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May peace and plenty be his lot, Peace and plenty, peace and plenty, May peace and plenty be his lot,
And dainties, a great store o' 'em!
That's fond of Tullochgorum.
And discontent devour him!
And nane say, Wae’s me for ’im! May dool and sorrow be his chance, And a' the ills that come frae France, Whae'er he be that winna dance
The reel of Tullochgorum !
Something of a national as well as a patriotic character may be claimed for the lively song of Tullochgorum, the composition of the Rev. JOHN SKINNER (1721-1807), who inspired some of the strains of Burns, and who delighted, in life as in his poetry, to diffuse feelings of kindliness and good will among men. Mr Skinner officiated as Episcopal minister of Longside, Aberdeenshire, for sixty-five years. After the troubled period of the Rebellion of 1745, when the Episcopal clergy of Scotland laboured under the charge of disaffection, Skinner was imprisoned six months for preaching to more than four persons! He died in his son's house at Aberdeen, having realised his wish of 'seeing once more his children's grandchildren, and peace upon Israel.' Besides "Tullochgorum,' and other songs, Skinner wrote an Ecclesiastical History of Scotland, and some theological treatises.
For what's been done before them ?
To drop their Whigmegmorum.
The reel of Tullochgorum.
In conscience I abhor him.
And mak’a cheerfu quorum.
The reel of Tullochgorum.
For half a hundred score oem.
Wi' a' their variorums.
Conipared wi' Tullochgorum.
Wi' keeping up decorum.
Like auld Philosophorum ?
At the reel of Tullochgorum !
And a' that's good watch o'er him!
ROBERT CRAWFORD, author of The Bush aboon Traquair, and the still finer lyric of Tweedside, was the brother of Colonel Crawford of Achinames. He assisted Allan Ramsay in his “Tea-Table Miscellany, and, according to information obtained by Burns, was drowned in coming from France in the year 1733. Crawford had genuine poetical fancy and expression. The true muse of native pastoral,' says Allan Cunningham, seeks not to adorn herself with unnatural ornaments; her spirit is in homely love and fireside joy ; tender and simple, like the religion of the land, she utters nothing out of keeping with the character of her people, and the aspect of the soil; and of this spirit, and of this feeling, Crawford is a large partaker.?
The Bush aboon Traquair. Hear me, ye nymphs, and every swain,
I'll tell how Peggy grieves me;
Alas! she ne'er believes me.
Unheeded, never move her ;
'Twas there I first did love her.
No maid seemed ever kinder;
So sweetly there to find her;
In words that I thought tender ;
I meant not to offend her.
The fields we then frequented;
She looks as ne'er acquainted.
It's sweets I'll aye remember;
It fades as in December.
Why thus should Peggy grieve me !
Then let her siniles relieve me:
My passion no more tender ;
ners, a nice perception of the ludicrous, a vein of
original comic humour, and language at once copious What beauties does Flora disclose !
and expressive, form his chief merits as a poet. He How sweet are her smiles upon Tweed ! had not the invention or picturesque fancy of Allan Yet Mary's, still sweeter than those,
Ramsay, nor the energy and passion of Burns. His Both nature and fancy exceed.
mind was a light warm soil, that threw up early its No daisy, nor sweet blushing rose,
native products, sown by chance or little exertion ; Not all the gay flowers of the field,
but it had not strength and tenacity to nurture any Not Tweed, gliding gently through those, great or valuable production. A few short years, Such beauty and pleasure does yield.
however, comprised his span of literature and of life; The warblers are heard in the grove,
and criticism would be ill employed in scrutinising
with severity the occasional poems of a youth of The linnet, the lark, and the thrush; The blackbird, and sweet cooing dove,
twenty-three, written from momentary feelings and With music enchant every bush.
impulses, amidst professional drudgery or midnight Come let us go forth to the mead ;
dissipation. That compositions produced under such Let us see how the primroses spring;
circumstances should still exist and be read with We'll lodge in some village on Tweed,
pleasure, is sufficient to show that Fergusson must And love while the feathered folk sing.
have had the eye and fancy of a true poet. His
observation, too, for one so young, is as remarkable How does my love pass the long day!
as his genius: he was an accurate painter of scenes Does Mary not tend a few sheep?
of real life and traits of Scottish character, and his Do they never carelessly stray
pictures are valuable for their truth, as well as for While happily she lies asleep ?
their liveliness and humour. If his habits had been Should Tweed's murmurs lull her to rest, different, we might have possessed more agreeable Kind nature indulging my bliss,
delineations, but none more graphic or faithful. To ease the soft pains of my breast,
Fergusson was born in Edinburgh on the 17th of I'd steal an ambrosial kiss.
