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Scott's intended publication. As this is the first of nearly twenty assertions of this kind, we take the earliest opportunity of asking Mr. J. what is meant by it. Does he blame Mr. Scott; as he elsewhere tells us that his copies were transmitted to him ? A clear statement ought to have been made by one of the two gentlemen, mentioning who was the original possessor of the ballads in question, in order that the public might know who was intitled to praise or blame for their appearance. As the matter stands, we are unable to settle their respective claims. In the ballad itself, we have somewhere seen or heard repeated the lines
O, wha will kemb my yellow hair
Wi' a new made silver kemb.' thus
« Or wha wil kemb my yellow hair
Wi' a new inade birken kemb.' Ideas of sanctity, we believe, were formerly connected with the birchen tree; and fair Annie, who is about to undertake a long journey, naturally wishes to be fortified against spells. Mr. Scott's collection includes a wild legendary tale of the spirits of three young men who had been lost at sea, re-visiting their mother; and their hats are said to be made of the birch. • Fair Annie's Complaint,' suggested by the story in this ballad, and composed by the editor, is extremely simple and tender.-- The line • Dark, wild, and bitter is the night,' he has, in some others of his compositions, translated what else can we call it?) into · Mark, Wull, and goustie was the night;' which we will suppose may be the language of the terra incognita : we apprehend that it is not Scotch.
From · Clerk Saunders' we shall make some extracts, because we consider it as standing nearly at the head of the romantic compositions in this work. For the sake of perspicuity, we may premise (though, if our readers be in any degree balladstudents, they must now be tolerably familiar with this feature of our antient national manners,) that in old times it was not unusual for a young gentleman and lady, without any preparatory ceremonies, to take steps which we should deem more decorously preceded by the formality of a marriage licence. Clerk Saunders and Margaret, who were in this occasionally-unfortunate predicament, are discovered in the lady's bower by her brethren, who inquire the name of her paramour, and delibeTate on the means of avenging her dishonour : * Theo up and spak her eldest brither
Ay in ill time spak he
But for this scorn that he has done
This moment he shall die.
Ay in good time spak he
True lovers an ye be
Sall never sinder ye.
And the tear stood in his ee
And pity it wad be
Should ever sinder ye !' These reasons, however, not appearing sufficiently conclusive to the rest of her brothers, they put the offender to death. The stanzas in which the appearance of his ghost to Margaret is described, and the conclusion, probably suggested to Bürger (who was much indebted to our antient poetry) the idea of his “ Lenore." " I'm Clerk Saunders your true love
Behold Margaret, and see:
This meikle marvels me
That wont to embrace me.
Behold Margaret and see
Sae will become of thee.
O bonny bonny sang the bird
Sat on the coil of hay
That follow'd the corpse o'clay.
Is there any room at your feet,
For a lady to lie and sleep.
As little at my feet,
om at my two sides
Passing Passing over · Glenkindie, which is only a bad copy of « Glasgerion” published by Percy in the Reliques, we come to the · Baron of Brackley ;' which afforded us much gratification as exhibiting, in animated language, what we believe to be a faithful picture of the family feuds and popular disturbances, which were frequent in the northern parts of our island down to the commencement of the last century. The Baron of Brackley was John Gordon, a gentleman of amiable dispositions, a cadet of the family of Aboyne. He was in habits of intercourse with Farquharson of Inverey, a relation of his own, but of a very different character; and who, under pretext of some injury either imagined or received, surrounded the house of Gordon, who was killed in the affray. The ballad, which is formed from two copies obtained by recitation, commences thus :
• Down Dee side came Inverey whistling and playing,
Has lighted at Brackley gates at the day dawning
She heard her kye lowing o'er hill and o'er bent
For the lads of Drumwharran are driving them bye.”
Where'er I have ae man I wot they hae ten"
And turn back the kye, I hae you at command
tho I never fear'd weir
I weel may gae out but i'll never win in."
