Tag Archives: ballad

George Lord Lyttelton, “A Prayer to Venus in her Temple at Stowe”

[ GEORGE LORD LYTTELTON]

“A Prayer to VENUS in her Temple at STOWE”
To the Same.

I.
Fair Venus, whose delightful shrine surveys
ItsIts front reflected in the silver lake,
These humble off’rings, which thy servant pays,
Fresh flowers, and myrtle wreaths, propitious take.

II.
If less my love exceeds all other love,                                                          5
Than Lucy’s charms all other charms excel,
Far from my breast each soothing hope remove,
And there let sad despair for ever dwell.

III.
But if my soul is fill’d with her alone,
No other wish, nor other object knows,                                             10
Oh! make her, Goddess make her all my own,
And give my trembling heart secure repose.

IV.
No watchful spies I ask to guard her charms,
No walls of brass, no steel-defended door;
Place her but once within my circling arms,                                               15
Love’s surest fort, and I will doubt no more.

NOTES:

Title Venus The goddess of love and beauty; Temple The Temple of Venus, a Palladian building designed by landscape architect William Kent (c. 1685-1748); Stowe The Buckinghamshire estate of Richard Temple, 1st Viscount Cobham (1675-1749), renowned for its extensive gardens (Wikipedia).

Subtitle To the Same Lyttelton’s first wife, Lucy Fortescue, who died January 19, 1747.

2 silver lake Kent Located the Temple of Venus in the southwest corner of the gardens on the far side of a large lake (Wikipedia).

4 myrtle A type of flower that was anciently held sacred to Venus and used as an emblem of love.

Source: A Collection of Poems in Six Volumes, Volume 2 (London, 1782), p. 67. [Google Books]

Edited by Alexandra Cuervo

Samuel Boyse, “Wine the Cure of Love. A Ballad”

[SAMUEL BOYSE]

 “Wine the Cure of Love. A Ballad”

As lovesick Apollo by Daphne disdain’d,
In Tempe sat whining beneath an old oak;
Bacchus happen’d to hear as he sadly complain’d,
And shaking with laughter, thus jestingly spoke.

“What wounded by Cupid? now shame on thy skill,                                  5
To sit fretting thy Heart at the foot of a tree;
Can th’ invincible God, who a Python did kill,
Now whimper and sob for the sting of a Bee?

I protest, cozen Phoebus, thy fortune is hard.
That nor music, nor verse can diminish thy Grief;                           10
Can no herb be discovered, no potion prepared,
To give the great master of science relief?

Come, take Heart, -and be counsell’d, -and lift up thy head!
I am the best Doctor when such fevers assail;
Quick, empty this goblet, no more need to be said:                                 15
I never once knew my catholicon fail!”

Phoebus topp’d off the Wine, ‘twas old malmsey of Crete,
His Heart in an instant grew light as a feather!
“Hang Cupid (says he) I believe he’s a cheat,
So here let us drink his confusion together.                                       20

A cheat! (Bacchus cried) he’s a son of a whore!
He has often endeavour’d to shew me his tricks;
But I bid him Defiance, —a fig for his pow’r,
I keep to the shield of my bottle, by Styx!

Were coz Hermes present you would laugh till you burst,                         25
To hear how he rook’d him at Play of his darts;
What a noise Venus made, and the little elf curs’d,
For the pitiful pins which he sticks in men’s hearts.

Entre nous (reply’d Phoebus) the boy’s spoilt with pride,
Sine Jove in all quarrels espouses his part:                                           30
Who frequently wants him to pimp on his side,
And that makes the youngster so saucy and smart.”

Thus they rail’d at poor Love, —as the bowl flew about
Till Apollo was perfectly cur’d of his woe:
And Bacchus grown mellow, began to give out,                                            35
For night coming on gave each warning to go.

To Delphos gay Phoebus immediately flew,
And from his old grotto this oracle made,
Good Wine was the noblest specific he knew,
For the pains of the heart, or the cares of the head.”                            40

NOTES:

 1 Apollo An Olympian god of manly youth and beauty, poetry and music, and wisdom of the oracles (Andrew S. Glick, A Comprehensive Dictionary of Gods, Goddesses, Demigods, and Other Subjects in Greek and Roman Mythology, 10); Daphne A nymph that was pursued by Apollo but escaped his advances by being transformed into a laurel tree by Zeus (Andrew S. Glick, A Comprehensive Dictionary of Gods, Goddesses, Demigods, and Other Subjects in Greek and Roman Mythology, 32).

