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Title: The Modern Scottish Minstrel, Volume II.
       The Songs of Scotland of the past half century

Author: Various

Release Date: June 19, 2006 [EBook #18619]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1


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[Pg i]




Lithographed from an original Portrait in the possession of his widow by Schenck & McFarlane, Edinburgh.






Memoirs of the Poets,








M.DCCC.LVI. [Pg ii]

[Pg iii]


JOHN BROWN, Esq., of Marlie.

My dear Sir,

I dedicate to you this second volume of "The Modern Scottish Minstrel," as a sincere token of my estimation of your long continued and most disinterested friendship, and of the anxiety you have so frequently evinced respecting the promotion of my professional views and literary aspirations.

I have the honour to be,
My Dear Sir,
your most obliged,
and very faithful servant,

Argyle House, Stirling,
December 1855.
[Pg v][Pg iv]



The Modern Gaelic Minstrelsy.[1]

The suspicion which arose in regard to the authenticity of Ossian, subsequent to his appearance in the pages of Macpherson, has unjustly excited a misgiving respecting the entire poetry of the Gael. With reference to the elder poetry of the Highlands, it has now been established[2] that at the period of the Reformation, the natives were engrossed with the lays and legends of Bards and Seanachies,[3] of which Ossian, Caoillt, and Cuchullin were the heroes. These romantic strains continued to be preserved and recited with singular veneration. They were familiar to hundreds in different districts who regarded them as relics of their ancestors, and would as soon have mingled the bones of their fathers with the dust of strangers, as ventured on[Pg vi] the alteration of a single passage. Many of the reciters of this elder poetry were writers of verses,[4] yet there is no instance of any attempt to alter or supersede the originals. Nor could any attempt have succeeded. There are specimens which exist, independent of those collected by Macpherson, which present a peculiarity of form, and a Homeric consistency of imagery, distinct from every other species of Gaelic poetry.

Of an uncertain era, but of a date posterior to the age of Ossian, there is a class of compositions called Ur-sgeula,[5] or new-tales, which may be termed the productions of the sub-Ossianic period. They are largely blended with stories of dragons and other fabulous monsters; the best of these compositions being romantic memorials of the Hiberno-Celtic, or Celtic Scandinavian wars. The first translation from the Gaelic was a legend of the Ur-sgeula. The translator was Ierome Stone,[6] schoolmaster of Dunkeld, and the performance appeared in the Scots Magazine for 1700. The author had learned from the monks the story of Bellerophon,[7] along with that of Perseus and Andromeda, and from these materials fabricated a romance in which the hero is a mythical character, who is supposed to have given name to Loch Fraoch, near Dunkeld. Belonging to the same era is the "Aged Bard's Wish,"[8] a composition of singular elegance and pathos, and remarkable for certain allusions to the age and imagery of Ossian. This has frequently been translated. Some[Pg vii]what in the Ossianic style, but of the period of the Ur-sgeula are two popular pieces entitled Mordubh[9] and Collath. Of these productions the imagery is peculiarly illustrative of the character and habits of the ancient Gael, while they are replete with incidents of the wars which the Albyn had waged with their enemies of Scandinavia. To the same period we are disposed to assign the "Song of the Owl," though it has been regarded by a respectable authority[10] as of modern origin. Of a portion of this celebrated composition we subjoin a metrical translation from the pen of Mr William Sinclair.

The Bard, expelled from the dwellings of men by plunderers according to one account, by a discontented helpmate according to another, is placed in a lone out-house, where he meets an owl which he supposes himself to engage in an interchange of sentiment respecting the olden time:—


O wailing owl of Strona's vale!
We wonder not thy night's repose
Is mournful, when with Donegal
In distant years thou first arose:
O lonely bird! we wonder not,
For time the strongest heart can bow,
That thou should'st heave a mournful note,
Or that thy sp'rit is heavy now!


Thou truly sayest I lone abide,
I lived with yonder ancient oak,
Whose spreading roots strike deep and wide
Amidst the moss beside the rock;
[Pg viii] And long, long years have gone at last,
And thousand moons have o'er me stole,
And many a race before me past,
Still I am Strona's lonely owl!


Now, since old age has come o'er thee,
Confess, as to a priest, thy ways;
And fearless tell thou unto me
The glorious tales of bygone days.


Rapine and falsehood ne'er I knew,
Nor grave nor temples e'er have torn,
My youthful mate still found me true—
Guiltless am I although forlorn!
I 've seen brave Britto's son, the wild,
The powerful champion, Fergus, too,
Gray-haired Foradden, Strona's child—
These were the heroes great and true!


Thou hast well began, but tell to me,
And say what further hast thou known!
E'er Donegal abode with thee,
In the Fersaid these all were gone!


Great Alexander of the spears,
The mightiest chief of Albyn's race,
Oft have I heard his voice in cheers
From the green hill-side speed the chase;
I saw him after Angus brave—
Nor less a noble warrior he—
Fersaid his home, his work he gave
Unto the Mill of Altavaich.


From wild Lochaber, then, the sword
With war's dread inroads swept apace;
Where, gloomy-brow'd and ancient bird,
Was then thy secret hiding-place?
[Pg ix]


When the fierce sounds of terror burst,
And plunder'd herds were passing on,
I turn'd me from the sight accurst
Unto the craig Gunaoch lone;
Some of my kindred by the lands
Of Inch and Fersaid sought repose,
Some by Loch Laggan's lonely sands,
Where their lamenting cries arose!

Here follows a noble burst of poetical fervour in praise of the lonely rock, and the scenes of the huntsman's youth. The green plains, the wild harts, the graceful beauty of the brown deer, and the roaring stag, with the banners, ensigns, and streamers of the race of Cona,—all share in the poet's admiration. The following constitutes the exordium of the poem:—

Oh rock of my heart! for ever secure,
The rock where my childhood was cherish'd in love,
The haunt of the wild birds, the stream flowing pure,
And the hinds and the stags that in liberty rove;
The rock all encircled by sounds from the grove,
Oh, how I delighted to linger by thee,
When arose the wild cry of the hounds as they drove,
The herds of wild deer from their fastnesses free!
Loud scream'd the eagles around thee, I ween,
Sweet the cuckoos and the swans in their pride,
More cheering the kid-spotted fawns that were seen,
With their bleating, that sweetly arose by thy side,
I love thee, O wild rock of refuge! of showers,
Of the leaves and the cresses, all glorious to me,
Of the high grassy heights and the beautiful bowers
Afar from the smooth shelly brink of the sea!

The termination of the Sub-Ossianic period brings us to another epoch in the history of Gaelic poetry. The Bard was now the chieftain's retainer, at home a crofter[Pg x] and pensioner,[11] abroad a follower of the camp. We find him cheering the rowers of the galley, with his birlinn chant, and stirring on the fight with his prosnuchadh catha, or battle-song. At the noted battle of Harlaw,[12] a piece was sung which has escaped the wreck of that tremendous slaughter, and of contemporary poetry. It is undoubtedly genuine; and the critics of Gaelic verse are unanimous in ascribing to it every excellence which can belong either to alliterative art, or musical excitement. Of the battle-hymn some splendid specimens have been handed down; and these are to be regarded with an amount of confidence, from the apparent ease with which the very long "Incitement to Battle," in the "Garioch Battle-Storm," as Harlaw is called, was remembered. Collections of favourite pieces began to be made in writing about the period of the revival of letters. The researches of the Highland Society brought to light a miscellany, embracing the poetical labours of two contemporaries of rank, Sir Duncan Campbell[13] of Glenurchay, and Lady Isabel Campbell. From this period the poet's art degenerates into a sort of family chronicle. There were, however, incidents which deserved a more affecting style of memorial; and this appears in lays which still command the interest and draw forth the tears of the Highlander. The story of the persecuted Clan Gregor supplies many illustrations, such as the oft-chanted Macgregor na Ruara,[14] and the mournful melodies of Janet Campbell.[15][Pg xi] In the footsteps of these exciting subjects of poetry, came the inspiring Montrose wars, which introduce to our acquaintance the more modern class of bards; of these the most conspicuous is, Ian Lom[16] or Manntach. This bard was a Macdonald; he hung on the skirts of armies, and at the close of the battle sung the triumph or the wail, on the side of his partisans.[17] To the presence of this person the clans are supposed to have been indebted for much of the enthusiasm which led them to glory in the wars of Montrose. His poetry only reaches mediocrity, but the success which attended it led the chiefs to seek similar support in the Jacobite wars; and very animated compositions were the result of their encouragement. Mathieson, the family bard of Seaforth, Macvuirich, the pensioner of Clanranald, and Hector the Lamiter, bard of M'Lean, were pre-eminent in this department. The Massacre of Glencoe suggested numerous elegies. There is one remarkable for pathos by a clansman who had emigrated to the Isle of Muck, from which circumstance he is styled "Am Bard Mucanach."

The knights of Duart and Sleat, the chiefs of Clanranald and Glengarry, the Lochaber seigniory of Lochiel, and the titled chivalry of Sutherland and Seaforth,[18] formed subjects of poetic eulogy. Sir Hector Maclean, Ailein Muideartach, and the lamented Sir James Macdonald obtained the same tribute. The second of these Highland favourites could not make his manly countenance, or stalwart arm, visible in hall, barge, or[Pg xii] battle,[19] without exciting the enthusiastic strain of the enamoured muse of one sex, or of the admiring minstrel of the other. In this department of poetry, some of the best proficients were women. Of these Mary M'Leod, the contemporary of Ian Lom, is one of the most musical and elegant. Her chief, The M'Leod, was the grand theme of her inspiration. Dora Brown[20] sung a chant on the renowned Col-Kitto, as he went forth against the Campbells to revenge the death of his father; a composition conceived in a strain such as Helen Macgregor might have struck up to stimulate to some deed of daring and vindictive enterprise.

Of the modern poetry of the Gael, Macpherson has expressed himself unfavourably; he regarded the modern Highlanders as being incapable of estimating poetry otherwise than in the returning harmony of similar sounds. They were seduced, he remarks, by the charms of rhyme; and admired the strains of Ossian, not for the sublimity of the poetry, but on account of the antiquity of the compositions, and the detail of facts which they contained. On this subject a different opinion has been expressed by Sir Walter Scott. "I cannot dismiss this story," he writes, in his last introduction to his tale of the "Two Drovers," "without resting attention for a moment on the light which has been thrown on the character of the Highland Drover, since the time of its first appearance, by the account of a drover poet, by name Robert Mackay, or, as he was commonly called, Rob Donn, i.e., Brown Robert; and certain specimens of his talents, published in the ninetieth number of the Quarterly Review. The picture which that paper gives[Pg xiii] of the habits and feelings of a class of persons with which the general reader would be apt to associate no ideas but those of wild superstition and rude manners, is in the highest degree interesting; and I cannot resist the temptation of quoting two of the songs of this hitherto unheard-of poet of humble life.... Rude and bald as these things appear in a verbal translation, and rough as they might possibly appear, even were the originals intelligible, we confess we are disposed to think they would of themselves justify Dr Mackay (editor of Mackay's Poems) in placing this herdsman-lover among the true sons of song."

Of that department of the Gaelic Minstrelsy admired by Scott and condemned by Macpherson, the English reader is presented in the present work with specimens, to enable him to form his own judgment. These specimens, it must however be remembered, not only labour under the ordinary disadvantages of translations, but have been rendered from a language which, in its poetry, is one of the least transfusible in the world. Yet the effort which has been made to retain the spirit, and preserve the rhythm and manner of the originals, may be sufficient to establish that the honour of the Scottish Muse has not unworthily been supported among the mountains of the Gael. Some of the compositions are Jacobite, and are in the usual warlike strain of such productions, but the majority sing of the rivalries of clans, the emulation of bards, the jealousies of lovers, and the honour of the chiefs. They likewise abound in pictures of pastoral imagery; are redolent of the heath and the wildflower, and depict the beauties of the deer forest.

The various kinds of Highland minstrelsy admit of simple classification. The Duan Mor is the epic song; its subdivisions are termed duana or duanaga. Strings of[Pg xiv] verse and incidents (Ῥαψωδια) were intended to form an epic history, and were combined by successive bards for that purpose. The battle-song (Prosnuchadh-catha) was the next in importance. The model of this variety is not to be found in any of the Alcaic or Tyrtæan remains. It was a dithyrambic of the wildest and most passionate enthusiasm, inciting to carnage and fury. Chanted in the hearing of assembled armies, and sometimes sung before the van, it was intended as an incitement to battle, and even calculated to stimulate the courage of the general. The war-song of the Harlaw has been already noticed; it is a rugged tissue of alliteration, every letter having a separate division in the remarkable string of adjectives which are connected to introduce a short exordium and grand finale. The Jorram, or boat-song, some specimens of which attracted the attention of Dr Johnson,[21] was a variety of the same class. In this, every measure was used which could be made to time with an oar, or to mimic a wave, either in motion or sound. Dr Johnson discovered in it the proceleusmatic song of the ancients; it certainly corresponds in real usage with the poet's description:—

"Stat margine puppis,
Qui voce alternos nautarum temperet ictus,
Et remis dictet sonitum pariterque relatis,
Ad numerum plaudet resonantia cærula tonsis."

Alexander Macdonald excels in this description of verse. In a piece called Clanranald's Birlinn, he has summoned his utmost efforts in timing the circumstances of a voyage with suitable metres and descriptions. A happy imitation of the boat-song has been rendered familiar to the English[Pg xv] reader by Sir Walter Scott, in the "Roderigh Vich Alpine Dhu, ho! ieroe," of the "Lady of the Lake." The Luineag, or favourite carol of the Highland milkmaid, is a class of songs entirely lyrical, and which seldom fails to please the taste of the Lowlander. Burns[22] and other song-writers have adopted the strain of the Luineag to adorn their verses. The Cumha, or lament, is the vehicle of the most pathetic and meritorious effusions of Gaelic poetry; it is abundantly interspersed with the poetry of Ossian.

Among the Gael, blank verse is unknown, and for rhyme they entertain a passion.[23] They rhyme to the same set of sounds or accents for a space of which the recitation is altogether tedious. Not satisfied with the final rhyme, their favourite measures are those in which the middle syllable corresponds with the last, and the same syllable in the second line with both; and occasionally the final sound of the second line is expected to return in every alternate verse through the whole poem. The Gael appear to have been early in possession of these coincidences of termination which were unknown to the classical poets, or were regarded by them as defects.[24] All writers on Celtic versification, including the Irish, Welsh, Manx, and Cornish varieties, are united in their testimony as to the early use of rhyme by the Celtic poets, and agree in assigning the primary model to the incantations of the Druids.[25] The lyrical measures of the Gael are various, but the scansion is regular, and there is no description of verse familiar to English usage, from the Iambic of four syllables, to the[Pg xvi] slow-paced Anapæstic, or the prolonged Alexandrine, which is not exactly measured by these sons and daughters of song.[26] Every poetical composition in the language, however lengthy, is intended to be sung or chanted. Gaelic music is regulated by no positive rules; it varies from the wild chant of the battle-song to the simple melody of the milkmaid. In Johnson's "Musical Museum," Campbell's "Albyn's Anthology," Thomson's "Collection," and Macdonald's "Airs," the music of the mountains has long been familiar to the curious in song, and lover of the national minstrelsy.[27]

[Pg xvii]




[Pg 1]


The last echoes of the older Border Minstrelsy were dying from the memory of the aged, and the spirit which had awakened the strains seemed to have sighed an eternal farewell to its loved haunts in the past, when, suddenly arousing from a long slumber, it threw the mantle of inspiration, at the close of last century, over several sons of song, worthy to bear the lyre of their minstrel sires. Of these, unquestionably the most remarkable was James Hogg, commonly designated "The Ettrick Shepherd." This distinguished individual was born in the bosom of the romantic vale of Ettrick, in Selkirkshire,—one of the most mountainous and picturesque districts of Scotland. The family of Hogg claimed descent from Hougo, a Norwegian baron; and the poet's paternal ancestors at one period possessed the lands of Fauldshope in Ettrick Forest, and were followers, under the feudal system, of the Knights of Harden. For several generations they had adopted the simple occupation of shepherds. On the mother's side, the poet was descended from the respectable family of[Pg 2] Laidlaw,—one of the oldest in Tweeddale, and of which all the representatives bore the reputation of excelling either in intellectual vigour or physical energy; they generally devoted themselves to the pastoral life. Robert Hogg, the poet's father, was a person of very ordinary sagacity, presenting in this respect a decided contrast to his wife, Margaret Laidlaw, a woman of superior energy and cultivated mind. Their family consisted of four sons, of whom the second was James, the subject of this Memoir. The precise date of his birth is unknown: he was baptised, according to the Baptismal Register of Ettrick, his native parish, on the 9th of December 1770.[28]

At the period of his marriage, Robert Hogg was in circumstances of considerable affluence; he had saved money as a shepherd, and, taking on lease the two adjoining pastoral farms of Ettrick-hall and Ettrick-house, he largely stocked them with sheep adapted both for the Scottish and English markets. During several years he continued to prosper; but a sudden depression in the market, and the absconding of a party who was indebted to him, at length exhausted his finances, and involved him in bankruptcy. The future poet was then in his sixth year. In this destitute condition, the family experienced the friendship and assistance of Mr Brydon, tenant of the neighbouring farm of Crosslee, who, leasing Ettrick-house, employed Robert Hogg as his shepherd. But the circumstances of the family were much straitened by recent reverses; and the second son, young as he was, and though he had only been three months at school, was engaged as a cow-herd, his wages for six months being only a ewe-lamb and a pair[Pg 3] of shoes! Three months' further attendance at school, on the expiry of his engagement, completed the future bard's scholastic instructions. It was the poet's lot, with the exception of these six months' schooling, to receive his education among the romantic retreats and solitudes of Nature. First as a cow-herd, and subsequently through the various gradations of shepherd-life, his days, till advanced manhood, were all the year round passed upon the hills. And such hills! The mountains of Ettrick and Yarrow are impressed with every feature of Highland scenery, in its wildest and most striking aspects. There are stern summits, enveloped in cloud, and stretching heavenwards; huge broad crests, heathy and verdant, or torn by fissures and broken by the storms; deep ravines, jagged, precipitate, and darksome; and valleys sweetly reposing amidst the sublimity of the awful solitude. There are dark craggy mountains around the Grey-Mare's-Tail, echoing to the roar of its stupendous cataract; and romantic and beautiful green hills, and inaccessible heights, surrounding and towering over St Mary's Loch, and the Loch of the Lowes. To the sublimity of that vast academy, in which he had learned to invoke the Muse, the poet has referred in the "Queen's Wake":—

"The bard on Ettrick's mountain green,
In Nature's bosom nursed had been;
And oft had mark'd in forest lone
The beauties on her mountain throne;
Had seen her deck the wildwood tree,
And star with snowy gems the lea;
In loveliest colours paint the plain,
And sow the moor with purple grain;
By golden mead and mountain sheer,
Had view'd the Ettrick waving clear,
When shadowy flocks of purest snow
Seem'd grazing in a world below."
[Pg 4]

Glorious as was his academy, the genius of the poet was not precocious. Forgetting everything he had learned at school, he spent his intervals of toil in desultory amusements, or in pursuing his own shadow upon the hills. As he grew older, he discovered the possession of a musical ear; and saving five shillings of his earnings, he purchased an old violin, upon which he learned to play his favourite tunes. He had now attained his fourteenth year; and in the constant hope of improving his circumstances, had served twelve masters.

The life of a cow-herd affords limited opportunities for mental improvement. And the early servitude of the Ettrick Shepherd was spent in excessive toil, which his propensities to fun and frolic served just to render tolerable. When he reached the respectable and comparatively easy position of a shepherd, he began to think of teaching himself to read. From Mrs Laidlaw, the wife of the farmer at Willinslee, on which he served, he was privileged with the loan of two works, of which the reputation had been familiar to him from childhood. These were Henry the Minstrel's "Life and Adventures of Sir William Wallace," and the "Gentle Shepherd" of Allan Ramsay. On these the future poet with much difficulty learned to read, in his eighteenth year. He afterwards read a number of theological works, from his employer's collection of books; and among others of a speculative cast, "Burnet's Theory of the Conflagration of the Earth," the perusal of which, he has recorded, "nearly overturned his brain."

At Whitsunday 1790, in his twentieth year, Hogg entered the service, as shepherd, of Mr James Laidlaw, tenant of Blackhouse,—a farm situate on the Douglasburn in Yarrow. This proved the most signally fortu[Pg 5]nate step which he had yet taken. Mr Laidlaw was a man of singular shrewdness and of a highly cultivated mind; he readily perceived his shepherd's aptitude for learning, and gave him the use of his library. But the poet's connexion with Blackhouse was especially valuable in enabling him to form the intimacy of Mr William Laidlaw, his master's son, the future factor and amanuensis of Sir Walter Scott. Though ten years his junior, and consequently a mere youth at the period of his coming to Blackhouse, young Laidlaw began early to sympathise with the Shepherd's predilections, and afterwards devoted a large portion of time to his society. The friendship which ensued proved useful to both. A MS. narrative of the poet's life by this unfailing friend, which has been made available in the preparation of this Memoir, enables us to supply an authentic account of this portion of his career. "He was not long," writes Mr Laidlaw, "in going through all the books belonging to my father; and learning from me that Mr Elder, bookseller, Peebles, had a large collection of books which he used as a circulating library, he forthwith became a subscriber, and by that means read Smollett's and Fielding's novels, and those voyages and travels which were published at the time, including those of Cook, Carteret, and others."

The progress of the Shepherd in learning was singularly tardy. He was, by a persevering course of reading, sufficiently familiar with the more esteemed writers in English literature, ere he attempted penmanship. He acquired the art upon the hill-side by copying the Italian alphabet, using his knees as his desk, and having his ink-bottle suspended from his button. In his twenty-sixth year he first essayed to write verses,—an effort attended, in the manual department, with amusing[Pg 6] difficulty, for he stripped himself of his coat and vest to the undertaking, yet could record only a few lines at a sitting! But he was satisfied with the fame derived from his verses, as adequate compensation for the toil of their production; he wrote for the amusement of the shepherd maidens, who sung them to their favourite tunes, and bestowed on him the prized designation of "Jamie the Poeter." At the various gatherings of the lads and lasses in the different homesteads, then frequent in this pastoral district, he never failed to present himself, and had golden opportunities of winning the chaplet of applause, both for the strains of his minstrelsy, and the music of his violin. These réunions were not without their influence in stimulating him to more ambitious efforts in versification.

The Shepherd's popularity, while tending the flocks of Mr Laidlaw at Blackhouse, was not wholly derived from his skill as a versifier, and capabilities as a musician, but, among the fairer portion of the creation, was perhaps scarcely less owing to the amenity of his disposition, combined with the handsomeness of his person. As a candidate for the honour of feminine approbation, he was successful alike in the hall and on the green: the rumour of his approach at any rural assemblage or merry-meeting was the watchword for increased mirth and happiness. If any malignant rival had hinted aught to his prejudice, the maidens of the whole district had assembled to vindicate his cause. His personal appearance at this early period is thus described by Mr William Laidlaw:—"About nineteen years of age, Hogg was rather above the middle height, of faultless symmetry of form; he was of almost unequalled agility and swiftness. His face was then round and full, and of a ruddy complexion, with bright blue eyes that beamed with gaiety, glee, and good-[Pg 7]humour, the effect of the most exuberant animal spirits. His head was covered with a singular profusion of light-brown hair, which he was obliged to wear coiled up under his hat. On entering church on a Sunday (where he was all his life a regular attender) he used, on lifting his hat, to raise his right hand to assist a graceful shake of his head in laying back his long hair, which rolled down his back, and fell below his loins. And every female eye was upon him, as, with light step, he ascended the stair to the gallery where he sat."

As the committing of his thoughts to paper became a less irksome occupation, Hogg began, with commendable prudence, to attempt composition in prose; and in evidence of his success, he had the satisfaction to find short essays which he sent to the Scots Magazine regularly inserted in that periodical. Poetry was cultivated at the same time with unabated ardour, though the bard did not yet venture to expose his verses beyond the friendly circle of his associates in Ettrick Forest. Of these, the most judicious was young Laidlaw; who, predicting his success, urged him to greater carefulness in composition. There was another stimulus to his improvement. Along with several shepherds in the forest, who were of studious inclinations, he formed a literary society, which proposed subjects for competition in verse, and adjudged encomiums of approbation to the successful competitors. Two spirited members of this literary conclave were Alexander Laidlaw, a shepherd, and afterwards tenant of Bowerhope, on the border of St Mary's Lake, and the poet's elder brother, William, a man of superior talent. Both these individuals subsequently acquired considerable distinction as intelligent contributors to the agricultural journals. For some years, William Hogg had rented the sheep-farm of Ettrick-house, and afforded[Pg 8] shelter and support to his aged and indigent parents. In the year 1800, he resigned his lease to the poet, having taken another farm on the occasion of his marriage. James now established himself, along with his parents, at Ettrick-house, the place of his nativity, after a period of ten years' connexion with Mr Laidlaw of Blackhouse, whose conduct towards him, to use his own words, had proved "much more like that of a father than a master." It was during the course of a visit to Edinburgh in the same year, that an accidental circumstance gave a wider range to his poetical reputation. Spending an evening with a party of friends in the Crown Tavern, he was solicited for a song. He sung the last which he had composed; it was "Donald Macdonald." The reception was a roar of applause, and one of the party offered to get it set to music and published. The song was issued anonymously from the music establishment of Mr John Hamilton of Edinburgh. Within a few months it was sung in every district of the kingdom; and, at a period when the apprehended invasion of Napoleon filled the hearts of the nation with anxiety, it was hailed as an admirable stimulus to patriotism. In the preparation of the "Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border," Scott had been largely indebted to the intelligent peasantry of the south. He was now engaged in making collections for his third volume, and had resolved to examine the pastoral inhabitants of Ettrick and Yarrow. Procuring a note of introduction from his friend Leyden to young Laidlaw, Scott arrived at Blackhouse during the summer of 1801, and in his native home formed the acquaintance of his future steward. To his visitor, Laidlaw commended Hogg as the best qualified in the forest to assist him in his researches; and Scott, who forthwith accompanied[Pg 9] Laidlaw to Ettrick-house, was more than gratified by an interview with the shepherd-bard. "He found," writes his biographer, "a brother poet, a true son of nature and genius, hardly conscious of his powers.... As yet, his naturally kind and simple character had not been exposed to any of the dangerous flatteries of the world; his heart was pure; his enthusiasm buoyant as that of a happy child; and well as Scott knew that reflection, sagacity, wit and wisdom, were scattered abundantly among the humblest rangers of these pastoral solitudes, there was here a depth and a brightness that filled him with wonder, combined with a quaintness of humour, and a thousand little touches of absurdity, which afforded him more entertainment, as I have often heard him say, than the best comedy that ever set the pit in a roar." Scott remained several days in the forest, daily accompanied in his excursions by Hogg and Laidlaw, both of whom rapidly warmed in his regard. From the recitation of the Shepherd's mother, he obtained important and interesting accessions to his Minstrelsy.

With the exception of the song of "Donald Macdonald," Hogg had not yet published verses. His début as an author was sufficiently unpropitious. Shortly after Scott's visit, he had been attending the Monday sheep-market in Edinburgh, and being unable to dispose of his entire stock, was necessitated to remain in the city till the following Wednesday. Having no acquaintances, he resolved to employ the interval in writing from recollection several of his poems for the press. Before his departure, he gave the pieces to a printer; and shortly after, he received intimation that a thousand copies were ready for delivery. On comparing the printed sheets with his MSS. at Ettrick, he had the[Pg 10] mortification of discovering "many of the stanzas omitted, others misplaced, and typographical errors abounding in every page." The little brochure, imperfect as it was, sold rapidly in the district; for the Shepherd had now a considerable circle of admirers, and those who had ridiculed his verse-making, kept silent since Scott's visit to him. A copy of the pamphlet is preserved in the Advocates' Library; it consists of sixty-two pages octavo, and is entitled, "Scottish Pastorals, Poems, Songs, &c., mostly written in the Dialect of the South, by James Hogg. Edinburgh: printed by John Taylor, Grassmarket, 1801. Price One Shilling." The various pieces evince poetic power, unhappily combined with a certain coarseness of sentiment. One of the longer ballads, "Willie and Keatie," supposed to be a narrative of one of his early amours, obtained a temporary popularity, and was copied into the periodicals. It is described by Allan Cunningham as a "plain, rough-spun pastoral, with some fine touches in it, to mark that better was coming."

The domestic circumstances of the Shepherd were meanwhile not prosperous; he was compelled to abandon the farm of Ettrick-house, which had been especially valuable to him, as affording a comfortable home to his venerated parents. In the hope of procuring a situation as an overseer of some extensive sheep-farm, he made several excursions into the northern Highlands, waiting upon many influential persons, to whom he had letters of recommendation. These journeys were eminently advantageous in acquainting him with many interesting and celebrated scenes, and in storing his mind with images drawn from the sublimities and wild scenery of nature, but were of no account as concerned the object for which they were undertaken. Without procuring[Pg 11] employment, he returned, with very reduced finances, to Ettrick Forest. He published a rough narrative of his travels in the Scots Magazine; and wrote two essays on the rearing and management of sheep, for the Highland Society, which were acknowledged with premiums. Frustrated in an attempt to procure a farm from the Duke of Buccleuch, and declining an offer of Scott to appoint him to the charge of his small sheep-farm at Ashestiel, he was led to indulge in the scheme of settling in the island of Harris. It was in the expectation of being speedily separated from the loved haunts of his youth, that he composed his "Farewell to Ettrick," afterwards published in the "Mountain Bard," one of the most touching and pathetic ballads in the language. The Harris enterprise was not carried out; and the poet, "to avoid a great many disagreeable questions and explanations," went for several months to England. Fortune still frowned, and the ambitious but unsuccessful son of genius had to return to his former subordinate occupation as a shepherd. He entered the employment of Mr Harkness of Mitchel-Slack, in Nithsdale.

Dissatisfied with the imitations of ancient ballads in the third volume of "The Border Minstrelsy," Hogg proceeded to embody some curious traditions in this kind of composition. He transmitted specimens to Scott, who warmly commended them, and suggested their publication. The result appeared in the "Mountain Bard," a collection of poems and ballads, which he published in 1803, prefixed with an account of his life. From the profits of this volume, with the sum of eighty-six pounds paid him by Constable for the copyright of his two treatises on sheep, he became master of three hundred pounds. With this somewhat startling acquisition, visions of prosperity arose in his ardent and enthusiastic mind.[Pg 12] He hastily took in lease the pastoral farm of Corfardin, in the parish of Tynron, Dumfriesshire, to which he afterwards added the lease of another large farm in the same neighbourhood. Misfortune still pursued him; he rented one of the farms at a sum exceeding its value, and his capital was much too limited for stocking the other, while a disastrous murrain decimated his flock. Within the space of three years he was again a penniless adventurer. Removing from the farm-homestead of Corfardin, he accepted the generous invitation of his hospitable neighbour, Mr James Macturk of Stenhouse, to reside in his house till some suitable employment might occur. At Stenhouse he remained three months; and he subsequently acknowledged the generosity of his friend, by honourably celebrating him in the "Queen's Wake." Writing to Mr Macturk, in 1814, he remarks, in reference to his farming at Corfardin, "But it pleased God to take away by death all my ewes and my lambs, and my long-horned cow, and my spotted bull, for if they had lived, and if I had kept the farm of Corfardin, I had been a lost man to the world, and mankind should never have known the half that was in me. Indeed, I can never see the design of Providence in taking me to your district at all, if it was not to breed my acquaintance with you and yours, which I hope will be one source of happiness to me as long as I live. Perhaps the very circumstance of being initiated into the mysteries of your character,[29] is of itself a sufficient compensation for all that I suffered in your country."

Disappointed in obtaining an ensigncy in a Militia Regiment, through the interest of Sir Walter Scott, and[Pg 13] frustrated in every other attempt to retain the social position he had gained, he returned to Ettrick, once more to seek employment in his original occupation. But if friendship had somewhat failed him, on his proving unsuccessful at Ettrick-house, his prestige was now completely gone; old friends received him coldly, and former employers declined his services. He found that, till he should redeem his reputation for business and good management, there was no home for him in Ettrick Forest. Hogg was not a man who would tamely surrender to the pressure of misfortune: amidst his losses he could claim the strictest honesty of intention, and he was not unconscious of his powers. With his plaid over his shoulders, he reached Edinburgh in the month of February 1810, to begin, in his fortieth year, the career of a man of letters. The scheme was singularly adventurous, but the die was cast; he was in the position of the man on the tread-wheel, and felt that he must write or perish.

It affords no matter of surprise that the Shepherd was received coldly by the booksellers, and that his offers of contributing to their periodicals were respectfully declined. His volume, "The Mountain Bard," had been forgotten; and though his literary fitness had been undisputed, his lengthened want of success in life seemed to imply a doubt of his general steadiness. Mr Constable, his former publisher, proved the most friendly; he consented to publish a collection of songs and ballads, which he had prepared, two-thirds being his own composition, and the remainder that of his ingenious friends. This publication, known as "The Forest Minstrel," had a slow sale, and conferred no benefit on the unfortunate author. What the booksellers would not do for him, Hogg resolved to do[Pg 14] for himself; he originated a periodical, which he designated "The Spy," acting as his own publisher. The first number of this publication—a quarto weekly sheet, price fourpence—was issued on the first of September 1810. With varied popularity, this paper existed during the space of a year; and owing to the perseverance of the conductor might have subsisted a longer period, but for a certain ruggedness which occasionally disfigured it. As a whole, being chiefly the composition of a shepherd, who could only read at eighteen, and write at twenty-six, and who, to use his own words, "knew no more of human life or manners than a child," the work presented a remarkable record in the annals of literature. As a business concern, it did not much avail the projector, but it served indirectly towards improving his condition, by inducing the habit of composing readily, and with undeviating industry. A copy of "The Spy" is now rare.

From his literary exertions, Hogg was long, subsequent to his arrival in the metropolis, in deriving substantial pecuniary emolument. In these circumstances, he was fortunate in the friendship of Mr John Grieve, and his partner Mr Henry Scott, hat manufacturers in the city, who, fully appreciating his genius, aided him with money so long as he required their assistance. These are his own words, "They suffered me to want for nothing, either in money or clothes, and I did not even need to ask these." To Mr Grieve, Hogg was especially indebted; six months he was an inmate of his house, and afterwards he occupied comfortable lodgings, secured him by his friend's beneficence. Besides these two invaluable benefactors, the Shepherd soon acquired the regard and friendship of several respectable men of letters, both in Edinburgh and elsewhere. As contri[Pg 15]butors to "The Spy," he could record the names of James Gray of the High School, and his accomplished wife; Thomas Gillespie, afterwards Professor of Humanity in the University of St Andrews; J. Black, subsequently of the Morning Chronicle; William Gillespie, the ingenious minister of Kells; and John Sym, the renowned Timothy Tickler of the "Noctes." Of these literary friends, Mr James Gray was the more conspicuous and devoted. This excellent individual, the friend of so many literary aspirants, was a native of Dunse, and had the merit of raising himself from humble circumstances to the office of a master in the High School of Edinburgh. Possessed of elegant and refined tastes, an enthusiastic admirer of genius, and a poet himself,[30] Mr Gray entertained at his table the more esteemed wits of the capital; he had extended the hand of hospitality to Burns, and he received with equal warmth the author of "The Forest Minstrel." In the exercise of disinterested beneficence, he was aided and encouraged by his second wife, formerly Miss Peacock, who sympathised in the lettered tastes of her husband, and took delight in the society of men of letters. They together made annual pedestrian excursions into the Highlands, and the narrative of their adventures proved a source of delightful instruction to their friends. Mr Gray, after a lengthened period of residence in Edinburgh, accepted, in the year 1821, the Professorship of Latin in the Institution at Belfast; he subsequently took orders in the Church of England, and proceeded to India as a chaplain. In addition to his chaplaincy, he held the office of preceptor to one of the native princes of Hindostan. He died at Bhoog, in the kingdom of Cutch,[Pg 16] on the 25th of September 1830; and if we add that he was a man of remarkable learning, his elegy may be transcribed from the "Queen's Wake:"—

"Alike to him the south and north,
So high he held the minstrel worth;
So high his ardent mind was wrought,
Once of himself he never thought."

As the circle of the poet's friends increased, a scheme was originated among them, which was especially entertained by the juniors, of establishing a debating society for mutual improvement. This institution became known as the Forum; meetings were held weekly in a public hall of the city, and strangers were admitted to the discussions on the payment of sixpence a-head. The meetings were uniformly crowded; and the Shepherd, who held the office of secretary, made a point of taking a prominent lead in the discussions. He spoke once, and sometimes more frequently, at every meeting, making speeches, both studied and extemporaneous, on every variety of theme; and especially contributed, by his rough-spun eloquence, to the popularity of the institution. The society existed three years; and though yielding the secretary no pecuniary emolument, proved a new and effective mean of extending his acquaintance with general knowledge.

Hogg now took an interest in theatricals, and produced two dramas, one of which, a sort of musical farce, was intended as a burlesque on the prominent members of the Forum, himself included. This he was induced, on account of the marked personalities, to confine to his repositories; he submitted the other to Mr Siddons, who commended it, but it never was brought upon the stage. He was about to appear before the world in his most[Pg 17] happy literary effort, "The Queen's Wake,"—a composition suggested by Mr Grieve. This ingenious individual had conceived the opinion that a republication of several of the Shepherd's ballads in "The Spy," in connexion with an original narrative poem, would arrest public attention as to the author's merits; while a narrative having reference to the landing of the beautiful and unfortunate Queen Mary, seemed admirably calculated to induce a general interest in the poem. The proposal, submitted to Allan Cunningham and Mr Gray, received their warm approbation; and in a few months the entire composition was ready for the press. Mr Constable at once consented to undertake the publication; but a more advantageous offer being made by Mr George Goldie, a young bookseller, "The Queen's Wake" issued from his establishment in the spring of 1813. Its success was complete; two editions were speedily circulated, and the fame of the author was established. With the exception of the Eclectic Review, every periodical accorded its warmest approbation to the performance; and vacillating friends, who began to doubt the Shepherd's power of sustaining the character he had assumed as a poet and a man of letters, ceased to entertain their misgivings, and accorded the warmest tributes to his genius. A commendatory article in the Edinburgh Review, in November 1814, hailed the advent of a third edition.

By the unexpected insolvency of his publisher, while the third edition was in process of sale, Hogg had nearly sustained a recurrence of pecuniary loss. This was, however, fortunately prevented by the considerate beneficence of Mr Goldie's trustees, who, on receiving payment of the printing expenses, made over the remainder of the impression to the author. One of the trustees[Pg 18] was Mr Blackwood, afterwards the celebrated publisher of Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine. Hogg had now attained the unenviable reputation of a literary prodigy, and his studies were subject to constant interruption from admirers, and the curious who visited the capital. But he gave all a cordial reception, and was never less accessible amidst the most arduous literary occupation. There was one individual whose acquaintance he was especially desirous of forming; this was John Wilson, whose poem, "The Isle of Palms," published in 1812, had particularly arrested his admiration. Wilson had come to reside in Edinburgh during a portion of the year, but as yet had few acquaintances in the city. He was slightly known to Scott; but a peculiarity of his was a hesitation in granting letters of introduction. In despair of otherwise meeting him, Hogg, who had reviewed his poem in the Scots Magazine, sent him an invitation to dinner, which the Lake-poet was pleased cordially to accept. That dinner began one of the most interesting of the Shepherd's friendships; both the poets were pleased with each other, and the closest intimacy ensued. It was on his way to visit Wilson, at Elleray, his seat in Cumberland, during the autumn of 1814, that the Shepherd formed the acquaintance of the Poet-laureate. He had notified to Southey his arrival at one of the hotels in Keswick, and begged the privilege of a visit. Southey promptly acknowledged his summons, and insisted on his remaining a couple of days at Greta Hall to share his hospitality. Two years could not have more firmly rivetted their friendship. As a mark of his regard, on returning to Edinburgh Hogg sent the Laureate the third edition of "The Queen's Wake," then newly published, along with a copy of "The Spy." In acknowledging the receipt of these[Pg 19] volumes, Southey addressed the following letter to the Shepherd, which is now for the first time published:—

"Keswick, December 1, 1814.

"Dear Hogg,—Thank you for your books. I will not say that 'The Queen's Wake' has exceeded my expectations, because I have ever expected great things from you, since, in 1805, I heard Walter Scott, by his own fireside at Ashestiel, repeat 'Gilmanscleuch.'[31] When he came to that line—'I ga'e him a' my goud, father'—the look and the tone with which he gave it were not needed to make it go through me. But 'The Wake' has equalled all that I expected. The improvements in the new edition are very great, and they are in the two poems which were most deserving of improvement, as being the most impressive and the most original. Each is excellent in its way, but 'Kilmeny' is of the highest character; 'The Witch of Fife' is a real work of fancy—'Kilmeny' a fine one of imagination, which is a higher and rarer gift. These poems have given general pleasure throughout the house; my eldest girl often comes out with a stanza or two of 'The Witch,' but she wishes sometimes that you always wrote in English. 'The Spy' I shall go through more at leisure.

"I like your praise both of myself and my poem, because it comes from a good quarter. You saw me where and how a man is best seen—at home, and in his every-day wear and tear, mind and manners: I have no holiday suit, and never seek to shine: such as it is, my light is always burning. Somewhat of my character you may find in Chaucer's Clerk of Oxenford; and the concluding line of that description might be written, as the fittest motto, under my portrait—'Gladly would he learn, and gladly teach.' I have sinned enough to make me humble in myself, and indulgent toward others. I have suffered enough to find in religion not merely consolation, but hope and joy; and I have seen enough to be contented in, and thankful for, the state of life in which it has pleased God to place me.

"We hoped to have seen you on your way back from Ellery. I believe you did not get the ballad of the 'Devil and the Bishop,' which Hartley transcribed for you. I am reprinting[Pg 20] my miscellaneous poems, collected into three volumes. Your projected publication[32] will have the start of it greatly, for the first volume is not nearly through the press, and there is a corrected copy of the ballad, with its introduction, in Ballantyne's hands, which you can make use of before it will be wanted in its place.

"You ask me why I am not intimate with Wilson. There is a sufficient reason in the distance between our respective abodes. I seldom go even to Wordworth's or Lloyd's; and Ellery is far enough from either of their houses, to make a visit the main business of a day. So it happens that except dining in his company once at Lloyd's many years ago, and breakfasting with him here not long afterwards, I have barely exchanged salutations once or twice when we met upon the road. Perhaps, however, I might have sought him had it not been for his passion for cock-fighting. But this is a thing which I regard with abhorrence.

"Would that 'Roderick' were in your hands for reviewing; I should desire no fairer nor more competent critic. But it is of little consequence what friends or enemies may do for it now; it will find its due place in time, which is slow but sure in its decisions. From the nature of my studies, I may almost be said to live in the past; it is to the future that I look for my reward, and it would be difficult to make any person who is not thoroughly intimate with me, understand how completely indifferent I am to the praise or censure of the present generation, farther than as it may affect my means of subsistence, which, thank God, it can no longer essentially do. There was a time when I was materially injured by unjust criticism; but even then I despised it, from a confidence in myself, and a natural buoyancy of spirit. It cannot injure me now, but I cannot hold it in more thorough contempt.

"Come and visit me when the warm weather returns. You can go nowhere that you will be more sincerely welcomed. And may God bless you.

"Robert Southey."

In waging war with the Lake school of poetry, the Edinburgh Review had dealt harshly with Southey.[Pg 21] His poems of "Madoc" and "The Curse of Kehama" had been rigorously censured, and very shortly before the appearance of "Roderick," his "Triumphal Ode" for 1814, which was published separately, had been assailed with a continuance of the same unmitigated severity. The Shepherd, who knew, notwithstanding the Laureate's professions of indifference to criticism, that his nature was sensitive, and who feared that the Review would treat "Roderick" as it had done Southey's previous productions, ventured to recommend him to evince a less avowed hostility to Jeffrey, in the hope of subduing the bitterness of his censure. The letter of Southey, in answer to this counsel, will prove interesting, in connexion with the literary history of the period. The Bard of Keswick had hardly advanced to that happy condition which he fancied he had reached, of being "indulgent toward others," at least under the influence of strong provocation:—

"Keswick, 24th Dec. 1814.

"Dear Hogg,—I am truly obliged to you for the solicitude which you express concerning the treatment 'Roderick' may experience in the Edinburgh Review, and truly gratified by it, notwithstanding my perfect indifference as to the object in question. But you little know me, if you imagine that any thoughts of fear or favour would make me abstain from speaking publicly of Jeffrey as I think, and as he deserves. I despise his commendation, and I defy his malice. He crush the 'Excursion!!!'[33] Tell him that he might as easily crush Skiddaw. For myself, popularity is not the mark I shoot at; if it were, I should not write such poems as 'Roderick;' and Jeffrey can no more stand in my way to fame, than Tom Thumb could stand in my way in the street.

"He knows that he has dealt unfairly and maliciously by me;[Pg 22] he knows that the world knows it, that his very friends know it, and that if he attacks 'Roderick' as he did 'Madoc' and 'Kehama,' it will be universally imputed to personal ill-will. On the other hand, he cannot commend this poem without the most flagrant inconsistency. This would be confessing that he has wronged me in the former instances; for no man will pretend to say that 'Madoc' does not bear marks of the same hand as 'Roderick;' it has the same character of language, thought, and feeling; it is of the same ore and mint; and if the one poem be bad, the other cannot possibly be otherwise. The irritation of the nettling (as you term it), which he has already received [a portion of the letter is torn off and lost].... Whatever part he may take, my conduct towards him will be the same. I consider him a public nuisance, and shall deal with him accordingly.

"Nettling is a gentle term for what he has to undergo. In due season he shall be scorpioned and rattlesnaked. When I take him in hand it shall be to dissect him alive, and make a preparation of him to be exhibited in terrorem, an example to all future pretenders to criticism. He has a forehead of native brass, and I will write upon it with aqua-fortis. I will serve him up to the public like a turkey's gizzard, sliced, scored, peppered, salted, cayanned, grilled, and bedevilled. I will bring him to justice; he shall be executed in prose, and gibbeted in verse....[34] [Pg 23]

.... "'Roderick' has made good speed in the world, and ere long I shall send you the poem in a more commodious shape,[35] for Ballantyne is at this time reprinting it. I finished my official ode a few days ago. It is without rhyme, and as unlike other official odes in matter as in form; for its object is to recommend, as the two great objects of policy, general education and extensive colonization. At present, I am chiefly occupied upon 'The History of Brazil,' which is in the press—a work of great labour.

"The ladies here all desire to be kindly remembered to you. I have ordered 'The Pilgrims of the Sun,' and we look for it with expectation, which, I am sure, will not be disappointed. God bless you.—Yours very truly,

"Robert Southey."

A review of "Roderick" appeared in the Edinburgh Review for June 1815, which on the whole was favourable, so that the wrath of the Laureate was appeased.

During the earlier period of his Edinburgh career, Hogg had formed the acquaintance of an estimable family in Athol, Mr and Mrs Izett, of Kinnaird House, and he had been in the habit of spending a portion of his time every summer at their hospitable residence. In the summer of 1814, while visiting there, he was seized with a severe cold, which compelled him to prolong his stay with his friends; and Mrs Izett, who took a warm interest in his welfare, suggested that he might turn his illness to account, by composing a poem, descriptive of the beauties of the surrounding scenery. The hint was sufficient; he commenced a descriptive poem in the Spenserian stanza, which was speedily completed, and given to the world under the title of "Mador of the Moor." It was well received; and the author is correct in asserting that it contains "some[Pg 24] of his highest and most fortunate efforts in rhyme." "The Pilgrims of the Sun" was his next poem; it was originally intended as one of a series, to be contained in a poetical work, which he proposed to entitle "Midsummer Night Dreams," but which, on the advice of his friend, Mr James Park of Greenock, he was induced to abandon. From its peculiar strain, this poem had some difficulty in finding a publisher; it was ultimately published by Mr John Murray of London, who liberally recompensed the author, and it was well received by the press.

The circle of the Shepherd's literary friends rapidly extended. Lord Byron opened a correspondence with him, and continued to address him in long familiar letters, such as were likely to interest a shepherd-bard. Unfortunately, these letters have been lost; it was a peculiarity of Hogg to be careless in regard to his correspondence. With Wordsworth he became acquainted in the summer of 1815, when that poet was on his first visit to Edinburgh. They met at the house, in Queen Street, of the mother of his friend Wilson; and the Shepherd was at once interested and gratified by the intelligent conversation and agreeable manners of the great Lake-poet. They saw much of each other in the city, and afterwards journeyed together to St Mary's Loch; and the Shepherd had the satisfaction of entertaining his distinguished brother-bard with the homely fare of cakes and milk, in his father's cottage at Ettrick. Wordsworth afterwards made the journey memorable in his poem of "Yarrow Visited." The poets temporarily separated at Selkirk,—Wordsworth having secured the promise of a visit from his friend, at Mount Ryedale, prior to his return to Edinburgh. The promise was duly fulfilled; and the Shepherd had the pleasure of[Pg 25] meeting, during his visit, Lloyd, and De Quincey, and his dear friend Wilson. A portion of the autumn of 1815 was spent by the Shepherd at Elleray. In the letter inviting his visit (dated September 1815), the author of "The Isle of Palms" indicates his opinion of the literary influence of his correspondent, by writing as follows:—"If you have occasion soon to write to Murray,[36] pray introduce something about 'The City of the Plague,' as I shall probably offer him that poem in about a fortnight, or sooner. Of course, I do not wish you to say that the poem is utterly worthless. I think that a bold eulogy from you (if administered immediately), would be of service to me; but if you do write about it, do not tell him that I have any intention of offering it to him, but you may say, you hear I am going to offer it to a London bookseller."

The Shepherd's intimacy with the poets had induced him to entertain a somewhat plausible scheme of bettering his finances. He proposed to publish, in a handsome volume, a poem by each of the living bards of Great Britain. For this purpose, he had secured pieces from Southey, Wilson, Wordsworth, Lloyd, Morehead, Pringle, Paterson, and some others; and had received promises of contributions from Lord Byron and Samuel Rogers. The plan was frustrated by Scott. He was opposed to his appearing to seek fresh laurels from the labours of others, and positively refused to make a contribution. This sadly mortified the Shepherd,[37] and entirely altered[Pg 26] his plans. He had now recourse to a peculiar method of realising his original intention. In the short period of four weeks, he produced imitations of the more conspicuous bards, which speedily appeared in a volume entitled "The Poetic Mirror." This work, singularly illustrative of the versatility of his genius, was eminently successful, the first edition disappearing in the course of six weeks. The imitations of the bards were pronounced perfect, only that of Wordsworth was intentionally a caricature; the Shepherd had been provoked to it by a conceived slight of the Lake-poet, during his visit at Mount Ryedale.[38]

"The Poetic Mirror" appeared in 1816; and in the following year the Shepherd struck out a new path, by publishing two duodecimo volumes of "Dramatic Tales." This work proved unsuccessful. In 1813 he had dedicated his "Forest Minstrel" to the Countess of Dalkeith; and this amiable and excellent woman, afterwards better known as Harriet, Duchess of Buccleuch, had acknowledged the compliment by a gift of a hundred guineas, and several other donations. The Shepherd was, however, desirous of procuring the means of comfortable self-support, independently of his literary exertions; and had modestly preferred the request that he might receive a small farm in lease on the Buccleuch estates. The request was at length responded to. The Duchess, who took a deep interest in him, made a request to the Duke, on her death-bed, that something might be done for her ingenious protégé. After her decease, the late Charles, Duke of Buccleuch, gave the Shepherd a life-lease of the farm of Altrive Lake, in Yarrow, at a nominal rent, no portion of which was ever exacted. The Duke subsequently honoured him with[Pg 27] his personal friendship, and made him frequently share of his hospitality.

