eat
As saut's the seas.
Syne ye may guess I had a yokin'
Afore their drooth began to slocken,
Aye i' the push the necks were broken
Smash aff the bottles,
Fast as I broke they had them glockin'
Adoon their throttles.
Thae times were far ower guid to last,
Misfortune followed, blast for blast,
Forbes MacKenzie's Act was pass'd,
An' took awa
My "leeshince." Railways followed fast
An' ruined a'.
Thae "lines" hae skaed puir fouk nae little,
Just look hoo mony a' ane they mittle,
Heich prices too for corn an' victual
They've broucht to pass —
Tattie disease an' paddock spittle
Upon the grass.
Noo-days, nae flesh-kind can we keep,
But chockit kye, an' braxy sheep,
The fatness o' the land, gaes wheep
Awa to Englan',
An' what comes back — the laird's hae't deep
I' their pouches jinglin'.
At this toll business few were smarter,
I ne'er compounded wi' a carter,
Nor wi' a hawker made a barter
An' wasna't richt?
I never ance allowed a quarter
By twal at nicht.
Oh hoo my heart beat fast an' high
Whan i' the distance I did spy,
A dizzen caravans come nigh
An' wasna't strange,
Aye whan a laird's turn-out gaed by
I ne'er had change.
At the toll-roup I had nae nerve,
(I kept a bidder in reserve)
An' so whan I began to swerve
The lave were scaured,
But whan the hammer fell — observe
My name was heard.
For years its been my special likin',
In the bow-window to sit bykin',
Or stannin' starin' like a pike in
Hope to see
A vehicle — syne I'm ready, rykin'
Oot for my fee.
Laith frae the business I'm to part
It gaed sae kindly wi' my heart,
Stop, stop! I see a cocker's cart
Comin' pell-mell,
I'll maybe nailt — it's past my art!
It's chappin' twel'!
Whan public servants quat their station
They a' get superannuation,
But in this great an' wealthy nation
How is't the sole men
That canna win at compensation
Are the puir tollmen?
I'm thinkin' on a plan to calm
My speerits, an' to pour the balm
O' consolation on my palm.
I'll try an' get
To watch — ance I hae learn't a psalm —
Some kirk-door plate.
This change my heart has sorely stricken,
It's taen awa the wee bit pickin'
I made sae honestly to thicken
My daily kail;
I'm maistly like to dwawm an' sicken,
Sae deep's my wail.
Yea, up in Athole — I hae word
The Prince o' Tollmen's grane is heard,
Wi' droopin' head an' een a' blear't,
Aneath his trees
He walks, while tear draps spot the yird
Like lost bawbees.
Lament wi' lamentations deep;
My brethren a' bewail an' weep,
For if ye bang up through your sleep
Whan carts gae by,
Toom-handit noo ye'll hae to creep
Inower — Ou' aye!
O MONY a mornin' that glints fu' braw
But heralds a dowie day,
An' flooers that sweet i' the springtime blaw
Aft droop i' th' month o' May.
An' sae it happened in days lang gane
That a sair grief bowed us doon,
As the shadow grew on the cauld hearthstane
O' oor ain dear Jeanie Brown.
Our ain dear Jeanie, our sweetest wean,
O her life ran on wi' glee,
Till the day that her hand was socht by ane
Wha had nae true heart to gie.
He cam' wi' his pride, an' his gifts sae braw,
An' he pressed sae hard an' lang
That our lassie e'en threw her life awa' —
O hoo did we lat her gang?
He tane her awa wi' her leal young heart,
Sae happy, an' pure, an' free,
To a hame where the joy o' the better part
We kenn'd there wad never be.
A hame unhallowed by word o' prayer,
Or thocht o' the land aboon,
Where grief aye grew into dark despair,
Till her life's short day was dune.
O we're dowie aft i' the gloamin' noo
As we sit where the shadows fa',
An' our een grow dim wi' a holy dew,
For her that's been lang awa'.
But we're mindin' aye, the gudewife an' me,
As the weary years gang roun',
O' the cludless land where we hope to see
Our ain lost Jeanie Brown.
Ho comrades! the skirmisher rain-clouds
Are over the seas and away,
The lakes and the mountains are smiling,
The sun's on the heather to-day.
The sun's on the heather, I trow, lads;
There's light on the brown mossy brae;
There's joy in the bickering hill streams
That fall in a glory of spray.
And here in the depths of the city
My fancy is ever astray,
My heart's with the kings of the Highlands;
I see them, I hear what they say.
Ben Lomond looks down his long valley,
Afar to the Bass and the May,
And sees all the myriad flashes
Of Forth on her wildering way.
There, too, is the lofty Ben Lawers —
Breadalbane is under his sway —
His loch is a blaze of pure silver,
The sun's on his heather to-day.
Schiehallion speaks only in Gaelic,
I hardly know what he would say,
But Rannoch is heather all over,
And — the sun's on the heather to-day.
See! there are the grand Cairngorms,
Afar in the shimmering ray,
Their blue bonnets merrily bobbing —
Hooch! reels to the music of Spey!
Let's off from the soot of the city!
We're off for a month and a day
To the hills, and the glorious heather —
Hooray! (caps in air, lads) hooray!
A JOY surpassin' feeble praise
Brings tears aft to my een,
When pictures o' my laddie days
Appear on memory's screen.
Wi' fitfu' flash they come an' go,
Each following up the ither;
An' aye I see in sunny glow
My father an' my mither.
My father an' my mither, lads,
They've trauchled lang thegither
May blessin's fa' upon the twa —
My father an' my mither.
They struggled hard to gi'e us lear,
That we micht a' obtain
A higher place, an' burdens bear
Less heavy than their ain.
I bless them noo for what they've dune,
An' while life's storm they weather
My heartfelt prayer shall rise abune
For father an' for mither.
I mind we made the kettle sing,
To cheer them, tired and lame;
An' cheerie did oor voices ring
To gi'e them welcome hame.
At ilka cheek we set their chairs,
While circled round we'd gather,
An' tell oor little griefs an' cares
To father an' to mither.
When ower the earth nick's mantle fell,
An' joined us a' at e'en —
The picture mak's my bosom swell —
I'll ne'er forget the scene —
Oor laddie cares awa' we hurled
When rompin' a' thegither,
An' king an' queen o' oor sma' world
Was father aye and mither.
Ye stirrin' pictures o' the past,
I'm was when ye depart;
I love to be thus backward cast
To laddiehood in heart.
Come aft an' guide my thochts awa'
Frae earth's cauld heartless swither,
To childhood's scenes sae artless a' —
To father an' to mither.
My father an' my mither, lads,
They trauchled lang thegither;
May blessings fa' upon the twa —
My father an' my mither.
O STARS, that will rise and shine
For other eyes than mine,
When these are rapt with the radiance of light divine;
O stars, will ye tell of me true,
As I have spoken of you,
Will ye shine far brighter than stars unsung could do?
O night, who hast trusted me
Such secrets deep and free,
As told ye had spoken with others, ere I with thee;
Wilt pass from mind as sight,
Because it is written: No night?
Will thy face lean forth from some gladsomer gleam of
O hills, that will catch the glow
When I'm in the Long-ago,
Will ye break yourselves open for other hearts to know?
Will one in the After say,
When the sunset's too fair for the day:
He is singing this scene on the hills that are far away?
ONCE more we meet in the old retreat,
The home roof over us once again;
But the old walls wake to the bearers' feet,
And the old rooms sob with the mourners' train —
'Tis the old, old home again,
But the old dwellers will not remain.
So we bear her out to the mountain side,
For the hills are an older sort of home,
And better, they say, will the mountains bide
And the heath thatch over the dark peat loom.
Oh! this is an older home,
Where the feet of her childhood used to roam.
The hills rise round us as we rise,
As they rose to Him who gave them birth,
Creation's dawn-look in their eyes,
And their witness-feet fiat fast in earth,
Attesting as at birth,
Till our thoughts are spurred to the heavens' far--
spanning girth;
His heaven Whose home is everywhere,
And all within His ken is home
Who sleeps with the dust we scatter here,
Who sleeps not, over that crystal dome,
Where she is awake and at home,
Whither her spirit in living slowly clomb.
So we aye shall meet in an old retreat,
A home-roof over us evermore,
One house to the lords whose rest is sweet,
And the servants busy about the door,
One dwelling-place evermore,
In Whose going and coming we rest and rejoice and
JUST when the night is casting
Her curtain over me,
A sense of the everlasting
A moment comes. I see
Strange lights in the westering sunward,
And hasten it with a hymn;
When I turn my eyes again downward,
My book is dim.
Just when the soul is weary
With watching of herself,
And even the desk is dreary,
And dreary is the shelf,
A calm clear call comes to me
From the Blessed and the Beyond —
Bright fire-burst, oh how gloomy,
Free fancy, oh how bond.
Just when the darkness presses
I do not care to own,
And I cling to these strange caresses
To make me not all alone,
When the silver streaks grow slender
And the pencils shadow long,
I make the moment tender
With a song.
A BONNIE bairn was Annie More,
The flower o' a' the toun:
A guileless bairn, owre young to ken
Her brow wore beauty's crown.
At gloamin', at the waterside,
Amang the bairns was she;
And passers-by had wondered aft
Wha that sweet bairn might be.
Her red lips parted wi' a smile
That was like mornin' light,
And showed how that young heart looked out
And saw the world a' bright.
A weaver's bairn was that sweet wean;
Her faither at the loom
Worked late and early, thinkin' ne'er
That labour's life was gloom.
For still between him and his toil,
A lovely vision gleamed;
And when he dreamed of future days,
'Twas for that bairn he dreamed.
She was the a'e flower o' his hame,
A winsome flower o' spring;
'Twas nae mean hame, for round the hearth
Were angels hovering.
For her sake, night and morn, he thought
The angels aye cam' near,
Where that sweet bairn had lisped a prayer
What could there be to fear?
Her mither, wi' her pale rose cheek,
Was glad o' Annie's bloom;
She couldna think that ought sae fair
Was near an earthly tomb.
She said, "Though painfu' days are mine
And aft I'm droopin' sair,
This bonnie bairn uplifts my heart
As health were mine ance mair.
"The queen has her bright crown o' gold,
The duke his bonnie lands,
His lady has her jewelled rings
For sma' and dainty hands.
"They canna think like John and me,
Wha have our bread to earn,
We have nae wealth in a' the warld,
But just oor bonnie bairn.
"The golden curls upon her head
To us are gowd enou';
And ilka morn it's joy to meet
Her laughin' e'en sae blue.
"Oh, bairnie! God in heaven is kind;
I thank Him ever mair,
Wha lets me keep thee in my arms,
Through grief, and pain, and care."
The bairnie, wi' her wonderin' e'en,
Looked in her mither's face.
The mystery of death had yet
In her young soul no place.
But fever to the town was brought,
And to the kirkyard sune,
Wee graves wi' new turned turf were seen
Aneath the waxin' mune.
And Annie, in her loveliness,
Lay meekly down to dee,
Just saying when her wee heart sank,
"Oh, mither! bide wi' me."
"I'm here, my bairn," she said, but sune
Ye canna ca' for me.
Yer rosy cheek is white as snaw;
I'm feared ye're gaun to dee."
The bairnie opened her blue een,
And saw her mother's tears.
A light seemed in her soul to wake,
As from no childish years.
"Oh, mither! am I gaun to dee?
Oh, faithcr dinna greet,
For Christ will take me np to heaven,
Where a' the flowers are sweet,
"And when ye're comin' hame frae earth,
I'll meet ye at the gate;
For there, ye ken, 'twill no be dark,
However lang I wait."
They couldna speak, their hearts were fu',
The wearied bairnie slept;
And through the darkness o' the night
Their anxious watch they kept.
Small pain it seemed. The gushing tide
Of earth's joy paused awhile,
And left a little space, before
The soul took on heaven's smile.
With easy touch, Death took his prize
Of beauty, for decay.
She drooped, and drooped, and in the morn
She sighed her soul away.
ONCE again from sordid slumbers would I wake my
native lyre,
Tune its voice to bravest numbers, rouse to patriotic
At the bugle-call of duty who would fail to sing of thee,
Home of valour, love, and beauty — Scotland, land of
Swell with heart and voice the chorus, ringing
over land and sea,
Honour to the land that bore us — Scotland, land
of liberty!
Many a field all grim and gory have thy kilted heroes
Haloed with a flood of glory, fighting for their home
and God.
Cowards fled and tyrants trembled when the watchword
of the free
Sounded o'er their might assembled — "Scotland, land
of liberty!"
Down the dark and misty ages my unbridled fancies go,
And I see in war's red pages Caledonia's records glow.
Rome's proud eagle, Norway's raven, crippled, flew back
o'er the sea,
When they proved that Fate had graven — "Scotland,
land of liberty."
Ever shall thy sons defend thee while there gleams a
battle blade,
For the hearts are true and tender beating 'neath the
tartan plaid.
As our fathers crushed oppression and enslaving tyranny,
We will guard. the dear possession — Scotland, land of
Glory wraps thy name in grandeur, as the sunlight does
the morn,
Bathing every vale in splendour, every rock and
mountain tarn;
Of thy fame the woods are ringing, zephyrs catch the
witching glee,
And the very birds are singing — "Scotland, land of
While the heather and the thistle on thy vales and
mountains wave,
And the whaup and plover whistle requiems for thy
storied brave;
While the martial fire that made thee glows in hearts
born to be free,
Foreign foe shall ne'er invade thee, Scotland, land of
Swell with heart and voice the chorus, ringing
over land and sea,
Honour to the land that bore us — Scotland, land
of liberty!
ABOON the dell whaur Shaggie sings
Its wimplin' winnin' melody;
Whaur wagtails skip on wanton wings
And keep perpetual holiday!
Whaur water-bobbies jauntin'ly
Bow to their shadows in the stream,
There would my fancy ever be
To share the poet's golden dream.
The warbler through the bracken glides,
An' wriggles chatterin' on the spray;
While ilka spreadin' hazel hides
A lintie at his e'enin' lay.
Fair as when Nature's natal day
Swept o'er the earth on dewy wings,
Are daisied nooks and arbours gay
Whaur lovers meet and Shaggie sings.
There first the throstle's maiden hymn
Wells freely frae his mirly breast;
The shilfa seeks the forkit stem
To big his cosy mossy nest;
The restless wren wi' gowden crest
Plays gymnast on the birken tree,
Till bluebells toll them a' to rest
'Neath Shaggie's leafy canopy.
O, earth has mony a fair domain
To charm the wanderer's lingerin' e'e,
But nane can fire this bosom fain
Like what this sunny spot can dae;
Like ivy roond the aiken tree
My tendril fancy ever clings
To what will ever be to me
Earth's Paradise, whaur Shaggie sings.
AROUND Benchonzie's purple crest
The sun's last ray is clingin',
The burnie sabs itsel' to rest
Aneath the hazels hingin';
The swallows left the westlin' licht
When Nature's e'e grew weary. —
O why are ye sae late the nicht
My only joy an' dearie?
Deep in the dell the woodland dove
Its dreamy note is hummin';
The passin' zephyrs sing o' love,
An' whisper o' your comin'.
But till your fairy form I see
I canna be but eerie,
For thou art a' the world to me,
My only joy an' dearie.
I mark the starnies up on hie
That angel hands are guidin',
Wi' but a dull an' heedless e'e,
For love kens nae dividin'.
The music o' your voice alane
This nicht can mak' me cheerie,
Then haste an' lift this gnawin' pain,
My only joy an' dearie.
AT dusk when the lovers seek a wattle-hid alcove,
In the shade an' soothin' scent o' the glee-givin' grove,
An auld crusty hoolit keeps the goers-bye in view,
An' for aye he seems to croon,
"Come an' woo! come an' woo!"
Ae gloamin' a by-passin' lovin' couple took his rede,
An' a happy, happy while had the dear anes indeed;
But the weird singer's tones were to them ever new,
For when leavin' he enjoined them,
"Oh, be true! oh, be true!"
Ance mair cam' the wooers, like a saint to the shrine
Whaur his spirit is refreshed wi' a rapture divine,
An' they interchanged their troth 'mang the brackens'
drippin' dew,
But the Croaker screiched alood —
"Ye will rue! ye will rue!"
A' heedfu' o' what the hidden prophet had declared,
To the place o' dootfu' omen they anither nicht repaired,
An' they questioned, an' they quarrelled. Said the lad,
"It's 'ye will rue.'"
But the lass maintained wi' micht 'twas
"Oh, be true! oh, be true!"
Sae they battled, an' they sundered, an' the feathered
tattler fled;
The laddie banned the gentle sex, an' vowed he'd never
The lassie raved ower thwartit love, an' aft she'd fain
The fatefu' 'oor when erst they
Met to woo, met to woo.
Let the double-throated Croaker deal a counsel to us a',
Lest imaginary evils filch oor present peace awa';
An' let happy-hearted lovers never reck the blabbin'
Wha would rive their souls asunder
When they're true, when they're true.
I'VE glowered aroond museums fu' o' ancient art an' lore,
An' rummaged wizard relics o' the sage an' skilled o'
But what has richer charms for me, an' far excels them
Is grannie's Gaelic Bible in the crevice o' the wa'.
They tell's, atweel, my grandsire's earthly day was early
The auld book was a lamp to licht his road to realms
Wi' weetit een I've heard them crack his gracious rede
an' wise;
The gloamin' prayers ahint the hoose, the hallowed
times he'd prize.
It wants a brod, an' if ye touch't, it near-hand sindry
Its leaves are strung thegither slack wi' strengthless
threeds an' thrums;
It's a' sae stained wi' stour ye scarce can scan a verse
It ochtna to be han'led e'er, but hod aye in the wa'.
It's easy seen it bears the blurs o' saut repentant tears;
They're brawly kent frae damp an' dust, an' a' the scaith
o' years;
The sacred draps that drenched the page thae roundit
flecks maun be —
There's ane juist richt abune the text — Ha'e mercy,
Lord, on me.
A tawny tattered leaf atween the Auld Will an' the
Contains the family register, wi' care an' rev'rence due;
The crispit rim an' welkit write precludes the anxious
Frae facts o' life an' death, an' what my grannie's age
may be.
Though far frae hame I sune may be, ower beildless tilth
an' tide,
Whare savage hirsels ramp an' roar, an' dun barbarians
I'll aye revere an' bear in mind, whare'er my lines may
My grannie's Gaelic Bible in the crevice o' the wa'.
OH! life is short, but love is long,
And youthful hearts beat warm and light;
The days of youth pass like a song —
Like twilight merging into night.
But love is long, and cannot die,
It lives when other passions fade,
And is the dearest human tie
That heavenly God with man has made.
Yes, love is long; it gathers strength
As life is hastening to its close,
And time imparts to love at length
A sweeter perfume than the rose.
Though life is short, yet love is long,
And emanates from God alone;
It rules the right, yet pities wrong,
And makes two hearts melt into one.
WHERE can you find a sweeter spot
Than by clear Allan Water,
The classic ground where poets sought
The Miller's lovely daughter?
'Tis dear to me this winding stream,
Where maids and lovers banter;
For here there came a charming dream
To roving "Rob the Ranter."
But sweeter far the song it sings
Of peace and joy and beauty,
For to my heart it solace brings
To aid me in my duty.
The Ochil hills invite my feet
To tread the soft moss under,
But still for thee my heart shall beat
Although thy waters thunder.
In summer days I sit by thee
And listen to thy singing;
And as I sit there comes to me
The sound of church bells ringing.
'Tis marriage bells that sound so clear,
And set the air a-throbbing;
But dear to me, and still more dear
Is thy soft waters sobbing.
O, who can find a lovelier stream,
Than that of Allan Water?
And who can sing a sweeter theme
Than the Miller's lovely daughter?
IN the cold grey dawn of an autumn day,
As the sun peeped over the sea,
A Norseman's bark sailed out of the bay,
With the sails full set and all so gay,
Away to the west went he.
'Twas a Viking bold from the Norway shore,
And a tall sea king was he;
But he sailed away to return no more,
Nor to hear again it's deep-toned roar;
For he sank 'neath the foam of the sea.
The Orcadian isles was the land he sought,
And a royal bride to wed,
Who was waiting now till the north wind brought
To her watching — that looked for nought —
The sight of the Dragon Head.
And this brave sea king, with his crew so gay,
Were as happy as men could be;
For they left their shores at the break of day,
And they cheered their friends as they passed the bay,
And steered for the open sea.
As their hearts were light and their bark was tight,
And their limbs so stout and strong,
They would fear no foe, nor the dark wild night,
As they steered their bark by the pale moonlight
But sang this Orcadian song:—
"The sea is wild and free, my boys,
The sea is wild and free,
And o'er the back of the ocean wide,
We steer onr barks by wind and tide,
And sing aloud in our glee, my boys,
And sing aloud iu our glee.
"We play with the foam of the deep, my boys,
We play with the foam of the deep,
That gleams in the light of the moon so bright,
And sinks with the stars to sleep, my boys,
And sinks with the stars to sleep.
"We fish at the turn of the tide, my boys,
We fish at the turn of the tide,
And whisper low, while the breezes blow,
Of the girl that's to be our bride, my boys,
Of the girl that's to be our bride.
"Oh, we are happy and gay, my boys,
Oh, we are happy and gay,
We love to sail with breeze or gale,
And then return to the bay, my boys,
And then return to the bay."
When the music ceased there arose a gale
That became a hurricane blast,
And the cheek of the Norse sea king turned pale
As he heard the sound of the ocean's wail,
And saw the bending mast.
With a shriek and moan all the shrouds were rent,
And the mast went by the side,
While the brave Norsemen 'neath the billows went
With their bark, and all that the king had sent
To deck his bonnie bride.
In Jarl's home, on a lofty tower,
Sits a maid by Orcadia's sea,
And she weeps and sighs from hour to hour,
For the Viking bold to claim her dower,
But he sleeps in the moaning sea.
THE miser may gloat ower his gear,
The toper may smirk ower his tassie,
But their pleasures can never compare
Wi' the raptures I feel wi' my lassie.
Like the violets blue are her een,
In her breath the balm breezes are blawin',
And suffused are the cheeks o' my queen
Wi' the roseate flush o' the dawin'.
I carena for riches or micht,
I carena for wine in a tassie,
When I quaff the rich drauchts o' delicht
Frae the lips o' my bonnie bit lassie.
Like the sunblinks that brichten the brae
Her smile gladdens a' that's aboot her,
Noo I've tint her, fair Nature looks wae,
For simmer's nae simmer withoot her.
Yet aft at that oor we did pairt,
When a' the deep avast is a-lowin',
Her memory fa's on my heart
Like pearly dew-draps on the gowan.
Then awa' wi' yer riches and micht,
Awa' wi' yer wine in a tassie,
Oh! gie me ae draucht o' delicht
Frae the lips o' my bonnie bit lassie.
A ROSE hung high on the castle wall
On a summer morning fair,
'Twas fed by the dews that sweetly fall,
And fanned by the sunny air.
Its odorous breast was all bedight
With the diamond's sparkling sheen,
Its silken petals were soft and white,
Its leaves a tender green.
Then, O, I said, as I looked at the rose,
Thou art fair as fair can be,
But who will gather thee, lovely flower,
O, who will gather thee?
A lady looked o'er the castle wall,
So gentle, so sweet, so shy,
Like the stately pine, she was slender and tall,
The lovelight lay in her eye.
And the fame of her beauty spread like a breeze
That is laden with perfumes sweet,
And lovers of low and of high degrees
Came flocking around her feet.
Then I sighed and said, as I looked at the
Thou art fair as fair can be,
But who will gather thee, lovely flower,
O, who will gather thee?
The sunlight gleamed on the castle wall,
And a silken ladder swung,
But a bowshot from the Baron's hall,
Where the dainty roselet hung.
And I swam the moat, I clomb the height,
Plucked the rose with my fingertips,
Low murmuring words of soft delight
Fell from my lady's lips.
And I said, as she placed it in her breast,
O rose thou wert fair to see,
But I have gathered thee, lovely flower,
O, I have gathered thee.
Then gaily and lightly my lady smiled,
And my heart leapt high for love,
For my foolish fears were now beguiled,
And I swore by the heavens above
"What man may do, what man may dare,
Shall be done and dared by me.
And all for the love, sweet lady fair,
My heart hath given to thee.
And when in triumph I come from the
If fortune favour me,
O, I shall gather thee, lovely flower,
O, I shall gather thee."
AE e'enin' I laid mysel' doon to sleep
'Mang the moss that cushioned a burnie's brim,
An' some eldrich pooer 'gan my senses steep,
An' the munelicht was thrangit wi' shapes fu' grim.
Frae 'neath leaves o' dockens an' ilka grass blade
Cam' unearthly bodies wi' coats o' green,
An' wee red Kilmarnocks on touzled head,
And the wizendest faces that e'er war' seen.
Ilk warlock was hotchin' an' lauchin' wi' glee,
An' they paidl't aboot an' they wadna be still;
Till a fiddler loon, wi' his bonnet agee,
Was cannily stanced in his seat on a hill —
A cosy bit nook in the fair dingle side,
Whar the mune glinted bricht on the dewdraps wat;
But the rest o' the company still couldna bide,
But waitin' the fays, by the burnie sat.
Some leaves o' last autumn cam' sailin' doon,
Ilk riggit wi' moonbeams an' helm o' fate;
An' steered wi' a stalk o' hemlock broon —
The barges o' fairies travellin' in state.
It was awesome to see ilk enchantit carle
Handin' out a fair leddy wi' auld farrant grace;
But the bonniest sicht I hae seen i' this warl'
Was the blithesome blink o' ilk fairy face.
Their goons war' o' thistledoon, fa'in' like air,
An' their gems o' the dewdraps' glimmerin' sheen;
An' never a Queen, be she bonnie or fair,
Was drest like thae fairies this midsummer e'en.
They stude i' their places a' ready to reel,
An' the music struck up, an' the dance began;
An' they turned an' linkit and trippit fu' weel,
Ilk fairy white wi' a warlock man.
I turned me aboot to see mair o' the fun,
But a wailin' sough ower the gatherin' fell;
I was fear'd they'd hae meltit like snaw 'neth the sun
Had they kent mortal een lookit doon on the dell.
Sae I keppit my breath, an' I lay fu' still,
Juist keekin' wi' ane o' my een at the ploy,
Till the fiddler wight frae his seat on the hill
Played up, an' the company fell to wi' joy.
At last a great supper was laid oot at twal
On a patch o' muneshine aneath a tree,
A' deckit wi' wild flooers an' goblets tall,
An' sparklin' wi' red wine frae Normandy.
An' warlocks an' fairies, wi' daffin' an' mirth,
Sat doon to the feast an' the red wine quafft;
I fairly forgot what my silence was worth,
An' clean lost my gumption an' roared an' laucht.
Like the shadowy munelicht they meltit awa',
An' left nae a ribbon to tell o' their joy;
But I'll no be persuadit by ony ava
That I didna tak' part in a fairy ploy.
THE year is slowly dying down
In mist and storm into the past,
That seemed at times too fair to last,
So bright it was with beauty's crown.
The glorious sky that round us shone,
The summer fires that gladdened us,
Throughout the long days luminous
Of golden prime, have passed and gone.
The summer trees are leafless now,
And fling their gaunt arms drearily
About the fields, and wearily
In autumn breezes creak and bow.
And, oh, my heart is sad and lone,
I mourn the golden summer dead;
I almost think the brown leaves shed
In sadness that can match my own.
On every house, on every tree,
Glad birds of passage sit and sing,
Ready to speed on eager wing,
To summer skies beyond the sea.
Oh, could I leave this misty air,
Where fogs from sluggish marshes creep,
To veil the genial sun, and steep
My soul in southern sunshine fair.
But as I raise my aimless cry,
Some other voices rise to charm,
Some other sights win me from harm,
From wishes which are but a sigh.
I see our northern autumn stand
With blithesome shouts in all its fields,
I see the tints September yields
In largesse to the painter's hand.
Of nut and berry dropping brown,
And scarlet clusters of the ash;
I hear the jocund winds that lash
The bending tree-tops' fiery crown.
I see the splendid fires that gild
The evening gateway of the sun,
Telling of crimson honours won,
And life with gen'rous action filled.
And though, in darkness gleaming white,
I see the snowflakes cloud the air,
And frost and ice in masses fair,
Which mark our iron winter night.
I look on these with opened eyes,
Knowing their bleakness holds the spring,
Rising from wintry frosts to bring
Another summer's mysteries.
I STAND where evening breezes blow,
I hear the tinkling streamlet's flow,
Meandering in the wood;
There's music in the woodland's din,
The winds give voice to Nature's hymn
In sad and solemn mood.
Oft have I stood beneath these trees,
When grasses kissed the evening breeze,
In glorious summer eves;
But now I stand when flowers are dead,
When wintry winds weep o'er their bed,
Amid the fallen leaves.
Pleasant it was at evening's close
To court the shelter of these boughs,
And dream bewitching dreams.
High hopes I had, fair as the flowers
That ever bloomed in fancy's bowers,
Or were a poet's themes.
Sweet voices spake in this dim wood;
I heard songs in the solitude,
Like strains from Fairyland.
All care and sorrow fled with fright,
The smiling flowers glowed with delight;
But now 'mongst leaves I stand.
Ah me! how strange a tale life weaves;
Each heart has had its fallen leaves
In winters long ago.
Some weep o'er withered flowers to-night;
Some lay their dead leaves out of sight;
But still life's stream doth flow.
Just as I learned the matchless song
The woods grew dumb — a speechless throng
In winter's cold embrace;
So loving hearts and dead ones gone,
Whose souls we just had searched, are flown,
And hide from us their face.
Yet as I mourn the leaflet's death,
Methinks I feel the summer's breath,
And see the flowers once more.
What though the woodlands cannot sing,
I know with joy they soon shall ring
As I have heard before.
What though 'mid fallen leaves we stand,
In faith stretch forth thy doubting hand —
He who believes receives.
Thy withered flower will fairer grow,
In fields of light thou'lt see it blow,
When gathered are our leaves.
