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SCOTTISH POETRY OF THE
EIGHTEENTH CENTURY.



rublishcd ly
WILLIAM HODGE & Co., Glasgow

WILLIAMS & NOKOATE, London and Edinburgh



Hbbotsforfc Series



of tbe

Scotttsb ipoets



Edited by GEORGE EYRE-TODD



SCOTTISH POETRY OF THE
EIGHTEENTH CENTURY



VOLUME I

LORD YESTER LADY GRIZEL HAILLIE LADY WARDLAW
WILLIAM HAMILTON OF GILBERTFIELD SIR JOHN
CLERK ALLAN RAMSAY ROBERT CRAWFORD -
ROBERT BLAIR THE AUTHOR OF ALBANIA- ALEX-
ANDER ROSS JAMES THOMSON- DAVID MALLET-
WILLIAM HAMILTON OF BANGOUR ALEXANDER
WEBSTER GEORGE HALKET ALISON RUTHERFORD-
JOHN WILSON SIR GILBERT ELLIOT TOBIAS
SMOLLETT ADAM SKIKVING WILLIAM WILKIE -
THOMAS BLACKLOCK JOHN SKINNER JOHN HOME-
JEAN ELLIOT-JOHN LAPRAIK WILLIAM FALCONER-
WILLIAM JULIUS MICKLE



LONDON AND EDINBURGH
SANDS & COMPANY



Cotteg*

Library



K/

NOTE.

IN compiling these pages use has been made of a
number of valuable, if partial, collections, such as
Leyden's Scottish Descriptive Poems, Chambers's
Songs of Scotland prior to Burns, Paterson's
Ayrshire Contemporaries of Burns, Walker's Bards
of Bon-Accord, and Harper's Bards of Galloway,
to say nothing of the collections of the eighteenth
century itself Ramsay's Evergreen and Tea-Table
Miscellany, Herd's Collection, and Johnson's Scots
Musical Museum, &c. Independent biographies,
contemporary records, and original publications by
the poets themselves have, however, in most cases
been available.

In order to furnish, what has not existed hitherto,
a comprehensive anthology of the eighteenth century
poetry of Scotland, and to render the bead-roll of
the poets as complete as possible, it has been found
necessary to extend the work to two volumes.




CONTENTS.

