« PreviousContinue »
Of Buchanan's career on his return to Scotland, and his conduct as a politician and courtier, I shall say nothing. As a poet, his career terminated when the gates of state intrigue were thrown open to him, so I bid him farewell on the threshold. His Maiæ Calendæ, his “ Epicædium on the death of John Calvin,” his poem De Sphærd, his translations from Euripides, his elegiac poetry, all his titles to renown were already won. way,
John Milton has translated his tragedy of Baptistes, if we are to credit Peck. Certain it is that Buchanan’s De Jure Regni apud Scotos, a wonderful step in radicalism for that day, was the prototype of the Cromwellian secretary's Defensio pro Populo Anglicano. It appears that Buchanan had some share in the education of Michel Montaigne,-a glorious feather in his cap. Crichton was certainly his scholar : and no better proof of the fact can be afforded than the following lyric (from the MS. in my possession), a copy of which I fancy got abroad in Burns's time, for he has somehow transferred the sentiments it expresses, most literally. However, it is clear that Crichton's claim cannot be invalidated by any ex post facto
The thing speaks for itself.
Joannem Andreæ filium anus uxor
The old Housewife's Address lo her
(From the unpublished MSS. of the "ada
into broad Scotch by ROBERT UAT, of the Excise.)
Senex Joannes ! dulcis amor tuæ
Quàm bene cæsaries nitebat!
Illecebræ mihi cariores i
John Anderson my jo, John,
When we were first acquent,
Your bonni row was brent;
Your locks are like the snow,
John Anderson my jo,
qnando, Joannes mi bone! primitus atura rerum finxit imagines Formam elaboravit virilem,
Hoc ut opus fieret magistrum. Sed, inter omnes quas opifex pia Struxit figuras artifici manu, Curavit ut membris et ore
Nulla foret tibi par, Joannes !
John Anderson my jo, John,
When Nature first began
Her master-work was nian;
Sae trig frae top to toe,
John Anderson my jo.
Ye were my first conceit,
That I ca' ge trim aud neat:
Tibi rosarum primitias dedi,
Delicias repetam perennes :
Jam te senilem, jam veterem vocant; Though some folks say you're old, John,
I never think ye so,
John Anderson my jo.
We've seen our bairnie's bairns At nos in amborum calentes
And yet, my dear John Anderson Usque sinu recreamur ambo; I'm happy in your arms; Hyems amori nulla supervenit, And so are ye in mine, JohnVerisque nostri floret adhùc rosa, I'm sure you'll ne'er say no, Tibique perduro superstes
Though the days are gane that ye have seen, Qualis eram nitidă juventa.
John Anderson my jo. Patris voluptas quanta domesticam John Anderson my jo, John, (Dum corde mater palpitat intimo) What pleasure does it gie Videre patorum coronam
To see sae many sprouts, John, Divitias humilis taberna!
Spring up 'tween you and me! Videre natos reddere moribus
And ilka lad and lass, John, Mores parentum, reddere vultibus In our footsteps to go, Vultus, et exemplo fideles
Make perfect heaven here on earth,
John Anderson my jo.
Jamque brevi properabit hora.- W bring us to our last;
While in innocent delight we lived, Nec sine spe melioris ævi!
John Anderson my jo. Vitve labores consociavimus,
John Anderson my jo, John, Montana juncti vicimus ardua,
We've ciambed the hill togither,
And monie a cantie day, ban,
And we'll sleep togither at the foot,
John Anderson my jo.
When Harrison Ainsworth, then a young
promise, took up James Crichton in place of Dick Turpin, a noble field lay before him. I sketched the plan, and pointed out to him that the story, in all biographies, of Crichton's having been killed in a drunken brawl at Mantua, by Duke Gonzaga, on the 3rd July, 1583, was manifestly untrue, as there was, to my knowledge, at Paris, in the Bibliothèque du Roi, a printed broadsheet of verses by him, on the death of St. Carlo Borromeo, who died on the 4th November, 1584 (a fact he was able to verify by getting another copy from Milan). From other sources I showed that there were secret reasons for his reported death, that he lay concealed at Venice as corrector of the press for Aldus Manutius,* up to 1585 was made private secretary at Rome to Pope Peretti when “Sixtus Quintus” became monarch in central Italy, and that he was the life and soul of that great man's short reign; I had proof that he was at Lisbon in 1587, and that, in 1588, he sailed thence with his friend Lope de Vega on board the Invincible Armada, to avenge the death of Mary, Queen of Scots. That his galleon, driven up the German sea and rounding Scotland, was wrecked in the winter of that year on the coast of Ayrshire.
That disgusted with the triumphant reign of Elizabeth, the revolt of the Low Countries from Spain, the edict of Nantes granted to the Huguenots by Henri Quatre, and the general aspect of Europe, be gave up continental affairs, settled down as a tranquil farmer, married a highlard lassie, and lived to a good old age, as evidenced by his well-authenticated song of John Anderson my jo.
