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most elaborate description, or the most lively picture. The mind is at once replaced amid those pleasing scenes which formerly echoed to the same familiar strain, amid those beloved objects with which its melody so sweetly harmonized. As an auxiliary, therefore, to virtue and happiness, the possession of a national music is an inestimable blessing. It lightens labour, and enlivens recreation; it embellishes plenty, and compensates for hardship; abroad it reminds us of the loves that we have left, and the hopes that are before us; at home it invests every spot and object with the light of poetry and the charms of recollection; in the hours of peace it knits more closely the ties of neighbourhood and affection; in the day of battle it nerves the arm for victory or the soul for death.
Having said so much of the moral influence of national melody, let us add something as to its effects upon the progress of musical art. There is little doubt that the principal charm of modern music arises from the adoption, in scientific composition, of the peculiar attractions of popular melody. We should still be wearied with the drawling dulness of the old chants, if composers of discernment as well as science had not seen the necessity of following the universal taste of mankind, and of incorporating the results of experience with the speculations of theory. Music is the art of pleasing the ear, and the only standard of such an art is success. A scientific musical composition that gives no pleasure is a sole cism-a contradiction in terms. Musical science may be of service in pointing out faults and in extending knowledge, but it cannot create beauties; and here, as well as elsewhere, the observation holds true-Maximum est vitium carere virtutibus. To be cold and tiresome is infinitely worse than to be incorrect. But the art of pleasing in music has been very much derived, or at least improved, from a study of those effusions which have either spontaneously sprung from the popular taste, or have been preserved by its influence amidst the wreck of other productions of a less congenial and buoyant character. The most successful works of modern composers have been formed, in a great measure, upon the model of national melody;
and an enlarged view of the science has shown that no sacrifice of musical system is necessary in order to please the simple as well as the erudite. The sources of musical beauty are the same, whether popularly or technically viewed. From adventitious circumstances, the pleasing and the profound may at times appear to diverge; but in this art, as in every other that is intended to address and to ameliorate human feelings, the highest perfection is to be found in that region where popular and scientific excellence are united and identified.
The subject of national melody, its origin, character, and influence in different countries, have been very imperfectly investigated or considered; and we have no doubt that much discovery, at once useful and interesting, might yet be made in this department. The affinities existing between the music of different nations, if carefully and scientifically traced, might, we conceive, throw much light both upon their community of origin, and also upon the predominant principles of musical sensibility among mankind; and in this last view we might, by such enquiries, more surely approximate to those immutable and universal laws of the art that can best assist composers in writing for a permanent and extensive popularity. Transcendent genius will often attain this object by its own instinctive perceptions: but merit, even of a high order, might, by instruction from this source, be preserved from those local or temporary aberrations into which it is often tempted by caprice or fashion, and which, though pleasing in a partial degree, must ultimately obscure its real excellence.
In the general dearth of information, which we believe prevails on this subject, we yet think that we cannot be much mistaken in claiming a very high degree of relative praise for the national music of our own country. The opinions of Scotchmen on such a question, may be suspected of bias, but the testimony of high and impartial authorities has been repeatedly given to the same effect. The Scottish music is extensive and various, and in every department pos sesses unquestionable merit. Our dancing tunes have a spirit and force unrivalled to our ear by any other music, and so electrically fitted to rouse the national fervour and en
thusiasm, that we doubt not they will ere long regain their legitimate ascendency in the ball-room. Our humourous airs have an eminent power of clever or grotesque merriment. serious melodies are often highly poOur lished and graceful; and those of a plaintive character are as exquisitely pathetic as the most finished compositions of the greatest masters. Taken all in all, we are not convinced that there is any other body of national music in the world that surpasses that of Scotland, in force, in character, in versatility, or in genius. We certainly feel not a little exultation at our superiority in this respect over our neighbours of England, to whom we are willing to bow with a proud humility in many other subjects of competition, but whom, we rejoice to think, we can always out-do in the matter of mountains and music. We are far from denying to the English the praise of musical feeling, and we are grateful for the great contributions which, by their regular and scientific compositions, they have made to the general stock of musical pleasure. enumerate the early madrigal and caNot to non writers of England, who were equally remarkable for their talent, learning, and ingenuity, or to refer to her ancient church music, which will always command admiration, the country that owns Purcell for her son, and can boast of Handel for her fosterchild, deserves one of the highest 'places among modern nations in the scale of musical genius. But we are here speaking of that aboriginal or self-sown music which is referable to no individual author, or school of authors, but seems to be the fruit of the very soil itself, and reveals, by the raciness of its character, the peculiar qualities of its native bed. În point of national music, properly so called, we think ourselves entitled to claim the advantage over our southern countrymen. The English have, undoubtedly, a national music, and we see with interest the present progress of an elegant and judicious collection of their melodies under the direction of Mr Chapell. But although recognising the great spirit and sweetness of many of the English airs, we think that, as far we have yet seen, few or none of them exhibit those decided features either of antiquity or of peculiar origin by which our Scottish airs are so strikingly marked.