PAGE

SCOTTISH POETRY OF THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY, i

LORD VESTER, 9

Tweedside, ........ 9

LADY GRIZEL BAILLIE, 11

" Werena my heart licht I wad dee," ... 12

"The Ewe-buchtin's bonnie," .... '14

LADY WARDLAW, 15

Hardyknute, ....... 17

WILLIAM HAMILTON OF GILBERTFIELD, ... 30

The Last Dying Words of Bonnie Heck, . . 31

SIR JOHN CLERK, 35

O Merry may the Maid be, . . . . 35

ALLAN RAMSAY, 38

Elegy on Maggie Johnston, ..... 41

Patie's Song, . 46

Peggy and Jenny (The Gentle Shepherd, Sc. //. ), 48

Epistle to William Hamilton of Gilbertfield, . 57



ALLAN RAMSAY continued. ,, Al . E

Lochaber no More, ...... 62

The Young Laird and Edinburgh Katie, . . 63

Up in the Air, 65

The Widow, 67

ROBERT CRAWFORD 68

Tweedside, 69

The Bush Abune Traquair, . . . . . 71

Doun the Burn, Davie, ..... 73

ROBERT BLAIR, 75

The Grave, 76

THE AUTHOR OF ALBANIA, 82

Albania, ........ 82

ALEXANDER Ross, 87

Wooed and Married and A', .... 88

Wooed and Married and A', .... 92

The Rock and the Wee Pickle Tow, ... 94

JAMES THOMSON, 98

Winter, 101

The Castle of Indolence, 113

DAVID MALLET, 116

William and Margaret, . . . . . 118

Rule Britannia, . . . . . . . 121

The Birks of Invermay, . . . . . 123

WILLIAM HAMILTON OF BANV.OUR, . . . . 124

Song, 126

The Braes of Yarrow, . . . . . . 127



CONTENTS. x,

I'AUE

ALEXANDER WEBSTER, 133

O, How Could I Venture, . . . . . 133

GEORUE HALKET, 135

Logic o' Buchan, 135

ALISON RUTHERFORD, 137

Lines to Mr. Walter Scott, 138

The Flowers of the Forest, . . . . . 140

JOHN WILSON, 141

Clyde, 142

SIR GILBERT ELLIOT, 148

My Sheep I Neglected, ..... 148

TOBIAS SMOLLETT, 150

The Tears of Scotland, . . . . . 152

Ode to Leven Water, . . . . . . 155

ADAM SKIRVING, 157

Johnnie Cope, . . . . . . . 158

WILLIAM WILKIE, 160

The Death of Hercules, . , . . . 160

THOMAS BLACKLOCK, 172

On Euanthe's Absence, . . . . . 173
Happy Marriage, ..... .175

JOHN SKINNER, ........ 176

Tullochgorum, . . . . . . . 177

The Ewie wi' the Crookit Horn, . . . 181

JOHN HOME, . ...... 185

Douglas, 187



xii CONTENTS.

PAGE

JEAN ELLIOT, 204

The Flowers o' the Forest, 205

JOHN LAPRAIK, 207

When I upon thy Bosom lean, .... 208

WILLIAM FALCONER, 209

The Smiling Plains, . . . . . . 210

The Shipwreck, . . . . . . . 211

WILLIAM JULIUS MICKLE, .... 224

The Sailor's Wife, ...... 226

Cumnor Hall, . ..... 229



SCOTTISH POETRY OF THE
EIGHTEENTH CENTURY.

IT has been the fashion since the time of
Scott and Byron and Wordsworth to look
with something of disdain upon the English
poetry of the days of Queen Anne and the
early Georges. Nor is this disdain altogether
without good reason. The poetic splendours
of the Stuart period, the most glorious in the
annals of English letters, appear to have flushed
and paled in curious unison with the fortunes
of the Stuart kings.* The exuberant blaze of
imagination which followed the accession of
James I., and spread to its widest in the

* Curiously enough, the great period of English genius is always
termed Elizabethan, though the only great literary reputations
which belong strictly to the reign of the Tudor queen are those
of Spenser and Marlowe. Shakespeare, it is true, the greatest
spirit of all, produced his earlier plays in Elizabeth's time ;
but " Hamlet " appeared in the year of James First's accession,
and more than a dozen of the plays came afterwards. The
works of Bacon, Jonson, Beaumont and Fletcher, Massinger,
Ford, Webster, and Shirley all the Shakespearean dramatists
and poets, in fact belong to the days of James I. and
Charles I. ; while the metaphysical and cavalier poets, with
the great names of Milton and Butler and Bunyan, all came
later, also within Stuart times.

B VI



2 SCOTTISH POETRY OF THE

days of Charles, died down, strangely, as if
extingufshed, at the death of the latter mon-
arch. Twelve years later, at the Stuart
Restoration, the smouldering embers of national
genius flashed again into fire " Paradise Lost,"
" Hudibras," and the " Pilgrim's Progress "
appeared, and there was a rekindling of Shakes-
pearean drama in the works of Wycherley
and Congreve, Otway and Lee. All this,
however, was finally quenched at the Revolution
in 1688; and the death of Dryden in the year
1700 severed the last link with a greater age.

Towards the close of the seventeenth century
the standard of poetic merit in England had
become one of intellect rather than of emotion.
Head, as in all periods of poetic decadence,
had taken the place of heart, and manner had
come to be of more esteem than matter.
For the glow of passion was substituted the
brilliance of wit, and instead of the fire of
creative imagination there remained only the
play of a keenly critical but cold fancy. Poetry,
further, fell into a classic mode which was entirely
artificial and affected. The poet's mistress was
no longer a simple English girl, but, like the
court beauties of the time, masquerading in
patches and powder and paste, must figure as a
make-believe Chloris or Chloe or Phillis. In
the verse of the period, Wordsworth has noted,