2 Tempe Celebrated by Greek poets as the favorite haunt of Apollo and the Muses in ancient times (“Vale of Tempe” Wikipedia).

3 Bacchus Roman equivalent of Dionysus, an Olympian god of grape and wine and patron of drama (Andrew S. Glick, A Comprehensive Dictionary of Gods, Goddesses, Demigods, and Other Subjects in Greek and Roman Mythology, 37).

5 Cupid Latin equivalent of Eros, the god of love and son of Venus (Andrew S. Glick, A Comprehensive Dictionary of Gods, Goddesses, Demigods, and Other Subjects in Greek and Roman Mythology, 45).

7 invincible God, who a Python did kill Python was a monstrous serpent that was slain by Apollo in the caves of Mount Parnassus (Andrew S. Glick, A Comprehensive Dictionary of Gods, Goddesses, Demigods, and Other Subjects in Greek and Roman Mythology, 108).

8 sting of a Bee Venus compared Cupid’s arrows of love to the stings of bees when Cupid was stung by the insects while stealing honey from their hives (“Cupid” Wikipedia).

 9 cozen “Used in fond or familiar address, both to relatives and in the wider sense” (OED); Phoebus Another name for Apollo (Andrew S. Glick, A Comprehensive Dictionary of Gods, Goddesses, Demigods, and Other Subjects in Greek and Roman Mythology, 101).

12 master of science Apollo was also regarded as the god of knowledge (“Apollo” Wikipedia).

16 catholicon “An electuary supposed to be capable of evacuating all humours; a universal remedy or prophylactic; panacea” (OED).

17 malmsey “A strong sweet wine, originally the product of the district of Monemvasia (Napoli di Malvasia) in the Peloponnese, Greece, later also from other parts of the Mediterranean, the Azores, the Canaries, Madeira, and elsewhere” (OED); Crete The largest and most populous of the Greek islands. The Paximadia islands were the birthplace of Artemis and Apollo (“Crete” Wikipedia).

23 fig “A contemptuous gesture which consisted in thrusting the thumb between two of the closed fingers or into the mouth” (OED).

24 Styx The principal river of the lower world, had to be crossed in passing to the regions of the dead (Andrew S. Glick, A Comprehensive Dictionary of Gods, Goddesses, Demigods, and Other Subjects in Greek and Roman Mythology, 116).

25 coz “An abbreviation of cousin (cozen)” (OED); Hermes An Olympian god of science and invention, eloquence, cunning, trickery, theft, luck and youth, herald and messenger of the gods (Andrew S. Glick, A Comprehensive Dictionary of Gods, Goddesses, Demigods, and Other Subjects in Greek and Roman Mythology, 58).

26 rook’d “To cheat or swindle” (OED).

27 Venus Roman equivalent of Aphrodite, a Greek goddess of love and beauty (Andrew S. Glick, A Comprehensive Dictionary of Gods, Goddesses, Demigods, and Other Subjects in Greek and Roman Mythology, 9).

29 Entre nous “Between ourselves, in private” (OED).

30 Jove Roman equivalent of Zeus, a Greek god, the chief of the Olympian gods, god of the elements as rain, wind, thunder, and lightning (Andrew S. Glick, A Comprehensive Dictionary of Gods, Goddesses, Demigods, and Other Subjects in Greek and Roman Mythology, 131); espouses “To associate or ally oneself with” (OED).

33 rail’d “To complain persistently or vehemently about” (OED).

37 Delphos The site of a major temple to Phoebus Apollo; the sanctuary of the oracle of Delphi, the Pythia (“Delphi” Wikipedia).

38 grotto “A cave or cavern, esp. one which is picturesque, or which forms an agreeable retreat” (OED).

39 specific “Of remedies…specially or exclusively efficacious for, or acting upon, a particular ailment or part of the body” (OED).

Source: The Gentleman’s Magazine (July 1741), p. 383.

