Specimens with Memoirs of the Less-known British Poets, Complete
Part 18 out of 20
 'Cryne:' hair.
 'Rode:' complexion.
 'Dent:' fix.
 'Gree:' grow.
 'Ouphant:' elfish.
 'Reytes:' water-flags.
THE STORY OF WILLIAM CANYNGE.
1 Anent a brooklet as I lay reclined,
Listening to hear the water glide along,
Minding how thorough the green meads it twined,
Whilst the caves responsed its muttering song,
At distant rising Avon to he sped,
Amenged with rising hills did show its head;
2 Engarlanded with crowns of osier-weeds
And wraytes of alders of a bercie scent,
And sticking out with cloud-agested reeds,
The hoary Avon showed dire semblament,
Whilst blatant Severn, from Sabrina cleped,
Boars flemie o'er the sandės that she heaped.
3 These eyne-gears swithin bringeth to my thought
Of hardy champions knowen to the flood,
How on the banks thereof brave Aelle fought,
Aelle descended from Merce kingly blood,
Warder of Bristol town and castle stede,
Who ever and anon made Danes to bleed.
4 Methought such doughty men must have a sprite
Dight in the armour brace that Michael bore,
When he with Satan, king of Hell, did fight,
And earth was drenched in a sea of gore;
Or, soon as they did see the worldė's light,
Fate had wrote down, 'This man is born to fight.'
5 Aelle, I said, or else my mind did say,
Why is thy actions left so spare in story?
Were I to dispone, there should liven aye,
In earth and heaven's rolls thy tale of glory;
Thy acts so doughty should for aye abide,
And by their test all after acts be tried.
6 Next holy Wareburghus filled my mind,
As fair a saint as any town can boast,
Or be the earth with light or mirk ywrynde,
I see his image walking through the coast:
Fitz-Hardynge, Bithrickus, and twenty moe,
In vision 'fore my fantasy did go.
7 Thus all my wandering faitour thinking strayed,
And each digne builder dequaced on my mind,
When from the distant stream arose a maid,
Whose gentle tresses moved not to the wind;
Like to the silver moon in frosty night,
The damoiselle did come so blithe and sweet.
8 No broidered mantle of a scarlet hue,
No shoe-pikes plaited o'er with riband gear,
No costly robes of woaden blue,
Nought of a dress, but beauty did she wear;
Naked she was, and looked sweet of youth,
All did bewrayen that her name was Truth.
9 The easy ringlets of her nut-brown hair
What ne a man should see did sweetly hide,
Which on her milk-white bodykin so fair
Did show like brown streams fouling the white tide,
Or veins of brown hue in a marble cuarr,
Which by the traveller is kenned from far.
10 Astounded mickle there I silent lay,
Still scauncing wondrous at the walking sight;
My senses forgard, nor could run away,
But was not forstraught when she did alight
Anigh to me, dressed up in naked view,
Which might in some lascivious thoughts abrew.
11 But I did not once think of wanton thought;
For well I minded what by vow I hete,
And in my pocket had a crochee brought;
Which in the blossom would such sins anete;
I looked with eyes as pure as angels do,
And did the every thought of foul eschew.
12 With sweet semblatė, and an angel's grace,
She 'gan to lecture from her gentle breast;
For Truth's own wordės is her mindė's face,
False oratories she did aye detest:
Sweetness was in each word she did ywreene,
Though she strove not to make that sweetness seen.
13 She said, 'My manner of appearing here
My name and slighted myndruch may thee tell;
I'm Truth, that did descend from heaven-were,
Goulers and courtiers do not know me well;
Thy inmost thoughts, thy labouring brain I saw,
And from thy gentle dream will thee adawe.
14 Full many champions, and men of lore,
Painters and carvellers have gained good name,
But there's a Canynge to increase the store,
A Canynge who shall buy up all their fame.
Take thou my power, and see in child and man
What true nobility in Canynge ran.'
15 As when a bordelier on easy bed,
Tired with the labours maynt of sultry day,
In sleepė's bosom lays his weary head,
So, senses sunk to rest, my body lay;
Eftsoons my sprite, from earthly bands untied,
Emerged in flanched air with Truth aside.
16 Straight was I carried back to times of yore,
Whilst Canynge swathed yet in fleshly bed,
And saw all actions which had been before,
And all the scroll of fate unravelled;
And when the fate-marked babe had come to sight,
I saw him eager gasping after light.
17 In all his shepen gambols and child's play,
In every merry-making, fair, or wake,
I knew a purple light of wisdom's ray;
He eat down learning with a wastle cake.
As wise as any of the aldermen,
He'd wit enough to make a mayor at ten.
18 As the dulce downy barbe began to gre,
So was the well thighte texture of his lore
Each day enheedynge mockler for to be,
Great in his counsel for the days he bore.
All tongues, all carols did unto him sing,
Wond'ring at one so wise, and yet so ying.
19 Increasing in the years of mortal life,
And hasting to his journey unto heaven,
He thought it proper for to choose a wife,
And use the sexes for the purpose given.
He then was youth of comely semelikede,
And he had made a maiden's heart to bleed.
20 He had a father (Jesus rest his soul!)
Who loved money, as his cherished joy;
He had a brother (happy man be's dole!)
In mind and body his own father's boy:
What then could Canynge wishen as a part
To give to her who had made exchange of heart?
21 But lands and castle tenures, gold and bighes,
And hoards of silver rusted in the ent,
Canynge and his fair sweet did that despise,
To change of truly love was their content;
They lived together in a house adigne,
Of good sendaument commily and fine.
22 But soon his brother and his sire did die,
And left to William states and renting-rolls,
And at his will his brother John supply.
He gave a chauntry to redeem their souls;
And put his brother into such a trade,
That he Lord Mayor of London town was made.
23 Eftsoons his morning turned to gloomy night;
His dame, his second self, gave up her breath,
Seeking for eterne life and endless light,
And slew good Canynge; sad mistake of Death!
So have I seen a flower in summer-time
Trod down and broke and wither in its prime.
24 Near Redcliff Church (oh, work of hand of Heaven!
Where Canynge showeth as an instrument)
Was to my bismarde eyesight newly given;
'Tis past to blazon it to good content.
You that would fain the festive building see
Repair to Redcliff, and contented be.
25 I saw the myndbruch of his notte soul
When Edward menaced a second wife;
I saw what Pheryons in his mind did roll:
Now fixed from second dames, a priest for life,
This is the man of men, the vision spoke;
Then bell for even-song my senses woke.
 'Amenged:' mixed.
 'Wraytes:' flags.
 'Swithin:' quickly.
 'Ywrynde:' covered.
 'Faitour:' vagrant.
 'Digne:' worthy.
 'Cuarr:' quarry.
 'Forgard:' lose.
 'Forstraught:' distracted.
 'A crochee:' a cross.
 'Adawe:' awake.
 'Carvellers:' sculptors.
 'A bordelier:' a cottager.
 'Maynt:' many.
 'Dulce:' sweet.
 'Mockler:' more.
 'Ying:' young.
 'Bighes:' jewels.
 'Ent:' bag.
 'Adigne:' worthy.
TRANSLATED FROM THE SAXON.
When winter yelled through the leafless grove; when the black waves
rode over the roaring winds, and the dark-brown clouds hid the face of
the sun; when the silver brook stood still, and snow environed the top
of the lofty mountain; when the flowers appeared not in the blasted
fields, and the boughs of the leafless trees bent with the loads of
ice; when the howling of the wolf affrighted the darkly glimmering
light of the western sky; Kenrick, terrible as the tempest, young as
the snake of the valley, strong as the mountain of the slain; his
armour shining like the stars in the dark night, when the moon is
veiled in sable, and the blasting winds howl over the wide plain; his
shield like the black rock, prepared himself for war.
Ceolwolf of the high mountain, who viewed the first rays of the
morning star, swift as the flying deer, strong as the young oak,
fierce as an evening wolf, drew his sword; glittering like the blue
vapours in the valley of Horso; terrible as the red lightning,
bursting from the dark-brown clouds; his swift bark rode over the
foaming waves, like the wind in the tempest; the arches fell at his
blow, and he wrapped the towers in flames: he followed Kenrick, like
a wolf roaming for prey.
Centwin of the vale arose, he seized the massy spear; terrible was his
voice, great was his strength; he hurled the rocks into the sea, and
broke the strong oaks of the forest. Slow in the race as the minutes
of impatience. His spear, like the fury of a thunderbolt, swept down
whole armies; his enemies melted before him, like the stones of hail
at the approach of the sun.
Awake, O Eldulph! thou that sleepest on the white mountain, with the
fairest of women. No more pursue the dark-brown wolf: arise from the
mossy bank of the falling waters; let thy garments be stained in
blood, and the streams of life discolour thy girdle; let thy flowing
hair be hid in a helmet, and thy beauteous countenance be writhed into
Egward, keeper of the barks, arise like the roaring waves of the sea:
pursue the black companies of the enemy.
Ye Saxons, who live in the air and glide over the stars, act like
Like the murmuring voice of the Severn, swelled with rain, the Saxons
moved along; like a blazing star the sword of Kenrick shone among the
Britons; Tenyan bled at his feet; like the red lightning of heaven he
burnt up the ranks of his enemy.
