Obrázky stránek

Growing for generations, now a tree
With gnarled bole, towers higher than the kirk,
In flowering July like a hill of snow!
For fifty years have her thin locks been grey,
And deaf her ears as the deaf stones that lie
Scatter'd around, on which the small birds sing
When spring awakes the woods; she hears them not,
Nor yet the winter-night, when all the cliffs
Are torn by cataracts tumbling down the hills,
And heaven is in an uproar! Silence shrouds
Her spirit, and her palsied body lies
Stirless upon the pallet, although sleep
Seems ne'er to seal her eyes, still dimly open
In their deep hollow sockets, like a flame
Aye dying, never dead !

“ Beside her sits
A little guardian angel at her wheel,
Singing as cheerful in that hovel dim,-
The smoky roof of rafters almost touching
Her golden head, when rising suddenly
To tend that ancient phantom on her bed,
To turn her palsied side, or from the well,
That fears no summer drought, no winter frost,
To bring that purest medicine to bedew
Her shrivella lips, or wet the crumbled bread,
Received religiously in those bony hands
Help in mute thanksgiving ! - Aye she sings,
In that dim hovel the glad orphan sings
As cheerfully as soaring lark that flutters'
At heaven's own gates, yea, with a voice as sweet
As thou dost sing, my Margaret, when our house
Is hush'd at night, and none but thou awake,
Thon, and thy parents praying they may waft
Thy hymnings with them to the world of dreams!”

Gently she laid the lustre of her head
On my paternal bosom, and I kiss'd
My daughter's eyes, and pray'd no bitterer tears
Might ever overilow those lids beloved,
Than the pure drops that fell like dew from heaven
Upon her lilied heart; and as they fell
Seem'd to assuage the sympathies that bind
All nature to the heart of innocence!

But soon the happy creature found her voice,
And, smiling, thank'd me for my narrative.
Then, starting from her seat close to my side,
As quickly escaping from my folding arms,
And Aying back as quickly as a dove,
As a tame dove, that, slipping out of hand,
Wheels 'mid the sunshine in a narrow flight,
But soon returns to hover o'er the head
Of one who feeds it, and preserves its plumes
Safe from all beaked birds that hunt the air,
Again my Margaret underneath the cliff
Sat down beside me, and without a word,
Seem'd listening to the cheerful waterfall,
Then bless'd in murmur sweet the VALE OF Peace!

Lo, up the Vale the light-blue heron floats !
And though almost as slowly as a cloud
He seems to float, and o’er yon grove of elms
To pause as if his nest were there-on-on
He wings his way unwearied, till he reach
The moorland loch, upon whose reedy marge
The patient fisher-bird will stand for hours,
With his long bill depending on his breast,
Till the fry-shoal swim by, then arrow-swift
Shot through the clearness on his finny prey.
Follow his labouring Alight-you see him now,
Uncertain speck ! ascending the blue hills
In the far distance, just above a Hut,
Remotest Dwelling in the Vale of Peace!
For not a sheep-fold or a cattle-shed
Beyond—and up among yon shivered cliffs
Kennels the fox, the raven higher still
Croaks sullenly, and many a year ago
'Tis said the eagle had an eyry there,
But the king of birds is dead, or to some isle
Hath flown of the wide sea.

At least you see its smoke! How narrow there
The vale, and how profound! Yon streak like snow
Is a precipitous waterfall! Yon gloom
A wood!' Yon seeming sunlight is a lake!
A lake too little even for one small boat.
So thinks the skilful angler, who, with line
Like gossamer, can, with the breeze, command
The curling waters, even from shore to shore,
From that lake issuing, joined as it flows on
By many a feeder-rill, the Avon grows,
Soon to a stately stream, till lo ! the kirk
That standeth midway up the Vale or PEACE,
Is seen reflected with its downward tower
In the clear pool, a stationary sight
Among the veering clouds !