dily conceived that we have hailed With these opinions, it will be reawith great pleasure a recent addition to the musical lore of Scotland in the publication of the Skene MS., which has been long known and reLibrary, but which is now for the first ferred to, as existing in the Advocates' time given to the light, under the care of Mr Dauney, a member of the Scottish bar, who has engrafted on the legal profession many elegant accomplishments, and, in particular, a very refined and enlightened acquaintance with musical science. We shall give a short account of this MS. in Mr Dauney's own words:
"The collection of ancient music property of the Faculty of Advocates now submitted to the public is the at Edinburgh. It was bequeathed to that learned body, about twenty years ago, by the late Miss Elizabeth Skene, the last surviving member, in a direct line, of the family of Skene of Curriehill and Hallyards in Mid-Lothian, along with a charter-chest containing a variety of documents relating to that family, of which that lady had become the depositary, as their representative, John Skene of Hallyards, who was the and great-great-grand-daughter of the treatise De Verborum Significason of Sir John Skene, the author of tione,' and Clerk Register during a great part of the reign of King James and there is great difficulty in speakVI." ... "The MS. is without date, ing as to the precise time when it was written. Indeed upon this point we cannot venture upon a nearer approximation than twenty or thirty years. handwriting, and the fact that some of From the appearance of the paper, the the tunes are here and there repeated, with very little alteration as regards the music, it is extremely probable that they had been taken down at dif. ferent times, during a period of about that duration. Further than this, the permit us to add, that one part of the most careful examination will only 1615 and 1620, and that while none MS. was written beween the years of it is likely to have been much more recent than the last-mentioned era, some of the collection may have been formed as early as the commencement of the seventeenth century."
stances of a chronological nature in
of Hallyards, the son of the Clerk Register, was the original owner of the MS., and most probably the person under whose auspices the collection was formed.
ton in 1652. Of this very excellent air, which seems to have been a popular favourite in the seventeenth century, we have a gossiping story told by Sir John Hawkins in his History of Music, which we are tempted to extract:-"This tune was greatly admired by Queen Mary, the consort of King William; and she once affronted Purcell by requesting to have it sung to her, he being present: the story is as follows:-The Queen having a mind, one afternoon, to be entertained with music, sent to Mr Gostling, then one of the chapel, and afterwards subdean of St Paul's, to Henry Purcell, and Mrs Arabella Hunt, who had a very fine voice, and an admirable hand on the lute, with a request to attend her; they obeyed her commands; Mr Gostling and Mrs Hunt sung several compositions of Purcell, who accompanied them on the harpischord; at length the Queen, beginning to grow tired, asked Mrs Hunt if she would not sing the old Scots ballad, Cold and Raw?' Mrs Hunt answered yes, and sung it to her lute. Purcell was all the while sitting at the harpischord unemployed, and not a little nettled at the Queen's preference of a vulgar ballad to his music; but seeing her Majesty delighted with this tune, he determined that she should hear it upon another occasion; and accordingly, in the next birth-day song, viz., that for the year 1692, he composed an air to the words," May her bright example chase vice in troops out of the land,' the bass whereof is the tune to Cold and Raw; it is printed in the second part of the Orpheus Britannicus, and is, note for note, the same with the Scotch tune.”
The degree of interest and importance attaching to any collection of Scotch music made in the beginning of the 17th century, may not, at first sight, be apparent to those who are unacquainted with the length of time for which national music may remain in a traditionary form. The date which has been assigned to the Skene MS. would not, certainly, be considered as of high antiquity in the general history of music. England, in particular, had, before that period, produced very learned and eminent names in musical science, and these were closely followed by still more distinguished composers in the course of the 17th century. It might be thought, therefore, that the era of novelty, in reference to the national music of Scotland, must have long gone by, when that of regular composition was so far advanced on the other side of the Border. It is a singular fact, however, that, previous to the present publication of the Skene MS., the earliest printed collection of Scotch music was of so recent a date as 1725. The work that we now allude to is the "Orpheus Caledonius” of William Thomson, which appeared in London, in the form of a single folio volume, in the year we have just mentioned, and of which a second edition, of smaller size, with an additional volume, was published in 1733. The Skene collection is thus more than a century earlier in date than the earliest similar work of which we have been hitherto in possession.
