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Hae ye marked the dews o' morning
* Is it my wee thing, is it my ain thing, Glittering in the sunny ray,
Is it my true love here that I see?" Quickly fa', when, without warning,
O Jamie, forgie me ; your heart's constant to me; Rough blasts came and shook the spray?
I'll never mair wander, dear laddie, frae thee.'
JOHN MAYNE, author of the Siller Gun, Glas
gow, and other poems, was a native of DumfriesAfter three lang years' affliction
born in the year 1761—and died in London in A' their waes now hushed to rest
1836. He was brought up to the printing business, Jean ance mair, in fond affection,
and whilst apprentice in the Dumfries Journal Clasps her Willie to her breast.
office in 1777, in his sixteenth year, he published
the germ of his Siller Gun in a quarto page of The simple truth and pathos of descriptions like twelve stanzas. The subject of the poem is an these appealed to the heart, and soon rendered ancient custom in Dumfries, called 'Shooting for Macneill's poem universally popular in Scotland. the Siller Gun,' the gun being a small silver tube Its moral tendency was also a strong recommen- presented by James VI. to the incorporated trades dation, and the same causes still operate in pro- as a prize to the best marksman. This poem Mr curing readers for the tale, especially in that class Mayne continued to enlarge and improve up to best fitted to appreciate its rural beauties and the time of his death. The twelve stanzas exhomely pictures, and to receive benefit from the panded in two years to two cantos; in another lessons it inculcates. Macneill wrote several year (1780) the poem was published—enlarged to Scottish lyrics, and published a descriptive poem, three cantos-in Ruddiman's Magazine ; and in entitled The Links of Forth, or a Parting Peep 1808 it was published in London in four cantos. at the Carse of Stirling; and some prose tales, This edition was seen by Sir Walter Scott, who in which he laments the effect of modern change said in one of his notes to the Lady of the Lake) and improvement. The latter years of the poet 'that it' surpassed the efforts of Fergusson, and were spent in comparative comfort in Edinburgh. came near to those of Burns.. Mr Mayne was
author of a short poem on Halloween, printed in
Ruddiman's Magazine in 1780; and in 1781, he Mary of Castle-Cary.
published at Glasgow his fine ballad of Logar "Saw ye my wee thing, saw ye my ain thing, Braes, which Burns had seen, and two lines of Saw ye my true love down on yon lea?
which he copied into his Logan Water. The Crossed she the meadow yestreen at the gloaming, Siller Gun is humorous and descriptive, and is
Sought she the burnie where flowers the haw-tree? happy in both. The author is a shrewd and Her hair it is lint-white, her skin it is milk-white, lively observer, full of glee, and also of gentle Dark is the blue of her soft rolling ee;
and affectionate recollections of his native town Red, red are her ripe lips, and sweeter than roses
and all its people and pastimes. The ballad of Where could my wee thing wander frae me?' Logan Braes is a simple and beautiful lyric, 'I saw nae your wee thing, I saw nae your ain thing, Though long resident in London (as proprietor
superior to the more elaborate version of Burns. Nor saw 1 your true love down by yon lea;
of the Star newspaper), Mr Mayne retained his But I met my bonny thing late in the gloaming,
Scottish enthusiasm to the last; and to those Down by the burnie where flowers the haw-tree : Her hair it was lint-white, her skin it was milk-white, who, like ourselves, recollect him in advanced Dark was the blue of her soft rolling ee;
life, stopping, in the midst of his duties as a Red were her ripe lips, and sweeter than roses public journalist, to trace some remembrance of Sweet were the kisses that she gave to me.' his native Dumfries and the banks of the Nith,
or to hum over some rural or pastoral song which It was nae my wee thing, it was nae my ain thing, he had heard forty or fifty years before, his name,
It was nae my true love ye met by the tree : as well as his poetry, recalls the strength and Proud is her leal heart, and modest her nature; tenacity of early feelings ard local associations.
She never loved ony till ance she lo'ed me. Her name it is Mary; she's frae Castle-Cary; Aft has she sat when a bairn on my knee:
Logan Baes. Fair as your face is, were 't fifty times fairer,
By Logan's streams, the rin sae deep, Young bragger, she ne'er wad gie kisses to thee.'