Centwin raged like a wild boar. Tatward sported in blood; armies
melted at his stroke. Eldulph was a flaming vapour; destruction sat
upon his sword. Ceolwolf was drenched in gore, but fell like a rock
before the sword of Mervin.
Egward pursued the slayer of his friend; the blood of Mervin smoked on
Like the rage of a tempest was the noise of the battle; like the
roaring of the torrent, gushing from the brow of the lofty mountain.
The Britons fled, like a black cloud dropping hail, flying before the
Ye virgins! arise and welcome back the pursuers; deck their brows with
chaplets of jewels; spread the branches of the oak beneath their feet.
Kenrick is returned from the war, the clotted gore hangs terrible upon
his crooked sword, like the noxious vapours on the black rock; his
knees are red with the gore of the foe.
Ye sons of the song, sound the instruments of music; ye virgins, dance
Costan of the lake, arise, take thy harp from the willow, sing the
praise of Kenrick, to the sweet sound of the white waves sinking to
the foundation of the black rock.
Rejoice, O ye Saxons! Kenrick is victorious.
FEBRUARY, AN ELEGY.
1 Begin, my muse, the imitative lay,
Aeonian doxies, sound the thrumming string;
Attempt no number of the plaintive Gray;
Let me like midnight cats, or Collins, sing.
2 If in the trammels of the doleful line,
The bounding hail or drilling rain descend;
Come, brooding Melancholy, power divine,
And every unformed mass of words amend.
3 Now the rough Goat withdraws his curling horns,
And the cold Waterer twirls his circling mop:
Swift sudden anguish darts through altering corns,
And the spruce mercer trembles in his shop.
4 Now infant authors, maddening for renown,
Extend the plume, and hum about the stage,
Procure a benefit, amuse the town,
And proudly glitter in a title-page.
5 Now, wrapped in ninefold fur, his squeamish Grace
Defies the fury of the howling storm;
And whilst the tempest whistles round his face,
Exults to find his mantled carcase warm.
6 Now rumbling coaches furious drive along,
Full of the majesty of city dames,
Whose jewels, sparkling in the gaudy throng,
Raise strange emotions and invidious flames.
7 Now Merit, happy in the calm of place,
To mortals as a Highlander appears,
And conscious of the excellence of lace,
With spreading frogs and gleaming spangles glares:
8 Whilst Envy, on a tripod seated nigh,
In form a shoe-boy, daubs the valued fruit,
And darting lightnings from his vengeful eye,
Raves about Wilkes, and politics, and Bute.
9 Now Barry, taller than a grenadier,
Dwindles into a stripling of eighteen;
Or sabled in Othello breaks the ear,
Exerts his voice, and totters to the scene.
10 Now Foote, a looking-glass for all mankind,
Applies his wax to personal defects;
But leaves untouched the image of the mind;--
His art no mental quality reflects.
11 Now Drury's potent king extorts applause,
And pit, box, gallery, echo, 'How divine!'
Whilst, versed in all the drama's mystic laws,
His graceful action saves the wooden line.
12 Now--but what further can the muses sing?
Now dropping particles of water fall;
Now vapours riding on the north wind's wing,
With transitory darkness shadows all.
13 Alas! how joyless the descriptive theme,
When sorrow on the writer's quiet preys;
And like a mouse in Cheshire cheese supreme,
Devours the substance of the lessening bays.
14 Come, February, lend thy darkest sky,
There teach the wintered muse with clouds to soar:
Come, February, lift the number high;
Let the sharp strain like wind through alleys roar.
15 Ye channels, wandering through the spacious street,
In hollow murmurs roll the dirt along,
With inundations wet the sabled feet,
Whilst gouts, responsive, join the elegiac song.
16 Ye damsels fair, whose silver voices shrill
Sound through meandering folds of Echo's horn;
Let the sweet cry of liberty be still,
No more let smoking cakes awake the morn.
17 O Winter! put away thy snowy pride;
O Spring! neglect the cowslip and the bell;
O Summer! throw thy pears and plums aside;
O Autumn! bid the grape with poison swell.
18 The pensioned muse of Johnson is no more!
Drowned in a butt of wine his genius lies.
Earth! Ocean! Heaven! the wondrous loss deplore,
The dregs of nature with her glory dies.
19 What iron Stoic can suppress the tear!
What sour reviewer read with vacant eye!
What bard but decks his literary bier!--
Alas! I cannot sing--I howl--I cry!
Dr Johnson said once of Chesterfield, 'I thought him a lord among wits,
but I find him to be only a wit among lords.' And so we may say of Lord
Lyttelton, 'He is a poet among lords, if not a lord among poets.' He was
the son of Sir Thomas Lyttelton, of Hagley in Worcestershire, and was
born in 1709. He went to Eton and Oxford, where he distinguished himself.
Having gone the usual grand tour, he entered Parliament, and became an
opponent of Sir Robert Walpole. He was made secretary to the Prince of
Wales, and was in this capacity useful to Mallett and Thomson. In 1741,
he married Lucy Fortescue, of Devonshire, who died five years afterwards.
Lyttelton grieved sincerely for her, and wrote his affecting 'Monody' on
the subject. When his party triumphed, he was created a Lord of the
Treasury, and afterwards Chancellor of the Exchequer, with a peerage. He
employed much of his leisure in literary composition, writing a good
little book on the Conversion of St Paul, a laboured History of Henry II.,
and some verses, including the stanza in the 'Castle of Indolence'
'A bard there dwelt, more fat than bard beseems,' &c.--
and a very spirited prologue to Thomson's 'Coriolanus,' which was written
after that author's death, and says of him,
--'His chaste muse employed her heaven-taught lyre
None but the noblest passions to inspire:
Not one immoral, one corrupted thought,
_One line which, dying he could wish to blot_.'
Lyttelton himself died August 22, 1773, aged sixty-four. His History is
now little read. It took him, it is said, thirty years to write it, and
he employed another man to point it--a fact recalling what is told of
Macaulay, that he sent the first volume of his 'History of England' to
Lord Jeffrey, who overlooked the punctuation and criticised the style.
Of a series of Dialogues issued by this writer, Dr Johnson remarked,
with his usual pointed severity, 'Here is a man telling the world what
the world had all his life been telling him.' His 'Monody' expresses
real grief in an artificial style, but has some stanzas as natural in
the expression as they are pathetic in the feeling.
FROM THE 'MONODY.'
At length escaped from every human eye,
From every duty, every care,
That in my mournful thoughts might claim a share,
Or force my tears their flowing stream to dry;
Beneath the gloom of this embowering shade,
This lone retreat, for tender sorrow made,
I now may give my burdened heart relief,
And pour forth all my stores of grief;
Of grief surpassing every other woe,
Far as the purest bliss, the happiest love
Can on the ennobled mind bestow,
Exceeds the vulgar joys that move
Our gross desires, inelegant and low.
* * * * *
In vain I look around
O'er all the well-known ground,
My Lucy's wonted footsteps to descry;
Where oft we used to walk,
Where oft in tender talk
We saw the summer sun go down the sky;
Nor by yon fountain's side,
Nor where its waters glide
Along the valley, can she now be found:
In all the wide-stretched prospect's ample bound
No more my mournful eye
Can aught of her espy,
But the sad sacred earth where her dear relics lie.
* * * * *
Sweet babes, who, like the little playful fawns,
Were wont to trip along these verdant lawns
By your delighted mother's side:
Who now your infant steps shall guide?
Ah! where is now the hand whose tender care
To every virtue would have formed your youth,
And strewed with flowers the thorny ways of truth?
O loss beyond repair!
O wretched father! left alone,
To weep their dire misfortune and thy own:
How shall thy weakened mind, oppressed with woe,
And drooping o'er thy Lucy's grave,
Perform the duties that you doubly owe!
Now she, alas! is gone,
From folly and from vice their helpless age to save?
* * * * *
O best of wives! O dearer far to me
Than when thy virgin charms
Were yielded to my arms:
How can my soul endure the loss of thee?
How in the world, to me a desert grown,
Abandoned and alone,
Without my sweet companion can I live?
Without thy lovely smile,
The dear reward of every virtuous toil,
What pleasures now can palled ambition give?
Even the delightful sense of well-earned praise,
Unshared by thee, no more my lifeless thoughts could raise.
For my distracted mind
What succour can I find?
On whom for consolation shall I call?
Support me, every friend;
Your kind assistance lend,
To bear the weight of this oppressive woe.
Alas! each friend of mine,
My dear departed love, so much was thine,
That none has any comfort to bestow.
My books, the best relief
In every other grief,
Are now with your idea saddened all:
Each favourite author we together read
My tortured memory wounds, and speaks of Lucy dead.
We were the happiest pair of human kind;
The rolling year its varying course performed,
And back returned again;
Another and another smiling came,
And saw our happiness unchanged remain:
Still in her golden chain
Harmonious concord did our wishes bind:
Our studies, pleasures, taste, the same.