« But to yon hut
Let all our thoughts return. Though far remote
In its seclusion from the noisy world,
The spirit of the noisy world found out
Its simple inmates, and the shepherd-life
Seem'd dull to one who, in strange books, had read
Of great ships voyaging through unknown seas
All round be, and touching at fair isles
By fairest forms inhabited, and blest
With umbrage beauteous in perpetual spring,
So he became a sailor, never more,
Except in dreams, to see his father's roof;
And many a thousand homebound ships returned,
Year after year, and many a rumour wild
Oft reach'd this inland solitary vale,
Of whole crews saved from wrecks, and in fierce lands
At last escaping from captivity;
Sometimes of one poor sailor from a rock
Taken by wandering bark-perhaps their son !
But finally the heart of hope lay ould;
And his old parents, when the tempests roared,
No longer wept upon their midnight beds,
Nor wearied heaven with unavailing prayers.
Smit with the same wild passion, in the prime
Of life, another son went to the wars,
A doomed man, so every tongue declared,
And fell when leading on a " Hope forlorn,"
Flung headlong from the battlement ! Stranger still!
The meek-eyed maiden, who, with quiet steps,
Had walked in this retirement all her days,
Nor pass'd beyond the circle of these hills,
The stay and solace of her parents' age,
Was woo'd and won by one who came from far
With plumes that waved in military glee,
And with her husband in a foreign land
Perish'd, 'twas said, in earthquake that heaved up
A city shrieking with its thousand towers.
Wild fate! for one who had been born and bred
In a shepherd's hut on Scotia's flowery braes !
One child remain'd--of rarest beauty she,-
And all the love belonging to the dead
Came back from their far graves, and in her breast
Was pour'd, and lodged like sunshine in a cloud,
On some calm spot of heaven. One night at prayers
Her eyes look'd troubled, and she read the Book
As if its holy meanings threaten'd her,
Her who was guiltless in thought, word, and deed,
Even as the little children whom our Lord
Took in his arms and bless'd. The morning rose,
Silent, serene, and sweet,—but never cell
Where on the cold stones the chained maniac raves,
Heard shriekings sadder or more terrible
Than those that from yon solitary hut
Disturb'd the Sabbath dawn. Dim years went by,
And her old parents watched their only child,
Oftenest together, but sometimes by turns-
For they were poor, and had to toil for bread,
Hour after hour, nor was she left alone
One single moment either day or night,
For all those years; till God, at last was pleased,
In his exceeding mercy, to dispel
The horrid mystery that besieged her brain,
And earth, and heaven, and human faces wore
The saine sweet aspect to her quiet eyes,
That they had worn in youth-ere she had wept
O'er uncommitted sins. It was in spring

" You see the hut!

Her senses were restored; and o'er the braes,

verse compressed within the compass of a human bosom. One Sabbath-day she walked into the kirk,

It is the very soul of man rendered susceptible to feel. Between her parents, to their little pew,

ing,—made all but visible. To write poetry, the eye And with them prayed to God in perfect peace,

must dart through infinity,–grasp at a mountain, and As happy as a child. Returning home,

gaze upon a molehill. It may be spoken,-it may be She laid her down, and never rose again!

read in the eye,-it may be acted,—it may be felt. In But, on her death-bed, to her face returned

a word, Poetry is a glowing, an unrestrainable, and reste Her former beauty, so her parents thought, And something more than beauty, so profound

less emanation from the very essence of man's divinity. The bliss that shone within her closing eyes,

Numbers, elegance, and harmony no more constitute it, While like a very angel's was her voice

than a man's garments constitute the man himself. Thé That breathed the last farewell !",

one is of the carth, the other is from heaven; they are

necessary habiliments,-graceful adornments; they have A clear-toned bell

this extent,-no more. Was now heard tinkling through the silent sky, :

Servility and sycophantic adulation are degradations And groups of people in their best attire

to which the poet cannot bend. He may be bowed down, Came trooping out into the open light,

he may be broken ; blasted in prospects, ruined, and From hidden pathways in the coppice-woods, :

without hope; he may be made the foot-ball of misfor. Or wending soberly adown the braes,

tune and disappointment,_hurled into a vortex of mi. Startling the linnet from the broom-or hare That glinted through the whins, in vain pursued

sery, into which, by cvery cffort to extricate himself, he By barking colley ;- now one figure crossd

is engulfed deeper, till he is barked at by the veriest The light-rail'd bridge—and now another ;-Lo! dogs which fawn upon others. Yet he is not defeated. The dingy coach of some old family,