It is true, that several Scottish melodies had appeared in a scattered form previous to the publication of Thomson's Orpheus; but none of them, so far as we can discover, so early as the date of the Skene MS. In the Introductory Enquiry which Mr Dauney has prefixed to his work, we find the notices of these collected together in such a manner as to direct attention to this interesting subject, which it would probably require a very laborious and extensive investigation to exhaust. The oldest printed edition of any Scotch air previously known was that of "Cold and Raw," or "Up in the Morning Early," inserted in the collection of catches published by Hil
Mention is made of other individual Scottish airs, in anecdotes and notices relating to the middle and end of the 17th century. Thus, in reference to the period after the Restoration, we are told of a "Scottish laird who had been introduced to King Charles, with whom he had afterwards had many merry meetings while in Scotland, enlivened by the song and the dance of his country. Having become unfortunate in his affairs, he is said to have found his way to London, with the view of making an appeal to the royal favour, and for a long while to have been unable to obtain access, until one day, when he bethought himself of the expedient of slipping into the seat of the organist,
at the conclusion of the service, in the Chapel Royal, and of arresting his Majesty's attention as he departed, with the homely and unexpected strain of "Brose and Butter"-a tune which very naturally awakened the recollection of their former friendship, and in a few minutes brought about the recognition which it was so much his desire to effect."
We have no edition of this very characteristic song contemporaneous with the time of the anecdote. But we have no reason to doubt that the air which is thus commemorated is the same as that with which we are still delighted at the present day, and which is to some persons better known under the title of "The Grinder."
In the year 1680, the air of Katherine Ogie was sung at a concert in Stationers' Hall, by Abell, the lutanist and counter-tenor singer, of whom the strange story is told, that when he was in Poland, the King, in revenge for some exhibition of that caprice for which singers are proverbial, compelled him to sing in a suspended chair, upon pain of being let down among wild bears; a threat under the influence of which Abell declared that he sung better than he had ever done in his life. There can be no doubt of the identity of this air of Katherine Ogie with that which now bears the same name, and of which a set is to be found in print dated a few years afterwards.
The accession of the Stuart family to the throne of England, and the increasing intercourse thence arising between the two countries, may account for the popularity which the melodies of Scotland seem gradually to have obtained among the English in the course of the seventeenth century. Several Scotch airs are said to be inserted in Playford's Dancingmaster, published in 1657; but we have never seen that collection, of which we believe there are very few copies to be found in this part of the kingdom. It would appear, however, as Mr Dauney tells us, that little is to be gleaned, at least from accessible sources of information, as to the publication and performances of these airs in England, before the appearance of D'Urfey's Miscellany, as to which we shall now make a few observations.
under the title of "Laugh and be Fat, or Pills to purge Melancholy." The prescription seems to have been pretty generally taken and well liked; and Addison, in No. 29 of the Guardian, refers to it as the cause to which "so many rural squires in the remotest parts of this island are obliged for the dignity and state which corpulency gives them." Enlarged editions of the work were published, in six volumes, in 1707-20, under the name of "Wit and Mirth, or Pills to Purge Melancholy." It would appear, both on his own testimony, and on that of Addison in another number of the Guardian (No. 67), that D'Urfey had enjoyed the good graces of Charles II., who would lean on his shoulder, and hum over a song with him from the same paper. He seems, indeed, to have been generally popular, and more particularly so with the fair sex, if we do not suppose Addison to have had either a jocular or a satirical meaning when he recommended to the young ladies, his disciples, to give their patronage to the benefit of his old friend, "who," he says, "has often made their grandmothers merry, and whose sonnets have perhaps lulled asleep many a present toast when she lay in her cradle." If the ladies of the seventeenth century derived their merriment from the fountain-head, and could swallow the "Pills" entire as they came from Tom's own laboratory, their constitutions must certainly have been very different from those of their modern descendants, who would be shocked at a mixture where there was so large a dose of indecency to so small a proportion of wit. It so happens, however, that the copy of the Pills which is now before us seems to have been the property of a lady who writes her name "Ann Addison,” with the date 1744; though whether she was any relation of Tom's illustrious friend we are unable to say. It is but fair to add, that Addison concludes his character of D'Urfey by telling his readers that "they cannot do a kindness to a more diverting companion, or a more cheerful, honest, good-natured man." It is not here exactly said that his life was a very regular one'; but if it was so, Tom was certainly of the opinion expressed by Catullus,
This extraordinary compilation seems to have first seen the light about the end of the seventeenth century,
-Castum esse decet pium poetam Ipsum: versiculos nihil necesse est."