This startling narrative of what was in some sort the posthumous history of his hero, Ainsworth did not grapple with, but stopped ať Paris, making him a kind of fencing-master, rope-dancer, and court dandy, marrying him to some incredible princess of the blood, and so forth.
That Crichton, during his long life in Ayrshire, under an humbler name, was author of most of the popular songs
and tunes that have enriched the Land o’ Cakes is known to a few only; but Robert Burns was in the secret, as the reader has already discovered.
In 1841, on returning from Hungary and Asia Minor by the south of France, I learnt that Ainsworth had left the tale of Crichton half told, and had taken up with Blueskin and Jack Sheppard, Flitches of Bacon and Lancashire Witches, and thought such things were “literature.” Hence this ballad, in which I have endeavoured to express what I know would have been the sentiments of old Prout, in language as near his own as I can command. Paris, Nov. 1, 1859.
F. M. * The presses of Aldus, and Crichton's sharn in their efficiency, suggest to me the propriety of acknowledging the debt due by the defunct Prout to the keen and accurate supervision of Mr. W. S. Bobn while these sheets were in progress. Quick perception, and intimata acquaintance with the several languages used by Prout, rectified many errors, and happy tact restored his text in many passages.
THE RED-BREAST OF AQUITANIA.
AN HUMPLE BALLAD.
louse to Bourdeaux
ter at 0. Snow 1 foot
but a poore
of wooden shoes,
" Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing ? yet not one of them shall fall to the ground without your Father.”—ST. MATTHEW, 3. 29.
“Gallos ab Aquitariis Garumna Aumen.”—JULIUS CÆSAR.
“ Genius, left to shiver
On the bank, 'tis said,
Died of that cold river." -TOM MOORE. River trip. OH, 'twas bitter cold
'Twas a stranger drest As our steam-boat roll'd tross of that In a downy vest, Thermome. Down the pathway old
'Twas a wee Red-breast, Of the deep Garonne,— Coleridge, (Not an “ Albatross,") and a half And the peasant lank,
But a wanderer meek, deep. Use While his sabot sank
Who fain would seek
O'er the bosom bleak
Of that flood to cross. Ye Gascon. And he hied him home Ye sparrow And we watch'd him oft to his cot- To his toit de chaume; river maketh As he soar'd aloft drinketh a
And for those who roam house of the On his pinions soft, flaggonae.
On the broad bleak flood fire-ship. Poor wee weak thing, Cared he? Not a thought;
And we soon could mark For his beldame brought
That he sought our bark,
As a resting ark
For his weary wing.
On her pathway sped,
runneth 10 Good bye to As we trod the maze
And shot far a-head
Of the tiny bird,
DOA POWI ye And quicker in the van
Her swift wheels ran,
As the quickening fan
Of his winglets stirr’d. Ye Father But there came anon,
Ye byrde 18 Vain, vain pursuit !
adown ye quaintance Down the deep Garonne, river.
For his forked foot
Shall not anchor there,
Tho' the boat meanwhile Of more high amount,
Down the stream beguile
For a bootless mile
The poor child of ajr!
shins at a wooden fire.
meeteth a stray ac
Symptomes And 'twas plain at last
Ye Streame And well would it seern
of Lyfe. A "Tis melan. He was flagging fast,
younge man That o'er Life's dark cholie to fall
of fayre probetween That his hour had past mise.
Easy task for Him
In his flight of Fame,
Was the Skyward Path Slow, slow he sank,
O'er the billow's wrath, Nor uprose again.
That for Genius hath
Ever been the same. Mort of yo And the cheerless wave
Hys earlie And I saw him soar birde.
flyght across Just one ripple gave ye screame. From the morning shore, As it oped him a grave
While his fresh wings bore In its bosom cold,
Him athwart the tide, And he sank alone,
Soon with powers unspent
As he forward went,
His wings he had bent
On the sought-for side, Ye old man But our pilot grey
A newe ob. But while thus he flew, weepeth for Wiped a tear away ;
his eye from Lo! a vision new in ye bay of In the broad Biscaye
Caught his wayward view Biscaye. He had lost his boy!
With a semblance fair, That sight brought back
And that new-found wooer
Could, alas! allure
From his pathway sure
The bright child of air, And the tear half hid Instabilitie For he turn'd aside, ance of ye
of purpose a ladyes; eke In soft Beauty's lid fatall evyll And adown the tide of 1 chasseur
in lyse. Stole forth unbid
For a brief hour plied d'infanterie legere. For that red - breast
His yet unspent force.
And to gain that goal And the feeling crept,
Gave the powers of soul For a Warrior wept;
Which, unwasted, whole, And the silence kept
Hadachieved his course. Found no fitting word.
This is je Olde Father But I mused alone,
A bright Spirit, young, morall of
Father sadly mo- For I thought of one
Sank thus among
ballade, In my earlier days,
The drifts of the stream;
Not a record left, -
Of renown bereft,
By thy cruel theft,
O DELUSIVE DREAM.
ralizeth anent ye birde.