« السابقةمتابعة »
Still that dread death-bell smites myear; And many a boding seems to say,
'Countess, prepare-thy end is near.""
THE SPIRIT OF THE CAPE.
(From The Lusiad.) [This passage is referred to in Tennant's Anster Fair, and is the subject of a picture by the celebrated artist, David Scott, now in the Custom House of Leith.]
XXIV. Thus sore and sad that lady grieved
In Cumnor Hall, so lone and drear, And many a heartfelt sigh she heaved,
And let fall many a bitter tear.
In Cumnor Hall, so lone and drear, Full many a piercing scream was heard,
And many a cry of mortal fear.
XXVI. The death-bell thrice was heard to ring,
An aerial voice was heard to call, And thrice the raven flapped his wing
Around the towers of Cumnor Hall.
The oaks were shattered on the green ; Woe was the hour, for never more
That hapless Countess e'er was seen.
Now prosperous gales the bending canvas
swelled ; From these rude shores our fearless course
we held : Beneath the glistening wave the god of day Had now five times withdrawn the parting
ray ; When o'er the prow a sudden darkness
spread, And slowly floating o'er the mast's tall
head A black cloud hovered ; nor appeared
from far The moon's pale glimpse, nor faintly
twinkling star ; So deep a gloom the lowering vapour cast, Transfixed with awe the bravest stood
aghast. Meanwhile a hollow bursting roar re
sounds, As when hoarse surges lash their rocky
mounds; Nor had the blackening wave, nor frown
ing heaven, The wonted signs of gathering tempest
given. Amazed we stood-O thou, our fortune's
guide, Avert this omen, mighty God, I cried ; Or through forbidden climes adventurous
strayed, Have we the secrets of the deep surveyed, Which these wide solitudes of sea and sky Were doomed to hide from man's un
hallowed eye? Whate'er this prodigy, it threatens more
Is cheerful feast or sprightly ball ; For ever since that dreary hour
Have spirits haunted Cumnor Hall.
The village maids with fearful glance
Avoid the ancient moss-grown wall ; Nor ever lead the merry dance
Among the groves of Cumnor Hall.
And pensive wept the Countess' fall, As wandering onwards they've espied
The haunted towers of Cumnor Hall.
Than midnight tempest and the mingled And all the storms that own my sovereign roar,
sway, When sea and sky combine to rock the Who 'mid surrounding rocks and shelves marble shore.
explore, I spoke, when rising through the dark- Where never hero braved my rage before ; ened air,
Ye sons of Lusus, who with eyes profane, Appalled we saw a hideous phantom glare; Have viewed the secrets of my awful reign, High and enormous o'er the flood he Have passed the bounds which jealous towered,
Nature drew, And thwart our way with sullen aspect To veil her secret shrine from mortal view, lowered.
Hear from my lips what direful woes Unearthly paleness o'er his cheeks was attend, spread,
And bursting soon shall o'er your race Erect uprose his hairs of withered red ; descend. Writhing to speak, his sable lips disclose, With every bounding keel that dares Sharp and disjoined, his gnashing teeth's my rage, blue rows;
Eternal war my rocks and storms shall His haggard beard flowed quivering on wage; the wind,
The next proud fleet that through my dear Revenge and horror in his mien com- domain, bined ;
With daring search shall hoist the streamHis clouded front, by withering lightning ing vane, scared,
That gallant navy by my whirlwinds tost, The inward anguish of his soul declared.
And raging seas,
shall perish on my coast. His red eyes glowing from their dusky | Then He who first my secret reign de
scried, Shot livid fires: far echoing o'er the waves A naked corse wide floating o'er the tide His voice resounded, as the caverned Shall drive. Unless my heart's full rapshore
tures fail, With hollow groan repeats the tempest's Lusus! oft shalt thou thy children wail; roar.
Each year thy shipwrecked sons shalt thou Cold gliding horrors thrilled each hero's deplore, breast;
Each year thy sheeted masts shall strew Our bristling hair and tottering knees confessed
He spoke, and deep a lengthened sigh Wild dread; the while with visage ghastly
he drew, wan,
A doleful 'sound, and vanished from the His black lips trembling, thus the Fiend
view; began :
The frightened billows gave a rolling O you, the boldest of the nations, fired
swell ; By daring pride, by lust of fame inspired, And distant far prolonged the dismal yell; Who,scornful of the bowers of sweet repose, Faint and more faint the howling echoes Through these my waves advance your die, fearless prows,
And the black cloud dispersing leaves the Regardless of the lengthening watery way, sky.