A recommendation addressed to the ladies by a moral essayist, in favour of the author of such a work as D'Urfey's Miscellany, and founded upon the merits of that very work, would, at the present day, be a curious phenomenon. But we must allow for the age; and, after all, we would as soon connect our name, or burden our conscience, with the "Pills to purge Melancholy," as with some modern poems in which vice has been presented in a more elegant costume.
Whatever deductions we may make from the respectability of D'Urfey's memory in other points, we feel a certain degree of gratitude to him for helping to give celebrity to the melodies of Scotland. In four, out of his six volumes that we have at hand, we find the following airs presented in a very tolerable form,-" Dainty Davie,' "Diel tak' the Wars" (though Mr Dauney doubts if this be not an English air), a "Scotch song," of which the music closely resembles that of "Jock of Hazledean," "Corn Riggs," "Cold and Raw," "Katherine Ogie," "Bonny Dundee," "Lumps of Pudding," "Over the hills and far awa'," &c. It must be confessed, however, that the compliment thus paid to our nation is somewhat alloyed by the intermixture of a number of spurious Scotch airs, of which the music is very miserable, and by the union even with the best airs of lyrical effusions in the Scottish dialect, of which the sentiments and diction are equally execrable, and fully more libellous than any thing that Wilkes suffered for as the writer of the North Briton.
have been borrowed from the Orpheus Caledonius. This we take to be the case with the "Broom of the Cowdenknows," "An thou wert my ain thing," and "The last time I came o'er the Moor," none of which we remember to have noticed in D'Urfey.
The publication of Thomson's Orpheus Caledonius, in 1725, was speedily followed by other productions that tended still further to bring Scotch music into notice. Allan Ramsay, in the same year, published, as a supplement to his Tea-Table, a small collection of national airs, with basses; and the celebrity that soon attended his Gentle Shepherd would direct attention to those airs to which the songs in it were adapted. In 1727 the public were regaled, in the Beggars' Opera, with a melange of popular airs, which were almost entirely selected from those in D'Urfey's Pills, and of which several were genuine and beautiful specimens of Scottish melody. One or two of the Scotch airs in the Beggars' Opera must, we should think,
We should deviate, however, from our present purpose if we further prosecuted this historical detail. We intended merely to direct attention to these important facts:-1st, That the Orpheus Caledonius, published in 1725, has hitherto been the earliest printed collection of Scottish melodies; and, 2d, That the earlier copies of any such melodies as we possessed, in a scattered or insulated state, were to be found in publications not of Scottish but of English origin. These circumstances are the more remarkable, as Forbes's Cantus, a collection of secular music, was published at Aberdeen about 1666, but, strange to say, does not contain any native Scottish melody. From that publication we should suspect that our ancestors had then arrived at that stage in the progress of taste in which the proverb is realized, that a prophet is not honoured in his own country. The collector of that work seems to have had his admiration entirely turned to the more regular airs which were then coming into notice from the hands of Italian or English composers.
In such a state of matters, it was not wonderful that the antiquity of Scottish music should have been altogether questioned by some sceptical enquirers. Ritson, after enumerating the names of some airs which are recorded by early writers, observed― "No direct evidence, it is believed, can be produced of the existence of any Scottish tune now known prior to the year 1660, exclusive of such as are already mentioned; nor is any one even of these to be found noted, either in print or manuscript, before that period." And in one of his letters he enquired" Upon what foundation, then, do we talk of the antiquity of Scottish music ?"
It is satisfactory to be able to appeal to the publication of the Skene MS. as affording a more decisive answer to this question than any that we were previously able to render. We can now refer to an authentic national collection, of a comparatively early date, in which a number of our Scottish melodies are to be found, and among these, as we shall presently show