Billeder på siden

at this day of great and deserved ce- experience. I know, indeed, no other lebrity, whose early history, distin- principle on which we can explain the guished by a wonderful prematurity fact, that the pleasure of melody, even of musical taste and skill, has fortun- to a person of simple and natural taste, ately been preserved by Dr Burney.* is greatly heightened by harmony, if At the age of only eighteen months, not too intricate and multifarious. Master Crotch shewed a decided pre- May not the pleasure which is thus ference for the pleasures of music, by occasioned, bear some analogy to that deserting his playthings, and even his derived from symmetry and proporfood, to listen to it; and when only tion in visible objects, -qualities, the two years old, and unable to speak, absence of which is quickly discerned, in order to induce his father, whose even by a common eye, in objects that skill in music seems to have been very are familiar to it? limited, to play his favourite tunes, In the usual acceptation of language, the child would touch the key-note on only an agreeable succession of sounds the organ, or, if that was not enough, is called melody, and only the co-erwould play two or three of the first istence of agreeable sounds harmony. notes of the air. At the age of two An ingenious speculation, however, years and three weeks, he had taught has been proposed by Dr Franklin, in himself to play the first part of God a letter to Lord Kames, by which he Save the King on the organ. In the would resolve all melody into harmony. course of a few days he made himself The hypothesis is founded on a quality master of the treble of the second part ; ascertained to exist in our organs of and the day after attempted the bass, sense, viz. that they have the power of which he performed correctly, with retaining, for a time, any impression the exception of a single note. In a- made by an external object; in conbout two months after this period, he sequence of which, in a series of senwas able to play several passages from sations, any one impression becomes voluntaries, which had only once been intermingled with that which immeperformed in his presence, by the or- diately precedes, and with that which ganist of the cathedral at Norwich. immediately follows it. This law of About the same time, he was capable sensation, so far as it is applicable to of making a bass to any melody which the phenomena of vision, had not eshe had recently caught by his ear. At caped the sagacity of Dr Franklin; the age of only two years and a half, but it has since been more fully de he was able to distinguish, at a dis- veloped, and ingeniously illustrated, tance, and out of sight of the instru- by Dr Darwin, in his Essay on Ocular ment, any note that was struck upon Spectra.* On looking long and atit, within half a note, which, Dr Bur- tentively at a bright object, as the setney observes, is beyond the power of ting sun, and then shutting the eyes, many old and skilful performers. An- or excluding the light, an image, reother wonderfully premature attain- sembling in form the object that was ment was, his being able to transpose, contemplated, continues some time to into the most extraneous and difficult be visible. This appearance in the keys, whatever he played, and to con eye Dr Darwin calls the ocular spectrive an extemporary bass to easy me trum of the object. That a similar lodies, when performed by another power exists in the ear, is highly properson on the same instrument. From bable, since, as Dr Franklin observes, that time to the present he has con we are capable of retaining, for tinued to advance in reputation ; and some moments, a perfect idea of the is now, I believe, considered as the pitch of a past sound, so as to commost scientific musician that Great pare it with the pitch of a succeedBritain can boast.

ing sound. Thus, in tuning an inExamples of the same kind have strument, a good ear can as easily occurred in Mozart, in the two Messrs determine that two strings are in uniWesley, and in a few other persons; son, by sounding them separately, as and they would almost warrant the by sounding them together. Their conclusion, that the ear has an in- disagreement,” he adds, “ is also as stinctive power of discriminating har- easily, I believe I may say more easiinony, independently of education or ly, and better distinguished when Philosophical Transactions, lxix.

• See Darwin's Zoonomia.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

sounded separately." This ability of own families, it is in danger of falling, comparing the pitch of a present to not perhaps as in ancient Rome, inthe pitch of a past tone, is, in common to the hands of slaves, but into those language, ascribed to the memory; but of professional performers only. It Dr Franklin distinctly expresses his has become painful to the young and belief, that it depends on a property the diffident to incur the risk of disof the ear, similar to that which exists gusting that fastidiousness of taste, in the eye; and on this principle he which cannot be gratified, unless difexplains the sense of harmony between ficulties of execution are overcome, present and past sounds, in which, ac- that may display the skill of the percording to his theory, much of the former, but can never touch the feelpleasure of melody consists.

