Puslapio vaizdai

the composition of 'libels.' In the volume under consideration there is an unpublished poem assailing Lord Chatham in a fashion worthy of a Grub Street pamphleteer. More real virulence is displayed in some lampoons written on the occasion of the poet's rejection at Kirkcudbright. Pistapolis, the most pungent of these Galloway pasquils, has curious notes by the author on the habits and personal history of the men who were chiefly responsible for his persecution.' Fortunately for his reputation as an amiable and a sensible man, he successfully resisted the temptation to hand Pistapolis to the printers.1

Not a few of the pieces in manuscript are odes and songs. Among the compositions of the former class is a version of the famous Ode to Aurora, on Melissa's Birthday, differing considerably from the version published by Mackenzie. The poem is a tribute to the tender assiduity' of the author's wife, who was the daughter of a surgeon of Dumfries, named Joseph Johnston. Several of the Odes are addressed to the heroine of On Euanthe's Absence, one of the best known of Blacklock's poems. From the manuscript notes already referred to, it is clear that the 'person called Euanthe'-her real name has been carefully erased-valued the homage of the poet more than the affection of the man, and discarded him for a lover who had his sight entire.' Blacklock, in a savage Ode to his Successful Rival, which he did not hesitate to publish, calls his first love 'Clarinda,' a name which had for him less sacred associations than 'Euanthe':

'Fool! thus to curse the man, whose every smart

Must pierce thy inmost soul, must wound Clarinda's heart!'

It is pleasant to relate that when advanced in years and established in fame, Blacklock met the idol of his youth again; and that the kind old man,' as Sir Walter Scott called him, wrote a few more verses in honour of 'dear Euanthe.'


The manuscript songs in the volume appear all to have been written after the publication of the third London edition of Blacklock's Poems, 1756. Some of them were printed in James Johnson's The Scots Musical Museum. Burns says, 'He' (Blacklock), as well as I, often gave Johnson verses, trifling enough, perhaps, but they served as a vehicle to the music.' Dr. Blacklock contributed to the Museum fourteen songs at least. copies of those which he wrote late in life, expressly for that work, are to be found among his manuscripts. But there are


1 The satire was published for the first time in The Scottish Historical Review, vol. iv. pp. 205-212.

copies of Cease, cease, my dear friend, to explore; Ye rivers so limpid and clear, and other lyrics that were published, though not for the first time, by James Johnson.

Dr. Blacklock delighted to compose and dictate to his amanuenses epistles in verse; and the volume before us contains a number of letters in rhyme.' When the writer of this article received the Blacklock MSS. from Mr. Duncan, he searched diligently among the various addresses for references to Burns; but his hope of discovering some was not realised. The collection does not embrace any pieces so late as the two rhyming epistles by Blacklock which every admirer of Burns knows by heart. There is a rhyme in the vernacular headed To the Rev. Mr. Oliver, on Receiving a Collection of Scotch Poems from him; but it seems to have been composed before Dr. Blacklock became acquainted with Burns's verse. Unlike his friend Dr. James Beattie, who informs us that he early warned' his son against the use of Scottish words, and other similar improprieties,' Blacklock loved the vernacular. A hearty contempt for Anglified Scots is displayed in these lines from the Epistle to Oliver :

'Frae eard should our bald Gutchers rise,
How would their sauls ilk Oe despise,
Wha southern phrase, a winsome prize,
For their's could barter?

Yet when the ape his English tries
He takes a Tartar.

The daw in peacock's feathers dress'd,
When first he mingles wi the rest,
Wow! but he shaws an ally crest,
And pensy stride!

But soon the birds the fool divest-
Sae comes o' pride!'

