Page images
PDF
EPUB

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,

That Scotland led in luwe and le,
Away wes sons off ale and brede,

Off wyne and wax, off gamyn and gle;
Our gold wes changyd into lede:

Cryst, borne into vergynyte,
Succour Scotland, and remede

That stad in his perplexite! 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 ! weneth the Kyng of England
So soone to have wone Scotland ?

Wyth rumbylowe. * Thys song,' the old chronicler continues, 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 song.*

was

* 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

SOA

whasa liks, thai may her
Young wemen, whan thai will play
Syng it amang thaim ilk day.-Book xvi.

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'

[ocr errors]

1

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

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, perbaps,' says Geo. Chalmers, 'in the
authors time,'—a young man-

cleikit up a high rough sang
“ Thair fure ane man to the holt,"

Quoth he
Of Peblis to the Play.
and 'Wat Alkin said to fair Alice'

[ocr errors]

Verse 6.

[merged small][ocr errors]

My hony heart, how says the song?
“ Their shall be mirth at our meeting,”

Yet
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

Jed the dance and began
Play us Joly lemmane
Sum trottit Tras and Trenass
Sum balterit The Bass
Sum Perdowy sum Trolly tolly
Sum Cok craw thou quhill day
Twysbank,* and Terway
Sum Lincolme sum Lindsay
Sum Joly lemman dawis it not day
Sum Be yon wodsyd singis
Sum Late laite on evinnyngis
Sum Joly Martene wt a mok
Sum Lulalow lute cok

Sum Symon sonis of Quhynfell
Sum Maistr Pier de Conyate.

Laing's Ancient Pop. Poet. of Scotland.

Gawain Douglas, in the Prologue to the Twelfth
Book of his Virgil ( translated out of Latyne Ver-
ses 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,

T

* 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 blosymes blycht and bred.

Laing's Ant. Pop. &c.

and singing ring sangs, dances, ledes and rounds, till all the dale re-echoes their music; one nymph sings

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

The schip salis ouer the salt fuem
Will bring their merchandis and my lemane hame
Sum vther singis ' I wil be blyith and licht,
My hert is lent apoun sa gudly wicht.'”

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,
This gentil day dawes,

And I must home gone.

In a glorious garden grene,
Saw I sytting a comly quene,
Among the flowris that fresh byn.
She gaderd a floure and sett betwene
The lyly whyct rose methought I sawe,

And ever she sang
This day, day dawes
This gentil day dawes.*

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

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

[ocr errors]

+ 'Hey the day dauis,' is the first line of a song in Montgomery's Pocms by Laing, p. 219.

† 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 Vitht 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 lines in length, it is preserved in the Maitland MS. See Laing's Early Me. trical Tales, p. 249.

« PreviousContinue »