WHEN hearts are bleedin' sair wi' grief and care has
knit the broo,
And time has made the auld head bare whaur bonny
ringlets grew;
A weary sigh steals frae the soul that's almost overcome,
Yet buried grief aft finds relief in "Och, hey, hum."
The faithfu' shepherd leads his flock oot owre the green
And tak's them to the choicest knower whaur a' may
safe abide;
But when the sun sinks frae his view, and cares his
heart benumb,
Kind Heaven hears his waesome cry of "Och, hey,
The labourin' man, wi' busy hand, wha toils frae morn
till nicht,
And prays betimes that a' his bairns may grow up to
do richt,
When borne doon aneath a load owre heavy far for
Gets cheerfu' comfort when he utters "Och, hey, hum."
The mither by the cradle side sits watching there alane,
To keep the messenger o' death awa' frae her doorstane;
She hides the tears that nature sends when death at
last has come,
Yet noo and than you'll hear her sobbin' "Och, hey,
Yet let us a' be thankfu' that we're no sent here to bide,
The day will come when a' will meet owre on the ither
Nae trachle sair, nor sorrow there; nae lip will there be
Nae tears will flow, nae lips will utter "Och, hey, hum."
AWEARY is my auld grey head, a mist steals ower my
Earth's lower lichts are growin' dim, the journey's end
I see;
Up mony a hill I've warstled sair, and mony a rugged
But I'm weel thro' the valley noo, and would fain fa'
I've trauchled lang an' fochten hard 'mid sin, and storm,
and strife,
And aft, tho' kennin' richt, dune wrang — I mourn a
sinfu' life;
In heart I've broken a' God's laws, the least I couldna
But I'm weel thro' the valley noo, and would fain fa'
Oh! langsome, dreary road o' life, oh! sorrow-laden
Ye've cost me mony a weary climb and mony bitter
But see, the sun is sinkin' fast adoon the Western deep,
For I'm weel thro' the valley noo, and would fain fa'
Some leaves fa' green, some withered fa', when winds
are calm and still,
And withered too, I soon maun fa', yet wait Jehovah's
* These were the last words of an old woman as she lay on her death--
bed. She lived in the top flat of a dingy old house in the Pleasance
in Edinburgh; and as a few poor friends gathered round her humble
bed to watch her breathing out her last, after commending them to
the Saviour, and expressing her hope in a happy immortality, she
"fell asleep." Over and over again these words fell from her dying
lips — "I'm weel thro' the valley noo, and would fain fa' asleep."
The thocht o' quittin' earth for heaven, it gars my auld
heart leap,
For I'm weel thro' the valley noo, and would fain fa'
Oh, dinna greet, freen's, dinna greet, though I maun
gang awa',
We'll a' forgaither up aboon inside oor Father's ha';
Nae sair, sad scenes, nae heartbrak's there, nane there
will sit and weep;
I'm far thro' the valley noo, and will lay me doon and
AE mirky nicht, when winds blew cauld,
And sour an' surly clouds drove past,
A tinkler, sair in rags, and auld,
Crawled to the shed to scoug the blast.
And as the dawn dang oot the dark,
I met him, settin' aff to wark,
And, pairtin', vowed he'd mak' a spoon
Wad ne'er be matched by mortal loon.
Chorus — There's no a spoon in a' the teen
Sae mony hungry mou's has fed;
And nane I'd like to praise aboon
That horn spoon the tinkler made.
Twa winters passed, when ae dreich nicht —
I just had supper't Bett the pony —
And, stappin' roon withoot lamp licht,
I ran against my tinkler crony.
"Weel met, my man, here, there's yer spoon,
'Twas feenished i' the wuds o' Scone;
And whan through this wide warl' yer led
Aye mind the spoon the tinkler made."
Chorus — There's no a spoon, etc.
He telt me hoo, in yon wild den,
Whaur hoolits screiched and winds howled dreary,
An' birds an' cushies cam' to spen'
The nicht amang the firs sae eerie,
There in his tent, roun' blazin' fire —
His wife and bairns asleep wi' tire —
He shap'd it, till his heart was glad,
That horn spoon the tinkler made."
Chorus — There's no a spoon, etc.
Gin I had time, an' space, an' wit,
This spoon — what screids I'd tell aboot it —
Hoo ilka mou' it seems to fit,
E'en grannie canna sup withoot it.
At cogs o' brose an' reekin' kail
Hoo aft we've met I needna tell;
Gin ere 'twas lost saut tears I'd shed,
For the horn spoon the tinkler made.
Chorus — There's no a spoon, etc.
A lad may coort, an' nichtly woo
The lass he likes the best o' ony;
A lass may boast her lover's mou'
Tastes better than the sweetest honey;
But I'll ne'er brag o' bonnie lass,
Although her charms nane may surpass,
I'll blaw my horn an' praise instead
The braw, braw spoon the tinkler made.
Chorus — There's no a spoon in a' the toon
Sae mony hungry mou's has fed,
An' nane I'd like to praise aboon
That horn spoon the tinkler made.
TWAS summer time, and eventide,
The Graces met by a fountain-side.
In its glassy pool each viewed her form,
Lovely, untouched by passion's storm.
Near Olympus' mount this fountain stood
Close by a rich and shady wood;
And as Apollo went to rest
A glorious blush suffused the west.
The Graces sported by the pool,
And praised its waters fresh and cool,
But when its wondrous powers they found,
With songs they made the groves resound.
'Twas thus the artless trio sang,
And first Thalia thus began —
"How can we this to mortals give,
That they in purity may live?
A subtle essence let us make
Which of its nature shall partake.
To mother Venus let us go,
For she'll advise us well, I trow."
Aglaia and Euphrosyne
With one accord did answer "Yea."
Olympus' top they soon did reach,
Their goddess mother to beseech;
And when their purpose they had told,
Venus her plan did then unfold.
"Your little brother, Cupid, dear,
He grows not old from year to year,
But still a chubby boy remains,
Though he a manly mind retains.
A vicious imp has ta'en his name,
Of Erebus and Nox he came.
Both old and young he doth deceive,
That he's my son he'd make believe.
Let's arm our Cupid for the fight;
I'll clothe him in Love's armour bright,
And give to him a little bow,
Which mortals cannot see, I know.
Quiver and arrows he'll require,
Points tempered by celestial fire;
These arrows first you all must take
And carefully your essence make,
Next dip the arrow heads in it;
For service then they will be fit.
Our Cupid dear will ne'er be still,
And he may hide where'er he will.
At one time in young maiden's eye,
Or from the curling locks he'll spy;
Then shoot his dart, which cannot miss,
And falls as lightly as a kiss.
No one against him shall be proof,
'Neath homely thatch or palace roof.
It matters not, he knows his way
At dead of night or break of day.
The soldier bold he will not fear,
Nor learned man, nor poet seer.
The pain he gives they'll say is sweet,
And makes their happiness complete.
Poor mortals! well I'm glad 'tis so;
The feigning imp may they ne'er know;
But saved, perchance, by our dear boy,
Pass daily on from joy to joy,
Till when they leave this world, I trow,
'Twill cause them not a pang to go."
Quickly the Graces hied away,
And from that time until this day
The chubby boy doth vict'ries gain;
To know him well may you attain,
And from his paths may you ne'er stray,
Lest Cupid false make you his prey.
Oh! what a life would then be thine
If round your heart his tendrils twine;
Dispel the thought! It must not be.
Let one bright star be guide to thee;
Tho' far away at first it seem,
And through the clouds it oft may beam;
Sometimes perchance quite lost to sight,
And all your hope's grow dark as night;
Yet love's strong laws will draw it near
If you yourself but be sincere;
Then, all your early struggles past,
You'll reach your haven safe at last.
The age of Grecian Myth has gone,
A love Divine on earth hath shone;
And only those who know Him well,
The purest joys of love can tell.
THE sun has sunk, and soft and grey
The shadows fall of closing day
Across the snow-clad lawn;
And far o'erhead 'mid deepest blue,
Emblems of love steadfast and true,
The stars begin to dawn.
Now flickering lights of fireshine fall
Across the room, while from each wall
Old pictured faces smile,
That once have lived and loved like we
And found the world as fair to be
In their brief "little while."
The shadows fall, and to and fro
The flickering firelights come and go
While I sit here alone;
Yet quiet footsteps cross the floor,
And voices that I heard of yore
Once more, in softest tone,
Whisper to me they love me yet;
Not they who pass the veil forget
The loved they leave behind.
And we who part with them in pain
Can know that when we meet again
Shall still them faithful find.
Oh! dearest hour of all the day,
When work is done, and put away
All thoughts of care awhile,
When resting in my cosy chair,
While rubby firelights gleam and glare,
And all my thoughts beguile.
Outside the storms of life may beat,
Inside there is a lull most sweet
For wearied heart and brain.
Then oftentimes I read anew
Old words of love as dear and true
As if they lived again.
Old letters writ by those long dead,
Remembered speech by them once said,
Before we had to part;
What though the light's too dim and low
The faded writing plain to show —
I know them all by heart.
And sometimes musing thus I see
The time that soon must dawn for me,
When my life's day is done.
Ah! then the gates will open wide
That are beyond Death's awful tide
Where shines for aye the sun.
When all earth's cares and pains are past,
The rest eternal won at last,
For which I weary here,
Then I shall meet to part no more
With those that once on earth's dark shore
Were unto me most dear.
If then I may remember aught
Of all that on the earth was wrought
It shall be this dear hour;
When flickering firelights come and go
And win me with their quiet glow
From sorrow's cruel pow'r.
FAR from the haunts of men it grows this flower;
Lonely it reigns, queen of the mountain peak,
The Bride of storms: through sunshine and in shower
Faithful to all small lives that safety seek
From its outspreading arms. Yea! I would sing
Thy praises, flower, too little sung as yet —
For far across wild moors where songsters wing
These soulless poets do not thee forget.
Thy sturdy beauty wins the wooing wind,
To thee the roving bee most constant proves
Nor underrates thy worth. So do I find
In thee a fitting type of all true loves —
For year by year upon the hillside bare
Ever the same, we search and find thee fair.
THOU dost not take us, Wordsworth, where the stream
Of unpent fancy rushes bold and free,
Nor where the falling rapids whitely gleam
Thro' rocky chasms and overbending tree.
Thine is the under-current, calm and slow,
Untouched by surface storms or wintry cold.
Quietly unruffled all thy verses flow
By meadow grasses and the shepherd's fold.
The every-dayness of our common life
Is wrought with mystic meaning in thy hand,
And somewhat calmer grows our earthly strife
When at thy side we, leaning, meekly stand
With the blue sky above us, and the breeze
Roaming at will among the whisp'ring trees.
COME haste ye, haste ye, noo, guidman,
And redd yersel' and mak' ye braw,
We'll hae the strangers on oor haun'
Afore the mornin's weel awa';
The frost is nippin' shairp and keen,
The hill-taps a' are flichten'd grey;
It's juist as brisk a morn's I've seen
For mony a Hansel-Munonday.
Gae pit ye on yer coat o' grey,
And I'll pit on my feckfu' goon;
We kenna wha may come the day
Wi' a' oor bairns frae the toon;
For we'll hae Maggie and her man,
And John will be frae ower the way;
We maun be snod and braw, guidman,
To haud our Hansel-Munonday.
Oor Davie will be here frae Fife,
An' he'll be prood to see's sae fine;
'Twill be anither tack o' life
To haud his haund again in mine.
And oh, my bairn, my Sandie dear,
Guid send him safe across the Tay,
I wat, guidman, if he's no here
'Twill be nae Hansel-Munonday.
O gi'e oor Maker praise, guidman,
For a' the mercies we hae met;
We've ha'en oor sorrows noo and than,
But here we're baith thegither yet;
Tho' we hae won life's tapmost heicht,
An' noo we're toddlin' doon the brae,
We're aince mair gladden'd wi' the sicht
O' anither Hansel-Munonday.
What mak's the saut tear fill my e'e?
It's fecklesslike o' me, I ken,
But oh, guidman, I lang to see
Oor lassies and oor muckle men;
The time is swiftly wearin' near
Whan we'll be baith laid in the clay,
And never mair they'll gaither here
To spend their Hansel-Munonday.
But, come, get on yer thrifty grey,
Ye maun be buskit clean and snod
The mornin's wearin' on to day,
There's folk already on the road;
We'll hae the bairns in an 'oor,
And we maun baith be trig and gay
To mak' for them wi' a' oor power
A canty Hansel-Munonday.
FAIR fa' bright Phœbe's gowden rays
Around thy rising breast, Kinnaird,
May seasons' beauty fill thy braes
And peaceful joy be widely shared.
There summer's gladness filled my heart
There stern winter pleased my e'e,
For Nature strove her kindest part
To spread her winsome charm o'er thee!
I speeled thy braes in happy hour
In childhood's merry harmless play,
And ranged thy woods from bower to bower
When life seemed but a summer's day;
Each rugged path that skirts a brae,
Each muckle stane wi' mossy beard,
That meet my gaze where'er I gae
Awaken thochts o' loved Kinnaird.
How oft upon thy ruddy tower,
A royal wand'rer's ready hold,
In dreams' mysterious, happy power
Iv'e sat and viewed the scenes of old —
The village basked in sunny ray,
The level Carse in farming pride,
And silvery waters of the Tay,
That like my dreams in swiftness glide.
How fondly in our bosoms rise
The thoughts of early happy hours,
Like sudden glints in cloudy skies
Or earth renewed by summer showers;
What happiness to mortal mind
The memory of childhood's age,
One guileless hour of bliss to find,
One bright word on Life's blotted page.
Fair fa' bright Phœbe's gowden rays
Around thy rising breast, Kinnaird,
May seasons' beauty fill thy braes
And Nature's joy be widely shared;
On ilka bank, by ilka bower
May Nature's arts still brightly reign,
And hasten, hasten, happy hour
I tread thy weel-kent paths again!
AT times when I think on my boyhood's bricht oors
Its joys and its sorrows, its sunshine and shooers;
I'm a laddie again, and I'm pain' the flooers
On the braes roun' aboot Auchterairder.
I'm list'nin' again to the hum o' the bee,
As it scans ilka flooer on the wet dewy lea;
Or list'nin' the laverock that sings blythe and free
'Bune the braes roun' aboot Auchterairder.
I'm paidlin' ance mair in the cool o' the burn,
And chasin' the big troots at maist ilka turn;
Or landin' them oot wi' my new horse-hair gurn,
On the braes roun' aboot Auchterairder.
I'm lyin' again on the green whinny knowes,
And watchin' the sheep as they lazily browse;
Or I'm puin' the heather whaur wildly it grows,
On the braes roun' aboot Auchterairder.
In fancy I'm hearin' the heart-stirrin' note,
O' the siller-voiced cuckoo frae yon woody grot,
As loodly it pipes frae its clear trebly throat
O'er the braes roan' aboot Auchterairder.
I'm staunin' again whaur the grass grows knee-deep,
Whaur the saft gloamin' shadows their lanely watch
And I bend o'er a mither that sleeps her last sleep
In the kirkyaird o' auld Auchterairder.
Oh! scenes o' my childhood, you're dear, dear to me,
My heart's like to break, and the tear blin's my e'e,
When I think that I'll maybe again never see
The braes roun' aboot Auchterairder.
But when my lamp's oot — when my sun's shone its best,
And draps ower the hills in the far distant West;
I'd like just to think I could lie down and rest
On the braes roun' aboot Auchterairder.
OH hoo bonnie rows the burnie
At the breakin' o' the morn,
When the fragrant breath o' simmer
Moves the blossoms on the thorn,
When the birdies still are sleepin',
And the zephyr scents the hay;
Oh hoo sweetly sings the burnie
At the breakin' o' the day.
Oh hoo bonnie rows the burnie
When the simmer sun is high,
And naething but a fleecy cloud
Floats through the azure sky,
When the birds are whistlin' blythely,
And the lambkins frisk and play,
Oh hoo sweetly sings the burnie
On a sunny simmer day.
Oh hoo bonnie rows the burnie
When the nicht-clouds settle doon,
And the glamour o' the gloamin'
Flings its mystic shadows roon',
When the birdies a' are nested,
And the sun draps ower the moor,
Oh the burnie sings the sweetest
At the gloamin's witchin' oor.
Oh the music o' the burnie,
Heard far back in childhood's days,
Mak's me aftentime's grow weary
O' the city's buzz and blaze.
Yet at times ower rigid manhood
Childhood sheds its sunny beams,
For I hear the burnie singin'
In the midst o' happy dreams.
BONNIE lassie, will ye go,
Will ye go, will ye go;
Bonnie lassie, will ye go
To the birks of Aberfeldy?
* Burns explains that this song, which was first printed in Johnson's
Museum, was composed consequent on a visit which he paid to the
beautiful falls of Moness in 1787, when he and his friend, William
Nicol, of the High School, Edinburgh, were on their tour in the Highlands.
Like many another of the National poets' celebrated lyrics,
the "Birks of Aberfeldy" sprang Phœnix-like from the ashes of a less
worthy sire. In the present instance, he takes his cue from the simple
old song entitled, "The Birks of Abergeldy," which celebrates a
beautiful district on Deeside, in close proximity to the Royal residence
of Balmoral. This older song, which is of unknown date and author
ship, is worth quoting, though but to show how much, or how little
Burns owed to it.
Bonnie lassie, will ye go,
Will ye go, will ye go;
Bonnie lassie, will ye go
To the birks of Abergeldy?
O ye shall get a goun o' silk,
A goun o' silk, a goun o' silk;
O ye shall get a goun o' silk,
And 'a coat of calimanco.
Na, kind sir, I darena gang,
I darena gang, I darena gang;
Na, kind sir, I darena gang,
For my Minnie she'll be angry.
Sair, sair wad she flyte,
Wad she flyte, wad she flyte;
Sair, sair wad she flyte,
And sair wad she ban me.
Now simmer blinks on flow'ry braes,
And o'er the crystal streamlet plays;
Come let us spend the lightsome days
In the birks of Aberfeldy.
The little birdies blythely sing,
While o'er their heads the hazels hing;
Or lightly flit on wanton wing
In the birks of Aberfeldy.
The braes ascend like lofty wa's,
The foaming stream deep-roaring fa's,
O'erhung wi' fragrant spreading shaws
The birks of Aberfeldy.
The hoary cliffs are crowned wi' flowers,
While o'er the linns the burnie pours,
And, rising, weets wi' misty showers
The birks of Aberfeldy.
Let Fortune's gifts at random flee,
They ne'er shall draw a wish frae me;
Supremely blest wi' love and thee,
In the birks of Aberfeldy.
BLYTHE, blythe, and merry was she,
Blythe was she but and ben,
Blythe by the banks of Earn
And blythe in Glenturrit glen.
The sprightly melody to which the songs are sung was published in
Playford's Dancing Master as early as 1657, and is there styled "A
Scotch Ayre."
Aberfeldy and the falls of Moness are dearer to the heart of every
Scottish tourist from their association with Burns' exquisite song, and
nothing strikes the visitor to the locality more than the truthfulness
of the song-picture — for this it fully is, in addition to being a spirited
and beautiful love-lyric.
* The heroine of this beautiful song was Miss Euphemia Murray of
Lintrose, distinguished in her teens by the appellation of "The
By Ochtertyre grows the aik,
On Yarrow banks the birken shaw:
But Phemie was a bonnier lass
Than braes o' Yarrow ever saw.
Her looks were like a flower in May,
Her smile was like a summer morn;
She trippèd by the banks of Earn,
As light's a bird upon a thorn.
Her bonnie face it was as meek
As ony lamb upon a lea;
The evening sun was ne'er sae sweet
As was the blink o' Phemie's e'e.
The Highland hills I've wandered wide,
And owre the Lowlands I ha'e been;
But Phemie was the blythest lass
That ever trod the dewy green.
THICKEST night, o'erhang my dwelling!
Howling tempests, o'er me rave!
Turbid torrents, wintry swelling,
Still surround my lonely cave!
Flower of Strathmore." The poet met her while on a visit to the
house of her cousin, Sir William Murray of Ochtertyre, in 1787, and
seems to have been charmed by her beauty and affability. She was
married in 1794, to Mr. Smythe of Methven, afterwards a judge of the
Court of Session under the title of Lord Methven, the main branch of
whose family-tree finds its present-day representative in the popular
occupant of Methven Castle.
* This pathetic lament was written by Burns for Johnson's Museum,
and is supposed to express the feelings of James Drummond, fifth
Viscount of Strathallan, who escaped to France after the battle of
Culloden, where his father was slain, and died after twenty years'
exile. Both Cunningham and Chambers apply the verses to William,
fourth Viscount, but William never was attainted; for, although out
in the "Fifteen," no proceedings were taken against him, and he was
under the turf at Culloden before his name was included in the Act of
Attainder, 1746.
Chrystal streamlets, gently flowing,
Busy haunts of base mankind,
Western breezes, softly blowing,
Suit not my distracted mind.
In the cause of right engagèd
Wrongs injurious to redress,
Honour's war we strongly wagèd,
But the heavens denied success.
Farewell, fleeting, fickle treasure,
'Tween Misfortune and Folly shared!
Farewell Peace, and farewell Pleasure!
Farewell flattering man's regard!
Ruin's wheel has driven o'er us,
Not a hope that dare attend,
The wide world is all before us —
But a world without a friend!
BY Allan stream I chanced to rove,
While Phœbus sank beyond Benledi;
The winds were whispering through the grove,
The yellow corn was waving ready;
I listen'd to a lover's sang,
And thought on youthfu' pleasures many;
And aye the wild wood echoes rang —
Oh, dearly do I love thee, Annie!
* In a letter to George Thomson, dated, August, 1793, Burns writes: —
"I walked out yesterday evening, with a volume of the Museum in
my hand; when, turning up Allan Water,' 'What numbers shall the
muse repeat,' etc., as the words appeared to me rather unworthy of so
fine an air, and recollecting that it is on my list, I sat and raved under
the shade of an old thorn, till I wrote one to suit the measure. I may
be wrong; but I think it is not in my worst style. You must know
that in Ramsay's Tea Table, where the modern song first appeared,
the ancient name of the tune, Allan says, is 'Allan Water' or 'My
Oh, happy be the woodbine bower,
Nae nightly bogle make it eerie;
Nor ever sorrow stain the hour,
The place and time I met my dearie!
Her head upon my throbbing breast,
She, sinking, said "I'm thine for ever!"
While mony a kiss the seal imprest,
The sacred vow, — we ne'er should sever.
The haunt o' Spring's the primrose brae,
The Summer joys the flocks to follow;
How cheery, through her shortening day,
Is Autumn in her weeds o' yellow!
But can they melt the glowing heart,
Or chain the soul in speechless pleasure,
Or through each nerve the rapture dart,
Like meeting thee, my bosom's treasure?
THE heath this night must be my bed,
The bracken curtain for my head,
My lullaby the warder's tread,
Far, far, from love and thee, Mary;
To-morrow eve, more stilly laid,
My couch may be my bloody plaid,
My vesper song, thy wail, sweet maid!
It will not waken me, Mary!
love Annie's -very bonny.' This last has certainly been a line of the
original song; so I took up the idea, and, as you will see, have introduced
the line in its place, which, I presume, it formerly occupied;
though I likewise give you a choosing line, if it should not hit the cut
of your fancy. Bravo! say I; it is a good song, … Autumn is
my propitious season, I make more songs in it than all the year else.
— God bless you. R. B."
* This is the song of Norman in "The Lady of the Lake," canto
third. Mary of Tombea had just been married with great ceremony
to Norman, heir of Armandave, and as the bridal party were leaving
the chapel of St. Bride, Angus of Duncraggan dashed through the
I dare not, dare not, fancy now
The grief that clouds thy lovely brow;
I dare not think upon thy vow,
And all it promised me, Mary!
No fond regret must Norman know;
When bursts Clan-Alpine on the foe.
His heart must be like bended bow,
His foot like arrow free, Mary!
A time will come with feeling fraught,
For, if I fall in battle fought,
Thy hapless lover's dying thought
Shall be a thought on thee, Mary!
And if restored from conquered foes,
How blithely will the evening close,
How sweet the linnet sing repose,
To my young bride and me, Mary!
flooded Teith, "panting and travel-soiled," carrying the "Fiery
Cross" — "the fatal sign of fire and sword." Holding this forth, he
spoke the appointed words:—
"The master-place is Lanrick mead,
Speed forth the signal! Norman, speed!"
This summons dread, brooks no delay, Norman must tear himself from
his blighted bride, and the song is the expression of his feelings at
parting, mingled with love's impatience and the manly thirst for
martial fame.
"There is so much genuine feeling, so much tenderness in the
reiterations of Mary's winning name," says the late Mr. P. R. Drummond,
"that the reader is naturally led to enquire if it had no real
inspiring first cause. In one of his early rambles into Perthshire, Scott
met at Pitkellony, William and Mary Ann Erskine, children of the
Rev. William Erskine, Episcopal minister of Muthill. William went
to the bar, and eventually became Lord Kinnedder. Mary, after her
father's death, lived with her brother at Edinburgh, and the talented
young advocate became deeply attached to her; but he temporized,
and Mr. Colquhoun, also an advocate, and Sheriff of Perthshire, carried
off the much-envied Mary. This lady subsequently became well
known as the confidential correspondent of Carolina Oliphant, from
whom she received the first draft of 'The Land o' the Leal,' as a
hymn of consolation on the death of one of her children. It does not
therefore appear any very hazardous journey to walk down Glenartney,
and identify Mary of Tombea with Mary of Pitkellony. An early,
but long-deceased, friend of mine lived on intimate terms with the
Erskine family so long as they remained at Muthill. He spoke with
HAIL to the Chief who in triumph advances!
Honour'd and bless'd be the ever-green Pine!
Long may the tree in his banner that glances,
Flourish, the shelter and grace of our line!
Heaven send it happy dew,
Earth lend it sap anew,
Gaily to bourgeon, and broadly to grow,
While every Highland glen
Sends our shout back again,
"Roderigh Vich Alpine dhu, ho! ieroe!"
Ours is no sapling, chance-sown by the fountain,
Blooming at Beltane, in winter to fade;
When the whirlwind has stripp'd every leaf on the
The more shall Clan-Alpine exult in her shade.
Moor'd in the rifted rock,
Proof to the tempest's shock,
Firmer he roots him the ruder it blow;
Menteith and Breadalbane, then,
Echo his praise again,
"Roderigh Vich Alpine dhu, ho! ieroe!"
Proudly our pibroch has thrill'd in Glen Fruin,
And Banochar's groans to our slogan replied:
Glen Luss and Ross-dhu, they are smoking in ruin,
And the best of Loch-Lomond lie dead on her side.
Widow and Saxon maid,
Long shall lament our raid,
enthusiasm of Scott's visits to them, and asserted that his marriage to
Miss Carpentier was facilitated by his losing Mary Ann Erskine."
Lockhart admits the attachment to Mary Erskine, but it is to the
daughter of sonic mysterious northern baronet that he attributes Scott's
early disappointment.
Readers of Scott will remember this as the spirited boat-song sung
by the retainers of Roderick Dhu, while rowing down Loch Katrine.
Think of Clan-Alpine with fear and with woe;
Lennox and Leven-glen
Shake when they hear again,
"Roderigh Vich Alpine dhu, ho! ieroe!"
Row, vassals, row, for the pride of the Highlands!
Stretch to your oars, for the ever-green Pine!
O! that the rose-bud that graces yon islands
Were wreathed in a garland around him to twine!
O that some seedling gem,
Worthy such noble stem,
Honour'd and bless'd in their shadow might grow!
Loud should Clan-Alpine then
Ring from the deepmost glen,
"Roderigh Vich Alpine dhu, ho! ieroe!"
WHENCE the brooch of burning gold,
That clasps the Chieftain's mantle-fold,
Wrought and chased with rare device,
Studded fair with gems of price,
On the varied tartans beaming,
As, through night's pale rainbow gleaming,
Fainter now, now seen afar,
Fitful shines the northern star?
* Between Crianlarich and Tyndrum, at a place called Dalree, or the
King's Field, King Robert Bruce was encountered and repulsed, after
a very severe engagement, by Alexander Macdougall, Lord of Lorn, at
the head of a thousand men. "Bruce's personal strength and courage,"
says Sir Walter Scott, "were never displayed to greater advantage
than in this conflict. There is a tradition in the family of the Macdougalls,
that their chieftain engaged in personal battle with Bruce
himself, while the latter was employed in protecting the retreat of his
men; that Macdougall was struck down by the king, whose strength
of body was equal to his vigour of mind, and would have been slain on
the spot, had not two of Lorn's vassals, a father and son, whom
tradition terms MacKeoch, rescued him, by seizing the mantle of the
'Gem! ne'er wrought on Highland mountain,
Did the fairy of the fountain,
Or the mermaid of the wave,
Frame thee in some coral cave?
Did in Iceland's darksome mine
Dwarf's swart hands thy metal twine?
Or, mortal-moulded, comest thou here,
From England's love, or France's fear?
No! thy splendours nothing tell
Foreign art or faery spell.
Moulded thou for monarch's use,
By the overweening Bruce,
When the royal robe he tied
O'er a heart of wrath and pride;
Thence in triumph wert thou torn,
By the victor hand of Lorn!
When the gem was won and lost,
Widely was the war-cry toss'd!
Rung aloud Bendourish fell,
Answer'd Douchart's sounding dell,
Fled the deer from wild Tyndrum,
When the homicide, o'ercome,
Hardly 'scaped with scathe and scorn,
Left the pledge with conquering Lorn!
monarch, and dragging him from above his adversary. Bruce rid
himself of these foes by two blows of his redoubted battle-axe, but was
so closely pressed by the followers of Lorn, that he was forced to
abandon the mantle, and brooch which fastened it, clasped in the
dying grasp of the MacKeochs. A studded brooch, said to have been
that which King Robert lost upon this occasion, was long preserved in
the family of Macdougall, and was lost in a fire which consumed their
temporary residence."
