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66 We may
a castle, or chamber, in which a woman dwelt with her mother.”
James is thus proved, from the records of bis own country, to have been a writer of songs in his own language-to have been fond of singing—and to have been a most accomplished instrumental musician. It may not be amiss, in the eyes of some, to add the testimony of a historian, who, being a foreigner, must, of course, be held as beyond the suspicion of prejudice. This foreigner is Alessandro Tassoni, an Italian, the author of a work published more than two hundred years ago, under the title of Pensieri Diversi. In the twenty-third chapter of bis tenth book, Tassoni thus distinguishes James I. of Scotland:
“ Noi ancora possiamo connumerar tra nostri, Jacopo Re di Scozia, che non pur cose sacre compose in Canto, ma trova da se stesso una nuova musica, lamentevole e mesta, differente da tutte l'altre. Nel che poi è stato imitato da Carlo Gesualdo Principe di Venosa, che in questa nostra età ha illustrato anch'egli la musica con nuove mirabili invenzioni."
among us moderns, James, King of Scotland, who not only composed many pieces of sacred music, but also of himself invented a new kind of music, plaintive and melancholy, different from all others ; in which he has been imitated by Carlo Gesualdo, Prince of Venosa, who, in our age, has improved music with many new and admirable inventions."
This passage goes far to prove, moreover, that although every memorial of James's musical talents is now lost in his own country, he was, for nearly two centuries after his death, in enjoyment of a European reputation on that account.
James has been the means of supplying us with one farther historically certain fact regarding Scottish song It may be recollected by many of my readers, that, after the first five stanzas of Peeblis to the Play, (which five stanzas are occupied by a description of the gathering, or confluence, of the people towards the place of sport,) the poet proceeds
Ane young man stert into that steid,
As cant as ony colt,
Ane birken hat upon his heid,
With ane bow and ane bolt;
The weather is fair and smolt;
Of Peblis to the Play. Another allusion occurs in the twenty-fifth stanza :
He fippilit like ane fatherless foal,
And said, Be still, my sweit thing.
I may nocht rest for greiting.
To mak her blythe that meiting :
Of Peblis to the Play. It is thus established, that songs were common matters among
peasantry in the earlier half of the fifteenth century; and also that there were, in particular, two songs, now lost, one beginning, “ There fure ane man to the holt," and another, “ There shall be mirth at our meeting yet.
But by far the most valuable illustration of the state of song about the era of King James, [1424-37,] is to be found in a ludicrous vernacular poem, called Cockelby's Sow, which is known, from internal and external evidence, to have been written before the middle of the fifteenth century, although the earliest copy of it is in the Bannatyne Manuscript, dated only 1568. Cockelby's Sow, in language, and style of description, makes a much nearer approach to the modern productions of the Scottish muse,
other work produced before the days of Semple and Ramsay. On this account, and as it describes a scene of coarse rustic festivity, there is the strongest probability that the names of tunes contained in the following extract, refer expressly to those ballads and songs which were popular at the time when the poem was composed.'
And his cousin Copyn Cull Foul of bellis ful full, Led the dance and began, Play us Joly Lemmane. Sum trottit Tras and Trenass, Sum balterit The Bass, Sum Perdolly, sum Trolly lolly, Sum, Cok craw thou qll day, Treysbank and Terway, Sum Lincolne, sum Lindsay, Sum Joly Lemman, dawis it not day, Sum Be yon wodsyd singis, Sum Lait lait in evinnynis, Sum Joly Martene with a mok, Sum Lulalow lute cok. Sum bakkit, sum beingit, Sum crakkit, sum cringit ; Sum movit Most mak revell, Sum Symon sonis of Quhynfell, Sum Maister Peir de Cougate, And uther sum in Cousate At leser drest to dance. Sum Ourfute, sum Orliance, Sum Rusty Bully with a bek, And every note in utheris nek. Sum usit the dansis to dame Of Cipres and Boheme; Sum the faitis full yarne Off Portugall and Naverne; Sum counterfeitit the gyis of Spane, Sum Italy, sum Almaine ; Sum noisit Napillis anone, And uthir sum of Arragone; Sum The Cane of Tartary, Sum The Soldane of Surry. Than all arrayit in a ring, Dancit My deir derling. Thay movit in their mad meeting, And all thay falit in feeting; For werit wes their menstralis, Thair instrumentis in tonis falis ; And all thair plat pure pansis, Coud not the fete of ony dansis ; Bot such thing us affeiris To hirdis, and thair maneris ; For they hard speik of men gud, And small thereof understood ; Bot harlit forth uponn heid, A cojoyne cull coud thame lede ; And so thay wend thay weill dansit, And did bot practit and pransit ;
Bot quhen thay had all done,
It was a tratlyng out of tune. « Of the airs mentioned in this poem,” says Mr Leyden, in his Notes to “ The Complaynt of Scotland,” “ I suspect Twysbank to be the appropriate tune of a song preserved in the Bannatyne MS., which com
When Tayis bank wes blomit brycht. Owirfute and Orliance are mentioned, in a curious poem on the · Laying of a Ghaist,' in the Bannatyne MS., which begins
Listis, lordis, I sall you tell. Lutecok is mentioned in Mr Constable's Cantus of the end of the 17th century, as likewise My deir derling, which is there termed. My dayes darling."" I
may further venture to express a conjecture, that Trolly lolly is the same song with Trollee lollee lemman-dow, which is mentioned in the Complaynt of Scotland, 1549, and also with that which Mr Ritson has_printed in his “ Ancient Songs,” under the title of Trolley lollee. Cok craw thou qll day, may be the same with the well-known song called “ Saw ye my Father ?” in which a lover, entering his mistress's bower, gives direction to the cock, as follows :
Flee up, flee up, my bonnie gray cock,
And craw when it is day;
And your wings o' the siller gray. Upwards of half a century elapses after the period of Cockelby's Sow, before any other traces of the existence of song are to be found in authentic memoirs. The prologues to Gawin Douglas's translation of Virgil, written at latest in 1513, contain the names or first lines of a few, as follow :
On salt stremis walk Dorida and Thetis,
Some sang ring sangs,* dances, ledes, and rounds, t
“ The ship sails over the faut faem,
My heart is lent upon sae gude a wicht.”,
Our awin native bird, gentil dow,
Singand on her kynd, “ I come hither to wow." Could this be a primitive version of the well-known song, “ Rob's Jock cam to woo our Jenny,” which was written down in the Bannatyne manuscript anno 1568, or of, “ I hae laid a herring in saut ?"
Allusion is made, in the thirteenth prologue, to a song which is fortunately preserved :
Thereto thir birdis singis in their schawis,
As menstralis playis, " The joly day now dawis." The song here mentioned must unquestionably be the same with one which is found in a collection of musical pieces written about the year 1500, out of compliment to Elizabeth, daughter of Edward IV.,
and consort of Henry VII., and which is preserved in the Fairfax MS.
This day day dawes,
And I must home gone.
* Probably songs with which the ring dance was accompanied.
+ Rounds is one of the denominations of song enumerated by Fabyan, in regard to a transaction already mentioned.
# Elizabeth was herself called the White Rose, because she represented the House of York, whose cognizance it was, and might be said metaphorically to have added that flower to the Red Rose of the House of Lancaster, borne by her husband.