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LVII.

Through all the land great is the gild1
Of rustic folks that cry;
Of bleeting sheep, frae they be filled,
Of calves and routing kye.

LVIII.

All labourers draws hame at even,
And can till other say,
Thanks to the gracious God of heaven,
Whilk sent this summer day.

THE WEDDERBURNS,

AND THE GUDE AND GODLIE BALLATES.

As authors, editors, or translators of the quaint little volume, whose title is quoted above, are associated the names of three brothers, the sons, according to an entry in Calderwood's "History' under the year 1540, of James Wedderburn, merchant in Dundee. They were all three educated in St Andrews under Mr Gavin Logie, from whom they derived liberal opinions; and they all appear to have had poetical tendencies. James, the eldest, to avoid the consequences of disseminating reformed opinions, in the form of satires and comedies upon the vices of the Romish clergy, escaped to France, where he appears to have acted in a mercantile capacity at Dieppe or Rouen, till his death. His dramatic writings have not been preserved.

John, the second, unwillingly took orders as a priest in Dundee, but being too advanced in his opinions to be tolerated, he made his way to Germany, where he became a follower of Luther and Melancthon. He turned many of Luther's Hymns, as well as the Psalms, into Scottish metre; and

1 Clamour.

also many "bawdie songs and rymes" into godly rhymes. He returned to Scotland after the death of James V., but did not escape the vigilant eye of Cardinal Beaton, from whom he fled into England.

Robert, the youngest, also entered the church, and became vicar of Dundee, but evidently deemed it safest to go abroad, like his elder brother; nor did he return home till after the death of Beaton. His name appears in the public records as the father of two sons, for whom he obtained letters of legitimation at Linlithgow, in 1552-3.

In his preface to the 1868 reprint of the unique 1578 edition of The Gude and Godlie Ballates, Dr Laing says: "It is quite impossible, with the scanty information we possess, to assign the various scriptural songs and psalms contained in the present collection to the respective authors or translators."

James Wedderburn, if a contributor, does not seem to have had any share in the publication of The Miscellany, which would appear to have grown in size as each successive edition of it was required by the popular demand which it obtained.

Dr Laing classifies it under three

heads:-The 1st, Doctrinal; the 2d, Psalms and Hymns, chiefly translations from the German; the 3d, the most characteristic part, Secular Songs converted into Religious Poetry. The second part he supposes to have been contributed by John Wedderburn from his residence in Germany; and the third he attributes to Robert, who seems to have been less away from Scotland.

All the brothers must have died some time previous to the publication of the 1578 edition, the oldest known ; yet the fact of its being popularly designated The Dundee Psalms, connects it with its original compilers; and allowing that slight changes, and even additions, may have been made subsequently, the general uniformity of style, thought, and language throughout, is such as suggests contemporaneous production. It is a curious fact, as Dr Laing observes, that there is no reference to the Wedderburns by Knox, or any of the reformers except James Melville, who records his having committed many of their hymns to memory when a boy at school in Montrose, in 1571.

From a rigid poetical standpoint, the book might be deemed "beneath contempt; " but if thought, charged with passion and enthusiasm-expressed in language that does not fail to communicate these-form a more essential part of poetry than the elegant and symmetrical arrangement of ideas, then, that those hymns and songs have been popular with a highly imaginative and poettical people, at a time when their passions were deeply roused, is a fact not to be overlooked in judging of their poetical merits. As the exponent of a

phase of religious thought that exercised a powerful influence on the national life and character of Scotland, they are well worth the consideration of every student of Scottish history; and what once fired the zeal of the religious enthusiast, or even soothed the sufferings of the martyr, may now afford a rich fund of pleasure to the lovers of quaint and primitive turns of thought and expres

sion.

To Robert Wedderburn Dr Laing is disposed to ascribe the authorship of "The Complaint of Scotland." Dr Murray, its last editor, gives some good reasons against the common belief of its having been printed in St Andrews, and considers that it is the work of a French printer in Paris or Rouen. This no way weakens Dr Laing's theory regarding the authorship; for Robert Wedderburn was in France about the time of its production, and on his return, though of reforming tendencies, he claimed his vicarage in Dundee, which harmonizes with the position of the author of "The Complaint."

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THE CONCEPTION OF CHRIST.

Let us rejoice and sing,

And praise that michty King,

Quilk send his Sone of a Virgine bricht.
La, lay, la.

And on him tuke our vyle nature,
Our deidlie woundis to cure,
Mankynde to hald in richt.
La, lay, la.

Sanct Luk wrytis in his Gospell,
God send his Angell Gabriell
Unto that Virgine but defame.1
La, lay, la.

For to fulfill the Prophesie,
Was spousit with Josaph free,
Mary scho had to name :
La, lay, la.
Thir wordis to hir he did reheirs.
Hail Mary! full of grace,

The Lord God is with thee.
La, lay, la.

Thou blyssit Virgine mylde,
Thou sall consave ane chylde,
The pepill redeme sall he.
La, lay, la.

Quhais power and greit micht,

Sall be in Goddis sicht,

Quhilk from the Father of micht is send.
La, lay, la.

Jesus his name ye call,
Quhilk sall be Prince ouir all,

His kingdome sall have nane end.
La, lay, la.

Than spak that Virgin fre, Behald, how sall this be, Seeing I knaw na man?

La, lay, la.

I Without stain.

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