Fu' aft wi' glee I've heded sheep, It was then your Mary ; she's frae Castle-Cary;
Herded sheep and gathred slaes,
Wi' my dear lad on Lcan braes. It was then your true love I met by the tree;
But wae 's my heart, the days are gane, Proud as her heart is, and modest her nature,
And I wi' grief may hd alane,
While my dear lad man face his faes,
Far, far frae me and Lgan braes. “Ye'se rue sair this morning your boasts and your Nae mair at Logan kit will he scorning;
Atween the preachingmeet wi' me; Defend ye, fause traitor ; fu' loudly ye lie.?
Meet wi' me, or when 's mirk,
Convoy me hame frae.ogan kirk. *Away wi' beguiling,' cried the youth, smiling
I weel may sing thae iys are gane : Off went the bonnet, the lint-white locks flee,
Frae kirk and fair I me alane, The belted plaid fa'ing, her white bosom shawing,
While my dear lad mn face his faes, Fair stood the loved maid wi' the dark rolling ee.
Far, far frae me and ogan braes. 198
At e'en, when hope amaist is gane,
When James M‘Noe began again I dauner out and sit alane ;
To beat to arms, Sit alane beneath the tree
Rousing the heart o' man and wean
Wi' war's alarms.
Frae far and near the country lads
(Their joes ahint them on their yads) We'd live in bliss on Logan braes !
Flocked in to see the show in squads ;
And, what was dafter,
Their pawky mithers and their dads
Cam trotting after !
Doited wi' dozing on a chair ; rank and fortune in that neighbourhood. Walking with her lover For, lest they 'd, sleeping, spoil their hair, on the sweet banks of the Kirtle, she was murdered by a disap
Ór miss the sight, pointed and sanguinary rival. This catastrophe took place during The gowks, like bairns before a fair, the reign of Mary, Queen of Scots, and is the subject of three different ballads : the first two are old, the third is the composition
Sat up a' night! of the author of the Siller Gun. It was first inserted in the Edinburgh Annual Register (1815) by Sir Walter Scott.
Wi' hats as black as ony raven,
Fresh as the rose, their beards new shaven, I wish I were where Helen lies,
And a' their Sunday's cleeding having For, night and day, on me she cries;
Sae trim and gay, And, like an angel, to the skies
Forth cam our Trades, some orra saving
To wair that day.
Fair fa' ilk canny, caidgy carle,
Weel may he bruik his new apparel !
And never dree the bitter snarl
O' scowling wife! Where Kirtle waters gently wind,
But, blest in pantry, barn, and barrel,
Be blithe through life!
Hech, sirs ! what crowds cam into town, My love, to disappoint the foe,
To see them mustering up and down! Rushed in between me and the blow;
Lasses and lads, sunburnt and brown-
Women and weans,
Gentle and semple, mingling, crown
The gladsome scenes !
At first, forenent ilk Deacon's hallan,
His ain brigade was made to fall in ;
And, while the muster-roll was calling,
And joy-bells jowing, Oh! if on earth there's aught divine,
Het-pints, weel spiced, to keep the saul in, My Helen ! all these charms were thine
Around were flowing !
Broiled kipper, cheese, and bread, and ham, Ah, what avails it that, amain,
Laid the foundation for a dram
O' whisky, gin frae Rotterdam,
Or cherry brandy;
Whilk after, a' was fish that cam
To Jock or Sandy.
Oh! weel ken they wha lo'e their chappin,
Drink maks the auldest swack and strappin'; On fair Kirkconnel-Lee !
Gars Care forget the ills that happen
The blate look spruce-
And even the thowless cock their tappin,
And craw fu' croose !
The muster ower, the different bands
File aff in parties to the sands,
Where, 'mid loud laughs and clapping hands,
Glee'd Geordy Smith
Reviews them, and their line expands
Alang the Nith!
But ne'er, for uniform or air,
Was sic a group reviewed elsewhere !
The short, the tall ; fat folk and spare ;
Syde coats and dockit; The concluding verse of the old ballad is finer:
Wigs, queues, and clubs, and curly hair ;
Round hats and cockit !
As to their guns-thae fell engines,
Borrowed or begged, were of a kinds,
For bloody war, or bad designs,
Or shooting cushies-
Lang fowling-pieces, carabines,
And blunderbusses !
Maist seck, though oiled to mak them glimmer,
Sae dear 's that joy was bought, John,
Sae free the battle fought, John,
That sinfu' man e'er brought
To the land o' the leal.
Oh, dry your glistening ee, John !
My saul langs to be free, John !
And angels beckon me
To the land o’the leal.
