B Y R O B E R T C H A M B E R S.
Nec cithara carente.
E D I N B U R G H,
T. C O N S T A B L E , 1, T H I S T LE S T R E E T.
[ p.ii ]
[ p.iii ]
|The Grave of the Misanthrope||1|
|Song, in the manner of the poets of the reign of Charles I.||3|
|To the Evening Star||5|
|My Native Bay||7|
|Paraphrase of the first Ode of the Fourth Book of the Odes of Horace||15|
|The ladye that I love||18|
|To the Bell-Rock Light-house||19|
|Oh maid unloving||25|
|The Bluff Muttoneer||26|
|Lamente for the Aulde Hostels||32|
|Sonnet to Lady D—||36|
|Thou gentle and kind one||40|
|On an Edition of Herrick's Select Poems||41|
|Summer Evening, from Gavin Douglas||42|
|Sonnet,—"Like precious caskets"||44|
|Lament for the Old Highland Warriors||47|
[ p.x ]
|In presenting this little volume to his friends, the author deems it only necessary to state, that it contains nearly the whole of the versified compositions which he has ever written.|
[ p.1 ]
I sat upon the hermit's grave ;|
'Twas on a smiling summer's day,
When all around the gloomy spot
Was brightened by the skies of May.
In undistinguished lowliness
I found the little mound of earth,
And bitter weeds o'ergrew the place,
As if his heart had given them birth,
And they from thence their nurture drew,—
In such rank luxury they grew.
No friendship to his grave had lent
* This poem relates to David Ritchie, a deformed and eccentric pauper, who, for many years previous to 1811, dwelt in a solitary cottage in the vale of Mannor, near Peebles, and is allowed by Sir Walter Scott to have been the proto-type of the fictitious character of the Black Dwarf. With an intellect of considerable native strength, and by no means uncultivated, this poor hater of his kind had a superstitious veneration for the mountain ash, or rowan-tree, and his grave in Mannor churchyard is marked by a plant of that species.
/ p.2 /
For he, the latest of his race,|
Had left no friend behind, to trace
Such frail memorial o'er his breast.
But near his head a sapling waved
The honours of its slender form,
And in its loneliness had braved
The autumn blast, the winter storm.
Some friendly hand the tribute gave,
To mark the undistinguished grave,
That, drooping o'er that sod, it might
Repay a world's neglectful scorn,
And, catching sorrow from the night,
There weep a thousand tears at morn.
It was an emblem of himself,
/ p.3 /
IN THE MANNER OF THE POETS OF THE REIGN OF CHARLES I.
Such thoughts as fairies dream,|
Beside the haunted stream,
By moon-lit woods and solitudes,
Where nought of man may seem ;
So bright as angels are,
Pure as that drop and true,
Such thoughts, such beauty bright,
/ p.4 /
O, pretty Polly Partan ! she was a damsel gay,|
And, with a creel upon her back, she every night would stray
To the market-cross of Edinburgh, where singing she would stand,
While the gayest lords in Edinburgh ate oysters from her hand.
Oh, such a beauty Polly was, she dang the fish-wives a'—
Her love he was a sailor, a sailor on the sea,
As pretty Polly Partan one night was going home,
She had not gone a mile, a mile down the Newhaven road,
Oh, cold turned Polly Partan, but colder was the ghost,|
Who shivered in his shirt, as folks are apt to do in frost :
And while from out his cheek he spat the phantom of a quid,
From the ghost of his tobacco-box he lifted off the lid.
" Oh ! Polly," cried the spirit, " you may weep nae mair for me,
" Oh, yes I'll go !" cried Polly, " for I can lo'e nane but you ;"
And some folk about Buckhaven, that were lecturing that night
Soft star of eve, whose trembling light|
Gleams through the closing eye of day,
Where clouds of dying purple bright
Melt in the shades of eve away,
And mock thee with a fitful ray,|
Pure spirit of the twilight hour,
Till forth thou blazeth to display
The splendour of thy native power.
'Twas thus, when earth from chaos sprung,
When the first eve the world had known
Since then how many gentle eyes|
That love and thy pure ray made bright,
Have gazed on thee with blissful sighs—
Now veiled in everlasting night !
Oh, let not love or youth be vain
Of present bliss, and hope more high ;
The stars,—the very clods remain—
Love, they, and all of theirs must die.