He may be poor, but he cannot be mean. Despised, but Haply the patron's of the parish, dared

he will despise in return. Proud he will be, but not preThe gravelly ford, and, having pass'd the flood

sumptuous. Encircled with the consciousness of his own In safety lumber'd 'long the rutted road,

superiority, he stands invulnerable to the contempt of Jolting most waggon-like; while stately stood

wealth, and the insinuations of envy; extracting a me. A liveried lacquey, six feet tall, behind,

lancholy pleasurc from the cup of his sufferings, and cull. With long staff in his hand-a sight of pomp

ing flowers of varicd fragrance and colouring from the Still view'd with admiration by the child,

wilderness of his own miseries. Superior, however, as Peeping from road-side cottage-door, too young To sit grave in the kirk, so left at home

he is, to complaint, and the noisy grief of little minds To rock the cradle, or the crowing babe

and of weak hearts, he is not the less susceptible of feel. To toss up in the sunshine. All her tears,

ing the evils of the world in their gall and in their viru. Like dew-drops shook from dancing flowers, were shook lence. His very soul is surrounded with a susceptibility From my dear Margaret's eyes; from our rock-seat delicate and sensitive as the organs of vision ; and while Of mossy velvet, in the uatural niche

prudence and experience temper him to conceal it, there Within the precipice we rose, and bidding

are a thousand cvery-day occurrences, which, on the ma. A farewell to the fairy waterfall,

jority of mankind, pass unheeded and unfelt, but which Down the green slope we glided, and ere long

rend the inmost strings of his heart, and rage in his boWith the church-goers mingling, kindly talked

som like a smothered volcano. And to this men owe With many a new acquaintance and some old;

the knowledge of the minutest operations of their nature, Before the second bell ceased chiming, saw

which are common to all, but felt by few. The minister approaching from the manse ; And ere we entered that low house of God,

Genius is a wild, an unsettled, and a wayward thing ; Unto my sweet companion bending down,

and perhaps there never was an instance where it has not I breathed into her ear-“ My Margaret,

cost the father of its possessor a groan, or his mother a With all its woes-this is THE VALE OF Peace!" tear. And, while they on whom it is bestowed, experi.

ence the bitterness of life more keenly than others, on the one hand; they plunge into every pleasure attainable, on

the other, with a strong, an almost destructive zest. Un. POETRY AND POETS.

til the knowledge acquired has tempered excitement,

chilled desire, and placed the reins of a heated imagina. Poets are a raw material,- not a manufacture. The tion into the hands of a matured judgment. Though it art of rhyming, smoothness of versification, and har. were presumptuous to affirm that genius is chartered in

mony of numbers, may be acquired; but the strength its levities and irregularities, it is not the less certain that ad the energy, the soul and the fire,—the boundless there are associated with, and diffused throughout its grandeur, and the faculty of discerning the simple fact follies and its imperfections, a nobleness and strength of

