9 th S XT. APRIL 4. 1903 ]
NOTES AND QUERIES.
Vol. in. p. 300, 1. 21 (Part. III. sect. iii. mem. i. subs, i.) :
In Venus' cause what mighty battles make Your raving bulls, and stirs for their herd's sake.
Shilleto's note on " stirs " is "? steers." This seems uncalled for. See the quotations for the plural of "stir" in Latham's Johnson and the 'Century Dictionary' ("He did make these stirs," fr. Abbot), and compare Cooper's 'Thesaurus,' s.v. 'Tumultuo,' "to make tumult, rufling, sturre, or businesse," and the 'Anatomy,' vol. i. p. 95, 1. 15 (' Derao- critus to the Reader '), and vol. iii. p. 26, 1. 5 (Part. III. sect. i. mem. ii. subs. iii.).
EDWARD BENSLY. The University, Adelaide, S. Australia. (To be continued,)
ANGLO-SCOTTISH SONG. Among the lyrics included in the anthologies of Scottish song there are several that are claimed for both England and Scotland. Some of these do no credit to their nationality, whatever that may be, and they hold their place mainly owing to the exquisite melodies to which they are wedded. Others are merely literary curiosities, framed by " ingenious young gentlemen," in London and elsewhere, to meet the demand for Scottish songs stimu- lated by the publication in 1724 of Ramsay's 'Tea-Table Miscellany.' After that date the practice of utilizing old material became very common, and was illustrated with sovereign dexterity by Burns. One of his successors was Hector Macneill (1746-1818), who gained a measure of success with several of his lyrics. A pastoral song, which the author names ' The Lammie,' but which is usually known as 'My Boy Tammy,' is manifestly inspired by a song of the English peasantry entitled ' My Boy Billy.' The latter opens with the following stanza :
Where have you been all the day, My boy Billy?
Where have you been all the day,
Pretty Billy, tell ine ?
I have been all the day
Courting of a lady gay,
But she 's a young thing
Just come from her mammy, O !
The dialogue continues through three further stanzas, and brings out the possibilities of the /'young thing" as a helpmate of her swain and a housekeeper, culminating in some effusive drollery on the question of her age.
Macneill states that his song is written for an " Air name unknown," and it has to be set to his credit that the tune has come to be inseparably associated with his dainty^con-
tribution to pastoral verse. His lyric opens thus :
Whar hae ye been a' day,
My boy Tammy? Whar hae ye been a' day.
My boy Tammy?
I 've been by burn and flowery brae, Meadow green and mountain grey, Courting o' this young thing Just come frae her mammy.
The, Scottish poet diverges from his English exemplar in treatment of the theme, develop- ing the sentimental rather than the practical characteristics of the situation, but he retains the dialogue form and the ingenuous refrain. His song is not of high literary quality, but it has popular features, and for various reasons perhaps chiefly because of the graceful, piquant melody with which it goes it is one of the best known among the minor love lyrics of Scotland.
" The ancient custom at Lanark of ' Whuppity Scoorie,' the origin and meaning of which are lost, has just been celebrated, and watched by a crowd of grown-ups. The town bell is rung nightly at six o'clock from March to September, and then lies dumb for six months. On the first night of the ringing all the young folk congregate at the cross, and alter parading three times round the parish church, the Lanark lads meet the New Lanark boys in a free fight, in which the only legitimate weapons are their caps tied at the end of pieces of string."
The above appeared in the Daily Mail of 4 March, and as no account of the custom has been given in ' N". & Q.,' I venture to ask for its insertion.
EVERARD HOME COLEMAN. 71, Brecknock Road.
1 NOTES AND QUERIES ' : EARLY REFERENCE. Thackeray says in a note to 'The Virginians' (published 1858-9), at the bottom of a page in chap. Ixxviii. : " In the Warrington MS. there is not a word to say what the ' old place ' was. Perhaps some obliging reader of Notes and Queries will be able to inform me who Mrs. Goodison was. Ed." The whole is, of course, only one of the mild devices to secure verisimilitude which used to be popular with novelists, but it constitutes the earliest reference to ' N. & Q.' in good literature which I have seen, so may be worth recording. Perhaps some one can supply an earlier.
" PEELER." The illustrations for the use of this word in the slang sense of " policeman " given in the ' Century Dictionary ' are taken from Kingsley's 'Alton Locke ' and Mayhew's 1 London Labour and the London Poor.' iBut one of full thirty years earlier is'to be^found,