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a stanza giving us some insight into song -on the death of Alexander III, in 1286, ‘this song was made'
Quhen Alysander oure kynge wes dede,
The fate of Wallace was, as we may well suppose, the subject of several songs, some of which are referred to by Fordun ; and the Battle of Bannockburn was sung of in a strain, pronounced by Ritson, “not inelegant for the time :' according to Fabyan, “the Scottes enflamyd with pride, in derysyon of Englyshemen, made this ryme as followeth :'
Maydens of Englande, sore may ye mourne For your lemmans ye have lost at Bannockysborne : With heue a lowe. What 1 weneth the Kyng of England So Soone to have wone Scotland Wyth rumbylowe. * Thys song,' the old chronicler continues, “ was after many daies song in daunces, in the caroles of ye maydens and mynstrellys of Scotland, to the reproofe and dysdayne of Englyshemen, with dyuerse other whych I ouerpasse.’ Mr. Motherwell supposes these lines to form all that ever existed of the
* Minstrelsy, p. xlviii.
Barbour in his Life of Bruce, refrains from tell ing a victory gained by Sir John de Soulis over the English, for—
whasa liks, thai may her
The two ballads of the Battle of Otterbourne, the English and Scottish copies, and the famous Chevy Chase, belong to the reign of King James, the first of that name. Godscroft speaking of the ballad on the Battle of Otterbourne, says, “ the Scots song made of Otterbourne, beginneth thus'— It fell about the Lammas tide When yeomen win their hay The doughty Douglas gan to ride, In England to take a prey. Hist. of Douglas, vol. i. p. 195. James the First, himself an author of fine genius, and a writer of songs (all unhappily lost), has in his ‘Peblis to the Play, made several allusions to song, and quoted the starting lines of two songs well-known, perhaps, says Geo. Chalmers, ‘in the authors time,'—a young man— — cleikit up a high rough sang “Thair fure ane man to the holt,”
and “Wat Alkin said to fair Alice'
My hony heart, how says the song
“Their shall be mirth at our meeting,”
Of Peblis to the Play. Verse 25.
In a curious medley of nonsense called Colkelbie Sow, we find the names of several airs popular before the middle of the fifteenth century. With ‘stok hornis, pipes made of ‘borit boutre,’ and ‘bagpype's, “Copyn Cull,' and his followers—
I.ed the dance and began
- * -k -
Laing's Ancient Pop. Poet. of Scotland.
Gawain Douglas, in the Prologue to the Twelfth Book of his Virgil (‘translated out of Latyne Verses into Scottish Metir,') tells us of Nymphs and Naiads
Sic as we clepe wenches and damosels,
that wander among flowers of white and red by spring wells plaiting ‘lusty chaplets' for their heads,
* “Twysbank,’ Leyden suspected to be the appropriate tune of a song, or rather ballad, preserved in the Bannatyne MS. commencing, Quhen Tayis bank wes blumyt brycht, With blosvnnes blycht and bred. Laing's Ant. Pop. &c.
and singing ‘ring sangs, dances, ledes and rounds,’
Sum vther singis ‘I wil be blyith and licht,
In the Thirteenth Prologue, allusion is made by Douglas to a song called ‘The joly day now dawis,' which we learn from Dunbar and others, was popular at that period. The following verses preserved in the Fairfax MS. (A. D. 1500), are supposed to be the original.
This day, day dawes,
In a glorious garden grene,
‘The Gaberlunzie Man, and the ‘Jolly Beggar,' are generally allowed to be the productions of King James V. (Ob. 1542), “he was naturally given to
poesie," says Drummond of Hawthornden, “as many of his works yet extant testifie.’t We owe these
* “Hey the day dauis,” is the first line of a song in Montgomery's Poems by Laing, p. 219. t History of Scotland.
two popular, clever, and ludicrous songs to tradition ; they have lived upon the tongues of the people for three centuries, and judging from the songs of even a later period, had they been preserved in the MS. of the period they would have little interest, save to antiquarians, they certainly would not have their present popularity. Their humour no one need think to exceed. In a curious and valuable little book printed at St. Andrews in 1549, called “ The Complaynt of Scotland,’ the author gives us the names of ‘sum of the sueit sangis' that he heard a band of shepherds sing in the wholesome green fields. “I herd amang them as eftir followis : in the first Pastance vitht gude cumpanye ; The breir byndis me soir, Stil under the leyuis grene,” Cou thou me the raschis grene, Allace I vyit zour twa fayr ene, Gode zon gude day vil boy, Lady help zour presoneir, Kyng Villzamis note, The lange noune nou . The Abirdenis nou, Brume brume on hil, Allone I veip in grit distres, Trolee lolee lemmendou . . The frog cam to the myl dur... O lusty Maye Witht Flora Quene... The battel of the Hayrlau, The huntis of Cheuet, Sal I go vitht zou to Rumbelo fayr, Greuit is my sorrow, Turne the sueit Ville to me, My lufe is lyand seik, Send him ioy send him ioy, Fayr luf
* This is a very beautiful poem, one hundred and sixty-two lin es in length, it is preserved in the Maitland MS. See Laing's Early Metrical Tales, p. 249.