EIGHTEENTH CENTURY. 3

there does not for several decades appear a
single new simile drawn directly from nature ;
and some critics, like Professer Veitch, have
been tempted to include the entire work of
the "correct school," as it is called, in one
sweeping condemnation of heartlessness and
conventionalism. Whether such condemnation
be wholly justified or not, one fact may be
remarked. The poetic ideals of the early
decades of the eighteenth century, the period
in question, were wrought to their finest issue
by the genius of Addison, Swift, and Pope, and
the verse of these writers " The Campaign "
and " Cato," " Baucis and Philemon " and " The
Grand Question Debated," the " Essay on
Criticism " and the " Essay on Man " despite
its brilliance of wit and rhetoric, and the high
esteem in which it was held in its own day,
is hardly now read except by students of
literature.

It was to Scotland that the first inspiration
of greater things was to be owed. There, an
interesting succession of events had cleared
the way for a new beginning. A hundred
years earlier, in the end of the sixteenth
century, the stern Calvinism of Knox and the
Reformers had succeeded in choking the copious
ancient stream of national poesy. Lyndsay and
Maitland, James V. and Alexander Scot and



4 SCOTTISH POETRY OF THE

Alexander Montgomerie were without legitimate
successors. Next, the removal of the court
to London in 1603 had turned the genius of
the north into an exotic vein, and for fifty
years Scotsmen like Sir William Alexander,
Drummond of Hawthornden, and the Marquis
Montrose, wrote on an English model and in
the English tongue. Then, amid the political
troubles of the country, had come a pause the
air was too stormy for the bird of poesy to
take wing.

It was late in the evening of the seventeenth
century that, as in the first nights of spring,
the sweet new singing began to be heard. Out
of the simple old folk-songs and ballads of
Scotland the lilts that had been crooned over
cradle and spinning wheel, and the rude lays
of battle and love that had lingered for ages
in the memory of the people came the first
inspiration of the new world of song. Francis
Semple gave the sign, with his " Piper of
Kilbarchan " and other pieces, of a return to
native and natural themes. But the more
general note was struck later. Lord Yester
and Lady Grizel Baillie were the real leaders
of those who, singing of humble love and sorrow,
went back to the old, simple wells of human
nature for their subject. A few years after
Lord Yester's time, James Watson and Allan



EIGHTEENTH CENTURY. 5

Ramsay gathered and published their collections
of popular minstrelsy. Then Ramsay's own
" Gentle Shepherd " appeared. This at once
struck the keynote of the new natural and
romantic movement in poetry. From that
period, though Pope and the brilliant con-
stellation of his followers continued, in shining
rhetoric and sparkling wit, to write of "nymphs"
and " cupids " and " the fair," to apostrophise
the winds as " zephyrs " and the heart as " the
vital urn," there was growing in Scotland a
sincerer school Thomson was painting winter
as he actually knew it on Teviotside ; Hamilton
of Bangour and John Home were drawing
story and inspiration alike direct from the old
narrative ballads ; and Jean Elliot and Isobel
Pagan were singing sweetly of Flodden Field
and love among the hills.

It is true that Pope was not without a fol-
lowing among Scotsmen in the eighteenth
century. The names of Smollett, and Falconer
are enough to prove the fact. But the main
current of Scottish poetry ran in the fresher,
more natural channel. Ramsay, with his
humour and warmth of colour, his burnside
scenery and pictures of shepherd life among the
Pentlands, was succeeded by Robert Fergusson
with his "Farmer's Ingle" and " Tron Kirk
Bell"; and all the world knows how from these



6 SCOTTISH POETRY OF THE

two poets the mantle descended upon a greater
than either, Robert Burns.

Two currents are to be traced in the new
poetic movement which originated at the begin-
ning of the eighteenth century. Both departed
definitely from the artificial and formal manner
of the " Augustan " poets, and each took its way
through a real world of living sight and sound ;
but while one ran in a channel among the
simple and familiar, though beautiful, objects of
ordinary life, the other followed a wilder and
more daring course. The latter, the romantic
movement, is to be traced from its well-head in
ancient national ballads like "Gil Morice" and
" The Douglas Tragedy," through works like
John Home's "Douglas" and the Ossianic trans-
lations of Macpherson, to its culmination in the
superb productions of Scott. The other, the
movement of the " natural school " of poetry,
followed what has always been a characteristic
of Scottish genius, the love of wild nature and
the love of colour. Descending through the
descriptive "Seasons" of Thomson and the verse
of a dozen song-writers, it found its most vivid
expression in the glowing word-pictures and
passionate lyrics of the Ayrshire bard, and left
its mark unmistakably on English letters in the
poetry of Wordsworth.