ings of the heart. If any proof were The gratification derived from the wanting of the superior charms of simmore complicated productions of har- ple music over harmony thus complimony, it can scarcely be doubted, is cated, it might be furnished by what to be explained on entirely different every person must have observed at principles from that which arises either public musical performances. At these, from the simple strains of melody, or intricate pieces of music are often listfrom harmony, in which the expres- ened to with general langour and apsion of the melody predominates. Me- athy, till the introduction of a popular lody appears to be an universal lan- melody, harmonized with taste and guage, addressing itself to the heart, forbearance, awakens the dormant feeland powerfully exciting its affections ings of every hearer, and calls forth and sympathies. But to enjoy the one universal expression of delight. more elaborate productions of harmo This effect is sometimes produced by ny, a refinement of taste is necessary, a melody new to the audience, and inattainable only by great cultivation, capable, therefore, of exciting the feeland enhanced by a knowledge of the ings, through the medium of establishprinciples of music as a science. The ed associations. pleasure excited in a person thus ac There is one subject, connected complished, resembles that of a painter, with the theory of the effects of muwho, in examining a picture, is capable sic, on which I should have hazarded of discovering both faults and beauties, a few remarks, if this paper had not in design and in colouring, that escape already attained too great a length, the eye of a spectator, who may yet be -I mean the moral influence of mudeeply affected by the general expres- sic. Whether music has, or has sion of the performance,

not, a tendency favourable to virtue, From this point begins the progress is an inquiry of considerable importof luxurious refinement in music, by ance, and one, for the investigation which, whatever it may have gained of which we are not without some in the estimation of the adept, has data. Examples have been collectbeen lost, and more than lost, by be- ed by writers on this subject, in reaving it of its natural charms. It which there appears to have been a has been found necessary to excite en- connexion between a national attachjoyment by the expedient of perpetual ment to music, and purity of national novelty, and by substituting surprise, character. Facts of this kind, howat the skill of the performer, for that ever, scarcely justify, to the full exsimple pleasure which has its origin tent, the inferences which have been in the best affections of our nature. drawn from them ; not only because it Hence the ear has been palled with may reasonably be doubted whether harmony, and our public performances the taste -for music has not been the of music have often been rendered irk- consequence, rather than the cause of some and disgusting, to all persons of general refinement of manners and conuncorrupted taste, by compositions duct, but because national character is destitute of expression and character, founded on so many circumstances, and incapable of exciting emotion. that nothing is more difficult than to Another evil, arising from this sacri- distinguish between what has been fice of meaning to the display of skill, essential to its production, and what is, that music is every day becoming has been adventitious. Authority, an attainment of greater difficulty, therefore, which would at once deand that from being the enjoyment of cide the question in the affirmative, our social hours, in the bosoms of our must be received in this case with Vol. I.


great hesitation. It is perhaps taking to observe so noted a family as the firmer ground, to argue from the con Marshals altogether omitted. I beg stitution of our nature, that whatever leave to add, that your author will be is capable of exciting emotion may be considered either a very ignorant, or a applied to a moral purpose; but it is very partial historian, by all the readers for the moral influence of simple and and critics in the extensive districts of expressive music only, that I feel dis- Galloway and Ayrshire, if he persists posed to prefer this claim. Between in passing over in silence the distingreat refinement of musical taste, and guished family of Billy Marshal, and purity of life and conduct, there ap- its numerous cadets. I cannot say that pears unfortunately to be no necessary I, as an individual, owe any obligations union ; for we too often find the form to the late Billy Marshal; but, sir, I er combined with the most sensual

am one of an old family in the stewand profligate habits. It would not artry of Galloway, with whom Billy be more unjust, however, to charge was intimate for nearly a whole cena this accidental coincidence upon music tury. He visited regularly, twice aas a defect, than it would be to impute year, my great-grandfather, grand-fato painting, or to poetry, that those ther, and father, and partook, I dare noble arts have been sometimes em say, of their hospitality : but he made ployed in inflaming the most licentious a grateful and ample return; for durpassions. In minds early trained to ing all the days of Billy's natural life, the practice of what is estimable in which the sequel will shew not to conduct and in principle, there can be have been few, the washings could little doubt that cultivation of taste have been safely left out all night, sheds a favourable influence over the without any thing, from a sheet or a moral judgment, and gives birth to a tablecloth down to a dishclout, being delicacy of sentiment, which

in any danger. During that long pe" Aids and strengthens Virtue where it riod of time, there never was a goose, meets her, turkey, duck, or hen, taken away,

but And imitates her actions where she is not.”

what could have been clearly traced to W. H.

