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On the Irascibility of Poets.

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care"-another blessed with a more than a quantum suff. stock of supernatural foresight, prognosticates a thousand evils on that. Some who have no souls, or lean ones if any, afraid lest they should be left behind, set up the hue and "down with him." Others, upon the wing who wishing all the pleasure to themselves, start from their seats and join the general roar. the one hand his ears are grated with ten thousand humiliating epithets; on the other, his poor old hobby horse is almost run to death. Every one thinks he has a right to expatiate with impunity, and not a few to filsh from the immediate jewel of his soul"-" unexpected enemies rise up on every side;" spots are magnified into clouds, clouds into a canopy of gloom, while friends are put to the test, and not a few take wing. Yet some would support the trembling adventurer if they had a taste, others who have fine tastes, if they had money, but the one lacking what the other can spare, instead of lending they turn upon the poor bard, the one kicking him off for the saving, and the other knocking to conceal his poverty. The havoc now begins. "The dawn is overcast." "Gloom piles upon gloom." "The clouds are charged." "One loud volley succeeds another."

"Here stands the bard the target of the day."

In the rear no retreat-in the front nothing but open arms, terror, confusion, desertion, broken ranks, and " war to the knife." Detraction flying on the wings of malevolence, anticipates his approach by impregnating the circle in which he is to move with the pestilential effluvia of Malice. Old Envy shrivelled up into all the wrinkles of five thousand eight hundred and nineteen years, catches the alarm, puts on her spectacles, and grins like an ogre. Ignorance and captious criticism come down like wolves, and howl for battle. What is not understood by one, is explained by another, in a manner every way galling to the dupe; and the joining calumniation to the terrible denunciations of the latter, the poor wretch is run down at the manifest risk of losing his senses, unless he is ready for every attack, armed with every weapon necessary in self-defence.

"But the greatest cause of their pain arises from that old gentleman Poverty, who"-but here we were interrupted by Dorothy Crabface, who came in with looks expressive of her eternal abhorrence to literature, and fearing farther discussion might disturb the night's repose of my trembling automaton, I slipB

Remarks on Vocal Music.

ped out of his left ear, leaving him to subscribe himself in the best manner he could, Your humble servant,

Hermitage near Kilmarnock, 1819.



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In a Letter from SAWNIE CROODLE to DAVIE LINtie.

"Delightful power of melody,

Friend of my youth, soother of every care

That cross'd its flowery path; oh, may'st thou long, -
With all thy tenderest eloquence of song
Beguile life's sorrows."


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copy o' the airs an The Flowers o' the Roys wife' breathes

I gat your kin' letter yestreen wi' a words o'Roy's wife o' Aldivalloch,' and Forest;' for which accep' o' monie thanks. a nameless charm that has clean bewitch't me, an''ll keep me croodling to mysel' this towmont to come.

An' The Flowers

o' the Forest' is a sweet posie that 'll ne'er wither, but blume in Nature's ain bosom "while gowans grow on our braes, an' lilies on our burn-banks."

When ye get leizure, I wad tak it kin' o' you to sen' me a copy o' "Ca' the yowes to the knowes," but ye mauna write it the way that your acquantance Betty Warble sing'st:

I hate lug-piercing squeels an' skirls, "Affectit, gigish shakes an' whirls."

gie me just the simple air, an' I'll do as muckle for you again. The tither owk we had a won'erfu' ranting Concert an' dance here, made by a Lun'on-bred singing-master, an' some o' his frien's frae the east kintra; an' as ye dabble awee in music, like mysel,' I s'all scribble, for your amusement, twa-three remarks on the han'lin'.

The Concert begoud wi' an auld Scots sang transmugrifiet till a glee; but glee-singing unco seldom pleases my simple auldfawsont taste. I like harmony weel enough in its ain place, but I canna bide to hear sentiment sacrific't to soun'. The different pairts war aiblins sung as the harmoneezer meant them for a' this; but some said ae thing, some anither, a' at the sam' time, an' amang sic a confus't reel-rall gabble, the fient a

Remarks on Vocal Music.

an' we

bit o' me cou'd ken what they wad been at.-Sang-music, in my hum'le opinion, may be reckon't a kin' o' Elocution, for the vera intent o' kipplin' an air till words is to len' them pith an gie them comman' o' our passions, sae the sentiment maun be allow't to be the saul o' the sang; an' gif our modern composers o' glees mak hotch-potch o' the words they may laden our immortal airs wi' a' the hilliegeleerrie trumpery o' cauld heartit art, an' get them ruff't an' encor't by a wheen bluisteren' rattle-sculls an' echoers o' fawson, but feeling an' common sense 'll ne'er hune to hiss at sic waefu' murder. For my ain pairt I carena a strae for a sang gif it disna touch the heart, an' afore this can be dune, the singer maun seem touch't wi't himsel', maun ken what he says, syne we sympathise wi' him or fancy oursel's in his situation; an' this idea is necessar' for our richt enjoyment o' the sang; now gif ony ither body sings alang wi' him, the pleasing delusion, gif I may sae ca't, is blastit a' thegither. To convince you, Davie, that there's some truth in what I ha'e said, let me again tell you that sang-music is intendit to enforce sentiment, an' help us to think it real, just like fine speaking in a theatre; now, bring to your min' yon nicht we saw the "Stranger" actit, ye'll recollect weel enough that in the hinmest ack whan Mrs. Haller teuk the Stranger by the han', an', sabben wi' grief, said, "In this world then-we have no more to say"-the hale audience meltit into tears. Now, had twa actresses spoken thae words baith at ance, I'll lay my lug there wadna been a bleer't e'e amang us a.' Yet wi' a' this I dinna mean to argue against the charms o' harmony-my has stood on en', cauld shiverings ha'e dirl't my nerves, an' my saul has been waftit amaist to heaven itsel' on hearing the ban' o' a regiment, or a wheen guid fiddlers play the glorious airs o' Roslin Castle,' or Killiecrankie;' but still I think words an' harmony seldom do weel thegither, excep' whan we join in kirk-music to praise our Maker; then we may naturally be suppos't to be a' singen' frae the heart, an' we either ha'e the words in our min's, or see them on our beuks.