October 1751. His father, who was an accountant in Tis she does the virgins excel;
the British Linen Company's bank, died early, but No beauty with her may compare ;
the poet received a university education, having obLove's graces around her do dwell;
tained a bursary in St Andrews, where he continued She's fairest where thousands are fair.
from his thirteenth to his seventeenth year. On Say, charmer, where do thy flocks stray?
quitting college, he seems to have been truly unOh, tell me at morn where they feed ?
fitted with an aim,' and he was glad to take employShall I seek them on sweet-winding Tay? ment as a copying clerk in a lawyer's office. In Or the pleasanter banks of the Tweed?
this mechanical and irksome duty his days were
spent. His evenings were devoted to the tavern, SIR GILBERT ELLIOT.
where, over caller oysters,' with ale or whisky, the
choice spirits of Edinburgh used to assemble. FerSIR GILBERT ELLIOT, author of what Sir Walter gusson had dangerous qualifications for such a life. Scott calls the beautiful pastoral song,' beginning His conversational powers were of a very superior My sheep I neglected, I broke my sheep-hook,
description, and he could adapt them at will to
humour, pathos, or sarcasm, as the occasion might was father of the first Earl of Minto, and was dis- require. He was well educated, had a fund of tinguished as a speaker in parliament. He was in youthful gaiety, and sung Scottish songs with taste 1763 treasurer of the navy, and afterwards keeper and effect. To these qualifications he soon added of the signet in Scotland. He died in 1777. Mr the reputation of a poet. Ruddiman's Weekly Tytler of Woodhouselee says, that Sir Gilbert Elliot, Magazine' had been commenced in 1768, and was who had been taught the German flute in France, the chosen receptacle for the floating literature of was the first who introduced that instrument into that period in Scotland, particularly in Edinburgh. Scotland, about the year 1725.
During the two last years of his life, Fergusson was
a constant contributor to this miscellany, and in [Amynta.]
1773 he collected and published his pieces in one My sheep I neglected, I broke my sheep-hook,
volume. Of the success of the publication in a And all the gay haunts of my youth I forsook ;
pecuniary point of view, we have no information ; No more for Amynta fresh garlands I wove;
but that it was well received by the public, there For ambition, I said, would soon cure me of love.
can be no doubt, from the popularity and fame of Oh, what had my youth with ambition to do?
its author. His dissipations, however, were always Why left I Amynta? Why broke I my vow?
on the increase. His tavern life and boon comOh, give me my sheep, and my sheep-hook restore,
panions were hastening him on to a premature and Ind I'll wander from love and Amynta no more.
painful death. His reason first gave way, and his
widowed mother being unable to maintain hiin at Through regions remote in rain do I rove,
home, he was sent to an asylum for the insane. The And bid the wide ocean secure me from love!
religious impressions of his youth returned at times ! Oh, fool! to imagine that aught could subdue
to overwhelm him with dread, but his gentle and A love so well-founded, a passion so true!
affectionate nature was easily soothed by the attenAlas! 'tis too late at thy fate to repine;
tions of his relatives and friends. His recovery was Poor shepherd, Amynta can never be thine :
anticipated, but after about two months' confineThy tears are all fruitless, thy wishes are vain, ment, he died in his cell on the 16th of October The moments neglected return not again.
