Project Gutenberg's The Modern Scottish Minstrel, Volume IV., by Various

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Title: The Modern Scottish Minstrel, Volume IV.
       The Songs of Scotland of the Past Half Century

Author: Various

Release Date: October 11, 2006 [EBook #19525]

Language: English

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Henry Scott Riddell.

Lithographed for the Modern Scottish Minstrel, by Schenck & McFarlane. Lithographed for the Modern Scottish Minstrel, by Schenck & McFarlane.






Memoirs of the Poets,















The Modern Scottish Minstrel






[Pg v]




An Essay.


It is exceedingly difficult to settle the exact place of, as well as to compute the varied influences wielded by, a great original genius. Every such mind borrows so much from his age and from the past, as well as communicates so much from his own native stores, that it is difficult to determine whether he be more the creature or the creator of his period. But, ere determining the influence exerted by Burns on Scottish song and poetry, it is necessary first to inquire what he owed to his predecessors in the art, as well as to the general Scottish atmosphere of thought, feeling, scenery and manners.

First of all, Burns felt, in common with his forbears in the genealogy of Scottish song, the inspiring influences breathing from our mountain-land, and from the peculiar habits and customs of a "people dwelling[Pg vi] alone, and not reckoned among the nations." He was not born in a district peculiarly distinguished for romantic beauty—we mean, in comparison with some other regions of Scotland. The whole course of the Ayr, as Currie remarks, is beautiful; and beautiful exceedingly the Brig of Doon, especially as it now shines through the magic of the Master's poetry. But it yields to many other parts of Scotland, some of which Burns indeed afterwards saw, although his matured genius was not much profited by the sight. Ayrshire—even with the peaks of Arran bounding the view seaward—cannot vie with the scenery around Edinburgh; with Stirling—its links and blue mountains; with "Gowrie's Carse, beloved of Ceres, and Clydesdale to Pomona dear;" with Straths Tay and Earn, with their two fine rivers flowing from finer lakes, through corn-fields, woods, and rocks, to melt into each other's arms in music, near the fair city of Perth; with the wilder and stormier courses of the Spey, the Findhorn, and the Dee; with the romantic and song-consecrated precincts of the Border; with the "bonnie hills o' Gallowa" and Dumfriesshire; or with that transcendent mountain region stretching up along Lochs Linnhe, Etive, and Leven—between the wild, torn ridges of Morven and Appin—uniting Ben Cruachan to Ben Nevis, and including in its sweep the lonely and magnificent Glencoe—a region unparalleled in wide Britain for its quantity and variety of desolate grandeur, where every shape is bold, every shape blasted, but all blasted at such different angles as to produce endless diversity, and yet where the whole seems twisted into a certain terrible harmony; not to speak of the glorious isles

"Placed far amid the melancholy main,"

Iona, which, being interpreted, means the "Island of[Pg vii] the Waves," the rocky cradle of Scotland's Christianity; Staffa with grass growing above the unspeakable grandeur which lurks in the cathedral-cave below, and cows peacefully feeding over the tumultuous surge which forms the organ of the eternal service; and Skye, with its Loch Coriskin, piercing like a bright arrow the black breast of the shaggy hills of Cuchullin. Burns had around him only the features of ordinary Scottish scenery, but from these he drank in no common draught of inspiration; and how admirably has he reproduced such simple objects as the "burn stealing under the lang yellow broom," and the "milk-white thorn that scents the evening gale," the "burnie wimplin' in its glen," and the

"Rough bur-thistle spreadin' wide
Amang the bearded bear."

These objects constituted the poetry of his own fields; they were linked with his own joys, loves, memories, and sorrows, and these he felt impelled to enshrine in song. It may, indeed, be doubted if his cast of mind would have led him to sympathise with bold and savage scenery. In proof of this, we remember that, although he often had seen the gigantic ridges of Arran looming through the purple evening air, or with the "morning suddenly spread" upon their summer summits, or with premature snow tinging their autumnal tops, he never once alludes to them, so far as we remember, either in his poetry or prose; and that although he spent a part of his youth on the wild smuggling coast of Carrick, he has borrowed little of his imagery from the sea—none, we think, except the two lines in the "Vision"—

"I saw thee seek the sounding shore,
Delighted with the dashing roar."
[Pg viii]

His descriptions are almost all of inland scenery. Yet, that there was a strong sense of the sublime in his mind is manifest from the lines succeeding the above—

"And when the North his fleecy store
Drove through the sky,
I saw grim Nature's visage hoar
Struck thy young eye;"

as well as from the delight he expresses in walking beside a planting in a windy day, and listening to the blast howling through the trees and raving over the plain. Perhaps his mind was most alive to the sublimity of motion, of agitation, of tumultuous energy, as exhibited in a snow-storm, or in the "torrent rapture" of winds and waters, because they seemed to sympathise with his own tempestuous passions, even as the fierce Zanga, in the "Revenge," during a storm, exclaims—-

"I like this rocking of the battlements.
Rage on, ye winds; burst clouds, and waters roar!
You bear a just resemblance of my fortune,
And suit the gloomy habit of my soul."

Probably Burns felt little admiration of the calm, colossal grandeur of mountain-scenery, where there are indeed vestiges of convulsion and agony, but where age has softened the storm into stillness, and where the memory of former strife and upheaving only serves to deepen the feeling of repose—vestiges which, like the wrinkles on the stern brow of the Corsair,

"Speak of passion, but of passion past."

With these records of bygone "majestic pains," on the other hand, the genius of Milton and Wordsworth seemed made to sympathise; and the former is never greater than standing on Niphates Mount with Satan,[Pg ix] or upon the "hill of Paradise the highest" with Michael, or upon the "Specular Mount" with the Tempter and the Saviour; and the latter is always most himself beside Skiddaw or Helvellyn. Byron professes vast admiration for Lochnagar and the Alps; but the former is seen through the enchanting medium of distance and childish memory; and among the latter, his rhapsodies on Mont Blanc, and the cold "thrones of eternity" around him, are nothing to his pictures of torrents, cataracts, thunderstorms; in short, of all objects where unrest—the leading feeling in his bosom—constitutes the principal element in their grandeur. It is curious, by the way, how few good descriptions there exist in poetry of views from mountains. Milton has, indeed, some incomparable ones, but all imaginary—such, at least, as no actual mountain on earth can command; but, in other poets, we at this moment remember no good one. They seem always looking up to, not down from, mountains. Wordsworth has given us, for example, no description of the view from Skiddaw; and there does not exist, in any Scottish poetical author, a first-rate picture of the view either from Ben Lomond, Schehallion, Ben Cruachan, or Ben Nevis.

After all, Burns was more influenced by some other characteristics of Scotland than he was by its scenery. There was, first, its romantic history. That had not then been separated, as it has since been, from the mists of fable, but lay exactly in that twilight point of view best adapted for arousing the imagination. To the eye of Burns, as it glared back into the past, the history of his country seemed intensely poetical—including the line of early kings who pass over the stage of Boece' and Buchanan's story as their brethren over the magic glass of Macbeth's witches—equally fantastic and equally[Pg x] false—the dark tragedy of that terrible thane of Glammis and Cawdor—the deeds of Wallace and Bruce—the battle of Flodden—and the sad fate of Queen Mary; and from most of these themes he drew an inspiration which could scarcely have been conceived to reside even in them. On Wallace, Bruce, and Queen Mary, his mind seems to have brooded with peculiar intensity—on the two former, because they were patriots; and on the latter, because she was a beautiful woman; and his allusions to them rank with the finest parts in his or any poetry. He seemed especially adapted to be the poet-laureate of Wallace—a modern edition, somewhat improved, of the broad, brawny, ragged bard who actually, it is probable, attended in the train of Scotland's patriot hero, and whose constant occupation it was to change the gold of his achievements into the silver of song. Scottish manners, too, as well as history, exerted a powerful influence on Scotland's peasant-poet. They were then far more peculiar than now, and had only been faintly or partially represented by previous poets. Thus, the christening of the wean, with all its ceremony and all its mirth—Hallowe'en, with its "rude awe and laughter"—the "Rockin'"—the "Brooze"—the Bridal—and a hundred other intensely Scottish and very old customs, were all ripe and ready for the poet, and many of them he has treated, accordingly, with consummate felicity and genius. It seems almost as if the final cause of their long-continued existence were connected with the appearance, in due time, of one who was to extract their finest essence, and to embalm them for ever in his own form of ideal representation.

Burns, too, doubtless derived much from previous poets. This is a common case, as we have before[Pg xi] hinted, with even the most original. Had not Shakspeare and Milton been "celestial thieves," their writings would have been far less rich and brilliant than they are; although, had they not possessed true originality, they would not have taken their present lofty position in the world of letters. So, to say that Burns was much indebted to his predecessors, and that he often imitated Ramsay and Fergusson, and borrowed liberally from the old ballads, is by no means to derogate from his genius. If he took, he gave with interest. The most commonplace songs, after they had, as he said, "got a brushing" from his hands, assumed a totally different aspect. Each ballad was merely a piece of canvas, on which he inscribed his inimitable paintings. Sometimes even by a single word he proclaimed the presence of the master-poet, and by a single stroke exalted a daub into a picture. His imitations of Ramsay and Fergusson far surpass the originals, and remind you of Landseer's dogs, which seem better than the models from which he drew. When a king accepts a fashion from a subject, he glorifies it, and renders it the rage. It was in this royal style that Burns treated the inferior writers who had gone before him; and although he highly admired and warmly praised them, he must have felt a secret sense of his own vast superiority.

We come now shortly to speak of the influence he has exerted on Scottish poetry. This was manifold. In the first place, a number were encouraged by his success to collect and publish their poems, although few of them possessed much merit; and he complained that some were a wretched "spawn" of mediocrity, which the sunshine of his fame had warmed and brought forth prematurely. Lapraik, for instance, was induced by the praise of Burns to print an edition of his poems,[Pg xii] which turned out a total failure. There was only one good piece in it all, and that was pilfered from an old magazine. Secondly, Burns exerted an inspiring influence on some men of real genius, who, we verily believe, would, but for Burns, have never written, or, at least, written so well—such as Alexander Wilson, Tannahill, Macneil, Hogg, and the numerous members of the "Whistle-Binkie" school. In all these writers we trace the influence of the large "lingering star" of the genius of Burns. "Wattie and Meg," by Wilson, when it first appeared anonymously, was attributed to Burns. Tannahill is, in much of his poetry, an echo of Burns, although in song-writing he is a real original. Macneil was roused by Burns' praises of whisky to give a per contra, in his "Scotland's Scaith; or, the History of Will and Jean." And although the most of Hogg's poetry is entirely original, we find the influence of Burns distinctly marked in some of his songs—such as the "Kye come Hame."

But there is a wider and more important light in which to regard the influence of our great national Bard. He first fully revealed the interest and the beauty which lie in the simpler forms of Scottish scenery, he darted light upon the peculiarities of Scottish manners, and he opened the warm heart of his native land. Scotland, previous to Burns' poetry, was a spring shut up and a fountain sealed.

"She lay like some unkenned-of isle
Ayont New Holland."

The glories of her lakes, her glens, her streams, her mountains, the hardy courage, the burning patriotism, the trusty attachments, the loves, the games, the superstitions, and the devotion of her inhabitants, were all[Pg xiii] unknown and unsuspected as themes for song till Burns took them up, and less added glory than shewed the glory that was in them, and shewed also that they opened up a field nearly inexhaustible. Writers of a very high order were thus attracted to Scotland, not merely as their native country, but as a theme for poetry; and, while disdaining to imitate Burns' poetry slavishly, and some of them not writing in verse at all, they found in Scottish subjects ample scope for the exercise of their genius; and in some measure to his influence we may attribute the fictions of Mrs Hamilton and Miss Ferrier, Scott's poems and novels, Galt's, Lockhart's, Wilson's, Delta's, and Aird's tales and poetry, and much of the poetry of Campbell, who, although he never writes in Scotch, has embalmed, in his "Lochiel's Warning," "Glenara," "Lord Ullin's Daughter," some interesting subjects connected with Scotland, and has, in "Gertrude of Wyoming," and in the "Pilgrim of Glencoe," made striking allusions to Scottish scenery. That the progress of civilisation, apart from Burns, would have ultimately directed the attention of cultivated men to a country so peculiar and poetical as Scotland cannot be doubted; but the rise of Burns hastened the result, as being itself a main element in propelling civilisation and diffusing genuine taste. His dazzling success, too, excited emulation in the breasts of our men of genius, as well as tended to exalt in their eyes a country which had produced such a stalwart and gifted son. We may, indeed, apply to the feeling of pride which animates Scotchmen, and particularly Scotchmen in other lands, at the thought of Burns being their countryman, the famous lines of Dryden[Pg xiv]

"Men met each other with erected look,
The steps were higher that they took;
Each to congratulate his friends made haste,
And long inveterate foes saluted as they pass'd."

The poor man, says Wilson, as he speaks of Burns, always holds up his head and regards you with an elated look. Scotland has become more venerable, more beautiful, more glorious in the eyes of her children, and a fitter theme for poetry, since the feet of Burns rested on her fields, and since his ardent eyes glowed with enthusiasm as he saw her scenery, and as he sung her praise; while to many in foreign parts she is chiefly interesting as being (what a portion of her has long been called) the Land of Burns.

The real successors of Burns, it is thus manifest, were not Tannahill or Macneil, but Sir Walter Scott, Campbell, Aird, Delta, Galt, Allan Cunningham, and Professor Wilson. To all of these, Burns, along with Nature, united in teaching the lessons of simplicity, of brawny strength, of clear common sense, and of the propriety of staying at home instead of gadding abroad in search of inspiration. All of these have been, like Burns, more or less intensely Scottish in their subjects and in their spirit.

That Burns' errors as a man have exerted a pernicious influence on many since, is, we fear, undeniable. He had been taught, by the lives of the "wits," to consider aberration, eccentricity, and "devil-may-careism" as prime badges of genius, and he proceeded accordingly to astonish the natives, many of whom, in their turn, set themselves to copy his faults. But when we subtract some half-dozen pieces, either coarse in language or equivocal in purpose, the influence of his poetry may be[Pg xv] considered good. (We of course say nothing here of the volume called the "Merry Muses," still extant to disgrace his memory.) It is doubtful if his "Willie brew'd a peck o' Maut" ever made a drunkard, but it is certain that his "Cottar's Saturday Night" has converted sinners, edified the godly, and made some erect family altars. It has been worth a thousand homilies. And, taking his songs as a whole, they have done much to stir the flames of pure love, of patriotism, of genuine sentiment, and of a taste for the beauties of nature. And it is remarkable that all his followers and imitators have, almost without exception, avoided his faults while emulating his beauties; and there is not a sentence in Scott, or Campbell, or Aird, or Delta, and not many in Wilson or Galt, that can be charged with indelicacy, or even coarseness. So that, on the whole, we may assert that, whatever evil he did by the example of his life, he has done very little—but, on the contrary, much good, both artistically and morally, by the influence of his poetry.



[Pg 1]



Henry Scott Riddell, one of the most powerful and pleasing of the living national song-writers, was born on the 23d September 1798, at Sorbie, in the Vale of Ewes—a valley remarkable for its pastoral beauty, lying in the south-east of Dumfriesshire. His father was a shepherd, well acquainted with the duties of his profession, and a man of strong though uneducated mind. "My father, while I was yet a child," writes Mr Riddell, in a MS. autobiography, "left Sorbie; but when I had become able to traverse both burn and brae, hill and glen, I frequently returned to, and spent many weeks together in, the vale of my nativity. We had gone, under the same employer, to what pastoral phraseology terms 'an out-bye herding,' in the wilds of Eskdalemuir, called Langshawburn. Here we continued for a number of years, and had, in this remote, but most friendly and hospitable district, many visitors, ranging from Sir Pulteney Malcolm down to Jock Gray, whom Sir Walter Scott, through one of his strange mistakes, called Davy Gellatly....[Pg 2] Among others who constituted a part of the company of these days, was one whom I have good reason to remember—the Ettrick Shepherd. Nor can I forbear observing that his seemed one of those hearts that do not become older in proportion as the head grows gray. Cheerful as the splendour of heaven, he carried the feelings, and, it may be said, the simplicity and pursuits of youth, into his maturer years; and if few of the sons of men naturally possessed such generous influence in promoting, so likewise few enjoyed so much pleasure in participating in the expedients of recreation, and the harmless glee of those who meet under the rural roof—the shepherd's bien and happy home. This was about the time when Hogg began to write, or at least to publish: as I can remember from the circumstance of my being able to repeat the most part of the pieces in his first publication by hearing them read by others before I could read them myself. It may, perhaps, be worth while to state that at these meetings the sons of farmers, and even of lairds, did not disdain to make their appearance, and mingle delightedly with the lads that wore the crook and plaid. Where pride does not come to chill nor foppery to deform homely and open-hearted kindness, yet where native modesty and self-respect induce propriety of conduct, society possesses its own attractions, and can subsist on its own resources.

"At these happy meetings I treasured up a goodly store of old Border ballads, as well as modern songs; for in those years of unencumbered and careless existence, I could, on hearing a song, or even a ballad, sung twice, have fixed it on my mind word for word. My father, with his family, leaving Langshawburn, went to Capplefoot, on the Water of Milk, and there for one year occupied a farm belonging to Thomas Beattie, Esq. of[Pg 3] Muckledale, and who, when my father was in Ewes, had been his friend. My employment here was, along with a younger brother, to tend the cows. In the winter season we entered the Corrie school, but had only attended a short while when we both took fever, and our attendance was not resumed. At Langshawburn, my father for several winters hired a person into his house, who taught his family and that of a neighbouring shepherd. In consequence of our distance from any place of regular education, I had also been boarded at several schools—at Devington in Eskdale, Roberton on Borthwick Water, and Newmill on the Teviot, at each of which, however, I only remained a short time, making, I suppose, such progress as do other boys who love the football better than the spelling-book.

"At the Whitsunday term my father relinquished his farm, and returned to his former employment in the Forest of Ettrick, under Mr Scott of Deloraine, to whom he had been a shepherd in his younger days. With this family, indeed, and that of Mr Borthwick, then of Sorbie, and late of Hopesrigg, all his years since he could wear the plaid were passed, with the exception of the one just mentioned. It was at Deloraine that I commenced the shepherd's life in good earnest. Through the friendly partiality of our employer, I was made principal shepherd at an age considerably younger than it is usual for most others to be intrusted with so extensive a hirsel[1] as was committed to my care. I had by this time, however, served what might be regarded as a regular apprenticeship to the employment, which almost all sons of shepherds do, whether they adhere to herding sheep in after-life or not. Seasons and emergencies not seldom occur when the aid which the little[Pg 4] boy can lend often proves not much less availing than that of the grown-up man. Education in this line consequently commences early. A knowledge of the habits, together with the proper treatment of sheep, and therefore of pastoral affairs in general, 'grows with the growth' of the individual, and becomes, as it were, a portion of his nature. I had thus assisted my father more or less all along; and when a little older, though still a mere boy, I went for a year to a friend at Glencotha, in Holmswater, as assistant shepherd or lamb-herd. Another year in the same capacity I was with a shepherd in Wester Buccleuch. It was at Glencotha that I first made a sustained attempt to compose in rhyme. When in Wester Buccleuch my life was much more lonely, and became more tinged with thoughts and feelings of a romantic cast. Owing to the nature of the stock kept on the farm, it was my destiny day after day to be out among the mountains during the whole summer season from early morn till the fall of even. But the long summer days, whether clear or cloudy, never seemed long to me—I never wearied among the wilds. My flocks being hirsled, as it is expressed, required vigilance: but, if this was judiciously maintained, the task was for the most part an easy and pleasant one. I know not if it be worth while to mention that the hills and glens on which my charge pastured at this period formed a portion of what in ancient times was termed the Forest of Rankleburn. The names of places in the district, though there were no other more intelligible traditions, might serve to shew that it is a range of country to which both kings and nobles had resorted. If from morning to night I was away far from the homes of living men, I was not so in regard to those of the dead. Where a lesser stream from the wild uplands[Pg 5] comes down and meets the Rankleburn, a church or chapel once stood, surrounded, like most other consecrated places of the kind, by a burial-ground. There tradition says that five dukes, some say kings, lie buried under a marble stone. I had heard that Sir Walter, then Mr Scott, had, a number of years previously, made a pilgrimage to this place, for the purpose of discovering the sepulchres of the great and nearly forgotten dead, but without success. This, however, tended, in my estimation, to confirm the truth of the tradition; and having enough of time and opportunity, I made many a toilsome effort of a similar nature, with the same result. With hills around, wild and rarely trodden, and the ceaseless yet ever-varying tinkling of its streams, together with the mysterious echoes which the least stir seemed to awaken, the place was not only lonely, but also creative of strange apprehensions, even in the hours of open day. It is strange that the heart will fear the dead, which, perhaps, never feared the living. Though I could muster and maintain courage to dig perseveringly among the dust of the long-departed when the sun shone in the sky, yet when the shadow of night was coming, or had come down upon the earth, the scene was sacredly secure from all inroad on my part: and to make the matter sufficiently intelligible, I may further mention that, some years afterwards, when I took a fancy one evening to travel eight miles to meet some friends in a shepherd's lone muirland dwelling, I made the way somewhat longer for the sake of evading the impressive loneliness of this locality. I had no belief that I should meet accusing spirits of the dead; but I disliked to be troubled in waging war with those eery feelings which are the offspring of superstitious associations.

"While a lamb-herd at Buccleuch, I read when I could[Pg 6] get a book which was not already threadbare. I had a few chisels, and files, and other tools, with which I took pleasure in constructing, of wood or bone, pieces of mechanism; and I kept a diary in which I wrote many minute and trivial matters, as well, no doubt as I then thought, many a sage observation. In this, likewise, I wrote rude rhymes on local occurrences. But I have anticipated a little. On returning home from Glencotha, and two years before I went to Buccleuch, a younger brother and I had still another round at herding cattle, which pastured in a park near by my father's cottage. Our part was to protect a meadow which formed a portion of it; and the task being easy to protect that for which the cattle did not much care, nor yet could skaithe greatly though they should trespass upon it, we were far too idle not to enter upon and prosecute many a wayward and unprofitable ploy. Our predilections for taming wild birds—the wilder by nature the better—seemed boundless; and our family of hawks, and owls, and ravens was too large not to cost us much toil, anxiety, and even sorrow. We fished in the Ettrick and the lesser streams. These last suited our way of it best, since we generally fished with staves and plough-spades—thus far, at least, honourably giving the objects of our pursuit a fair chance of escape. When the hay had been won, we went to Ettrick school, at which we continued throughout the winter, travelling to and from it daily, though it lay at the distance of five miles. This we, in good weather, accomplished conveniently enough; but it proved occasionally a serious and toilsome task through wind and rain, or keen frost and deep snow, when winter days and the mountain blasts came on.

"My father after being three years in Stanhopefoot, on the banks of the Ettrick, went to Deloraineshiels, an[Pg 7] out-bye herding, under the same employer. In the winter season either I or some other of the family assisted him; but so often as the weather was fine, we went to a school instituted by a farmer in the neighbourhood for behoof of his own family. When by and by I went to herd the hirsel which my father formerly tended, like most other regular shepherds I delighted in and was proud of the employment. A considerable portion of another hirsel lying contiguous, and which my elder brother herded, was for the summer season of the year added to mine, so that this already large was made larger; but exempted as I was from attending to aught else but my flock, I had pleasant days, for I loved the wilds among which it had become alike my destiny and duty to walk at will, and 'view the sheep thrive bonnie.' The hills of Ettrick are generally wild and green, and those of them on which I daily wandered, musing much and writing often, were as high, green, and wild, as any of them all.... It may be the partiality arising from early habit which induces me to think that a man gets the most comprehensive and distinct view of any subject which may occupy thought when he is walking, provided fatigue has not overtaken him. Mental confidence awake amid the stir seems increased by the exercise of bodily power, and becomes free and fearless as the step rejoicing in the ample scope afforded by the broad green earth and circumambient sky. On the same grounds, I have sometimes marvelled if it might not be the majesty of motion, as one may say, reigning around the seaman's soul, that made his heart so frank in communication, and in action his arm so vigorously energetic. At all events, there was in these days always enough around one to keep interest more or less ardent awake[Pg 8]

"'Prompting the heart to pour the impassion'd strain
Afar 'mid solitude's eternal reign,
In numbers fearless all as unconfined,
And wild as wailings of the desert wind.'

"According to my ability I studied while wandering among the mountains, and at intervals, adopting my knee for my desk, wrote down the results of my musing. Let not the shepherd ever forget his dog—his constant companion and best friend, and without which all his efforts would little avail! Mine knew well the places where in my rounds I was wont to pause, and especially the majestic seat which I occupied so often on the loftiest peak of Stanhopelaw. It had also an adopted spot of rest the while, and, confident of my habits, would fold itself down upon it ere I came forward; and would linger still, look wistful, and marvel why if at any time I passed on without making my wonted delay. I did not follow these practices only 'when summer days were fine.' The lines of an epistle written subsequently will convey some idea of my habits:—

"'My early years were pass'd far on
The hills of Ettrick wild and lone;
Through summer sheen and winter shade
Tending the flocks that o'er them stray'd.
In bold enthusiastic glee
I sung rude strains of minstrelsy,
Which mingling with died o'er the dale,
Unheeded as the plover's wail.
Oft where the waving rushes shed
A shelter frail around my head,
Weening, though not through hopes of fame,
To fix on these more lasting claim,
I'd there secure in rustic scroll
The wayward fancies of the soul.
Even where yon lofty rocks arise,
Hoar as the clouds on wintry skies,
[Pg 9] Wrapp'd in the plaid, and dern'd beneath
The colder cone of drifted wreath,
I noted them afar from ken,
Till ink would freeze within the pen;
So deep the spell which bound the heart
Unto the bard's undying art—
So rapt the charm that still beguiled
The minstrel of the mountains wild.'

