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The lass he's courting has siller,

And I hae nane at a',

And 'tis nought but the love o' the tocher
That's tane my lad awa.

"But I'm blyth, that my heart's my ain,

And I'll keep it a' my life,

Until that I meet wi' a lad

Who has sense to wale a good wife.

For though I say't mysell,

That should nae say't, 'tis true, The lad that gets me for a wife,

He'll ne'er hae occasion to rue.

"I gang aye fou clean and fou tosh,
As a' the neighbours can tell ;
Though I've seldom a gown on my back,
But sick as I spin mysell.

And when I'm clad in my curtsey,

I think mysell as braw

As Susie wi' a' her pearling,

That's tane my lad awa.

"But I wish they were buckled together,
And may they live happy for life;
Though Willie now slights me, and's left me,
The chield he deserves a good wife.
But O! I'm blyth that I've missed him,

As blyth as I weel can be;

For ane that's sae keen o' the siller
Will ne'er agree wi' me.

"But as the truth is, I'm hearty,
I hate to be scrimpit or scant;
The wee thing I hae, I'll mak use o't,
And nae ane about me shall want.

For I'm a good guide o' the warld,
I ken when to haud and to gie;
For whinging and cringing for siller
Will ne'er agree
wi' me.

"Contentment is better than riches,
And he wha has that has enough;
The master is seldom sae happy
As Robin that drives the plough.
But if a young lad wad cast up,

To make me his partner for life;
If the chield has sense to be happy,
He'll fa' on his feet for a wife."1

The wooing of lovers, with all the real pathos which tinges it at times with a deeper earnest, presents its amusing side too, which the Scottish song-writers have not failed to hit; and there can be few literatures in which all the funny aspects of love-histories are pictured in happier humour. The lyrics of this sort are too numerous to be described in detail; only a few can be even referred to in general. They commence with Henryson's half-humorous, half-serious ballad, Robene and Makyne, which retains its popularity better than most of the old pastorals; and certainly its natural sentiment and language make this not inexplicable. Henryson belongs to the close of the fifteenth century: next to his Robene and Makyne, in the order of time, perhaps contemporaneous with it, may be placed the essentially comic ballad, The Wowing of Jok and

1 Ramsay's "Tea-Table Miscellany" contains another old song, The Country Lass, expressing, in fresh and simple language, the same heartwhole spirit, while it has been yet untried.

Fynny, which is preserved in the Bannatyne MS., and therefore belongs to a period before 1568. The comedy of this ballad consists in the laughable inventory of articles which the bride and bridegroom respectively contribute to the "plenishing" of their new home, and which may be taken as indicating the limited conveniences and comforts of the Scots peasants in the sixteenth century. On the same theme Allan Ramsay has preserved, in the "Tea-Table Miscellany," two songs, Maggie's Tocher and Muirland Willie, which, if not quite so old as the above ballad, give quite as lively and perhaps more truthful pictures of the interior of the old Scottish farm; and a more modern, once popular song, The Wooing of Jock the Weaver and Fenny the Spinner, which may be compared with these, is preserved by Mr. Chambers.1 Henryson's ballad is a commentary on the proverb which it puts into the mouth of Makyne :

"The man that will not quhen he may,
Sall haif nocht quhen he wald;"

for she, finding that Robene is deaf to her sighs, rejects his addresses when afterwards he seeks to win her love. In several popular songs of humorous wooing, while the commencement of the courtship is the same as in Robene and Makyne, the dénouement is reversed. Lady Nairne's Laird o' Cockpen, with Burns' Duncan Gray and Last May a Braw Wooer, would, of themselves, form a literature on this subject. But in the present

1 See his "Scottish Songs," p. 146.

connection it would be unpardonable to pass over Sir Alexander Boswell's Jenny's Bawbee, with its happy portraiture of the discomfited suitors, retreating "wi' hinging lugs and faces lang." These songs create, by a few master-touches, a completer picture of human life in its more amusing phases, than many a novel of three volumes: every line in them is the addition of some apposite circumstance, overflowing with irrepressible though kindly laughter.

There is one circumstance, in conclusion, which ought to be noticed in connection with the Scottish love-songs, especially in attempting to estimate their influence on the national character; and that is, the poetical feeling for nature which most of them display. In fact, as was long ago remarked by Cowper, this feature of the Scottish love-songs is often developed to excess, especially by some of our poets. This is the case with regard to most of Tannahill's songs in The Braes of Gleniffer, for example, the love is almost hidden by the luxuriance of poetical description, though the fault is so splendid that one can scarcely wish it removed. It was perhaps a consciousness of a tendency to this excess among the Scottish poets, that led Ramsay to put into the mouth of Peggie a complaint with regard to the Gentle Shepherd's poetical utterance of his love:

"The scented meadows, birds, and healthy breeze, For aught I ken, may mair than Peggie please." 1

Apart, however, from this occasional fault of excess, the Scottish love-songs exhibit in general a remarkable

1 ́“Gentle Shepherd,” Act ii. Scene 4.

susceptibility to the emotional influences of nature. The loves celebrated in these songs are commonly associated with beautiful scenes; and thus Maxwelton braes and Kelvin grove, Gala Water and the Yarrow, the bonny wood of Craigielea and the birks of Aberfeldy, as well as a hundred other spots, have attained something like a classical fame. But, in addition to this, the varying moods of the passion which these songs express, are brought into correspondence—and often into correspondence of an exceedingly artistic character-with the various objects and the varying aspects of external nature. It is not difficult to point out a cause for this characteristic of Scottish love-songs. The best and most popular are, as has been mentioned, the utterance of persons in the humbler walks of life, whose domestic accommodation seldom affords the daughters the luxury of a room in which they can receive their lovers apart from the rest of the family; and courtship among such is thus of necessity conducted out of doors; so that its pleasures and its pains come to be associated with the sunshine and the gloom, the cheerful and the dreary features of the external world.

"Come, all ye jolly shepherds
That whistle through the glen,

I'll tell ye of a secret

That courtiers dinna ken :

What is the greatest bliss

That the tongue o' man can name ?

'Tis to woo a bonny lassie

When the kye comes hame.

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