Page images
PDF
[ocr errors]

THE FLOWER OF CALEDONIA.
SINCE uncle's death I've lads anew,
That never came before to woo;
But to the laddie I'll be true,
That loo'd me first of onie, 0 :
I've lads anew since I've got gear,
Before, my price they'd hardly speer;
But nane to me is half so dear,
As my true lover Johnnie, O.
Weel do I mind o auld langsyne,
How they wou'd laugh at me and mine;
Now I'll pay them back in their ain coin,
And show them I love Johnnie, 0.

* This song, written by a young man, a native of the place where the scene is laid, was obtained from him for insertion, along with some others, in consequence of a special request to that purpose.

Glaizart is a beautiful winding streamlet in the parish of Campsie: it rises in the northern part of the lofty ridge of mountains called the Campsie Fells, meanders through the romantic glens of Glen-Dawin and the Clachan, and runs through the most fertile haughs and meadows in that part of the parish, till it joins the Kelvin near the borough of Kirkintilloch.-The Clachan Glen, alluded to in the 4th verse, lies at the back of the romantic village of the Clachan, between two ridges of the Fells.—These verses were written in summer, (1815) when, enrob’d in Nature's richest mantle, it formed one of the most beautiful and picturesque scenes in the west of Scotland.

Weel mind I, in my youthfu' days,
How happy I've been gath'rin' slaes,
And rowin' on yon breckan braes,
Wi' the flower of Caledonia.
The Laird comes o'er and tells my dad,
That surely I am turning mad,
And tells my mam I lo'e a lad
That's neither rich nor bonnie, 0.
The Laird is but a silly gowk,
An' tho' my Johnnie has nae stock,
Yet he's the flow'r o' a' the flock,
And the pride of Caledonia.
When to the Laird I wrought for fee,
He wadna look nor speak to me,
But now at breakfast, dine, and tea,
He'd fain mak me his cronie, 0;
But sure as gowd cures the heart-ach,
It's only for my siller's sake;
The mair o' me that they a' make,
The mair I lo'e my Johnnie, 0.
But now my wedding day is set,
When I'll be married to my pet,
With pleasure I will pay the debt,
I've awn sae lang to Johnnie, 0.
Come, fiddler, now cast aff your coat,
We's dance a reel upon the spot,
Play Jockie's made a wedding o't,
I've sign’d my cockernonie, 0.
Now laddies keep your lassies till’t,
And lassies a' your coaties kilt,
And let us hae a canty lilt, .
Since I hae got my Johnnie, 0;
I've got my heart's desire at last,
Tho' many frowns between us past,
And since we're tied baith hard and fast,
May peace crown Caledonia.

THE YELLOW HAIR'D LADDIE.
THE yellow-hair’d laddie sat down on yon brae,
Cries, Milk the ewes, lassie, let nane o' them gae;
And ay as she milked, and ay as she sang,
The yellow-hair'd laddie shall be my gudeman.

And ay as she milked, fc.
The weather is cauld, and my claithing is thin,
The ewes are new clipped, they winna bught in;
They winna bught in, although I should die;
O yellow-hair'd laddie, be kind unto me.

They winna bught, 8c.
The gudewife cries butt the house, Jenny, come ben,
The cheese is to mak, and the butter's to kirn;
Though butter and cheese, and a' should e'en sour,
I'll crack and kiss wi' my love ae lang hauf hour:
It's ae lang hauf hour, and we'se e'en mak it three,
For the yellow-hair'd laddie my gudeman shall be.

THE BONNIE BANKS OF AYR.

TUNE— Roslin Castle.
The gloomy night is gath’ring fast,
Loud roars the wild inconstant blast;
Yon murky cloud is foul with rain,
I see it driving o'er the plain;
The hunter now has left the moor,
The scatter'd coveys meet secure,
While here I wander, prest with care,
Along the lonely banks of Ayr.
The autumn mourns her rip'ning corn
By early winter's ravage torn;
Across her placid, azure sky,
She sees the scowling tempest fly:

Chill runs my blood to hear it rave,
I think upon the stormy wave,
Where many a danger I must dare,
Far from the bonnie banks of Ayr.

'Tis not the surging billow's roar,
'Tis not that fatal, deadly shore,
Tho' death in ev'ry shape appear,
The wretched have no more to fear:
But round my heart the ties are bound,
That heart transpierc'd with many a wound;
These bleed afresh, those ties I tear,
To leave the bonnie banks of Ayr.

Farewell, old Coila’s hills and dales,
Her heathy moors and winding vales;
The scenes where wretched fancy roves,
Pursuing past, unhappy loves !
Farewell, my friends ! farewell, my foes !
My peace with these, my love with those
The bursting tears my heart declare,
Farewell, the bonnie banks of Ayr! *

• Poor Burns! He “ composed this song as he convoyed his chest so far on the road to Greenock, where he was to embark in a few days for Jamaica.” He thought it was to be the last he should ever measure in Caledonia.” He had taken the last farewell of his few friends,” and he meant it “ as a farewell dirge to his native land.” This was at a period of his life when he was known only to a few. He had not as yet been raised to that pinnacle of celebrity he afterwards occupied. The fame of his genius had not yet been so widely spread as to break down those barriers which custom generally interposes to preclude freedom of intercourse betwixt men of different ranks in life. He had thus been prevented from entering those circles of society so congenial to his soul, and in which he was so well qualified to shine. But he had long struggled with severe labour and relent

THE LAIRD.
TUNE_" The Mucking o' Geordie's Byre.”
The Laird wha in riches and honour

Wad thrive, should be kindly and free,
Nor rack the poor tenants, who labour

To rise aboon poverty:
Else like the pack-horse that's unfother'd,

And burden'd, will tumble down faint;
Thus virtue by hardship is smother’d,

And rackers aft tine their rent.

less poverty; and, to add to his distress, the fruits of a connexion he had formed with JEAN ARMOUR (afterwards Mrs. BURNS) became so apparent, that he was obliged to take immediate steps to prevent the disgrace which was likely to ensue. He proposed two honourable expedients to her parents. The first was to make confession of an irregular marriage, then embark for Jamaica, and there endeavour to provide the means of maintaining his wife. The other was to remain at home, if more agreeable to them, and by his labours preserve her from want till circumstances became more favourable. They were pleased, however, with neither of these propositions; but judged it more proper that the marriage papers should be cancelled. Miss ARMOUR yielded, though reluctantly; and the Bard was obliged to acquiesce in a sentence which he knew to be unjust, but which he had no power to control. Still, however, he was bent on doing her justice; and as his prospects were so gloomy in his own country, he determined on seeking in Jamaica that competence without which he well knew he could never expect the consent of her parents to their union. It is known that he was at length deterred from his purpose by the hopes some of his friends had excited of the success that might attend the publication of his Poems in Edinburgh, whither he shortly afterwards repaired, and met with a reception equal to his bighest wishes.

« PreviousContinue »