which is obvious to all, but unperceived till we wonder mind, and, with its reriest vices, a misdirected virtue.at our ignorance, when, for the first time, it flashes upon But while its wit may illumine, and its information our senses, through the page of the poet, are natural, - lighten, the flattering circle of its would be associates, let inherent. Rhyme, it is true, has rushed in like a food, them not approach too near, lest their garments be conand smooth, beardless ver-ification has choked up the sumed; for while the eagle glances proudly on the midentrance to, and inundated the very market-place of li- day sun, the sctting rays of evening may blind the darkterature. Yet, notwithstanding this influx of petty son- ling owl. nets, and the countless volumes of insipid doggrel which Poets, like paintings, to be seen to advantage, must 29nually stream from the press, true, genuine, nervous, be viewed froni a distance. Not that they are more wickand thrilling poetry is equally rare in the nineteenth cen- ed or vicious than the grosser part of mankind ; but the tury as in the days of 'Mæonides or Shakspeare. In frequent variance between habit and principle, brings chese days, the name of a poet sounds contemptible in the them down to the level of the merest mechanical sinner. ears of the merest blockhead, and is offensive to the nos. T'he charm of genius is lost, when we find it incorporated trils of genius. We have so long been familiar and tor. with mere flesh and blood.' Enveloped in a shroud of mented with the trashy lucubrations of pretenders, tha humanity,—subject to all the ills and the follies which it requires a stretch of forritade to venture upon the pro- afflict and degrade our nature, we do not find them worse dactions of a new author; and from this cause, many a than others; but we expect to find them better. Victims gem lies buried amidst this mountain-heap of rubbish. to the snares of soliciting society, and thereby dev a ing : Poetry is the dissection of the human heart. It is the from the dray-horse track of sober rectitude, we find them impress, the power, and extension of nature and the

uni, living in the love and admiration of the immediate circle

of their friends, in the esteem of the many,--while they which has authorised us in throwing off a very large impression of remain the but of the slander, the malice, and the envy each Number, and has, notwithstanding, made it necessary for us of those who, without the pale of their friendship, have to print a second edition of our first Monthly Part, which is nox only an external knowledge of their privacy. There is al- in preparation.

We, of course, greatly attribute this success to so an eccentricity in their natures, apart from the rest of

the communications we have had the good fortune to be honoured the world, for which mankind cannot entertain an ac.

with, fron a large proportion of the literary talent of Scotland. cordant sympathy. This is at once the spring of their could fail, which was able to concentrate in its pages the abilities

It would be preposterous to suppose that any periodical work greatness and their degradation ; and there is connected

of such men as grace with their writings and their names the

prewith it an ungovernable something, so unlike the every sent Number alone. We may also state, that several articles have day rules of business, that, not unfrequently, the actions appeared anonymously in the Edinburgh Literary Journal, from of him whose writings are distinguished for wisdom and pens no less highly distinguished. We can only farther promise, morality, in the eyes of the world verge upon folly, and to be unremitting in our exertions to present our readers weekly he stands amidst the plodding multitude

with as varied and intellectual a banquet as possible. " Among them but not of them,

To our advertising friends we also owe our best thanks. We Rapt in a train of thoughts which are not their stated in our Prospectus, that we could not expect their support, thoughts."

unless experience proved that their interest and ours might be made to go hand in hand. From what has just been mentioned, simply, and without adornment, it must be apparent that few

better mediums for literary advertisements can be found than that LITERARY CHIT-CHAT AND VARIETIES. which our Journal presents. We doubt not, therefore, for a con

tinuance of that encouragement we have already so amply expe

rienced from publishers, both in Scotland England. -A press The author of the Traditions of Edinburgh is at present pre- of matter forces us to exclude all advertisements this week. paring a complete collection of the Legendary Poetry of Scotland, to occupy three handsome volumes in post 8vo. The first volume is to contain Ballads ; the second and third, Songs; and the whole

TO OUR CORRESPONDENTS. are to be illustrated by introductory Treatises, and by historical and to ographical Notes. The greatest pains, we are informed, have been exerted in the preparation of this work. In the first " The Wanderer's Tale," and a “Scots Sang," by the Ettrick volume, not only is each individual ballad selecred with a close Shepherd, will appear in our next Number. and express view to its merit in a literary sense, but the best

“ The Ill-starred Bride," a poem, by William Kennedy, Esq. stanzas, and even the best lines, and, in many cases, the best

author of “ Fitful Fancies," &c. which we regret much reached words, are gathered from the nur erous various readings which

us too late for this week, will also a; pear in our next Number. have already been published, and the whole associated in one “ The Fratr:cide's Confession," by John Malcolm, Esq. will harmonious whole. The songs, on the other hand, are the best appear very soon. entire versions which it has been in the editor's power to procure

The article on the “ Spirit of the Provisions of the Law of from such genuine collections as already exist; the greatest care