1774. His remains were interred in the Canongate churchyard, where they lay unnoticed for twelve
years, till Burns erected a simple stone to mark the ROBERT FERGUSSON,
poet's grave. The heartlessness of convivial friendROBERT FERGUSSON was the poet of Scottish city- ships is well known: they literally wither and die life, or rather the laureate of Edinburgh. A happy in a day.' It is related, however, that a youthful talent of portraying the peculiarities of local man- companion of Fergusson, named Burnet, having
gone to the East Indies, and made some money, ir.. Falconer or Logan (he received the same education
To laurelled wreath,
In guid braid claith.
Wi' a' this graith,
O'guid braid claith.
While he draws breath,
Wi’guid braid claith.
Gangs trigly, faith!
Or to the Meadows, or the Park,
In guid braid claith.
Weel might ye trow, to see them there, Fergusson may be considered the poetical pro
That they to shave your haffits bare, genitor of Burns. Meeting with his poems in his Or curl and sleek a pickle hair, youth, the latter strung his lyre anew,' and copied
Would be right laith, the style and subjects of his youthful prototype. When pacin' wi' a gawsy air The resemblance, however, was only temporary and
In guid braid claith. incidental. Burns had a manner of his own, and though he sometimes condescended, like Shakspeare,
If ony mettled stirrah green! to work after inferior models, all that was rich and
For favour frae a lady's een, valuable in the composition was original and un
He maunna care for bein' seen borrowed. He had an excessive admiration for the
Before he sheath writings of Fergusson, and even preferred them to
His body in a scabbard clean those of Ramsay, an opinion in which few will con
O'guid braid claith. cur. The forte of Fergusson lay, as we have stated, For, gin he come wi' coat threadbare, in his representations of town-life. The King's Birth- A feg for him she winna care, day, The Sitting of the Session, Leith Races, &c., are But crook her bonny mou fou sair, all excellent. Still better is his feeling description
And scauld him baith: of the importance of Guid Braid Claith, and his Wooers should aye their travel spare, Address to the Tron-Kirk Bell. In these we have a
Without braid claith. current of humorous observations, poetical fancy, Braid claith lends fouk an unca heeze ; and genuine idiomatic Scottish expression. The
Maks mony kail-worms butterflees; Farmer's Ingle suggested “The Cotter's Saturday
Gies mony a doctor his degrees, Night' of Burns, and it is as faithful in its descrip
For little skaith: tions, though of a humbler class. Burns added
In short, you may be what you please, passion, sentiment, and patriotism to the subject :
Wi' guid braid claith. Fergusson's is a mere sketch, an inventory of a farm-house, unless we except the concluding stanza,
For though yo had as wise a snout on, which speaks to the heart :-
As Shakspeare or Sir Isaac Newton,
Your judgment fouk would hae a doubt on, Peace to the husbandman, and a his tribe,
I'll tak my aith, Whase care fells a' our wants frae year to year!
Till they could see ye wi' a suit on
O’guid braid claith.
To the Tron-Kirk Bell.
Wanwordy, crazy, dinsome thing,
As e'er was framed to jow or ring ! And a lang lasting train o' peacefu' hours succeed ! What gar'd them sic in steeple hing,
They ken themsel; In one department-lyrical poetry-whence Burns But weel wat I, they couldna bring draws so much of his glory-Fergusson does not
Waur sounds frae hell. seem, though a singer, to have made any efforts to excel. In English poetry he utterly failed, and if we consider him in reference to his countrymen,
Fleece-merchants may look bauld, I trow,
Thy sound to bang,
It's sair to thole;
Wi' senseless knoll.
Nor should you think
Again to clink.
Were't no for thee,
To wauken me.
A cunnin' snare,
Ere they're aware.
Like it can wound,
For joyfu' sound.'
Sic honest fouk,
Thy dolefu' shock.
And then, I trow,
Has got his due.'
From • Hame Content, a Satire.]
Come, Fancy! come, and let us tread
That, ta'en wi' thy enchanting sang,
O Bangour !l now the hills and dales
To fire his mou;
For bein' fou.
To bide right gair,
A dainty skair.
Than Noah's line,
Wi' drinkin' wine.
As big's the Pontic.
For thinkin' on't,
They labour still
Their want o' skill.
Than whilk, I trow,
For me or you.
