Open main menu

Page:Notes and Queries - Series 9 - Volume 11.djvu/450

This page needs to be proofread.


442


NOTES AND QUERIES.


. XL JU*E e, wra.


sense of "from memory." For the right meaning of memoriter see J. P. Krebs, ' Anti- barbarus der lateinischen Sprache,' sixth

1 , i T TT r^l 1 1 -1 * /-i r\rtr\\ ^rr .


'Lselius (de Amicitia),' 1; Prof. A. S. Wilkins's edition of ' Cicero de Oratore,' i. 15, 64 (" * with accurate memory,' not, as we often use the word, ' from memory ' ").

Vol. i. p. 402, n. 7, " The almighty dollar and oeuf evidently had as great power in Burton's days as in our own days." This note and certain others in the same style could well have been spared. With regard to the spelling oeuf PROF. SKEAT re- marks ('N. & Q.,' 9 th S. iv. 166), "The ex- planation once offered that oof is the French oeuf, and meant a golden egg of a goose, is merely ridiculous, and quite unfounded. I hope no one pronounces the French word as oof." EDWARD BENSLY.

The University, Adelaide, South Australia.


BALLADS AND METHODISM.

YOUR notice of the Edinburgh Review (ante, p. 399) draws attention to the fact that the influence of the earlier Methodism was prejudicial to the survival of our ballad poetrj T . However good the intentions of the Methodists may have been a fact so un- doubted that I should never think of calling it in question their narrowness of view in all things where the imagination was concerned produced many misunderstandings, and in some cases no little evil. A curious instance of this has long been familiar to me.

Some sixty years ago there lived in a part of England wherein Methodism was, and is, a prevalent form of religion a country squire who had lost his wife, and was left with one child only, a son of about eight years old. To amuse his little boy, who may have been precocious by living entirely with grown-up people, the squire was accustomed to sing to him old ballads, such as * Chevy Chace,' ' Barbara Allan,' and 'Lord Delamere,' with songs of more modern date, all of which, however, I need not say, were of the most innocent character. A time at last came when the father thought it necessary to engage a tutor for his son. The person chosen was a Methodist of the more rigorous sort. He had not been a member of the household many days before he protested strongly against his pupil having such a worldly and even morally dangerous amuse- ment proffered to him. Strange to relate, the father was so imbecile as to feel con-


strained to follow the tutor's advice, much to the discomfort of the lad, who had been taught from infancy to look forward to his father's singing as one of the great pleasures of his dull life. We must not, however, blame too severely the tutor for his stupidity. He had been impressed by his mother that ballads and songs were evil things, and, like many others, then and now, never thought of questioning the teachings of those he loved. He no doubt hoped that his pupil under his instruction would grow up as strict and pleasure-shunning as himself. The fates were, however, not so cruel to the boy. He had an aunt living but a few miles away who was an ardent admirer of Sir Walter Scott's verse. She, when he visited her, as he often did, read to him 'The Lay of the Last Minstrel' and ' Rokeby,' to his great delight. The lad is an old man now, and often talks, as old men are wont to do, of his early days. I have heard him say repeatedly that the poetry he heard and read when a boy had done his mind far more permanent good than all the regular schoolwork that was ever forced upon him.

This unhappy result of misdirected religious zeal has not been confined to our own island. George Borrow said that "the Methodists have done good" in the Isle of Man, "but their doctrines and teaching have contributed much to destroy the poetical traditions of the people." A woman there, who was re- ferring to innocent Manx songs, said, " The truth is that the Methodists set their faces against songs of that kind " (W. I. Knapp, ' Life,' &c. of Borrow, vol. ii. 137-8).

Mr. W. A. Craigie has contributed to Folk- Lore (September, 1898, p. 203) an interesting paper on Evald Tang Kristensen, the Danish folk-lorist, from which we learn that a similar loss from like causes has occurred in Jutland. Contrasting the populations of East with West Jutland, Mr. Craigie says :

" The West Jutlander has altogether a deeper character, accompanied by a more melancholy and

meditative turn of mind The creations of fancy

are more real to him, in the same way as they are more real to children ; and he is thus far more adapted for preserving and handing on the complex body of traditions, beliefs, and observances that we sum up under the name of folk-lore. This same bent of character, however, has also made him more susceptible to religious influences, and the latter tendency is a natural enemy of the former. ' Some people have been surprised,' says Kristensen, ' that the Inner Mission made such progress in the west of Jutland ; but the explanation of this lies in the distinction I have just drawn. Where there are now many pietists there were formerly many who preserved our folk-lore, and especially our ballads ; and nothing in our own time has done so much "njury to these as the religious revival, just because