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They sink together silent, and stealing side strange wild ballad of Binnorie, where to side,
the fair-haired damsel is drowned by They Aling their lovely arms o'er their her elder sister, and a harper strings
drooping necks so fair, Then vainly strive again their naked arms
his harp with the dead girl's hair :to hide, For their shrinking necks again are bare. “He has ta'en three locks o' her yellow
hair, Thus clasp'd and prostrate all, with their Binnorie, O Binnorie ; heads together bow'd,
And wi' them strung his harp sae rare, Soft o'er their bosoms beating—the only By the bonnie mill-dams o' Binnorie.
human soundThey hear the silky footsteps of the silent He brought the harp to her father's hall; fairy crowd,
Binnorie, O Binnorie; Like a river in the air, gliding round. And there was the court assembled all;
By the bonnie mill-dams o' Binnorie. Nor scream can any raise, nor prayer can
He set the harp upon a stane, But wild, wild, the terror of the speech. And it began to play alane,
Binnorie, O Binnorie; less threeFor they feel fair Anna Grace drawn silent- By the bonnie mill-dams o' Binnorie."
ly away, By whom they dare not look to see.
One of the cleverest of the Irish They feel their tresses twine with her fairy ballads, “Sir Turlough, or the parting locks of gold,
Churchyard Bride," by William And the curls elastic falling, as her head Carlton, begins thus, and follows on withdraws;
throughout with the same refrainThey feel her sliding arms from their tranced arms unfold,
“ The bride she bound her golden hairBut they dare not look to see the cause. Killeevy, 0 Killeevy !
And her step was light as the breezy air For heavy on their senses the faint enchant- When it bends the morning flowers so fair, ment lies
By the bonnie green woods of Killeery." Through all that night of anguish and
perilous amaze; And neither fear nor wonder can ope their have lived among men are the raw
The actual superstitions which quivering eyes, Or their limbs from the cold ground raise." material out of which men of genius
are enabled to construct the poetry But the supernatural, like all the of the supernatural. The most powerother departments of what is termed ful imagination is limited to that the ballad poetry of the Irish, par- which has been believed, however takes of the character of artificiality. much it may range into that which is They afford us clever poems, transla- in itself impossible. Without this tions, imitations, adaptations of popu- condition the poetry of the superlar superstitions and legends--they natural would cease to be poetry, do not give us, what that valuable because it would cease to appeal to gem the genuine ballad is, the shape anything capable of stirring the huin which the people have put their man heart. All great artists dealing own legends. It may be all the more in the supernatural, if they did not honourable to the modern bards of believe in it themselves, have studied Ireland that they have made a re- profoundly the communications of spectable minstrelsy for a people who those who did, for the purpose of had none of their own; but the pro- giving life to their narratives. It is ductions of their ingenious pens, one of the qualities of our purely trabrilliant though they may be, cannot ditional ballads that they are still a possess the intrinsic value of a popu- living fountain of the supernatural. lar rhythmic literature which is the It must be of infinite value to all growth of centuries. It is speaking writers of the imaginative, so long as well, and not evil, of these able men our language lasts, to possess, perto say that they have studied our manently embodied in print, those ballads, and in some measure imitat- rhythmic legends which long lived ed their tone and rhythm. For in- among the people, not so much in the stance, as we are in the fairy or shape of a literature made for and supernatural department at present, taught to them, as of the embodiwe call the reader's attention to the ment of the things passing in their own minds—of the events which they 'Here is a royal belt,' she cried, believed to be true, and the super, And while your body it is on,
"That I hae found in the green sea, natural agencies of which they stood in actual awe. One can sympathise But if you touch me, tail or fin,
Drawn shall your blood never be ; with Scott in the delight which he I vow my belt your death shall be ! must have felt as he managed to draw out the fragmentary wonders He stepped in, gied her a kiss, of Tamlane and Thomas of Ercildoun
The royal belt he brought him wi',
Her breath was strang, her hair was lang, into continuous narrative; for these
And twisted twice about the tree; are wonderful things in their wild And with a swing she cam' about, imaginativeness, and must ever re- • Come to Craigy's sea, and kiss with me! main a testimony to the high-wrought Here is a royal ring,' she said, fancies and picturesque ideas of the “That I have found in the green sea ; people among whom they lived. We And while your finger it is on, are tempted to print here a less-known Drawn shall your blood never be ; specimen of the Scottish superna- But if you touch me, tail or fin, tural ballad, called “ Kemp Owain.”
