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Song written by Mary Queen of Scots in sailing from Calais

to London, 1560.
Farewell the sweet, the ever blest abode!

Farewell the country to my soul most dear!
Where none but pleasure's flowery paths I trode,

Far from the gloomy haunts of strife and fear.

The ship that wafts me from thy happy shore

Is only freighted with the meaner part;
And, while my youthful pleasures I deplore,

Leaves thee in full possession of my heart.

The following anonymous and more literal version, by giving the advantage of comparison, may be useful to young translators:

Ah! pleasant land of France, farewell!

My country dear

Where many a year
Of infant youth I loved to dwell.
Farewell for ever, happy days !
The ship which parts our love conveys
But half of me; one half behind
I leave with thee, dear France, to prove
A token of our endless love
And bring the other to thy mind.

After all, we will not assert that, at this or even at an earlier period, there were no English Songs. We only are persuaded that they had not then risen to the rank which they now enjoy among poetical productions. They were, probably, always the favourites of rural life; but not dignified enough to be admitted into a higher sphere. Simple thoughts chanted to simple melodies are, no doubt, indigenous in every age and country; and we may cite, in evidence, that what modern Musicians understand by Harmony was unknown to the Greeks as it yet is to the Chinese. Song, as distinguished from Duets and Glees, is the effusion of an individual. The music must be adapted to a single voice; and if other tones are introduced they must be completely subservient; otherwise “ the auditor is tempted to say as the Chinese did (when God save the King' was played in parts) that the Air might be very good, if the accompaniments would let it be heard."

Whatever may have been the Airs to which they were sung, we learn, from Shakspeare, that popular Songs existed in England at an early period. The scene of. Twelfth Night' is, indeed, laid in Illyria, but the Duke's speech was intended for the ears of an English audience ; and a Clowne was sent for to sing :

“ Give me some Musick”-“that piece of song,
That old and Anticke song we heard last night;
Me thought it did releeve my passion much,

More then light ayres, and recollected termes
Of these most briske and giddy-paced times.

It is old and plaine ;
The Spinsters and the Knitters in the Sun,
And the free maides that weaue their thred with bones,
Do vse to cbaunt it.".
“I prethee sing."


Come away, come away death,
And in sad cypresse let me be laide.
Fye away, fie away breath,
I am slaine by a faire cruell maide:

My shrowd of wbite, stuck all with Ew, O prepareit.
My part of death no one so true did share it.

Not a flower, not a flower sweete
On my blacke coffin, let there be strewne:
Not a friend, not a friend greet
My poore corpes, where my bones shall be throwne:

A thousand thousand sighes to saue, lay me O where
Sad true louer neuer find my graue, to weepe there.

“The simplicity and wildness of several of the old Scottish melodies denote them to be the production of a pastoral age and country; and prior to the use of any musical instrument beyond that of a very limited scale of a few natural notes, and prior to the knowledge of any rules of artificial music. This conjecture, if solid, must carry them up to a high period of antiquity.

“ The most ancient of the Scottish Songs still preserved, are extremely simple, and void of all art. They consist of one measure only, and have no second part, as the later or more modern airs have. They must, therefore, have been composed for a very simple instrument, such as the shepherd's reed or pipe, of few notes, and of the plain diatonic scale, without using the semitones, or sharps and flats. The distinguishing strain of our old melodies is plaintive and melancholy; and what makes them soothing and affecting, to a great degree, is the constant use of the concordant tones, the third and fifth of the scale, often ending upon the fifth, and some of them on the sixth. By this artless standard some of our old Scottish melodies may be traced; such as Gil Morice ;-There came a ghost to Marg’et's door;--O laddie, I man loo thee ;-Hap me withy pettycoat :- I mean the old sets of these airs; as the last air, which I take to be one of our oldest songs,

is so modernized as scarce to have a trace of its ancient simplicity. The simple original air is still sung by nurses in the country, as a lullaby to still their babes to sleep. It may be said, that the words of some of these songs denote them to be of no very ancient date ; but it is well known, that many of our old Songs have changed their original names, by being adapted to more modern words. Some old tunes have a second part; but it is only a repetition of the first part on the higher octave: and these additions are probably of more modern date than the tunes themselves."*

The oldest Scotch. Song on record is entitled “ The Bankis of Helicone;" and was, doubtless, written more than three hundred years ago. The measure is peculiar, and has often been chosen by the poets of that nation; but the Air is either little known, or neglected. The first stanza we shall here insert:

Declair ye banks of Helicone
Parnassus hill, and daills ilk on,

And fountain Cabellein,
Gif ony of your Muses all,
Or nymphis may be peregall

Unto my lady schein;
Or if the ladies that did lave

Their bodies by your brim,
So seimlie were or yet so suave,

So beautiful or trim. ·

Contempill exempill

Tak be her proper port,
Gif onie sa bonie,

Amang you did resort.

To write a song worthy of being set to music,

* “ Dissertation on the Scottish Music" by A. F. Tytler, Lord Woodhouselee.

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