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why it should be likely to do so. In the first place, the nature element appears in most of the poems. There are few descriptive poems, but in almost all poems, of whatever kind, there are references to nature, an incidental use of it that seems to mean its constant presence in the lives of the people whose feelings the poems expressed. The use of nature is entirely spontaneous, also, and indicates an unaffected and deep love of outdoor life. Another element important in relation to English poetry is the presentation of themes and motives of common life. The comparative absence of class differences in Scotland, or, more accurately, the community of feeling and sympathy among all classes, is shown in the poetry. Where the type written of is specific, it is most frequently the peasant type. But the writers themselves come out of all classes. Poems on the same subjects come from the highest classes and the humblest; and when the man of noble birth writes of the shepherd, he does so with no effect of condescending or of taking an outsider's view, but with complete sympathy and understanding. Even Gay, in England, when he uses a rustic or a Newgate type, does so as being himself one of another class, merely searching for literary material. In the Scotch poetry no such distinction can be felt. The interest in the life presented is not a literary, but a human, or a national, interest. Another effective element is the naturalness and spontaneity of the feeling in the poems. There is to be found, for instance, an element uncommon in English verse at the time, genuine pathos. The English attempted the tragic or the serious, but the simply pathetic was rare. Homely feelings of many kinds were set forth in the Scots lyrics, with a sympathy that the use of the vernacular helped to express. For all these reasons the contact with Scotch poetry had a freshening and stimulating effect upon English verse.
In the somewhat long list of Scotch poets between Ramsay and Burns, but few, however, rise into prominence. A comparatively small number devoted themselves to literature; many of them produced but two or three poems, and live in literary history by the excellence of those. The authorship of some of the poems is disputed or entirely unknown.
DAVID MALLET (?-1765) whose name was originally Malloch, claimed William and Margaret as his work. He was a Scotchman, but went to London to live about 1723, and there was rather promi`nent, especially in the circle to which Thomson belonged. He was
a friend of Thomson, helped to bring him to notice, and collaborated with him in writing the masque Alfred. William and Margaret appeared in the Plain Dealer of July 24, 1724, with a statement of the editor, Aaron Hill, to the effect that he had picked it up in the street, on a torn sheet of a Halfpenny Miscellany. The ballad reappeared in Allan Ramsay's Tea-Table Miscellany in 1724?, signed D. M; in 1728 Mallet published it over his own name and afterward included it in successive editions of his works. Mallet produced nothing else of equal value. Even in his own time there was some question as to his having written the poem, and in recent years editors have found abundant reason to doubt his claim to the authorship of it. See Phelps's Beginnings of the English Romantic Movement, Appendix II.
WILLIAM HAMILTON (1704-1754) made himself known first through his contributions (1724-1727) to Ramsay's Tea-Table Miscellany, in which the Braes of Yarrow was published. He was a man of good family, an ardent and active Jacobite; he fought at Culloden, afterward escaped to France, but was later pardoned and allowed to return to Scotland. Hamilton's other work has fallen into comparative obscurity, but his Braes of Yarrow has been reprinted over and over again. Wordsworth alludes to it and quotes from it in his Yarrow Unvisited, and in the prefatory note to that poem calls it an “exquisite Ballad."
JOHN SKINNER (1721-1807) published three volumes of theological works, and some Latin verse, besides his Scotch songs. He was an Episcopalian minister, and a Jacobite. Tullochgorum seems to have been printed first in 1771. The name Tullochgorum was the name of a Highland tune to a reel, and Skinner wrote the song to go to the tune. Burns, writing to Skinner, called the poem "the best song Scotland ever saw."
LADY ANNE BARNARD (1750-1825) was the daughter of the Earl of Balcarres, and married (1793) Andrew Barnard, afterward Colonial Secretary at the Cape of Good Hope. Auld Robin Gray was written in 1771, but its authorship was not revealed until 1823. It also was written for a melody already existing. Lady Barnard's letters from the Cape, where she went with her husband, were published in 1901.
JEAN ADAMS (?-1765) was a poor schoolmistress, who died in an almshouse. There's Nae Luck about the House is not absolutely proved to be her work, but is commonly ascribed to her. It is also
credited sometimes to William Mickle, the translator of the Lusiad, It is not known when the song first appeared; it was sung and sold on the streets of Edinburgh in 1771 or 1772.
JANE ELLIOT (1727-1805) and MRS. ALICIA RUTHERFord Cockburn (1713?-1798) produced no work of special value, except these songs. Both poems are commonly regarded as laments for the losses at the battle of Flodden Field, but Mrs. Cockburn's was really written on the occasion of a local financial disaster in Selkirkshire.
The name of ROBERT FERGUSSON (1750-1774) is the most important. in Scotch poetry, between Ramsay's and Burns's. He is related to both these men in a way; but he goes beyond Ramsay in wit and keenness and satirical power, and falls below Burns in tenderness and pathos and real poetry. But he has, in common with them, something of the same ability to speak from the very centre of Scotch life, and the same zeal for national poetry. His life was too short to allow him to accomplish much too short, probably, even to show the full maturity and variety of his powers. The greater part of his life was spent in Edinburgh. He has been called the "laureate of auld Reekie," because his poems deal so largely with Edinburgh life. He is chiefly a social poet; he is at his best in the poems that represent people in their social relations. Keen enjoyment of life
whether of city street and city follies, or of shepherd life is one of the chief elements in his work. But his life ended sadly, in an insane asylum. A large part of his work was published in Ruddiman's Weekly Magazine. The Ruddimans also printed, in 1773, a collection of his poems, the only one that appeared during Fergusson's life. Burns admired Fergusson almost extravagantly, imitated him in several poems, and lamented passionately the tragedy of his early death. Burns himself looked out Fergusson's grave in the Canongate churchyard, and erected a stone upon it.
The text of these Scots poems is not vouched for except in the case of Fergusson's, which are from the collection edited by Robert Ford. (Paisley, 1905.) The glossary is taken from various sources, the chief one being Jamieson's Scottish Dictionary.
bandsters, binders of sheaves.
bear the gree, win the victory.
broachie, small brooch.
brulzie, a broil.
bucht, a pen in which ewes are
caller, cool, fresh. ca's, drives.
cracks, chat, easy conversation.
bigonet, linen cap.
bogle, or bogle about the
daffing, foolishness, merriment. dighting, winnowing.
divot, a flat piece of turf used for thatching.
bowie, dish, small cask open at downa, cannot.
brae, slope, hill-side. braid, broad.
braw, fine, handsome.
dowie, worn with grief or fatigue.
dringing, singing in a slow and melancholy manner.
dule, pain, grief.
dung, overcome with fatigue.
feck, part, a quantity.
chiel, a young fellow.
chimley cheeks, sides of the fient, fiend, devil.
hash, injure, maltreat.
heeze, assistance, uplift, hoist. het, hot.
ilka, each, every.
kail, cabbage, colewort.
lave, the rest, remainder.
haffits, temples, sides of head. hafflin, half.
mailing, a farm.
hallan, partition-wall in a cot
tage, or part of partition-wall. | marrow, equal companion, hushap, to wrap, cover.
band or wife.
leglin, a kind of milk-pail with
lift, the sky.
singing spontaneously and cheerfully.
loaning, an opening between fields of corn, near or leading to the homestead, left uncultivated, for the sake of driving the cattle homeward. Here the COWS are frequently milked.
loe, lu'e, love.
maun, maunna, must, must not. meltith, a meal.
muckle, mickle, much, great.