« AnteriorContinuar »
"There are hills beyond Pentland, and lands beyond Forth,
"There's brass on the target of barkened bull-hide,
"Away to the hills, to the caves, to the rocks,—
He waved his proud hand, and the trumpets were blown, The kettle-drums clashed, and the horsemen rode on, Till on Ravelston's cliffs and on Clermiston's lea Died away the wild war-notes of Bonny Dundee.
There are abundant indications that the "Bonnets of Bonny Dundee" was a favorite with its illustrious writer. The following song, from "The Pirate," is interesting, not merely from its own merit, but from an anecdote related by Mr. Lock hart. When on a tour in the North of England, it was sung to Sir Walter as set by Mrs. Robert Arkwright. "Beautiful words," observed he; "Byron's of course." He was much shocked when undeceived.
The stanzas themselves are deeply touching. They form part of a serenade, sung by Cleveland under Minna's window, when compelled to return to his ship.
Farewell! farewell! the voice you hear Has left its last soft tone with you;
And shout among the shouting crew.
The accents which I scarce could form,
Beneath your frown's controlling check,
To cut the mast and clear the wreck.
The timid eye I dared not raise,
To all I love, or hope, or fear,
Honor or own, a long adieu!
Farewell! save memory of you!
These lines have much of the flow peculiar to Lord Byron, and were therefore perhaps selected as adapted to her purpose by their accomplished composer. In general, musical people say that Sir Walter Scott's songs are ill suited to music, difficult to set, difficult to sing. One cannot help suspecting that the fault rests with the music, that cannot blend itself with such poetry. Where in our language shall we find more delicious melody than in "County Guy?" The rhythm of the verse rivals the fancy of the imagery and the tenderness of the thought.
Ah! County Guy, the hour is nigh,
The sun has left the lea;
The breeze is on the sea.
Sits hushed, his partner nigh;
But where is County Guy 1
The village maid steals through the shade
Her shepherd's suit to hear;
Sings high-born cavalier.
Now reigns o'er earth and sky;
But where is County Guy 1
This little poem can hardly be surpassed; but here are two others, one by the late, and one by the present Laureate, worthy to be printed on the same page.
She dwelt among the untrodden ways,
A maid whom there were note to praise,
A violet by a mossy stone
Half hidden from the eye;
Is shining in the sky.
She lived unknown, and few could know
When Lucy ceased to be;
The difference to me!
Mr. Tennyson's delicious song, published only in the later editions of "The Princess," is less generally known.
The splendor falls on castle walls
And snowy summits old in story;
Oh, hark! oh, hear! how thin and clear And thinner, clearer, farther going!
0 love, they die on yon rich sky, They faint on hill, on field, on river;
It is like a descent from Fairyland to the wild stormy ocean, to turn from the dying falls of Mr. Tennyson's stanzas to the homely sea-song of Allan Cunningham. And yet that sea-song has high merit; it resembles the bold, stalwart form, the free and generous spirit of the author, one of the noblest specimens of the Scottish peasant, elevated into a superior rank, as much by conduct and character, as by talent and industry.
A wet sheet and a flowing sea,
And fills the white and swelling sail,
"Oh for a soft and gentle wind I"
I heard a fair one cry;
And white waves heaving high!
The good ship light and free;
And merry men are we.
There's tempest in yon horned moon,
And lightning in yon cloud;
The wind is piping loud!
The lightning flashing free;
Our heritage the sea!
One of the most charming of English song-writers, happily still spared to us, is he who, under the name of Barry Cornwall, has given so many fine lyrics to our language. What can be more spirited than this Bacchanalian song?
To her who weareth a hundred rings1
Drink!—who drinks To her who blusheth and never thinks 1
Dream !—who dreams
Of the God that governs a thousand streams %
I can not resist the temptation of adding to the stanzas of the living poet one from him who can never die.
SONG.—FROM "ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA."
Come, thou monarch of the vine,
Of Thomas Hood's four great lyrical poems, the greatest is "The Bridge of Sighs;" it is one gush of tenderness and charity.
One more unfortunate
Look at her garments,
Touch her not scornfully;