Out-owre the lugs,
Though cholic or the heart-scad teaze us;
Newhaven, Leith, or Canonmills, Or ony inward dwaam should seize us;
Supply them in their Sunday's gills;
Where writers aften spend their pence,
To stock their heads wi' drink and sense.
While danderin cits delight to stray
To Castlehill or public way,
Where they nae other purpose mean, Were't no for it, the bonnie lasses
Than that fool cause o' being seen,
Let me to Arthur's Seat pursue,
Where bonnie pastures meet the view,
And mony a wild-lorn scene accrues,
Befitting Willie Shakspeare's muse.
If Fancy there would join the thrang, The fairest, then, might die a maid,
The desert rocks and hills amang, And Cupid quit his shootin' trade;
To echoes we should lilt and play,
And gie to mirth the live-lang day.
Or should some cankered biting shower
The day and a' her sweets deflower,
To Holyrood-house let me stray,
And gie to musing a' the day; And leaves to cleed the birken bowers,
Lamenting what auld Scotland kner,
Bein days for ever frae her view.
O Hamilton, for shame! the Muse
Would pay to thee her couthy vows,
Gin ye wad tent the humble strain,
And gie's our dignity again! What maks Auld Reekie's dames sae fair?
For, oh, wac's me! the thistle springs It canna be the halesome air;
In domicile o' ancient kings,
Without a patriot to regret
Our palace and our ancient state.
And blink sae bonnie. On May-day, in a fairy ring,
MISCELLANEOUS POEMS OF THE PERIOD 1727-1780. We've seen them round St Anthon's spring,
[By Richard West -- written at the age of twenty. This And water, clear as crystal spring,
amiable poet died in his twenty-sixth year, 1742.] To synd them clean. Oh may they still pursue the way
Yes, happy youths, on Camus' sedgy side,
You feel each joy that friendship can divide; To look sae feat, sae clean, sae gay !
Each realm of science and of art explore,
And with the ancient blend the modern lore.
Studious alone to learn whate'er may tend
To raise the genius, or the heart to mend;
Now pleased along the cloistered walk you rove,
And trace the verdant mazes of the grove, [A Sunday in Edinburgh.]
Where social oft, and oft alone, ye choose, [From Auld Reekie.']
To catch the zephyr, and to court the muse. On Sunday, here, an altered scene
Meantime at me (while all deroid of art
These lines give back the image of my heart),
At me the power that comes or soon or late,
Or aims, or seems to aim, the dart of fate; And fain wad gar ilk neibour think
From you remote, methinks, alone I stand, They thirst for guidness as for drink;
Like some sad exile in a desert land ; But there's an unco dearth o' grace,
Around no friends their lenient care to join That has nae mansion but the face,
In mutual warmth, and mix their hearts with mine. And never can obtain a part
Or real pains, or those which fancy raise, In benmost corner o' the heart.
For ever blot the sunshine of my days ;
To sickness still, and still to grief a prey,
Health turns from me her rosy face away.
Just Heaven! what sin ere life begins to bloom, Forsake hypocrisy, grimace;
Devotes my head untimely to the tomb? And never hae it understood
Did e'er this hand against a brother's life You fleg mankind frae being good.
Drug the dire bowl, or point the murderous knife! In afternoon, a' brawly buskit,
Did e'er this tongue the slanderer's tale proclaim, The joes and lasses loe to frisk it.
Or madly violate my Maker's name? Some tak a great delight to place
Did e'er this heart betray a friend or foe, The modest bon-grace owre the face;
Or know a thought but all the world might know? Though you may see, if so inclined,
As yet just started from the lists of time, The turning o' the leg behind.
My growing years have scarcely told their prime;
Useless, as yet, through life I've idly run,
No pleasures tasted, and few duties done.
Ah, who, ere autumn's mellowing suns appear, 1 St Anthony's Well, a beautiful small spring, on Arthur's Would pluck the promise of the vernal year; Seat, near Edinburgh. Thither it is still the practice of young Or, ere the grapes their purple hue betray, Edinburgh maidens to resort on May-day.
Tear the crude cluster from the mourning spray?