Now throned upon the western wave,
My native bay is calm and bright,|
As e'er it was of yore,
When, in the days of hope and love,
I stood upon its shore !
The sky is glowing, soft and blue,|
As once in youth it smiled,
When summer seas and summer skies
Were always bright and mild.
The sky—how oft hath darkness dwelt,
Now, after years of absence, pass'd
Oh, that, like thee, when toil is o'er,
And while it lay all calm like thee,|
In pure unruffled sleep,
Might then a heaven as bright as this
Be mirror'd in its deep !
Wi' aye here and there a bit plantin' between,
There lives an auld wabster, within an auld shiel,
As lang, and unchancy, and black as the deil.
He works e'en and morn for his wife and his weans,
Till the very flesh seems to be wrought frae his banes ;
* In former times it was the custom all over Scotland for the housewife, assisted by her servants, and, in the case of a laird, by the wives and daughters of the tenantry, to spin as much woollen and linen yarn as sufficed to furnish clothes for her family, and napery for bed and board ; a weaver being alone employed, besides, to put her handiwork into proper shape. Not long ago, a humble street in Edinburgh, called the Netherbow, was full of weavers of this kind ; and as a proof of the extent to which the custom was carried two hundred years ago, even in the capital, I may mention that, when the Scottish Covenanters were about to invade England in 1640, the pious "wives" of Edinburgh supplied them at a day's notice with a quantity of harden, a species of linen cloth, sufficient to furnish tents to the whole army, amounting to twenty thousand men.
In the present improved state of Scotland, the division-of-labour system has in a great measure banished both the "big" and the "little" wheel ; and, accordingly, there are not nearly so many weavers employed throughout the country, as used to be, in preparing the cloth. Still, however, where such an individual is found, he is generally a more comfortable person than the muslin or cotton weaver, who, in his labour, has to compete against the enormous odds of machinery, and is therefore perhaps the most abject and impoverished workman in the empire. Unfortunately, there are now very few customer weavers, as they are called, who can obtain full employment, and, therefore, their existence is generally found to be one of comfort, chequered with intervals of penury.
/ p.10 /
Yet canty 's the wabster, and blyth as a lark,|
Whene'er he gets what he ca's customer-wark !
Whether blanket, or sheetin, or sarkin, or towel :
Nae trashtrie o' cottons frae Glasgow he cares for,—
Their twopence the ell is a very good wherefore ;
But God bless the wives, wi' their wheels and their thrift,
That help the puir wabster to fend and mak shift ;
Himsel, and his wife, and his weans might been stark,
An it hadna been them and their customer-wark.
Though, atweel, like its neebors, it has a ben-en';
Its roof 's just a hotter o' divots and thack,
Wi' a chimley dress'd up maist as big 's a wheat-stack.
There 's a peat-ruck behind, and a midden before,
And a jaw-hole would tak' a mile-race to jump o'er !
Ye may think him neglectfu' and lazy,—but hark,
He 's eydent eneuch at the customer-wark !
Has twa looms i' the ben, and twa beds i' the but,
A table, twa creepies, three chyres, and a kist,
And a settle to rest on whene'er that ye list ;
The ben has a winnock, the but has a bole,|
Where the bairns' parritch-luggies are set out to cool,
In providin' o' whilk he has mony a day's darkque
O' saxteen lang hours, at the customer-wark !
Lang, ill-faured, and black, like the wabster himsel—
She does nought the haill day but keeps skelpin' the bairns,
And hauds three or four o' them tight at the pirns.
Her tongue is as gleg and as sharp as a shuttle,
Whilk seldom but gies her the best o' the battle ;
And sometimes her neive lends the wabster a yerk,
That he likesna sae weel as his customer-wark !
Weel kens it the day when a wab has been paid,
For then wi' tobacco it 's filled to the ee,
And the wabster sits happy as happy can be ;
For hours at a time it 's ne'er out o' his cheek,
Till maist feck o' his winnings hae vanished in reek :
He says that o' life he could ne'er keep the spark,
And it werena the pipe and the customer-wark !
Brings out a black teapot and masks a drap tea ;
And they sit, and they soss, and they haud a cabal,|
Till ye think that their slaistrie wad never divaul.