O fatal, fatal stroke,
That all this pleasing fabric love had raised
Of rare felicity,
On which even wanton vice with envy gazed,
And every scheme of bliss our hearts had formed,
With soothing hope, for many a future day,
In one sad moment broke!--
Yet, O my soul, thy rising murmurs stay;
Nor dare the all-wise Disposer to arraign,
Or against his supreme decree
With impious grief complain;
That all thy full-blown joys at once should fade,
Was his most righteous will--and be that will obeyed.
We know very little of the history of this pleasing poet. He was born in
1729, the son of a wine-cooper in Dublin. At the age of seventeen he
wrote a farce; entitled 'Love in a Mist,' and shortly after came to
Britain as an actor. He was for a long time a performer in Digges'
company in Edinburgh, and subsequently resided in Newcastle-upon-Tyne.
Here he seems to have fallen into distressed circumstances, and was
supported by a benevolent printer, at whose house he died in 1773. His
poetry is distinguished by a charming simplicity. This characterises
'Kate of Aberdeen,' given below, and also his 'Content: a Pastoral,' in
which he says allegorically--
'Her air was so modest, her aspect so meek,
So simple yet sweet were her charms!
I kissed the ripe roses that glowed on her cheek,
And locked the dear maid in my arms.
'Now jocund together we tend a few sheep,
And if, by yon prattler, the stream,
Reclined on her bosom, I sink into sleep,
Her image still softens my dream.'
MAY-EVE; OR, KATE OF ABERDEEN.
1 The silver moon's enamoured beam
Steals softly through the night,
To wanton with the winding stream,
And kiss reflected light.
To beds of state go, balmy sleep,
(Tis where you've seldom been,)
May's vigil whilst the shepherds keep
With Kate of Aberdeen.
2 Upon the green the virgins wait,
In rosy chaplets gay,
Till Morn unbar her golden gate,
And give the promised May.
Methinks I hear the maids declare,
The promised May, when seen,
Not half so fragrant, half so fair,
As Kate of Aberdeen.
3 Strike up the tabor's boldest notes,
We'll rouse the nodding grove;
The nested birds shall raise their throats,
And hail the maid I love:
And see--the matin lark mistakes,
He quits the tufted green:
Fond bird! 'tis not the morning breaks,
'Tis Kate of Aberdeen.
4 Now lightsome o'er the level mead,
Where midnight fairies rove,
Like them the jocund dance we'll lead,
Or tune the reed to love:
For see the rosy May draws nigh;
She claims a virgin queen!
And hark, the happy shepherds cry,
'Tis Kate of Aberdeen.
This unfortunate Scottish bard was born in Edinburgh on the 17th (some
say the 5th) of October 1751. His father, who had been an accountant to
the British Linen Company's Bank, died early, leaving a widow and four
children. Robert spent six years at the grammar schools of Edinburgh and
Dundee, went for a short period to Edinburgh College, and then, having
obtained a bursary, to St Andrews, where he continued till his seven-
teenth year. He was at first designed for the ministry of the Scottish
Church. He distinguished himself at college for his mathematical
knowledge, and became a favourite of Dr Wilkie, Professor of Natural
Philosophy, on whose death he wrote an elegy. He early discovered a
passion for poetry, and collected materials for a tragedy on the subject
of Sir William Wallace, which he never finished. He once thought of
studying medicine, but had neither patience nor funds for the needful
preliminary studies. He went away to reside with a rich uncle, named
John Forbes, in the north, near Aberdeen. This person, however, and poor
Fergusson unfortunately quarrelled; and, after residing some months in
his house, he left it in disgust, and with a few shillings in his pocket
proceeded southwards. He travelled on foot, and such was the effect of
his vexation and fatigue, that when he reached his mother's house he fell
into a severe fit of illness.
He became, on his recovery, a copying-clerk in a solicitor's, and
afterwards in a sheriff-clerk's office, and began to contribute to
_Ruddiman's Weekly Magazine_. We remember in boyhood reading some odd
volumes of this production, the general matter in which was inconceivably
poor, relieved only by Fergusson's racy little Scottish poems. His
evenings were spent chiefly in the tavern, amidst the gay and dissipated
youth of the metropolis, to whom he was the 'wit, songster, and mimic.'
That his convivial powers were extraordinary, is proved by the fact of
one of his contemporaries, who survived to be a correspondent of Burns,
doubting if even he equalled the fascination of Fergusson's converse.
Dissipation gradually stole in upon him, in spite of resolutions dictated
by remorse. In 1773, he collected his poems into a volume, which was
warmly received, but brought him, it is believed, little pecuniary
benefit. At last, under the pressure of poverty, toil, and intemperance,
his reason gave way, and he was by a stratagem removed to an asylum.
Here, when he found himself and became aware of his situation, he uttered
a dismal shriek, and cast a wild and startled look around his cell. The
history of his confinement was very similar to that of Nat Lee and
Christopher Smart. For instance, a story is told of him which is an exact
duplicate of one recorded of Lee. He was writing by the light of the
moon, when a thin cloud crossed its disk. 'Jupiter, snuff the moon,'
roared the impatient poet. The cloud thickened, and entirely darkened the
light. 'Thou stupid god,' he exclaimed, 'thou hast snuffed it out.' By
and by he became calmer, and had some affecting interviews with his
mother and sister. A removal to his mother's house was even contemplated,
but his constitution was exhausted, and on the 16th of October 1774, poor
Fergusson breathed his last. It is interesting to know that the New
Testament was his favourite companion in his cell. A little after his
death arrived a letter from an old friend, a Mr Burnet, who had made a
fortune in the East Indies, wishing him to come out to India, and
enclosing a remittance of £100 to defray the expenses of the journey.
Thus in his twenty-fourth year perished Robert Fergusson. He was buried
in the Canongate churchyard, where Burns afterwards erected a monument to
his memory, with an inscription which is familiar to most of our readers.
Burns in one of his poems attributes to Fergusson 'glorious pairts.' He
was certainly a youth of remarkable powers, although 'pairts' rather
than high genius seems to express his calibre, he can hardly be said to
sing, and he never soars. His best poems, such as 'The Farmer's Ingle,'
are just lively daguerreotypes of the life he saw around him--there is
nothing ideal or lofty in any of them. His 'ingle-bleeze' burns low
compared to that which in 'The Cottar's Saturday Night' springs up aloft
to heaven, like the tongue of an altar-fire. He stuffs his poems, too,
with Scotch to a degree which renders them too rich for even, a Scotch-
man's taste, and as repulsive as a haggis to that of an Englishman. On
the whole, Fergusson's best claim to fame arises from the influence he
exerted on the far higher genius of Burns, who seems, strangely enough,
to have preferred him to Allan Ramsay.
THE FARMER'S INGLE.
Et multo imprimis hilarans couvivia Baccho,
Ante locum, si frigus erit.--VIRG.
1 Whan gloamin gray out owre the welkin keeks;
Whan Batio ca's his owsen to the byre;
Whan Thrasher John, sair dung, his barn-door steeks,
An' lusty lasses at the dightin' tire;
What bangs fu' leal the e'enin's coming cauld,
An' gars snaw-tappit Winter freeze in vain;
Gars dowie mortals look baith blithe an' bauld,
Nor fley'd wi' a' the poortith o' the plain;
Begin, my Muse! and chant in hamely strain.
2 Frae the big stack, weel winnow't on the hill,
Wi' divots theekit frae the weet an' drift,
Sods, peats, and heathery turfs the chimley fill,
An' gar their thickening smeek salute the lift.
The gudeman, new come hame, is blithe to find,
Whan he out owre the hallan flings his een,
That ilka turn is handled to his mind;
That a' his housie looks sae cosh an' clean;
For cleanly house lo'es he, though e'er sae mean.
3 Weel kens the gudewife, that the pleughs require
A heartsome meltith, an' refreshin' synd
O' nappy liquor, owre a bleezin' fire:
Sair wark an' poortith downa weel be joined.
Wi' butter'd bannocks now the girdle reeks;
I' the far nook the bowie briskly reams;
The readied kailstands by the chimley cheeks,
An' haud the riggin' het wi' welcome streams,
Whilk than the daintiest kitchennicer seems.
4 Frae this, lat gentler gabs a lesson lear:
Wad they to labouring lend an eidenthand,
They'd rax fell strang upo' the simplest fare,
Nor find their stamacks ever at a stand.
Fu' hale an' healthy wad they pass the day;
At night, in calmest slumbers dose fu' sound;
Nor doctor need their weary life to spae,
Nor drogs their noddle and their sense confound,
Till death slip sleely on, an' gie the hindmost wound.
5 On siccan food has mony a doughty deed
By Caledonia's ancestors been done;
By this did mony a wight fu' weirlike bleed
In brulziesfrae the dawn to set o' sun.
'Twas this that braced their gardies stiff an' strang;
That bent the deadly yew in ancient days;
Laid Denmark's daring sons on yird alang;
Garr'd Scottish thristles bang the Roman bays;
For near our crest their heads they dought na raise.
6 The couthy cracks begin whan supper's owre;
The cheering bicker gars them glibly gash
O' Simmer's showery blinks, an Winter's sour,
Whase floods did erst their mailins' produce hash.