With the ghosts of the Waas will I wail,
In Warblaw woods join the sad throng, By the banks of the crystal-stream'd Esk,
To Hallow E'en's blast tell my tale, Where the Wauchope her yellow wave
As the spectres, ungrav'd, glide along. joins, Where the lambkins on sunny braes bask, Still the Ewes rolls her paly blue stream, And wild woodbine the shepherd's
Old Esk still his crystal tide pours, bower twines,
Still golden the Wauchope waves gleam,
And still green, O Broomholm, are thy Maria, disconsolate maid !
bowers ! Oft sigh'd the still noon-tide away,
No: blasted they seem to my view,
The rivers in red floods combine ;
The turtles their widow'd notes coo, Ah, no more from the banks of the Ewes
And mix their sad ditties with mine! My shepherd comes cheer'ly along, Discolour'd in sorrow's dim shade, Broomholm and the Deansbanks refuse All nature seems with me to mourn, To echo the plaints of his song : Straight the village-bells merrily play'd,
And announced her dear Jamie's return, No more from the echoes of Ewes, His dog fondly barking I hear ;
The woodlands all May-blown appear, No more the tired lark he pursues,
The silver streams murmur new charms, And tells me his master draws near. As, smiling, her Jamie drew near,
And all eager sprung into her arms. Ah, woe to the wars and the pride,
Thy heroes, O Esk, could display, When with laurels they planted thy side,
THERE'S NAE LUCK ABOUT From France and from Spain borne
THE HOUSE. away.
The credit of the authorship of this Oh, why did their honours decoy
song has formed the subject of a good My poor shepherd lad from the shore ; Ambition bewitch'd the vain boy,
deal of controversy ; yet it lies between And oceans between us now roar.
two authors, neither of whom is known,
on satisfactory evidence, to have written Ah, methinks his pale corse floating by, it, for neither published it. Judging
I behold on the rude billows tost; by their published writings, they would Unburied his scattered bones lie,
have been the last two to whom any Lie bleaching on some desert coast !
one acquainted with Scottish poetry
would have assigned it. By this stream and the May-blossom'd
The sixth stanza, commencing, thorn, That first heard his love-tale and his
“The cauld blasts of the winter wind,”
it has not been disputed, is by Dr Vows, My pale ghost shall wander forlorn, Beattie, who, if he had not written the And the willow shall weep o'er my “Address to Ross,” would also have brows.
been thought an unlikely contributor. (9)
Yet the national Muse exhibits so many Jean Adams, for he has abandoned her exceptional explosions of latent native claim for that of Mickle ; but as it has sentiment, that it would be rashness to been taken up by others, who have added conclude what an author may not have nothing to its strength, it may be as well written, merely by what he has published. to see what the facts amount to : Take away the slender accidental links “There is living evidence in support of that connect this song with Mickle and that (the claim) of Jean Adams. Mrs Jean Adams, and its history will illus- Fullarton, who was a pupil of hers, fretrate that of many another unclaimed quently heard her repeat it, and affirms gem, for which we would be glad to it to be her composition, and no one at acknowledge our gratitude, if we knew that time disputed her assertion. In to whom.
addition to this, we may adduce the folBurns, writing about 1790, says :
lowing extract of a letter from Mrs
Crawford (Mrs Fullarton's daughter) in " This is one of the most beautiful songs in the Scots or any other language. The
reply to an inquiry from Mrs Fletcher two lines
of Edinburgh, at the request of the And will I see his face again?