From the time of his abandoning "The Spy," Hogg had contemplated the publication of a periodical on an extended scale. At length, finding a coadjutor in Mr Thomas Pringle, he explained their united proposal to his friend, Mr Blackwood, the publisher, who highly approved of the design. Preliminaries were arranged, and the afterwards celebrated Blackwood's Magazine took its origin. Hogg was now resident at Altrive, and the editorship was entrusted to Pringle and his literary friend Cleghorn. The vessel had scarcely been well launched, however, on the ocean of letters, when storms arose a-head; hot disputes occurred between the publisher and the editors, which ultimately terminated in the withdrawal of the latter from the concern, and their connexion with the Edinburgh Magazine, an opposition periodical established by Mr Constable. The combating parties had referred to the Shepherd, who was led to accord his support to Mr Blackwood. He conceived the idea of the "Chaldee Manuscript," as a means of ridiculing the oppositionists. Of this famous satire, the first thirty-seven verses of chapter first, with several other sentences throughout, were his own composition, the remaining portion being the joint fabrication of his friends Wilson and Lockhart.[39] This singular production produced a sensation in the capital unequalled in the history of any other literary performance; and though, from the evident personalities and the keenness of the satire, it had to be cancelled, so that a copy in the pages of the magazine is now a rarity, it sufficiently attained the purpose of directing public attention to the[Pg 28] newly-established periodical. The "Chaldee Manuscript" appeared in the seventh number of Blackwood's Magazine, published in October 1817. To the magazine Hogg continued to be a regular contributor; and, among other interesting compositions, both in prose and verse, he produced in its pages his narrative of the "Shepherd's Calendar." His connexion with this popular periodical is more generally known from the position assigned him in the "Noctes Ambrosianæ" of Professor Wilson. In those interesting dialogues, the Shepherd is represented as a character of marvellous shrewdness and sagacity, whose observations on men and manners, life and literature, uttered, as they are, in the homeliest phrases, contain a depth of philosophy and vigour of criticism rarely exhibited in the history of real or fictitious biography. "In wisdom," writes Professor Ferrier, "the Shepherd equals the Socrates of Plato; in humour, he surpasses the Falstaff of Shakspeare; clear and prompt, he might have stood up against Dr Johnson in close and peremptory argument; fertile and copious, he might have rivalled Burke in amplitude of declamation; while his opulent imagination and powers of comical description invest all that he utters, either with a picturesque mildness or a graphic quaintness peculiarly his own." These remarks, applicable to the Shepherd of the "Noctes," would, indeed, be much overstrained if applied to their prototype; yet it is equally certain that the leading features of the ideal Shepherd were depicted from those of the living Shepherd of Ettrick, by one who knew well how to estimate and appreciate human nature.

On taking possession of his farm of Altrive Lake, which extended to about seventy acres, Hogg built a small cottage on the place, in which he received his aged father, his mother having been previously called to her[Pg 29] rest. In the stocking of the farm, he received very considerable assistance from the profits of a guinea edition of "The Queen's Wake," of which the subscribers' list was zealously promoted by Sir Walter Scott. At Altrive he continued literary composition with unabated ardour. In 1817, he published "The Brownie of Bodsbeck," a tale of the period of the Covenant, which attained a considerable measure of popularity. In 1819, he gave to the world the first volume of his "Jacobite Relics," the second volume not appearing till 1821. This work, which bears evidence of extensive labour and research, was favourably received; the notes are lengthy and copious, and many of the pieces, which are set to music, have long been popular. His "Winter Evening Tales" appeared in 1820: several of them were composed on the hills in early life.

The worldly circumstances of the Shepherd now were such as rendered him abundantly justifiable in entering into the married state. On the 28th April 1820, he espoused Miss Margaret Phillips, the youngest daughter of Mr Phillips, late of Longbridgemoor, in Annandale. By this union he became brother-in-law of his friend Mr James Gray, whose first wife was a sister of Mrs Hogg. At the period of his marriage, from the profits of his writings and his wife's dowry, he was master of nearly a thousand pounds and a well-stocked farm; and increasing annual gains by his writings, seemed to augur future independence. But the Shepherd, not perceiving that literature was his forte, resolved to embark further in farming speculations; he took in lease the extensive farm of Mount Benger, adjoining Altrive Lake, expending his entire capital in the stocking. The adventure proved almost ruinous.

The coronation of George IV. was fixed to take place[Pg 30] on the 19th of July 1821; and Sir Walter Scott having resolved to be among the spectators, invited the Shepherd to accompany him to London on the occasion. Through Lord Sidmouth, the Secretary of State, he had procured accommodation for Hogg at the pageant, which his lordship had granted, with the additional favour of inviting both of them to dinner, to meet the Duke of York on the following day. The Shepherd had, however, begun to feel more enthusiastic as a farmer than a poet, and preferred to attend the sheep-market at St Boswells. For this seeming lack of loyalty, he afterwards made ample compensation; he celebrated the King's visit to Scotland, in August 1822, in "a Masque or Drama," which was published in a separate form. A copy of this production being laid before the King by Sir Walter Scott, Sir Robert Peel, then Secretary of State, received his Majesty's gracious command suitably to acknowledge it. In his official communication, Sir Robert thanked the Shepherd, in the King's name, "for the gratifying proof of his genius and loyalty." It had been Scott's desire to obtain a Civil List pension for the Shepherd, to aid him in his struggles at Mount Benger; and it was with something like hope that he informed him that Sir Robert Peel had expressed himself pleased with his writings. But the pension was never obtained.

Harassed by pecuniary difficulties, Hogg wrote rapidly, with the view of relieving himself. In 1822, he published a new edition of his best poems, in four volumes, for which he received the sum of £200; and in this and the following year, he produced two works of fiction, entitled, "The Three Perils of Man," and "The Three Perils of Women," which together yielded him £300. In 1824, he published "The Confessions of a Fanatic;"[Pg 31] and, in 1826, he gave to the world his long narrative poem of "Queen Hynde." The last proved unequal to his former poetical efforts. In 1826, Mr J. G. Lockhart proceeded to London to edit the Quarterly Review, taking along with him, as his assistant, Robert Hogg, a son of the Shepherd's elder brother. The occasion afforded the poet an opportunity of renewing his correspondence with his old friend, Allan Cunningham. Allan wrote to him as follows:—

"27 Lower Belgrave Place, 16th Feb. 1826.

"My dear James,—It required neither present of book, nor friend, nor the recalling of old scenes, to render your letter a most welcome one. You are often present to my heart and fancy, for your genius and your friendliness have secured you a place in both. Your nephew is a fine, modest, and intelligent young man, and is welcome to my house for his own sake as well as yours. Your 'Queen Hynde,' for which I thank you, carries all the vivid marks of your own peculiar cast of genius about her. One of your very happiest little things is in the Souvenir of this season—it is pure and graceful, warm, yet delicate; and we have nought in the language to compare to it, save everybody's 'Kilmeny.' In other portions of verse you have been equalled, and sometimes surpassed; but in scenes which are neither on earth, nor wholly removed from it—where fairies speak, and spiritual creatures act, you are unrivalled.

"Often do I tread back to the foot of old Queensberry,[40] and meet you coming down amid the sunny rain, as I did some twenty years ago. The little sodded shealing where we sought shelter rises now on my sight—your two dogs (old Hector was one) lie at my feet—the 'Lay of the Last Minstrel' is in my hand, for the first time, to be twice read over after sermon, as it really was—poetry, nothing but poetry, is our talk, and we are supremely happy. Or, I shift the scene to Thornhill, and there whilst the[Pg 32] glass goes round, and lads sing and lasses laugh, we turn our discourse on verse, and still our speech is song. Poetry had then a charm for us, which has since been sobered down. I can now meditate without the fever of enthusiasm upon me; yet age to youth owes all or most of its happiest aspirations, and contents itself with purifying and completing the conceptions of early years.

"We are both a little older and a little graver than we were some twenty years ago, when we walked in glory and joy on the side of old Queensberry. My wife is much the same in look as when you saw her in Edinburgh—at least so she seems to me, though five boys and a girl might admonish me of change—of loss of bloom, and abatement of activity. My oldest boy resolves to be a soldier; he is a clever scholar, and his head has been turned by Cæsar. My second and third boys are in Christ's School, and are distinguished in their classes; they climb to the head, and keep their places. The other three are at their mother's knee at home, and have a strong capacity for mirth and mischief.

"I have not destroyed my Scottish poem. I mean to remodel it, and infuse into it something more of the spark of living life. But my pen has of late strayed into the regions of prose. Poetry is too much its own reward; and one cannot always write for a barren smile, and a thriftless clap on the back. We must live; and the white bread and the brown can only be obtained by gross payment. There is no poet and a wife and six children fed now like the prophet Elijah—they are more likely to be devoured by critics, than fed by ravens. I cannot hope that Heaven will feed me and mine while I sing. So farewell to song for a season.

"My brother's[41] want of success has surprised me too. He had a fair share of talent; and, had he cultivated his powers with care, and given himself fair play, his fate would have been different. But he sees nature rather through a curious medium than with the tasteful eye of poetry, and must please himself with the praise of those who love singular and curious things. I have said nothing all this while of Mrs Hogg, though I might have said much, for we hear her household prudence and her good taste often commended. She comes, too, from my own dear country—a good assurance of a capital wife and an affectionate mother.[Pg 33] My wife and I send her and you most friendly greetings. We hope to see you both in London during the summer.

"You have written much, but you must write more yet. What say you to a series of poems in your own original way, steeped from end to end in Scottish superstition, but purified from its grossness by your own genius and taste? Do write me soon. I have a good mind to come and commence shepherd beside you, and aid you in making a yearly pastoral Gazette in prose and verse for our ain native Lowlands. The thing would take.

"The evil news of Sir Walter's losses came on me like an invasion. I wish the world would do for him now what it will do in fifty years, when it puts up his statue in every town—let it lay out its money in purchasing an estate, as the nation did to the Duke of Wellington, and money could never be laid out more worthily.—I remain, dear James, your very faithful friend,

"Allan Cunningham."

One of the parties chiefly aggrieved in the matter of the Chaldee MS. was Thomas Pringle, one of the original editors of Blackwood. This ingenious person had lately returned from a period of residence in Southern Africa, and established himself in London as secretary to the Slave Abolition Society, and a man of letters. Forgetting past differences, he invited the Shepherd, in the following letter, to aid him in certain literary enterprises:—

"London, May 19, 1827.

"My dear Sir,—I wrote you a hasty note some time ago, to solicit your literary aid for the projected work of Mr Fraser. I now address you on behalf of two other friends of mine, who are about to start a new weekly publication, something in the shape of the Literary Gazette, to be entitled The London Review. The editors are Mr D. L. Richardson, the author of a volume of poems chiefly written in India, and a Mr St John, a young gentleman of very superior talents, whose name has not yet been (so far as I know) before the public, though he has been a contributor to several of the first-rate periodicals. I have no other interest in the work myself than that of a friend and contributor. The editors, knowing that I have the pleasure of[Pg 34] your acquaintance, have requested me to solicit your aid to their work, either in verse or prose, and they will consider themselves pledged to pay for any contributions with which you may honour them at the same rate as Blackwood. May I hope, my dear sir, that you will, at all events, stretch a point to send them something for their first number, which is to appear in the beginning of June....

"I always read your 'Noctes,' and have had many a hearty laugh with them in the interior of Southern Africa; for though I detest Blackwood's politics, and regret to see often such fine talents so sadly misapplied (as I see the matter), yet I have never permitted my own political predilections, far less any reminiscences of old magazine squabbles, to blind me to the exuberant flow of genius which pervades and beautifies so many delightful articles in that magazine.... Believe me always, dear Hogg, yours very truly,

"Tho. Pringle."

A similar request for contributions was made the year following by William Howitt. His letter is interesting, as exhibiting the epistolary style of a popular writer. Howitt, it will be perceived, is a member of the Society of Friends.

"Nottingham, 12th mo., 20th, 1828.

"Respected Friend,—Herewith I forward, for thy acceptance, two small volumes, as a trifling testimony of the high estimation in which we have long held thy writings. So great was our desire to see thee when my wife and I were, a few springs ago, making a ramble on foot through some parts of your beautiful country, that nothing but the most contrary winds of circumstance prevented us.

"I am now preparing for the press 'The Book of the Seasons,' a volume of prose and poetry, intended to furnish the lover of nature with a remembrancer, to put him in mind, on the opening of each month, of what he may look for in his garden, or his country walks; a notice of all remarkable in the round of the seasons, and the beautiful in scenery,—of all that is pleasant in rural sights, sounds, customs, and occupations. I hope to make it, if I am favoured with health, in a little time, both[Pg 35] a pleasant and original volume, and one which may do its mite towards strengthening and diffusing that healthful love of nature which is so desirable in a great commercial country like this, where our manufacturing population are daily spreading over its face, and cut off themselves from the animating and heart-preserving influence of nature,—are also swallowing up our forests and heaths, those free, and solitary, and picturesque places, which have fostered the soul of poetry in so many of our noble spirits. I quite envy thy residence in so bold and beautiful a region, where the eye and the foot may wander, without being continually offended and obstructed by monotonous hedge-rows, and abominable factories. If thou couldst give, from the ample stores of thy observant mind, a slight sketch or two of anything characteristic of the seasons, in mountainous scenery especially, I shall regard them as apples of gold. I am very anxious to learn whether any particular customs or festivities are kept up in the sheep-districts of Scotland at sheep-shearing time, as were wont of old all over England; and where is there a man who could solve such a problem like thyself? I am sensible of the great boldness of my request; but as my object is to promote the love of nature, I am willing to believe that I am not more influenced by such a feeling than thou art. I intend to have the book got out in a handsome manner, and to have it illustrated with woodcuts, by the best artists; being more desirous to give to others that ardent attachment to the beauties of the country that has clung to me from a boy, and for the promotion of which all our real poets are so distinguished, than to realise much profit. Anything that thou couldst send me about your country life, or the impression which the scenery makes upon a poetical mind at different seasons, on your heaths and among your hills, I should be proud to acknowledge, and should regard as the gems of my book. Whether or not, however, it be practicable or agreeable to thee, I hope to have the pleasure of presenting thee a copy of the work when it is out. Mary requests me to present to thee her respectful regards; and allow me to subscribe myself, with great respect, thy friend,

"W. Howitt."

In 1829, on the expiry of his lease, Hogg relinquished the farm of Mount Benger, and returned to his former residence at Altrive. Rumour, ever ready to propagate[Pg 36] tales of misfortune, had busily circulated the report that, a completely ruined man, he had again betaken himself to literary labours in the capital. In this belief, Mr Tennant, author of "Anster Fair," addressed to him the following characteristic letter, intended, by its good-humoured pleasantries, to soothe him in his contendings with adversity:—

"Devongrove, 27th June 1829.

"My dear Friend James Hogg,—I have never seen, spoken, whispered to, handled, or smelt you, since the King's visit in 1822, when I met you in Edinburgh street, and inhaled, by juxtaposition, your sweet fraternal breath. How the Fates have since sundered us! How have you been going on, fattening and beautifying from one degree to another of poetical perfection, while I have, under the chilling shade of the Ochil Hills, been dwindling down from one degree of poetical extenuation to another, till at length I am become the very shadow and ghost of literary leanness! I should now wish to see you, and compare you as you are now with what you were in your 'Queen's Wake' days. For this purpose, I would be very fain you would condescend to pay us a visit. I see you indeed, at times, in the Literary Journal; I see you in Blackwood, fighting, and reaping a harvest of beautiful black eyes from the fists of Professor John Wilson. I see you in songs, in ballads, in calendars. I see you in the postern of time long elapsed. I see you in the looking-glass of my own facetious and song-recalling memory—but I should wish to see you in the real, visible, palpable, smellable beauty of your own person, standing before me in my own house, at my own fireside, in all the halo of your poetical radiance! Come over, then, if possible, my dear Shepherd, and stay a night or two with us. You may tarry with your friend, Mr Bald, one afternoon or so by the way, and explore the half-forgotten treasures of the Shakspeare cellars[42]—but you may rest yourself under the shadow of[Pg 37] the Ochil Hills a longer space, and enjoy the beauties of our scenery, and, such as it is, the fulness of our hospitality, which, believe me, will be spouted out upon you freely and rejoicingly.

"To be serious in speech, I really wish you would take a trip up this way some time during the summer. I understand you are settled in Edinburgh, and in that thought have now addressed you. If I am wrong, write me. Indeed, write me at any rate, as I would wish again to see your fist at least, though the Fates should forbid my seeing your person here. But I think you would find some pleasure in visiting again your Alloa friends, to say nothing of the happiness we should have in seeing you at Devongrove.... Be sure to write me now, James, in answer to this; and believe me to be, ever most sincerely yours,

"Wm. Tennant."

The Shepherd's next literary undertaking was an edition of Burns, published at Glasgow. In this task he had an able coadjutor in the poet Motherwell. In 1831, he published a collected edition of his songs, which received a wide circulation. On account of some unfortunate difference with Blackwood, he proceeded in December of that year to London, with the view of effecting an arrangement for the republication of his whole[Pg 38] works. His reception in the metropolis was worthy of his fame; he was courted with avidity by all the literary circles, and fêted at the tables of the nobility. A great festival, attended by nearly two hundred persons, including noblemen, members of Parliament, and men of letters, was given him in Freemasons' Hall, on the anniversary of the birthday of Burns. The duties of chairman were discharged by Sir John Malcolm, who had the Shepherd on his right hand, and two sons of Burns on his left. After dinner, the Shepherd brewed punch in the punch-bowl of Burns, which was brought to the banquet by its present owner, Mr Archibald Hastie, M.P. for Paisley. He obtained a publisher for his works in the person of Mr James Cochrane, an enterprising bookseller in Pall Mall, who issued the first volume of the series on the 31st of March 1832, under the designation of the "Altrive Tales." By the unexpected failure of the publisher, the series did not proceed, so that the unfortunate Shepherd derived no substantial advantage from a three months' residence in London.

Recent reverses had somewhat depressed his literary ardour; and, though his immediate embarrassments were handsomely relieved by private subscriptions and a donation from the Literary Fund, he felt indisposed vigorously to renew his literary labours. He did not reappear as an author till 1834, when he published a volume of essays on religion and morals, under the title of "Lay Sermons on Good Principles and Good Breeding." This work was issued from the establishment of Mr James Fraser, of Regent Street. In the May number of Blackwood's Magazine for 1834, he again appeared before the public in the celebrated "Noctes," which had been discontinued for upwards of two years, owing to his misunderstanding with Mr Blackwood. On this subject[Pg 39] we are privileged to publish the following letter, addressed to him by Professor Wilson:—

"30th April.

"My dear Mr Hogg,—After frequent reflection on the estrangement that has so long subsisted between those who used to be such good friends, I have felt convinced that I ought to put an end to it on my own responsibility. Without, therefore, asking either you or Mr Blackwood, I have written a 'Noctes,' in which my dear Shepherd again appears. I hope you will think I have done right. I intend to write six within the year; and it is just, and no more than just, that you should receive five guineas a sheet. Enclosed is that sum for No. I. of the new series.

"If you will, instead of writing long tales, for which at present there is no room, write a 'Series of Letters to Christopher North,' or, 'Flowers and Weeds from the Forest,' or, 'My Life at Altrive,' embodying your opinions and sentiments on all things, angling, shooting, curling, &c., &c., in an easy characteristic style, it will be easy for you to add £50 per annum to the £50 which you will receive for your 'Noctes.' I hope you will do so.

"I have taken upon myself a responsibility which nothing but the sincerest friendship could have induced me to do. You may be angry; you may misjudge my motives; yet hardly can I think it. Let the painful in the past be forgotten, and no allusion ever made to it; and for the future, I shall do all I can to prevent anything happening that can be disagreeable to your feelings.—With kind regards to Mrs Hogg and family, I am ever most sincerely and affectionately yours,

"John Wilson."

During the summer after his return from London, Hogg received what he accounted his greatest literary honour. He was entertained at a public dinner, attended by many of the distinguished literary characters both of Scotland and the sister kingdom. The dinner took place at Peebles, the chair being occupied by Professor Wilson. In reply to the toast of his health, he pleasantly remarked, that he had courted fame on the hill-side and in the city; and now, when he looked around and saw so many dis[Pg 40]tinguished individuals met together on his account, he could exclaim that surely he had found it at last!

The career of the Bard of Ettrick was drawing to a close. His firm and well-built frame was beginning to surrender under the load of anxiety, as well as the pressure of years. Subsequent to his return from London, a perceptible change had occurred in his constitution, yet he seldom complained; and, even so late as April 1835, he gave to the world evidence of remaining bodily and mental vigour, by publishing a work in three volumes, under the title of "Montrose Tales." This proved to be his last publication. The symptoms of decline rapidly increased; and, though he ventured to proceed, as was his usual habit, to the moors in the month of August, he could hardly enjoy the pleasures of a sportsman. He became decidedly worse in the month of October, and was at length obliged to confine himself to bed. After a severe illness of four weeks, he died on the 21st of November, "departing this life," writes William Laidlaw, "as calmly, and, to appearance, with as little pain, as if he had fallen asleep, in his gray plaid, on the side of the moorland rill." The Shepherd had attained his sixty-fifth year.

The funeral of the Bard was numerously attended by the population of the district. Of his literary friends—owing to the remoteness of the locality—Professor Wilson alone attended. He stood uncovered at the grave after the rest of the company had retired, and consecrated, by his tears, the green sod of his friend's last resting-place. With the exception of Burns and Sir Walter Scott, never did Scottish bard receive more elegies or tributes to his memory. He had had some variance with Wordsworth; but this venerable poet, forgetting the past, became the first to lament his[Pg 41] departure. The following verses from his pen appeared in the Athenæum of the 12th of December:—

"When first descending from the moorlands,
I saw the stream of Yarrow glide,
Along a bare and open valley,
The Ettrick Shepherd was my guide.
"When last along its banks I wander'd,
Through groves that had begun to shed
Their golden leaves upon the pathway,
My steps the Border Minstrel led.
"The mighty minstrel breathes no longer,
'Mid mouldering ruins low he lies;
And death, upon the braes of Yarrow,
Has closed the Shepherd-poet's eyes.
       *       *       *       *       *
"No more of old romantic sorrows,
For slaughter'd youth or love-lorn maid,
With sharper grief is Yarrow smitten,
And Ettrick mourns with her their Shepherd dead!"

Within two bow-shots of the place where lately stood the cottage of his birth, the remains of James Hogg are interred in the churchyard of Ettrick. At the grave a plain tombstone to his memory has been erected by his widow. "When the dark clouds of winter," writes Mr Scott Riddell, "pass away from the crest of Ettrick-pen, and the summits of the nearer-lying mountains, which surround the scene of his repose, and the yellow gowan opens its bosom by the banks of the mountain stream, to welcome the lights and shadows of the spring returning over the land, many are the wild daisies which adorn the turf that covers the remains of The Ettrick Shepherd. And a verse of one of the songs of his early days, bright and blissful as they were, is thus strikingly verified, when he says—

'Flow, my Ettrick! it was thee
Into my life that first did drop me;
[Pg 42] Thee I 'll sing, and when I dee,
Thou wilt lend a sod to hap me.
Pausing swains will say, and weep,
Here our Shepherd lies asleep.'"

As formerly described, Hogg was, in youth, particularly good-looking and well-formed. A severe illness somewhat changed the form of his features. His countenance[43] presented the peculiarity of a straight cheekbone; his forehead was capacious and elevated, and his eye remarkable for its vivacity. His hair, in advanced life, became dark brown, mixed with gray. He was rather above the middle height, and was well-built; his chest was broad, his shoulders square, and his limbs well-rounded. He disliked foppery, but was always neat in his apparel: on holidays he wore a suit of black. Forty years old ere he began to mix in the circles of polished life, he never attained a knowledge of the world and its ways; in all his transactions he retained the simplicity of the pastoral character. His Autobiography is the most amusing in the language, from the honesty of the narrator; never before did man of letters so minutely reveal the history of his foibles and failings. He was entirely unselfish and thoroughly benevolent; the homeless wanderer was sure of shelter under his roof, and the poor of some provision by the way. Towards his aged parents his filial affection was of the most devoted kind. Hospitable even to[Pg 43] a fault, every visitor received his kindly welcome, and his visitors were more numerous than those of any other man of letters in the land.[44] Fond of conviviality, he loved the intercourse of congenial minds; the voice of friendship was always more precious to him than the claims of business. He was somewhat expert in conversation; he talked Scotch on account of long habit, and because it was familiar to him. He was possessed of a good musical ear, and loved to sing the ballads of his youth, with several of his own songs; and the enthusiasm with which he sung amply compensated for the somewhat discordant nature of his voice. A night with the Shepherd was an event to be remembered. He was zealous in the cause of education; and he built a school at Altrive, and partly endowed a schoolmaster, for the benefit of the children of the district. A Jacobite as respected the past, he was in the present a devoted loyalist, and strongly maintained that the stability of the state was bound up in the support of the monarchy; he had shuddered at the atrocities of the French Revolution, and apprehended danger from precipitate reform; his politics were strictly conservative. He was earnest on the subject of religion, and regular in his attendance upon Divine ordinances. When a shepherd, he had been in the habit of conducting worship in the family during the absence or indisposition of his employer, and he was careful in impressing the sacredness of the duty upon his own children. During his London visit, he prepared and printed a small book of prayers and hymns for the use of his family, which he dedicated to them as a New Year's gift. These prayers are eminently devotional, and all his hymns breathe the language of fervency and faith. From the strict rules of[Pg 44] morality he may have sometimes deviated, but it would be the worst exercise of uncharitableness to doubt of his repentance.

It is the lot of men of genius to suffer from the envenomed shafts of calumny and detraction. The reputation of James Hogg has thus bled. Much has been said to his prejudice by those who understood not the simple nature of his character, and were incapable of forming an estimate of the principles of his life. He has been broadly accused[45] of doing an injury to the memory of Sir Walter Scott, who was one of his best benefactors; to which it might be a sufficient reply, that he was incapable of perpetrating an ungenerous act. But how stands the fact? Hogg strained his utmost effort to do honour to the dust of his illustrious friend! He published reminiscences of him in a small volume, and in such terms as the following did he pronounce his eulogy:—"He had a clear head as well as a benevolent heart; was a good man, an anxiously kind husband, an indulgent parent, and a sincere, forgiving friend; a just judge, and a punctual correspondent.... Such is the man we have lost, and such a man we shall never see again. He was truly an extraordinary man,—the greatest man in the world."[46] Was ever more panegyrical language used in biography? But Hogg ventured to publish his recollections of his friend, instead of supplying them for the larger biography; perhaps some connexion may be traced between this fact and the indignation of Scott's literary executor! Possessed, withal, of a genial temper, he was sensitive of affront, and keen in his expressions of displeasure; he had his hot outbursts of anger[Pg 45] with Wilson and Wordsworth, and even with Scott, on account of supposed slights, but his resentment speedily subsided, and each readily forgave him. He was somewhat vain of his celebrity, but what shepherd had not been vain of such achievements?

Next to Robert Burns, the Ettrick Shepherd is unquestionably the most distinguished of Scottish bards, sprung from the ranks of the people: in the region of the imagination he stands supreme. A child of the forest, nursed amidst the wilds and tutored among the solitudes of nature, his strong and vigorous imagination had received impressions from the mountain, the cataract, the torrent, and the wilderness, and was filled with pictures and images of the mysterious, which those scenes were calculated to awaken. "Living for years in solitude," writes Professor Wilson,[47] "he unconsciously formed friendships with the springs, the brooks, the caves, the hills, and with all the more fleeting and faithless pageantry of the sky, that to him came in place of those human affections, from whose indulgence he was debarred by the necessities that kept him aloof from the cottage fire, and up among the mists on the mountain top. The still green beauty of the pastoral hills and vales where he passed his youth, inspired him with ever-brooding visions of fairy-land, till, as he lay musing in his lonely shieling, the world of phantasy seemed, in the clear depths of his imagination, a lovelier reflection of that of nature, like the hills and heavens more softly shining in the water of his native lake." Hogg was in his element, as he revelled amid the supernatural, and luxuriated in the realms of faëry: the mysterious gloom of superstition was lit up into brilliancy by the potent wand of his enchantment, and[Pg 46] before the splendour of his genius. His ballad of "Kilmeny," in the "Queen's Wake," is the emanation of a poetical mind evidently of the most gifted order; never did bard conceive a finer fairy tale, or painter portray a picture of purer, or more spiritual and exquisite sweetness. "The Witch of Fife," another ballad in "The Wake," has scarcely a parallel in wild unearthliness and terror; and we know not if sentiments more spiritual or sublime are to be found in any poetry than in some passages of "The Pilgrims of the Sun." His ballads, generally in his peculiar vein of the romantic and supernatural, are all indicative of power; his songs are exquisitely sweet and musical, and replete with pathos and pastoral dignity. Though he had written only "When the kye comes hame," and "Flora Macdonald's Lament," his claims to an honoured place in the temple of Scottish song had been unquestioned. As a prose-writer, he does not stand high; many of his tales are interesting in their details, but they are too frequently disfigured by a rugged coarseness; yet his pastoral experiences in the "Shepherd's Calendar" will continue to find readers and admirers while a love for rural habits, and the amusing arts of pastoral life, finds a dwelling in the Scottish heart.

Of the Shepherd it has been recorded by one[48] who knew him well, that at the time of his death he had certainly the youngest heart of all who had ever attained his age; he was possessed of a buoyancy which misfortune might temporarily depress, but could not subdue. To the close of his career, he rejoiced in the sports and field exercises of his youth; in his best days he had, in the games of leaping and running, been usually victorious in the annual competitions at Eskdalemuir; in his[Pg 47] advanced years, he was constituted judge at the annual Scottish games at Innerleithen. A sportsman, he was famous alike on the moor and by the river; the report of his musket was familiar on his native hills; and hardly a stream in south or north but had yielded him their finny brood. By young authors he was frequently consulted, and he entered with enthusiasm into their concerns; many poets ushered their volumes into the world under his kindly patronage. He had his weaker points; but his worth and genius were such as to extort the reluctant testimony of one who was latterly an avowed antagonist, that he was "the most remarkable man that ever wore the maud of a Shepherd."[49]

Hogg left some MSS. which are still unpublished,—the journals of his Highland tours being in the possession of Mr Peter Cunningham of London. Since his death, a uniform edition of many of his best works, illustrated with engravings from sketches by Mr D. O. Hill, has been published, with the concurrence of the family, by the Messrs Blackie of Glasgow, in eleven volumes duodecimo. A Memoir, undertaken for that edition by the late Professor Wilson, was indefinitely postponed. A pension on the Civil List of £50 was conferred by the Queen on Mrs Hogg, the poet's widow, in October 1853; and since her husband's death, she has received an annuity of £40 from the Duke of Buccleuch. Of a family of five, one son and three daughters survive, some of whom are comfortably settled in life. [Pg 48]


Air"Woo'd, and married, and a'."

My name it is Donald Macdonald,
I leeve in the Highlands sae grand;
I hae follow'd our banner, and will do,
Wherever my master[50] has land.
When rankit amang the blue bonnets,
Nae danger can fear me ava;
I ken that my brethren around me
Are either to conquer or fa':
Brogues an' brochin an' a',
Brochin an' brogues an' a';
An' is nae her very weel aff,
Wi' her brogues and brochin an' a'?
What though we befriendit young Charlie?—
To tell it I dinna think shame;
Poor lad! he cam to us but barely,
An' reckon'd our mountains his hame.
'Twas true that our reason forbade us,
But tenderness carried the day;
Had Geordie come friendless amang us,
Wi' him we had a' gane away.
Sword an' buckler an' a',
Buckler an' sword an' a';
Now for George we 'll encounter the devil,
Wi' sword an' buckler and a'!
[Pg 49]
An' O, I wad eagerly press him
The keys o' the East to retain;
For should he gie up the possession,
We 'll soon hae to force them again,
Than yield up an inch wi' dishonour,
Though it were my finishing blow,
He aye may depend on Macdonald,
Wi' his Hielanders a' in a row:
Knees an' elbows an' a',
Elbows an' knees an' a';
Depend upon Donald Macdonald,
His knees an' elbows an' a'.
Wad Bonaparte land at Fort William,
Auld Europe nae langer should grane;
I laugh when I think how we 'd gall him
Wi' bullet, wi' steel, an wi' stane;
Wi' rocks o' the Nevis and Garny
We 'd rattle him off frae our shore,
Or lull him asleep in a cairny,
An' sing him—"Lochaber no more!"
Stanes an' bullets an a',
Bullets an' stanes an' a';
We 'll finish the Corsican callan
Wi' stanes an' bullets an' a'.
For the Gordon is good in a hurry,
An' Campbell is steel to the bane,
An' Grant, an' Mackenzie, an' Murray,
An' Cameron will hurkle to nane;
The Stuart is sturdy an' loyal,
An' sae is Macleod an' Mackay;
An' I, their gude-brither Macdonald,
Shall ne'er be the last in the fray!
[Pg 50] Brogues and brochin an' a',
Brochin an' brogues an' a';
An' up wi' the bonny blue bonnet,
The kilt an' the feather an' a'.


Far over yon hills of the heather sae green,
An' down by the corrie that sings to the sea,
The bonny young Flora sat sighing her lane,
The dew on her plaid, and the tear in her e'e.
She look'd at a boat wi' the breezes that swung,
Away on the wave, like a bird of the main;
An' aye as it lessen'd she sigh'd and she sung,
Fareweel to the lad I shall ne'er see again!
Fareweel to my hero, the gallant and young,
Fareweel to the lad I shall ne'er see again!
The moorcock that craws on the brows of Ben-Connal,
He kens of his bed in a sweet mossy hame;
The eagle that soars o'er the cliffs of Clan-Ronald,
Unawed and unhunted his eyrie can claim;
The solan can sleep on the shelve of the shore,
The cormorant roost on his rock of the sea,
But, ah! there is one whose hard fate I deplore,
Nor house, ha', nor hame in his country has he:
The conflict is past, and our name is no more—
There 's nought left but sorrow for Scotland and me!
[Pg 51]
The target is torn from the arm of the just,
The helmet is cleft on the brow of the brave,
The claymore for ever in darkness must rust,
But red is the sword of the stranger and slave;
The hoof of the horse, and the foot of the proud,
Have trod o'er the plumes on the bonnet of blue,
Why slept the red bolt in the breast of the cloud,
When tyranny revell'd in blood of the true?
Fareweel, my young hero, the gallant and good!
The crown of thy fathers is torn from thy brow!


Cam ye by Athol, lad wi' the philabeg,
Down by the Tummel or banks o' the Garry,
Saw ye our lads wi' their bonnets and white cockades,
Leaving their mountains to follow Prince Charlie?
Follow thee! follow thee! wha wadna follow thee?
Lang hast thou loved and trusted us fairly!
Charlie, Charlie, wha wadna follow thee,
King o' the Highland hearts, bonnie Prince Charlie?
I hae but ae son, my gallant young Donald;
But if I had ten they should follow Glengarry!
Health to M'Donnell and gallant Clan-Ronald—
For these are the men that will die for their Charlie!
Follow thee! follow thee! &c.
I 'll to Lochiel and Appin, and kneel to them,
Down by Lord Murray, and Roy of Kildarlie;
Brave M'Intosh, he shall fly to the field with them,
These are the lads I can trust wi' my Charlie!
Follow thee! follow thee!&c.
[Pg 52]
Down through the Lowlands, down wi' the Whigamore!
Loyal true Highlanders, down wi' them rarely!
Ronald and Donald, drive on, wi' the broad claymore,
Over the necks o' the foes o' Prince Charlie!
Follow thee! follow thee! wha wadna follow thee?
Long hast thou loved and trusted us fairly!
Charlie, Charlie, wha wadna follow thee,
King o' the Highland hearts, bonny Prince Charlie?


Bird of the wilderness,
Blithesome and cumberless,
Sweet be thy matin o'er moorland and lea!
Emblem of happiness,
Bless'd is thy dwelling-place—
O to abide in the desert with thee!
Wild is thy lay and loud,
Far in the downy cloud,
Love gives it energy, love gave it birth.
Where on thy dewy wing,
Where art thou journeying?
Thy lay is in heaven, thy love is on earth.
O'er fell and mountain sheen,
O'er moor and mountain green,
O'er the red streamer that heralds the day,
Over the cloudlet dim,
Over the rainbow's rim,
Musical cherub, soar, singing, away!
[Pg 53] Then, when the gloaming comes,
Low in the heather blooms,
Sweet will thy welcome and bed of love be!
Emblem of happiness,
Blest is thy dwelling-place—
O to abide in the desert with thee!


Caledonia! thou land of the mountain and rock,
Of the ocean, the mist, and the wind—
Thou land of the torrent, the pine, and the oak,
Of the roebuck, the hart, and the hind:
Though bare are thy cliffs, and though barren thy glens,
Though bleak thy dun islands appear,
Yet kind are the hearts, and undaunted the clans,
That roam on these mountains so drear!
A foe from abroad, or a tyrant at home,
Could never thy ardour restrain;
The marshall'd array of imperial Rome
Essay'd thy proud spirit in vain!
Firm seat of religion, of valour, of truth,
Of genius unshackled and free,
The Muses have left all the vales of the south,
My loved Caledonia, for thee!
Sweet land of the bay and the wild-winding deeps,
Where loveliness slumbers at even,
[Pg 54] While far in the depth of the blue water sleeps,
A calm little motionless heaven!
Thou land of the valley, the moor, and the hill,
Of the storm, and the proud-rolling wave—
Yes, thou art the land of fair liberty still,
And the land of my forefathers' grave!


Air"Over the Border."

O, my lassie, our joy to complete again,
Meet me again i' the gloamin', my dearie;
Low down in the dell let us meet again—
O, Jeanie, there 's naething to fear ye!
Come, when the wee bat flits silent and eiry,
Come, when the pale face o' Nature looks weary;
Love be thy sure defence,
Beauty and innocence—
O, Jeanie, there 's naething to fear ye!
Sweetly blaw the haw an' the rowan tree,
Wild roses speck our thicket sae breery;
Still, still will our walk in the greenwood be—
O, Jeanie, there 's naething to fear ye!
List when the blackbird o' singing grows weary,
List when the beetle-bee's bugle comes near ye,
Then come with fairy haste,
Light foot, an' beating breast—
O, Jeanie, there 's naething to fear ye!
[Pg 55]
Far, far will the bogle and brownie be,
Beauty an' truth, they darena come near it;
Kind love is the tie of our unity,
A' maun love it, an' a' maun revere it.
'Tis love maks the sang o' the woodland sae cheery,
Love gars a' Nature look bonny that 's near ye;
That makes the rose sae sweet,
Cowslip an' violet—
O, Jeanie, there 's naething to fear ye!


Air"Shame fa' the gear and the blathrie o't."

Come all ye jolly shepherds,
That whistle through the glen,
I 'll tell ye of a secret
That courtiers dinna ken:
What is the greatest bliss
That the tongue o' man can name?
'Tis to woo a bonny lassie
When the kye comes hame.
When the kye comes hame,
When the kye comes hame,
'Tween the gloamin' an' the mirk,
When the kye comes hame.
[Pg 56]
'Tis not beneath the coronet,
Nor canopy of state,
'Tis not on couch of velvet,
Nor arbour of the great—
'Tis beneath the spreadin' birk,
In the glen without the name,
Wi' a bonny, bonny lassie,
When the kye comes hame.
When the kye comes hame, &c.
There the blackbird bigs his nest
For the mate he lo'es to see,
And on the topmost bough,
O, a happy bird is he;
Where he pours his melting ditty,
And love is a' the theme,
And he 'll woo his bonny lassie
When the kye comes hame.
When the kye comes hame, &c.
When the blewart bears a pearl,
And the daisy turns a pea,
And the bonny lucken gowan
Has fauldit up her e'e,
Then the laverock frae the blue lift
Doops down, an' thinks nae shame
To woo his bonny lassie
When the kye comes hame.
When the kye comes hame, &c.
See yonder pawkie shepherd,
That lingers on the hill,
His ewes are in the fauld,
An' his lambs are lying still;
[Pg 57] Yet he downa gang to bed,
For his heart is in a flame,
To meet his bonny lassie
When the kye comes hame.
When the kye comes hame, &c.
When the little wee bit heart
Rises high in the breast,
An' the little wee bit starn
Rises red in the east,
O there 's a joy sae dear
That the heart can hardly frame,
Wi' a bonny, bonny lassie,
When the kye comes hame!
When the kye comes hame, &c.
Then since all Nature joins
In this love without alloy,
O, wha would prove a traitor
To Nature's dearest joy?
Or wha would choose a crown,
Wi' its perils and its fame,
And miss his bonny lassie
When the kye comes hame?
When the kye comes hame,
When the kye comes home,
'Tween the gloamin' an' the mirk,
When the kye comes hame!
[Pg 58]


O sarely may I rue the day
I fancied first the womenkind;
For aye sinsyne I ne'er can hae
Ae quiet thought or peace o' mind!
They hae plagued my heart, an' pleased my e'e,
An' teased an' flatter'd me at will,
But aye, for a' their witchery,
The pawky things I lo'e them still.
O, the women folk! O, the women folk!
But they hae been the wreck o' me;
O, weary fa' the women folk,
For they winna let a body be!
I hae thought an' thought, but darena tell,
I 've studied them wi' a' my skill,
I 've lo'ed them better than mysel,
I 've tried again to like them ill.
Wha sairest strives, will sairest rue,
To comprehend what nae man can;
When he has done what man can do,
He 'll end at last where he began.
O, the woman folk, &c.
That they hae gentle forms an' meet,
A man wi' half a look may see;
An' gracefu' airs, an' faces sweet,
An' waving curls aboon the bree;
[Pg 59] An' smiles as soft as the young rose-bud,
An' e'en sae pauky, bright, an' rare,
Wad lure the laverock frae the clud—
But, laddie, seek to ken nae mair!
O, the woman folk, &c.
Even but this night, nae farther gane,
The date is neither lost nor lang,
I tak ye witness ilka ane,
How fell they fought, and fairly dang.
Their point they 've carried right or wrang,
Without a reason, rhyme, or law,
An' forced a man to sing a sang,
That ne'er could sing a verse ava.
O, the woman folk! O, the woman folk!
But they hae been the wreck o' me;
O, weary fa' the women folk,
For they winna let a body be!


Come o'er the stream, Charlie,
Dear Charlie, brave Charlie;
Come o'er the stream, Charlie,
And dine with M'Lean;
[Pg 60] And though you be weary,
We 'll make your heart cheery,
And welcome our Charlie,
And his loyal train.
We 'll bring down the track deer,
We 'll bring down the black steer,
The lamb from the braken,
And doe from the glen,
The salt sea we 'll harry,
And bring to our Charlie
The cream from the bothy
And curd from the penn.
Come o'er the stream, Charlie,
Dear Charlie, brave Charlie;
Come o'er the sea, Charlie,
And dine with M'Lean;
And you shall drink freely
The dews of Glen-sheerly,
That stream in the starlight
When kings do not ken;
And deep be your meed
Of the wine that is red,
To drink to your sire,
And his friend The M'Lean.
Come o'er the stream, Charlie,
Dear Charlie, brave Charlie;
Come o'er the stream, Charlie,
And dine with M'Lean;
If aught will invite you
Or more will delight you
'Tis ready, a troop of our bold Highlandmen,
[Pg 61] All ranged on the heather,
With bonnet and feather,
Strong arms and broad claymores,
Three hundred and ten!


'Twas on a Monday morning,
Right early in the year,
That Charlie cam' to our town,
The young Chevalier.
An' Charlie is my darling,
My darling, my darling;
Charlie is my darling,
The young Chevalier.
As Charlie he came up the gate,
His face shone like the day;
I grat to see the lad come back
That had been lang away.
An' Charlie is my darling, &c.
Then ilka bonny lassie sang,
As to the door she ran,
Our King shall hae his ain again,
An' Charlie is the man:
For Charlie he 's my darling, &c.
[Pg 62]
Out ow'r yon moory mountain,
An' down the craggy glen,
Of naething else our lasses sing,
But Charlie an' his men.
An' Charlie he 's my darling, &c.
Our Highland hearts are true an' leal,
An' glow without a stain;
Our Highland swords are metal keen,
An' Charlie he 's our ain.
An' Charlie he 's my darling,
My darling, my darling;
Charlie he 's my darling,
The young Chevalier.


Air"Paddy's Wedding."

I lately lived in quiet ease,
An' never wish'd to marry, O!
But when I saw my Peggy's face,
I felt a sad quandary, O!
Though wild as ony Athol deer,
She has trepann'd me fairly, O!
Her cherry cheeks an' e'en sae clear
Torment me late an' early, O!
O, love, love, love!
Love is like a dizziness,
It winna let a poor body
Gang about his business!
[Pg 63]
To tell my feats this single week,
Would mak' a daft-like diary, O!
I drave my cart outow'r a dike,
My horses in a miry, O!
I wear my stockings white an' blue,
My love 's sae fierce an' fiery, O!
I drill the land that I should plough,
An' plough the drills entirely, O!
O, love, love, love! &c.
Ae morning, by the dawn o' day,
I rose to theek the stable, O!
I keust my coat an' plied away
As fast as I was able, O!
I wrought that morning out an' out,
As I 'd been redding fire, O!
When I had done an' look'd about,
Gude faith, it was the byre, O!
O, love, love, love! &c.
Her wily glance I 'll ne'er forget,
The dear, the lovely blinkin' o't
Has pierced me through an' through the heart,
An' plagues me wi' the prinklin' o't.
I tried to sing, I tried to pray,
I tried to drown 't wi' drinkin' o't,
I tried wi' sport to drive 't away,
But ne'er can sleep for thinkin' o't.
O, love, love, love! &c.
Nae man can tell what pains I prove,
Or how severe my pliskie, O!
I swear I 'm sairer drunk wi' love
Than e'er I was wi' whisky, O!
[Pg 64] For love has raked me fore an' aft,
I scarce can lift a leggie, O!
I first grew dizzy, then gaed daft,
An' soon I 'll dee for Peggy, O!
O, love, love, love!
Love is like a dizziness,
It winna let a poor body
Gang about his business!


O, weel befa' the maiden gay,
In cottage, bught, or penn,
An' weel befa' the bonny May
That wons in yonder glen;
[Pg 65] Wha loes the modest truth sae weel,
Wha 's aye kind, an' aye sae leal,
An' pure as blooming asphodel
Amang sae mony men.
O, weel befa' the bonny thing
That wons in yonder glen!
'Tis sweet to hear the music float
Along the gloaming lea;
'Tis sweet to hear the blackbird's note
Come pealing frae the tree;
To see the lambkins lightsome race—
The speckled kid in wanton chase—
The young deer cower in lonely place,
Deep in her flowing den;
But sweeter far the bonny face
That smiles in yonder glen!
O, had it no' been for the blush
O' maiden's virgin flame,
Dear beauty never had been known,
An' never had a name;
But aye sin' that dear thing o' blame
Was modell'd by an angel's frame,
The power o' beauty reigns supreme
O'er a' the sons o' men;
But deadliest far the sacred flame
Burns in a lonely glen!
There 's beauty in the violet's vest—
There 's hinney in the haw—
There 's dew within the rose's breast,
The sweetest o' them a'.
[Pg 66] The sun will rise an' set again,
An' lace wi' burning goud the main—
The rainbow bend outow'r the plain,
Sae lovely to the ken;
But lovelier far the bonny thing
That wons in yonder glen!


Air"The Blue Bells of Scotland."

What are the flowers of Scotland,
All others that excel—
The lovely flowers of Scotland,
All others that excel?
The thistle's purple bonnet,
And bonny heather-bell,
O, they 're the flowers of Scotland,
All others that excel!
Though England eyes her roses
With pride she 'll ne'er forego,
The rose has oft been trodden
By foot of haughty foe;
But the thistle in her bonnet blue,
Still nods outow'r the fell,
And dares the proudest foeman
To tread the heather-bell.
For the wee bit leaf o' Ireland,
Alack and well-a-day!
For ilka hand is free to pu'
An' steal the gem away.
[Pg 67] But the thistle in her bonnet blue
Still bobs aboon them a';
At her the bravest darena blink,
Or gie his mou' a thraw.
Up wi' the flowers o' Scotland,
The emblems o' the free,
Their guardians for a thousand years,
Their guardians still we 'll be.
A foe had better brave the deil,
Within his reeky cell,
Than our thistle's purple bonnet,
Or bonny heather-bell.


"Afore the muircock begin to craw,
Lass, an' ye lo'e me, tell me now,
The bonniest thing that ever ye saw,
For I canna come every night to woo."
"The gouden broom is bonny to see,
An' sae is the milk-white flower o' the haw,
The daisy's wee freenge is sweet on the lea,
But the bud of the rose is the bonniest of a'."
"Now, wae light on a' your flow'ry chat,
Lass, an' ye lo'e me, tell me now;
It 's no the thing that I would be at,
An' I canna come every night to woo!
[Pg 68] The lamb is bonny upon the brae,
The leveret friskin' o'er the knowe,
The bird is bonny upon the tree—
But which is the dearest of a' to you?"
"The thing that I lo'e best of a',
Lass, an' ye lo'e me, tell me now;
The dearest thing that ever I saw,
Though I canna come every night to woo,
Is the kindly smile that beams on me,
Whenever a gentle hand I press,
And the wily blink frae the dark-blue e'e
Of a dear, dear lassie that they ca' Bess."
"Aha! young man, but I cou'dna see,
What I lo'e best I 'll tell you now,
The compliment that ye sought frae me,
Though ye canna come every night to woo;
Yet I would rather hae frae you
A kindly look, an' a word witha',
Than a' the flowers o' the forest pu',
Than a' the lads that ever I saw."
"Then, dear, dear Bessie, you shall be mine,
Sin' a' the truth ye hae tauld me now,
Our hearts an' fortunes we 'll entwine,
An' I 'll aye come every night to woo;
For O, I canna descrive to thee
The feeling o' love's and nature's law,
How dear this world appears to me
Wi' Bessie, my ain for good an' for a'!"
[Pg 69]


Here we go upon the tide,
Pull away, jolly boys!
With heaven for our guide,
Pull away!
Here 's a weather-beaten tar,
Britain's glory still his star,
He has borne her thunders far,
Pull away, jolly boys!
To your gallant men-of-war,
Pull away!
We 've with Nelson plough'd the main,
Pull away, jolly boys!
Now his signal flies again,
Pull away!
Brave hearts, then let us go
To drub the haughty foe,
Who once again shall know,
Pull away, gallant boys!
That our backs we never shew,
Pull away!
We have fought and we have sped,
Pull away, gallant boys!
Where the rolling wave was red,
Pull away!
We 've stood many a mighty shock,
Like the thunder-stricken oak,
We 've been bent, but never broke,
Pull away, gallant boys!
We ne'er brook'd a foreign yoke,
Pull away!
[Pg 70]
Here we go upon the deep,
Pull away, gallant boys!
O'er the ocean let us sweep,
Pull away!
Round the earth our glory rings,
At the thought my bosom springs,
That whene'er our pennant swings,
Pull away, gallant boys!
Of the ocean we 're the kings,
Pull away!


O, saw ye this sweet bonny lassie o' mine,
Or saw ye the smile on her cheek sae divine;
Or saw ye the kind love that speaks in her e'e?
Sure naebody e'er was so happy as me!
It 's no that she dances sae light on the green,
It 's no the simplicity mark'd in her mien;
But O, it 's the kind love that speaks in her e'e,
That makes me as happy as happy can be.
To meet her alane 'mang the green leafy trees,
When naebody kens, an' when naebody sees;
To breathe out the soul of a saft melting kiss—
On earth here there 's naething is equal to this!
[Pg 71]
I have felt every bliss which the soul can enjoy,
When friends circled round me, and nought to annoy;
I have felt every joy that illumines the breast,
When the full flowing bowl is most warmly caress'd:
But O, there 's a sweet and a heavenly charm
In life's early day, when the bosom is warm;
When soul meets wi' soul in a saft melting kiss—
On earth sure there 's naething is equal to this!