By their wee spunk o' ingle they keep up the bother,
Each jeerin', misca'in', and scaldin' the tother ;
While the bairns sit out by, wi' cauld kale, i' the dark—
Nae gude comes to them o' the customer-wark !
The wabster gangs back to his treddles and loom,
Where he jows the day lang on some wab o' his ain,
That 'll bring in nae cash for a twalmonth or twain ;
Then the pipe is exhaustit and laid on the sill,
Though the fumes o' its sweetness will hang round it still,
And the tea-pot maun lie like a yaud in a park,
Till Heaven shall neist send some customer-wark !
On a 'tatoe for breakfast, a 'tatoe for dinner,
And vanishes veesibly, day after day,
Just like the auld moon when she eelies away.
Clean purged out he looks, like a worm amang fog,
And his face like a clatch o' auld sweens in a cogue.
At last, when grown hungry and gaunt as a shark,
He revives wi' a mouthful' o' customer-wark !
Comes in wi' a bundle, and clanks hersel doun,
"How 's a' wi' ye the day, Bell? Hae ye ought i' the pipe?
Come, rax me a stapper, the cutty I'll rype !
I maun see the gudeman—bring him ben, hinney Jess !
Tut ! the pipe 's fu' o' naething but fizzenless asse !"
The wife ne'er lets on that she hears the remark,
But cries, "Jess! do ye hear, deme?—it's customer-wark!"
And tells her toom father about the God-sen';
Transported, he through the shop-door pops his head,
Like a ghaist glowrin' out frae the gates o' the dead.
Then, wi' a great fraise he salutes the gudewife,
Says he ne'er saw her lookin' sae weel i' his life,
Spiers for the gudeman and the bairns at Glendeark,
While his thoughts a' the time are on customer-wark !
And they turn and they count the haill yarn o'er and o'er:
He rooses her spinning, but canyells like daft
'Bout the length o' her warp and the scrimp o' her waft.
At last it 's a' settled, and promised bedeen
To be ready on Friday or Fuirsday at e'en ;
And the bairns they rin out, wi' a great skirlin' bark,|
To tell that their dad 's got some customer-wark !
How the wabster thowes out to his natural bouk,
How he freshens a thought on his diet o' brose,
And a wee tait o' colour comes back to his nose !
The cutty 's new mountit, and every thing 's snug,
And Bell's tongue disna sing half sae loud i' his lug ;
Contented, and happy, and jum as a Turk,
He sits thinking on naething but customer-wark !
It 's you gars the heart o' the wabster to sing !
An 'twerena for you, how puir were his cheer,
Ae meltith a day, and twa blasts i' the year :
It 's you that provides him the bit, brat, and beet,
And maks the twa ends o' the year sweetly meet,
That pits meat in his barrel, and meal in his ark—
My blessings gang wi' ye, dear customer wark !
/ p.15 /
OF THE FIRST ODE OF THE FOURTH BOOK OF THE
ODES OF HORACE.
ODES OF HORACE.
Intermissa, Venus, diu rursus bella moves ?|
Parce, precor, precor———
Once more, enchantress, wilt thou try|
Thoughts long subdued to move—
Cease, cease, I pray, nor think that I
Again can ever love.
What once I was I am not now,
Go to the youth whose hourly prayers
I see thee in the mazy dance
Nor, though I might, could love avail|
To chain the flying hours ?—
As pulses in our temples fail,
Though wreathed around with flowers.
Age now advances,—loveless, vile,
As Mally Lee came doun the street, her capuchin did flee ;|
She cuist a look behind her, to see her negligee.
And we're a' gaun east and west, we're a' gaun ajee,
We're a' gaun east and west, courting Mally Lee.
She had lappets at her head that flaunted gallantlie,
* The first verse of this ballad is the commencement of a song of the eighteenth century, which I have seen in a manuscript collection. The name, however, has been changed from Sleigh. Allan Ramsay has a poem addressed to the Lord Lyon Brodie, on his marriage, in 1724, with Mrs. Mally Sleigh ; in whose honour the original manuscript song seems to have been composed. In the above ballad an attempt is made, by references to costume, and other circumstances, to awaken associations respecting Edinburgh in the year 1745.
/ p.17 /
A' doun alang the Canongate were beaux o' ilk degree,|
And mony ane turned round to look at Bonnie Mally Lee.
