Edinburgh Bookshelf

Kay's Originals Vol. 2


100 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. trifle in question has been honoured with public approbation for many years past, and has been considered by many, nay even professional men, as one of OUT oldest tunes, it becomes the duty of the composer to state briefly, yet distinctly, the fact, and leave it thus on record. In the year 1783, while the present writer was studying counterpoint and composition, and turning his attention to national mcsic, he made essays in that atyle, one of which xas the melody to which he has united Gaelic and English verses of his own, written for Albyn‘s Anthology. It was originally composed as a Strathspey ; and in the year 1791 or 1792 it was published and inscribed to the Rev. Patrick 3I‘Donald of Kilmore, the editor of the ‘ Collection of Highland Airs ’ mentioned in the preface of the present work. In Mr. Nathaniel Gow’s Collection, the Strathspey is called Lord Balgowny’s Belight, and pointed out as a ‘very ancient air.’ It haa since been published by Mr. J. M‘Fadyen of Glasgow, under the title of ‘ Gloomy Winter’s 1u)w Awu’,’ a Scottish song, written by R. Tannahill, with Symphonies and Accompaniments by R. A. Smith.’ Wherefore, it being now reclaimed, this indispensable egotism will be freely pardoned by every liberal and candid mind, when a writer, in order to do himself justice, embraces a fair opportnnity, as in the present instance, of doing so.” From these extracts some idea may be formed of Mr. Campbell’s literary talents. His ‘‘ acquirements, though such as would have eminently distinguished an independent gentleman in private life, did not reach that point of perfection which the public demands of those who expect to derive bread from their practice of the fine arts. Even in music, it was the opinion of eminent judges, that Albyn’s Anthology would have been more favourably received, if the beautiful original airs had been left unencumbered with the basses and symphonies which the Editor himself thought essential.” ’ On his second union, to the widow of Banald Macdonell, Esq., of Keppoch, he abandoned his profession as a teacher of music, and commenced the study of medicine, with the view of obtaining an appointment through the influence of his friends. In this he was disappointed, in consequence of some misunderstanding with the relations of his wife, which not only effectually prevented their interference in promoting his advancement, but led to still more disagreeable results. Mr. Campbell is represented to have been somewhat hasty, but of a warm and generous temper. “After experiencing as many of the vicissitudes of life as fall to the lot of most men, he died of apoplexy on the 15th of May 1824, in the sixty-first year of his age.”s Mr. Campbell was twice married. Respecting MEEK, the blind Irish piper, we believe no record is anywhere He was one of those wandering minstrels of whom the world The other harmonistthe FISH HORN BLOWER-is well remembered in his He was a porter, of the name of DAVIDSONan, d resided at the to be found. takes no charge. avocation. 1 Obituary notice in the Edinburgh Weekly Journal, by Sir Walter Scott. 2 After his demise, his MSS., books, and other effectrr were sold under judicial authority; and amongst other MSS. was a, tragedy, which was purchased by the late Mr. Willism Stewart, bookseller. During the latter years of his life he was employed by Sir Walter Scott in the transcription of MSS. ; indeed this formed his chief mode of subsistence ; and often has the writer of this note heard him express his deep sense of the kindnesa and benevolence of that most amiable man. Notwithstanding the depressed state of his circumstances, his high spirit rejected pecuniary assistance ; and even from his patron he would take no more than he thought his services, as a transcriber, had fairly earned. Over the social glass he was a very pleasant and intelligent companion -full of fun and anecdote-never, however, laying aside for a moment the bearing of a gentleman. Ee used to be very amusing on the Ossianic controversy, and did not scruple to castigate M‘Phenon for his interpolations.
Volume 9 Page 133
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