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Ah, wretch! how can life be worthy thy care !
(Few riters have been found to mention Blacklock's verse with approbation. Burns alludes to his songs, but never praises them ;they are indeed very well as smooth lines run
* A happy tuneful vacancy of sense.')
THE BANKS OF THE DEE.
Born 1722.-Died 1808.
'Twas summer, and softly the breezes were blowing,
And sweetly the nightingale sung from the tree;
I sat myself down on the banks of the Dee.
Of Sandy, the glory and pride of the Dee.
To quell the proud rebels—for valiant is he; And, ah! there's no hope of his speedy returning
To wander again on the banks of the Dee. He's gone, helpless youth! o’er the rude-roaring billows, The kindest and sweetest of all the gay fellows; And left me to stray ’mongst the once-lovely willows,
The loneliest maid on the banks of the Dee.
But time and my prayers may perhaps yet restore him;
Blest peace may restore my dear shepherd to me; And when he returns, with such care I'll watch o'er
And tasting again all the sweets of the Dee.
[" The Banks of the Dee' is well enough, but has some false imagery in it; for instance
And sweetly the nightingale sung from the tree. In the first place, the nightingale sings in a low bush, and never from a tree; and in the second place there never was a nightingale, seen, or heard, on the banks of the Dee, or on the banks of river in Scotland."-BURNS.]
THE SMILING PLAINS PROFUSELY GAY.
Born 1720-Died 1771.
The smiling plains, profusely gay,
() soft as love! as honour fair!
THERE'S NAE LUCK ABOUT THE HOUSE.
WILLIAM JULIUS MICKLE.
Born 1734-Died 1788.
And are ye sure the news is true?
There's nae luck ava ;
When our gudeman's awa'.
Rise up, and mak a clean fire-side,
And mak their shoon as black as slaes,
But what puts parting in my head,
Since Colin's well, I'm well content,
[" This is one of the most beautiful songs in the Scots, or any other language. The two lines,
And will I see his face again?
as well as the two preceding ones, are unequalled almost by any thing I ever heard or read : and the lines,
The present moment is our ain
are worthy of the first poet."--BURNS.
“For a while this song,” says Mr. Cunningham,“ had no author's riame; at last, it passed for the production of an enthusiastic old woman of the west of Scotland, called Jean Adam, who kept a school and wrote verses, and claimed this song as her own composition, It happened, however, during the period that Mr. Cromek was editing his collection of Scottish Songs, (with notes by Burns) that Dr. Sim discovered among the manuscripts of Mickle, the translator of the Lusiad, an imperfect, altered, and corrected copy of the song, with all the marks of authorship about it. The changes which the poet had made were many and curious, and were conclusive of his claim to the honour of the song : his widow added decisive testimony to this, and said that her husband wrote a copy-said it was his own, and ex. plained the Scottish words."
The last verse but one of this song is ascribed to Dr. Beattie.]