Слике страница
PDF
ePub

slight, with the assistance of the tide young female islanders on board. They we got on at the rate of three knots evidently suffered from this scourge an hour.

of travellers by sea, but they exhibitNot many ships in sight, but I per- ed their sufferings as elegantly as posceived one that looked very large com- sible. It is dangerous, however, for a ing up the channel. I asked the cap- view-hunter to meddle with this species tain if he thought it a ship of war of the picturesque, and though he canHe said,--0! not very large. It may not entirely escape seeing, he can be be a West Indiaman. As we neared prudent and say nothing. One accieach other, its size became more con- dent, for the advantage of future beaux, spicuous, and the captain said it might may be recorded. be a frigate. It was so evidently com- Å beau about sixteen, who was ing across our way, that I feared, from bound with his father and sisters from the slightness of the breeze, we might Dover, on a trip of pleasure to Calais, get foul of each other. The steers- was very qualmish. He lay with his man had no such fear, for he kept head upon the edge of the gunwale. steadily on his course. She was now This appeared to me, as well as to seen to be a two decker. Counted, I his father, to place his hat in rather a think, fifteen guns on her lower deck. dangerous predicament. His father The captain then pronounced her to spoke to him about it, but he was so be a 74, which was most probably qualmish that he did not attend to the working her way to Sheerness to be advice. At length, from some motion paid off.

in the vessel, over went his hat. He She passed a-head of us, within 2- contrived to raise himself, and called bout 100 yards. Every particle of sail out to stop the vessel. This produced was set, and she presented a spectacle a laugh. Our young beau looked after equally beautiful and grand. I had his chapeau (which had lately cost often wished to see a line of battle twenty-five shillings), as it tilted over ship in full array, and now I was gra- the waves, with a mixture of vexation tified to the utmost of my wish. As and sickness; a kind of indolent reshe passed we took off our hats and gret. It was a study for a painter. huzzaed. We saw the officers and There was a smile on most other men very distinctly. When she had countenances. He at length twisted advanced about 3 or 400 yards I his handerchief round his head, and heard the boatswain's whistle, and saw laid the said head down exactly where the men on the round top in motion. it was before. A memento to careless. In a .ew seconds she was about on her ness, as his father justly said, and a tack. This gave me two or three new punishment for obstinacy in not takviews of a 74 under sail. Every view ing prudent advice. The whole formwas beautiful, grand, and picturesque. ed a fine subject for that unrivalled Not an eye upon our deck but was painter after nature, Wilkie. turned towards her, though few of the At length obtained a glimpse of the spectators seemed to share fully in my steeple at Calais right a-head. The enthusiasm. The beauty of the day, country to the west is hilly and green, and the calmness, added to the agree- but naked, being without wood and ableness of the sight. I said instinct- apparently houses. The atmosphere ively, I am satisfied. I have sometimes over Calais was charged with black thought, that I am rather lucky as a watery-looking clouds, which shed an view-hunter.

- unpleasing gloom over the landscape, A breeze sprung up. Got on about while on turning our eyes back to six knots an hour. The white cliffs of Dover, we saw the sky clear and the Albion began now visibly to recede, sun shining brightly. The British and those of France as visibly to ap- landscape thus assumed a more vivid proach. The latter also are white and appearance of gaiety from the dark chalky along the coast towards Bou, scowling scene before us. This was logne, but not so high. We had some so contrary to all the fancies we have sickness, and the unpleasing symptoms had sported about the skies and climate of it; but, from the wind being fair of the two countries, that I began to as well as gentle, the exhibitions of query, whether I should not find a the packet-picturesque were, I believe, good deal of the common ideas, as much below par either for variety or im- usual, drawn more from imagination pressiveness. We had several very fine or prejudice than from facts,

The tide failed us, and we were ob- their sail and taken their places, were liged to come to anchor about half a quiet and civil. They did not seem mile to the east of the mole. We to be too fond of working; and the made our passage in about four hours. tide ebbing strongly down the inside We had seen a number of boats push- of the mole, a number of men upon it ing from the harbour, and we were took us in tow. told it was for us they were labouring This mole is of a considerable length. out. We soon found the information As we were drawn slowly up to the correct. Five or six came round the harbour, I took a comparing look vessel. All the crews seemed as if in around me; and I confess this first a hostile fury, and made a hideous survey did not elevate my ideas. It noise. This being my first visit to might be mere fancy, but the gate of France, of course I was more atten. Britain, Dover, seemed to me to inditive to making observations, and every cate a flourishing country, while the thing impressed me more strongly from gate of France, Calais, appeared to foreits novelty. These boats appeared old, token a country rather in a stationary dirty, and uncomfortable. Nor did if not a decaying condition. they inspire the idea of safety at all. On touching land we were sur. The men were not more prepossessing rounded by a host of porters, each ate They were stout, but not well-looking. tempting to carry off part of the lug, They were all in a bustle and confu- gage. I expected never to have seen sion, working, as it were, against each a particle of mine again. This affair other, without judgment. There seem- might easily be better managed in ed to be no master, or rather all seem- France. The boats should all land at ed to be masters. They were as fu- one place, and an officer acquainted riously busy as angry bees; but the re- with the British language, with a soldier salt did not correspond with the ap- or two to keep the rabble of porters pearance of labour. I did not much back till things were adjusted, and it like trusting myself with thern ; for was ascertained which articles were, and though there was not much wind there which were not, to be taken to the was a little surf.