"The ancients had a maxim—'Revenge is sweet.' In rural, as well as in other life, there are things said and done which are more or less ungenerous. These, if at any time they came my way, I repelled as best I might. But I did not stop here; whether such matters, when occurring, might concern myself as an individual or not, I took it upon me, as if I had been a 'learned judge,' to write satires upon such persons as I knew or conceived to have spoken or acted in aught contrary to good manners. These squibs were written through the impulse of offended feeling, or the stirrings of that injudicious spirit which sometimes prompts a man to exercise a power merely because he possesses it. They were still, after all, only as things of private experiment, and not intended ever to go forth to the world—though it happened otherwise. I usually carried a lot of these writings in my hat, and by and by, unlike most other young authors, I got a publisher unsought for. This was the wind, which, on a wild day, swept my hat from my head, and tattering its contents asunder from their fold, sent them away over hill and dale like a flock of wild fowl. I recovered some where they had halted in bieldy places; others of them went further, and fell into other hands, and particularly into those of a neighbour, who, a short while previously, had played an unmanly part relating to a sheep and the march which ran between[Pg 10] us. He found his unworthy proceeding boldly discussed, in an epistle which, I daresay, no other carrier would ever have conveyed to him but the unblushing mountain blast. He complained to others, whom he found more or less involved in his own predicament, and the thing went disagreeably abroad. My master, through good taste and feeling, was vexed, as I understood, that I should have done anything that gave ground for accusation, though he did not mention the subject to myself; but my father, some days after the mischief had commenced, came to me upon the hill, and not in very good humour, disapproved of my imprudent conduct. As for the consequences of this untoward event, it proved the mean of revealing what I had hitherto concealed—procuring for me a sort of local popularity little to be envied. I made the best improvement of it, as I then thought, that lay in my power—by writing a satire upon myself.

"I continued shepherd at Deloraine two years, and then went in the same capacity to the late Mr Knox of Todrigg; and if at the former place I had been well and happy, here I was still more so. His son William, the poet of 'The Lonely Hearth,' paid me much friendly attention. He commended my verses, and augured my success as one of the song-writers of my native land. In those days, I did not write with the most remote view to publication. My aim did not extend beyond the gratification of hearing my mountain strains sung by lad or lass, as time and place might favour. And when, in the dewy gloaming of a summer eve, returning home from the hill, and 'the kye were in the loan,' I did hear this much, I thought, no doubt, that

"'The swell and fall of these wild tones
Were worth the pomp of a thousand thrones.'
[Pg 11]

"William Crozier, author of 'The Cottage Muse,' was also my neighbour and friend at Todrigg, during the summer part of the year; and even at this hour I feel delight in recalling to memory the happy harmony of thought and feeling that blended with and enhanced the genial sunshine of those departed days. I rejoice to dwell upon those remote and rarely-trodden pastoral solitudes, among which my lot in the early years of life was so continually cast; few may well conceive how distinctly I can recall them. Memory, which seems often to constitute the mind itself, more, perhaps, than any other faculty, can set them so brightly before me, as if they were painted on a dark midnight sky with brushes dipped in the essence of living light. To appreciate thoroughly the grandeur of the mountain solitudes, it is necessary to have dwelt among the scenes, and to have looked upon them at every season of the ever-changing year. They are fresh with solemn beauty, when bathed in the deep dews of a summer morning; or in autumn, if you have attained to the border of the mystery which has overhung your path, and therefore to a station high enough for the survey, all that meets the eye shall be as a dream of poetry itself. The deep folds of white vapour fill up glen and hollow, till the summit of the mountains, near and far away—far as sight itself can penetrate—are only seen tinged with the early radiance of the sun, the whole so combined as to appear a limitless plain of variegated marble, peaceful as heaven, and solemnly serene as eternity. What Winter writes with his frozen finger I need not state. When the venerable old man, Gladstanes, perished among the stormy blasts of these wilds, I was one of about threescore of men who for three days traversed them in search of the dead. Then was the scenery of the mountains impressive, much[Pg 12] beyond what can well be spoken. The bridal that loses the bride through some wayward freak of the fair may be sad enough; so also the train, in its dark array, that conveys the familiar friend to the chamber where the light of nature cannot come. But in this latter case, the hearts that still beat, necessarily know that their part is resignation, and suspense and anxiety mingle not in the mood of the living, as it relates to the dead; but otherwise is it with those who seem already constituting the funeral train of one who should have been—yet who is not there to be buried.

"'The feeling is nameless that makes us unglad,
And a strange, wild dismayment it brings;
Which yet hath no match in the solemn and sad
Desolation of men and of things.
       *       *       *       *       *
"'The hill-foxes howl'd round the wanderer's way,
When his aim and his pathway were lost;
And effort has then oft too much of dismay
To pay well the toil it may cost.
If fate has its privilege, death has its power,
And is fearful where'er it may fall,
But worse it may seem 'mong the blasts of the moor,
Where all that approaches portends to devour,
Nor fixes till first it appal.
"'No mercy obtains in the tempests that rave,
By the sky-frozen elements fed,
And there comes no hand that is willing to save,
And soothe, till the spirit be fled;
But the storms round the thrones of the wilderness break
O'er the frail in the solitude cast,
And howl in their strength and impatience to take
Their course to commix with the roar of the lake
Where it flings forth its foam on the blast.
"'Lo! 'neath where the heath hangs so dark o'er yon peak,
Another of Adam lay lone,
Where the bield could not shelter the weary and weak,
By the strife of the tempest o'erthrown.
[Pg 13] No raven had fed, and the hill-fox had fled,
If there he had yet come abroad,
And the stillness reign'd deep o'er his cold moorland bed,
Which came down in the power of the sleep of the dead
When the spirit return'd to its God.'
       *       *       *       *       *

These are a few out of many more lines written on this subject, which at the time was so deeply interesting to mind and heart."

Mr Riddell here states that his poetical style of composition about this period underwent a considerable change. He laid aside his wayward wit for serious sentiment, an improvement which he ascribes to his admiration of the elegant strains of his friend, young Knox.

"My fortune in life," he proceeds, "had not placed me within the reach of a library, and I had read almost none; and although I had attempted to write, I merely followed the course which instinct pointed out. Need I state further, that if in these days I employed my mind and pen among the mountains as much as possible, my thoughts also often continued to pursue the same practice, even when among others, by the 'farmer's ingle.' I retired to rest when others retired, but if not outworn by matters of extra toil, the ardour of thought, through love of the poet's undying art, would, night after night for many hours, debar the inroads of sleep. The number of schools which I have particularised as having attended may occasion some surprise at the deficiency of my scholarship. For this, various reasons are assignable, all of which, however, hinge upon these two formidable obstacles—the inconveniency of local position, and the thoughtless inattention of youth. In remote country places, long and rough ways, conjoined not unfrequently with wild weather, require that children, before they[Pg 14] can enter school, be pretty well grown up; consequently, they quit it the sooner. They are often useful at home in the summer season, or circumstances may destine them to hire away. Among these inconveniences, one serious drawback is, that the little education they do get is rarely obtained continuously, and regular progress is interrupted. Much of what has been gained is lost during the intervals of non-attendance, and every new return to the book is little else than a new beginning. So was it with me. At the time when my father hired a teacher into his house, it was for what is termed the winter quarter, and I was then somewhat too young to be tied down to the regular routine of school discipline; and if older when boarded away, the other obstruction to salutary progress began to operate grievously against me. I acquired bit by bit the common education—reading, writing, and arithmetic. So far as I remember, grammar was not much taught at any of these schools, and the spelling of words was very nearly as little attended to as the meaning which they are appointed to convey was explained or sought after.

"But the non-understanding of words is less to be marvelled at than that a man should not understand himself. At this hour I cannot conceive how I should have been so recklessly careless about learning and books when at school, and yet so soon after leaving it seriously inclined towards them. I see little else for it than to suppose that boys who are bred where they have no companions are prone to make the most of companionship when once attained to. And then, in regard to books, as of these I rarely got more than what might serve as a whet to the appetite, I might have the desire of those whose longings after what they would obtain are increased by the difficulties which interpose between[Pg 15] them and the possession. One book which in school I sometimes got a glance of, I would have given anything to possess: this was a small volume entitled, 'The Three Hundred Animals.'

"I cannot forbear mentioning that, when at Deloraine, I was greatly advantaged by an old woman, called Mary Hogg, whose cottage stood on an isolated corner of the lands on which my flock pastured. Her husband had been a shepherd, who, many years previous to this period, perished in a snow-storm. In her youth she had opportunities of reading history, and other literature, and she did not only remember well what she had read, but could give a distinct and interesting account of it. In going my wonted rounds, few days there were on which I did not call and listen to her intelligent conversation. She was a singularly good woman—a sincere Christian; and the books which she lent me were generally of a religious kind, such as the 'Pilgrim's Progress,' and the 'Holy War;' but here I also discovered a romance, the first which I had ever seen. It was printed in the Gothic letter, and entitled 'Prissimus, the Renowned Prince of Bohemia.' Particular scenes and characters in 'Ivanhoe' reminded me strikingly of those which I had formerly met with in this old book of black print. And I must mention that few books interested me more than 'Bailey's Dictionary.' Day after day I bore it to the mountains, and I have an impression that it was a more comprehensive edition of the work than I have ever since been able to meet with.

"At Todrigg my reading was extended; and having begun more correctly to appreciate what I did read, the intention which I had sometimes entertained gathered strength: this was to make an effort to obtain a regular education. The consideration of the inadequacy of my[Pg 16] means had hitherto bridled my ambition; but having herded as a regular shepherd nearly three years, during which I had no occasion to spend much of my income, my prospects behoved to be a little more favourable. It was in this year that the severest trial which had yet crossed my path had to be sustained. The death of my father overthrew my happier mood; at the same time, instead of subduing my secret aim, the event rather strengthened my determination. My portion of my father's worldly effects added something considerable to my own gainings; and, resigning my situation, I bade farewell to the crook and plaid. I went to Biggar, in Clydesdale, where I knew the schoolmaster was an approved classical scholar. Besides, my Glencotha reminiscences tended to render me partial to this part of the world, and in the village I had friends with whom I could suitably reside. The better to insure attention to what I was undertaking, I judged it best to attend school during the usual hours. A learner was already there as old in years, and nearly as stout in form, as myself, so that I escaped from the wonderment which usually attaches to singularity much more comfortably than I anticipated. There were also two others in the school, who had formerly gone a considerable way in the path of classic lore, and had turned aside, but who, now repenting of their apostasy, returned to their former faith. These were likewise well grown up, and I may state that they are now both eminent as scholars and public men. The individual first mentioned and I sat in the master's desk, which he rarely, if ever, occupied himself; and although we were diligent upon the whole, yet occasionally our industry and conduct as learners were far from deserving approbation. To me the confinement was frequently irksome and[Pg 17] oppressive, especially when the days were bright with the beauty of sunshine. There were ways, woods, and even wilds, not far apart from the village, which seemed eternally wooing the step to retirement, and the mind to solitary contemplation. Some verses written in this school have been preserved, which will convey an idea of the cast of feeling which produced them:—

"Discontented and uncheery,
Of this noise and learning weary,
Half my mind, to madness driven,
Woos the lore by nature given;
'Mong fair fields and flowing fountains,
Lonely glens and lofty mountains,
Charm'd with nature's wildest grandeur,
Lately wont was I to wander,
Wheresoever fancy led me,
Came no barrier to impede me;
Still from early morn till even,
In the light of earth and heaven,
Musing on whatever graces,
Livelier scenes or lonelier places,
Till a nameless pleasure found me
Living, like a dream, around me,—
How, then, may I be contented,
Thus confined and thus tormented!
"'Still, oh! still 'twere lovelier rather
To be roaming through the heather;
And where flow'd the stream so glassy,
'Mong its flowers and margins mossy,
Where the flocks at noon their path on
Came to feed by birk and hawthorn;
Or upon the mountain lofty,
Seated where the wind blew softly,
With my faithful friend beside me,
And my plaid from sun to hide me,
And the volume oped before me,
I would trace the minstrel's story,
Or mine own wild harp awaken,
'Mid the deep green glens of braken,
[Pg 18] Free and fearlessly revealing
All the soul of native feeling.
"''Stead of that eternal humming,
To the ear for ever coming—
Humming of these thoughtless beings,
In their restless pranks and pleaings;
And the sore-provoked preceptor
Roaring, "Silence!"—O'er each quarter
Silence comes, as o'er the valley,
Where all rioted so gaily,
When the sudden bursting thunder
Overpowers with awe and wonder—
Till again begins the fuss—
'Master, Jock's aye nippin' us!'
I could hear the fountains flowing,
Where the light hill-breeze was blowing,
And the wild-wing'd plover wailing,
Round the brow of heaven sailing;
Bleating flocks and skylarks singing,
Echo still to echo ringing—
Sounds still, still so wont to waken
That no note of them is taken,
Yet which seem to lend assistance
To the blessing of existence.
"'Who shall trow thee wise or witty,
Lore of "the Eternal City,"
Or derive delight and pleasure
From the blood-stain'd deeds of Cæsar,
Thus bewildering his senses
'Mong these cases, moods, and tenses?
Still the wrong-placed words arranging,
Ever in their finals changing;
Out and in with hic and hockings,
Like a loom for working stockings.
Latin lords and Grecian heroes—
Oh, ye gods, in mercy spare us!
How may mortals be contented,
Thus confined and thus tormented!'

"My teacher, the late Richard Scott, was an accurate[Pg 19] classical scholar, which perhaps accounts for his being, unlike some others of his profession, free from pedantry. He was kind-hearted and somewhat disposed to indolence, loving more to converse with one of my years than to instruct him in languages. He had seen a good deal of the world and its ways, and I learned much from him besides Greek and Latin. We were great friends and companions, and rarely separate when both of us were unengaged otherwise.

"I bore aloof from making many acquaintances; yet, ere long, I became pretty extensively acquainted with the people of the place. It went abroad that I was a bard from the mountains, and the rumour affixed to me a popularity which I did not enjoy. A party of young men in the village had prepared themselves to act 'the Douglas Tragedy,' and wished a song, which was to be sung between this and the farce. The air was of their own fixing, and which, in itself, was wild and beautiful; but, unfortunately, like many others of our national airs possessed of these qualities, it was of a measure such as rendered it difficult to write words for. Since precluded from introducing poetic sentiment, I substituted a dramatic plot, and being well sung by alternate voices, the song was well received, and so my fame was enhanced.

"It was about this time that I wrote 'The Crook and Plaid'—not by request, but with the intention of supplanting a song, I think of English origin, called 'The Plough-boy,' and of a somewhat questionable character. 'The Crook and Plaid' accomplished the end intended, and soon became popular throughout the land. So soon as I got a glimpse of the Roman language, I began to make satisfactory progress in its acquisition. But I daily wrote more or less in my old way—now also embracing in my attempts[Pg 20] prose as well as verse. I wrote a Border Romance. This was more strongly than correctly expressed. Hogg, who took the trouble of reading it, gave me his opinion, by saying that there were more rawness and more genius in it than in any work he had seen. It, sometime afterwards, had also the honour of being read—for I never offered it for publication—by one who felt much interest in the characters and plot—Professor Wilson's lady—who, alas! went too early to where he himself also now is; lost, though not to fond recollection, yet to love and life below. I contributed some papers to the Clydesdale Magazine, and I sent a sort of poetic tale to the editor, telling him to do with it whatever he might think proper. He published it anonymously, and it was sold about Clydesdale.

"My intention had been to qualify myself for the University, and, perhaps in regard to Latin and Greek acquirements, I might have proceeded thither earlier than I ventured to do; but having now made myself master of my more immediate tasks, I took more liberty. A gentleman, who, on coming home after having made his fortune abroad, took up his residence at Biggar. I had, in these days, an aversion to coming into contact with rich strangers, and although he lived with a family which I was accustomed to visit, I bore aloof from being introduced to him. But he came to me one day on the hill of Bizzie-berry, and frankly told me that he wished to be acquainted with me, and therefore had taken the liberty of introducing himself. I found excuse for not dining with him on that day, but not so the next, nor for many days afterwards. He was intellectual—and his intelligence was only surpassed by his generosity. He gave me to understand that his horse was as much at my service as his own; and one learned, by and by,[Pg 21] to keep all wishes and wants as much out of view as possible, in case that they should be attended to when you yourself had forgotten them. When he began to rally me about my limited knowledge of the world, I knew that some excursion was in contemplation. We, on one occasion, rode down the Clyde, finding out, so far as we might, all things, both natural and artificial, worthy of being seen; and when at Greenock, he was anxious that we should have gone into the Highlands, but I resisted; for although not so much as a shade of the expenses was allowed to fall on me, I felt only the more ashamed of the extent of them.

"I had become acquainted with a number of people whom I delighted to visit occasionally; one family in particular, who lived amid the beauty of 'the wild glen sae green.' The song now widely known by this name I wrote for a member of this delightful family, who at that time herded one of the hirsels of his father's flocks on 'the heathy hill.' With the greater number of persons in the district possessing literary tastes I became more or less intimate. The schoolmasters I found friendly and obliging; one of these, in particular (now holding a higher office in the same locality), I often visited. His high poetic taste convinced me more and more of the value of mental culture, and tended to subdue me from those more rugged modes of expression in which I took a pride in conveying my conceptions. With this interesting friend I sometimes took excursions into rural regions more or less remote, and once we journeyed to the south, when I had the pleasure of introducing him to the Ettrick Shepherd. But of my acquaintances, I valued few more than my modest and poetic friend, the late James Brown of Symington.[2] Though humble in[Pg 22] station, he was high in virtuous worth. His mind, imbued with and regulated by sound religious and moral principle, was as ingenious and powerful as his heart was 'leal, warm, and kind.'

"Entering the University of Edinburgh, I took for the first session the Greek and Latin classes. Attending them regularly, I performed the incumbent exercises much after the manner that others did—only, as I have always understood it to be a rare thing with the late Mr Dunbar, the Greek Professor, to give much praise to anything in the shape of poetry, I may mention that marked merit was ascribed to me in his class for a poetical translation of one of the odes of Anacreon. I had laid the translation on his desk, in an anonymous state, one day before the assembling of the class. He read it and praised it, expressing at the same time his anxiety to know who was the translator; but the translator having intended not to acknowledge it, kept quiet. He returned to it, and praising it anew, expressed still more earnestly his desire to know the author; and so I made myself known, as all great unknowns I think, with the exception of Junius, are sooner or later destined to do.

"Of the philosophical classes, those that I liked best were the Logic and Moral Philosophy—particularly the latter. I have often thought that it is desirable, could it be possibly found practicable, to have all the teachers of the higher departments of education not merely of high scholastic acquirements, but of acknowledged genius. Youth reveres genius, and delights to be influenced by it; heart and spirit are kept awake and refreshed by it, and everything connected with its forthgivings is rendered doubly memorable. It fixes, in a certain sense, the limit of expectation, and the prevailing sentiment is—we are under the tuition of the highest among those[Pg 23] on earth who teach; if we do not profit here, we may not hope to do so elsewhere. These remarks I make with a particular reference to the late Professor Wilson, under the influence of whose genius and generous warmth of heart many have felt as I was wont to feel. If it brings hope and gladness to love and esteem the living, it also yields a satisfaction, though mingled with regret, to venerate the dead; and now that he is no more, I cannot forbear recording how he treated a man from the mountains who possessed no previous claim upon his attention. I had no introduction to him, but he said that he had heard of me, and would accept of no fee for his class when I joined it; at least he would not do so, he said, till I should be able to inform him whether or not I had been pleased with his lectures. But it proved all the same in this respect at the close as it was at the commencement of the session. He invited me frequently to his house as a friend, when other friends were to meet him there, besides requesting me to come and see him and his family whenever I could make it convenient. He said that his servant John was very perverse, and would be sure to drive me by like all others, if he possibly could; so he gave me a watchword, which he thought John, perverse as he was, would not venture to resist. I thus became possessed of a privilege of which I did not fail to avail myself frequently—a privilege which might well have been gratifying to such as were much less enthusiastic with regard to literary men and things than I was. To share in the conversation of those possessed of high literary taste and talent, and, above all, of poetic genius, is the highest enjoyment afforded by society; and if it be thus gratifying, it is almost unnecessary to add that it is also advantageous in no ordinary degree, if, indeed, properly appreciated and[Pg 24] improved. Any one who ever met the late Professor in the midst of his own happy family, constituted as it was when I had this pleasure, was not likely soon to forget a scene wherein so much genius, kindness, loveliness, and worth were blended. If the world does not think with a deep and undying regret of what once adorned it, and it has now lost, through the intervention of those shadows which no morning but the eternal one can remove, I am one, at least, who in this respect cannot follow its example.

"Edinburgh, with its 'palaces and towers,' and its many crowded ways, was at first strangely new to me, being as different, in almost all respects, to what I had been accustomed as it might seem possible for contrariety to make earthly things. Though I had friends in it, and therefore was not solitary, yet its tendency, like that of the noisy and restless sea, was to render me melancholy. Some features which the congregated condition of mankind exhibited penetrated my heart with something like actual dismay. I had seen nothing of the sort, nor yet even so much as a semblance of it, and therefore I had no idea that there existed such a miserable shred of degradation, for example, as a cinder-woman—desolate and dirty as her employment—bowed down—a shadow among shadows—busily prone, beneath the sheety night sky, to find out and fasten upon the crumb, whose pilgrimage certainly had not improved it since falling from the rich man's table. Compassion, though not naturally so, becomes painful when entertained towards those whom we believe labouring under suffering which we fain would but cannot alleviate.

"I had enough of curiosity for wishing to see all those things which others spoke of, and characterised as worthy of being seen; but I contented myself meanwhile with a[Pg 25] survey of the city's external attributes. In a week or two, however, my friend A. F. Harrower, formerly mentioned, having come into town from Clydesdale, took pleasure in finding out whatever could interest or gratify me, and of conveying me thither. With very few exceptions, every forenoon he called at my lodgings, leaving a note requesting me to meet him at some specified time and place. I sometimes sent apologies, and at other times went personally to apologise; but neither of these methods answered well. Through his persevering attentions towards me, I met with much agreeable society, and saw much above as well as somewhat below the earth, which I might never otherwise have seen. In illustration of the latter fact, I may state that, having gone to London, he returned with two Englishmen, when he invited me to assist them in exploring the battle-field of Pinkie. We terminated our excursion by descending one of Sir John Hope's coal-pits. These humorous and frank English associates amused themselves by bantering my friend and myself about the chastisement which Scotland received from the sister kingdom at Pinkie. As did the young rustic countryman—or, at least, was admonished to do—so did I. When going away to reside in England, he asked his father if he had any advice to give him. 'Nane, Jock, nane but this,' he said; 'dinna forget to avenge the battle o' Pinkie on them.' Ere I slept I wrote, in support of our native land, the song—'Ours is the land of gallant hearts;' and thus, in my own way, 'avenged the battle of Pinkie.'

"One of two other friends with whom I delighted to associate was R. B., an early school companion, who, having left the mountains earlier than I did, had now been a number of years in Edinburgh. Of excellent[Pg 26] head and generous heart, he loved the wild, green, and deep solitudes of nature. The other—G. M'D.—was of powerful and bold intellect, and remarkable for a retentive memory. Each of us, partial to those regions where nature strives to maintain her own undisturbed dominion, on all holidays hied away from the city, to the woodland and mountainous haunts, or the loneliness of the least frequented shores of the sea. The spirit of our philosophy varied much—sometimes profound and solemn, and sometimes humorous; but still we philosophised, wandering on. They were members of a literary society which met once a week, and which I joined. My propensity to study character and note its varieties was here afforded a field opening close upon me; but I was also much profited by performing my part in carrying forward the business of the institution. During all the sessions that I attended the University, but especially as these advanced toward their termination, I entered into society beyond that which might be regarded as professionally literary. I had an idea then, as I still have, that, in every process of improvement, care should be taken that one department of our nature is not cultivated to the neglect of another. There are two departments—the intellectual and the moral;—the one implying all that is rational, the other comprising whatever pertains to feeling and passion, or, more simply, there are the head and the heart; and if the intellect is to be cultivated, the heart is not to be allowed to run into wild waste, nor to sink into systematic apathy. Lore-lighted pages and unremitting abstract studies will make a man learned; but knowledge is not wisdom; and to know much is not so desirable, because it is not so beneficial, either to ourselves or others, as to understand, through the more generous and active sympathies of our nature, how the[Pg 27] information which we possess may be best applied to useful purposes. This we shall not well know, if the head be allowed or encouraged to leave the heart behind. If we forget society it will forget us, and, through this estrangement, a sympathetic knowledge of human nature may be lost. Thus, in the haunts of seclusion and solitary thought our acquirements may only prove availing to ourselves as matters of self-gratification. The benevolent affections, which ought not merely to be allowed, but taught to expand, may thus not only be permitted but encouraged to contract, and the exercise of that studious ingenuity, which perhaps leads the world to admire the achievements of learning, thus deceive us into a state of existence little better than cold selfishness itself. Sir Isaac Newton, who soared so high and travelled so far on the wing of abstract thought, gathering light from the stars that he might convey it in intelligible shape to the world, seems to have thought, high as the employment was, that it was not good, either for the heart or mind of man, to be always away from that intercourse with humanity and its affairs which is calculated to awaken and sustain the sympathies of life; and therefore turned to the contemplation of Him who was meek and lowly. And no countenance has been afforded to monks and hermits who retired from the world, though it even was to spend their lives in meditation and prayer; for Heaven had warned man, at an early date, not to withhold the compassionate feelings of the heart, and the helping-hand, from any in whom he recognised the attributes of a common nature, saying to him, 'See that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh.'

