Obrázky na stránke



There are twelve months into the

Some sad, some sweet, and gay;
But the merriest months in all the

Are the months of June and May.
These are the months I'll choose my love,

Their blythness me inspire:
Young women carry the keys of love,

Men's hearts are still on fire.

The first and concluding stanzas of the foregoing, are here revived from an old traditional Ballad, while the intermediate verse is original. The piece acknowledges a very pretty and characteristic air of its own, not yet, we presume, noted down.

This Ballad is another of that peculiar class of compositions, which still lingeringly retain their hold amongst the peasantry in the West of Scotland, a literal version of which cannot now be “ conveyed to a cleanly mind, by any language, translation, or periphrasis whatever,” and whose plot ought rather to have come under the surveillance of the judge than of the poet. It is singular to find such a number of our old traditional chants striking into the same vein of perversion and gross indelicacy, without the slightest assignable reason or necessity, while our own romantic and pastoral country presented so many darling themes for the chaste and sportive muse, to cull her flower, from the sweets scattered in such profusion around her fairy footsteps.


As I was a walking one morning in May,
The small birds were singing delightfully and gay,
Where I with my true love did often sport and play,
Down amang

the bonnie beds of roses.

My pretty brown girl, come sit on my knee,
For there's none in the world I can fancy but thee;
Nor ever will I change my old love for a new,

So my pretty brown girl do not leave me.

My daddy and mammy they often used to say,
That I was a naughty boy, and wont to run away;
If they bid me go to work, I would sooner run to play,

Down amang the bonnie beds of roses.

If ever I will

I will

in the spring, When small birds are singing, and summer's coming in, By glens where rows the burnie, and wandering echoes ring,

Down amang yon bonnie beds of roses.

As I was a walking one morning in the spring,
The winter going out, and the summer coming in,
The cuckoo sang, cuckoo, you're welcome here again!
And I pray you stay amang



The foregoing has been collated with two several copies, the one a stall, and the other, a traditional one. It belongs to that class of simple pastoral chants, which have been preserved from perishing, chiefly on account of their accompanying airs, that of the present being among the sweetest of our old traditional melodies.


O Bessy Bell an' Mary Gray,

They were twa bonnie lassies;
They biggit a house on yon burn-brae,

An' theekit it o'er wi' rashes:



They theekit it o'er wi' birk and brume,

They theekit it o'er wi' heather,
Till the pest cam' frae the neib'rin town,

An' streekit them baith thegither,

They were na' buried in Meffen kirk-yard,

Amang the rest o' their kin;
But they were buried by Dornoch-baugh,

On the bent before the sun:
Sing, Bessy Bell an' Mary Gray,

They were twa bonnie lasses,
Wba' biggit a bower on yon burn-brae,

An' theekit it o'er wi' thrashes.

The above fragment is here collated from the singing of two aged persons, one of them a native of Perthshire. It is to be regretted, that none of the intermediate stanzas of this fine old Ballad are upon record; neither Bạnnatyne nor Maitland, have the Ballad entered into their MSS. whilst all the information gained respecting it, is obtained from country traditions.

Elizabeth Bell is said to have been a gentleman's daughter in Perthshire, while Mary Gray belonged to the house of Lindoch. The ladies were intimate friends, and while the plague raged in Scotland, in 1666, they retired to a glen near Lindoch, to avoid the contagion, and there built for themselves a bower, where they might have remained in security, until its fury had been spent, but for the imprudence of a young gentleman, ardently attached to one of the young ladies, and who imparted to both the contagion, when they drooped and died. A large flat stone rests above their remains, pointing out to strangers the site of their interment.


A Captain of Irish Dragoons on parade,
While his regiment was stationed in Derby, 0,

Fell in love, as it is said,

With a young blooming maid,
Though he sued in vain to win pretty Peggy, O.

To-morrow I must leave thee, pretty Peggy, 0,
Though my absence may not grieve thee, pretty Peggy, 0,

Braid up thy yellow hair,

Ere thou tripp'st it down the stair,
And take farewell of me, thy soldier laddie, 0.

Ere the dawn's reveillie sounds to march, I'm ready, O, To make my pretty Peg a Captain's lady, O,

Then, what would your mammy think,

To hear the guineas clink,
And the hautboys playing before thee, O.

Must I tell you, says she, as I've told you before,
With your proffers of love, not to tease me more,

For I never do intend,

Ere to go to foreign land,
Or follow to the wars a soldier laddie, O.

Out spake a brother officer, the gallant De Lorn,
As he eyed the haughty maiden, with pity and scorn,

Never mind, we'll have gallore

Of pretty girls more,
When we've come to the town of Kilkenny, 0.



But when they had come to Kilkenny, 0,
Where the damsels were lovely and many, 0,

Sighing deeply, he would say,

Though we're many miles away,
Let us pledge a health to pretty Peg of Derby, 0.

Collated with a copy taken down from recitation, we never having seen the original Ballad in print. The opening stanza of this once popular piece, whose air has been adapted to songs without number, and latterly, by Moor, for his “ Eveleen's Bower,” is the best, which we here present to our readers in its original dress:

O there was a regiment of Irish dragoons,
And they were marching through Derby, 0,

The Captain fell in love

With a young chamber-maid,
And her name it was called pretty Peggy, 0.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]
« PredošláPokračovať »