Hersell pe auchty years and twa,
Te twenty-tird o' May, man;
She twell amang te Heelan hills,
Ayont the reefer Spey, man.
Tat year tey foucht the Sherra-muir,
She first peheld te licht, man;
Tey shot my father in tat stoure—
A plaguit, vexin' spite, man.
I 've feucht in Scotland here at hame,
In France and Shermanie, man;
And cot tree tespurt pluddy oons,
Beyond te 'Lantic sea, man.
But wae licht on te nasty cun,
Tat ever she pe porn, man;
Phile koot klymore te tristle caird,
Her leaves pe never torn, man.
[Pg 72]
Ae tay I shot, and shot, and shot,
Phane'er it cam my turn, man;
Put a' te force tat I could gie,
Te powter wadna purn, man.
A filty loon cam wi' his cun,
Resolvt to to me harm, man;
And wi' te tirk upon her nose,
Ke me a pluddy arm, man.
I flang my cun wi' a' my micht,
And felt his nepour teit, man;
Tan drew my swort, and at a straik
Hewt aff te haf o 's heit, man.
Be vain to tell o' a' my tricks;
My oons pe nae tiscrace, man;
Ter no pe yin pehint my back,
Ter a pefore my face, man.


Ah, Peggie! since thou 'rt gane away,
An' left me here to languish,
I canna fend anither day
In sic regretfu' anguish.
My mind 's the aspen i' the vale,
In ceaseless waving motion;
'Tis like a ship without a sail,
On life's unstable ocean.
[Pg 73]
I downa bide to see the moon
Blink owre the glen sae clearly;
Aince on a bonnie face she shone—
A face that I lo'ed dearly!
An' when beside yon water clear,
At e'en I 'm lanely roaming,
I sigh an' think, if ane was here,
How sweet wad fa' the gloaming!
When I think o' thy cheerfu' smile,
Thy words sae free an' kindly,
Thy pawkie e'e's bewitching wile,
The unbidden tear will blind me.
The rose's deepest blushing hue
Thy cheek could eithly borrow,
But ae kiss o' thy cherry mou'
Was worth a year o' sorrow.
Oh! in the slippery paths of love,
Let prudence aye direct thee;
Let virtue every step approve,
An' virtue will respect thee.
To ilka pleasure, ilka pang,
Alak! I am nae stranger;
An' he wha aince has wander'd wrang
Is best aware o' danger.
May still thy heart be kind an' true,
A' ither maids excelling;
May heaven distil its purest dew
Around thy rural dwelling.
May flow'rets spring an' wild birds sing
Around thee late an' early;
An' oft to thy remembrance bring
The lad that loo'd thee dearly.
[Pg 74]


I 'll sing of yon glen of red heather,
An' a dear thing that ca's it her hame,
Wha 's a' made o' love-life thegither,
Frae the tie o' the shoe to the kaime,
Love beckons in every sweet motion,
Commanding due homage to gie;
But the shrine o' my dearest devotion
Is the bend o' her bonny e'ebree.
I fleech'd an' I pray'd the dear lassie
To gang to the brakens wi' me;
But though neither lordly nor saucy,
Her answer was—"Laith wad I be!
I neither hae father nor mither,
Sage counsel or caution to gie;
An' prudence has whisper'd me never
To gang to the brakens wi' thee."
"Dear lassie, how can ye upbraid me,
An' try your ain love to beguile?
For ye are the richest young lady
That ever gaid o'er the kirk-stile.
Your smile that is blither than ony,
The bend o' your cheerfu' e'ebree,
An' the sweet blinks o' love there sae bonny,
Are five hunder thousand to me!"
She turn'd her around an' said, smiling,
While the tear in her blue e'e shone clear,
"You 're welcome, kind sir, to your mailing,
For, O, you have valued it dear:
[Pg 75] Gae make out the lease, do not linger,
Let the parson indorse the decree;
An' then, for a wave of your finger,
I 'll gang to the brakens wi' thee!"
There 's joy in the bright blooming feature,
When love lurks in every young line;
There 's joy in the beauties of nature,
There 's joy in the dance and the wine:
But there 's a delight will ne'er perish,
'Mang pleasures all fleeting and vain,
And that is to love and to cherish
The fond little heart that's our ain!


Lock the door, Lariston, lion of Liddisdale,
Lock the door, Lariston, Lowther comes on,
The Armstrongs are flying,
Their widows are crying,
The Castletown's burning, and Oliver's gone;
Lock the door, Lariston,—high on the weather gleam,
See how the Saxon plumes bob on the sky,
Yeoman and carbineer,
Billman and halberdier;
Fierce is the foray, and far is the cry.
Bewcastle brandishes high his broad scimitar,
Ridley is riding his fleet-footed grey,
Hedley and Howard there,
Wandale and Windermere,—
Lock the door, Lariston, hold them at bay.
[Pg 76] Why dost thou smile, noble Elliot of Lariston?
Why do the joy-candles gleam in thine eye?
Thou bold Border ranger
Beware of thy danger—
Thy foes are relentless, determined, and nigh.
Jock Elliot raised up his steel bonnet and lookit,
His hand grasp'd the sword with a nervous embrace;
"Ah, welcome, brave foemen,
On earth there are no men
More gallant to meet in the foray or chase!
Little know you of the hearts I have hidden here,
Little know you of our moss-troopers' might,
Lindhope and Sorby true,
Sundhope and Milburn too,
Gentle in manner, but lions in fight!
"I 've Margerton, Gornberry, Raeburn, and Netherby,
Old Sim of Whitram, and all his array;
Come, all Northumberland,
Teesdale and Cumberland,
Here at the Breaken Tower end shall the fray."
Scowl'd the broad sun o'er the links of green Liddisdale,
Red as the beacon-light tipp'd he the wold;
Many a bold martial eye
Mirror'd that morning sky,
Never more oped on his orbit of gold!
Shrill was the bugle's note, dreadful the warrior shout,
Lances and halberts in splinters were borne;
Halberd and hauberk then
Braved the claymore in vain,
Buckler and armlet in shivers were shorn.
[Pg 77] See how they wane, the proud files of the Windermere,
Howard—ah! woe to thy hopes of the day!
Hear the wide welkin rend,
While the Scots' shouts ascend,
"Elliot of Lariston, Elliot for aye!"


I hae naebody now, I hae naebody now
To meet me upon the green,
Wi' light locks waving o'er her brow,
An' joy in her deep blue e'en;
Wi' the raptured kiss an' the happy smile,
An' the dance o' the lightsome fay,
An' the wee bit tale o' news the while
That had happen'd when I was away.
I hae naebody now, I hae naebody now
To clasp to my bosom at even,
O'er her calm sleep to breathe the vow,
An' pray for a blessing from heaven.
An' the wild embrace, an' the gleesome face
In the morning, that met my eye,
Where are they now, where are they now?
In the cauld, cauld grave they lie.
There 's naebody kens, there 's naebody kens,
An' O may they never prove,
That sharpest degree o' agony
For the child o' their earthly love—
[Pg 78] To see a flower in its vernal hour
By slow degrees decay,
Then, calmly aneath the hand o' death,
Breathe its sweet soul away.
O, dinna break, my poor auld heart!
Nor at thy loss repine,
For the unseen hand that threw the dart
Was sent frae her Father and thine;
Yet I maun mourn, an' I will mourn,
Even till my latest day;
For though my darling can never return,
I can follow the sooner away.


The moon was a-waning,
The tempest was over;
Fair was the maiden,
And fond was the lover;
But the snow was so deep,
That his heart it grew weary,
And he sunk down to sleep,
In the moorland so dreary.
Soft was the bed
She had made for her lover,
White were the sheets
And embroider'd the cover;
[Pg 79] But his sheets are more white,
And his canopy grander,
And sounder he sleeps
Where the hill foxes wander.
Alas, pretty maiden,
What sorrows attend you!
I see you sit shivering,
With lights at your window;
But long may you wait
Ere your arms shall enclose him,
For still, still he lies,
With a wreath on his bosom!
How painful the task,
The sad tidings to tell you!—
An orphan you were
Ere this misery befell you;
And far in yon wild,
Where the dead-tapers hover,
So cold, cold and wan
Lies the corpse of your lover!


The year is wearing to the wane,
An' day is fading west awa',
Loud raves the torrent an' the rain,
And dark the cloud comes down the shaw;
[Pg 80] But let the tempest tout an' blaw
Upon his loudest winter horn,
Good night, and joy be wi' you a',
We 'll maybe meet again the morn!
O, we hae wander'd far and wide
O'er Scotia's hills, o'er firth an' fell,
An' mony a simple flower we 've cull'd,
An' trimm'd them wi' the heather-bell!
We 've ranged the dingle an' the dell,
The hamlet an' the baron's ha',
Now let us take a kind farewell,—
Good night, an' joy be wi' you a'!
Though I was wayward, you were kind,
And sorrow'd when I went astray;
For O, my strains were often wild,
As winds upon a winter day.
If e'er I led you from the way,
Forgie your Minstrel aince for a';
A tear fa's wi' his parting lay,—
Good night, and joy be wi' you a'!
[Pg 81]


James Muirhead was born in 1742, in the parish of Buittle, and stewartry of Kirkcudbright. His father was owner of the estate of Logan, and representative of the family of Muirhead, who, for several centuries, were considerable landed proprietors in Galloway. He was educated at the Grammar School of Dumfries, and in the University of Edinburgh. Abandoning the legal profession, which he had originally chosen, he afterwards prosecuted theological study, and became, in 1769, a licentiate of the Established Church. After a probation of three years, he was ordained to the ministerial charge of Urr, a country parish in the stewartry. In 1794 he received the degree of D.D. from the University of Edinburgh. Warmly attached to his flock, he ministered at Urr till his death, which took place on the 16th of May 1806.

Dr Muirhead was a person of warm affections and remarkable humour; his scholarship was extensive and varied, and he maintained a correspondence with many of his literary contemporaries. As an author, he is not known to have written aught save the popular ballad of "Bess, the Gawkie,"—a production which has been pronounced by Allan Cunningham "a song of original merit, lively without extravagance, and gay without grossness,—the simplicity elegant, and the naïveté scarcely rivalled."[61] [Pg 82]


Tune"Bess, the Gawkie."

Blythe young Bess to Jean did say,
Will ye gang to yon sunny brae,
Where flocks do feed, and herds do stray,
And sport a while wi' Jamie?
Ah, na, lass, I 'll no gang there,
Nor about Jamie tak' a care,
Nor about Jamie tak' a care,
For he 's ta'en up wi' Maggie.
For hark, and I will tell you, lass,
Did I not see young Jamie pass,
Wi' mickle blytheness in his face,
Out ower the muir to Maggie.
I wat he gae her mony a kiss,
And Maggie took them nae amiss;
'Tween ilka smack pleased her wi' this,
That Bess was but a gawkie.
For when a civil kiss I seek,
She turns her head, and thraws her cheek,
And for an hour she 'll hardly speak;
Wha 'd no ca' her a gawkie?
But sure my Maggie has mair sense,
She 'll gie a score without offence;
Now gie me ane into the mense,
And ye shall be my dawtie.
[Pg 83]
O Jamie, ye hae monie ta'en,
But I will never stand for ane
Or twa when we do meet again;
So ne'er think me a gawkie.
Ah, na, lass, that canna be;
Sic thoughts as thae are far frae me,
Or ony thy sweet face that see,
E'er to think thee a gawkie.
But, whisht, nae mair o' this we 'll speak,
For yonder Jamie does us meet;
Instead o' Meg he kiss'd sae sweet,
I trow he likes the gawkie.
O, dear Bess! I hardly knew,
When I cam' by, your gown sae new;
I think you 've got it wet wi' dew!
Quoth she, That 's like a gawkie!
It 's wat wi' dew, and 'twill get rain,
And I 'll get gowns when it is gane;
Sae ye may gang the gate ye came,
And tell it to your dawtie.
The guilt appear'd in Jamie's cheek;
He cried, O cruel maid, but sweet,
If I should gang anither gate,
I ne'er could meet my dawtie.
The lasses fast frae him they flew,
And left poor Jamie sair to rue
That ever Maggie's face he knew,
Or yet ca'd Bess a gawkie.
As they gaed ower the muir, they sang,
The hills and dales wi' echoes rang,
The hills and dales wi' echoes rang,
Gang o'er the muir to Maggie.
[Pg 84]


A female contemporary of the Baroness Nairn, of kindred tastes, and of equal indifference to a poetical reputation, was Mrs Agnes Lyon of Glammis. She was the eldest daughter of John Ramsay L'Amy, of Dunkenny, in Forfarshire, and was born at Dundee about the commencement of the year 1762. She was reputed for her beauty, and had numerous suitors for her hand; but she gave the preference to the Rev. Dr James Lyon, minister of Glammis, to whom she was married on the 25th of January 1786. Of a highly cultivated mind and most lively fancy, she had early improved a taste for versifying, and acquired the habit of readily clothing her thoughts in the language of poetry. She became the mother of ten children; and she relieved the toils of their upbringing, as well as administered to the improvement of their youthful minds, by her occasional exercises in verse. Her four volumes of MS. poetry contain lyrics dated as having been written from the early period of her marriage to nearly the time of her decease. The topics are generally domestic, and her strain is lively and humorous; in pathetic pieces she is tender and singularly touching. Possessed of a correct musical ear, she readily parodied the more popular songs, or adapted words to their airs, with the view of interesting her friends, or producing good humour and happiness in the family circle. She had formed the acquaintance of Neil Gow, the celebrated violinist, and composed, at his particular request, the words to his popular tune "Farewell to Whisky,"—the only lyric from her pen which has hitherto been published. In all the collections of Scottish song, it appears as anonymous. In the present work, it is printed from a copy in one of her MS. volumes.

Mrs Lyon died on the 14th September 1840, having[Pg 85] survived her husband about two years, and seen the greater number of her children carried to the grave. Entirely free of literary ambition, she bequeathed her MSS. to the widow of one of her sons, to whom she was devotedly attached, accompanied by a request, inscribed in rhyme at the beginning of the first volume, that the compositions might not be printed, unless in the event of a deficiency in the family funds. Their origin is thus described:—

"Written off-hand, as one may say,
Perhaps upon a rainy day,
Perhaps while at the cradle rocking.
Instead of knitting at a stocking,
She 'd catch a paper, pen, and ink,
And easily the verses clink.
Perhaps a headache at a time
Would make her on her bed recline,
And rather than be merely idle,
She 'd give her fancy rein and bridle.
She neither wanted lamp nor oil,
Nor found composing any toil;
As for correction's iron wand,
She never took it in her hand;
And can, with conscience clear, declare,
She ne'er neglected house affair,
Nor put her little babes aside,
To take on Pegasus a ride.
Rather let pens and paper flame,
Than any mother have the shame
(Except at any orra time)
To spend her hours in making rhyme."

In person, Mrs Lyon was of the middle height, and of a slender form. She had a fair complexion, her eyes were of light blue, and her countenance wore the expression of intelligence. She excelled in conversation; and a retentive memory enabled her to render available the fruits of extensive reading. In old age, she retained much of the buoyant vivacity of youth, and her whole life was adorned by the most exemplary piety.[Pg 86]


Tune"Farewell to Whisky."

You 've surely heard of famous Neil,
The man who play'd the fiddle weel;
He was a heartsome merry chiel',
And weel he lo'ed the whisky, O!
For e'er since he wore the tartan hose
He dearly liket Athole brose![63]
And grieved he was, you may suppose,
To bid "farewell to whisky," O!
Alas! says Neil, I'm frail and auld,
And whiles my hame is unco cauld;
I think it makes me blythe and bauld,
A wee drap Highland whisky, O!
But a' the doctors do agree
That whisky 's no the drink for me;
I 'm fley'd they'll gar me tyne my glee,
By parting me and whisky, O!
But I should mind on "auld lang syne,"
How Paradise our friends did tyne,
Because something ran in their mind—
Forbid—like Highland whisky, O!
[Pg 87] Whilst I can get good wine and ale,
And find my heart, and fingers hale,
I 'll be content, though legs should fail,
And though forbidden whisky, O!
I 'll tak' my fiddle in my hand,
And screw its strings whilst they can stand,
And mak' a lamentation grand
For guid auld Highland whisky, O!
Oh! all ye powers of music, come,
For deed I think I 'm mighty glum,
My fiddle-strings will hardly bum,
To say, "farewell to whisky," O!


See the winter clouds around;
See the leaves lie on the ground;
Pretty little Robin comes,
Seeking for his daily crumbs!
In the window near the tree,
Little Robin you may see;
There his slender board is fix'd,
There his crumbs are bruised and mix'd.
[Pg 88]
View his taper limbs, how neat!
And his eyes like beads of jet;
See his pretty feathers shine!
Little Robin haste and dine.
When sweet Robin leaves the space,
Other birds will fill his place;
See the Tit-mouse, pretty thing!
See the Sparrow's sombre wing!
Great and grand disputes arise,
For the crumbs of largest size,
Which the bravest and the best
Bear triumphant to their nest.
What a pleasure thus to feed
Hungry mouths in time of need!
For whether it be men or birds,
Crumbs are better far than words.


Tune"Merry in the Hall."

Within the towers of ancient Glammis
Some merry men did dine,
And their host took care they should richly fare
In friendship, wit, and wine.
[Pg 89] But they sat too late, and mistook the gate,
(For wine mounts to the brain);
O, 'twas merry in the hall, when the beards wagg'd all;
O, we hope they 'll be back again;
We hope they 'll be back again!
Sir Walter tapp'd at the parson's door,
To find the proper way,
But he dropt his switch, though there was no ditch,
And on the steps it lay.
So his wife took care of this nice affair,
And she wiped it free from stain;
For the knight was gone, nor the owner known,
So he ne'er got the switch again;
So he ne'er got the switch again.
This wondrous little whip[66] remains
Within the lady's sight,
(She crambo makes, with some mistakes,
But hopes for further light).
So she ne'er will part with this switch so smart,
These thirty years her ain;
Till the knight appear, it must just lie here,
He will ne'er get his switch again;
He will ne'er get his switch again!

[Pg 90]


Tune"Peggy Brown."

The parting kiss, the soft embrace,
I feel them at my heart!
'Twere joy to clasp you in those arms,
But agony to part.
But let us tranquillise our minds,
And hope the time may be,
When I shall see that face again,
So loved, so dear to me!
Five tedious years have roll'd along,
And griefs have had their sway,
Though many comforts fill'd my cup,
Yet thou wert far away.
On pleasant days, when friends are met,
Our sports are scarce begun,
When I shall sigh, because I miss
My George, my eldest son!
I owe my grateful thanks to Heaven,
I 've seen thee well and gay,
I 've heard the music of thy voice,
I 've heard thee sweetly play.
O try and cheer us with your strains
Ere many twelvemonths be,
And let us hear that voice again,
So loved, so dear to me!

[Pg 91]


Robert Lochore was descended from a branch of a Norman family of that name, long established in the neighbourhood of Biggar, and of which the representative was the House of Lochore de Lochore in Fifeshire. He was born at Strathaven, in the county of Lanark, on the 7th of July 1762, and, in his thirteenth year, was apprenticed to a shoemaker in Glasgow. He early commenced business in the city on his own account. In carrying on public improvements he ever evinced a deep interest, and he frequently held public offices of trust. He was founder of the "Annuity Society,"—an institution attended with numerous benefits to the citizens of Glasgow.

Mr Lochore devoted much of his time to private study. He was particularly fond of poetical composition, and wrote verses with facility, many of his letters to his intimate friends being composed in rhyme. His poetry was of the descriptive order; his lyrical effusions were comparatively rare. Several poetical tales and songs of his youth, contributed to different periodicals, he arranged, about the beginning of the century, in a small volume. The greater number of his compositions remain in MS. in the possession of his family. He died in Glasgow, on the 27th April 1852, in his ninetieth year. Of a buoyant and humorous disposition, he composed verses nearly to the close of his long life; and, latterly, found pleasure in recording, for the amusement of his family, his recollections of the past. He was universally beloved as a faithful friend, and was deeply imbued with a sense of religion.[Pg 92]



Now, Jenny lass, my bonnie bird,
My daddy 's dead, an' a' that;
He 's snugly laid aneath the yird,
And I 'm his heir, an' a' that;
I 'm now a laird, an' a' that;
I 'm now a laird, an' a' that;
His gear an' land 's at my command,
And muckle mair than a' that.
He left me wi' his deein' breath,
A dwallin' house, an' a' that;
A burn, a byre, an' wabs o' claith—
A big peat-stack, an' a' that.
A mare, a foal, an' a' that;
A mare, a foal, an' a' that;
Sax guid fat kye, a cauf forby,
An' twa pet ewes, an' a' that.
A yard, a meadow, lang braid leas,
An' stacks o' corn, an' a' that—
Enclosed weel wi' thorns an' trees,
An' carts, an' cars, an' a' that;
A pleugh, an' graith, an' a' that;
A pleugh, an' graith, an' a' that;
Guid harrows twa, cock, hens, an' a'—
A grecie, too, an' a' that.
[Pg 93]
I 've heaps o' claes for ilka days,
For Sundays, too, an' a' that;
I 've bills an' bonds on lairds an' lands,
And siller, gowd, an' a' that.
What think ye, lass, o' a' that?
What think ye, lass, o' a' that?
What want I noo, my dainty doo,
But just a wife to a' that.
Now, Jenny dear, my errand here
Is to seek ye to a' that;
My heart 's a' loupin', while I speer
Gin ye 'll tak me, wi' a' that.
Mysel', my gear, an' a' that;
Mysel', my gear, an' a' that;
Come, gie 's your loof to be a proof,
Ye 'll be a wife to a' that.
Syne Jenny laid her neive in his—
Said, she 'd tak him wi' a' that;
An' he gied her a hearty kiss,
An' dauted her, an' a' that.
They set a day, an' a' that;
They set a day, an' a' that;
Whan she 'd gang hame to be his dame,
An' haud a rant, an' a' that.
[Pg 94]


Tune"Whistle o'er the lave o't."

Quoth Rab to Kate, My sonsy dear,
I 've woo'd ye mair than half a-year,
An' if ye 'd wed me, ne'er cou'd speer
Wi' blateness, an' the care o't.
Now to the point: sincere I 'm we 't;
Will ye be my half-marrow sweet?
Shake han's, and say a bargain be 't,
An' ne'er think on the care o't.
Na, na, quo' Kate, I winna wed,
O' sic a snare I 'll aye be rede;
How mony, thochtless, are misled
By marriage, an' the care o't!
A single life 's a life o' glee,
A wife ne'er think to mak' o' me,
Frae toil an' sorrow I 'll keep free,
An' a' the dool an' care o't.
Weel, weel, said Robin, in reply,
Ye ne'er again shall me deny,
Ye may a toothless maiden die,
For me, I 'll tak' nae care o't.
Fareweel, for ever!—aff I hie;—
Sae took his leave without a sigh:
Oh! stop, quo' Kate, I 'm yours, I 'll try
The married life, an' care o't.
[Pg 95]
Rab wheel't about, to Kate cam' back,
An' gae her mou' a hearty smack,
Syne lengthen'd out a lovin' crack
'Bout marriage, an' the care o't.
Though as she thocht she didna speak,
An' lookit unco mim an' meek,
Yet blythe was she wi' Rab to cleek
In marriage, wi' the care o't.


Tune"Bessie Bell and Mary Gray."

Dear Aunty, I 've been lang your care,
Your counsels guid ha'e blest me;
Now in a kittle case ance mair
Wi' your advice assist me:
Twa lovers frequent on me wait,
An' baith I frankly speak wi';
Sae I 'm put in a puzzlin' strait
Whilk o' the twa to cleek wi'.
There 's sonsy James, wha wears a wig,
A widower fresh and canty,
Though turn'd o' sixty, gaes fu' trig,
He 's rich, and rowes in plenty.
Tam 's twenty-five, hauds James's pleugh,
A lad deserves regardin';
He 's clever, decent, sober too,
But he 's no worth ae fardin'.
[Pg 96]
Auld James, 'tis true, I downa see,
But 's cash will answer a' things;
To be a lady pleases me,
And buskit be wi' braw things.
Tam I esteem, like him there 's few,
His gait and looks entice me;
But, aunty, I 'll now trust in you,
And fix as ye advise me.
Then aunt, wha spun, laid down her roke,
An' thus repliet to Mary:
Unequal matches in a yoke
Draw thrawart and camstrarie.
Since gentle James ye dinna like,
Wi 's gear ha'e nae connexion;
Tam 's like yoursel', the bargain strike,
Grup to him wi' affection.


Tune"Banks of the Dee."

Ye swains wha are touch'd wi' saft sympathy's feelin',
For victims wha 're doom'd sair affliction to dree,
If a heart-broken lover, despairin' an' wailin',
Claim pity, your pity let fa' upon me.
Like you I was blest with content, an' was cheerie,—
My pipe wont to play to the cantiest glee,
When smilin' an' kind was my Mary, sweet Mary,
While Mary was guileless, an' faithfu' to me.
[Pg 97]
She promised, she vow'd, she wad be my half-marrow,
The day too was set, when our bridal should be;
How happy was I, but I tell you wi' sorrow,
She 's perjured hersel', ah! an' ruined me.
For Ned o' Shawneuk, wi' the charms o' his riches,
An' sly winnin' tales, tauld sae pawky an' slee,
Her han' has obtain'd, an' clad her like a duchess,
Sae baith skaith an' scorn ha'e come down upon me.
Ye braes ance enchantin', o' you I 'm now wearie,
An' thou, ance dear haunt, 'neath the aul' thornie tree,
Where in rapture I sat an' dawtit fause Mary,
Fareweel! ye 'll never be seen mair by me.
Awa' as a pilgrim, far distant I 'll wander,
'Mang faces unkent, till the day that I dee.
Ye shepherds, adieu! but tell Mary to ponder,
To think on her vows, an' to think upon me.
[Pg 98]


John Robertson, author of "The Toom Meal Pock," a humorous song which has long been popular in the west of Scotland, was the son of an extensive grocer in Paisley, where he was born about the year 1770. He received the most ample education which his native town could afford, and early cultivated a taste for the elegant arts of music and drawing. Destined for one of the liberal professions, the unfortunate bankruptcy of his father put an effectual check on his original aspirations. For a period he was engaged as a salesman, till habits of insobriety rendered his services unavailable to his employer. As a last resort, he enlisted in the regiment of local militia; and his qualifications becoming known to the officers, he was employed as a regimental clerk and schoolmaster. He had written spirited verses in his youth; and though his muse had become mournful, she continued to sing. His end was melancholy: the unfortunate circumstances of his life preyed upon his mind, and in a paroxysm of phrensy he committed suicide. He died in the vicinity of Portsmouth, in the beginning of April 1810, about six weeks before the similar death of his friend, Robert Tannahill. A person of much ingenuity and scholarship, Robertson, with ordinary steadiness, would have attained a good position in life.[Pg 99]


Preserve us a'! what shall we do,
Thir dark, unhallow'd times;
We 're surely dreeing penance now,
For some most awfu' crimes.
Sedition daurna now appear,
In reality or joke;
For ilka chiel maun mourn wi' me,
O' a hinging, toom meal pock,
And sing, Oh waes me!
When lasses braw gaed out at e'en,
For sport and pastime free;
I seem'd like ane in paradise,
The moments quick did flee.
Like Venuses they all appear'd,
Weel pouther'd were their locks;
'Twas easy dune, when at their hame,
Wi' the shaking o' their pocks.
And sing, Oh waes me!
How happy pass'd my former days,
Wi' merry heartsome glee;
When smiling Fortune held the cup,
And Peace sat on my knee.
Nae wants had I but were supplied;
My heart wi' joy did knock,
When in the neuk I smiling saw
A gaucie, weel-fill'd pock.
And sing, Oh waes me!
[Pg 100]
Speak no ae word about reform,
Nor petition Parliament;
A wiser scheme I 'll now propose,
I 'm sure ye 'll gi'e consent:
Send up a chiel or twa like me,
As a sample o' the flock,
Whose hollow cheeks will be sure proof
O' a hinging, toom meal pock.
And sing, Oh waes me!
And should a sicht sae ghastly-like,
Wi' rags, and banes, and skin,
Hae nae impression on yon folks,
But tell ye 'll stand ahin';
O what a contrast will ye shaw,
To the glowrin' Lunnun folk,
When in St James' ye tak' your stand,
Wi' a hinging, toom meal pock.
And sing, Oh waes me!
Then rear your head, and glowr, and stare,
Before yon hills o' beef;
Tell them ye are frae Scotland come,
For Scotia's relief.
Tell them ye are the vera best,
Waled frae the fattest flock;
Then raise your arms, and oh! display
A hinging, toom meal pock.
And sing, Oh waes me!
[Pg 101]


Alexander Balfour, a poet, novelist and miscellaneous writer, was born on the 1st March 1767, at Guildie, a small hamlet in the parish of Monikie, Forfarshire. His parents were in humble circumstances; and being a twin, he was supported in early life by a friend of the family, from whom he received such a religious training as exercised a highly beneficial influence on his future character. He was educated at the parish school, and evidenced precocity by essaying composition in his twelfth year. Apprenticed to a weaver, he soon became disgusted with the loom, and returned home to teach a school in his native parish. During the intervals of leisure, he wrote articles for the provincial miscellanies, the British Chronicle newspaper, and The Bee, published by Dr Anderson. In his 26th year, he became clerk to a sail-cloth manufacturer in Arbroath; and, on the death of his employer, soon afterwards, he entered into partnership with his widow. On her death, in 1800, he assumed another partner. As government-contractors for supplying the navy with canvas, the firm rapidly attained prosperity; and Balfour found abundant leisure for prosecuting his literary studies, and maintaining a correspondence with several men of letters in the capital. He had married in 1794; and deeming a country residence more advantageous for his rising family, he removed, in 1814, to Trottick, within two miles of Dundee, where he assumed the management of the branch of a London house, which for many years had been connected with his own firm. This step was lamentably unfortunate; the house, in which he had embarked his fortune, shared in the general commercial disasters of 1815, and was involved in complete bankruptcy. Reduced to a condition of depend[Pg 102]ance, Balfour accepted the situation of manager of a manufacturing establishment at Balgonie, in Fife. In 1818, he resigned this appointment; and proceeding to Edinburgh, was employed as a clerk in the establishment of Mr Blackwood, the eminent publisher. The close confinement of the counting-house, and the revolution of his fortunes, which pressed heavily upon his mind, were too powerful for his constitution. Symptoms of paralysis began to appear, shortly after his removal to the capital; and in October 1819, he was so entirely prostrated, as to require the use of a wheeled chair. His future career was that of a man of letters. During the interval which elapsed between his commercial reverses and the period of his physical debility, he prepared a novel, which he had early projected, depicting the trials and sufferings of an unbeneficed preacher. This work appeared in 1819, under the title of "Campbell, or the Scottish Probationer," in three volumes; and though published anonymously, soon led to the discovery and reputation of the author. Towards the close of the same year, he edited the poetical works of his late friend, Richard Gall, to which he supplied an elegant biographical preface. His next separate publication was "The Farmer's Three Daughters," a novel in three volumes. In 1820, he published "Contemplation," with other poems, in one volume octavo; which, favourably received by the press, also added considerably to his fame. A third novel from his pen, entitled, "The Smuggler's Cave; or, The Foundling of Glenthorn," appeared in 1823 from the unpropitious Minerva press; it consequently failed to excite much attention. To the Scots Magazine he had long been a contributor; and, on the establishment of Constable's Edinburgh Magazine in its stead, his assistance was secured by Mr Thomas Pringle, the original editor. His articles, contributed to[Pg 103] this periodical during the nine years of its existence, contain matter sufficient to fill three octavo volumes: they are on every variety of theme, but especially the manners of Scottish rural life, which he has depicted with singular power. Of his numerous contributions in verse, a series entitled, "Characters omitted in Crabbe's Parish Register," was published separately in 1825; and this production has been acknowledged as the most successful effort of his muse. It is scarcely inferior to the more celebrated composition of the English poet.

In 1827, on the application of Mr Hume, M.P., a treasury donation of one hundred pounds was conferred on Mr Balfour by the premier, Mr Canning, in consideration of his genius. His last novel, "Highland Mary," in four volumes, was published shortly before his death. To the last, he contributed to the periodical publications. He died, after an illness of about two weeks' duration, on the 12th September 1829, in the sixty-third year of his age.

Though confined to his wheel-chair for a period of ten years, and otherwise debarred many of the comforts to which, in more prosperous circumstances, he had been accustomed, Alexander Balfour retained to the close of life his native placidity and gentleness. His countenance wore a perpetual smile. He joined in the amusements of the young, and took delight in the recital of the merry tale and humorous anecdote. His speech, somewhat affected by his complaint, became pleasant from the heartiness of his observations. He was an affectionate husband, and a devoted parent; his habits were strictly temperate, and he was influenced by a devout reverence for religion. A posthumous volume of his writings, under the title of "Weeds and Wild-flowers," was published under the editorial care of Mr D. M. Moir, who has prefixed an interesting memoir. As a lyrical poet, he is not entitled to a first place; his songs are, however, to be remarked for deep and genuine pathos.[Pg 104]


Though siller Tweed rin o'er the lea,
An' dark the Dee 'mang Highland heather,
Yet siller Tweed an' drumly Dee
Are not sae dear as Leven Water:
When Nature form'd our favourite isle,
An' a' her sweets began to scatter,
She look'd with fond approving smile,
Alang the banks o' Leven Water.
On flowery braes, at gloamin' gray,
'Tis sweet to scent the primrose springin';
Or through the woodlands green to stray,
In ilka buss the mavis singin':
But sweeter than the woodlands green,
Or primrose painted fair by Nature,
Is she wha smiles, a rural queen,
The bonny lass o' Leven Water!
The sunbeam in the siller dew,
That hangs upon the hawthorn's blossom,
Shines faint beside her e'en sae blue;
An' purer is her spotless bosom.
Her smile wad thaw a hermit's breast;
There 's love an' truth in ilka feature;
For her I 'm past baith wark an' rest,
The bonny lass o' Leven Water!
But I 'm a lad o' laigh degree,
Her purse-proud daddy 's dour an' saucy;
An' sair the carle wad scowl on me,
For speakin' to his dawtit lassie:
[Pg 105] But were I laird o' Leven's glen,
An' she a humble shepherd's daughter,
I 'd kneel, an' court her for my ain,
The bonny lass o' Leven Water!


The rosebud blushing to the morn,
The sna'-white flower that scents the thorn,
When on thy gentle bosom worn,
Were ne'er sae fair as thee, Mary!
How blest was I, a little while,
To deem that bosom free frae guile;
When, fondly sighing, thou wouldst smile;
Yes, sweetly smile on me, Mary!
Though gear was scant, an' friends were few,
My heart was leal, my love was true;
I blest your e'en of heavenly blue,
That glanced sae saft on me, Mary!
But wealth has won your heart frae me;
Yet I maun ever think of thee;
May a' the bliss that gowd can gie,
For ever wait on thee, Mary!
For me, nae mair on earth I crave,
But that yon drooping willow wave
Its branches o'er my early grave,
Forgot by love, an' thee, Mary!
An' when that hallow'd spot you tread,
Where wild-flowers bloom above my head,
O look not on my grassy bed,
Lest thou shouldst sigh for me, Mary!
[Pg 106]


George Macindoe, chiefly known as the author of "A Million o' Potatoes," a humorous ballad, in the Scottish language, was born at Partick, near Glasgow, in 1771. He originally followed the occupation of a silk-weaver, in Paisley, which he early relinquished for the less irksome duties of a hotel-keeper in Glasgow. His hotel was a corner tenement, at the head of King Street, near St Giles' Church, Trongate; and here a club of young men, with which the poet Campbell was connected, were in the habit of holding weekly meetings. Campbell made a practice of retiring from the noisy society of the club to spend the remainder of the evenings in conversation with the intelligent host. After conducting the business of hotel-keeper in Glasgow, during a period of twenty-one years, Macindoe became insolvent, and was necessitated to abandon the concern. He returned to Paisley and resumed the loom, at the same time adding to his finances by keeping a small change-house, and taking part as an instrumental musician at the local concerts. He excelled in the use of the violin. Ingenious as a mechanic, and skilled in his original employment, he invented a machine for figuring on muslin, for which he received premiums from the City Corporation of Glasgow and the Board of Trustees.

Macindoe was possessed of a lively temperament, and his conversation sparkled with wit and anecdote. His person was handsome, and his open manly countenance[Pg 107] was adorned with bushy locks, which in old age, becoming snowy white, imparted to him a singularly venerable aspect. He claimed no merit as a poet, and only professed to be the writer of "incidental rhymes." In 1805, he published, in a thin duodecimo volume, "Poems and Songs, chiefly in the Scottish Dialect," which he states, in the preface, he had laid before the public to gratify "the solicitations of friends." Of the compositions contained in this volume, the ballad entitled "A Million o' Potatoes," and the two songs which we have selected for this work, are alone worthy of preservation. In 1813, he published a second volume of poems and songs, entitled "The Wandering Muse;" and he occasionally contributed lyrics to the local periodicals. He died at Glasgow, on the 19th April 1848, in his seventy-seventh year, leaving a numerous family. His remains were interred at Anderston, Glasgow. The following remarks, regarding Macindoe's songs, have been kindly supplied by Mr Robert Chambers:—

"Amidst George Macindoe's songs are two distinguished by more clearness and less vulgarity than the rest. One of these, called 'The Burn Trout,' was composed on a real incident which it describes, namely, a supper, where the chief dish was a salmon, brought from Peebles to Glasgow by my father,[69] who, when learning his business, as a manufacturer, in the western city, about the end of the century, had formed an acquaintance with the poet. The other, entitled 'Cheese and Whisky,' which contains some very droll verses, was written in compliment to my maternal uncle, William Gibson, then also a young manufacturer, but who died about two months ago, a retired captain of the 90th regiment. The jocund hospitable disposition of Gibson—'Bachelor Willie'—and my father's social good-nature, are pleasingly recalled to me by Macindoe's verses, rough as they are.

"June 1, 1855."

[Pg 108]


Tune"The gude forgi' me for leein'."

Believe me or doubt me, I dinna care whilk,
When Bachelor Willie I 'm seeing,
I feast upon whisky, and cheese o' ewe milk,
And ne'er was choked for leeing, for leeing,
And ne'er was choked for leeing.
Your jams and your jellies, your sugars and teas,
If e'er I thought worthy the preeing,
Compared wi' gude whisky, and kebbocks o' cheese,
May I sup porridge for leeing, for leeing,
May I sup porridge for leeing.
When patfou's o' kale, thick wi' barley and pease,
Can as weel keep a body frae deeing,
As stoupfou's o' whisky, and platefou's o' cheese,
I 'll dree to be scrimpit for leeing, for leeing,
I 'll dree to be scrimpit for leeing.
Tho' the house where we 're sittin' were a' in a bleeze,
I never could think about fleeing,
But would guzzle the whisky, and rive at the cheese;
Perhaps ye may think that I 'm leeing, I 'm leeing,
Perhaps ye may think that I 'm leeing.
[Pg 109]


Tune"The gude forgi' me for leein'."

Brither Jamie cam west, wi' a braw burn trout,
An' speer'd how acquaintance were greeing;
He brought it frae Peebles, tied up in a clout,
An' said it wad just be a preeing, a preeing,
An' said it wad just be a preeing.
In the burn that rins by his grandmother's door
This trout had lang been a dweller,
Ae night fell asleep a wee piece frae the shore,
An' was kill'd wi' a stane by the miller, the miller,
An' was kill'd wi' a stane by the miller.
This trout it was gutted an' dried on a nail
That grannie had reested her ham on,
Weel rubbed wi' saut, frae the head to the tail,
An' kipper'd as 't had been a sa'mon, a sa'mon,
An' kipper'd as 't had been a sa'mon.
This trout it was boil'd an' set ben on a plate,
Nae fewer than ten made a feast o't;
The banes and the tail, they were gi'en to the cat,
But we lickit our lips at the rest o't, the rest o't,
But we lickit our lips at the rest o't.
When this trout it was eaten, we were a' like to rive,
Sae ye maunna think it was a wee ane,
May ilk trout in the burn grow muckle an' thrive,
An' Jamie bring west aye a preeing, a preeing,
An' Jamie bring west aye a preeing.
[Pg 110]


Alexander Douglas was the son of Robert Douglas, a labourer in the village of Strathmiglo in Fife, where he was born on the 17th June 1771. Early discovering an aptitude for learning, he formed the intention of studying for the ministry,—a laudable aspiration, which was unfortunately checked by the indigence of his parents. Attending school during winter, his summer months were employed in tending cattle to the farmers in the vicinity; and while so occupied, he read the Bible in the fields, and with a religious sense, remarkable for his years, engaged in daily prayer in some sequestered spot, for the Divine blessing to grant him a saving acquaintance with the record. At the age of fourteen he was apprenticed to a linen weaver in his native village, with whom he afterwards proceeded to Pathhead, near Kirkcaldy. He now assiduously sought to acquaint himself with general literature, especially with the British poets; and his literary ardour was stimulated by several companions of kindred inclinations. He returned to Strathmiglo, and while busily plying the shuttle began to compose verses for his amusement. These compositions were jotted down during the periods of leisure. Happening to quote a stanza to Dr Paterson of Auchtermuchty, his medical attendant, who was struck with its originality, he was induced to submit his MSS. to the inspection of this gentleman. A cordial recommendation to publish his[Pg 111] verses was the result; and a large number of subscribers being procured, through the exertions of his medical friend, he appeared, in 1806, as the author of an octavo volume of "Poems," chiefly in the Scottish dialect. The publication yielded a profit of one hundred pounds.

Douglas was possessed of a weakly constitution; he died on the 21st November 1821. He was twice married, and left a widow, who still survives. Three children, the issue of the first marriage, died in early life. A man of devoted piety and amiable dispositions, Douglas had few pretensions as a poet; some of his songs have however obtained a more than local celebrity, and one at least seems not undeserving of a place among the modern national minstrelsy.[Pg 112]


Tune"Roy's Wife o' Aldivalloch."

Fife, an' a' the land about it,
Fife, an' a' the land about it;
May health, an' peace, an' plenty glad,
Fair Fife, an' a' the land about it.
We 'll raise the song on highest key,
Through every grove till echo shout it;
The sweet enchantin' theme shall be,
Fair Fife, an' a' the land about it.
Fife, an' a' the land about it, &c.
Her braid an' lang extended vales
Are clad wi' corn, a' wavin' yellow;
Her flocks an' herds crown a' her hills;
Her woods resound wi' music mellow.
Fife, an' a' the land about it, &c.
Her waters pastime sweet afford
To ane an' a' wha like to angle;
The seats o' mony a laird an' lord,
Her plains, as stars the sky, bespangle.
Fife, an' a' the land about it, &c.
In ilka town an' village gay,
Hark! Thrift, her wheel an' loom are usin';
While to an' frae each port an' bay,
See wealthy Commerce briskly cruisin'.
Fife, an' a' the land about it, &c.
[Pg 113]
Her maids are frugal, modest, fair,
As lilies by her burnies growin';
An' ilka swain may here repair,
Whase heart wi' virt'ous love is glowin'.
Fife, an' a' the land about it, &c.
In peace, her sons like lammies mild,
Are lightsome, friendly, an' engagin';
In war, they 're loyal, bauld, an' wild,
As lions roused, an' fiercely ragin'.
Fife, an' a' the land about it, &c.
May auld an' young hae meat an' claes;
May wark an' wages aye be plenty;
An' may the sun to latest days
See Fife an' a' her bairnies canty.
Fife, an' a' the land about it,
Fife, an' a' the land about it;
May health, an' peace, an' plenty glad,
Fair Fife, an' a' the land about it.
[Pg 114]


William M'Laren, a poet of some merit, and an associate and biographer of Robert Tannahill, was born at Paisley about 1772. He originally followed the occupation of a handloom weaver, but was more devoted to the pursuits of literature than the business of his trade. Possessing a considerable share of poetical talent, he composed several volumes of verses, which were published by him on his own account, and very frequently to considerable pecuniary advantage. In 1817, he published, in quarto, a poetical tale, entitled, "Emma; or, The Cruel Father;" and another narrative poem in 1827, under the title of "Isabella; or, The Robbers." Many of his songs and lyrical pieces were contributed to provincial serials. His genius as a poet was exceeded by his skill as a prose writer; he composed in prose with elegance and power. In 1815, he published a memoir of Tannahill—an eloquent and affectionate tribute to the memory of his departed friend—to which is appended an éloge on Robert Burns, delivered at an anniversary of that poet's birthday. In 1818, he published, with a memoir, the posthumous poetical works of his relative, the poet Scadlock. His other prose writings consist of pamphlets on a diversity of subjects.

At one period, M'Laren established himself as a manufacturer in Ireland; but, rendering himself obnoxious by the bold expression of his political opinions, he[Pg 115] found it necessary to make a hasty departure for Scotland. He latterly opened a change-house in Paisley, and his circumstances became considerably prosperous. He died in 1832, leaving a family. He is remembered as a person of somewhat singular manners, and of undaunted enterprise and decision of character. He was shrewd and well-informed, without much reading; he purchased no books, but was ingenious and successful in recommending his own.[71] [Pg 116]


Now summer shines with gaudy pride,
By flowery vale and mountain side,
And shepherds waste the sunny hours
By cooling streams, and bushy bowers;
While I, a victim to despair,
Avoid the sun's offensive glare,
And in sequester'd wilds deplore
The perjured vows of Ella More.
Would Fate my injured heart provide
Some cave beyond the mountain tide,
Some spot where scornful Beauty's eye
Ne'er waked the ardent lover's sigh;
I 'd there to woods and rocks complain,
To rocks that skirt the angry main;
For angry main, and rocky shore,
Are kinder far than Ella More.


Tune"Lord Gregory."

And dost thou speak sincere, my love?
And must we ever part?
And dost thou unrelenting see
The anguish of my heart?
[Pg 117] Have e'er these doating eyes of mine,
One wandering wish express'd?
No; thou alone hast ever been
Companion of my breast.
I saw thy face, angelic fair,
I thought thy form divine,
I sought thy love—I gave my heart,
And hoped to conquer thine.
But, ah! delusive, cruel hope!
Hope now for ever gone!
My Mary keeps the heart I gave,
But with it keeps her own.
When many smiling summer suns
Their silver light has shed,
And wrinkled age her hoary hairs
Waves lightly o'er my head;
Even then, in life's declining hour,
My heart will fondly trace
The beauties of thy lovely form,
And sweetly smiling face.


Though the winter of age wreathes her snow on his head,
And the blooming effulgence of summer has fled,
Though the voice, that was sweet as the harp's softest string,
Be trem'lous, and low as the zephyrs of spring,
Yet say not the Bard has turn'd old.
[Pg 118]
Though the casket that holds the rich jewel we prize
Attracts not the gaze of inquisitive eyes;
Yet the gem that 's within may be lovely and bright
As the smiles of the morn, or the stars of the night;
Then say not the Bard has turn'd old.
When the tapers burn clear, and the goblet shines bright,
In the hall of his chief, on a festival night,
I have smiled at the glance of his rapturous eye,
While the brim of the goblet laugh'd back in reply;
Then say not the Bard has turn'd old.
When he sings of the valorous deeds that were done,
By his clan or his chief, in the days that are gone,
His strains then are various—now rapid, now slow,
As he mourns for the dead or exults o'er the foe;
Then say not the Bard has turn'd old.
When summer in gaudy profusion is dress'd,
And the dew-drop hangs clear on the violet's breast,
I list with delight to his rapturous strain,
While the borrowing echo returns it again;
Then say not the Bard has turn'd old.
But not summer's profusion alone can inspire
His soul in the song, or his hand on the lyre,
But rapid his numbers and wilder they flow,
When the wintry winds rave o'er his mountains of snow;
Then say not the Bard has turn'd old.
I have seen him elate when the black clouds were riven,
Terrific and wild, by the thunder of heaven,
And smile at the billows that angrily rave,
Incessant and deep o'er the mariner's grave;
Then say not the Bard has turn'd old.
[Pg 119]
When the eye that expresses the warmth of his heart,
Shall fail the benevolent wish to impart—
When his blood shall be cold as the wintry wave,
And silent his harp as the gloom of the grave,
Then say that the Bard has turn'd old.
[Pg 120]


A man of fine intellect, a poet, and an elegant writer, Hamilton Paul has claims to remembrance. On the 10th April 1773, he was born in a small cottage on the banks of Girvan Water, in the parish of Dailly, and county of Ayr. In the same dwelling, Hugh Ainslie, another Scottish bard, was afterwards born. Receiving his elementary education at the parish school, he became a student in the University of Glasgow. Thomas Campbell, author of "The Pleasures of Hope," was a college contemporary; and their mutual love of poetry drew them closely to each other; they competed for academical rewards offered for the best compositions in verse, till frequent adjudication as to the equality of their merits, induced them to forbear contesting on the same subjects. At least on one occasion the verses of Paul were preferred to those of the Bard of Hope. The following lines, exhibiting a specimen of his poetical powers at this period, are from a translation of Claudian's "Epithalamium on the Marriage of Honorius and Maria," for which, in the Latin class, he gained a prize along with his friend:—

"Maria, now the maid of heavenly charms,
Decreed to bliss the youthful monarch's arms;
Inflames Augustus with unwonted fires,
And in his breast awakens new desires.
In love a novice, while his bosom glows
With restless heat, the cause he scarcely knows;
[Pg 121] The rural pastimes suited to his age,
His late delight, no more his care engage;
No more he wills to give his steed the reins
In eager chase, and urge him o'er the plains;
No more he joys to bend the twanging bow,
To hurl the javeline, or the dart to throw;
His alter'd thoughts to other objects rove,
To wounds inflicted by the god of love.
How oft, expressive of the inward smart,
Did groans convulsive issue from his heart!
How oft did blushes own the sacred flame,
How oft his hand unbidden wrote her name!
Now presents worthy of the plighted fair,
And nuptial robes his busy train prepare—
Robes wherewith Livia was herself attired,
And those bright dames that to the beds aspired
Of emperors. Yet the celestial maid
Requires no earthly ornamental aid
To give her faultless form a single grace,
Or add one charm to her bewitching face."

The circumstances of the young poets were far from affluent. Campbell particularly felt the pressure of poverty. He came hastily one morning to the lodgings of his friend to request his opinion of some verses; they were immediately printed, and the copies sold to his fellow-students for a halfpenny each. So Paul sometimes told his friends, quoting the following lines as all he could remember of the production:—

"Loud shriek'd afar the angry sprite,
That rode upon the storm of night,
And loud the waves were heard to roar
That lash'd on Jura's rocky shore."

After several sessions of attendance at college, Paul became tutor to a family in Argyleshire, and Campbell obtained a similar situation in the island of Mull. They entered into a humorous correspondence in prose and[Pg 122] verse. "Your verses on the Unfortunate Lady," writes Campbell to his friend, "I read with sweet pleasure; for there is a joy in grief, when peace dwelleth in the breast of the sad.... Morose as I am in judging of poetry, I could find nothing inelegant in the whole piece. I hope you will in your next (since you are such a master of the plaintive) send me some verses consolatory to a hermit; for my sequestered situation sometimes stamps a firm belief on my mind that I am actually an anchorite. In return for your welcome poetical effusion, I have nothing at present but a chorus of the Jepthes of Buchanan, written soon after my arrival in Mull:—

"Glassy Jordan, smooth meandering
Jacob's grassy meads between,
Lo! thy waters, gently wandering,
Lave thy valleys rich and green.
"When the winter, keenly show'ring,
Strips fair Salem's holy shade,
Then thy current, broader flowing,
Lingers 'mid the leafless glade.
"When, O! when shall light returning
Gild the melancholy gloom,
And the golden star of morning
Jordan's solemn vault illume?
"When shall Freedom's holy charmer
Cheer my long benighted soul?
When shall Israel, proud in armour,
Burst the tyrant's base control?" &c.