Scotland respecting Injury and Wrong" is under consideration.being taken to avoid the modern corruptions which have crept

We shall be happy to receive the cominunication offered to us on into so many of these esteemed productions. One of the editor's

the subject of the Royal Commission.-" T. B.J." is not overchief principles of selection has been to adopt only such compo

looked; he will find himself noticed speedily.-" Inquisitor" has sitions as are consistent, in one important respect, with the im

our thanks for his good wishes; but we have not time to answer proved taste of the present age. His notes, we are told, contain his questions. much curious and recondite information regarding the subjects of

The Lines from the West," the “ Answer by Highland Mary the various songs and ballads, the persons who figure in them,

in Heaven to Burns' Lament," and the verses on “Woman," and and the scenery which they refer to. It is, altogether, to be hoped, by . Theon,” will not suit us. from the known industry of the editor, as well as from the re

We have received several books for review, which have been spectability of the source from which the publication proceeds, published months, and even years ago. It is scarcely to be ex. that this will be, what has so long been wished for by the people pected that we can notice them. As, however, we intend giving of Scotland, a classical collection of their justly-admired tradi. occasionally a Retrospec ive Review of works of merit which may tionary poetry, and one of which it may be said that the vessel have unjustly fallen into oblivion, we shall not positively forbid, is worthy of the precious things which it contains.

though we cannot greatly encourage, the transmission of such We are informed that, on the 1st of January, there will be pub- works to us in our editorial capacity. lished, Part I. of a work to be entitled, Edinburgh Ilustrated, in a series of views, of the nowe t and most interesting objects in the Scottish inetropolis and its vicinity. drawn and engraved by Mr

POLITICS. H. Winkles; with Historical and Descriptive Notices by Alexander Bower, Esq. author of the “ History of the University of

THE CATHOLIC QUESTION. Edinburgh." Each Part is to contain six engravings, and twelve quarto pages of historical and descriptive letter-press. We are

Letter from the Duke of Wellington to Dr Curtis, the inclined to avgur favourably of this work.

Catholic Primate of Ireland. There is announced for publication, in a few days, No. I. of

London, Dec. 11, 1828. The Edinburgh Musical Album," edited by G. Linley, Esq. Author of " They say my Love is dead," and other popular

“ MY DEAR SIR,—I have received your letter of the Songs. It will also be embellished with a finely-engraved portrait 4th instant, and I assure you that you do me justice in of Miss E. Paton.

believing that I am sincerely anxious to witness the Theatrical Gossip.-A comedy, in five acts, called “ Woman's settlement of the Roman Catholic Question, which, by Love, or the Triumph of Patience," has failed to secure either woman's love, or any patience, at Covent Garden.- The English Ope- benefiting the State, would confer a benefit on every in. ra House is to open early in January, with a popular French com- dividual belonging to it. But I confess that I see no pany. We observe that the Glasgow theatre has been reported to the Dean of Guild as in a state of some insecurity, and that he has prospect of such a settlement. Party has been mixed named a commission to investigate into the matter. We hope that up with the consideration of the question to such a dethe report is unfounded. - We have no room for any dramatic gree, and such riolence pervades every discussion of it, article this week. T only novelty was a farcc called “. Free and that it is impossible to expect to prevail upon men to Easy," which was favourably received.

consider it dispassionately. WEEKLY LIST OF PERFORMANCES.-Dec. 20-26.

“ If we could bury it in oblivion for a short time, SAT. Twelfth Night, He Lies like Truth, & Aloyse. Mion. Two Friends, Animated statue, He Lies like Truth, f and employ that time diligently in the consideration of Mason of Buda.

its difficulties on all sides, (for they are very great,) I Tues. Mary Stuart, Animated Statue, Cramond Brig, & The should not despair of sceing a satisfactory remedy.

[ocr errors]


WED. Rob Roy, & Free and Easy.

“ WELLINGTON." THUR. Theatre closed. FRID. Heart of Mid-Lothian, Gilderoy, 4 Forty Thieves.

