Thursday, January 7, 2010

Allan Ramsay

Scots poet Allan Ramsay, who died on January 7, 1757, was best known for his pastoral, "The Gentle Shepherd".  This work, which later inspired John Gay's "The Beggar's Opera".  Ramsay was not a career poet, having established himself as a wig maker in Edinburgh.  In 1712, he founded the Easy Club, which was a Jacobite literary society.  It was here that his writing skills gained an audience.

Ramsay was well known to Walter Scott.  Scott references Ramsay in his "Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border", crediting Ramsay as the source of a Presbyterian march, called Lesly's March, which was first published in Ramsay's "Evergreen".  Scott created a parody of Lesly's March, and included it in his novel "The Monastery":

March, march, Ettrick and Teviotdale,
 Why the deil dinna ye march forward in order!
March, march, Eskdale and Liddesdale,
 All the Blue Bonnets are bound for the Border.
       Many a banner spread,
       Flutters above your head,
 Many a crest that is famous in story.
       Mount and make ready then,
       Sons of the mountain glen,
 Fight for the Queen and our old Scottish glory.        

Come from the hills where your hirsels are grazing,
 Come from the glen of the buck and the roe;
Come to the crag where the beacon is blazing,
 Come with the buckler, the lance, and the bow.
       Trumpets are sounding,        
       War-steeds are bounding,
 Stand to your arms, then, and march in good order;
       England shall many a day
       Tell of the bloody fray,
When the Blue Bonnets came over the Border.

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