"My last year's attendance at the College Philosophical Classes was at St Andrews. I had a craving to acquaint[Pg 28] myself with a city noted in story, and I could not, under the canopy of my native sky, have planted the step among scenes more closely interwoven with past national transactions, or fraught with more interesting associations. In attending the Natural Philosophy Class, not being proficient in mathematic lore, I derived less advantage than had otherwise been the case with me. Yet I did not sit wholly in the shade, notwithstanding that the light which shone upon me did not come from that which Campbell says yielded 'the lyre of Heaven another string.' A man almost always finds some excuse for deficiency; and I have one involving a philosophy which I think few will be disposed to do otherwise than acquiesce in—namely, that it is a happy arrangement in the creation and history of man, that all minds are not so constituted as to have the same predilections, or to follow the same bent. Considering that I had started at a rather late hour of life to travel in the paths of learning, and having so many things, interesting and important, to attend to by the way, it was perhaps less remarkable that I should be one who 'neither kenn'd nor cared' much about lines that had no breadth, and points which were without either breadth or length, than that I should have felt gratified to find on my arrival some of my simple strains sung in a city famed for its scientific acquirements.

"The ruins which intermingle with the scenery and happy homes of St Andrews, like gray hairs among those of another hue, rendered venerable the general aspect of the place. But I did not feel only the city interesting, but the whole of Fifeshire. By excursions made on the monthly holidays then as well as subsequently, when in after-years I returned to visit friends in the royal realm, I acquainted myself with a goodly number of those haunts and scenes which history and tradition have ren[Pg 29]dered attractive. A land, however, or any department of it, whatever may be its other advantages, is most to be valued in respect of the intelligence or worth of its inhabitants. And if so, then I am proud to aver that in Fife I came to possess many intelligent and excellent friends. Many of these have gone to another land—'the land o' the leal,' leaving the places which now know them no more, the more regretfully endeared to recollection. Of those friends who survive, I cannot forbear an especial mention of one, who is now a professor in the college in which he was then only a student. A man cannot be truly great unless he also be good, and I do not alone value him on the colder and statelier eminence of high intellectual powers and scientific acquirements, but also, if not much rather, for his generous worth and his benevolent feeling. My friend is one in whom these qualities are combined, and as I sincerely think, I will likewise freely say, that those will assuredly find a time, sooner or later, greatly to rejoice, whose fate has been so favourable as to place them under the range and influence of his tuition.

"I studied at St Andrews College under the late Dr Jackson, who was an eminent philosopher and friendly man; also under Mr Duncan, of the Mathematical Chair, whom I regarded as a personification of unworldly simplicity, clothed in high and pure thought; and I regularly attended, though not enrolled as a regular student, the Moral Philosophy Class of Dr Chalmers. Returning to Edinburgh and its university, I became acquainted, through my friend and countryman, Robert Hogg, with R. A. Smith, who was desirous that I should assist him with the works in which he was engaged, particularly 'The Irish Minstrel,' and 'Select Melodies.' Smith was a man of modest worth and superior intelligence;[Pg 30] peculiarly delicate in his taste and feeling in everything pertaining to lyric poetry as well as music; his criticisms were strict, and, as some thought, unnecessarily minute. Diffident and retiring, he was not got acquainted with at once, but when he gave his confidence, he was found a pleasant companion and warm-hearted friend. If, as he had sought my acquaintance, I might have expected more frankness on our meeting, I soon became convinced that his shyer cast arose alone from excess of modesty, combined with a remarkable sensitiveness of feeling. Proudly honourable, he seemed more susceptible of the influences of all sorts that affect life than any man I ever knew; and, indeed, a little acquaintance with him was only required to shew that his harp was strung too delicately for standing long the tear and wear of this world. He had done much for Scottish melody, both by fixing the old airs in as pure a state as possible, and by adding to the vast number of these national treasures some exquisite airs of his own. For a number of the airs in the works just mentioned, but particularly in the 'Select Melodies,' he had experienced difficulty in procuring suitable words, owing chiefly to the crampness of the measures—a serious drawback which appears to pervade, more or less, the sweetest melodies of other nations as well as those of our own. A number of these I supplied as well as I could.

"About this time the native taste for Scottish song in city society seemed nearly, if not altogether lost, and a kind of songs, such as 'I've been roaming,' 'I'd be a butterfly,' 'Buy a broom,' 'Cherry-ripe,' &c. (in which if the head contrived to find a meaning, it was still such as the heart could understand nothing about), seemed alone to be popular, and to prevail. R. A. Smith disliked this state of things, but, perhaps, few[Pg 31] more so than Mr P. M'Leod, who gave a most splendid evidence of his taste in his 'Original National Melodies.' Both Smith and M'Leod were very particular about the quality of the poetry which they honoured with their music. M'Leod was especially careful in this respect. He loved the lay of lofty and undaunted feeling as well as of love and friendship; for his genius is of a manly tone, and has a bold and liberal flow. And popular as some of the effusions in his work have become, such as 'Oh! why left I my hame?' and 'Scotland yet!' many others of them, I am convinced, will yet be popular likewise. When the intelligence of due appreciation draws towards them, it will take them up and delight to fling them upon the breezes that blow over the hills and glens, and among the haunts and homes of the isle of unconquerable men. To Mr M'Leod's 'National Melodies' I contributed a number of songs. In the composition of these I found it desirable to lay aside, in some considerable degree, my pastoral phraseology, for, as conveyed in such productions, I observed that city society cared little about rural scenery and sentiment. It was different with my kind and gifted friend Professor Wilson. He was wont to say that he would not have given the education, as he was pleased to term it, which I had received afar in the green bosom of mountain solitude, and among the haunts and homes of the shepherd—meaning the thing as applicable to poetry—for all that he had received at colleges. Wilson had introduced my song, 'When the glen all is still,' into the Noctes, and La Sapio composed music for it; and not only was it sung in Drury-lane, but published in a sheet as the production of a real shepherd; yet it did not become popular in city life. In the country it had been popular previous to this, where it is so still,[Pg 32] and where no effort whatever had been made to introduce it.

"About the time when I had concluded the whole of my college course, the 'Songs of the Ark,'[3] were published by Blackwood. These, as published, are not what they were at first, and were intended only to be short songs of a sacred nature, unconnected by intervening narrative, for which R. A. Smith wished to compose music. Unfortunately, his other manifold engagements never permitted him to carry his intention into practice; and seeing no likelihood of any decrease of these engagements, I gave scope to my thoughts on the subject, and the work became what it now is. But I ought to mention that this was not my first poetic publication in palpable shape. Some years previously I published stanzas, or a monody, on the death of Lord Byron. I had all along thought much, and with something like mysterious awe, upon the eccentric temperament, character and history of that great poet, and the tidings which told the event of his demise impressed me deeply. Being in the country, and remote from those who could exchange thoughts with me on the occurrence, I resorted to writing. That which I advanced was much mixed up with the result, if I may not say of former experience, yet of former reflection, for I had entertained many conjectures concerning what this powerful personage would or might yet do; and, indeed, his wilful waywardness, together with the misery which he represented as continually haunting him, constituted an impressive advertisement to the world, and served to keep human attention awake towards him.

"Those who write because it brings a relief to feeling, will write rapidly: likely, too, they will write with[Pg 33] energy, because not only the head but also the heart is engaged. 'The Monody,' which is of a goodly length, I finished in a few days; and though I felt a desire of having it published, yet it lay over for a time, till, being in Edinburgh, a friend shewed it to Dr Robert Anderson. I had been well satisfied with the result, had the production accomplished nothing more than procured me, as it did, the friendly acquaintance of this excellent, venerable man. He knew more of the minutiæ of literature, together with the character and habits of the literary men of his day, and of other days also, than any I had then or have since met with; and he seemed to take great pleasure in communicating his knowledge to others. He thought well of 'The Monody,' and warmly advised me to publish it. It was published accordingly by Mr John Anderson, bookseller, North Bridge, Edinburgh.

"Some of the reviewers, in regard to the 'Songs of the Ark,' seemed to think that a sufficiency of eastern scenery did not obtain in them. Doubtless this was correct; but I remark, that if my object in the undertaking had been to delineate scenery, I would not have turned my attention to the East, the scenes of which I never saw. Human nature being radically the same everywhere, a man, through the sympathies of that nature, can know to a certain extent what are likely to be the thoughts and feelings of his fellow-kind in any particular circumstances—therefore he has data upon which he can venture to give a representation of them; but it is very different from this in regard to topographical phenomena. It was therefore not the natural, but, if I may so call it, the moral scenery in which I was interested, more particularly since the whole scene of nature here below was, shortly after the period at[Pg 34] which the poem commences, to become a blank of desolate uniformity, as overwhelmed beneath a waste of waters.

"At the risk of incurring the charge of vanity, I would venture to adduce one or two of the favourable opinions entertained in regard to some of the miscellaneous pieces which went to make up the volume of the 'Songs of the Ark.' Of the piece entitled 'Apathy,' Allan Cunningham thus wrote:—'Although sufficiently distressful, it is a very bold and original poem, such as few men, except Byron, would have conceived or could have written.' Motherwell said of the 'Sea-gray Man,' that it was 'the best of all modern ballads.' This ballad, shortly after I had composed it, I repeated to the Ettrick Shepherd walking on the banks of the Yarrow, and he was fully more pleased with it than with anything of mine I had made him acquainted with. He was wont to call me his 'assistant and successor;' and although this was done humorously, it yet seemed to furnish him with a privilege on which he proceeded to approve or disapprove very frankly, that in either case I might profit by his remarks. He was pleased especially with the half mysterious way in which I contrived to get quit of the poor old man at last. This, indeed, was a contrivance; but the idea of the rest of the ballad was taken from an old man, who had once been a sailor, and who was wont to come to my mother's, in the rounds which he took in pursuit of charity at regular periods of the year, so that we called him her pensioner.

"The summer vacations of college years I passed in the country, sometimes residing with my mother, and eldest brother, at a small farm which he had taken at the foot of the Lammermuir hills, in East-Lothian, called Brookside, and sometimes, when I wished a variety,[Pg 35] with another brother, at Dryden, in Selkirkshire. At both places I had enough of time, not only for study, but also for what I may call amusement. The latter consisted in various literary projects which I entered upon, but particularly those of a poetic kind, and the writing of letters to friends with whom I regularly, and I may say also copiously corresponded; for in these we did not merely express immediate thoughts and feelings of a more personal nature, but remarked with vigorous frankness upon many standard affairs of this scene of things. To this general rule of the manner of my life at this time, however, I must mention an exception. A college companion and I, thinking to advantage ourselves, and perhaps others, took a school at Fisherrow. The speculation in the end, as to money matters, served us nothing. It was easier to get scholars than to get much if anything for teaching them. Yet neither was the former, in some respects, so easy as might have been expected. The offspring of man, in that locality, may be regarded as in some measure amphibious. Boys and girls equally, if not already in the sea, were, like young turtles, sure to be pointing towards it with an instinct too intense to err. I never met, indeed, with a race of beings believed, or even suspected to be rational, that, provided immediate impulses and inclinations could be gratified, cared so thoroughly little for consequences. On warm summer days, when we caused the school door to stand open, it is not easy to say how much of intense interest this simple circumstance drew towards it. The squint of the unsettled eye was on the door, out at which the heart and all its inheritance was off and away long previously, and the more than ordinarily propitious moment for the limbs following was only as yet not arrived. When that moment came, off went one, fol[Pg 36]lowed by another; and down the narrow and dark lanes of sooty houses. As well might the steps have proposed to pursue meteors playing at hide-and-seek among the clouds of a midnight sky that the tempest was troubling. Nevertheless, Colin Bell, who by virtue of his ceaseless stir in the exercise of his heathen-god-like abilities, had constituted himself captain of the detective band, would be up and at hand immediately, and would say 'Master—sir, Young an' me will bring them, sir, if ye'll let's.' It was just as good to 'let' as to hinder, for, for others to be out thus, and he in, seemed to be an advantage gained over Colin to which he could never be rightly reconciled. He was bold and frank, and full of expedients in cases of emergency; especially he appeared capable of rendering more reasons for an error in his conduct than one could well have imagined could have been rendered for anything done in life below. Another drawback in the case was, that one could never be very seriously angry with him. If more real than pretended at any time, his broad bright eye and bluff face, magnificently lifted up, like the sun on frost-work, melted down displeasure and threatened to betray all the policy depending on it; for in the main never a bit of ill heart had Colin, though doubtlessly he had in him, deeply established, a trim of rebellion against education that seemed ever on the alert, and which repulsed even its portended approach with a vigour resembling the electric energy of the torpedo.

"As we did not much like this place, we did not remain long in it. I had meanwhile, however, resources which brought relief. Those friends whose society I most enjoyed occasionally paid us a visit from Edinburgh; and in leisure hours I haunted the banks of the Esk, which, with wood, and especially with wild-roses,[Pg 37] are very beautiful around the church of Inveresk. This beauty was heightened by contrast—for I have ever hated the scenery of, and the effect produced by, sunny days and dirty streets. Nor do the scenes where mankind congregate to create bustle, 'dirdum and deray,' often fail of making me more or less melancholy. In the week of the Musselburgh Races, I only went out one day to toss about for a few hours in the complicated and unmeaning crowd. I insert the protest which I entered against it on my return:—

"'What boots this turmoil
Of uproar and folly—
That renders the smile
Of creation unholy?
If that which we love
Is life's best assistant,
The thought still must rove
To the dear and the distant.
Would, then, that I were
'Mid nature's wild grandeur—
From this folly afar,
As I wont was to wander;
Where the pale cloudlets fly,
By the soft breezes driven,
And the mountains on high
Kiss the azure of heaven.
Where down the deep glen
The rivulet is rolling,
And few, few of men
Through the solitudes strolling.
Oh! bliss I could reap,
When day was returning;
O'er the wild-flowers asleep,
'Mong the dews of the morning;
And there were it joy,
When the shades of the gloaming,
With the night's lullaby,
O'er the world were coming—
[Pg 38] To roam through the brake,
In the paths long forsaken;
My hill-harp retake,
And its warblings awaken.
The heart is in pain,
And the mind is in sadness—
And when comes, oh! when,
The return of its gladness?
The forest shall fade
At the winter's returning,
And the voice of the shade
Shall be sorrow and mourning.
Man's vigour shall fail
As his locks shall grow hoary,
And where is the tale
Of his youth and his glory?
My life is a dream—
My fate darkly furl'd;
I a hermit would seem
'Mid the crowd of the world.
Oh! let me be free
Of these scenes that encumber,
And enjoy what may be
Of my days yet to number!'

"I have dwelt at the greater length on these matters, trivial though they be, in consequence of my non-intention of tracing minutely the steps and stages of my probationary career. These, with me, I suppose, were much like what they are and have been with others. My acquaintance was a little extended with those that inhabit the land, and in some cases a closer intimacy than mere acquaintance took place, and more lasting friendships were formed.

"My brother having taken a farm near Teviothead, I left Brookside, and as all the members of the family were wont to account that in which my mother lived their home, it of course was mine. But, notwithstanding that the change brought me almost to the very border of[Pg 39] the vale of my nativity, I regretted to leave Brookside. It was a beautiful and interesting place, and the remembrance of it is like what Ossian says of joys that are past—'sweet and mournful to the soul.' I loved the place, was partial to the peacefulness of its retirement, its solitude, and the intelligence of its society. I was near the laird's library, and I had a garden in the glen. The latter was formed that I might gather home to it, when in musing moods among the mountains, the wild-flowers, in order to their cultivation, and my having something more of a possessory right over them. It formed a contrast to the scenery around, and lured to relaxation. Occasionally 'the lovely of the land' brought, with industrious delight, plants and flowers, that they might have a share in adorning it. Even when I was from home it was, upon the whole, well attended to; for although, according to taste or caprice, changes were made, yet I readily forgave the annoyances that might attend alteration, and especially those by the hands that sometimes printed me pleasing compliments on the clay with the little stones lifted from the walks. If the things which I have written and given to the world, or may yet give, continue to be cared for, these details may not be wholly without use, inasmuch as they will serve to explain frequent allusions which might otherwise seem introduced at capricious random, or made without a meaning.

"Shortly after becoming a probationer, I came to reside in this district, and, not long after, the preacher who officiated in the preaching-station here died. The people connected with it wished me to become his successor, which, after some difficulties on their part had been surmounted, I became. I had other views at the time which were promising and important; but as there had been[Pg 40] untoward disturbances in the place, owing to the lack of defined rights and privileges, I had it in my power to become a peacemaker, and, besides, I felt it my duty to comply with a call which was both cordial and unanimous. I now laid wholly aside those things which pertain to the pursuits of romantic literature, and devoted myself to the performance of incumbent duties. In consequence of no house having been provided for the preacher, and no one to be obtained but at a very inconvenient distance, I was in this respect very inconveniently situated. Travelling nine miles to the scene of my official duties, it was frequently my hap to preach in a very uncomfortable condition, when, indeed, the wet would be pouring from my arms on the Bible before me, and oozing over my shoes when the foot was stirred on the pulpit floor. But, by and by, the Duke of Buccleuch built a dwelling-house for me, the same which I still occupy."

To the ministerial charge of the then preaching station of Teviothead Mr Riddell was about to receive ordination, at the united solicitation of his hearers, when he was suddenly visited with severe affliction. Unable to discharge pulpit duty for a period of years, the pastoral superintendence of the district was devolved on another; and on his recovery, with commendable forbearance, he did not seek to interfere with the new ecclesiastical arrangement. This procedure was generously approved of by the Duke of Buccleuch, who conferred upon him the right to occupy the manse cottage, along with a grant of land, and a small annuity.

Mr Riddell's autobiography proceeds:—"In the hope of soon obtaining a permanent and comfortable settlement at Teviothead, I had ventured to make my own, by marriage, her who had in heart been mine through all[Pg 41] my college years, and who for my sake had, in the course of these, rejected wealth and high standing in life. The heart that, for the sake of leal faith and love, could despise wealth and its concomitants, and brave the risk of embracing comparative poverty, even at its best estate, was not one likely overmuch to fear that poverty when it appeared, nor flinch with an altered tone from the position which it had adopted, when it actually came. This, much rather, fell to my part. It preyed upon my mind too deeply not to prove injurious in its effects; and it did this all the more, that the voice of love, true to its own law, had the words of hope and consolation in it, but never those of complaint. It appeared the acmé of the severity of fate itself to have lived to be the mean of placing a heart and mind so rich in disinterested affection on so wild and waste a scene of trial.

"From an experience of fourteen years, in which there were changes in almost all things except in the affection which bound two hearts in one, before the hands were united, it might be expected that I should give some eminent admonitions concerning the imprudence of men, and particularly of students, allowing their hearts to become interested in, and the remembrance of their minds more fraught with the rich beauty of auburn ringlets than in the untoward confusion, for example, of irregular Greek verbs; yet I much fear that admonition would be of no use. If their fate be woven of a texture similar to that of mine, how can they help it? A man may have an idea that to cling to the shelter which he has found, and indulge in the sleep that has overtaken him amid the stormy blasts of the waste mountains, may be little else than opening for himself the gates of death, yet the toils of the way through which he has already[Pg 42] passed may also have rendered him incapable of resisting the dangerous rest and repose of his immediate accommodation. In regard to my own love affairs, I, throughout all these long years which I have specified, might well have adopted, as the motto of both mind and heart, these lines—

"'Oh, poortith cauld and restless love,
Ye wreck my peace between ye.'

I had, as has already been hinted, a rival, who, if not so devotedly attached as I, nevertheless was by far too much so for any one who is destined to love without encouragement. He was as rich in proportion as I was poor. The gifts of love, called the gifts of friendship, which he contrived to bestow were costly; mine, as fashioned forth by a higher hand than that of art, might be equally rich and beautiful in the main, yet wild-flowers, though yellow as the gold, and though wrapped in rhymes, are light ware when weighed against the solid material. He, in personal appearance, manners, and generosity of heart, was one with whom it was impossible to be acquainted and not to esteem; and another feature of this affair was, that we were friends, and almost constant companions for some years. When in the country I had to be with him as continually as possible; and when I went to the city, it was his wont to follow me. Here, then, was a web strangely woven by the fingers of a wayward fate. Feelings were brought into daily exercise which might seem the least compatible with being brought into contact and maintained in harmony. And these things, which are strictly true, if set forth in the contrivances of romance might, or in all likelihood would, be pronounced unnatural or overstrained. The worth and truth of the heart to which these fond anxieties related left me no ground to fear[Pg 43] for losing that regard which I valued as 'light and life' itself; but in another way there reached me a matchless misery, and which haunted me almost as constantly as my own shadow when the sun shone. Considering the dark uncertainty of my future prospects in life, that regard I felt it fearful almost beyond measure even to seek to retain, incurring the responsibility of marring the fortune of one whom nevertheless I could not bear the thought of another than myself having the bliss of rendering blessed. If selfishness be thus seen to exist even in love itself, I would fain hope that it is of an elevated and peculiar kind, and not that which grovels, dragging downwards, and therefore justly deserving of the name. I am the more anxious in regard to this on account of its being in my own case felt so deeply. It maintained its ground with more or less firmness at all times, and ultimately triumphed, in despite of all efforts made to the contrary over the suggestions of prudence and even the sterner reasonings of the sense of justice. In times of sadness and melancholy, which, like the preacher's days of darkness, were many, when hope scarcely lit the gloom of the heart on which it sat though the band of love was about its brow, I busied myself in endeavouring to form resolutions to resign my pretensions to the warmer regard of her who was the object of all this serious solicitude; but neither she herself, nor time and place seemed, so far as I could see, disposed in the least to aid me in these efforts of self-control and denial; and, indeed, even at best, I much suspect that the resolutions of lovers in such cases are only like the little dams which the rivulet forms in itself by the frail material of stray grass-piles, and wild-rose leaves, easily overturned by the next slight impulse that[Pg 44] the wave receives. In a ballad called 'Lanazine,' written somewhat in the old irregular style, sentiments relating to this matter, a little—and only a little—disguised, are set forth. The following is a portion of these records, written from time to time for the sake of preserving to the memory what might once be deeply interesting to the heart:—

"'O who may love with warm true heart,
And then from love refrain?
Who say 'tis fit we now should part
And never meet again?
"'The heart once broken bleeds no more,
And a deep sound sleep it hath,
Where the stir of pain ne'er travels o'er
The solitude of death.
"'The moon is set, and the star is gone,
And the cure, though cruel, cures,
But the heart left lone must sorrow on,
While the tie of life endures.
"'He had nor gold nor land, and trow'd
Himself unworthy all,
And sternly in his soul had vow'd
His fond love to recall.
"'For her he loved he would not wrong,
Since fate would ne'er agree,
And went to part with a sore, sore heart,
In the bower of the greenwood tree.
"'The dews were deep, and the leaves were green,
And the eve was soft and still;
But strife may reach the vale I ween,
Though no blasts be on the hill.
"'The leaves were green, and the dews were deep,
And the foot was light upon
The grass and flowers, round the bower asleep;
But parting there could be none.
[Pg 45]
"'He spoke the word with a struggle hard,
And the fair one forward sprung,
Nor ever wist, till like one too blest,
Her arms were round him flung.
"'For the fair one whom he'd woo'd before,
While the chill night breezes sigh'd,
Could wot not why she loved him more
Than ere she thus was tried.
"'A red—not weak—came o'er her cheek,
And she turn'd away anon;
But since nor he nor she could speak,
Still parting there could be none.
"'I could have lived alone for thee,'
He said; 'So lived could I,'
She answer'd, while it seem'd as she
Had wish'd even then to die.
"'For pale, pale grew her cheek I ween,
While his arms, around her thrown,
Left space no plea to come between,
So parting there could be none.
"'She cool'd his brow with the heart's own drop,
While the brain seem'd burning there,
And her whisper reach'd the realm of hope
Through the darkness of despair.
"'She bade his soul be still and free,
In the light of love to live,
And soothed it with the sympathy
Which a woman's heart can give.
"'And it seem'd more than all before
E'er given to mortal man,
The radiance came, and with it bore
The angel of the dawn.
"'For ever since Eve her love-bower would weave,
As the first of all her line,
No one on earth had had more of worth
Than the lovely Lanazine.
[Pg 46]
"'And if Fortune's frown would o'er him come down,
Less marvel it may be,
Since he woo'd all while to make his own
A lovelier far than she.'
       *       *       *       *       *

"Notwithstanding the ever-living solicitude and sad suffering constituting the keen and trying experience of many years, as arising in consequence of this attachment and untoward circumstances, it has brought more than a sufficient compensation; and were it possible, and the choice given, I would assuredly follow the same course, and suffer it all over again, rather than be without 'that treasure of departed sorrow' that is even now at my right hand as I write these lines.

"'The Christian Politician'[4] was published during the time of my indisposition. This work I had written at leisure hours, with the hopes of its being beneficial to the people placed under my care, by giving them a general and connected view of the principles and philosophical bearing of the Christian religion. In exhorting them privately, I discovered that many of them understood that religion better in itself, than they appeared to comprehend the manner in which it stood in connexion with the surrounding circumstances of this life. In other words, they were acquainted with doctrines and principles whose application and use, whether in regard to thought, or feeling, or daily practice, they did not so clearly recognise. To remedy this state of things, I wrote 'The Christian Politician' in a style as simple as the subjects treated of in it would well admit of, giving it a conversational cast, instead of systematic[Pg 47] arrangement, that it might be the less forbidding to those for whom it was principally intended. Being published, however, at the time when, through my indisposition, I could take no interest in it, it was sent forth in a somewhat more costly shape than rightly suited the original design; and although extensively introduced and well received, it was in society of a higher order than that which it was its object chiefly to benefit.