And we're a' gaun, &c.
And ilka bab her pompoon gied, ilk lad thocht that's to me ;
Frae Seton's land a countess fair looked ower a window hie,
And when she reached the Palace Porch, she met wi' yerls three,
And dance gaed through the Palace ha', a comely sicht to see,
Though some had jewels in their hair, like stars 'mang cluds did shine,
A prince cam out frae 'mang them a', wi' garter at his knee,
/ p.18 /
Were I a doughty cavalier,|
On fire for high-born dame,
With sword and lance I would not fear
To win a warrior's fame :
But since no more stern deeds of blood
The gentle fair may move,
I'll woo in softer, better mood
The ladye that I love.
For helmet bright with steel and gold,
No crested steed through battle throng
Amidst the great of mind and heart,|
My prowess I will prove,
And thus I'll win by gentler art
The ladye that I love.
Strange fancies rise at sight of thee,|
Tower of the dim and silent sea.
Art thou a thing of earth or sky,
Upshot from beneath, or let down from on high,
A thing of the wave, or a thing of the cloud,
The work of man, or the work of God ?
Old art thou—has thy blue minaret
Seen the young suns of creation set ?
Or did but the yester years of time
Wake their old eyes on thy youthful prime,
Object of mystery sublime ?
Strange are thy purposes and fate,
Telling all who might come to companion and cheer,|
To shun thy abode of destruction and fear !
Hermit of the waste of sea,
/ p.21 /
SCOTLAND ! the land of all I love,|
The land of all that love me ;
Land, whose green sod my youth has trod,
Whose sod shall lie above me !
Hail, country of the brave and good,
Hail, land of song and story ;
Land of the uncorrupted heart,
Of ancient faith and glory !
Like mother's bosom o'er her child,
Oh, Scotland, through thy wide domain,
Adown thy hills run countless rills,|
With noisy, ceaseless motion ;
Their waters join the rivers broad,
Those rivers join the ocean :
And many a sunny, flowery brae,
Where childhood plays and ponders,
Is freshened by the lightsome flood,
As wimpling on it wanders.
Within thy long-descending vales,
Oh, for that pipe of silver sound,
And not alone each hill and dale,
But every town and tower of thine,|
And every lesser feature ;
For where is there the spot of earth,
Within my contemplation,
But from some noble deed or thing
Has taken consecration ?
First, I could sing how brave thy sons,
I'd sing of that old early time,
Next, of that better glorious time,
When on the sward of Bannockburn|
De Bruce his standard planted,
And drove the proud Plantagenet
Before him, pale and daunted.
Next, how, through ages of despair,
How, in a later, darker time,
And, later still, when times were changed,
How thou did'st freely all forgive,|
Thy heart and sword presented,
Although thou knew'st the deed must be
In tears of blood repented.
Scotland ! the land of all I love,
Oh, maid unloving, but beloved,|
My soul's unchanging theme,
Who art by day my only thought,
By night my only dream ;
Thou think'st not, in thy pride of place,
When gay ones bow the knee,
How bends one lonely distant heart,
In earnest love of thee.
As ancient worshippers but knew
And, turning to the holy east,|
Pour all their spirit there ;
So to thy home inclines this heart,
All distant though it be,
And knows but one adoring art,
An earnest love of thee.
Tantus amor ovis atque gloria.|
|[This jeu-d'esprit took its rise in the jocularity of a friend, who describes a tribe of middle-aged well-conditioned bon-vivant bachelors as muttoneers, from an idea of their being generally much attached to boiled mutton, and constantly going about seeking what they may devour of that article of food.]|
You may talk of your dandies, your bloods, and fine fellows,|
And of all the gay creatures of Princes' street tell us ;
But in my estimation there's none that can peer
With that jolly good fellow, the bluff Muttoneer.
Derry down, down, down derry down.
The bluff Muttoneeer ! would you have him before ye,
More sturdy than tall, to the fat just inclining ;|
A belly whose jet shows some good capon lining ;
A swell derriere, over which dangle clear
The gaucy coat-tails of the bluff Muttoneer.
Derry down, &c.