'Bout kirk an' market eke their tales gae on;
How Jock woo'd Jenny here to be his bride;
An' there, how Marion, for a bastard son,
Upo' the cutty-stool was forced to ride;
The waefu' scauld o' our Mess John to bide.
7 The fient a cheep's amang the bairnies now;
For a' their anger's wi' their hunger gane:
Aye maun the childer, wi' a fastin' mou,
Grumble an' greet, an' mak an unco maen.
In rangles round, before the ingle's low,
Frae gudame's mouth auld-warld tales they hear,
O' warlocks loupin round the wirrikow:
O' ghaists, that wine in glen an kirkyard drear,
Whilk touzles a' their tap, an' gars them shake wi' fear!
8 For weel she trows that fiends an' fairies be
Sent frae the deil to fleetch us to our ill;
That kye hae tint their milk wi' evil ee;
An' corn been scowder'd on the glowin' kiln.
O mock nae this, my friends! but rather mourn,
Ye in life's brawest spring wi' reason clear;
Wi' eild our idle fancies a' return,
And dim our dolefu' days wi' bairnly fear;
The mind's aye cradled whan the grave is near.
9 Yet Thrift, industrious, bides her latest days,
Though Age her sair-dow'd front wi' runcles wave;
Yet frae the russet lap the spindle plays;
Her e'enin stent reels she as weel's the lave.
On some feast-day, the wee things buskit braw,
Shall heese her heart up wi' a silent joy,
Fu' cadgie that her head was up an' saw
Her ain spun cleedin' on a darlin' oy;
Careless though death should mak the feast her foy.
10 In its auld lerroch yet the deas remains,
Where the gudeman aft streeks him at his ease;
A warm and canny lean for weary banes
O' labourers doylt upo' the wintry leas.
Round him will baudrins an' the collie come,
To wag their tail, and cast a thankfu' ee,
To him wha kindly flings them mony a crumb
O' kebbuck whang'd, an' dainty fadge to prie;
This a' the boon they crave, an' a' the fee.
11 Frae him the lads their mornin' counsel tak:
What stacks he wants to thrash; what rigs to till;
How big a birn maun lie on bassie's back,
For meal an' mu'ter to the thirlin' mill.
Neist, the gudewife her hirelin' damsels bids
Glower through the byre, an' see the hawkies bound;
Tak tent, case Crummy tak her wonted tids,
An' ca' the laiglen's treasure on the ground;
Whilk spills a kebbuck nice, or yellow pound.
12 Then a' the house for sleep begin to green,
Their joints to slack frae industry a while;
The leaden god fa's heavy on their een,
An hafflins steeks them frae their daily toil:
The cruizy, too, can only blink and bleer;
The reistit ingle's done the maist it dow;
Tacksman an' cottar eke to bed maun steer,
Upo' the cod to clear their drumly pow,
Till waukened by the dawnin's ruddy glow.
13 Peace to the husbandman, an' a' his tribe,
Whase care fells a' our wants frae year to year!
Lang may his sock and cou'ter turn the gleyb,
An' banks o' corn bend down wi' laded ear!
May Scotia's simmers aye look gay an' green;
Her yellow ha'rsts frae scowry blasts decreed!
May a' her tenants sit fu' snug an' bien,
Frae the hard grip o' ails, and poortith freed;
An' a lang lasting train o' peacefu' hours succeed!
 'Keeks:' peeps.
 'Owsen:' oxen.
 'Sair dung:' fatigued.
 'Steeks:' shuts.
 'Dightin':' winnowing.
 'What bangs fu' leal:' what shuts out most comfortably.
 'Gars:' makes.
 'Fley'd:' frightened.
 'Wi' divots theekit:' thatched with turf.
 'Chimley:' chimney.
 'Smeek:' smoke.
 'Hallan:' the inner wall of a cottage.
 'Cosh:' comfortable.
 'Meltith:' meal.
 'Synd:' drink.
 'Downa:' should not.
 'Girdle:' a flat iron for toasting cakes.
 'Bowie:' beer-barrel.
 'Kail:' broth with greens.
 'Kitchen:' anything eaten with bread.
 'Gabs:' palates.
 'Eident:' assidious.
 'Spae:' fortell.
 'Brulzies:' contests.
 'Gardies:' arms.
 'Yird:' earth.
 'Cracks:' pleasant talk.
 'Bicker:' the cup.
 'gash:' debat.
 'Their mailins' produce hash:' destroy the produce of their farms.
 'The fient a cheep:' not a whimper.
 'Maen:' moan.
 'Rangles:' circles.
 'Gudame's:' grandame.
 'Wirrikow:' scare-crow.
 'Win:' abide.
 'Fleetch:' entice.
 'Tint:' lost.
 'Scowder'd:' scorched.
 'Eild:' age.
 'Bairnly:' childish.
 'Stent:' task.
 'Lave:' the rest.
 'Oy:' grand child.
 'Her foy:' her farewell entertainment.
 'Deas:' bench.
 'Streeks:' stretches.
 'Baudrins:' the cat.
 'Kebbuck:' cheese.
 'Fadge:' loaf.
 'To prie:' to taste.
 'Birn:' burden.
 'Bassie:' the horse.
 'Mu'ter:' the miller's perquisite.
 'Tids:' fits.
 'The laiglen: 'the milk-pail.
 'To green:' to long.
 'The cruizy:' the lamp.
 'Cod:' pillow.
 'Drumly pow:' thick heads.
 'Sock:' ploughshare.
 'Gleyb:' soil.
 'Bien: 'comfortable.
DR WALTER HARTE.
Campbell, in his 'Specimens,' devotes a large portion of space to Dr
Walter Harte, and has quoted profusely from a poem of his entitled
'Eulogius.' We may give some of the best lines here:--
'This spot for dwelling fit Eulogius chose,
And in a month a decent homestall rose,
Something between a cottage and a cell;
Yet virtue here could sleep, and peace could dwell.
'The site was neither granted him nor given;
'Twas Nature's, and the ground-rent due to Heaven.
Wife he had none, nor had he love to spare,--
An aged mother wanted all his care.
They thanked their Maker for a pittance sent,
Supped on a turnip, slept upon content.'
Again, of a neighbouring matron, who died leaving Eulogius money--
'This matron, whitened with good works and age,
Approached the Sabbath of her pilgrimage;
Her spirit to himself the Almighty drew,
_Breathed on the alembic, and exhaled the dew_.'
And once more--
'Who but Eulogius now exults for joy?
New thoughts, new hopes, new views his mind employ;
Pride pushed forth buds at every branching shoot,
And virtue shrank almost beneath the root.
High raised on fortune's hill, new Alps he spies,
O'ershoots the valley which beneath him lies,
Forgets the depths between, and travels with his eyes.'
Hampton in Middlesex was the birthplace of our next poet, Edward Lovibond.
He was a gentleman of fortune, who chiefly employed his time in rural
occupations. He became a director of the East India Company. He helped his
friend Moore in conducting the periodical called _The World_, to which he
contributed several papers, including the very pleasing poem entitled
'The Tears of Old May-Day.' He died in 1775.
THE TEARS OF OLD MAY-DAY.
WRITTEN ON THE REFORMATION OF THE CALENDAR IN 1754.
1 Led by the jocund train of vernal hours
And vernal airs, uprose the gentle May;
Blushing she rose, and blushing rose the flowers
That sprung spontaneous in her genial ray.
2 Her locks with heaven's ambrosial dews were bright,
And amorous zephyrs fluttered on her breast:
With every shifting gleam of morning light,
The colours shifted of her rainbow vest.
3 Imperial ensigns graced her smiling form,
A golden key and golden wand she bore;
This charms to peace each sullen eastern storm,
And that unlocks the summer's copious store.
4 Onward in conscious majesty she came,
The grateful honours of mankind to taste:
To gather fairest wreaths of future fame,
And blend fresh triumphs with her glories past.
5 Vain hope! no more in choral bands unite
Her virgin votaries, and at early dawn,
Sacred to May and love's mysterious rite,
Brush the light dew-drops from the spangled lawn.
6 To her no more Augusta's wealthy pride
Pours the full tribute from Potosi's mine:
Nor fresh-blown garlands village maids provide,
A purer offering at her rustic shrine.
7 No more the Maypole's verdant height around
To valour's games the ambitious youth advance;
No merry bells and tabor's sprightlier sound
Wake the loud carol, and the sportive dance.
8 Sudden in pensive sadness drooped her head,
Faint on her cheeks the blushing crimson died--
'O chaste victorious triumphs! whither fled?
My maiden honours, whither gone?' she cried.
9 Ah! once to fame and bright dominion born,
The earth and smiling ocean saw me rise,
With time coeval and the star of morn,
The first, the fairest daughter of the skies.
10 Then, when at Heaven's prolific mandate sprung
The radiant beam of new-created day,
Celestial harps, to airs of triumph strung,
Hailed the glad dawn, and angels called me May.
11 Space in her empty regions heard the sound,
And hills, and dales, and rocks, and valleys rung;
The sun exulted in his glorious round,
And shouting planets in their courses sung.