"The similarity of the measure with that of your last made me think of sending you this piece. I am much hurried at present with my comedy, the 'Clouds of Aristophanes.' I have already finished my translation of the Choephorœ of Æschylus. I dreamt a dream about your being before Parnassus upon your trial for sedition and contumacy. I thought Thalia, Clio, [Pg 123]&c. addressed you. Their speeches shall be nonsensified into rhyme, and shall be part of some other scrawl from your affectionate friend,

"Thomas the Hermit."

In another epistle Campbell threatens to "send a formal message to the kind nymphs of Parnassus, telling them that, whereas Hamilton Paul, their favourite and admired laureate of the north, has been heard to express his admiration of certain nymphs in a certain place; and that the said Hamilton Paul has ungratefully and feloniously neglected to speak with due reverence of the ladies of Helicon; that said Hamilton Paul shall be deprived of all aid in future from these goddesses, and be sent to draw his inspiration from the dry fountain of earthly beauty; and that, furthermore, all the favours taken from the said Hamilton Paul shall accrue to the informer and petitioner!"

After two years' residence in the Highlands, both the poets returned to Glasgow to resume their academical studies: Campbell to qualify himself as a man of letters, and Paul to prepare for the ministry of the Scottish Church. "It would have been impossible, even during the last years of their college life," writes Mr Deans,[72] "to have predicted which of the two students would ultimately arrive at the greatest eminence. They were both excellent classical scholars; they were both ingenious poets; and Campbell does not appear to have surpassed his companion either in his original pieces or his translations; they both exhibited great versatility of talent; they were both playful and witty; and seem to have been possessed of great facilities in sport.[Pg 124] During his latter years, when detailing the history of those joyous days, Mr Paul dwelt on them with peculiar delight, and seemed animated with youthful emotion when recalling the curious frolics and innocent and singular adventures in which Campbell and he had performed a principal part."

While resident at Inverary, Mr Paul composed several poems, which were much approved by his correspondent. Among these, a ballad entitled "The Maid of Inverary," in honour of Lady Charlotte Campbell, afterwards Lady Bury, was set to music, and made the subject of elaborate criticism. On his return to the university, he composed with redoubled ardour, contributing verses on every variety of topic to the newspapers and periodicals. Several of his pieces, attracting the notice of some of the professors, received their warm commendation.

Obtaining licence to preach, the poet returned to his native county. During a probation of thirteen years, he was assistant to six parish ministers, and tutor in five different families. He became joint-proprietor and editor of the Ayr Advertiser, which he conducted for a period of three years. At Ayr he was a member of every literary circle; was connected with every club; chaplain to every society; a speaker at every meeting; the poet of every curious occurrence; and the welcome guest at every table. Besides editing his newspaper, he gave private instructions in languages, and preached on Sabbath. His metrical productions became widely known, and his songs were sung at the cottage hearths of the district. His presence at the social meeting was the sure indication of a prevalent good humour.

In 1813, Mr Paul attained the summit of his professional ambition; he was ordained to the pastoral office in the united parishes of Broughton, Glenholm,[Pg 125] and Kilbucho, in Peeblesshire. Amidst due attention to his clerical duties, he still found leisure to engage in literary pursuits, and continued to contribute to the public journals both in prose and poetry. Of the poet Burns he was an enthusiastic admirer; he was laureate of the "Burns' Allowa' Club," and of the Glasgow Ayrshire Friendly Society, whose annual meetings were held on the Bard's anniversary; and the odes which he composed for these annual assemblages attracted wide and warm admiration. He therefore recommended himself as a suitable editor of the works of Burns, when a new edition was contemplated by Messrs Wilson and M'Cormick, booksellers in Ayr. In the performance of his editorial task, he was led, in an attempt to palliate the immoralities of Burns, to make some indiscreet allusions respecting his own clerical brethren; for this imprudence he narrowly escaped censure from the ecclesiastical courts. His memoir, though commended in Blackwood's Magazine, conducted by Professor Wilson, was severely censured by Dr Andrew Thomson in the Christian Instructor.

The pastoral parish of Broughton was in many respects suited for a person of Hamilton Paul's peculiar temperament and habits; in a more conspicuous position his talents might have shone with more brilliancy; but, after the burst of enthusiasm in his youth was past, he loved seclusion, and modestly sought the shade. No man was less conscious of his powers, or attached less value to his literary performances.[73] Of his numerous poetical compositions each was the work of a sitting, or[Pg 126] had been uttered impromptu; and, unless secured by a friend, they were commonly laid aside never to be recollected. As a clergyman, he retained, during a lengthened incumbency, the respect and affection of his flock, chiefly, it may be remarked, from the acceptability of his private services, and the warmth and kindliness of his dispositions. His pulpit discourses were elegantly composed, and largely impressed with originality and learning; but were somewhat imperfectly pervaded with those clear and evangelical views of Divine truth which are best calculated to edify a Christian audience. In private society, he was universally beloved. "His society," writes Mr Deans, "was courted by the rich and the poor, the learned and the unlearned. In every company he was alike kind, affable, and unostentatious; as a companion, he was the most engaging of men; he was the best story-teller of his day." His power of humour was unbounded; he had a joke for every occasion, a bon-mot for every adventure. He had eminent power of satire when he chose to wield it; but he generally blended the complimentary with the pungent, and lessened the keenness of censure by the good-humour of its utterance. His anecdotes are familiar over a wide district, and many of his witty sayings have become proverbial. He was abundantly hospitable, and had even suffered embarrassments from its injudicious exercise; still he was always able, as he used to say—

"To invite the wanderer to the gate,
And spread the couch of rest."

It was his earnest desire that he might live to pay his liabilities, and he was spared to accomplish the wish. He died on the 28th of February 1854, in the 81st year of his age.[Pg 127]

In appearance, Hamilton Paul presented a handsome person, tall and erect; his countenance was regular and pleasant; and his eyes, which were partially concealed by overhanging eye-lashes, beamed with humour and intelligence. In conversation he particularly excelled, evincing on every topic the fruits of extensive reading and reflection. He was readily moved by the pathetic; at the most joyous hour, a melancholy incident would move him into tears. The tenderness of his heart was frequently imparted to his verses, which are uniformly distinguished for smoothness and simplicity.[Pg 128]


Fair are the fleecy flocks that feed
On yonder heath-clad hills,
Where wild meandering crystal Tweed
Collects his glassy rills.
And sweet the buds that scent the air,
And deck the breast of May;
But none of these are sweet or fair,
Compared to Helen Gray.
You see in Helen's face so mild,
And in her bashful mien,
The winning softness of the child,
The blushes of fifteen.
The witching smile, when prone to go,
Arrests me, bids me stay;
Nor joy, nor comfort can I know,
When 'reft of Helen Gray.
I little thought the dark-brown moors,
The dusky mountain's shade,
Down which the wasting torrent pours,
Conceal'd so sweet a maid;
When sudden started from the plain
A sylvan scene and gay,
Where, pride of all the virgin train,
I first saw Helen Gray.
       *       *       *       *       *
May never Envy's venom'd breath,
Blight thee, thou tender flower!
And may thy head ne'er droop beneath
Affliction's chilling shower!
[Pg 129] Though I, the victim of distress,
Must wander far away;
Yet, till my dying hour, I 'll bless
The name of Helen Gray.


Of streams that down the valley run,
Or through the meadow glide,
Or glitter to the summer sun,
The Stinshar[74] is the pride.
'Tis not his banks of verdant hue,
Though famed they be afar;
Nor grassy hill, nor mountain blue,
Nor flower bedropt with diamond dew;
'Tis she that chiefly charms the view,
The bonnie lass of Barr.
When rose the lark on early wing,
The vernal tide to hail;
When daisies deck'd the breast of spring,
I sought her native vale.
The beam that gilds the evening sky,
And brighter morning star,
That tells the king of day is nigh,
With mimic splendour vainly try
To reach the lustre of thine eye,
Thou bonnie lass of Barr.
[Pg 130]
The sun behind yon misty isle,
Did sweetly set yestreen;
But not his parting dewy smile
Could match the smile of Jean.
Her bosom swell'd with gentle woe,
Mine strove with tender war.
On Stinshar's banks, while wild-woods grow,
While rivers to the ocean flow,
With love of thee my heart shall glow,
Thou bonnie lass of Barr.
[Pg 131]


Robert Tannahill was born at Paisley on the 3d of June 1774. His father, James Tannahill, a silk-gauze weaver, espoused Janet Pollock, daughter of Matthew Pollock, owner of the small property of Boghall, near Beith; their family consisted of six sons and one daughter, of whom the future poet was the fourth child. On his mother's side he inherited a poetical temperament; she was herself endowed with strong natural sagacity, and her maternal uncle Hugh Brodie of Langcroft, a small landowner in Lochwinnoch, evidenced poetic powers by composing "A Speech in Verse upon Husbandry."[75] When a mere youth, Tannahill wrote verses; and being unable, from a weakness in one of his limbs to join in the active sports of his school-fellows, he occasionally sought amusement by composing riddles in rhyme for their solution. As a specimen of these early compositions, we submit the following, which has been communicated to us by Mr Matthew Tannahill, the poet's surviving brother. It was composed on old grumbling Peter Anderson, the gardener of King's Street, a character still remembered in Paisley:—

"Wi' girnin' and chirmin',
His days they hae been spent;
When ither folk right thankfu' spoke,
He never was content."

Along with poetry Tannahill early cultivated the kin[Pg 132]dred arts of music and song; a mere youth, he occasionally earned the payment of ten shillings for playing on the fife at the Greenock parades; he afterwards became eminent for his skill in the use of the flute. Having completed his education at school, which consisted of instruction in the elementary branches, he became apprenticed to a cotton-weaver. Collecting old or obscure airs, he began to adapt to them suitable words, which he jotted down as they occurred, upon a rude writing-desk he had attached to his loom. His spare hours were spent in the general improvement of his mind. For a period of two years at the commencement of the century, he prosecuted his handicraft occupation at Bolton in England. Returning to Paisley in the spring of 1802, he was offered the situation of overseer of a manufacturing establishment, but he preferred to resume the labours of the loom.

Hitherto Tannahill had not dreamt of becoming known as a song-writer; he cultivated his gift to relieve the monotony of an unintellectual occupation, and the usual auditor of his lays was his younger brother Matthew, who for some years was his companion in the workshop. The acquaintance of Robert Archibald Smith, the celebrated musical composer, which he was now fortunate in forming, was the means of stimulating his Muse to higher efforts and of awakening his ambition. Smith was at this period resident in Paisley; and along with one Ross, a teacher of music from Aberdeen, he set several of Tannahill's best songs to music. In 1805 he was invited to become a poetical contributor to a leading metropolitan periodical; and two years afterwards he published a volume of "Poems and Songs." Of this work a large impression was sold, and a number of the songs soon obtained celebrity. Encouraged by R. A. Smith and[Pg 133] others, who, attracted by his fame, came to visit him, Tannahill began to feel concerned in respect of his reputation as a song-writer; he diligently composed new songs and re-wrote with attention those which he had already published. Some of these compositions he hoped would be accepted by his correspondent, Mr George Thomson, for his collection, and the others he expected would find a publisher in the famous bookselling firm of Constable & Co. The failure of both these schemes—for Constable's hands were full, and Thomson exhibited his wonted "fastidiousness"—preyed deeply on the mind of the sensitive bard. A temporary relief to his disappointed expectations was occasioned by a visit which, in the spring of 1810, he received from James Hogg, the Ettrick Shepherd, who made a journey to Paisley expressly to form his acquaintance. The visit is remembered by Mr Matthew Tannahill, who describes the enthusiasm with which his brother received such homage to his genius. The poets spent a night together; and in the morning Tannahill accompanied the Shepherd half-way to Glasgow. Their parting was memorable: "Farewell," said Tannahill, as he grasped the Shepherd's hand, "we shall never meet again! Farewell, I shall never see you more!"

The visit of the Ettrick Bard proved only an interlude amidst the depression which had permanently settled on the mind of poor Tannahill. The intercourse of admiring friends even became burdensome to him; and he stated to his brother Matthew his determination either to leave Paisley for a sequestered locality, or to canvass the country for subscribers to a new edition of his poems. Meanwhile, his person became emaciated, and he complained to his brother that he experienced a prickling[Pg 134] sensation in the head. During a visit to a friend in Glasgow, he exhibited decided symptoms of insanity. On his return home, he complained of illness, and took to bed in his mother's house. He was visited by three of his brothers on the evening of the same day, and they left him about ten o'clock, when he appeared sufficiently composed. Returning about two hours afterwards to inquire for him, and for their mother, who lay sick in the next apartment, they found their brother's bed empty, and discovered that he had gone out. Arousing the neighbours, they made an immediate search, and at length they discovered the poet's lifeless body at a deep spot of the neighbouring brook. Tannahill terminated his own life on the 17th May 1810, at the age of thirty-six.

The victim of disappointments which his sensitive temperament could not endure, Tannahill was naturally of an easy and cheerful disposition. "He was happy himself," states his surviving brother, "and he wished to see every one happy around him." As a child, his brother informs us, his exemplary behaviour was so conspicuous, that mothers were satisfied of their children's safety, if they learned that they were in company with "Bob Tannahill." Inoffensive in his own dispositions, he entertained every respect for the feelings of others. He enjoyed the intercourse of particular friends, but avoided general society; in company, he seldom talked, and only with a neighbour; he shunned the acquaintance of persons of rank, because he disliked patronage, and dreaded the superciliousness of pride. His conversation was simple; he possessed, but seldom used, considerable powers of satire; but he applied his keenest shafts of declamation against the votaries of cruelty. In performing acts of kindness he took delight, but he was[Pg 135] scrupulous of accepting favours; he was strong in the love of independence, and he had saved twenty pounds at the period of his death. His general appearance did not indicate intellectual superiority; his countenance was calm and meditative, his eyes were gray, and his hair a light-brown. In person, he was under the middle size. Not ambitious of general learning, he confined his reading chiefly to poetry. His poems are much inferior to his songs; of the latter will be found admirers while the Scottish language is sung or understood. Abounding in genuine sweetness and graceful simplicity, they are pervaded by the gentlest pathos. Rich in description of beautiful landscapes, they softly tell the tale of man's affection and woman's love.[76] [Pg 136]


The sun has gane down o'er the lofty Benlomond,
And left the red clouds to preside o'er the scene,
While lanely I stray in the calm simmer gloamin'
To muse on sweet Jessie, the flower o' Dumblane.
How sweet is the brier, wi' its saft faulding blossom,
And sweet is the birk, wi' its mantle o' green;
Yet sweeter and fairer, and dear to this bosom,
Is lovely young Jessie, the flower o' Dumblane.
She's modest as ony, and blithe as she 's bonny;
For guileless simplicity marks her its ain;
And far be the villain, divested of feeling,
Wha 'd blight, in its bloom, the sweet flower o' Dumblane.
[Pg 137] Sing on, thou sweet mavis, thy hymn to the e'ening,
Thou 'rt dear to the echoes of Calderwood glen;
Sae dear to this bosom, sae artless and winning,
Is charming young Jessie, the flower o' Dumblane.
How lost were my days till I met wi' my Jessie,
The sports o' the city seem'd foolish and vain;
I ne'er saw a nymph I would ca' my dear lassie,
Till charm'd with sweet Jessie, the flower o' Dumblane.
Though mine were the station o' loftiest grandeur,
Amidst its profusion I 'd languish in pain;
And reckon as naething the height o' its splendour,
If wanting sweet Jessie, the flower o' Dumblane.


Air"Lord Moira's Welcome to Scotland."

Loudoun's bonnie woods and braes,
I maun lea' them a', lassie;
Wha can thole when Britain's faes
Wald gi'e Britons law, lassie?
Wha would shun the field of danger?
Wha frae fame wad live a stranger?
Now when Freedom bids avenge her,
Wha would shun her ca', lassie?
[Pg 138] Loudoun's bonnie woods and braes
Hae seen our happy bridal days,
And gentle Hope shall soothe thy waes,
When I am far awa', lassie.
"Hark! the swelling bugle sings,
Yielding joy to thee, laddie,
But the dolefu' bugle brings
Waefu' thoughts to me, laddie.
Lanely I may climb the mountain,
Lanely stray beside the fountain,
Still the weary moments countin',
Far frae love, and thee, laddie.
O'er the gory fields of war,
When Vengeance drives his crimson car,
Thou 'lt maybe fa', frae me afar,
And nane to close thy e'e, laddie."
O! resume thy wonted smile!
O! suppress thy fears, lassie!
Glorious honour crowns the toil
That the soldier shares, lassie;
Heaven will shield thy faithful lover,
Till the vengeful strife is over,
Then we 'll meet nae mair to sever,
Till the day we die, lassie;
'Midst our bonnie woods and braes,
We 'll spend our peaceful, happy days,
As blithe 's yon lightsome lamb that plays
On Loudoun's flowery lea, lassie.
[Pg 139]


Far lone amang the Highland hills,
'Midst Nature's wildest grandeur,
By rocky dens, and woody glens,
With weary steps I wander.
The langsome way, the darksome day,
The mountain mist sae rainy,
Are nought to me when gaun to thee,
Sweet lass o' Arranteenie.
Yon mossy rosebud down the howe,
Just op'ning fresh and bonny,
Blinks sweetly 'neath the hazel bough,
And 's scarcely seen by ony;
Sae, sweet amidst her native hills,
Obscurely blooms my Jeanie,
Mair fair and gay than rosy May,
The flower o' Arranteenie.
Now, from the mountain's lofty brow,
I view the distant ocean,
There Av'rice guides the bounding prow,
Ambition courts promotion:—
Let Fortune pour her golden store,
Her laurell'd favours many;
Give me but this, my soul's first wish,
The lass o' Arranteenie.

[Pg 140]


Air"The Brier-bush."

We 'll meet beside the dusky glen, on yon burn side,
Where the bushes form a cosie den, on yon burn side;
Though the broomy knowes be green,
And there we may be seen,
Yet we 'll meet—we 'll meet at e'en down by yon burn side.
I 'll lead you to the birken bower, on yon burn side,
Sae sweetly wove wi' woodbine flower, on yon burn side;
There the busy prying eye,
Ne'er disturbs the lovers' joy,
While in ither's arms they lie, down by yon burn side,
[Pg 141] Awa', ye rude, unfeeling crew, frae yon burn side,
Those fairy scenes are no for you, by yon burn side;
There fancy smoothes her theme,
By the sweetly murm'ring stream,
And the rock-lodged echoes skim, down by yon burn side.
Now the plantin' taps are tinged wi' goud, on yon burn side,
And gloamin' draws her foggy shroud o'er yon burn side;
Far frae the noisy scene,
I 'll through the fields alane,
There we 'll meet, my ain dear Jean, down by yon burn side.


Air"Bonny Dundee."

Keen blaws the wind o'er the braes o' Gleniffer,
The auld castle's turrets are cover'd wi' snaw;
How changed frae the time when I met wi' my lover,
Amang the broom bushes by Stanley-green shaw:
The wild flowers o' summer were spread a' sae bonnie,
The mavis sang sweet frae the green birken tree;
But far to the camp they hae march'd my dear Johnnie,
And now it is winter wi' nature and me.
Then ilk thing around us was blythesome and cheery,
Then ilk thing around us was bonny and braw;
Now naething is heard but the wind whistling dreary,
And naething is seen but the wide-spreading snaw.
[Pg 142] The trees are a' bare, and the birds mute and dowie,
They shake the cauld drift frae their wings as they flee,
And chirp out their plaints, seeming wae for my Johnnie,
'Tis winter wi' them, and 'tis winter wi' me.
Yon cauld sleety cloud skiffs alang the bleak mountain,
And shakes the dark firs on the stey rocky brae;
While down the deep glen bawls the snaw-flooded fountain,
That murmur'd sae sweet to my laddie and me.
'Tis no its loud roar on the wintry winds swellin',
'Tis no the cauld blast brings the tears i' my e'e,
For, O, gin I saw but my bonny Scots callan',
The dark days o' winter were summer to me!


Air"Crockston Castle."

Through Crockston Castle's lanely wa's
The wintry wind howls wild and dreary;
Though mirk the cheerless e'ening fa's,
Yet I hae vow'd to meet my Mary.
[Pg 143] Yes, Mary, though the winds should rave
Wi' jealous spite to keep me frae thee,
The darkest stormy night I 'd brave,
For ae sweet secret moment wi' thee.
Loud o'er Cardonald's rocky steep,
Rude Cartha pours in boundless measure;
But I will ford the whirling deep,
That roars between me and my treasure.
Yes, Mary, though the torrent rave,
Wi' jealous spite, to keep me frae thee,
Its deepest flood I 'd bauldly brave,
For ae sweet secret moment wi' thee.
The watch-dog's howling loads the blast,
And makes the nightly wand'rer eerie;
But when the lonesome way is past,
I 'll to this bosom clasp my Mary!
Yes, Mary, though stern winter rave,
With a' his storms, to keep me frae thee,
The wildest dreary night I 'd brave,
For ae sweet secret moment wi' thee.


Air"The Three Carls o' Buchanan."

Let us go, lassie, go
To the braes o' Balquhither,
Where the blaeberries grow
'Mang the bonnie Highland heather;
[Pg 144] Where the deer and the rae,
Lightly bounding together,
Sport the lang summer day
On the braes o' Balquhither.
I will twine thee a bower
By the clear siller fountain,
And I 'll cover it o'er
Wi' the flowers o' the mountain;
I will range through the wilds,
And the deep glens sae dreary,
And return wi' their spoils
To the bower o' my dearie.
When the rude wintry win'
Idly raves round our dwelling,
And the roar of the linn
On the night breeze is swelling;
So merrily we 'll sing,
As the storm rattles o'er us,
Till the dear sheiling ring
Wi' the light lilting chorus.
Now the summer is in prime,
Wi' the flow'rs richly blooming,
And the wild mountain thyme
A' the moorlands perfuming;
[Pg 145] To our dear native scenes
Let us journey together,
Where glad innocence reigns,
'Mang the braes o' Balquhither.


Air"Lord Balgonie's Favourite."

Gloomy winter 's now awa'
Saft the westling breezes blaw,
'Mang the birks of Stanley-shaw,
The mavis sings fu' cheery, O!
Sweet the crawflower's early bell
Decks Gleniffer's dewy dell,
Blooming like thy bonny sel',
My young, my artless dearie, O!
Come, my lassie, let us stray
O'er Glenkilloch's sunny brae,
Blithely spend the gowden day,
'Midst joys that never weary, O!
Towering o'er the Newton woods,
Laverocks fan the snaw-white clouds,
Siller saughs, wi' downy buds,
Adorn the banks sae briery, O!
Round the sylvan fairy nooks,
Feath'ry breckans fringe the rocks,
'Neath the brae the burnie jouks,
And ilka thing is cheery, O!
[Pg 146] Trees may bud, and birds may sing,
Flowers may bloom, and verdure spring,
Joy to me they canna bring,
Unless wi' thee, my dearie, O!


Air"Sleepy Maggie."

O! Are ye sleeping, Maggie?
O! are ye sleeping, Maggie?
Let me in, for loud the linn
Is roaring o'er the warlock craigie.
Mirk and rainy is the night,
No a starn in a' the carry;[84]
Lightnings gleam athwart the lift,
And winds drive wi' winter's fury.
O! are ye sleeping, Maggie? &c.
Fearful soughs the bourtree bank,
The rifted wood roars wild and dreary,
Loud the iron yate does clank,
And cry of howlets makes me eerie.
O! are ye sleeping, Maggie? &c.
Aboon my breath I daurna' speak,
For fear I rouse your waukrife daddie,
Cauld 's the blast upon my cheek,
O rise, rise, my bonny lady!
O! are ye sleeping, Maggie? &c.
[Pg 147]
She opt the door, she let him in,
He cuist aside his dreeping plaidie:
"Blaw your warst, ye rain and win',
Since, Maggie, now I 'm in aside ye."
Now, since ye 're waking, Maggie!
Now, since ye 're waking, Maggie!
What care I for howlet's cry,
For bourtree bank, or warlock craigie?


Air"Forneth House."

Now Winter, wi' his cloudy brow,
Is far ayont yon mountains;
And Spring beholds her azure sky
Reflected in the fountains:
Now, on the budding slaethorn bank,
She spreads her early blossom,
And wooes the mirly-breasted birds
To nestle in her bosom.
But lately a' was clad wi' snaw,
Sae darksome, dull, and dreary;
Now laverocks sing to hail the spring,
And Nature all is cheery.
Then let us leave the town, my love,
And seek our country dwelling,
Where waving woods, and spreading flowers,
On every side are smiling.
[Pg 148]
We 'll tread again the daisied green,
Where first your beauty moved me;
We 'll trace again the woodland scene,
Where first ye own'd ye loved me;
We soon will view the roses blaw
In a' the charms of fancy,
For doubly dear these pleasures a',
When shared with thee, my Nancy.


Gaelic Air"Mor nian à Ghibarlan."

Blithe was the time when he fee'd wi' my father, O!
Happy were the days when we herded thegither, O!
Sweet were the hours when he row'd me in his plaidie, O!
And vow'd to be mine, my dear Highland laddie, O!
But, ah! waes me! wi' their sodgering sae gaudy, O!
The laird's wys'd awa my braw Highland laddie, O!
Misty are the glens, and the dark hills sae cloudy, O!
That aye seem'd sae blythe wi' my dear Highland laddie, O!
The blaeberry banks now are lonesome and dreary, O!
Muddy are the streams that gush'd down sae clearly, O!
Silent are the rocks that echoed sae gladly, O!
The wild melting strains o' my dear Highland laddie, O!
He pu'd me the crawberry, ripe frae the boggy fen:
He pu'd me the strawberry, red frae the foggy glen;
He pu'd me the row'n frae the wild steeps sae giddy, O!
Sae loving and kind was my dear Highland laddie, O!
[Pg 149]
Fareweel, my ewes, and fareweel, my doggie, O!
Fareweel, ye knowes, now sae cheerless and scroggie, O!
Fareweel, Glenfeoch, my mammy and my daddie, O!
I will leave you a' for my dear Highland laddie, O!


Air"The Shepherd's Son."

The midges dance aboon the burn,
The dews begin to fa';
The pairtricks down the rushy holm,
Set up their e'ening ca'.
Now loud and clear the blackbirds' sang
Rings through the briery shaw,
While flitting, gay, the swallows play
Around the castle wa'.
Beneath the golden gloamin' sky,
The mavis mends her lay,
The redbreast pours his sweetest strains,
To charm the ling'ring day.
While weary yeldrins seem to wail,
Their little nestlings torn;
The merry wren, frae den to den,
Gaes jinking through the thorn.
The roses fauld their silken leaves,
The foxglove shuts its bell,
The honeysuckle and the birk
Spread fragrance through the dell
[Pg 150] Let others crowd the giddy court
Of mirth and revelry—
The simple joys that Nature yields
Are dearer far to me.


Air"Johnnie M'Gill."

'Tis haena ye heard, man, o' Barrochan Jean?
And haena ye heard, man, o' Barrochan Jean?
How death and starvation came o'er the hail nation,
She wrought sic mischief wi' her twa pawky e'en.
The lads and the lasses were deeing in dizzins,
The tane kill'd wi' love and the tither wi' spleen;
The ploughing, the sawing, the shearing, the mawing,
A' wark was forgotten for Barrochan Jean!
Frae the south and the north, o'er the Tweed and the Forth,
Sic coming and ganging there never was seen;
The comers were cheerie, the gangers were blearie,
Despairing or hoping for Barrochan Jean!
The carlines at hame were a' girning and graning,
The bairns were a' greeting frae morning till e'en;
They gat naething for crowdy, but runts boil'd to sowdie,
For naething gat growing for Barrochan Jean!
[Pg 151]
The doctors declared it was past their descriving,
The ministers said 'twas a judgment for sin;
But they lookit sae blae, and their hearts were sae wae,
I was sure they were deeing for Barrochan Jean!
The burns on road-sides were a' dry wi' their drinking,
Yet a' wadna slockin' the drouth i' their skin;
A' around the peat-stacks, and alangst the dyke-backs,
E'en the winds were a' sighing, "Sweet Barrochan Jean!"
The timmer ran done wi' the making o' coffins,
Kirkyards o' their sward were a' howkit fu' clean;
Dead lovers were packit like herring in barrels,
Sic thousands were deeing for Barrochan Jean!
But mony braw thanks to the Laird o' Glen Brodie,
The grass owre their graffs is now bonnie and green,
He sta' the proud heart of our wanton young lady,
And spoil'd a' the charm o' her twa pawky e'en.


Lowland lassie, wilt thou go
Where the hills are clad with snow;
Where, beneath the icy steep,
The hardy shepherd tends his sheep?
Ill nor wae shall thee betide,
When row'd within my Highland plaid.
Soon the voice of cheery spring
Will gar a' our plantin's ring,
[Pg 152] Soon our bonny heather braes
Will put on their summer claes;
On the mountain's sunny side,
We 'll lean us on my Highland plaid.
When the summer spreads the flowers,
Busks the glens in leafy bowers,
Then we 'll seek the caller shade,
Lean us on the primrose bed;
While the burning hours preside,
I 'll screen thee wi' my Highland plaid.
Then we 'll leave the sheep and goat,
I will launch the bonny boat,
Skim the loch in canty glee,
Rest the oars to pleasure thee;
When chilly breezes sweep the tide,
I 'll hap thee wi' my Highland plaid.
Lowland lads may dress mair fine,
Woo in words mair saft than mine;
Lowland lads hae mair of art,
A' my boast 's an honest heart,
Whilk shall ever be my pride;—
O, row thee in my Highland plaid!
"Bonny lad, ye 've been sae leal,
My heart would break at our fareweel;
Lang your love has made me fain;
Take me—take me for your ain!"
Across the Firth, away they glide,
Young Donald and his Lowland bride.
[Pg 153]


Thou bonny wood of Craigie lea!
Thou bonny wood of Craigie lea!
Near thee I pass'd life's early day,
And won my Mary's heart in thee.
The broom, the brier, the birken bush,
Bloom bonny o'er thy flowery lea,
And a' the sweets that ane can wish
Frae Nature's hand, are strew'd on thee.
Far ben thy dark green plantin's shade,
The cooshat croodles am'rously,
The mavis, down thy bughted glade,
Gars echo ring frae every tree.
Thou bonny wood, &c.
Awa, ye thoughtless, murd'ring gang,
Wha tear the nestlings ere they flee!
They 'll sing you yet a canty sang,
Then, O, in pity, let them be!
Thou bonny woods, &c.
When winter blaws in sleety showers,
Frae aff the norlan' hills sae hie,
He lightly skiffs thy bonny bowers,
As laith to harm a flower in thee.
Thou bonny wood, &c.
[Pg 154]
Though Fate should drag me south the line,
Or o'er the wide Atlantic sea;
The happy hours I 'll ever mind,
That I, in youth, hae spent in thee.
Thou bonny wood, &c.


Air"Good night, and joy be wi' you a'."

The weary sun 's gaen down the west,
The birds sit nodding on the tree;
All nature now prepares for rest,
But rest prepared there 's none for me.
The trumpet sounds to war's alarms,
The drums they beat, the fifes they play,—
Come, Mary, cheer me wi' thy charms,
For the morn I will be far away.
Good night, and joy—good night, and joy,
Good night, and joy be wi' you a';
For since its so that I must go,
Good night, and joy be wi' you a'!
I grieve to leave my comrades dear,
I mourn to leave my native shore;
To leave my aged parents here,
And the bonnie lass whom I adore.
But tender thoughts maun now be hush'd,
[Pg 155] When danger calls I must obey.
The transport waits us on the coast,
And the morn I will be far away.
Good night, and joy, &c.
Adieu, dear Scotia's sea-beat coast!
Though bleak and drear thy mountains be,
When on the heaving ocean tost,
I 'll cast a wishful look to thee!
And now, dear Mary, fare thee well,
May Providence thy guardian be!
Or in the camp, or on the field,
I 'll heave a sigh, and think on thee!
Good night, and joy, &c.
[Pg 156]


Dr Henry Duncan the distinguished founder of Savings' Banks, and the promoter of various schemes of social economy, we are enabled to record among the contributors to Caledonian minstrelsy. He was descended through both parents from a succession of respectable clergymen of the Scottish Church. His father George Duncan, was minister of Lochrutton in the stewartry of Kircudbright, and the subject of this memoir was born in the manse of that parish, on the 8th October 1774. After a period of training at home under a private tutor, he was sent to the Academy of Dumfries to complete his preparation for the University. At the age of fourteen, he entered as a student the United College of St Andrews, but after an attendance of two years at that seat of learning, he was induced, on the invitation of his relative Dr Currie, to proceed to Liverpool, there to prepare himself for a mercantile profession, by occupying a situation in the banking office of Messrs Heywood. After a trial of three years, he found the avocations of business decidedly uncongenial, and firmly resolved to follow the profession of his progenitors, by studying for the ministry of the Church of Scotland. He had already afforded evidence of ability to grapple with questions of controversial theology, by printing a tract against the errors of Socinianism, which, published anonymously, attracted in the city of Liverpool much attention from the originality with which the[Pg 157] usual arguments were illustrated and enforced. Of the concluding five years of his academical course, the first and two last were spent at the University of Edinburgh, the other two at that of Glasgow. In 1797, he was enrolled as a member of the Speculative Society of the University of Edinburgh, and there took his turn in debate with Henry Brougham, Francis Horner, Lord Henry Petty afterwards Marquis of Lansdowne, and other young men of genius, who then adorned the academic halls of the Scottish capital. With John Leyden, W. Gillespie afterwards minister of Kells, and Robert Lundie the future minister of Kelso, he formed habits of particular intimacy. From the Presbytery of Dumfries, he obtained licence as a probationer in the spring of 1798, and he thereafter accepted the situation of tutor in the family of Colonel Erskine afterwards Earl of Mar, who then resided at Dalhonzie, near Crieff. In this post he distinguished himself by inducing the inhabitants of the district to take up arms in the defence of the country, during the excitement, which then prevailed respecting an invasion. In the spring of 1799, the parishes of Lochmaben and Ruthwell, both in the gift of the Earl of Mansfield, became simultaneously vacant, and the choice of them was accorded to Mr Duncan by the noble patron. He preferred Ruthwell, and was ordained to the charge of that parish, on the 19th September.

In preferring the parish of Ruthwell to the better position and wider field of ministerial usefulness presented at Lochmaben, Mr Duncan was influenced by the consideration, that the population of the former parish was such as would enable him to extend the pastoral superintendence to every individual of his flock. In this respect he realised his wishes; but not content with[Pg 158] efficiently discharging the more sacred duties of a parochial clergyman, he sought with devoted assiduity, the amelioration of the physical condition of his people. Relieving an immediate destitution in the parish, by a supply of Indian corn brought on his own adventure, he was led to devise means of preventing the recurrence of any similar period of depression. With this intention, he established two friendly societies in the place, and afterwards a local bank for the savings of the industrious. The latter proved the parent of those admirable institutions for the working classes, known as Savings' Banks, which have since become so numerous throughout Europe and the United States of America. The Ruthwell Savings' Bank was established in 1810. Numerous difficulties attended the early operation of the system, on its general adoption throughout the country, but these were obviated and removed by the skill and promptitude of the ingenious projector. At one period his correspondence on the subject cost him in postages an annual expenditure of one hundred pounds, a sum nearly equal to half the yearly emoluments of his parochial cure. The Act of Parliament establishing Savings' Banks in Scotland, which was passed in July 1819, was procured through his indomitable exertions, and likewise the Act of 1835, providing for the better regulation of these institutions.

At Ruthwell, Dr Duncan introduced the system of popular lectures on science, which has since been adopted by Mechanics' Institutes. Further to extend the benefits of popular instruction and entertainment, he edited a series of tracts entitled "The Scottish Cheap Repository," one of the first of those periodicals devoted to the moral improvement of the people. A narrative designated "The Cottager's Fireside," which he origin[Pg 159]ally contributed to this series, was afterwards published separately, and commanded a wide circulation. In 1809, Dr Duncan originated the Dumfries and Galloway Courier, a weekly newspaper which he conducted during the first seven years of its existence. He was a frequent contributor to "The Christian Instructor," and wrote the articles "Blair" and "Blacklock" for the Edinburgh Encyclopædia. At the request of Lord Brougham, he composed two treatises on Savings' Banks and Friendly Societies, for publication by the "Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge." In 1819, he published the "Young Country Weaver," a tale calculated to disseminate just political views among the manufacturing classes; and in 1826 a tale of the times of the Covenant in three volumes, with the title of "William Douglas, or the Scottish Exiles." Deeply interested in the question of Slave Emancipation, he contributed a series of letters on the subject to the Dumfries Courier, which, afterwards published in the form of a pamphlet, excited no inconsiderable attention. His most valuable and successful publication, the "Sacred Philosophy of the Seasons" appeared in 1836-7 in four duodecimo volumes.

As a man of science, the name of Dr Duncan is associated with the discovery of footprints of four-footed animals in the New Red-Sandstone. He made this curious geological discovery in a quarry at Corncocklemuir, about fifteen miles distant from his parochial manse. In 1823, he received the degree of D.D. from the University of St Andrews. In 1839, he was raised to the Moderator's chair in the General Assembly. In church politics, he had early espoused liberal opinions; at the Disruption in 1843, he resigned his charge and united himself to the Free Church. He continued to[Pg 160] minister in the parish of Ruthwell, till the appointment of an assistant and successor a short time before his decease. Revisiting the scene of his ministerial labours after a brief absence, he was struck with paralysis while conducting service at a prayer-meeting, and two days afterwards expired. He died at Comlongon, the residence of his brother-in-law Mr Phillips, on the 12th February 1846, and his remains were committed to the church-yard of Ruthwell, in which he had ministered during an incumbency of upwards of forty-six years.

Dr Duncan was twice married; first in 1804, to Miss Craig, the only surviving daughter of his predecessor, and secondly in 1836, to Mrs Lundie, the relict of his friend Mr Lundie, minister of Kelso. His memoirs have been published by his son, the Rev. George John C. Duncan, minister of the Free Church, Greenwich. A man of fine intellect, extensive and varied scholarship, and highly benevolent dispositions, Dr Duncan was much cherished and beloved alike by his parishioners and his gifted contemporaries. Pious and exemplary as became his profession, he was expert in business, and was largely endowed with an inventive genius. Though hitherto scarcely known as a poet, he wrote verses so early as his eleventh year, which are described by his biographer as having "evinced a maturity of taste, a refinement of thought, and an ease of diction which astonished and delighted his friends," and the specimens of his more mature lyrical compositions, which we have been privileged to publish from his MSS. are such as to induce some regret that they were not sooner given to the public.[Pg 161]


The music o' the year is hush'd,
In bonny glen and shaw, man;
And winter spreads o'er nature dead
A winding sheet o' snaw, man.
O'er burn and loch, the warlike frost,
A crystal brig has laid, man;
The wild geese screaming wi' surprise,
The ice-bound wave ha'e fled, man.
Up, curler, frae your bed sae warm,
And leave your coaxing wife, man;
Gae get your besom, tramps and stane,
And join the friendly strife, man.
For on the water's face are met,
Wi' mony a merry joke, man;
The tenant and his jolly laird,
The pastor and his flock, man.
The rink is swept, the tees are mark'd,
The bonspiel is begun, man;
The ice is true, the stanes are keen,
Huzza for glorious fun, man!
The skips are standing at the tee,
To guide the eager game, man;
Hush, not a word, but mark the broom,
And tak' a steady aim, man.
There draw a shot, there lay a guard,
And here beside him lie, man;
Now let him feel a gamester's hand,
Now in his bosom die, man;
[Pg 162] Then fill the port, and block the ice,
We sit upon the tee, man;
Now tak' this in-ring, sharp and neat,
And mak' their winner flee, man.
How stands the game? Its eight and eight,
Now for the winning shot, man;
Draw slow and sure, and tak' your aim,
I 'll sweep you to the spot, man.
The stane is thrown, it glides along,
The besoms ply it in, man;
Wi' twisting back the player stands,
And eager breathless grin, man.
A moment's silence, still as death,
Pervades the anxious thrang, man;
When sudden bursts the victor's shout,
With holla's loud and lang, man.
Triumphant besom's wave in air,
And friendly banters fly, man;
Whilst, cold and hungry, to the inn,
Wi' eager steps they hie, man.
Now fill ae bumper, fill but ane,
And drink wi' social glee, man,
May curlers on life's slippery rink,
Frae cruel rubs be free, man;
Or should a treacherous bias lead
Their erring course ajee, man,
Some friendly in-ring may they meet,
To guide them to the tee, man.
[Pg 163]


Tune"Arniston House."

On the green sward lay William, in anguish extended,
To soothe and to cheer him his Mary stood near him;
But despair in the cup of his sorrows was blended,
And, inwardly groaning, he wildly exclaim'd—
"Ah! look not so fondly, thou peerless in beauty,
Away, I beseech thee, no comfort can reach me;
A martyr to love, or a traitor to duty,
My pleasure is sorrow, my hope is despair.
"Once the visions of fancy shone bright and attractive,
Like distant scenes blooming which sunbeams illumine;
Love pointed to wealth, and, no longer inactive,
I labour'd till midnight, and rose with the dawn.
"But the day-dreams of pleasure have fled me for ever,
Misfortune surrounds me, oppression confounds me;
No hope to support, and no friend to deliver,
Poor and wretched, alas! I must ever remain.
"And thou, my soul's treasure, whilst pitying my anguish,
New poison does mix in my cup of affliction,
For honour forbids (though without thee I languish)
To make thee a partner of sorrow and want."
[Pg 164]
"Dear William," she cried, "I 'll no longer deceive thee,
I honour thy merit, I love thy proud spirit;
Too well thou art tried, and if wealth can relieve thee,
My portion is ample—that portion is thine."


Hark! the martial drums resound,
Valiant brothers, welcome all,
Crowd the royal standard round,
'Tis your injured country's call.
See, see, the robbers come,
Ruin seize the ruthless foe;
For your altars, for your homes,
Heroes lay the tyrants low!
He whom dastard fears abash,
He was born to be a slave—
Let him feel the despot's lash,
And sink inglorious to the grave.
See, see, &c.
He who spurns a coward's life,
He whose bosom freedom warms,
Let him share the glorious strife,
We 'll take the hero to our arms.
See, see, &c.
[Pg 165]
Spirits of the valiant dead,
Who fought and bled at Freedom's call,
In the path you dared to tread,
We, your sons, will stand or fall.
See, see, &c.
Bending from your airy halls,
Turn on us a guardian eye—
Lead where Fame or Honour calls,
And teach to conquer or to die!
See, see, &c.


Tune"Blythe, Blythe and Merry was she."

Exiled far from scenes of pleasure,
Love sincere and friendship true,
Sad I mark the moon's pale radiance,
Trembling in the midnight dew.
Sad and lonely, sad and lonely,
Musing on the tints decay,
On the maid I love so dearly,
And on pleasure's fleeting day.
Bright the moonbeams, when we parted,
Mark'd the solemn midnight hour,
Clothing with a robe of silver
Hill, and dale, and shady bower.
[Pg 166]
Then our mutual faith we plighted,
Vows of true love to repeat,
Lonely oft the pale orb watching,
At this hour to lovers sweet.
On thy silent face, with fondness,
Let me gaze, fair queen of night,
For my Annie's tears of sorrow
Sparkle in thy soften'd light.
When I think my Annie views thee,
Dearly do I love thy rays,
For the distance that divides us
Seems to vanish as I gaze.


I ask no lordling's titled name,
Nor miser's hoarded store;
I ask to live with those I love,
Contented though I 'm poor.
From joyless pomp and heartless mirth
I gladly will withdraw,
And hide me in this lowly vale,
Beneath my roof of straw.
To hear my Nancy's lips pronounce
A husband's cherish'd name,
To press my children to my heart
Are titles, wealth and fame.
[Pg 167] Let kings and conquerors delight
To hold the world in awe,
Be mine to find content and peace
Beneath my roof of straw.
When round the winters' warm fireside
We meet with social joy,
The glance of love to every heart
Shall speak from every eye.
More lovely far such such scenes of bliss
Than monarch ever saw,
Even angels might delight to dwell
Beneath my roof of straw.


Tune"Bonny Mary Hay."

Thou ken'st, Mary Hay, that I loe thee weel,
My ain auld wife, sae canty and leal,
Then what gars thee stand wi' the tear in thine e'e,
And look aye sae wae, when thou look'st at me?
Dost thou miss, Mary Hay, the saft bloom o' my cheek,
And the hair curling round it, sae gentie and sleek?
For the snaw 's on my head, and the roses are gane,
Since that day o' days I first ca'd thee my ain.
[Pg 168]
But though, Mary Hay, my auld e'en be grown dim,
An age, wi' its frost, maks cauld every limb,
My heart, thou kens weel, has nae cauldness for thee,
For simmer returns at the blink o' thine e'e.
The miser hauds firmer and firmer his gold,
The ivy sticks close to the tree, when its old,
And still thou grows't dearer to me, Mary Hay,
As a' else turns eerie, and life wears away.
We maun part, Mary Hay, when our journey is done,
But I 'll meet thee again in the bricht world aboon,
Then what gars thee stand wi' the tear in thine e'e,
And look aye sae wae when thou look'st at me?
[Pg 169]


Robert Allan was the son of a respectable flax-dresser in the village of Kilbarchan, Renfrewshire. The third of a family of ten children, he was born on the 4th of November 1774. Inheriting a taste for music, he early evinced talent in the composition of song, which was afterwards fostered by the encouragement of Tannahill and Robert Archibald Smith. With Tannahill he lived on terms of the most cordial friendship. He followed the occupation of a muslin weaver in his native place, and composed many of his best verses at the loom. He was an extensive contributor to the "Scottish Minstrel," published by R. A. Smith, his songs being set to music by the editor. In 1820, a number of his songs appeared in the "Harp of Renfrewshire." His only separate volume was published in 1836, under the editorial revision of Robert Burns Hardy, teacher of elocution in Glasgow.

In his more advanced years, Allan, who was naturally of good and benevolent dispositions, became peculiarly irritable; he fancied that his merits as a poet had been overlooked, and the feeling preyed deeply upon his mind. He entertained extreme political opinions, and conceived a dislike to his native country, which he deemed had not sufficiently estimated his genius. Much in opposition to the wishes of his friends, he sailed for New York in his 67th year. He survived the passage[Pg 170] only six days; he died at New York on the 1st June 1841.

Robert Allan is entitled to an honourable position as a writer of Scottish song; all his lyrics evince a correct appreciation of the beautiful in nature, and of the pure and elevated in sentiment. Several of his lays are unsurpassed in genuine pathos.[92] [Pg 171]


Blink over the burn, my sweet Betty,
Blink over the burn, love, to me;
O, lang hae I look'd, my dear Betty,
To get but a blink o' thine e'e.
The birds are a' sporting around us,
And sweetly they sing on the tree;
But the voice o' my bonny sweet Betty,
I trow, is far dearer to me.
The ringlets, my lovely young Betty,
That wave o'er thy bonnie e'ebree,
I 'll twine wi' the flowers o' the mountain,
That blossom sae sweetly, like thee.
Then come o'er the burn, my sweet Betty,
Come over the burn, love, to me;
O, sweet is the bliss, my dear Betty,
To live in the blink o' thine e'e.


Air"Haud awa frae me, Donald."

Come awa, hie awa,
Come and be mine ain, lassie;
Row thee in my tartan plaid,
An' fear nae wintry rain, lassie.
[Pg 172] A gowden brooch, an' siller belt,
Wi' faithfu' heart I 'll gie, lassie,
Gin ye will lea' your Lawland hame,
For Highland hills wi' me, lassie.
Come awa, &c.
A bonnie bower shall be thy hame,
And drest in silken sheen, lassie.
Ye 'll be the fairest in the ha',
And gayest on the green, lassie.
Come awa, &c.


Haud awa, bide awa,
Haud awa frae me, Donald;
What care I for a' your wealth,
And a' that ye can gie, Donald?
I wadna lea' my Lowland lad
For a' your gowd and gear, Donald;
Sae tak' your plaid, an' o'er the hill,
An' stay nae langer here, Donald.
Haud awa, &c.
My Jamie is a gallant youth,
I lo'e but him alane, Donald,
And in bonnie Scotland's isle,
Like him there is nane, Donald;
Haud awa, &c.
He wears nae plaid, or tartan hose,
Nor garters at his knee, Donald;
But oh, he wears a faithfu' heart,
And love blinks in his e'e, Donald.
[Pg 173]
Sae haud awa, bide awa,
Come nae mair at e'en, Donald;
I wadna break my Jamie's heart,
To be a Highland Queen, Donald.


Air"In yon garden fine and gay."

On thee, Eliza, dwell my thoughts,
While straying was the moon's pale beam;
At midnight, in my wand'ring sleep,
I see thy form in fancy's dream.
I see thee in the rosy morn,
Approach as loose-robed beauty's queen;
The morning smiles, but thou art lost,
Too soon is fled the sylvan scene.
Still fancy fondly dwells on thee,
And adds another day of care;
What bliss were mine could fancy paint
Thee true, as she can paint thee fair!
O fly, ye dear deceitful dreams!
Ye silken cords that bind the heart;—
Canst thou, Eliza, these entwine,
And smile and triumph in the smart?
[Pg 174]


Air"M'Gilchrist's Lament."

Chaunt no more thy roundelay,
Lovely minstrel of the grove,
Charm no more the hours away,
With thine artless tale of love;
Chaunt no more thy roundelay,
Sad it steals upon mine ear;
Leave, O leave thy leafy spray,
Till the smiling morn appear.
Light of heart, thou quitt'st thy song,
As the welkin's shadows low'r;
Whilst the beetle wheels along,
Humming to the twilight hour.
Not like thee I quit the scene,
To enjoy night's balmy dream;
Not like thee I wake again,
Smiling with the morning beam.


Air"The Banks of Eswal."

The primrose is bonnie in spring,
And the rose it is sweet in June;
It 's bonnie where leaves are green,
I' the sunny afternoon.
[Pg 175] It 's bonny when the sun gaes down,
An' glints on the hoary knowe;
It 's bonnie to see the cloud
Sae red in the dazzling lowe.
When the night is a' sae calm,
An' comes the sweet twilight gloom,
Oh! it cheers my heart to meet
My lassie amang the broom,
When the birds in bush and brake,
Do quit their blythe e'enin' sang;
Oh! what an hour to sit
The gay gowden links amang.


Air"Hey the rantin' Murray's Ha'."

The sun blinks sweetly on yon shaw,
But sweeter far on Woodhouselee,
And dear I like his setting beam
For sake o' ane sae dear to me.
It was na simmer's fairy scenes,
In a' their charming luxury,
But Beauty's sel' that won my heart,
The bonnie lass o' Woodhouselee.
Sae winnin', was her witchin' smile,
Sae piercin', was her coal-black e'e,
Sae sairly wounded was my heart,
That had na wist sic ills to dree;
[Pg 176] In vain I strave in beauty's chains,
I cou'd na keep my fancy free,
She gat my heart sae in her thrall,
The bonnie lass o' Woodhouselee.
The bonnie knowes, sae yellow a',
Where aft is heard the hum of bee,
The meadow green, and breezy hill,
Where lambkins sport sae merrilie,
May charm the weary, wand'rin' swain,
When e'enin' sun dips in the sea,
But a' my heart, baith e'en and morn,
Is wi' the lass o' Woodhouselee.
The flowers that kiss the wimplin' burn,
And dew-clad gowans on the lea,
The water-lily on the lake,
Are but sweet emblems a' of thee;
And while in simmer smiles they bloom,
Sae lovely, and sae fair to see,
I 'll woo their sweets, e'en for thy sake,
The bonnie lass o' Woodhouselee.


