3 SEPTEMBER 1898, Page 24


Ballads and Poems. By the Members of the Glasgow Ballad Club- (William Blackwood and Sons. 7s. 6d.)—In 1876 a number of men in Glasgow, united by sympathy for poetry, and perhaps by un- conscious revolt against the prosaic surroundings of a great com- mercial city, formed themselves into a club "for the study of Ballads and Ballad Literature and the production and friendly criticism of original ballade,—the word ' ballad' being interpreted in a sense sufficiently wide to include lyrical poems." This volume, which is the seeped that the club has produced, con- tains a most respectable body of eminently respectable verse, on subjects which ars almost as numerous as the authors. A considerable portion. of the book is almost of necessity devoted to what is rather irreverently styled—in Scotland as well as outside of it—" Kailysrdism," or pictures of the simple loves and tragedies of Scotch life. We have hosts of "contented cotters," " ministers' coos," " drooket bwdies," and "wee cockielorums." Children's verses abound ; the leading practitioner in this line is Mr. Alexander Anderson., who, from his early training in railway work, frequently writes under the nom ds guerre of " Surface-man." But by far the best verses in the volume—the most Scotch in their virility, " dourness," and sarcasm—are those of Mr. Hanish Hendry. In "Burns from Heaven" Mr. Hendry endeavours very successfully to show what the poet would think of the Scotland of to-day. Even better and stronger is " The Beadle's Lament." It professes to give the views of an old-fashioned church-servant, whose chief duty it is to carry the Bible and Psalm-book used in public devotions from the vestry into the pulpit, upon the New Theology of New Scotland. Here is how he represents the Deity of the " modern herd " :—

" A God swim widia feat the craws; A God wha never lifts the Lamle; Wha never heard o' Moses' Lars On stone or paper ;

A kind o' thowless Great First Cause, Skinklin' thro' vapour."

"A kind o' thowless Great First Cause skinklin' thro' vapour," if not quite up to Burns's standard, is not unworthy of Stevenson, —the Stevenson who wrote " A Lowden Sabbath Morn." Alto- gether, this velume proves conclusively that the poetic faculty has not died altogether out of Scotland.