« PoprzedniaDalej »
of the Republic, which is inter- D'Orsay and other places would esting "I was bred under the almost seem to be as local as a Empire in the love of the Repub- fire or an inundation. The rest lic,” he says. “The Republic is of France goes on quietly minding justice,' said my father, who its own business, caring very little was professor of rhetoric at the for the Government. Elle gouverne Lycée of Saint Omer. He did not peu, as M. Bergeret says; and know it."
questions of this or that method
of government have for the mo"The Republic is not justice; but it
ment fallen into abeyance in the is the most easy way(la facilite). Monsieur l'Abbé, if you had a mind less country. They shout for the Czar, elevated, less grave and more open
but for their own account neither to gaiety, I would confide to you that King nor Emperor makes any the actual Republic — the Republic strong diversion in the popular of 1896--pleases and touches me by mind. There is not its modesty. It consents to be not General Boulanger on the horizon. admired. It requires little respect, and even relinquishes esteem. It is
An occasional gleam of ardour on enough for it to live-in that lies its the colonial question excites the desire, and it is a legitimate wish.
lighter spirits, but otherwise no. The most humble creatures desire to body cares much. It is scarcely a live. Like the woodman of the state of things that could have fabulist, like the apothecary of Man- been thought possible thirty years tua who so much surprises that young
ago. idiot Romeo, it fears death, and that is its sole fear. It holds princes and soldiers at arm's length. If it ran
The third volume of Messrs risk of extinction, it might become Henley and Henderson's Centenary dangerous. Fear would change its edition of Burns 1 is occupied with nature and make it ferocious, which the songs, and comes before the would be a great pity. But as long world with a very grave, not to say as nothing touches its life, and it is solemn, aspect. This does not seem only its honour that is in danger, it is full of good humour. A Government
on the face of it very suitable to the such as this suits me, and makes me
contents of the volume, but it is feel secure.
So many other Govern- perfectly justified from the editors' ments were made merciless by their point of view. They are so much self-esteem (amour propre); so many concerned, indeed, and so conscious others by cruelty assured their
rights, of having performed a painful duty, their greatness, and their prosperity;
that our best sympathies are due so many others have shed blood for their prerogative, for their majesty! to them in the meantime, as marBut the Republic has neither self- tyrs to that stern sense of duty esteem nor majesty - happy defects which is no doubt one of the most which keep it innocent! Let it but noble of inspirations. What these continue to exist and it is content. gentlemen are painfully conscious It governs little, and I am tempted of is that, much against their will
, to approve it more for this than for all the rest. And since it governs
and in spite of every
reverential little, I excuse it for governing ill.” and admiring sentiment, they have
altered the position of Burns as We suspect that this philosophic a lyric poet, and indeed almost view is a true one. The flutter shattered his pretensions to be of busy life in Paris at the Quai considered in that light. Their trouble is so genuine, and they of being unborsed or unsettled in regard their iconoclastic work with his saddle. These correspondences so much real alarm, that they have show, we think, very clearly that even allowed themselves to be in- Burns's primary position in respect terviewed by an enterprising news
1 The Centenary Burns. By W. E. Henley and T. F. Henderson. Messrs T. C. & E. C. Jack : Edinburgh.
to both these works was that of a paper in deprecation of the uni- devoted lover of Scots song, really versal outcry which they believe more interested in raising up and their book about to produce. We putting forth to advantage the do not, however, hear of any such ancient music and poetry of his outcry, outside of Messrs Henley native district, the pastoral airs and Henderson's troubled appre- to which he was cradled, the hension : and we can only imagine snatches of verse which were like that the dust of their pulling down the natural breath of the country. operations, though imaginary, has side, than to find a medium of got into their eyes and confused utterance specially for himself. their faculties more or less. The He took up the old chorus lightly, sorrowful statement of their dis- without an arrière pensée, the coveries, which they make with so broken lines of the old songs much feeling, shows that to them danced through his brain, more these discoveries were unexpected Occupied with them than with and distressing in the highest de- himself, and it was more delightful gree. Explorers of this descrip- to him to retain them for their tion generally express themselves own sake than to throw them away with a certain triumph when they for his. We think this idea is show us the altar pulled down and very clearly traceable throughout the idol prostrate : but if there is the whole series of his letters, any triumph here it is of a rueful especially to Johnson : though we description, and nobody can be have not seen these letters for so sensible of the disaster as the
years, yet our understanding of poet who is, alas! the unhappy them remains 80 assured that Mr cause of its occurrence.
Henley's distress strikes us with What can we say to comfort a surprise which is not devoid of Mr Henley? We much doubt amusement.