12 For ever then I led the constant year;
Saw youth, and joy, and love's enchanting wiles;
Saw the mild graces in my train appear,
And infant beauty brighten in my smiles.
13 No winter frowned. In sweet embrace allied,
Three sister seasons danced the eternal green;
And Spring's retiring softness gently vied
With Autumn's blush, and Summer's lofty mien.
14 Too soon, when man profaned the blessings given,
And vengeance armed to blot a guilty age,
With bright Astrea to my native heaven
I fled, and flying saw the deluge rage;
15 Saw bursting clouds eclipse the noontide beams,
While sounding billows from the mountains rolled,
With bitter waves polluting all my streams,
My nectared streams, that flowed on sands of gold.
16 Then vanished many a sea-girt isle and grove,
Their forests floating on the watery plain:
Then, famed for arts and laws derived from Jove,
My Atalantis sunk beneath the main.
17 No longer bloomed primeval Eden's bowers,
Nor guardian dragons watched the Hesperian steep:
With all their fountains, fragrant fruits and flowers,
Torn from the continent to glut the deep.
18 No more to dwell in sylvan scenes I deigned,
Yet oft descending to the languid earth,
With quickening powers the fainting mass sustained,
And waked her slumbering atoms into birth.
19 And every echo taught my raptured name,
And every virgin breathed her amorous vows,
And precious wreaths of rich immortal fame,
Showered by the Muses, crowned my lofty brows.
20 But chief in Europe, and in Europe's pride,
My Albion's favoured realms, I rose adored;
And poured my wealth, to other climes denied;
From Amalthea's horn with plenty stored.
21 Ah me! for now a younger rival claims
My ravished honours, and to her belong
My choral dances, and victorious games,
To her my garlands and triumphal song.
22 O say what yet untasted beauties flow,
What purer joys await her gentler reign?
Do lilies fairer, violets sweeter blow?
And warbles Philomel a softer strain?
23 Do morning suns in ruddier glory rise?
Does evening fan her with serener gales?
Do clouds drop fatness from the wealthier skies,
Or wantons plenty in her happier vales?
24 Ah! no: the blunted beams of dawning light
Skirt the pale orient with uncertain day;
And Cynthia, riding on the car of night,
Through clouds embattled faintly wings her way.
25 Pale, immature, the blighted verdure springs,
Nor mounting juices feed the swelling flower;
Mute all the groves, nor Philomela sings
When silence listens at the midnight hour.
26 Nor wonder, man, that Nature's bashful face,
And opening charms, her rude embraces fear:
Is she not sprung from April's wayward race,
The sickly daughter of the unripened year?
27 With showers and sunshine in her fickle eyes,
With hollow smiles proclaiming treacherous peace,
With blushes, harbouring, in their thin disguise,
The blasts that riot on the Spring's increase?
28 Is this the fair invested with my spoil
By Europe's laws, and senates' stern command?
Ungenerous Europe! let me fly thy soil,
And waft my treasures to a grateful land;
29 Again revive, on Asia's drooping shore,
My Daphne's groves, or Lycia's ancient plain;
Again to Afric's sultry sands restore
Embowering shades, and Lybian Ammon's fane:
30 Or haste to northern Zembla's savage coast,
There hush to silence elemental strife;
Brood o'er the regions of eternal frost,
And swell her barren womb with heat and life.
31 Then Britain--Here she ceased. Indignant grief,
And parting pangs, her faltering tongue suppressed:
Veiled in an amber cloud she sought relief,
And tears and silent anguish told the rest.
This 'learned and jovial parson,' as Campbell calls him, was born in 1721,
in Yorkshire. He studied at Cambridge, and became curate at Croydon, in
Surrey. Here he obtained the friendship of Archbishop Herring, and was by
him appointed vicar of Orpington in Kent, a situation which he ultimately
exchanged for the rectory of Hayes, in the same county. He translated
various minor Greek poets, including Anacreon, Sappho, Bion and Moschus,
Theocritus, &c. He died in 1777. His 'Brown Jug' breathes some of the
spirit of the first of these writers, and two or three lines of it were
once quoted triumphantly in Parliament by Sheil, while charging Peel, we
think it was, with appropriating arguments from Bishop Philpotts--'Harry
'Dear Tom, this brown jug that now foams with mild ale,
Was once Toby Philpotts,' &c.
THE BROWN JUG.
1 Dear Tom, this brown jug that now foams with mild ale,
(In which I will drink to sweet Nan of the Vale,)
Was once Toby Fillpot, a thirsty old soul
As e'er drank a bottle, or fathomed a bowl;
In boosing about 'twas his praise to excel,
And among jolly topers lie bore off the bell.
2 It chanced as in dog-days he sat at his ease
In his flower-woven arbour as gay as you please,
With a friend and a pipe puffing sorrows away,
And with honest old stingo was soaking his clay,
His breath-doors of life on a sudden were shut,
And he died full as big as a Dorchester butt.
3 His body, when long in the ground it had lain,
And time into clay had resolved it again,
A potter found out in its covert so snug,
And with part of fat Toby he formed this brown jug
Now sacred to friendship, and mirth, and mild ale;
So here's to my lovely sweet Nan of the Vale.
This poetical divine was born in 1735, at Kirkby Steven, in Westmoreland.
Left fatherless at four years old, his mother fulfilled her double charge
of duty with great tenderness and assiduity. He was educated at Appleby,
and subsequently became assistant at the free-school of Wakefield, took
deacon's orders, and gave promise, although very young, of becoming a
popular preacher. After various vicissitudes of life and fortune, and
publishing a number of works in prose and verse, Langhorne repaired to
London, and obtained, in 1764, the curacy and lectureship of St John's,
Clerkenwell. He soon afterwards became assistant-preacher in Lincoln's
Inn Chapel, where he had a very intellectual audience to address, and
bore a somewhat trying ordeal with complete success. He continued for a
number of years in London, maintaining his reputation both as a preacher
and writer. His most popular works were the 'Letters of Theodosius and
Constantia,' and a translation of Plutarch's Lives, which Wrangham
afterwards corrected and improved, and which is still standard. He was
twice married, and survived both his wives. He obtained the living of
Blagden in Somersetshire, and in addition to it, in 1777, a prebend in
the Cathedral of Wells. He died in 1779, aged only forty-four; his death,
it is supposed, being accelerated by intemperance, although it does not
seem to have been of a gross or aggravated description. Langhorne, an
amiable man, and highly popular as well as warmly beloved in his day,
survives now in memory chiefly through his Plutarch's Lives, and through
a few lines in his 'Country Justice,' which are immortalised by the well-
known story of Scott's interview with Burns. Campbell puts in a plea
besides for his 'Owen of Carron,' but the plea, being founded on early
reading, is partial, and has not been responded to by the public.
FROM 'THE COUNTRY JUSTICE.'
The social laws from insult to protect,
To cherish peace, to cultivate respect;
The rich from wanton cruelty restrain,
To smooth the bed of penury and pain;
The hapless vagrant to his rest restore,
The maze of fraud, the haunts of theft explore;
The thoughtless maiden, when subdued by art,
To aid, and bring her rover to her heart;
Wild riot's voice with dignity to quell,
Forbid unpeaceful passions to rebel,
Wrest from revenge the meditated harm,
For this fair Justice raised her sacred arm;
For this the rural magistrate, of yore,
Thy honours, Edward, to his mansion bore.
Oft, where old Air in conscious glory sails,
On silver waves that flow through smiling vales;
In Harewood's groves, where long my youth was laid,
Unseen beneath their ancient world of shade;
With many a group of antique columns crowned,
In Gothic guise such, mansion have I found.
Nor lightly deem, ye apes of modern race,
Ye cits that sore bedizen nature's face,
Of the more manly structures here ye view;
They rose for greatness that ye never knew!
Ye reptile cits, that oft have moved my spleen
With Venus and the Graces on your green!
Let Plutus, growling o'er his ill-got wealth,
Let Mercury, the thriving god of stealth,
The shopman, Janus, with his double looks,
Rise on your mounts, and perch upon your books!
But spare my Venus, spare each sister Grace,
Ye cits, that sore bedizen nature's face!
Ye royal architects, whose antic taste
Would lay the realms of sense and nature waste;
Forgot, whenever from her steps ye stray,
That folly only points each other way;
Here, though your eye no courtly creature sees,
Snakes on the ground, or monkeys in the trees;
Yet let not too severe a censure fall
On the plain precincts of the ancient hall.
For though no sight your childish fancy meets,
Of Thibet's dogs, or China's paroquets;
Though apes, asps, lizards, things without a tail,
And all the tribes of foreign monsters fail;
Here shall ye sigh to see, with rust o'ergrown,
The iron griffin and the sphinx of stone;
And mourn, neglected in their waste abodes,
Fire-breathing drakes, and water-spouting gods.
Long have these mighty monsters known disgrace,
Yet still some trophies hold their ancient place;
Where, round the hall, the oak's high surbase rears
The field-day triumphs of two hundred years.
The enormous antlers here recall the day
That saw the forest monarch forced away;
Who, many a flood, and many a mountain passed,
Not finding those, nor deeming these the last,
O'er floods, o'er mountains yet prepared to fly,
Long ere the death-drop filled his failing eye!