Edinburgh: Published for the Proprietors, every Saturday Morn


Sold also by RobertsON & ATKINSON. Glasgow; W. CURRY, TO OUR READERS.

jun. & Co. Dublin; HURST, CHANCE, & Co. London; and by WE are unwilling to obtrude our own concerns on the attention

all Newsmen, Postmasters, and Clerks of the Road, through

cut the United Kingdom. of our readers; but in our last Number for the year 1828, (though

Price 6d. or Stamped and sent free by post, 10d. it is only our Seventh,) we may be allowed to express our sense of the Nattering encouragement our labours have already received Printed by BALLANTYNE & Co., Paul's Work, Canongate.


[blocks in formation]


gradually working its way in the public mind. Fashion, that capricious butterfly, has been taking under the patronage of her golden wings a newer style; and the un.

adorned simplicity, the wild pathos, and the mountain Select and Rare Scottish Melodies. The Poetry by the vigour of those airs, which delighted our fathers and socelebrated Ettrick Shepherd ; the Symphonies and laced our own childhood, have been pronounced unsci. Accompaniments composed, and the whole adapted entific,-rude, --coarse, -vulgar. Strong words; but, as and arranged, by Henry R. Bishop. London. Goul- epithets of blame, unjust and powerless.

- Unscienti. ding and D'Almaine.

fic” our songs may be, but so, we presume, are the

songs of the blackbird and skylark,--at least we never We love all music that has heart and soul in it, from heard that they took lessons either from Catalani or Fin. the most ear-stunning catch ever trolled in village ale. lay Dun. Unscientific! so are all the glorious harmo. house, to the gentlest notes of duleet melody that ever nies of nature,--all the music of animate and inanimate melted on the lip of beauty ;--from the solitary violin, creation.--every note of woen--every sound of bliss ! that, on a winter evening, “ startles the dull ear of Unscientific indeed! We are talking of music's influ. night,” 10 that glorious combination of choral sounds, ence over the heart ; nor are we talking with disrespect #bich, on Christmas-day, fills, even in this city, the of science.---for we are among the inost scientific musi. chapel of the good Catholic, floats over the illuminated cians in Edinburgh ; but what has science to do with altar, and carries away the inind of the worshipper to the songs of a people of a whole country ? Science may the very gates of Heaven. We have travelled miles to have a great deal to do with the carefully-scribbled hear a single song, and to hear it once again, we would sheets that lie before a German or an Italian composer, cross seas and overcome mountains; and yet, percharce, intent only upon his breves and his semibreves, his there are many who could listen to it without emotion. It sharps and his flats, his crotchets and his quavers, his is not to be denied, that more than one half of the plea- octaves and his bars, his majors and his minors; or it sure derived from music depends upon association. An may have a great deal to do with the gentleman in white ear, with a more than usually delicate organization, dis- kid gloves, silk stockings and shoes, who trips into the covers a peculiar fitness in a certain succession and mo- concert.room, and looks round with a glance that makes dulation of notes; and if scientific knowledge be added the fiddlers tren, ble. But what has it to do with the to this natural advantage, the pleasure is increased by a glen and the hillside, the cot, the village, and the town, perceprion of the difficulties which have been overcome, where live the descendants of the men who fought at and as the composition proceeds, the amateur experi- Bannockburn, and pulled down the Roman idol ? " Let ences an intellectual enjoyment somewhat akin to that that pass !” “ Their music is, moreover, rude, and of the mathematician who solves a succession of prob- coarse, and vulgar." Have the kindness to desire the lems. But this enjoyment has as little to do with asso- lady and gentleman who thus describe it to walk in. ciation as pure mathematics itself, and cannot be said to Did you ever see, in all your life, two such miserablebe the legitimate or true source from which delight in looking Cockneys ? Only listen to that yelp and jabber music springs. Music appeals to the heart, more than which they call speaking. The female wears a pink to the head ;-touches, as with a fairy wand, the stores scarf, a faded white satin bonnet, and a tawdry plume which memory has hoarded in her cells, and, like the of feathers, that have been evidently much bedaggled. dew and the sunlight of morning, recalls to beauty and In a shrill treble, she can sing you two or three things to freshness flowers that drooped as though they had ex- by Moore, and can lash a piano-forte into foam, with haled all their odours, or had perhaps been trodden un- out ever stopping to take breath. The male carries der foot,-crushed and withering. Associations may a flute in his coat-pocket, and can, besides, sing see either be general or particular ; but, in proportion as the conds to all known tunes, although, it must be con. latter preponderate, and personal considerations are fessed, that his bass would have a chance of being a litbrought into action, in proportion will be the intensity tle more sonorous were his habits a little less dissipated. of the feelings they excite.

