Obrázky stránek
PDF
ePub

Tells how a neebor lad cam o'er the moor,

To do some errands, and convoy her hame. The wily mother sees the conscious flame

Sparkle in Jenny's e'e, and flush her cheek; Wi' heart-struck anxious care inquires his name,

While Jenny haffling * is afraid to speak; Weel pleased the mother hears it 's nae wild, worthless rake. Wi' kindly welcome Jenny brings him bent;

A strappan youth; he takes the mother's eye;
Blythe Jenny sees the visit 's no ill ta’en;

The father cracks of horses, pleughs, and kye.
The youngster's artless heart o'erflows wi' joy,
But, blate § and laithfu'll

, scarce can weel behave; The mother, wi' a woman's wiles, can spy

What makes the youth so bashfu' an' sae grave; Weel pleased to think her bairn's respected like the lave f. O happy love! where love like this is found !

O heartfelt raptures ! bliss beyond compare ! I've pacèd much this weary mortal round,

And sage experience bids me this declare“ If Heav'n a draught of heav'nly pleasure spare,

One cordial in this melancholy vale, "Tis when a youthful, loving, modest pair,

In other's arms breathe out the tender tale, Beneath the milk-white thorn that scents the ev'ning gale.” Is there, in human form, that bears a heart

A wretch! a villain! lost to love and truth! That can, with studied, sly, ensnaring art,

Betray sweet Jenny's unsuspecting youth? Curse on his perjur'd arts ! dissembling smooth!

Are honour, virtue, conscience, all exiled ? Is there no pity, no relenting ruth,

Points to the parents fondling o'er their child? Then points the ruin'd maid, and their distraction wild!

* Partly.

§ Bashful.

+ Into the spence, or parlour,

Cows. || Sheepish. T The rest, the remainder.

But now the supper crowns their simple board,

The healsome * parritch, chief o' Scotia's food : The soupe their only hawkie + does afford,

That 'yont the hallan snugly chows her cood S; The dame brings forth in complimental mood,

To grace the lad, her weel-hain'd || kebbuck 1, fell,
An' aft he's prest, an' aft he ca's it guid;

The frugal wifie, garrulous, will tell,
How 'twas a towmond ** auld, sin' lint was i' the bell H.

The cheerfu' supper done, wi' serious face,

They round the ingle form a circle wide; The sire turns o'er, wi' patriarchal grace,

The big ha' Bible II, ance his father's pride: His bonnet rev'rently is laid aside,

His lyart haffets SS, wearing thin an' bare ;
Those strains that once did sweet in Zion glide,

He wales |||| a portion with judicious care ;
And “ Let us worship God!” he says, with solemn air.

They chant their artless notes in simple guise,

They tune their hearts, by far the noblest aim: Perhaps Dundee's wild warbling measures rise,

Or plaintive Martyrs, worthy of the name; Or noble Elgin beets IT the heav'nward flame,

The sweetest far of Scotia's holy lays : Compared with these, Italian thrills are tame:

The tickled ears no heartfelt raptures raise ; Nae unison hae they with our Creator's praise.

The priest-like father reads the sacred page,

How Abram was the friend of God on high ; Or Moses bade eternal warfare wage

With Amalek's ungracious progeny;

I A particular partition-wall in a cottage. & Cud.

* Healthful, wholesome. + Cow.

|| Spared. Cheese. ** Twelvemonth. tt The flax was in flower. II The great Bible that lies in the hall.

$$ Grey temples. III Chooses. 11 Adds fuel to fire.

[ocr errors]

Or how the royal Bard did groaning lie

Beneath the stroke of Heaven's avenging ire;
Or Job's pathetic plaint, and wailing cry,

Or rapt Isaiah's wild, seraphic fire;
Or other holy seers that tune the sacred lyre.
Perhaps the Christian volume is the theme,

How guiltless blood for guilty man was shed;
How He, who bore in Heav'n the second name,

Had not on earth whereon to lay his head : How his first followers and servants sped ;

The precepts sage they wrote to many a land :
How he, who lone in Patmos banished,

Saw in the sun a mighty angel stand ;
And heard greatBabylon's doom pronounced by Heav'n's command.
Then kneeling down, to Heaven's Eternal King,