Another account says that the worst that befel the brooch was that
it was carried off during the Civil War of the seventeenth century, but
was afterwards restored to the family. And the latter must be true
if at Taymouth, on the occasion of the Queen's visit in 1842, as stated
in Her Majesty's Leaves from the Journal of Our Life in the Highlands,
the real Brooch of Lorn was shown to the Royal party by Captain
MacDougall of Dunolly.
Vain was then the Douglas brand,
Vain the Campbell's vaunted hand,
Vain Kirkpatrick's bloody dirk,
Making sure of murder's work;
Barendown fled fast away,
Fled the fiery De la Haye,
When this brooch, triumphant borne,
Beam'd upon the breast of Lorn.
Farthest fled its former Lord,
Left his men to brand and cord,
Bloody brand of Highland steel,
English gibbet, axe, and wheel.
Let him fly from coast to coast,
Dogg'd by Comyn's vengeful ghost,
While his spoils, in triumph worn
Long shall grace victorious Lorn!
THE moon's on the lake, and the mist's on the brae,
And the clan has a name that is nameless by day;
Then gather, gather, gather, Grigalach!
Our signal for fight, which from monarchs we drew,
Must be heard but by night in our vengeful haloo,
Then haloo, haloo, haloo, Grigalach!
Glen Orchy's proud mountains, Coalchuirn and her towers,
Glenstrae and Glenlyon no longer are ours;
We're landless, landless, landless, Grigalach!
But, doom'd and devoted by vassal and lord,
Macgregor hath still both his heart and his sword!
Then courage, courage, courage, Grigalach!
* These popular verses, in which the severe treatment of the Clan
Macgregor, their outlawry, and the very proscription of their name,
are feelingly alluded to, were written for Albyn's Anthology, in 1816.
If they rob us of name, and pursue us with beagles,
Give their roofs to the flame, and their flesh to the eagles!
Then vengeance, vengeance, vengeance, Grigalach!
While there's leaves in the forest, or foam on the river,
Macgregor, despite them, shall flourish for ever!
Come then, Grigalach! come then, Grigalach!
Through the depths of Loch Katrine the steed shall career,
O'er the peak of Ben Lomond the galley shall steer;
And the rocks of Craig Royston like icicles melt,
Ere our wrongs be forgot, or our vengeance unfelt!
Then gather, gather, gather, Grigalach!
CAM' ye by Athol, lad wi' the philabeg,
Doun by the Tummel, or banks o' the Garry?
Saw ye our lads, wi' their bonnets an' white cockades,
Leaving their mountains to follow Prince Charlie?
Follow thee, follow thee, wha wadna follow thee?
Lang hast thou lo'ed an' trusted us fairly!
Charlie, Charlie, wha wadna follow thee?
King o' the Highland hearts, bonnie Prince
I ha'e but a'e son, my gallant young Donald,
But if I had ten they wad follow Glengarry;
Health to Macdonald an' gallant Clanronald,
For these are the men that will die for their Charlie.
Follow thee, follow thee, etc.
* This is not only a Perthshire song in the matter of its subject, but
the rousing melody to which it is sung was composed and arranged for
the pianoforte by Nathaniel Gow, son of the more celebrated Neil,
whose humble abode at Inver is still a feature of curious interest to
the intelligent visitor of Dunkeld and surrounding district.
I'll to Lochiel an' Appin' an' kneel to them,
Doun by Lord Murray an' 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, etc.
Doun through the Lowlands, doun wi' the whigamore,
Loyal true Highlanders, doun wi' them rarely;
Ronald an' Donald drive on wi' the braid claymore,
Over the necks o' the foes o' Prince Charlie.
Follow thee, follow thee, etc.
WEAR away, ye hues of Spring;
Ye blooms of Summer, fade away;
Round the welcome season bring
That leads my steps to Highland Tay.
Dear to me the day — the hour,
When last her winding wave I saw,
But dearer still the bonnie bower
That lies aneath yon greenwood shaw.
Aye we sat, and aye we sighed,
For there was one my arms within;
Aye the restless stream we eyed,
And heard its soft and soothing din:
The sun had sought Glenlyon's glade,
Forth peered the evening's modest gem,
And every little cloud that strayed
Looked gaudy in its gowden hem.
The playful breeze across the plain,
Brought far the woodlark's wooer tale;
And gambolled o'er the mellow grain
In mimic waves adown the dale.
I saw the drops of dew so clear
Upon the green leaf trembling lie,
And, sweeter far, the crystal tear
That trembled in a lovely eye.
When lovers meet, 'tis to the mind
The Spring-flush of the blooming year;
But oh! their parting leaves behind
A glow to memory ever dear.
Ettrick's fairy banks are green,
And Yarrow braes are mooned with gray,
But gloamin' fall was never seen
Like that I viewed in bower of Tay.
DUNCAN, lad, blaw the cummers,
Play me round the Athol cummers,
A' the din o' a' the drummers
Canna rouse like Athol cummers.
When I'm dowie, weet, or weary,
Soon my heart grows light an' cheerie;
When I hear the sprightly nummers
O' my dear, my Athol cummers.
When the fickle lasses vex me,
When the cares o' life perplex me,
When I'm fley'd wi' frightfu' rumours,
Then I lilt the Athol cummers.
* One evening in the winter of 1800, I was sawing away on the fiddle
with great energy and elevation; and having executed the Strathspey
called "Athol Cummers" much to my own satisfaction, my mother
said to me, "Jemmie, are there ony words to that tune?" "No, that
ever I heard, mother." "Oh, man, it's a shame to hear sic a guid
tune an' nae words till't. Gae awa ben the house, like a guid lad, an'
mak me a verse till't," and awa I gaed, an' here they are. — AUTHOR'S
'Tis my cure for a' disasters,
Kebbit ewes and crabbit masters;
Drifty nights and dripping summers —
A' my joy is Athol cummers.
Ettrick banks and braes are bonny,
Yarrow hills are green as ony;
But in my heart nae beauty nummers,
Wi' my dear, my Athol cummers.
Lomond's beauty nought surpasses,
Save Breadalbane's bonnie lasses;
But deep within my spirit slummers
Something sweet of Athol cummers.
ON the banks of Allan water,
When the sweet springtime did fall,
Was the miller's lovely daughter,
Fairest of them all.
For his bride a soldier sought her,
And a winning tongue had he,
On the banks of Allan water
None was gay as she.
* This beautiful and popular song first appeared in the opera of
"Rich and Poor." The plaintive air to which it has always been sung
is said to have been composed by Lady Charlotte Campbell of the
House of Argyll, the clever musician and novelist, afterwards known
as Lady Charlotte Bury. Its locale has been claimed for Northumberland,
and for Teviotdale, but Perthshire alone — in Strathallan —
possesses the various features receiving prominent mention in the
verses. Properly speaking, there is no river Allan in Northumberland.
The Teviotdale Allan is small, and could have few millers or soldiers
on its banks; whereas the Perthshire Allan has had many mills, and
a garrison in its immediate vicinity. Further, the author's visits to
this district, though affording no direct proof, are not without
significance in the connection.
On the banks of Allan water,
When brown autumn spread its store,
There I saw the miller's daughter,
But she smiled no more.
For the summer grief had brought her,
And the soldier false was he,
On the banks of Allan water,
None was sad as she.
On the banks of Allan water,
When the winter snow fell fast,
Still was seen the miller's daughter,
Chilling blew the blast!
But the miller's lovely daughter
Both from cold and care was free,
On the banks of Allan water
There a corse lay she.
Written at Callander in presence of Sir Walter Scott.
THE heart of Anne young Henry won,
But love much sorrow wrought her,
For Henry was a monarch's son,
Poor Anne — a shepherd's daughter.
He said, "A queen must be my bride,"
Of Anne his last leave taking,
She kissed his hand, but nought replied,
Poor girl! her heart was breaking.
He who her simple heart had won,
And love and sorrow taught her,
Would he had been a shepherd s son,
Or she some lordling's daughter!
His parting step she fondly eyed,
But not one word was spoken;
Then down she laid her head, and died,
Poor girl! her heart was broken.
THE sun has gave down o'er the lofty Benlomond,
And left the red clouds to preside o'er the scene;
While lanely I stray, in the calm summer gloamin',
To muse on sweet Jessie, the flower o' Dunblane.
How sweet is the brier, wi' its saft faulding blossom!
And sweet is the birk, wi' its mantle o' green;
Yet sweeter and fairer, and dear to this bosom,
Is lovely young Jessie, the flower o' Dunblane.
She's modest as ony, and blythe as she's bonnie,
And guileless simplicity marks her its ain;
And far be the villain, divested o' feeling,
Wha'd blight in its bloom the sweet flower o' Dunblane.
Sing on, thou sweet mavis, thy hymn to the e'ening,
Thou'rt dear to the echoes o' Calderwood glen;
Sae dear to this bosom, sae artless and winning,
Is charming young Jessie, the flower o' Dunblane.
* Few songs in the native dialect have taken a higher place and kept
their popularity for a longer period than this beautiful love lyric. It
has been sung in succession by Paton, Stephens, Tree, Wilson, Templeton,
Sinclair, Milne, Taylor, Kennedy, and other vocalists of more than
local fame. And many a bonnie lass whose name chanced to be the
same with that in the song has been in her time the suppositious
heroine of it, and got the blame of having "cuist the glamour" over
the poet. There is no reason for believing, however, that the author
had any particular fair one in his eye at the time. The truth is,
Tannahill wrote the words to supplant the old coarse song "Bob o'
Dunblane" — hence the title — and Jessie was quite an imaginary personage.

"The third stanza of the song was not written," says Mr. R. A. Smith,
to whom the world is indebted for the music, "till several months after
the others were finished, and, in my opinion, it would have been more
to the author's credit had such an addition never been made. The
language falls considerably below that of the first two verses."
A good deal has been made by some writers of the somewhat frivolous
circumstance that Benlomond cannot be seen from Dunblane; but I
think it is true, as Mr. P. R. Drummond remarks, that one would not
require to stray far therefrom in the calm summer gloamin' when he
would see Benlomond between him and the setting sun.
How lost were my days till I met wi' my Jessie!
The sports o' the city seemed foolish and vain;
I ne'er saw a nymph I could ca' my dear lassie,
Till charmed wi' sweet Jessie, the flower o' Dunblane.
Though mine were the station o' loftiest grandeur,
Amidst its profusion I'd languish in pain;
And reckon as naething the height o' its splendour,
If wanting sweet Jessie, the flower o' Dunblane.
LET us go, lassie, go
To the braes o' Balquhither,
Where the blaeberries grow
'Mang the bonnie Highland heather;
Where the deer and the rae,
Lightly bounding thegither,
Sport the Lang simmer day
On the braes o' Balquhither.
I will twine thee a bower,
By the clear siller fountain,
And will cover it o'er
Wi' the flowers o' the mountain.
I will range through the wilds,
And the deep glens sae dreary,
And return wi' their spoils,
To the bower o' my dearie.
When the rude wintry win'
Idly raves round our dwelling,
And the roar of the linn
On the night breeze is swelling;
So merrily we'll sing,
As the storm rattles o'er us,
'Till the dear shieling ring
Wi' the light lilting chorus.
Now the simmer is in prime,
Wi' the flowers richly blooming,
And the wild mountain thyme
A' the moorlands perfuming;
To our dear native scenes
Let us journey thegither,
Where glad Innocence reigns
'Mang the braes o' Balquhither.
YOU'VE surely heard of famous Neil,
The man wha played the fiddle weel,
He was a heartsome, merry chiel',
An' weel he lo'ed the whisky, O.
* "Everybody knows Neil Gow. When he was poorly the physicians
forbade him to drink his favourite liquor. The words following were
composed, at his particular desire, to a lamentation he had just made."
"Mrs. Lyon," says Dr. Charles Rogers, "became acquainted with
Gow when she was a young lady, attending the concerts in Dundee, at
which the services of the great violinist were regularly required."
Commenting on the song, the author's note, and Dr. Rogers'
remarks, together, the late Mr. P. R. Drummond, while admitting
that Neil "liked a wee drap Highland whisky, and took occasional
sprees," declares that to represent him as a retributive abstainer at the
instance of a conclave of doctors, while he was in good health and living
a comparatively sober life, was not only cruel in itself, but has mainly
led to the popular falsehood that Neil Gow was a drunken man. It
were a matter of regret," he adds bitterly, "if the memory of a man
who, for half a century, was the delight and admiration of the nobles
and educated people of Scotland, from the Tweed to the Spey, should,
by the indiscretion of an individual who knew so little of him that she
could not even spell his name, go down to future generations tainted
by the unmerited blemish that he was a devout worshipper of Bacchus."
As to the libel, well, perhaps the "famous Neil" himself would not
have protested so stoutly as his champion has done. And if Neil Gow
chose to spell his Christian name Niel rather than Neil, as every
previous bearer of it was content to do, there is little reason for
blaming, or charging with ignorance, any one who may fail or refuse
to fall in with his whim.
For e'er since he wore the tartan hose
He dearly liket Athole brose!
And grievèd was, you may suppose,
To bid "Farewell to whisky," O!
"Alas!" says Neil, "I'm frail and mild,
And whiles my hame is unco cauld;
I think it mak's me blythe and bauld,
A wee drap Highland whisky, O!
"But a' the doctors do agree
That whisky's no the drink for me;
I'm fley'd they'll gar me tyne my glee,
By parting me and whisky, O!
"But I should mind on auld Lang syne,
How Paradise our friends did tyne,
Because something ran in their mind —
Forbid — like Highland whisky, O!
"Whilst I can get guid wine and ale,
And find my heart and fingers hale,
I'll be content, though legs should fail,
And though forbidden whisky, O!
"I'll tak' my fiddle in my hand,
And screw its strings whilst they can stand,
And mak' a lamentation grand
For guid auld Highland whisky, O!
"Oh! all ye powers of music, come,
For, deed, I think I'm mighty glum,
My fiddle-strings will hardly bum,
To say farewell to whisky, O!'"
A FAMOUS man is Robin Hood,
The English ballad-singer's joy!
But Scotland has a thief as good,
An outlaw of as daring mood;
She has her brave Rob Roy!
Then clean the weeds from off his grave
And let us chant a passing stave
In honour of that hero brave.
Heaven gave Rob Roy a dauntless heart,
And wondrous length and strength of arm;
Nor craved he more to quell his foes,
Or keep his freends from harm.
Yet was Rob Roy as wise as brave;
Forgive me if the phrase be strong; —
A poet worthy of Rob Roy
Must scorn a timid song.
Say, then, that he was wise as brave:
As wise in thought as bold in deed;
For in the principles of things
He sought his moral creed.
Said generous Rob, "What need of books?
Burn all the statutes and their shelves;
They stir us up against our kind;
And worse, against ourselves.
"We have a passion, make a law,
Too false to guide us or control!
And for the law itself we fight
In bitterness of soul.
* The history of Rob Roy, over which Scott has thrown the glamour
of his genius, is sufficiently known. His grave is in Balquhidder
churchyard, where for many years his tombstone was only distinguished
by a rude attempt at the figure of a broadsword. Recently, at the
instance of the chief of the clan Macgregor the place has been marked
by a handsome and substantial monument.
"And, puzzled, blinded thus, we lose
Distinctions that are plain and few;
These find I graven on my heart;
That tells me what to do.
"The creatures see of flood and field,
And those that travel on the wind!
With them no strife can last; they live
In peace, and peace of mind.
"For why? — because the good old rule
Sufficeth them, the simple plan,
That they should take who have the power,
And they should keep who can.
"A lesson which is quickly learn'd,
A signal this which all can see!
Thus nothing here provokes the strong
To wanton cruelty.
"All freakishness of mind is check'd;
He tamed, who foolishly aspires:
While to the measure of his might
Each fashions his desires.
"All kinds, and creatures, stand and fall
By strength of prowess or of wit:
'Tis God's appointment who must sway,
And who is to submit.
"Since, then, the rule of right is plain,
And longest life is but a day;
To have my ends, maintain my rights,
I'll take the shortest way."
And thus among these rocks he lived,
Through summer's heat and winter's snow:
The eagle, he was lord above,
And Rob was lord below.
So was it — would, at least, have been
But through untowardness of fate;
For polity was then too strong;
He came an age too late.
Or shall we say an age too soon?
For, were the bold man living now,
How might he flourish in his pride,
With buds on every bow!
Then rents and factors, rights of chase,
Sheriffs, and lairds and their domains,
Would all have seem'd but paltry things,
Not worth a moment's pains.
Rob Roy had never linger'd here,
To these few meagre vales confined;
But thought how wide the world, the times
How fairly to his mind.
And to his sword he would have said,
"Do thou my sovereign will enact
From land to land through half the earth!
Judge thou of law and fact!
"'Tis fit that we should do our part;
Becoming, that mankind should learn
That we are not to be surpass'd
In fatherly concern.
"Of old things all are over old,
Of good things none are good enough: —
We'll show that we can help to frame
A world of other stuff.
"I, too, will have my kings that take
From me the sign of life and death:
Kingdoms shall shift about like clouds,
Obedient to my breath."
And, if the word had been fulfilled,
As might have been, then, thought of joy!
France would have had her present boast,
And we our brave Rob Roy!
Oh! say not so; compare them not;
I would not wrong thee, champion brave!
Would wrong thee nowhere; least of all
Here standing by thy grave.
For thou, although with some wild thoughts,
Wild chieftain of a savage clan!
Hadst this to boast of; thou didst love
The liberty of man.
And, had it been thy lot to live
With us who now behold the light,
Thou wouldst have nobly stirr'd thyself,
And battled for the right.
For thou wert still the poor man's stay,
The poor man's heart, the poor man's hand!
And all the oppress'd who wanted strength,
Had thine at their command.
Bear witness many a pensive sigh,
Of thoughtful herdsman when he strays
Alone upon Loch Veol's heights,
And by Loch Lomond's braes!
And, far and near, through vale and hill,
Are faces that attest the same;
And kindle, like a fire new stirr'd,
At sound of Rob Roy's name.
IN this still place, remote from men,
Sleeps Ossian, in the "Narrow Glen;"
In this still place, where murmurs on
But one meek streamlet, only one:
He sang of battles, and the breath
Of stormy war, and violent death;
And should, methinks, when all was past,
Have rightfully been laid at last
Where rocks were rudely heap'd, and rent
As by a spirit turbulent;
Where sights were rough, and sounds were wild,
And everything unreconciled;
In some complaining, dim retreat,
For fear and melancholy meet;
But this is calm; there cannot be
A more entire tranquility.
Does then the bard sleep here indeed?
Or is it but a groundless creed?
What matters it? — I blame them not
Whose fancy in this lonely spot
Was moved; and in this way express'd
Their notion of its perfect rest.
A convent, even a hermit's cell
Would break the silence of this dell:
It is not quiet, is not ease;
But something deeper far than these:
The separation that is here
Is of the grave; and of austere
And happy feelings of the dead:
And, therefore, was it rightly said
That Ossian, last of all his race!
Lies buried in this lonely place.
* At the head of the "Sma' Glen," and on a grassy plot of ground
the side of the public road, stands a conspicuous relic of the past,
an immense block of stone, cubical in form, eight feet high, and
WAE worth the heart that can be glad,
Wae worth the tear that winna fa',
For justice is fleemyt frae the land,
An' the faith o' auld times is clean awa'.
Our nobles they hae sworn an aith,
An' they gart our young king swear the same,
That as lang as the crown was on his head,
He wad speak to nane o' the Douglas name.
twenty-one feet in girth. It is called Clach-na-Ossian, and, according
to unvarying tradition, was raised to mark the grave of the renowned
Celtic bard.
* Archibald Douglas, the youngest son of the fifth Earl of Angus,
when a child, was a great favourite of James V., who called him his
"Grey-steel," and, when he grew up, made him High Treasurer of
Scotland. On the attainder and forfeiture of the Douglases in 1528,
Archibald of Kilspindie was banished into England. Wearied of his
exile he ventured back to Scotland, and threw himself in the king's
way as he returned to the Castle of Stirling from hunting in the neighbourhood.
Seeing him in the distance, James said to one of his
courtiers, "Yonder is my Grey-steel, Archibald of Kilspindie, if he be
alive," to which the courtier replied that it could not be he, as a
Douglas could not come into His Majesty's presence. On James's
approach, Archibald fell on his knees, cast himself on the royal
clemency, and promised that, if pardoned, he would never meddle
with public affairs, but would lead a quiet and private life. James's
heart yearned over him lovingly and tenderly; but remembering his
vow against the Douglases, he deigned no reply, but trotted up the
hill to the castle. The suppliant kept pace with him in the vain hope
of his relenting; and exhausted with fatigue, sat down on a stone
within the gate of the castle, and begged a drink of water, which none
would give him, for fear of the royal displeasure. Hearing of this,
James upbraided his servants for their inhumanity, saying that, but
for his oath's sake, he himself would have taken Kilspindie into
favour. He then ordered him to Leith, to wait his pleasure, whence
he was sent to France, where he died soon after. It is pleasing to
have to add that his forfeiture was rescinded, in 1543, and that his son
and heir, also Archibald, was restored to his estates, and was twice
Lord Provost of Edinburgh. — Dr. Marshall's "Historic Scenes in
Finlay, the author of the ballad, was a native of Glasgow. He was
born in 1782, and died at Moffat in 1810.
An' wasna this a wearifu' aith;
For the crown frae his head had been tint an'
Gin the Douglas' hand hadna held it on,
When anither to help him there was nane.
An' the king frae that day grew dowie an' wae,
For he liked in his heart the Douglas weel;
For his foster-brither was Jamie o' Parkhead,
An' Archy o' Kilspindie was his Grey-steel.
But Jamie was banisht an' Archy baith,
An' they lived lang, lang ayont the sea,
Till a' had forgotten them but the king!
An' he whiles said, wi' a watery e'e —
"Gin they think on me as I think on them,
I wat their life is but drearie."
It chanced he rode wi' hound an' horn
To hunt the dun an' the red-deer down,
An' wi' him there was mony a gallant earl
An' laird, an' knight, an' bold baron.
But nane was wi' him wad ever compare
Wi' the Douglas so proud in tower and town,
That were courtliest all in tower and hall,
And the highest ever in renown.
It was dawn when the hunters sounded the horn,
By Stirling's walls, so fair to see;
But the sun was far gaen down i' the west
When they brittled the deer on Torwood-lee.
An' wi' jovial din they rode hame to the town
Where Snawdon* tower stands dark an' hie;
Frae least to best they were plyin' the jest,
An' the laugh was gaun round right merrily.
* An ancient name of Stirling.
When Murray cried loud, — "Wha's yon I see?
Like a Douglas he looks, baith dark and grim;
And for a' his sad and weary pace,
Like them he's richt stark o' arm and limb."
The king's heart lap, and he shouted wi' glee —
"Yon stalwart makedom* I ken richt weel;
And I'se wad in pawn the hawk on my han'
It's Archy Kilspindie, my ain Grey-steel;
We maun gi'e him grace o' a' his race,
For Kilspindie was trusty aye, an' leal."
But Lindsay spak' in waefu' mood —
"Alas! my liege, that mauna be."
And stout Kilmaurs cries — "He that daurs,
Is a traitor to his ain countrie."
And Glencairn, that aye was douce and stern,
Says — "Where's the aith ye sware to me?
Gin ye speak to a man o' the Douglas clan,
A gray groat for thy crown and thee."
When Kilspindie took hand o' the king's bridle reins,
He louted low down on his knee;
The king a word he durstna speak,
But he looked on him richt wistfullie.
He thought on days that lang were gane,
Till his heart was yearnin' and like to brast;
As he turned him round, his barons frowned;
But Lindsay was dichtin' his een fu' fast.
When he saw their looks, his proud heart rose,
An' he tried to speak richt hauchtillie —
"Gae tak' my bridle frae that auld man's grip;
What sorrow gars him haud it sae sickerlie?"
* Stout body.
And he spurred his horse wi' gallant speed,
But Archy followed him manfullie,
And, though cased in steel frae shoulder to heel,
He was first o' a' his companie.
As they passed, he sat down on a stane in the yett,
For a his grey hair there was nae ither biel;
The king staid the hindmost o' the train
And he aft looked back to his auld Grey-steel.
Archy wi' grief was quite fordone,
An' his arm fell weak that was ance like airn,
An' he sought for some cauld water to drink,
But they durstna for that doure Glencairn.
When this was tauld to our gracious king,
A red wud furious man woxe he,
He has ta'en the mazer cup in his hand,
And in flinders he has gart it flee —
"Had I kent my Grey-steel wanted a drink,
He should hae had o' the red wine free."
And fu' sad at the table he sat him down,
And he spak' but a'e word at the dine —
"O I wish my warst fae were but a king,
Wi' as cruel counsellours as mine."
THE beacon lights are blazing bright, the slogan's on
the blast;
The clansmen muster rapidly, the fiery cross flies fast;
Chiefs hurry from their towers of strength, and vassals
from their shiels;
For Albyn's strand's polluted by an hundred hostile
* In the year 980, when the Danes had invaded Scotland, and prevailed
in the battle of Luncarty, near Perth, the Scots were worsted,
and gave way. In their flight through a narrow pass they were
stopped by a countryman and his two sons, who encouraged them to
Oh! vermil cheeks shall pallid grow, and sunny eyes
shall weep;
But not from fear or sorrow, but from indignation deep;
To see these Scandinavian wolves, a wild, unhallow'd
Like demons of destruction come to wreck our fatherland.

The robber hordes are all debarked — their raven-banners
wave —
Their swords are out, and fair Strathmore is one promiscuous
The Esk, the Brothick, Lunan, Tay, run ruddy to the
While altar, temple, tower, and town, are levelled with
the lea!
rally and renew the fight, and upbraided those who would fly like
cowards when all was at stake. The more timorous stood still, and
many of the stout men, who fled more by the desertion of their companions
than from want of courage, joined with the old man and his
two sons to stop the rest, till there was a good number together. The
countrymen, who are said to have been armed with only their plough
coulters, backed by the rallied forces, made a furious attack on the
approaching Danes, crying aloud, "Help is at hand!" whereupon the
Danes, thinking a fresh army was falling on them, were partially
paralysed, and the Scots thereby totally defeated them, and freed their
country from servitude. The battle over, the old man, afterwards
known by the name of Hay, was brought to the King, who, assembling
a Parliament at Scone, gave Hay and his sons, as a just reward for
their valour, so much land on the river Tay, in the district of Gowrie,
as a falcon from a man's hand flew over till it settled; which, being
six miles in length, was afterwards called Errol. And the King being
willing to promote the said Hay and his sons from the rank of plebeians
to the order of nobility, he assigned them a coat of arms, which was
— Argent, three escutcheons, gules — to intimate that the father and
two sons had been the three fortunate shields of Scotland. Such is the
story as told in "The Scottish Peerage" (art. Hay), the authenticity
of which has, however, been questioned by subsequent writers. We
have before us three ballads composed on the battle of Luncarty — one
by David Miller, the author of "The Tay — a Poem;" another by
James Ferguson of Stanley; and the third the one we have chosen,
and which is certainly the best, from the pen of David Vedder, the
well-known sailor-poet of Orkney.
The hut, the cottage, and the grange, are blazing up to
Decrepit eld, and babes alike, are to this carnage given;
And beauteous maids and matrons fair leap from the
dizzy steep,
And perish — pure as snow from heaven — upon the
ocean deep.
The spoilers move exultingly, o'er Gowrie's fertile fields,
Their deadly spears a forest seem'd, a solid wall their
Like locusts in their mortal flight upon the orient wind,
A paradise before them lay, a blighted waste behind.
Bathed in the setting light of heaven, imperial Bertha
Like some empurpled orient queen upon her emerald
The waving woods, her gorgeous train, seem'd paying
homage meet;
And Tay, emitting silver sounds, lay crouching at her
"Now by the sacred mead that flows in Odin's palace
high —
And by the blessed light that beams from Thor's
immortal eye,
If there's a recreant in my host," the giant Sweno cries,
"His craven corse shall flesh my hounds — his odious
memory dies.
"See, mountain, meadow, strath, and stream — behold
the glorious prize,
The bright Valhalla of my dreams, when sleep had
seal'd mine eyes,
There lies the land of my desire — the home of all my
And there the Danish diadem shall shine all crowns
Ten thousand voices burst at once in one loud chorus
Whilst echo from her mountain caves prolonged the
savage yell;
Ten thousand brands on brazen shields in dire collision
clash'd —
Ten thousand darts were hurl'd in air, or in the sod
were dash'd.
But, hark! a shout has answered theirs, like mountain
torrents loud —
A marshalled host comes moving on dense as a thunder
cloud —
And like that cloud, surcharged with death, and rolling
That thunder cloud is Scotland's king, and Scotland's
In fiery haste the Scots advance, and with the invaders
close —
Like tigers of their cubs bereaved, they spring upon
their foes,
And thousands fall no more to rise, gash'd o'er with
many a wound;
And shrieks, and shouts, and groans are blent, and life--
blood stains the ground.
The Scottish monarch marked his track along the gory
His beacons in that sea of blood were pyramids of slain.
He spurr'd his foaming charger on along the embattled
And with his ponderous battle-axe clove Sweno to the
Now clan with clan, and son with sire, and chief with
chieftain vied,
To pierce the Danish phalanx through, and turn the
battle's tide,
For vassal, knight, and thane, alike, their blood ran hot
and high;
Death glared from every falchion's edge, and vengeance
from each eye.
What boots it now how well they fought, for ah! they
fought in vain;
Their squadrons reel, their ranks are broke, they fly
before the Dane;
The banner of the silver cross lies trampled in the clay,
And for the glorious battle-cry 'tis "Save himself who
See how they flee o'er moor and dale, like fugitives
Where is thine honour, Scotland, now? 'tis like thy
banners — torn;
Yes, there is honour — there is hope — for by this blessed
Three gallant men have left their teams, and check'd
the shameful flight.
And now they rally, form, and charge, and gory gaps
they hew'd;
With tenfold fury in their souls the battle was renew'd.