the fox, the brock, or the fumart; and I have heard an old female do

mestic of ours declare, that she had SOME ACCOUNT OF BILLY MARSHAL, known Billy Marshal and his gang,

again and again, mend all the “ kettles,

pans, and crackit pigs, in the house, MR EDITOR,

and make twa or three dozen o' horn Among some instructive and many spoons into the bargain, and never tak very entertaining articles in your Ma a farthing o' the laird's siller." I am gazine, I have been a good deal amused sorry that I cannot give you any very in reading your account of the gypsies, minute history of my hero: however, and more particularly of the gypsies I think it a duty I owe on account of of our own country. The race has my family, not to allow, as far as I certainly degenerated (if I may be al can hinder it, the memory, and name, lowed to use the expression), and is of so old a friend and benefactor to fali in some risk of becoming extinct, into oblivion, when such people as the whether to the advantage of society Faas and Baileys, &c. are spoken of. or not I will leave to the profound to Where he was born I cannot tell. determine. In the mean time, I am Who were his descendants I cannot very well pleased that you have united tell ; I am sure he could not do it with the anonymous author of Guy himself, if he were living. It is known Mannering, in recording the existence, that they were prodigiously numerous ; the manners, and the customs, of this I dare say, numberless. For a great wonderful people.

part of his long life, he reigned with But, I have been, I assure you, sovereign sway over a numerous and in no small degree disappointed, when powerful gang of gypsey tinkers, who reading the names of the Faas, the took their range over Carrick in AyrBaileys, the Gordons, the Shaws, the shire, the Carrick mountains, and over Browns, the Keiths, the Kennedys, the stewartry and shire of Galloway ; the Ruthvens, the Youngs, the Taits, and now and then, by way of improvthe Douglasses, the Blythes, the Al- ing themselves, and seeing more of lans, and the Montgomeries, &c.- the world, they crossed at Donagh


adee, and visited the counties of Down usurpation, he was placed at the head and Derry. I am not very sure about of that mighty people in the south west, giving you up Meg Merrilies quite so whom he governed with equal prudence easily; I have reason to think, she was and talent for the long space of eighty a Marshal, and not a Gordon: and we or ninety years. Some of his admirers folks in Galloway think this attempt assert, that he was of royal ancestry, of the Borderers, to rob us of Meg and that he succeeded by the laws of Merrilies, no proof that they have be- hereditary succession ; but no regular come quite so religious and pious, as annals of Billy's house were kept, and your author would have us to believe, oral tradition and testimony weigh heabut rather that, with their religion and vily against this assertion. From any piety, they still retain some of their research I have been able to make, Í ancient habits. We think this attempt am strongly disposed to think, that, in to deprive us of Meg Merrilies almost this crisis of his life, Billy Marshal as bad as that of the descendants of had been no better than Julius Cæsar, the barbarous Picts, now inhabiting Richard III., Oliver Cromwell, Hyder the banks of the Dee in Aberdeen- Ally, or Napoleon Bonaparte: I do shire, who some years ago attempted not mean to say, that he waded through to run off with the beautiful lyric of as much blood as some of those, to Mary's Dream ; and which we were seat himself on a throne, or to grasp under the necessity of proving, in at the diadem and sceptre ; but it was one of the courts of Apollo, to be shrewdly suspected, that Billy Marthe effusion of Low's muse, on the shal had stained his character and his classic and romantic spot, situated at hands with human blood. His predethe conflux of the Dee and the Ken, cessor died very suddenly, it never was in the stewartry of Galloway. But to supposed by his own hand, and he was return from this digression to Billy buried as privately about the foot of Marshal :- I will tell you every thing Cairnsmuir, Craig Nelder, or the Corse more about him I know; hoping this of Slakes, without the ceremony, or, may catch the eye of some one who perhaps more properly speaking, the knew him better, and who will tell benefit of a precognition being taken,

or an inquest held by a coroner's jury. Billy Marshal's account of himself During this long reign, he and his folwas this: he was born in or about the lowers were not outdone in their exyear 1666; but he might have been ploits, by any of the colonies of Kirkmistaken as to the exact year of his Yetholm, Horncliff

, Spital, or Lochbirth; however, the fact never was maben. The following anecdote will doubted, of his having been a private convey a pretty correct notion, of what soldier in the army of King William, kind of personage Billy was, in the at the battle of the Boyne. It was evening of his life; as for his early also well known, that he was a private days, I really know nothing more of in some of the British regiments, them than what I have already told. which served under the great Duke of The writer of this, in the month of Marlborough in Germany, about the May 1789, had returned to Galloway year 1705. But at this period, Billy's after a long absence : he soon learned military career in the service of his that Billy Marshal, of whom he had country ended.

