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Allen, for so she called him. I found by the tenor of her story that they had been playing at “Lover's. Quarrels," that her swain had taken his leave in a pet, and neglected to visit her at his wonted hour. The poor girl shewed great agitation of mind, tinctured with symptoms of jealousy, for, by what I could learn from her conversation, she had made earnest enquiries of every one she met, if they had seen her Allen in their walks, shewing visible apprehensions of her lover's perfidy, and of his having forsaken her for some other damsel in the neighbourhood. This set my Muse afloat; I thought it no unpleasant subject, and therefore wrote the following song, while sitting over my wine after dinner: it was set to music by Mr. Hook, who has done credit to
himself and honor to me, by giving it a melody of notes and simplicity of style, expressing the subject so well as to cause it to make its way to the heart, like that of my Disconsolate Sailor, composed by the same master with equal ability.
ability. The following song was sung by the late Mrs. Kennedy at Vauxhall, some years ágo, under the title of
ALLEN BROOKE, OF WYNDERMERE.
Say, have you in the village seen
Last night he sighing took his leave,
My throbbing heart is full of woe,
The reputation of this song, for it has been much sung and much sold, has also been given to the singingbird of Leicester-place; as if there were no other shrubs seen, nor birds heard to sing, than those that are in Kensington-Gardens, because they are so often visited.
I should not say so much of myself, were I not urged to it by too often seeing a jackdaw adorned in feathers which do not belong to him.
Song-writing depends as much upon genius and fancy as any other species
of poetry; every song should have its incident, sentiment, or moral. It is true, you may harmonize with notes the dullest theme, and the vaguest numbers, such as the nautical poet in question, who has the advantage of a bad painter, that may happen to be the frame-maker too, when, by varnishing and gilding high, he often gives a very bad picture a good complexion. A song should not receive its fame entirely from the sound; for, if it will not bear the test of the closet, I should not think it worth the sitting; but “do ye see, and all that," and such kind of English has made its way in this piping, trifling, dancing, gambling, cock-horse age to such a height, as would have made our ancestors blush for the frivolities of their country,
The late celebrated patriot Wilkes, speaking of Hogarth, in number 17 of his North Briton, says, “ We all tremble when he takes up the pencil, but we titter when he takes
the pen.” So, of this sable bird in question, we admire him while he confines himself to his crotchets and quavers; but, when he aims at metaphors, similies, or figures in rhetoric, we cannot help smiling, and sometimes pitying him, for making the attempt.
If it should be thought that I have dwelt too much on this character, let it be remembered that I did not cast the first stone, and I feel too strongly the force of the motto, encircling the thistle, in the arms of the Caledonian Kings, “ Nemo me impune lacessit,” to bear it with silence.