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The horse doth ease
If he be ridden,
If guests be bidden.
The water for thee,
Is then most worthy.
In mine eyes,
Ere she dyes.”
“ The New Balow,” (i. e., Lullaby) is an Anglicised modernization of a Scottish song called "Lady Anne Bothwell's Lament.' Who the lady was, is left to conjecture. The Roxburghe version is by no means an improvement upon the “Lament,” as given by Percy; but we refer to it for the sake of one verse not in the original.
“ If I were near those fatal bounds
Truly there is no human love like the love of woman! As usual, love has led us astray, and encroached sadly upon our time and space, to the exclusion of much that is old and excellent, e. g., " The complaint of a lover for the sake of his mistress,” being the song of Willow Willow, introduced by Shakspere in the tragedy of Othello ;* “ The constancy of true love,” being the story of Pyramus and Thisbe; the “Woody queristers," in which
-said the blackbird, as he fled,
also “ Barbara Allen's cruelty,” &c. &c.
4. By an easy transition, (alas, how easy !) we pass from love
* A MS. copy of this song, with the music, of the date of 1600, is in the British Museum.-Add. MSS., 15,117, fol. 18.
and courtship to marriage, et cetera, and here we find about 130 different compositions, some “flat” and “stale," and most, if not all
, “ unprofitable.” They belong to a period distinguished, so far as England was concerned, by nothing great, and little that was good; and with this remark we beg to dismiss them.
5. SEA SONGS.—Under this class we have not brought seafights, those being referred to the historical ballads. The fifteen we have observed in the collection are of a comparatively late period, and contain nothing to tempt a comparison with the productions of Dibdin, with one exception by Martin Parker"Neptune's raging fury; or, the gallant seaman's sufferings” —
“ You gentlemen of England
a fine black-letter broadside.
6. The moral and descriptive ballacls amount to about 170; and here we place those which paint marriage in its proper colours, and also religious exhortations, of which there are several very excellent. We cannot begin better than by the “Careful wife's good counsel.” “ Kind husb
if you mean to thrive,
Lay up against a rainy day.” Our readers have had a specimen of "pretty comparisons” in love; they will not object to an application of comparisons” to morality. The date is about 1630.
" A DISCOURSE OF MAN'S LIFE.
As bubble, shuttle, blossome, streame, and grasse.
The grasse is wither’d, and the tale is ended,
Is here, now there, still subject unto death,” &c. We would gladly give the whole of the following quaint but powerful piece, but our space is too limited :
6 DEATH'S UNCONTROLLABLE SUMMONS.
Hey ho, hey ho, then slept I;
Eclipsed in the darksome sky.
Hey ho, hey ho, hollow eyes ;
I thought my youth did him despise."
“ Young youth, quoth he, I tell to thee,
Hey ho, hey ho, thy thread is spun,
Hey ho, hey ho, thy glass is run,” &c.
It will be seen that we have not, in general, stopped to say whether any ballad from which we give an extract has or has not been printed in any other form. We have more than one reason for this omission; one is—that it would be a bold thing to say of any composition so short as a ballad, that it has never been printed,—for such pieces not unfrequently lurk in very outof-the-way places ;-take the well-known example of the - Notbrowne mayde,” which was first printed in Arnold's “Statutes of London," and introduced between “ The composicyon betwayne ye Marchaunts of england and the towne of Antwarp for the costis of there Marchaundysys,” and “The reckenynge to bey wares in flaunders.” Another reason is, that the fact of being or not being printed elsewhere, does not affect the nature of the contents of the collection, although it certainly does the rarity of the pieces. The following, for example, has been printed in " Alison's Howres recreation in Musicke," printed in 1606, and also in Chappel's Collection of National English Airs, printed in 1840. We doubt if one in twenty of our readers ever heard of either of these works. It is much more deserving of mention that the song is thus referred to in Hudibras, canto 3, b. 10:
“ This any man may sing or say
I'th' ditty callid What if a day.""
But to the song. “A Friend's Advice.”
“ What if a day, or a month, or a year,
crown thy delights
cross thy delights
are but blossoms dying,
are but shadows flying ; All our joys are but toys,
idle thoughts deceiving,
in our lives bereaving.
feed thy fond thoughts
tell thee as well
in things of no surmounting?
of a rich accounting; Then in this repose no bliss,
which is so vain and idle, Beauties, flowers, have their hours,
Time doth hold the bridle.
Man's but a blast, or a smoak, or a cloud,
that in a thought
that in a trice
will nor skill prevaileth,
change of thoughts assaileth ;
and her comforts crowneth, Yet at length, fails her strength,
and in fine she frowneth.”
We must content ourselves with simply referring to Nicol VOL. VI. NO. XI.
Burn's beautiful descriptive ballad, entitled “Leader Haughs and Yarrow,” from which we had intended to give an extract, notwithstanding the fact that it is referred to even in Gazetteers. It will be found reprinted in Chambers' Scottish Songs, p. 305, with a notice of the author, of whom it is much to be regretted that so little is known.
7. DRINKING, HUMOROUS AND SATIRICAL BALLADS.—This class, like the preceding, is about 170 in number. Leather bottles
gone out with James II., and like that monarch not to have resigned their empire without a struggle on the part of their adherents. Witness “A Song in praise of the leather bottel.”
6 Then what do you say to those cans of wood ?
Then what do you say to those glasses fine ?
Then when this bottle doth grow old