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of domestic happiness, but yet the general impression is one of sadness; and most of the older ballads, especially those belonging to the romantic series, end tragically. As no country has produced such fanatics as Scotland, so no songs are so full of passion. Their enthusiasm flashes forth in wild bursts of poetry; but, on the other hand, in humour they are decidedly inferior to their southern neighbours. In contrast, again, to the popular poetry of other nations—which in order to find an echo in every breast confines itself as a rule to the broad stream of those passions and feelings which are common to allthat of Scotland more often represents individual and isolated moods. Extremes, however, meet, and the Scottish ballads, perhaps owing to the vast number of them, even by virtue of this distinctive feature, produce an effect no less powerful. Another of its peculiarities is that each poem is strictly localised. This trait it is which endears their songs to all native hearts, and even in the case of strangers has made the whole of Scotland as it were classic ground. The wilds of Roslin, Ettrick Forest, the shores of Yarrow, are household names familiar to the memory of every English reader. One other charm of Scottish popular poetry may tioned—it will be the last and crowning one: the way, namely, in which it has gone hand in hand with their melodies. These airs are full of melodious passion, especially of a sad kind, and are often in intimate accordance with the words of the song. Thus music and poetry have ministered each to each ; and, wedded to touching airs, the popular poetry of Scotland has prolonged its life, has preserved, and probably will continue to keep, a firm hold of the national mind-saved from the oblivion which might otherwise overshadow that which is in no sense the expression of modern thought or modern sentiment.
One word as to the arrangement of this volume, which differs slightly from that adopted by Mr. Morris in his
edition of "Marmion,' and others of the same series. Each ballad or group of ballads is accompanied by an introductory note, and such further explanations as appeared sufficient to make it intelligible in itself, and interesting from an historical point of view. In preparing these notes, I have endeavoured to embrace in a consecutive narrative as much in the way of illustration as was possible, leaving a residue only to be dealt with separately. It seemed as if this would be at the same time a more convenient and a more useful method than a multiplication of minute details which only weary a student's memory. In some cases I have added a reference to one or two of the chief authorities on which the notes have been based, and which may be referred to for additional information on the same subject. I have not thought it advisable to enter into any antiquarian discussion as to the exact date or authenticity of each particular ballad. It is enough for our purpose that they are fair examples of the class of literature to which they belong, and represent a 'popular' view of the events which they record. The whole is concluded by a glossary and explanations of the more difficult words. In compiling this I have mainly relied on Mr. Wedgwood's valuable ‘Dictionary of English Etymology' and on Jamieson's ' Etymological Dictionary of the Scottish Language.' The text of the old ballads abounds with archaic forms, but the modern equivalents of these are in most cases clear, and I have kept them off the list except in cases where the meaning might appear doubtful.
KING ARTHUR'S DEATH.
THERE does not seem any fair reason to question the historical existence of King Arthur, though the vast accumulation of romance and poetry with which his memory is overlaid has almost pushed out of view the actual facts on which the proof of such existence must depend. A clear statement of these may be found in Mr. Pearson's 'History of England during the Early and Middle Ages,' of whose narrative the following lines are little more than a brief summary.
When the Roman legions were withdrawn from the island, Britain was exposed to attacks from all quarters of the continent. The earliest Saxon settlements may probably be dated as far back as the fourth century. At any rate, during the latter half of the fifth, they were pouring in on different points of the coast and fighting out' kingdoms for themselves, till the main portion of the island was subjected to their dominion. The districts on the south coast were the first subdued. Cerdic reduced the Isle of Wight, and thence crossed over into Hampshire. The division of this county about Netley was governed at the time by an able king, who has been identified with the Uther of romance, with Ambrosius Aurelianus of history. The strength of his power, however, lay in Devonshire and Wiltshire, and he was regarded as a champion of the national cause against the invaders. Schooled by experience, he opposed Roman tactics and discipline to the fury of the Saxons, but they landed near Lymington and drove him back westward till he fell in battle, and was buried at Amesbury. His son Arthur succeeded to a diminished sovereignty, of which Camelot or Cadbury, in Somersetshire was the capital. Thither the Saxon hordes penetrated; but being defeated at Mount Badon, British power was preserved in the west for another generation. It might have been longer preserved if intestine quarrels could have been avoided. But the native chiefs were at enmity one with the other. Maelgoun of North Wales carried off Arthur's queen Guenever: Mordred, his nephew, set up a rival claim to the throne. This last dispute was the cause of a fatal war, which was terminated at the battle of Camlan, A.D. 537, where both the princes fell in single combat. Nevertheless the Saxon dominion was not won wholly by the sword. They intermarried with the natives, and the two races lived for a while side by side on something like equal terms. A British population existed in the time of King Alfred, and the aristocratic constitution of the West Saxons in the tenth century still testifies to the presence of an inferior nationality in their midst. These facts show the real nature of Arthur's struggle, and why his countrymen preserved his name in their songs as that of the last prince under whom they were independent. He lived and maintained a patriotic conflict, but the area of his dominion must be restricted within narrow limits. He was, after all, but the petty prince of a Devonian principality, though leader in a brilliant effort on the part of the Christian and half-civilised Britons to shake off the imminent yoke of alien and pagan barbarians. In the ninth century narrative, where he is described as lord paramount of the whole of Britain, Arthur is already passing into romance. This is all that history really knows. After a lapse of centuries the Saxons had in their turn to give way before an invader, and their Norman conquerors soon began to affect an interest in the now almost legendary Arthur and his court, for which a twofold reason has been assigned : ą desire to exalt British over Saxon history, and a jealousy of French suzerainty and of the part taken by that nation in the crusades. Whatever may have been the cause of this newborn interest, the ‘History of Britain,' published by Geoffrey of Monmouth A.D. 1147, ministered to, and at the same time