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preciated as Irving has attempted to do. He wrote in the spirit of the times; and it is unfair to measure him by the standard of taste established now. We much suspect, that the Dr. has but sparingly looked into them, and been in the main as much at fault while speaking of them, as he supposes Dempster to have been on a like occasion. This far we can safely say, namely, that they will bear comparison with similar productions of the same period, and not be greatly the loser by the experiment.
The poetic vein that began in Lord Sempiil, was continued in the person of his cousin-german, Sir James Sempill of Belltrees, author of the “Packman's Pater Noster,” and by him transmitted to Robert Sempill, the author of the celebrated “Epitaph on Habbie Simpson," Piper of Kilbarchan, until it terminated in the person of Francis Sempill his son, author of these popular songs: “ Scho rase and loot me in"-" Maggy Lauder"“ The blythsum Bridal, &c. &c. and of a poem, entitled “ The Banishment of Poverty,” &c.
Any thing more than this catalogue of names our limits forbid us to give. It is to be regretted, that the manuscripts of Francis Sempill are irretrievably lost. They fell into hands which knew not their value, and it is to be feared out of them they will never be recovered. Respecting the Sempills, considerable information will be found in two small periodical publications, entitled The Paisley Repository and Annual Recreations, printed in 1812. 'Bating some inaccuracies in the matter, and sundry ir r'egancies of style, the information contained in them will be useful to those desirous of knowing more about this distinguished family, more especially in regard to Francis Sempill, of whom several anecdotes are related, and who appears to have been rather of a harum scarum disposition.
There is a large cumbrous quarto, purporting to be a reprint of Crawfurd's history of Renfrewshire, and a continuation thereof to the present day, into which we have often dipped for information, in the course of writing this essay, expecting to find some notices respecting the history of the literature of the County, as well as of its pedigrees, parishes, and superficial contents, in arable or unarable ground. But this mass of dulness gave no response, all therein was darkness, dreariness, and we may add, endless bewilderment. One might as well have gone to the meikil stane o' Cloichodrick
and searched for diamonds, as sought for a single loint in the big book alluded to. Speaking of this volume, it has always struck us with astonislıment and sorrow, that a person in the county, a native of it, possessed of intelligence, and science, and literature, could not be found to execute it in the way it should liave been done. A knowledge of pedigrees, laud surveying: or manures, is not all that is necessary for such a work.
This digression, peradventure, is ill-timed and ungracious! but it was written after having inade a fruitless search for some account of Robert Crawfurd, a cadet of the Auchinames family, thinking the frigidity of the genealogist would have thaved and dissolved itself, as the fine songs of " Tweed side" and “ My Denrie an ye die," rung in his ears. But we were mistaken, and must content ourselves with what the laborious and eccentric Ritson has already communicated of this Renfrewshire Poet. .
Speaking of Ramsay's Tea Table Miscellany he observes that, " among the contributors to this collection which, except the musical publication at Aberdeen, is supposed to be the first that ever appeared of Scotish Songs, was a gentleman of the Name of Crawfurd of the family of Auchinames, whom the pastoral béanties and elegant language of Tueedside, and the pathetic tenderness of My Dearie an ye die, will ever place in the first rank of lyric poets.” This is a great deal from a critic so gruff as Mr. Ritson.
Of dar. Crawfurd's life no particulars are known, except that he was in the army and unfortunately drowned, either in going to, or returning froin France. The Mary of his song of Tweedside, is supposed. by Walter Scott, to have been Mary Lilias Scott, of the Harden family, oft-times, on account of her loveliness, stylc: The Flower o' Yarrow. Besides those songs alluded to above, Daintie Davie and The Bush abune Traquair, may also be mentioned as other two happy efforts of this gentleman's mise. · Another gentleman whom it behoves us not to omit in this sketch, is William Walkinshaw of that ilk, the author of Willy was a l’anton Wag, &c. an especial good song of its l.ind. Farther than mentioning bis name we cannot go, as no other particulars comected with him have we been able to proCure. The tome of stolidity which we have had occasion to
make honourable mention of before, has been consulted on this subject, but as was to be anticipated, found wanting.
