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This air is by Oswald.
BLYTHE WAS SHE.
I COMPOSED these verses while I stayed at Ochtertyre with Sir William Murray. The lady, who was also at Ochtertyre at the same time, was the well-known toast, Miss Euphemia Murray of Lentrose, who was called, and very justly, The Flower of Strathmore.
Blythe, blythe and merry was she,
By Oughtertyre grows the aik,
Her looks were like a flow'r in May,
Her bonie face it was as meek
The Highland hills I've wander'd wide,
This song and air are both by Dr. Blacklock; the song is in the manner of Shenstone.
JOHNY FAA, OR THE GYPSIE LADDIE.
The people in Ayrshire begin this song
The gypsies cam to my Lord Cassilis' yett.
They have a great many more stanzas in this song than I ever yet saw in any printed copy.*
* The Editor gives this verse as a specimen :
My ladie's skin, like the driven snaw,
Looked through her satin cleedin',
It like a rose did redden.
As it had been observed, that neighbouring tradition strongly vouched for the truth of the story upon which this ballad is founded, Mr. Finlay, with a laudable curiosity, resolved to make the necessary inquiries, the result of which, without much variation, he published in his “Scottish Ballads," and is as follows:
“ That the Earl of Cassilis had married a nobleman's daughter contrary to her wishes, she having been previously engaged to another; but that the persuasion and importunity of her friends at last brought her to consent: That Sir John Faw, of Dunbar, her former lover, seizing the opportunity of the Earl's absence on a foreign embassy, disguised himself and a number of his retainers as gypsies, and carried off the lady, 'nothing loth :' That the Earl having returned opportunely at the time of the commission of the act, and nowise inclined to participate in his
The castle is still remaining at Maybole, where his lordship shut up his wayward spouse, and kept her for life.
The gypsies came to our good lord's gate
And wow but they sang sweetly;
That down came the fair ladie.
consort's ideas on the subject, collected his vassals, and, pursued the lady and her paramour to the borders of England, where, having overtaken them, a battle ensued, in which Faw and his followers were all killed or taken prisoners, excepting one,
the meanest of them all, Who lives to weep and sing their fall.
“ It is by this survivor that the ballad is supposed to have been written. The Earl, on bringing back the fair fugitive, banished her a mensa et thora, and, it is said, confined her for life in a tower at the village of Maybole, in Ayrshire, built for the purpose; and, that nothing might remain about this tower unappropriated to its original destination, eight heads, carved in stone, below one of the turrets, are said to be the effigies of so many of the gypsies. The lady herself, as well as the survivor of Faw's followers, contributed to perpetuate the remembrance of the transaction ; for if he wrote a song about it, she wrought it in tapestry; and this piece of workmanship is still preserved at
And she came tripping down the stair,
And a' her maids before her ;
They coost the glamer o'er her.
“ Gar tak fra me this gay mantile,
And bring to me a plaidie;
I'll follow the gypsie laddie.
“ Yestreen I lay in a well-made bed,
And my good lord beside me;
Whatever shall betide me.”
Culzean Castle. It remains to be mentioned, that the ford, by which the lady and her lover crossed the river Doon from a wood Dear Cassilis-house, is still denominated the Gypsies' Steps.
“ There seems to be no reason for identifying the hero with Johnie Faa, who was king of the gypsies about the year 1590. The coincidence of names, and the disguise assumed by the lover, is perhaps the foundation ou which popular tradition has raised the structure. Upon authority so vague, nothing can be assumed; and indeed I am inclined to adopt the opinion of a correspondent, that the whole story may have been the inven. tion of some feudal or political rival, to injure the character and hurt the feelings of an opponent; at least, after a pretty diligent search, I have been able to discover nothing that in the slightest degree confirms the popular tale."