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The Modern Scottish Minstrel, Volume III The Songs of Scotland of the Past Half Century   By: (1825-1890)

Book cover

First Page:

[Illustration:

THE

MODERN SCOTTISH MINSTREL;

BY

CHARLES ROGERS, LL.D. F.S.A. SCOT.

VOL. III.

ABBOTSFORD

EDINBURGH: ADAM & CHARLES BLACK, NORTH BRIDGE, BOOKSELLERS AND PUBLISHERS TO THE QUEEN.]

[Illustration:

Allan Cunningham.

Lithographed for the Modern Scottish Minstrel, by Schenck & McFarlane.]

THE

MODERN SCOTTISH MINSTREL;

OR,

THE SONGS OF SCOTLAND OF THE PAST HALF CENTURY.

WITH

Memoirs of the Poets,

AND

SKETCHES AND SPECIMENS IN ENGLISH VERSE OF THE MOST CELEBRATED MODERN GAELIC BARDS.

BY

CHARLES ROGERS, LL.D., F.S.A. SCOT.

IN SIX VOLUMES.

VOL. III

EDINBURGH:

ADAM & CHARLES BLACK, NORTH BRIDGE, BOOKSELLERS AND PUBLISHERS TO HER MAJESTY. M.DCCC.LVI.

EDINBURGH: PRINTED BY BALLANTYNE AND COMPANY, PAUL'S WORK.

TO

LIEUTENANT COLONEL SIR JAMES EDWARD ALEXANDER, K.L.S., AND K.ST.J.,

A DISTINGUISHED TRAVELLER, A GALLANT OFFICER, AND A PATRIOTIC SCOTSMAN,

THIS THIRD VOLUME

OF

The Modern Scottish Minstrel

IS DEDICATED,

WITH SENTIMENTS OF RESPECT AND GRATITUDE,

BY

HIS VERY OBEDIENT, FAITHFUL SERVANT,

CHARLES ROGERS.

SCOTTISH AND HELLENIC MINSTRELSY:

An Essay.

BY JAMES DONALDSON, A.M.

Men who compare themselves with their nearest neighbours are almost invariably conceited, speak boastingly of themselves, and disrespectfully of others. But if a man extend his survey, if he mingle largely with people whose feelings and opinions have been modified by quite different circumstances, the result is generally beneficial. The very act of accommodating his mind to foreign modes of thought expands his nature; and he becomes more liberal in his sentiments, more charitable in his construction of deeds, and more capable of perceiving real goodness under whatever shape it may present itself. So when a Scotsman criticises Scotch poetry viewed by itself alone, he is apt to be carried away by his patriotism, he sees only the delightful side of the subject, and he ventures on assertions which flatter himself and his country at the expense of all other nations. If, however, we place the productions of our own country side by side with those of another, the excellences and the deficiencies of both are seen in stronger relief; the contrasts strike the mind, and the heart is widened by sympathising with goodness and beauty diversely conceived and diversely portrayed. For this reason, we shall attempt a brief comparison of Hellenic and Scottish songs.

Before we enter on our characterisation of these, we must glance at the materials which we have to survey. Greek lyric poetry arose about the beginning of the eighth century before the Christian era, and continued in full bloom down to the time when it passed into drama on the Athenian stage. The names of the poets are universally known, and have become, indeed, almost part of our poetic language. Every one speaks of an Anacreon, a Sappho, and a Pindar; and the names of Archilochus, Alcman, Alcæus, Stesichorus, Simonides, Ibycus, and Bacchylides, if not so often used, are yet familiar to most. Few of these lyrists belonged to Greece proper. They belonged to Greece only in the sense in which the Greeks themselves used the word, as including all the colonies which had gone forth from the motherland. Most of the early Greek song writers dwelt in Asia Minor some were born in the islands of the Cyclades, and some in Southern Italy; but all of them were proud of their Greek origin, all of them were thorough Greeks in their hearts. It is only the later bards who were born and brought up on the Greek mainland, and most of these lived to see the day when almost all the lyric poets took their grandest flights in the choral odes of their dramas. These odes, however, do not fall within the province of our comparison. The lyrical efforts both of Æschylus and Sophocles were inwoven with the structure of their plays, the chorus in Æschylus being generally one of the actors; and they have their modern representatives, not in the songs of the people, but in the arias of operas... Continue reading book >>




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