Again we enter upon debateable ground. Jean Adam, who was born at Cartsdyke, probably about the beginning of last century, and died in the town's hospital of Glasgow, on the 3d April 1755, disputes along with William Julius Mickle, translator of Camoen's Lusiad, the honour of writing the song, There's nae Luck about the House. Every particular in the life of this lady of any consequence at all, and the whole arguments for and against her claim to the song in question, are embodied in two well written papers of the Visitor *, to which we beg leave to refer. This writer concludes by giving it to Mickle, and pronouncing Jean Adam incapable of such a performance. His reasons, though on the whole, strong and plausible, are not such as to produce entire conviction. What his argument mainly rests on against Jean Adam, is the tame and prosaic and religious description of her other poetical miscellanies t, so woefully contrasted, as they undoubtedly are, to the natural simplicity and beauty of this song ;-her never having attempted to write any thing else in the Scotish language, and the age of the song itself, which according to Burns, first began to be hawked through the streets in 1771 or 1772, which places it out of her day, or making it ten years older, would have to be written long after she had quitted her poetical labours. His argument for Mickle, hinges on that writer's genius_his having given a copy of the song to his wife, as one of his own productions--there being found in his papers, an imperfect or rude sketch of it--its age as given above, which would fix its composition in his twenty-fifth or twenty-eighth year, and having written other songs wherein Scotish words occur, and one of which is written in the same measure.
We may remark, that it is often found, all arguments tending to prove this or that song to have belonged to a particular author, when drawn from a knowledge of what he hath written, and the complexion and power of his genius, are very fre
* The Visitor, or Literary Miscellany, Original and selected; printed for John Turner, Greenock, 1818. This little periodical contains more good stuff in its pages, than is generally to be found in publications of a similar description.
+ Miscellany Poems. By Mrs. Jane Adams in ('rawfurdsdyke. Glas. gow 1734, I?mo.
quently altogether nugatory and inept. The general strain of Mickle's poetry and bent of his genius seem to be as directly opposed to the nature of song, as what Jean Adam's, from ought that appears, has been. All inferences therefore, drawn from this source on either side, we would deem unsound, and ought to be dismissed. For it frequently happens, that an indifferent writer in other respects, has by changing his subject, and in a happy moment, produced something that shames, by its excellence, all that he hath written before or will write again. In the same way, an author celebrated for some great performance, does not always succeed in every effort he makes, if that we somewhat out of the track he has been accustomed to tread, and a miscarriage and a blot on his genius is the consequence. It may be added, that a large portion of Scotish Song is neitber the work of professed and celebrated poets, nor gentlemen, nor scholars, but owes its being to obscure rhymsters, humble individuals, and folks who have lived and died uudistinguished by literary acquirements or general talent; and, excepting in one or two solitary instances, have never attempted to versify in the world. Many songs are floating about in the mouths of people, unknown beyond the parish in which they were composed, and many which have gained popularity are without a father, because they may have acquired it without the author's knowledge ; or if he was aware of that circumstance, prudence or modesty may have withheld him from reaping the honour by an avowal; or they may have risen into notice long after their author had ceased to be.
This song, therefore, may as well be considered the production of Mrs. Adam as of Mr. Mickle. It may have been composed in her youth; but the character of piety she had acquired amongst her patrons, may have prevented her from being guilty of so much incongruity as publishing so hearty a lilt amongst the meek-faced children of her devotional muse. It is said she recited it in her life time as her own, and from her recitation, a copy might have found its way to the streets. Mickle, a man of tåste, either hearing it there, or procuring an imperfect copy, might have set to the correction of it. And as no one appeared to claim it, he, on the score of those very corrections and improvements, may have been induced to bring forward his own title of self-appropriation, imagining that in
this case, as materiam superabat opus, he was fully authorised to do so. If, however, Mr. M's. emendations were pothing more than a few orthographical ones, or occasionally the substitution of one phrase for another, few will be inclined to think that his conduct in this matter was either honourable or just. He had obtained enough of celebrity by other performances, without requiring to be indebted to the song of a poor and unassuming woman, composed in the joyous simplicity and fullness of her heart, for any portion of. or addition to that fame which he already enjoyed through exertions altogether his own.
The great evidence of the song belonging to Jean Adam, 5s, however, derived from the song itselt. There are many little indications of its being from a female hand: no man could think in the same way, or rattle over $o volubly the contents of the wardrobe, or arrangements in the kitchen, for the gudeman's home coming as in the song. But the strongest of all arguments in Jean's favour, is the local allusion contained in the song itself, which we imagine will sufficiently establish her claims to it, and at the same time prove to the world, that our assertion of her right to do so, is neither fanciful nor unfounded.
The local allusion that we mean occurs in these lines :
And see him come ashore. Now we submit, that none except those who have been bred up in a seaport, would ever have thought of particularizing so minutely, the very spot to which it will be necessary to go for the affectionate purpose of seeing the gudeman come ashore. Those educated in landward towns would have had no specialities wbatever, but discoursed loosely in generalities, and talked of the beach or of the seaside, without condescending on any one particular plaće of it where the gladsome meeting will take place. But the quay to those living in maritime towns, is in fact the centre of all interest, and (pardon the pun) is in good verity the master key to many of their most pleasing associations, remembrances, tender affections, regrets or joys. Hence it becomes an object of no little moment in the inind's eye, and more and more assumes the character of a' dominant and all-pervading hleaumone ready to rise uppermost, and engross attention when