A visage as broad and as bright as the moon,
A hat o'er this visage cocks somewhat ajee,
And then of the causeway he walks on the crown,
For every thing's big 'bout this wonderful blade,
Yet the bluff Muttoneer has his softnesses too ;|
To the friends of his heart he's both kindly and true ;
That he still likes " the gi'ls," too, he sometimes will swear,
Though it's all to no good with the bluff Muttoneer.
Derry down, &c.
On port, now, and mutton are placed his affections,
Should you ask him to dine, yet, forgetting his taste,
You must have a good gigot—be sure it's a wether—
See him planted at table with knife and with fork,
With what constitutional horror he sees|
Fellows keeping a corner for pancakes or cheese !
Such vile disregard of the principal cheer
Seems treason—or worse—to the bluff Muttoneer.
Derry down, &c.
After dinner he talks of some Jockey Club case,
His songs are the songs of his own early day,
When at nine the young men make a move from their chairs,
* A house which formerly existed under the name of Shakspeare's Tavern, near the Theatre Royal, Edinburgh—a great house
/ p.30 /
At length when the time has roll'd on to eleven,|
He ends with a glee—" To Anacreon in Heaven ;"
And, beginning to feel rather muzzy and queer,
Home staggers in glory the bluff Muttoneer !
Derry down, &c.
Young Randal was a bonnie lad, when he gaed awa,|
Young Randal was a bonnie lad, when he gaed awa ;
'Twas in the sixteen hunder year o' grace and thretty twa,
That Randal, the laird's youngest son, gaed awa.
It was to seek his fortune in the High Germanie,
He left his mother in her bower, his father in the ha',
" Oh, whan will ye be back ?" sae kindly did she spier,
Oh, Randal's hair was coal black, when he gaed awa,|
Oh, Randal's cheeks were roses red, when he gaed awa,
And in his bonnie ee, a spark glintit high,
Like the merrie, merrie lark, in the morning sky.
Oh, Randal was an altert man when he came hame,
He lichtit at the outer yett, and rispit wi' the ring,
" Whatna stoure carl is this," quo the dame ;
He turned him about, wi' a waeful ee.
Oh, dule on the purtith o' this countrie,
/ p.32 /
" Oh Edinbruch, hich and triumphand toun,|
Within thy bounds rycht merrie haif I bene !"
Sae said Schir David Lyndsay, that slie loun,
Wha kenned what merrines wes rycht weil I wene ;
And sae say I, that monie a bouse haif sene,
In quyet houses round about the Croce
(Haplie now herboure for the vyle and meane,)
In the Hie Streit, or als in wynde or closse,
Renowned for punche and aill, and eke hie-relished soss.
But now, alas for thee, decayit Dunedin,
Whair now is Douglas's? whair Clerihugh's?
By her own ladye hand showne up the staire,|
Through a long trance, into a panyled roome
Whair lords had erst held feist wyth ladyes faire,
And which had still an air of lordly gloome,
That scarss two sturdie mouldes colde utterlie illume.
Oh for the pen of Fergusson to painte
Then on the wall was hung that rare and rych
Thair, also, hung around the wainscot wall,
Adam in paradyce before the Falle ;|
The sailours mutinying at the Nore ;
Flora—Pomona—and the Sesons four ;
Lord Nelson's victory at Trafalgar ;
The deth of Cooke on Otaheite's shore ;
Lord North rigged out in gartyr and in star ;
With manie more ta'en out of Historie of the Warre.
Then thair were tablis, also, squayr and round,
But ah the mere externe of this olde haunte—
To me who love the olde with such regrette,|
What charme can be apparent in the newe :
Divans, saloons, and cafés may besette
The heartes of youth, and seem to fancye's viewe
Places more fit to lounge in, while the stewe
Of numbers has a charme ; but oh how far
From hearty is the pleasance they pursue—
Eche manne his single rummyr and cigarre,
Puffing, all by himself—a sulky, smoky warre !
Bot vayne it is to sorrow for the paste—
* When some one made enquiry of Nanse Tinnock of Mauchline respecting the convivial habits of Robert Burns—which, it was presumed, she must have had the best opportunities of observing—the old lady answered that she really could say little upon the subject, "as the chield had hardly ever drunk twa half-mutchkins in her house." If any one presume, from the above poem, that the author must have been well acquainted, personally, with the taverns of ancient Edinburgh, and entered largely into the festivities practised in them, a mistake will be committed, not less than that of the individual who applied to the Mauchline hostess for the bacchanalian character of Burns. He has only once / p.36 / or twice, by chance, seen such scenes as those here described. As a further illustration of the fallacy of reasoning from print to its author, it occurs to him, that, notwithstanding the minute information given in the Traditions of Edinburgh regarding clubs, he never, up to that time, and for some years later, happened to be once present at the meeting of any such fraternity.
