Obrázky na stránke
PDF
ePub

There's few “Jenny Nettles" like Nancy can sing; With “ Thro' the wood, Laddie,” Bess gars our lugs

ring;

But when my dear Peggy sings with better skill
The “Boat-man," Tweedside,” or the “ Lass of the

Mill,"
'Tis many times sweeter and pleasing to me;
For though they sing nicely, they cannot like thee.

How easy can lasses trow what they desire,
With praises sae kindly increasing love's fire!
Give me still this pleasure, my study shall be
To make myself better and sweeter for thee.

The pastoral accuracy of this song is its chief commendation—the nature is the nature with which we are familiar, and all the imagery and allusions pertain to Scotland. This is a praise which we cannot extend to some far cleverer songs. Ramsay was born in a district which gave him an early acquaintance with the sharp birn and the blae heather-bell ;-- the ewe-bughts and the milking-pails were presented sooner to his eye than corn-riggs waving yellow. This is one of the songs in the “Gentle Shepherd.”

THE BOB OF DUMBLANE.

If ye'll go

Lassie, lend me your braw hemp heckle,

And I'll lend you my thripling kame; For fainness, deary, I'll gar ye keckle,

dance the Bob of Dumblane. Haste ye, gang to the ground of your trunkies,

Busk ye braw, and dinna think shame; Consider in time, if leading of monkies

Be better than dancing the Bob of Dumblane.

[ocr errors]

Be frank, my lassie, lest I grow fickle,

And take my word and offer again;
Syne ye may chance to repent it meikle,

Ye did na accept the Bob of Dumblane.
The dinner, the piper, and priest shall be ready,

And I'm grown dowie with lying my lane;
Away then, leave baith minny and daddy,

And try with me the Bob of Dumblane.

When Burns passed through Dumblane, he had the good fortune to find an old lady, at one of the principal inns, who had the courage to repeat some of the words of the old song, which the verses of Allan Ramsay superseded.

“ Lassie, lend me your braw hemp heckle,

And I'll lend you my thripling kame; My heckle is broken, it canna be gotten,

And we'll gae dance the Bob-o-Dumblane.

Twa gaed to the wood, to the wood, to the wood,

Twa gaed to the wood, three came hame; An' it be nae weel bobbit, weel bobbit, weel bobbit,

An' it be nae we'll bobbit, we'll bob it again.”

“I insert this song," says the poet,"to introduce the following anecdote, which I have heard well authenticated. At the close of the battle of Dumblane, a Scottish officer observed to the Duke of Argyle, that he was afraid the Rebels would give out to the world that they had won the victory. Weel, weel,' said his Grace, alluding to the foregoing ballad, if they think it be nae weel bobbit--we'll bob it again." This is not one of the cleverest of Ramsay's productions ; nor has he been able to escape wholly from the influence of the original : he laboured hard to keep within the limits of delicacy, but few will have the charity to think he has succeeded.

HAP ME WITH THY PETTICOAT.

" O Bell, thy looks have kill'd my heart !

"I pass the day in pain ;

When night returns, I feel the smart, 2011 And wish for thee in vain.

$. I'm starving in cold, while thou art warm: L-isto' Have pity and incline,

And grant me for a hap that charm

- Ing petticoat of thine.

My ravish'd fancy in amaze
1,34, Still wanders o'er thy charms ;

Delusive dreams ten thousand ways
11'Present thee to my arms.
"But waking think what I endure,

While cruel you decline
Those pleasures, which can only cure

This panting breast of mine.

[ocr errors]

I faint, I fail, and wildly rove,

Because you still deny
The just reward that's due to love,

And let true passion die.

Oh! turn, and let compassion seize

That lovely breast of thine ;
Thy petticoat could give me ease,

If thou and it were mine.

Sure heaven has fitted for delight

That beauteous form of thine ;
And thou’rt too good its law to slight,

By hind'ring the design.
May all the pow'rs of love agree

At length to make thee mine,
Or loose my chains, and set me free

From ev'ry charm of thine!

This is certainly far from being one of Allan Ramsay's happiest songs, and I have introduced it for the

purpose of saying something about the cause of his failure, and the character of the song which he sought to supplant. The ancient song of “Hap me wi' thy petticoat,” like the song of “O! to be lying beyond thee,” and many others, which delighted a ruder and less fastidious age, was more lively than delicate-was more kind than chaste ; and every verse concluded by repeating the wish which gives the present name to the air. To express such a wish in elegant and decorous language might have been Allan's desire; but there was a difficulty in managing this very interesting garment, which he could not overcome; and every one must feel that he has touched it with a very awkward and unskilful hand.

« PredošláPokračovať »