I vow my ring your death shall be !' Perhaps it may be considered to par- He stepped in, gave her a kiss, take more of the grotesque and hor- The royal ring he brought him wi', rible than of the purely imaginative; Her breath was strang, her hair was lang, but there is a sort of stern consistent And twisted ance around the tree; flight of imagination in the whole And with a swing she cam' about, conception, and the language and
"Come to Craigy's sea, and kiss with me! versification are together terse and Here is a royal brand,' she said, powerful. It will be seen that the "That I have found in the green sea ; dialect has a strong flavour of the And while your body it is on, north ; and Professor Aytoun conjec
Drawn shall your blood never be ;
But if you touch me, tail or fin, tures, apparently with reason, that
I swear my brand your death shall be !' although it first appeared in a complete shape in Motherwell's Min- He stepped in, gave her a kiss, strelsy, its recovery is due to the in- The royal brand he brought him wi', dustry of Mr Peter Buchan of Peter- Her breath was sweet, her hair grew short,
And twisted nane about the tree ; head.
And smilingly she cam' about,
As fair a woman as fair could be." 6. Her mother died when she was young, Which gave her cause to make great Perhaps all ballad poetry may be moan ;
fairly divided, for practical purposes, Her father married the worst woman,
into ballads sentimental, including That ever lived in Christendom.
those of the affections-ballads imaShe served her with foot and hand, ginative, including those which deal In every thing that she could dee,
in the supernatural-humorous balTill once in an unlucky time,
lads, involving sarcastic criticism on She threw her in owre Craigy's sea.
prevalent social follies--and ballads Says, ' Lie you there, dove Isabel,
of historical narrative. The precedAnd all my sorrows lie with thee; ing remarks have, in however desulTill Kemp Owain come owre the sea, tory a manner, treated of all these And borrow you wi' kisses three,
classes, both in Scotland and in IreLet all the world do what they will, O borrow'd shall you never be !'
land, although very little has been
said of the historical. In this deHer breath grew strang, her hair grew lang, partment Ireland stands furtber apart
And twisted twice about the tree; than ever from Scotland, on account And all the people, far and near,
of the entirely distinct historical conThought that a savage beast was she :
ditions of the two nations. As we That news did come to Kemp Owain, Where he lived far beyond the sea.
have already remarked, the oldest pro
ductions expressing a contemporary He hasted him to Craigy's sea,
sentiment about public events seem And on the savage beast look'd he,
to go no farther back than the conHer breath was strang, her hair was lang,
clusion of the eighteenth century. And twisted was about the tree ; And with a swing she cam' about,
But the Irish have, notwithstand"Come to Craigy's sea, and kiss with me! ing, a historical past sufficiently an
cient, illustrated by quite a sufficient “I walked entranced amount of poetical literature. To a
Through a land of morn; nation whose history during recent The sun, with wondrous excess of light, centuries has been fraught with so Over seas of corn,
Shone down and glanced much disaster, and dignified by so And lustrous gardens aleft and right." little glory, it is natural that a solace should be sought in the far past. Some of the bards of Young Ireland There, indeed, ample room might be appear to enter on the function of found for consolation. There is a the geologists, and to go back into very ancient authentic Irish history periods which might be called palæoLa history distinct during periods zoic rather than historical. We have when that both of England and here a brief picture of Ireland in the Scotland is obscure. There is also a days when the elk, whose horns are much vaster field spread out by fabu- sometimes found in the bogs, ranged lous annalists, in which the imagina- among the forests; and we have tion is free to discover whatever it made a mistaken estimate of its merit pleases. So, if the Ireland of any if the reader do not
find that it is particular existing time should be powerfully conceived and skilfully disunited, idle, and famine-stricken,
versified :we have only to go back to the days “ Long, long ago, beyond the misty space of Brian Boroomh, or Nial of the
Of twice a thousand years, Nine Hostages, or Ollamph Fodhla, In Erin old there dwelt a mighty race, or Olliol Fionn, to find an Ireland Taller than Roman spears; triumphant in the strength of union, Like
