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Of the sociality, the ready wit, and and the refrain, are those of an old song, the irrepressible vivacity of Mrs Cock- now lost, on the fall of so many of the burn, a most ample and faithful record natives of Ettrick Forest at the battle is preserved in her letters; but her of Flodden. There is some doubt right to a place among the poets of about the occasion of Mrs Cockburn's Scotland is due to her being the author song, but Dr Robert Chambers records, of one of the two beautiful lyrics known on Sir Walter Scott's authority, that it as The Flowers of the Forest.
was written in consequence of the unAlice or Alison Rutherford-for that fortunate bankruptcy of several border was her maiden name, the daughter of gentlemen. Sir Walter from boyhood Robert Rutherford of Fairnalee—was was well acquainted with Mrs Cockburn, born at the family mansion in Selkirk- and was a special favourite of hers. shire, in 1712. Little is known of her Her letters convey a remarkably youth, except that she was a great vivid picture of Edinburgh social life beauty ; and it may be inferred from her during the time when she flourished as letters that she received the best educa- one of its chief ornaments,-a time of tion that it was then customary to give great interest from a national and a to girls of her social rank. Referring to literary point of view. They have never her youth, she herself says: “I was been published entire, but pretty copious a prude when young, and remarkably extracts are given in The Songstresses grave; it was owing to a conscious of Scotland, London, 1871. They were ness that I could not pass unobserved, known and appreciated in manuscript and a fear of giving offence, or incur- by Scott. ring censure. I loved dancing exceedingly, because I danced well.” In 1731,
THE FLOWERS OF THE she was married to Patrick Cockburn,
FOREST. advocate, who died in 1753, leaving I've seen the smiling an only son. She survived her busband Of fortune beguiling; forty years, and died in 1794, at the age I've felt all its favours, and found its of eighty-two. She was buried in decay : Buccleuch Churchyard, Edinburgh.
Sweet was its blessing, Her version of The Flowers of the
Kind its caressing; Forest is said to have been written But now 'tis fled-fled far away. before her marriage--a fact which, if I've seen the forest true, would make this beautiful lyric Adorned the foremost the composition of a young girl of With flowers of the fairest, most pleasant eighteen. The air to which it is sung,
and gay ;
Grow drumly and dark as they row'd' on
Sae bonnie was their blooming !
Their scent the air perfuming !
With gold the hills adorning,
O fickle Fortune !
Why this cruel sporting?
Nae mair your frowns can fear me ; For the Flowers of the Forest are a' wede
1727-1805. JANE, or according to the Scotch | expected, she received an excellent rendering, Jean Elliot, although fifteen education, and was characterized by years Mrs Cockburn's junior, we place those hereditary traits of sagacity and immediately after her sister-poetess, capacity which distinguished her family.
account of their both owing It is related that, in 1745, when in her their laurels to what may be called nineteenth year, her self-possession so twin lyrics. Both compositions are imposed upon a party of Jacobites, who beautiful, yet they cannot be said to made their appearance at the house in borrow a single feature from one search of her father (who was a staunch another; for they derive the air and Whig) before he could escape beyond the refrain from the same traditionary Minto Crags, in the immediate neigh
It has been remarked, and bourhood, that they left without making perhaps correctly, that Mrs Cockburn's any further search; judging, from the sings best, but that Miss Elliot's is the absence of any signs of anxiety on the most poetical. It certainly has caught part of their young entertainer, that the the tone and spirit, and treats of the object of their search must have been proper subject, of the ancient relics that safe beyond their reach. suggested it, which the other does not. Her version of The Flowers of the
Miss Elliot was the daughter of Sir Forest is said to have originated in a Gilbert Elliot, the second baronet of wager by her brother Gilbert, who Minto;
and the third baronet, Sir ventured a pair of gloves, or a set of Gilbert, the author of Amynta, was her ribbons, on the chance of her composing brother. She was born at Minto House, a ballad on the battle of Flodden. It not far from the banks of the Teviot, in need not be doubted that he paid his Roxburghshire, in 1727. As might be forfeit with a good grace on the produc
and grey ;
tion of The Flowers of the Forest. Miss In hairst,' at the shearing, nae youths now Elliot was in her twenty-eighth year
are jeering, when she wrote it; but its success did not The bandsters are lyart3 and runkled stimulate her ambition to further efforts, nor even to acknowledging the author- At fair or at preaching, nae wooing, nae
fleeching, 4ship; for it was circulated anony
The Flowers of the Forest are a' wede mously as an old ballad recovered.
away. Being unmarried, on her brother's succession to the baronetcy, she went At e'en, in the gloaming, 5 nae swankies 6 to reside in Edinburgh with her mother,
are roaming and here she lived till 1804. Hav- 'Bout stacks wi' the lasses at bogle7 to ing gone to live with her friends in
play ; Teviotdale, she died on the 29th March But ilk ane sits drearie, lamenting her 1805, in her seventy-eighth year. The dearie,Flowers of the Forest was traced to her The Flowers of the Forest are a' wede authorship by Sir Walter Scott, Ramsay away. of Ochtertyre, and Dr Somerville.
Dule and wae for the order sent our lads THE FLOWERS OF THE
to the Border, FOREST.