Well, these creatures pronounce the Scottish music vul. Of all sorts of music, that of Songs is most effective; gar.” We should like much to hear a good definition of it is most adapted to ordinary capacities, and, by wed- vulgarity. ding verse to melody, obtains an ascendency, not only If every man who wears a white neckcloth be a genover individuals, but over whole nations, -an ascen- tleman, we give up the point ; for all your modern Londency that has excited the attention of legislators and don composers, whether of the words or the airs, know philosophers. Till very lately, Scotland used always to how to tie a white neckcloth round the necks of their be considered as conspicuously eminent for her stock of songs. But unless it be used to conceal the scar of some national melodies; and even those who were disposed to family taint in the blood, we pay no more respect to a dispute the refinement of Scottish taste, were always white neckcloth than we do to a worsted “comforter.” willing to allow the excellence of Scottish song. We Perhaps Scotland is vulgar altogether ;--perhaps its have observed, with regret, that some slight alteration in ancient Doric, which all its Stuart kings spoke for cen. these sentiments has, within the last few years, been turies, is vulgar ;-perhaps ils struggles for liberty and

[ocr errors]

religion were vulgar ;-perhaps its very scenery is vul. Scotsman, worthy of the name, must love. She is not gar,-its lochs and mountains.-its Glencres and its fashionable, perhaps,- that is to say, she does not wear Granzpians. And certainly, if fashion limit herself to a pink scarf, a faded white satin bannet, and a tawdry her wax candles and silk dresses, her esprit de milles plume of feathers : bur she is one of whom he whu walks leurs and her French quadrilles, all these things of ed behind his plough" in glory and in joy” has said, which we have just spoken are vulgar. Burns is vul.

“ A hair-brain'd sentimental trace gar,-Allan Ramsay is vulgar,-Nature is vulgar,-

Was strongly marked in her face; everything is vulgar, with the exception of a few ati

A wildly-witty rustic grace ficial, diseased, rotten, and sorely-dressed puppets, who

Shone full upon her ; congregate in drawing-rooms, for the express purpose,

Her eye, even turned on empty space,

Beam d keen with honour.” one would think, of countenancing the deterioration of the human species.

True; Hogg has written a good deal of mediocre stuff, Doubly dear art thou to us, James Hogg,—“ Ettrick and it is the prerogative of genius to do so with impuShepherd.” “Forest Minstrel,” and “Mountain Bard,” nity. Shakspeare has written a great deal of stuff, and -doubly dear art thou to us, when the Southron affects Milton's “ Paradise Regained” is, for the most part, to sneer at the music of our own romantic land, and watery enough. Does this make the Shepherd's "Kil when even the child of Coila seems to rule with a feebler meny" less exquisite, or dozens of his finer songs less sway the bosoms of his countrymen. We need a harp beautiful? We commune, therefore, ni longer with and a heart like thine, with the virtue, and the courage, the mongrels we have been exposing, but proceed at and the strength, to resist the weak insipidity of an once to say a few words of the work before us. cmasculated age. We admire Moore,—we love the me