oaks and towers they had a giant rich and enterprising, and endowed
Were fleet as deers; with a treasury of gold and jewels With winds and waves they made their which excite the wonder and envy of hiding-place, the world. If her degraded lawyers
These western shepherd -seers. have to peruse the hated pages of Their ocean-god was Mân-â-nân Mʻlir, Coke and Blackstone, there was a Whose angry lips, day when she fee'd counsel learned in In their white foam, full often would inter the mighty laws of the Brehons. If
Whole fleets of ships. her members of parliament have now
Cromah, their day-god and their thunderer,
Made morning and eclipse. to go up and get snubbed at St Bride was their queen of song, and unto Stephens, she can look back to the her distant century when the Hall of They pray'd with fire-touch'd lips. Tara received the majestic procession Great were their deeds, their passions and of her legislators, with their harpers their sports. marching before them, and an illus
With clay and stone trious college of historians or re
They piled on strath and shore those mys
tic forts porters in the rear. It is necessary Not yet o'erthrown. to have at command such inexhaust- On cairn-crown'd hills they held their ible resources in the far past before
council-courts; one can face the parliamentary sta
While youths alone, tistics of the blue-books, by asser
With giant dogs, explored the elks' resorts, tions so foreign to all modern expe
And brought them down." rience and belief as the following: With all due admiration of the genius
of Mr Thomas D'Arcy M'Ghee, who “A plenteous place is Ireland for hospit- wrote the poem of which this is a
able cheer, Where the wholesome fruit is bursting specimen, and all proper respect for from the yellow barley ear.
that to us previously unknown deity,
Mân-a-nan M'Lir, to whom he introLarge and profitable are the stacks upon duces us, we are content that the The butter and the cream do wonderfully should be traced no farther back
historical ballad-poetry of Scotland abound."
than the war of independence. It This is translated from the Irish, and was out of that contest that the may therefore apply to any century defensive separate nationality, which you please. А Vision of Con- required the aid and influence of the naught in the Thirteenth Century” vates sacer, arose. He did well the has this resplendent opening :- work that was required of him in his day. The rude, fierce, rapid nar- empire of the west. Thus it is no rative of Blind Harry, the stirring doubt true that, while repelling the metrical story of “the Bruce,” diffused English invasion on the one hand, throughout the land, did for it what the Scottish kings were aggrandising no mere efforts of a literary age, how- their own sceptre on the other; much ever brightly illustrated by genius, in the same manner as the Plantaor well founded in antiquarian know- genets were doing in Wales, and atledge, could achieve. And we can tempting to do in Scotland. Homnow recall these productions, as well ages had been performed, submissions as the minor traditionary ballads made or enforced, from time to time; which followed their track, not in but still the vital strength of the old wrath or envy, but in just pride and Highland kingdom, which had been national thankfulness. As the ear- ruled by Somerled and his descendliest of our own ballads celebrate the ants, was not totally extinct until heroes of the waragainst the Edwards, that last great battle. It was entireso the oldest English ballad which ly characteristic of those conflicts in refers to Scotland – it may be found which, whether by the Ohio or the in the curious collection printed by Ganges, undisciplined mobs of barthe Camden Society-represents these barous warriors are conquered by the heroes as rebels and cut-throats who disciplined strength of a smaller numhave incurred the just vengeance of ber belonging to a higher stage of the king, and exults in the fate and civilisation, and trained to a superior tortures of Wallace and Sir Simon military discipline. The feeling with Fraser. Without saying that this which the small body of well-appointis as it ought to be, it may be said ed men-at-arms approached the vast that it is what might be expected; host of mountaineers, is put with and we question if any well-thinking his usual historical felícity by Scott Scotsman will be raised to a feeling into the mouth of the page
Roland of hatred, or even of moderate dis- Græme :like of his English countrymen, by its perusal.