Among the poet's manuscript songs and addresses, the present writer discovered a religious piece which especially interested him -the hitherto unpublished original of the Paraphrase, In life's gay morn. Though the sixteenth Paraphrase had generally been attributed to Dr. Blacklock, the ascription had not been made

1 Stenhouse erroneously states that the two songs named were composed by Blacklock on purpose for the "Museum". Both were in print long before Johnson began to compile his work, the first having appeared in A Collection of Original Poems by the Rev. Mr. Blacklock, and other Scotch Gentlemen, 1760, and the second in The Edinburgh Magazine and Review for 1774.

2 The clergyman addressed was probably Stephen Oliver, ordained Minister of Innerleithen, 1755; translated to Maxton, 1776.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

with full confidence.' The writer was, therefore, glad to be able to advance evidence which substantiated the blind poet's claim. It is unnecessary to give the complete text of Blacklock's poem here; but the two stanzas which formed the Paraphrase, or rather the basis of the Paraphrase, may be inserted:

[blocks in formation]

It must be admitted that the poem as it left Blacklock's hands is much inferior to the amended version familiar to every oldfashioned Scottish Presbyterian. The emendations were certainly made by some writer of uncommon taste and skill-probably by John Logan or William Cameron. When most of the nineteenth century hymns that are sung in Scottish Churches at the present time have passed into merited oblivion, these beautiful eighteenth century verses will be admired :

'In life's gay morn, when sprightly youth
With vital ardour glows,

And shines, in all the fairest charms
Which beauty can disclose,

Deep on thy soul, before its pow'rs
Are yet by vice enslav'd,

Be thy Creator's glorious name
And character engrav❜d.

1 See Maclagan's Scottish Paraphrases, pp. 32-3, and Julian's Dictionary of Hymnology, p. 144.

2 It is printed in The Poets of Dumfriesshire, Glasgow, 1910.

For soon the shades of grief shall cloud
The sunshine of thy days;

And cares, and toils, in endless round,
Encompass all thy ways.
Soon shall thy heart the woes of age
In mournful groans deplore,
And sadly muse on former joys,
That now return no more.



A Sixteenth Century Rental of Haddington



MONGST the writs in the charter chest of the Marquess of Tweeddale at Yester there is a small paper book of twelve pages, measuring 12 inches by 4 inches, and endorsed, Rental buik of hadingtoun to know ye aikeris of ye provestre of bothanes by it.' This last explains the presence of the record at Yester. In 1592 the kirklands of Bothans were sold to James, Lord Hay of Yester,1 and with them passed the charters, etc., of the College. Written in a hand of the latter part of the sixteenth century, the record is only a copy, made for the purpose stated above, and a few words are unintelligible. It is undated, but internal evidence proves that the rental must have been compiled about 1560. The names of the following proprietors prove this: Robert Lawson of Humbie, who succeeded his father after 1549 and before 1556,2 and Alexander Yule of Garmilton,3 who succeeded after 1530, is mentioned in 1549 and 1561, and was dead before 1573.

The two last entries are mere jottings quite distinct from the rental, and their date, 1507, has nothing to do with the rest.



1. Mr. Walter Hay, Provost of Bothans, sold the Kirklands on the 9th May, 1592, to his kinsman, William Hay, who resigned them next day to James, Lord Hay of Yester (R.M.S. 6 Sept. 1592).

2. James Lawson of Humbie appears on record in March, 1548-9 (Ld. High Treas. Accounts, v. IX. p. 293), and Robert Lawson of Humbie on the 11th Janry. 1555-6 (Ex. Rolls, v. XVIII. p. 597).

3. Walter Yule of Garmilton appears on record 23rd Oct. 1508 (Tweeddale Charters), Robert Y. of G. 23 May, 1530 (Memorials of the Earls of Haddington, II. p. 252), Alexander, 27 May, 1549 (Swintons of that Ilk, p. cxx), and 3 Novr. 1561 (Hist. MSS. Com. Report, XII. pt. 8, p. 150), and John Yule of Garmilton, 7 Decr. 1573 (Cal. of Laing Charters, No. 885).

« AnkstesnisTęsti »