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And yit for mister I will nocht fenye,
Syne gaid to gidder bayth, Jynny and Jok.*
* “ When these good old bards wrote, we had not yet made Use of imported Trimming upon our Cloaths, nor of foreign Embroidery in our Writings. Their Poetry is the product of their own country, not pilfered and spoiled in the Transportation from abroad. Their images are native, and their Landscapes domestic, copied from those fields and meadows we every day behold.” Preface to the Evergreen. ALLAN RAMSAY.
† Ancient Scots Poems, p. 292.
volume, [p. 63), called ' Phillida flouts me,' and the absurd stall-copy rhymes of Arthur O'Bradley.' *
To advance the Reformation in Scotland, many parts of the popular songs were mingled with obscene verses, and sung by the rabble to the tunes of the most favourite hymns in the Latin service. In 1590, and again in 1621, a curious volume of these divine songs in ridicule of Romish priests, was published in Edinburgh, bearing the following title, ' Ane compendious Booke of Godly and Spiritual Sangs, collectit out of sundrie parts of the Scripture, with sundrie of other Ballats, changed out of profaine Sanges, for avoyding of Sinne and Harlotrie.' Of the grossness and profaneness of these 'godly sangs,' the reader will judge by the specimens :
Johne, cum kis me now,
Johne cum kis me now;
And make no more adow.
The Lord thy God I am,
That John does thee call,
By grace celestiall,
• Some objections have been made to the first volume of this work, on account of its not containing, what the Editor's friends are pleased to call, “The popular songs of England.' Let me say here that the popular county garlands, collected by Ritson and others, contain few songs reaching mediocrity. The Editor searched these volumes, and the hanging walls of melody in Seven Dials, in the hopes of culling a dozen excellent songs to adorn these pages, the fruit of his research is printed in Vol. I. p. 219. The reader will judge of the general merit of these popular English songs by the specimen.
My prophets call, my preachers cry,
Johne come kis me now;
And mak nae mair adow. The popular song before alluded to, 'Hey the day dawis,'—is thus rendered for the service of religion.
Hay now the day dallis,
The night is neere gone.
The night is neere gone. John Anderson my jo, is said to have been the air of a favourite hymn with the Romish priests.
John Anderson my jo, cum in as ze gae bye,
And how doe ze, Cummer? and how hae ze threven ?
PERCY, II, 132.
* By the seven bairns,' says Percy,
the Seven Sacraments, five of which were the spurious offspring of Mother Church ; the first stanza contains a satirical allusion to the luxury of the Popish clergy.'
I will conclude these specimens of 'godly sangs,' by a spiritual version of an old English song quoted by Fletcher in the Knight of the Burning Pestle,
Quho is at my windo, who who:
It was an unholy plan of advancing true religion by means of lasciviousness and profaneness. This is not the only time that song has been made of great service in reformations and revolutions.
Alexander Montgomery flourished in the end of the sixteenth century, and shares with Scott the honour of being the first to give song an elegance of thought and diction. Had not the lyrics of Montgomery fortunately been preserved by printing and manuscript, we should have known little of either his beautiful sentiments or name.
After invoking the muse to distil her streams of eloquence in praise of the comeliness of his mistress, he continues
To kythe hir cunning, Natur wald
Iodeu hir with sik grace,
Her smyling angels face,
Hir curling loks, lyk golden rings,
Quhlks do decore
Above all things.
Hir siluer shyning brees :
Of hir tua christall ees,
For they appeir
At me some sports.
Hir comelie cheeks of vive colour,
Of rid and vhyt ymixt,
Into the lillie fixt.
Hir halse more vhyt
Hir vestall breist of ivorie,
Quhairon ar fixit fast
Lyk boullis of alabast.
If Nature sheu,
It wes that ilk.