 Edited by Cai En Chia

Michael Bruce, “Pastoral Song”

 

MICHAEL BRUCE

 Pastoral Song

To the tune of the Yellow-haird Laddie.

 In May, when the gowans appear on the green,
And flow’rs in the field and the forest are seen;
Where lilies bloom’d bonny, and hawthorns unsprung
The yellow-hair’d laddie oft whistled and sung.

II.

But neither the shades, nor the sweets of the flow’rs,                              5
Nor the blackbirds that warbled on blossoming bow’rs,
Could pleasure his eye, or his ear entertain;
For love was his pleasure, and love was his pain.

III.

The shepherd thus sung, while his flocks all around
Drew nearer and nearer, and sigh’d to the sound:                                           10
Around, as in chains, lay the beasts of the wood,
With pity disarmed, and music subdu’d.

IV.

Young Jessy is fair as the spring’s early flower,
And Mary sings sweet as the bird in her bower:
But Peggy is fairer and sweeter than they;                                                        15
With looks like the morning, with smiles like the day.

V.

In the flower of her youth, in the bloom of eighteen,
Of virtue the goddess, of beauty the queen:
One hour in her presence an aera excels
Amid courts, where ambition with misery dwells.                                            20

VI.

Fair to the shepherd the new-springing flow’rs,
When May and when morning lead on the gay hours;
But Peggy is brighter and fairer than they;
She’s fair as the morning, and lovely as May.

VII.

Sweet to the shepherd the wild woodland found,                                   25
When larks sing above him, and lambs bleat around;
But Peggy far sweeter can speak and can sing,
Than the notes of the warblers that welcome spring.

VIII.

When in beauty she moves by the brook of the plain,
You would call her a Venus new sprung from the main:                                30
When she sings, and the woods with their echoes reply,
You would think than an angel was warbling on high.

IX.

Ye Pow’rs that preside over mortal estate!
Whose nod ruleth Nature, whose pleasure is Fate,
O grant me, O grant me the heav’n of her charms!                                         35
May I live in her presence, and die in her arms!

NOTES:

Title Laddie A term of endearment for a young male in the eighteenth century. (OED)

1 gowans A general term for white or yellow flowers (OED).

3 bonny “From a Yorkshire dialect meaning “pretty” (Grose); hawthorn A thorny bush or small tree (OED).

6 warbled To sing softly (OED), bowrs   Shady place within the trees (OED).

14 bower A young ladies room or cabin (OED).

19 aera Archaic form for “era” (OED).

26 lark General term for a bird (OED); bleat The crying of a lamb or goat (OED).

30 Venus Roman goddess of love and beauty (OED).

Source: Poems on Several Occasions (London, 1770), pp. 14-17. [Google Books]

 Edited by Christopher Lara

James Graeme, “Rona: An Elegiac Ballad”

JAMES GRAEME

“RONA: An Elegiac Ballad”

 “The noise of war is on the breeze,
And can Hidallan stay?
My soul is in the strife of shields—”
He spoke, and burst away.

O! where shall Morna’s maid repose,                                    5
‘Till heroes have their fame?
On Morna’s silent hill of hinds,
Or by its rushy stream?

But what if in the hour of blood
The lovely hero fall?                                                        10
While some dark warrior hangs his shield?
A trophy in his hall!

Leave, Slumber! leave the eye of tears,
Forsake my limbs, Repose!
Lean, love-lorn maidens! from your clouds,                      15
And aid me with your woes.

Fair was Hidallan, as the flow’r
That dyes the dusky heath;
But raise not, bards! the mournful song
Around his stone of death.                                           20

How fell the hero? In his might,
Amid his growing fame!
Not feeble was Hidallan’s foe,
His sword a meteor’s flame.

No more shall Morna’s hall rejoice,                                     25
The feast of shells be spread;
The sigh of Rona’s secret soul,
In Death’s dark house is laid.

Lour not on Rona from your cloud,
The rolling of your rest!                                                 30
Not weak, Hidallan! was my sire,
No fear disturb’d his breast.

In aged Cairbar’s lonely hall,
The strife of heroes rose;
His was Rivine’s stolen glance,                                             35
And many were his foes.