Perhaps the genesis of these two schools is to



EIGHTEENTH CENTUKY. ^

be traced back to a much earlier period than the
beginning of the eighteenth century, but it is
enough here to note that, while the "natural"
school seems to have derived its inspiration
chiefly from the ancient lyrical and reflective
poetry of Scotland, the romantic movement
appears to have been the lineal inheritor of the
more restless and adventurous spirit of the
makers of the ancient narrative ballads.

One point further cannot escape the notice
of the reader of eighteenth century Scottish
poetry. Whatever the verse of the period may
have owed in the way of inspiration or sugges-
tion to the ancient ballads of the country, the
century was not itself one of ballad produc-
tion. Save for a few avowed imitations of the
ancient style, like "Sir James the Rose," "The
Braes of Yarrow," "William and Margaret," and
"Hardyknute," and the somewhat doubtfully
dated composition, "The Queen's Marie," there is
no narrative ballad to be attributed to the time.
Ballads had been the natural outcome of an age
of rude action, and that age was past. With a
more orderly state of society had come a feeling
for the finer things of life, and that feeling found
expression in the true vehicle of emotion song.
A few sweet extant lyrics may doubtless be
attributed to an earlier day, and more recent
years have not been without their tender and



8 SCOTTISH POETRY.

noble productions ; but the eighteenth century,
with the wealth of heart's melody which it
poured forth, seems likely to remain for all
time the song-century of Scotland.

Altogether, alike for the variety and for the
richness of its poetic flower, the period remains
in striking contrast with the same period in
England certainly the fullest of emotional
charm of all the epochs of the nation's muse.



LORD YESTER.

1646-1713.

John Hay, tenth Lord Vester, third Earl and second Marquis
of Tweeddale, was, in the times of William III. and Queen Anne,
best known as an active politician. He married the only
daughter of the famous Duke of Lauderdale, and seems to have
inherited, along with that nobleman's great wealth, no small
part of his influence in the state. At the head of the party
known as the Squadrone Volante, he took a large share in
effecting the union of the kingdoms. Macky, who wrote in the
beginning of the iSth century, mentions him as " a short brown
man," very modest, but hot when piqued, a great promoter of
the trade and welfare of his country. His single known com-
position, which is highly praised by Veitch as "the earliest
remaining Tweeddale song," was printed first by Herd in 1776.
Its air, which, like several others, has been attributed to David
Rizzio, is given by Chambers in his Songs of Scotland prior to
Burns. It was adopted by Gay for one of the lyrics in his
opera of "Polly" in 1729. Xeidpath Castle, near Peebles,
which then belonged to the family, was probably the scene of
the song.



TWEEDSIDE.

WHEN Maggie and I were acquaint

I carried my noddle fu' hie ;
Nae lintwhite on a' the green plain,

Nae gowdspink 1 sae happy as me. -goldfinch.

But I saw her sae fair, and I lo'ed,

I wooed, but I cam' nae great speed :
So now I maun wander abroad,

And lay my banes far frae the Tweed.



LORD YESTER.

To Maggie my love I did tell,

Saut tears did my passion express ;
Alas ! for I lo'ed her o'enveel,

And the women lo'e sic a man less.
Her heart it \vas frozen and cauld,

Her pride had my ruin decreed ;
Therefore I will wander abroad,

And lay my banes far frae the Tweed.



LADY GRIZEl. DAILI.IE.



LADY GRIZEL BAILLIE.

1665-1746.