The English, for ance, by guile wan I've heard them lilting' at our yowe-milk
the day ; ing,
The Flowers of the Forest, that foucht Lasses a' lilting before the dawn o'day;
aye the foremost, But now they are moaning on ilka green
The prime o' our land, are cauld in the loaning —
clay. The Flowers of the Forest are a' wede
We'll hear nae mair lilting at the yoweaway.
milking, At buchts, in the morning, nae blythe Women and bairns are heartless and lads are scorning, 3
wae; The lasses are lonely and dowie and Sighing and moaning on ilka green loanwae ; 4
ingNae daffin', nae gabbin',5 but sighing and The Flowers of the Forest are a' wede sabbing,
away. Ilk ane lifts her leglen,7 and hies her
away. * Singing or playing. 5 Romping and talk
5 Evening: Every green meadow. ing.
2 Those who tie the 6 Smart young fellows. 5 Teasing about their 6 Each.
seek. 4 Sad and woeful.
7 A species of hide-andsweethearts. 7 Milk-pail. 3 Grey-haired.
SIR GILBERT ELLIO T.
THE Elliots have the distinction of in The Charmer. He was a man of being a musical, a poetical, an eloquent, varied literary culture, and carried and a political family. Sir Gilbert, the on a philosophical correspondence with second baronet, was the first to introduce David Hume. the German flute into Scotland. His son, Sir Gilbert, the third baronet,
ΑΜΥΝΤΑ. the author of Amynta, was born in 1722, at the family seat in Roxburghshire. My sheep I neglected, I broke my sheep
hook, He was educated for the Scottish bar, And all the gay haunts of my youth I and for the space of twenty years re- forsook ; presented the counties of Roxburgh and Nomore for Amynta fresh garlands I wove; Selkirk in Parliament, where he was For ambition, I said, would soon cure me distinguished as a speaker. In 1763, he of love. became Treasurer of the Navy; and, Oh, what had my youth with ambition on the death of his father, in 1766, he to do? succeeded him in the office of Keeper Why left I Amynta? Why broke I my of the Signet in Scotland. In 1777,
vow? his health having given way, he sought
Oh, give me my sheep, and my sheep
hook restore, the benefit of the milder climate of the
And I'll wander from love and Amynta south of France, but without effect ; for he died at Marseilles that same year.
Through regions remote in vain do I rove, His son, Sir Gilbert, the fourth And bid the wide ocean secure me from baron, who was some time Governor- love! general of India, was raised to the Oh, fool! to imagine that aught could peerage as Lord Minto ; and his sister subdue Jane is the authoress of the beautiful A love so well-founded, a passion so true ! lyric, “The Flowers of the Forest.” His Alas ! 'tis too late at thy fate to repine ; own poetic fame, like that of the ac
Poor shepherd, Amynta can never be thine: complished Baron of Penicuik, depends Thy tears are all fruitless, thy wishes are on a single song, which, about the same vain,
The Miller," first appeared | The moments neglected return not again.
ADAM SKIRV'IN G.
PERHAPS no better example of what that they are only known in their is so easy to feel, yet so difficult to define present connection. -dry Scotch humour-could be selected Skirving died in 1803, and was buried than Skirving's “Johnnie Cope.” It at Athelstaneford. has a dramatic vividness in its banter unequalled since Sir John Suckling's
JOHNNIE COPE. supposed witty pasquil upon his own COPE sent a challenge frae Dunbar, military exploits in Scotland, when- “Come, Charlie, meet me an ye daur, Sir John he got on an ambling nag,
And I'll teach you the art of war, To Scotland for to ride-a,
If you'll meet wi' me i' the morning." With a hundred horse more, all his own Hey, Johnnie Cope, are ye wauking
yet ? To guard him on every side-a."
Or are your drums a-beating yet? Its author, Adam Skirving, was a ye were wauking I would wait native of East Lothian, where he occupied To gang to the coals i’ the morning. the farm of Garelton, near Haddington, When Charlie look'd the letter upon, for many years. He wrote a ballad song, He drew his sword the scabbard from ; of no great merit, on the battle of
“Come follow me, my merry merry Prestonpans, called “Tranent Muir,"
men, in which he reflects on the fugitive And we'll meet Johnnie Cope i' the mornexploits and veracity of an Irish Lieu
ing.' tenant Smith, in terms which provoked
Hey, Johnnie Cope, etc. the calumniated son of Erin to send him a challenge to meet him at Hadding. Now, Johnnie, be as gude's your word, ton. Skirving, who was a powerful but Come let us try baith fire and sword,
And dinna flee awa like a frighted bird, good-natured wag, is related by Burns
That's chased frae its nest i' the morning. to have said to Smith's messenger, “Gang
Hey, Johnnie Cope, etc. awa back, and tell Mr Smith that I hae nae leisure to come to Haddington; but When Johnnie Cope he heard of this, tell him to come here, and I'll tak a look He thought it wadna be amiss o'him, and if I think I'm fit to fecht To hae a horse in readiness, him, I'll fecht him, and if no, I'll do as
To flee awa i' the morning. he did, I'll rin awa.”
Hey, Johnnie Cope, etc. Several versions of "Johnnie Cope” Fy, now, Johnnie, get up and rin : are in existence, but mostly variations of The Highland bagpipes make a din, Skirving's. 'The air and chorus may It's best to sleep in a hale skin, have previously existed, but if so, the For 'twill be a bluidie morning. popularity of his has so absorbed both Hey, Johnnie Cope, etc.