In strength he grasp’d his sword of fire,
The stoutest started back:
Not weak, Hidallan! was my sire,
Nor is his daughter weak.                                             40

Ah! whether rolls thy airy hall?
The sky its blue resumes;
Her father’s sword prepares the cloud,
On which thy Rona comes.

 NOTES:

Title Rona The characters who appear in this poem are taken from The Poems of Ossian (1760) by James Macpherson, a collection of poems Macpherson claimed to have translated from Gaelic word of mouth but were, in truth, largely poems of Macpherson’s own creation based loosely in Gaelic or Celtic myths. Rona is the only character mentioned in this poem that does not appear in Macpherson’s The Poems of Ossian. The poems do, however, mention a character named “Ronnan,” who is the male lover of Rivine mentioned in line 35 here (James Macpherson, The Poems of Ossian).

2 Hilladan The son of Lamor, one of Fingal’s heroes, whose love had been slighted by the woman Comala. He debuts in the poem “Comala” in The Poems of Ossian (David Scott Kastan, The Oxford Encyclopedia of British Literature, 170; James Macpherson, The Poems of Ossian).

5 Morna Also known as Muirne—first appears in “Fragment 14″ by James Macpherson prior to the release of The Poems of Ossian; debuts in “Carthon” in The Poems of Ossian as the daughter of Cormac (King of Ireland), sister of Classammor, wife of  Comhal, mother of Fingal; “fairest of maidens” and “beloved by all” (James Macpherson, The Poems of Ossian).

5 Morna’s Maid A maid whose proper name is Moina. In “Fingal, Book One” Cuthullin refers to her as the “maid.” Moina is the daughter of Reuthamir, wife of Clessammor, and mother of Carthon (James Macpherson, The Poems of Ossian).

7 Hinds “Female deer, especially of the red deer” (OED).

13 Slumber The Gaelic goddess of sleep and dreams, Caer Ibormeith (Edain McCoy, Celtic Women’s Spirituality, 246).

26 The feast of shells “The ancient Scots, as well as the present Highlanders, drank in shells; hence it is that we so often meet, in the old poetry, with ‘chief of shells’ and ‘the hall of shells’” (James Macpherson, The Poems of Ossian).

28 Death Manannan mac Lir: a sea deity, the guardian of the Underworld, and the one responsible for ferrying souls to the afterlife (John Green, Celtic Gods and Heroes, 9).

29 Lour A gloomy or sullen look; a frown, a scowl (OED).

33 Cairbar First mentioned first in “Fingal, Book One” in The Poems of Ossian; he is the tyrannical lord of Atha and chief of the race of Fir-bolg; father of Degrena and Ullin, husband of Deugala, son of Borbar-duthul. He is slain by Moran, called the “hoary chief of shells,” and he kills Cormac, the father of Morna (James Macpherson, The Poems of Ossian).

35 Rivine First appears in the poem “Fragment 9” by James Macpherson prior to the release of The Poems of Ossian; also called the “fairest of maids,” daughter of Conar, sister of Connan, lover of Ronnan. At the death of her brother and her lover, she had herself buried alive beside them (James Macpherson, “Fragment 9”).

 Source: Poems on Several Occasions (Edinburgh, 1773), pp. 51-53. [Google Books]

Edited by Amanda Nelson

[Catherine Jemmat], “The Rural Lass”

[CATHERINE JEMMAT]

The Rural Lass

My father and mother, (what ails ‘em?)
Pretend I’m too young to be wed;
They expect, but in troth I shall fail ‘em,
That I finish my chairs and my bed.

Provided our minds are but cheery,                                        5
Wooden chairs wonnot argue a glove,
Any bed will hold me and my deary,
The main chance in wedlock is love.

My father, when ask’d if he’d lend us
An horse to the parson to ride;                                       10
In a wheel-barrow offer’d to send us,
And John for the footman beside.

Wou’d we never had ask’d him; for, whip it!
To the church tho’ two miles and a half,
Twice as far ‘twere a pleasure to trip it;                                 15
But then how the people would laugh!

The neighbours are nettl’d most sadly,
‘Was e’er such a forward bold thing?
‘Sure girl never acted so madly!’
Thro’ the parish these backbitings ring.                          20

Yet I will be marry’d to-morrow,
And charming young Harry’s the man;
My brother’s blind nag we can borrow,
And he may prevent us that can.