“ Select and Rare Scottish Melodies," with the words lodies of green Erin ; Bishop composes beautifully, and by the Extrick Shepherd, and accompaniments by Bishop, so does Rossini; many of Thomas Bayly's songs are could hardly fail to possess many features of interest, pretty, and pretuly have they been set to music by Bar- both musical and literary. Accordingly, we find, in nett and others, and very prettily have they been súng by the first place, that great judgment has been shown in ten hundred interesting young ladies, and no less interest- the choice of the airs, of which there are thirteen. With ing young gentlemen ; but there was a time when songs only one or two exceptions they are all strongly marked, were not mere pieces of prettiness.—when they had that and highly characteristic of the country to which they within “ which passeth show,"_when they stirred the belong; whilst, at the same time, they are not too comdeep fountains of the human heart, when they mingled mon-place or familiar, nor, so far as we know, have they with the character and the dispositions, even as the light before been made popular as songs, by having words of morning mingles with the purple cloud. There was

set to them of that nature which rendered competition a time, too, when “cauld Caledonia" had her own songs, hopeless. In the next place, the Ettrick Shepherd has which she loved above all the songs of the earth, and seldom been happier than he has been in his composiwhen her youths and maidens but rarely lilted the strains titons for this work. The opening song, it is true, that issue fom the shops of London music-sellers. We “ Mary, canst thou leave me?''does not please us s much, had rather see that time again; even although the march for, though simple and appropriate, it is, on the whole, too of music l improvement were to stop, and ihose simpler common-place, and very slightly indicative of that ori. days be restored when the eye of patriotism and affec- ginality which so peculiariy belongs to its author. In the tion kindled at every wild melody that breathed of home. Second, however, the Shepherd is himself. The best

The Ettrick Shepherd has already done much to pro. proof of this will be to give the words verbatim, merely tect the rights of that Muse whom he worships ; he has premising that they are set to that fine old air, stood by her toitering throne, and driven back rebellion gang nae mair to yon toun"from its very foot. Moore himself, with his bland whis

O WHAT WILL A' THE LADS DO? per, and soft, insinuating smile, wishing to effect by O what will a'the lads do, stratagem what others were not able to do by force, our

When Maggy gangs away? Shepherd has detected, and with one blast of the good O what will a' the lads do, bagpipe-a noble and a potent weapon, at which the

When Maggy gangs away? weak nerves of Cockneys shudder-has blown the wily There's no a heart in a' the glen knave from the presence. We reverence the bagpipe.

That disna dread the day; Cockneys have heard it within four walls, or in narrow

O what will a' the lads do, lanes, and the sounds ran through them like long nee.

When Maggy gangs away? dles. But we are a mountain race, and we must have Young Jock has ta’en the hill for 't, mountain music, music that can buffet the blast, and

A waefu' wight is he; can be heard nellowed on the far peak, or down in the Poor Harry's ta'en the bed for 't, deep ravine. Byron reverenced the bagpipe,- Bonaparte

An' laid him down to die; reverenced it, and trembled. Well did he know is the An' Sandy's gane unto the kirk,

An' learning fast to pray; war-notes of Lochiel,"'--fearfully did he augur the for

An' () what will the lads do, tune of the coming fight,

When Maggy gangs away? “ When wild and shrill the Camerons' gathering rose."

The young laird o' the Langshaw The coin parison may sound somewhat ludicrous ; but

Has drunk her health in wine; a poet like Burns or Hogg is the intellectual bagpipe of The priest in contidence has said the land. Many of his potes are harsh,--some of them,

The lassy was divine; perhaps, dull as the drone itself; but let the day and

And that is mair in maiden's praise the hour come, and they will rush upon the heart with

Than ony priest should say.

But ( what will the lads do, a power no tongue may tell. Youthếtather.land

When Maggy gangs away? friends early love-sufferings that have strengthened --hopes that have cheered- kindnesses that could be re.

The wailing in our green glen paid only with the silent and gushing tears of gratitude

That day will quaver high;

'Twill draw the redbreast trae the wood, -unie in the momentary vision, and there is not an as

The laverock frae the sky; piration that seems too lofty for the mind to soar to,

The fairies frae their beds o' dew not a deed that seems too daring for the hand to do,

Will rise an'join the lay: Long may the Ettrick Shepherd worship the Muse as

Oh hey! what a day will be, he has already worshipped her. She is one whom every When Maggy gangs away!

6 I'll

[ocr errors]
« PředchozíPokračovat »