Studies In Folk-song And Popular Poetry

An Extensive Investigation Into The Sources And Inspiration Of National Folk Song

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if not the fecundity and strength, of Burns, in in­terpreting the emotions and the thoughts, the pas­sions and the humors, of the Scotch people. Lady Nairne's poetical genius was entirely lyric. There was no Cotter's Saturday Night, much less any scene from Poosey Nancy's alehouse, or witch's gathering at Kirk Alloway, in her interpretation of Scotch life, and her voice was only the pure lilt of Scotch song, grave or gay. Without determined literary ambition and the responsibility of a known name, the stimulus of production was not absorb­ing and lasting, and a good deal of her work was simply occasional, careless, and imperfect. The best, that which will live as long as Scotch song, could be comprised within the limits of a dozen pages. But its quality is of the very highest in inspiration and execution, the pure voice of the lark lilting beneath the blue cloud, the mourning of the croodlin' doo, and the gay warble of the cheery thrush.
Almost as famous in its own and very different way as The Land o' the Leal, and almost as per­fect in its execution, the limitation of the true lyric to the simplest and most absolute words, and the complete interpretation of its spirit in the melody, is The Laird of Cockpen. It was written, it is said, to supply proper words to the gay old air of When She cam ben, She bobbit, which being in-
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