About this time he heard so many tales in his childhood, went to his commanding officer, one was still in existence. Upon one ocof the M‘Guffogs of Ruscoe, a very old casion he went to Newton-Stewart, family in Galloway, and asked him if with the late Mr M‘Culloch of Barhe had any commands for his native holm and the late Mr Hannay of Barcountry: being asked if there was any galy, to dine with Mr Samuel M'Caul. opportunity, he replied, yes ; he was Billy Marshall then lived at the hamgoing to Keltonhill fair, having for let or clachan of Polnure, a spot beausome years made it a rule never to be tifully situated on the burn or stream absent. His officer knowing his man, of that name: we called on our old thought it needless to take any very hero,-he was at home,--he never strong measure to hinder him; and denied himself--and soon appeared ; Billy was at Keltonhill accordingly. -he walked slowly, but firmly to

Now Billy's destinies placed him wards the carriage, and asked Mr Han- , in a high sphere ; it was about this nay, who was a warm friend of his, period, that, either electively, or by how he was ?-Mr Hannay asked if

you more.

he knew who was in the carriage ? he ours, wi' the lock siller we had gi’en answered, that his eyes

" had failed them.” I shook hands with him for him a gude dale ;" but added, that he the last time,-he then called himself saw his friend Barholm, and that he above one hundred and twenty years of could see a youth sitting betwixt them, age: he died about 1790. His great whom he did not know. I was intro age never was disputed to the extent duced, and had a gracious shake of his of more than three or four years. hand. He told me I was setting out in The oldest people in the country allife, and admonished me to tak care lowed the account to be correct.o my han', and do naething to dis- The great-grandmother of the writer honor the gude stock o' folk that I of this article died at the advanced was come o";" he added, that I was the age of one hundred and four; her age fourth generation of us he had been was correctly known. She said, that acquaint wi'. Each of us paid a small Wull Marshal was a man when she pecuniary tribute of respect,-) at was a bitt callant, (provincially, in tempted to add to mine, but Barholm Galloway, a very young girl.) She told me, he had fully as much as had no doubt as to his being fifteen would be put to a good use. We were or sixteen years older than herself, returning the same way, betwixt ten and he survived her several years. and eleven at night, after spending a His long reign, if not glorious, was in pleasant day, and taking a cheerful the main fortunate for himself and glass with our friend Mr M'Caul; we his people. Only one eat calamity were descending the beautifully wood- befel him and them, during that long ed hills, above the picturesque glen space of time in which he held the reins of Polnure,--my two companions were of government. It may have been alnapping,--the moon shone clear,--and ready suspected, that with Billy Marall nature was quiet, excepting Pol- shal ambition was a ruling passion; nure burn, and the dwelling of Billy and this bane of human fortune had Marshal,--the postillion stopt (in these stimulated in him a desire to extend parts the well-known, and well-liked his dominions, from the Brigg end of Johnny Whurk), and turning round Dumfries to the Newton of Ayr, at a with a voice which indicated terror, time when he well knew the Braes of he said, “ Gude guide us, there's folk Glen-Nap, and the Water of Doon, to singing psalms in the wud!My be his western precinct. He reached companions awoke and listened, -Bar- the Newton of Ayr, which I believe is holm said, psalms, sure enough;" in Kyle; but there he was opposed, but Bargaly said, “ the deil a-bit o' and compelled to recross the river, by them are psalms. We went on, and a powerful body of tinkers from Ara stopt again at the door of the old gyle or Dumbarton. He said, in his king: we then heard Billy go through bulletins, that they were supported by a great many stanzas of a song, in strong bodies of Irish sailors, and Kyle such a way that convinced us that colliers. Billy had no artillery, but his memory and voice, had, at any his cavalry and infantry suffered very rate, not failed him ; he was joined severely. He was obliged to leave a by a numerous and powerful chorus. great part of his baggage, provisions, It is quite needless to be so minute and camp equipage, behind him; conas to give any account of the song sisting of kettles, pots, pans, blankets, which Billy sung; it will be enough crockery, horns, pigs, poultry, &c. to say, that my friend Barholm was A large proportion of shelties, asses, completely wrong, in supposing it to and mules, were driven into the water be a psalm ; it resembled in no par- and drowned, which occasioned a heavy ticular, psalm, paraphrase, or hymn. loss, in creels, panniers, hampers, We called him out again,--he appear- tinkers’ tools, and cooking utensils ; ed much brisker than he was in the and although he was as well appointmorning: we advised him to go to ed, as to a medical staff, as such exbed; but he replied, that “ he didna peditions usually were, in addition think he wad be muckle in his bed that to those who were missing, many died night,—they had to tak the country in of their wounds. However, on reachthe morning (meaning, that they were ing Maybole with his broken and disto begin a ramble over the country), pirited troops, he was joined by a and that they were just takin a wee faithful ally from the county of Down; drap drink to the health of our hon who, unlike other allies on such occa

« ForrigeFortsæt »