"My latest publication is a volume of 'Poems and Songs,'[5] published by Messrs Sutherland and Knox of Edinburgh. 'The Cottagers of Glendale,' the 'Lay of Life,' and some others of the compositions in this volume, were written during the period of my convalescence; the songs are, for the greater part, the production of 'the days of other years.' Many of the latter had been already sung in every district of the kingdom, but had been much corrupted in the course of oral transmission. These wanderers of the hill-harp are now secured in a permanent form."

To this autobiographical sketch it remains to be added, that Mr Riddell is possessed of nearly all the qualities of a great master of the Scottish lyre. He has viewed the national character where it is to be seen in its most unsophisticated aspects, and in circumstances the most favourable to its development. He has lived, too, among scenes the best calculated to foster the poetic temperament. "He has got," wrote Professor Wilson, "a poet's education: he has lived the greater part of his days amidst pastoral scenes, and tended sheep among the green and beautiful solitudes of nature." Sufficiently imaginative, he does not, like his minstrel predecessor the Ettrick Shepherd, soar into the regions[Pg 48] of the supernatural, or roam among the scenes of the viewless world. He sings of the mountain wilds and picturesque valleys of Caledonia, and of the simple joys and habits of rural or pastoral life. His style is essentially lyrical, and his songs are altogether true to nature. Several of his songs, such as "Scotland Yet," "The Wild Glen sae Green," "The Land of Gallant Hearts," and "The Crook and Plaid," will find admirers while Scottish lyric poetry is read or sung.

In 1855, Mr Riddell executed a translation of the Gospel of Matthew into the Scottish language by command of Prince Lucien Bonaparte, a performance of which only a limited number of copies have been printed under the Prince's auspices. At present, he is engaged in preparing a romance connected with Border history.[Pg 49]


Air"The Posy, or Roslin Castle."

When my flocks upon the heathy hill are lying a' at rest,
And the gloamin' spreads its mantle gray o'er the world's dewy breast,
I'll take my plaid and hasten through yon woody dell unseen,
And meet my bonnie lassie in the wild glen sae green.
I'll meet her by the trysting-tree, that's stannin' a' alane,
Where I hae carved her name upon yon little moss gray stane,
There I will fauld her to my breast, and be mair bless'd I ween
Than a' that are aneath the sky, in the wild glen sae green.
Her head reclined upon this heart, in simple bliss I'll share
The pure, pure kiss o' tender love that owns nae earthly care,
And spirits hovering o'er us shall bless the heartfelt scene,
While I woo my bonnie lassie in the wild glen sae green.
My fauldin' plaid shall shield her frae the gloamin's chilly gale;
The star o' eve shall mark our joy, but shall not tell our tale—
[Pg 50] Our simple tale o' tender love—that tauld sae oft has been
To my bonnie, bonnie lassie, in the wild glen sae green.
It may be sweet at morning hour, or at the noon o' day,
To meet wi' those that we lo'e weel in grove or garden gay;
But the sweetest bliss o' mortal life is at the hour o' e'en,
Wi' a bonnie, bonnie lassie, in the wild glen sae green.
O! I could wander earth a' o'er, nor care for aught o' bliss,
If I might share, at my return, a joy sae pure as this;
And I could spurn a' earthly wealth—a palace and a queen,
For my bonnie, bonnie lassie, in the wild glen sae green!


Scotia's thistle guards the grave,
Where repose her dauntless brave;
Never yet the foot of slave
Has trode the wilds of Scotia.
Free from tyrant's dark control—
Free as waves of ocean roll—
Free as thoughts of minstrel's soul,
Still roam the sons of Scotia.
Scotia's hills of hoary hue,
Heaven wraps in wreathes of blue,
Watering with its dearest dew
The heathy locks of Scotia.
[Pg 51] Down each green-wood skirted vale,
Guardian spirits, lingering, hail
Many a minstrel's melting tale,
As told of ancient Scotia.
When the shades of eve invest
Nature's dew-bespangled breast,
How supremely man is blest
In the glens of Scotia!
There no dark alarms convey
Aught to chase life's charms away;
There they live, and live for aye,
Round the homes of Scotia.
Wake, my hill harp! wildly wake!
Sound by lee and lonely lake,
Never shall this heart forsake
The bonnie wilds of Scotia.
Others o'er the ocean's foam
Far to other lands may roam,
But for ever be my home
Beneath the sky of Scotia!


Ours is the land of gallant hearts,
The land of lovely forms,
The island of the mountain-harp,
The torrents and the storms;
The land that blooms with freeman's tread,
And withers with the slave's,
Where far and deep the green woods spread,
And wild the thistle waves.
[Pg 52]
Ere ever Ossian's lofty voice
Had told of Fingal's fame,
Ere ever from their native clime
The Roman eagles came,
Our land had given heroes birth,
That durst the boldest brave,
And taught above tyrannic dust,
The thistle tufts to wave.
What need we say how Wallace fought,
And how his foemen fell?
Or how on glorious Bannockburn
The work went wild and well?
Ours is the land of gallant hearts,
The land of honour'd graves,
Whose wreath of fame shall ne'er depart
While yet the thistle waves.


The gathering clans, 'mong Scotia's glens,
Wi' martial steps are bounding,
And loud and lang, the wilds amang,
The war pipe's strains are sounding;
The sky and stream reflect the gleam
Of broadswords glancing rarely,
To guard till death the hills of heath
Against the foes o' Charlie.
Then let on high the banners fly,
And hearts and hands rise prouder,
And wake amain the warlike strain
Still louder, and still louder;
[Pg 53] For we ha'e sworn, ere dawn the morn
O'er Appin's mountains early,
Auld Scotland's crown shall nod aboon
The yellow locks o' Charlie.
While banners wave aboon the brave
Our foemen vainly gather,
And swear to claim, by deeds o' fame,
Our hills and glens o' heather.
For seas shall swell to wild and fell,
And crown green Appin fairly,
Ere hearts so steel'd to foemen yield
The rights o' royal Charlie.
Then wake mair loud the pibroch proud,
And let the mountains hoary
Re-echo round the warlike sound
That speaks of Highland glory.
For strains sublime, through future time,
Shall tell the tale unsparely,
How Scotland's crown was placed aboon
The yellow locks o' Charlie.


We'll meet yet again, my loved fair one, when o'er us
The sky shall be bright, and the bower shall be green,
And the visions of life shall be lovely before us
As the sunshine of summer that sleeps o'er the scene.
[Pg 54] The woodlands are sad when the green leaves are fading,
And sorrow is deep when the dearest must part,
But for each darker woe that our spirit is shading
A joy yet more bright shall return to the heart.
We'll meet yet again, when the pain, disconcerting
The peace of our minds in a moment like this,
Shall melt into nought, like the tears of our parting,
Or live but in mem'ry to heighten our bliss.
We have loved in the hours when a hope scarce could find us;
We've loved when our hearts were the lightest of all,
And the same tender tie that has bound still shall bind us,
When the dark chain of fate shall have ceased to enthral.
We'll meet yet again, when the spirit of gladness
Shall breathe o'er the valley, and brighten its flowers,
And the lone hearts of those who have long been in sadness
Shall gather delight from the transport of ours;
Yes, thine are the charms, love, that never can perish,
And thine is the star that my guide still shall be,
Alluring the hope in this soul that shall cherish
Its life's dearest treasures, to share them with thee.


Our ain native land! our ain native land!
There's a charm in the words that we a' understand,
[Pg 55] That flings o'er the bosom the power of a spell,
And makes us love mair what we a' love so well.
The heart may have feelings it canna conceal,
As the mind has the thoughts that nae words can reveal,
But alike he the feelings and thought can command
Who names but the name o' our ain native land.
Our ain native land! our ain native land!
Though bleak be its mountains and rugged its strand,
The waves aye seem bless'd, dancing wild o'er the sea,
When woke by the winds from the hills o' the free.
Our sky oft is dark, and our storms loud and cauld,
But where are the hearts that sic worth can unfauld
As those that unite, and uniting expand,
When they hear but the name o' our ain native land?
Our ain native land! our ain native land!
To hear of her famed ones let none e'er demand,
For the hours o' a' time far too little would prove
To name but the names that we honour and love.
The bard lives in light, though his heart it be still,
And the cairn of the warrior stands gray on the hill,
And songster and sage can alike still command
A garland of fame from our ain native land.
Our ain native land! our ain native land!
Her wild woods are glorious, her waterfalls grand,
And her songs still proclaim, as they ring through the glen,
The charms of her maids and the worth of her men.
Her thistle shall cease in the breezes to wave,
And the floweret to bloom on the patriot's grave,
Ere we cease to defend, with our heart and our hand,
The freedom and faith of our ain native land.
[Pg 56]


On! on to the fields, where of old
The laurels of freedom were won;
Let us think, as the banners of Greece we unfold,
Of the brave in the pages of glory enroll'd,
And the deeds by our forefathers done!
O yet, if there's aught that is dear,
Let bravery's arm be its shield;
Let love of our country give power to each spear,
And beauty's pale cheek dry its long-gather'd tear
In the light of the weapons we wield.
Awake then to glory, that Greece yet may be
The land—the proud land of the famed and the free!
Rear! rear the proud trophies once more,
Where Persia's hosts were o'erthrown;
Let the song of our triumph arise on our shore,
Till the mountains give back the far sounds, as of yore,
To the fields where our foemen lie strewn!
Oh ne'er shall our bold efforts cease
Till the garlands of freedom shall wave
In breezes, which, fraught with the tidings of peace,
Shall wander o'er all the fair islands of Greece,
And cool not the lip of a slave;
Awake then to glory! that Greece yet may be
The land—the proud land of the famed and the free!
[Pg 57]


More dark is my soul than the scenes of yon islands,
Dismantled of all the gay hues that they wore;
For lost is my hope since the Prince of the Highlands
'Mong these, his wild mountains, can meet me no more.
Ah! Charlie, how wrung was this heart when it found thee
Forlorn, and the die of thy destiny cast;
Thy Flora was firm 'mid the perils around thee,
But where were the brave of the land that had own'd thee,
That she—only she—should be true to the last?
The step's in the bark on the dark heaving waters,
That now should have been on the floor of a throne;
And, alas for auld Scotland, her sons and her daughters!
Thy wish was their welfare, thy cause was their own.
But 'lorn may we sigh where the hill-winds awaken,
And weep in the glen where the cataracts foam,
And sleep where the dew-drops are deep on the bracken;
Thy foot has the land of thy fathers forsaken,
And more—never more will it yield thee a home.
Oh! yet when afar, in the land of the stranger,
If e'er on thy spirit remembrance may be
Of her who was true in these moments of danger,
Reprove not the heart that still lives but for thee.
The night-shrouded flower from the dawning shall borrow
A ray, all the glow of its charms to renew,
But Charlie, ah! Charlie, no ray to thy Flora
Can dawn from thy coming to chase the dark sorrow
Which death, in thine absence, alone can subdue.
[Pg 58]


Air"Cold Frosty Morning."

When the glen all is still, save the stream of the fountain,
When the shepherd has ceased o'er the dark heath to roam,
And the wail of the plover awakes on the mountain,
Inviting her mate to return to his home—
Oh! meet me, Eliza, adown by the wild-wood,
Where the wild daisies sleep 'mong the low-lying dew,
And our bliss shall be sweet as the visions of childhood,
And pure as the fair star, in heaven's deep blue.
Thy locks shall be braided in drops of the gloaming,
And fann'd by the far-travell'd breeze of the lawn;
The spirits of heaven shall know of thy coming,
And watch o'er our joy till the hour of the dawn.
No woes shall we know of dark fortune's decreeing,
Of the past and the future my dreams may not be,
For the light of thine eye seems the home of my being,
And my soul's fondest thoughts shall be gather'd to thee.


Gae, bring my guid auld harp ance mair,—
Gae, bring it free and fast,—
For I maun sing another sang
Ere a' my glee be past;
[Pg 59] And trow ye as I sing, my lads,
The burden o't shall be
Auld Scotland's howes, and Scotland's knowes,
And Scotland's hills for me—
I'll drink a cup to Scotland yet
Wi' a' the honours three.
The heath waves wild upon her hills,
And foaming frae the fells,
Her fountains sing o' freedom still,
As they dance down the dells;
And weel I lo'e the land, my lads,
That's girded by the sea;
Then Scotland's dales, and Scotland's vales,
And Scotland's hills for me—
I'll drink a cup to Scotland yet
Wi' a' the honours three.
The thistle wags upon the fields
Where Wallace bore his blade,
That gave her foemen's dearest bluid
To dye her auld gray plaid;
And looking to the lift, my lads,
He sang this doughty glee—
Auld Scotland's right, and Scotland's might,
And Scotland's hills for me—
I'll drink a cup to Scotland yet
Wi' a' the honours three.
They tell o' lands wi' brighter skies,
Where freedom's voice ne'er rang;
Gie me the hills where Ossian lies,
And Coila's minstrel sang;
[Pg 60] For I've nae skill o' lands, my lads,
That ken nae to be free;
Then Scotland's right, and Scotland's might,
And Scotland's hills for me—
I'll drink a cup to Scotland yet
Wi' a' the honours three.


I sat in the vale, 'neath the hawthorns so hoary,
And the gloom of my bosom seem'd deep as their shade,
For remembrance was fraught with the far-travell'd story,
That told where the dust of the minstrel was laid:
I saw not his harp on the wild boughs above me,
I heard not its anthems the mountains among;
But the flow'rets that bloom'd on his grave were more lovely
Than others would seem to the earth that belong.
"Sleep on," said my soul, "in the depths of thy slumber
Sleep on, gentle bard! till the shades pass away;
For the lips of the living the ages shall number
That steal o'er thy heart in its couch of decay:
Oh! thou wert beloved from the dawn of thy childhood,
Beloved till the last of thy suffering was seen,
Beloved now that o'er thee is waving the wild-wood,
And the worm only living where rapture hath been.
[Pg 61]
"Till the footsteps of time are their travel forsaking,
No form shall descend, and no dawning shall come,
To break the repose that thy ashes are taking,
And call them to life from their chamber of gloom:
Yet sleep, gentle bard! for, though silent for ever,
Thy harp in the hall of the chieftain is hung;
No time from the mem'ry of mankind shall sever
The tales that it told, and the strains that it sung."


Air"Buccleuch Gathering."

No sky shines so bright as the sky that is spread
O'er the land that gave birth to the first breath we drew—
Such radiance but lives in the eye of the maid
That is dear to our heart—to our heart ever true.
With her—yes, with her that this spirit has bless'd,
'Neath my dear native sky let my home only be;
And the valley of flowers, and the heath-covered waste,
Shall alike have a spell of enchantment for me.
Let her eye pour its light o'er the joy of my heart,
Or mingle its beam with the gloom of my woe,
And each shadow of care from the soul shall depart,
Save of care that on her it is bliss to bestow.
My thought shall not travel to sun-lighted isles,
Nor my heart own a wish for the wealth they may claim,
But live and be bless'd in rewarding her smiles
With the song of the harp that shall hallow her name.
[Pg 62]
The anthems of music delightful may roll,
Or eloquence flow as the waves of the sea,
But the sounds that enchantment can shed o'er the soul
Are—the lass that we love, and the land that is free!


I form'd a green bower by the rill o' yon glen,
Afar from the din and the dwellings of men;
Where still I might linger in many a dream,
And mingle my strains wi' the voice o' the stream.
From the cave and the cliff, where the hill foxes roam,
Where the earn has his nest and the raven his home,
I brought the young flower-buds ere yet they had smiled,
And taught them to bloom round my bower of the wild.
But the fair maidens came, from yon vale far away,
And sought my lone grotto still day after day,
And soon were the stems of their fair blossoms shorn
That the flowers of the bard might their ringlets adorn.
Full fair were they all, but the maiden most fair
Would still have no flower till I pull'd it with care;
And gentle, and simple, and modest, and mild,
She stole my lone heart in the bower of the wild.
The summer is past, and the maidens are gone,
And this heart, like my grotto, is wither'd and lone,
And yet, with the winter, I'll cease not to mourn,
Unless, with the blossoms, these fair ones return.
Oh! had they ne'er come, or had ne'er gone away,
I sing in my sorrow still day after day.
The scene seems a desert—the charm is exiled,
And woe to my blooms and my bower of the wild!
[Pg 63]


Air"The Ploughman."

I winna love the laddie that ca's the cart and pleugh,
Though he should own that tender love, that's only felt by few;
For he that has this bosom a' to fondest love betray'd,
Is the faithfu' shepherd laddie that wears the crook and plaid;
For he's aye true to his lassie—he's aye true to his lassie,
Who wears the crook and plaid.
At morn he climbs the mountains wild his fleecy flocks to view,
While o'er him sweet the laverock sings, new sprung frae 'mang the dew;
His doggie frolics roun' and roun', and may not weel be stay'd,
Sae blithe it is the laddie wi' that wears the crook and plaid;
And he's aye true, &c.
At noon he leans him down upon the high and heathy fell,
And views his flocks, beneath him a', fair feeding in the dell;
And there he sings the sangs o' love, the sweetest ever made;
O! how happy is the laddie that wears the crook and plaid;
And he's aye true, &c.
[Pg 64]
He pu's the bells o' heather red, and the lily-flowers sae meek,
Ca's the lily like my bosom, and the heath-bell like my cheek;
His words are sweet and tender, as the dews frae heaven shed;
And weel I love to list the lad who wears the crook and plaid;
For he's aye true, &c.
When the dews begin to fauld the flowers, and the gloamin' shades draw on,
When the star comes stealing through the sky, and the kye are on the loan,
He whistles through the glen sae sweet, the heart is lighter made
To ken the laddie hameward hies who wears the crook and plaid;
For he's aye true, &c.
Beneath the spreading hawthorn gray, that's growing in the glen,
He meets me in the gloamin' aye, when nane on earth can ken,
To woo and vow, and there I trow, whatever may be said,
He kens aye unco weel the way to row me in his plaid;
For he's aye true, &c.
The youth o' mony riches may to his fair one ride,
And woo across the table cauld his madam-titled bride;
But I'll gang to the hawthorn gray, where cheek to cheek is laid,
Oh! nae wooers like the laddie that rows me in his plaid;
And he's aye true, &c.
[Pg 65]
To own the truth o' tender love what heart wad no comply,
Since love gives purer happiness than aught aneath the sky?
If love be in the bosom, then the heart is ne'er afraid;
And through life I'll love the laddie that wears the crook and plaid;
For he's aye true, &c.


Air"Bonnie Mary Hay."

Oh, lassie! if thou'lt gang to yonder glen wi' me,
I'll weave the wilds amang a bonnie bower for thee;
I'll weave a bonnie bower o' the birks and willows green,
And to my heart thou'lt be what nae other e'er has been.
When the dew is on the flower, and the starlight on the lea,
In the bonnie green-wood bower I'll wake my harp to thee;
I'll wake my hill-harp's strain, and the echoes o' the dell
Shall restore the tales again that its notes o' love shall tell.
Oh, lassie! thou art fair as the morning's early beam,
As the image of a flower reflected frae the stream;
There's kindness in thy heart, and there's language in thine e'e,
But ah! its looks impart nae sweet tale o' love to me!
[Pg 66]
Oh, lassie! wert thou mine I wad love thee wi' such love
As the lips can ne'er define, and the cold can never prove;
In the bower by yonder stream our happy home should be,
And our life a blissful dream, while I lived alone for thee.
When I am far away my thoughts on thee shall rest,
Allured, as by a ray, frae the dwellings o' the blest;
For beneath the clouds o' dew, where'er my path may be,
Oh! a maiden fair as thou, I again shall never see!


When the star of the morning is set,
And the heavens are beauteous and blue,
And the bells of the heather are wet
With the drops of the deep-lying dew;
'Mong the flocks on the mountains that lie,
'Twas blithesome and blissful to be,
When these all my thoughts would employ;
But now I must think upon thee.
When noontide displays all its powers,
And the flocks to the valley return,
To lie and to feed 'mong the flowers
That bloom on the banks of the burn;
O sweet, sweet it was to recline
'Neath the shade of yon hoar hawthorn-tree,
And think on the charge that was mine;
But now I must think upon thee.
[Pg 67]
When Gloaming stole down from the rocks,
With her fingers of shadowy light,
And the dews of the eve in her locks,
To spread down a couch for the night;
'Twas sweet through yon green birks to stray,
That border the brook and the lea;
But now, 'tis a wearisome way,
Unless it were travell'd with thee.
All lovely and pure as thou art,
And generous of thought and of will,
Oh Mary! speak thou to this heart,
And bid its wild beating be still;
I'd give all the ewes in the fold—
I'd give all the lambs on the lea,
By night or by day to behold
One look of true kindness from thee.


Though all fair was that bosom, heaving white,
While hung this fond spirit o'er thee;
And though that eye, with beauty's light,
Still bedimm'd every eye before thee;
Oh! charms there were still more divine,
When woke that melting voice of thine,
The charms that caught this soul of mine,
And taught it to adore thee.
Then died the woes of the heart away
With the thoughts of joys departed;
For my soul seem'd but to live in thy lay,
While it told of the faithful-hearted.
[Pg 68] Methought how sweet it were to be
Far in some wild green glen with thee;
From all of life and of longing free,
Save what pure love imparted.
Oh! I could stray where the drops of dew
Never fell on the desert round me,
And dwell where the fair flowers never grew
If the hymns of thy voice still found me.
Thy smile itself could the soul invest
With all that here makes mortals bless'd;
While every thought thy lips express'd
In deeper love still bound me.


Would that I were where wild woods wave
Aboon the beds where sleep the brave;
And where the streams o' Scotia lave
Her hills and glens o' grandeur!
Where freedom reigns, and friendship dwells,
Bright as the sun upon the fells,
When autumn brings the heather-bells
In all their native splendour.
The thistle wi' the hawthorn joins,
The birks mix wi' the mountain pines,
And heart with dauntless heart combines
For ever to defend her.
Then would I were, &c.
[Pg 69]
There roam the kind, and live the leal,
By lofty ha' and lowly shiel;
And she for whom the heart must feel
A kindness still mair tender.
Fair, where the light hill breezes blaw,
The wild-flowers bloom by glen and shaw;
But she is fairer than them a',
Wherever she may wander.
Then would I were, &c.
Still, far or near, by wild or wood,
I'll love the generous, wise, and good;
But she shall share the dearest mood
That Heaven to life may render.
What boots it then thus on to stir,
And still from love's enjoyment err,
When I to Scotland and to her
Must all this heart surrender.
Then would I were, &c.


Air"Paddy's Resource."

Oh! tell me what sound is the sweetest to hear—
The sound that can most o'er our being prevail?
'Tis the sweet melting voice of the maid we love dear,
When chanting the songs of her own native vale.
More thrilling is this than the tone of the gale,
Awakening the wind-harp's wild wandering lore;
More sweet than the songster that sings in the dale,
When the strains of the rest of the warblers are o'er.
[Pg 70]
Oh! tell me what light, of the earth or the sky,
Can the deepest delight to the spirit impart?
'Tis the bright beaming radiance that lives in the eye
Of the maid that affection has bound to the heart.
More charming is this than the glory of art,
More lovely than rays from yon heavens above;
It heightens each joy, as it soothes every smart,
Enchanting our souls with the magic of love.
Oh! tell me what drop is most melting and meek
That aught 'neath the azure of heaven can share?
'Tis the tear-drop that falls o'er the dear maiden's cheek
When she breathes o'er her lover her sigh and her prayer!
More tender is this—more celestial and fair—
Than the dew-drop that springs from the chamber of morn;
A balm that still softens the ranklings of care,
And heals every wound that the bosom hath borne.


Our Mary liket weel to stray
Where clear the burn was rowin',
And trouth she was, though I say sae,
As fair as ought ere made o' clay,
And pure as ony gowan.
[Pg 71]
And happy, too, as ony lark
The clud might ever carry;
She shunn'd the ill, and sought the good,
E'en mair than weel was understood;
And a' fouk liket Mary.
But she fell sick wi' some decay,
When she was but eleven;
And as she pined frae day to day,
We grudged to see her gaun away,
Though she was gaun to Heaven.
There's fears for them that's far awa',
And fykes for them are flitting,
But fears and cares, baith grit and sma',
We, by and by, o'er-pit them a';
But death there's nae o'er-pitting.
And nature's bands are hard to break,
When thus they maun be broken;
And e'en the form we loved to see,
We canna lang, dear though it be,
Preserve it as a token.
But Mary had a gentle heart—
Heaven did as gently free her;
Yet lang afore she reach'd that part,
Dear sir, it wad hae made ye start
Had ye been there to see her.
Sae changed, and yet sae sweet and fair,
And growing meek and meeker,
Wi' her lang locks o' yellow hair,
She wore a little angel's air,
Ere angels cam to seek her.
[Pg 72]
And when she couldna stray out by,
The wee wild-flowers to gather;
She oft her household plays wad try,
To hide her illness frae our eye,
Lest she should grieve us farther.
But ilka thing we said or did,
Aye pleased the sweet wee creature;
Indeed ye wad hae thought she had
A something in her made her glad
Ayont the course o' nature.
For though disease, beyont remeed,
Was in her frame indented,
Yet aye the mair as she grew ill,
She grew and grew the lovelier still,
And mair and mair contented.
But death's cauld hour cam' on at last,
As it to a' is comin';
And may it be, whene'er it fa's,
Nae waur to others than it was
To Mary, sweet wee woman!
[Pg 73]


The writer of spirited and elegant poetry, Mrs Margaret Maxwell Inglis was the youngest daughter of Alexander Murray, a medical practitioner, who latterly accepted a small government situation in the town of Sanquhar, Dumfriesshire. She was born at Sanquhar on the 27th October 1774, and at an early age became the wife of a Mr Finlay, who held a subordinate post in the navy. On the death of her husband, which took place in the West Indies, she resided with the other members of her family in Dumfries; and in 1803, she married Mr John Inglis, only son of John Inglis, D.D., minister of Kirkmabreck, in Galloway. By the death of Mr Inglis in 1826, she became dependent, with three children by her second marriage, on a small annuity arising from an appointment which her late husband had held in the Excise. She relieved the sadness of her widowhood by a course of extensive reading, and of composition both in prose and verse. In 1838 she published, at the solicitation of friends, a duodecimo volume, entitled "Miscellaneous Collection of Poems, chiefly Scriptural Pieces." Of the compositions in this volume, there are several of very superior merit, while the whole are marked by a vein of elegant fancy.