Oh, haud ye leal and true, John!
Your day it's wearin' through, John;
And I'll welcome you
To the land o' the leal.
Now, fare-ye-weel, my ain John;
This warld's cares are vain, John ;
We'll meet, and we 'll be fain,
In the land o' the leal.
The Laird o' Cockpen.
The Laird o' Cockpen he's proud and he's great, "The age o'chivalry is gane !'
His mind is ta'en up with the things o' the state;
He wanted a wife his braw house to keep,
But favour wi' wooin' was fashious to seek.
Down by the dyke-side a lady did dwell,
At his table-head he thought she'd look well;
M'Clish's ae daughter o' Člaverse-ha' Lee,
A penniless lass wi'a lang pedigree.
His wig was weel pouthered, and as gude as new;
His waistcoat was white, his coat it was blue;
He put on a ring, a sword, and cocked-hat;
And wha could refuse the Laird wi' a' that?
He took the gray mare, and rade cannilie,
And rapped at the yett o' Claverse-ha' Lee:
Gae tell Mistress Jean to come speedily ben,
She's wanted to speak wi' the Laird - Cockpen.'
Mistress Jean she was makin' the elder-flower wine :
She put aff her apron, and on her silk gown,
Her mutch wi' red ribbons, and gaed awa' down. CAROLINA OLIPHANT (1766-1845), of the family of Oliphant of Gask, and justly celebrated for her
And when she cam ben, he bowed su' low,
And what was his errand he soon let her know; beauty, talents, and worth, wrote several lyrical
Amazed was the Laird when the lady said 'Na;' pieces, which enjoy great popularity. These are,
And wi' a laigh curtsey she turned awa'. The Land o' the Leal,
The Laird o' Cockpen, Caller Herrin', The Lass oGowrie, &c. In 1806 she was Dumfoundered he was, but nae sigh did he gie; married to Major William Murray Nairne, who, He mounted his marehe rade cannilie ; in 1824, on the restoration of the attainted Scottish And aften he thought, as he gaed through the glen, peerages, became Baron Nairne. Shortly before She's daft to refuse the Laird o' Cockpen. her death, this excellent and accomplished lady
And now that the Laird his exit had made, gave the Rev. Dr Chalmers a sum of £300, to
Mistress Jean she reflected on what she had said; assist in his schemes for the amelioration of the
"Oh ! for ane I'll get better, it's waur I'll get tenpoorer classes in Edinburgh.
I was daft to refuse the Laird o' Cockpen.'
Next time that the Laird and the lady were seen,
They were gaun arm-in-arm to the kírk on the green; I'm wearin' awa', John,
Now she sits in the ha' like a weel-tappit henLike snaw-wreaths in thaw, John;
But as yet there's nae chickens appeared at Cockpen.*
To the land o' the leal.
Wha 'll buy my caller herrin'?
They ’re bonny fish and halesome farin';
'll buy my caller herrin',
New drawn frae the Forth?
When ye were sleepin' on your pillows,
Dreamed ye aught o' our puir fellows,
The last two verses were added by Miss Ferrier, authoress of
Marriage. They are quite equal to the original.
† Caller, cool, fresh; herring new caught.
Darkling as they faced the billows,
to anything beyond mediocrity. Becoming acA' to fill the woven willows?
quainted with Mr R. A. Smith, a musical comWha'll buy my caller herrin'? &c.
poser, the poet applied himself sedulously to Wha 'll buy my caller herrin'?
İyrical composition, aided by the encouragement They're no brought here without brave daring. and the musical taste of his friend. Smith set Buy my caller herrin',
some of his songs to original and appropriate Hauled through wind and rain.
airs, and in 1807 the poet ventured on the publiWha 'll buy my caller herrin'? &c.
cation of a volume of poems and songs, of which Wha 'll buy my caller herrin'?
the first impression, consisting of 900 copies, was Oh, ye may ca them vulgar farin',
sold in a few weeks. It is related that in a Wives and mithers maist despairing
solitary walk on one occasion, his musings were Ca' them lives o' men.
interrupted by the voice of a country-girl in an Wha 'll buy my caller herrin'? &c. adjoining field singing by herself a song of his When the creel o herrin' passes,
ownLadies, clad in silks and laces,
We 'll meet beside the dusky glen, on yon burn-side ; Gather in their braw pelisses,
and he used to say he was more pleased at this Cast their heads and screw their faces.