The sun is setting on sweet Glengarry,
The flow'rs are fair and the leaves are green;
O bonnie lassie, ye maun be my dearie,
And the rose is sweet in the dew at e'en.
[Pg 177]
Doun yon glen ye never will weary,
The flow'rs are fair and the leaves are green;
Bonnie lassie, ye maun be my dearie,
And the rose is sweet in the dew at e'en.
Birds are singing fu' blythe and cheery,
The flow'rs are fair and the leaves are green;
Bonnie lassie, on bank sae briery,
And the rose is sweet in the dew at e'en.
In yonder glen there 's naething to fear ye,
The flow'rs are fair and the leaves are green;
Ye canna be sad, ye canna be eerie,
And the rose is sweet in the dew at e'en.
The water is wimpling by fu' clearly,
The flow'rs are fair and the leaves are green;
Oh! ye sall ever be my dearie,
And the rose is sweet in the dew at e'en.


Gaelic Air.

Her hair was like the Cromla mist,
When evening sun beams from the west,
Bright was the eye of Morna;
When beauty wept the warrior's fall,
Then low and dark was Fingal's hall,
Sad was the lovely Morna.
[Pg 178]
O! lovely was the blue-eyed maid
That sung peace to the warrior's shade,
But none so fair as Morna.
The hallow'd tears bedew'd the brake,
That waved beside dark Orna's lake,
Where wander'd lovely Morna.
Sad was the hoary minstrel's song,
That died the rustling heath among,
Where sat the lovely Morna;
It slumber'd on the placid wave,
It echoed through the warrior's cave,
And sigh'd again to Morna.
The hero's plumes were lowly laid;
In Fingal's hall each blue-eyed maid
Sang peace and rest to Morna;
The harp's wild strain was past and gone,
No more it whisper'd to the moan
Of lovely, dying Morna.


Air"Hodgart's Delight."

O leeze me on the bonnie lass
That I lo'e best o' a';
O leeze me on my Marion,
The pride o' Lockershaw.
[Pg 179] O weel I like my Marion,
For love blinks in her e'e,
And she has vow'd a solemn vow,
She lo'es na ane but me.
The flowers grow bonnie on the bank,
Where doun the waters fa';
The birds sing bonnie in the bower,
Where red, red roses blaw.
An' there, wi' blythe and lightsome heart,
When day has closed his e'e,
I wander wi' my Marion,
Wha lo'es na ane but me.
Sic luve as mine an' Marion's,
O, may it never fa'!
But blume aye like the fairest flower,
That grows in Lockershaw.
My Marion I will ne'er forget
Until the day I dee,
For she has vow'd a solemn vow,
She lo'es na ane but me.


Highland Boat-air.

Put off, put off, and row with speed,
For now 's the time, and the hour of need!
To oars, to oars, and trim the bark,
Nor Scotland's queen be a warder's mark!
[Pg 180] Yon light that plays round the castle's moat
Is only the warder's random shot!
Put off, put off, and row with speed,
For now is the time, and the hour of need!
Those pond'rous keys[93] shall the kelpies keep,
And lodge in their caverns dark and deep;
Nor shall Lochleven's towers or hall,
Hold thee, our lovely lady, in thrall;
Or be the haunt of traitors, sold,
While Scotland has hands and hearts so bold;
Then, steersmen, steersmen, on with speed,
For now is the time, and the hour of need!
Hark! the alarum-bell hath rung,
And the warder's voice hath treason sung;
The echoes to the falconet's roar,
Chime swiftly to the dashing oar.
Let town, and hall, and battlements gleam,
We steer by the light of the tapers' beam;
For Scotland and Mary, on with speed,
Now, now is the time, and the hour of need!


Air"The bonnie Mill-dams o' Balgonie."

When Charlie to the Highlands came,
It was a' joy and gladness,
We trow'd na that our hearts sae soon
Wad broken be wi' sadness.
[Pg 181]
Oh! why did Heaven sae on us frown,
And break our hearts wi' sorrow;
Oh! it will never smile again,
And bring a gladsome morrow!
Our dwellings, and our outlay gear,
Lie smoking, and in ruin;
Our bravest youths, like mountain deer,
The foe is oft pursuing.
Our home is now the barren rock,
As if by Heaven forsaken;
Our shelter and our canopy,
The heather and the bracken.
Oh! we maun wander far and near,
And foreign lands maun hide in;
Our bonnie glens, we lo'ed sae dear,
We daurna langer bide in.


Lord Ronald came to his lady's bower,
When the moon was in her wane;
Lord Ronald came at a late, late hour,
And to her bower is gane.
He saftly stept in his sandal shoon,
And saftly laid him doun;
"It 's late, it 's late," quoth Ellenore,
"Sin ye maun wauken soon.
[Pg 182]
"Lord Ronald, stay till the early cock
Shall flap his siller wing,
An' saftly ye maun ope the gate,
An' loose the silken string."
"O Ellenore, my fairest fair,
O Ellenore, my bride!
How can ye fear when my merry men a'
Are on the mountain side."
The moon was hid, the night was sped,
But Ellenore's heart was wae;
She heard the cock flap his siller wing,
An' she watched the morning ray:
"Rise up, rise up, Lord Ronald, dear,
The mornin' opes its e'e;
Oh, speed thee to thy father's tower,
And safe, safe may thou be."
But there was a page, a little fause page,
Lord Ronald did espy,
An' he has told his baron all,
Where the hind and hart did lie.
"It is na for thee, but thine, Lord Ronald,
Thy father's deeds o' weir;
But since the hind has come to my faul',
His blood shall dim my spear."
Lord Ronald kiss'd fair Ellenore,
And press'd her lily hand;
Sic a comely knight and comely dame
Ne'er met in wedlock's band:
But the baron watch'd, as he raised the latch,
And kiss'd again his bride;
And with his spear, in deadly ire,
He pierced Lord Ronald's side.
[Pg 183]
The life-blood fled frae fair Ellenore's cheek,
She look'd all wan and ghast;
She lean'd her down by Lord Ronald's side,
An' the blood was rinnin' fast:
She kiss'd his lip o' the deadlie hue,
But his life she cou'dna stay;
Her bosom throbb'd ae deadlie throb,
An' their spirits baith fled away.


Air"Highland Lassie."

When sets the sun o'er Lomond's height,
To blaze upon the western wave;
When peace and love possess the grove,
And echo sleeps within the cave;
Led by love's soft endearing charms,
I stray the pathless winding vale,
And hail the hour that gives to me
The lovely maid of Ormadale.
Her eyes outshine the star of night,
Her cheeks the morning's rosy hue;
And pure as flower in summer shade,
Low bending in the pearly dew:
Nor flower sae fair and lovely pure,
Shall fate's dark wintry winds assail;
As angel-smile she aye will be
Dear to the bowers of Ormadale.
[Pg 184]
Let fortune soothe the heart of care,
And wealth to all its votaries give;
Be mine the rosy smile of love,
And in its blissful arms to live.
I would resign fair India's wealth,
And sweet Arabia's spicy gale,
For balmy eve and Scotian bower,
With thee, loved maid of Ormadale.


A lassie cam' to our gate yestreen,
An' low she curtsied doun;
She was lovelier far, an' fairer to see,
Then a' our ladies roun'.
Oh, whare do ye wend, my sweet winsome doo?
An' whare may your dwelling be?
But her heart, I trow, was liken to break,
An' the tear-drap dimm'd her e'e.
I haena a hame, quo' the bonnie lassie—
I haena a hame, nor ha';
Fain here wad I rest my weary feet,
For the night begins to fa'.
I took her into our tapestry ha',
An' we drank the ruddy wine;
An' aye I strave, but fand my heart
Fast bound wi' Love's silken twine.
[Pg 185]
I ween'd she might be the fairies' queen
She was sae jimp and sma';
And the tear that dimm'd her bonnie blue e'e
Fell ower twa heaps o' snaw.
Oh, whare do ye wend, my sweet winsome doo?
An' whare may your dwelling be?
Can the winter's rain an' the winter's wind
Blaw cauld on sic as ye?
I haena a hame, quo' the bonnie lassie—
I haena a ha' nor hame;
My father was ane o' "Charlie's" men,
An' him I daurna name.
Whate'er be your kith, whate'er be your kin,
Frae this ye mauna gae;
An' gin ye 'll consent to be my ain,
Nae marrow ye shall hae.
Sweet maiden, tak' the siller cup,
Sae fu' o' the damask wine,
An' press it to your cherrie lip,
For ye shall aye be mine.
An' drink, sweet doo, young Charlie's health,
An' a' your kin sae dear;
Culloden has dimm'd mony an e'e
Wi' mony a saut, saut tear.
[Pg 186]


There grew in bonnie Scotland
A thistle and a brier,
And aye they twined and clasp'd,
Like sisters, kind and dear.
The rose it was sae bonnie,
It could ilk bosom charm;
The thistle spread its thorny leaf,
To keep the rose frae harm.
A bonnie laddie tended
The rose baith ear' and late;
He water'd it, and fann'd it,
And wove it with his fate;
And the leal hearts of Scotland
Pray'd it might never fa',
The thistle was sae bonny green,
The rose sae like the snaw.
But the weird sisters sat
Where Hope's fair emblems grew;
They drapt a drap upon the rose
O' bitter, blasting dew;
And aye they twined the mystic thread,—
But ere their task was done,
The snaw-white shade it disappear'd,
And wither'd in the sun!
A bonnie laddie tended
The rose baith ear' an' late;
He water'd it, and fann'd it,
And wove it with his fate;
[Pg 187] But the thistle tap it wither'd,
Winds bore it far awa',
And Scotland's heart was broken,
For the rose sae like the snaw!


Tune"The Martyr's Grave."

There 's nae Covenant now, lassie!
There 's nae Covenant now!
The Solemn League and Covenant
Are a' broken through!
There 's nae Renwick now, lassie,
There 's nae gude Cargill,
Nor holy Sabbath preaching
Upon the Martyrs' Hill!
It 's naething but a sword, lassie!
A bluidy, bluidy ane!
Waving owre poor Scotland,
For her rebellious sin.
Scotland 's a' wrang, lassie,
Scotland 's a' wrang—
It 's neither to the hill nor glen,
Lassie, we daur gang.
The Martyrs' Hill 's forsaken,
In simmer's dusk sae calm;
There 's nae gathering now, lassie,
To sing the e'ening psalm!
[Pg 188] But the martyr's grave will rise, lassie,
Aboon the warrior's cairn;
An' the martyr soun' will sleep, lassie,
Aneath the waving fern!


Bonnie lassie, blythesome lassie,
Sweet 's the sparkling o' thine e'e;
Aye sae wyling, aye beguiling,
Ye hae stown my heart frae me.
Fondly wooing, fondly sueing,
Let me love, nor love in vain;
Fate shall never fond hearts sever,
Hearts still bound by true love's chain.
Fancy dreaming, hope bright beaming,
Shall each day life's feast renew;
Ours the treasure, ours the pleasure,
Still to live and love more true.
Mirth and folly, joys unholy,
Never shall our thoughts employ;
Smiles inviting, hearts uniting,
Love and bliss without alloy.
Bonnie lassie, blythesome lassie,
Sweet 's the sparkling o' thine e'e;
Aye sae wyling, aye beguiling,
Ye hae stown my heart frae me.
[Pg 189]


Andrew Mercer was born at Selkirk, in 1775. By his father, who was a respectable tradesman, he was destined for the pulpit of the United Secession Church. He became a student in the University of Edinburgh, in 1790, and was the class-fellow and friend of John Leyden, and of Dr Alexander Murray, the future philologist. At the house of Dr Robert Anderson, he formed the intimacy of Thomas Campbell; he also numbered among his early associates Thomas Brown and Mungo Park. Abandoning theological study, he cultivated a taste for the fine arts; and he endeavoured to establish himself in the capital in the twofold capacity of a miniature-painter, and a man of letters. With respect to both avocations, he proved unfortunate. In 1804, a periodical entitled the North British Magazine was originated and supported by his friends, on his behalf; but the publication terminated at the end of thirteen months. At a subsequent period, he removed to Dunfermline, where he was engaged in teaching, and in drawing patterns for the manufacturers. In 1828, he published a "History of Dunfermline," in a duodecimo volume; and, at an interval of ten years, a volume of poems, entitled "Summer Months among the Mountains." A man of considerable ingenuity and scholarship, he lacked industry and steadiness of application. His latter years were clouded by poverty. He died at Dunfermline on the 11th of June 1842, in his 67th year.[Pg 190]


When the fair one and the dear one—
Her lover by her side—
Strays or sits as fancy flits,
Where yellow streamlets glide;
Gleams illuming—flowers perfuming
Where'er her footsteps rove;
Time beguiling with her smiling,
Oh! that 's the hour of love.
When the fair one and the dear one,
Amid a moonlight scene,
Where grove and glade, and light and shade,
Are all around serene;
Heaves the soft sigh of ecstasy,
While coos the turtle-dove,
And in soft strains appeals—complains,
Oh! that 's the hour of love.
Should the fair one and the dear one
The sigh of pity lend
For human woe, that presses low
A stranger, or a friend,
Tears descending, sweetly blending,
As down her cheeks they rove;
Beauty's charms in pity's arms—
Oh! that 's the hour of love.
When the fair one and the dear one
Appears in morning dreams,
In flowing vest by fancy drest,
And all the angel beams;
The heavenly mien, and look serene,
Confess her from above;
While rising sighs and dewy eyes
Say, that 's the hour of love!
[Pg 191]


John Leyden was born on the 8th September 1775, at Denholm, a hamlet in the parish of Cavers, Roxburghshire. His ancestors, for several generations, were farmers, but his father followed the humble occupation of a shepherd. Of four brothers and two sisters, John was the eldest. About a year after his birth, his father removed to Henlawshiel, a solitary cottage,[94] about three miles from Denholm, on the margin of the heath stretching down from the "stormy Ruberslaw." He received the rudiments of knowledge from his paternal grandmother; and discovering a remarkable aptitude for learning, his father determined to afford him the advantages of a liberal education. He was sent to the parish school of Kirkton, and afterwards placed under the tutorship of a Cameronian clergyman, in Denholm, reputed as a classical scholar. In 1790, he entered the University of Edinburgh, where he soon acquired distinction for his classical attainments and devotedness to general learning. His last session of college attendance was spent at St Andrews, where he became a tutor. By the Presbytery of St Andrews, in May 1798, he was licensed as a probationer of the Scottish Church. On obtaining his licence, he returned to the capital, where his reputation as a scholar had secured him many friends.[Pg 192] He now accepted the editorship of the Scots Magazine, to which he had formerly been a contributor, and otherwise employed himself in literary pursuits. In 1799, he published, in a duodecimo volume, "An Historical and Philosophical Sketch of the Discoveries and Settlements of the Europeans in Northern and Central Africa, at the Close of the Eighteenth Century." "The Complaynt of Scotland," a curious political treatise of the sixteenth century, next appeared under his editorial care, with an ingenious introduction, and notes. In 1801, he contributed the ballad of "The Elf-king," to Lewis' "Tales of Wonder;" and, about the same period, wrote several ballads for the "Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border." The dissertation on "Fairy Superstition," in the second volume of the latter work, slightly altered by Scott, proceeded from his pen. In 1802, he edited a small volume, entitled, "Scottish Descriptive Poems," consisting of a new edition of Wilson's "Clyde," and a reprint of "Albania,"—a curious poem, in blank verse, by an anonymous writer of the beginning of the eighteenth century.

A wide circle of influential friends were earnestly desirous of his promotion. In 1800, the opposition of the aged incumbent prevented his appointment as assistant and successor in the ministerial charge of his native parish. A proposal to appoint him Professor of Rhetoric in the University of Edinburgh also failed. He now resolved to proceed to Africa, to explore the interior, under the auspices of the African Association; but some of his friends meanwhile procured him an appointment as a surgeon in the East India Company's establishment at Madras. During his course at the University, he had attended some of the medical classes; and he now resumed the study of medicine, with such[Pg 193] an amount of success, that in six weeks he qualified himself for a surgeon's diploma. About the same time, the degree of M.D. was conferred on him by the University of St Andrews.

Before his departure for the East, Leyden finished his longest poem, the "Scenes of Infancy," the publication of which he entrusted to his friend, Dr Thomas Brown. His last winter in Britain he passed in London, enjoying the society of many distinguished men of letters, to whom he was introduced by his former friend, Mr Richard Heber. He sailed for India[95] on the 7th April 1803, and arrived at Madras on the 19th August. In Hindostan, his talents and extraordinary capabilities in forming an acquaintance with the native tongues gained him numerous friends. He was successively appointed surgeon to the commissioners for surveying the provinces in Mysore, recently conquered from Tippoo Sultan; professor of Hindostan in the College of Calcutta; judge of the twenty-four pargunnahs of Calcutta; a commissioner of the Court of Requests in Calcutta; and assay-master of the mint. His literary services being required by the Governor-General, he left Calcutta for Madras, and afterwards proceeded along with the army in the expedition against Java. On the capture of the town of Batavia, having gone to examine the library of the place, in which he expected to find some curious Indian MSS., he caught a malignant fever from the tainted air of the apartment. He survived only three days, terminating a life of much promise, on the 28th of August 1811, in the thirty-sixth year of his age.

In John Leyden an unconquerable perseverance was[Pg 194] united to remarkable native genius, and a memory of singular retentiveness. Eminent as a linguist, he was an able and accurate philologist; in a knowledge of the many languages of India he stood unrivalled. During his residence in the East, he published a "Dissertation on the Languages and Literature of the Indo-Chinese Nations," in the tenth volume of the "Asiatic Researches," and he left numerous MSS. on subjects connected with oriental learning. He was early a votary of the Muse; and, in youth, was familiar with the older Scottish bards. In April 1795, he appeared in the Edinburgh Literary Magazine as author of an elegy "On the Death of a Sister;" and subsequently became a regular contributor of verses to the periodicals of the capital. His more esteemed poetical productions are the "Scenes of Infancy," and the ballads which he composed for the "Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border." Of the latter, the supernatural machinery is singularly striking; in the former poem, much smooth and elegant versification is combined with powerful and vigorous description. There are, indeed, occasional repetitions and numerous digressions; but amidst these marks of hasty composition, every sentence bears evidence of a masculine intellect and powerful imagination. His lyrical effusions are pervaded with simplicity and tenderness.

Like some other sons of genius, Leyden was of rather eccentric habits. He affected to despise artificial manners; and, though frequenting polished circles in Edinburgh, then in London, and afterwards in Madras and Calcutta, he persevered in an indomitable aversion to the use of the English tongue, which he so well knew how to write with precision and power. He spoke the broadest provincial Scotch with singular pertinacity. His voice was extremely dissonant, but, seemingly unconscious of the defect, he talked loud; and if engaged in[Pg 195] argument, raised his voice to a pitch which frequently proved more powerful than the strength of his reasoning. He was dogmatical in maintaining his opinions, and prone to monopolise conversation; his gesticulations were awkward and even offensive. Peculiar as were his habits, few of the distinguished persons who sought his acquaintance ever desired to renounce his friendship.[96] In his domestic habits, he was temperate often to abstinence; he was frugal, but not mean—careful, but not penurious. He was generous towards his aged parents; was deeply imbued with a sense of religion, and was the foe of vice in every form. He was of a slight figure, and of middle stature; his countenance was peculiarly expressive of intelligence. His hair was auburn, his eyes dark, and his complexion clear and sanguine. He was considerably robust, and took delight in practising gymnastics; he desired fame, not less for feats of running and leaping, than in the sedate pursuits of literature. His premature death was the subject of general lamentation; in the "Lord of the Isles," Scott introduced the following stanza in tribute to his memory:—

"His bright and brief career is o'er,
And mute his tuneful strain;
Quench'd is his lamp of varied lore,
That loved the light of song to pour;
A distant and a deadly shore
Has Leyden's cold remains."

[Pg 196]


How sweet thy modest light to view,
Fair star! to love and lovers dear;
While trembling on the falling dew,
Like beauty shining through a tear.
Or hanging o'er that mirror-stream,
To mark that image trembling there,
Thou seem'st to smile with softer gleam,
To see thy lovely face so fair.
Though, blazing o'er the arch of night,
The moon thy timid beams outshine
As far as thine each starry light,
Her rays can never vie with thine.
Thine are the soft, enchanting hours
When twilight lingers on the plain,
And whispers to the closing flowers
That soon the sun will rise again.
Thine is the breeze that, murmuring bland
As music, wafts the lover's sigh,
And bids the yielding heart expand
In love's delicious ecstasy.
Fair star! though I be doom'd to prove
That rapture's tears are mix'd with pain,
Ah, still I feel 'tis sweet to love—
But sweeter to be loved again.
[Pg 197]


Oh! the breeze of the mountain is soothing and sweet,
Warm breathing of love, and the friends we shall meet;
And the rocks of the desert, so rough when we roam,
Seem soft, soft as silk, on the dear path of home;
The white waves of the Jeikon, that foam through their speed,
Seem scarcely to reach to the girth of my steed.
Rejoice, O Bokhara, and flourish for aye!
Thy King comes to meet thee, and long shall he stay.
Our King is our moon, and Bokhara our skies,
Where soon that fair light of the heavens shall arise—
Bokhara our orchard, the cypress our king,
In Bokhara's fair orchard soon destined to spring.



I warn you, fair maidens, to wail and to sigh,
For Rama, our Rama, to greenwood must fly;
Then hasten, come hasten, to see his array,
Ayud'hya is dark when our chief goes away.
All the people are flocking to see him pass by;
They are silent and sad, with the tear in their eye:
From the fish in the streamlets a broken sigh heaves,
And the birds of the forest lament from the leaves.
[Pg 198]
His fine locks are matted, no raiment has he
For the wood, save a girdle of bark from the tree;
And of all his gay splendour, you nought may behold,
Save his bow and his quiver, and ear-rings of gold.
Oh! we thought to have seen him in royal array
Before his proud squadrons his banners display,
And the voice of the people exulting to own
Their sovereign assuming the purple and crown;
But the time has gone by, my hope is despair,—
One maiden perfidious has wrought all my care.
Our light is departing, and darkness returns,
Like a lamp half-extinguished, and lonely it burns;
Faith fades from the age, nor can honour remain,
And fame is delusive, and glory is vain.
[Pg 199]


James Scadlock, a poet of considerable power, and an associate of Tannahill, was born at Paisley on the 7th October 1775. His father, an operative weaver, was a person of considerable shrewdness; and the poet M'Laren, who became his biographer, was his uterine brother. Apprenticed to the loom, he renounced weaving in the course of a year, and thereafter was employed in the establishment of a bookbinder. At the age of nineteen he entered on an indenture of seven years to a firm of copperplate engravers at Ferenize. He had early been inclined to verse-making, and, having formed the acquaintance of Tannahill, he was led to cultivate with ardour his native predilection. He likewise stimulated his ingenious friend to higher and more ambitious efforts in poetry. Accomplished in the elegant arts of drawing and painting, Scadlock began the study of classical literature and the modern languages. A general stagnation of trade, which threw him out of employment, checked his aspirations in learning. After an interval attended with some privations, he heard of a professional opening at Perth, which he proceeded to occupy. He returned to Paisley, after the absence of one year; and having married in 1808, his attention became more concentrated in domestic concerns. He died of fever on the 4th July 1818, leaving a family of four children.[Pg 200]

Scadlock was an upright member of society, a sincere friend, a benevolent neighbour, and an intelligent companion. In the performance of his religious duties he was regular and exemplary. Desirious of excelling in conversation, he was prone to evince an undue formality of expression. His poetry, occasionally deficient in power, is uniformly distinguished for smoothness of versification.[Pg 201]


Along by Levern stream so clear,
When Spring adorns the infant year,
And music charms the list'ning ear,
I 'll wander with my Mary,
My bonny blooming Mary;
Not Spring itself to me is dear,
When absent from my Mary.
When Summer's sun pours on my head
His sultry rays, I 'll seek the shade,
Unseen upon a primrose bed
I 'll sit with little Mary,
My bonny blooming Mary,
Where fragrant flowers around are spread,
To charm my little Mary.
She 's mild 's the sun through April shower
That glances on the leafy bower,
She 's sweet as Flora's fav'rite flower,
My bonny little Mary,
My blooming little Mary;
Give me but her, no other dower
I 'll ask with little Mary.
Should fickle fortune frown on me,
And leave me bare 's the naked tree,
Possess'd of her, how rich I 'd be,
My lovely little Mary,
My bonny blooming Mary;
From gloomy care and sorrow free,
I 'd ever keep my Mary.

[Pg 202]


Welsh Air"The rising of the Lark."

Hark, hark the skylark singing,
While the early clouds are bringing
Fragrance on their wings;
Still, still on high he 's soaring,
Through the liquid haze exploring,
Fainter now he sings.
Where the purple dawn is breaking,
Fast approaches morning's ray,
From his wings the dew he 's shaking,
As he joyful hails the day,
While echo, from his slumbers waking,
Imitates his lay.
See, see the ruddy morning,
With his blushing locks adorning
Mountain, wood, and vale;
Clear, clear the dew-drop 's glancing,
As the rising sun 's advancing
O'er the eastern hill;
Now the distant summits clearing,
As the vapours steal their way,
And his heath-clad breast 's appearing,
Tinged with Phœbus' golden ray,
Far down the glen the blackbird 's cheering
Morning with her lay.
Come, then, let us be straying,
Where the hazel boughs are playing,
[Pg 203] O'er yon summits gray;
Mild now the breeze is blowing,
And the crystal streamlet 's flowing
Gently on its way.
On its banks the wild rose springing
Welcomes in the sunny ray,
Wet with dew its head is hinging,
Bending low the prickly spray;
Then haste, my love, while birds are singing,
To the newborn day.


Air"Oh, my love's bonnie."

October winds, wi' biting breath,
Now nip the leaves that 's yellow fading;
Nae gowans glint upon the green,
Alas! they 're co'er'd wi' winter's cleading.
As through the woods I musing gang,
Nae birdies cheer me frae the bushes,
Save little robin's lanely sang,
Wild warbling where the burnie gushes.
The sun is jogging down the brae,
Dimly through the mist he 's shining,
And cranreugh hoar creeps o'er the grass,
As Day resigns his throne to E'ening.
Oft let me walk at twilight gray,
To view the face of dying nature,
Till Spring again, wi' mantle green,
Delights the heart o' ilka creature.
[Pg 204]


Alexander Boswell was the eldest son of James Boswell, the celebrated biographer of Dr Johnson, and grandson of Lord Auchinleck, one of the senators of the College of Justice. He was born on the 9th October 1775. His mother, a daughter of Sir Walter Montgomery, Bart., of Lainshaw, was a woman of superior intelligence, and of agreeable and dignified manners. Along with his only brother James, he received his education at Westminster School and the University of Oxford. In 1795, on the death of his father, he succeeded to the paternal estate of Auchinleck. He now made the tour of Europe, and on his return took up his residence in the family mansion.

Inheriting his father's love of literature, and deriving from his mother a taste for elegant accomplishments, Alexander Boswell diligently applied himself to the cultivation of his mind, by an examination of the stores of the famous "Auchinleck Library." From his youth he had been ardent in his admiration of Burns, and had written verses for the amusement of his friends. A wooer of the lyric Muse, many of his lays rapidly obtained circulation, and were sung with a gusto not inferior to that inspired by the songs of the Bard of Coila. In 1803 he published, without his name, in a thin octavo volume, "Songs, chiefly in the Scottish Dialect," and subsequently contributed a number of lyrics of various merit to the Musical Collection of Mr George Thomson, and [Pg 205]Campbell's "Albyn's Anthology." Several other poetical works proceeded from his pen. In 1803, shortly after the appearance of his songs, he published a ballad entitled "The Spirit of Tintoc; or, Johnnie Bell and the Kelpie," with notes, 16 pp. 8vo: Mundell and Son, Edinburgh. This performance, in which are humorously related the adventures of a drunken tailor with the brownies and other denizens of the unseen world, on the summit of Tintoc Hill, was followed in 1810 by another amusing poem, bearing the title of "Edinburgh, or the Ancient Royalty, a Sketch of Former Manners, with Notes by Simon Gray." In this poem, the changes which had occurred in the habits of the citizens of Edinburgh are pourtrayed in a colloquy between an old farmer and his city friend. In 1811 appeared "Clan-Alpin's Vow, a Fragment," with the author's name prefixed. This production, founded upon a horrible tragedy connected with the history of the Clan Macgregor, proved one of the most popular of the author's works; it was reprinted in 1817, by Bentley and Son, London. His future publications may be simply enumerated; they were generally issued from a printing press which he established in the mansion of Auchinleck. In 1812 he printed, for private circulation, a poetical fragment entitled "Sir Albon," intended to burlesque the peculiar style and rhythm of Sir Walter Scott; in 1815, "The Tyrant's Fall," a poem on the battle of Waterloo; in 1816, "Skeldon Haughs, or the Sow is Flitted," a tale in verse founded on an old Ayrshire tradition; and in the same year another poetical tale, after the manner of Allan Ramsay's "Monk and Miller's Wife," entitled, "The Woo'-creel, or the Bull o' Bashun." From his printing office at Auchinleck, besides his poetical tales and pasquinades, he issued many curious and interesting[Pg 206] works, chiefly reprints of scarce tracts on different subjects, preserved in the Auchinleck Library. Of these the most remarkable was the disputation between John Knox and Quentin Kennedy, at Maybole, in 1562, of which the only copy then known to exist was deposited in his paternal library.[98]

Amidst his devotedness to the pursuits of elegant literature, Mr Boswell bestowed much attention on public affairs. He was M.P. for the county of Ayr; and though silent in the House of Commons, was otherwise indefatigable in maintaining his political sentiments. He supported strict conservative principles, and was not without the apprehension of civil disturbance through the impetuosity of the advocates of reform. As Lieutenant-Colonel of the Ayrshire Yeomanry Cavalry, he was painstaking in the training of his troops; the corps afterwards acknowledging his services by the presentation of a testimonial. In 1821, his zeal for the public interest was rewarded by his receiving the honour of a Baronetcy.

One of the most substantial of Sir Alexander's patriotic achievements was the erection of an elegant monument to Robert Burns on the banks of the Doon. The mode in which the object was accomplished is sufficiently interesting. Along with a friend who warmly approved of the design, Sir Alexander advertised in the public prints that a meeting would be held at Ayr, on a particular day, to take into consideration the proposal of rearing a monument to the great national bard. The day and hour arrived, but, save the projectors, not a single individual attended. Nothing disheartened, Sir Alexander took the chair, and his friend proceeded to act as clerk; resolutions were [Pg 207]proposed, seconded, and recorded, thanks were voted to the chairman, and the meeting separated. These resolutions being printed and circulated, were the means of raising by public subscription the sum of nearly two thousand pounds for the erection of the monument. Sir Alexander laid the foundation stone on the 25th of January 1820.

The literary and patriotic career of Sir Alexander Boswell was brought to a sudden termination. Prone to indulge a strong natural tendency for sarcasm, especially against his political opponents, he published, in a Glasgow newspaper, a severe poetical pasquinade against Mr James Stuart, younger of Dunearn, a leading member of the Liberal party in Edinburgh. The discovery of the authorship was followed by a challenge from Mr Stuart, which being accepted, the hostile parties met near the village of Auchtertool, in Fife. Sir Alexander fell, the ball from the pistol of his antagonist having entered near the root of his neck on the right side. He was immediately carried to Balmuto, a seat of his ancestors in the vicinity, where he expired the following day. The duel took place on the 26th March 1822.

The remains of the deceased Baronet were solemnly deposited in the family vault of Auchinleck. In personal appearance, Sir Alexander presented a powerful muscular figure; in society, he was fond of anecdote and humour. In his youth he was keen on the turf and in field sports; he subsequently found his chief entertainment in literary avocations. As a poet, he had been better known if his efforts had been of a less fragmentary character. The general tendency of his Muse was drollery, but some of his lyrics are sufficiently touching.[Pg 208]


I met four chaps yon birks amang,
Wi' hanging lugs and faces lang;
I spier'd at neighbour Bauldy Strang,
Wha 's they I see?
Quoth he, Ilk cream-faced, pawky chiel'
Thinks himsel' cunnin' as the deil,
And here they cam awa' to steal
Jenny's bawbee.
The first, a Captain to his trade,
Wi' ill-lined skull, but back weel clade,
March'd round the barn, and by the shed,
And papped on his knee:
Quoth he, My goddess, nymph, and queen,
Your beauty 's dazzled baith my e'en!
Though ne'er a beauty he had seen
But Jenny's bawbee.
A Norland Laird neist trotted up,
Wi' bawsint naig and siller whup;
Cried—There 's my beast, lad, haud the grup,
Or tie it to a tree.
What 's gowd to me? I 've wealth o' lan',
Bestow on ane o' worth your han':
He thought to pay what he was awn
Wi' Jenny's bawbee.
A Lawyer neist, wi' bleth'rin' gab,
Wha speeches wove like ony wab;
O' ilk ane's corn aye took a dab,
And a' for a fee;
[Pg 209] Accounts he owed through a' the toun,
And tradesmen's tongues nae mair could drown;
But now he thought to clout his goun
Wi' Jenny's bawbee.
Quite spruce, just frae the washin' tubs,
A fool came neist; but life has rubs;
Foul were the roads, and fu' the dubs,
And jaupit a' was he:
He danced up, squintin' through a glass,
And grinn'd, i' faith, a bonnie lass!
He thought to win, wi' front o' brass,
Jenny's bawbee.
She bade the laird gae kaim his wig,
The sodger not to strut sae big,
The lawyer not to be a prig;
The fool he cried, Te-hee!
I kenn'd that I could never fail!
But she pinn'd the dishclout to his tail,
And soused him frae the water-pail,
And kept her bawbee.
Then Johnnie came, a lad o' sense,
Although he had na mony pence;
And took young Jenny to the spence,
Wi' her to crack a wee.
Now Johnnie was a clever chiel',
And here his suit he press'd sae weel
That Jenny's heart grew saft as jeel,
And she birl'd her bawbee.[99]

[Pg 210]


At Willie's weddin' o' the green,
The lasses, bonnie witches,
Were busked out in aprons clean,
And snaw-white Sunday mutches;
Auld Mysie bade the lads tak' tent,
But Jock wad na believe her;
But soon the fool his folly kent,
For Jenny dang the weaver.
In ilka country dance and reel
Wi' her he wad be babbin';
When she sat down, then he sat down,
And till her wad be gabbin';
[Pg 211] Where'er she gaed, or butt or ben,
The coof wad never leave her,
Aye cacklin' like a clockin' hen,
But Jenny dang the weaver.
Quoth he, My lass, to speak my mind,
In troth I needna swither,
Ye 've bonnie e'en, and, gif ye 're kind,
I needna court anither!
He humm'd and haw'd, the lass cried "pheugh,"
And bade the coof no deave her,
Syne crack'd her thumb, and lap and leugh,
And dang the silly weaver.


"Ah, Mary, sweetest maid, farewell!
My hopes are flown, for a 's to wreck;
Heaven guard you, love, and heal your heart,
Though mine, alas, alas! maun break."
"Dearest lad, what ills betide?
Is Willie to his love untrue?
Engaged the morn to be his bride,
Ah! hae ye, hae ye, ta'en the rue?"
"Ye canna wear a ragged gown,
Or beggar wed wi' nought ava;
My kye are drown'd, my house is down,
My last sheep lies aneath the snaw."
[Pg 212]
"Tell na me o' storm or flood,
Or sheep a' smoor'd ayont the hill;
For Willie's sake I Willie lo'ed,
Though poor, ye are my Willie still."
"Ye canna thole the wind and rain,
Or wander friendless far frae hame;
Cheer, cheer your heart, some other swain
Will soon blot out lost Willie's name."
"I 'll tak my bundle in my hand,
An' wipe the dew-drop frae my e'e;
I 'll wander wi' ye ower the land;
I 'll venture wi' ye ower the sea."
"Forgi'e me, love, 'twas all a snare,
My flocks are safe, we needna part;
I 'd forfeit them and ten times mair
To clasp thee, Mary, to my heart."
"How could ye wi' my feelings sport,
Or doubt a heart sae warm and true?
I maist could wish ye mischief for 't,
But canna wish ought ill to you."


Taste life's glad moments,
Whilst the wasting taper glows;
Pluck, ere it withers,
The quickly-fading rose.
[Pg 213]
Man blindly follows grief and care,
He seeks for thorns, and finds his share,
Whilst violets to the passing air
Unheeded shed their blossoms.
Taste life's, &c.
When tim'rous Nature veils her form,
And rolling thunder spreads alarm,
Then, ah! how sweet, when lull'd the storm,
The sun shines forth at even.
Taste life's, &c.
How spleen and envy anxious flies,
And meek content, in humble guise,
Improves the shrub, a tree shall rise,
Which golden fruits shall yield him.
Taste life's, &c.
Who fosters faith in upright breast,
And freely gives to the distress'd,
There sweet contentment builds her nest,
And flutters round his bosom.
Taste life's, &c.
And when life's path grows dark and strait,
And pressing ills on ills await,
Then friendship, sorrow to abate,
The helping hand will offer.
Taste life's, &c.
She dries his tears, she strews his way,
E'en to the grave, with flow'rets gay,
Turns night to morn, and morn to day,
And pleasure still increases.
Taste life's, &c.
[Pg 214]
Of life she is the fairest band,
Joins brothers truly hand in hand,
Thus, onward to a better land,
Man journeys light and cheerly.
Taste life's, &c.


Good night, and joy be wi' ye a',
Your harmless mirth has cheer'd my heart;
May life's fell blasts out o'er ye blaw;
In sorrow may ye never part!
My spirit lives, but strength is gone,
The mountain-fires now blaze in vain;
Remember, sons, the deeds I 've done,
And in your deeds I 'll live again!
When on yon muir our gallant clan,
Frae boasting foes their banners tore;
Wha shew'd himself a better man,
Or fiercer waved the red claymore?
But when in peace—then mark me there—
When through the glen the wand'rer came,
I gave him of our lordly fare,
I gave him here a welcome hame.
The auld will speak, the young maun hear;
Be cantie, but be gude and leal;
Your ain ills aye hae heart to bear,
Anither's aye hae heart to feel.
[Pg 215] So, ere I set, I 'll see ye shine;
I 'll see ye triumph ere I fa';
My parting breath shall boast you mine—
Good night, and joy be wi' ye a'!


Air"Kellyburn Braes."

Hech! what a change hae we now in this town!
The lads a' sae braw, the lasses sae glancin',
Folk maun be dizzie gaun aye in the roun'
For deil a haet 's done now but feastin' and dancin'.
Gowd 's no that scanty in ilk siller pock,
When ilka bit laddie maun hae his bit staigie;
But I kent the day when there was nae a Jock,
But trotted about upon honest shank's naigie.
Little was stown then, and less gaed to waste,
Barely a mullin for mice or for rattens;
The thrifty housewife to the flesh-market paced,
Her equipage a'—just a gude pair o' pattens.
Folk were as good then, and friends were as leal,
Though coaches were scant, wi' their cattle a-cantrin';
Right air we were tell 't by the housemaid or chiel',
Sir, an' ye please, here 's your lass and a lantern.
[Pg 216]
The town may be clouted and pieced, till it meets
A' neebours benorth and besouth, without haltin';
Brigs may be biggit ower lums and ower streets,
The Nor' Loch itsel' heapêd heigh as the Calton.
But whar is true friendship, and whar will you see,
A' that is gude, honest, modest, and thrifty?
Tak' gray hairs and wrinkles, and hirple wi' me,
And think on the seventeen hundred and fifty.


Air"Bannocks o' Barley Meal."

Argyle is my name, and you may think it strange
To live at a court, and yet never to change;
To faction, or tyranny, equally foe,
The good of the land 's the sole motive I know.
The foes of my country and king I have faced,
In city or battle I ne'er was disgraced;
I 've done what I could for my country's weal,
Now I 'll feast upon bannocks o' barley meal.
Ye riots and revels of London, adieu!
And folly, ye foplings, I leave her to you!
For Scotland, I mingled in bustle and strife;
For myself, I seek peace and an innocent life:
[Pg 217] I 'll haste to the Highlands, and visit each scene,
With Maggie, my love, in her rockley o' green;
On the banks of Glenary what pleasure I 'll feel,
While she shares my bannock o' barley meal!
And if it chance Maggie should bring me a son,
He shall fight for his king, as his father has done;
I 'll hang up my sword with an old soldier's pride—
O! may he be worthy to wear 't on his side.
I pant for the breeze of my loved native place;
I long for the smile of each welcoming face;
I 'll aff to the Highlands as fast 's I can reel,
And feast upon bannocks o' barley meal.
[Pg 218]


William Gillespie was born in the manse of Kells, in Galloway, on the 18th February 1776. His father, John Gillespie, minister of Kells, was the intimate friend of Robert Burns; and likewise an early patron of John Low, the ingenious, but unfortunate author of "Mary's Dream." Receiving the rudiments of education at the parish school, William proceeded, in 1792, to the University of Edinburgh, to prosecute his studies for the Church. Obtaining licence as a probationer, he was, in 1801, ordained assistant and successor to his father, on whose death, in 1806, he succeeded to the full benefits of the charge. Inheriting from his father an elegant turn of mind and a devotedness to literary composition, he was induced to publish, in his twenty-ninth year, an allegorical poem, entitled "The Progress of Refinement." A higher effort from his pen appeared in 1815, under the title of "Consolation, and other Poems." This volume, which abounds in vigorous sentiment and rich poetical description, evincing on the part of the author a high appreciation of the beauties of nature, considerably extended his reputation. He formed habits of intimacy with many of his poetical contemporaries, by whom he was beloved for the amenity of his disposition. He largely contributed to various periodicals, especially the agricultural journals; and was a zealous member of the Highland Society of Scotland.[Pg 219]

In July 1825, Mr Gillespie espoused Miss Charlotte Hoggan. Soon after this event, he was attacked with erysipelas,—a complaint which, resulting in general inflammation, terminated his promising career on the 15th of October, in his fiftieth year. The following lyrics evince fancy and deep pathos, causing a regret that the author did not more amply devote himself to the composition of songs.[Pg 220]


From the climes of the sun, all war-worn and weary,
The Highlander sped to his youthful abode;
Fair visions of home cheer'd the desert so dreary,
Though fierce was the noon-beam, and steep was the road.
Till spent with the march that still lengthen'd before him,
He stopp'd by the way in a sylvan retreat;
The light shady boughs of the birch-tree waved o'er him,
The stream of the mountain fell soft at his feet.
He sunk to repose where the red heaths are blended,
On dreams of his childhood his fancy past o'er;
But his battles are fought, and his march it is ended,
The sound of the bagpipes shall wake him no more.
No arm in the day of the conflict could wound him,
Though war launch'd her thunder in fury to kill;
Now the Angel of Death in the desert has found him,
And stretch'd him in peace by the stream of the hill.
Pale Autumn spreads o'er him the leaves of the forest,
The fays of the wild chant the dirge of his rest;
And thou, little brook, still the sleeper deplorest,
And moistens the heath-bell that weeps on his breast.

[Pg 221]


The moon shone in fits,
And the tempest was roaring,
The Storm Spirit shriek'd,
And the fierce rain was pouring;
Alone in her chamber,
Fair Ellen sat sighing,
The tapers burn'd dim,
And the embers were dying.
"The drawbridge is down,
That spans the wide river;
Can tempests divide,
Whom death cannot sever?
Unclosed is the gate,
And those arms long to fold thee,
'Tis midnight, my love;
O say, what can hold thee?"
But scarce flew her words,
When the bridge reft asunder,
The horseman was crossing,
'Mid lightning and thunder,
And loud was the yell,
As he plunged in the billow,
The maid knew it well,
As she sprang from her pillow.
She scream'd o'er the wall,
But no help was beside her;
And thrice to her view
Rose the horse and his rider.
[Pg 222] She gazed at the moon,
But the dark cloud pass'd over;
She plunged in the stream,
And she sunk to her lover.
Say, what is that flame,
O'er the midnight deep beaming?
And whose are those forms,
In the wan moonlight gleaming?
That flame gilds the wave,
Which their pale corses cover;
And those forms are the ghosts
Of the maid and her lover.
[Pg 223]


Thomas Mounsey Cunningham, an elder brother of Allan Cunningham, is entitled to commemoration among the modern song-writers of his country. His ancestors were lords of that district of Ayrshire which still bears their family name; and a small inheritance in that county, which belonged to his more immediate progenitors, was lost to the name and race by the head of the family having espoused the cause and joined the army of the Duke of Montrose. For several generations his forefathers were farmers at Gogar, in the parish of Ratho, Midlothian. John Cunningham, his father, was born at Gogar on the 26th March 1743, whence he removed in his twenty-third year to fill the situation of land-steward on the estate of Lumley, in the parish of Chester, and county of Durham. He next became overseer on the property of Mr Mounsey of Ramerscales, near Lochmaben, Dumfriesshire. He married Elizabeth Harley, a lady of good connexions and of elegant personal accomplishments, and with the view of acquiring a more decided independence in his new condition, took in lease the farm of Culfaud, in the stewartry of Kirkcudbright. Of a family of ten, Thomas was the second son; he was born at Culfaud on the 25th June 1776. During his infancy the farming speculations of his father proved unfortunate, and the lease of Culfaud was abandoned. Returning to his former occupation as a land-steward, John Cunningham was employed in succession by the proprietors of[Pg 224] Barncaillie and Collieston, and latterly by the ingenious Mr Miller of Dalswinton.

Thomas was educated at the village-school of Kellieston, and subsequently at the academy of Dumfries. The circumstances of his parents required that he should choose a manual profession; and he was apprenticed by his own desire to a neighbouring mill-wright. It was during his intervals of leisure, while acquiring a knowledge of this laborious occupation, that he first essayed the composition of verses; he submitted his poems to his father, who mingled judicious criticism with words of encouragement. "The Har'st Home," one of his earliest pieces of merit, was privileged with insertion in the series of "Poetry, Original and Selected," published by Brash & Reid, booksellers in Glasgow. Proceeding to England in 1797, he entered the workshop of a mill-wright in Rotherham. Under the same employer he afterwards pursued his craft at King's Lynn; in 1800 he removed to Wiltshire, and soon after to the neighbourhood of Cambridge. He next received employment at Dover, and thence proceeded to London, where he occupied a situation in the establishment of Rennie, the celebrated engineer. He afterwards became foreman to one Dickson, an engineer, and superintendent of Fowler's chain-cable manufactory. In 1812 he returned to Rennie's establishment as a clerk, with a liberal salary. On leaving his father's house to seek his fortune in the south, he had been strongly counselled by Mr Miller of Dalswinton to abjure the gratification of his poetical tendencies, and he seems to have resolved on the faithful observance of this injunction. For a period of nine years his muse was silent; at length, in 1806, he appeared in the Scots Magazine as the contributor of some of the best verses which had[Pg 225] ever adorned the pages of that periodical. The editor was eloquent in his commendations; and the Ettrick Shepherd, who was already a contributor to the magazine, took pains to discover the author, and addressed him a lengthened poetical epistle, expressive of his admiration. A private intimacy ensued between the two rising poets; and when the Shepherd, in 1809, planned the "Forest Minstrel," he made application to his ingenious friend for contributions. Cunningham sanctioned the republication of such of his lyrics as had appeared in the Scots Magazine, and these proved the best ornaments of the work.

Impatient of criticism, and of a whimsical turn of mind, Cunningham was incapable of steadfastly pursuing the career of a man of letters. Just as his name was becoming known by his verses in the Scots Magazine, he took offence at some incidental allusions to his style, and suddenly stopped his contributions. Silent for a second period of nine years, the circumstance of the appropriation of one of his songs in the "Nithsdale Minstrel," a provincial collection of poetry, published at Dumfries, again aroused him to authorship. He made the publishers the subject of a satirical poem in the Scots Magazine of 1815. On the origin of the Edinburgh Magazine, in 1817, he became a contributor, and under the title of the "Literary Legacy," wrote many curious snatches of antiquities, sketches of modern society, and scraps of song and ballad, which imparted a racy interest to the pages of the new periodical. A slight difference with the editor at length induced him to relapse into silence. Fitful and unsettled as a cultivator of literature, he was in the business of life a model of regularity and perseverance. He was much esteemed by his employer, and was ultimately promoted to the[Pg 226] chief clerkship in his establishment. He fell a victim to the Asiatic cholera on the 28th October 1834, in the 58th year of his age. During his latter years he was in the habit of examining at certain intervals the MSS. of prose and poetry, which at a former period he had accumulated. On those occasions he uniformly destroyed some which he deemed unworthy of further preservation. During one of these purgations, he hastily committed to the flames a poem on which he had bestowed much labour, and which contained a humorous description of scenes and characters familiar to him in youth. The poem was entitled "Braken Fell;" and his ingenious brother Allan, in a memoir of the author, has referred to its destruction in terms of regret.[105] The style of Thomas Cunningham seems, however, to have been lyrical, and it may be presumed that his songs afford the best evidence of his power. In private life he was much cherished by a circle of friends, and his society was gay and animated. He was rather above the middle height, and latterly was corpulent. He married in 1804, and has left a family. [Pg 227]


Adown the burnie's flowery bank,
Or through the shady grove,
Or 'mang the bonnie scroggie braes,
Come, Peggy, let us rove.
See where the stream out ower the linn
Deep headlong foamin' pours,
There let us gang and stray amang
The bloomin' hawthorn bowers.
We 'll pu' the rose frae aff the brier,
The lily frae the brae;
We 'll hear the birdies blithely sing,
As up the glen we gae.
His yellow haughs o' wavin' grain
The farmer likes to see,
But my ain Peggy's artless smile
Is far mair dear to me.


Tune"The Lea Rig."

Amang the birks sae blithe an' gay,
I met my Julia hameward gaun;
The linties chantit on the spray,
The lammies loupit on the lawn;
[Pg 228] On ilka swaird the hay was mawn,
The braes wi' gowans buskit bra',
An' ev'ning's plaid o' gray was thrawn
Out ower the hills o' Gallowa'.
Wi' music wild the woodlands rang,
An' fragrance wing'd alang the lea,
As down we sat the flowers amang,
Upon the banks o' stately Dee.
My Julia's arms encircled me,
An' saftly slade the hours awa',
Till dawning coost a glimm'rin' e'e
Upon the hills o' Gallowa'.
It isna owsen, sheep, an' kye,
It isna gowd, it isna gear,
This lifted e'e wad hae, quo' I,
The warld's drumlie gloom to cheer;
But gie to me my Julia dear,
Ye powers wha rowe this yirthen ba',
An' oh, sae blithe through life I 'll steer,
Amang the hills o' Gallowa'.
When gloamin' daunders up the hill,
An' our gudeman ca's hame the yowes,
Wi' her I 'll trace the mossy rill
That through the muir meand'ring rowes;
[Pg 229] Or tint amang the scroggie knowes,
My birken pipe I 'll sweetly blaw,
An' sing the streams, the straths, and howes,
The hills an' dales o' Gallowa'.
An' when auld Scotland's heathy hills,
Her rural nymphs an' jovial swains,
Her flowery wilds an' wimpling rills,
Awake nae mair my canty strains;
Where friendship dwells an' freedom reigns,
Where heather blooms an' muircocks craw,
Oh, dig my grave, and lay my banes
Amang the hills o' Gallowa'.


Tune"Roslin Castle."

Now smiling summer's balmy breeze,
Soft whispering, fans the leafy trees;
The linnet greets the rosy morn,
Sweet in yon fragrant flowery thorn;
The bee hums round the woodbine bower,
Collecting sweets from every flower;
And pure the crystal streamlets run
Among the braes of Ballahun.
Oh, blissful days, for ever fled,
When wand'ring wild, as fancy led,
I ranged the bushy bosom'd glen,
The scroggie shaw, the rugged linn,
[Pg 230] And mark'd each blooming hawthorn bush,
Where nestling sat the speckled thrush;
Or, careless roaming, wander'd on
Among the braes of Ballahun.
Why starts the tear, why bursts the sigh,
When hills and dales rebound with joy?
The flowery glen and lilied lea,
In vain display their charms to me.
I joyless roam the heathy waste,
To soothe this sad, this troubled breast;
And seek the haunts of men to shun,
Among the braes of Ballahun.
The virgin blush of lovely youth,
The angel smile of artless truth,
This breast illumed with heavenly joy,
Which lyart time can ne'er destroy.
Oh, Julia dear! the parting look,
The sad farewell we sorrowing took,
Still haunt me as I stray alone,
Among the braes of Ballahun.


