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wish, that, in conformity with it, you had been more careful, through your selection, to avoid whatever might heighten the devotions to that deity. You say “ It was impossible altogether to omit a class so universally received into Song-Collections ;” and yet, Sir, you have omitted Naval and Military Songs as classes, and given but very few of either amongst the others, and have excluded Hunting Songs entirely.
I am not here pleading for Hunting Songs, or for the exclusion of all Convivial Songs : but only wish to shew, that, as you had excluded other Songs, it was not impossible to exclude the Convivial; if- indeed you preferred that to a greater care in selecting such as could meet with a just approbation.
When I began compiling my Collection of Songs with music, I experienced the difficulty of selecting songs upon this subject. In my first publication, however, I inserted with some few alterations The Generous Soul, an old Song, The Bottle, by Hugh Kelly, and Ne'er be drunk again, from Mr. Ritson's Collection, and the Song upon Tobacco, as an accompaniment to drinking. In the first volume of my second Collection in 12mo. I added The Busy Fly, Two Glees, Beer, or The Hop Feast, by Garrick, Jovial Youths, by Shenstone, and I even ventured to insert one intitled The Water Drinker, thinking that it might at least meet with readers, if not with singers ; not being the first poet who has attempted the praise of waterdrinking. For, in your Essay prefixed to Armstrong's Art of Preserving Health, in giving an analysis of the Poem, you say “ The praise of water-drinking follows ; with the precepts of the father of physic for choosing rightly this pure and innocent beverage. Notwithstanding the apparent earnestness with which the poet dwells on this topic, there is some reason to suspect that he was not quite hearty in the cause. For he not only adopts the notion of those who have recommended an occasional debauch as a salutary spur to nature; but, descanting on the necessity a man may find himself under to practice hard drinking in order to promote the pursuits of ambition or avarice, he advises him (between jest and earnest) to enure himself to the trial by slow degrees. Here the physician and sage seem lost in the jolly companion.” (p. 16.) Afterwards, in treating of the passions, you say, “ Some persons, however, , take a less innocent method of dispelling grief,
The immediately exhilarating effects, and the sad subsequent reverse attending this baneful practice, are here painted in the most vivid colouring, and form a highly instructive and pathetic lesson. Particularly, the gradual degradation of character which it infallibly brings on, is finely touched.” (p. 24.) After thus appearing, Sir, as " the physician and
66. sage”, I am concerned at finding those characters, as I conceive, “ lost,"_" in the
jolly companion” at least, if not in the priest of Bacchus”. (see p. 5. and 183.)*
In the third Volume of my Collection, I could only add two songs upon this subject, one entitled My Mug of Beer, intended for the lower Classes, the other by Burns, deploring the fatal effects of The Fumes of Wine in estranging him from his friends.
But, Sir, it does not appear to me, that even convivial parties require songs of such a de. scription as you have found it right to blame, while you thought it impossible wholly to omit them. I have heard songs of a useful
* The following very extraordinary passage, from a Letter by Burns, published by Dr. Currie, in his Life of him, 5th Edition, p. 164. is submitted to the consideration of the reader:
we ranged round the bowl till the good-fellow hour of six ; except a few minutes that we went out to pay our devotions to the glorious lamp of day peering over the towering top of Benlomond. We all kneeled; our worthy landlord's son held the bowl; each man a full glass in hand; and I, as priest, repeated some rhyming nonsense, like Thomas a Rhymer's prophecies I suppose.”
a tendency sung with applause on such occasions ; an instance of this I have mentioned in a Note to a Song in my third volume, p. 304. The Author of Marmion, in the Introduction to the Sixth Canto of that Poem, makes mention of his great-grandsire partaking in the festivities of Christmas in a very pleasing and religious manner:
And thus, my Christmas still I hold
And honest mirth with thoughts divine. *
Mortals, learn your lives to measure
Not by length of time, but pleasure ; &c. is too much of the description mentioned before (p. 97, 98.) .
* It must be confessed that the Soldier's Song, introduced by the same writer in the VIth Canto of his last Poem, The LADY OF THE LAKE, is pot in unison with these sentiments. I consider it as highly objectionable.
Dr. Doddridge's motto was Dum vivimus vivamus, to which sentiment he gave the following turn, which Dr. Johnson said was the noblest Epigram in the English language:
“ Live Whilst you live”, the Epicure will say,
The author of the Book of the Wisdom of Solomon estimated life by a standard different from that in the Song under consideration : "Honourable age is not that which standeth in length of time, nor that is measured by number of years; but Wisdom is the gray hair unto men, and an unspotted life is old age.” (ch. iv. v. 9.)
The second verse of this song begins with the same two lines and then proceeds :
Soon your spring must have a fall,
Solomon, in the Book of Ecclesiastes (xi. 8, 9.) addresses Youth upon the subject of life, and he says,
" If a man live many years, and rejoice in them all; yet let him remember the days of darkness, for they shall be many. All that cometh is vanity. Rejoice, 0 Young