Here famed for cunning, and in crimes grown old,
Hangs his gray brush, the felon of the fold.
Oft as the rent-feast swells the midnight cheer,
The maudlin farmer kens him o'er his beer,
And tells his old, traditionary tale,
Though known to every tenant of the vale.
Here, where of old the festal ox has fed,
Marked with his weight, the mighty horns are spread:
Some ox, O Marshall, for a board like thine,
Where the vast master with the vast sirloin
Vied in round magnitude--Respect I bear
To thee, though oft the ruin of the chair.
These, and such antique tokens that record
The manly spirit, and the bounteous board,
Me more delight than all the gewgaw train,
The whims and zigzags of a modern brain,
More than all Asia's marmosets to view,
Grin, frisk, and water in the walks of Kew.
Through these fair valleys, stranger, hast thou strayed,
By any chance, to visit Harewood's shade,
And seen with lionest, antiquated air,
In the plain hall the magistratial chair?
There Herbert sat--The love of human kind,
Pure light of truth, and temperance of mind,
In the free eye the featured soul displayed,
Honour's strong beam, and Mercy's melting shade:
Justice that, in the rigid paths of law,
Would still some drops from Pity's fountain draw,
Bend o'er her urn with many a generous fear,
Ere his firm seal should force one orphan's tear;
Fair equity, and reason scorning art,
And all the sober virtues of the heart--
These sat with Herbert, these shall best avail
Where statutes order, or where statutes fail.
Be this, ye rural magistrates, your plan:
Firm be your justice, but be friends to man.
He whom the mighty master of this ball
We fondly deem, or farcically call,
To own the patriarch's truth, however loth,
Holds but a mansion crushed before the moth.
Frail in his genius, in his heart too frail,
Born but to err, and erring to bewail,
Shalt thou his faults with eye severe explore,
And give to life one human weakness more?
Still mark if vice or nature prompts the deed;
Still mark the strong temptation and the need:
On pressing want, on famine's powerful call,
At least more lenient let thy justice fall.
For him who, lost to every hope of life,
Has long with fortune held unequal strife,
Known to no human love, no human care,
The friendless, homeless object of despair;
For the poor vagrant feel, while he complains,
Nor from sad freedom send to sadder chains.
Alike, if folly or misfortune brought
Those last of woes his evil days have wrought;
Believe with social mercy and with me,
Folly's misfortune in the first degree.
Perhaps on some inhospitable shore
The houseless wretch a widowed parent bore;
Who then, no more by golden prospects led,
Of the poor Indian begged a leafy bed.
Cold on Canadian hills, or Minden's plain,
Perhaps that parent mourned her soldier slain;
Bent o'er her babe, her eye dissolved in dew,
The big drops mingling with the milk he drew,
Gave the sad presage of his future years,
The child of misery, baptized in tears!
FROM THE SAME.
The gipsy-race my pity rarely move;
Yet their strong thirst of liberty I love:
Not Wilkes, our Freedom's holy martyr, more;
Nor his firm phalanx of the common shore.
For this in Norwood's patrimonial groves
The tawny father with his offspring roves;
When summer suns lead slow the sultry day,
In mossy caves, where welling waters play,
Fanned by each gale that cools the fervid sky,
With this in ragged luxury they lie.
Oft at the sun the dusky elfins strain
The sable eye, then snugging, sleep again;
Oft as the dews of cooler evening fall,
For their prophetic mother's mantle call.
Far other cares that wandering mother wait,
The mouth, and oft the minister of fate!
From her to hear, in evening's friendly shade,
Of future fortune, flies the village-maid,
Draws her long-hoarded copper from its hold,
And rusty halfpence purchase hopes of gold.
But, ah! ye maids, beware the gipsy's lures!
She opens not the womb of time, but yours.
Oft has her hands the hapless Marian wrung,
Marian, whom Gay in sweetest strains has sung!
The parson's maid--sore cause had she to rue
The gipsy's tongue; the parson's daughter too.
Long had that anxious daughter sighed to know
What Vellum's sprucy clerk, the valley's beau,
Meant by those glances which at church he stole,
Her father nodding to the psalm's slow drawl;
Long had she sighed; at length a prophet came,
By many a sure prediction known to fame,
To Marian known, and all she told, for true:
She knew the future, for the past she knew.
A CASE WHERE MERCY SHOULD HAVE MITIGATED JUSTICE.
FROM THE SAME.
Unnumbered objects ask thy honest care,
Beside the orphan's tear, the widow's prayer:
Far as thy power can save, thy bounty bless,
Unnumbered evils call for thy redress.
Seest thou afar yon solitary thorn,
Whose aged limbs the heath's wild winds have torn?
While yet to cheer the homeward shepherd's eye,
A few seem straggling in the evening sky!
Not many suns have hastened down the day,
Or blushing moons immersed in clouds their way,
Since there, a scene that stained their sacred light,
With horror stopped a felon in his flight;
A babe just born that signs of life expressed,
Lay naked o'er the mother's lifeless breast.
The pitying robber, conscious that, pursued,
He had no time to waste, yet stood and viewed;
To the next cot the trembling infant bore,
And gave a part of what he stole before;
Nor known to him the wretches were, nor dear,
He felt as man, and dropped a human tear.
Far other treatment she who breathless lay,
Found from a viler animal of prey.
Worn with long toil on many a painful road,
That toil increased by nature's growing load,
When evening brought the friendly hour of rest,
And all the mother thronged about her breast,
The ruffian officer opposed her stay,
And, cruel, bore her in her pangs away,
So far beyond the town's last limits drove,
That to return were hopeless, had she strove;
Abandoned there, with famine, pain, and cold,
And anguish, she expired,--The rest I've told.
'Now let me swear. For by my soul's last sigh,
That thief shall live, that overseer shall die.'
Too late!--his life the generous robber paid,
Lost by that pity which his steps delayed!
No soul-discerning Mansfield sat to hear,
No Hertford bore his prayer to mercy's ear;
No liberal justice first assigned the gaol,
Or urged, as Camplin would have urged, his tale.
SIR WILLIAM BLACKSTONE.
This is not the place for writing the life of the great lawyer whose
awful wig has been singed by the sarcasm of Junius. He was born in
London in 1723, and died in 1780. He had early coquetted with poetry,
but on entering the Middle Temple he bade a 'Farewell to his Muse' in
the verses subjoined. So far as lucre was concerned, he chose the better
part, and rose gradually on the ladder of law to be a knight and a judge
in the Court of Common Pleas. It has been conjectured, from some notes
on Shakspeare published by Stevens, that Sir William continued till the
end of his days to hold occasional flirtations with his old flame.
THE LAWYER'S FAREWELL TO HIS MUSE.
As, by some tyrant's stern command,
A wretch forsakes his native land,
In foreign climes condemned to roam
An endless exile from his home;
Pensive he treads the destined way,
And dreads to go, nor dares to stay;
Till on some neighbouring mountain's brow
He stops, and turns his eyes below;
There, melting at the well-known view,
Drops a last tear, and bids adieu:
So I, thus doomed from thee to part,
Gay queen of Fancy, and of Art,
Reluctant move, with doubtful mind
Oft stop, and often look behind.
Companion of my tender age,
Serenely gay, and sweetly sage,
How blithesome were we wont to rove
By verdant hill, or shady grove,
Where fervent bees, with humming voice,
Around the honeyed oak rejoice,
And aged elms with awful bend
In long cathedral walks extend!
Lulled by the lapse of gliding floods,
Cheered by the warbling of the woods,
How blessed my days, my thoughts how free,
In sweet society with thee!
Then all was joyous, all was young,
And years unheeded rolled along:
But now the pleasing dream is o'er,
These scenes must charm me now no more.
Lost to the fields, and torn from you,--
Farewell!--a long, a last adieu.
Me wrangling courts, and stubborn law,
To smoke, and crowds, and cities draw:
There selfish faction rules the day,
And pride and avarice throng the way;
Diseases taint the murky air,
And midnight conflagrations glare;
Loose Revelry and Riot bold
In frighted streets their orgies hold;
Or, where in silence all is drowned,
Fell Murder walks his lonely round;
No room for peace, no room for you,
Adieu, celestial nymph, adieu!
Shakspeare no more, thy sylvan son,
Nor all the art of Addison,
Pope's heaven-strung lyre, nor Waller's ease,
Nor Milton's mighty self, must please:
Instead of these a formal band,
In furs and coifs, around me stand;
With sounds uncouth and accents dry,
That grate the soul of harmony,
Each pedant sage unlocks his store
Of mystic, dark, discordant lore;
And points with tottering hand the ways
That lead me to the thorny maze.
There, in a winding close retreat,
Is Justice doomed to fix her seat;
There, fenced by bulwarks of the law,
She keeps the wondering world in awe;
And there, from vulgar sight retired,
Like eastern queens, is more admired.
Oh, let me pierce the sacred shade
Where dwells the venerable maid!
There humbly mark, with reverent awe,
The guardian of Britannia's law;
Unfold with joy her sacred page,
The united boast of many an age;
Where mixed, yet uniform, appears
The wisdom of a thousand years.