The saint, the father, and the husband prays:
Hope springs exulting on triumphant wing,

That thus they all shall meet in future days: There ever bask in uncreated rays,

No more to sigh, or shed the bitter tear,
Together hymning their Creator's praise,

In such society, yet still more dear;
While circling time moves round in an eternal sphere.
Compared with this, how poor Religion's pride,

In all the pomp of method, and of art,
When men display to congregations wide

Devotion's ev'ry grace, except the heart! The pow'r, incensed, the pageant will desert,

The pompous strain, the sacerdotal stole; But haply, in some cottage far apart,

May hear, well pleased, the language of the soul ; And in his book of life the inmates

poor

enrol. Then homeward all take off their sev'ral way;

The youngling cottagers retire to rest; The parent pair their secret homage pay,

And proffer up to Heav'n the warm request,

That He who stills the raven's clam'rous nest,

And decks the lily fair in flow'ry pride, Would, in the way His wisdom sees the best,

For them and for their little ones provide ; But chiefly, in their hearts with grace divine preside. From scenes like these old Scotia's grandeur springs,

That makes her loved at home, revered abroad : Princes and lords are but the breath of kings,

“ An honest man 's the noblest work of God :" And certes, in fair virtue's heav'nly road,

The cottage leaves the palace far behind ; What is a lordling's pomp! a cumbrous load,

Disguising oft the wretch of human kind, Studied in arts of hell, in wickedness refined ! O Scotia ! my dear, my native soil !

For whom my warmest wish to Heaven is sent! Long may thy hardy sons of rustic soil

Be blest with health, and peace, and sweet content ! And, oh, may Heav'n their simple lives prevent

From luxury's contagion, weak and vile ! Then, howe'er crowns and coronets be rent,

A virtuous populace may rise the while, And stand a wall of fire around their much-loved Isle. O Thou! who pour'd the patriotic tide

That stream'd thro' Wallace's undaunted heart; Who dared to nobly stem tyrannic pride,

Or nobly die, the second glorious part, (The patriot's God, peculiarly thou art,

His friend, inspirer, guardian, and reward !) O never, never, Scotia's realm desert;

But still the patriot, and the patriot-bard, In bright succession raise, her ornament and guard !

137.-ENGLAND IN THE SIXTEENTH CENTURY.

PERLIN. {DESCRIPTIONS of our own country by foreigners have always something of instruction in them. They generally mortify our vanity, which is good; they sometimes show us in what our real merit consists, which is equally good. They are seldom unprejudiced, they are occasionally ridiculous; and these circumstances ought to show us the difficulty of judging correctly of foreign habits and manners.

One of the earliest of these descriptions of England is that of Master Stephen Perlin, a French physician, who was in Great Britain in the last two years of King Edward VI., and saw some of the remarkable events that marked the commencement of the reign of Queen Mary. His · Description of the Kingdoms of England and Scotland' was published at Paris in 1558. The original tract is of great rarity; but it was reprinted with another Frenchman's account of England, by Gough, the antiquary, in 1775. There are few more odd books in any language ; but there can be little doubt of the fidelity of his notices of what he

His hatred of the English seems to have been a genuine sentiment of revenge for the hatred which he saw bestowed by our people upon his own countrymen. The French reality, or affectation, of dislike to us at the present day has no such excuse.

We translate a few passages :-)

saw.

THE PERFIDIOUS ENGLISH.—Young France uses no novel term when she calls us “Les Perfides Anglais.” The wars of the Edwards and Henries earned us this. But they might have saved us from the reproach of cowardice. Master Perlin starts with this general summary of our national character :—“It may be said of the English, neither in war are they brave, nor in peace are they faithful; and, as the Spaniard says, England is a good land with bad people."

National HATREDS. -- Master Stephen Perlin interlards his book with English phrases, which are not very easy to interpret. We might hope that his acquaintance with our manners was as limited as his knowledge of our language, if we had not other evidence that our excellent forefathers of the sixteenth century had some tolerably strong antipathies. “The people of this nation mortally hate the French, as their old enemies, and always call us France chenesve, France dogue, and, besides, they call us or son.” We should scarcely guess, without an interpretation, that chenesve meant knaves. Again :

« PředchozíPokračovat »