Tune"Crazy Jane."

Bonnie Clouden, as ye wander
Hills, an' haughs, an' muirs amang,
Ilka knowe an' green meander,
Learn my sad, my dulefu' sang!
[Pg 231] Braes o' breckan, hills o' heather,
Howms whare rows the gowden wave;
Blissful scenes, fareweel for ever!
I maun seek an unco grave.
Sair I pled, though fate, unfriendly,
Stang'd my heart wi' waes and dules,
That some faithfu' hand might kindly
Lay 't among my native mools.
Cronies dear, wha late an' early
Aye to soothe my sorrows strave,
Think on ane wha lo'es ye dearly,
Doom'd to seek an unco grave.
Torn awa' frae Scotia's mountains,
Far frae a' that 's dear to dwall,
Mak's my e'en twa gushin' fountains,
Dings a dirk in my puir saul.
Braes o' breckan, hills o' heather,
Howms whare rows the gowden wave,
Blissful scenes, fareweel for ever!
I maun seek an unco grave.


Tune"Logan Water."

Ye briery bields, where roses blaw!
Ye flowery fells, and sunny braes,
Whase scroggie bosoms foster'd a'
The pleasures o' my youthfu' days!
[Pg 232] Amang your leafy simmer claes,
And blushing blooms, the zephyr flies,
Syne wings awa', and wanton plays
Around the grave whare Julia lies.
Nae mair your bonnie birken bowers,
Your streamlets fair, and woodlands gay,
Can cheer the weary winged hours,
As up the glen I joyless stray;
For a' my hopes hae flown away,
And when they reach'd their native skies,
Left me amid the world o' wae,
To weet the grave where Julia lies.
It is na beauty's fairest bloom,
It is na maiden charms consign'd,
And hurried to an early tomb,
That wrings my heart and clouds my mind;
But sparkling wit, and sense refined,
And spotless truth, without disguise,
Make me with sighs enrich the wind
That fans the grave whare Julia lies.


Air"Lassie wi' the Yellow Coatie."

Fareweel, ye streams sae dear to me,
My bonnie Clouden, Kith, and Dee;
Ye burns that row sae bonnily,
Your siller waves nae mair I 'll see.
[Pg 233] Yet though frae your green banks I 'm driven,
My saul away could ne'er be riven;
For still she lifts her e'en to heaven,
An' sighs to be again wi' thee.
Ye canty bards ayont the Tweed,
Your skins wi' claes o' tartan cleed,
An' lilt alang the verdant mead,
Or blithely on your whistles blaw,
An' sing auld Scotia's barns an ha's,
Her bourtree dykes an mossy wa's,
Her faulds, her bughts, an' birken shaws,
Whare love an' freedom sweeten a'.
Sing o' her carles teuch an' auld,
Her carlines grim that flyte an' scauld,
Her wabsters blithe, an' souters bauld,
Her flocks an' herds sae fair to see.
Sing o' her mountains bleak an high;
Her fords, whare neigh'rin' kelpies ply;
Her glens, the haunts o' rural joy;
Her lasses lilting o'er the lea.
To you the darling theme belangs,
That frae my heart exulting spangs;
Oh, mind, amang your bonnie sangs,
The lads that bled for liberty.
Think o' our auld forbears o' yore,
Wha dyed the muir wi' hostile gore;
Wha slavery's bands indignant tore,
An' bravely fell for you an' me.
[Pg 234]
My gallant brithers, brave an' bauld,
Wha haud the pleugh, or wake the fauld,
Until your dearest bluid rin cauld,
Aye true unto your country be.
Wi' daring look her dirk she drew,
An' coost a mither's e'e on you;
Then let na ony spulzien crew
Her dear-bought freedom wrest frae thee.
[Pg 235]


John Struthers, whose name is familiar as the author of "The Poor Man's Sabbath," was born on the 18th July 1776, in the parish of East Kilbride, Lanarkshire. His parents were of the humbler rank, and were unable to send him to school; but his mother, a woman of superior intelligence, was unremitting in her efforts to teach him at home. She was aided in her good work by a benevolent lady of the neighbourhood, who, interested by the boy's precocity, often sent for him to read to her. This kind-hearted individual was Mrs Baillie, widow of the Rev. Dr Baillie of Hamilton, who was then resident at Longcalderwood, and whose celebrated daughter, Joanna Baillie, afterwards took a warm interest in the fame and fortunes of her mother's protégé. From the age of eight to fourteen, young Struthers was engaged as a cowherd and in general work about a farm; he then apprenticed himself to a shoemaker. On the completion of his indenture, he practised his craft several years in his native village till September 1801, when he sought a wider field of business in Glasgow. In 1804, he produced his first and most celebrated poem, "The Poor Man's Sabbath," which, printed at his own risk, was well received, and rapidly passed through two editions. On the recommendation of Sir Walter Scott, to whom the poem was made known by Joanna Baillie, Constable published a third edition in 1808, handing the author thirty pounds for the copyright.[Pg 236] Actively employed in his trade, Struthers continued to devote his leisure hours to composition. In 1816 he published a pamphlet "On the State of the Labouring Poor." A more ambitious literary effort was carried out in 1819; he edited a collection of the national songs, which was published at Glasgow, under the title of "The Harp of Caledonia," in three vols. 18mo. To this work Joanna Baillie, Mrs John Hunter, and Mr William Smyth of Cambridge contributed songs, while Scott and others permitted the re-publication of such of their lyrics as the author chose to select.

Struthers married early in life. About the year 1818 his wife and two of his children were snatched from him by death, and these bereavements so affected him, as to render him unable to prosecute his labours as a tradesman. He now procured employment as a corrector of the press, in the printing-office of Khull, Blackie, & Co. During his connexion with this establishment he assisted in preparing an edition of "Wodrow's History," and produced a "History of Scotland" from the political Union in 1707 to the year 1827, the date of its publication. These works—the latter extending to two octavo volumes—were published by his employers. On a dissolution of their co-partnership, in 1827, Struthers was thrown out of employment till his appointment, in 1832, to the Keepership of Stirling's Library, a respectable institution in Glasgow. This situation, which yielded him a salary of about £50 a-year, he retained till 1847, when he was led to tender his resignation. In his seventy-first year he returned to his original trade, after being thirty years occupied with literary concerns. He died suddenly on the 30th July 1853, at the advanced age of seventy-seven.

A man of strong intellect and vigorous imagination,[Pg 237] John Struthers was industrious in his trade, and persevering as an author, yet he failed to obtain a competency for the winter of life; his wants, however, were few, and he never sought to complain. Inheriting pious dispositions from his parents, he excelled in familiarity with the text of Scripture, and held strong opinions on the subject of morality. Educated in the communion of the Original Secession Church, he afterwards joined the Establishment, and ultimately retired from it at the Disruption in 1843. He was a zealous member of the Free Church, and being admitted to the eldership, was on two occasions sent as a representative to the General Assembly of that body. An enthusiast respecting the beauties of external nature, he was in the habit of undertaking lengthened pedestrian excursions into the country, and took especial delight in rambling by the sea-shore, or climbing the mountain-tops. His person was tall and slight, though abundantly muscular, and capable of undergoing the toil of extended journeys. Three times married, he left a widow, who has lately emigrated to America; of his children two sons and two daughters survive.

Besides the works already enumerated, Struthers was the author of other compositions, both in prose and verse. He wrote an octavo pamphlet of 96 pages in favour of National Church Establishments; contributed memoirs of James Hogg, minister of Carnock, and Principal Robertson to the Christian Instructor, and prepared various lives of deceased worthies, which were included in the "Illustrious and Distinguished Scotsmen," edited by Mr Robert Chambers. At the period of his death, he was engaged in preparing a continuation of his "History of Scotland," to the era of the Disruption; he also meditated the publication of a volume of essays. His poetical works,[Pg 238] which appeared at various intervals, were re-published in 1850, in two duodecimo volumes, with an interesting autobiographical sketch. Of his poems those most deserving of notice, next to the "Sabbath," are "The House of Mourning, or the Peasant's Death," and "The Plough," both evincing grave and elevated sentiment, expressed in correct poetical language. The following songs are favourable specimens of his lyrical compositions.[Pg 239]



Admiring Nature's simple charms,
I left my humble home,
Awhile my country's peaceful plains
With pilgrim step to roam.
I mark'd the leafy summer wave
On flowing Irvine's side,
But richer far 's the robe she wears
Within the vale of Clyde.
I roam'd the braes o' bonnie Doon,
The winding banks o' Ayr,
Where flutters many a small bird gay,
Blooms many a flow'ret fair.
But dearer far to me the stem
That once was Calder's pride,
And blossoms now the fairest flower
Within the vale of Clyde.
Avaunt, thou life-repressing north,
Ye withering east winds too;
But come, thou all-reviving west,
Breathe soft thy genial dew.
Till at the last, in peaceful age,
This lovely flow'ret shed
Its last green leaf upon my grave,
Within the vale of Clyde.
[Pg 240]


Tune"The mill, mill, O."

Oh, bonnie buds yon birchen tree,
The western breeze perfuming;
And softly smiles yon sunny brae,
Wi' gowans gaily blooming.
But sweeter than yon birchen tree,
Or gowans gaily blooming,
Is she, in blushing modesty,
Wha meets me there at gloaming.
Oh, happy, happy there yestreen,
In mutual transport ranging,
Among these lovely scenes, unseen,
Our vows of love exchanging.
The moon, with clear, unclouded face,
Seem'd bending to behold us;
And breathing birks, with soft embrace,
Most kindly to enfold us.
We bade each tree record our vows,
And each surrounding mountain,
With every star on high that glows
From light's o'erflowing fountain.
But gloaming gray bedims the vale,
On day's bright beam encroaching;
With rapture once again I hail
The trysting hour approaching.
[Pg 241]


Richard Gall was born in December 1776, at Linkhouse, near Dunbar. His father was a notary; but, being in poor circumstances, he apprenticed his son, in his eleventh year, to a relative, who followed the conjoined business of a builder and house-carpenter. The drudgery of heavy manual labour proved very uncongenial; and the apprentice suddenly took his departure, walking a long distance to Edinburgh, whither his parents had removed their residence. He now selected the profession of a printer, and entered on an indenture to Mr David Ramsay of the Edinburgh Evening Courant. At the close of his apprenticeship, he became Mr Ramsay's travelling clerk.

In the ordinary branches of education, young Gall had been instructed in a school at Haddington; he took lessons in the more advanced departments from a private tutor during his apprenticeship. He wrote verses from his youth, and several of his songs became popular, and were set to music. His poetical talents attracted the attention of Robert Burns and Hector Macneill, both of whom cherished his friendship,—the former becoming his correspondent. He also shared the intimacy of Thomas Campbell, and of Dr Alexander Murray, the distinguished philologist.

His promising career was brief; an abscess broke out in his breast, which medical skill could not subdue. After a lingering illness, he died on the 10th of May[Pg 242] 1801, in his twenty-fifth year. He had joined a Highland volunteer regiment; and his remains were accompanied by his companions-in-arms to the Calton burial-ground, and there interred with military honours.

Possessed of a lively and vigorous fancy, a generous warmth of temperament, and feelings of extreme sensibility, Richard Gall gave promise of adorning the poetical literature of his country. Patriotism and the beauties of external nature were the favourite subjects of his muse, which, as if premonished of his early fate, loved to sing in plaintive strains. Gall occasionally lacks power, but is always pleasing; in his songs (two of which have frequently been assigned to Burns) he is uniformly graceful. He loved poetry with the ardour of an enthusiast; during his last illness he inscribed verses with a pencil, when no longer able to wield the pen. He was thoroughly devoid of personal vanity, and sought to advance the poetical reputation of his country rather than his own. In his lifetime, his pieces were printed separately; a selection of his poems and songs, with a memoir by Alexander Balfour, was published in 1819.[Pg 243]


How sweet is the scene at the waking o' morning!
How fair ilka object that lives in the view!
Dame Nature the valley an' hillock adorning,
The wild-rose an' blue-bell yet wet wi' the dew.
How sweet in the morning o' life is my Anna!
Her smiles like the sunbeam that glints on the lea;
To wander an' leave the dear lassie, I canna;
Frae Truth, Love, an' Beauty, I never can flee.
O lang hae I lo'ed her, and lo'ed her fu' dearly,
For saft is the smile o' her bonny sweet mou';
An' aft hae I read in her e'en, glancing clearly,
A language that bade me be constant an' true.
Then ithers may doat on their gowd an' their treasure;
For pelf, silly pelf, they may brave the rude sea;
To lo'e my sweet lassie, be mine the dear pleasure;
Wi' her let me live, an' wi' her let me die.


Flow saftly, thou stream, through the wild spangled valley;
Oh green be thy banks, ever bonny an' fair!
Sing sweetly, ye birds, as ye wanton fu' gaily,
Yet strangers to sorrow, untroubled by care.
The weary day lang
I list to your sang,
An' waste ilka moment, sad, cheerless, alane;
Each sweet little treasure
O' heart-cheering pleasure,
Far fled frae my bosom wi' Captain O'Kain.
[Pg 244]
Fu' aft on thy banks hae we pu'd the wild gowan,
An' twisted a garland beneath the hawthorn;
Ah! then each fond moment wi' pleasure was glowing,
Sweet days o' delight, which can never return!
Now ever, wae's me!
The tear fills my e'e,
An sair is my heart wi' the rigour o' pain;
Nae prospect returning,
To gladden life's morning,
For green waves the willow o'er Captain O'Kain.


Thy cheek is o' the rose's hue,
My only jo an' dearie, O;
Thy neck is like the siller dew
Upon the banks sae briery, O;
Thy teeth are o' the ivory,
O, sweet 's the twinkle o' thine e'e!
Nae joy, nae pleasure, blinks on me,
My only jo an' dearie, O.
The birdie sings upon the thorn,
Its sang o' joy, fu' cheerie, O,
Rejoicing in the simmer morn,
Nae care to make it eerie, O;
But little kens the sangster sweet,
Ought o' the care I hae to meet,
That gars my restless bosom beat,
My only jo an' dearie, O.
[Pg 245]
Whan we were bairnies on yon brae,
An' youth was blinking bonny, O,
Aft we wad daff the lee lang day,
Our joys fu' sweet an' mony, O;
Aft I wad chase thee o'er the lea,
An' round about the thorny tree;
Or pu' the wild flowers a' for thee,
My only jo an' dearie, O.
I hae a wish I canna tine,
'Mang a' the cares that grieve me, O;
I wish that thou wert ever mine,
An' never mair to leave me, O;
Then I wad dawt thee night an' day,
Nae ither warldly care wad hae,
Till life's warm stream forgat to play,
My only jo an' dearie, O.


Now bank an' brae are clad in green,
An' scatter'd cowslips sweetly spring;
By Girvan's fairy-haunted stream,
The birdies flit on wanton wing;
By Cassillis' banks, when e'ening fa's,
There let my Mary meet wi' me,
There catch her ilka glance o' love,
The bonnie blink o' Mary's e'e.
[Pg 246]
The chiel' wha boasts o' warld's wealth
Is aften laird o' meikle care;
But Mary she is a' my ain,
An' Fortune canna gie me mair.
Then let me stray by Cassillis' banks,
Wi' her, the lassie dear to me,
An' catch her ilka glance o' love,
The bonnie blink o' Mary's e'e.


Ere eild wi' his blatters had warsled me down,
Or reft me o' life's youthfu' bloom,
How aft hae I gane, wi' a heart louping light,
To the knowes yellow tappit wi' broom!
How aft hae I sat i' the beild o' the knowe,
While the laverock mounted sae hie,
An' the mavis sang sweet in the plantings around,
On the bonnie green braes o' Drumlee.
But, ah! while we daff in the sunshine of youth,
We see na' the blasts that destroy;
We count na' upon the fell waes that may come,
An eithly o'ercloud a' our joy.
I saw na the fause face that fortune can wear,
Till forced from my country to flee;
Wi' a heart like to burst, while I sobbed, "Farewell,
To the bonnie green braes o' Drumlee!
"Fareweel, ye dear haunts o' the days o' my youth,
Ye woods and ye valleys sae fair;
Ye 'll bloom whan I wander abroad like a ghaist,
Sair nidder'd wi' sorrow an' care.
[Pg 247] Ye woods an' ye valleys, I part wi' a sigh,
While the flood gushes down frae my e'e;
For never again shall the tear weet my cheek,
On the bonnie green braes o' Drumlee.
"O Time, could I tether your hours for a wee!
Na, na, for they flit like the wind!"—
Sae I took my departure, an' saunter'd awa',
Yet aften look'd wistfu' behind.
Oh, sair is the heart of the mither to twin,
Wi' the baby that sits on her knee;
But sairer the pang, when I took a last peep,
O' the bonnie green braes o' Drumlee.
I heftit 'mang strangers years thretty-an'-twa,
But naething could banish my care;
An' aften I sigh'd when I thought on the past,
Whare a' was sae pleasant an' fair.
But now, wae 's my heart! whan I 'm lyart an' auld,
An' fu' lint-white my haffet-locks flee,
I 'm hamewards return'd wi' a remnant o' life,
To the bonnie green braes o' Drumlee.
Poor body! bewilder'd, I scarcely do ken
The haunts that were dear ance to me;
I yirded a plant in the days o' my youth,
An' the mavis now sings on the tree.
But, haith! there 's nae scenes I wad niffer wi' thae;
For it fills my fond heart fu' o' glee,
To think how at last my auld banes they will rest,
Near the bonnie green braes o' Drumlee.
[Pg 248]


I winna gang back to my mammy again,
I 'll never gae back to my mammy again;
I 've held by her apron these aught years an' ten,
But I 'll never gang back to my mammy again.
I 've held by her apron, &c.
Young Johnnie cam' down i' the gloamin' to woo,
Wi' plaidie sae bonny, an' bannet sae blue:
"O come awa, lassie, ne'er let mammy ken;"
An' I flew wi' my laddie o'er meadow an' glen.
"O come awa, lassie," &c.
He ca'd me his dawtie, his dearie, his doo,
An' press'd hame his words wi' a smack o' my mou';
While I fell on his bosom heart-flicher'd an' fain,
An' sigh'd out, "O Johnnie, I 'll aye be your ain!"
While I fell on his bosom, &c.
Some lasses will talk to their lads wi' their e'e,
Yet hanker to tell what their hearts really dree;
Wi' Johnnie I stood upon nae stapping-stane,
Sae I 'll never gae back to my mammy again.
Wi' Johnnie I stood, &c.
For many lang year sin' I play'd on the lea,
My mammy was kind as a mither could be;
I 've held by her apron these aught years an' ten,
But I 'll never gang back to my mammy again.
I 've held by her apron, &c.
[Pg 249]


Irish Air"The Brown Maid."

The Bard strikes his harp the wild valleys amang,
Whare the tall aiken trees spreading leafy appear;
While the murmuring breeze mingles sweet wi' his sang,
An' wafts the saft notes till they die on the ear;
But Mary, whase presence sic transport conveys,
Whase beauties my moments o' pleasure control,
On the strings o' my heart ever wantonly plays,
An' each languishing note is a sigh frae my soul!
Her breath is as sweet as the sweet-scented brier,
That blossoms and blaws in yon wild lanely glen;
When I view her fair form which nae mortal can peer,
A something o'erpowers me I dinna weel ken.
What sweetness her snawy white bosom displays!
The blink o' her bonny black e'e wha' can thole!
On the strings o' my heart she bewitchingly plays,
An' each languishing note is a sigh frae my soul!


Can ought be constant as the sun,
That makes the world sae cheerie?
Yes, a' the powers can witness be,
The love I bear my dearie.
But what can make the hours seem lang,
An' rin sae wondrous dreary?
What but the space that lies between
Me an' my only dearie.
[Pg 250]
Then fare ye weel, wha saw me aft,
Sae blythe, baith late and early;
An' fareweel scenes o' former joys,
That cherish life sae rarely;
Baith love an' beauty bid me flee,
Nor linger lang an' eerie,
But haste, an' in my arms enfauld,
My only pride an' dearie.
I 'll hail Lochaber's valleys green,
Where many a rill meanders;
I 'll hail wi' joy, its birken bowers,
For there Louisa wanders.
There will I clasp her to my breast,
An' tent her smile fu' cheerie;
An' thus, without a wish or want,
Live happy wi' my dearie.


For mony lang year I hae heard frae my grannie
Of brownies an' bogles by yon castle wa',
Of auld wither'd hags that were never thought cannie,
An' fairies that danced till they heard the cock caw.
I leugh at her tales; an' last owk, i' the gloamin',
I daunder'd, alane, down the hazelwood green;
Alas! I was reckless, and rue sair my roamin',
For I met a young witch, wi' twa bonnie black e'en.
I thought o' the starns in a frosty night glancing,
Whan a' the lift round them is cloudless an' blue;
I looked again, an' my heart fell a-dancing,
When I wad hae spoken, she glamour'd my mou'.
[Pg 251] O wae to her cantrips! for dumpish I wander,
At kirk or at market there 's nought to be seen;
For she dances afore me wherever I daunder,
The hazelwood witch wi' the bonnie black e'en.


Scenes of woe and scenes of pleasure,
Scenes that former thoughts renew;
Scenes of woe and scenes of pleasure,
Now a sad and last adieu!
Bonny Doon, sae sweet at gloamin',
Fare thee weel before I gang;
Bonny Doon, whare, early roamin',
First I weaved the rustic sang.
Bowers, adieu! where, love decoying,
First enthrall'd this heart o' mine;
There the saftest sweets enjoying,
Sweets that memory ne'er shall tine.
Friends sae near my bosom ever,
Ye hae render'd moments dear;
But, alas! when forced to sever,
Then the stroke, O how severe!
[Pg 252]
Friends, that parting tear reserve it,
Though 'tis doubly dear to me;
Could I think I did deserve it,
How much happier would I be.
Scenes of woe and scenes of pleasure,
Scenes that former thoughts renew;
Scenes of woe and scenes of pleasure,
Now a sad and last adieu!
[Pg 253]


George Scott was the son of a small landowner in Roxburghshire. He was born at Dingleton, near Melrose, in 1777; and after attending the parish-schools of Melrose and Galashiels, became a student in the University of Edinburgh. On completing a curriculum of classical study, he was in his twenty-second year appointed parochial schoolmaster of Livingstone, West Lothian; and in six years afterwards was preferred to the parish-school of Lilliesleaf, in his native county. He was an accomplished scholar, and had the honour of educating many individuals who afterwards attained distinction. With Sir Walter Scott, who appreciated his scholarship, he maintained a friendly correspondence. In 1820, he published a small volume of poems, entitled, "Heath Flowers; or, Mountain Melodies," which exhibits considerable poetical talent. Having discharged the duties of an instructor of youth for half a century, he retired from his public avocations in November 1850. He survived till the 23d of February 1853, having attained his seventy-sixth year.[Pg 254]


Air"Bonnie Dundee."

Now rests the red sun in his caves of the ocean,
Now closed every eye but of misery and mine;
While, led by the moonbeam, in fondest devotion,
I doat on her image, the Flower of the Tyne.
Her cheek far outrivals the rose's rich blossom,
Her eyes the bright gems of Golconda outshine;
The snow-drop and lily are lost on her bosom,
For beauty unmatched is the Flower of the Tyne.
So charming each feature, so guileless her nature,
A thousand fond voices pronounce her divine;
So witchingly pretty, so modestly witty,
That sweet is thy thraldom, fair Flower of the Tyne!
Thine aspect so noble, yet sweetly inviting,
The loves and the graces thy temples entwine;
In manners the saint and the syren uniting,
Bloom on, dear Louisa, the Flower of the Tyne.
Though fair, Caledonia, the nymphs of thy mountains,
And graceful and straight as thine own silver pine,
Though fresh as thy breezes, and pure as thy fountains,
Yet fairer to me is the Flower of the Tyne.
This poor throbbing heart as an offering I give her,
A temple to love is this bosom of mine;
Then smile on thy victim, Louisa, for ever,
I 'll kneel at thine altar, sweet Flower of the Tyne.
[Pg 255]


Thomas Campbell, author of the "Pleasures of Hope," was descended from a race of landed proprietors in Argyleshire, who claimed ancestry in Macallummore, the great head of clan Campbell, and consequent propinquity to the noble House of Argyle. Alexander Campbell, the poet's father, had carried on a prosperous trade as a Virginian merchant, but had suffered unhappy embarrassments, at the outbreak of the American war. Of his eleven children, Thomas was the youngest. He was born on the 27th July 1777, in his father's house, High Street, Glasgow, and was baptised by the celebrated Dr Thomas Reid, after whom he received his Christian name. The favourite child of his parents, peculiar care was bestowed upon his upbringing; he was taught to read by his eldest sister, who was nineteen years his senior, and had an example of energy set before him by his mother, a woman of remarkable decision. He afforded early indication of genius; as a child, he was fond of ballad poetry, and in his tenth year he wrote verses. At the age of eight he became a pupil in the grammar school, having already made some proficiency in classical learning. During the first session of attendance at the University, he gained two prizes and a bursary on Archbishop Leighton's foundation. As a classical scholar, he acquired rapid distinction; he took especial delight in the dramatic literature of Greece, and his metrical translations from the Greek plays were pronounced excellent specimens of poetical composition.[Pg 256] He invoked the muse on many themes, and occasionally printed verses, which were purchased by his comrades. From the commencement of his curriculum he chiefly supported himself by teaching; at the close of his fourth session, he accepted a tutorship in the island of Mull. There he prosecuted verse-making, and continued his translations from the Greek dramatists. He conducted a poetical correspondence with Hamilton Paul; and the following lines addressed to this early friend, and entitled "An Elegy written in Mull," may be quoted in evidence of his poetical talent in his seventeenth year. These lines do not occur in any edition of his works:

"The tempest blackens on the dusky moor,
And billows lash the long-resounding shore;
In pensive mood I roam the desert ground,
And vainly sigh for scenes no longer found.
Oh, whither fled the pleasurable hours
That chased each care, and fired the muse's powers;
The classic haunts of youth, for ever gay
Where mirth and friendship cheer'd the close of day,
The well-known valleys where I wont to roam,
The native sports, the nameless joys of home?
Far different scenes allure my wondering eye:
The white wave foaming to the distant sky;
The cloudy heavens, unblest by summer's smile;
The sounding storm that sweeps the rugged isle,
The chill, bleak summit of eternal snow,
The wide, wild glen, the pathless plains below,
The dark blue rocks, in barren grandeur piled,
The cuckoo sighing to the pensive wild!
Far different these from all that charm'd before,
The grassy banks of Clutha's winding shore:
The sloping vales, with waving forests lined;
Her smooth blue lakes, unruffled by the wind.
Hail, happy Clutha! glad shall I survey
Thy gilded turrets from the distant way!
Thy sight shall cheer the weary traveller's toil,
And joy shall hail me to my native soil."
[Pg 257]

He remained at Mull five months; and subsequently became tutor in the family of Sir William Napier, at Downie, near Loch Fyne. On completing a fifth session at the University, he experienced anxiety regarding the choice of a profession, chiefly with the desire of being able speedily to aid in the support of his necessitous parents. He first thought of a mercantile life, and then weighed the respective advantages of the clerical, medical, and legal professions. For a period, he attempted law, but soon tired of the drudgery which it threatened to impose. In Edinburgh, during a brief period of legal study, he formed the acquaintance of Dr Robert Anderson, through whose favour he became known to the rising wits of the capital. Among his earlier friends he reckoned the names of Francis Jeffrey, Henry Brougham, Thomas Brown, James Graham, and David Irving.

In 1798, Campbell induced his parents to remove to Edinburgh, where he calculated on literary employment. He had already composed the draught of the "Pleasures of Hope," but he did not hazard its publication till he had exhausted every effort in its improvement. His care was well repaid; his poem produced one universal outburst of admiration, and one edition after another rapidly sold. He had not completed his twenty-second year when he gained a place among the most distinguished poets of his country. For the copyright Mundell and Company allowed him only two hundred copies in quires, which yielded him about fifty pounds; but they presented him with twenty-five pounds on the appearance of each successive edition. He was afterwards permitted to publish an edition on his own account,—a privilege which brought him the sum of six hundred pounds. Resolving to follow literature as a profession, he was desirous of becoming personally acquainted with the distinguished men[Pg 258] of letters in Germany; in June 1800 he embarked at Leith for Hamburg. He visited Ratisbon, Munich, and Leipsic; had an interview with the poet Klopstock, then in his seventy-seventh year, and witnessed a battle between the French and Germans, near Ratisbon. At Hamburg he formed the acquaintance of Anthony M'Cann, who had been driven into exile by the Irish Government in 1798, on the accusation of being a leader in the rebellion. Of this individual he formed a favourable opinion, and his condition suggested the exquisite poem, "The Exile of Erin." After some months' residence at Altona, he sailed for England; the vessel narrowly escaping capture by a privateer, landed him at Yarmouth, whence he proceeded to London. He had been in correspondence with Perry of the Morning Chronicle, who introduced him to Lord Holland, Sir James Macintosh, and Samuel Rogers. Receiving tidings of his father's death, he returned to Edinburgh. Not a little to his concern, he found that warrants had been issued for his apprehension on the charge of high treason; he was accused of attending Jacobin clubs at Hamburg, and of conspiring with General Moreau and the Irish exiles to land troops in Ireland! The seizure of his travelling trunk led to the ample vindication of his loyalty; it was found to contain the first draught of the "Mariners of England." Besides a magnificent quarto edition of the "Pleasures of Hope," he now prepared a work in three volumes, entitled "Annals of Great Britain;" for which the sum of three hundred pounds was paid him by Mundell and Company. Through Professor Dugald Stewart, he obtained the friendship of Lord Minto, who invited him to London, and afterwards entertained him at Minto.

In 1803, Campbell resolved to settle in London; in his progress to the metropolis he visited his friends Ros[Pg 259]coe and Currie, at Liverpool. On the 10th September, 1803, he espoused his fair cousin, Matilda Sinclair, and established his residence in Upper Eaton Street, Pimlico. In the following year, he sought refuge from the noise of the busy world in London, by renting a house at Sydenham. His reputation readily secured him a sufficiency of literary employment; he translated for the Star, with a salary of two hundred pounds per annum, and became a contributor to the Philosophical Magazine. He declined the offer of the Regent's chair in the University of Wilna, in Russian-Poland; but shortly after had conferred on him, by the premier, Charles Fox, a civil-list pension of two hundred pounds. In 1809, he published his poem, "Gertrude of Wyoming," along with the "Battle of the Baltic," the "Mariners of England," "Hohenlinden," "Glenara," and others of his best lyrics. This volume was well received, and added largely to his laurels. In 1811, he delivered five lectures on poetry, in the Royal Institution.

Campbell was now a visitor in the first literary circles, and was welcomed at the tables of persons of opulence. From the commencement of his residence in London, he had known John Kemble, and his accomplished sister, Mrs Siddons. He became intimate with Lord Byron and Thomas Moore; and had the honour of frequent invitations to the residence of the Princess of Wales, at Blackheath. In 1814, he visited Paris, where he was introduced to the Duke of Wellington; dined with Humboldt and Schlegel, and met his former friend and correspondent, Madame de Staël. A proposal of Sir Walter Scott, in 1816, to secure him a chair in the University of Edinburgh, was not attended with success. The "Specimens of the British Poets," a work he had undertaken for Mr Murray, appeared in 1819. In 1820, he accepted the editorship of the New Monthly Maga[Pg 260]zine, with a salary of six hundred pounds per annum. A second visit to Germany, which he accomplished immediately after the commencement of his editorial duties, suggested to him the idea of the London University; and this scheme, warmly supported by his literary friends, and advocated by Lord Brougham, led in 1825 to the establishment of the institution. In the year subsequent to this happy consummation of his exertions on behalf of learning in the south, he received intelligence of his having been elected Lord Rector of the University of Glasgow. This honour was the most valued of his life; it was afterwards enhanced by his re-election to office for the third time,—a rare occurrence in the history of the College.

The future career of the poet was not remarkable for any decided achievements in literature or poetry. In 1831, he allowed his name to be used as the conductor of the Metropolitan, a short-lived periodical. He published in 1834 a "Life of Mrs Siddons," in two volumes, but this performance did not prove equal to public expectation. One of his last efforts was the preparation of an edition of the "Pleasures of Hope," which was illustrated with engravings from drawings by Turner. Subsequent to the death of Mrs Campbell, which took place in May 1828, he became unsettled in his domestic habits, evincing a mania for change of residence. In 1834, he proceeded to Algiers, in Africa; and returning by Paris, was presented to King Louis Philippe. On his health failing, some years afterwards, he tried the baths of Wiesbaden, and latterly established his residence at Boulogne. After a prostrating illness of several months, he expired at Boulogne, on the 15th of June 1844, in his 67th year.

Of the poetry of Thomas Campbell, "The Pleasures of Hope" is one of the most finished epics in the language; it[Pg 261] is alike faultless in respect of conception and versification. His lyrics are equally sustained in power of thought and loftiness of diction; they have been more frequently quoted than the poems of any other modern author, and are translated into various European languages. Few men evinced more jealousy in regard to their reputation; he was keenly sensitive to criticism, and fastidious in judging of his own composition. As a prose writer, though he wrote with elegance, he is less likely to be remembered. Latterly a native unsteadiness of purpose degenerated into inaction; during the period of his unabated vigour, it prevented his carrying out many literary schemes. A bad money manager, he had under no circumstances become rich; at one period he was in the receipt of fifteen hundred pounds per annum, yet he felt poverty. He had a strong feeling of independence, and he never received a favour without considering whether he might be able to repay it. He was abundantly charitable, and could not resist the solicitations of indigence. Of slavery and oppression in every form he entertained an abhorrence; his zeal in the cause of liberty led him while a youth to be present in Edinburgh at the trial of Gerard and others, for maintaining liberal opinions, and to support in his maturer years the cause of the Polish refugees. Naturally cheerful, he was subject to moods of despondency, and his temper was ardent in circumstances of provocation. In personal appearance he was rather under the middle height, and he dressed with precision and neatness. His countenance was pleasing, but was only expressive of power when lit up by congenial conversation. He was fond of society and talked with fluency. His remains rest close by the ashes of Sheridan, in Westminster Abbey, and over them a handsome monument has lately been erected to his memory.[Pg 262]


Ye mariners of England,
That guard our native seas;
Whose flag has braved a thousand years
The battle and the breeze!
Your glorious standard launch again
To match another foe;
And sweep through the deep,
While the stormy winds do blow;
While the battle rages loud and long,
And the stormy winds do blow.
The spirit of your fathers
Shall start from every wave;
For the deck it was their field of fame,
And ocean was their grave:
Where Blake and mighty Nelson fell
Your manly hearts shall glow,
As ye sweep through the deep,
While the stormy winds do blow;
While the battle rages loud and long,
And the stormy winds do blow.
Britannia needs no bulwarks,
No towers along the steep;
Her march is o'er the mountain-waves,
Her home is on the deep.
With thunders from her native oak,
She quells the floods below,—
As they roar on the shore,
When the stormy winds do blow;
When the battle rages loud and long,
And the stormy winds do blow.
[Pg 263]
The meteor flag of England
Shall yet terrific burn;
Till danger's troubled night depart,
And the star of peace return.
Then, then, ye ocean warriors!
Our song and feast shall flow,
To the fame of your name,
When the storm has ceased to blow;
When the fiery fight is heard no more,
And the storm has ceased to blow.


Oh! heard ye yon pibroch sound sad in the gale,
Where a band cometh slowly with weeping and wail?
'Tis the chief of Glenara laments for his dear;
And her sire, and the people, are call'd to her bier.
Glenara came first, with the mourners and shroud;
Her kinsmen they follow'd, but mourn'd not aloud:
Their plaids all their bosoms were folded around;
They march'd all in silence, they look'd on the ground.
In silence they reach'd, over mountain and moor,
To a heath where the oak-tree grew lonely and hoar.
"Now here let us place the gray stone of her cairn;
Why speak ye no word?" said Glenara the stern.
"And tell me, I charge you, ye clan of my spouse!
Why fold ye your mantles, why cloud ye your brows?"
So spake the rude chieftain. No answer is made,
But each mantle unfolding, a dagger display'd.
[Pg 264]
"I dreamt of my lady, I dreamt of her shroud,"
Cried a voice from the kinsmen, all wrathful and loud;
"And empty that shroud and that coffin did seem.
Glenara! Glenara! now read me my dream."
Oh! pale grew the cheek of that chieftain, I ween,
When the shroud was unclosed, and no lady was seen;
When a voice from the kinsmen spoke louder in scorn—
'Twas the youth who had loved the fair Ellen of Lorn:
"I dreamt of my lady, I dreamt of her grief,
I dreamt that her lord was a barbarous chief;
On a rock of the ocean fair Ellen did seem.
Glenara! Glenara! now read me my dream!"
In dust low the traitor has knelt to the ground,
And the desert reveal'd where his lady was found;
From a rock of the ocean that beauty is borne—
Now joy to the house of fair Ellen of Lorn!


Alone to the banks of the dark-rolling Danube,
Fair Adelaide hied when the battle was o'er.
"O, whither," she cried, "hast thou wander'd, my lover,
Or here dost thou welter and bleed on the shore?
"What voice did I hear? 'twas my Henry that sigh'd!"
All mournful she hasten'd, nor wander'd she far,
When, bleeding and low, on the heath she descried,
By the light of the moon, her poor wounded hussar!
[Pg 265]
From his bosom, that heaved, the last torrent was streaming,
And pale was his visage, deep mark'd with a scar,
And dim was that eye, once expressively beaming,
That melted in love, and that kindled in war!
How smit was poor Adelaide's heart at the sight!
How bitter she wept o'er the victim of war!
"Hast thou come, my fond love, this last sorrowful night,
To cheer the lone heart of your wounded hussar?"
"Thou shalt live," she replied; "Heaven's mercy relieving
Each anguishing wound shall forbid me to mourn!"
"Ah, no! the last pang of my bosom is heaving;
No light of the morn shall to Henry return!
"Thou charmer of life, ever tender and true!
Ye babes of my love, that await me afar!"
His faltering tongue scarce could murmur adieu,
When he sank in her arms—the poor wounded hussar.


Of Nelson and the North,
Sing the glorious day's renown,
When to battle fierce came forth,
All the might of Denmark's crown,
And her arms along the deep proudly shone;
By each gun the lighted brand,
In a bold determined hand,
And the Prince of all the land
Led them on.
[Pg 266]
Like leviathans afloat,
Lay their bulwarks on the brine;
While the sign of battle flew
On the lofty British line:
It was ten of April morn by the chime,
As they drifted on their path,
There was silence deep as death,
And the boldest held his breath
For a time.
But the might of England flush'd
To anticipate the scene;
And her van the fleeter rush'd
O'er the deadly space between.
"Hearts of oak!" our Captain cried; when each gun
From its adamantine lips
Spread a death-shade round the ships,
Like the hurricane eclipse
Of the sun.
Again! again! again!
And the havoc did not slack,
Till a feeble cheer the Dane
To our cheering sent us back;
Their shots along the deep slowly boom;
Then ceased, and all is wail,
As they strike the shatter'd sail,
Or in conflagration pale
Light the gloom.
Out spoke the victor then,
As he hail'd them o'er the wave—
"Ye are brothers! ye are men!
And we conquer but to save.
[Pg 267] So peace instead of death let us bring;
But yield, proud foe! thy fleet,
With the crews, at England's feet,
And make submission meet
To our King."
Then Denmark bless'd our chief
That he gave her wounds repose;
And the sounds of joy and grief
From her people wildly rose,
As Death withdrew his shades from the day.
While the sun look'd smiling bright
O'er a wide and woeful sight,
Where the fires of funeral light
Died away.
Now joy, Old England, raise!
For the tidings of thy might,
By the festal cities blaze,
Whilst the wine-cup shines in light;
And yet amidst that joy and uproar,
Let us think of them that sleep,
Full many a fathom deep,
By thy wild and stormy steep,
Brave hearts! to Britain's pride,
Once so faithful and so true,
On the deck of fame that died,
With the gallant good Riou,
Soft sigh the winds of Heaven o'er their grave!
While the billow mournful rolls,
And the mermaid's song condoles,
Singing glory to the souls
Of the brave!
[Pg 268]


Men of England, who inherit
Rights that cost your sires their blood!
Men whose undegenerate spirit
Has been proved on field and flood,
By the foes you 've fought uncounted,
By the glorious deeds ye 've done,
Trophies captured, breaches mounted,
Navies conquer'd, kingdoms won.
Yet, remember, England gathers
Hence but fruitless wreathes of fame,
If the freedom of your fathers
Glow not in your hearts the same.
What are monuments of bravery,
Whence no public virtues bloom?
What avail in lands of slavery,
Trophied temples, arch and tomb?
Pageants!—Let the world revere us
For our people's rights and laws,
And the breasts of civic heroes,
Bared in Freedom's holy cause.
Yours are Hampden's, Russell's glory,
Sidney's matchless shade is yours,
Martyrs in heroic story,
Worth a hundred Agincourts!
We 're the sons of sires that baffled
Crown'd and mitred tyranny;
They defied the field and scaffold
For their birthrights—so will we!
[Pg 269]


Caroline Eliza Scott, better known as Mrs G. G. Richardson, the daughter of a gentleman of considerable property in the south of Scotland, was born at Forge, her father's family residence, in the parish of Canonbie, on the 24th of November 1777, and spent her childhood and early youth amidst Border scenes, Border traditions, and Border minstrelsy. It is probable that these influences fostered the poetic temperament, while they fed the imaginative element of her mind, as she very early gave expression to her thoughts and feelings in romance and poetry. Born to a condition of favourable circumstances, and associating with parents themselves educated and intellectual, the young poetess enjoyed advantages of development rarely owned by the sons and daughters of genius. The flow of her mind was allowed to take its natural course; and some of her early anonymous writings are quite as remarkable as any of her acknowledged productions. Her conversational powers were lively and entertaining, but never oppressive. She was ever ready to discern and do homage to the merits of her contemporaries, while she never failed to fan the faintest flame of latent poesy in the aspirations of the timid or unknown. Affectionate and cheerful in her dispositions, she was a loving and[Pg 270] dutiful daughter, and shewed the tenderest attachment to a numerous family of brothers and sisters. She was married to her cousin, Gilbert Geddes Richardson, on the 29th of April 1799, at Fort George, Madras; where she was then living with her uncle, General, afterwards Lord Harris; and the connexion proved, in all respects, a suitable and happy one. Her husband, at that time captain of an Indiaman, was one of a number of brothers, natives of the south of Scotland, who all sought their fortunes in India, and one of whom, Lieutenant-Colonel Richardson, became known in literature as an able translator of Sanscrit poetry, and contributor to the "Asiatic Researches." He was lost at sea, with his wife and six children, on their homeward voyage; and this distressing event, accompanied as it was by protracted suspense and anxiety, was long and deeply deplored by his gifted sister-in-law.

Young, beautiful, and doubly attractive from the warmth of her heart, and the fascination of her manners, Mrs Richardson was not only loved and appreciated by her husband, and his family, but greatly admired in a refined circle of Anglo-Indian society; and the few years of her married life were marked by almost uninterrupted felicity. But death struck down the husband and father in the very prime of manhood; and the widow returned with her five children (all of whom survived her), to seek from the scenes and friends of her early days such consolation as they might minister to a grief which only those who have experienced it can measure. She never brought her own peculiar sorrows before the public; but there is a tone of gentle mournfulness pervading many of her poems, that may be traced to this cause; and there are touching allusions to "one of rare endowments," that[Pg 271] no one who remembered her husband's character could fail to recognise. Her intense love of nature happily remained unchanged; and the green hills, the flowing river, and the tangled wildwood, could still soothe a soul that, but for its susceptibility to these beneficent charms, might have said in its sadness of everything earthly, "miserable comforters are ye all." Continuing to reside at Forge while her children were young, she devoted herself to the direction of their education, the cultivation of her own pure tastes, and the peaceful enjoyments of a country life; and when she afterwards removed to London, and reappeared in brilliant and distinguished society, she often reverted, with regret, to the bright skies and cottage homes of Canonbie. In 1821, Mrs Richardson again returned to Scotland, and took up her abode at Dumfries, partly from the desire of being near her connexions, and partly for the sake of the beautiful scenery surrounding that pretty county town. In 1828 she published, by subscription, her first volume of miscellaneous poems, which was well received by the public, favourably noticed by the leading journals, and received a circulation even beyond the range of 1700 subscribers. A second edition, in a larger form, soon followed; and, in 1834, after finally settling in her native parish, she published a second volume, dedicated to the Duchess of Buccleuch, and which was also remarkably successful. From this time she employed her talents in the composition of prose; she published "Adonia," a novel, in three volumes; and various tales, essays, and fugitive pieces, forming contributions to popular serials. Her later poems remain in manuscript. She maintained an extensive correspondence with her literary friends, and spent much of her time in reading and study, and in the practice of sincere and unosten[Pg 272]tatious piety. Her faculties were vigorous and unimpared, until the seizure of her last illness, which quickly terminated in death, on the 9th October 1853, when she had nearly completed her seventy-sixth year. She died at Forge, and was laid to rest in the church-yard of her own beloved Canonbie.[Pg 273]


The fairies are dancing—how nimbly they bound!
They flit o'er the grass tops, they touch not the ground;
Their kirtles of green are with diamonds bedight,
All glittering and sparkling beneath the moonlight.
Hark, hark to their music! how silvery and clear—
'Tis surely the flower-bells that ringing I hear,—
The lazy-wing'd moth, with the grasshopper wakes,
And the field-mouse peeps out, and their revels partakes.
How featly they trip it! how happy are they
Who pass all their moments in frolic and play,
Who rove where they list, without sorrows or cares,
And laugh at the fetters mortality wears!
But where have they vanish'd?—a cloud 's o'er the moon,
I 'll hie to the spot,—they 'll be seen again soon—
I hasten—'tis lighter,—and what do I view?—
The fairies were grasses, the diamonds were dew.
And thus do the sparkling illusions of youth
Deceive and allure, and we take them for truth;
Too happy are they who the juggle unshroud,
Ere the hint to inspect them be brought by a cloud.
[Pg 274]


How pleasant, how pleasant to wander away,
O'er the fresh dewy fields at the dawning of day,—
To have all this silence and lightness my own,
And revel with Nature, alone,—all alone!
What a flush of young beauty lies scatter'd around,
In this calm, holy sunshine, and stillness profound!
The myriads are sleeping, who waken to care,
And earth looks like Eden, ere Adam was there.
The herbage, the blossoms, the branches, the skies,
That shower on the river their beautiful dyes,
The far misty mountains, the wide waving fields,
What healthful enjoyment surveying them yields!
Yes, this is the hour Nature's lovers partake,
The manna that melts when Life's vapours awake;
Another, and thoughts will be busy, oh how
Unlike the pure vision they 're ranging in now!
Lo! the hare scudding forth, lo! the trout in the stream
Gently splashing, are stirring the folds of my dream,
The cattle are rising, and hark, the first bird,—
And now in full chorus the woodlands are heard.
Oh, who on the summer-clad landscape can gaze,
In the orison hour, nor break forth into praise,—
Who, through this fair garden contemplative rove,
Nor feel that the Author and Ruler is love?
[Pg 275]
I ask no hewn temple, sufficient is here;
I ask not art's anthems, the woodland is near;
The breeze is all risen, each leaf at his call
Has a tear drop of gratitude ready to fall!


There 's music in the flowing tide, there 's music in the air,
There 's music in the swallow's wing, that skims so lightly there,
There 's music in each waving tress of grove, and bower, and tree,
To eye and ear 'tis music all where Nature revels free.
There 's discord in the gilded halls where lordly rivals meet,
There 's discord where the harpers ring to beauty's glancing feet,
There 's discord 'neath the jewell'd robe, the wreath, the plume, the crest,
Wherever Fashion waves her wand, there discord rules the breast.
There 's music 'neath the cottage eaves, when, at the close of day,
Kind-hearted mirth and social ease the toiling hour repay;
Though coarse the fare, though rude the jest, that cheer that lowly board,
There loving hearts and honest lips sweet harmony afford!
[Pg 276]
Oh! who the music of the groves, the music of the heart,
Would barter for the city's din, the frigid tones of art?
The virtues flourish fresh and fair, where rural waters glide.
They shrink and wither, droop and die, where rolls that turbid tide.


Written to an Italian Air.

Ah! faded is that lovely bloom,
And closed in death that speaking eye,
And buried in a green grass tomb,
What once breathed life and harmony!
Surely the sky is all too dark,
And chilly blows the summer air,—
And, where 's thy song now, sprightly lark,
That used to wake my slumb'ring fair?
Ah! never shalt thou wake her more!
And thou, bright sun, shalt ne'er again,
On inland mead, or sea-girt shore,
Salute the darling of the plain.
Maiden! they bade me o'er thy fate
Numbers and strains mellifluous swell,
They knew the love I bore thee great,—
They knew not what I ne'er can tell.
[Pg 277]
The unstrung heart to others leaves
The music of a feebler woe,
Her numbers are the sighs she heaves,
Her off'ring tears that ever flow.
Where could I gather fancies now?
They 're with'ring on thy lowly tomb,—
My summer was thy cheek and brow,
And perish'd is that lovely bloom!
[Pg 278]


Illustrious as a metaphysician, Dr Thomas Brown is entitled to a place in the poetical literature of his country. He was the youngest son of Samuel Brown, minister of Kirkmabreck, in the stewartry of Kirkcudbright, and was born in the manse of that parish, on the 9th January 1778. His father dying when he was only a year old, his childhood was superintended solely by his mother, who established her abode in Edinburgh. Evincing an uncommon aptitude for knowledge, he could read and understand the Scriptures ere he had completed his fifth year. At the age of seven he was committed to the charge of a maternal uncle in London, who placed him at the schools of Camberwell and Chiswick, and afterwards at two other classical seminaries, in all of which he exhibited remarkable precocity in learning. On the death of his relative he returned to Edinburgh, and in his fourteenth year entered the University of that city. During a visit to Liverpool, in the summer of 1793, he was introduced to Dr Currie, who, presenting him with a copy of Dugald Stewart's "Elements of Philosophy," was the means of directing his attention to metaphysical inquiries. The following session he became a student in Professor Stewart's class; and differing from a theory advanced in one of the lectures, he modestly read his sentiments on the subject to his venerable preceptor. The philosopher and pupil were henceforth intimate friends.[Pg 279]

In his nineteenth year, Brown became a member of the "Academy of Physics," a philosophical association established by the scientific youths of the University, and afterwards known to the world as having given origin to the Edinburgh Review. As a member of this society he formed the intimacy of Brougham, Jeffrey, Leyden, Logan, Sydney Smith, and other literary aspirants. In 1778 he published "Observations on the Zoonomia of Dr Darwin,"—a pamphlet replete with deep philosophical sentiment, and which so attracted the notice of his friends that they used every effort, though unsuccessfully, to secure him the chair of rhetoric in the University during the vacancy which soon afterwards occurred. His professional views were originally directed to the bar, but disgusted with the law after a twelve-month's trial, he entered on a medical course, to qualify himself as physician, and in 1803 received his diploma. His new profession was scarcely more congenial than that which he had abandoned, nor did the prospects of success, on being assumed as a partner by Dr Gregory, reconcile him to his duties. His favourite pursuits were philosophy and poetry; he published in 1804 two volumes of miscellaneous poems which he had chiefly written at college, and he was among the original contributors to the Edinburgh Review, the opening article in the second number, on "Kant's Philosophy," proceeding from his pen. An essay on Hume's "Theory of Causation," which he produced during the struggle attendant on Mr Leslie's appointment to the mathematical chair, established his hitherto growing reputation; and the public in the capital afterwards learned, with more than satisfaction, that he had consented to act as substitute for Professor Dugald Stewart, when increasing infirmities had compelled that distinguished individual[Pg 280] to retire from the active business of his chair. In this new sphere he fully realised the expectations of his admirers; he read his own lectures, which, though hastily composed, often during the evenings prior to their delivery, were listened to with an overpowering interest, not only by the regular students, but by many professional persons in the city. Such distinction had its corresponding reward; after assisting in the moral philosophy class for two years, he was in 1810 appointed to the joint professorship.