/ p.36 /
Lady, thou wert not formed for this cold clime,|
Nor for this tame and unchivalric age ;
Thou'rt all misplaced upon this humble stage,
Thou hast come to the world behind thy time.
Thou should'st have lived five hundred years agone,
In some lone castle near the proud Garonne,
With such concourse of lovers from all Spain,
That towns at length should rise on thy domain ;
Kings should come there to break their hearts in scores,
And thou should'st hold a massacre of knights
Once every week, until the river's shores
Should peopled be with their untimely sprites.
Thou should'st lay waste a kingdom with thy charms,
And yield to none but Death's all-conquering arms.
Some people say they nothing love|
In woman, save the sacred mind,
Pretending, in her boasted form,|
No charm or merit they can find.
Others—and this is Thomson's school—
Away with all such saving clauses !
Her dear idea is to me
For instance, now, I love her eyes,
Her cheeks are like the roses red,
Her head moves with a queenly grace ;|
A crown would not look queer upon it :
But, in the meantime, is not this
A very tasteful sort of bonnet ?
Her hands are soft and paly white,
Her feet so gentle are and small,
I am of Hudibras's thought,
I wear a tassel from her gown,
Her parasol, that from the sun
The thrilling music of her voice|
Puts all my senses in a tussle ;
And every nerve springs up to hear
Her distant bombazines play rustle.
Whate'er she does, whate'er she says,
Say that she talks of mutual love,
Say that she reads some touching tale,
'Tis all one thing—mind, person, dress—
/ p.40 /
Thou gentle and kind one,|
Who com'st o'er my dreams,
Like the gales of the west,
Or the music of streams ;
Oh softest and dearest,
Can that time e'er be,
When I could be forgetful
Or scornful of thee ?
No ! my soul might be dark,
And, if, in contending
If faithful in sorrow|
More faithful in joy,—
Thou should'st find that no change
Could affection destroy ;
All profit, all pleasure
As nothing would be,
And each triumph despised,
Unpartaken by thee.
BEING AN IMITATION OF THE MANNER OF THAT POET.
A tiny tome, such as might lie|
In Mistress Mab's own library ;
With boards of rose and leaves of cream,
And little print that might beseem
The foot-marks of the fairy throng,
As o'er a snow-charged leaf they lightly tripped along.
Oh if to Herrick's sainted mind
'Twill mind him of those things he loved,|
When he the sweet-breathed country roved ;
Inside he'll find his own pure lilies,
Outside his golden daffodillies ;
On every leaf some lovesome thing
Back to his shade life's thoughts will bring.
Here Phillis with her pastoral messes,
And Julia with her witching dresses ;
There daisies from a hundred hills,
And crystal from a thousand rills,
(Rills whose every trinkling fall
With nightingales is musical ;)
And posies all around beset
With primrose and rich violet ;
And robes beneath the cestus thrown
Into a fine distraction ;
And ladies' lips, which sweetly smile,
Among the groves of Cherry Isle.
AN ANGLO-SCOTTISH VERSION OF A PASSAGE IN GAVIN
'Twas in the jolly joyous month of June,|
When gane was near the day and supper dune,
I walkit furth to taste the evening air,
Among the fields that were replenished fair.
With herbage, corn, and cattle, and fruit trees,|
Plenty of store ; while birds and busy bees
O'er emerald meadows flew baith east and west,
Their labour done, to take their evening rest.
As up and down I cast my wandering eye,
All burning red straight grew the western sky ;
The sun, descending on the waters gray,
Deep under earth withdrew his beams away ;
The evening star, with growing lustre bright,
Sprung up, the gay fore-rider of the night ;
Amid the haughs and every pleasant vale,
The recent dew began on herbs to skail ;
The light began to dim, and mists to rise,
And here and there grim shades o'erspread the skies;
The bad and leathern bat commenced her flight,
The lark descended from her airy height ;
Mists swept the hill before the lazy wind,
And night spread out her cloak with sable lined,
Swaddling the beauty of the fruitful ground
With cloth of shade, obscurity profound.