In that pure spring the bottom view,
Clear, deep, and regularly true;
And other doctrines thence imbibe
Than lurk within the sordid scribe;
Observe how parts with parts unite
In one harmonious rule of right;
See countless wheels distinctly tend
By various laws to one great end:
While mighty Alfred's piercing soul
Pervades, and regulates the whole.
Then welcome business, welcome strife,
Welcome the cares, the thorns of life,
The visage wan, the poreblind sight,
The toil by day, the lamp at night,
The tedious forms, the solemn prate,
The pert dispute, the dull debate,
The drowsy bench, the babbling Hall,
For thee, fair Justice, welcome all!
Thus though my noon of life be passed,
Yet let my setting sun, at last,
Find out the still, the rural cell,
Where sage Retirement loves to dwell!
There let me taste the homefelt bliss.
Of innocence and inward peace;
Untainted by the guilty bribe;
Uncursed amid the harpy tribe;
No orphan's cry to wound my ear;
My honour and my conscience clear;
Thus may I calmly meet my end,
Thus to the grave in peace descend.
This poet is generally known as 'Scott of Amwell.' This arises from the
fact that his father, a draper in Southwark, where John was born in
1730, retired ten years afterwards to Amwell. He had never been
inoculated with the small-pox, and such was his dread of the disease,
and that of his family, that for twenty years, although within twenty
miles of London, he never visited it. His parents, who belonged to the
amiable sect of Quakers, sent him to a day-school at Ware, but that too
he left upon the first alarm of infection. At seventeen, although his
education was much neglected, he began to relish reading, and was
materially assisted in his studies by a neighbour of the name of
Frogley, a master bricklayer, who, though somewhat illiterate, admired
poetry. Scott sent his first essays to the _Gentleman's Magazine_, and
in his thirtieth year published four elegies, which met with a kind
reception, although Dr Johnson said only of them, 'They are very well,
but such as twenty people might write.' He produced afterwards 'The
Garden,' 'Amwell,' and other poems, besides some rather narrow 'Critical
Essays on the English Poets.' When thirty-six years of age, he submitted
to inoculation, and henceforward visited London frequently, and became
acquainted with Dr Johnson, Sir William Jones, Mrs Montague, and other
eminent characters. He was a very active promoter of local improvements,
and diligent in cultivating his grounds and garden. He was twice
married, his first wife being a daughter of his friend Frogley. He died
in 1783, not of that disease which he so 'greatly feared,' but of a
putrid fever, at Radcliff. One note of his, entitled 'Ode on Hearing the
Drum,' still reverberates on the ear of poetic readers. Wordsworth has
imitated it in his 'Andrew Jones.' Sir Walter makes Rachel Geddes say,
in 'Redgauntlet,' alluding to books of verse, 'Some of our people do
indeed hold that every writer who is not with us is against us, but
brother Joshua is mitigated in his opinions, and correspondeth with our
friend John Scott of Amwell, who hath himself constructed verses well
approved of even in the world.'
ODE ON HEARING THE DRUM.
1 I hate that drum's discordant sound,
Parading round, and round, and round:
To thoughtless youth it pleasure yields,
And lures from cities and from fields,
To sell their liberty for charms
Of tawdry lace, and glittering arms;
And when ambition's voice commands,
To march, and fight, and fall, in foreign lands.
2 I hate that drum's discordant sound,
Parading round, and round, and round:
To me it talks of ravaged plains,
And burning towns, and ruined swains,
And mangled limbs, and dying groans,
And widows' tears, and orphans' moans;
And all that misery's hand bestows,
To fill the catalogue of human woes.
THE TEMPESTUOUS EVENING.
1 There's grandeur in this sounding storm,
That drives the hurrying clouds along,
That on each other seem to throng,
And mix in many a varied form;
While, bursting now and then between,
The moon's dim misty orb is seen,
And casts faint glimpses on the green.
2 Beneath the blast the forests bend,
And thick the branchy ruin lies,
And wide the shower of foliage flies;
The lake's black waves in tumult blend,
Revolving o'er and o'er and o'er,
And foaming on the rocky shore,
Whose caverns echo to their roar.
3 The sight sublime enrapts my thought,
And swift along the past it strays,
And much of strange event surveys,
What history's faithful tongue has taught,
Or fancy formed, whose plastic skill
The page with fabled change can fill
Of ill to good, or good to ill.
4 But can my soul the scene enjoy,
That rends another's breast with pain?
O hapless he, who, near the main,
Now sees its billowy rage destroy!
Beholds the foundering bark descend,
Nor knows but what its fate may end
The moments of his dearest friend!
Of this fine old Scottish poet we regret that we can tell our readers so
little. He was born in 1698, became parish schoolmaster at Lochlee in
Angusshire, and published, by the advice of Dr Beattie, in 1768, a
volume entitled 'Helenore; or, The Fortunate Shepherdess: a Pastoral Tale
in the Scottish Dialect; along with a few Songs.' Some of these latter,
such as 'Woo'd, and Married, and a',' became very popular. Beattie loved
the 'good-humoured, social, happy old man,' who was 'passing rich' on
twenty pounds a-year, and wrote in the _Aberdeen Journal_ a poetical
letter in the Scotch language to promote the sale of his poem. Ross died
in 1784, about eighty-six years old, and is buried in a churchyard at the
east end of the loch.
Lochlee is a very solitary and romantic spot. The road to it from the
low country, or Howe of the Mearns, conducts us through a winding,
unequal, but very interesting glen, which, after bearing at its foot
many patches of corn, yellowing amidst thick green copsewood and birch
trees, fades and darkens gradually into a stern, woodless, and rocky
defile, which emerges on a solitary loch, lying 'dern and dreary' amidst
silent hills. It is one of those lakes which divide the distance between
the loch and the tarn, being two miles in length and one in breadth. The
hills, which are stony and savage, sink directly down upon its brink.
A house or two are all the dwellings in view. The celebrated Thomas
Guthrie dearly loves this lake, lives beside it for months at a time,
and is often seen rowing his lonely boat in the midst of it, by sunlight
and by moonlight too. On the west, one bold, sword-like summit, Craig
Macskeldie by name, cuts the air, and relieves the monotony of the other
mountains. Fit rest has Ross found in that calm, rural burying-place,
beside 'the rude forefathers of the hamlet,' with short, sweet, flower-
sprinkled grass covering his dust, the low voice of the lake sounding
a few yards from his cold ear, and a plain gravestone uniting with his
native mountains to form his memorial. 'Fortunate Shepherd,' (shall we
call him?) to have obtained a grave so intensely characteristic of a
WOO'D, AND MARRIED, AND A'.
1 The bride cam' out o' the byre,
And, O, as she dighted her cheeks!
'Sirs, I'm to be married the night,
And have neither blankets nor sheets;
Have neither blankets nor sheets,
Nor scarce a coverlet too;
The bride that has a' thing to borrow,
Has e'en right muckle ado.'
Woo'd, and married, and a',
Married, and woo'd, and a'!
And was she nae very weel off,
That was woo'd, and married, and a'?
2 Out spake the bride's father,
As he cam' in frae the pleugh:
'O, haud your tongue my dochter,
And ye'se get gear eneugh;
The stirk stands i' the tether,
And our braw bawsint yade,
Will carry ye hame your corn--
What wad ye be at, ye jade?'
3 Out spake the bride's mither:
'What deil needs a' this pride?
I had nae a plack in my pouch
That night I was a bride;
My gown was linsey-woolsey,
And ne'er a sark ava;
And ye hae ribbons and buskins,
Mae than ane or twa.'
* * * * *
4 Out spake the bride's brither,
As he cam' in wi' the kye:
'Poor Willie wad ne'er hae ta'en ye,
Had he kent ye as weel as I;
For ye're baith proud and saucy,
And no for a poor man's wife;
Gin I canna get a better,
I'se ne'er tak ane i' my life.'
* * * * *
THE ROCK AN' THE WEE PICKLE TOW.
1 There was an auld wife had a wee pickle tow,
And she wad gae try the spinnin' o't;
But lootin' her doun, her rock took a-lowe,
And that was an ill beginnin' o't.
She spat on 't, she flat on 't, and tramped on its pate,
But a' she could do it wad ha'e its ain gate;
At last she sat down on't and bitterly grat,
For e'er ha'in' tried the spinnin' o't.
2 Foul fa' them that ever advised me to spin,
It minds me o' the beginnin' o't;
I weel might ha'e ended as I had begun,
And never ha'e tried the spinnin' o't.
But she's a wise wife wha kens her ain weird,
I thought ance a day it wad never be spier'd,
How let ye the lowe tak' the rock by the beard,
When ye gaed to try the spinnin' o't?
3 The spinnin', the spinnin', it gars my heart sab
To think on the ill beginnin' o't;
I took't in my head to mak' me a wab,
And that was the first beginnin' o't.
But had I nine daughters, as I ha'e but three,
The safest and soundest advice I wad gi'e,
That they wad frae spinnin' aye keep their heads free,
For fear o' an ill beginnin' o't.