Successful as a philosopher, Dr Brown was desirous of establishing a reputation as a poet. In 1814 he published anonymously the "Paradise of Coquettes," a poem which was favourably received. "The Wanderer of Norway," a poem, appeared in 1816, and "Agnes" and "Emily," two other distinct volumes of poems, in the two following years. He died at Brompton, near London, on the 2d April 1820, and his remains were conveyed for interment to the churchyard of his native parish. Amidst a flow of ornate and graceful language, the poetry of Dr Brown is disfigured by a morbid sensibility and a philosophy which dims rather than enlightens. He possessed, however, many of the mental concomitants of a great poet; he loved rural retirement and romantic scenery; well appreciated the beautiful both in nature and in art; was conversant with the workings of the human heart and the history of nations; was influenced by generous emotions, and luxuriated in a bold and lofty imagination.[113] [Pg 281]


Yes! the shades we must leave which my childhood has haunted,
Each charm by endearing remembrance improved;
These walks of our love, the sweet bower thou hast planted,—
We must leave them to eyes that will view them unmoved.
Oh, weep not, my Fanny! though changed be our dwelling,
We bear with us all, in the home of our mind;
In virtues will glow that heart, fondly swelling,
Affection's best treasure we leave not behind.
I shall labour, but still by thy image attended—
Can toil be severe which a smile can repay?
How glad shall we meet! every care will be ended;
And our evening of bliss will be more than a day.
Content's cheerful beam will our cottage enlighten;
New charms the new cares of thy love will inspire;
Thy smiles, 'mid the smiles of our offspring, will lighten;
I shall see it—and oh, can I feel a desire?
[Pg 282]


When thy smile was still clouded in gloom,
When the tear was still dim in thine eye,
I thought of the virtues, scarce cold in the tomb,
And I spoke not of love to thy sigh!
I spoke not of love; yet the breast,
Which mark'd thy long anguish,—deplore
The sire, whom in sickness, in age, thou hadst bless'd,
Though silent, was loving thee more!
How soon wert thou pledged to my arms,
Thou hadst vow'd, but I urged not the day;
And thine eye grateful turn'd, oh, so sweet were its charms,
That it more than atoned the delay.
I fear'd not, too slow of belief—
I fear'd not, too proud of thy heart,
That another would steal on the hour of thy grief,
That thy grief would be soft to his art.
Thou heardst—and how easy allured,
Every vow of the past to forsware;
The love, which for thee would all pangs have endured,
Thou couldst smile, as thou gav'st to despair.
Ah, think not my passion has flown!
Why say that my vows now are free?
Why say—yes! I feel that my heart is my own;
I feel it is breaking for thee.
[Pg 283]


Ah! do not bid me wake the lute,
It once was dear to Henry's ear.
Now be its voice for ever mute,
The voice which Henry ne'er can hear.
Though many a month has pass'd since Spring,
His grave's wan turf has bloom'd anew,
One whisper of those chords would bring,
In all its grief, our last adieu.
The songs he loved—'twere sure profane
To careless Pleasure's laughing brow
To breathe; and oh! what other strain
To Henry's lute could love allow?
Though not a sound thy soul hath caught,
To mine it looks, thus softly dead,
A sweeter tenderness of thought
Than all its living strings have shed.
Then ask me not—the charm was broke;
With each loved vision must I part;
If gay to every ear it spoke,
'Twould speak no longer to my heart.
[Pg 284]
Yet once too blest!—the moonlit grot,
Where last I gave its tones to swell;
Ah! the last tones—thou heardst them not—
From other hands than mine they fell.
Still, silent slumbering, let it keep
That sacred touch! And oh! as dim
To life, would, would that I could sleep,
Could sleep, and only dream of him!
[Pg 285]


William Chalmers was born at Paisley in 1779. He carried on the business of a tobacconist and grocer in his native town, and for a period enjoyed considerable prosperity. Unfortunate reverses caused him afterwards to abandon merchandise, and engage in a variety of occupations. At different times he sought employment as a dentist, a drysalter, and a book distributor; he sold small stationery as a travelling merchant, and ultimately became keeper of the refreshment booth at the Paisley railway station. He died at Paisley on the 3d of November 1843. Chalmers wrote respectable verses on a number of subjects, but his muse was especially of a humorous tendency. Possessed of a certain versatility of talent, he published, in 1839, a curious production with the quaint title, "Observations on the Weather in Scotland, shewing what kinds of weather the various winds produce, and what winds are most likely to prevail in each month of the year." His compositions in verse were chiefly contributed to the local periodicals and newspapers.[Pg 286]


Air"The Pride of the Broomlands."

Sing on, thou little bird,
Thy wild notes sae loud,
O sing, sweetly sing frae the tree;
Aft beneath thy birken bow'r
I have met at e'ening hour
My young Jamie that 's far o'er the sea.
On yon bonnie heather knowes
We pledged our mutual vows,
And dear is the spot unto me;
Though pleasure I hae nane,
While I wander alane,
And my Jamie is far o'er the sea.
But why should I mourn,
The seasons will return,
And verdure again clothe the lea;
The flow'rets shall spring,
And the saft breeze shall bring,
My dear laddie again back to me.
Thou star! give thy light,
Guide my lover aright,
Frae rocks and frae shoals keep him free;
Now gold I hae in store,
He shall wander no more,
No, no more shall he sail o'er the sea.
[Pg 287]


"O, lassie, wilt thou go
To the Lomond wi' me?
The wild thyme 's in bloom.
And the flower 's on the lea;
Wilt thou go my dearest love?
I will ever constant prove,
I 'll range each hill and grove
On the Lomond wi' thee."
"O young men are fickle,
Nor trusted to be,
And many a native gem
Shines fair on the lea:
Thou mayst see some lovely flower,
Of a more attractive power,
And may take her to thy bower
On the Lomond wi' thee."
"The hynd shall forsake,
On the mountain the doe,
The stream of the fountain
Shall cease for to flow;
Ben-Lomond shall bend
His high brow to the sea,
Ere I take to my bower
Any flower, love, but thee."
She 's taken her mantle,
He 's taken his plaid;
He coft her a ring,
And he made her his bride:
They 're far o'er yon hills,
To spend their happy days,
And range the woody glens
'Mang the Lomond braes.
[Pg 288]


A zealous and respectable antiquary and cultivator of historical literature, Joseph Train is likewise worthy of a niche in the temple of Scottish minstrelsy. His ancestors were for several generations land-stewards on the estate of Gilmilnscroft, in the parish of Sorn, and county of Ayr, where he was born on the 6th November 1779. When he was eight years old, his parents removed to Ayr, where, after a short attendance at school, he was apprenticed to a mechanical occupation. His leisure hours were sedulously devoted to reading and mental improvement. In 1799, he was balloted for the Ayrshire Militia; in which he served for three years till the regiment was disbanded on the peace of Amiens. When he was stationed at Inverness, he had commissioned through a bookseller a copy of Currie's edition of the "Works of Burns," then sold at three half-guineas, and this circumstance becoming incidentally known to the Colonel of the regiment, Sir David Hunter Blair, he caused the copy to be elegantly bound and delivered free of expense. Much pleased with his intelligence and attainments, Sir David, on the disembodiment of the regiment, actively sought his preferment; he procured him an agency at Ayr for the important manufacturing house of Finlay and Co., Glasgow, and in 1808, secured him an appointment in the Excise. In 1810, Train was sometime placed on service as a supernumerary in Perthshire; he was in the year following settled as an[Pg 289] excise officer at Largs, from which place in 1813 he was transferred to Newton Stewart. The latter location, from the numerous objects of interest which were presented in the surrounding district, was highly suitable for his inclinations and pursuits. Recovering many curious legends, he embodied some of them in metrical tales, which, along with a few lyrical pieces, he published in 1814, in a thin octavo volume,[114] under the title of "Strains of the Mountain Muse." While the sheets were passing through the press, some of them were accidentally seen by Sir Walter Scott, who, warmly approving of the author's tastes, procured his address, and communicated his desire to become a subscriber for the volume.

Gratified by the attention of Sir Walter, Mr Train transmitted for his consideration several curious Galloway traditions, which he had recovered. These Sir Walter politely acknowledged, and begged the favour of his endeavouring to procure for him some account of the present condition of Turnberry Castle, for his poem the "Lord of the Isles," which he was then engaged in composing. Mr Train amply fulfilled the request by visiting the ruined structure situated on the coast of Ayrshire; and he thereafter transmitted to his illustrious correspondent those particulars regarding it, and of the landing of Robert Bruce, and the Hospital founded by that monarch, at King's Case, near Prestwick, which are given by Sir Walter in the notes to the fifth canto of the poem. During a succession of years he regularly transmitted legendary tales and scraps to Sir Walter, which were turned to excellent account by the great novelist. The fruits of his communications appear in the "Chronicles of the Canongate," "Guy Mannering," "Old Mor[Pg 290]tality," "The Heart of Mid Lothian," "The Fair Maid of Perth," "Peveril of the Peak," "Quintin Durward," "The Surgeon's Daughter," and "Redgauntlet." He likewise supplied those materials on which Sir Walter founded his dramas of the "Doom of Devorgoil," and "Macduff's Cross."

When Sir Walter was engaged, a few years previous to his death, in preparing the Abbotsford or first uniform edition of his works, Mr Train communicated for his use many additional particulars regarding a number of the characters in the Waverley Novels, of which he had originally introduced the prototypes to the distinguished author. His most interesting narrative was an account of the family of Robert Paterson, the original "Old Mortality," which is so remarkable in its nature, that we owe no apology for introducing it. Mr Train received his information from Robert, a son of "Old Mortality," then in his seventy-fifth year, and residing at Dalry, in the Stewartry of Kirkcudbright. According to the testimony of this individual, his brother John sailed for America in 1774, where he made a fortune during the American War. He afterwards settled at Baltimore, where he married, and lived in prosperous circumstances. He had a son named Robert, after "Old Mortality," his father, and a daughter named Elizabeth; Robert espoused an American lady, who, surviving him, was married to the Marquis of Wellesley, and Elizabeth became the first wife of Prince Jerome Bonaparte.[115]

On his first connexion with the Excise, Mr Train turned his attention to the most efficient means of checking illicit distillation in the Highlands; and an essay[Pg 291] which he prepared, suggesting improved legislation on the subject, was in 1815 laid before the Board of Excise and Customs, and transmitted with their approval to the Lords of the Treasury. His suggestions afterwards became the subject of statutory enactment. At this period, he began a correspondence with Mr George Chalmers, author of the "Caledonia," supplying him with much valuable information for the third volume of that great work. He had shortly before traced the course of an ancient wall known as the "Deil's Dyke," for a distance of eighty miles from the margin of Lochryan, in Wigtonshire, to Hightae, in Lochmaben, Dumfriesshire, and an account of this remarkable structure, together with a narrative of his discovery of Roman remains in Wigtonshire, greatly interested his indefatigable correspondent. In 1820, through the kindly offices of Sir Walter, he was appointed Supervisor. In this position he was employed to officiate at Cupar-Fife and at Kirkintilloch. He was stationed in succession at South Queensferry, Falkirk, Wigton, Dumfries, and Castle-Douglas. From these various districts he procured curious gleanings for Sir Walter, and objects of antiquity for the armory at Abbotsford.

Mr Train contributed to the periodicals both in prose and verse. Many of his compositions were published in the Dumfries Magazine, Bennett's Glasgow Magazine, and the Ayr Courier and Dumfries Courier newspapers. An interesting tale from his pen, entitled "Mysie and the Minister," appeared in the thirtieth number of Chambers' Edinburgh Journal; he contributed the legend of "Sir Ulrick Macwhirter" to Mr Robert Chambers' "Picture of Scotland," and made several gleanings in Galloway for the "Popular Rhymes of Scotland," published by the same gentleman. He had long contemplated the publication of a description of[Pg 292] Galloway, and he ultimately afforded valuable assistance to the Rev. William Mackenzie in preparing his history of that district. Mr Train likewise rendered useful aid to several clergymen in Galloway, in drawing up the statistical accounts of their parishes,—a service which was suitably acknowledged by the writers.

Having obtained from Sir Walter Scott a copy of Waldron's "Description of the Isle of Man," a very scarce and curious work, Mr Train conceived the idea of writing a history of that island. In the course of his researches, he accidentally discovered a M.S. volume containing one hundred and eight acts of the Manx Legislature, prior to the accession of the Atholl family to that kingdom. Of this acquisition he transmitted a transcript to Sir Walter, along with several Manx traditions, as an appropriate acknowledgment for the donation he had received. In 1845 he published his "History of the Isle of Man," in two large octavo volumes. His last work was a curious and interesting history of a religious sect, well known in the south of Scotland by the name of "The Buchanites." After a period of twenty-eight years' service in the Excise, Mr Train had his name placed on the retired list. He continued to reside at Castle-Douglas, in a cottage pleasantly situated on the banks of Carlingwark Lake. To the close of his career, he experienced pleasure in literary composition. He died at Lochvale, Castle-Douglas, on the 7th December 1852. His widow, with one son and one daughter, survive. A few months after his death, a pension of fifty pounds on the Civil List was conferred by the Queen on his widow and daughter, "in consequence of his personal services to literature, and the valuable aid derived by the late Sir Walter Scott from his antiquarian and literary researches prosecuted under Sir Walter's direction."[Pg 293]


Air"There 's cauld kail in Aberdeen."

The neighbours a' they wonder how
I am sae ta'en wi' Maggie,
But ah! they little ken, I trow,
How kind she 's to my doggie.
Yestreen as we linked o'er the lea,
To meet her in the gloamin';
She fondly on my Bawtie cried,
Whene'er she saw us comin'.
But was the tyke not e'en as kind,
Though fast she beck'd to pat him;
He louped up and slaked her cheek,
Afore she could win at him.
But save us, sirs, when I gaed in,
To lean me on the settle,
Atween my Bawtie and the cat
There rose an awfu' battle.
An' though that Maggie saw him lay
His lugs in bawthron's coggie,
She wi' the besom lounged poor chit,
And syne she clapp'd my doggie.
Sae weel do I this kindness feel,
Though Mag she isna bonnie,
An' though she 's feckly twice my age,
I lo'e her best of ony.
[Pg 294]
May not this simple ditty show,
How oft affection catches,
And from what silly sources, too,
Proceed unseemly matches;
An' eke the lover he may see,
Albeit his joe seem saucy,
If she is kind unto his dog,
He 'll win at length the lassie.


On this unfrequented plain,
What can gar thee sigh alane,
Bonnie blue-eyed lassie?
Is thy mammy dead and gane,
Or thy loving Jamie slain?
Wed anither, mak nae main,
Bonnie, blooming Jessie.
Though I sob and sigh alane,
I was never wed to ane,
Quo' the blue-eyed lassie.
But if loving Jamie's slain,
Farewell pleasure, welcome pain,
A' the joy wi' him is gane
O' poor hapless Jessie.
Ere he cross'd the raging sea,
Was he ever true to thee,
Bonnie, blooming Jessie?
Was he ever frank and free?
Swore he constant aye to be?
Did he on the roseate lea
Ca' thee blooming Jessie?
[Pg 295]
Ere he cross'd the raging sea,
Aft he on the dewy lea,
Ca'd me blue-eyed lassie.
Weel I mind his words to me,
Were, if he abroad should die,
His last throb and sigh should be,
Bonnie, blooming Jessie.
Far frae hame, and far frae thee,
I saw loving Jamie die,
Bonnie blue-eyed lassie.
Fast a cannon ball did flee,
Laid him stretch'd upo' the lea,
Soon in death he closed his e'e,
Crying, "Blooming Jessie."
Swelling with a smother'd sigh,
Rose the snowy bosom high
Of the blue-eyed lassie.
Fleeter than the streamers fly,
When they flit athwart the sky,
Went and came the rosy dye
On the cheeks of Jessie.
Longer wi' sic grief oppress'd
Jamie couldna sae distress'd
See the blue-eyed lassie.
Fast he clasp'd her to his breast,
Told her a' his dangers past,
Vow'd that he would wed at last
Bonnie, blooming Jessie.
[Pg 296]


I 've loved thee, old Scotia, and love thee I will,
Till the heart that now beats in my bosom is still.
My forefathers loved thee, for often they drew
Their dirks in defence of thy banners of blue;
Though murky thy glens, where the wolf prowl'd of yore,
And craggy thy mountains, where cataracts roar,
The race of old Albyn, when danger was nigh,
For thee stood resolved still to conquer or die.
I love yet to roam where the beacon-light rose,
Where echoed thy slogan, or gather'd thy foes,
Whilst forth rush'd thy heroic sons to the fight,
Opposing the stranger who came in his might.
I love through thy time-fretted castles to stray,
The mould'ring halls of thy chiefs to survey;
To grope through the keep, and the turret explore,
Where waved the blue flag when the battle was o'er.
I love yet to roam o'er each field of thy fame,
Where valour has gain'd thee a glorious name;
I love where the cairn or the cromlach is made,
To ponder, for low there the mighty are laid.
Were these fall'n heroes to rise from their graves,
They might deem us dastards, they might deem us slaves;
But let a foe face thee, raise fire on each hill,
Thy sons, my dear Scotia, will fight for thee still!
[Pg 297]


An intelligent antiquary, an elegant scholar, and a respectable writer of verses, Robert Jamieson was born in Morayshire about the year 1780. At an early age he became classical assistant in the school of Macclesfield in Cheshire. About the year 1800 he proceeded to the shores of the Baltic, to occupy an appointment in the Academy of Riga. Prior to his departure, he had formed the scheme of publishing a collection of ballads recovered from tradition, and on his return to Scotland he resumed his plan with the ardour of an enthusiast. In 1806 he published, in two octavo volumes, "Popular Ballads and Songs, from Tradition, Manuscripts, and Scarce Editions; with Translations of Similar Pieces from the Ancient Danish Language, and a few Originals by the Editor." In the preparation of this work, he acknowledges his obligations to Dr Jamieson, author of the "History of the Culdees," Dr Robert Anderson, editor of the "British Poets," Dr John Leyden, and some others. On the recommendation of Sir Walter Scott he was received into the General Register House, as assistant to the Deputy-Clerk-Register, in the publication of the public records. He held this office till 1836, during a period of thirty years. Subsequently he resided at Newhaven, near Edinburgh, and ultimately in London, where he died on the 24th of September 1844. Familiar with the northern languages,[Pg 298] he edited, conjointly with Sir Walter Scott and Henry Weber, a learned work, entitled "Illustrations of Northern Antiquities from the Earlier Teutonic and Scandinavian Romances." Edinburgh, 1814, quarto. In 1818 he published, with some contributions from Scott, a new edition of Burt's "Letters from the North of Scotland."

Mr Jamieson was of the middle size, of muscular form, and of strongly-marked features. As a literary antiquary, he was held in high estimation by the men of learning in the capital. As a poet he composed several songs in early life, which are worthy of a place among the modern minstrelsy of his country.[Pg 299]


Tune"My Wife 's a wanton wee Thing."

My wife 's a winsome wee thing,
A bonnie, blythesome wee thing,
My dear, my constant wee thing,
And evermair sall be;
It warms my heart to view her,
I canna choose but lo'e her,
And oh! weel may I trow her
How dearly she lo'es me!
For though her face sae fair be,
As nane could ever mair be;
And though her wit sae rare be,
As seenil do we see;
Her beauty ne'er had gain'd me,
Her wit had ne'er enchain'd me,
Nor baith sae lang retain'd me,
But for her love to me.
When wealth and pride disown'd me,
A' views were dark around me,
And sad and laigh she found me,
As friendless worth could be;
When ither hope gaed frae me,
Her pity kind did stay me,
And love for love she ga'e me;
And that 's the love for me.
[Pg 300]
And, till this heart is cald, I
That charm of life will hald by;
And, though my wife grow auld, my
Leal love aye young will be;
For she 's my winsome wee thing,
My canty, blythesome wee thing,
My tender, constant wee thing,
And evermair sall be.


Go to him, then, if thou can'st go,
Waste not a thought on me;
My heart and mind are a' my store,
And they were dear to thee.
But there is music in his gold
(I ne'er sae sweet could sing),
That finds a chord in every breast
In unison to ring.
The modest virtues dread the spell,
The honest loves retire,
The purer sympathies of soul
Far other charms require.
The breathings of my plaintive reed
Sink dying in despair,
The still small voice of gratitude,
Even that is heard nae mair.
[Pg 301]
But, if thy heart can suffer thee,
The powerful call obey,
And mount the splendid bed that wealth
And pride for thee display.
Then gaily bid farewell to a'
Love's trembling hopes and fears,
While I my lanely pillow here
Wash with unceasing tears.
Yet, in the fremmit arms of him
That half thy worth ne'er knew,
Oh! think na on my lang-tried love,
How tender and how true!
For sure 'twould break thy gentle heart
My breaking heart to see,
Wi' a' the wrangs and waes it 's tholed,
And yet maun thole for thee.
[Pg 302]


Walter Watson was the son of a handloom weaver in the village of Chryston, in the parish of Calder, and county of Lanark, where he was born, on the 29th March 1780. Having a family of other two sons and four daughters, his parents could only afford to send him two years to school; when at the age of eight, he was engaged as a cow-herd. During the winter months he still continued to receive instructions from the village schoolmaster. At the age of eleven his father apprenticed him to a weaver; but he had contracted a love for the fields, and after a few years at the loom he hired himself as a farm-servant. In the hope of improving his circumstances, he proceeded to Glasgow, where he was employed as a sawyer. He now enlisted in the Scots Greys; but after a service of only three years, he was discharged, in June 1802, on the reduction of the army, subsequent to the peace of Amiens. At Chryston he resumed his earliest occupation, and, having married, resolved to employ himself for life at the loom. His spare hours were dedicated to the muse, and his compositions were submitted to criticism at the social meetings of his friends. Encouraged by their approval, he published in 1808 a small volume of poems and songs, which, well received, gained him considerable reputation as a versifier. Some of the songs at once became popular. In 1820 he[Pg 303] removed from Chryston, and accepted employment as a sawyer in the villages of Banton and Arnbrae, in Kilsyth; in 1826 he proceeded to Kirkintilloch, where he resumed the labours of the loom; in 1830 he changed his abode to Craigdarroch, in the parish of Calder, from which, in other five years, he removed to Lennoxtown of Campsie, where he and several of his family were employed in an extensive printwork. To Craigdarroch he returned at the end of two years; in other seven years he made a further change to Auchinairn which, in 1849, he left for Duntiblae, in Kirkintilloch. He died at the latter place on the 13th September 1854, in his seventy-fifth year. His remains were interred at Chryston, within a few yards of the house in which he was born. His widow, the "Maggie" of his songs, still survives, with only four of their ten children.

Besides the volume already mentioned, Watson published a small collection of miscellaneous poems in 1823, and a third volume in 1843. A selection of his best pieces was published during the year previous to his death, under the superintendence of several friends in Glasgow, with a biographical preface by Mr Hugh Macdonald. The proceeds of this volume, which was published by subscription, tended to the comfort of the last months of the poet's life. On two different occasions during his advanced years, he received public entertainments, and was presented with substantial tokens of esteem. Of amiable dispositions, modest demeanour, and industrious habits, he was beloved by all to whom he was known. His poems generally abound in genuine Scottish humour, but his reputation will rest upon a few of his songs, which have deservedly obtained a place in the affections of his countrymen.[Pg 304]


Now simmer decks the fields wi' flowers,
The woods wi' leaves so green,
An' little burds around their bowers
In harmony convene;
The cuckoo flees frae tree to tree,
While saft the zephyrs blaw,
But what are a' thae joys to me,
When Jockie 's far awa'?
When Jockie 's far awa' on sea,
When Jockie 's far awa';
But what are a' thae joys to me,
When Jockie 's far awa'?
Last May mornin', how sweet to see
The little lambkins play,
Whilst my dear lad, alang wi' me,
Did kindly walk this way!
On yon green bank wild flowers he pou'd,
To busk my bosom braw;
Sweet, sweet he talk'd, and aft he vow'd,
But now he 's far awa'.
But now, &c.
O gentle peace, return again,
Bring Jockie to my arms,
Frae dangers on the raging main,
An' cruel war's alarms;
[Pg 305] Gin e'er we meet, nae mair we 'll part
While we hae breath to draw;
Nor will I sing, wi' aching heart,
My Jockie 's far awa';
My Jockie 's far awa,' &c.


Air"The Banks o' the Dee."

The sweets o' the simmer invite us to wander
Amang the wild flowers, as they deck the green lea,
An' by the clear burnies that sweetly meander,
To charm us, as hameward they rin to the sea;
The nestlin's are fain the saft wing to be tryin',
As fondly the dam the adventure is eyein',
An' teachin' her notes, while wi' food she 's supplyin'
Her tender young offspring, like Maggie an' me.
The corn in full ear, is now promisin' plenty,
The red clusterin' row'ns bend the witch-scarrin' tree,
While lapt in its leaves lies the strawberry dainty,
As shy to receive the embrace o' the bee.
Then hope, come alang, an' our steps will be pleasant,
The future, by thee, is made almost the present;
Thou frien' o' the prince an' thou frien' o' the peasant,
Thou lang hast befriended my Maggie an' me.
Ere life was in bloom we had love in our glances,
An' aft I had mine o' her bonnie blue e'e,
We needit nae art to engage our young fancies,
'Twas done ere we kent, an' we own't it wi' glee.
[Pg 306] Now pleased, an' aye wishin' to please ane anither,
We 've pass'd twenty years since we buckled thegither,
An' ten bonnie bairns, lispin' faither an' mither,
Hae toddled fu' fain atween Maggie an' me.


Come sit down, my cronie, an' gie me your crack,
Let the win' tak the cares o' this life on its back,
Our hearts to despondency we ne'er will submit,
We 've aye been provided for, an' sae will we yet;
An' sae will we yet, an' sae will we yet,
We 've aye been provided for, an' sae will we yet.
Let 's ca' for a tankar' o' nappy brown ale,
It will comfort our hearts an' enliven our tale,
We 'll aye be the merrier the langer that we sit,
We 've drunk wi' ither mony a time, an' sae will we yet,
An' sae will we yet, &c.
Sae rax me your mill, an' my nose I will prime,
Let mirth an' sweet innocence employ a' our time;
Nae quarr'lin' nor fightin' we here will permit,
We 've parted aye in unity, an' sae will we yet,
An' sae will we yet, &c.

[Pg 307]


Air"Hills o' Glenorchy."

When I think on the sweet smiles o' my lassie,
My cares flee awa' like a thief frae the day;
My heart loups licht, an' I join in a sang
Amang the sweet birds on the braes o' Bedlay.
How sweet the embrace, yet how honest the wishes,
When luve fa's a-wooin', an' modesty blushes,
Whaur Mary an' I meet amang the green bushes
That screen us sae weel, on the braes o' Bedlay.
There 's nane sae trig or sae fair as my lassie,
An' mony a wooer she answers wi' "Nay,"
Wha fain wad hae her to lea' me alane,
An' meet me nae mair on the braes o' Bedlay.
I fearna, I carena, their braggin' o' siller,
Nor a' the fine things they can think on to tell her,
Nae vauntin' can buy her, nae threatnin' can sell her,
It 's luve leads her out to the braes o' Bedlay.
We 'll gang by the links o' the wild rowin' burnie,
Whaur aft in my mornin' o' life I did stray,
Whaur luve was invited and cares were beguiled
By Mary an' me, on the braes o' Bedlay.
Sae luvin', sae movin', I 'll tell her my story,
Unmixt wi' the deeds o' ambition for glory,
Whaur wide spreadin' hawthorns, sae ancient and hoary,
Enrich the sweet breeze on the braes o' Bedlay.

[Pg 308]


Air"Hae ye seen in the calm dewy mornin'."

Hae ye been in the North, bonnie lassie,
Whaur Glaizert rins pure frae the fell,
Whaur the straight stately beech staun's sae gaucy,
An' luve lilts his tale through the dell?
O! then ye maun ken o' my Jessie,
Sae blythesome, sae bonnie an' braw;
The lassies hae doubts about Jessie,
Her charms steal their luvers awa'.
I can see ye 're fu' handsome an' winnin',
Your cleedin 's fu' costly an' clean,
Your wooers are aften complainin'
O' wounds frae your bonnie blue e'en.
I could lean me wi' pleasure beside thee,
Ae kiss o' thy mou' is a feast;
May luve wi' his blessins abide thee,
For Jessie 's the queen o' my breast.
I maun gang an' get hame, my sweet Jessie,
For fear some young laird o' degree
May come roun' on his fine sleekit bawsy,
An' ding a' my prospects agee.
There 's naething like gowd to the miser,
There 's naething like light to the e'e,
But they canna gie me ony pleasure,
If Jessie prove faithless to me.
[Pg 309]
Let us meet on the border, my Jessie,
Whaur Kelvin links bonnily bye,
Though my words may be scant to address ye,
My heart will be loupin' wi' joy.
If ance I were wedded to Jessie,
An' that may be ere it be lang,
I 'll can brag o' the bonniest lassie
That ere was the theme o' a sang.
[Pg 310]


As the confidential friend, factor, and amanuensis of Sir Walter Scott, William Laidlaw has a claim to remembrance; the authorship of "Lucy's Flittin'" entitles him to rank among the minstrels of his country. His ancestors on the father's side were, for a course of centuries, substantial farmers in Tweedside, and his father, James Laidlaw, with his wife, Catherine Ballantyne, rented from the Earl of Traquair the pastoral farm of Blackhouse, in Yarrow. William, the eldest of a family of three sons, was born in November 1780. His education was latterly conducted at the Grammar School of Peebles. James Hogg kept sheep on his father's farm, and a strong inclination for ballad-poetry led young Laidlaw to cultivate his society. They became inseparable friends—the Shepherd guiding the fancy of the youth, who, on the other hand, encouraged the Shepherd to persevere in ballad-making and poetry.

In the summer of 1801, Laidlaw formed the acquaintance of Sir Walter Scott. In quest of materials for the third volume of the "Border Minstrelsy," Scott made an excursion into the vales of Ettrick and Yarrow; he was directed to Blackhouse by Leyden, who had been informed of young Laidlaw's zeal for the ancient ballad. The visit was an eventful one: Scott found in Laidlaw an intelligent friend and his future steward, and through his means formed, on the same day, the acquaintance of the Ettrick Shepherd. The ballad of "Auld Maitland," in the third volume of the "Minstrelsy," was furnished by Laidlaw; he recovered it from the recitation of "Will of Phawhope," the maternal uncle of the Shepherd. A correspondence[Pg 311] with Scott speedily ripened into friendship; the great poet rapidly passing the epistolary forms of "Sir," and "Dear Sir," into "Dear Mr Laidlaw," and ultimately into "Dear Willie,"—a familiarity of address which he only used as expressive of affection. Struck with his originality and the extent of his acquirements, Scott earnestly recommended him to select a different profession from the simple art of his fathers, especially suggesting the study of medicine. But Laidlaw deemed himself too ripe in years to think of change; he took a farm at Traquair, and subsequently removed to a larger farm at Liberton, near Edinburgh.

The sudden fall in the price of grain at the close of the war, which so severely affected many tenant-farmers, pressed heavily on Laidlaw, and compelled him to abandon his lease. He now accepted the offer of Sir Walter to become steward at Abbotsford, and, accordingly, removed his family in 1817 to Kaeside, a cottage on the estate comfortably fitted up for their reception. Through Scott's recommendation, he was employed to prepare the chronicle of events and publications for the Edinburgh Annual Register; and for a short period he furnished a similar record to Blackwood's Magazine. He did not persevere in literary labours, his time becoming wholly occupied in superintending improvements at Abbotsford. When Sir Walter was in the country, he was privileged with his daily intercourse, and was uniformly invited to meet those literary characters who visited the mansion. When official duties detained Scott in the capital, Laidlaw was his confidential correspondent. Sir Walter early communicated to him the unfortunate event of his commercial embarrassments, in a letter honourable to his heart. After feelingly expressing his apprehension lest his misfor[Pg 312]tunes should result in depriving his correspondent of the factorship, Sir Walter proceeds in his letter: "You never flattered my prosperity, and in my adversity it is not the least painful consideration that I cannot any longer be useful to you. But Kaeside, I hope, will still be your residence, and I will have the advantage of your company and advice, and probably your services as amanuensis. Observe, I am not in indigence, though no longer in affluence; and if I am to exert myself in the common behalf, I must have honourable and easy means of life, although it will be my inclination to observe the most strict privacy, the better to save expense, and also time. I do not dislike the path which lies before me. I have seen all that society can shew, and enjoyed all that wealth can give me, and I am satisfied much is vanity, if not vexation of spirit." Laidlaw was too conscientious to remain at Abbotsford, to be a burden on his illustrious friend; he removed to his native district, and for three years employed himself in a variety of occupations till 1830, when the promise of brighter days to his benefactor warranted his return. Scott had felt his departure severely, characterising it as "a most melancholy blank," and his return was hailed with corresponding joy. He was now chiefly employed as Sir Walter's amanuensis. During his last illness, Laidlaw was constant in his attendance, and his presence was a source of peculiar pleasure to the distinguished sufferer. After the funeral, Sir Walter's eldest son and his lady presented him with a brooch, their marriage gift to their revered father, which he wore at the time of his decease; it was afterwards worn by his affectionate steward to the close of his life. The death of Scott took place on the 21st of September 1832, and shortly thereafter Laidlaw bade adieu to Abbotsford.[Pg 313] He was appointed factor on the Ross-shire property of Mrs Stewart Mackenzie of Seaforth,—a situation which he subsequently exchanged for the factorship of Sir Charles Lockhart Ross of Balnagowan, in the same county. Compelled to resign the latter appointment from impaired health, he ultimately took up his residence with his brother, Mr James Laidlaw, tenant at Contin, near Dingwall, in whose house he expired on the 18th of May 1845, having attained his sixty-fifth year. At an early age he espoused his cousin, Miss Ballantyne, by whom he had a numerous family. His remains were interred in the churchyard of Contin, a sequestered spot under the shade of the elevated Tor-Achilty, amidst the most interesting Highland scenery.

A man of superior shrewdness, and well acquainted with literature and rural affairs, Laidlaw was especially devoted to speculations in science. He was an amateur physician, a student of botany and entomology, and a considerable geologist. He prepared a statistical account of Innerleithen, wrote a geological description of Selkirkshire, and contributed several articles to the "Edinburgh Encyclopedia." In youth, he was an enthusiast in ballad-lore; and he was especially expert in filling up blanks in the compositions of the elder minstrels. His original metrical productions are limited to those which appear in the present work. "Lucy's Flittin'" is his masterpiece; we know not a more exquisitely touching ballad in the language, with the single exception of "Robin Gray." Laidlaw was a devoted friend, and a most intelligent companion; he spoke the provincial vernacular, but his manners were polished and pleasing. He was somewhat under the middle height, but was well formed and slightly athletic, and his fresh-coloured complexion beamed a generous benignity.[Pg 314]


Air"Paddy O'Rafferty."

'Twas when the wan leaf frae the birk tree was fa'in',
And Martinmas dowie had wind up the year,
That Lucy row'd up her wee kist wi' her a' in 't,
And left her auld maister and neebours sae dear.
For Lucy had served in "The Glen" a' the simmer;
She cam there afore the flower bloom'd on the pea;
An orphan was she, and they had been gude till her,
Sure that was the thing brocht the tear to her e'e.
She gaed by the stable where Jamie was stan'in',
Richt sair was his kind heart the flittin' to see.
Fare-ye-weel, Lucy! quo' Jamie, and ran in,
The gatherin' tears trickled fast frae his e'e.
As down the burnside she gaed slaw wi' the flittin',
Fare-ye-weel, Lucy! was ilka bird's sang.
She heard the craw sayin 't, high on the tree sittin',
And robin was chirpin 't the brown leaves amang.
[Pg 315]
Oh, what is 't that pits my puir heart in a flutter?
And what gars the tears come sae fast to my e'e?
If I wasna ettled to be ony better,
Then what gars me wish ony better to be?
I 'm just like a lammie that loses its mither;
Nae mither or friend the puir lammie can see;
I fear I hae tint my puir heart a' the gither,
Nae wonder the tear fa's sae fast frae my e'e.
Wi' the rest o' my claes I hae row'd up the ribbon,
The bonnie blue ribbon that Jamie gae me;
Yestreen, when he gae me 't, and saw I was sabbin',
I 'll never forget the wae blink o' his e'e.
Though now he said naething but Fare-ye-weel, Lucy!
It made me I neither could speak, hear, nor see,
He cudna say mair but just, Fare-ye-weel, Lucy!
Yet that I will mind till the day that I dee.
The lamb likes the gowan wi' dew when it 's drowkit;
The hare likes the brake, and the braird on the lea,
But Lucy likes Jamie;—she turn'd and she lookit,
She thocht the dear place she wad never mair see.
Ah, weel may young Jamie gang dowie and cheerless,
And weel may he greet on the bank o' the burn;
For bonnie sweet Lucy, sae gentle and peerless,
Lies cauld in her grave, and will never return.
[Pg 316]


Air"Saw ye my Wee Thing."

On the banks o' the burn while I pensively wander,
The mavis sings sweetly, unheeded by me;
I think on my lassie, her gentle mild nature,
I think on the smile o' her bonnie black e'e.
When heavy the rain fa's, and loud, loud the win' blaws,
An' simmer's gay cleedin' drives fast frae the tree;
I heedna the win' nor the rain when I think on
The kind lovely smile o' my lassie's black e'e.
When swift as the hawk, in the stormy November,
The cauld norlan' win' ca's the drift owre the lea;
Though bidin' its blast on the side o' the mountain,
I think on the smile o' her bonnie black e'e.
When braw at a weddin' I see the fine lasses,
Though a' neat an' bonnie, they 're naething to me;
I sigh an' sit dowie, regardless what passes,
When I miss the smile o' her bonnie black e'e.
When thin twinklin' sternies announce the gray gloamin',
When a' round the ingle sae cheerie to see;
Then music delightfu', saft on the heart stealin',
Minds me o' the smile o' her bonnie black e'e.
Where jokin' an' laughin', the lave they are merry,
Though absent my heart, like the lave I maun be;
Sometimes I laugh wi' them, but aft I turn dowie,
An' think on the smile o' my lassie's black e'e.
[Pg 317]
Her lovely fair form frae my mind 's awa' never,
She 's dearer than a' this hale warld to me;
An' this is my wish, may I leave it if ever
She rowe on anither her love-beaming e'e.


Air"Logie o' Buchan."

Alake for the lassie! she 's no right at a',
That lo'es a dear laddie an' he far awa';
But the lassie has muckle mair cause to complain
That lo'es a dear lad, when she 's no lo'ed again.
The fair was just comin', my heart it grew fain
To see my dear laddie, to see him again;
My heart it grew fain, an' lapt light at the thought
O' milkin' the ewes my dear Jamie wad bught.
The bonnie gray morn scarce had open'd her e'e,
When we set to the gate, a' wi' nae little glee;
I was blythe, but my mind aft misga'e me richt sair,
For I hadna seen Jamie for five months an' mair.
I' the hirin' richt soon my dear Jamie I saw,
I saw nae ane like him, sae bonnie an' braw;
I watch'd an' baid near him, his motions to see,
In hopes aye to catch a kind glance o' his e'e.
[Pg 318]
He never wad see me in ony ae place,
At length I gaed up an' just smiled in his face;
I wonder aye yet my heart brakna in twa,
He just said, "How are ye," an' steppit awa'.
My neebour lads strave to entice me awa';
They roosed me an' hecht me ilk thing that was braw;
But I hatit them a', an' I hatit the fair,
For Jamie's behaviour had wounded me sair.
His heart was sae leal, and his manners sae kind!
He 's someway gane wrang, he may alter his mind;
An' sud he do sae, he 's be welcome to me—
I 'm sure I can never like ony but he.
[Pg 319]

[Pg 320]



The Modern Gaelic Minstrelsy.

[Pg 321]


Alexander Macdonald, who has been termed the Byron of Highland Bards, was born on the farm of Dalilea, in Moidart. His father was a non-juring clergyman of the same name; hence the poet is popularly known as Mac-vaistir-Alaister, or Alexander the parson's son. The precise date of his birth is unknown, but he seems to have been born about the first decade of the last century. He was employed as a catechist by the Society for Propagating Christian Knowledge, under whose auspices he afterwards published a vocabulary, for the use of Gaelic schools. This work, which was the first of the kind in the language, was published at Edinburgh in 1741. Macdonald was subsequently elected schoolmaster of his native parish of Ardnamurchan, and was ordained an elder in the parish church. But the most eventful part of his life was yet to come. On the tidings of the landing of Prince Charles Edward, he awoke his muse to excite a rising, buckled on his broad[Pg 322]sword, and, to complete his duty to his Prince, apostatised to the Catholic religion. In the army of the Prince he bore an officer's commission. At the close of the Rebellion, he at first sought shelter in Borodale and Arisaig; he afterwards proceeded to Edinburgh, with the view of teaching children in the Jacobite connexion. The latter course was attended with this advantage; it enabled him by subscription to print a volume of Gaelic poetry, which contains all his best productions. Returning to his native district, he attempted farming without success, and ultimately he became dependent on the liberality of his relations. He died sometime subsequent to the middle of the century.

Macdonald was author of a large quantity of poetry, embracing the descriptive, in which his reading made him largely a borrower; the lyrical in which he excelled; the satirical, in which he was personal and licentious; and the Jacobitical, in which he issued forth treason of the most pestilential character. He has disfigured his verses by incessant appeals to the Muses, and repeated references to the heathen mythology; but his melody is in the Gaelic tongue wholly unsurpassed.[Pg 323]


This composition was suggested by the success of Caberfae, the clan song of the Mackenzies. Macdonald was ambitious of rivaling, or excelling that famous composition, which contained a provoking allusion to a branch of his own clan. In the original, the song is prefaced by a tremendous philippic against the hero of Caberfae. The bard then strikes into the following strain of eulogy on his own tribe, which is still remarkably popular among the Gael.

Awake, thou first of creatures! Indignant in their frown,
Let the flag unfold the features that the heather[119] blossoms crown;
Arise, and lightly mount thy crest while flap thy flanks in air,
And I will follow thee the best, that I may dow or dare.
Yes, I will sing the Lion-King o'er all the tribes victorious,
To living thing may not concede thy meed and actions glorious;
How oft thy noble head has woke thy valiant men to battle,
As panic o'er their spirit broke, and rued the foe their mettle!
Is there, thy praise to underrate, in very thought presuming,
O'er crested chieftainry[120] thy state, O thou, of right assuming!
[Pg 324] I see thee, on thy silken flag, in rampant[121] glory streaming,
As life inspired their firmness thy planted hind feet seeming.
The standard tree is proud of thee, its lofty sides embracing,
Anon, unfolding, to give forth thy grandeur airy space in.
A following of the trustiest are cluster'd by thy side,
And woe, their flaming visages of crimson, who shall bide?
The heather and the blossom are pledges of their faith,
And the foe that shall assail them, is destined to the death.
Was not a dearth of mettle among thy native kind?
They were foremost in the battle, nor in the chase behind.
Their arms of fire wreak'd out their ire, their shields emboss'd with gold,
And the thrusting of their venom'd points upon the foemen told;
O deep and large was every gash that mark'd their manly vigour,
And irresistible the flash that lighten'd round their trigger;
And woe, when play'd the dark blue blade, the thick back'd sharp Ferrara,
Though plied its might by stripling hand, it cut into the marrow.
Clan Colla,[122] let them have their due, thy true and gallant following,
Strength, kindness, grace, and clannishness, their lofty spirit hallowing.
[Pg 325] Hot is their ire as flames aspire, the whirling March winds fanning them,
Yet search their hearts, no blemish'd parts are found all eyes though scanning them.
They rush elate to stern debate, the battle call has never
Found tardy cheer or craven fear, or grudge the prey to sever.
Ah, fell their wrath! The dance[123] of death sends legs and arms a flying,
And thick the life blood's reek ascends of the downfallen and the dying.
Clandonuil, still my darling theme, is the prime of every clan,
How oft the heady war in, has it chased where thousands ran.
O ready, bold, and venom full, these native warriors brave,
Like adders coiling on the hill, they dart with stinging glaive;
Nor wants their course the speed, the force,—nor wants their gallant stature,
This of the rock, that of the flock that skim along the water,
Like whistle shriek the blows they strike, as the torrent of the fell,
So fierce they gush—the moor flames' rush their ardour symbols well.
Clandonuil's[124] root when crown each shoot of sapling, branch, and stem,
What forest fair shall e'er compare in stately pride with them?
[Pg 326] Their gathering might, what legion wight, in rivalry has dared;
Or to ravish from their Lion's face a bristle of his beard?
What limbs were wrench'd, what furrows drench'd, in that cloud burst of steel,
That atoned the provocation, and smoked from head to heel,
While cry and shriek of terror break the field of strife along,
And stranger[125] notes are wailing the slaughter'd heaps among!
Where from the kingdom's breadth and length might other muster gather,
So flush in spirit, firm in strength, the stress of arms to weather;
Steel to the core, that evermore to expectation true,
Like gallant deer-hounds from the slip, or like an arrow flew,
Where deathful strife was calling, and sworded files were closed
Was sapping breach the wall in of the ranks that stood opposed,
And thirsty brands were hot for blood, and quivering to be on,
And with the whistle of the blade was sounding many a groan.
O from the sides of Albyn, full thousands would be proud,
The natives of her mountains gray, around the tree to crowd,
[Pg 327] Where stream the colours flying, and frown the features grim,
Of your emblem lion with his staunch and crimson[126] limb.
Up, up, be bold, quick be unrolled, the gathering of your levy,[127]
Let every step bound forth a leap, and every hand be heavy;
The furnace of the melee where burn your swords the best,
Eschew not, to the rally where blaze your streamers, haste!
That silken sheet, by death strokes fleet, and strong defenders manned,—
Dismays the flutter of its leaves the chosen of the land.


Burns was fascinated with the effect of this song in Gaelic; and adopted the air for his "Banks of the Devon."

My brown dairy, brown dairy,
Brown dairy-maiden;
Brown dairy-maiden,
Bell of the heather!
A fetter beguiling, dairy-maiden, thy smiling;
Thy glove[128] there 's a wile in, of white hand the cover;
When a-milking, thy stave is more sweet than the mavis,
As his melodies ravish the woodlands all over;
[Pg 328] Thy wild notes so cheerie, bring the small birds to hear thee,
And, fluttering, they near thee, who sings to discover.
To fulness as growing, so liquid, so flowing,
Thy song makes a glow in the veins of thy lover.
My brown dairy, brown dairy, &c.
They may talk of the viol, and its strings they may try all,
For the heart's dance, outvie all, the songs of the dairy!
White and red are a-blending, on thy cheeks a-contending,
And a smile is descending from thy lips of the cherry;
Teeth their ivory disclosing, like dice, bright round rows in,
An eye unreposing, with twinkle so merry;
At summer-dawn straying, on my sight beams are raying,
From the tresses[129] they 're playing of the maid of the dairy.
My brown dairy, brown dairy, &c.
At milking the prime in, song with strokings is chiming,
And the bowie is timing a chorus-like humming.
Sweet the gait of the maiden, nod her tresses a-spreading
O'er her ears, like the mead in, the rash of the common.
Her neck, amber twining, its colours combining,
How their lustre is shining in union becoming!
My brown dairy, brown dairy, &c.
[Pg 329]
Thy duties a-plying, white fingers are vying
With white arms, in drying the streams of the heifer,
O to linger the fold in, at noonday beholding,
When the tether 's enfolding, be my pastime for ever!
The music of milking, with melodies lilting,
While with "mammets" she 's "tilting," and her bowies run over,
Is delight; and assuming thy pails, as becoming
As a lady, dear woman! grace thy motions discover.
My brown dairy, brown dairy, &c.


This is the "Faust" of Gaelic poetry, incommunicable except to the native reader, and, like that celebrated composition, an untranslatable tissue of tenderness, sublimity, and mocking ribaldry. The heroine is understood to have been a young person of virtue and beauty, in the humbler walks of life, who was quite unappropriated, except by the imagination of the poet, and whose fame has passed into the Phillis or Amaryllis ideal of Highland accomplishment and grace. Macdonald was married to a scold, and though his actual relations with Morag were of the Platonic kind, he was persuaded to a retractation, entitled the "Disparagement of Morag," which is sometimes recited as a companion piece to the present. The consideration of brevity must plead our apology with the Celtic readers for omitting many stanzas of the best modern composition in their language.


O that I were the shaw in,[130]
When Morag was there,
Lots to be drawing
For the prize of the fair!
[Pg 330] Mingling in your glee,
Merry maidens! We
Rolicking would be
The flow'rets along;
Time would pass away
In the oblivion of our play,
As we cropp'd the primrose gay,
The rock-clefts among;
Then in mock we 'd fight,
Then we 'd take to flight,
Then we 'd lose us quite,
Where the cliffs overhung.
Like the dew-drop blue
In the mist of morn
So thine eye, and thy hue
Put the blossom to scorn.
All beauties they shower
On thy person their dower;
Above is the flower,
Beneath is the stem;
'Tis a sun 'mid the gleamers,
'Tis a star 'mid the streamers,
'Mid the flower-buds it shimmers
The foremost of them!
Darkens eye-sight at thy ray!
As we wonder, still we say
Can it be a thing of clay
We see in that gem?
Since thy first feature
Sparkled before me,
Fair! not a creature
Was like thy glory.[131]....

[Pg 331]


Away with all, away with all,
Away with all but Morag,
A maid whose grace and mensefulness
Still carries all before it.
You shall not find her marrow,
For beauty without furrow,
Though you search the islands thorough
From Muile[132] to the Lewis;
So modest is each feature,
So void of pride her nature,
And every inch of stature
To perfect grace so true is.[133]
       *       *       *       *       *
O that drift, like a pillow,
We madden to share it;
O that white of the lily,
'Tis passion to near it;
Every charm in a cluster,
The rose adds its lustre—
Can it be but such muster
Should banish the Spirit!


We would strike the note of joy
In the morning,
The dawn with its orangery
The hill-tops adorning.
[Pg 332] To bush and fell resorting,
While the shades conceal'd our courting,
Would not be lack of sporting
Or gleeful phrenesie;
Like the roebuck and his mate,
In their woodland haunts elate
The race we would debate
Around the tendril tree.


Thou bright star of maidens,
A beam without haze,
No murkiness saddens,
No disk-spot bewrays.
The swan-down to feeling,
The snow of the gaillin,[134]
Thy limbs all excelling,
Unite to amaze.
The queen, I would name thee,
Of maidenly muster;
Thy stem is so seemly,
So rich is its cluster
Of members complete,
Adroit at each feat,
And thy temper so sweet,
Without banning or bluster.
My grief has press'd on
Since the vision of Morag,
As the heavy millstone
On the cross-tree that bore it.
[Pg 333] In vain the world over,
Seek her match may the rover;
A shaft, thy poor lover,
First struck overpowering.
When thy ringlets of gold,
With the crooks of their fold,
Thy neck-wards were roll'd
All weavy and showering.
Like stars that are ring'd,
Like gems that are string'd
Are those locks, while, as wing'd
From the sun, blends a ray
Of his yellowest beams;
And the gold of his gleams
Behold how he streams
'Mid those tresses to play.
In thy limbs like the canna,[135]
Thy cinnamon kiss,
Thy bright kirtle, we ken a'
New phœnix of bliss.
In thy sweetness of tone,
All the woman we own,
Nor a sneer nor a frown
On thy features appear;
When the crowd is in motion
For Sabbath devotion,[136]
As an angel, arose on
Their vision, my fair
With her meekness of grace,
And the flakes of her dress,
[Pg 334] As they stream, might express
Such loveliness there.
When endow'd at thy birth
We marvel that earth
From its mould, should yield worth
Of a fashion so rare.


