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But, in taking this review, I rather digress from my province in giving advice : my province is merely to give judgrnent : to pronounce upon wbat I take to be the result of the facts laid before me. Considering, then, all those facts, with the most conscientious care, and with the most conscientions application of my understanding to their result, I am of opinion that Mr. Evans is exculpated from the charge of unmanly and unlawful cruelty.
GENTLE HERDSMAN. (This beautiful old ballad, being “ A Dialogue between a Pilgrim and a Herdsman," is printed in Percy's - Reliques of Ancient Poetry.' It has evidently suggested Goldsmith's ballad of · Edwin and Angelina,' and three of the stanzas of the modern poem are paraphrased from the Gentle Herdsman.'
Gentle herdsman, tell to me,
Of courtesy I thee pray,
Which is the right and ready way?
“Unto the town of Walsingham
is hard for to be gone ;
to find out all alone."
Were the miles doubled thrice,
And the way never so ill,
It is so grievous and so ill.
“Thy years are young, thy face is fair,
Thy wits are weak, thy thoughts are green;
For to commit so great a sin.”
When thus I saw he loved me well,
I grew so proud his pain to see,
Thought scorn of such a youth as he.
Thus every day I fast and pray,
And ever will do till I die;
For so did he, and so will I.
But keep my secrets I thee pray ;
Show me the right and ready way.
For he must ever guide thee still :
And so, fair pilgrim, fare thee well!”
SIR PATRICK SPENCE.
(This is the Scotch ballad which Coleridge, in his ' Dejection,' calls “The grand old ballad of Sir Patrick Spence." This is also printed in Perug's Reliques.')
The king sits in Dumferling toune,
Drinking the blude-reid wine:
To sail this schip of mine ?
Up and spak an eldern knicht,
Sat at the king's richt kne:
That sails upon the se.
The king has written a braid letter,
And sign'd it wi' his hand;
Was walking on the sand.
The first line that Sir Patrick red,
A loud lauch lauched he:
The teir blinded his ee.
Late, late yestreen, I saw the new moone
Wi' the auld moone in hir arme; And I feir, I feir, my deir mastir,
That we will com to harme.
O our Scots nobles wer richt laith
To weet their cork-heild schoone; Bot lang owre a' the play wer play'd,
Thair hats they swam aboone.
O lang, lang, may thair ladies sit
Wi' thair fans into their hand, Or eir they see Sir Patrick Spence
Cum sailing to the land.
O lang, lang, may the ladies stand,
Wi' thair gold kems in thair hair, Waiting for thair ain deir lords,
For they 'll se thame na mair.
Have owre, have owre to Aberdour,
It 's fiftie fadom deep:
Wi' the Scots lords at bis feit.
AULD ROBIN GRAY. [This ballad, which Leigh Hunt has truly said " must have suffused more eyes with tears of the first water than any other ballad that ever was written," is the production of Lady Anne Barnard, who died in 1825. In a letter to Sir Walter Scott this lady gives the following interesting and curious account of the circumstances under which she composed this most charming poem :-
"Robin Gray,' so called from its being the name of the old herd at Balcarras, was born soon after the close of the year 1771. My sister Margaret had married, and accompanied her husband to London. I was melancholy, and endeavored to amuse myself by attempting a few poetical trifles. There was an ancient Scotch melody, of which I was passionately fond; -, who lived before your day, used to sing it to us at Balcarras. She did not object to its having improper words, though I did. I longed to sing old Sophy's to different words, and give to its plaintive tones some little history of virtuous distress in humble life, such as might suit it. While attempting to effect this in my closet, I called to my little sister, now Lady Hardwicke, who was the only person near me:- I have been writing a ballad, my dear; I am oppressing my heroine with many misfortunes. I have already sent her Jamie to sea-and broken her father's arm--and made her mother fall sick-and given her Auld Robin Gray for her lover; but I wish to load her with a fifth sorrow within the four lines, poor thing! Help me to one.' 'Steal the cow, sister Anne,' said the little Elizabeth. The cow was immediately lifted by me, and the song completed. At our fireside, and amongst our neighbors,' Auld Robin Gray' was always called for. I was pleased in secret with the approbation it met with; but such was my dread of being suspected of writing anything, perceiving the shyness it created in those who could write nothing, that I carefully kept my own secret.
“Meanwhile, little as this matter seems to have been worthy of a dispute, it afterwards became a party question between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries. "Robin Gray' was either a very ancient ballad, composed perhaps by David Rizzio, and a great curiosity, or a very modern matter, and no curiosity at all. I was persecuted to avow whether I had written it or not, – where I had got it. Old Sophy kept my counsel, and I kept my own, in spite of the gratification of seeing a reward of twenty guineas offered in the newspapers to the person who should ascertain the point past a doubt, and the still more flattering circumstance of a visit from Mr. Jerningham, Secretary to the Antiquarian Society, who endeavored to entrap the truth from me in a manner I took amiss. Had he asked me the question obligingly, I should have told him the fact distinctly and confidentially. The annoyance, however, of this important ambassador from the antiquaries was amply repaid to me by the noble exhibition of the 'Ballad of Auld Robin Gray's Courtship,' as performed by dancing dogs under my window. It proved its popularity from the highest to the lowest, and gave me pleasure while I hugged myself in my obscurity.")