4 But if they, in spite o' my counsel, wad run
The dreary, sad task o' the spinnin' o't;
Let them find a lown seat by the light o' the sun,
And syne venture on the beginnin' o't.
For wha's done as I've done, alake and awowe!
To busk up a rock at the cheek o' a lowe;
They'll say that I had little wit in my pow--
O the muckle black deil tak' the spinnin' o't.
Glover was a man so remarkable as to be thought capable of having written
the letters of Junius, although no one now almost names his name or reads
his poetry. He was the son of a Hamburgh merchant in London, and born
(1712) in St Martin's Lane, Cannon Street. He was educated at a private
school in Surrey, but being designed for trade, was never sent to a
university, yet by his own exertions he became an excellent classical
scholar. At sixteen he wrote a poem to the memory of Sir Isaac Newton,
and at twenty-five produced nine books of his 'Leonidas.' Partly through
its own merits, partly through its liberal political sentiments, and
partly through the influence of Lord Cobham, to whom it was inscribed,
and the praise of Fielding and Chatham, it became very popular. In 1739,
he produced a poem entitled 'London; or, The Progress of Commerce,' and a
spirited ballad entitled 'Admiral Hosier's Ghost,' which we have given,
both designed to rouse the national spirit against the Spaniards.
Glover was a merchant, and very highly esteemed among his commercial
brethren, although at one time unfortunate in business. When forced by
his failure to seek retirement, he produced a tragedy on the subject of
Boadicea, which ran the usual nine nights, although it has long since
ceased to be acted or read. In his later years his affairs improved; he
returned again to public life, was elected to Parliament, and approved
himself a painstaking and popular M.P. In 1770, he enlarged his
'Leonidas' from nine books to twelve, and afterwards wrote a sequel to
it, entitled 'The Athenais.' Glover spent his closing years in opulent
retirement, enjoying the intimacy and respect of the most eminent men of
the day, and died in 1785.
'Leonidas' may be called the epic of the eighteenth century, and betrays
the artificial genius of its age. The poet rises to his flight like a
heavy heron--not a hawk or eagle. Passages in it are good, but the effect
of the whole is dulness. It reminds you of Cowper's 'Homer,' in which all
is accurate, but all is cold, and where even the sound of battle lulls
to slumber--or of Edwin Atherstone's 'Fall of Nineveh,' where you are
fatigued with uniform pomp, and the story struggles and staggers under a
load of words. Thomson exclaimed when he heard of the work of Glover, 'He
write an epic, who never saw a mountain!' And there was justice in the
remark. The success of 'Leonidas' was probably one cause of the swarm of
epics which appeared in the close of the eighteenth and the beginning of
the nineteenth century.--Cottle himself being, according to De Quincey,
'the author of four epic poems, _and_ a new kind of blacking.' Their day
seems now for ever at an end.
FROM BOOK XII
Song of the Priestess of the Muses to the chosen band after their
return from the inroad into the Persian camp, on the night before
the Battle of Thermopylae.
Back to the pass in gentle march he leads
The embattled warriors. They, behind the shrubs,
Where Medon sent such numbers to the shades,
In ambush lie. The tempest is o'erblown.
Soft breezes only from the Malian wave
O'er each grim face, besmeared with smoke and gore,
Their cool refreshment breathe. The healing gale,
A crystal rill near Oeta's verdant feet,
Dispel the languor from their harassed nerves,
Fresh braced by strength returning. O'er their heads
Lo! in full blaze of majesty appears
Melissa, bearing in her hand divine
The eternal guardian of illustrious deeds,
The sweet Phoebean lyre. Her graceful train
Of white-robed virgins, seated on a range
Half down the cliff, o'ershadowing the Greeks,
All with concordant strings, and accents clear,
A torrent pour of melody, and swell
A high, triumphal, solemn dirge of praise,
Anticipating fame. Of endless joys
In blessed Elysium was the song. Go, meet
Lycurgus, Solon, and Zaleucus sage,
Let them salute the children of their laws.
Meet Homer, Orpheus, and the Ascraean bard,
Who with a spirit, by ambrosial food
Refined, and more exalted, shall contend
Your splendid fate to warble through the bowers
Of amaranth and myrtle ever young,
Like your renown. Your ashes we will cull.
In yonder fane deposited, your urns,
Dear to the Muses, shall our lays inspire.
Whatever offerings, genius, science, art
Can dedicate to virtue, shall be yours,
The gifts of all the Muses, to transmit
You on the enlivened canvas, marble, brass,
In wisdom's volume, in the poet's song,
In every tongue, through every age and clime,
You of this earth the brightest flowers, not cropt,
Transplanted only to immortal bloom
Of praise with men, of happiness with gods.
ADMIRAL HOSIER'S GHOST.
ON THE TAKING OF PORTO-BELLO FROM THE SPANIARDS
BY ADMIRAL VERNON--Nov. 22, 1739.
1 As near Porto-Bello lying
On the gently swelling flood,
At midnight with streamers flying,
Our triumphant navy rode:
There while Vernon sat all-glorious
From the Spaniards' late defeat;
And his crews, with shouts victorious,
Drank success to England's fleet:
2 On a sudden shrilly sounding,
Hideous yells and shrieks were heard;
Then each heart with fear confounding,
A sad troop of ghosts appeared,
All in dreary hammocks shrouded,
Which for winding-sheets they wore,
And with looks by sorrow clouded,
Frowning on that hostile shore.
3 On them gleamed the moon's wan lustre,
When the shade of Hosier brave
His pale bands was seen to muster,
Rising from their watery grave:
O'er the glimmering wave he hied him,
Where the Burford reared her sail,
With three thousand ghosts beside him,
And in groans did Vernon hail:
4 'Heed, O heed, our fatal story,
I am Hosier's injured ghost,
You, who now have purchased glory
At this place where I was lost;
Though in Porto-Bello's ruin
You now triumph free from fears,
When you think on our undoing,
You will mix your joy with tears.
5 'See these mournful spectres, sweeping
Ghastly o'er this hated wave,
Whose wan cheeks are stained with weeping;
These were English captains brave:
Mark those numbers pale and horrid,
Those were once my sailors bold,
Lo! each hangs his drooping forehead,
While his dismal tale is told.
6 'I, by twenty sail attended,
Did this Spanish town affright:
Nothing then its wealth defended
But my orders not to fight:
Oh! that in this rolling ocean
I had cast them with disdain,
And obeyed my heart's warm motion,
To have quelled the pride of Spain.
7 'For resistance I could fear none,
But with twenty ships had done
What thou, brave and happy Vernon,
Hast achieved with six alone.
Then the Bastimentos never
Had our foul dishonour seen,
Nor the sea the sad receiver
Of this gallant train had been.
8 'Thus, like thee, proud Spain dismaying,
And her galleons leading home,
Though condemned for disobeying,
I had met a traitor's doom;
To have fallen, my country crying,
He has played an English part,
Had been better far than dying
Of a grieved and broken heart.
9 'Unrepining at thy glory,
Thy successful arms we hail;
But remember our sad story,
And let Hosier's wrongs prevail.
Sent in this foul clime to languish,
Think what thousands fell in vain,
Wasted with disease and anguish,
Not in glorious battle slain.
10 'Hence, with all my train attending
From their oozy tombs below,
Through the hoary foam ascending,
Here I feed my constant woe:
Here the Bastimentos viewing,
We recall our shameful doom,
And our plaintive cries renewing,
Wander through the midnight gloom.
11 'O'er these waves for ever mourning
Shall we roam deprived of rest,
If to Britain's shores returning,
You neglect my just request.
After this proud foe subduing,
When your patriot friends you see,
Think on vengeance for my ruin,
And for England shamed in me.'
 'The Burford:' Admiral Vernon's ship.
There was also a Paul Whitehead, who wrote a satire entitled 'Manners,'
which is highly praised by Boswell, and mentioned contemptuously by
Campbell, and who lives in the couplet of Churchill--
'May I (can worse disgrace on manhood fall?)
Be born a Whitehead, and baptized a Paul.'
William Whitehead was the son of a baker in Cambridge, was born in 1715,
and studied first at Winchester, and then in Clare Hall, in his own
city. He became tutor to the son of the Earl of Jersey, wrote one or two
poor plays, and in 1757, on the death of Colley Cibber, was appointed
Poet-Laureate--the office having previously been refused by Gray. This
roused against him a large class of those 'beings capable of envying
even a poet-laureate,' to use Gray's expression, and especially the
wrath of Churchill, then the man-mountain of satiric literature, who, in
his 'Ghost,' says--
'But he who in the laureate chair,
By grace, not merit, planted there,
In awkward pomp is seen to sit,
And by his patent proves his wit,' &c.
To these attacks Whitehead, who was a good-natured and modest man, made
no reply. In his latter years the Laureate resided in the family of Lord
Jersey, and died in 1785. His poem called 'Variety' is light and pleasant,
and deserves a niche in our 'Specimens.'
A TALE FOR MARRIED PEOPLE.
A gentle maid, of rural breeding,
By Nature first, and then by reading,
Was filled with all those soft sensations
Which we restrain in near relations,
Lest future husbands should be jealous,
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