I never dream'd would sink
On a peak that mounts world's brink,
Of sunlight, such a blink,
Morag! as thine.
As the charmings of a spell,
Working in their cell,
So dissolves the heart where dwell
Thy graces divine.


Come, counsel me, my comrades,
While dizzy fancy lingers,
Did ever flute become, lads,
The motion of such fingers?
Did ever isle or Mor-hir,[137]
Or see or hear, before her,
Such gracefulness, adore her
Yet, woes me, how concealing
From her I 've wedded, dare I?
Still, homeward bound, I tarry,
And Jeanie's eye is weary,
Her truant unrevealing.
[Pg 335] The glow of love I feel,
Not all the linns of Sheil,
Nor Cruachan's snow avail
To cool to congealing.[138]....


My very brain is humming, sirs,
As a swarm of bees were bumming, sirs,
And I fear distraction 's coming, sirs,
My passion such a flame is.
My very eyes are blinding, sirs,
Scarce giant mountains finding, sirs,
Nor height nor distance minding, sirs,
The crag, as Corrie, tame is....


Though this, in some respects, may not rank high among Macdonald's compositions, it is one of the most natural and earnest. His appeal to the hesitating chiefs of Sleat and Dunvegan, is a curious specimen of indignation, suppressed by prudence, and of contempt disguised under the mask of civility.

Glad tidings for the Highlands!
To arms a ringing call—
Hammers storming, targets forming,
Orb-like as a ball.[139]
[Pg 336] Withers dismay the pale array,
That guards the Hanoverian;
Assurance sure the sea 's come o'er,
The help is nigh we weary on.
From friendly east a breeze shall haste
The fruit-freight of our prayer—
With thousands wight in baldrick white,[140]
A prince to do and dare;
Stuart his name, his sire's the same,
For his riffled crown appealing,
Strong his right in, soon shall Britain
Be humbled to the kneeling.
Strength never quell'd, and sword and shield,
And firearms play defiance;
Forwards they fly, and still their cry,
Is,[141] "Give us flesh!" like lions.
Make ready for your travel,
Be sharp-set, and be willing,
There will be a dreadful revel,
And liquor red be spilling.
O, that each chief[142] whose warriors rife,
Are burning for the slaughter,
Would let their volley, like fire to holly,
Blaze on the usurping traitor.
Full many a soldier arming,
Is laggard in his spirit,
E'er his blood the flag is warming
Of the King that should inherit.
[Pg 337] He may be loon or coward,
That spur scarce touch would nearly—
The colours shew, he 's in a glow,
Like the stubble of the barley.
Onward, gallants! onward speed ye,
Flower and bulwark of the Gael;
Like your flag-silks be ye ruddy,
Rosy-red, and do not quail.
Fearless, artless, hawk-eyed, courteous,
As your princely strain beseems,
In your hands, alert for conflict,
While the Spanish weapon gleams.—
Sweet the flapping of the bratach,[143]
Humming music to the gale;
Stately steps the youthful gaisgeach,[144]
Proud the banner staff to bear.
A slashing weapon on his thigh,
He tends his charge unfearing;
Nor slow, pursuers venturing nigh,
To the gristle nostrils sheering.
Comes too, the wight, the clean, the tight,
The finger white, the clever, he
That gives the war-pipe his embrace
To raise the storm of bravery.
A brisk and stirring, heart-inspiring
Battle-sounding breeze of her
Would stir the spirit of the clans
To rake the heart of Lucifer.
March ye, without feint and dolour,
By the banner of your clan,
In your garb of many a colour,
Quelling onset to a man.
[Pg 338] Then, to see you swiftly baring
From the sheath the manly glaive,
Woe the brain-shed, woe the unsparing
Marrow-showering of the brave!
Woe the clattering, weapon-battering
Answering to the piobrach's yell!
When your racing speeds the chasing,
Wide and far the clamours swell.
Hard blows whistle from the bristle
Of the temples to the thigh,
Heavy handed as the land-flood,
Who will turn ye, or make fly?
Many a man has drunk an ocean
Healths to Charlie, to the gorge,
Broken many a glass proposing
Weal to him and woe to George;
But, 'tis feat of greater glory
Far, than stoups of wine to trowl,
One draught of vengeance deep and gory,
Yea, than to drain the thousandth bowl!
Show ye, prove ye, ye are true all,
Join ye to your clans your cheer!
Nor heed though wife and child pursue all,
Bidding you to fight, forbear.
Sinew-lusty, spirit-trusty,
Gallant in your loyal pride,
By your hacking, low as bracken
Stretch the foe the turf beside.
Our stinging kerne of aspect stern
That love the fatal game,
That revel rife till drunk with strife,
And dye their cheeks with flame,
Are strange to fear;—their broadswords shear
Their foemen's crested brows,
[Pg 339] The red-coats feel the barb of steel,
And hot its venom glows.
The few have won fields, many a one,
In grappling conflicts' play;
Then let us march, nor let our hearts
A start of fear betray.
Come gushing forth, the trusty North,
Macshimei,[145] loyal Gordon;
And prances high their chivalry,
And death-dew sits each sword on.

[Pg 340]


John Roy Stuart was a distinguished officer in the Jacobite army of 1745. He was the son of a farmer in Strathspey, who gave him a good education, and procured him a commission in a Highland regiment, which at the period served in Flanders. His military experiences abroad proved serviceable in the cause to which he afterwards devoted himself. In the army of Prince Charles Edward, he was entrusted with important commands at Gladsmuir, Clifton, Falkirk, and Culloden; and he was deemed of sufficient consequence to be pursued by the government with an amount of vigilance which rendered his escape almost an approach to the miraculous. An able military commander, he was an excellent poet. His "Lament for Lady Macintosh" has supplied one of the most beautiful airs in Highland music.[146] In the second of his pieces on the battle of Culloden, translated for the present work, the lamentation for the absence of the missing clans, and the night march to the field, are executed with the skill and address of a genuine bard, while the story of the battle is recited with the fervour of an honourable partisan. Stuart died abroad in circumstances not differing from those of the best and bravest, who were engaged in the same unhappy enterprise. [Pg 341]


This is the celebrated heroine who defended her castle of Moy, in the absence of her husband, and, with other exploits, achieved the surprisal of Lord Loudon's party in their attempt to seize Prince Charles Edward, when he was her guest. Information had been conveyed by some friendly unknown party, of a kind so particular as to induce the lady to have recourse to the following stratagem. She sent the blacksmith on her estate, at the head of a party of other seven persons, with instructions to lie in ambush, and at a particular juncture to call out to the clans to come on and hew to pieces "the scarlet soldiers," as were termed the royalist troops. The feint succeeded, and is known in Jacobite story as the "Route of Moy." The exploit is pointedly alluded to in the Elegy, which is replete with beauty and pathos.

Does grief appeal to you, ye leal,
Heaven's tears with ours to blend?
The halo's veil is on, and pale
The beams of light descend.
The wife repines, the babe declines,
The leaves prolong their bend,
Above, below, all signs are woe,
The heifer moans her friend.
The taper's glow of waxen snow,
The ray when noon is nigh,
Was far out-peer'd, till disappear'd
Our star of morn, as high
The southern west its blast released,
And drown'd in floods the sky—
Ah woe! was gone the star that shone,
Nor left a visage dry
[Pg 342] For her, who won as win could none
The people's love so well.
O, welaway! the dirging lay
That rung from Moy its knell;
Alas, the hue, where orbs of blue,
With roses wont to dwell!
How can we think, nor swooning sink,
To earth them in the cell?
Silk wrapp'd thy frame, as lily stem,
And snowy as its flower,
So once, and now must love allow,
The grave chest such a dower!
The fairest shoot of noble root
A blast could overpower;
'Tis woman's meed for chieftain's deed,
That bids our eyes to shower.
Beseems his grief the princely chief,
Who reins the charger's pride,
And gives the gale the silken sail,
That flaps the standard's side;
Who from the hall where sheds at call,
The generous shell its tide,
And from the tower where Meiners'[147] power
Prevails, brought home such bride.

[Pg 343]


Ah, the wound of my breast! Sinks my heart to the dust,
And the rain-drops of sorrow are watering the ground;
So impassive to hear, never pierces my ear,
Or briskly or slowly, the music of sound.
For, what tidings can charm, while emotion is warm
With the thought of my Prince on his travel unknown;
The royal in blood, by misfortune subdued,
While the base-born[148] by hosts is secured on the throne?
Of the hound is the race that has wrought our disgrace,
Yet the boast of the litter of mongrels is small,
Not the arm of your might makes it boast of our flight,
But the musters that failed at the moment of call—
Five banners were furl'd that might challenge the world,
Of their silk not a pennon was spread to the day;
Where is Cromarty's earl, with the fearless of peril,
Young Barisdale's following, Mackinnon's array?
Where the sons of the glen,[149] the Clan-gregor, in vain
That never were hail'd to the carnage of war—
Where Macvurich,[150] the child of victory styled?
How we sigh'd when we learn'd that his host was afar!
Clan-donuil,[151] my bosom friend, woe that the blossom
That crests your proud standard, for once disappear'd,
Nor marshall'd your march, where your princely deserts
Without stain might the cause of the right have uprear'd!
[Pg 344] And now I say woe, for the sad overthrow
Of the clan that is honour'd with Frazer's[152] command,
And the Farquharsons[153] bold on the Mar-braes enroll'd,
So ready to rise, and so trusty to stand.
But redoubled are shed my tears for the dead,
As I think of Clan-chattan,[154] the foremost in fight;
Oh, woe for the time that has shrivell'd their prime,
And woe that the left[155] had not stood at the right!
Our sorrows bemoan gentle Donuil the Donn,
And Alister Rua the king of the feast;
And valorous Raipert the chief of the true-heart,
Who fought till the beat of its energy ceased.
In the mist of that night vanish'd stars that were bright,
Nor by tally nor price shall their worth be replaced;
Ah, boded the morning of our brave unreturning,
When it drifted the clouds in the rush of its blast.
As we march'd on the hill, such the floods that distil,
Turning dry bent to bog, and to plash-pools the heather,
That friendly no more was the ridge of the moor,
Nor free to our tread, and the ire of the weather
[Pg 345] Anon was inflamed by the lightning untamed,
And the hail rush that storm'd from the mouth of the gun,
Hard pelted the stranger, ere we measured our danger,
And broadswords were masterless, marr'd, and undone.[156]
Sure as answers my song to its title, a wrong
To our forces, the wiles of the traitor[157] have wrought;
To each true man's disgust, the leader in trust
Has barter'd his honour, and infamy bought.
His gorget he spurns, and his mantle[158] he turns,
And for gold he is won, to his sovereign untrue;
But a turn of the wheel to the liar will deal,
From the south or the north, the award of his due.
And fell William,[159] the son of the man on the throne,
Be his emblem the leafless, the marrowless tree;
May no sapling his root, and his branches no fruit
Afford to his hope; and his hearth, let it be
As barren and bare—not a partner to share,
Not a brother to love, not a babe to embrace;
Mute the harp, and the taper be smother'd in vapour,
Like Egypt, the darkness and loss of his race!
Oh, yet shall the eye see thee swinging on high,
And thy head shall be pillow'd where ravens shall prey,
And the lieges each one, from the child to the man,
The monarch by right shall with fondness obey.

[Pg 346]


John Morrison was a native of Perthshire. Sometime before 1745 he was settled as missionary at Amulree, a muirland district near Dunkeld. In 1759 he became minister of Petty, a parish in the county of Inverness. He obtained his preferment in consequence of an interesting incident in his history. The proprietor of Delvine in Perthshire, who was likewise a Writer to the Signet, was employed in a legal process, which required a diligence to be executed against one of the clan Frazer. A design to waylay and murder the official employed in the diligence had been concerted. This came to the knowledge of a clergyman who ministered in a parish chiefly inhabited by the Lovat tenantry. The minister, afraid of openly divulging the design, on account of the unsettled nature of his flock, begged an immediate visit from his friend, Mr Morrison, who speedily returned to Perthshire with information to the laird of Delvine. The Frazers found the authority of the law supported by a sufficient force; and Mr Morrison was rewarded by being presented, through the influence of the laird of Delvine, to the parish of Petty. Amidst professional engagements discharged with zeal and acceptance, Morrison found leisure for the composition of verses. Two of his lyrics are highly popular among the Gael; one of them we offer as a specimen, and an improved version of the other will afterwards appear in the present work. Mr Morrison died in November 1774.[Pg 347]


The heroine of this piece was a young lady who became the author's wife, upon an acquaintance originally formed by the administration of the ordinance of baptism to her in infancy.

My beauty dark, my glossy bright,
Dark beauty, do not leave me;
They call thee dark, but to my sight
Thou 'rt milky white, believe me.
'Twas at the tide of Candlemas,[160]
Came tirling at my door,
The image of a lovely lass
That haunts me evermore.
Beside my sleeping couch she stood,
And now she mars my rest;
Still as I try the solemn mood,
She hunts it from my breast.
At lecture and at study
That ankle white I span,
Its sandal slim, its lacings trim,—
A fay I seem to scan.
Thy beauty 's like a drift of spray
That dashes to the side,
Or like the silver-tail'd that play
Their gambols in the tide.
[Pg 348]
As heaps of snow on mountain brow
When shed the clouds their fleece,
Or churn of waves when tempest raves,
Thy swelling limbs in grace.
Thy eyes are black as berries,
Thy cheeks are waxen dyed,
And on thy temple tarries
The raven's dusk, my pride!
Gives light below each slim eye-brow
A swelling orb of blue,
In April meads so glance the beads,
In May the honey-dew.
Dark, tangled, deep, no drifted heap,
But sheaf-like, neatly bound
Thy tresses seem, in braids, or stream
As bright thine ears around.
Those raven spires of hair, that fair,
That turret-bosom's shine!
False friends! from me that banish'd thee,
Who fain would call thee mine.
No lilts I spin, their love to win,
The viol strings I shun,
But lend thine ear and thou shalt hear
My wisdom, dearest one!
[Pg 349]



We have been favoured by Mr William Sinclair with the following spirited translation of Mackay's first address to the fair-haired Anna, the heroine of the "Forsaken Drover" (vol. i. p. 315). In the enclosures of Crieff, the Highland bard laments his separation from the hills of Sutherland, and the object of his love.

Easy is my pillow press'd
But, oh! I cannot, cannot rest;
Northwards do the shrill winds blow—
Thither do my musings go!
Better far with thee in groves,
Where the young deers sportive roam,
Than where, counting cattle droves,
I must sickly sigh for home.
Great the love I bear for her
Where the north winds wander free,
Sportive, kindly is her air,
Pride and folly none hath she!
Were I hiding from my foes,
Aye, though fifty men were near,
I should find concealment close
In the shieling of my dear.
[Pg 350] Beauty's daughter! oh, to see
Days when homewards I 'll repair—
Joyful time to thee and me—
Fair girl with the waving hair!
Glorious all for hunting then,
The rocky ridge, the hill, the fern;
Sweet to drag the deer that 's slain
Downwards by the piper's cairn!
By the west field 'twas I told
My love, with parting on my tongue;
Long she 'll linger in that fold,
With the kine assembled long!
Dear to me the woods I know,
Far from Crieff my musings are;
Still with sheep my memories go,
On our heath of knolls afar:
Oh, for red-streak'd rocks so lone!
Where, in spring, the young fawns leap,
And the crags where winds have blown—
Cheaply I should find my sleep.

END OF VOL. II.[Pg 351]


Aboon, above.

Ava, at all.

Baldron, name for a cat.

Bauld, bold.

Bawbee, halfpenny.

Bawsint, a white spot on the forehead of cow or horse.

Bawtie, name for a dog.

Beild, shelter, refuge, protection.

Ben, the spence or parlour.

Blethers, nonsensical talk.

Blewart, a flower, the blue bottle, witch bells.

Bob, nosegay, bunch, or tuft; also to curtsey.

Bobbin, a weaver's quill or pirn.

Bonspiel, a match at archery, curling, golf, or foot-ball.

Bourtree, the elder tree or shrub.

Braggin, boasting.

Braken, the female fern (pterisaquilina, Linn.)

Bree, the eyebrow.

Brochin, oatmeal boiled in water till somewhat thicker than gruel.

Brogues, shoes made of sheepskin.

Bught, a pen for sheep.

Burn, a stream.

Buskit, dressed tidily.

Buss, a bush.

Cairny, heap of stones.

Camstrarie, froward, cross, and unmanageable.

Cantrips, spells, charms, incantations.

Carline, an old woman.

Chap, a blow, also a young fellow.

Cleading, clothing.

Cleck, to hatch, to breed.

Clout, to strike with the hand, also to mend a hole in clothes or shoes.

Coof, a fool.

Coost, cast.

Corrie, a hollow in a hill.

Cosie, warm, snug.

Cower, to crouch, to stoop.

Cranreugh, the hoarfrost.

Croodle, to coo as a dove, to sing with a low voice.

Crowdy, meal and cold water stirred together.

Dab, to peck as birds do.

Daddy, father.

Daff, to make sport.

Dantit, subdued, tamed down.

Dawtie, a pet, a darling.

Doo, dove.

Dool, grief.

Doops, dives down.

Downa, expressive of inability.

Dreeping, dripping, wet.

Drucket, drenched.

Drumly, muddy.

Dub, a mire.

Dumpish, short and thick.

Eild, old.

Eirie, dreading things supernatural.

Eithly, easily.

Ettled, aimed.

Fardin, farthing.

Feckly, mostly.

Fend, to provide for oneself, also to defend.

Fleeched, flattered, deceived.

Forby, besides.

Freenge, fringe.

Fremmit, strange, foreign.

Gabbin, jeering.

Ganger, a pedestrian.

Gar, compel.

Gaucie, plump, jolly.

Gawkie, a foolish female.

Gie, give.

Glamour, the influence of a charm.

Glint, a glance.

Gloaming, the evening twilight.

Glower, to look staringly.

Glum, gloomy.

Gowd, gold.

Graffs, graves.

Graith, gear.

Grane, groan.

Grat, wept.

Grecie, a little pig.

Grup, grasp.

Haet, a whit.

Hauds, holds.

Hecht, called, named.

Heftit, familiarised to a place.

Hie, high.

Hinney, honey, also a term of endearment.

Hirple, to walk haltingly.

Howe, hollow.

Howkit, dug.[Pg 352]

Howlet, an owl.

Hurkle, to bow down to.

Ilka, each.

Jaupit, bespattered.

Jeel, jelly.

Jimp, neat, slender.

Kaim, comb.

Ken, know.

Keust, threw off.

Kippered, salmon salted, hung and dried.

Kith, acquaintance.

Kittle, difficult, uncertain.

Kye, cows.

Laigh, low.

Laith, loth.

Lapt, enwrapped.

Leeve, live.

Leeze me, a term of congratulatory endearment.

Lift, the sky.

Loof, the palm of the hands.

Lowe, flame.

Lucken, webbed.

Lugs, ears.

Lum, a chimney.

Lure, allure.

Lyart, of a mixed colour, gray.

Mawn, mown, a basket.

May, maiden.

Mense, honour, discretion.

Mickle, much.

Mim, prim, prudish.

Mirk, darkness.

Mools, dust, the earth of the grave.

Mullin, crumb.

Mutch, woman's cap.

Naig, a castrated horse.

Neive, the fist.

Niddered, stunted in growth.

Niffer, to exchange.

Nip, to pinch.

Oons, wounds.

Opt, opened.

Outower, outover, also moreover.

Owk, week.

Owsen, oxen.

Paitrick, partridge.

Pawkie, cunning, sly.

Pleugh, plough.

Pliskie, a trick.

Rax, reach.

Rede, to counsel—advice, wisdom.

Reefer, river.

Reft, bereft, deprived.

Rocklay, a short cloak or surplice.

Roke, a distaff, also to swing.

Rowes, rolls.

Runts, the trunks of trees, the stem of colewort.

Saughs, willow-trees.

Scowl, to frown.

Scrimpit, contracted.

Scroggie, abounding with stunted bushes.

Shanks-naigie, to travel on foot.

Sheiling, a temporary cottage or hut.

Sinsyne, after that period.

Skipt, went lightly and swiftly along.

Sleekit, cunning.

Slockin, to allay thirst.

Smoored, smothered.

Soughs, applied to the breathing a tune, also the sighing of the wind.

Sowdie, a heterogeneous mess.

Speer, ask.

Spulzien, spoiling.

Squinting, looking obliquely.

Staigie, the diminutive of staig, a young horse.

Starn, star.

Swither, to hesitate.

Tane, the one of two.

Tent, care.

Tether, halter.

Teuch, tough.

Theek, thatch.

Thole, to endure.

Thraw, to throw, to twist.

Thrawart, froward, perverse.

Timmer, timber.

Tint, lost.

Toom, empty.

Tout, shout.

Tramps, heavy-footed travellers.

Trig, neat, trim.

Trow, to make believe.

Tyne, lose.

Wabster, weaver.

Wae, sad, sorrowful.

Warsled, wrestled.

Wat, wet, also to know.

Waukrife, watchful, sleepless.

Weir, war, also to herd.

Whilk, which.

Wysed, enticed.

Yate, gate.

Yeldrin, a yellow hammer.

Yird, earth, soil.

Yirthen, earthen.



[1] We are indebted for these observations on the Highland Muse to the learned friend who has supplied the greater number of the translations from the Gaelic poets, which appear in the present work.

[2] Highland Society's Report on Ossian, pp. 16-20.

[3] Genealogists or Antiquaries.

[4] Letter from Sir James Macdonald to Dr Blair.

[5] M'Callum's "Collection," p. 207. See also Smith's "Sean Dana, or Gaelic Antiquities;" Gillies' "Collection" and Clark's "Caledonian Bards."

[6] Highland Society's Report on Ossian, pp. 99, 105, 112.

[7] Boswell's "Life of Johnson," p. 320, Croker's edition, 1847.

[8] "Poems by Mrs Grant of Laggan," p. 395, Edinburgh, 1803, 8vo. The original is to be found in the Gaelic collections.

[9] Mrs Grant's Poems, p. 371; Mackenzie's "Gaelic Poets," p. 1.

[10] See Mrs Grant's "Highland Superstitions," vol. ii. p. 249. The original is contained in Mackenzie's "Gaelic Poets."

[11] See Johnson's "Journey to the Western Islands."

[12] Stewart's Collection, p. 1.

[13] Report on Ossian, p. 92. Sir Duncan Campbell fell at the battle of Flodden, Lady Campbell afterwards married Gilbert, Earl of Cassillis.

[14] Mrs Grant's "Highland Superstitions," vol. ii. p. 196.

[15] Mrs Ogilvie's "Highland Minstrelsy." For the original see Turner's Collection, p. 186.

[16] Reid's "Bibliotheca Scotica Celtica." Mackenzie's "Gaelic Poets," p. 36.

[17] Napier's "Memoirs of Montrose." In this work will be found a very spirited translation of Ian Lom's poem on the battle of Innerlochy.

[18] Mackenzie's "Gaelic Poets," pp. 24, 59, 77, 77, 151; Turner's "Gaelic Collection," passim.

[19] See the beautiful verses translated by the Marchioness of Northampton from "Ha tighinn fodham," in "Albyn's Anthology," or Croker's "Boswell."

[20] Mackenzie's "Gaelic Poets," p. 56.

[21] Johnson's Works, vol. xii. p. 291.

[22] Poems, Chambers' People's Edition, p. 134.

[23] Armstrong's "Gaelic Dictionary," p. 63.

[24] Edinburgh Review on Mitford's "Harmony of Language," vol. vi. p. 383.

[25] Brown's "History of the Highlands," vol. i. p. 89.

[26] Armstrong's "Gaelic Dictionary," p. 64.

[27] See also Logan's "Scottish Gael," vol. ii. p. 252.

[28] The Shepherd entertained the belief that he was born on the 25th of January 1772.

[29] Mr Macturk is well remembered in Dumfriesshire as a person of remarkable shrewdness and unbounded generosity.

[30] Mr Gray was the author of "Cona, or the Vale of Clywyd," "A Sabbath among the Mountains," and other poems.

[31] The ballad of "Gilmanscleuch" appeared in "The Mountain Bard." See "The Ettrick Shepherd's Poems," vol. ii., p. 203. Blackie and Son.

[32] "The Poetic Mirror," for which the Shepherd had begun to collect contributions.

[33] Jeffrey reviewed Wordsworth's "Excursion" in the Edinburgh Review for November 1814, and certainly had never used more declamatory language against any poem.

[34] In a letter to Mr Grosvenor C. Bedford, dated Keswick, December 22, 1814, Southey thus writes:—"Had you not better wait for Jeffrey's attack upon 'Roderick.' I have a most curious letter upon this subject from Hogg, the Ettrick Shepherd, a worthy fellow, and a man of very extraordinary powers. Living in Edinburgh, he thinks Jeffrey the greatest man in the world—an intellectual Bonaparte, whom nobody and nothing can resist. But Hogg, notwithstanding this, has fallen in liking with me, and is a great admirer of 'Roderick.' And this letter is to request that I will not do anything to nettle Jeffrey while he is deliberating concerning 'Roderick,' for he seems favourably disposed towards me! Morbleu! it is a rich letter! Hogg requested that he himself might review it, and gives me an extract from Jeffrey's answer, refusing him. 'I have, as well as you, a great respect for Southey,' he says, 'but he is a most provoking fellow, and at least as conceited as his neighbour Wordsworth.' But he shall be happy to talk to Hogg upon this and other kindred subjects, and he should be very glad to give me a lavish allowance of praise, if I would afford him occasion, &c.; but he must do what he thinks his duty, &c.! I laugh to think of the effect my reply will produce upon Hogg. How it will make every bristle to stand on end like quills upon the fretful porcupine!"—Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey, edited by his Son, vol. iv., p. 93. London: 6 vols. 8vo.

[35] The first edition of "Roderick" was in quarto,—a shape which the Shepherd deemed unsuitable for poetry.

[36] Murray of Abermarle Street, the famous publisher.

[37] Hogg evinced his strong displeasure with Sir Walter for his refusal, by writing him a declamatory letter, and withdrawing from his society for several months. The kind inquiries which his old benefactor had made regarding him during a severe illness, afterwards led to a complete reconciliation,—the Shepherd apologising by letter for his former rashness, and his illustrious friend telling him "to think no more of the business, and come to breakfast next morning."

[38] See Hogg's autobiography, prefixed to the fifth volume of Blackie's edition of his poems, p. 107.

[39] See the Works of Professor Wilson, edited by his Son-in-law, Professor Ferrier, vol. i., p. xvi. Edinburgh: 1855. 8vo.

[40] When the Shepherd was tending the flocks of Mr Harkness of Mitchel-slack, on the great hill of Queensberry, in Nithsdale, he was visited by Allan Cunningham, then a lad of eighteen, who came to see him, moved with admiration for his genius.—(See Memoir of Allan Cunningham, postea). [Transcriber's Note: This Memoir appears in Volume III.]

[41] Thomas Mouncey Cunningham. See postea.

[42] The Shakspeare Club of Alloa, which is here referred to, took its origin early in the century—being composed of admirers of the illustrious dramatist, and lovers of general literature in that place. The anniversary meeting was usually held on the 23d of April, generally supposed to be the birth-day of the poet. The Shepherd was laureate of the club, and was present at many of the meetings. On these occasions he shared the hospitality of Mr Alexander Bald, now of Craigward Cottage—"the Father of the Club," and one of his own attached literary friends. Mr Bald formed the Shepherd's acquaintance in 1803, when on a visit to his friend Grieve, at Cacrabank. This venerable gentleman is in possession of the original M.S. of the "Ode to the Genius of Shakspeare," which Hogg wrote for the Alloa Club in 1815. In a letter, addressed to Mr Bald, accompanying that composition, he wrote as follows: "Edin., April 23d, 1815.—Let the bust of Shakspeare be crowned with laurel on Thursday, for I expect it will be a memorable day for the club, as well as in the annals of literature,—for I yesterday got the promise of being accompanied by both Wilson, and Campbell, the bard of Hope. I must, however, remind you that it was very late, and over a bottle, when I extracted this promise—they both appeared, however, to swallow the proposal with great avidity, save that the latter, in conversing about our means of conveyance, took a mortal disgust at the word steam, as being a very improper agent in the wanderings of poets. I have not seen either of them to-day, and it is likely that they will be in very different spirits, yet I think it not improbable that one or both of them may be induced to come." The club did not on this occasion enjoy the society of any of the three poets.

[43] Hogg used to say that his face was "out of all rule of drawing," as an apology for artists, who so generally failed in transferring a correct representation of him to canvas. There were at least four oil-paintings of the poet: the first executed by Nicholson in 1817, for Mr Grieve; the second by Sir John Watson Gordon for Mr Blackwood; the third by a London artist for Allan Cunningham; and the fourth by Mr James Scott of Edinburgh, for the poet himself. The last is universally admitted to be the most striking likeness, and, with the permission of Mrs Hogg, it has been very successfully lithographed for the present volume.

[44] See "Memoir and Correspondence of Mrs Grant of Laggan." 1844.

[45] See Lockhart's "Life of Sir Walter Scott."

[46] "The Domestic Memoirs and Private Life of Sir Walter Scott, by James Hogg," p. 118. Glasgow, 1834. 16mo.

[47] Blackwood's Magazine, vol. iv., p. 521.

[48] Mr H. S. Riddell.

[49] Mr J. G. Lockhart.

[50] This is the term by which the Highlander was wont to designate his lawful prince. The word "maker," which appears in former editions of the song, was accidentally printed in the first edition, and the Shepherd never had the confidence to alter it.

[51] Was composed to an air handed me by the late lamented Neil Gow, junior. He said it was an ancient Skye air, but afterwards told me it was his own. When I first heard the song sung by Mr Morison, I never was so agreeably astonished—I could hardly believe my senses that I had made so good a song without knowing it.—Hogg.

[52] For the fine original air, see Purdie's "Border Garland."—Hogg.

[53] An appropriate air has just been composed for this song by Mr Walter Burns of Cupar-Fife, which has been arranged with symphonies and accompaniments for the pianoforte by Mr Edward Salter, of St Andrews.

[54] In the title and chorus of this favourite pastoral song, I choose rather to violate a rule in grammar, than a Scottish phrase so common, that when it is altered into the proper way, every shepherd and shepherd's sweetheart account it nonsense. I was once singing it at a wedding with great glee the latter way, "When the kye come hame," when a tailor, scratching his head, said, "It was a terrible affectit way that!" I stood corrected, and have never sung it so again.—Hogg.

[55] The air of this song is my own. It was first set to music by Heather, and most beautifully set too. It was afterwards set by Dewar, whether with the same accompaniments or not, I have forgot. It is my own favourite humorous song when forced by ladies to sing against my will, which too frequently happens; and notwithstanding my wood-notes wild, it will never be sung by any so well again.—For the air, see the "Border Garland."—Hogg.

[56] I versified this song at Meggernie Castle, in Glen-Lyon, from a scrap of prose said to be the translation, verbatim, of a Gaelic song, and to a Gaelic air, sung by one of the sweetest singers and most accomplished and angelic beings of the human race. But, alas! earthly happiness is not always the lot of those who, in our erring estimation, most deserve it. She is now no more, and many a strain have I poured to her memory. The air is arranged by Smith.—See the "Scottish Minstrel."—Hogg.

[57] Altered at the request of a lady who sang it sweetly, and published in the "Jacobite Relics."—Hogg.

[58] This song was written at Elleray, Mr Wilson's seat in Westmoreland, where a number of my very best things were written. There was a system of competition went on there, the most delightful that I ever engaged in. Mr Wilson and I had a "Queen's Wake" every wet day—a fair set-to who should write the best poem between breakfast and dinner, and, if I am any judge, these friendly competitions produced several of our best poems, if not the best ever written on the same subjects before. Mr Wilson, as well as Southey and Wordsworth, had all of them a way of singing out their poetry in a loud sonorous key, which was very impressive, but perfectly ludicrous. Wilson, at that period, composed all his poetry by going over it in that sounding strain; and in our daily competitions, although our rooms were not immediately adjoining, I always overheard what progress he was making. When he came upon any grand idea, he opened upon it full swell, with all the energy of a fine fox-hound on a hot trail. If I heard many of these vehement aspirations, they weakened my hands and discouraged my heart, and I often said to myself, "Gude faith, it 's a' ower wi' me for this day!" When we went over the poems together in the evening, I was always anxious to learn what parts of the poem had excited the sublime breathings which I had heard at a distance, but he never could tell me.—Hogg.

[59] This song was suggested to the Shepherd by the words adapted to the formerly popular air, "Lass, gin ye lo'e me"—beginning, "I hae laid a herring in saut."

[60] This song was addressed, in 1811, to Miss Margaret Phillips, who in nine years afterwards became the poet's wife.

[61] We have frequently had occasion to remark the ignorance of modern editors regarding the authorship of the most popular songs. Every collector of Scottish song has inserted "Bess, the Gawkie;" but scarcely one of them has correctly stated the authorship. The song has been generally ascribed to an anonymous "Rev. Mr Morehead;" by some to the "Rev. Robert Morehead;" and Allan Cunningham, who states that his father was acquainted with the real author, has described him as the "Rev. William Morehead!"

[62] In the Author's MS., the following sentences occur prefatory to this song:—"Everybody knows Neil Gow. When he was poorly, the physicians forbade him to drink his favourite liquor. The words following were composed, at his particular desire, to a lamentation he had just made." Mrs Lyon became acquainted with Gow when she was a young lady, attending the concerts in Dundee, at which the services of the great violinist were regularly required. The song is very inaccurately printed in some of the collections.

[63] A beverage composed of honey dissolved in whisky.

[64] These simple stanzas, conveying such an excellent morale at the close, were written, almost without premeditation, for the amusement and instruction of a little girl, the author's grandchild, who had been on a visit at the manse of Glammis. The allusion to the board in the second verse refers to a little piece of timber which the amiable lady of the house had affixed on the outside of one of the windows, for holding a few crumbs which she daily spread on it for Robin, who regularly came to enjoy the bounty of his benefactress. This lyric, and those following, are printed for the first time.

[65] This lively lyrical rhapsody, written in April 1821, celebrates an amusing incident connected with the visit of Sir Walter Scott to the Castle of Glammis, in 1793. Sir Walter was hospitably entertained in the Castle, by Mr Peter Proctor, the factor, in the absence of the noble owner, the Earl of Strathmore, who did not reside in the family mansion; and the conjecture may be hazarded, that he dropt his whip at the manse door on the same evening that he drank an English pint of wine from the lion beaker of Glammis, the prototype of the silver bear of Tully-Veolan, "the poculum potatorium of the valiant baron."—(See Note to Waverley, and Lockhart's Life of Sir Walter Scott).

[66] The whip is now in the custody of Mr George Lyon, of Stirling, the author's son.

[67] This lay of affection is dated September 1820, when the author received a visit from her eldest son, who was then settled as a merchant in London. Mr George Lyon, the subject of the song, and the only surviving member of the family, is now resident at Snowdoun House, Stirling.

[68] This song is here printed for the first time.

[69] Mr James Chambers, of Peebles, who died in 1824.

[70] A song of this title was composed by Robert Fergusson.

[71] Mr James Bowie, of Paisley, to whom we are under obligations for supplying curious and interesting information regarding several of the bards of the west, kindly furnished the particulars of the above memoir.

[72] We are indebted to Mr W. Deans, author of a "History of the Ottoman Empire," for much of the information contained in this memoir. Mr Deans was personally acquainted with Mr Hamilton Paul.

[73] "He never took any credit to himself," communicates his friend, Mr H. S. Riddell, "from the widely-known circumstance of his having carried off the prize from Campbell. He said that Campbell was at that period a very young man, much younger than he, and had much less experience in composition than himself."

[74] The English pronouncing the name of this river Stinkar, induced the poet Burns to change it to Lugar.

[75] See Semple's "Continuation of Crawford's History of Renfrewshire," p. 116.

[76] Tannahill was believed never to have entertained particular affection towards any of the fair sex. We have ascertained that, at different periods, he paid court to two females of his own rank. The first of these was Jean King, sister of his friend John King, one of the minor poets of Paisley; she afterwards married a person of the name of Pinkerton; and her son, Mr James Pinkerton, printer, Paisley, has frequently heard her refer to the fear she had entertained lest "Rob would write a song about her." His next sweetheart was Mary Allan, sister of the poet Robert Allan. This estimable woman was a sad mourner on the poet's death, and for many years wept aloud when her deceased lover was made the subject of conversation in her presence. She still survives, and a few years since, to join some relations, she emigrated to America. Some verses addressed to her by the poet she continues to retain with the fondest affection.

[77] "Jessie, the flower o' Dumblane" was published in 1808, and has since received an uncommon measure of popularity. The music, so suitable to the words, was composed by R. A. Smith. In the "Harp of Renfrewshire" (p. xxxvi), Mr Smith remarks that the song was at first composed in two stanzas, the third being subsequently added. "The Promethean fire," says Mr Smith, "must have been burning but lownly, when such commonplace ideas could be written, after the song had been so finely wound up with the beautiful apostrophe to the mavis, 'Sing on, thou sweet mavis, thy hymn to the e'ening.'" The heroine of the song was formerly a matter of speculation; many a "Jessie" had the credit assigned to her; and passengers by the old stage-coaches between Perth and the south, on passing through Dunblane, had pointed out to them, by the drivers, the house of Jessie's birth. One writer (in the Musical Magazine, for May 1835) records that he had actually been introduced at Dunblane to the individual Jessie, then an elderly female, of an appearance the reverse of prepossessing! Unfortunately for the curious in such inquiries, the heroine only existed in the imagination of the poet; he never was in Dunblane, which, if he had been, he would have discovered that the sun could not there be seen setting "o'er the lofty Benlomond." Mr Matthew Tannahill states that the song was composed to supplant an old one, entitled, "Bob o' Dumblane." Mr James Bowie, of Paisley, supplies the information, that in consequence of improvements suggested from time to time by R. A. Smith and William Maclaren, Tannahill wrote eighteen different versions of this song.

[78] Tannahill wrote this song in honour of the Earl of Moira, afterwards Marquis of Hastings, and the Countess of Loudoun, to whom his Lordship had been shortly espoused, when he was called abroad in the service of his country.

[79] This song was written on a young lady, whom a friend of the author met at Ardentinny, a retired spot on the margin of Loch Long.

[80] The poet and one of his particular friends, Charles Marshall (whose son, the Rev. Charles Marshall, of Dunfermline, is author of a respectable volume, entitled "Lays and Lectures"), had met one evening in a tavern, kept by Tom Buchanan, near the cross of Paisley. The evening was enlivened by song-singing; and the landlord, who was present, sung the old song, beginning, "There grows a bonny brier-bush," which he did with effect. On their way home together, Marshall remarked that the words of the landlord's song were vastly inferior to the tune, and humorously suggested the following burlesque parody of the first stanza:—

"There 's mony a dainty cabbage-stock in our kail-yard,
There 's mony a dainty cabbage-stock in our kail-yard,
They were set by Charlie Marshall,
And pu'd by Nannie Laird,
Yet there 's mony a dainty cabbage-stock in our kail-yard."

He added that Tannahill would do well to compose suitable words for the music. The hint sufficed; the friends met after a fortnight's interval, when the poet produced and read the song of "Yon burn side." It immediately became popular. Marshall used to relate this anecdote with much feeling. He died in March 1851, at the age of fourscore.

[81] The Braes of Gleniffer are a tract of hilly ground, to the south of Paisley. They are otherwise known as Stanley Braes.

[82] The ruin of Crockston Castle is situated on the brow of a gentle eminence, about three miles south-east of Paisley. The Castle, in the twelfth century, was possessed by a Norman family, of the name of Croc; it passed, in the following century, by the marriage of the heiress, into a younger branch of the House of Stewart, who were afterwards ennobled as Earls of Lennox. According to tradition, Queen Mary and Lord Darnley occasionally resided in the castle; and it is reported that the unfortunate princess witnessed from its walls the fall of her fortunes at the battle of Langside. Crockston Castle is now the possession of Sir John Maxwell, Bart., of Pollock.

[83] A clerical friend has communicated to us the following stanza, which he heard sung by an old Highlander, as an addition to the "Braes o' Balquhither:"—

"While the lads of the south
Toil for bare worldly treasure—
To the lads of the north
Every day brings its pleasure:
Oh, blithe are the joys
That the Highlandman possesses,
He feels no annoys,
For he fears no distresses."

[84] This expression commonly means, the direction in which the clouds are carried by the wind, but it is here used to denote the firmament.

[85] Writing to his friend Barr, on the 24th December 1809, Tannahill remarks:—"You will, no doubt, have frequently observed how much some old people are given to magnify the occurrences of their young days. 'Barrochan Jean' was written on hearing an old grannie, in Lochwinnoch parish, relating a story something similar to the subject of the song; perhaps I have heightened her colouring a little."

[86] Craigie Lea is situated to the north-west of Paisley.

[87] We have been favoured, by Mr Matthew Tannahill, with a copy of the above song of his late gifted brother. It is not included in any edition of his poems, but has been printed, through the favour of Mr M. Tannahill, in the "Book of Scottish Song."

[88] Composed in 1804. This song and those following, by Dr Duncan, are here published for the first time.

[89] Written in 1805, when the nation was in apprehension of the French invasion.

[90] Composed in 1807.

[91] Composed in 1830.

[92] We have to acknowledge our obligations to Mr John Macgregor, of Paisley, son-in-law of Mr Allan, for most of the particulars contained in this short memoir. Mr Macgregor prepared an extended life of the poet for our use, which, however, was scarcely suited for our purpose. A number of Mr Allan's songs, transcribed from his manuscripts, in the possession of his son in New York, were likewise communicated by Mr Macgregor. These being, in point of merit, unequal to the other productions of the bard, we have not ventured on their publication.

[93] The keys here alluded to were, at a recent period, found in the lake.

[94] We lately visited the spot. Not a vestige of the cottage remains. A wilder and more desolate locality hardly ever nourished the youthful imagination of a poet.

[95] Leyden was assisted in his outfit for India by Sir Walter Scott and Sydney Smith, the latter contributing forty pounds. (See "Memoir of the Rev. Sydney Smith," by his daughter, Lady Holland, vol. i. p. 21. London: 1855. 2 vols. 8vo.)

[96] Thomas Campbell was one of Leyden's early literary friends; they had quarrelled, but continued to respect each other's talents. The following anecdote is recorded by Sir Walter Scott in his diary:—"When I repeated 'Hohenlinden' to Leyden, he said, 'Dash it, man, tell the fellow that I hate him; but, dash him, he has written the finest verses that have been published these fifty years.' I did mine errand as faithful as one of Homer's messengers, and had for answer:—'Tell Leyden that I detest him, but I know the value of his critical approbation.'"—Lockhart's Life of Scott.

[97] Set to music by R. A. Smith.

[98] Another copy has since been discovered.

[99] The last stanza does not appear in the original version of the song; it is here added from Allan Cunningham's collection. The idea of the song, Cunningham remarks, was probably suggested to the author by an old fragment, which still lives among the peasantry:—

"And a' that e'er my Jenny had,
My Jenny had, my Jenny had,
A' that e'er my Jenny had,
Was ae bawbee.
There 's your plack and my plack,
And your plack and my plack,
And my plack and your plack,
And Jenny's bawbee.

We 'll put it in the pint stoup,
The pint stoup, the pint stoup,
We 'll put it in the pint stoup,
And birl 't a' three."

[100] The origin of the air is somewhat amusing. The Rev. Mr Gardner, minister of Birse, in Aberdeenshire, known for his humour and musical talents, was one evening playing over on his Cremona the notes of an air he had previously jotted down, when a curious scene arrested his attention in the courtyard of the manse. His man "Jock," who had lately been a weaver in the neighbouring village, had rudely declined to wipe the minister's shoes, as requested by Mrs Gardner, when the enraged matron, snatching a culinary utensil, administered a hearty drubbing to the shoulders of the impudent boor, and compelled him to execute her orders. The minister witnessing the proceeding from the window, was highly diverted, and gave the air he had just completed the title of "Jenny Dang the Weaver." This incident is said to have occurred in the year 1746.

[101] These verses, which form a translation of Freùt euch des Libens, were written at Leipsig in 1795, when the author was on his continental tour. He was then in his twentieth year.

[102] Contributed to the fourth volume of Mr George Thomson's Collection.

[103] This song was contributed by Sir Alexander Boswell to the third volume of Thomson's Collection. It is not wholly original, but an improved version of former words to the same air, which are understood to be the composition of John Campbell, the celebrated Duke of Argyle and Greenwich, who died on the 4th October 1743.

[104] Many years ago, a poor Highland soldier, on his return to his native hills, fatigued, as was supposed, by the length of the march and the heat of the weather, sat down under the shade of a birch tree on the solitary road of Lowran, that winds along the margin of Loch Ken, in Galloway. Here he was found dead; and this incident forms the subject of these verses.—Note by the Author. "The Highlander" is set to a Gaelic air in the fifth volume of R. A. Smith's "Scottish Minstrel."

[105] See Scottish Monthly Magazine, August 1836.

[106] Written when the author was quite a youth.

[107] Like many other Scottish songs composed early in the century, and which at the time of publication were unacknowledged by their authors, the "Hills o' Gallowa'" came to be attributed to Burns. It is included among his songs in Orphoot's edition of his poetical works, which was published at Edinburgh in 1820. In the "Harp of Caledonia," the editor, Mr Struthers, assigns it to the Ettrick Shepherd. Along with those which follow, the song appeared in the "Forest Minstrel." The heroine was Julia Curtis, a maiden in Galloway, to whom Cunningham was early attached. She is also celebrated by the poet in the "Braes of Ballahun," and her early demise is lamented in the tender stanzas of "Julia's Grave." The latter composition first appeared in the Scots Magazine for 1807, p. 448.

[108] Ballahun is a romantic glen, near Blackwood House, on the river Nith.

[109] The Clouden is a stream which flows into the Nith, at Lincluden College, near Dumfries.

[110] Cromeck in his "Reliques," erroneously attributes this song to Burns.

[111] This is another song of Richard Gall which has been assigned to Burns; it has even been included in Dr Currie's edition of his works. It was communicated anonymously by Gall to the publisher of the "Scots Musical Museum," and first appeared in that work. The original MS. of the song was in the possession of Mr Stark, the author of a memoir of Gall in the "Biographia Scotica."

[112] The memoir of Mrs G. G. Richardson has been kindly supplied by her accomplished relative, Mrs Macarthur, Hillhead, near Glasgow.

[113] Margaret Brown, one of the three sisters of Dr Brown, published "Lays of Affection." Edinburgh, 1819, 12mo. She was a woman of gentle and unobtrusive manners and of pious disposition. Her poems constitute a respectable memorial of her virtues.

[114] Mr Train published, in 1806, a small volume, entitled "Poetical Reveries."

[115] Sir Walter Scott was convinced of the accuracy of the statement, regarding the extraordinary connexion between the Wellesley and Bonaparte families, and deferred publishing it only to avoid giving offence to his intimate friend, the Duke of Wellington.

[116] The last stanza of this song has, on account of its Bacchanalian tendency, been omitted.

[117] The braes of Bedlay are in the neighbourhood of Chryston, about seven miles north of Glasgow.

[118] This exquisite ballad was contributed by Laidlaw to Hogg's "Forest Minstrel." There are two accounts as to the subject of it, both of which we subjoin, as they were narrated to us during the course of a recent excursion in Tweedside. According to one version, Lucy had been in the service of Mr Laidlaw, sen., at Blackhouse, and had by her beauty attracted the romantic fancy of one of the poet's brothers. In the other account Lucy is described as having served on a farm in "The Glen" of Traquair, and as having been beloved by her master's son, who afterwards deserted her, when she died of a broken heart. The last stanza was added by Hogg, who used to assert that he alone was responsible for the death of poor Lucy. "The Glen" is a beautiful mountain valley opening on the Tweed, near Innerleithen; it formerly belonged to Mr Alexander Allan, but it is now the possession of Charles Tennent, Esq., Glasgow.

[119] The clan badge is a tuft of heather.

[120] The Macdonalds claimed the right wing in battle.

[121] A lion rampant is their cognizance; gules.

[122] Their original patronymic, from, we suppose, Old King Coul; Coll, or Colla, is a common name in the tribe.

[123] The "Mire Chatta," or battle-dance, denotes the frenzy, supposed to animate the combatants, during the period of excitement.

[124] The clan consisted of many septs, whose rights of precedence are not quite ascertained; as Sleat, Clanronald, Glengarry, Keppoch, and Glencoe.

[125] Lit. Lowland or stranger. Killiecrankie and Sheriff Muir, not to mention Innerlochy and Tippermuir, must have blended the dying shrieks of Lowlanders with the triumphant shouts of the Gael. The image is a fine one.

[126] The armorial emblem was gules.

[127] Prince Charles Edward was expected.

[128] Dress ornaments are much prized by the humbler Gael, and make a great figure in their poetry.

[129] The most frequent of all song-images in Gaelic, is the description of yellow or auburn hair.

[130] We must suppose some sylvan social occupation, as oak-peeling or the like, in which Morag and her associates had been employed.

[131] Here follows a catalogue of rival beauties, with satirical descriptions. Cowley has such a list, which may possibly have been in the poet's eye.

[132] Mull.

[133] Morag's beauties are so exquisite, that all Europe, nay, the Pope would be inflamed to behold them. The passage is omitted, though worthy of the satiric vein of Mephistopheles.

[134] The gannet, or the stranger-bird, from his foreign derivation and periodic visits to the Islands.

[135] A snowy grass, well known in the moors.

[136] Lit., On the day of devotion.

[137] The mainland, or terra firma, is called Morir by the islanders.

[138] Here Morag's musical performance on the flute, form the subject of a panegyric, in which Urlar, Siubhal, and Crunluath are imitated.

[139] "Round as the shield of my fathers."—Ossian.

[140] The French military costume, distinguished by its white colour, was assumed by the Jacobites.

[141] "Come, and I will give you flesh," a Highland war-cry invoking the birds and beasts of prey to their bloody revel.

[142] Macdonald of Sleat, Macleod, and others, first hesitated, and finally withheld themselves from the party of the white cockade.

[143] Flag.

[144] Warrior.

[145] Lovat and his clan.

[146] See the Rev. Patrick Macdonald's Collection, No. 106.

[147] She was a daughter of Menzies of that Ilk, in Perthshire. The founder of the family was a De Moyeners, in the reign of William the Lion. The name in Gaelic continued to testify to its original, being Meini, or Meinarach.

[148] George the First's Queen was a divorcée. The Jacobites retorted the alleged spuriousness of the Chevalier de St George, on George II., the reigning Sovereign.

[149] Glengyle, and his Macgregors, were on their way from the Sutherland expedition, but did not reach in time to take part in the action.

[150] Macpherson of Clunie, the hero of the night skirmish at Clifton, and with his clan, greatly distinguished in the Jacobite wars.

[151] Macdonald of the Isles refused to join the Prince.

[152] Of the routed army, the division whereof the Frazers formed the greater number fled to Inverness. Being the least considerable in force, they were pursued by the Duke of Cumberland's light horse, and almost entirely massacred.

[153] The Farquharsons formed part of the unfortunate right wing in the battle, and suffered severely.

[154] The Mackintoshes, whose impetuosity hurried the right wing into action before the order to engage had been transmitted over the lines. They were of course the principal sufferers.

[155] An allusion to the provocation given to the Macdonalds of Clanranald, Glengarry, and Keppoch, by being deprived of their usual position—the right wing. Their motions are supposed to have been tardy in consequence. The poet was himself in the right wing.

[156] The unfortunate night-march of the Highlanders is described with historic truth and great poetic effect.

[157] Roy Stuart lived and died in the belief (most unfounded, it seems), that Lord George Murray was bribed and his army betrayed.

[158] Military orders received from the Court of St Germains.

[159] The Duke of Cumberland.

[160] Evidently a Valentine morning surprise.

End of the Project Gutenberg EBook of The Modern Scottish Minstrel, Volume
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