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Younge wemen quhen thai play,
Sing it among them ilk day.

James the First "possessed great talent in poesy and music," and we are told that, after the calamitous field of Flodden, "songs of lamentation, set to dirgelike melodies, were wailed through the length and breadth of Scotland, literally steeping a nation in tears."

But we must not trench on the ground so ably covered by Mr Macbeath in his "Introductory Essay" in this volume. In this exhaustive and carefully prepared treatise he proves that poetry and love of song are indigenous to Scotchmen, and that poetry and music have been national characteristics for centuries. He shows that the poetic element has been a living power in Caledonia since it was both "stern and wild"-from the days of Thomas the Rhymer to, say, John Stuart Blackie; and, what is more to our purpose, that it "gains increased strength and vigour with age."

"The Church may demur to my proposition," says David Vedder-a name revered by all lovers of Scottish song-" nevertheless I do aver, that song performed the part of a powerful auxiliary in her life-and-death struggle with Rome. All the poets of that stirring period seem to have pointed their ordnance against St Peter's. The burning satire ran from mouth to mouth like electric fluid, and the fabric of a thousand years, which had been cemented by so much blood and treasure, toppled and fell! When the battle was won, however, the Reformers tried hard to kick down the ladder by which they had been assisted to their elevated position-to proscribe song, to stifle the bards-to lower them in the eyes of the public, as a class of idle sorners given to the unprofitable trade of poem-making.""

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In the words of Chambers-" poetry and music,

till the early part of last century, lived a very vagrant and disreputable life in Scotland, but they flourished in the hearts and the souls of the people, for they were susceptible of the strongest impressions from poetry and music." But the tide once turned, Scottish song became fashionable. The court, the theatre, the opera-all rung with Scottish music. In course of time a galaxy of illustrious names, as Mr Macbeath in his essay has shown, illuminated the lyrical firmament of Scotland, until there arose, in brightness unutterable, to deluge our land in a flood of light, that great star of Song, Burns, whose magnificent lyre resounded over the globe in warm accord with all hearts, and for all time-the cadence of which can only cease with

"The wreck of matter, and the crash of worlds."

Since the demise of the hierarch of Scottish lyrists, bards of illustrious name have sprung up from time to time. Hogg threw a halo of lyrical glory over our country; Cunningham, a kindred spirit, increased its breadth and augmented its radiance; Tannahill gave us songs sweet as the western summer breeze, whispering over a bed of rustling reeds; while Motherwell melted us to tears as by a mother's tenderness. Many other names that have enriched our poetical literature might be added; and of the living tuneful fraternity, who have sung with pathos, simplicity, and humour, with rough vigour and polished sweetness, we do not need to remark here-their name is legion, and to select names from the many would appear partial and invidious.

No sentiment, we believe, was more frequently expressed a number of years ago than that the age of poetry was past. So generally was this believed that the lovers of poetry, it is said, had ceased to look for a coming man, and had accordingly turned

with new and lingering fondness to the eloquent musings of men of former generations As advancing civilization compelled the deft and light-hearted fairies to quit Scottish ground, so, it was feared, had the tuneful Muses been forced to withdraw before the ungrateful roar of steam. And as the greencoated chiefs were so shocked by the sacrilegious violation of their haunts that they agreed to depart in a body from so thankless a nation, so it was believed that all the Muses had acted in concert, and had determined never to permit the modest warblings of song to be "coughed down" by a locomotive, or to be developed to the accompaniment of a railway whistle. Sometimes, it is true, hopes were excited by seeing a wooer of the Muses astride his Pegasus, whipping and spurring heroically, but on closer inspection it was found that this was not the real Pegasus he had mounted at all, but an animal of mean descent, which answered the spur-not by a bound into the heaven of invention-but by a patient whisk of the tail, or by the utterance of a sound by no means distinguished for melody. In recent days, however, these apprehensions that the inspirations of the olden time had gone by have been dispelled. Many, amid the whirr of wheels, have taken up the ancient harp and struck bold notes, and the coy inspirers of song are proving that not even the din and bustle of this mechanical matter-of-fact age can prevail to resist their impulses when and wheresoever they choose to impart them.

