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SONGS AND BALLADS
TO WHICH ARE ADDED
DIALECT AND OTHER POEMS;
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES, NOTES, AND GLOSSARY.
EDITED BY SIDNEY GILPIN,
OF DERWENT COTTAGE.
And at request would sing
LONDON : GEO. ROUTLEDGE AND SONS ;
EDINBURGH: JOHN MENZIES;
CARLISLE : GEO. COWARD.
Steenbock Memorial Library University of Wisconsin - Madison
550 Babcock Drive Madison, WI 53706-1293
HIS work was undertaken with the object
of laying before the public a general
Cumberland, beginning with Relph of Sebergham-the first writer in the dialect—and endeavouring to gather up everything worthy of note down to the present time. The want of such a collection has been long felt and acknowledged by many. That it has not been supplied before must occasion surprise to all who are acquainted with the abundant stores of lyrical poetry possessed by this county.
It is not too much to say that a full collection of Cumberland songs presents such a picture of the actual life lived by our sturdy forefathers as cannot be found elsewhere. No single county within the British Isles has produced a volume of ballad literature so peculiarly its own-so illustrative of the manners and customs of its people. Let it not be understood, however, that this work consists exclusively of pieces in the dialect. On the contrary, a broader principle has been followed throughout; and due attention paid to all productions left us by Cumberland writers, whether written in a more northern Doric or in ordinary English. We can
now claim for “canny auld Cummerlan"" one of the best hunting songs in our language, D'ye ken John Peel; and one of the best sea-songs, The Old Commodore ; whilst some of our finest love-songs are among those left us by Miss Blamire of Thackwood. Then, again, we have Anderson's ballads and Stagg's poems, many of which stand unrivalled as specimens of dialect-writing; whilst Relph's pastorals and Ewan Clark's poems will be found to contain much truthful painting of rural life and character. And, finally, there has fallen to the lot of Cumberland a rich treasury of old border ballads, which would in themselves form a volume at once rare and unique.
In the preparation of this work, all known sources have been ransacked, some of which have yielded considerable results. The Scaleby Castle manuscripts of Miss Blamire's poetry—written expressly for her friend Miss Gilpin-contained no less than seven unpublished pieces, (five of which we print ;) and so important are the songs which have been traced to the pen of Mark Lonsdale, that they will ultimately entitle him to take a fair stand among the song-writers of England. Mr. Chappell, the greatest authority we have in song-literature, has kindly sent us a couple of very old and very good songs; and through his valuable work, “The Popular Music of the Olden Times," we have recovered other Cumberland songs from the British Museum and the Bodleian Library.
No biographical notice has hitherto been published of Miss Gilpin of Scaleby Castle, Ewan Clark, Stagg, Mark Lonsdale, or John Woodcock Graves. Sufficient material, however, for short sketches of these writers has been obtained from various reliable sources; and much information has been thus gathered together which a few more years would have swept away.
The songs and ballads in this collection have been carefully collated with the various copies known to the Editor, both printed and MS.; and in all cases where “different readings " existed that which appeared to be the best has been followed.
Maxwell's edition of Miss Blamire's Poetical Works, which had the disadvantage of not appearing till half a century after her death, contains a considerable mass of information, and has been of great service to us. The biographical part of our notice of that lady is a mere turning over of old materials; for, meagre as is the life by Maxwell, he left behind him no incidents or anecdotes for others to record. The copy of Anderson's ballads published in 1808, when the author's intellect was free and unclouded, has been principally followed as containing the purest and best text of any edition extant. The articles in this work on Miss Blamire and Anderson were originally contributed to the “Border City," a monthly publication which was very creditably conducted by the working men of Carlisle during the years 1863 and 1864. The Editor has to thank an intimate friend for the sketch of Mark Lonsdale's life; and also for the old MS. copy of the Raffles Merry Neet. The article on Rayson is printed, by permission, from one which appeared in the “Carlisle Journal” soon after Rayson's death. Of Wordsworth it was designedly intended that the reader should only obtain a passing glance.
The Editor expresses his grateful acknowledgements to Mr. John Woodcock Graves of Hobart
Town, Tasmania, for his contributions to this volume, and also for much generous and gentlemanly