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me for worse things to come.

However, worse

things did not come that morning, for we dined soon after out of our own wallets; and though our inn stood in a place of the most frightful solitude, and the best formed for the habitation of monks (who once possessed it) in the world, yet we made a cheerful meal. The novelty of the thing gave me spirits, and the air gave me appetite much keener than the knife I ate with. We had our music too; for there came in a harper, who soon drew about us a group of figures that Hogarth would have given any price for. The harper was in his true place and attitude; a man and woman stood before him, singing to his instrument wildly, but not disagreeably; a little dirty child was playing with the bottom of the harp; a woman in a sick night-cap hanging over the stairs; a boy with crutches fixed in a staring attention, and a girl carding wool in the chimney, and rocking a cradle with her naked feet, interrupted in her business by the charms of the music; all ragged and dirty, and all silently attentive. These figures gave us a most entertaining picture, and would please you or any man of observation; and one reflection gave me a particular comfort, that the assembly before us demonstrated that even here the influential sun warmed poor

mortals, and inspired them with love and


I could wish that Mr. Wilkie had been recommended to take this group as the subject of his admirable pencil; he has painted a picture of Bathsheba instead.

In speaking of the old Scotch ballads, I need do no more than mention the name of Auld Robin Gray.' The effect of reading this old ballad1 is as if all our hopes and fears hung upon the last fibre of the heart, and we felt that giving way. What silence, what loneli

ness, what leisure for grief and despair!

'My father pressed me sair,

Though my mother did na' speak;

But she looked in my face

Till my heart was like to break.'

The irksomeness of the situations, the sense of painful dependence, is excessive; and yet the sentiment of deep-rooted, patient affection triumphs over all, and is the only impression that remains. Lady Ann Bothwell's Lament' is not, I think, quite equal to the lines beginning:

1 One of the numerous imitations of the old minstrelsy. This celebrated production is now generally believed to have proceeded from the pen of Lady Ann Barnard. ED.

'O waly waly up yon bank,

And waly waly down yon brae,
And waly by yon river's side,
Where I and my Love wont to gael
Waly waly, gin love be bonny
A little while when it is new;
But when 't is auld, it waxes cauld,
And wears awa' like morning dew.

'I leant my back unto an aik,

I thought it was a trusty tree;
But first it bowed, and syne it brake,
And sae did my fause Love to me.
Whan cockle-shells turn siller bells,
And mussels grow on every tree,
Whan frost and snaw sall warm us a',
Then sall my Love prove true to me.

'Now Arthur-seat sall be my bed,

The sheets sall ne'er be fy'l'd by me : Saint Anton's well sall be my drink, Since my true Love has forsaken me. Marti'mas wind, when wilt thou blaw, And shake the green leaves aff the tree? O gentle Death, when wilt thou come, And take a life that wearies me?

"T is not the frost, that freezes fell,

Nor blawing snaw's inclemensey; 'Tis not sic cauld, that makes me cry,

But my Love's heart grown cauld to me. Whan we came in by Glasgow town,

We were a comely sight to see,
My Love was clad in the black velvet,
And I myself in cramasie.


'But had I wist, before I kist,

That love had been sae ill to win,
I'd lockt my heart in a case of gowd,
And pinn'd it with a siller pin.
Oh! if my younge babe were born,
And set upon the nurse's knee,
And I mysel were dead and gone,
For a maid again I'll never be !'1

The finest modern imitation of this style is the Braes of Yarrow; '2 and perhaps the finest subject for a story of the same kind in any modern book is that, told in Turner's History of England, of a Mahometan woman who, having fallen in love with an English merchant, the father of Thomas à Becket, followed him all the way to England, knowing only the word London, and the name of her lover, Gilbert.

But to have done with this, which is rather too serious a subject. The old English ballads are of a gayer and more lively turn. They are adventurous and romantic, but they relate chiefly to good living and good fellowship, to drinking and hunting scenes. Robin Hood is the chief of these, and he still, in imagination, haunts Sherwood Forest. The archers green glimmer under the waving branches; the print


1 Maidment's 'Scottish Songs and Ballads,' 1868, ii. - ED.

2 By William Hamilton, of Bangour. — ED.

on the grass remains where they have just finished their noontide meal under the greenwood tree; and the echo of their bugle-horn and twanging bows resounds through the tangled mazes of the forest, as the tall slim deer glances startled by.

'The trees in Sherwood Forest are old and good;
The grass beneath them now is dimly green:
Are they deserted all? Is no young mien,
With loose-slung bugle, met within the wood?
No arrow found - foiled of its antlered food.

Struck in the oak's rude side? Is there nought


To mark the revelries which there have been,
In the sweet days of merry Robin Hood?

'Go there with summer, and with evening; go
In the soft shadows, like some wand'ring man,
And thou shalt far amid the forest know
The archer-men in green, with belt and bow,
Feasting on pheasant, river-fowl, and swan,
With Robin at their head, and Marian.'1

1 Sonnet on Sherwood Forest, by J. H. Reynolds, Esq.

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