'Twas hand to hand, and brand to brand, and dirk and
dagger met,
And flane and flane alternately in red heart-blood were
On, on, ye glorious peasants three, the bloody die is cast;
The Danes are routed — See, they fly like snowflakes on
the blast.
On, on, ye peasant heroes, on, and win your deathless
mead —
The gory die at length is cast, and Scotland's soil is
There's mirth and kingly revelry in Scone's imperial
And squire and knight and lord and thane grace that
high festival,
And royalty, in robes of state, and beauty's bright
But every eye in homage turned upon the patriots Hay.
There's mimic warfare on the lawn, beneath the royal
There's lances shiver'd — knights unhorsed — the flower of
And high-born dames, lit up with smiles, bright as the
milky way —
But O! their smiles beamed brightest on the stalwart
peasants Hay.
Then royal Kenneth left his throne, and laid his crown
aside —
"Are you the glorious peasants three that turned the
battle's tide?
Your patent of nobility Heaven gave you at your birth,
Alas! a king can only add the splendours of the earth.
"Such as we have we give. Be lords of Errol's fertile
And be your scutcheon blazon'd with three blood-stain'd
Scottish shields;
And may your fame, your glory, last for ever and for
For Scotland, to the end of time, shah bless the name of
Author of "The Muses' Threnodie, or Mirthful Mournings
on the Death of Mr. Gall," is the earliest, and only
known poet of the old classic order, which the City of
Perth can lay claim to. According to James Cant, who
edited an edition of his poems, with notes and observations,
which was published at Perth in 1774, Adamson
was educated for the pulpit, and was a gentleman of
considerable talent, a good classical scholar, and the
author of some Latin poems above mediocrity. He was
the son of James Adamson, who was Dean of Guild in
Perth in the year of the Gowrie Conspiracy, and Provost
in 1610 and 1611. As a poet he was known and
esteemed by Drummond of Hawthornden, the Poet--
Laureate of the time, at whose solicitation, he, in 1638,
issued the first edition of his poems. Prefixed to this
is the following address to the "Courteous Reader."
"It is not amiss," says the poet, "thou be a little
informed concerning the persons of the defunct Mr.
Gall, and the mourner, Mr. Ruthven. The poet wrote
this for his own exercise, and the recreation of his
friends, and this piece, though accomplished to the great
contentment of many that read and heard it, yet could
not the author be induced to let it thole the press, till
the importunity of many learned men urged him unto it;
and the last brashe (effort) was made by a letter of the
prime poet of our kingdom, whereof this is the just copy
"'To my worthy friend Mr. Henry Adamson.
"Sir, — These papers of your Mournings on Mr. Gall,
appear unto me as Alcibiadis Sileni, which ridiculously
look with the faces of Sphinges, Chimeras, Centaurs,
on their outsides; but inwardlie containe rare artifice,
and rich jewels of all sorts, for the delight and weal of
man. They may deservedlie bear the words non intus ut
extra. Your two champions, noble zanys (buffoons)
discover to us many of the antiquities of this country,
more of our ancient town of Perth, setting down her
situation, founders, her huge colosse or bridge, walls,
aqueducts, fortifications, temples, monastries, and many
other singularities. Happie hath Perth been in such
a citizen, not so other towns of this kingdome, by
want of so diligent a searcher and preserver of their
fame from oblivion. Some Muses, neither to themselves
nor to others, do good, nor delighting, nor instructing.
Yours perform both, and longer to conceal them, will
be, to wrong your Perth of her due honours, who
deserveth no less of you than that she should be thus
blazoned and registrate to posterity, and to defraud
yourself of a monument, which, after you have left this
transitory world, shall keep your name and memory to
after-times. This shall be preserved by the towne of
Perth, for her own sake first, and after for yours; for
to her it hath been no little glory, that she hath brought
forth such a citizen, so eminent in love to her, so dear
to the Muses.
"'W. D.
"'Edinburgh, 12th July, 1637.'"
Adamson appears not to have been ambitious of fame,
and, presumably, but for the patronising solicitude of
"the prime poet," neither "Gall's Gabions," nor "The
Muses' Threnodie," would ever have seen the light of
print. As to the first poem, of which no idea can be
formed from the title, it consists of a ludicrous and
Hudibrastic inventory of the furniture and collection of
curiosities contained in Mr. George Ruthven's closet, all
of which the venerable owner was wont to succinctly
describe as his "Gabions."
The "Threnodie" is an elegiac poem on the death of
Mr. John Gall, a young gentleman, handsome, facetious,
and learned. The poet keeps himself behind the curtain,
and introduces Ruthven and Gall upon the stage, who
give an account of the antiquities of Perth, and its
environs. Ruthven was descended from the noble family
of the same name, and was a physician and surgeon in
Perth. Gall was a merchant, well educated, of sweet
disposition, and pregnant wit, and much esteemed.
His premature death, of consumption, afforded occasion
for the poem.
Adamson died, unmarried, in 1629, the year after the
publication of his book, and was much lamented, the
following tribute to his memory showing the high
esteem in which he was held by the "makkirs" of his
Dear soul, thou hast obtained more lasting fame,
In Folly's colours wisdom setting forth;
Than if ten fabricks like Mausolus' frame,
Were for thee rear'd in witness of thy worth.
Thy Perth may boast of such a grateful son,
Who thus hath honour'd his dear aged mother;
Thy Muse such glory and such fame hath won
To her, as no oblivion can it smother.
Art, wit, and learning, learning, wit, and art,
Do jointly jostle here, each of them striving,
Which carry shall the prize, and bear chief part
In these thy lays, thy native town describing.
Thy George's Gabions shew to underlings
That all things truffles be that Heaven not reaches;
By what thy Gall and he, in rapture sings
Much wisdom divine and humane thou teaches.
Thy death the Muses' darlings all shall mourn,
And shall a tomb erect unto thy name;
Of tears turned cristal, and upon thine urn,
These words shall write as blazon of thy fame.
Here lies his dust by whose most learned quill,
He and his Perth do live, and shall live still.
A house-painter to trade, and a poet by chance, Peter
Agnew was a native of Perth, and lived in the South
Street in 1793. Very early in life he gave evidence of
being possessed of rare musical talent, and learned to
play on the violin, an instrument over which he soon
obtained an almost complete mastery, and with which
he lived to charm the ills of many a luckless day. On
the completion of his 'prentice time Agnew went to
Glasgow, and from thence, in a few years, to London,
from whence he again, after a few more years, returned
to the commercial capital of his native Caledonia, where
he wore out the bulk of his after-lease. His life appears
to have been a somewhat chequered one, the grim visage
of poverty frequently staring him in the face, and, if
not actually sconcing herself at his fireside, being
represented there on an occasion by her foster-friend,
the beagle. An excellent violinist, a fair landscape
painter, a capital singer of songs, a pleasing writer of
verses, and an entertaining story-teller, perhaps Peter
Agnew had too many accomplishments to be eminently
successful in any.
A profound preacher, a genial and subtle essayist, a
graceful poet, and a keen angler, the Rev. Dr. John
Anderson, of Kinnoull, is the only child of the Rev. Dr.
John Anderson, minister first at Dunbarney, near
Bridge of Earn, and afterwards at Newburgh-on-Tay,
and was born at the latter place in 1822. "My father,"
he says, "always, in his mind, designed me for the
Church; but for some time it seemed doubtful if such a
special nugget was destined to enrich the treasury of
the dear Auld Kirk. … The sons of the manse
have earned the name of proverbial 'Pickles,' and the
writer of these lines, I greatly fear, was closely allied to
that family. My schooling' began under the kindly
care of old Tom Scott, who died not long ago, the
minister of Shapinshay in the far off misty Shetlands.
It was no fault of his that his boy failed to become a
star. … However, in one way I made my mark;'
for if I had not a pair of handsome black eyes once a
quarter some other fellow was certain to wear the sable
livery. These things I can afford to write, keeping
nothing back, being now a greyhaired man, much
sobered and subdued by the stern realities of life, and
gazing with a placid sadness down the sombre far--
stretching vista of more than half a century." "A
ragged cowte has aft been kent to mak' a guid gelding,"
says the old Scotch proverb, and by and by "the
minister's wild laddie," as he was called, became "mimic,"
and sought to excel at school, and succeeded. At the
age of fourteen he was sent to St. Andrews University,
and there for six years worked hard, with honours.
Proceeding to Edinburgh, he there completed his theological
course, and justified the hope which was entertained
of him whilst a student at St. Andrews. He
was the only alumnus of the period whose contributions
were accepted by the leading serials. To Fraser's Magazine
he contributed a series of papers on "Christopher
North in his Fishing Jacket," which subsequently
secured him Professor Wilson's personal regard. His
literary powers also attracted the notice of Principal
Lee, who evinced exceptional interest on his behalf.
The Principal offered him important preferment abroad,
but, in deference to his parents' entreaty, he remained
at home. In 1844 he was elected minister of St. John's
Church, Dundee. In the year following he was translated
to St. John's Parish, Perth. Here he laboured with
much acceptance for about seven years, when he was
appointed to the church living of Kinnoull, where he
still remains and ministers to a much-devoted and
proudly-appreciative congregation. "A graceful and
effective preacher," says the Christian Leader, "Dr.
Anderson, had he encouraged proposals made to him,
might have occupied important charges either at Glasgow
or Edinburgh. But a town life had no attractions for
him, and he has expressed his determination not to
abandon his present sphere. At Kinnoull he lives
among an attached people and kindly appreciative
neighbours, while he daily enjoys a spectacle of landscape
beauty singularly adapted to his tastes. A vigorous
prose writer, he might as a poet have obtained fame
had his ambition been equal to his genius." As it is,
he is well known as a Christian lyrist. His beautiful
compositions adorn the pages of "Lyra Britannica," the
"Harp of the Christian Home," and other collections.
His published works include "Visions of a Night,"
"The Pleasures of Home," "A Legend of Glencoe,"
"Bible Incidents," "Holy Ground," "Autumn Gleanings;
or Ears of Barley," and "Sprigs of Heather; or the
Rambles of May-fly with his Old Friends," all giving
evidence of a mind enriched with the stores of varied
scholarship; an eye keenly alive to the beauties of
nature; and a heart as tender and sympathetic as it is
frequently joyous and strong.
A frequent contributor of prose and verse to the
periodical press, John Anderson, the second, presently
employed as an assistant teacher in Yardheads Public
School, Leith, is a native of Auchterarder, and was born
on 30th March, 1860. When little more than a mere
child he exhibited an unusually fine faculty for the
acquirement of knowledge, and became a pupil teacher
in his Alma Mater before he was fifteen years old. He
attended the E. C. Training College in Glasgow, in
1879-80, and has since held important appointments as
a teacher both in Scotland and in England. An esteemed
member of the literary staff of Illustrations, conducted
by Mr. Francis G. Heath, since 1886, he recently contributed
to that Magazine an important series of articles
on the educational establishments, public and private,
of the United Kingdom, and another on Scottish artists
and their studies, which merit the permanency of collective
book form. Adding to a fine literary taste, a good ear,
and a cultured imagination, Mr. Anderson's lyrics, if
not powerful, are graceful and pleasing.
Parish minister of Kilsyth, and author of "Masters in
History," and "England's Essayists" — two of the most
popular books of their class — was born about forty
years ago on the braes of the celebrated Carse of Gowrie,
where his family circle has still its centre, and whence
his heart yet sends his memory on many a pleasant
excursion. He received his scholastic education in Perth
and Dundee, and at an early age entered the University
of St. Andrews. Adding to a powerfully athletic body
an equally powerful mind, and a finely retentive memory,
Mr. Anton distinguished himself at college by carrying
off first honours both in the literary classes and in the
gymnasium; and even at this early time his contributions
to the literary journals of the day were not unfrequent.
Immediately after being licensed by the Presbytery of
St. Andrews, he was appointed assistant in St. Paul's
Parish — the South Kirk — Dundee. After a few weeks
here, he was presented by the late Earl of Rosslyn to the
Parish of Dysart, from whence, six years subsequently,
he received an unanimous appointment to Kilsyth,
where he presently ministers to a large and highly
appreciative congregation. Mr. Anton's fame as a
biographical essayist — a line of work in which he
specially excells — is co-extensive with the circulation of
the People's Friend, perhaps the most popular and widely
read miscellany of its class, to the pages of which he
has been a regular and welcome contributor for many
years. He has also written for The Scots Magazine, The
Scottish Church, Life and Work, Fraser's Magazine, etc.
Poetry has been but the mere by-play of his life — the
study with which he has been accustomed to fill in an
otherwise idle half-hour; but so fresh and inspiriting
are some of his numbers that his many friends and
admirers will be disposed to hope with the present
writer that those "orra" half-hours will occur to him
more frequently in the future than they have been
permitted to do in the past.
For many years station-master at Glencarse, was born
at Panmure, near Carnoustie, in 1819. He was early
sent to work, and has, on the stage of life and labour,
played in his time many and varied parts. Beginning
with cow-herd, he has been successively apprentice
brewer, factory worker, soldier, railway parcel-deliverer,
goods guard, passenger guard, and station-master.
When employed as a guard, in 1852, the train to which
he was attached was thrown over the bridge which
crosses Invergowrie Quarry, and, going down with it,
he sustained such fearful injury that for months he lay
in Dundee Infirmary, his life trembling in the balance.
Rallying at length, he was appointed station-master at
Glencarse, where he remained until his retirement,
recently, respected and esteemed by all with whom he
came into intimate contact. His one popular song, "The
Iron Horse," was first sung in public at a festival of
railway servants, held in Perth in 1848.
A grand-niece of Lady Nairne, the authoress of "The
Land o' the Leal," Margaret Fraser Sandeman, born
24th March, 1823, possessed not a little of the poetic
fire that percolated through the veins of her saintly
mother, Mrs. Sandeman of Springland, and descended
to her own son, the late Rev. Robert W. Barbour of
Bonskeid; and the examples of her muse which we have
been able to secure for this work through the kindly
offices of her daughter, Mrs. Simpson, of Edinburgh,
reflecting as they do the gentle and devout spirit of
their author, will be much esteemed.
Part of our subject's childhood, it is worth noticing,
was spent with her illustrious grand-aunt on the Continent,
and many of the leading events and incidents
contained in the Memoir of the Baroness, which was
published some years ago, were gathered from a narrative
supplied by her facile pen.
On the 24th April, 1845, she was married, in her
mother's house at Springland, to George Freeland
Barbour, Esq. Her brother, the Rev. David Sandeman,
who was groomsman, then said to her, "Do not go to
your home as a Mistress, go as a Door-keeper, to let in
whomsoever Christ sends." And this advice she obeyed
to the letter. To the end of her days the doors of
Bonskeid House were ever open to the servants of the
Master, and, like her mother, she was never so happy
as when she had a house full of evangelists, to minister
to whom was one of the supreme pleasures of her life.
She was an eloquent and effective speaker as well as
ready with her pen, and although she did not appear on
public platforms, those who have heard her on semiprivate
occasions will never forget her powerful and
impassioned addresses. A devoted member of the Free
Church for many years, China and its people occupied
the chief place in Mrs. Barbour's thoughts. Her interest
in that great empire dated from the time when the Rev.
William C. Burns, who manifested a powerful influence
on her life, and her brother, the Rev. David Sandeman,
a man of noble character, devoted themselves to
missionary work in China. To all the missionaries in
China and to students from that land attending the
University of Edinburgh she showed unbounded kindness,
and gave freely of her means for the work of the
mission, as she gave, indeed, for every good object. The
present age with its artificialities and proprieties is not
likely to produce many women of such a high order as
Mrs. Barbour of Bonskeid. and it will be difficult to fill
her place. The death of her husband, six years ago,
and of her gifted son, Rev. Robert W. Barbour, early
in the summer of 1891, darkened the close of her life,
but her friends never knew any change in the geniality
of her disposition and in her largeness and kindness of
heart. She died in the beginning of February last
As a book writer, Mrs. Barbour acquired considerable
fame. "The Way Home," which records the lives of
her two eldest sons, who met their death in a railway
accident at an early age, has had a wide circulation, and
the loving and delightsome Memoir of her Mother,
"The Soul-Gatherer," and other works, attest her literary
skill. But her great work — her great poem — was
her life.
A second M'Cheyne, Robert William Barbour, recently
deceased, was the eldest son of the late George Freeland
Barbour, Esq. of Bonskeid, and the subject of the preceding
notice, and was born at Edinburgh, on the 29th
November, 1854. In early boyhood he gave himself to
the Christian life, and at Edinburgh University came
at once to the front and achieved a very brilliant career.
After visiting the mission fields of several churches in
Africa, Mr. Barbour entered the ministry of the Free
Church, and was settled at Cults, near Aberdeen, in
1881. After labouring at Cults with much success and
acceptance for five years, he was obliged to resign his
charge on account of the state of his health. During
the absence of Professor Lindsay in India, he occupied
the Chair of Church History in the Free Church College
in Glasgow, where his services were greatly appreciated
by the students. At the request of the College Committee
of the United Presbyterian Church, Mr. Barbour
had agreed to discharge for a session, along with Professor
Calderwood, the duties of the Chair of Church
History, rendered vacant by the death of Professor
Duff, but, to his regret, he was prevented by medical
orders from fulfilling the engagement. During the
winter of 1891-2 he was confined to the house, and in
the month of February he went to Mentone, tended by
his devoted wife and some friends; latterly he removed
to Aix-les-Bains, where he lingered till the end of May,
when he sank out of great weakness into everlasting
rest. On the 3rd June his remains were interred beside
those of his father and his son in the private burying--
ground at Bonskeid.
Mr. Barbour early discovered a true poetic faculty,
and more than a dozen years ago published a volume of
his poems under the title of "Jeroveam's Wife and
other Poems," which was very favourably received.
Writing of this and the intellectual side of his friend and
fellow-student's character generally, Professor George
Adam Smith of Aberdeen recently said, "I do not think
that the poetry of his book ever came near the poetry
of his life. He saw the ideal in everything, especially
in common Christian work and in our Scottish life, in
both of which it is so difficult for ordinary hearts to
rise above the commonplace. He saw the blush of the
heart's blood through the meanest face, and had a way
all his own of glorifying the humblest means of grace. He
was a thorough Scot, with a love for his land, her
history, and her songs, that was very beautiful. He
knew Scottish life to the bone, Scottish history to the
fountainhead; and it was delightful in conversation
about parish politics and every-day matters, to be surprised
by his emphasis of the historical meaning and
national virtue of some ordinary event or institution.
If he has failed to build any monument worthy of his
intellectual strength, it is largely because he consecrated
his powers to pastoral work."
Sometimes called "John the Berean," by reason of
his being the founder of the old and now totally defunct
religious sect bearing that name, was born at Strageath,
in the parish of Muthill, in 1734. His father, Ludovic
Barclay, from the first designed his son for the Church,
and, after running the course of the parish school and
studying at St. Andrews University, he was licensed to
preach the Gospel by the Presbytery of Auchterarder
on the 27th September, 1759. Acting for three or four
years as assistant minister of Errol, and afterwards for
nine years occupying the same position at Fettercairn,
he was hunted for heresy, and seceded from the Church
of Scotland in 1773. Subsequently he preached the
Gospel, according to his own interpretation of it, in
Edinburgh and London, in both of which centres he
established a church, and disputed in public with whoever
might be inclined to call his doctrines in question.
In the Scottish capital he formed a large congregation.
He died there of apoplexy on the 29th July, 1798.
His remains were interred in the Calton old burying--
ground, where a monument bearing a suitable inscription
has been erected to his memory. In addition to several
volumes of a polemical character, Barclay wrote and
published a metrical version of the Psalms, and was,
according to Burns and others, the author of the version
of the "Battle of Shirramuir," placed above his name
in this work.
During his career as a "gospeller," he occasionally
visited his native locality, and he formed a church in
Crieff, which flourished up till about forty years ago,
when the survivors divided the collection plate, plate--
stand, forms, etc., by lot. When resident here he
generally lodged with a family who lived on the east
side of King Street; and tradition tells that after an
animated discourse on the people of Berea, in a malt
barn, which occupied the site of the present Free
Church, some one wrote with chalk on the door of the
house in which he lodged, "Noble Bereans," which so
pleased him that he adopted "Bereans" as the title of
his sect.
Was a native of Leetown, near Errol, in the Carse of
Cowrie, and was born in the year 1796. The son of a
stone mason, he learned his father's handicraft, and —
a brief interval excepted, in which he vainly endeavoured
to establish himself as an architect and contractor — he
continued an operative stone-worker until the end of
his days. We have not been able to learn very much
of what one may appropriately term Beattie's every-day
walk; but the sorry fact is on record that while yet in
the prime of life he contracted irregular habits, and
hastened his end by insistent intemperance. He died
at Leetown in the winter of 1838, and lies buried in
St. Madoe's Churchyard.
A volume of his poems, extending to 64 pages, was
published during the poet's lifetime by John Taylor,
Perth, but the book bears no date. Many of his
poems are of surprising excellence, especially as the
lucubrations of a working man. His style, formed on
some of the best models, is substantially English; and
he displays, in vigorous diction, great wealth of poetic
thought and refined sentiment.
A distinguished student of St. Andrews University,
George Blair was ordained to the pastorate of Monzie
parish in September 1843. In October of the following
year, he resigned his pastoral charge, and was
at the same time suspended from the office of the
holy ministry. After engaging for a short time in
journalistic work in Glasgow he went abroad. In
1877, when the late Principal Tulloch visited America,
he met Mr. Blair, who then occupied the responsible
position of an Inspector of Schools in Canada. Acting
on the Principal's advice, he at that time applied to
the Presbytery of Auchterarder to remove the sentence
of suspension passed on him thirty-three years before;
and the application being accompanied by testimonials
from some of the best known men in Canada, this was
accordingly done. A mixed volume of poetry and
prose, of supreme local interest, from Mr. Blair's pen,
entitled "The Holocaust; or the Witch of Monzie: a
poem illustrative of the cruelties of superstition; Lays
of Palestine, and other poems, to which is prefixed
Enchantment Disenchanted; or a treatise on Superstition,"
appeared in 1845, and is now very scarce.
The example of his verse herein contained is taken from
that work.
The venerable and esteemed U.P. Minister of Dunblane,
whose contributions to literature are neither few
nor unimportant, was born at Clunie, in the parish of
Kinglassie, in 1830. After a distinguished University
career, which terminated in 1854, he simultaneously
received a call to Whitby, in England, and another to
Dunblane; and, choosing the latter, was ordained as
minister there in April, 1856, where he has since laboured
assiduously, and without interruption, to a large and
attached congregation. As a student and a minister
Dr. Blair's mind has continued in unceasing activity.
While yet at college he published "The Chronicles of
Aberbrothock," a traditionary work of considerable
extent. In 1857 "Rambling Recollections" appeared,
arid three years subsequently "The Prince of Preachers,"
a sermon and a biographical sketch of the late Dr.
Fletcher of London, which was followed a year later
by an interesting account of a tour he made through
France, Switzerland, and Italy. In 1873 he edited
M'Kelvie's "Annals and Statistics of the U. P. Church,"
and ten years later published "Selections from Archbishop
Leighton, with Notes and Biography," a work
which has been greatly esteemed. In addition to the
books named, Dr. Blair has written largely for the
newspapers, magazines, and reviews of the day, as well
as articles for biographical dictionaries. The University
of St. Andrews conferred upon him the honorary degree
of D.D. in 1879, and he has since been made an F.S.A.
Scot. It will surprise many who know the reverend
gentleman well to find him ranked among the poets
of the shire to which by lengthened residence within
its borders he very essentially belongs; but the pieces
which appear here, selected from a number in our
possession, will show that his title to do so is, beyond
question, valid.
A Gaelic poet of distinction, and justly celebrated as
a writer of hymns, Dugald Buchanan was born at
Strathyre, on the "Braes o' Balquhidder," in 1716.
His father, who was a farmer and miller, gave him a
more than ordinary country education, and was led to
do so from having discovered that the lad was unusually
"gleg in the uptak'." For a number of years young
Buchanan led a somewhat irregular life, but at length
reformed. In the stormy times of the '45 he did
not himself actually take up arms in the Pretender's
cause, but many of his friends did, and were massacred
at Carlisle. In 1755 the Society for Propagating
Christian Knowledge appointed him schoolmaster and
catechist at Kinloch Rannoch. Here he laboured with
diligence, writing hymns and lyrics in his spare hours;
and here, in 1768, he died. A fountain was recently
erected to his memory in Strathyre. He was an earnest
preacher and evangelist; assisted in the preparation of
the first edition of the New Testament in Gaelic, and
did much by his faithful and civilising influence to
pacify the wild district in which he lived. His
"Spiritual Songs" appeared in 1766. In general estimation
Buchanan is inferior as a poet to Duncan Ban
M'Intyre, but is admittedly the greatest sacred poet
the Scottish Highlands have produced. His "Day of
Judgment," displaying great power of imagination, is
amongst the most popular poems in the language. It
reflects accurately the religious opinions of his riper
years, and, indeed, of his time and country; preaching,
as it does, Calvinism pure and simple, without one
softening touch of humanity. "The Skull" is the
poem, however, that will have most attraction for
readers of to-day.
Author of "The Crusader and other Poems and Lyrics,"
and "Sparks from Sheffield Smoke," is a native of
Perth, and was born in 1825. In the course of his
teens he was apprenticed to the drapery trade, at which
occupation — pursued throughout the united kingdom —
he continued until within recent years. Mr. Buchanan
early discovered a versatile and melodious poetical
faculty, and had the honour, when only twenty-two, to
be elected Bard of the Worshipful Brotherhood of the
Royal Arch Free Masons of Perth. For many years
he has been settled in Sheffield; but though he has
found a home in the sister country, his heart still turns
fondly to dear old Scotland; his "Lines written on
Kinnoull Cliff," his songs, "The Exile's Lament,"
"School Days," and "My Fatherland," and others,
showing how deeply the scenes and recollections of his
early days are engraven on his memory.
A poet, musical composer, and miscellaneous writer,
was born at Tombea, on the banks of Loch Lubnaig, in
February, 1764. An early taste for music induced him
to cultivate a systematic acquaintance with the art,
which he acquired under the celebrated Tenducci and
others. He became a teacher of the harpsicord, and of
vocal music, studied physics, and gave lessons in the
art of drawing. While employed as organist in a
church in Edinburgh he had the good fortune to form
the acquaintance of Robert Burns. At a later period
he became intimately acquainted with Sir Walter Scott,
James Hogg, Professor Wilson, and other eminent men
of letters. A man of real ability, he was perhaps too
erratic in his tastes to arrive at very marked distinction.
"Had he been a little less florescent," says a recent
writer, "and had he economised the abilities bestowed
on him, his capacity would have set him high amongst
men; but he aimed at being a second Admirable
Crichton, and as a matter of necessity broke down in
the attempt. He speculated in wives too, his second
wife being the widowed chieftainess of a wealthy clansman,
from whose awfully grand connection he dreamed
of great halls covered with broadswords, and years of
Celtic grandeur; but not only did the superstructure
crumble down, but the foundation itself gave way, by
the lady suddenly levanting, and taking up house on
her own account, in one of the fastnesses of her first
lord's domains, leaving Campbell to make his way in
the world as best he could. After a life much chequered
by misfortune, Mr. Campbell died of apoplexy on the
15th of May, 1824. His best known works are "An
Introduction to the History of Poetry in Scotland,"
published in 1798, "The Grampians Desolate," a poem
on the depopulation of the Highlands, issued in 1804,
and "Albyn's Anthology; a select collection of the
Melodies and Vocal Poetry Peculiar to Scotland and the
Isles, hitherto Unpublished." The latter appeared in
1816; and contains, in addition to contributions from
Scott, Hogg, Wilson, Boswell, and others, several lyrical
pieces by the editor himself, which compare favourably
with the run of the work.
A shrewd and quaint observer of human life and
character, who died only a few months ago in the
Poor's house at Perth, was a native of the parish of
Kinclaven, where his father held a small farm, and was
born in 1808. His youth was spent as a son of the
soil, in hedging and ditching, etc. At the age of
twenty-five he went to Dundee, where he remained for
seven years, after which "I went back to the spade
again," he says in his own quaint style, "and dug my
way from Dunblane to Lintrathen, in Forfarshire." A
long "delve" and no mistake! Twice he laid the
spade aside, and spent three years in Glasgow and six
in South Africa. He was twice married, and at an age
considerably beyond the allotted span of human life as
fixed by the Psalmist — childless and alone — he spent
the gloaming of his career in the village of Stanley,
where he found more true kindliness than in all the
world beside. John had many "ups" and "downs"
in his time, and all along, we fear, the "downs" had
the best of it. If fickle Fortune resisted his approaches,
however, the divinities did not each and all hold him
at bay. The muses deigned to smile upon him, and
in their society, we know, he was often happier than
ever was Kaiser, Pope, or King. During a long course
of years, with irregular intervals between, "Will
Harrow's" screeds of Scottish rhyme enriched the
columns of the local press; and twenty years ago, there
was a spring in his measure and a "snap" in his style
which caused his contributions to be looked for with
anticipations of delight.
A lyric poet of considerable culture, was a native of
Perth, and was born in 1791. His father — a much--
respected and successful citizen of the Fair City — was
a bookseller, in easy circumstances, who pushed his
trade by making stated circuits through the surrounding
districts, and attending the fairs in the principal country
towns of Perth, Fife, and Kinross-shires, and disposing
of his stationery and literary stock by public auction
in the open air. Old Mr. Clyde's shop — his own
property — was on the north side of the High Street,
almost directly opposite the Meal Vennel; and the
literary wares in which he dealt were chiefly old
fashioned religious works, popular histories, school
books, and chap-books. To this business William,
on the death of his father, succeeded in 1820. "The
father had been much respected," says a recent writer,
"for kindly manners and sterling integrity, and the son
was looked upon as holding forth the fairest promise of
worthily treading in the old man's footsteps. But
Clyde's good prospects were soon clouded. It seemed
that on becoming his own master, and the head of a
household, his attention was gradually diverted from
his business to objects of ambition beyond his reach in
Perth. Whether poetry and dreams of fame had any
share in his imprudence we cannot tell; but it was
obvious that his aims, whencesoever arising, and whatever
they pointed at, overshot the limited plodding
sphere in which he was placed. Neglect of his affairs
entailed the usual consequences. Difficulties grew
about him, out of which he might have extricated
himself with steady exertion; but lacking energy he
gave way to them, and in 1825 left Perth, resolving to
try his luck in the Metropolis."