Mrs Inglis died in Edinburgh on the 21st December 1843. Eminently gifted as a musician, she could boast of having been complimented by the poet Burns on the grace with which she had, in his presence, sung his own[Pg 74] songs. Of retiring and unobtrusive habits, she mixed sparingly in general society; but among her intimate friends, she was held in estimation for the extent of her information and the unclouded cheerfulness of her disposition. She has left some MSS. of poems and songs, from which we have been privileged to make selections for the present work.[Pg 75]


Air"Banks of the Devon."

Sweet bard of Ettrick's glen!
Where art thou wandering?
Miss'd is thy foot on the mountain and lea.
Why round yon craggy rocks
Wander thy heedless flocks,
While lambies are list'ning and bleating for thee?
Cold as the mountain stream,
Pale as the moonlight beam,
Still is thy bosom, and closed is thine e'e.
Wild may the tempest's wave
Sweep o'er thy lonely grave;
Thou art deaf to the storm—it is harmless to thee.
Like a meteor's brief light,
Like the breath of the morning,
Thy life's dream hath pass'd as a shadow gone by;
Till thy soft numbers stealing
O'er mem'ry's warm feeling,
Each line is embalm'd with a tear or a sigh.
Sweet was thy melody,
Rich as the rose's dye,
Shedding its odours o'er sorrow or glee;
Love laugh'd on golden wing,
Pleasure's hand touch'd the string,
All taught the strain to sing, Shepherd, by thee.
[Pg 76]
Cold on Benlomond's brow
Flickers the drifted snow,
While down its sides the wild cataracts foam;
Winter's mad winds may sweep
Fierce o'er each glen and steep,
Thy rest is unbroken, and peaceful thy home.
And when on dewy wing
Comes the sweet bird of spring,
Chanting its notes on the bush or the tree;
The Bird of the Wilderness,
Low in the waving grass,
Shall, cow'ring, sing sadly its farewell to thee.


Air"Drummond Castle."

Leafless and bare were the shrub and the flower,
Cauld was the drift that blew over yon mountain,
But caulder my heart at his last ling'ring hour,
Though warm was the tear-drap that fell frae my e'e.
O saft is the tint o' the gowan sae bonny,
The blue heather-bell and the rose sweet as ony,
But softer the blink o' his bonnie blue e'e,
And sweeter the smile o' young Jamie.
Dark lowers the cloud o'er yon mountain sae hie,
Faint gloams the sun through the mists o' the ocean,
Rough rows the wave on whose bosom I see
The wee bit frail bark that bears Jamie frae me.
[Pg 77] Oh, lang may I look o'er yon wild waste sae dreary,
And lang count the hours, now so lonesome and weary,
And oft may I see the leaf fade frae the tree,
Ere I see the blithe blink o' his bonnie blue e'e.
Cheerless and wae, on yon snaw-cover'd thorn,
Mournfu' and lane is the chirp o' the Robin,
He looks through the storm, but nae shelter can see;
Come, Robin, and join the sad concert wi' me.
Oh, lang may I look o'er yon foam-crested billow,
And Hope dies away like a storm-broken willow;
Sweet Robin, the blossom again ye may see,
But I'll ne'er see the blink o' his bonnie blue e'e.



Let Highland lads, wi' belted plaids,
And bonnets blue and white cockades,
Put on their shields, unsheathe their blades,
And conquest fell begin;
And let the word be Scotland's heir:
And when their swords can do nae mair,
Lang bowstrings o' their yellow hair
Let Hieland lasses spin, laddie.
Charlie's bonnet's down, laddie,
Kilt yer plaid and scour the heather;
Charlie's bonnet's down, laddie,
Draw yer dirk and rin.
[Pg 78]
Mind Wallace wight, auld Scotland's light,
And Douglas bright, and Scrymgeour's might,
And Murray Bothwell's gallant knight,
And Ruthven light and trim—
Kirkpatrick black, wha in a crack
Laid Cressingham upon his back,
Garr'd Edward gather up his pack,
And ply his spurs and rin, laddie.
Charlie's bonnet's down, &c.


Heard ye the bagpipe, or saw ye the banners
That floated sae light o'er the fields o' Kildairlie;
Saw ye the broadswords, the shields and the tartan hose,
Heard ye the muster-roll sworn to Prince Charlie?
Saw ye brave Appin, wi' bonnet and belted plaid,
Or saw ye the Lords o' Seaforth and Airlie;
Saw ye the Glengarry, M'Leod, and Clandonachil,
Plant the white rose in their bonnets for Charlie?
Saw ye the halls o' auld Holyrood lighted up,
Kenn'd ye the nobles that revell'd sae rarely;
Saw ye the chiefs of Lochiel and Clanronald,
Wha rush'd frae their mountains to follow Prince Charlie?
But saw ye the blood-streaming fields of Culloden,
Or kenn'd ye the banners were tatter'd sae sairly;
Heard ye the pibroch sae wild and sae wailing,
That mourn'd for the chieftains that fell for Prince Charlie.
[Pg 79]
Wha, in yon Highland glen, weary and shelterless,
Pillows his head on the heather sae barely;
Wha seeks the darkest night, wha maunna face the light,
Borne down by lawless might—gallant Prince Charlie?
Wha, like the stricken deer, chased by the hunter's spear,
Fled frae the hills o' his father sae scaredly;
But wha, by affection's chart, reigns in auld Scotland's heart—
Wha but the royal, the gallant Prince Charlie?


When the morning's first ray saw the mighty in arms,
And the tyrant's proud banners insultingly wave,
And the slogan of battle from beauty's fond arms
Roused the war-crested chieftain, his country to save;
The sunbeam that rose on our mountain-clad warriors,
And reflected their shields in the green rippling wave,
In its course saw the slain on the fields of their fathers,
And shed its last ray on their cold bloody graves.
O'er those green beds of honour our war-song prepare,
And the red sword of vengeance triumphantly wave,
While the ghosts of the slain cry aloud—Do not spare,
Lead to victory and freedom, or die with the brave;
For the high soul of freedom no tyrant can fetter,
Like the unshackled billows our proud shores that lave;
Though oppressed, he will watch o'er the home of his fathers,
And rest his wan cheek on the tomb of the brave.
[Pg 80]
To arms, then! to arms! Let the battle-cry rise,
Like the raven's hoarse croak, through their ranks let it sound;
Set their knell on the wing of each arrow that flies,
Till the shouts of the free shake the mountains around;
Let the cold-blooded, faint-hearted changeling now tremble,
For the war-shock shall reach to his dark-centered cave,
While the laurels that twine round the brows of the victors
Shall with rev'rence be strew'd o'er the tombs of the brave.


Removed from vain fashion,
From title's proud ken,
In a straw-cover'd cottage,
Deep hid in yon glen,
There dwells a sweet flow'ret,
Pure, lovely, and fair,
Though rear'd, like the snowdrop,
'Midst hardships' chill air.
No soft voice of kindred,
Or parent she knows—
In the desert she blooms,
Like the sweet mountain rose,
Like the little stray'd lammie
That bleats on the lea;
She's soft, kind, and gentle,
And dear, dear to me.
[Pg 81]
Though the rich dews of fortune
Ne'er water'd this stem,
Nor one fostering sunbeam
Matured the rich gem—
Oh! give me that pure bosom,
Her lot let me share,
I'll laugh at distinction,
And smile away care.


When shall we meet again,
Meet ne'er to sever?
When shall Peace wreath her chain
Round us for ever?
When shall our hearts repose,
Safe from each breath that blows,
In this dark world of woes?
Never! oh, never!
Fate's unrelenting hand
Long may divide us,
Yet in one holy land
One God shall guide us.
Then, on that happy shore,
Care ne'er shall reach us more,
Earth's vain delusions o'er,
Angels beside us.
[Pg 82]
There, where no storms can chill,
False friends deceive us,
Where, with protracted thrill,
Hope cannot grieve us;
There with the pure in heart,
Far from fate's venom'd dart,
There shall we meet to part
Never! oh, never!
[Pg 83]


James King was born in Paisley in 1776. His paternal ancestors, for a course of centuries, were farmers in the vicinity of Gleniffer Braes. Having been only one year at school, he was, at the age of eight, required to assist his father in his trade of muslin-weaving. Joining a circulating library, he soon acquired an acquaintance with books; he early wrote verses, and became the intimate associate of Tannahill, who has honourably mentioned him in one of his poetical epistles. In his fifteenth year he enlisted in a fencible regiment, which was afterwards stationed at Inverness. On its being disembodied in 1798, he returned to the loom at Paisley, where he continued till 1803, when he became a recruit in the Renfrewshire county militia. He accompanied this regiment to Margate, Deal, Dover, Portsmouth, and London, and subsequently to Leith, the French prisoners' depôt at Penicuick, and the Castle of Edinburgh. At Edinburgh his poetical talents recommended him to some attention from Sir Walter Scott, the Ettrick Shepherd, and several others of the poets of the capital.

Accused of exciting disaffection, and promoting an attempt made by a portion of his comrades to resist lawful authority while the regiment was stationed at Perth, King, though wholly innocent of the charge, fearing the vengeance of the adjutant, who was hostile to him, contrived to effect his escape. By a circuitous route, so as to elude the vigilance of parties sent to apprehend him, he reached the district of Galloway,[Pg 84] where he obtained employment as a shepherd and agricultural labourer. He subsequently wrought as a weaver at Crieff till 1815, when, on his regiment being disembodied, he was honourably acquitted from the charge preferred against him, and granted his discharge. He now settled as a muslin-weaver, first at Glasgow, and afterwards at Paisley and Charleston. He died at Charleston, near Paisley, on the 27th September 1849, in his seventy-third year.

Of vigorous intellect, lively fancy, and a keen appreciation of the humorous, King was much esteemed among persons of a rank superior to his own. His mind was of a fine devotional cast, and his poetical compositions are distinguished by earnestness of expression and sentiment.[Pg 85]


The lake is at rest, love,
The sun's on its breast, love,
How bright is its water, how pleasant to see;
Its verdant banks shewing
The richest flowers blowing,
A picture of bliss and an emblem of thee!
Then, O fairest maiden!
When earth is array'd in
The beauties of heaven o'er mountain and lea,
Let me still delight in
The glories that brighten,
For they are, dear Anna, sweet emblems of thee.
But, Anna, why redden?
I would not, fair maiden,
My tongue could pronounce what might tend to betray;
The traitor, the demon,
That could deceive woman,
His soul's all unfit for the glories of day.
Believe me then, fairest,
To me thou art dearest;
And though I in raptures view lake, stream, and tree,
With flower blooming mountains,
And crystalline fountains,
I view them, fair maid, but as emblems of thee.
[Pg 86]


Air"Scott's Boat Song."

No sound was heard o'er the broom-cover'd valley,
Save the lone stream o'er the rock as it fell,
Warm were the sunbeams, and glancing so gaily,
That gold seem'd to dazzle along the flower'd vale.
At length from the hill I heard,
Plaintively wild, a bard,
Yet pleasant to me was his soul's ardent flow;
"Remember what Morard says,
Morard of many days,
Life's like the dew on the hill of the roe.
"Son of the peaceful vale, keep from the battle plain,
Sad is the song that the bugle-horns sing;
Though lovely the standard it waves o'er the mangled slain,
Widows' sighs stretching its broad gilded wing.
Hard are the laws that bind
Poor foolish man and blind;
But free thou may'st walk as the breezes that blow,
Thy cheeks with health's roses spread,
Till time clothes with snow thy head,
Fairer than dew on the hill of the roe.
"Wouldst thou have peace in thy mind when thou'rt hoary,
Shun vice's paths in the days of thy bloom;
Innocence leads to the summit of glory,
Innocence gilds the dark shades of the tomb.
The tyrant, whose hands are red,
Trembles alone in bed;
[Pg 87] But pure is the peasant's soul, pure as the snow,
No horror fiends haunt his rest,
Hope fills his placid breast,
Hope bright as dew on the hill of the roe."
Ceased the soft voice, for gray mist was descending,
Slow rose the bard and retired from the hill,
The blackbird's mild notes with the thrush's were blending,
Oft scream'd the plover her wild notes and shrill,
Yet still from the hoary bard,
Methought the sweet song I heard,
Mix'd with instruction and blended with woe;
And oft as I pass along,
Chimes in mine ear his song,
"Life's like the dew on the hill of the roe."
[Pg 88]


The author of a sweet pastoral lyric, which has been praised both by Robert Burns and Allan Cunningham, Isobel Pagan claims a biographical notice. She was born in the parish of New Cumnock, Ayrshire, about the year 1741. Deserted by her relations in youth, and possessing only an imperfect education, she was led into a course of irregularities which an early moral training would have probably prevented. She was lame and singularly ill-favoured, but her manners were spirited and amusing. Her chief employment was the composition of verses, and these she sung as a mode of subsistence. She published, in 1805, a volume of doggerel rhymes, and was in the habit of satirising in verse those who had offended her. Her one happy effort in song-making has preserved her name. She lived chiefly in the neighbourhood of Muirkirk. She died on the 3d November 1821, in her eightieth year, and her remains were interred in the churchyard of Muirkirk. A tombstone marks her grave.[Pg 89]


Ca' the yowes to the knowes,
Ca' them where the heather grows,
Ca' them where the burnie rows,
My bonnie dearie.
As I gaed down the water-side,
There I met my shepherd lad,
He row'd me sweetly in his plaid,
An' he ca'd me his dearie.
"Will ye gang down the water-side,
And see the waves sae sweetly glide
Beneath the hazels spreading wide?
The moon it shines fu' clearly.
"Ye shall get gowns and ribbons meet,
Cauf-leather shoon to thy white feet,
And in my arms ye'se lie and sleep,
And ye shall be my dearie."
"If ye'll but stand to what ye've said,
I'se gang wi' you, my shepherd lad,
And ye may row me in your plaid,
And I shall be your dearie."
"While water wimples to the sea,
While day blinks in the lift sae hie,
Till clay-cauld death shall blin' my e'e,
Ye shall be my dearie."

[Pg 90]


John Mitchell, the Paisley bard, died in that place on the 12th August 1856, in his seventieth year. He was born at Paisley in 1786. The labour of weaving he early sought to relieve by the composition of verses. He contributed pieces, both in prose and verse, to the Moral and Literary Observer, a small Paisley periodical of the year 1823, and of which he was the publisher. In 1838, he appeared as the author of "A Night on the Banks of the Doon, and other Poems," a volume which was followed in 1840 by "The Wee Steeple's Ghaist, and other Poems and Songs," the latter being dedicated to Professor Wilson. In the year 1840, he likewise produced, jointly with a Mr Dickie, the "Philosophy of Witchcraft," a work which, published by Messrs Oliver and Boyd, was well received. His next publication appeared in 1845, with the title, "One Hundred Original Songs." His last work, "My Gray Goose Quill, and other Poems and Songs," was published in 1852.

Mitchell employed himself latterly in forwarding the sale of his publications, and succeeded by this course in securing a comfortable maintenance. He wrote verses with much readiness, and occasionally with considerable power. His songs, which we have selected for the present work, are distinguished by graceful simplicity and elegant pathos. Had Mitchell written less, and more carefully, he had reached a higher niche in the Temple of National Song. His manners were eccentric, and he was not unconscious of his poetical endowments.[Pg 91]


What wakes the Poet's lyre?
'Tis Beauty;
What kindles his poetic fire?
'Tis Beauty;
What makes him seek, at evening's hour,
The lonely glen, the leafy bower,
When dew hangs on each little flower?
Oh! it is Beauty.
What melts the soldier's soul?
'Tis Beauty;
What can his love of fame control?
'Tis Beauty;
For oft, amid the battle's rage,
Some lovely vision will engage
His thoughts and war's rough ills assuage:
Such power has Beauty.
What tames the savage mood?
'Tis Beauty;
What gives a polish to the rude?
'Tis Beauty;
What gives the peasant's lowly state
A charm which wealth cannot create,
And on the good alone will wait?
'Tis faithful Beauty.
Then let our favourite toast
Be Beauty;
Is it not king and peasant's boast?
Yes, Beauty;
[Pg 92] Then let us guard with tender care
The gentle, th' inspiring fair,
And Love will a diviner air
Impart to Beauty.


Star of descending Night!
Lovely and fair,
Robed in thy mellow light,
Subtle and rare;
Whence are thy silvery beams,
That o'er lone ocean gleams,
And in our crystal streams
Dip their bright hair?
Far in yon liquid sky,
Where streamers play
And the red lightnings fly,
Hold'st thou thy way;
Clouds may envelop thee,
Winds rave o'er land and sea,
O'er them thy march is free
As thine own ray.


Oh! waft me to the fairy clime
Where Fancy loves to roam,
Where Hope is ever in her prime,
And Friendship has a home;
[Pg 93] There will I wander by the streams
Where Song and Dance combine,
Around my rosy waking dreams
Ecstatic joys to twine.
On Music's swell my thoughts will soar
Above created things,
And revel on the boundless shore
Of rapt imaginings.
The rolling spheres beyond earth's ken
My fancy will explore,
And seek, far from the haunts of men,
The Poet's mystic lore.
Love will add gladness to the scene,
And strew my path with flowers;
And Joy with Innocence will lean
Amid my rosy bowers.
Then waft me to the fairy clime
Where Fancy loves to roam,
Where Hope is ever in her prime,
And Friendship has a home.


The love-sick maid, the love-sick maid,
Ah! who will comfort bring to the love-sick maid?
Can the doctor cure her woe
When she will not let him know
Why the tears incessant flow
From the love-sick maid?
[Pg 94]
The flaunting day, the flaunting day,
She cannot bear the glare of the flaunting day!
For she sits and pines alone,
And will comfort take from none;
Nay, the very colour's gone
From the love-sick maid.
The secret 's out, the secret 's out,
A doctor has been found, and the secret 's out!
For she finds at e'ening's hour,
In a rosy woodland bower,
Charms worth a prince's dower
To a love-sick maid.
[Pg 95]


Alexander Jamieson was born in the village of Dalmellington, Ayrshire, on the 29th January 1789. After a course of study at the University of Edinburgh, he obtained licence as a medical practitioner. In 1819, he settled as a surgeon and apothecary in the town of Alloa. A skilful mechanician, he constructed a small printing-press for his own use; he was likewise ardently devoted to the study of botany. He composed verses with remarkable facility, many of which he contributed to the Stirling Journal newspaper. His death was peculiarly melancholy: he had formed one of a pic-nic party, on a fine summer day, to the summit of Bencleugh, one of the Ochils, and descending by a shorter route to visit a patient at Tillicoultry, he missed his footing, and was precipitated about two hundred feet into one of the ravines. He was early next morning discovered by a shepherd, but only survived a few hours afterwards. His death took place on the 26th July 1826. Possessed of varied talents, and excellent dispositions, Jamieson was deeply regretted by his friends. He left a widow, who died lately in Dunfermline. His songs, of which two specimens are adduced, afford evidence of power.[Pg 96]


"Russian Air."

The maid who wove the rosy wreath
With every flower—hath wrought a spell,
And though her chaplets fragrance breathe
And balmy sweets—I know full well,
'Neath every bud, or blossom gay,
There lurks a chain—Love's tyranny.
Though round her ruby lips, enshrin'd,
Sits stillness, soft as evening skies—
Though crimson'd cheek you seldom find,
Or glances from her downcast eyes—
There lurks, unseen, a world of charms,
Which ne'er betray young Love's alarms.
O trust not to her silent tongue;
Her settled calm, or absent smile;
Nor dream that nymph, so fair and young,
May not enchain in Love's soft guile;
For where Love is—or what's Love's spell—
No mortal knows—no tongue can tell.

[Pg 97]


Welsh Air"Sir William Watkin Wynne."

From Beauty's soft lip, like the balm of its roses,
Or breath of the morning, a sigh took its flight;
Nor far had it stray'd forth, when Pity proposes
The wanderer should lodge in this bosom a night.
But scarce had the guest, in that peaceful seclusion,
His lodging secured, when a conflict arose,
Each feeling was changed, every thought was delusion,
Nor longer my breast knew the calm of repose.
They say that young Love is a rosy-cheek'd bowyer,
At random the shafts from his silken string fly,
But surely the urchin of peace is destroyer,
Whose arrows are dipp'd in the balm of a sigh.
O yes! for he whisper'd, "To Beauty's shrine hie thee;
There worship to Cupid, and wait yet awhile;
A cure she can give, with the balm can supply thee,
The wound from a sigh can be cured by a smile."
[Pg 98]


A short-lived poet and song-writer of some promise, John Goldie was born at Ayr on the 22d December 1798. His father, who bore the same Christian name, was a respectable shipmaster. Obtaining an ample education at the academy of his native town, he became, in his fifteenth year, assistant to a grocer in Paisley; he subsequently held a similar situation in a stoneware and china shop in Glasgow. In 1821 he opened, on his own account, a stoneware establishment at Ayr; but proving unfortunate in business, he abandoned the concerns of trade. From his boyhood being devoted to literature he now resolved on its cultivation as a means of support. Already known as an occasional contributor, both in prose and verse, to the public press, he received the appointment of assistant editor of the Ayr Courier, and shortly after obtained the entire literary superintendence of that journal. In 1821, he published a pamphlet of respectable verses; and in the following year appeared as the author of a duodecimo volume of "Poems and Songs," which he inscribed to the Ettrick Shepherd. Of the compositions in the latter publication, the greater portion, he intimates in the preface, "were composed at an early age, chiefly betwixt the years of sixteen and twenty;" and as the production of a very young man, the volume is altogether creditable to his genius and taste.

Deprived of the editorship of the Courier, in consequence of a change in the proprietary, Goldie proceeded[Pg 99] to London, in the hope of forming a connexion with some of the leading newspapers in the metropolis. Unsuccessful in this effort, he formed the project of publishing The London Scotsman, a newspaper to be chiefly devoted to the consideration of Scottish affairs. Lacking that encouragement necessary to the ultimate success of this adventure, he abandoned the scheme after the third publication, and in very reduced circumstances returned to Scotland. He now projected the Paisley Advertiser, of which the first number appeared on the 9th October 1824. The editorship of this newspaper he retained till his death, which took place suddenly on the 27th February 1826, in his twenty-eighth year.

Of a vigorous intellect, and possessed of a correct literary taste, Goldie afforded excellent promise of eminence as a journalist. As a poet and song-writer, a rich vein of humour pervades certain of his compositions, while others are marked by a plaintive tenderness. Of sociable and generous dispositions, he was much esteemed by a circle of admiring friends. His personal appearance was pleasing, and his countenance wore the aspect of intelligence.[Pg 100]


Air"Loudon's Bonnie Woods and Braes."

And can thy bosom bear the thought
To part frae love and me, laddie?
Are all those plighted vows forgot,
Sae fondly pledged by thee, laddie?
Canst thou forget the midnight hour,
When in yon love-inspiring bower,
You vow'd by every heavenly power
You'd ne'er lo'e ane but me, laddie?
Wilt thou—wilt thou gang and leave me—
Win my heart and then deceive me?
Oh! that heart will break, believe me,
Gin' ye part wi' me, laddie.
Aft ha'e ye roos'd my rosy cheek,
Aft praised my sparkling e'e, laddie,
Aft said nae bliss on earth ye'd seek,
But love and live wi' me, laddie.
But soon those cheeks will lose their red,
Those eyes in endless sleep be hid,
And 'neath the turf the heart be laid
That beats for love and thee, laddie.
Wilt thou—wilt thou gang and leave me—
Win my heart and then deceive me?
Oh! that heart will break, believe me,
Gin ye part frae me, laddie.
You'll meet a form mair sweet and fair,
Where rarer beauties shine, laddie,
But, oh! the heart can never bear
A love sae true as mine, laddie.
[Pg 101] But when that heart is laid at rest—
That heart that lo'ed ye last and best—
Oh! then the pangs that rend thy breast
Will sharper be than mine, laddie.
Broken vows will vex and grieve me,
Till a broken heart relieve me—
Yet its latest thought, believe me,
Will be love an' thine, laddie.


