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Gordon was written by Henry Dundas, "the great dispenser of patronage," or that, even if it were, he had anything to do with the attribution of the lines to the "ploughing poet," but one cannot help suspecting that in this piece of literary horseplay there is a clue-if only it could be followed up-to the neglect which Burns suffered at the hands of Dundas and his compeers.


We must, however, take leave of the particulars which the editor of the new "Chambers" has added to Burnsiana, merely noting the illumination he throws on the origin of "Scots wha hae," as thus: "Under cover of a fourteenthcentury battle song he (Burns) really liberating his soul against the Tory tyranny that was opposing liberty at home and abroad, and, moreover, striking at the comfort of his own fireside;" the wealth of biographical, bibliographical, and linguistic information he has collected about "Tam o' Shanter," "Auld Glen," "A man's a man for a' that," etc., and the tracing of such allusions as "the daring path Spinoza trod." And at least a word of commendation is due to the editor's scathing analysis of the Globe Inn and other malignant legends; to the great mass of valuable notes he has collected, including the identification of every individual, contemporary or historical, mentioned in the poems; and to the vast improvement he has made in the glossary. The indexes are exceptionally complete, indeed unique in their reach and peculiarity.

As has been said, the work of Messrs. Henley and Henderson is still incomplete. At present we can only indicate, by means of one or two details, the quality of it. The text of "The Centenary Burns" is as excellent as the typography in which it is displayed is beautiful; it has been compiled after collation of as many manuscripts as research and industry could command, and of the various "authors' editions;" and, to the great profit and pleasure of scholars, the source of every reading adopted is plainly stated in the notes, along with the various readings jected by the editors-rejected, we may


add, in every case that we have tested, with correct taste and nice appreciation of language. There is little that is new in the notes as to facts or persons. Their special worth lies in the precision and fulness with which they trace the history of the poems in manuscript and print, and in the originality of the results they body forth of investigation in.o the "origins" of the poetical forms used by Burns. One could wish that the editors had put otherwise the motive of these annotations, whose purpose, they say, is "to emphasize the theory that Burns, for all his exhibition of some modern tendencies, was not the founder of a dynasty, but the heir to a flourishing tradition, and the last of an ancient line; that he is demonstrably the outcome of an environment, and not in any but the narrowest sense the unnatural birth of Poesy and Time, which he is sometimes held to be. However, an editor must be allowed his theory, and Messrs. Henley and Henderson's bold and uncompromising assertion of theirs is welcome as an antidote to the theory or the "Common Burnsite" who, in more or less mythical form, is their bête noir. Only, their prefatory statement that their notes are meant to emphasize their theory offers a needless, and, it must be said, a risky challenge to criticism. Three volumes of "The Centenary Burns" are now before the world, and presumably the editors have brought forward the bulk of their proofs. These are extensive, scholarly, the fruit of learned and critical research. They stand by themselves without the support of any preconceived theory whatever. Do they demonstrate Messrs. Henley and Henderson's proposition or propositions? Unquestionably they do

up to a certain point. They provewhat was not disputed-that "Burns was the heir to a flourishing tradition, and the last of an ancient line," that he "derives from a numerous ancestry;" but they do not prove that he was "not the founder of a dynasty," and, rightly interpreted, they do not minimize his "modern tendencies." They prove that Burns borrowed not only form but matter from his Scotch predecessors,

that he wrote in their manner, on subjects similar to theirs, but not that he looked at the world as any one of them did. In short, while emphasizing the debt Burns owed to his "forebears," they also unwillingly emphasize the gulf that separates him from the best as well as the last of them-which gulf is made not only by genius (for Dunbar had genius too), but by modernity.