Dear poet! we say whether it will be consolatory involuntarily, all this we were very to him to be told that he has well aware of before you had ever done no such harm as he fears; laid a hand on Burns, or regarded that these discoveries were all with dismay a single broadsheet made before he was born—nay, from the collections of Herd or that there can be no discoveries Lord Rosebery.
Lord Rosebery. Take courage ! where there never was any con- if you have altered the position cealment. The present writer has of a poet greater than yourself, it probably been acquainted with must simply be with the new Burns for a longer period than is generation, which, we grant you, possible to Mr Henley, and was is singularly ignorant of many aware of the correspondence in things very simple to its fathers,
Johnson's Musical Museum’and though no doubt immensely learned Thomson's Scottish Airs' from the in many other things which its beginning of time: for which rea- fathers did not know. Burns, so son probably it is that he receives far as we were aware, never conthe shock of Mr Henley's spear cealed nor attempted to conceal without even a quiver of his vieux the origin of many of his songs. moustache, much less any sensation Je prends mon bien où je le trouve,
said Molière, and what was ever proud, who can doubt, to set the the property of a poet more than little jewel in a lovely place, and those wild fragments which floated deck it with his own bright springon every breeze, broken, incom- ing fancies, as ever man was! At plete, imperfect, like the fragrance the same time, it is curious and from the hawthorn bushes, or the interesting to ponder the proof of honey of the gorse, articulate only his assertions which Mr Henley in a word or two, suggestions, produces, and which he so frankly recollections which formed the
the and loyally permits us to test in very atmosphere of the rural
We feel disposed mind ?
to adopt that double plea of law We wonder whether the first which permits a defendant to plead student who found Macbeth and a at the same time never indebted, great deal more in Holinshed, and that the debt is paid. Burns felt himself in the same tremend- himself tells us in the most genial ous position in which Mr Henley manner that he does owe the is now conscious of standing. Did
standing. Did debt; but Mr Henley's evidence he feel that the position of Shake- tends to establish that both Burns speare was likely to be pain- and his critic were mistaken. The fully affected by his discovery? book opens upon a characteristic He had certainly a great deal more specimen of this disagreement. than our too sensitive
“I remember,' Burns writes to critic and poet. But we doubt
Thomson, 'two ending lines of a whether he was afflicted by this verse in some of the old songs of delicate sentiment. And we think 'Logan Water” (for I know a good we can assure Mr Henley that he many different ones) which I think has told us very little if anything prettythat we did not know before.
Now my dear lad maun face his faes, We know it probably as Burns Far, far frae me and Logan braes.'” himself knew it, which was not as
“It Mr Henley knows it. For Burns
Mr Henley with was no student, and if ever any exist in an old song ; but in any case
an implied doubt, " that these lines thing was certain in this world,
they were used as a refrain in the it is (in our humble opinion) 'Logan Water' of John Mayne, certain that the young Ayrshire author of the “Siller Gun,' and joint farmer, who had indeed too much
editor with Peter Stuart of The time for "daffin',” and enough
London Star,' which was popular at for poetry, had but few spare
Whitehall some years before Burns
wrote." hours left to employ in the study of Herd's manuscripts in order Does Mr Henley mean to imply to find material for his work. If that Burns knew what was going he had done so determinedly and on at Whitehall, and plagiarised with conscious effort, as Mr Henley wilfully from the recent play inthinks, we do not know that our stead of simply adopting the o'eropinion would have been different. word of the old song? We do not We hope he had as good a right object to his theory, but we think to take possession of his biens, that his mode of proving it is wherever he found them, as Molière
Let us follow him or Shakespeare.
through the history of some other And with what beautiful un- individual songs. conscious art he put in those add that in the great majority floating fragments, as pleased and of cases the most insignificant of
may as well
the songs are those which fit Mr to alter among us the reputation Henley's conclusions best. Does of Burns ? any one consider the authenticity It touches us, however, more of "The Captain's Lady" of great than these, which are of the least importance –
possible consequence, to find one
of Burns's most impassioned lyrics “ Oh mount and go, Mount and make you ready ;
treated with the same curious and Oh mount and go,
niggling criticism, And be the Captain's lady!"
“ Ae fond kiss, and then we sever ; Mr Henley devotes a whole
Ae farewell, and that for ever." page to the elucidation of the
“The germ of 'Ae Fond Kiss,'” says older songs that made up this Mr Henley, “is found in The Partjingle or suggested it. Does he ing Kiss, by Robert Dodsley (1703really think that will alter Burns's 1764), which was set by Oswald :position as a lyric poet ?
One fond kiss before we part, Here is another instance. “Mus
Drop a tear, and bid adieu ; ing on the Roaring Ocean is
Though we sever, my fond heart
Till we meet shall pant for you.'” song of which our childhood, which knew Burns by heart, has left us Can any man in his senses wholly ignorant, as will probably imagine that the noble verses of be the case with most readers.
