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One of these pathetic songs, to the air of Aileen
Aroon, and entitled, Would You be Young Again?
which she wrote in 1842, at the age of seventy-six,
and indicative alike of her sorrows and hopes, we
cannot refrain from quoting�
"Would you be young again?
So would not I�
One tear to memory given,
Onward I'd hie.
Life's dark flood forded o'er,
All but at rest on shore,
Say, would you plunge once more
With home so nigh?
" If you might, would you now
Retrace your way,
Wander through stormy wilds,
Faint and astray?
Night's gloomy watches fled,
Morning all beaming red,
Hope's smiles around us shed,
" Where, then, are those dear ones,
Our joy and delight?
Dear and more dear, though now
Hidden from sight.
Where they rejoice to be,
This is the land for me;
Fly, time, fly speedily;
Come, life and light."
After her marriage there was an intermission in
Lady Nairn's poetical studies, and for this, her de-
votedness as a wife and mother perhaps formed her
best apology. Thus her life passed tranquilly onward
until 1821, when a new call summoned her powers
into action. In that year Mr. Robert Purdie, a
music-seller in Edinburgh, having resolved to pub-
lish a collection of our best national songs, applied
to several ladies distinguished for their musical
talents to assist him in the arrangement of the melo-
dies; and as they had enjoyed the intimacy of the
baroness, and were aware of the great popularity
which her Scottish songs had obtained, they urged
her to contribute to such a laudable scheme. She
consented, but it was on condition that the fact of
her contributing should be kept a profound secret.
The work was commenced, and when completed in
1824, consisted of six volumes of royal octavo, under
the title of the Scottish Minstrel, forming one of the
best and largest collections of our Scottish songs.
But while the work obtained the extensive popularity
it merited, the public was clamorous to know who
was the author of those distinguished contributions
�for in her correspondence with Mr. Purdie, her
only signature was the letters B. B. The publisher
was non-plussed, and the editor mystified, until the
former, conceiving that B. B. could stand for no other
than Mrs. Bogan of Bogan, addressed her subse-
quently by that title. But the curiosity of the public
was equally stimulated to discover the author of those
admirable songs, and many were the theories on the
subject maintained in the journals of the day.
Strange that a secret confided to more than one
lady never leaked out! But secrecy is a quality
possessed not only by Scottish men but Scottish
women also, as not only the present case, but the
Porteous conspiracy and the concealments of the
young Chevalier, have well attested. By her express
desire even her sex was concealed, and while she left
the publisher undisturbed in his mistake that her
real name was Mrs. Bogan of Bogan, she desired
him not to reveal that the writer of these songs was
a woman. He obeyed, and in the advertisement to
the last volume of the Scottish Minstrel was the
following guarded acknowledgment�"In particular
the editors would have felt happy in being permitted
to enumerate the many original and beautiful verses
that adorn their pages, for which they are indebted
to the author of the much-admired song The Land
o' the Leal, but they fear to wound a delicacy which
shrinks from all observation." Even to the close of
her life this sensitive delicacy continued, so that only
a few were aware that she was the authoress of the
above-mentioned song, or even that she had ever
written a single verse of poetry. To her, the puri-
fication of the minstrelsy of her native land, and
change of its noxious waters into a stream of life,
outweighed all earthly fame.
After the death of her son, and till within two
years of her own death, Lady Nairn resided on the
Continent, and partly in Paris. Her health had
suffered during the last years of her life, and latterly
she was compelled to use a wheeled chair. Some
years after her death it occurred to her friends that
she had retained her incognita too scrupulously,
and they were desirous to publish a collected edition
of her works; but this was only partially accomplished
in an elegant folio, entitled "Lays from Strath-
earn: by Carolina, Baroness Nairn. Arranged with
Symphonies and Accompaniments for the Piano-
forte, by Finlay Dun." A very large portion, how-
ever, of her songs are still in manuscript. In addition
to her poetical talents, she was an enthusiast in music,
and showed great taste and skill in the art of draw-
ing. The same high philanthropy which animated
her attempt to purify our national melodies, exerted
itself in deeds of Christian liberality and benevolence;
but the same retiring delicacy which characterized
her as a poetess also distinguished her as a bene-
factor, so that the world was kept in ignorance of
her beneficence both to public charities and indi-
viduals. One evidence of her liberality in contribut-
ing to the religious instruction of the lower orders,
was thus specified by Dr. Chalmers at the close of
1845, in reference to his West Port institution�and
it may serve as a specimen of many such actions in
which her agency remained unknown. "Let me
speak now," said the eloquent affectionate orator and
venerable divine, "as to the countenance we have re-
ceived. I am now at liberty to mention a very noble
benefaction which I received about a year ago. In-
quiry was made to me by a lady, mentioning that
she had a sum at her disposal, and that she wished
to apply it to charitable purposes; and she wanted
me to enumerate a list of charitable objects, in pro-
portion to the estimate I had of their value. Ac-
cordingly I furnished her with a scale of about five
or six charitable objects. The highest in the scale
were those institutions which had for their design the
Christianizing of the people at home; and I also
mentioned to her, in connection with the Chris-
tianizing at home, what we were doing at the West
Port; and there came to me from her, in the course
of a day or two, no less a sum than �300. She is
now dead; she is now in her grave, and her works
do follow her. When she gave me this noble
benefaction, she laid me under strict injunctions of
secresy, and, accordingly, I did not mention her
name to any person; but after she was dead I begged
of her nearest heir that I might be allowed to pro-
claim it, because I thought that her example, so
worthy to be followed, might influence others in
imitating her; and I am happy to say that I am
now at liberty to state that it was Lady Nairn of
Perthshire. It enabled us, at the expense of �330,
to purchase sites for schools and a church; and we
have got a site in the very heart of the locality, with
a very considerable extent of ground for a washing-
green, a washing-house, and a play-ground for the
children, so that we are a good step in advance
towards the completion of our parochial economy."
It only remains to be added to this brief notice,

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