No poet, not even Shakespeare, has been so minutely, lovingly studied as Burns. No editor has ever approached the text in so truly critical a spirit or treated it in so scholarly and classical a fashion as Messrs. Henley and Henderson. It is impossible to convey in a brief notice an adequate impression either of the bulk or of the quality of their work. Take for example their treatment of "The Kirk's Alarm." Their note embraces a summary of the M'Gill persecution, which is a model of conciseness and completeness, and an account of the production of the poem, to which they contribute a quotation from the unpublished Dunlop manuscripts at Lochryan: "I have just sketched the following ballad, and as usual send the first rough draft to you." Their "study of the origin" is as follows: "This copy (Mrs. Dunlop's) was originally entitled "The Kirk's Lament," a ballad: Tune, "Push about the Brisk Bowl;" but in the manuscript Lament is deleted for Alarm. Probably, therefore, the idea of the burlesque was suggested by a certain broadside, "The Church of Scotland's Lamentation concerning the setting up of Plays and Comedies, March, 1715," the work of an anonymous writer, of which there is a copy in the Roxburghe Collection." Then they describe the various manuscripts and versions, including the broadside published in 1789 with the title "The Ayrshire Garland," an excellent new song: tune, "The Vicar and Moses," of which Mr. Craibe Angus is the proud possessor of the only copy known to exist. Burns's tunes do not, it seems, fit the verses. The stave of "The Kirk's Alarm" was used in Pitcairne's "Roundell on Sir Robert Sibbald," 1686, and by Congreve, and

was popular in England throughout the eighteenth century. But "as a matter of fact "The Kirk's Alarm" was modelled directly on a political squib which appeared in the Glasgow Mercury, December 23-30, 1788, and was current at least six months before Burns wrote his first draft." This is admirable work. It is the kind of critical editing that the student has long desired, and it is free from all suspicion of a straining of the facts to suit the editors' theory. But too high praise cannot be accorded to Messrs. Henley and Henderson's studies of origins throughout. Thus the six-line stave in rime couée, built on two rhymes, of the "Address to the Deil," is traced from the work of the first-known troubabour, William IX., Count of Poitiers and Duke of Guienne (1071-1127), through Hilary, a Paris monk of the twelfth century, through an anonymous English love-song of the thirteenth century, through the "York Plays" and the "Towneley Mysteries" of the fifteenth century, down to its first use by a Scotsman, Sir David Lyndesay. So by Fergusson's time it hau "become the common inheritance of all such Scotsmen as could rhyme." Again, the metrical structure of "The Holy Fair" is traced back to the thirteenth century romance of "Sir Tristrem," and "docked of the bob-wheel, that never-failing device of the

mediæval craftsman, the "Sir Tristrem" stave is identical with one which, imitated from a monkish-Latin original, was popular all through the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, and long afterwards." Burns himself avowedly derived the metre of the "Epistle to Davie" from Montgomerie. Messrs. Henley and Henderson ascribe to Montgomerie, with the utmost probability, the invention of this peculiar quatorzain; they trace its history to Ramsay's revival of it in "The Vision," and elsewhere, and claim it as exclusively Scottish, both in derivation and in use. In like manner they trace back "The Death and Dying Words of Poor Mailie" to Hamilton of Gilbertfield's (1665?— 1757) "Last Dying Words of Bonny Heck."

To revert to the famous theory, what do Messrs. Henley and Henderson make of "Tam o' Shanter" and "The Jolly Beggars?" Do these works of genius help to prove or disprove that Burns was the last expression of the old Scots world and the outcome of an environment plus Scots forebears, rather than a pioneer in poetry, a prophet with a distinct point of view from his predecessors? Well, the "Centenary" edition does not attempt to derive "Tam o' Shanter" at all. Of "The Jolly Beggars" it says frankly: "The Burns of this 'puissant and splendid production,' as Matthew Arnold calls it-this irresistible presentation of humanity caught in the act, and summarized forever in the terms of art-comes into line with divers poets of repute, from our own Dekker and John Fletcher to the singer of les Gueux (1813) and “Le Vieux Vagabond" (1830), and approves himself their master in the matter of such qualities as humor, vision, lyrical potency, descriptive style, and the faculty of swift, dramatic presentation, to a purpose that may not be gainsaid." Does not that give away the whole case? The poet of "The Jolly Beggars" was neither the satirist and singer of a parish, nor the product of a local or traditionary environment, ever so many forebears aiding. He imitated, copied, and stole much; that is proved to the hilt, and never more conclusively or completely than here. But when an attempt is made to place him in the hierarchy of literature, his imitative work must be assigned its proper, recognized value, and that which he invented (in the widest sense of the term, including form and point of view) must be taken as the decisive evidence of distinction. But the note on "The Jolly Beggars" is in itself a monument of knowledge of the literature of mendicancy and knavery, and will be precious to all time.