“ If they hae twenty thousand blades,
And we twice ten times ten, The whole of the vexed questions yet they hae but their tartan plaids, about early Celtic poetry stand apart And we are mail-clad men. from any connection with the proper My horse shall ride through ranks so rude, ballad-poetry of Scotland. It does
As through the muirland fern,
Then nere let the gentle Norman blude not go far enough back to deal with
Grow cauld for Hieland kerne." the times when there were, at least in a portion of the country, Celtic The ballads about this battle are kings and a Celtic government; and extremely curious from their cold it is not sufficiently modern to come business-like air. The narrator of the down to what may be called the re- more elaborate of the two describes vival of Celtic feeling. But it em- himself as a traveller come within braces and preserves some curious the confusion of the conflict, but vestiges of that period of strife when obliged to go on without satisfying the Čelt was not yet brought to the himself touching its cause; for“ there ground, and it was a question from I had not time to tarry for business which of its two races Scotland should in Aberdeen.” He picks up a combe ruled. The battle of Harlaw is panion, who tells the whole story sung in two very curious and valu- with calmness and precision ; and we able ballads in Professor Aytoun's see clearly that it is not the importCollection. It was fought on the ance of the victory as a political slopes of Benachie (“where Gadie event, nor the extensive slaughter of rins at the back of Benachie”) in the the Highlanders, that is viewed as year 1411. It is usual for historians matter of moment, but the death of to speak of it as the suppression of several persons of family and condithe rebellion of Donald of the Isles; tion who were leaders in the small but in reality it was the conclusive Lowland force. It is very like some conquest which made the Lowland of the affairs in India, in which there dynasty of kings supreme over Scot- is a great victory, but it is dearly land, and broke for ever the rival bought by the death of a few promising young officers. The separa- which the Lowlander had no sympaton in social feeling and condition thy. The Borderer, it is true, parbetween the Highlands and the Low- ticipated in it also, and was more lanıls during the ballad period, is praised than blamed in song for such perhaps rendered all the more dis- participation; but there were broad tinct, by some of the ballads which distinctions separating his position narrate the adventures of romantic from that of the northern moundamsels who, instead of becoming taineer. In the first place, he was the wives of discreet lairds, have gone generally a grazier himself, with his off as the runaway brides of " Hie- stock of oxen and sheep, which might land laddies" to the mountains, and on occasion be harried as he harried hare there found themselves convert- other men's; while the Highlander ed into queens of little barbarian em- thought it far better to let his Lowland pires
neighbours go through the whole It is natural that the ballad poetry drudgery of rearing the animals of Scotland should be essentially which he desired, trusting to success Lowland, or, as it has been usual to and a moonlight night for their resay, Saxon, in its character. What moval to the proper place of conever the Celts of the Highlands sumption. But there was a far more had in the shape of metrical narra- material difference than this.
All tive, was of course as thoroughly the Highlander's victims were his hidden from the Lowland population Lowland countrymen. But on the as it is from most of us at the present Borders, althougħ there were perhaps day, when we have not the benefit of a few impartial people in the debata translation. We have, however, able land who glimpses of the Highlands and of Highland customs in the ballads, and From England and from Scotland both,”
“ Drove the beeves that made their broth, they are curious. In looking into them, it is necessary to remember yet the staple of the plundering that the existing cordiality between fell upon the English enemy-the the Highlander and the Lowlander land of the tyrants who had endea-or, we might with more fairness youred to conquer old Scotland; and say, between the Highlander and all thus successful marauding was elethe other inhabitants of the United vated into a patriotic duty. Hence Kingdom-is a recent matter. It the feats of the Border thieves, as dates from the '45, when kindly they are discourteously called in our Scots of all accents and opinions, later acts of Parliament, are the from Dumfries to Inverness, thought theme of some of the most stirring he was cruelly entreated by Cumber- and picturesque of the descriptive land and others; and in later times
ballads. There is the exulting de--or, perhaps, it would be more dis- scription of the recapture out of Newtinct to say, since the publication of castle Jail of Jock o' the Side, of Waverley—the feeling has expanded whom Maitland saysover the United Kingdom. It can do
“ He is weel kend, Johne of the Syde, no harm now to any one to remember,
A greater thief never did ryde ; as an historical fact, that it was once He never tires, very far otherwise, and that the moun- For to break byres, taineer in his national, or rather
O’er muir and myres,
Ower gude ane guide." in his business costume, was about as unwelcome an object in the Len- It would be difficult, in any literanox or the southern declivities of the ture, to show in the same compass Braes of Angus, as an Indian in his
so rapid and effective a narrative of war-paint was at the same period, misfortune and success - of wrong when seen lurking in the vicinity of and retribution--- as the ballad of New York or Boston. The antipathy“ Jamie Telfer." One Martinmas arising from distinctions of race could night the captain of Bowcastle is not, indeed, be expected to die out, so upon him,long as Donald was enabled to in
“ And whan they cam to the fair Dodhend, practice his inveterate propensity for killing, not his own, but other peo- They loosed the kye out, ane an'a,
Right hastily they climbed the peel; ple's mutton. It was a practice in Ănd ranshackled the house right weel.