An' how comes't think ye, that instrumental harmony, when it's weel dune, has sic won'erfu powers? I believe it's just that we dinna hear words ava, an' sae they canna be confoundit, we're allow't to kipple ideas wi' the air, an' I manteen that without doing this, neither harmony nor melody is wordy a custoc-the lug may be tickl't, but the heart 'll no be touch't.

Remarks on Vocal Music.

A wheen mae o' our auld Scots sangs, turn't into glees, were sung, forbye some newfangl't tantrum trash that were said to possess a deal o' what's ca'd' Science;' but gif yon be their Science I wad warmly recommen' in its place Simplicity; anʼ than fo'k wha ha'e lugs an' sauls wadna get them harrow't by sic barbarism. O man Davie, but I'm noy't to think we shou'd e'er countenance sic rumelgarie rants, an' that the peerless melodies o' Caledonia shou'd be maggl't into sic mashlum-balderdash.

Twa solos were sung too, an' the first ane by the Lun'oner, a pigmy aper o' the Italian an' Catalani fawson. I kenna what was the subjeck o' the sang, for he seem't careless whether fo'k heard the words or no; his hale drift was to squeak like a cat on the eunuch key, chirt out curry-worry soun's, an' cramsheuch, gallopen' runs, an' put a lang farrago o' whigmeleerie wimples on ae word. An' a' this just to gar us gape and glour wi' surprise! He leukit till a sheet o' music too a the time he was singin', an' vera aften whan he cam' to wee bits o' words like ‘and,' ‘the, or for,' he flourish't an' buskit them wi' a' the rallion o' his corrup' taste; an' aye the hin'mest line o' ilka stanza was en't wi' a lang fall-lall o' demi-semi-quavres, hap-stap-an'-loup exesution, an' nicheren' shakes, far, far awa baith frae the time an' the nature o' the air.

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"The dinsome braying o' a tinkler's ass,

A sow's death-skriechs by botcher newly sticket,
Or spaniel's yells beneath the torturing lash,

Had less than sic a sang my saul afflicket!"

The niest solo was sung by a chiel wha seem't to mak' Nature his standart, an' I own he gied me somet for my sil'er; he understood an' fan' too what he said, an' sent it powerfully hame to our hearts-he didna leuk cauldrively at a piece paper for what he was to say the sentiment cam' warm frae his an bosom-it wasna like garring us ferlie at a wheen outlandishlike wurbles, an' libbet-like squeaks; na, na, he ettl't at somet mair precious; he tun't our sauls in unison wi' his sang, gart our heart-strings dirl wi' the saft touches o' simplicity, an' wy'l the fancy to the lan' o' enchantment.

"O was it a voice frae twa earthlie lips

That made sic melodie?

It wad wy'lt the lark frae the morning lift,
An' weel micht it wyle me!"


Remarks on Vocal Music.

This ae sang, man, was wordy ten thousan' gabblin' glees, an' hallokit bravuras! The vera steevest uphadders o' sic bladerie an' blaflums, hadna a word to say against it excep' that it wasna the way the fo'k sang in Lun'on! an' this micht be sae, but I'll mak' bauld to say that some o' our muirlan' herds, wha liltit their loves langsyne on auld Scotia's heathery hills, ha’e compos't tunes that lays a blade to Johnie Bull's e'e, an' 'II craw in his crap as lang's he lives!

What's the use of a wheen ribblie-rabblie baggage o' glees, compost by crotchet-headit music-doctors? Or what signifies a wheen flickering, fligarie sangs Italianeez't by skirlin' Operasingers, an' accompaniet by jinglen' pianos an' fiddles, cheepin' like dancing-master's kitts? They just gang in at the tae lug an' cum' out at the tither, an' ha'e as little meaning as the baaing o' a wheen twa-year-auld weans mimiken' 'sa'm singing!

An' now, lad, ye may aiblins geck at the rough an' rude remarks o' a learless chiel like me, an' think me lucky sae bauld to roose a wheen auld-warld sangs that fo'k wha can sing by the beuk, reckon vulgar an' tame; or presume to crack my futie wit on a kin' o' music that sanction't by fawson an' high-bred taste-but Davie, "I'll wad a boddle," gif it warna for fear o' being thocht uncultivated an' auldfawsont, baith high-bred taste an' high-born pride, wad sune change their sowth, an' allow their affections to be stown by the simple sangs o' auld langsyne. An' though I'm but a poor, unletter't, nameless wight, an' maun e'en scribble my auld mither tongue, my ain hamely way, I ken o' baith lain't an' lang-headed philosophers, and poets, wha steevly tak' my part: an ane o' them wha was a richt nacky auldfarrant birkie, an' hadna his tale a-seeking, tells us, "Music is not now sought as a repose for the mind after its fatigues, but to support its tumults; not to impress the delights of calm reason, or prevail on us to listen to the charmer; but she must leave the purity of her own nature, and by divesting herself of simplicity, force us to admire, not feel, and yield to astonishment and absurdity, instead of chaste beauty and delight. In a word, imagination is now to be surprised, whilst the heart is totally neglected!"

I cou'd gie you a lang screed yet o' droll cracks anent the behaviour of the lasses an' lads at the dance, but I maun stap ow, for my paper's dune, an' your patience 'll aiblins be dune Jo-sae gi'e my respecks to Betty Warble, Jock Counteryouil,

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