Not waiting for parents’ consenting,                                      25
My brother took Nell of the green;
Yet both far enough from repenting,
Now live like a king and a queen.

Pray when will your gay things of London
Produce such a strapper as Nell’s?                                   30
There wives by their husbands are undone,
As Saturday’s news-paper tells.

Poll Barnley said, over and over,
I soon shou’d be left in the lurch;
For Harry, she knew, was a rover,                                           35
And never wou’d venture to church.

And I know the sorrows that wound her,
He courted her once, he confest;
With another too great, when he found her,
He bid her take him she lik’d best.                                 40

But all that are like her, or wou’d be,
May learn from my Harry and me,
If maids wou’d be maids while they shou’d be,
How faithful their sweet-hearts wou’d be.

My mother says, clothing and feeding                                   45
Will soon make me sick of a brat:
But, tho’ I prove sick in my breeding,
I care not a farthing for that.

For if I’m not hugely mistaken,
We can live by the sweat of our brow;                            50
Stick a hog once a year, for fat bacon,
And all the year round keep a cow.

I value no dainties a button,
Course food with our stomachs allay;
If we cannot get veal, beef, and mutton,                                  55
A chine and a pudding we may.

A fig for your richest brocading;
In lindsey there’s nothing that’s base;
Your finery soon sets a fading,
My dowlass will last beyond lace.                                    60

I envy not wealth to the miser,
Nor wou’d I be plagu’d with his store:
To eat all and wear all is wiser;
Enough must be better than more.

So nothing shall tempt me from Harry,                                 65
His heart is as true as the sun:
Eve with Adam was order’d to marry;
This world it should end as begun.

NOTES:

12 John A literary name for a common or working-class man (OED).

17 nettl’d “Teased, provoked, out of temper” (Grose).

20 backbitings “Slanderous or malicious talk about someone not present” (Grose).

22 Harry May refer to a country man, a common name for “a waggoner” (Grose).

23 nag A horse, usually one that is old or sickly (Grose).

26 Nell Usually a name for a prostitute (OED); of the green A euphemism for sex before marriage (Grose).

35 rover “A flirtatious, promiscuous, or unfaithful man; an inconstant lover” (OED).

48 farthing “A former monetary unit and coin of the UK, withdrawn in 1961, equal to a quarter of an old penny” (OED).

53 dainties “Something good to eat, a delicacy” (OED); button “used in reference to something of little worth” (OED).

56 chine “The backbone of an animal as it appears in a joint of meat” (OED).

58 lindsey Alternate spelling of linsey, “a strong, coarse fabric made with cotton or linen, probably originally made in Lindsey, a town in Suffolk” (OED).

60 dowlass A type of coarse linen (OED).

67 Eve with Adam Refers to the biblical creation story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.

Source: The Gentleman’s Magazine (November 1750), p. 517.

Edited by Nicole Walker

William Hayley, “A Charm for Ennui: A Matrimonial Ballad”

[WILLIAM HAYLEY, ESQ.]

 “A CHARM FOR ENNUI: A Matrimonial Ballad”

 Ye couples, who meet under Love’s smiling star,
Too gentle to skirmish, too soft e’er to jar,
Tho’ cover’d with roses from joy’s richest tree,
Near the couch of delight lurks the daemon Ennui.

Let the Muses’ gay lyre, like Ithuriel’s bright spear,                                          5
Keep this fiend, ye sweet brides, from approaching your ear;
Since you know the squat toad’s infernal esprit,
Never listen, like Eve, to the devil Ennui.

Let no gloom of your hall, no shade of your bower,
Make you think you behold this malevolent power;                                        10
Like a child in the dark, what you fear you will see;
Take courage, away flies the phantom Ennui.

O trust me, the powers both of person and mind
To defeat this sly foe full sufficient you’ll find;
Should your eyes fail to kill him, with keen repartee                                       15
You can sink the flat boat of th’invader Ennui.