All creatures, wheresoever they liked the best,
Then went to take their pleasant nightly rest.
The fowls that lately wantoned in the air,
The drowsy cattle in their sheltered lair,
After the heat and labour of the day,
Unstirring and unstirred in slumber lay.
Each thing that roves the meadow or the wood,
Each thing that flies through air or dives in flood,
Each thing that nestles in the bosky bank,|
Or loves to rustle through the marshes dank,
The little midges and the happy flees,
Laborious emmets, and the busy bees,
All beasts, or wild or tame, or great or small,
Night's peace and blessing rests serene o'er all.
Like precious caskets in the deep sea casten,|
On which the clustering shell-fish quickly fasten,
Till closed they seem in chinkless panoplie ;
So do our hearts, into this world's moil thrown,
Become with self's vile crust straight overgrown,
Of which there scarce may any breaking be.
So may not mine, though quicksetted all round
With sternest cares : still for the young departed,
And more for the surviving broken-hearted,
For all who sink beneath affliction's wound,
May I at least some grief or pity feel :
Still let my country and my kindred's name,
Still let religion's mild and tender flame,
Have power to move : I would not all be steel.
/ p.45 /
Iste terrarum mihi, præter omnes,|
One thing seems agreed on in speech and in book,|
That, if comfort exists, 'twill be found in a nook ;
All seems dreary and cold in an open area,
But a corner—how charming the very idea !
Hence, when, weary with toiling, we think of retreat,
A nook is the spot that we ask for our seat—
Some small piece of earth, 'tis no matter how small,
But a corner it must be, or nothing at all.
The poor man an object of kindred desire
Regards, in the nook of his bright evening fire,
Where, his labours all done, he may sit at his ease,
With his wee things devoutly caressing his knees,
And where, I would know, to what promising shade,
Runs the kiss-threatened, bashful, yet half-willing maid ?
To some nook, to be sure, to some hidden recess,
Where her lover his fondness is free to confess.
Even less might have been the delight of Jack Horner,
Had his plumbs been enjoyed anywhere but a corner !
Since thus open pleasures are viler than tangle,
Perfect joy, it seems clear, must by hook or by crook,|
Be obtained in a place called, par excellence, NOOK.
The Nook !—how endearing and pleasant the word—
As bieldy and warm as the nest of a bird !
Sure a place so designed must know little of care,
And summer must linger eternally there ;
No resting-place, surely, for sorrow or sin,
But all blossom without and all pleasure within :
There children must sport, all unknowing of pain,
And old folk, looking on, become children again.
Sad Poortith will pass it ungrudgingly by,
And Wealth only cast a solicitous eye.
'Twere surely fit scene for a Goddess' descent—
The goddess long lost to us—holy Content.
Such thoughts it is easy to string up together ;
And so well do they answer to each other's quality,|
So mixed is the man with his pleasant locality,
That a question it seems, and I cannot decide it,
Whether he or the Nook gives the most of the "ridet."
FOR THE OLD HIGHLAND WARRIORS.
Oh, where are the pretty men of yore,|
Oh, where are the brave men gone,
Oh, where are the heroes of the north ?
Each under his own grey stone.
Oh, where now the broad bright claymore,
Oh, where are the truis and plaid ?
Oh, where now the merry Highland heart ?
In silence for ever laid.
* Cro Challein is the name of a remarkably mournful Highland song, which, according to tradition, originated with the spirit of a farmer's wife, who was heard singing it to her husband's cattle some months after her death. The air is to be found in "A Selection of Celtic Melodies," Edinburgh, Purdie, 1830.
The chiefs that were foremost of old,|
Macdonald and brave Lochiel,
The Gordon, the Murray, and the Graham,
With their clansmen true as steel ;
Who followed and fought with Montrose,
Glencairn, and bold Dundee,
Who to Charlie gave their swords and their all,
And would ay rather fa' than flie—
The hills that our brave fathers trod,
Are now to the stranger a store ;
The voice of the pipe and the bard
Shall awaken never more.
Such things it is sad to think on,—
They come like the mist by day,—
And I wish I had less in this world to leave,
And be with them that are away.