Sweet's the dew-deck'd rose in June
And lily fair to see, Annie,
But there's ne'er a flower that blooms
Is half so fair as thee, Annie.
Beside those blooming cheeks o' thine
The opening rose its beauties tine,
Thy lips the rubies far outshine,
Love sparkles in thine e'e, Annie.
The snaw that decks yon mountain top
Nae purer is than thee, Annie;
The haughty mien and pridefu' look
Are banish'd far frae thee, Annie.
And in thy sweet angelic face
Triumphant beams each modest grace;
And ne'er did Grecian chisel trace
A form sae bright as thine, Annie.
[Pg 102]
Wha could behold thy rosy cheek
And no feel love's sharp pang, Annie;
What heart could view thy smiling looks,
And plot to do thee wrang, Annie?
Thy name in ilka sang I'll weave,
My heart, my soul, wi' thee I'll leave,
And never, till I cease to breathe,
I'll cease to think on thee, Annie.
[Pg 103]


Robert Pollok, author of the immortal poem, "The Course of Time," was the son of a small farmer in the parish of Eaglesham, Renfrewshire, where he was born on the 19th October 1798. With a short interval of employment in the workshop of a cabinetmaker, he was engaged till his seventeenth year in services about his father's farm. Resolving to prepare for the ministry in the Secession Church, he took lessons in classical learning at the parish school of Fenwick, Ayrshire, and in twelve months fitted himself for the university. He attended the literary and philosophical classes in Glasgow College, during five sessions, and subsequently studied in the Divinity Hall of the United Secession Church. He wrote verses in his boyhood, in his eighteenth year composed a poetical essay, and afterwards produced respectable translations from the Classics as college exercises. His great poem, "The Course of Time," was commenced in December 1824, and finished within the space of nineteen months. On the 24th March 1827, the poem was published by Mr Blackwood; and on the 2d of the following May the author received his license as a probationer. The extraordinary success of his poem had excited strong anticipations in respect of his professional career, but these were destined to disappointment. Pollok only preached four times. His constitution, originally robust, had suffered from over exertion in boyhood, and more recently from a course of sedulous application in preparing for license, and in the[Pg 104] production of his poem. To recruit his wasted strength, a change of climate was necessary, and that of Italy was recommended. The afflicted poet only reached Southampton, where he died a few weeks after his arrival, on the 18th September 1827. In Millbrook churchyard, near Southampton, where his remains were interred, a monument has been erected to his memory.

Besides his remarkable poem, Pollok published three short tales relative to the sufferings of the Covenanters. He had projected a large work respecting the influences which Christianity had exercised upon literature. Since his death, several short poetical pieces from his pen have, along with a memoir, been published by his brother. In person he was of the ordinary height, and of symmetrical form. His complexion was pale brown; his features small, and his eyes dark and piercing. "He was," writes Mr Gabriel Neil, who enjoyed his friendship, "of plain simple manners, with a well-cultivated mind; he loved debate, and took pleasure in good-humoured controversy." The copyright of "The Course of Time" continues to produce emolument to the family.[Pg 105]


On the fierce savage cliffs that look down on the flood,
Where to ocean the dark waves of Gabia haste,
All lonely, a maid of black Africa stood,
Gazing sad on the deep and the wide roaring waste.
A bark for Columbia hung far on the tide,
And still to that bark her dim wistful eye clave;
Ah! well might she gaze—in the ship's hollow side,
Moan'd her Zoopah in chains—in the chains of a slave.
Like the statue of Sorrow, forgetting to weep,
Long dimly she follow'd the vanishing sail,
Till it melted away where clouds mantle the deep;
Then thus o'er the billows she utter'd her wail:—
"O my Zoopah come back! wilt thou leave me to woe?
Come back, cruel ship, and take Monia too!
Ah ye winds, wicked winds! what fiend bids ye blow
To waft my dear Zoopah far, far from my view?
       *       *       *       *       *
"Great Spirit! why slumber'd the wrath of thy clouds,
When the savage white men dragg'd my Zoopah away?
Why linger'd the panther far back in his woods?
Was the crocodile full of the flesh of his prey?
"Ah cruel white monsters! plague poison their breath,
And sleep never visit the place of their bed!
On their children and wives, on their life and their death,
Abide still the curse of an African maid!"
[Pg 106]


J. C. Denovan was born at Edinburgh in 1798. Early evincing a predilection for a seafaring life, he was enabled to enter a sloop of war, with the honorary rank of a midshipman. After accomplishing a single voyage, he was necessitated, by the death of his father, to abandon his nautical occupation, and to seek a livelihood in Edinburgh. He now became, in his sixteenth year, apprentice to a grocer; and he subsequently established himself as a coffee-roaster in the capital. He died in 1827. Of amiable dispositions, he was an agreeable and unassuming member of society. He courted the Muse to interest his hours of leisure, and his poetical aspirations received the encouragement of Sir Walter Scott and other men of letters.[Pg 107]


Thou hast left me, dear Dermot! to cross the wide seas,
And thy Norah lives grieving in sadness forlorn,
She laments and looks back on the past happy days
When thy presence had left her no object to mourn
Those days that are past,
Too joyous to last,
A pang leaves behind them, 'tis Heaven's decree;
No joy now is mine,
In sadness I pine,
Till Dermot, dear Dermot, returns back to me.
O Dermot, dear Dermot! why, why didst thou leave
The girl who holds thee so dear in her heart?
Oh! couldst thou hold a thought that would cause her to grieve,
Or think for one moment from Norah to part?
Couldst thou reconcile
To leave this dear isle,
In a far unknown country, where dangers there be?
Oh! for thy dear sake
This poor heart will break,
If thou, dear beloved one, return not to me.
In silence I 'll weep till my Dermot doth come,
Alone will I wander by moon, noon, and night,
Still praying of Heaven to send him safe home
To her who 'll embrace him with joy and delight.
Then come, like a dove,
To thy faithful love,
Whose heart will entwine thee, fond, joyous, and free;
From danger's alarms
Speed to her open arms,
O Dermot, dear loved one! return back to me.
[Pg 108]


John Imlah, one of the sweetest and most patriotic of Scottish song-writers, was born in North Street, Aberdeen, about the close of the year 1799. His progenitors were farmers in the parish of Fyvie, but his father followed the profession of an innkeeper. Of seven sons, born in succession to his parents, the poet was the youngest. On completing an ordinary education at the grammar-school, he was apprenticed to a pianoforte maker in Aberdeen. Excelling as a piano-tuner he, in this capacity, sought employment in London, and was fortunate in procuring an engagement from the Messrs Broadwood. For the first six months of the year he performed the duties of a tuner in the metropolis, and during the remaining six months prosecuted his vocation in Scotland. Attached to his native country, he took delight in celebrating her strains. He composed songs from his boyhood. In 1827, he published "May Flowers," a duodecimo volume of lyrics, chiefly in the Scottish dialect, which he followed by a second volume of "Poems and Songs" in 1841. He contributed to Macleod's "National Melodies" and the Edinburgh Literary Journal. On the 9th January 1846, his death took place at Jamaica, whither he had gone on a visit to one of his brothers.

Imlah was a person of amiable dispositions and agreeable manners. Of his numerous lyrics, each is distinguished by a rich fancy, and several of his songs will maintain a lasting place in the national minstrelsy.[Pg 109]


Air"The Humours of Glen."

O distant but dear is that sweet island, wherein
My hopes with my Kathleen and kindred abide;
And far though I wander from thee, emerald Erin!
No space can the links of my love-chain divide.
Fairest spot of the earth! brightest gem of the ocean!
How oft have I waken'd my wild harp in thee!
While, with eye of expression, and heart of emotion,
Listen'd, Kathleen mavourneen, cuishlih ma chree!
The bloom of the moss-rose, the blush of the morning,
The soft cheek of Kathleen discloses their dye;
What ruby can rival the lip of mavourneen?
What sight-dazzling diamond can equal her eye?
Her silken hair vies with the sunbeam in brightness,
And white is her brow as the surf of the sea;
Thy footstep is like to the fairy's in lightness,
Of Kathleen mavourneen, cuishlih ma chree!
Fair muse of the minstrel! beloved of my bosom!
As the song of thy praise and my passion I breathed,
Thy fair fingers oft, with the triad leaf'd blossom,
Sweet Erin's green emblem, my wild harp have wreathed;
While with soft melting murmurs the bright river ran on,
That by thy bower follows the sun to the sea;
And oh! soon dawn the day I review the sweet Shannon
And Kathleen mavourneen, cuishlih ma chree!
[Pg 110]


Air"O'er the Muir amang the Heather."

Hey for the Hielan' heather!
Hey for the Hielan' heather!
Dear to me, an' aye shall be,
The bonnie braes o' Hielan' heather!
The moss-muir black an' mountain blue,
Whare mists at morn an' gloamin' gather;
The craigs an' cairns o' hoary hue,
Whare blooms the bonnie Hielan' heather!
Hey for the Hielan' heather!
Whare monie a wild bird wags its wing,
Baith sweet o' sang an' fair o' feather;
While cavern'd cliffs wi' echo ring,
Amang the hills o' Hielan' heather!
Hey for the Hielan' heather!
Whare, light o' heart an' light o' heel,
Young lads and lasses trip thegither;
The native Norlan rant and reel
Amang the halesome Hielan' heather!
Hey for the Hielan' heather!
The broom an' whin, by loch an' lin,
Are tipp'd wi' gowd in simmer weather;
How sweet an' fair! but meikle mair
The purple bells o' Hielan' heather!
Hey for the Hielan' heather!
[Pg 111]
Whare'er I rest, whare'er I range,
My fancy fondly travels thither;
Nae countrie charms, nae customs change
My feelings frae the Hielan' heather!
Hey, for the Hielan' heather!



Loved land of my kindred, farewell—and for ever!
Oh! what can relief to the bosom impart;
When fated with each fond endearment to sever,
And hope its sweet sunshine withholds from the heart!
Farewell, thou fair land! which, till life's pulse shall perish,
Though doom'd to forego, I shall never forget,
Wherever I wander, for thee will I cherish
The dearest regard and the deepest regret.
Farewell, ye great Grampians, cloud-robed and crested!
Like your mists in the sunbeam ye melt in my sight;
Your peaks are the king-eagle's thrones—where have rested
The snow-falls of ages—eternally white.
Ah! never again shall the falls of your fountains
Their wild murmur'd music awake on mine ear;
No more the lake's lustre, that mirrors your mountains,
I'll pore on with pleasure—deep, lonely, yet dear.
Yet—yet Caledonia! when slumber comes o'er me,
Oh! oft will I dream of thee, far, far, away;
But vain are the visions that rapture restore me,
To waken and weep at the dawn of the day.
[Pg 112] Ere gone the last glimpse, faint and far o'er the ocean,
Where yet my heart dwells—where it ever shall dwell,
While tongue, sigh and tear, speak my spirit's emotion,
My country—my kindred—farewell, oh farewell!


A bonnie Rose bloom'd wild and fair,
As sweet a bud I trow
As ever breathed the morning air,
Or drank the evening dew.
A Zephyr loved the blushing flower,
With sigh and fond love tale;
It woo'd within its briery bower
The rose of Seaton Vale.
With wakening kiss the Zephyr press'd
This bud at morning light;
At noon it fann'd its glowing breast,
And nestled there at night.
But other flowers sprung up thereby,
And lured the roving gale;
The Zephyr left to droop and die
The Rose of Seaton Vale.
A matchless maiden dwelt by Don,
Loved by as fair a youth;
Long had their young hearts throbb'd as one
Wi' tenderness and truth.
Thy warmest tear, soft Pity, pour—
For Ellen's type and tale
Are in that sweet, ill-fated flower,
The Rose of Seaton Vale.
[Pg 113]


Young Donald dearer loved than life
The proud Dunallan's daughter;
But, barr'd by feudal hate and strife,
In vain he loved and sought her.
She loved the Lord of Garry's glen,
The chieftain of Clanronald;
A thousand plaided Highlandmen
Clasp'd the claymore for Donald.
On Scotland rush'd the Danish hordes,
Dunallan met his foemen;
Beneath him bared ten thousand swords
Of vassal, serf, and yeomen.
The fray was fierce—and at its height
Was seen a visor'd stranger,
With red lance foremost in the fight,
Unfearing Dane and danger.
"Be praised—brave knight! thy steel hath striven
The sharpest in the slaughter;
Crave what thou wilt of me—though even
My fair—my darling daughter!"
He lifts the visor from his face—
The chieftain of Clanronald!
And foes enclasp in friends' embrace,
Dunallan and young Donald.
Dunallan's halls ring loud with glee—
The feast-cup glads Glengarry;
The joy that should for ever be
When mutual lovers marry.
[Pg 114] The shout and shell the revellers raise,
Dunallan and Clanronald;
And minstrel measures pour to praise
Fair Kath'rine and brave Donald!


Guid night, and joy be wi' you a'!
Since it is sae that I maun gang;
Short seem'd the gate to come, but ah!
To gang again as wearie lang.
Sic joyous nights come nae sae thrang
That I sae sune sou'd haste awa';
But since it's sae that I maun gae,
Guid night, and joy be wi' ye a'!
This night I ween we've had the heart
To gar auld Time tak' to his feet;
That makes us a' fu' laith to part,
But aye mair fain again to meet!
To dree the winter's drift and weet
For sic a night is nocht ava,
For hours the sweetest o' the sweet;
Guid night, an' joy be wi' you a'!
Our bald-pow'd daddies here we've seen,
In younker revels fidgin' fain;
Our gray-hair'd grannies here hae been,
Like daffin hizzies, young again!
To mony a merrie auld Scot's strain
We've deftly danced the time awa':
We met in mirth—we part wi' pain,
Guid night, an' joy be wi' you a'!
[Pg 115]
My nimble gray neighs at the yett,
My shouthers roun' the plaid I throw;
I've clapt the spur upon my buit,
The guid braid bonnet on my brow!
Then night is wearing late I trow—
My hame lies mony a mile awa';
The mair's my need to mount and go,
Guid night, an' joy be wi' you a'!


Rise, rise! Lowland and Highlandman,
Bald sire to beardless son, each come and early;
Rise, rise! mainland and islandmen,
Belt on your broad claymores—fight for Prince Charlie;
Down from the mountain steep,
Up from the valley deep,
Out from the clachan, the bothie, and shieling,
Bugle and battle-drum
Bid chief and vassal come,
Bravely our bagpipes the pibroch is pealing.
Men of the mountains—descendants of heroes!
Heirs of the fame as the hills of your fathers;
Say, shall the Southern—the Sassenach fear us
When to the war-peal each plaided clan gathers?
Too long on the trophied walls
Of your ancestral halls,
[Pg 116] Red rust hath blunted the armour of Albin;
Seize then, ye mountain Macs,
Buckler and battle-axe,
Lads of Lochaber, Braemar, and Breadalbin!
When hath the tartan plaid mantled a coward?
When did the blue bonnet crest the disloyal?
Up, then, and crowd to the standard of Stuart,
Follow your leader—the rightful—the royal!
Chief of Clanronald,
Donald Macdonald!
Lovat! Lochiel! with the Grant and the Gordon!
Rouse every kilted clan,
Rouse every loyal man,
Gun on the shoulder, and thigh the good sword on!


Air"The Dawtie."

There lives a young lassie
Far down yon lang glen,
How I lo'e that lassie
There's nae ane can ken!
Oh! a saint's faith may vary,
But faithfu' I'll be—
For weel I lo'e Mary,
And Mary lo'es me.
Red, red as the rowan
Her smiling wee mou,
An' white as the gowan
Her breast and her brow;
[Pg 117] Wi' the foot o' a fairy
She links o'er the lea—
Oh! weel I lo'e Mary,
An' Mary lo'es me.
Where yon tall forest timmer,
An' lowly broom bower,
To the sunshine o' simmer,
Spread verdure an' flower;
There, when night clouds the cary,
Beside her I'll be—
For weel I lo'e Mary,
An' Mary lo'es me!


Oh! gin I were where Gadie rins,
Where Gadie rins, where Gadie rins—
Oh, gin I were where Gadie rins
By the foot o' Bennachie.
[Pg 118]
I've roam'd by Tweed, I've roam'd by Tay,
By Border Nith, and Highland Spey,
But dearer far to me than they
The braes o' Bennachie.
[Pg 119]
When blade and blossoms sprout in spring,
And bid the burdies wag the wing,
They blithely bob, and soar, and sing
By the foot o' Bennachie.
When simmer cleeds the varied scene
Wi' licht o' gowd and leaves o' green,
I fain would be where aft I've been
At the foot o' Bennachie.
When autumn's yellow sheaf is shorn,
And barn-yards stored wi' stooks o' corn,
'Tis blithe to toom the clyack horn
At the foot o' Bennachie.
When winter winds blaw sharp and shrill
O'er icy burn and sheeted hill,
The ingle neuk is gleesome still
At the foot o' Bennachie.
Though few to welcome me remain,
Though a' I loved be dead and gane,
I'll back, though I should live alane,
To the foot o' Bennachie.
Oh, gin I were where Gadie rins,
Where Gadie rins, where Gadie rins—
Oh, gin I were where Gadie rins
By the foot o' Bennachie.
[Pg 120]


John Tweedie was born in the year 1800, in the vicinity of Peebles, where his father was a shepherd. Obtaining a classical education, he proceeded to the University of Edinburgh, to prosecute his studies for the Established Church. By acting as a tutor during the summer months, he was enabled to support himself at the university, and after the usual curriculum, he was licensed as a probationer. Though possessed of popular talents as a preacher, he was not successful in obtaining a living in the Church. During his probationary career, he was employed as a tutor in the family of the minister of Newbattle, assisted in the parish of Eddleston, and ultimately became missionary at Stockbridge, Edinburgh. He died at Linkfieldhall, Musselburgh, on the 29th February 1844. Tweedie was a person of amiable dispositions and unaffected piety; he did not much cultivate his gifts as a poet, but the following song from his pen, to the old air, "Saw ye my Maggie," has received a considerable measure of popularity.[14][Pg 121]


Saw ye my Annie,
Saw ye my Annie,
Saw ye my Annie,
Wading 'mang the dew?
My Annie walks as light
As shadow in the night
Or downy cloudlet light
Alang the fields o' blue.
What like is your Annie,
What like is your Annie,
What like is your Annie,
That we may ken her be?
She's fair as nature's flush,
Blithe as dawning's blush,
And gentle as the hush
When e'ening faulds her e'e.
Yonder comes my Annie,
Yonder comes my Annie,
Yonder comes my Annie,
Bounding o'er the lea.
Lammies play before her,
Birdies whistle o'er her,
I mysell adore her,
In heavenly ecstasy.
Come to my arms, my Annie,
Come to my arms, my Annie,
Come to my arms, my Annie,
Speed, speed, like winged day.
My Annie's rosy cheek
Smiled fair as morning's streak,
We felt, but couldna speak,
'Neath love's enraptured sway.
[Pg 122]


Thomas Atkinson, a respectable writer of prose and verse, was born at Glasgow about the year 1800. Having completed an apprenticeship to Mr Turnbull, bookseller, Trongate, he entered into copartnership with Mr David Robertson, subsequently King's publisher in the city. Of active business habits, he conducted, along with his partner, an extensive bookselling trade, yet found leisure for the pursuits of elegant literature. At an early age he published "The Sextuple Alliance," a series of poems on the subject of Napoleon Bonaparte, which afforded considerable promise, and received the commendation of Sir Walter Scott. In 1827, he published "The Ant," a work in two volumes, one of which consists of entirely original, and the other of selected matter. "The Chameleon," a publication of the nature of an annual, commenced in 1831, and extended to three octavo volumes. Of this work, a melange of prose and poetry, the contents for the greater part were of his own composition. The last volume appeared in September 1833, shortly before his death.

Deeply interested in the public affairs, Atkinson was distinguished as a public speaker. At the general election, subsequent to the passing of the Reform Bill, he was invited to become a candidate in the liberal interest for the parliamentary representation of the Stirling burghs, in opposition to Lord Dalmeny, who was[Pg 123] returned. Naturally of a sound constitution, the exertions of his political canvass superinduced an illness, which terminated in pulmonary consumption. During a voyage he had undertaken to Barbadoes for the recovery of his health, he died at sea on the 10th October 1833. His remains, placed in an oaken coffin, which he had taken along with him, were buried in the deep. He bequeathed a sum, to be applied, after accumulation, in erecting a building in Glasgow for scientific purposes. A monument to his memory has been erected in the Glasgow Necropolis. The following stanzas were composed by the dying poet at the outset of his voyage, and less than three weeks prior to his decease; they are dated the "River Mersey," 21st September 1833:—

I could not, as I gazed my last—there was on me a spell,
In all its simple agony—breathe that lone word—"Farewell,"
Which hath no hope that clings to it, the closer as it dies,
In song alone 'twould pass the lips that loved the dear disguise.
I go across a bluer wave than now girds round my bark,
As forth the dove went trembling—but to my Father's ark
Shall I return? I may not ask my doubting heart, but yet
To hope and wish in one—how hard the lesson to forget.
       *       *       *       *       *
But drooping head and feeble limbs—and, oh! a beating heart,
Remind the vow'd to sing no more of all his weary part;
Yet, with a voice that trembles as the sounds unloose the spell,
In this, his last and rudest lay, he now can breathe—"Farewell."

In the "Chameleon" several of Mr Atkinson's songs are set to music, but, with the exception of "Mary Shearer," none of them are likely to obtain popularity.[Pg 124]


She's aff and awa', like the lang summer-day,
And our hearts and our hills are now lanesome and dreary;
The sun-blinks o' June will come back ower the brae,
But lang for blithe Mary fu' mony may weary.
For mair hearts than mine
Kenn'd o' nane that were dearer;
But nane mair will pine
For the sweet Mary Shearer!
She cam' wi' the spring, just like ane o' its flowers,
And the blue-bell and Mary baith blossom'd thegither;
The bloom o' the mountain again will be ours,
But the rose o' the valley nae mair will come hither.
Their sweet breath is fled—
Her kind looks still endear her;
For the heart maun be dead
That forgets Mary Shearer!
Than her brow ne'er a fairer wi' jewels was hung;
An e'e that was brighter ne'er glanced on a lover;
Sounds safter ne'er dropt frae an aye-saying tongue,
Nor mair pure is the white o' her bridal-bed cover.
Oh! he maun be bless'd
Wha's allow'd to be near her;
For the fairest and best
O' her kind 's Mary Shearer!
[Pg 125]
But farewell Glenlin, and Dunoon, and Loch Striven,
My country and kin,—since I 've sae lov'd the stranger;
Whare she 's been maun be either a pine or a heaven—
Sae across the braid warld for a while I'm a ranger.
Though I try to forget,
In my heart still I 'll wear her,
For mine may be yet—
Name and a'—Mary Shearer!
[Pg 126]


William Gardiner, the author of "Scotland's Hills," was born at Perth about the year 1800. He established himself as a bookseller in Cupar-Fife. During a period of residence in Dundee, in acquiring a knowledge of his trade, he formed the acquaintance of the poet Vedder. With the assistance of this gifted individual, he composed his popular song of "Scotland's Hills." Introduced at a theatre in Dundee, it was received with marked approbation. It was first printed, in January 1829, in the Fife Herald newspaper, with a humorous preface by Vedder, and was afterwards copied into the Edinburgh Literary Gazette. It has since found a place in many of the collections of Scottish song, and has three different times been set to music.

Gardiner was unfortunate as a bookseller, and ultimately obtained employment in the publishing office of the Fife Herald. He died at Perth on the 4th July 1845. Some years before his death, he published a volume of original and selected compositions, under the title of "Gardiner's Miscellany." He was a person of amiable dispositions; and to other good qualities of a personal character, added considerable skill in music.[Pg 127]


O these are not my country's hills,
Though they seem bright and fair;
Though flow'rets deck their verdant sides,
The heather blooms not there.
Let me behold the mountain steep,
And wild deer roaming free—
The heathy glen, the ravine deep—
O Scotland's hills for me!
The rose, through all this garden-land,
May shed its rich perfume,
But I would rather wander 'mong
My country's bonnie broom.
There sings the shepherd on the hill,
The ploughman on the lea;
There lives my blithesome mountain maid,
O Scotland's hills for me!
The throstle and the nightingale
May warble sweeter strains
Than thrills at lovely gloaming hour
O'er Scotland's daisied plains;
[Pg 128] Give me the merle's mellow note,
The linnet's liquid lay;
The laverocks on the roseate cloud—
O Scotland's hills for me!
And I would rather roam beneath
Thy scowling winter skies,
Than listlessly attune my lyre
Where sun-bright flowers arise.
The baron's hall, the peasant's cot
Protect alike the free;
The tyrant dies who breathes thine air;
O Scotland's hills for me!
[Pg 129]


Robert Hogg was born in the parish of Stobo, about the close of the century. His father was William Hogg, eldest brother of the Ettrick Shepherd. William Hogg was also a shepherd, a sensible, well-conducted man, and possessed of considerable literary talent. Receiving a classical education at the grammar-school of Peebles, Robert proceeded to the University of Edinburgh, with the intention of studying for the Church. Abandoning his original views, he became corrector of the press, or reader in the printing-office of Messrs Ballantyne. John Wilson, the future vocalist, was his yoke-fellow in office. His official duties were arduous, but he contrived to find leisure for contributing, both in prose and verse, to the periodicals. His literary talents attracted the favourable notice of Mr J. G. Lockhart, who, on being appointed, in 1825, to conduct the Quarterly Review, secured his services as secretary or literary assistant. He therefore proceeded to London, but as it was found there was not sufficient occasion for his services in his new appointment, he returned in a few months to the duties of his former situation. For a short period he acted as amanuensis to Sir Walter Scott, while the "Life of Napoleon" was in progress. According to his own account,[16] this must have been no relief from his ordinary toils, for Sir Walter was at his task from early morning till almost[Pg 130] evening, excepting only two short spaces for meals. When Chambers's Edinburgh Journal was commenced, Hogg was asked by his former schoolfellow, Mr Robert Chambers, to undertake the duties of assistant editor, on a salary superior to that which he then received; but this office, from a conscientious scruple about his ability to give satisfaction, he was led to decline. He was an extensive contributor, both in prose and verse, to the two first volumes of this popular periodical; but before the work had gone further, his health began to give way, and he retired to his father's house in Peeblesshire, where he died in 1834. He left a young wife and one child.