evidence of his popularity, than at any tribute Wha 'll buy my caller herrin'? &c.
which had ever been paid him. He afterwards Caller herrin''s no got lightly,
contributed some songs to Mr George Thomson's Ye can trip the spring fu’ tightly,
Select Melodies, and exerted himself to procure Spite o' tauntin', flauntin', flingin',
Irish airs, of which he was very fond. Whilst Gow* has set you a' a-singin'.
delighting all classes of his countrymen with his Wha 'll buy my caller herrin'? &c.
native songs, the poet fell into a state of morbid Neebour wives, now tent my tellin':
despondency, aggravated by bodily weakness and When the bonny fish ye 're sellin',
a tendency to consumption. He had prepared a At ae word be in yer dealin';
new edition of his poems for the press, and sent Truth will stand when a' thing's failin'. the manuscript to Mr Constable the publisher ; Wha 'll buy my caller herrin'? &c.
but it was returned by that gentleman, in consequence of his having more new works on hand
than he could undertake that season. This disROBERT TANNAHILL.
appointment preyed on the spirits of the sensitive ROBERT TANNAHILL, a lyrical poet of a supe- poet
, and his melancholy became deep and habitrior order, whose songs rival ali but the best ual. He burned all his manuscripts, and sank of Burns's in popularity, was born in Paisley, into a state of mental derangement. Returning on the 3d of June 1774. His education was from a visit to Glasgow on the 17th of May 1810, limited, but he was a diligent reader and student. the unhappy poet retired to rest; but 'suspicion He was early sent to the loom, weaving being the having been excited, in about an hour afterstaple trade of Paisley, and continued to follow wards it was discovered that he had stolen out his occupation in his native town until his twenty- unperceived. Search was made in every direcșixth year, when, with one of his younger brothers, tion, and by the dawn of the morning, the coat of he removed to Lancashire. There he continued the poet was discovered lying at the side of the two years, when the declining state of his father's tunnel of a neighbouring brook, pointing out but health induced him to return. He arrived in too surely where his body was to be found.'* time to receive the dying blessing of his parent, Tannahill was a modest and temperate man, and a short time afterwards we find him writing devoted to his kindred and friends, and of unto a friend: 'My brother Hugh and I are all that blemished purity and correctness of conduct. now remain at home with our old mother, bend- His lamentable death arose from no want or ing under age and frailty; and but seven years irregularity, but was solely caused by that morbid back, nine of us used to sit at dinner together.' disease of the mind which had overthrown his Hugh married, and the poet was left alone with reason. The poems of this ill-starred son of his widowed mother. În a poem, The Filial genius are greatly inferior to his songs. They Vow, he says:
have all a common-place artificial character. His
lyrics, on the other hand, are rich and original, 'Twas hers to guide me through life's early day, both in description and sentiment. His diction To point out virtue's paths, and lead the way : Now, while her powers in frigid languor sleep,
is copious and luxuriant, particularly in describing 'Tis mine to hand her down life's rugged steep;
natural objects and the peculiar features of the With all her little weaknesses to bear,
Scottish landscape. His simplicity is natural and Attentive, kind, to soothe her every care.
unaffected; and though he appears to have posTis nature bids, and truest pleasure flows
sessed a deeper sympathy with nature than with From lessening an aged parent's woes.
the workings of human feeling, or even the pas
sion of love, he is often tender and pathetic. His The filial piety of Tannahill is strikingly apparent Gloomy Winter's now Awa' is a beautiful confrom this effusion, but the inferiority of the lines centration of tenderness and melody. to any of his Scottish songs shews how little at home he was in English. His mother outlived
The Braes o' Balquhither. him thirteen years. Though Tannahill had occa
Let us go, lassie, go, sionally composed verses from a very early age,
To the braes o' Balquhither, it was not till after this time that he attained Where the blae-berries grow
'Mang the bonny Highland heather ; Neil Gow (1727-1807), a distinguished Scottish violinist, famous for playing the livelier airs known as strathspeys and reels.
* Memoir prefixed to Tannahill's Works. Glasgow, 1838.