searching-house. He would also quiet The confusion and bustle in the the apprehensions of the passengers, by boats seemed to have communicated informing them how they were to prothemselves to the packet. All wanted ceed. But, as we found it, the whole was to get their luggage at once. There a mass of noise and confusion. Every was nothing for some minutes but run- one was speaking, pushing, defending ving against each other and bawling. his luggage against the porters, and After having sung out till I was tired, uncertain what to do. Nor did the I at length obtained my portmanteau, gendarme, who received us on the and got into the rickety boat with steps, show any disposition to assist us about a dozen more. We sat down, by giving us information. He confinpretty closely stowed, on wet seats, ed his speaking to merely asking for with our feet on large wet stones. Af our passports. ter a good deal of bawling and bustle, I at length quitted the boat with on the part of the crew, we pushed above half-a-dozen of porters, one car. from the ship.

rying my portmanteau, one my sac de The boatman who appeared to take nuit, a third my great coat, and a the lead, if there was any master or fourth my umbrella, while three or servant among them, had a strongly four more followed pestering me to marked countenance. The sentinel give them something to carry; and, as that appears as if hung in a chain, in I moved onward, I still kept a sharp eye Hogarth's Gate of Calais, was a beauty upon my French baggage-bearers. Near to him. On seeing him, I thought to the searching-house, I met a British myself, that those caricature prints of looking man, who asked me in English the French face with us are in reality if I came from the Paris hotel at Dover. not caricature. But I gradually changed This I afterwards found to be Mr my opinion the more I saw of France. Maurice, the master of the hotel to I do not recollect meeting with such which I was going. He sent off & another countenance through the whole young man with me, and said the bagof my tour. Though no beauty, he gage would be perfectly safe. I still, seemed rather good natured. Indeed however, kept now and then looking all the rest, after they had hoisted behind with some apprehension. Had

I then known the French honesty in subject, were of opinion, that those these points, I should have been quite wild, yet pathetic and melodious at my ease.

strains,—those fine breathings and I had long neglected my French, heartfelt touches in our songs, which and I was very rusty in it. I resolved, true genius can alone express, were however, to use it on every occasion. bewildered and utterly lost in a noisy But that language sinks so many let. accompaniment of instruments. iu ters in pronunciation, while the natives their opinion, the full chords of a speak this shortened dialect with such thorough bass ought to be used sparapidity, that it is extremely difficult ringly and with judgment, not to overfor a foreigner at first to follow them. power, but to support and strengthen In vain I said doucement, doucement, the voice at proper pauses : that the parlez doucement. They all hurried air itself should be first played over, on as fast as ever, and I was still left by way of symphony or introduction in the lurch. The French pronuncia- to the song; and at the close of every tion may be said to be a short-hand stanza, a few bars of the last part of with respect to the spelling.

the melody should be repeated, as a I soon found the inconvenience of relief to the voice, which it gracefully not being able to understand them. It sets off: that the performer, however, was in vain I contrived to ask a ques- ought to be left entirely at liberty to tion. They seem by no means to be vary the symphonic accompaniment a quick people in conceiving your according to his own judgment, skill, meaning. In this point I found them fancy, and taste: that he ought not to far inferior to our own people. I did, be cramped or confined by written however, generally succeed in making symphonies, which, although contrived them comprehend me; but, from their with every possible ingenuity and art, short-hand pronunciation, I could not become, by frequent repetition, equally understand them. I was therefore at dull, uniform, and insipid, as if they a great loss, and, at first, not a little were immutably fixed on a barrel oruncomfortable.

gan. In their opinion, a Scottish song On reaching the hotel I was left to admits of no cadence or capricious shift for myself. I found my way to descant at the close of the tune, though the box-office, and I contrived to ascer- a fine shake, which can easily be ac. tain, that, as I was a passenger all quired by a little practice at an early through, I might, if I chose, set off period, when the vocal organs are that evening at seven. I did choose young and flexible, forms an excellent this, and now I became anxious to re- embellishment. cover my passport in timc.