Robert Hogg was of low stature and of retiring manners. He was fond of humour, but was possessed of the strictest integrity and purity of heart. His compositions are chiefly scattered among the contemporary periodical literature. He contributed songs to the "Scottish and Irish Minstrels" and "Select Melodies" of R. A. Smith; and a ballad, entitled "The Tweeddale Raide," composed in his youth, was inserted by his uncle in the "Mountain Bard." Those which appear in the present work are transcribed from a small periodical, entitled "The Rainbow," published at Edinburgh, in 1821, by R. Ireland; and from the Author's Album, in the possession of Mr Henry Scott Riddell, to whom it was presented by his parents after his decease. In the "Rainbow," several of Hogg's poetical pieces are translations from the German, and from the Latin of Buchanan. All his compositions evince taste and felicity of expression, but they are defective in startling originality and power.[17][Pg 131]


Haste, all ye fairy elves, hither to me,
Over the holme so green, over the lea,
Over the corrie, and down by the lake,
Cross ye the mountain-burn, thread ye the brake,
Stop not at muirland, wide river, nor sea:
Hasten, ye fairy elves, hither to me!
Come when the moonbeam bright sleeps on the hill;
Come at the dead of night when all is still;
Come over mountain steep, come over brae,
Through holt and valley deep, through glen-head gray;
Come from the forest glade and greenwood tree;
Hasten, ye fairy elves, hither to me!
Were ye by woodland or cleugh of the brae,
Were ye by ocean rock dash'd by the spray,
Were ye by sunny dell up in the ben,
Or by the braken howe far down the glen,
Or by the river side; where'er ye be,
Hasten, ye fairy elves, hither to me!
Hasten, ye fairy elves, hither to-night,
Haste to your revel sports gleesome and light,
To bathe in the dew-drops, and bask in the Leven,
And dance on the moonbeams far up the heaven,
Then sleep on the rosebuds that bloom on the lea;
Hasten, ye fairy elves, hither to me!
[Pg 132]


When autumn comes an' heather bells
Bloom bonnie owre yon moorland fells,
An' corn that waves on lowland dales
Is yellow ripe appearing;
Bonnie lassie will ye gang
Shear wi' me the hale day lang;
An' love will mak' us eithly bang
The weary toil o' shearing?
An' if the lasses should envy,
Or say we love, then you an' I
Will pass ilk ither slyly by,
As if we werena caring.
But aye I wi' my heuk will whang
The thistles, if in prickles strang
Your bonnie milk-white hands they wrang,
When we gang to the shearing.
An' aye we'll haud our rig afore,
An' ply to hae the shearing o'er,
Syne you will soon forget you bore
Your neighbours' jibes and jeering.
For then, my lassie, we'll be wed,
When we hae proof o' ither had,
An' nae mair need to mind what's said
When we're thegither shearing.
[Pg 133]


Gang wi' me to yonder howe, bonnie Peggie, O!
Down ayont the gowan knowe, bonnie Peggie, O!
When the siller burn rins clear,
When the rose blooms on the brier,
An' where there is none to hear, bonnie Peggie, O!
I hae lo'ed you e'en an' morn, bonnie Peggie, O!
You hae laugh'd my love to scorn, bonnie Peggie, O!
My heart's been sick and sair,
But it shall be sae nae mair,
I've now gotten a' my care, bonnie Peggie, O!
You hae said you love me too, bonnie Peggie, O!
An' you've sworn you will be true, bonnie Peggie, O!
Let the world gae as it will,
Be it weel or be it ill,
Nae hap our joy shall spill, bonnie Peggie, O!
Gang wi' me to yonder howe, bonnie Peggie, O!
Where the flowers o' simmer grow, bonnie Peggie, O!
Nae mair my love is cross'd,
Sorrow's sairest pang is past,
I am happy at the last, bonnie Peggie, O!


Oh, to bound o'er the bonnie blue sea,
With the winds and waves for guides,
From all the wants of Nature free
And all her ties besides.
[Pg 134] Beyond where footstep ever trode
Would I hold my onward way,
As wild as the waves on which I rode,
And fearless too as they.
The angry winds with lengthen'd sweep
Were music to mine ear;
I'd mark the gulfs of the yawning deep
Close round me without fear.
When winter storms burst from the cloud
And trouble the ocean's breast,
I'd joy me in their roaring loud,
And mid their war find rest.
By islands fair in the ocean placed,
With waves all murmuring round,
My wayward course should still be traced,
And still no home be found.
When calm and peaceful sleeps the tide,
And men look out to sea,
My bark in silence by should glide,
Their wonder and awe to be.
When sultry summer suns prevail,
And rest on the parching land,
The cool sea breeze would I inhale,
O'er the ocean breathing bland.
A restless sprite, that likes delight,
In calm and tempest found,
'Twere joy to me o'er the bonnie blue sea
For ever and aye to bound.
[Pg 135]


I love the merry moonlight,
So wooingly it dances,
At midnight hours, round leaves and flowers,
On which the fresh dew glances.
I love the merry moonlight,
On lake and pool so brightly
It pours its beams, and in the stream's
Rough current leaps so lightly.
I love the merry moonlight,
It ever shines so cheerily
When night clouds flit, that, but for it,
Would cast a shade so drearily.
I love the merry moonlight,
For when it gleams so mildly
The passions rest that rule the breast
At other times so wildly.
I love the merry moonlight,
For 'neath it I can borrow
Such blissful dreams, that this world seems
Without a sin or sorrow.

[Pg 136]


Oh, what are the chains of Love made of,
The only bonds that can,
As iron gyves the body, thrall
The free-born soul of man?
Can you twist a rope of beams of the sun,
Or have you power to seize,
And round your hand, like threads of silk,
Wind up the wandering breeze?
Can you collect the morning dew
And, with the greatest pains,
Beat every drop into a link,
And of these links make chains?
More fleeting in their nature still,
And less substantial are
Than sunbeam, breeze, and drop of dew,
Smile, sigh, and tear—by far.
And yet of these Love's chains are made,
The only bonds that can,
As iron gyves the body, thrall
The free-born soul of man.

[Pg 137]


A son of genius and of misfortune, John Wright was born on the 1st September 1805, at the farm-house of Auchincloigh, in the parish of Sorn, Ayrshire. From his mother, a woman of much originality and shrewdness, he inherited a strong inclination towards intellectual culture. His school education was circumscribed, but he experienced delight in improving his mind, by solitary musings amidst the amenities of the vicinity of Galston, a village to which his father had removed. At the age of seven, he began to assist his father in his occupation of a coal driver; and in his thirteenth year he was apprenticed to the loom. His master supplied him with books, which he perused with avidity, and he took an active part in the weekly meetings of apprentices for mutual literary improvement; but his chief happiness was still experienced in lonely rambles amidst the interesting scenes of the neighbourhood, which, often celebrated by the poets, were especially calculated to foment his own rapidly developing fancy. He fell in love, was accepted, and ultimately cast off—incidents which afforded him opportunities of celebrating the charms, and deploring the inconstancy of the fair. He composed a poem, of fifteen hundred lines, entitled "Mahomet, or the Hegira," and performed the extraordinary mental effort of retaining the whole on his memory, at the period being unable to write. "The Retrospect," a poem of more matured power, was an[Pg 138]nounced in 1824. At the recommendation of friends, having proceeded to Edinburgh to seek the counsel of men of letters, he submitted the MS. of his poem to Professor Wilson, Dr M'Crie, Mr Glassford Bell, and others, who severally expressed their approval, and commended a publication. "The Retrospect," accordingly, appeared with a numerous list of subscribers, and was well received by the press. The poet now removed to Cambuslang, near Glasgow, where he continued to prosecute his occupation of weaving. He entered into the married state by espousing Margaret Chalmers, a young woman of respectable connexions and considerable literary tastes. The desire of obtaining funds to afford change of climate to his wife, who was suffering from impaired health, induced him to propose a second edition of his poems, to be published by subscription. During the course of his canvass, he unfortunately contracted those habits of intemperance which have proved the bane of so many of the sons of genius. Returning to the loom at Cambuslang, he began to exchange the pleasures of the family hearth for the boisterous excitement of the tavern. He separated from his wife and children, and became the victim of dissipation. In 1853, some of his literary friends published the whole of his poetical works in a duodecimo volume, in the hope of procuring the means of extricating him from his painful condition. The attempt did not succeed. He died in an hospital in Glasgow, of fever, contracted by intemperance. As a poet, he was possessed of a rich fancy, with strong descriptive powers. His "Retrospect" abounds with beautiful passages; and some of his shorter poems and songs are destined to survive.[Pg 139]


Oh! would I were throned on yon glossy golden cloud,
Soaring to heaven with the eagle so proud,
Floating o'er the sky
Like a spirit, to descry
Each bright realm,—and, when I die,
May it be my shroud!
I would skim afar o'er ocean, and drink of bliss my fill,
O'er the thunders of Ni'gara and cataracts of Nile,—
With rising rainbows wreathed,
In mist and darkness sheathed,
Where nought but spirits breathed
Around me the while.
Above the mighty Alps (o'er the tempest's angry god
Careering on the avalanche) should be my bless'd abode.
There, where Nature lowers more wild
Than her most uncultured child,
Revels beauty—as one smiled
O'er life's darkest mood.
Our aerial flight should be where eye hath never been,
O'er the stormy Polar deep, where the icy Alps are seen,
Where Death sits, crested high,
As he would invade the sky,
Whilst the living valleys lie
In their beautiful green!
Spirit of the peaceful autumnal eve!
Child of enchantment! behind thee leave
[Pg 140] Thy semblance mantled o'er me;
Too full thy tide of glory
For Fancy to restore thee,
Or Memory give!


The moon hung o'er the gay greenwood,
The greenwood o'er the mossy stream,
That roll'd in rapture's wildest mood,
And flutter'd in the fairy beam.
Through light clouds flash'd the fitful gleam
O'er hill and dell,—all Nature lay
Wrapp'd in enchantment, like the dream
Of her that charm'd my homeward way!
Long had I mark'd thee, maiden fair!
And drunk of bliss from thy dark eye,
And still, to feed my fond despair,
Bless'd thy approach, and, passing by,
I turn'd me round to gaze and sigh,
In worship wild, and wish'd thee mine,
On that fair breast to live and die,
O'er-power'd with transport so divine!
Still sacred be that hour to love,
And dear the season of its birth,
And fair the glade, and green the grove,
Its bowers ne'er droop in wintry dearth
Of melody and woodland mirth!—
The hour, the spot, so dear to me!
That wean'd my soul from all on earth,
To be for ever bless'd in thee.
[Pg 141]


All night, by the pathway that crosses the moor,
I waited on Mary, I linger'd till morn,
Yet thought her not false—she had ever been true
To her tryst by the old blighted thorn.
I had heard of Love lighting to darken the heart,
Fickle, fleeting as wind and the dews of the morn;
Such were not my fears, though I sigh'd all night long,
And wept 'neath the old blighted thorn.
The snows, that were deep, had awaken'd my dread,
I mark'd as footprints far below by the burn;
I sped to the valley—I found her deep sunk,
On her way to the old blighted thorn!
I whisper'd, "My Mary!"—she spoke not: I caught
Her hand, press'd her pale cheek—'twas icy and cold;
Then sunk on her bosom—its throbbings were o'er—
Nor knew how I quitted my hold.


Stay, proud bird of the shore!
Carry my last breath with thee to the cliff,
Where waits our shatter'd skiff—
One that shall mark nor it nor lover more.
[Pg 142]
Fan with thy plumage bright
Her heaving heart to rest, as thou dost mine;
And, gently to divine
The tearful tale, flap out her beacon-light.
Again swoop out to sea,
With lone and lingering wail—then lay thy head,
As thou thyself wert dead,
Upon her breast, that she may weep for me.
Now let her bid false Hope
For ever hide her beam, nor trust again
The peace-bereaving strain—
Life has, but still far hence, choice flowers to crop.
Oh! bid not her repine,
And deem my loss too bitter to be borne,
Yet all of passion scorn
But the mild, deep'ning memory of mine.
Thou art away, sweet wind!
Bear the last trickling tear-drop on thy wing,
And o'er her bosom fling
The love-fraught pearly shower till rest it find!
[Pg 143]


Joseph Grant, a short-lived poet and prose writer, was born on the farm of Affrusk, parish of Banchory-Ternan, Kincardineshire, on the 26th of May 1805. He was instructed in the ordinary branches at the parish school, and employed as a youth in desultory labour about his father's farm. From boyhood he cherished a passionate love for reading, and was no less ardent in his admiration of the picturesque and beautiful in nature. So early as his fourteenth year he composed verses of some merit. In 1828, he published "Juvenile Lays," a collection of poems and songs; and in 1830, "Kincardineshire Traditions"—a small volume of ballads—both of which obtained a favourable reception. Desirous of emanating from the retirement of his native parish, he accepted, in 1831, the situation of assistant to a shop-keeper in Stonehaven, and soon afterwards proceeded to Dundee, where he was employed in the office of the Dundee Guardian newspaper, and subsequently as clerk to a respectable writer.

Grant furnished a series of tales and sketches for Chambers's Edinburgh Journal. In 1834, he published a second small volume of "Poems and Songs;" and subsequently, in the same year, committed to the press a prose work, entitled "Tales of the Glens," which he did not, however, survive to publish. After an illness of fifteen weeks, of a pulmonary complaint, he died on the 14th April 1835, in his thirtieth year. His remains[Pg 144] were interred in the churchyard of Strachan, Kincardineshire, where a tombstone, inscribed with some elegiac verses, has been erected to his memory. The "Tales of the Glens" were published shortly after his decease, under the editorial care of the late Mr James M'Cosh, of Dundee, editor of the Northern Warder newspaper; and, in 1836, an edition of his collected works was published at Edinburgh, with a biographical preface by the poet Nicol.

Of a fine genius, a gentle and amiable nature, and pure Christian sentiments, Grant afforded eminent promise, with a prolonged career, of becoming an ornament to literature. Cut down in the bloom of youth, his elegy has been recorded by the Brechin poet, Alexander Laing—

"A kinder, warmer heart than his
Was ne'er to minstrel given;
And kinder, holier sympathies
Ne'er sought their native heaven."
[Pg 145]


The blackbird's hymn is sweet
At fall of gloaming,
When slow, o'er grove and hill,
Night's shades are coming;
But there is a sound that far
More deeply moves us—
The low sweet voice of her
Who truly loves us.
Fair is the evening star
Rising in glory,
O'er the dark hill's brow,
Where mists are hoary;
But the star whose rays
The heart falls nearest,
Is the love-speaking eye
Of our heart's dearest.
Oh, lonely, lonely is
The human bosom,
That ne'er has nursed the sweets
Of young Love's blossom!
The loveliest breast is like
A starless morning,
When clouds frown dark and cold,
And storms are forming.
[Pg 146]


The e'e o' the dawn, Eliza,
Blinks over the dark green sea,
An' the moon 's creepin' down to the hill-tap,
Richt dim and drowsilie.
An' the music o' the mornin'
Is murmurin' alang the air;
Yet still my dowie heart lingers
To catch one sweet throb mair.
We've been as blest, Eliza,
As children o' earth can be,
Though my fondest wish has been knit by
The bonds of povertie;
An' through life's misty sojourn,
That still may be our fa',
But hearts that are link'd for ever
Ha'e strength to bear it a'.
The cot by the mutterin' burnie,
Its wee bit garden an' field,
May ha'e mair o' the blessin's o' Heaven
Than lichts o' the lordliest bield;
There 's many a young brow braided
Wi' jewels o' far-off isles,
But woe may be drinkin' the heart-springs,
While we see nought but smiles.
But adieu, my ain Eliza!
Where'er my wanderin's be,
Undyin' remembrance will make thee
The star o' my destinie;
An' well I ken, thou loved one,
That aye, till I return,
Thou 'lt treasure pure faith in thy bosom,
Like a gem in a gowden urn.
[Pg 147]


A poet of remarkable ingenuity and power, Dugald Moore was born in Stockwell Street, Glasgow, in 1805. His father, who was a private soldier in one of the Highland regiments, died early in life, leaving his mother in circumstances of poverty. From his mother's private tuition, he received the whole amount of his juvenile education. When a child he was sent to serve as a tobacco-boy for a small pittance of wages, and as a youth was received into the copper-printing branch of the establishment of Messrs James Lumsden and Son, booksellers, Queen Street. He very early began to write verses, and some of his compositions having attracted the notice of Mr Lumsden, senior, that benevolent gentleman afforded him every encouragement in the prosecution of his literary tastes. Through Mr Lumsden's personal exertions in procuring subscribers, he was enabled to lay before the public in 1829 a volume of poems entitled "The African, a Tale, and other Poems." Of this work a second edition was required in the following year, when he likewise gave to the world a second volume, with the title "Scenes from the Flood; the Tenth Plague, and other Poems." "The Bridal Night, and other Poems," a volume somewhat larger than its predecessors, appeared from his pen in 1831. The profits of these publications enabled him to commence on his own account as a bookseller and stationer in the city. His shop, No. 96 Queen Street, became the[Pg 148] rendezvous of men of letters, and many of the influential families gave its occupant the benefit of their custom.

In 1833, Moore published "The Bard of the North, a series of Poetical Tales, illustrative of Highland Scenery and Character;" in 1835, "The Hour of Retribution, and other Poems;" and in 1839, "The Devoted One, and other Poems." He died unmarried, after a brief illness, on the 2d January 1841, in his thirty-sixth year, leaving a competency for the support of his aged mother. Buried in the Necropolis of the city, a massive monument, surmounted by a bust, has been raised by his personal friends in tribute to his memory. Though slightly known to fame, Moore is entitled to rank among the most gifted of the modern national poets. Possessed of a vigorous conception, a lofty fancy, intense energy of feeling, and remarkable powers of versification, his poetry is everywhere impressed with the most decided indications of genius. He has chosen the grandest subjects, which he has adorned with the richest illustration, and an imagery copious and sublime. Had he occupied his Muse with themes less exalted, he might have enjoyed a wider temporary popularity; as it is, his poems will find admirers in future times.[Pg 149]


Rise, my love! the moon, unclouded,
Wanders o'er the dark blue sea;
Sleep the tyrant's eye has shrouded,
Hynda comes to set thee free!
Leave those vaults of pain and sorrow,
On the long and dreaming deep;
A bower will greet us ere to-morrow,
Where our eyes may cease to weep.
Oh! some little isle of gladness,
Smiling in the waters clear,
Where the dreary tone of sadness
Never smote the lonely ear—
Soon will greet us, and deliver
Souls so true, to freedom's plan;
Death may sunder us, but never
Tyrant's threats, nor fetters can.
Then our lute's exulting numbers,
Unrestrain'd will wander on,
While the night has seal'd in slumbers,
Fair creation, all her own.
And we'll wed, while music stealeth
Through the starry fields above,
While each bounding spirit feeleth
All the luxury of love.
Then we'll scorn oppression's minions,
All the despot's bolts and powers;
While Time wreathes his heavy pinions
With love's brightest passion-flowers.
[Pg 150] Rise, then! let us fly together,
Now the moon laughs on the sea;
East or west, I care not whither,
When with love and liberty!


Born where the glorious star-lights trace
In mountain snows their silver face,
Where Nature, vast and rude,
Looks as if by her God design'd
To fill the bright eternal mind,
With her fair magnitude.
Hers was a face, to which was given
Less portion of the earth than heaven,
As if each trait had stole
Its hue from Nature's shapes of light;
As if stars, flowers, and all things bright
Had join'd to form her soul.
Her heart was young—she loved to breathe
The air which spins the mountain's wreath,
To wander o'er the wild,
To list the music of the deep,
To see the round stars on it sleep,
For she was Nature's child!
Nursed where the soul imbibes the print
Of freedom—where nought comes to taint,
Or its warm feelings quell:
She felt love o'er her spirit driven,
Such as the angels felt in heaven,
Before they sinn'd and fell.
[Pg 151]
Her mind was tutor'd from its birth,
From all that's beautiful on earth—
Lights which cannot expire—
From all their glory, she had caught
A lustre, till each sense seem'd fraught
With heaven's celestial fire.
The desert streams familiar grown,
The stars had language of their own,
The hills contain'd a voice
With which she could converse, and bring
A charm from each insensate thing,
Which bade her soul rejoice.
She had the feeling and the fire,
That fortune's stormiest blast could tire,
Though delicate and young;
Her bosom was not formed to bend—
Adversity, that firmest friend,
Had all its fibres strung.
Such was my love—she scorn'd to hide
A passion which she deem'd a pride!
Oft have we sat and view'd
The beauteous stars walk through the night,
And Cynthia lift her sceptre bright,
To curb old Ocean's mood.
She'd clasp me as if ne'er to part,
That I might feel her beating heart—
Might read her living eye;
Then pause! I've felt the pure tide roll
Through every vein, which to my soul,
Said—Nature could not lie.
[Pg 152]


My spirit could its vigil hold
For ever at this silent spot;
But, ah! the heart within is cold,
The sleeper heeds me not:
The fairy scenes of love and youth,
The smiles of hope, the tales of truth,
By her are all forgot:
Her spirit with my bliss is fled—
I only weep above the dead!
I need not view the grassy swell,
Nor stone escutcheon'd fair;
I need no monument to tell
That thou art lying there:
I feel within, a world like this,
A fearful blank in all my bliss—
An agonized despair,
Which paints the earth in cheerful bloom,
But tells me, thou art in the tomb!
I knew Death's fatal power, alas
Could doom man's hopes to pine,
But thought that many a year would pass
Before he scatter'd mine!
Too soon he quench'd our morning rays,
Brief were our loves of early days—
Brief as those bolts that shine
With beautiful yet transient form,
Round the dark fringes of the storm!
I little thought, when first we met,
A few short months would see
Thy sun, before its noontide, set
In dark eternity!
[Pg 153] While love was beaming from thy face,
A lover's eye but ill could trace
Aught that obscured its ray;
So calm its pain thy bosom bore,
I thought not death was at its core!
The silver moon is shining now
Upon thy lonely bed,
Pale as thine own unblemish'd brow,
Cold as thy virgin head;
She seems to breathe of many a day
Now shrouded with thee in the clay,
Of visions that have fled,
When we beneath her holy flame,
Dream'd over hopes that never came!
Hark! 'tis the solemn midnight bell,
It mars the hallow'd scene;
And must we bid again—farewell!
Must life still intervene?
Its charms are vain! my heart is laid
E'en with thine own, celestial maid!
A few short days have been
An age of pain—a few may be
A welcome passport, love! to thee.


'Tis finish'd, they 've died for their forefathers' land,
As the patriot sons of the mountain should die,
With the mail on each bosom, the sword in each hand,
On the heath of the desert they lie.
[Pg 154] Like their own mountain eagles they rush'd to the fight,
Like the oaks of their deserts they braved its rude blast;
Their blades in the morning look'd dazzling and bright,
But red when the battle was past.
They rush'd on, exulting in honour, and met
The foes of their country in battle array;
But the sun of their glory in darkness hath set,
And the flowers of the forest are faded away!
Oh! far from the scenes of their childhood they sleep,
No friend of their bosom, no loved one is near,
To add a gray stone to their cairns on the steep,
Or drop o'er their ashes a tear.


The sky in beauty arch'd
The wide and weltering flood,
While the winds in triumph march'd
Through their pathless solitude—
Rousing up the plume on ocean's hoary crest,
That like space in darkness slept,
When his watch old Silence kept,
Ere the earliest planet leapt
From its breast.
A speck is on the deeps,
Like a spirit in her flight;
How beautiful she keeps
Her stately path in light!
[Pg 155] She sweeps the shining wilderness in glee—
The sun has on her smiled,
And the waves, no longer wild,
Sing in glory round that child
Of the sea.
'Twas at the set of sun
That she tilted o'er the flood,
Moving like God alone
O'er the glorious solitude—
The billows crouch around her as her slaves.
How exulting are her crew—
Each sight to them is new,
As they sweep along the blue
Of the waves!
Fair herald of the fleets
That yet shall cross the wave,
Till the earth with ocean meets
One universal grave,
What armaments shall follow thee in joy!
Linking each distant land
With trade's harmonious band,
Or bearing havoc's brand
To destroy!


Though this wild brain is aching,
Spill not thy tears with mine;
Come to my heart, though breaking,
Its firmest half is thine.
[Pg 156] Thou wert not made for sorrow,
Then do not weep with me;
There is a lovely morrow,
That yet will dawn on thee.
When I am all forgotten—
When in the grave I lie—
When the heart that loved thee 's broken,
And closed the sparkling eye;
Love's sunshine still will cheer thee,
Unsullied, pure, and deep;
For the God who 's ever near thee,
Will never see thee weep.


When cities of old days
But meet the savage gaze,
Stream of my early ways
Thou wilt roll.
Though fleets forsake thy breast,
And millions sink to rest—
Of the bright and glorious west
Still the soul.
When the porch and stately arch,
Which now so proudly perch
O'er thy billows, on their march
To the sea,
Are but ashes in the shower;
Still the jocund summer hour,
From his cloud will weave a bower
Over thee.
[Pg 157]
When the voice of human power
Has ceased in mart and bower,
Still the broom and mountain flower
Will thee bless.
And the mists that love to stray
O'er the Highlands, far away,
Will come down their deserts gray
To thy kiss.
And the stranger, brown with toil,
From the far Atlantic soil,
Like the pilgrim of the Nile,
Yet may come
To search the solemn heaps
That moulder by thy deeps,
Where desolation sleeps,
Ever dumb.
Though fetters yet should clank
O'er the gay and princely rank
Of cities on thy bank,
All sublime;
Still thou wilt wander on,
Till eternity has gone,
And broke the dial stone
Of old Time.
[Pg 158]


The author of the deservedly popular words and air of "The Araby Maid," Thomas Gordon Torry Anderson was the youngest son of Patrick Torry, D.D., titular bishop of St Andrews, Dunkeld, and Dunblane. His mother, Jane Young, was the daughter of Dr William Young, of Fawsyde, Kincardineshire. Born at Peterhead on the 9th July 1805, he received his elementary education at the parish school of that place. He subsequently prosecuted his studies in Marischal College, Aberdeen, and the University of Edinburgh. In 1827, he received holy orders, and was admitted to the incumbency of St John's Episcopal Church, Portobello. He subsequently became assistant in St George's Episcopal Church, Edinburgh, and was latterly promoted to the pastorate of St Paul's Episcopal Church, Dundee.