After many years, spent south of the Tweed, William
Clyde returned, and wove in the "thrum-keel" of his
life in his native city. His circumstances after the date
of collapse never very appreciably improved, and his
later years were passed in a state of semi-genteel
poverty. He died in 1873.
A native of the village of Burrelton, in the parish of
Cargill, was born in 1848. His education commenced
at Woodside School under Mr. James Kiellor — a teacher
widely known in his day — and afterwards he attended
the parish school, at Newbigging, then as now conducted
by Mr. Alexander Fergusson, one or two of whose
poetical pieces find housing here along with those of
quite a number of his old pupils. Mr. Craig learned
the Banking profession in the office of Messrs. Clark
and Boyd, National Bank, Coupar Angus, and in 1871
was transferred to the head office of the same Bank in
Edinburgh, where he still remains. He devotes his
leisure almost entirely to art, but at times he lays aside
the pencil and brush for the poet's pen, the which he
wields with almost equal grace and facility.
A younger brother of the foregoing subject, was born
in the village of Burrelton, in June, 1851, and has
resided there during the greater part of his life;
growing strawberries, attending to School Board matters,
corresponding to the newspapers, etc., etc. He has
given more attention to the tuneful sisters than his
elder brother, and enjoys a well-merited reputation as
a poet and essayist. The Burrelton and Woodside
Young Men's Mutual Improvement Society — which has
been heard of far beyond the limits of the parish — owes
its origin and respectable old age almost entirely to his
literary energy and skillful and persevering management.
For the delectation of this coterie of the rural "lichts,"
and their friends, Mr. Craig has, in addition to scores of
essays of an educative and debatable character, written
about half-a-dozen original dramas, which have been
acted in character by himself and the leading members,
and proved each in their turn the proverbial "nine day's
wonder" of the district. The latest performance of this
kind — "The Cobbler o' Greenha', or a Warpit Wooin'"
— with which he received some little assistance, caused
such a furore about a year ago, that it has since been
taken up and submitted to the public by an enterprising
Edinburgh publisher, and is likely to become popular
over the length and breadth of the land. To considerable
skill in versification John Craig adds a pleasing
humour and power of narrative which raise his numbers
above the mediocrity of amateur verse.
Familiarly known in Scottish circles in America as
"The Breadalbane Bard," and beloved of every song--
loving Scot at home and abroad, Duncan MacGregor
Crerar, author of the exquisite lyric "Caledonia's Blue
Bells," is a native of Amulree, in Glenquaich, and was
born on the 4th of December, 1837. His early life,
like that of many another who has ultimately attained
fame, was uneventful. His parents, of whom he
cherishes the fondest regard, intended him for the
ministry, and to this end supplied him with a good
scholastic education. The early death of his father,
however, defeated the cherished hope of his one day
"waggin' his pow in a poopit," and, accordingly, in
1857, Mr. Crerar turned his eyes in the direction of a
sphere of labour across the Atlantic, and set out for
Canada. There he located in the County of Perth,
where he met numerous parties who had been evicted
from Glenquaich and other parts of Breadalbane, many
of them relatives, and not a few of them old acquaintances.
In Canada he embarked at once in mercantile pursuits,
manifesting in his business that shrewdness and activity
for which the Scot abroad has achieved a merited
reputation, whilst the evening of each day found him
busy adding to his store of knowledge on scientific and
other subjects. By and by an opportunity occurred
which brought him distinction in Her Majesty's service.
He entered the Active Militia, and during the Fenian
troubles of 1865, served with his company for several
months on the frontier. As a reward for his efficiency
in this capacity, he was gazetted by the Canadian
Government, under the direction of his warm friend the
Honourable Alexander MacKenzie, Honorary Lieutenant
of his corps, which rank, with its privileges, he still
retains. Between the posts at the front he used a
diligent pen, and was the well-known correspondent of
the Stratford Beacon, an influential paper published in
the county town of Perth. When the Active Service
Battalions were recalled, Mr. Crerar made his way to
Toronto, and entered a college for a short season.
From thence he proceeded to New York, where, with
the exception of a summer spent in Scotland, he has
since remained. He has been Secretary to the Burns
Society of New York since its inauguration; and perhaps
the finest of all his productions, his poem on Robert
Burns — afterwards published in beautifully illustrated
book-form by Marcus Ward & Co.,—was composed for
and read at one of the annual dinners of that Society.
With the exception of the above poem, none of Mr.
Crerar's writings have appeared in volume form. He
is, indeed, not at all ambitious of fame, many of his
song and longer productions have never been printed,
even although most of those which he has contributed
to the papers have been reproduced again and again by
the home and foreign journals. A Scotchman of the
truest fibre, he manifests the keenest interest in all
matters appertaining to the good and glory of his native
land. Among his literary friends in America he speaks
of none with more pride than the venerable Thomas C.
Latto, author of "When we were at the Schule," old
Evan M'Call, author of "The Mountain Minstrel," etc.,
Alexander M‘Lachlan, the well-known Scoto-Canadian
poet, James Kennedy, author of "Auld Scotia in the
Field," and other lyrics, and Donald Ramsay, another
Scottish-American poet, recently deceased. Among
literary personages in the home-country whose hands
he has touched on the other side, and who are proud
to call him friend, may be named William Black, the
novelist, Dr. George MacDonald, Professor Blackie, the
Earl of Rosebery, and others almost equally distinguished.
William Black, indeed, makes honourable mention
of Mr. Crerar as "the Bard of Amulree" in his
recently published novel, "Stand Fast, Craig Royston."
Chief sub-editor of the Dundee Evening Telegraph, and a
writer of military novels scarcely less fascinating than
those of the author of the "Romance of War," is a
native of Cargill, and was born in 1849. When seven
years of age he went to reside in Coupar Angus, where
he learned the shoemaking craft and subsequently
formed a contributing connection with various newspapers.
By and by, he abandoned the awl and took to
serial story writing, his first tale, "Marion Ogilvie,"
appearing in the Dundee Weekly News. About twenty
years ago, on the invitation of Mr. John Leng, he joined
the staff of the Dundee Advertiser, and became one of
the permanent serial writers for the People's Journal, as
well as a regular contributor of essays, critical and
biographical, to the People's Friend. The more popular
of his serials to the Journal include "Gentle Alice: a
story of Cluny in the Forty-five," "Highland Jessie's
Dream: a story of the Indian Mutiny," and " Lilian
Ray: a story of Glasgow and the Crimea." In bookform
he has published "Working and Living," a volume
of essays, "The Highlands and Highlanders of Scotland,"
"The Highland Brigade: Its Battles and its Heroes,"
now in its second edition, and "The Majuba Disaster."
In 1877, on the commencement of the Evening Telegraph,
Mr. Cromb was appointed to the important position on
its editorial staff which he still occupies with credit and
renown. Though of a warmly poetic temperament, and
a good judge of verse, he has given little direct attention
to the muses; the few pieces he has written being
intended chiefly to embellish his fiction, and to be introduced
into the text of his stories.
Bishop of Dunkeld, whom the Scottish antiquary John
Pinkerton pronounced the fifth of the seven classic
poets of Scotland whose works would "be reprinted to
the end of the English language" — the others being
Barbour, James I., Blind Harry, Dunbar, Sir David
Lyndsay, and Drummond of Hawthornden — was the
third son of Archibald, fifth Earl of Angus, popularly
known as "Archibald Bell the Cat," and was born at
Breehin in 1474. He was educated for the Church at
St. Andrews, and became successively Rector of Hawick
in 1496, Provost of St. Giles, Edinburgh, in 1509, and
Bishop of Dunkeld in 1515. Living in the stormy and
anarchic period, when the kingdom was embroiled with
the disputes of the Queen Mother and the Duke of
Albany, arid others, his entry to the See was opposed
by the Duke of Albany, and the Athole family, and on
a charge of contravening the laws of the realm in
obtaining bulls from Rome, he was imprisoned for a
year in the Castle of Edinburgh. In 1517 he accompanied
the Duke of Albany to France, but soon returned
to Scotland, and repaired to his diocese, where he
applied himself diligently to the duties of his episcopal
office. In 1521 he was compelled by the disputes
between the Earls of Arran and Angus to take refuge
in England, where he was kindly received by Henry
VIII., and formed the acquaintance of Erasmus. He
died in London, of the plague, in September, 1522, and
was interred in the chapel-royal of the Savoy.
The character of Bishop Douglas is thus drawn by
the classical pen of Buchanan: — "To splendour of birth,
and a handsome and dignified person, he united a mind
richly stored with the learning of the age, such as it
then existed. His temperance and moderation were
very remarkable; and living in turbulent times, and
surrounded by factions at bitter enmity with each
other, such was the general opinion of his honesty and
uprightness of mind that he possessed a high influence
with all parties. He left behind him various monuments
of his genius and learning of no common merit, written
in his native tongue."
Besides translations of Ovid's De Remedio Amoris, and
Virgil's Æneid, Douglas is the author of two allegorical
poems entitled respectively "The Palace of Honour"
and "King Hart," the latter containing what Dr. Irving
styles "a most ingenious adumbration of the progress
of human life."
A native of Crieff, was born in the end of the last
century. In 1812 he proceeded to India, and attained
considerable wealth as the conductor of an academy and
boarding establishment at Calcutta. From early youth
he had cultivated a taste for literary composition, both
in poetry and prose, and ultimately, in India, became
an extensive contributor to public journals and periodical
publications. He died at Calcutta in 1845, about the
age of seventy, lamented by a wide circle of friends and
Bookseller, Blairgowrie, is a Scotchman by birth and
breeding, though of German extraction, and was born
in the Lawnmarket of Edinburgh, in 1848. In 1858
his father joined the 72nd Highlanders, and the family
removed to Aberdeen, where they remained for a short
time, moving from thence to India. In India Henry
commenced his apprenticeship as a compositor in the
regimental printing office. Before he had had time to
master the intricacies of his adopted handicraft, the
father was invalided home, and the family, moving with
him, and settling down in Perth, Henry "finished his
time" in Perth, with Mr. Robert Whittet, printer and
poet, now of Richmond, Va., North America, than whom,
he says, he never met a more sympathetic, tender-hearted,
and considerate master, or one with purer and loftier
aspirations, and with more ability to fulfil them. In
1870 Mr. Dryerre proceeded to London, where, after
working for a time "at the case," he acted as head
reader on a daily newspaper. Nightwork, however,
acted injuriously on his health, and necessitated his
returning home. He resumed his trade in the Fair
City, occupying his spare hours in writing tales and
sketches for the press, teaching music, and perfecting
his knowledge of the French, Latin, and Greek languages.
In 1878 he removed to Blairgowrie, where he still continues
engaged in business on his own account as
music-seller and stationer, and teaching languages, music,
etc., making good violins, and composing excellent music.
Mr. Dryerre is a thoughtful, sweet-voiced poet. There
is the evidence of mental culture on the face of everything
he writes, and an ardent lover of nature in all her
aspects, moods, and seasons, he ever finds his highest
joy in the contemplation of her manifold charms;
hearing the tongues in the trees, reading the books in
the running brooks, listening to the sermons in the
stones, and beholding and adoring the good in everything.
He writes without apparent effort — in fact with extreme
fluency — composing frequently three and four poems
within as many hours. In the course of a letter to the
present writer, he says, "In anything I write, it is as a
rule the assertion of my own genuine feelings, opinions,
or fancies, my own experiences, and, in many cases, my
own sufferings (lightly disguised) that finds utterance
in verse, and were I to lay down a rule for writing
poetry, it would be — utter what is within, and fear not;
it will reach a heart somewhere if it comes from your
own. I have no sympathy with those who talk of
poetry as an 'art;' the true poet, I opine, employs art
as a means of expression, but the art itself is not poetry,
and unless he has an impulse deeper than the mere
desire to cut and carve images out of words, he is — not
a poet, at any rate. For myself, I am as unable to
account for anything I may have done myself thought
worthy of notice as I am to command the ability to
write such. With few exceptions, all I have written
are individually the unpremeditated offspring of the
time." A volume of his poems entitled "Love Idylls"
was published in 1884.
Known as "the Methven poet," was a gardener to trade,
and flourished in the early years of the present century.
A volume of his poems published at Perth, in 1816, and
containing a somewhat flabby and diffuse version of
"Bessie Bell and Mary Gray," is now scarce. His
song "Lassie wi' the yellow Coatie," contained in this
work, is the only one of his productions which has
attained any popularity.
Author of " Strathearn Lyrics," and well-known by his
pen-name of "Ned Thomas," is a native of Crieff, and
was born at the old mill of Milnab in 1857. On leaving
school in his fifteenth year he was sent to learn the
house-painting business, which he has followed ever
since and practised in all its branches. For a time he
wrought as a journeyman in Edinburgh; but his love
of the country soon brought him back to his native
town, where he continues to reside, alternating the
handling of the brush with the play of the pen; and
making life noble and sweet by the excellent display of
each. The volume of Mr. Edwards' poems and songs
appeared in 1889. One of the first to recognise the
merits of its contents was the Rev. Dr. Stalker of
Glasgow, himself a gifted son of Crieff, who has enriched
our theological literature by several works from a
brilliant pen. In a letter dated Glasgow, January 11,
1890, the author of "Imago Christi" writes:—
"Chancing to be in Crieff the other day, I picked up
in one of the book shops a copy of Thomas Edwards'
Strathearn Lyrics. Mr. Edwards is not known to me,
and I confess that I opened the book with little expectation
of pleasure, knowing how halting and ineffectual
the efforts of the provincial muse generally are, if she
ventures to expand them to the dimensions of a volume.
But I had not read far when I opened my eyes with
astonishment at the power and mastery displayed by
the author, and I have read his book through again and
again with deep and growing delight. We have at last
got a true poet in Strathearn, who, I venture to say,
has not had his match in Perthshire since Robert Nicoll.
Indeed, in some respects, especially in the sweetness of
his melody and his easy command of language, Mr.
Edwards seems to me superior to Nicoll, though Nicoll
excels him in those shrewd and pithy observations on
life and character of which Burns set so great an
example." With these remarks we thoroughly agree,
in all but the comparison with Robert Nicoll, which is
not a happy one. Each excellent in his way, their
notes are yet as distinct as those of the lark and the
Was a native of Killin, and was born sometime between
1810 and 1820. He learned the shoemaking trade, and
was located for many years at Lundie, near Newtyle,
where many of his best pieces were composed. Latterly
he removed to Balquhidder where he died about seven
or eight years ago. "Farquharson was entirely self--
taught" writes a correspondent, who had heard him
recite his own compositions at concerts with the greatest
gusto, "but was very intelligent, and had a wide acquaintance
with the works of the Scottish poets, especially
Burns. His own effusions, though rugged in construction
were written in a fresh, happy, and humorous style, and
he had a vein of satire which he sometimes wielded
unsparingly. I have heard him repeat a piece in which
he administered a severe castigation to a character he
called Tailor Whin.' The first verse ran—
'There's curious fouk in mony a place,
In Fowlis, Lundie, an' Callace,
But the queerest o' the curious race
Is brawlin' Tailor Whin, O.
'The tailor never grew a man,
For that's beyond a tailor's span,
But monkeys learn to tak' a dram,
An' sae did Tailor Whin, O.'"
Besides his Doric pieces, Farquharson was complete
master of Gaelic, and has left some standard translations
of Scotch and English poetry. He was highly praised
by Professor Blackie for a splendid translation of "Tam
o' Shanter;" and he also translated "Kate Dalrymple,"
"Watty and Meg," and "Captain Fraser's Nose," etc."
Schoolmaster, Cargill, is a native of Pitlochry, where
several members of his family still reside, and was born
in 1828. He was educated partly in his native village,
and latterly in Edinburgh. At the age of twenty-one
he was appointed parochial teacher at Blacklunnans, in
the neighbourhood of Mount Blair, and remained there
for four years, after the expiry of which period he
removed to Cargill. This latter appointment (though
now under the "Board" instead of the Parochial regimè)
he still retains, and is much esteemed throughout, and
beyond the wide circle of his labours, alike for his
merits as a teacher, and for the hearty readiness with
which he enters into every scheme calculated to advance
the worldly interests and moral well-being of the community.
An effective lecturer on various subjects, he
also enjoys more than local fame as a reliable antiquary,
and rendered valuable service to the late Sir James
Simpson when the latter visited Cargill in connection
with the preparation of his work on "Archaic Sculpturings."
The weighty and exacting nature of Mr.
Fergusson's professional duties — for, besides being
schoolmaster, he is parochial registrar, etc., etc. — leaves
him very little time to daily with the tuneful Nine —
and they seek his company rather than he seeks theirs.
Taken at his own estimate he has no claim to a place
among the song-writers of his native county; but,
naturally of a genial disposition, and rationally conciliatory
even in extremities, when he finds a large
majority holding an entirely opposite opinion, if he
does not meekly give in, he will, when he sees his name
here, assuredly not boldly protest.
People who are in the habit of turning to the poetical
corner of their weekly newspaper have long been
familiar with the signature of "Nisbet Noble," the nom
de plume of James Ferguson. Mr. Ferguson is a native
of Stanley, and was born in 1842. Up to his fourteenth
year he resided in his native village, spending his sunny
hours on the all-beautiful banks of the adjacent river
Tay, drinking in the inspiration that, ever since may be
said to have continued to flow from his heart in lays
and lyrics fresh and sweet as the ripple of the mountain
rill. He is presently employed in the Spinning Mills at
Stanley, but in his time has been many things to many
men. First a mill boy in his native village, secondly an
apprentice to the grocery business in Dundee, next in
Glasgow, employed successively as labourer, engine--
keeper, time-keeper, and counting-house clerk. Then
in Perth, employed in the Messrs. Pullar's dyeing
establishment, clerk in the Inland Revenue office, back
to the dyehouse again, and afterwards in the Co-operative
Store. His early recollections are love for woods and
waters in summer, and fireside reading during winter.
He remembers well when first he came across the
"Lady of the Lake" and Aytoun's "Death of Montrose."
He seemed to have entered a new world. Mr. Ferguson's
first publication in book form appeared in 1873, and is
a somewhat ambitious performance, viz. — a secularized
version of "The Song of Solomon," in a series of lyrics.
Viewed from a literary stand-point the work is excellent;
but whether he has been successful in the debatable
part of the subject is still matter of opinion, and need
not be entered on here. In 1880 he issued a little
volume of "Lays of Perthshire," which deserves to be
thoroughly well known. The pieces are fourteen in
number, and include "The Battle of the Inch," "The
Stone of Destiny," and "The Battle of Luncarty," etc.,
and form a contribution to Perthshire literature eminently
worthy of preservation. What he has published
in book form does not however form a tithe of what
Mr. Ferguson has written — nor, perhaps, the best. His
muse is essentially lyrical, and of songs and lyrics he
has written, he says himself, far more than he knows
anything about, as he rarely keeps a copy of anything he
writes. The essential elements to successful song-writing
he certainly possesses in no stinted measure — music,
humour, pathos, and fire — and few among our living
Scottish lyrists are more likely to send their numbers
ringing down through the corridors of Time.
Well known as a writer of vigorous and descriptive
prose, as well as a graceful and pleasing poet, the Rev.
Robert Menzies Fergusson, M.A., minister of Logie
parish, Bridge of Allan, is the eldest surviving son of
the late Rev. Samuel Fergusson, author of "The Queen's
Visit and other Poems," and was born in the manse of
Fortingall in the year 1859. He received his early
education at the Public School of Stanley, a village and
district which are still dear to his heart, and which retain
fragrant and cherished memories of his youthful days.
In the autumn of 1877 he entered as a student the
University of Edinburgh, where, after a successful
course, he graduated M.A. in 1881. From Edinburgh
he passed over to St. Andrews, and studied theology in
St. Mary's College there. From St. Andrews he went
to Oxford, where he carried on for a time the ministerial
work of the late Rev. Henry Bazely, B.C.L., attending
at the same time several of the classes in the University.
Returning to Scotland, Mr. Fergusson was licensed as a
preacher of the Gospel by the Presbytery of Perth in
May, 1884. Subsequently he acted for nine months as
assistant to the late Rev. Dr. Rankine, of Sorn, in
Ayrshire, and was elected minister of Logie parish and
ordained to his charge there on the 2nd of April,
He commenced to toy with the Muses at a very early
age, and while a student at the University of Edinburgh
occasionally wrote short pieces — principally translations
from the Greek and Latin poets — for the learned and
genial Professor Blackie. Himself a true son of song,
Blackie delighted to foster the poetical spirit among the
members of his classes, and many a student of Edinburgh
who has since won his spurs in the field of poetic
literature can look back with a feeling of pride and
gratitude to the encouragement and advice awarded
him by the popular ex-Professor of Greek. Our subject
was also in his year one of the competitors for the prize
which is annually awarded for the best poem in the
class of English Literature; and, though unsuccessful,
his poem was distinguished by receiving the high commendation
of Professor Masson. For several years Mr.
Fergusson has been a contributor to the Edinburgh
University Quarterly, and other magazines. His published
works are "Rambles in the Far North," now in its
second edition; "My College Days," a volume descriptive
of student life, and "Quiet Folk," a collection
of essays on various subjects.
For more than eight years pastor of the parish church
of Fortingall, the Rev. Samuel Fergusson, author of the
"Queen's Visit and other Poems," was born at Dalchonzie,
near Cowie, on the 2nd of January, 1828.
Early destined by his parents to "wag his pow in a
poopit," he was educated at St. Andrews University,
and received a license as a probationer of the Church
of Scotland from the Presbytery of Auchterarder in
1854. In 1857 he was presented to the parish of
Fortingall, where he laboured with much energy and
acceptance until the year 1865, when, his health breaking
down, he retired in favour of an assistant and
successor, and went on a voyage round the world in the
hope of rebuilding his shattered constitution. In
returning from abroad, it is worth mentioning, Mr.
Fergusson came home in the ill-fated steamship London,
which, the very next time she sailed from the port of
London, foundered in the Bay of Biscay, and went
down with two hundred and twenty souls aboard.
"The Queen's Visit" was published in 1869, and on
the evening of the day of its issue — the 27th of
September — its author, mistaking his way, walked into
the Tay at Perth, and was drowned. He left behind
him a widow and five sons, the eldest of whom was
drowned while bathing in Loch Voil, Balquhidder, in
July, 1876.
The Rev. Samuel Fergusson, was well-known as a
ripe Celtic scholar, and wrote Gaelic poetry, we have
been told, which was much superior to his English
verse. He was a member of the Committee on the
Revision of the Gaelic Scriptures, and wrote an account
of Dugald Buchanan and his poetry, which has never
been published. Many of his Gaelic poems were
published separately, but none of them in book form.
Shortly before his death he had begun a history of
Perthshire, having been advised thereto by his friend,
the late Principal Tulloch, and others.
"The Queen's Visit," as the title half reveals, is a
poem in celebration of Her Gracious Majesty Queen
Victoria's first visit to Scotland, in the autumn of 1842.
We have had the foremost lady of all the land so
frequently amongst us since Balmoral became her
favourite residence that a Royal visit has come to be
regarded as a thing of little moment by us. It was
very different in the days of yore. It had been the
fashion for Royalty to give Scotland "the cold shoulder,"
and when Victoria and her good Consort declared their
intention of coming northwards —
"Old Scotland, south, north, east, and west,
Was mov'd to hear the tale,"
and there was an outburst of loyalty the like of which
has seldom been seen and heard in these realms. Poet
vied with poet to describe the scene, and express the
jubilation; and it is not claiming more for our author
than is his due to say that the simple narrative of the
event which he produced — bald as it frequently is —
being a faithful description of the Royal visit from the
moment that Her Majesty and Prince Albert disembarked
at Granton pier, on the 1st of September,
1812, until they re-embarked at the same place at 5
o'clock in the afternoon of the 13th day of the same
month — will be read and cherished long after all the
others are entirely forgotten. The poem is in six
cantos, and extends, notes and all, to 214 octavo pages.
Editor of this work, was born in Wolf hill village, parish
of Cargill, on the 18th of July, 1846. At the age
of eighteen he went to Dundee, where he was employed
for a period of ten years, most of the time in the works
of Messrs. Baxter Bros., & Co. In 1874, he removed to
Glasgow, where he still remains employed as a clerk in
one of the larger warehouses in the city. Is author of
"Hame-spun Lays and Lyrics," "Humorous Scotch
Readings in Prose and Verse," "Glints o' Glentoddy,"
and "Thistledown: a book of Scotch Humour." Has
edited "Auld Scots Ballants," "Popular Readings:
Scotch, English, Irish, and American," etc.
Who has seemingly "hung his harp on the willow," was
for a number of years a frequent contributor of poetical
pieces to the Dundee papers over the nom de plume of
"Ariadne." Mr. Fraser was born in Errol on the 4th
of January, 1862, and when four years old removed
with his parents to Dundee, where he received his
elementary education. In 1882 he entered Glasgow
University, with a view to the Church, and studied there
during several subsequent sessions, taking respectable
places in all his classes, but distinguishing himself in
the department of English literature. During this
period he contributed to Scottish Nights a series of
articles on "Studies in Scottish Literature," in which
much desirable information interwoven with healthy
pointed criticism was afforded concerning the early
poets and song-writers of the North. By and by he
was induced to join the Parliamentary staff of the
Dundee Courier. But this office he relinquished after a
couple of sessions, and, still bent on "wagging his pow
in a poopit," proceeded to Edinburgh to qualify for the
kirk. While studying divinity he edited the Scottish
Liberal during the latter days of its brief and sickly
career, and formed a corresponding connection with
Tit-Bits. Very soon Mr. Newnes called him to fill the
editorial chair of this popular miscellany; and here Mr.
Fraser continues, as we hope and believe, "prospering,
and to prosper."
Author of "Rustic Rhymes," was born in the year
1804, and in the same house at New London, on the
estate of St. Martins, in which he lived his long life-lease
of eighty-six years, and in which he died in May 1890.
In his youth he learned handloom weaving; but on the
inauguration of the steamloom, the handloom weaver
found his occupation gone, and from that time Mr.
Gairns became a day labourer to the farmers in the
neighbourhood. Ultimately he was content to tend his
own little croft, abandoning the more active scenes of
labour to those better able to bear the burden. He
was forty years old before he wrote a line of verse, and
aspired to be the Poet-Laureate of St. Martins — the
which he was in very truth. No big meeting in the
district could be regarded as complete unless he was
there, and raised his voice in a rhyme pat to the occasion.
Was there a ploughing match of more than usual
interest, a cattle show, or a concert in St. Martins, its
story was faithfully told in graphic Scotch rhyme.
Then occasionally he sang of the loves and the lives of
the people around him, painting a sage moral, as in
"Fifty Years Ago," and "Strong Drink," and teaching
wisdom under a glamour of humour, as in "The
Farmer's a'e Dochter," "A Penny the Ell," and "Willie's
A writer of pungent and eloquent prose as well as of
thoughtful and animated verse, James Young Geddes,
born in Dundee in 1850, has resided in Alyth for upwards
of twelve years, and serves the community in the
capacity of a junior Commissioner. Mr. Geddes early
discovered a faculty for verse-writing, and while yet in
his teens was a frequent and welcome contributor to the
poet's corner of the local journals. In course of
time, yielding to the pressure of many friends and
admirers, he collected the scattered creatures of his
imagination within the boards of a book, which was
published in 1879 under the title of "The New Jerusalem,
and other Verses." The work was well received,
not only by our author's friends, but by the Scottish
press and the public at large, and the happy result was
that it soon ran out of print. This was just as it ought
to have been, for the work is truly meritorious. At no
page or point in the volume does the reader find himself
in shallow water, but is borne along on a broad and
ample current of ready thought and sparkling fancy. Of
the varied contents, "The New Inferno" is a thoughtful
and able poem; so is also "The New Advent," while
the sonnets on Carlyle, Emerson, and Tennyson, display
artistic taste and poetical susceptibility of a decidedly
exceptional character. Mr. Geddes next issued "The
Spectre Clock of Alyth, and other Selections;" and
recently, "In the Valhalla and other Poems" appeared.
Our selections are from his latest, which is in most
respects his best work.
It is scarcely possible to give anything approaching to
an adequate idea of the life and work of a man like
George Gilfillan within the brief scope of a mere note,
and such a thing will not be attempted here. Indeed it
is not necessary. One of the greatest men that Scotland
has produced in the present century, he is far and
away the brightest star in the literary firmament of
Perthshire, and Perthshire men everywhere know all
about him — or all that is worth the knowing. They
know him as a man, a preacher, a critic, and a poet who
was esteemed and honoured while he lived, widely
lamented when he died, and whose memory, together
with much that he wrote, will be cherished by his
countrymen for many generations. The eleventh child
of a family of twelve, Gilfillan was born in the village
of Comrie on the 13th of January, 1813. His father,
Samuel Gilfillan, was the saintly minister of the Secession
Church there, and the author of several works of a
religious character. George was educated in the village
school, and in his thirteenth year entered the University
of Glasgow. Subsequently he studied in Edinburgh,
attending the moral philosophy class of the immortal
Professor Wilson, to whose genius, in his later life, he
delighted to pay frequent and noble tribute. Licensed
to preach the Gospel in 1835, he was; in March of the
following year, ordained to the charge of School Wynd
Church, Dundee, where he continued to minister to a
large and devoted congregation till his death, on the
13th of August, 1878. On the Sabbath previous, the
11th of August, he had preached in School Wynd, the subject
of his sermon being, somewhat strangely, "Sudden
Death." On the Monday he went to Brechin to officiate
at the wedding of his niece, at Arnhall, near Edzell.