And will I hear him speak? as well as the two preceding ones, are
" Ratho House, Jan. 24, 1810. unequalled almost by anything I ever “ You may assure Mr Cromek that the heard or read ; and the lines
ballad, There's nae Luck about the The present moment is our ain,
House,' was written by Jean Adams, on a The neist we never saw,
couple in Crawfordsdyke, the small town
where her father lived. I do not recolare worthy of the first poet. It is long lect that I ever heard her repeat it; but posterior to Ramsay's days. About the since I can remember anything, I have years 1771 or 1772, it came first on the always heard it spoken of as her compostreets as a ballad ; and I suppose the
sition by those that she depended much composition of the song was not much anterior to that period."
upon. My aunt, Mrs Crawford of Cartsburn, often sung it as a song of Jean
Adams'.” Burns does not seem to have known that it appeared in Herd's Collection in This is the whole evidence in favour 1776 ; and afterwards in several other of Jean's claim—the other particulars collections.
regarding her, collected by Cromek, It first appeared with an author's who does not appear to have had a copy name in Sim's edition of Mickle's of her book, are given in our sketch of poems, 1806, and is almost the only her life. poem in the book of which the editor Mickle's claim is thus introduced :seems to have overlooked the merits.
* As the editor, in claiming the ballad Its next appearance, along with the “There's nae Luck about the House'as first enquiry as to its authorship, is the property of Jean Adams, had nothing in Select Scottish Songs, with Obser- | in view but truth, he hastens to lay the vations by Burns, edited by Cromek, following letter before the readers of 1810. It is unnecessary to quote the these volumes, written by the Rev. reasoning by which Cromek assigns it to John Sim, A.B., editor of Mickle's
works, and his intimate friend, received that a single fact has been added to the since the above account was printed case as above stated. The contents of Mr Sim's letter, and the To us, as it stands, the external poetical sketch it encloses, warrant the evidence is unsatisfactory, even as to editor in conceding the ballad to Mr Mickle's claim, which we have no hesiMickle.”
tation in saying has the best of it. The “ Pentonville, April 14, 1810. song is so unlike anything else that "DEAR SIR, --Since I received Mr either is known to have written, that Mudford's letter (a copy of which you will see in the Universal Magazine for
we can draw no inference from that this month, p. 265), I have been so very source. Comparing the different early fortunate as to discover, among Mr versions of it does not assist us either ; Mickle's MSS., what I have every reason to believe, from its inaccuracy, and other
but without referring to numerous variaevident marks of haste, to be the very tions, it may be noted that Herd's first sketch of the bailad There's nae version has only ten four-line verses, inLuck about the House,' a copy of which cluding the chorus, while Mickle's first I have enclosed." He then details the variations and in and that in his works fourteen,-includ
sketch, as Sim supposes, has twelve, accuracies, and adds :
ing Beattie's acknowledged. From “Since I wrote to Mr Mudford, Mrs Mickle has informed me, without being this it is evident Herd did not obtain asked, that Mr Mickle gave her the the first published edition now known ballad as his own composition, and ex- from Mickle, and must therefore have plained to her the Scottish words and phrases ; and she repeated to me, with got it in the form of a street ballad, or a very little assistance, the whole of the from a street singer, the form of its apsong, except the eight lines which I have, pearance suggested by Burns. Mickle and I think with justice, ascribed to Dr Beattie. When I asked her why she
was very unlikely to have launched it in hesitated at first, she said, that the ques
this manner ; but if Jean Adams wrote tion coming unexpectedly upon her, it, this was its most likely way of apflurried her, and the flurry, together with pearing, for her book was published the fear that she might be called upon to substantiate what she then said upon
in the Saltmarket, Glasgow, the very oath, made her answer with diffidence centre of ballad and chap-book lore. and hesitation. This struck me at that And this leads us to point out what time to have been the case, and I believe
would throw some light upon the quessuch a behaviour to be very natural to persons labouring under a disorder so tion, namely, the production of a chapdepressive as paralysis.
book or ballad in which it appeared I shall only add, that Mickle had too high an opinion of his own poetical powers
earlier than 1776. Should any of our to have adopted the compositions of but readers know of such, we shall be glad very few of his contemporaries ; and cer- to be informed of its existence by a note tainly too much honour and integrity to give the least occasion to the publishing addressed to the care of the Publishers. of the works of another as his own pro- We shall also be glad to obtain any ductions."
facts bearing on the question, which, if A good deal has been written since deemed of sufficient importance, will be on the subject; but we are not aware noticed afterwards.