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Half husband, I trow, and half daddy,
A chiel maun be constant and steady,
Locks the winds used to blaw;
I'm baith like to laugh and to greet,
"Then out spak the wily bridegroom,Weel waled were his wordies, I ween,'I'm rich, though my coffer be toom,
Wi' the blinks o' your bonnie blue e'en. I'm prouder o' thee by my side,
Though thy ruffles or ribbons be few, Than if Kate o' the Craft were my bride, Wi' purples and pearlings enew.
Dear and dearest of ony,
I've wooed and bookit and a';
And do you think scorn o' your Johnnie,
She turned, and she blushed, and she smiled, And she lookit sae bashfully down;
The pride o' her heart was beguiled,
And she played wi' the sleeve o' her gown;
She twirled the tag o' her lace,
And she nippit her boddice sae blue;
Wooed and married and a',
It is utterly impossible to enumerate all the Scottish songs, in which the worth of love in marriage forms the predominant idea; and we must pass with a bare mention even Logie o' Buchan and the delightful flow of humour in Burns' O for ane and twenty, Tam. The idea of marriage, which makes these songs preserve the freshness of some nobler emotions in the Scottish heart, is found giving a tone to the feelings of actual life in a letter by one of the songstresses of Scotland, which is worth quoting in illustration of our subject. "I am just come," writes Mrs. Cockburn, "from a wedding that has neither tochers, jointures, nor wheeled carriages, yet made six people happy, viz., the couple themselves, their two fathers and their two mothers, not forgetting some sisters and brothers, who love love better than riches a very uncommon case."1
It is not surprising, however, that this trustfulness of love should make itself conspicuous as long as it has never been tested by the trials of wedded life and by the long monotony of every-day existence; but that it should retain its freshness after all these manifold trials and through that long monotony, is one of the most beautiful features in the life of the people whom it blesses. Yet this is a very prominent characteristic of those Scotch songs which give utterance to the love of man and wife; and nothing in the study of these has brought me a more pleasing surprise than the number of songs by humble authors, expressing all the passionate fervour of a young love in union with the more thought
"The Songstresses of Scotland,” by Sarah Tytler and J. L. Watson, vol. i. p. 113.
ful tenderness derived from the teachings of wedded intimacy. A few of these songs may be briefly noticed, expressing different manifestations of conjugal love.
Well may Burns have spoken of Nae Luck about the House as "" 'one of the most beautiful songs in the Scots or any other language"; for what language can ever express, in words that burn with truer passion, the exultant gladness of a wife over her husband's return from a long voyage?
"And are ye sure the news is true?
Is this a time to think o' wark?
"Is this a time to think o' wark,
Rax down my cloak; I'll to the quay,
"Rise up and mak a clean fireside,
Gie little Kate her cotton gown,
“And mak their shoon as black as slaes,
It's a' to pleasure our gudeman,
He likes to see them braw.
"Sae sweet his voice, sae smooth his tongue;
His breath's like caller air;
His very foot has music in't,
As he comes up the stair.
"And will I see his face again?
For there's nae luck about the house,
There's nae luck at a';
There's little pleasure in the house,
In Burns' John Anderson there is a tenderness of retrospect which is positively sacred, and probably unequalled in lyrical poetry. What a pleasant homeliness, again is there in the wifely care of Johnnie's Grey Breeks, with its gladdening memories of the times when the breeks "were neither auld nor duddy," and there werena mony" like the goodman! Who does not feel a certain warmth of sympathy kindling in his heart, while he listens to the wife of The Boatie rows, prattling about her anxiety for the safe return of the boat "that wins the bairnies' bread," with "a heavy creel," the weight of which will "grow muckle lighter" by the help of Jamie's love? Examples would require, however, to be multiplied to tediousness to give an adequate conception of the amount of joyous confidence, which these songs display, in the sufficiency of conjugal love to support the burdens of life; but I cannot forbear to
1 It is well known that the authorship of this song has been the subject of much dispute. The claims of Jean Adams, the Greenock schoolmistress, have found a new and very elaborate defence in "The Songstresses of Scotland," vol. i. pp. 41-8. It is a curious fact, if the most fervent expression of wifely affection in the Scottish language has been written by an elderly maiden; but I question whether the authorship is yet satisfactorily settled.
cite one additional specimen in the old lyric, Bide ye yet, which Herd fortunately rescued from the precarious tenure of the people's memories.
"Gin I had a wee house and a cantie wee fire,
"When I gang afield and come hame at e'en,
"And if there should happen ever to be
Ye little ken what may betide ye yet;
The concluding verse of this song recalls a pleasing feature which is met with in the Scots songs of conjugal love many of them are animated with that generous forbearance towards human weaknesses which forms the soul of all true courtesy and the condition of happiness in all social intercourse. It must not be supposed, indeed, that the social life of Scotland has uniformly presented marriages such as are pictured in these happy songs; the lyrical poetry of the Scotch contains too many life-like portraitures of the unhappiness resulting from all sorts of misalliances, to allow