Early on the morning of Tuesday he complained
to Mrs. Gilfillan of feeling ill, and a doctor was
called. On his arrival Gilfillan at once said, "I am
dying, doctor," and the physician replying that it was
so, he said, "The will of the Lord be done." In a few
minutes more he had entered the "silent land." He was
laid to rest in Balgay Cemetery, Dundee, receiving the
melancholy honour of a public funeral. In Dundee
Gilfillan was honoured and esteemed not more by his
own congregation than by the whole body of the people.
He was the mental light and leader of the community,
and no public platform was regarded as complete if it
lacked his genial and inspiring presence. As a lecturer
he was popular everywhere, and constantly in demand
all over the united kingdom; and few, I presume, who
have listened to the rolling undertones of his voice in
an impressive passage will ever forget them — they were
vocal majesty. His literary career must be summed up
in a few words. He began to write early; his first contributions
being, curiously, sent to a periodical called
The Farmer's Magazine. Subsequently he wrote several
critiques for the Edinburgh University Magazine. These
were followed by his celebrated "Gallery of Literary
Portraits," originally contributed to Thomas Aird's
Dumfries Herald. Then came "Hades, or the Unseen,"
a sermon, "Bards of the Bible," (his most beautiful
work), "Martyrs, Heroes, and Bards of the Scottish
Covenant," "History of a Man," (since withdrawn from
publication), "Life of Scott," "Remoter Stars," "Life
of Dr. William Anderson," "Burns," "Night, a Poem,"
etc., etc.
Altogether, according to his own computation, Gilfillan
produced from ninety to a hundred volumes, and, in
addition, his contributions to the magazines and reviews,
which were not republished, were very considerable.
His poem "Night" has not been greatly esteemed —
perhaps he was a better judge of poetry than a writer
of it. Notwithstanding, "Night" is a great poem. As
to his quick perception of the true poetic metal, as well
as the proof of his large warm-heartedness, he was the
first to discover the genius of Alexander Smith, the
author of "A Life Drama," of Robert Buchanan, Sydney
Dobell, George MacDonald, Gerald Massey, Alexander
Anderson ("Surfaceman"), and many others, all of
whom he rang into fame, and gloried in their success.
Take him all in all, Scotland may not look on Gilfillan's
like in a hurry again; and it is no small thing for Perthshire
to be able to say "he was my son."
Well-known for his scholarly, poetical, and recreationary
attainments, Dr. William Graham, recently
deceased, was a native of Dunkeld, and was born in
October, 1800. In the early years of the century
the family removed to Perth, and the only memory
which Dr. Graham cherished of his native city of Dunkeld
was, that while there he sat on the knee of Neil
Gow, the famous fiddler. After receiving an ordinary
education, partly from his father, who was a well-known
teacher in Perth, he studied at Edinburgh University.
On the completion of his college curriculum he was
appointed a teacher — first at Perth, where he acted for
some time as an assistant to his father — and afterwards
as teacher of English in the Academy of Cupar, in Fife.
In 1831 he removed to Edinburgh, where he received
the appointment of teacher of English literature, history,
and elocution in the Naval and Military College. His
capacity for work is shown by the fact that to these
duties he subsequently added an academy of his own,
which he opened in Queen Street, and, with some other
teachers, founded the Scottish Institute for the Education
of Young Ladies in Moray Place; and over and
above all this, taught elocution to divinity students, and
gave lessons in English and History in several boarding
schools in Edinburgh. In this way he worked ten hours
a day, and frequently more, yet found time for occasional
literary work, now in the form of a lecture, now a
breezy song of golfing or fishing — both of which pastimes
he entered into with a fine relish — or it was a treatise
on elocution, or an essay on Scottish life and manners.
He edited the Educational Journal for some time, with
much tact and ability, and frequently appeared before
the public as a popular lecturer and reader. He was
peculiarly fond of the study of Scottish manners and
customs, and many a good story of old world ways he
would tell, while his recollections of distinguished
contemporaries were singularly interesting. At the
instigation of many of his old pupils, he published in
1873, "Lectures, Sketches, and Poetical Pieces." A
good deal of the matter in the volume is connected with
schools and teaching, but embraces such subjects as
"Neglect of National Music," "Scottish Life in the
Past," "The Scotch Accent," etc. Dr. Graham taught
for upwards of fifty years in Edinburgh, and died there
in the autumn of 1891, at the ripe age of eighty-six.
He was a keen golfer and angler, as we have said, and
many of his songs turn on the pleasures derived from
these pursuits. Parodying Henry Scott Riddell's well--
known song of "Scotland Yet," he sings:—
"Gae bring my guid auld clubs ance mair;
Rin, laddie, bring them fast,
For I maun ha'e anither game
Ere the autumn season's past.
And trow ye as I play, my lads,
My song shall ever be
Auld Scotland's Royal game o' gouf —
Our country's game for me."
His graphic and clever poem, "My First Saumon," will
suffice to keep his memory green for many a day.
The blind poetess of Aberdalgie, published a slim
volume of her miscellaneous pieces in verse in 1809,
and another in 1821. In the course of her preface to
the latter, she says, "My artless rhymes may not excite
a very powerful interest in the hearts of others; but, in
my own, on account of the circumstances and recollections
from which they originated, they have long been
cherished with the complacency and fondness of affectionate
regard." Her rhymes are in general truly artless
enough, at the same time the verses in imitation of
"The Land o' the Leal," even in this way, are tender,
graceful, and pleasing.
Was born in Perth in 1809, and received his education
at Kinnoull Parish School. He learned shoemaking,
with his father, and after working for some time in
Perth and Dunkeld, he crossed the Border and settled,
in 1848, in Newcastle-on-Tyne. Subsequently he studied
medical botany and chemistry. On the passing of the
Pharmacy Act, in 1868, he was admitted a member of
the Pharmaceutical Society, since which he has carried
on business in that capacity in Consett, in Durham.
For fifty-eight years the esteemed minister of Auchterarder
U. P. Congregation, died on the 13th February
last, at the ripe age of eighty-eight. He wrote and
published extensively, both in prose and verse — if the
word prose may be fittingly applied to anything that
came from his pen — for, as a recent writer truly remarked,
concerning such of his writings as are not in
verse, "They only differ from poems because they lack
distribution into fixed numbers of syllables." His tales
are simply prose poems; and of these, "Wandering
Menie," and "The Three Street Orphans," have enjoyed
wide popularity, the latter having been translated into
Danish and Icelandic. To the realm of poetry, strictly
speaking, Mr. Jacque contributed "The Clouds," a descriptive
poem in the heroic stanza, extending to ten
cantos, and "Hope: Its Lights and Shadows," in a
variety of measures, comprising eleven cantos, marked
by sustained thought and much delicate fancy. Two
hymns, of which he is author, find a place in the United
Presbyterian Hymnal. He was an eloquent and fluent
preacher, dearly beloved by his own people, and justly
esteemed by the whole community.
A discriminating, graphic, and vivacious prose-writer,
well known to all readers of the Dundee Evening Telegraph
under the nom de plume of "Marguerite," was
born at Bankfoot, in the Parish of Auchtergaven, in
1862, and received her education at the village school
there. As a child she was delicate, but very studious,
and a great reader. Her father, a man of remarkable
intelligence, encouraged her in her studiesand every
now and then a box of miscellaneous reading — magazines,
reviews, etc. — would come by carrier's cart from
Perth, where her uncle, Mr. James Sprunt, of esteemed
memory, was editor of the Perthshire Advertiser. Teaching
promised to be her future career; but she had only
just entered Sharp's Institution, Perth, when her father
fell ill, and this altered all the family plans. After a
lingering illness, her father died, and two years subsequently,
after having been employed for some time in
an office in Bankfoot, Miss King received an appointment
in the Dundee Advertiser office, and shortly afterwards
obtained a responsible and important position on
the staff of the Evening Telegraph, with which paper she
is still connected. A prize essayist in several of the
annual competitions connected with the Free Church's
"Welfare of Youth" scheme, Miss King on one occasion
distinguished herself by carrying off the first prize
in both the junior and senior sections. To poetry she
has applied her pen less frequently than to prose, but
her contributions in this way, which have appeared
under various noms de plume, in the People's Friend and
elsewhere, show that she possesses a faculty for verse
worthy of more assiduous cultivation.
Born in Crieff on the 28th of June 1831, the only son
of the late John Kippen, shoemaker there, is quite a
man of mark in various aspects of his life and character.
In the whole district of Strathearn there is no one better
versed in the local history and topography, "Crieff — Its
Traditions and Stories," being very largely from his pen.
In musical matters he has been an enthusiast almost
from his infancy, and besides knowing the subject theoretically
and historically in every detail, he was for many
years a teacher of vocal and instrumental music, has
written numerous articles on the subject, and is himself
the composer of many beautiful and distinctly original
melodies, which have been published, set to words also
written by himself. Mr. Kippen conducted the choir
in Crieff Parish Church during the famous organ controversy,
which extended from 1865 to 1867, when Dr.
Cunningham introduced instrumental music into the
church service. He has many a good-humoured and
instructive story to tell of that animated struggle, as
he has also of many other things which have happened
in the district within his day and generation. Mr.
Kippen's rare fund of humour, his familiarity with local
history and tradition, his love of music and story-telling
powers, secured to him the kindly interest of the late
Sir William Keith Murray of Ochtertyre, than whom
Scotland has seldom seen a finer specimen of the good
old country gentleman; and it was he who led the
famous local band which frequently performed at
Ochtertyre house a number of years ago. Editor of
"The Sacred Chorister," containing a varied selection
of music for use in churches, he is Inspector of Poor
for the Parish of Crieff, and has cultivated a taste for
literature. For more than thirty years he has maintained
a corresponding connection with the Press, and contributed
articles to the People's Journal, People's Friend,
and other publications. His songs contained in this
work, selected from quite a number, mostly on local
subjects, have been separately set to music and published
in large sheet form with pianoforte accompaniments.

A well-known native of Crieff, who was a frequent
writer of prose and verse, died at his residence in
Comrie Street there, on the 27th March, 1891, aged
76. In his youth John learned the shoemaking trade,
and on the completion of his apprenticeship went to
Glasgow, where he remained until about twelve years
ago. But though absent for so long, he continually
kept up an intimate connection with his old friends, and
informed himself regularly regarding the passing events
of his native place. After a time he commenced to
write interesting notices of men and things as they were
in his youthful days, over the signature of "St. Mungo."
These articles caused much interest, and he had the
pleasure of seeing them appear in various leading
periodicals. Latterly he wrote under the nom de plume
of "Barnkittoch," this being the name of a small hamlet
to the west of Crieff, near Milnab, not a vestige of which
now remains. Several of his poetical and prose pieces
were made popular in Crieff by the faultless reciting
of the late Robert Laurence, a supreme favourite being
always "Auld Johnnie Shaw," which finds a place in
our treasury of the county's verse idylls.
Rev. John R. Macduff, D.D., a voluminous writer of
popular religious works, and a poet of refined quality,
is the second son of Alexander Macduff of Bonhard, and
was born in 1818. He received the principal part of
his education at the High School of Edinburgh, and
studied for the Church in the University of that city,
being for three years a student of the illustrious Dr.
Chalmers. He was licensed as a minister of the Established
Church in 1842, and the same year received the
charge of the parish of Kettins, near Coupar Angus.
Subsequently he was translated to St. Madoes, in the
Carse of Gowrie, and latterly to Sandyford, in the west
end of Glasgow, where he ministered for fifteen years,
and became well known as one of the most talented
preachers in the Church. Dr. Macduff received the
honorary degree of D.D. from both the Universities of
Glasgow and New York. In 1871 he resigned the
laborious duties of a city clergyman, and has since resided
at Chislehurst, in Kent, devoting himself to religious
authorship, a department of work in which he
has scarcely a compeer. His "Memories of Patmos,"
"Sunsets on the Hebrew Mountains," "Memories of
Bethany," "The Parish of Taxwood," and other works
from his pen, have attained an immense circulation, and
are greatly appreciated on both sides of the Atlantic.
A volume of his poems and hymns, "The Gates of
Praise," was published by James Nisbet & Co., in 1875,
the contents of which entitle our author to a prominent
place amongst the religious poets of his country.
Donacha Ban, or Fair-haired Duncan, the Burns of
Gaelic poetry, was born in Glenorchy, in Argyleshire,
on the 20th of March, 1724. In his early life he was
employed as a forester by the Earl of Breadalbane; and
on the outbreak of the Rebellion in 1745 he joined the
Breadalbane Fencibles, and (though at heart a strict
adherent of the Stuarts), marched with his regiment to
the battle of Falkirk. For more than one-half of his
long, and not uneventful, career, Duncan Ban dwelt
among his native hills, haunting the "Misty Glen" at
all hours, and composing his mountain music. Sometimes
he travelled throughout the country collecting
subscriptions for his poems, and during these expeditions
was invariably dressed in the Highland garb; having a
checked bonnet, over which hung a large bushy tail of
a wild animal; a badger's skin, fastened by a belt, in
front; a hanger by his side, and a soldier's wallet
strapped to his shoulders. Wherever he went he was
recognised by his peculiar appearance, and was kindly
received. Duncan never made a song or poem, long or
short, which was not set to a tune, and he first sang
them himself, as he wandered to and fro amid his native
wilds. For years they floated about in the poet's mind
to music of their own, and from being sung by their
author, many of them were carried from mouth to
mouth until they reached the Hebrides. When forty--
four years of age, be dictated his poems to a clergyman,
who wrote them down with a view to their publication
in book form. This was in 1768, and in the same year
the book was printed in Edinburgh. A second edition
appeared in 1790; and a third, with some additional
pieces, in 1804. For six years he was a sergeant in the
Breadalbane Fencibles, and when that regiment was
disbanded in 1799, he procured, by the influence of the
Earl of Breadalbane, a place in the City Guard of Edinburgh,
those poor old veterans so sagely described by
Fergusson in "Leith Races" —
"Their stumps, erst used to filabegs,
Are dight in spatterdashes,
Whase barkent hides scarce fend their legs,
Frae weet and weary splashes
O' dirt that day!"
He was then seventy-five years old. About this time
he composed a quaint, long rhyme in praise of Dunedin,
or Edinburgh; and the poem, although not one of his
inspired productions, is deeply interesting from its
quaint touches of wandering realism. He remained in
the City Guard till about 1806, when, having saved a
few pounds from his wages and the profits of his published
poems, he was enabled to retire and spend his
remaining years without toil of any kind. He was
eighty-four years old when he died. On the 19th of
May, 1812, he was buried in the Greyfriars Burying--
ground, Edinburgh, and a number of years ago a
monument was raised to his memory in Glenorchy.
"All good judges of Celtic poetry agree," says Macintyre's
biographer, in Reid's Bibliotheca Scoto-Celtica, "that
nothing like the purity of his Gaelic and the style of
his poetry has appeared in the Highlands since the days
of Ossian."
One of the most popular poets of the present century,
Dr. Charles Mackay, was a native of Perth, and was
born in 1814. He received the rudiments of his education
in London, after which he was sent to a school at
Brussels, and from thence to Belgium and Germany.
In 1834, after the publication of a small volume of
poems, which attracted considerable attention, he became
connected with the Morning Chronicle. Ten years later
he succeeded Mr. Weir in the editorship of the now
defunct Glasgow Argus — then a leading organ of Liberal
opinion in the commercial capital of Scotland; and in
1848 the University of Glasgow bestowed on him the
degree of LL.D. After conducting the Argus with
ability and success for a period of three years, he
received the appointment of editor of the Illustrated
London News, and returned to the Metropolis, where,
with the exception of a brief sojourn in America, he
continued to reside, till his death a little more than a
year ago. To even name all Dr. Mackay's published
works would occupy more space than we can afford
here to devote to that purpose. As a poet, journlist,
and general writer, he worked laboriously; and
gave to the world in book-form what in quantity
and quality would constitute no mean library. As a
song-writer he has been highly successful. His verse is
exceedingly sweet, flowing, and melodious, and his skill
in music has given him a command over the resources
of rhythm to which few contemporary song-writers have
attained. Some of the most successful of his lyrics
were set to tunes, also composed by himself. His best
known song is "Cheer, boys, cheer." The second in
popular favour being "John Brown; or a Plain Man's
Philosophy," beginning —
"I've a guinea I can spend,
I've a wife, and I've a friend,
And a troop of little children at my knee, John Brown;
I've a cottage of my own
With the ivy overgrown,
And a garden with a view of the sea, John Brown."
By the production of "Voices from the Crowd," he
achieved the honourable position of "the Poet of the
The writer of many well-known Scottish lyrics, including
"Hurrah for the Thistle," "We'll ha'e nane but Highland
Bonnets Here," "Dinna ye Hear it?" "Tibby and
the Laird," "My Auld Granny's Leather Pouch," etc.,
was born at Bridgend, Perth, on the 3rd of April, 1811.
When five years old he was taken to Edinburgh by his
father, and during the remainder of his life his headquarters
continued in the capital. Mr. Maclagan was
early apprenticed to a trade, and when he first became
known as a writer of songs was a journeyman plumber.
In 1829, while yet an apprentice, he became a contributor
to the Edinburgh Literary Journal, then under
the editorship of Mr. Henry Glassford Bell. As a contributor
to that publication, he was introduced to Professor
Wilson, William Motherwell, and the Ettrick
Shepherd, who severally commended his verses. In
1844 Maclagan published a collected edition of his
poems, which attracted the favourable notice of Lord
Jeffrey, who invited the poet to his residence, and in
many ways proved his benefactor. The last letter his
Lordship wrote was one addressed to Maclagan, dated
4th January, 1850, and bore kindly reference to a new
volume entitled "Sketches from Nature and other
Poems," which he was about to publish. Soon after
Lord Jeffrey's death Maclagan found a new patron and
friend in Lord Cockburn, who procured him a junior
clerkship in the office of the Inland Revenue, Edinburgh.
In 1851 he was entertained by a number of his admirers
at a public dinner in the hall attached to Burns' cottage,
and more recently a similar compliment was extended
to him in his native town. His third publication —
"Ragged and Industrial School Rhymes" — appeared in
1854. Two years later he had conferred on him a civil
list pension of £30 per annum. His last publication
was a handsome quarto volume, richly illustrated,
entitled "Balmoral: Songs of the Highlands, and other
Poems," which was dedicated by permission to Her
Majesty the Queen. He died at Edinburgh in 1879.
The late Tom Maclagan, of Music Hall celebrity, we
may mention, was a son of the deceased poet.
Alexander Maclagan possessed a genuine lyrical
faculty, and few minor bards of his day have a fairer
chance of obtaining a permanent place in the minstrelsy
of his native land.
Was born at Ballechan, in the parish of Logierait, in the
year 1728. He was educated at the University of St.
Andrews, and after being licensed as a preacher of the
Gospel, was appointed to the Chapel-of-Ease at Amulree
(made a parish in 1871). Subsequently he received a
chaplaincy in the 42nd (Black Watch), and accompanied
the regiment to the United States, where he was present
in several engagements during the war of 1776-82.
After discharging the duties of military chaplain for the
long period of twenty-five years, Mr. Maclaggan was
presented to the parish of Blair Athole, where he died
in the course of the year 1805. He published anonymously
a Collection of Gaelic Songs, and during his
service with the regiment he composed a number of war
lyrics and poems, many of which still remain in manuscript.
He was a thorough Gaelic scholar; and is
reported to have received, while settled in the Highlands,
from the recitations of various persons, large
portions of the poetry of Ossian prior to Macpherson's
One of the best Gaelic scholars of recent times, and a
poet of approved ability, was born on the farm of
Middleton of Tulliepowrie in the year 1814. In early
life he engaged in farm work, and started shopkeeping
on his own account in the village of Inver in his twenty--
fourth year. Here he remained until 1874, when he
crossed the river to Grandtully, where he built a house
and business premises, and where with the assistance of
two of his sons, he carried on with much success the
business of a general merchant, until his death, on the
1st of January, 1889.
With a natural bent for the acquisition of knowledge,
Mr. M'Naughton in his boyhood read with avidity every
book he could lay his hands on. In his old age he was
still an omnivorous reader, and a keen political economist,
as well as a loving and intelligent student of nature.
He composed many original poems and ballads which
have never been printed, and are not likely to be. The
great literary work of his life, and the one by which he
will certainly be remembered, being a metrical translation
of Ossian in the peculiar measure of the original.
Macpherson's translation, without being strictly literal,
is in prose, which does not preserve the measure of
Ossian's verse, — a great want to one conversant with the
Gaelic. Macgregor's and Clark's translations are more
literal than that of Macpherson's, but neither of them
attempts to preserve the rhythmic cadence of the
original. To accomplish this in some measure was Mr.
M‘Naughton's ambition, as well as that of many
enthusiastic admirers of Ossian who encouraged him in
the work. It was an arduous task, but he succeeded
even beyond expectation; and his work, published by
Blackwood & Sons in 1887, has been highly commended
by competent critics.
Editor of "A Treasury of English Sonnets," was a son of
the late Mr. Main, Banker, Doune, one of whose daughters
is the wife of Mr. Smart, R.S.A. He was trained to
commercial life in Glasgow; but his literary inclinations
led him about a dozen years ago to devote his undivided
attention to the compilation of the great work on
English sonnets, with which his name will be permanently
identified. When engaged on this task he went south
to Manchester, and also to London, ransacking the
treasures in the British Museum and spending several
months in the library of his friend, Mr. Alexander
Ireland, of the Manchester Examiner, who took a warm
personal interest in the scheme which his young fellow--
countryman was prosecuting with so much zeal and
enthusiasm. When the "Treasury" at length appeared
in a noble volume, the external appearance of which
harmonised with the value of its contents, it was at once
accepted by the best authorities as the standard work
on the subject — not only the choicest collection of
English sonnets, but the most perfect in respect to
editing, every page containing evidence of the most profound
learning as well as of the most exquisite taste.
Mr. Dante Rossetti, perhaps the greatest authority on
the sonnet, pronounced the work a gem of the first
water, and showed his respect for it by executing an
illuminated title-page of great beauty for the copy
which the editor presented to his mother. Shortly after
the appearance of the "Treasury," Mr. Main settled as
a bookseller in Royal Exchange Square, Glasgow,
devoting himself especially to high-class literature. Of
a highly sensitive nature, and never over robust constitution,
his health broke down just on the eve of his
projected marriage; and after two years, during which
he was almost dead to the world, he died at Doune on
the 19th January, 1888. Mr. Main had a fine gift as a
poet, and was the author of several exquisite sonnets,
two of which, by the permission of his relatives, are
included in this work.
Chiefly known to present day readers as the author of
the plaintive and beautiful ballad of "William and
Margaret," David Mallet, or Malloch, was the son of a
small innkeeper in Crieff, and was born in the year 1700.
Educated at Aberdeen and Edinburgh Universities, he
acted for a time as an unsalaried tutor in the family of
Mr. Home of Dreghorn, near Edinburgh, after which he
entered the family of the Duke of Montrose as tutor
and travelling companion to his sons, with a salary of
£30 per annum. In 1723 he accompanied his pupils to
London, and changed his name from Malloch to Mallet,
as more euphonious. Next year he produced his
pathetic ballad of "William and Margaret," and published
it in Aaron Hill's Plain Dealer. The ballad
commanded considerable attention, and afforded him an
introduction to the literary society of the Metropolis,
which included such names as Young and Pope. The
latter introduced him to Bolingbroke, who in turn, on
the poet's death, found a willing instrument in Mallet
for traducing the memory of his friend. Mallet — though
we regret to say it of a Perthshire poet was one of
those mean creatures who always worship a rising and
turn their back on a setting sun. By his very considerable
talents, his management, and his address, he soon
rose in the world. He was appointed Under-Secretary
to the Prince of Wales, with a salary of £200 a year.
In conjunction with Thomson, the poet of the "Seasons,"
to whom he was really kind, he wrote, in 1740, "The
Masque of Alfred," in honour of the birthday of the
Princess Augusta. In this dramatic composition, which
was afterwards altered by Mallet, and produced at
Drury Lane in 1751, the national song of "Rule
Britannia" first appeared; a song which, as Southey
said, will be the political hymn of Great Britain as long
as she maintains her political power. Whether written
by Thomson or Mallet is not known with certainty, but
the consensus of critical opinion is that the lyric breathes
the higher inspiration and more manly spirit of Thomson.
Mallet's first wife, of whom nothing is recorded, having
died, he married the daughter of Lord Carlisle's steward,
who brought him a fortune of £10,000. Both she and
Mallet gave themselves out as Deists. This was
partly owing to the latter's intimacy with Bolingbroke,
to gratify whom he heaped abuse upon Pope in a preface
to the "The Patriot King," and was rewarded by
Bolingbroke leaving him the whole of his works and
MSS. These he afterwards published, and exposed
himself to the vengeful sarcasm of Johnson, who said
that Bolingbroke was a scoundrel and a coward — a
scoundrel to charge a blunderbuss against Christianity;
and a coward, because he durst not fire it himself, but
left a shilling to a beggarly Scotsman to draw the trigger
after his death. Mallet ranked himself among the
calumniators, and, as it proved, murderers of Admiral
Byng. He wrote a life of Lord Bacon, in which, it was
said, he forgot that Bacon was a philosopher, and would
probably, when he came to write the life of Marlborough,
forget that he was a general. His "Life of Bacon" is now
utterly forgotten. The Duchess of Marlborough left
£1000 in her will between Glover and Mallet to write a
life of her husband. Glover threw up his share of the
work, and Mallet engaged to perform the whole, to which
besides he was stimulated by a pension from the second
Duke of Marlborough. He got the money, but when
he died it was found he had not written a line of the
work. In his latter days he held the lucrative office of
Keeper of the Book of Entries for the port of London.
He died on the 21st of April, 1765.
Dastardly, mean, and unscrupulous, as a man, David
Mallet is no credit to Perthshire and Scotland; yet, as
the author of "William and Margaret," and the older
set of "The Birks of Invermay," his name will live
with the language in which these are written.
A Perthshire man in every respect, except in the
mere accident of his birth, the late Sir William Stirling--
Maxwell was born at Kenmure House, near Glasgow,
in March, 1818. He was the only son of Mr. Archibald
Stirling of Keir, the representative of an old and wealthy
Perthshire family, his mother being a daughter of Sir
John Maxwell, Bart., of Pollok, Renfrewshire. He was
educated at Trinity College, Cambridge, where he graduated
B.A. in 1839, and M.A. in 1843. On the death
of his father in 1847, he succeeded to the estates of
Keir and Calder, and on the death of his uncle, Sir
John Maxwell, in 1866, the Pollock estate fell into his
hands, bringing with it the title, which he did more to
honour than he was honoured by. Sir William married
in 1865 Lady Anna Maria Melville, third daughter of
the eighth Earl of Leven and Melville, who died from
the results of a sad accident in 1874, leaving two sons,
the eldest of whom is the present master of Keir and
Pollock. Three years subsequently he was wedded to
the Hon. Mrs. Norton, the fashionable novelist, but
very soon had to mourn her loss also. Sir William
himself died at Venice in 1878. With natural artistic
tastes, refined by study and travel, he made many important
contributions to critical and historical literature.
Among his best known works are "Annals of the
Artists of Spain," 1848; "Cloister Life of Emperor
Charles V.," 1852; "Velazquez and his Works," 1855;
and his Essays concerning Proverbs, etc., and the Arts
of Design. His only volume of verse, "Songs of the
Holy Land," composed chiefly during a visit to Palestine,
and from which our extracts are mainly taken, was
published in 1846.
In addition to the honour of representing Perthshire
in Parliament from 1852 to 1865, and being returned
again in 1872, Sir William Stirling Maxwell was elected
Rector of St. Andrews University in 1863, when he
received the degree of LL.D., and was honoured with
the same high office by the University of Edinburgh in
1872. Three years later, he was elected Chancellor of
the University of Glasgow, as successor to the late
Duke of Montrose. He was Chairman of the Scottish
Education Board, and held the high rank of a Knight
of the Thistle.
Of Gorthy, the oldest representative of the "Red
Mercers," — the younger branch of the Mercer family,
whose parent stem, known as the "Black Mercers," is
now merged in the person of the Dowager Marchioness
of Landsdowne — died in October, 1886, at the age of
74. Mr. Mercer took little or nothing to do with
parochial concerns, but in local political affairs he displayed
much interest, and on the occasion of contested
elections in Perthshire, was wont to figure in a poetic
capacity, by expressing his well known old Tory views
of men and measures, through the medium of satirical
epigrams and amusing versicles. He was also of an
antiquarian turn, and, in the matter of genealogy in particular,
was unsurpassed for knowledge relating to
Perthshire families. His collection of antiquarian and
other literature was exceptionally fine, and in the
Register House in Edinburgh, as in the social circles of
the Metropolis, the late Laird of Gorthy was a familiar
figure. The song in this collection is said to be about
the only non-political thing of the kind that issued
from his pen.
Author of "The Tay: A Poem" — a noble song of a
truly noble stream — whose fame, though it deserves
to embrace the limits of his native land, has not
extended much beyond the limited scene of his song,
was born at Newburgh, in Fife, in 1803. Here he
spent his early years, indulged in his literary pursuits,
married, and did business, till in 1840 he went to Perth,
having been offered a situation on the staff of the Perthshire
Advertiser. In early life he was fond of poetry and
literature, and the pages of the Fife Herald were often
enriched with his verse, and other articles, which were
highly esteemed. That Mr. Millar had a keen appreciation
of the charms of nature was shown in his
"Saturday Afternoon Rambles," in the Fife Herald, in
which he described the enthusiasm he felt as he roamed
on the shores of the Tay, wandered in the glens around
Lindores, or climbed the slopes of the Fifian Ochils.
While in connection with the Perthshire Advertiser, he
twice a year travelled through the greater part of Perthshire
and adjoining counties, and collected a store of
antiquarian and legendary lore, which he embodied in
"Walks in the Country," published from time to time
in the Perthshire Advertiser. His poem, "The Tay,"
appeared in 1850. On the Saturday previous to his
decease he returned from his spring journey to the
Highlands, apparently in good health and spirits; but
during Sunday night he was suddenly seized with an
alarming illness, and on Monday evening the Poet of
the Tay, the interesting topographer and antiquarian,
the kind-hearted friend and cheerful companion, whose
gladsome face, merry laugh, and free genial disposition,
were fitted to interest and delight every sensitive bosom,
closed his mortal career and finished the journey of life,
aged sixty-two years. This was in the spring of 1865.