Burns's song, including that which It is a copy of correct English is perhaps the profoundest note of verges, in which Burns was never the lover's despairvery happy. Mr Henley tells us they are “ reminiscent of divers
“ Had we never lov'd sae kindly, Jacobitisms."
Had we never lov'd sae blindly,
Never met and never parted, “Stanza i. line 4. Compare the
We had ne'er been broken-hearted”_ Jacobite song ‘Lewie Gordon
derived anything, much less found Altho' his back be at the wa', their germ, from a doggerel verse, Here's to him that's far awa'.'
the first three words of which corThis is Stanza ii.
responded more or less with the . Hope and Fear's alternate billow,
first three words of the poem ? Yielding late to Nature's law, This is to insult the ordinary Whispering spirits round my pillow intelligence. We opine that Mr Talk of him that's far awa'.'
Henley had no share in these If that was modelled on any.
A poet surely thing, Mr Henley might as well could scarcely ever, even in his have adduced a host of other aberrations, be of so shallow a songs as well as “ Lewie Gordon,” wit. indeed the greater part of the We began by freely admitting, songs of Scotland, in which there to a great measure, the point which occur a multitude of lads who are Mr Henley fears he is the first to far awa'. “Lewie Gordon,'” he disclose : but as we go on to conadds, " is, however, itself borrowed sider his evidence our mind changes. from an older • Song on the Birth- Burns indeed was the first to disday of King James the Eighth, close the pseudo-fact, and did so 10th June 1709.'” He might cordially in almost every one of have gone a great deal further, the letters which accompany these and quoted a whole page full of songs. The ancient songs inspired references. Is this a likely thing him, sang themselves in his ears,
drew forth his slumbering genius. “ While some for pleasure pawn their health
'Twixt Lais and the bagnio, It was his pride to save the verse,
I'll save myself and without stealth or half-verse, or poetical phrase, Kiss and caress my Nanny, 0." or lilting chorus. But to tell us
If there is but one
man with that Burns's position among the
a candid mind left in the world poets is changed by this fact is a solemn piece of absurdity. Burns's we would ask him, “Wherein lies
the most distant possibility that greatest songs are not even affected at all. The editors are obliged to
this rubbish suggested the fine imagine that, in the case of “Mary And he would answer "Fudge !”
and free strains of Burns's song?" Morison,” he took his measure
like Mr Burchell, from a poem published by Allan
No; it is no doubt Mr HenderRamsay in the Evergreen,' though it is the commonest and most uni
son who is guilty. We have not versal of stanzas.
the faintest objection to sacrifice “Ye Banks
Mr Henderson to the manes of our and Braes" has not even so much
poet. A poet like Mr Henley as this to weigh it down, nor "O' a' the airts the wind can
never could have believed for a blaw," nor "She's fair and fause,"
moment that Dodsley's “One Fond
Kiss" diminished the originality of nor many of the finest productions in this volume. And, by the way, believe him did he swear it. The
Burns's fine song. We would not where is “My Nannie, o"? We
not uncommon. have hunted through the book without being able to find any
Many people have uttered and where that delightful song.
many listened to them, without
reference to any ballad. Burns “A country lad is my degree,
himself must have said them And few there be that ken me, 0; oftener than was good for him, But what care I how few they be, at moments when he was thinkI'm welcome aye to Nannie, 0.”
ing of anything but Dodsley.
If he had thought of Dodsley Has this been proved to be not
many occasions instead of Burns's £—though he stands there
occupying himself with looking at us through the cheer- melodious names, it might have ful honest verse
been a good thing for him. “Our auld guidman delights to view
These references are taken at His sheep and kye thrive bonnie, 0;
hazard as the book opened: there But I'm as blythe that hauds his pleugh, are many more just as unconvincAnd has nae care but Nannie, 0." ing. Where any real instance is
given of what it would be absurd We beg Mr Henley's pardon, we to call plagiarism, it is distinctly have mistaken. The third volume
stated at first hand by Burns himis confined to the "Thomson's self. Thus, in the song called Museum and Johnson's 'Scottish
“ The Silver Tassie," "The first Songs' series. "My Nannie, 0” half-stanza,” says Burns, is in vol. i. of the Centenary Burns, but printed in exactly the same
"Go fetch to me a pint o'wine, spirit as the other, showing that
And fill it in a silver tassie, the editor's convictions were al
That I may drink before I go
A service to my bonnie lassie,' ready formed.
is old ; the rest is mine." “Perhaps suggested by a poor thing of Ramsay's,” says the note :
“Nevertheless,” adds Mr Henley,