One of the most romantic and best known incidents of the
times of persecution in Scotland is that of the hiding and escape
of Sir Patrick Hume of Marchmont. Hume had been con-
cerned in the intrigues against the succession of the Catholic
Duke of York, and on that prince's ascent to the throne as
James VII., lay in peril of his life. Strict search was made for
him, but without success. His first place of concealment was
the family vault in Polwarth Kirk. Here, night after night,
braving kirkyard bogles and other terrors, his daughter Grizel
brought him such provisions as she was able to abstract without
the notice of the servants. Amid the darkness of the charnel-
house, he beguiled the hours by repeating to himself George
Buchanan's Latin version of the Psalms. Afterwards he lay in a
pit which Grizel with her own hands dug for him under a bed on
the ground-Moor of their house ; and at last he escaped abroad.
During their exile Grizel appears to have been the mainstay of
the impoverished household cooking, cleaning, mending, and
going to mill and market. This, too, while she had anxieties
enough of her own; for her lover, George Baillie of Jerviswood,
to whom she was deeply attached, lay also under ban of
the Government. After the Revolution, however, she had her
reward. The exiles then returned home, her father, after hold-
ing some of the highest offices of state under King William, was
created Earl of Marchmont, and in 1692 she herself was married
to the man of her heart.

Her daughter, Lady Murray of Stanhope, has told the story of
her life in a memoir published in 1822. It is repeated also with
historical details, in Tytler's Worthies. Lady Murray possessed
a MS. volume in which Grizel, during the exile in Holland, had
been accustomed to set down the songs she composed. Only
two of these pieces, however, are now known to exist. " Werena
my heart licht " was printed first in Ramsay's Tea-Table Mis-
cellany and the Orpheus Caledonins. It has been praised as one
of the most pathetic ballads in the language, and its eighth and
ninth stanzas acquire a further interest from the fact that Burns



12 LADY GRIZEL BAILLIE.

applied them to his own forlorn condition in his last sad days at
Dumfries. li The Ewe-buchtin's bonnie '' was first printed on a
broadsheet by C. K. Sharpe, with an air composed for it by his
father at the age of seven. To this fragment eight additional
stanzas were added by Thomas Pringle in the beginning of the
present century, and the whole together forms the well-known
song. Both pieces with their airs are printed in Chambers'
Songs of Scotland prior to Burns.



"WERENA MY HEART LIGHT I
WAD DEE."

THERE was ance a may, and she lo'ed na men ;
'built. See biggit 1 her bonnie bouir doun i' yon glen;

But now she cries Dule and a well-a-day !
a path. Come doun the green gate 2 and come here away.

When bonnie young Johnnie cam' ower the sea
He said he saw naething sae bonnie as me ;
3 promised. He hecht 3 me baith rings and monie braw things;
And werena my heart licht I wad dee.

4 sister. He had a wee tittie 4 that lo'ed na me,

Because I was twice as bonnie as she :
She raised sic a pother 'twixt him and his mother,
That werena my heart licht I wad dee.

The day it was set and the bridal to be
s sudden illness. The wife took a dwam 5 and lay doun to dee;

She maned, and she graned, out o' dolour and pain,
Till he vowed that he ne'er wad see me again.



"WERENA MY HEART LIGHT." 13

His kin was for ane o' a higher degree,
Said, what had he to do wi' the like o' me?
Albeit I was bonnie, I wasna for Johnnie :
And werena my heart licht I wad dee.

They said I had neither cow nor calf,
Nor dribbles o' drink rins through the draff,
Nor pickles o' meal rins through the mill-e'e ;
And werena my heart licht I wad dee.

His tittie she was baith wily and slee,
She spied me as I cam' ower the lea,
And then she ran in and made a loud din ;
Believe your ain een an ye trow na me.

His bannet stood aye fu' round on his brow
His auld ane looked aye as weel as some's new ;
But now he lets ; t wear ony gate 1 it will hing, ' wa v-
And casts himsel' dowie upon the corn-bing.

And now he gaes drooping about the dykes
And a' he dow do is to hund the tykes 2 ; "' dogs -

The live-lang nicht he ne'er steeks3 his e'e ; 3 doses.

And werena my heart licht I wad dee.

Were I young for thee as I ha'e been

We should ha'e been gallopin' doun on yon green,

And linkin' it-* on the lily-white lea: 4 going arm-in -

And wow gin I were but young for thee !



arm.