A prominent personal characteristic of Mr. Millar's was,
we have been told by one who knew him well, a shrinking
modesty in regard to his own productions. Until
the publication of his poem "The Tay" — the labour
almost of his life — was announced, his most intimate
friends did not know that such a work had been on the
anvil. Had he shown his hand earlier, in all probability
his poem would have had a much more extensive circulation,
and might have enjoyed a popularity more
nearly approximate with its merit. It is a really valuable
contribution to the national literature; and singing
as it does the natural beauties of each "bosky bank and
flowery brae" that adorns his "youthful muse's favourite
theme;" and reciting so many interesting legendary
and historical tales associated with the banks and
bosom of the first river in the country, it is a poem
that should be known and read by all who are proud to
claim Scotland as the land of their birth.
Poor David Millar! he loved his native Tay, and
sang her many-tinted glories cheerily and well. There
is, however, a sigh for every song, and for every smile
a tear. The concluding lines tell a sad tale:—
"The song that rose in gladness sinks in grief!
Fair Tay, thou'rt beautiful, but most unkind!
Though weak its numbers, was there nought but
To recompense my love? I tried to bind
A chaplet round thy brow, and thou hast twined
For mine a cypress wreath! My fair, my gay,
My glad-souled boy! and didst thou, trusting find
Her lauded charms were trustless? Away!
A shadow's o'er thee now, ingrate but glorious Tay!"
Born in the parish of Strachan, in Kincardineshire, in
September, 1863, David Gibb Mitchell received his
early education at Longforgan Public School, and has
spent the most, as well as the happiest of his days, so
far, on the braes of the Carse of Gowrie. "My heart
swells," he writes, "as I look back on my laddie days.
How bright, how happy, how real! In the glen I had
nae bairnies to play wi', and so I was forced to become
Nature's bairn. I threw myself into her arms, and she
nursed me and taught me from her own lips. The
birds in the woods became my companions. I learned
all their names, and got familiar with their habits. I
knew on what trees to find them, and felt as happy in
their presence as on my mother's knee. With all of us
this page in the book of memory, recording scenes and
little incidents of early days, is often, often read. The
stories of ghosts and hobgoblins — making our hair stand
on end — of witches and warlocks, and many other suchlike
screids, related round the big log-fire on a winter's
night, were so imprinted upon the imagination and
memory that they continue fresh to the end of life."
In his youth he was employed for a time as a clerk
with the Caledonian Railway Company, and latterly as
a junior clerk in a carpet factory in Dundee, but all the
while was secretly preparing at the night schools for
college: and in two years from the time he left the
day-school he entered as a student at the University of
St. Andrews. Before leaving college he took his degree
in classics, was 5th prizeman in the class of Moral
Philosophy, and was in the honours' list in Logic and
English Literature. In 1886 he entered the Free
Church Divinity Hall in Edinburgh, and in the following
summer was sent to take charge of a mission station
in Orkney. At the end of the succeeding session he
was appointed missionary to the New College Students'
Mission in Edinburgh. Subsequently he acted for a
time as assistant to the Rev. Dr. M'Tavish, Inverness,
and a year or two ago was appointed colleague and successor
to the Rev. James Smith, Cramond, near Edinburgh,
a position which he occupies with credit and
Mr. Mitchell was, by virtue of his musical and
poetical abilities, a prime favourite with his fellow--
students at College. For these, and the higher gifts
and graces befitting his position as a minister of the
Gospel, he is, we are glad to know, held in equal esteem
by the good people of the Free Kirk of Cramond.
Poetry has been a subject of by-play, rather than one
of study with him, yet many of his poems are instinct
with grace and beauty of thought, whilst some of his
lighter efforts, like "Och, Hey, Hum," are of the
happiest possible turn.
Born at Finlarig, Breadalbane, in May, 1834, emigrated
to Canada in his youth, and has been connected for a
great many years with the well-known and extensive
dry goods store of Messrs. A. Murray and Co., Hamilton,
Ontario. He is the author of many pleasing and vigorous
songs and poems on Scottish subjects, some of the
latter being of considerable length and unusual good
quality. Although frequently pressed by his friends
to issue a collection of the creatures of his imagination
in book-form, he has, thus far, refrained from gratifying
their desire. "While Mr. Murray has never tasted of
matrimonial joys," says Mr. John D. Ross, in his Scottish,
Poets in America, "his lot in life is by no means an
unhappy one. He enjoys a large circle of friends, is
respected by all, and is ever ready to lend assistance
wherever and whenever required. He is the author of
many poems which deserve to be better known than
they now are, and we hope that he will yet be induced
to place a collection of his writings in a permanent form
before the public."
After Burns, indisputably the greatest song-writer
that Scotland has produced, was the third daughter of
Laurence Oliphant, Esq. of Gask, and his spouse (who
was also his cousin) Margaret Robertson, a daughter of
Duncan Robertson of Struan, and was born in "The
Auld House," which she afterwards celebrated in song,
on the 16th of July, 1766. In her youth she was
singularly beautiful, being known in her native district
by the poetical designation of "The Flower of Strathearn";
and not less remarkable was she for the precocity
of her intellect than for the elegance of her person.
Descended from two old Jacobite families, and herself
named in honour of Prince Charles Edward, her earlier
sympathies received a strong bias in favour of the exiled
race of Stuart, which in course of time found expression
in such songs as "We hae a Croon without a Head,"
"Wha'll be King but Charlie?" "The Auld House,"
and "He's ower the Hills that I lo'e weel," and others.
In the application of her talents, she was influenced by
another incentive. A loose ribaldry tainted the songs
and ballads which circulated among the peasantry, and
she was convinced that the diffusion of a more wholesome
minstrelsy would elevate the moral tone of the
community. Thus, while still in her teens, she began
to purify the older melodies and to compose new songs,
which were ultimately destined to occupy an ample
share of the national heart. On one occasion, about this
time, her brother Laurence, entertaining the Gask
tenantry at dinner, when called upon for a song, gave
with much spirit a new version of a hitherto rude country
song, "The Ploughman," which he said he had received
from the writer. The song was received with warm
approbation, and was speedily set to the old music and
published. Thus encouraged, the "Flower of Strathearn"
proceeded in her self-imposed task; and added
song to song with remarkable rapidity and success, at
the same time keeping her personality studiously concealed.
To the early period of her career, in which she
composed "The Ploughman," it is worth noting, there
also belongs "The Laird o' Cockpen," which soon afterwards
was followed by "The Land of the Leal" and
some of her best known songs. Carolina Oliphant, in
her hey-day, like the celebrated "Tibbie Fowler," had
many suitors for her hand — "wooin' at her, pooin' at her"
— but gave the preference to her second cousin, Captain
William Murray Nairne (who but for an attainder had
been fifth Lord Nairne), to whom she was married on
2nd June, 1806. Captain Nairne had obtained the
office of Assistant Inspector General of Barracks in
Scotland, with the brevet rank of Major. His official
duties implied a residence in Edinburgh, and thither
Mrs. Nairne repaired with her gallant husband. In the
capital the Nairnes were known but to a select number
of friends, and even these were kept in utter ignorance
of her ladyship's poetical inclinations; yea, Major Nairne
himself, it is said, was uninformed of his wife's habit of
song-writing, and of the fact that she had composed
"The Land o' the Leal." It was sometime previous to
1821 that the talented authoress entrusted to a single
gentlewoman in Edinburgh the secret of her authorship.
"In that year," writes Dr. Charles Rogers, "Mr. Robert
Purdie, a music-seller in the capital, resolved to publish
a series of the more approved national songs, accompanied
by suitable melodies. Several ladies of musical
tastes were solicited to render their assistance to the
undertaking; and among others the gentlewoman who
had been the depository of Lady Nairne's secret. Informed
by this friend of Mr. Purdie's project, our
authoress consented to render every assistance, on her
incognito being preserved. The condition was readily
acceded to; and though the publication of The Scottish
Minstrel' extended over three years, and our authoress
had several personal interviews and much correspondence
with the publisher and his editor, Mr. Robert Archibald
Smith, both these individuals remained ignorant of her
real name. She had assumed the signature 'B. B.' in
the 'Minstrel,' and in her correspondence with Mr.
Purdie, who appears to have been entertained by the
discovery, communicated in confidence, that the name of
his contributor was 'Mrs. Logan of Bogan,' and by
this designation he subsequently addressed her." The
"Scottish Minstrel" was completed in 1824, in six
royal octavo volumes, but up to this time the real
identity of the authoress of some of the choicest items
in its contents had not leaked out. To the end of her
days, indeed, Lady Nairne scrupulously preserved her
incognito. As in the case of Lady Anne Barnard, she
saw the popular creations of her Muse attributed to
others, but this seemed to give her no annoyance. She
experienced much gratification in finding her simple
minstrelsy supplanting the coarse and demoralising
rhymes of a former period; and this knowledge she
preferred to fame. It was not until after her death that
the first collection of her songs was printed and published,
with her name on the title-page — "Lays from
Strathearn; by Carolina, Baroness Nairne," — which was
followed, in 1868, by the full collection of her poetical
writings, edited, with a memoir, by the late Dr. Charles
By an Act of Parliament, which received the Royal
sanction in June, 1824, Major Nairne was restored to his
rank in the peerage, and the authoress of "The Land o'
the Leal" became the Baroness Nairne. She was left a
widow, with one son, on the 9th of July, 1830. The
remaining years of her life, most of which she spent on
the Continent, were marked by Christian zeal and philanthropy.
She died in the mansion house of Gask, on
Sunday, the 26th October, 1845, at the advanced age of
seventy-nine years.
It is worth noting here that Niel Gow approved of
Miss Oliphant's dancing, and when the great fiddler
saw her on the floor at the County balls, he said,
"He drew his bow." To realize the value and extent of
her contributions to the national minstrelsy, it is only
necessary to mention by name "The Land o' the Leal,"
"The Laird o' Cockpen," "Caller Herrin'," "The Auld
House," "The Hundred Pipers," "The Rowan Tree,"
"Wha'll be King but Charlie?" "He's owre the Hills
that I loe we'el," "Will ye no come back again?" and
"The Women are a' gane Wud," every song of which
stands in the front rank of popularity, affording proof
for our claim made at the outset, that, after Burns,
Lady Nairne is the greatest song-writer which our song--
hallowed, song-loving country has yet produced.
Is a native of the "lang town" of Auchterarder, the "braes
roun' aboot" which he has celebrated in one of the two
songs from his pen which we have been able to find room
for in this collection. Born on the 16th of July, 1867,
Mr. Neish became a railway clerk, and served in the
Clearing Houses at various junctions in Scotland until
1889, when he received an appointment in the head
office in London, where he is likely to be permanently
employed. He has not written much, but has a decided
gift for lyrical composition.
Now resident in Syracuse, America, was born in
Dunning, about 1810. He left his native land more
than fifty years ago, but still retains a warm nook in
his heart for dear auld Caledonia, and has contributed
many pieces of a patriotic character to the newspapers
and journals of the day.
For sometime, more than a hundred years ago, school--
master at Collace, and author of "The Rural Muse; or
a Collection of Miscellany Poems, both Comical and
Serious," printed at Edinburgh in 1753, was, as we
gather from the introductory pages of his book, born
and bred on the estate of Pitcur, near Coupar Angus.
In the course of the dedication of his volume to "The
Honourable James Halyburton, of Pitcur, Esq., Member
of Parliament for Orkney and Shetland, and Colonel in
the Third Regiment of Foot Guards, etc," the author
says — "To screen my weak performances from the
malice and detraction of uncharitable readers, made me
to seek shelter from them under the shadow of your
protection; hoping it will not derogate anything from
your honour, though I cannot say they are worth your
notice; but, having your countenance, they will be
acceptable to all into whose hands they shall come.
And though I had been as famous an author as Virgil
or Horace I could expect none but yourself to be my
Mæcenas, seeing I was born and brought up within your
inheritance; therefore you will excuse and pardon me
for presuming to trouble you with such insignificant
trifles, which yet, if at your leisure hours you may
deign to cast your eyes on, though they do not satisfy,
may divert you. For my former performances have
been taken notice of by men of honour and learning,
and the more, because I never had any education, and
your honourable father was my best of many friends.
The Right Honourable the late Lord Gray was the first
that took notice of me, upon Monorgon's recommendation,
with several other worthy gentlemen. At length
the Right Honourable the Earl of Morton encouraged
me, so that I grew ambitious to appear in publick; and
applying to the present Lord Gray, he accepted of my
dedication, which made my heart as light as a feather.
And now once more I am revived by you. There are
some so puft up with pride that such as I cannot get
access unto them; but I do not reckon these persons of
honour, but rather fools; and commonly such have no
other character; for pride never dwells with virtue and
a good character; otherwise you might have repulsed
me after this manner:—
Thou punie fool, think'st thou that we
Regard ought that's perform'd by thee?
Thou and thy Rural Muse may go
To vulgar sots, that nothing know,
But to converse with sheep and cattle;
And unto them your nonsense rattle."
The dominie must have been a bit of a character in his
day. And that he rode an ever-willing and sprightly
Pegasus is evident. Within the scope of the "Rural
Muse" we find "A Bundle of Flowers for Children:
Being Verses on the most remarkable men and women
mentioned in the Bible;" "The Broken Laird Repair'd;
a comical tale in five Cantos;" and "King Solomon's
Book of Ecclesiastes, in Metre." Here we see some
lines "On receiving a compliment from the Right
Honourable the Lord Kinnaird," there a dissertation on
"Mrs. Ogilvie's Chariot Wheel Sinking on the Brink of
the River Spey;" now it is an acrostic on Robert
Hunter of South Ballo, then an elegy on his old friend
Johnie Galla. The "City of Dundee" comes in for a
share of his attention, and his remarks on that "ancient
city, famed for arms and arts," are not devoid of
Popularly known and esteemed as "Scotland's second
Burns," was born at Little Tulliebeltane, in the parish
of Auchtergaven, on the 7th of January, 1814, of
"decent, honest, God-fearing parents." His mother,
Grizel, or Grace Fenwick, a daughter of the venerable
Seceder "Elder John," of whom the poet sings frequently
and with much affection, and who seems to have been a
remarkable woman, was his first and almost only
teacher. By her aid — lent in the brief intervals of her
domestic duties — Robert could read the New Testament
by the time he was five years old. At this period of
his life a sad calamity befel the household. His father
— until then a farmer in comfortable circumstances —
had become security for a large amount to a relative,
who failed and absconded. Mr. Nicoll's ruin was the
immediate consequence; and with his wife and children
he left the farmhouse, and became a day-labourer on
the fields he had lately rented. Robert Nicoll was thus
from his earliest recollections the son of a very poor
man, the inmate of a very lowly cottage home, and (the
first-born having died early) the eldest of a struggling
family. Like many men who have risen to distinction,
he used to attribute his success to maternal influences
exercised upon his youthful mind. "My mother," he
says in one of his letters, "was in her early years an
ardent book-woman. When she became poor her time
was too precious to admit of its being spent in reading,
and I generally read to her while she was working, for
she took care that the children should not want education."
Would that all mothers were animated with the
same ambition, and the slur of compulsory education
were lifted from off the character of our country!
When six years old Robert was sent to the parish
school, about three miles distant, to learn "countin' and
wreatin';" attending school in winter, and herding
cows during the summer months. No doubt it was
while "a laddie herdin' kye" that he imbibed the germs
of many of his songs and poems, and laid the foundation
of what he afterwards expressed in "Youth's Dreams:" —
"I thought the little burnies ran,
An' sang the while to me;
To glad me flowers cam' on the earth,
An' leaves upon the tree;
An' heather on the muirland grew,
An' tarns in glens did lie;
Of beauteous things like these I dreamed,
When I was herdin' kye."
At thirteen he began to scribble down his thoughts in
verse. At seventeen he was apprenticed to the grocery
trade in Perth. Here he found access to storehouses of
knowledge. By the kindness of a gentleman in Perth
he got the use of the Public Library, and read with delight
Milton's prose works, Locke's works, and some of
Bentham's treatises, and in the course of one summer
Smith's "Wealth of Nations" several times through.
During the run of his 'prentice time he attached himself
to a debating society in Perth, wrote poetry on the
North Inch, and stories in his fireless lodgings. One
story he sent to the editor of Johnstone's Edinburgh
Magazine, and had the pleasure of seeing it in print
under the title of "Jessie Ogilvy." The publication of
this story determined his future vocation. He decided
to live by his pen, despite the entreaties of his old aunt,
who said— "Dinna be an author, Robert; they're aye
puir." On the expiry of his apprenticeship he went to
Edinburgh, seeking he scarcely knew what, and after
rolling about for some time in "a swither" as to what
he should try, he proceeded to Dundee, and there
opened a circulating library in Castle Street. The venture
did not prove a successful one, but the nature of
the business afforded him considerable time for devotion
to literary exercises; and he did not idle himself. In a
letter about this time he says — "No wonder I am busy:
I am at this moment writing poetry; I have almost a
volume of a novel written. I have to attend the meeting
of the Kinloch Monument Committee; write some
half-dozen articles for the Advertiser; and, to crown all,
I have fallen in love." The young lady with whom he
fell in love, and whom he afterwards married, was Miss
Alice Suter, a niece of the then editor of the Dundee Advertiser.
In his twenty-first year he published his "Poems
and Lyrics," five editions of which have since appeared.
They were well received by his friends and the press,
but brought him no pecuniary assistance. On leaving
Dundee, Nicoll again betook himself to Edinburgh, and
there, through the influence of Mr. Tait, the publisher,
succeeded in procuring the editorship of the Leeds Times,
a Radical newspaper of the broadest type, at a salary of
£100 per annum. The work was one the nature of
which he had long sighed to obtain, and he threw his
whole soul into it; but, never constitutionally robust, he
soon broke down under the severe strain of editorship,
and, though with great reluctancy, was obliged to relinquish
the duties. He believed that breathing his
native air and a look of his mother would soon restore
him; and with his fond wife he hurried to his native
land — but to die. He reached the house of his friend,
Mr. Johnstone, in Edinburgh, and died there, "unstained
and pure at the age of twenty-three," on the
9th of December, 1837. His remains were interred in
the churchyard of North Leith, whither they were followed
by a numerous and respectable assemblage, consisting
chiefly of gentlemen connected with the press in
Some of Nicoll's songs, such as "Bonnie Bessie Lee,"
and "My Auld Mither Dee'd in the Year Auchty-Nine,"
have attained a popularity only surpassed by those of
Burns and Lady Nairne. But it is not in the production
of popular song that his main strength lies; and
not here is to be found the secret of his fame. His
writings are cherished because, as he says himself "I
have written my heart in my poems; and rude and unfinished,
and hasty as they are, it can be read there."
A younger brother of the author of "Bonnie Bessie
Lee," was born at Little Tulliebeltane, in the year 1817,
and after a brief existence, spent partly in Perth,
Glasgow, and Edinburgh, he died in the latter city in 1855.
In person, we are told, he was rather above the middle
height, was fair complexioned, and had deep, grey eyes.
In manners, he was affable, insinuating, and sprightly;
in social life, warm and unsuspicious, though somewhat
violent in his attachments, and merciless in his denunciations.
He was a dutiful son, an affectionate brother,
and a firm friend. In politics he was, like his better--
known and more highly gifted brother, an extreme
Radical; fervid and sincere, and ever ready to cross
swords with a political opponent. He also longed to
see "the warld better yet," and delighted in "the
glorious privilege of being independent." William
Nicoll's poetry certainly does not equal his brother's in
any sense, but he is, nevertheless, a sweet, and true son
of song. He sleeps in the same grave with his brother
in North Leith Churchyard.
For nearly forty years schoolmaster of Collace, and who
died only a year or two ago, added to many well-known
mental, professional, and literary acquirements, a fine
gift of lyrical composition, and left behind him in the
world a handful of songs and ballads, several of which
are worthy of a place in any and every collection of
Scottish lyrical poetry.
Mr. Norval was a native of Fifeshire, and in that
county began his professional career. After a short
term of service in the Parish School of Kinnoull he was
appointed schoolmaster of Collace. In addition to being
schoolmaster, he held the situation of registrar of births,
etc., for the parish, and had been more than once complimented
by the Registrar-General for his fine penmanship
and order in registration duties. He was one of
the first among parochial teachers who, after the passing
of the Education Act, qualified for having his school
examined by Her Majesty's Inspector for Privy Council
grant, and he held a certificate of the 1st class. By his
old pupils, many of whom have distinguished themselves
in various walks of life, and occupy positions of trust
and usefulness in the country, and by all who came
within the influence of his kindly, magnetic character,
the memory of Mr. Norval will be cherished with deep
and lasting affection. "Not only as a schoolmaster was
he loved and admired," said the Perthshire, Constitutional
at the time of his death. "The same ever-ready
sympathy and desire to help were evinced in his daily
conduct outside the school. Though he did not mix
much in company — he was too much a student for that
— yet his obliging disposition and happy temperament
were known always to be depended on, and not a few
sought his society at the schoolhouse, his services as
land measurer, and his counsel in their difficulties.
Possessed of a retentive memory and a highly-cultured
mind, he had amassed vast stores of learning, which
were ever ready for the benefit of others. His intellectual
excellence was known and appreciated; he was an artist,
too, of no mean order, with a creative genius which
found expression also in poetry and music. He will
be long remembered as a true gentleman."
Mr. Norval's death occurred in the end of June after
a very brief illness. He had been the victim of heart
disease, and a sharp cold contracted in the course of a
visit to the Edinburgh International Exhibition of 1886
cut him off in his sixty-sixth year.
Born at Gask on the 16th January 1807, was the
youngest of the eight children of Laurence Oliphant,
brother of the authoress of "The Land o' the Leal."
In youth she was volatile and gay, fond of novel-reading
and seeing the world, and her early education is described
as having been desultory. In the course of her
teens, however, she became studious, and before she
had reached the age of twenty had settled into an
exemplary and sincerely Christian lady. She was a
great admirer of Robert Hall, and read and studied the
Scriptures in the original tongues. Writing of her
now, a friend remarks, "I envy Caroline her talent,
which shines in all she says or does; and still more the
heavenly direction given to it. Never was the character
of holiness and purity more legibly inscribed on any
mortal." In 1826 the Oliphant's left Gask for Clifton,
and Caroline died there, after a lingering illness, in the
presence of the Baroness Nairne and other members of
the family, on the 9th of February, 1831. She wrote
many hymns and poems, only a few of which have been
Free Church minister of Lochlee, Forfarshire, was born
in the village of Longforgan, in 1859. He studied at
Edinburgh University, and distinguished himself by
taking quite a number of scholarships. He began to
write verses when about sixteen, and in his student
days was a frequent contributor to the Dundee newspapers.
For some time he wrote the Edinburgh
Letter for the Fifeshire Journal, in the form of racy
and vigorous notes, entitled "Echoes from Edina," and
afterwards contributed to the same journal a series of
clever humorous papers under the heading of "Havers
frae Hoolitneuk." He has also written for various
Christmas Annuals; and poems and articles from his
pen, sometimes over his own name, but more frequently
over the nom de plume of "White Tie," have appeared
at intervals in the columns of the Glasgow Weekly Citizen,
the Ladies Journal, and other periodical publications.
Presently engaged as an overseer in the firm of Messrs.
Baxter, Dundee, was born on 20th October, 1853, at
Woodside, St. Madoes, in the Carse of Gowrie. When he
was three years of age his parents removed to the village
of Longforgan, and at the Parish School there he
received the best education the honest dominie could
afford, which, we know, comprised "little Latin and less
Greek." Leaving school in the spring of 1869, he
apprenticed himself to the trade of a joiner in the
village of Abernyte; and here, busy during the day in
his calling, his evenings were spent either in examining
the natural beauty of his surroundings, or trying to
frame his thoughts into good form through the vehicle
of verse.
In 1873 he removed to Dundee, and, as we have
said, is now employed there. Mr. Paul is quite the
centre of a little coterie of working men with poetical
and theological leanings; but perhaps in no connection
is he better known in Dundee than with the Sabbath
forenoon meetings held week by week for the poorer
classes of children, at which gatherings a visit from John
Paul creates quite a sensation. He possesses a peculiar
gift in his dealing with the bairns, and it does one's
heart good to see how eagerly the wee eyes glisten and
the young heads lean forward to listen to the "old, old
story" so winningly told by our poetic friend.
This work is very near his heart, and did you take
the liberty of upbraiding him with giving thus the cold
shoulder to his first love of poetry, he would not be
slow in answering that the bairns had stolen his heart
away, and what was in him of the poet is giving place
to the Children's Missionary. Mr. Paul is possessed of
good literary gifts which are largely called forth in the
manufacture of essays for debating societies, and such
like, in which he takes a hearty interest. A few years
ago he was successful in carrying off the first prize
medal at Edinburgh which the Church of Scotland
Young Men's Guild had offered for essays, and quite
recently his name was announced as the winner of a
five pound prize for the best poem expressive of patriotic
love for the Church of Scotland.
Was born at Kincardine, Perthshire, in 1817, and died,
of heart disease, in Glasgow, in 1877. In his early
manhood he travelled a good deal in search of employment,
and was at times engaged in shipbuilding
yards throughout England, Ireland, and Scotland. He
worked for several years in Spain, and spent some of
his happiest days in that romantic land, to which his
Muse has paid a fervent tribute. After being married
he settled in Birkenhead where he was for some years
employed in a large shipbuilding yard, and afterwards
commenced business as a newsagent. Towards the
close of his life he accepted a situation as gate-keeper
in a foundry in Glasgow, and died there as described.
A volume of his "Poems and Songs," published in
1864, and which lies before us, proves his possession of
a fine lyrical faculty, as well as the power of sustained
thought and poetical expression. There is a smack of
Burns in these lines:—
"The wide world yet will see the time
Whan want an' wae will pass awa',
An' men o' every creed an' clime
Bear kindly love for ane an' a'."
Authoress of "Greycliff Hall, and other Poems," published
by Messrs. Dunn & Wright, Glasgow, in 1878, is
a daughter of the late Rev. Dr. William Pringle of the
United Presbyterian Church, Auchterarder, who is remembered
as an elegant writer, an effective platform
speaker, and a man of rare scholarly attainments. To a
pleasing gift of verse Miss Pringle adds an elocutionary
talent of no mean order, and for a time she enjoyed considerable
repute as a public reader. Some years ago
she removed to England, and where, we presume, she
continues to reside.
Born at Ruthven, in Forfarshire, on the 29th August,
1851, has lived nearly all his days in Blairgowrie.
His father, a native of Blair, was a mill overseer;
and although no great scholar, was what is familiarly
termed "a widely read man." To his sister, Mary,
William regards himself primarily indebted for the
warm love of poetry early engendered in his breast.
On washing days, when his mother was busy, this sister
would take him away to the braes, and beguile his
thoughts from home by gathering wild flowers, and
sitting down and repeating old ballads to him. Before
he went to school, he was familiar with all the more
stirring episodes in the lives of Wallace and Bruce, and
had formed a love for books. The little education
he ever got he received at a school at Craig Mill,
Rattray, kept for half-time children. In his twelfth
year, he was sent to work in one of the flax mills in
Blair, and to the present day has continued to work and
reside in that district. For many years he worked as
a cloth-lapper, but recently, was appointed to the more
congenial situation of colporteur of the district, in which
office he is widely esteemed for his obliging disposition,
intelligence, and general excellence of character.
A volume of his poems and songs, first published at
Blairgowrie in 1869, is now in its third edition, and
deservedly popular.
Son of the Rev. James Richardson, was born in the
Manse of Aberfoyle on the 1st October, 1743. Partly
educated at the local school, he went to Edinburgh
University and studied with a view to entering the
Church, but before he had completed his theological
course he entered the family of Lord Cathcart as tutor,
and remained there until, through his patron's influence
as Lord Rector, he succeeded Professor Muirhead in the
Chair of Humanity at Glasgow University. A frequent
contributor to various magazines, Professor Richardson
wrote many critical examinations of Shakespeare's
plays, "The Indian's Tragedy," and several volumes of
poetry. He died in 1814.
The thirteenth laird of Struan of that family, a celebrated
Jacobite Chief, and a poet, was born in the year
1668. He was educated for the Church, and with this
view entered the University of St. Andrews; but
succeeding to the family estate in his twentieth year, he
joined Dundee in the Highlands, and aspired to a
military career. He fought under Dundee at Killiecrankie,
under Mar at Sheriffmuir, and under Prince
Charlie at Culloden. Was twice tried, once imprisoned,
and twice banished. His sister Margaret planned his
escape from prison; his first sentence of banishment
and confiscation was remitted by Queen Anne, the
second by George the First, and in 1746 the Court of
Oyer and Terminer failed to prove his connection with
the last Rebellion. When age and its accompanying
infirmities prevented Struan from taking part in the
activities of the field, he indulged his peculiar fancy of
decorating his house with poetical inscriptions. Over
every gateway, door, and passage, appropriate lines
were written in gold letters, all characteristic and pat
in their application.
He died at his house, Mount Alexander, in Rannoch,
aged 81. A volume of his poems was published not
long after his death, and a second appeared at Edinburgh,
in 1785, the latter containing also the "History and
Martial Achievements of the Robertsons of Strowan."
His effusions — some of them pious — many of them able
— all of them clever — are in large part too plain spoken
for presentation in these more finical times. Struan is
thought to have suggested some hints to Sir Walter
Scott for the portrait of Bradwardine in "Waverley."
Born in Longforgan, in the Carse of Gowrie, in 1808,
has been for many years a working gardener in Broughty
Ferry. He was forty years old before he blossomed
into verse, but a deal of fragrant bloom has fallen from
him in his old age. A collection of his poems and songs
published a few years ago went speedily out of print.
