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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
Led the dance and began
Sum Symon sonis of Quhynfell
Laing's Ancient Pop. Poet. of Scotland.
Gawain Douglas, in the Prologue to the Twelfth Book of bis 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,
Laing's Aot. Pop. &c.
and singing ring sangs, dances, ledes and rounds, till all the dale re-echoes their music ; one nymph sings
“ The schip salis ouer the salt faem
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,
And I must home gone.
And ever she sang
This gentil day dawes.* « 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.
† 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 lent thou me thy mantil ioy, The Persee and the Mongumrye met, that day, that gentil day, My luf is laid upon ane Knycht, Allace that samyn sueit face, In ane myrthful morou, My hart is ‘leinit' on the land. Thir scheiphirdis ande there vyuis sang mony vther melodius Sangis, the quilkis i hef nocht in memorie : than efter this sueit celest armonye tha began to dance,' &c.
* 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.
Ritson and Leyden, with great industry searched for these songs, and the result of their gleanings is very little ; to copy their extracts, snatches of lines, and half chorusses, would be next to useless : they have no beauty to recommend them, and throw little light on the subject of song. The song commencing 'O lusty Maye vitht Flora quene,' has been published entire ; I would assign it to Alexander Scott.
0, lustie Maye, with Flora quene,
Prelucent beam before the day;
Through gladness of this lusty May.
Right pleasantly before the day,
Through gladness of this lasty May.
On banks that bloom, and every brae;
Through gladness of this lusty May.
In fresh morning before the day;
Of everie moneth in the year
Her glistering garments are so gay;
Through gladness of this lusty May.*
The Ballads of Chevy Chace and Otterbourne, were
SWEIT SANGIS sung by the Scheiphirdis' !
Mr. David Laing has preserved the following Lament made by some young lady about this period for the loss of what King James calls “ her yellow lokkis ;" as it stands it is but a fragment, having some lines eked out by the hand of Mr. Kirkpatrick Sharpe, but it is a pathetic fragment.
• Fareweill, fare' weill, my yellow hair,
That corlit cleir' into my neck !
Qu' har I was wont to dance and sing ;
It must be remembered that the above is printed from a moder. nized copy in the Aberdeen Cantus, 1666. The second verse appears thus in the Bannatyne MS.
Than Esperus, that is so bricht
We bankis that blumes (on euery bray)-bis ;
Scott's Poems by Laing, p. 99.