« FöregåendeFortsätt »
work was re-arranged and enlarged, and issued in 1855 as Popular Music of the Olden Time. This work is a mine of wealth concerning both the airs and the words of our ballad treasures. It was a truly national undertaking, and has been completed with great skill. No ballad lover can get on without it.
In 1844 Alexander Whitelaw published The Book of Scottish Ballads, and The Book of Scottish Song. An edition of the former was printed in 1875, and one of the latter in 1866, which contains about twelve hundred and seventy songs.
In 1847 John Matthew Gutch published "A Lytell Geste of Robin Hode, with other Ancient and Modern Ballads and Songs relating to this celebrated yeoman."
In the same year appeared Frederick Sheldon's Minstrelsy of the English Border, but it is a work of very little value.
Dr. Rimbault printed in 1850 those valuable Musical Illustrations of Bishop Percy's Reliques, which are so frequently quoted in the following pages.
Professor Francis James Child, of Harvard College, one of our greatest authorities on Ballad lore, published at Boston, U.S., a very complete collection of English and Scottish Ballads, in eight volumes. The first volume contains a full list of the principal collections of Ballads and Songs.
In 1858 William Edmondstoune Aytoun published his Ballads of Scotland, which contain collated versions of one hundred and thirty-nine ballads, with short introductions.
The year 1867 was memorable as seeing the publication of the first instalment of the Folio Manuscript under the editorship of J. W. Hales and F. J. Furnivail.
In 1868 appeared "Scottish Ballads and Songs, historical and traditionary, edited by James Maidment, Edinburgh, 1868," 2 vols. The number of pieces is small but select, and the introductions are full and elaborate.
In 1871 Messrs. Ogle of Glasgow published a well edited collection of Scottish Ballads, with an interesting introduction and notes, entitled "The Ballad Minstrelsy of Scotland. Romantic and Historical. Collated and Annotated."
Upon the completion of the Percy Folio, Mr. Furnivall started the Ballad Society, for the publication of the various collections of ballads that exist. Chappell has edited half of the Roxburghe Ballads in several parts, and Mr. Furnivall himself has printed some interesting ballads from manuscripts. All these have been presented to readers with a wealth of illustrative notes.
The books referred to above form but a portion of the literature of the subject. So mighty has been the growth of the small seed set by Percy, that the despised outcasts which the literary leaders attempted to laugh out of existence have made good their right to a high position among the poetry of the nation, and proved that they possessed the germs of a long and vigorous life.
H. B. W.
THE RIGHT HONOURABLE
COUNTESS OF NORTHUMBERLAND;
IN HER OWN RIGHT,
BARONESS PERCY, LUCY, POYNINGS, FITZ-PAYNE,
HOSE writers, who solicit the protection of the noble and the great, are often exposed to censure by the impropriety of their addresses: a remark that will, perhaps, be too readily applied to him, who, having nothing better to offer than the rude songs of ancient minstrels, aspires to the patronage of the Countess of Northumberland, and hopes that the barbarous productions of unpolished ages can obtain the approbation or notice of her, who adorns courts by her presence, and diffuses elegance by her example.
But this impropriety, it is presumed, will disappear, when it is declared that these poems are presented to your Ladyship, not as labours of art, but as effusions of nature, showing the first efforts of ancient genius, and exhibiting the customs and
opinions of remote ages of ages that had been almost lost to memory, had not the gallant deeds of your illustrious ancestors preserved them from oblivion.
No active or comprehensive mind can forbear some attention to the reliques of antiquity. It is prompted by natural curiosity to survey the progress of life and manners, and to inquire by what gradations barbarity was civilized, grossness refined, and ignorance instructed; but this curiosity, Madam, must be stronger in those who, like your Ladyship, can remark in every period the influence of some great progenitor, and who still feel in their effects the transactions and events of distant centuries.
By such bonds, Madam, as I am now introducing to your presence, was the infancy of genius nurtured and advanced, by such were the minds of unlettered warriors softened and enlarged, by such was the memory of illustrious actions preserved and propagated, by such were the heroic deeds of the Earls of Northumberland sung at festivals in the hall of Alnwick; and those songs, which the bounty of your ancestors rewarded, now return to your Ladyship by a kind of hereditary right; and, I flatter myself, will find such reception as is usually shown to poets and historians, by those whose consciousness of merit makes it their interest to be long remembered.
And most devoted Servant,
* [This dedication is prefixed to the first edition of the Reliques, (1765), the second edition (1767), and the third edition (1775).]