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Full low and lonely is thy bed,
The worm even flies thy pillow; Where now the lips, so comely red,
That kiss'd me 'neath the willow ?
Amid my song of mourning,
To which there's no returning.
Lie still, my love, lie still and sleep,
Hope lingers o'er thy slumber; What though thy years beneath the steep
Should all its flowers outnumber; Though moons steal o'er, and seasons fly
On time-swift wing unstaying, Yet there's a spirit in the sky,
That lives o'er thy decaying.
In domes beneath the water-springs
No end hath my sojourning; And to this land of fading things
Far hence be my returning.
For all the spirits of the deep
Their long last leave are taking. Lie still, my love, lie still and sleep
Till the last morn is breaking.
Was originally published in the Jacobite Relics, without any notice of its being an original composition; an omission which entrapped the Edinburgh Review into a high but unintentional compliment to the author. After reviewing the Relics in a style of most determined animosity, and protesting over and over again that I was devoid of all taste and discrimination, the tirade concluded in these terms:
66 That we may not close this article without a specimen of the good songs which the book contains, we shall select the one which, for sly, characteristic Scotch humour, seems to us the best, though we doubt if any of our English readers will relish it." The opportunity of retaliating upon the reviewer's want of sagacity was too tempting to be lost ; and the authorship of the song was immediately avowed in a letter to the Editor of Blackwood's Magazine. “ After all," said this avowal, “ between ourselves, Donald M-Gillavry, which he has selected as the best specimen of the true old Jacobite song, and as remarkably above its fellows for 'sly, characteristic Scotch humour,' is no other than a trifle of my own, which I put in to fill up a page !"
I cannot help remarking here, that the Edinburgh Review seems to be at fault in a melancholy manner whenever it comes to speak of Scottish songs. My friend Mr William Laidlaw's song of Lucy's Flitting appeared first in the Forest Minstrel, and immediately became popular throughout Scotland. It was inserted in every future selection of Scottish songs, and of course found a place in Allan Cunningham's collection. Here it is to be supposed the Edinburgh reviewer saw and heard of it for the first time; and, with some words of praise, he most condescendingly introduced it to public notice, after it had been sung and appreciated from the cottage to the palace for a space of nearly twenty years. This reminds me of an old gentleman, who, as he said, “always liked to have people known to each other ;” so one day he made a party for the purpose of introducing two cousins who had been brought up under the same roof. The company took the matter with gravity, and the joke passed off very well at the old gentleman's expense.—For the air, see Jacobite Relics, vol. i.
Donald's gane up the hill hard an' hungry,
Donald's come o'er the hill trailin' his tether, man,
Donald has foughten wi' reif and roguery,
Donald's the callant that bruiks nae tangleness,