Sidor som bilder

The Gordon then his bougill blew,

And said, Awa', awa';

This house o' the Rodes is a' in flame,

[blocks in formation]

Than sum they rade, and sum they rin,

Fou fast out-owr the bent;

But eir the foremost could get up,
Baith lady and babes were brent.

He wrang his hands, he rent his hair,

And wept in teenefu' muid:

O traitors, for this cruel deid

Ze sall weep teirs o'bluid.



And after the Gordon he is gane,

Sa fast as he might drie ;

And soon i' the Gordon's foul hartis bluid
He's wroken his dear ladie.

tit Since the foregoing Ballad was first printed, the subject of it has been found recorded in Abp. Spotswood's History of the Church of Scotland, p. 259: who informs us, that

"Anno 1571. In the north parts of Scotland, "ADAM GORDON (who was deputy for his brother the "earl of Huntley) did keep a great stir; and under "colour of the queen's authority, committed divers "oppressions, especially upon the Forbes's.... Having killed Arthur Forbes, brother to the lord Forbes ".... Not long after he sent to summon the house of Tavoy pertaining to Alexander Forbes. The LADY "refusing to yield without direction from her husband, he put fire unto it, and burnt her therein, with "children and servants, being twenty-seven persons " in all.

[ocr errors]

"This inhuman and barbarous cruelty made his "name odious, and stained all his former doings; "otherwise he was held very active and fortunate in "his enterprizes.'

This fact, which had escaped the Editor's notice, was in the most obliging manner pointed out to him, by an ingenious writer who signs his name H. H. (Newcastle, May 9.) in the Gentleman's Magazine for May, 1775. p. 219.



Ancient Poetry, etc.





OUR great dramatic poet having occasionally quoted many ancient ballads, and even taken the plot of one, if not more, of his plays from among them, it was judged proper to preserve as many of these as could be recovered, and that they might be the more easily found, to exhibit them in one collective view. This SECOND BOOK is therefore set apart for the reception of such ballads as are quoted by SHAKESPEARE, or contribute in any degree to illustrate his writings: this being the principal point in view, the candid reader will pardon the admission of some pieces that have no other kind of merit.

The design of this BOOK being of a Dramatic tendency, it may not be improperly introduced with a few observations ON THE ORIGIN OF THE ENGLISH STAGE, and ON THE CONDUCT OF OUR FIRST DRA

MATIC POETS: a subject which, though not unsuccessfully handled by several good writers already,* will yet perhaps admit of some further illustration.



Ir is well known that dramatic poetry in this and most other nations of Europe owes its origin, or at least its revival, to those religious shows, which in the dark ages were usually exhibited on the more solemn festivals. At those times they were wont to represent in the churches the lives and miracles of the saints, or some of the more important stories of Scripture. And as the most mysterious subjects were frequently chosen, such as the Incarnation, Passion, and Resurrection of Christ, &c. these exhibitions acquired the general name of MYSTERIES. At first they were probably a kind of dumb shows, intermingled, it may be, with a few short speeches; at length they grew into a regular series of connected dialogues, formally divided into acts and scenes. Specimens of these in their most improved state (being at best but poor artless compositions) may be seen among Dodsley's OLD PLAYS and in Osborne's HARLEYAN MISCEL. How they were exhibited in their most simple form, we may learn from an ancient novel, often quoted by our old dramatic poets, (a) entitled. . . . à merye Jest of a man that was called Howleglas (b) &c. being a translation from the Dutch language,

*Bp. Warburton's Shakesp. vol. v. p. 338.-Pref. to Dodsley's Old Plays.-Riccoboni's Acct. of Theat. of Europe, &c. &c. These were all the Author had seen when he first drew up this Essay.

(a) See Ben Jonson's Poetaster, act iii. sc. 4, and his Masque of The Fortunate Isles. Whalley's Edit. vol. ii. p. 49, vol. vi. p. 190.

(b) Howleglass is said in the Preface to have died in M,cccc,L. At the end of the book, in M,ccc,L.

« FöregåendeFortsätt »