Shieling, or The Authorship of the Canadian Boat Song, with
other Literary and Historical Sketches, by G. M. Fraser
(8vo, pp. xii, 242. Aberdeen : Wm. Smith & Sons. 1908. 45.
nett), makes a pleasant handful of reprinted essays, chiefly
on Aberdeen subjects, such as the Town Council's connection
with literature, Sir Walter Scott's attitude a little aloof
towards the city, the Fintray Chapbooks, the place-name
'Aberdeen,' the market cross, and celebrities like Gordon of
Rothiemay, Peter Buchanan, James Beattie, and John Longmuir.
The title-giving paper presents insinuating persuasions for
Mr. Fraser's conclusion that Professor John Wilson wrote the
boat song, with its haunting melancholy of reminiscence,
when * Mountains divide us and a waste of seas.'
Parallels from Wilson's other poems are adduced, which are
not without distinct force as evidence, in spite of the fact
that this noble piece originally appeared in a Blackwood
article which Wilson did not write. It is always hard to
establish authorship on internal evidence. Mr. Fraser wins
hearty sympathy at least for his zealous advocacy of a claim
for Wilson which Wilson himself never made. Easy in style,
and with a local patriotism well ballasted with literary and
historical lore, Mr. Fraser's volume is a north country
collection worth making and worth having.
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