14 LADY GKIZEL BAILLIE.



"THE EWE-BUCHTIN'S BONNIE."

ewe-folding. THE ewe-buchtin's ' bonnie, baith e'enin' and morn,
When our blithe shepherds play on the bog-reed

and horn ;
While we're milking, they're lilting, baith pleasant

and clear ;
But my heart's like to break when I think on my

dear.

O the shepherds take pleasure to blow on the horn,
To raise up their flocks o' sheep soon i' the morn;
On the bonnie green banks they feed pleasant and

free,
But alas, my dear heart, all my sighing's for thee!



I.ADY IV A Km. AW. 15



LADY WARDLAW.

1677-1727.

The earliest and in some respects most curious of the
literary mysteries for which the eighteenth century remains
notorious was that concerning the authorship of the ba'.lad of
Ilardyknute. This composition, then, as now, a fragment,
was published by James Watson at Edinburgh in 1719 in a neat
folio edition of twelve pages. An apparently earlier, but
undated and less finished, copy is known to have been in the
possession of the well-known editor, David Laing. Regarding
the piece Lady Wardlaw of Pitreavie told a romantic story. She
had discovered it, she said, written on some shreds of paper
used for the bottoms of weaving clues. The statement was
accepted in good faith, the ballad was hailed as a genuine
antique poem by men of taste like Lord President Forbes and
Elliot of Minto, the Lord Justice-Clerk, and was included by
Allan Ramsay in his Evergreen in 1724, among the "poems
wrote by the ingenious before 1600. " In doing this, Ramsay
took the liberty of altering the orthography to restore it, as he
supposed, to something like its original antique shape.

So the matter stood till 1767. As a contemporary account of
an episode of the battle of Largs fought in 1263, "Ilardy-
knute " was looked upon as the oldest extant historical ballad in
the Scots tongue, taking precedence in this respect of "Sir
Patrick Spens." But in 1767 Lord Hailes communicated a new
piece of information for the second edition of Percy's Reliqzies.
Certain critics, it appeared, had doubted the antiquity of the
work. In consequence Lady Wardlaw had been questioned,
had admitted the authorship, and, to put the matter beyond
doubt, had added two fresh concluding stanzas.

The question, nevertheless, did not rest here. In his Scottish
Tragic Ballads in 1781, Pinkerton printed an amended version
of the ballad, including a second part which completed the story.
For this version and the conclusion he avowed indebtedness
to "the memory of a Lady in Lanarkshire."' Later, in his
Select Scottish Ballads (1783) and in his Ancient Scottish Poems
(1786), this unscrupulous editor admitted the added second part
to be his own composition, but regarding the original poem he
made a new statement upon the authority of an alleged communi-
cation of Lord Hales. The new story was that Sir John Bruce
of Kinross, in a letter to Lord Binning, had narrated his rinding
of the MS. in an old vault in Dunfermline, and, desiring to



1 6 LADY WARDLAW.



screen his own connection with the fragment, had induced Lady
Wardlaw to become its foster-parent. Pinkerton's new statement
was accepted, apparently without question, by Bishop Percy, and,
accordingly, in the fourth edition of the Reliques, " Hardy -
knute " is attributed directly to Sir John Bruce. These con-
flicting statements appear to have left some doubt in the mind
even of the historian of Scottish poetry, Dr. Irving.

It was not till the year 1830 that the question was finally
cleared up. Among Pinkerton's correspondence, then published,
appeared a letter from Lord Hailes, dated December 2, 1785,
explicitly disavowing the new statement to which his name had
been attached, and reasserting the authorship of Lady Wardlaw.

Lord Hailes was of opinion that the ballad had been founded
on some antique fragment, and he quoted a statement of
Thomson, the editor of the Orpheus Caledoniiis of 1733, that he
had heard parts of it repeated in his infancy, before Lady
Wardlaw's copy was heard of. But against these considerations
there exists the explicit statement of Lady Wardlaw's daughter
that her mother was the author of the ballad, and from the
internal evidence of the composition itself it is impossible now
to believe that any part of it is ancient.

Whatever may be thought of the method of its introduction
to the public, there can be little doubt of the considerable merit


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