If a cool non-chalance o’er your sposo should spread,
For vapours will rise e’en on Jupiter’s head,
O ever believe it, from jealousy free,
A thin passing cloud, not the fog of Ennui.                                                          20

Of tender complainings though love be the theme,
O beware, my sweet friends, ’tis a dangerous scheme;
And tho’ often ‘tis try’d, mark the pauvre mari
Thus by kindness inclos’d in the coop of Ennui.

Let confidence, rising such meanness above,                                                   25
Drown the discord of doubt in the music of love;
Your duette shall thus charm in the natural key,
No sharps from vexation, no flats from Ennui.

But to you, happy husbands, in matters more nice,
The Muse, tho’ a maiden, now offers advice;                                                    30
O drink not too keenly your bumper of glee,
Ev’n ecstasy’s cup has some dregs of Ennui.

Though Love for your lips fill with nectar his bowl,
Though his warm bath of blessings inspirit your soul,
O swim not too far on rapture’s high sea,                                                          35
Lest you sink unawares in the gulph of Ennui.                          

Impatient of law, Passion oft will reply,
“Against limitations I’ll plead till I die;”
But Chief Justice Nature rejects the vain plea,
And such culprits are doom’d to the gaol of Ennui.                                           40

When husband and wife are of honey too fond,
They’re like poison’d carp at the top of a pond,
Together they gape o’er a cold dish of tea,
Two muddy sick fish in the net of Ennui.

Of indolence most ye mild couples beware,                                                     45
For the myrtles of Love often hide her soft snare;
The fond doves in their net from his pounce cannot flee,
But the lark in the morn ’scapes the daemon Ennui.

Let chearful good-humour, that sun-shine of life,
With smiles in the maiden, illumine the wife,                                                   50
And mutual attention, in equal degree,
Keep Hymen’s bright chain from the rust of Ennui.

To the Graces together O fail not to bend,
And both to the voice of the Muses attend,
So Minerva for you shall with Cupid agree,                                                       55
And preserve your chaste flame from the smoke of Ennui.                 

NOTES:

 5 Ithuriel’s bright spear From John Milton’s Paradise Lost (1667). The Angel Ithuriel touches Satan (disguised as a toad) with his spear “which ‘no falsehood can endure,'” and his true form thus revealed, Satan is cast out of the Garden of Eden (Oxford Dictionary of Reference and Allusion).

7 esprit Spirit.

17 sposo Spouse.

18 Jupiter Roman god of sky and thunder. Leader of the Roman gods.

23 pauvre mari Poor husband. (Oxford French-English Dictionary).

27 duette Duet.

40 gaol Jail.

52 Hymen Greek god of marriage.

55 Minerva Roman goddess of wisdom.

Source: The Gentleman’s Magazine, vol. 53 (April 1783), pp. 693-94.

 Edited by Megan Kwong

Anonymous, “Song for an Amazon…”

ANONYMOUS

 “SONG for an AMAZON
Intended to have been sung after the complaining
Pastoral Ballad in Comus”

 Swains I scorn, who, nice and fair,
Shiver at the morning air,
Rough and hardy, bold and free,
Be the man that’s made for me.

Slaves to fashion, slaves to dress,                               5
Fops themselves alone caress,
Let them without rival be,
They are not the men for me.

He whose nervous arm can dart,
The javelin to the tyger’s heart,                                  10
From all sense of danger free,
He’s the man that’s made for me.

While his speed outstrips the wind,
Lovely wave his locks behind,
From his fantastic foppery free,                                 15
He’s the man that’s made for me.

Nor simpering smile, nor dimple sleek
Spoil his manly sun-burnt cheek,
By weather let him painted be,
He’s the man that’s made for me                                20

If false he prove my javelin can
Revenge the perjury of man,
And soon another, brave as he,
Shall be found the man for me.

NOTES:

 Title Comus A masque written by John Milton (1608-1674), first performed in 1634 and published in 1637.

1 Swains Young lovers or suitors.

6 Fops Men overly concerned with their appearance.

17 sleek “(Of hair, fur, or skin) smooth and glossy” (OED).

22 perjury “The offense of willfully telling an untruth in a court after having taken an oath or affirmation” (OED).

Source: The Gentleman’s Magazine (January 1741), p. 45.