He has long been a frequent and welcome contributor
to the Dundee Evening Telegraph and the People's Journal.
Although born in Dundee, was in a very important
sense a Perthshire man, as well as a Perthshire poet.
His father was a native of Old Rattray, and lived until
beyond middle life in and about that district; whilst
his mother was born in Strathbraan, and when a young
girl moved eastward with her family to Blairgowrie,
where she met her "marrow." Mr. Robertson served
an apprenticeship to the provision trade in Dundee, and
afterwards acted for some years as a clerk in a mill
there. By and by he obtained the situation of salesman
to the Auchtergaven Provision Society in Bankfoot, an
office which he continued to discharge until shortly
before his death, on the 1st of February, 1891.
While a young man in Dundee he found his chief
delight in the study and practice of music, but on his
removal to the country a new life was opened up to
him, and, inspired by the beauty of his sylvan surroundings,
he gave his attention more particularly to the
cultivation of a natural gift of poesy. For a number of
years he was a frequent and welcome contributor to
various local periodical publications, including the
People's Journal, and his poems and songs, invariably
sweet and pleasing, are frequently instinct with deep
religious feeling. Mr. Robertson was a man of an
amiable and devout Christian character, whose memory
will be cherished for many years by the good folks of
the parish of Auchtergaven.
Though much more widely known and esteemed for
the fervent beauty and activity of her Christian life and
character, Mrs. Stewart Sandeman of Springland, shared
with her maternal aunt, the authoress of "The Land o'
the Leal," the true poetic gift, and merits no insignificant
place in the bead-roll of native poetesses. Poetry, however,
it is clearly evident from reading the record of
her life, by her daughter, the late Mrs. Barbour,
she never pursued as an art, but simply employed as a
ready and pleasant vehicle for the transmission to paper
of the more imposing thoughts and feelings of her life.
Truly, was she thus "a poetess by Nature made." Mrs.
Sandeman was the daughter of Dr. Alexander Stewart
of Bonskeid, and was born in the Watergate, Perth,
February, 1803. She succeeded her father in the
possession of the estates, thus representing an old
line of the "Stewarts," which for five hundred years
had passed from father to son. Her mother, Marjory
Anne Mary Oliphant of Gask, was the eldest sister of
Carolina, afterwards Baroness Nairne. At the age of
seventeen she married Mr. Glass Sandeman, a great--
grandson of John Sandeman, who founded the religious
body known as the Glassites, by whom she had a family
of six sons and three daughters. Mr. Sandeman died
more than thirty years ago at Montpelier, in France,
but sleeps in Greyfriars, Perth. Three of Mrs. Sandeman's
sons still survive her, the youngest being Colonel
Frank Stewart Sandeman of Stanley House. Her
daughter, the late Mrs. Barbour of Bonskeid, the
authoress of "The Way Home" and other popular religious
books, finds a place in this work. In Mrs. Sandeman
were displayed many of the characteristics of the old
Jacobite family of Gask, and her mind was richly stored
with traditions and memories of a bygone age, which
she delighted in contrasting and connecting with those
of the present day. Of great literary taste she was, as
we have already said, gifted with true poetic instincts.
At an early age she was powerfully impressed by the
spirit of the Christian religion, and during her life became
intimately associated with many of the foremost promoters
of evangelistic work. Her beautiful residence
on the banks of the Tay, looking across on the North
Inch of Perth, held an ever open door to the poor and
needy worker in "the vineyard," and besides receiving
strength and encouragement from her kind and prudent
counsel, they very frequently were helped from the
store of her worldly substance. During the last forty
years of her life, Mrs. Sandeman kept a diary,
entitled "Pro and Con," in which passing events of
public and religious interest were regularly chronicled,
together with personal criticisms and remarks thereon,
frequently in verse. The last entry in the book was
made by her own hand a few hours before her death,
which took place in the beginning of March, 1883.
Widely known as a lecturer and writer on social and
political subjects, was born at Craig Mill, Rattray, on
2nd August, 1835. He succeeded his father as a flax
spinner in Blairgowrie, and a number of years ago
removed to Dundee, where in addition to conducting a
mercantile business, he maintains a regular and systematic
connection with the local press; his contributions
to the People's Journal over the signature of "A Christian
Democrat" being widely read and deservedly much
esteemed. An occasional contributor to the magazines
of the day, his ballad of "Donald MacInroy" is extracted
from an old number of Chambers' Journal.
A youthful lyric poet of considerable promise, was born
on the farm of Cordon, near Abernethy, on 20th July,
1866, but has spent the greater part of his yet brief
career at Byres, near the village of Guildtown, in the
parish of St. Martins. On leaving school at the age of
fourteen he wrought for a year and a half at field work
on the neighbouring farms, and thereafter went to
Perth and began his apprenticeship as a compositor in
the Perthshire Advertiser office, where, after three years
absence in Edinburgh, he is presently employed. His
contributions have appeared in the Perthshire Magazine,
the People's Journal, Dundee Weekly News, and People's
"James Shain was a poet, and a very gallant one,"
writes Mr. P. R. Drummond, "for out of his thirty-five
published poems, twenty-five are devoted to 'woman!'
and kissing, sobbing, and tear-shedding are the staple
virtues." Mr. Shain half a century ago conducted a sort
of "Do-the-boys Hall" in a wretched and sunless old
building at the foot of the High Street of Perth, where
he also lent books to those who were disposed to read.
Where he was born or died has not been recorded.
Was a shoemaker to trade, and spent a goodly portion
of his earthly career in or about Perth. Besides
beating leather on a lapstone, he played the German
flute and taught it, painted landscapes, and taught
drawing, and composed love songs and sang them.
Despite all these accomplishments, however, his life was
one long, hard struggle with poverty. He died at
Bridgend, Perth, on the 5th of February, 1817, and lies
buried on the sunny side of the old church of Kinnoull.
An upright slab marks the spot, and bears this quaint
but expressive epitaph, written by himself some years
before his death:—
"Halt for a moment, passenger, and read,
Here Andrew dozes in his daisied bed;
Silent his flute, and torn off the key;
His pencils scatter'd, and his Muse set free."
Also this addition by his wife:—
"An affectionate husband, a faithful friend, and an
honest man."
In the closing years of the last, and the opening years of
the present century, was a labouring man on the estate of
Ballathie, in the parish of Kinclaven. Subsequently
he resided for a few years in Carolina Place, Wolfhill,
but when or where he was born or died no one seems
to know. A worthy and well-known Perthshire farmer,
who was born and bred on the estate of Ballathie, and
whose "well-worn clay" we recently followed to the
kirkyard of his native Kinclaven, once told us that he
remembered "poet Sim," as he was called, quite well.
He was an oldish man when our informant was a boy
at school, in the early years of the century, and was of
a taciturn disposition generally, but waxed voluble on
occasions, and had a reputation for apt, humorous, and
satirical repartee. Under the title of "Poems on various
Subjects, Local and General," Sim issued a volume of
his rhymed ware in 1811. The book, which extends to
70 pages, was printed by James Crerar, Perth, and
seems to have been largely bought up by subscription.
The names of his subscribers are given in the back end
of the booklet, and are arranged in parishes. And the
first name on the list for Auchtergaven is, curiously
enough, that of Grizel Fenwick, Robert Nicoll's mother,
although Robert was not born until three years afterward.
Looking over the names under Kinclaven we find
M'Kendrick, Sim, Burns, Cram, Galletly, Foot, Watson,
Ford, and Lamb; and under Cargill, Martin, Bannerman,
Fenwick, Pirney, Young, Pringle, Thomson, Irvine,
Taylor, and Howie predominating, as they still, with
one or two exceptions, continue to do in these respective
parishes. Sim, with a courage worthy of his calling,
lays down, in the opening poem of the book, his plan
of poetic censorship, and thus:—
"My theme shall be, since I've begun,
To pity the oppress'd,
Wi' comic hearts I'll mak' guid fun,
An' mourn wi' the distress'd.
Whae'er to virtue is inclin'd
I'll by his merit prize him;
But where a puppy I do find
I'll try to undisguise him."
So far as it is now possible to guess, "Poet Sim" fearlessly
and freely carried out his self-imposed task of
patron and protector of the local virtues, for there is in
the course of the volume abundance of both praise and
blame of the lieges. The results of his moral censorship
were, we are afraid, however, not always for the best,
since, in sermonizing others, he neglected to keep his
own tongue clean.
A naturalized Perthshire man, and a poet of fine taste
and variety of fancy, was born at Bullionfield, near
Dundee, in 1848. When he was yet a child the family
removed to the neighbourhood of Kirriemuir, and David
was educated at the Parish School of that busy little
northern community. On receiving a fair rudimentary
education, he commenced the serious business of life as
a Railway Company's clerk, at which he continued for
a period of fourteen years. Subsequently he entered
the service of the Forfar Water Commissioners, where
he remained until more than a dozen years ago, when
he found employment as a clerk in Messrs. Pullar's Dye
Works, Perth. Personally Mr. Smith is a man of sterling
and unassuming character — the stuff that most true
poets as well as true men are made of — and holds the
pursuit of the Muses as quite a secondary consideration
when set against the more practical duties of life. Still,
loving the tuneful sisters with his whole heart, he finds
sweet solace in their society, and manifests their influence
in finely measured poem and sweet sounding song.
He is a frequent and esteemed contributor to the
poetical columns of several local newspapers and national
literary journals, and gives fair promise of inscribing
his name well up on the fame-scroll of his country. His
writings disclose an ardent love of nature, and warm
sympathy with the purest and noblest aspirations of the
human heart.
A well-known inhabitant of the thriving little town of
Alyth, was born there in the year 1838. When a youth
he served an apprenticeship to the wholesale and retail
drapery trade in Edinburgh. After filling various
situations as a draper, he repaired to Glasgow where he
entered the employment of the well-known firm of
Messrs. Arthur & Co. This firm Mr. Smith represented
in part of Perth and Forfarshire for a period of twelve
years, when he retired. Since the year 1873 he has
conducted on his own account a successful business in
Alyth. He has in his time written and published a
great many poetical pieces, and is well-known to newspaper
readers by the nom de plume of "Auld C." His
effusions have, each and every one, it is clearly evident,
been written at the instigation of passing fancy, and
without any attempt at elaboration, but they are none
the less engaging on that account. We have seen them
as they passed through the fanners of the local press
and have frequently admired them for their pith, point,
and pungency — qualities by no means common in the
writings of the "occasional contributor." A volume of
his "Poems and Lyrics," published in 1888, is locally
held in high esteem, as it deserves.
Was born at Cockerhall, under the southern shoulder
of Glendoick Hill, in the year 1779. In the early part
of the present century he was well-known in the village
of Rait, parish of Kilspindie, where he followed the
dual vocation of mason and sculptor, and carried on for
many years a pretty extensive business in that line. He
was of middle height, broad shouldered and muscular
in appearance. His face, though browned from continued
exposure, was of round and pleasant type, his features
regular and well-formed, and his hair long and curly.
Although his gait was rather stoical, and his manner
abrupt, his well-formed features and genuine wit won
for him the admiration of the fair sex, and his high
appreciation of integrity, his love for the sublime, and
his power of hurling the weighty weapon of sarcasm
against actions of meanness and tyranny, gained him
the respect of all who were brought into contact with
him in every day life. As an artist of the chisel, Spence
has shown himself to have been no mere trifler, but one
whose hand could portray in stone the imaginations of
a gifted mind. In his representations of the mythical
Mermaid of Dallela, and several characters from Burns —
still to be seen at Fingask Castle — the peculiarities of
their sculptor are displayed with surprising distinctness.
His poetic genius may be said never to have dawned
beyond the limits of his native locality further than in
the few songs and poems which appeared in the Tales
of Scotland, a weekly magazine published in Perth in
1845 and 1846, in the columns of which we find "Linn--
ma-Gray" appearing on the 7th June, 1845, and in the
same year "Keen blaws the blast," "The Jacobite
Song," "My Love's Window," "Oh, Flora, your Charlie
maun leave ye," "Bird o' the Buddin' Bush," "A Lump
o' Gowd," "The Castle o' Balmanno," "My Jamie's
Gane," and "The Laird of the Longies," which last
leads us back into the 17th century, where we find the
auld laird falling in love with Lizzie, the elder daughter
of Alexander and Lady Lindsay of Evelick Castle, the
heroine, some folks say, of the well-known song beginning
"Will ye gang wi' me, Lizzie Lindsay?" "Keen
blaws the blast" smacks of Tannahill's "Braes of Gleniffer,"
and is a song that would do no discredit to the
well-earned fame of the sweet singer of Paisley.
Many of Spence's poems and songs — in most part the
best — were never published, because, being a sarcastic
sketcher of prevailing customs and individual idiosyncrasies,
such pieces as "Shanet and Rory," and "Jock o'
Whitebank," etc., he could not allow to be brought
before the public during his lifetime. Spence, it is said,
gave all his MSS. many years ago to the late Mr. Porter,
schoolmaster of Moneydie, who was to have published
them at his death, but unfortunately Porter died before
Spence, and the MSS. are supposed to have been lost.
The poet spent a part of his later days in the hermitlike
abode known as the "Auld Lint Mill" — a weird--
looking and dilapidated building — a little above the
village of Rait, where he lived surrounded by specimens
of his own handicraft, and sustained himself in a frugal
manner by the manufacture of small articles of wickerwork,
etc. When too old to work, he went to reside
with his son in Manchester, where he died on the 14th
December, 1869, at the advanced age of ninety years.
Ex-chief magistrate, Blairgowrie, a man of cultured
tastes and great business capacity, was born there sixty--
seven years ago. He has been a master builder in Blair
for more than forty years, undertaking large building
contracts all over the country; and besides holding the
honorary and responsible position of chief magistrate for
about a dozen years, he has been a J. P. for the County,
Chairman of the School Board, and for a life-time has
been — as he still continues to be — altogether a man of
"light and leading" in the community.
Mr. Steven is widely known as an intense and intelligent
admirer of Tennyson, Matthew Arnold, and
Wordsworth. His own dallyings with the Muses,
neither few nor unimportant, have been conducted in
the brief intervals of an active business and public
career, perhaps the best of his poetical writings are
buried away in the newspaper files of thirty and forty
years ago.
Was born in Paul Street, Perth, in the year 1801, his
father, Duncan Stewart, being for many years overseer
in Provost Wright's Brewery in North Methven Street.
Young Stewart's education was of the meanest order;
though, we are told, he was a good reader and a fair
penman. At twelve years of age he was apprenticed to
the shoemaking trade, with a Mr. M'Lean in George
Street. During the run of his 'prentice time he was a
close reader, and devoted every spare moment to the
acquisition of knowledge, and the improvement of his
mind. About 1826 he proceeded to Crieff, where he
found employment, and remained upwards of two years.
From Crieff he migrated to Dunkeld, and, with the
exception of about a year spent in his native city,
"wrought at the shoon" there until the date of his
death. In the beginning of the month of March, 1843,
he was invited to Perth in order to be present at a
friend's wedding. He came; but the weather was bad,
and he seems to have caught a severe cold while on the
road, which ultimately produced inflammation. He
was present at the wedding festivities, and appeared
to be in his usual health — as certainly he was in his best
spirits. Next morning he was taken alarmingly ill, and
was immediately removed to the County and City
Infirmary, where he died after two days illness. He
was interred in the Greyfriars' Burying-ground at Perth.
In person, Stewart was a little under the middle
height, and what is called round-shouldered, which gave
him the appearance of having a slight stoop in his gait.
His features were, if anything, small, but well formed,
regular, and pleasing. A soft smile ever played about
his lips. He had deep grey, sparkling eyes, an ample
brow, and a massive square and compact head. In
manner he was generally retired and meditative, and
had such power of self-absorption, that, when the muse
was on him, he could sit in the midst of a dozen
hammers beating on as many lapstones, nor hear any
part of the loud-voiced conversation of his fellow--
workmen, or question or remark they might address to
him. He cherished a sturdy, somewhat haughty independence,
was to some extent the victim of "thochtless
follies," particularly "dissipation's balefu' glammorie,"
but had a kindly, unselfish heart, which gained him the
respect of all with whom he came in close contact.
Fourteen years after his death, Stewart's poems and
songs, under the title of "Sketches of Scottish Character,"
and prefixed by a well-written memoir, were published
in his native city. The largest poem in the collection,
and the most ambitious, is "The Eden of North"
(unfinished), but "Birnam" is perhaps the most polished
and finished of his productions. In the book are many
exquisite photographs of Scottish characters, such as
"Fouscanhaud," "The Tailor o' Monzie," "Barley
Geordie," "Benjie the Bookman," and "Duncan Ker,"
while "Mary Rose" (the last piece he wrote), "Grannie
and her Oes," "The Herd Lassie," and "Our Little
Jock," are the admiration of every lover of Scottish
song. The last named is inimitable in its way, and enjoys
a widespread popularity. It has been often imitated,
but, so far as we have seen, never equalled.
The son of a Perthshire soldier, was born about 1838,
while his father was with his regiment in Ireland, but
was brought up at Lochearnhead, where his father on
retiring from the army wrought for a time as a gardener,
and latterly occupied the position of police inspector for
the district. At the age of sixteen he went to serve on
Her Majesty's Ship, Cumberland, then under command
of Captain Seymour, and after cruising for some time
sailed for Bermuda, and thence to Halifax and Nova
Scotia. He took part in the Russian War, and after
being discharged returned home for a brief season.
Subsequently, after voyaging to various parts of the
world, he took a farm in Australia, and for some years,
along with a brother, was a successful farmer. Ultimately
he settled as a schoolmaster at Tamarara, near
Hooker's Bay, where he still resides, enjoying much
popularity as a teacher and a citizen of the world.
A sister of the subject of the foregoing notice, was born
at St. Fillans in the autumn of 1845. With a view to
fitting her for a professional career, Sarah received the
full educational course of the local school. Her mother
dying suddenly, however, and her father following her
into the silent land in little more than a year thereafter,
her prospects in life were changed, and she had to go
out to service. In the winter of 1877 she became the
wife of the late Mr. John Hyslop, the well-known Kilmarnock
postman-poet; author of "The Dream of a
Masque and other Poems," and her wedded career was
one of unbroken happiness. Since she was fourteen
years old Mrs. Hyslop has cultivated, as opportunity
afforded, a natural and true poetic gift, and has written
many tender heart-warming poems and songs, which
have been widely circulated and esteemed.
For the few biographical particulars of the author of
the really clever song "The Witch on the Brae," printed
as anonymous in "The Book of Scottish Song," and elsewhere,
we are indebted to the late Mr. P.R. Drummond
of Perth, who, in his appreciative and interesting
sketches of "Perthshire Poets," has introduced not a
few waifs and strays of song which might otherwise
have glided all unnoticed down the drumly stream of
Time and been utterly lost in the wide ocean of oblivion.
Mr. Drummond says, "Of all those whom it is my
intention to place on this list, I knew William Stewart
best, although I neither knew when he was born, nor
where he was born; how long he lived, nor the nature
of his death. He was for many years an English teacher
in Perth, first as assistant to Mr. Hindmarsh, next in a
private school of his own in Athole Street, and eventually
in the English department of the Perth Seminaries.
During his earlier days of teaching, his mother kept his
house, and a cosey couple they were. Mrs. Stewart
looked upon her son as the paragon of teachers and
men, and he looked upon his mother as the model of all
mothers since the era of Mother Eve. They had many
friends, kept a good table, and William was to some
extent a diner-out. He was very lame, and always used
a crutch, yet active and full of vitality. He did not
sing, but those who have been at his table will remember
with what gusto he recited 'The Witch on the Brae.'
He never boasted of being the author, but his intimate
friends knew that such was the fact. …
Mr. Stewart married rather late in life, and afterwards
became a changed man. During his later days a cloud
came over his existence, the density of which he kept
to himself. His wife died a few years after their
marriage, and he did not survive her long."
"The Witch on the Brae" is somewhat suggestive of
Robert Nicoll's "Janet," although there is nothing in
the songs to show that the one writer in any way borrowed
from the other.
An artist and poet of approved taste and fancy, was
born near Huntingtower, Perth, in 1837. His father,
James Taylor, born at Mains of Nairne, near the "Auld
House" of Gask, in 1813, possessed a happy "knack"
of rhyming, and gained several prizes in poetic competitions.
A song of his, "The Banks o' Tay," indeed,
would have found a place in this work, but for the fact
that so many pieces have been crowded out for want of
space. His mother belonged to an old Perthshire stock,
said by the family traditions to be connected with the
Dalhousies. One relative was Lord Provost of Perth
about the beginning of the century, and another was a
royal chaplain, and minister of St. Enoch's, Glasgow, for
about forty years. In 1840 the Taylor family removed
to Glasgow, where the father died in 1875, and where
John, and a sister who live together, still reside. In
the course of his teens our artist-poet became a pupil
teacher and Queen's scholar in the Free Normal Seminary
in Glasgow, and on leaving it, in 1857, was engaged
for a few years as a tutor in England. Subsequently,
he paid two lengthy visits to France, studying art, and
during the first of these (in 1860), painted several
pictures in Paris. In 1862 he exhibited in the Glasgow
Fine Art Institute a series of outline drawings, illustrative
of Longfellow's poem "Excelsior," which have been
greatly admired for their ideal beauty as well as for the
delicate and finished character of the work. Mr. Taylor
continued to accept engagements as a visiting master,
teaching drawing, etc., in several higher class schools,
till 1867, when he finally gave up teaching. For many
years he has been a busy worker, employing alternately
the brush, the pencil, and the pen; now sending a
picture to one or other of the principal exhibitions, a
drawing to a magazine, or a poem, a song, or a sketch
to the People's Friend, or some other of the various
periodicals with which he is connected. Some of Mr.
Taylor's songs, set to music by himself, are exceedingly
happy, and need to be better known only, we think, to
become popular.
Co-editor of the Auchterarder Chronicle, and author of
"My Edelweiss," and other stories, was born at Ardoch
on the 27th October, 1863. When ten years old he
went to reside with his brother at Tullibardine, where
he "passed through his standards," and acted for several
years as a pupil-teacher. Subsequently, he entered the
University of St. Andrews, where he studied for three
sessions, when his health broke down, and he was compelled
to seek the invigorating influences of rural
occupation for a season. In 1888 Mr. Tovani started
the Perthshire Magazine, which recently had to succumb
for want of support, and certainly deserved a better
fate. Two-thirds of the first volume he wrote himself,
and in the latter days of the publication, when Mr. J.
Cuthbert Hadden, of Edinburgh, had assumed the
editorship, he still maintained a warm if not active
interest in the welfare of the happily-conceived serial.
Presently Mr. Tovani resides in Auchterarder, and is
the chief partner of the publishing firm of Messrs.
Tovani & Company.
Was a native of Dunblane, and was born on the 25th
September, 1787. He was at first destined for the
Church, but, his father dying and leaving a family of
eight children, of whom David was second eldest, the
future poet was apprenticed to the less enviable occupation
of handloom weaving. This he learned at Paisley,
and continued to prosecute, short intervals excepted,
until his death on 22nd January, 1837. Dr. Rogers
says — "His life was much chequered by misfortune.
Fond of society, he was led to associate with some
dissolute persons, who professed to be admirers of his
genius, and was enticed by their example to neglect the
concerns of business for the delusive pleasures of the
tavern." Such has been the sad fate of, alas! too many
of the bardic clan, who, whatever may be said in their
favour — and there is often much — have lacked that
"prudent, cautious, self-control," which, according to
Burns, "is wisdom's root."
A frequent and welcome contributor of prose and verse
to various magazines and literary periodicals, Miss M.
Buchanan White is a daughter of the esteemed Dr.
Buchanan White of Perth. She received her education
at home, under the superintendence of her mother, and
her acquaintance with many of the most picturesque
districts of the Scottish Highlands, in which her parents
have been wont to sojourn every summer, has no doubt
tended to strengthen her inborn love for nature, as it
has frequently inspired her muse to picture in glowing
verse the beauty of flower and leaf, of hill and glen, and
loch and lea.
Nothing in book-form has yet emanated from her pen,
but it is the desire and expectation of her many friends
and admirers in the "Fair City," and elsewhere, that
she will, ere the world is much older, place a volume of
her collected verse in their hands, to be cherished for
its own sweet sake.
Was born at Inchcoonings, in the parish of Errol, in
1807, and received his elementary education at the
Parochial School of St. Madoes and at the Grammar
School of Perth. From thence he went to St. Andrews
University, where he passed through the arts classes,
etc. After this he taught in Edinburgh for two years,
and in 1834 was appointed Commercial and Mathematical
Master in Irvine Academy. This post he held with
distinction until 1866, when he retired on account of
his health. Dr. White is known in the West of Scotland
as one of the foremost mathematical teachers of
the day, and it was on account of his success and fame
as such that the Senatus of Glasgow University, in
1867, conferred upon him the honorary distinction of
LL.D. In the town of Irvine, where he is greatly
respected and esteemed, he spends the evening of his
life in cultured ease, singing a song betimes, and, under
the charm of a lively fancy, feeling as young sometimes
as when he climbed the hill of Kinnoull and raced on
the banks of the Tay more than seventy years ago.
Author of "The Brighter Side of Suffering and Other
Poems," is a native of Perth, and was born in 1829.
Early in life he learned the printing trade, and, after
working for some years as a journeyman printer in Aberdeen
and Edinburgh, he returned to Perth, and started in
business there on his own account. Eventually a poetical
desire for a life of "rural felicity" took possession
of his mind, and in 1869 he "pulled up stakes" and
went out to America, where he purchased a plantation
of some four hundred acres in Virginia, close by the
old city of Williamsburg. The venture proved a
disaster, whereupon Mr. Whittet found his way to the
city of Richmond, the capital of the Southern Confederacy,
and took up his original business of printing.
For a time here the struggle for existence proved pretty
keen, but fortune at length deigned to smile upon him,
and now the printing and publishing firm of Whittet &
Shepperson, of which he has the honour to he senior
partner, is widely and favourably known. Mr. Whittet
is possessed of poetical gifts of the highest order, and
owns an unquestionable right to the title of a true poet.
The superb volume of his poems published in 1882 —
"the product of odd half-hours and occasional wanderings
by the wayside," as he tell us — has elicited the
highest praise from critics on both sides of the Atlantic.
A native of Crieff, was born on Christmas Day, 1801.
At an early age he was imbued with a passionate love
of poetry, derived from his mother, who sang with
great beauty the old Jacobite songs and ballads of his
native land. His parents being of the industrial class,
and in indigent circumstances, young Wilson was early
devoted to a life of manual labour. While employed in
a factory in Dundee some of his poetical compositions
were brought under the notice of Mrs. Grant of Laggan,
who interested herself in his behalf, and enabled him to
start in business as a coal merchant. He married early
in life, and in his twenty-fifth year removed to Edinburgh.
"There was," wrote Dr. Robert Chambers,
"at this time something very engaging in his appearance;
a fair open countenance, ruddy with the bloom
of health; manners soft and pleasing." In the same
year of his removal to the Scottish capital he lost his
young and devoted wife. He married again, in 1830,
a Miss Sibbald, a lady of superior connections in the
county of Roxburgh. When thirty-two years of age he
removed to the United States, and settled at Poughkeepsie,
on the Hudson, where he engaged in the
business of bookselling and publishing, which he continued
to prosecute till his death, August 25, 1860.
During his residence in the New World he occasionally
contributed in prose and verse — and, as a rule,
anonymously — to various American periodicals, and now
and then sent a paper or poem to Blackwood or Chambers'
Journal. Most of the recent collections of Scottish
songs, such as "Whistle Binkie," Blackie's "Book of
Scottish Song," and the "Modern Scottish Minstrel,"
contain selections from Wilson's many fine songs, the
best known — and deservedly so — being "Jean Linn"
and "Auld Johnny Graham," while several of his
songs have been published in sheet form, set to music
also composed by himself. Hew Ainslie, his brother
poet, and who has since followed our subject into the
land of shadows, thus wrote, a few years ago, to James
Grant Wilson, the son of his poet friend:— "Having
summered and wintered it for many long years with
your dear father, I ought to know something of the
base and bent of his genius, though, as he hated all
shams and pretensions, a very slight acquaintance with
him showed that independence and personal manhood,
as, 'wha daur meddle wi' me,' were two of his strong
features, while humour, deep feeling, and tenderness,
were prominent in all he said or wrote. And oh! the
pity that he did not give us more 'Jean Linns' and
'Auld Johnny Grahams' in his native tongue. I
loved him as a man, a poet, and a brother; and I had
many proofs that my feelings were reciprocated."
A distinguished citizen of Perth, where he has practised
for many years as a civil engineer and architect.
John Young, author of "Selina, and Other Poems," was
born at Pitfour, in the parish of St. Madoes, in the year
1826. He received his early education at the Parish
School and afterwards at the Perth Academy. At a
very early age he evinced a passion for poetry and
romance; and, whilst steadily pursuing the arduous
studies of his profession, became an occasional contributor
to the poetical columns of the local newspapers. Besides
enjoying a well-established reputation amongst civil
engineers, he is well known as a lover of the fine arts,
and an advanced student of natural science. As an
evidence of his keen interest in the latter study, it may
be mentioned that in 1879 he published a handsome
volume of his poems in aid of funds for the erection of
a museum for the natural history of Perthshire. He
was for eleven years honorary secretary to the Perthshire
Society of Natural Science, and many of his most
enjoyable bits of verse were composed in connection
with the excursions of that Society, and as bard of the
Perthshire Mountain Club, "Selina," from which his
volume takes its main title, is a narrative poem of
seventy-seven stanzas, evincing considerable descriptive
power and poetic feeling. But we readily confess to a
preference for his shorter efforts, of which he has produced
a great variety, "from grave to gay, from lively
to severe."


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Harp of Perthshire

Document Information

Document ID 116
Title Harp of Perthshire
Year group 1850-1900
Genre Verse/drama
Year of publication 1893
Wordcount 142128

Author information: Various

Author ID 479
Surname Various