A gallanter Baron ne'er lap to a horse.' The indignation of the humble bard, perhaps a retainer of the family, afterward breaks forth in similar strains against the lady of Gordon ; who, it seems, after the conflict, opened her gate, and entertained till morning the murderer of her husband. In his introduction to this piece, the editor informs us that, when Farquharson and his Catherine went on a marauding expedition for scouring the country, their visits were so sudden that the intruders were generally gone again before the poor
sufferers had warning to guard against them. If the passage be correct, a Highland Baron and his wife, probably, or mistress, riding out at the head of their clan and plundering their neighbours, form a curious picture in the history of the age. It will be unlucky if Catherine should only be a blunder of the printer for Catharins, or Ketterans, sometimes corrupted into Kerns, literally soldiers, but usually signifying free booters.
We now pass through much uninteresting matter, consisting principally of ballads poor in themselves and still poorer in Mr. J.'s editions of them; among which the reader may especially notice the before mentioned Trumpeter of Tyvie, and a very patbetic history of a Laird of Warrieston ; shewing how a lady, whose waist was no larger than a willow wand, ventured some impertinent observation to her husband, who, in return, being desperately in love with her, broke her face with a plate which he threw at it for that purpose :-how she, being somewhat dissatisfied with this conjugal correction, left the room, and met at the third step from the door with no less a personage than “Man's Enemy” himself, who suggested to her the propriety of terminating their difference by murdering her husband; and who, finding that she wanted only the means, and nothing of the good will, furnished her with a halter, and even lent his hand to assist her in the use of it;-and, finally, how, being condemned to the flames, she seized the opportunity, while the fire was lighting, of explaining to the spectators the moral of her singular history.
The translations from the Danish next arrest us.- Mr.Jamieson is in possession of an hypothesis that much of our traditionary lore is derived from a Scandinavian source ; and that such an origin is possible we will not deny, but Mr. J. has adduced no facts to convince us of its reality ; and until we see better proof, we may be perınitted to use an observation which has been quoted ever since quoting began, “ quod verbo dicitur verbo refelli fas est.” We see, indeed, from certain authority, that the Danes derived many tales from the Minstrels of the South; for a confirmation of which idea we briefly refer our readers to Mr. Ritson's preface to his antient English Me. trical Romances : but we know not of any evidence of a reci. procal traffic in this ware. It may be that those pieces of antient Scottish and Danish popular poetry, which have any similarity, have been derived from some common source : a supposition which is at least as natural as that of the traditions of the Danes having remained so many centuries in Scotland, after the connection between the countries had almost entirely ceased.-Of the pieces themselves we have very little to remark, except that our feelings at their appearance may be
correctly correctly expressed by Quince's ejaculation of surprize, « Bless thee, Bottom ! bless thee! thou art translated !”-Of the merit of the translacion we cannot speak, because we have not the Kempe Viser lying on our table: but we trust that it is more skilfully executed than that of Göthe's Mermaid, in which Mr. J. had no reason to apprehend that he had preserved too much of the German costume. A Danish old ballad is indeed less trying than a poem of Göthe ; who, whatever may be the defects of his genius, is certainly a consummate master of his language, and imposes a hard and doubtful task on the translator who undertakes at once for the simplicity and the spirit of his original.
Some of Mr. Jamieson's own compositions are decidedly superior to his Danish ballads. His smaller pieces in general possess great tenderness of thought and expression : but we are sorry that we must exclude from this praise one which, from its subject, should have been the most interesting of all. It is probable, indeed, that this subject was beyond his powers, and like every other modern poet who has attempted Fair Helen of Kirkonnel lea, (including even Mr. Pinkerton, on whose performance Mr. J. has bestowed his admiration in a very extravagant manner,) he has only disfigured his original. He has extended the old ballad by the addition of some stanzas, the ideas of which, perhaps, are natural, since we have seen them in all lovers' verses on the loss of their mistress that we recollect to have read: but the beautiful closing stanza, which is among the most precious memorials of the power of love in the poetry of barbarians, is here wantonly mangled, with a violation of taste and a defiance of feeling which almost rival the exertions of Mr. Pinkerton on the same subject.--What will a Scotch man say when, instead of his well-known,
" I wish my grave were growing green
A winding-sheet put o'er my een
On fair Kirkonnel lea". he finds
Ogin with thee, regretted maid !
green truff closed o'er my head
On fair', &c. and this wilfully substituted for the simple fervency of a feeling that is breathed from the inmost soul!-Mr. Jo's humorous poems are inferior to his others, though they are not deficient in a certain original cast of thought which in some degree redeems their faults. We must not, however, omit to remark one fault which stands in great need of redemption; the de