“ A Scottish song thus performed," says Mr Tytler," is among the high, est entertainments to a musical genius.

An artist on the violin may display JOHNSON'S SCOTS MUSICAL MUSEUM. the magic of his fingers, in running

from the top to the bottom of the MR EDITOR,

finger-board in various intricate caOBSERVING a reference to Johnson's pricios, which, at most, will only exMusical Museum in the “ Remarks cite surprise ; while a very middling on the Humour of Ancient Scottish performer of taste and feeling, in a Songs," I beg leave to send you a short subject that admits of the pathos, will account of that valuable repository of touch the heart in its finest sensations. the lyric poetry and music of Scotland. Genius and feeling, however, are not

The plan of the work was originally confined to country or climate. A suggested to Mr James Johnson, music maid at her spinning wheel, who knew engraver in Edinburgh, by the late not a note of music, with a sweet voice William Tytler of Woodhouselee, Esq. and the force of a native genius, has and the Rev. Dr Thomas Blacklock. oft drawn tears from my eyes. That The former wrote an excellent disser- gift of Heaven, in short, is not to be tation on Scottish music, and the lat- defined-it can only be felt." ter was well known and esteemed as a The plan of publishing our Scottish most worthy man and an ingenious songs in this simple, elegant, and poet.

chaste manner, was highly approved With regard to Scottish songs, these of by the late Mr Stephen Clarke, gentlemen, both good judges of the This celebrated organist and musician

readily agreed to select, arrange, and posed a very great number himself, harmonize the whole of the melodies; expressly for that work, which are a task which, from his brilliant genius, admitted to be the finest productions fine taste, and profound scientific of his lyric muse. Burns was quite at knowledge, he was eminently qualified home in composing for the Museum. to perform. Johnson, on his part, He seldom, indeed, altered one line, undertook to engrave all the plates or even a single word, of any thing carefully with his own hands. A that he wrote for the work, after it work was therefore to be expected, was once committed to paper. Johnwhich, on the one hand, would open son, though a good engraver, was, a far more wide and extensive range happily for our baru, neither an ama. ainid the flowers of Caledonian music teur nor a critic: the songs which and poetry than had ever before been Burns wrote for this work, tberefore, atteinpted, and all this, too, at a were the genuine, warm, and unfetcharge so moderate as to be within tered effusions of his fertile muse. He the reach of every lover of native also furnished many charming original song ; whilst, on the other hand, melodies, collected by himself in va. the Museum itself, from the com- rious parts of Scotland, which, but for bination of such talents, would in- him, would in all probability have deed be creditable to Scotland as a been utterly lost or forgotten. Indeed, national work : nor was this expecta- from the month of December 1786, tion disappointed. Whilst the first down to the period of his death in volume of the work was yet in pro- July 1796, Burns was almost the sole gress, the publisher had the good for- editor of the poetical department of tune to become acquainted with Burns, the Museum. Nor did his zeal and who had come to Edinburgh for the wishes for its success seem to diminish, purpose of superintending the printing even at the approach of death. In a of a new edition of his Poems, about letter which he wrote to Johnson on to be published in that city. Burns the 4th of July 1796, only serenteen no sooner saw the nature and scope of days before his decease, he thus ex. the Museum, than he became its best presses himself: “How are you, my proinoter and firmest support. He dear friend? and how comes on your entered at once into the views of the fifth volume? Let me hear from you publisher, with that disinterestedness as soon as convenient. Your work is of friendship and ardency of zeal so a great one; and now that it is nearly eminently conspicuous in the character finished, I see, if we were to begin of this grcat bard. In a letter to Vr again, two or three things that might Candlish, he says, “ I am engaged in be mended; yet I will venture to assisting an honest Scots enthusiast prophesy, that to future ages your (meaning Jolinson), a friend of mine, publication will be the text book and who is an engraver, and has taken it standard of Scottish song and music.into his head to publish a collection of Our lamented poet lived to see the all our songs set to musie, of which first, second, third, fourth, and the the words and music are done by greater part of the fifth volume of the Scotsmen. This, you will easily guess, Museum finished. He had even fur. is an undertaking exactly to my taste. nished Johnson with materials almost I have collected, begged, borrowed, sufficient to complete the sixth volume, and stolen, all the songs I could meet which was published after the poet's with. Pompey's Ghost, words and death. music, I beg from you immediately, At an early period of the work, to go into his second number: the Burns, in a letter to Johnson, comfirst is already published. I shall shew municated a plan which he thought yon the first number when I see you would tend much to gratify the purin Glasgow, which will be in a fort. chasers of the Museum, and even ennight or less. Do be so kind as send hance the value of the work. “ Give," me the song in a day or two: you can says he, “a copy of the Museum to not imagine how much it will oblige my worthy friend Mr Peter Hill,

bookseller, to bind for me, interleaved During the further progress of the with blank leaves, exactly as he did Museuin, Burns not only supplied the the Laird of Glenriddel's, that I may publisher with various songs collected insert every anecdote I can learn, totrom his friends, but likewise come gether with my own criticisms and

me.