Where the deer and the roe,
And far be the villain, divested of feeling,
Wha'd blight in its bloom the sweet flower o' Sport the lang summer day
Sing on, thou sweet mavis, thy hymn to the e'ening ;
Thou 'rt dear to the echoes of Calderwood glen: I will twine thee a bower
Sae dear to this bosom, sae artless and winning, By the clear siller fountain,
Is charming young Jessie, the flower o' Dumblane. And I'll cover it o'er Wi' the flowers of the mountain ;
How lost were my days till I met wi' my Jessie ! I will range through the wilds,
The sports o' the city seemed foolish and vain ; And the deep glens sae drearie,
I ne'er saw a nymph I would ca' my dear lassie, And return wi' the spoils
Till charmed wi' sweet Jessie, the flower o' To the bower o' my dearie.
Though mine were the station o’ loftiest grandeur,
Amidst its profusion I'd languish in pain,
And reckon as naething the height o'its
splendour, And the roar of the linn
If wanting sweet Jessie, the flower o' Dumblane.
Gloomy Winter 's now Awa'.
Gloomy winter 's now awa';
Sast the westlin breezes blaw;
'Mang the birks o' Stanley-shaw
The mavis sings fu' cheerie 0.
Sweet the craw-flower's early bell
Decks Gleniffer's dewy dell,
Blooming like thy bonny sel,
My young, my artless dearie O.
Come, my lassie, let us stray
O'er Glenkilloch's sunny brae, 'Mang the braes o' Balquhither.
Blithely spend the gowden day
Midst joys that never wearie O.
Towering o'er the Newton woods,
Laverocks fan the snaw-white clouds ; The auld castle turrets are covered wi' snaw;
Siller saughs, wi' downie buds, How changed frae the time when I met wi' my lover
Adorn the banks sae brierie O. Amang the broom bushes by Stanley green shaw!
Round the sylvan fairy nooks, The wild-flowers o' summer were spread a' sae bonny,
Feathery breckans fringe the rocks, The mavis sang sweet frae the green birken tree;
'Neath the brae the burnie jouks, But far to the camp they hae marched my dear Johnie,
And ilka thing is cheerie O. And now it is winter wi' nature and me.
Trees may bud, and birds may sing,
Flowers may bloom, and verdure spring, Then ilk thing around us was blithesome and cheerie,
Joy to me they canna bring, Then ilk thing around us was bonny and braw;
Unless wi' thee, my dearie O.
And naething is seen but the wide-spreading snaw.
SIR ALEXANDER BOSWELL.
SIR ALEXANDER BOSWELL (1775-1822), the And chirp out their plaints, seeming wae for my eldest son of Johnson's biographer, was author of Johnie;
some amusing songs, which are still very popular. 'Tis winter wi' them, and 'tis winter wi' me. Auld Gudeman, ye're a Drucken Carle; Jenny's Yon cauld sleety cloud skiffs alang the bleak mountain, considerable comic humour, and coarse but char
Bawbee; Fenny dang the Weaver, &c., display And shakes the dark firs on the steep rocky brae, While down the deep glen bawls the snaw-flooded acteristic painting; The higher qualities of simple fountain,
rustic grace and elegance he seems never to have That murmured sae sweet to my laddie and me. attempted. In 1803 Sir Alexander collected his It's no its loud roar on the wintry wind swellin', fugitive pieces, and published them under the title
It 's no the cauld blast brings the tear i' my ee; of Songs chiefly in the Scottish Dialect. In 1810, For oh! gin I saw but my bonny Scots callan, he published a Scottish dialogue, in the style of The dark days o' winter were summer to me. Fergusson, called Edinburgh, or the Ancient Roy
alty; a Sketch of Manners, by Simon Gray. This The Flower o' Dumblane.
Sketch is greatly overcharged. Sir Alexander
was an ardent lover of our early literature, and The sun has gane down o'er the lofty Ben-Lomond, reprinted several works at his private printing
And left the red clouds to preside' o'er the scene, press at Auchinleck. When politics ran high, he While lanely I stray in the calm summer gloamin, unfortunately wrote some personal satires, for one
To muse on sweet Jessie, the flower o' Ďumblane. of which he received a challenge from Mr Stuart How sweet is the brier, wi' its sauft fauldin' blossom! of Dunearn. The parties met at Auchtertool, in
And sweet is the birk, wi' its mantle o' green; Fifeshire. Conscious of his error, Sir Alexander Yet sweeter and fairer, and dear to this bosom, Is lovely young Jessie, the flower o' Dumblane.
resolved not to fire at his opponent; but Mr
Stuart's shot took effect, and the unfortunate She's modest as ony, and blithe as she's bonny ; baronet fell. He died from the wound on the
For guileless simplicity marks her its ain : following day, the 26th of March 1822. He had