It is in the third volume, recently published, that Messrs. Henley and Henderson are most successful, as they were bound to be, in proving Burns to be the last expression of the old Scots world, although their theory unquestionably

leads them to exaggerate a little his debt to his "nameless forebears," and to minimize, by ever so little, the broad distinction between him and the writers of the songs which he "passed through the mint of his mind." It is not easy to see how they can prove and they do not attempt it-that the masterqualities of "fresh and taking simplicity, of vigor and directness, and happy and humorous ease," came to Burns from his nameless forebears, along with "much of the thought, the romance, and the sentiment, for which we read and love him." But theory apart, students are deeply indebted for the study in the origins of Burns's songs which is here presented to them. The editors have utilized a vast mass of material which previous editors have but skimmed-broadsides, chap-books, rare song-books, the great collections of David Herd, including the British Museum manuscripts, even "The Merry Muses,” an invaluable guide, rightly used. The Lochryan manuscripts, embracing unpublished letters of Burns to Mrs. Dunlop, have furnished them with a number of interesting facts, such as the poet's explicit statement that "Sweet Afton" was written for Johnson's Musical Museum as a "compliment" to the "small river Afton that flows into the Nith, near New Cumnock, which has some charming wild romantic scenery on its banks." Their treatment of Burns's inheritance from the clandestine literature of Scotland, and of England too, is excellent. The poet's relations with Johnson and Thomson are carefully and accurately set forth, and sufficient proof is furnished from his correspondence in the Hastie manuscripts, and from certain manuscript material in the possession of Mr. George Gray, Rutherglen, that he was virtually editor of the Museum from 1787 till his health began to fail. The Thomson songs are justly placed on a lower level than those which he passed through the mint to Johnson, though one may fairly demur to the sweeping criticism that "they are often vapid in sentiment and artificial in effect."

A good example of the editing of a

song is the note on "M'Pherson's Fare- and invaluable body of contributions to well." The Herd set is traced to an old the critical appreciation of Burns's broadside "The Last Words of James song-writing. "Under his hand," say Macpherson, Murderer," with the corol Messrs. Henley and Henderson, "a lary-"That it is excellent drama that patch-work of catch-words became a livhas bred the ridiculous tradition-de- ing song. He would take you two fragvoutly accepted by certain editors-that ments of different epochs, select the the hero wrote it." And Peter Buchan's best from each, and treat the matter of copy is declared to be a clumsy vamp his choice in such a style that it is hard from Burns and the original. Take, to know where its components end and again, the note on "Up in the Morning begin; so that nothing is certain about Early." D'Urfey's authorship of the his result except that it is a work of art. original ballad is not assailed, though Or he would capture a wandering old doubt is cast upon it by the existence of refrain, adjust it to his own conditions, a set in a "Collection of Old Ballads" and so renew its lyrical interest and (London, 1723), described as "said to significance that it seems to live its true have been written in the time of life for the first time on his lips." Their James." Hogg and Motherwell's "well own work supplies, for the first time, known song" is said to be a vamp from sufficient detailed evidence of the truth Burns, and Burns's chorus at least is of that scarcely original thesis. There clearly traced to its immediate source in are errors of taste in the "Centenary a hitherto unknown set in the Herd Burns," but these and some slips in manuscript. We have remarked the accuracy apart, it stands forth as the discovery which settles the ancient con- classical edition of the poetry of Robert troversy about "Afton Water." But Burns. these are mere tastings of an inimitable


A Queer Friendship.-While visiting in Herefordshire last week I noticed a curious instance of a wild duck having become on friendly terms with a pair of wood pigeons. As I had never heard of such a thing before, I venture to send you an account of the circumstances. A pair of domesticated wild ducks were brought up on a pond last year, and during the winter the duck was accidentally shot by some one. The mallard remained on the pond, but seemed very unhappy, and used to fly around repeatedly, as if looking for his mate. Some two months ago the mallard was frequently seen to be flying around in company with one or two wood pigeons, and would accompany them to the surrounding fields and walk about with them while they fed. Every now and then it would take a flight with them when they rose.

The wood pigeons have established themselves in an oak tree overhanging the pond, and are evidently going to nest there. They have been seen to start off on a flight from the tree, and the mallard would at once rise from the pond and join them, when they would fly round and chase one another as if in play. The wood pigeons frequently visit the garden close by, and have lately been observed feeding on some green peas which are growing there. The mallard walks about the garden with them. At the bottom of the garden is a stone wall about three feet high, with a broad, flat top, and the wood pigeons frequently fly from the garden and perch on the wall; the mallard has been seen to do the same, waddling about on the wall and seeming on the best possible terms with them.-The Field.

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