remarks on the songs. A copy of this rials for assisting them to complete kind I will leave with you, to publish their work. I have seen a considerat some after period, by way of making able part of his manuscript, and have the Museum a book famous to the end been permitted to take some extracts of time, and you renowned for ever." from it, which I now present to your Johnson immediately sent him an readers.

SCOTUS. interleaved copy; and upon mention

& Soco 66. ing the improvement that had been

Guilderoy. suggested by the bard to Dr Blacklock, “ This song is improperly titled in JohnMr Tytler, and some other of his son's Museum. It should have been called, friends in Edinburgh, they unani- "Ah, Chloris, could I now but sit,' to the mously approved of the measure, and tune of Guilderoy. The tender and pathetic agreed to communicate to Burns all stanzas in the Museum were composed by the anecdotes and remarks they could the Right Honourable Duncan Forbes. Lord collect respecting the national songs of

President of the Court of Session in Scot. Scotland.

land, about the year 1710. They were ad. Some progress was accord dressed to Miss Mary Rose, the elegant and ingly made in this new departinent; accomplished daughter of Hugh Rosc, Esq. but in consequence of the death of Mr of Kilravock. To this lady, with wliom he Tytler, Dr Blacklock, Mr Masterton, had been acquainted from her infancy, he Mr Clarke, Mr Burns, and, last of all, was afterwards united in marriage. She of the publisher himself, it was never bore him one son, who was his heir and brought to a conclusion. What had successor ; but Mrs Forbes did not long been done, however, was given to the

survive this event. His Lordship, however,

remained a widower from that time till his public in the voluine entitled, “Re

decease, which happened on the 10th of liques of Robert Burns,” edited by the Decemb

December 1747, in the sixty-third year of late Vir Cromek.

his age. His remains were interred in the The Museum is unquestionably by Greyfriars' church-yard. far the most extensive and valuable " It is not a little curious that Ritson collection of Scottish songs that has places the song, " Ah, Chloris,' at the head ever been published. Each of the six of his collection of English songs, and obvolumes contains a hundred melodies,

serves, that he never heard of its having with a still greater nuinber of songs,

been set to music. Perhaps it did not at

" that time occur to him, that a Scotchman to which they are adapted. Besides

might be able to write very good English, those beautiful songs which appear in or that every person of musical taste, froin other collections, the Museum presents Berwick to Johnny Groat's House, could us with many ancicnt Scottish ballads, have set him right with regard to the music, and a very great variety of those old, had he thought proper to make any inquiry curious, and exceedingly humorous about it during his residence in Scotland. songs, with their original melodies,

" With respect to the hero of the ballad the favourite lyrics of our early ances

properly called « Guilderoy,' we learn the tors, to be found in no other musical

following particulars from Spalding and

other historians. Guilderoy was a notorious publication whatever. It has for a

freebooter in the Highlands of Perthshire, considerable time been matter of re- who, with his gang, for a considerable time gret, that this work has long been out infested the country, committing the most of print, and few if any copies have barbarous outrages on the inhabitants. been seen in the market for some years Seven of these ruffians, however, were at past.

length apprehended, through the vigilance I have, however, the pleasure of an- and activity of the Stewarts of Athole, and nouncing to your musical friends, that conducted to Edinburgh, where they were

tried, condemned, and executed, in Februa new and improved edition of the

ary 1638. Guilderoy, seeing his accomMuseum is now in a state of forward

plices taken and hanged, went up, and in ness. The original plates, including the revenge burned several houses belonging to manuscripts of the poetry and music of the Stewarts in Athole. This new atrocity that work, have been purchased (as was the prelude to his ruin. A proclamayou perhaps may have heard) by Mr tion was issued, offering £1000 for his apBlackwood, from the heirs of Mr prehension. The inhabitants rose en muisse, Johnson. That department which was and pursued him from place to place, till at left unfinished has been committed to

length he, with five more of his associates,

was overtaken and secured. - They were the charge of a gentleman who was a

next carried to Edinburgh, where, after mutual friend of the late publisher trial and conviction, they expiated their and the bard, and who had, during offences on the gallows in the month of their lives, collected a variety of mate, July 1638.

« ПретходнаНастави »