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It is rather curious that the only time I ever heard this song sung, except by one young lady (Miss Forrest), was in the theatre at Lancaster, by the same man who sung Donald M‘Donald, a Scotsman, I think, of the name of M‘Rae. He sung it to a monotonous tune, and it did not take well. They were both announced for a future night; but I came off and left them. It happened to be the time of the assizes, and in two days, out of near forty offenders, they cast twentyfour for execution, the whole trials taking up little more time than in Scotland would have been taken for the trial of one. I had gone to make the tour of Wales; but it appeared to me that all these fellows 'were just men that they had brought in to be hanged. So I thought I was long enough there, and the next morning set off for Scotland by the Lakes of Westmoreland and Cumberland ; and so ended my tour to Wales. Niel Gow, jun. composed the air to which it is set in the Border Garland, but it is oftener sung to another composed by a young lady.
CALEDONIA ! thou land of the mountain and rock,
Of the ocean, the mist, and the wind
Of the roebuck, the hart, and the hind:
Though bare are thy cliffs, and though barren thy glens,
Though bleak thy dun islands appear,
That roam on these mountains so drear !
A foe from abroad, or a tyrant at home,
Could never thy ardour restrain ;
Essay'd thy proud spirit in vain !
Of genius unshackled and free,
My loved Caledonia, for thee!
Sweet land of the bay and the wild-winding deeps,
Where loveliness slumbers at even,
While far in the depth of the blue water sleeps
A calm little motionless heaven !
Of the storm and the proud rolling wave-
And the land of my forefathers' grave!
THE NOCTES SANG
Was made one day in Edinburgh, for singing in Ambrose's at night, on a particular occasion, when a number of foreign literary gentlemen were to be of the party. I did not sing it till late at night, when we were all beginning to get merry; and the effect on the party was like electricity. It was encored I know not how oft, and Mr Gillies ruffed and screamed out so loud in approbation, that he fell from his chair, and brought an American gentleman down with him. I have lost a verse of it, but it is likely to have been preserved in the Noctes Ambrosianæ. It has been always the first song at our jovial meetings ever since. The air is my own, and a very capital one. I believe it is preserved in the Noctes, and nowhere else.
IF e'er you wad be a brave fellow, young man,
For if ye wad be strang,
An' wad wish to live lang, Come join wi' the lads that get mellow, young man !
Like the crack of a squib that is thrawn on, young man, Compared wi’ the roar of a cannon, young man,
Sae is a Whig's blow
To the pith that's below
I heard a bit burd in the braken, young man,
An' aye the sad lay
Was, Alack for the day! For the Blue an' the Yellow's forsaken, young man! If ye wad hear tell o' their pingle, young man, Gae list that wee burd in the dingle, young man;
Its notes o’ despair
Are sae loud in the air, That the windows of heaven play jingle, young man !
I'll gie you a toast of the auldest, young man,
Our King an' his Throne,
Be his glory our own, An' the last o' his days aye the bauldest, young man!
But as for the rogue that wad hector, young man,
May he dance Cutty-mun, t
Wi' his neb to the sun, An' his doup to the General Director,f young man!
* A celebrated London professor was lecturing here then.
+ Cutty-mun ; an old Scottish tune of exceedingly quick and cramp time.
# This is a mysterious allusion to the common place of execution in Edinburgh. C. N. Blackwood's Magazine.