We do not believe that nature scatters her blessings with more profusion in one age than another; or that, like an unfeeling mother, she robs one child of its portion to enrich the other. We think the difference lies in the cultivation. The most fertile fields will, if neglected, be overrun with weeds; and the bramble will choke the luxuriance of the floweret.

Many a tract, seemingly oppressed with the curse of sterility, has, by the assistance of art, teemed with the fruits of cultivation. The human mind is that luxuriant field, rich in the gifts of nature, but requiring the fostering care of education to raise the imperfect seed to the maturity of the full-grown crop.

It is no rare matter now-a-days to meet with literary working men. We, nevertheless, always feel that a special interest attaches to their efforts. W. realise not only the peculiar difficulties and disabilities with which they have frequently to contend through limited education and unrefined surroundings, but also the advantage they have in writing of the poor and working orders from actual acquaintance and personal comprehension of their aims and needs. Both reasons tend to procure a cordial welcome when one of these toilers finds a voice to prove that labour is not necessarily a bar to culture and poetic feeling, and that environment is, indeed, not all-powerful in fashioning heart and mind.

In this volume is an alphabetical list of the counties which are the birthplaces of poets treated in the preceding volumes. By way of a summary we might here note that Aberdeenshire claims 106 (Aberdeen 35); Argyleshire 15; Ayrshire 72 (Ayr 8, Kilmarnock 11); Banffshire 15; Berwickshire 21; Bute 2 (both in Rothesay); Caithness 4; Clackmannan 9; Dumbartonshire 13; Dumfrieshire 29; Elgin or Moray 6; Fifeshire 68 (Kirkcaldy 7, Dunfermline 13, Cupar 8); Forfarshire 130 (Montrose 8, Forfar 11, Dundee 53, Brechin 12, Arbroath 14); Haddingtonshire 6; Invernesshire 19; Kincardineshire 18; Kinross-shire 4; Kirkcudbrightshire 19; Lanarkshire 144 (Glasgow 99); Linlithgowshire 13; Midlothian 141 (Edinburgh 106, Leith 14); Nairnshire 1; Orkney and Shetland 14; Peebleshire 12; Perthshire 64 (Perth 17); Renfrew

shire 45 (Paisley 15, Greenock 13); Ross and Cromarty 7; Roxburghshire 29; Selkirkshire 12; Stirlingshire 22; Sutherlandshire 2; Wigtonshire 5.

The professions, trades, &c., include, amongst others, the following:-Artist, 12; blacksmith, 7; bookseller, 15; butcher, 1; clerk, 6; commercial traveller, 8; compositor, 5, and newspaper manager, 1; dancing master, 1; detective, 2; draper, 14; editor, 20; education, 5; engineer, 11; factoryworker, 14, overseer, 3, and millworker, 4; farming, 22; gardener, 12; grocer, 9; journalist, 22; law, 22; librarian, 5; literature, 16; medical, 23, chemist, 4; mining, 6; ministry, 121, missionary, 3, and prison chaplain, 1; musician, 8, and music-seller, 5; painter and decorator, 15; police force, 7; post office service, 17; printer, 12; professor, 7; publisher, 8; railway service, 18; molecatcher, 1; shoemaker, 16; soldier, 11; tailor, 19; teaching, 68; and weaving, 15.

Not to speak of towns, there are few villages which cannot boast, if not of a heaven-born poet, at least of a pleasing rhymer whose feet touch the border-land, and who only just miss the crown. We would be the poorer every way for the loss of our humble rhymers; for do they not hallow domestic life by their sweet homely lilts, and they make us all the better by singing of hedgerows and lanes, spring flowers and autumn tints-and, above all, of the joys and sorrows of the ingleside. They are the poets, in a humble way, of the home and the affections, and by their thoughts life seems to grow more refined and softer, and our love of art, of flowers, and of music increases.

The facilities afforded by the modern press has done much to foster and develop the poetic gift, and the opportunities thus afforded has been embraced by all classes. The " rhyming fraternity" are brethren"a' John Tamson's bairns," and claim kinship with

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