Edited by Robin Jang

Thomas Poynton, “A Ballad written by Thomas Poynton, a Pauper…after he had read Drummond of Hawthornden’s History of Scotland”

THOMAS POYNTON

“A Ballad written by THOMAS POYNTON, a Pauper… after he had read Drummond of Hawthornden’s History of Scotland”

 The beauties I sing of my Jane,
No damsel her charms can outvie;
At wake, rural feast, or beltein,
She eclipses all others when by.
Thus when Phoebus his glory displays,                                             5
The lustre of stars quickly fade,
O’erwhelm’d in the glittering blaze,
To shine they must wait the dun shade.
At the quern, luaghahb, or the wheel,
Her music enraptures my ear;                                                            10
What emotions my bosom must feel,
When with transport her sweet voice I hear!
The deeds of the mighty Fingal
‘Tis pleasure to hear her repeat;
But Crimera and Connald’s sad fall                                                    15
To hear her lament is more sweet.
T’other day as she work’d at her wheel,
She sang of fair Eleanor’s fate,
Who fell by stern jealousy’s steel,
As on Kirtle’s smooth margin she sate.                                              20
Her lover to shield from the dart,
Most eagerly she interpos’d;
The arrow transpierc’d her fond heart,
The fair in his arms her eyes clos’d.
O, Fleming! how wretched thy doom,                                                25
Thy love to see wounded to death;
No wonder that, stretch’d on her tomb,
In grief thou surrender’st thy breath.
Yet one consolation was thine,
To soften fate’s rigid decree,                                                               30
Thy mistress her life did resign,
A martyr to love and to thee.
Would Jenny, should I haply die
A victim to love in youth’s bloom,
Heave o’er my remains a soft sigh,                                                     35
And shed a fond tear on my tomb?
Would she at my Coranick weep,
Transported I’d yield up my breath,
Contented I surely should sleep,
Delighted and happy in death,                                                           40
If my bones they were earth’d in cold clay,
And my spirit in heavenly bowers,
Delighted I’d look down each day,
To see Jenny my grave shew with flowers.
Inthron’d ‘midst immortals above,                                                     45
Transported I’d lift from my sphere,
To hear from the lips of my love,
“The dust of my Jammie lies here.”

NOTES:

Title Drummond of Hawthornden’s History of Scotland The Scottish poet and book collector William Drummond of Hawthornden (1585-1649) whose prose work, The History of Scotland, from the year 1423 until the Year 1542, was first published in 1655.  The text was republished several times in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries.

2 outvie “To outdo in a context or in rivalry; to compete successfully against” (OED).

3 beltein Alternative spelling of “beltane,” the Gaelic May Day festival, widely observed in both Scotland and Ireland.

5 Phoebus Another name for Apollo, the Greek God of the Sun (Encyclopedia Britannica).

8 dun “Of a dull or dingy brown color, esp. dull grayish brown” (OED).

9 quern “A simple, typically hand-operated, device for grinding corn, etc., consisting of two stones, the upper of which is rotated or rubbed on the lower” (OED); luaghahb [Unable to trace]

13 Fingal A Celtic warrior famous for uniting different clans to defend Scotland against invaders, widely popularized by James MacPherson’s book The Works of Ossian, Son of Fingal (1796).

15 Crimera and Connald’s [Unable to trace]

18 fair Eleanor’s fate A reference to the story of Ellen who, according to Scottish balladry, chose between two suitors only to sacrifice herself to save her lover when her spurned suitor sought revenge. The story may be grounded in historical fact, though the nature of those facts was much in dispute in the late eighteenth century (see, for example, letters sent to the GM in 1797 (vol. 81, pp. 202, 293). Drummond’s text does not appear to be a source for this story.

20 Kirtle  A small river in the historical county of Dumfriesshire, Scotland. The tragedy is said to have unfolded at Kirkconnell Chapel, located on the bank of the Kirtle, where the lovers were supposedly buried.

23 Transpierced “To pierce through from side to side” (OED).

26 Fleming A reference to Ellen’s chosen lover, who appears as “William” or “Adam” in various ballads. He is said to have returned from successful military feats on the Continent and died on Ellen’s grave at Kirkconnell Chapel.

37 Coranick [Unable to trace]

Source: The Gentleman’s Magazine (July 1783), p. 607.

Edited by: Karinna Seward