Devoted to the important duties of the clerical office, Mr Torry Anderson experienced congenial recreation in the cultivation of music and song, and in the occasional composition of both. He composed, in 1833, the words and air of "The Araby Maid," which speedily obtained a wide popularity. The music and words of the songs, entitled "The Maiden's Vow," and "I Love the Sea," were composed in 1837 and 1854, respectively. To a work, entitled "Poetical Illustrations of the Achievements of the Duke of Wellington and his Companions in Arms," published in 1852, he extensively contributed.[Pg 159] During the summer of 1855, he fell into bad health, and was obliged to resign his incumbency. He afterwards resided on his estate of Fawsyde, to which he had succeeded, in 1850, on the death of his uncle, Dr Young. He died at Aberdeen on the 20th of June 1856, in his fifty-first year. He was three times married—first, in 1828, to Mrs Gaskin Anderson of Tushielaw, whose name he adopted to suit the requirements of an entail; secondly, he espoused, in 1838, Elizabeth Jane, daughter of Dr Thomas Sutter, R.N.; and lastly, Mrs Hill, widow of Mr William Hill, R.N., whom he married in 1854. He has left a widow and six children.[Pg 160]


Away on the wings of the wind she flies,
Like a thing of life and light—
And she bounds beneath the eastern skies,
And the beauty of eastern night.
Why so fast flies the bark through the ocean's foam,
Why wings it so speedy a flight?
'Tis an Araby maid who hath left her home,
To fly with her Christian knight.
She hath left her sire and her native land,
The land which from childhood she trode,
And hath sworn, by the pledge of her beautiful hand,
To worship the Christian's God.
Then away, away, oh swift be thy flight,
It were death one moment's delay;
For behind there is many a blade glancing bright—
Then away—away—away!
They are safe in the land where love is divine,
In the land of the free and the brave—
They have knelt at the foot of the holy shrine,
Nought can sever them now but the grave.


The maid is at the altar kneeling,
Hark the chant is loudly pealing—
Now it dies away!
[Pg 161]
Her prayers are said at the holy shrine,
No other thought but thought divine
Doth her sad bosom fill.
The world to her is nothing now,
For she hath ta'en a solemn vow
To do her father's will.
But why hath one so fair, so young,
The joys of life thus from her flung—
Why hath she ta'en the veil?
Her lover fell where the brave should fall,
Amidst the fight, when the trumpet's call
Proclaim'd the victory.
He fought, he fell, a hero brave—
And though he fill a lowly grave,
His name can never die.
The victory's news to the maiden came—
They loudly breathed her lover's name,
Who for his country fell.
But vain the loudest trumpet tone
Of fame to her, when he was gone
To whom the praise was given!
Her sun of life had set in gloom—
Its joys were withered in his tomb—
She vow'd herself to Heaven.
[Pg 162]


I love the sea, I love the sea,
My childhood's home, my manhood's rest,
My cradle in my infancy—
The only bosom I have press'd.
I cannot breathe upon the land,
Its manners are as bonds to me,
Till on the deck again I stand,
I cannot feel that I am free.
Then tell me not of stormy graves—
Though winds be high, there let them roar;
I 'd rather perish on the waves
Than pine by inches on the shore.
I ask no willow where I lie,
My mourner let the mermaid be,
My only knell the sea-bird's cry,
My winding-sheet the boundless sea!
[Pg 163]


George Allan was the youngest son of John Allan, farmer at Paradykes, near Edinburgh, where he was born on the 2d February 1806. Ere he had completed his fourteenth year, he became an orphan by the death of both his parents. Intending to prosecute his studies as a lawyer, he served an apprenticeship in the office of a Writer to the Signet. He became a member of that honourable body, but almost immediately relinquished legal pursuits, and proceeded to London, resolved to commence the career of a man of letters. In the metropolis his literary aspirations were encouraged by Allan Cunningham and Mr and Mrs S. C. Hall. In 1829, he accepted an appointment in Jamaica; but, his health suffering from the climate of the West Indies, he returned in the following year. Shortly after his arrival in Britain, he was fortunate in obtaining the editorship of the Dumfries Journal, a respectable Conservative newspaper. This he conducted with distinguished ability and success for three years, when certain new arrangements, consequent on a change in the proprietary, rendered his services unnecessary. A letter of Allan Cunningham, congratulating him on his appointment as a newspaper editor, is worthy of quotation, from its shrewd and sagacious counsels:—

"Study to fill your paper," writes Cunningham, "with such agreeable and diversified matter as will allure readers; correct intelligence, sprightly and elegant paragraphs, remarks on men and[Pg 164] manners at once free and generous; and local intelligence pertaining to the district, such as please men of the Nith in a far land. These are the staple commodity of a newspaper, and these you can easily have. A few literary paragraphs you can easily scatter about; these attract booksellers, and booksellers will give advertisements where they find their works are noticed. Above all things, write cautiously concerning all localities; if you praise much, a hundred will grumble; if you are severe, one only may complain, but twenty will shake the head. You will have friends on one side of the water desiring one thing, friends on the other side desiring the reverse, and in seeking to please one you vex ten. An honest heart, a clear head, and a good conscience, will enable you to get well through all."

On terminating his connexion with the Dumfries Journal, Allan proceeded to Edinburgh, where he was immediately employed by the Messrs Chambers as a literary assistant. In a letter addressed to a friend, about this period, he thus expresses himself regarding his enterprising employers:—

"They are never idle. Their very recreations are made conducive to their business, and they go through their labours with a spirit and cheerfulness, which shew how consonant these are with their dispositions." "Mr Robert Chambers," he adds, "is the most mild, unassuming, kind-hearted man I ever knew, and is perfectly uneasy if he thinks there is any one uncomfortable about him. The interest which he has shewn in my welfare has been beyond everything I ever experienced, and the friendly yet delicate way in which he is every other day asking me if I am all comfortable at home, and bidding me apply to him when I am in want of anything, equally puzzles me to understand or express due thanks for."

Besides contributing many interesting articles to Chambers's Edinburgh Journal, and furnishing numerous communications to the Scotsman newspaper, Allan wrote a "Life of Sir Walter Scott," in an octavo volume, which commanded a wide sale, and was much commended by the public press. In preparing that elegant work, the[Pg 165] "Original National Melodies of Scotland," the ingenious editor, Mr Peter M'Leod, was favoured by him with several songs, which he set forth in that publication, with suitable music. In 1834, some of his relatives succeeded, by political influence, in obtaining for him a subordinate situation in the Stamp Office,—one which at once afforded him a certain subsistence, and did not necessarily preclude the exercise of his literary talents. But a constitutional weakness of the nervous system did not permit of his long enjoying the smiles of fortune. He died suddenly at Janefield, near Leith, on the 15th August 1835, in his thirtieth year. In October 1831, he had espoused Mrs Mary Hill, a widow, eldest daughter of Mr William Pagan, of Curriestanes, and niece of Allan Cunningham, who, with one of their two sons, still survives. Allan was a man of singularly gentle and amiable dispositions, a pleasant companion, and devoted friend. In person he was tall and rather thin, with a handsome, intelligent countenance. An enthusiast in the concerns of literature, it is to be feared that he cut short his career by overstrained application. His verses are animated and vigorous, and are largely imbued with the national spirit.[20][Pg 166]


Is your war-pipe asleep, and for ever, M'Crimman?
Is your war-pipe asleep, and for ever?
Shall the pibroch, that welcom'd the foe to Benaer,
Be hush'd when we seek the dark wolf in his lair,
To give back our wrongs to the giver?
To the raid and the onslaught our chieftains have gone,
Like the course of the fire-flaught the clansmen pass'd on,
With the lance and the shield 'gainst the foe they have boon'd them,
And have ta'en to the field with their vassals around them;
Then raise your wild slogan-cry—on to the foray!
Sons of the heather-hill, pinewood, and glen,
Shout for M'Pherson, M'Leod, and the Moray,
Till the Lomonds re-echo the challenge again!


Youth of the daring heart! bright be thy doom
As the bodings which light up thy bold spirit now,
But the fate of M'Crimman is closing in gloom,
And the breath of the gray wraith hath pass'd o'er his brow;
[Pg 167] Victorious, in joy, thou'lt return to Benaer,
And be clasp'd to the hearts of thy best beloved there,
But M'Crimman, M'Crimman, M'Crimman, never—
Never! Never! Never!


Wilt thou shrink from the doom thou canst shun not, M'Crimman?
Wilt thou shrink from the doom thou canst shun not?
If thy course must be brief, let the proud Saxon know
That the soul of M'Crimman ne'er quail'd when a foe
Bared his blade in the land he had won not!
Where the light-footed roe leaves the wild breeze behind,
And the red heather-bloom gives its sweets to the wind,
There our broad pennon flies, and the keen steeds are prancing,
'Mid the startling war-cries, and the war-weapons glancing,
Then raise your wild slogan-cry—on to the foray!
Sons of the heather-hill, pinewood, and glen;
Shout for M'Pherson, M'Leod, and the Moray,
Till the Lomonds re-echo the challenge again!


I will think of thee yet, though afar I may be,
In the land of the stranger, deserted and lone,
Though the flowers of this earth are all wither'd to me,
And the hopes which once bloom'd in my bosom are gone,
[Pg 168] I will think of thee yet, and the vision of night
Will oft bring thine image again to my sight,
And the tokens will be, as the dream passes by,
A sigh from the heart and a tear from the eye.
I will think of thee yet, though misfortune fall chill
O'er my path, as yon storm-cloud that lours on the lea,
And I'll deem that this life is worth cherishing still,
While I know that one heart still beats warmly for me.
Yes! Grief and Despair may encompass me round,
'Till not e'en the shadow of peace can be found;
But mine anguish will cease when my thoughts turn to you
And the wild mountain land which my infancy knew.
I will think of thee; oh! if I e'er can forget
The love that grew warm as all others grew cold,
'Twill but be when the sun of my reason hath set,
Or memory fled from her care-haunted hold;
But while life and its woes to bear on is my doom,
Shall my love, like a flower in the wilderness, bloom;
And thine still shall be, as so long it hath been,
A light to my soul when no other is seen.


Lassie, dear lassie, the dew 's on the gowan,
And the brier-bush is sweet whar the burnie is rowin',
But the best buds of Nature may blaw till they weary,
Ere they match the sweet e'e or the cheek o' my dearie!
[Pg 169]
I wander alane, when the gray gloamin' closes,
And the lift is spread out like a garden o' roses;
But there 's nought which the earth or the sky can discover
Sae fair as thysell to thy fond-hearted lover!
The snaw-flake is pure frae the clud when it 's shaken,
And melts into dew ere it fa's on the bracken,
Oh sae pure is the heart I hae won to my keepin'!
But warm as the sun-blink that thaw'd it to weepin'!
Then come to my arms, and the bosom thou 'rt pressing
Will tell by its throbs a' there's joy in confessing,
For my lips could repeat it a thousand times over,
And the tale still seem new to thy fond-hearted lover.


When I look far down on the valley below me,
Where lowly the lot of the cottager's cast,
While the hues of the evening seem ling'ring to shew me
How calmly the sun of this life may be pass'd,
How oft have I wish'd that kind Heaven had granted
My hours in such spot to have peacefully run,
Where, if pleasures were few, they were all that I wanted,
And Contentment 's a blessing which wealth never won.
I have mingled with mankind, and far I have wander'd,
Have shared all the joys youth so madly pursues;
I have been where the bounties of Nature were squander'd
Till man became thankless and learn'd to refuse!
[Pg 170] Yet there I still found that man's innocence perish'd,
As the senses might sway or the passions command;
That the scenes where alone the soul's treasures were cherish'd,
Were the peaceful abodes of my own native land.
Then why should I leave this dear vale of my choice
And the friends of my bosom, so faithful and true,
To mix in the great world, whose jarring and noise
Must make my soul cheerless though sorrows were few?
Ah! too sweet would this life of probation be render'd,
Our feelings ebb back from Eternity's strand,
And the hopes of Elysium in vain would be tender'd,
Could we have all we wish'd in our dear native land.


I will wake my harp when the shades of even
Are closing around the dying day,
When thoughts that wear the hues of Heaven
Are weaning my heart from the world away;
And my strain will tell of a land and home
Which my wand'ring steps have left behind,
Where the hearts that throb and the feet that roam
Are free as the breath of their mountain wind.
I will wake my harp when the star of Vesper
Hath open'd its eye on the peaceful earth,
When not a leaf is heard to whisper
That a dew-drop falls, or a breeze hath birth.
[Pg 171] And you, dear friends of my youthful years,
Will oft be the theme of my lonely lay,
And a smile for the past will gild the tears
That tell how my heart is far away.
I will wake my harp when the moon is holding
Her star-tent court in the midnight sky,
When the spirits of love, their wings unfolding,
Bring down sweet dreams to each fond one's eye.
And well may I hail that blissful hour,
For my spirit will then, from its thrall set free,
Return to my own lov'd maiden's bower,
And gather each sigh that she breathes for me.
Thus, still when those pensive hours are bringing
The feelings and thoughts which no lips can tell,
I will charm each cloud from my soul by singing
Of all I have left and lov'd so well.
Oh! Fate may smile, and Sorrow may cease,
But the dearest hope we on earth can gain
Is to come, after long sad years, in peace,
And be join'd with the friends of our love, again.
[Pg 172]


Thomas Brydson was born in Glasgow in 1806. On completing the usual course of study at the Universities of Glasgow and Edinburgh, he became a licentiate of the Established Church. He assisted in the Middle Church, Greenock, and in the parish of Kilmalcolm, Renfrewshire, and was, in 1839, ordained minister of Levern Chapel, near Paisley. In 1842, he was translated to the full charge of Kilmalcolm, where he continued to minister with much acceptance till his death, which took place suddenly on the 28th January 1855.

A man of fine fancy and correct taste, Mr Brydson was, in early life, much devoted to poetical composition. In 1829, he published a duodecimo volume of "Poems;" and a more matured collection of his poetical pieces in 1832, under the title of "Pictures of the Past." He contributed, in prose and verse, to the Edinburgh Literary Journal; the Republic of Letters, a Glasgow publication; and some of the London annuals. Though fond of correspondence with his literary friends, and abundantly hospitable, he latterly avoided general society, and, in a great measure, confined himself to his secluded parish of Kilmalcolm. Among his parishioners he was highly esteemed for the unction and fervour which distinguished his public ministrations, as well as for the gentleness of his manners and the generosity of his heart. Of domestic animals he was devotedly fond. He took delight in pastoral scenery, and in solitary musings among the hills. His poetry is pervaded by elegance of sentiment and no inconsiderable vigour of expression.[Pg 173]


All lovely and bright, 'mid the desert of time,
Seem the days when I wander'd with you,
Like the green isles that swell in this far distant clime,
On the deeps that are trackless and blue.
And now, while the torrent is loud on the hill,
And the howl of the forest is drear,
I think of the lapse of our own native rill—
I think of thy voice with a tear.
The light of my taper is fading away,
It hovers, and trembles, and dies;
The far-coming morn on her sea-paths is gray,
But sleep will not come to mine eyes.
Yet why should I ponder, or why should I grieve
O'er the joys that my childhood has known?
We may meet, when the dew-flowers are fragrant at eve,
As we met in the days that are gone.
[Pg 174]


Though a native of Ireland, Charles Doyne Sillery has some claim to enrolment among the minstrels of Caledonia. His mother was a Scotchwoman, and he was himself brought up and educated in Edinburgh. He was born at Athlone, in Ireland, on the 2d of March 1807. His father, who bore the same Christian and middle names, was a captain of the Royal Artillery.[24] He distinguished himself in the engagements of Talavera on the 27th and 28th of July 1809; but from his fatigues died soon after. His mother, Catherine Fyfe, was the youngest daughter of Mr Barclay Fyfe, merchant in Leith. She subsequently became the wife of James Watson, Esq., now of Tontley Hall, Berkshire.

Of lively and playful dispositions, Sillery did not derive much advantage from scholastic training. His favourite themes were poetry and music, and these he assiduously cultivated, much to the prejudice of other[Pg 175] important studies. At a subsequent period he devoted himself with ardour to his improvement in general knowledge. He read extensively, and became conversant with the ancient and some of the modern languages. Disappointed in obtaining a commission in the Royal Artillery, on which he had calculated, he proceeded to India as midshipman in a merchant vessel. Conceiving a dislike to a seafaring life, after a single voyage, he entered on the study of medicine in the University of Edinburgh. From early youth he composed verses. In 1829, while only in his twenty-second year, he published, by subscription, a poem, in nine cantos, entitled "Vallery; or, the Citadel of the Lake." This production, which refers to the times of Chivalry, was well received; and, in the following year, the author ventured on the publication of a second poem, in two books, entitled "Eldred of Erin." In the latter composition, which is pervaded by devotional sentiment, the poet details some of his personal experiences. In 1834 he published, in a small duodecimo volume, "The Exiles of Chamouni; a Drama," a production which received only a limited circulation. About the same period, he became a contributor of verses to the Edinburgh Literary Journal. He ultimately undertook the editorial superintendence of a religious periodical.

Delicate in constitution, and of a highly nervous temperament, Sillery found the study of medicine somewhat uncongenial, and had formed the intention of qualifying himself for the Church. He calculated on early ecclesiastical preferment through the favour of Her Majesty Queen Adelaide, to whom he had been presented, and who had evinced some interest on his behalf. But his prospects were soon clouded by the slow but certain progress of an insidious malady. He was seized[Pg 176] with pulmonary consumption, and died at Edinburgh on the 16th May 1836, in his twenty-ninth year.

Of sprightly and winning manners, Sillery was much cherished in the literary circles of the capital. He was of the ordinary height, and of an extremely slender figure; and his eye, remarkably keen and piercing, was singularly indicative of power. Poetry, in its every department, he cherished with the devotion of an enthusiast; and though sufficiently modest on the subject of his own poetical merits, he took delight in singing his own songs. Interested in the history of the Middle Ages, he had designed to publish an "Account of Ancient Chivalry." Latterly, his views were more concentrated on the subject of religion. Shortly before his death, he composed a "Discourse on the Sufferings of Christ," the proof-sheets of which he corrected on his deathbed. As a poet, with more advanced years, he would have obtained a distinguished place. With occasional defects, the poem of "Vallery" is possessed of much boldness of imagery, and force and elegance of expression.[Pg 177]


She died in beauty! like a rose
Blown from its parent stem;
She died in beauty! like a pearl
Dropp'd from some diadem.
She died in beauty! like a lay
Along a moonlit lake;
She died in beauty! like the song
Of birds amid the brake.
She died in beauty! like the snow
On flowers dissolved away;
She died in beauty! like a star
Lost on the brow of day.
She lives in glory! like night's gems
Set round the silver moon;
She lives in glory! like the sun
Amid the blue of June!


Let the proud Indian boast of his jessamine bowers,
His pastures of perfume, and rose-cover'd dells;
While humbly I sing of those wild little flowers—
The blue-bells of Scotland, the Scottish blue-bells.
[Pg 178]
Wave, wave your dark plumes, ye proud sons of the mountain,
For brave is the chieftain your prowess who quells,
And dreadful your wrath as the foam-flashing fountain,
That calms its wild waves 'mid the Scottish blue-bells.
Then strike the loud harp to the land of the river,
The mountain, the valley, with all their wild spells,
And shout in the chorus for ever and ever—
The blue-bells of Scotland, the Scottish blue-bells.
Sublime are your hills when the young day is beaming,
And green are your groves with their cool crystal wells,
And bright are your broadswords, like morning dews gleaming
On blue-bells of Scotland, on Scottish blue-bells.
Awake! ye light fairies that trip o'er the heather,
Ye mermaids, arise from your coralline cells—
Come forth with your chorus, all chanting together—
The blue-bells of Scotland, the Scottish blue-bells.
Then strike the loud harp to the land of the river,
The mountain, the valley, with all their wild spells,
And shout in the chorus for ever and ever—
The blue-bells of Scotland, the Scottish blue-bells.
[Pg 179]


Robert Miller, the author of the two following songs, was a native of Glasgow, and was educated for the legal profession. He contributed verses to the periodicals, but did not venture on any separate publication. He died at Glasgow, in September 1834, at the early age of twenty-four. His "Lay of the Hopeless" was written within a few days of his decease.


The loved of early days!
Where are they?—where?
Not on the shining braes,
The mountains bare;—
Not where the regal streams
Their foam-bells cast—
Where childhood's time of dreams
And sunshine pass'd.
Some in the mart, and some
In stately halls,
With the ancestral gloom
Of ancient walls;
Some where the tempest sweeps
The desert waves;
Some where the myrtle weeps
On Roman graves.
[Pg 180]
And pale young faces gleam
With solemn eyes;
Like a remember'd dream
The dead arise;
In the red track of war
The restless sweep;
In sunlit graves afar
The loved ones sleep.
The braes are dight with flowers,
The mountain streams
Foam past me in the showers
Of sunny gleams;
But the light hearts that cast
A glory there,
In the rejoicing past,
Where are they?—where?


Oh! would that the wind that is sweeping now
O'er the restless and weary wave,
Were swaying the leaves of the cypress bough
O'er the calm of my early grave—
And my heart with its pulses of fire and life,
Oh! would it were still as stone.
I am weary, weary, of all the strife,
And the selfish world I 've known.
I 've drunk up bliss from a mantling cup,
When youth and joy were mine;
But the cold black dregs are floating up,
Instead of the laughing wine;
[Pg 181] And life hath lost its loveliness,
And youth hath spent its hour,
And pleasure palls like bitterness,
And hope hath not a flower.
And love! was it not a glorious eye
That smiled on my early dream?
It is closed for aye, where the long weeds sigh,
In the churchyard by the stream:
And fame—oh! mine were gorgeous hopes
Of a flashing and young renown:
But early, early the flower-leaf drops
From the withering seed-cup down.
And beauty! have I not worshipp'd all
Her shining creations well?
The rock—the wood—the waterfall,
Where light or where love might dwell.
But over all, and on my heart,
The mildew hath fallen sadly,
I have no spirit, I have no part
In the earth that smiles so gladly!
I only sigh for a quiet bright spot
In the churchyard by the stream,
Whereon the morning sunbeams float,
And the stars at midnight dream;
Where only Nature's sounds may wake
The sacred and silent air,
And only her beautiful things may break
Through the long grass gathering there.
[Pg 182]


Alexander Hume was born at Kelso on the 1st of February 1809. His father, Walter Hume, occupied a respectable position as a retail trader in that town. Of the early history of our author little has been ascertained. His first teacher was Mr Ballantyne of Kelso, a man somewhat celebrated in his vocation. To his early preceptor's kindness of heart, Hume frequently referred with tears. While under Mr Ballantyne's scholastic superintendence, his love of nature first became apparent. After school hours it was his delight to wander by the banks of the Tweed, or reclining on its brink, to listen to the music of its waters. From circumstances into which we need not inquire, his family was induced to remove from Kelso to London. The position they occupied we have not learned; but young Hume is remembered as being a quick, intelligent, and most affectionate boy, eager, industrious, self-reliant, and with an occasional dash of independence that made him both feared and loved. He might have been persuaded to adopt almost any view, but an attempt at coercion only excited a spirit of antagonism. To use an old and familiar phrase, "he might break, but he would not bend."

About this period (1822 or 1823), when irritated by those who had authority over him, he suddenly disappeared from home, and allied himself to a company of strolling players, with whom he associated for several months. He had an exquisite natural voice, and sung[Pg 183] the melting melodies of Scotland in a manner seldom equalled. With the itinerant manager he was a favourite, because he was fit for anything—tragedy, comedy, farce, a hornpipe, and, if need be, a comic song, in which making faces at the audience was an indispensable accomplishment. His greatest hit, we are told, was in the absurdly extravagant song, "I am such a Beautiful Boy;" when he used to say that in singing one verse, he opened his mouth so wide that he had difficulty in closing it; but it appears he had neither difficulty nor reluctance in closing his engagement. Getting tired of his new profession, and disgusted with his associates, poorly clad and badly fed, he slipped away when his companions were fast asleep, and returned to London. Here, weary and footsore, he presented himself to a relative, who received him kindly, and placed him in a position where by industry he might provide for his necessities.

In 1827, he obtained a situation with Forbes & Co. of Mark Lane, the highly respectable agents for Berwick & Co. of Edinburgh, the celebrated brewers of Scotch ale. His position being one of considerable responsibility, he was obliged to find security in the sum of £500, which he obtained from the relative who had always stood his friend. But such was his probity and general good conduct, that his employers cancelled the security, and returned the bond as a mark of their appreciation of his integrity and worth.

About this period it was that he first gave utterance to his feelings in verse. Impulsive and impassioned naturally, his first strong attachment roused the deepest feelings of the man, and awoke the dormant passion of the poet. The non-success of his first wooing only made his song the more vehement for a while, but as no flame[Pg 184] can burn intensely for ever, his love became more subdued, and his song gradually assumed that touching pathos which has ever characterised the best lyrics of Scotland.

Some time between the years 1830 and 1833, he became a member of the Literary and Scientific Institution, Aldersgate Street, where he made the acquaintance of many kindred spirits, young men of the same standing as himself, chiefly occupied in the banks, offices, and warehouses of the city of London. There they had classes established for the study of history, for the discussion of philosophical and literary subjects, and for the practice of elocution. The recitations of the several members awoke the embers that smouldered in his heart from the time he had left the stage. His early experience had made him acquainted with the manner in which the voice ought to be modulated to make the utterance effective; and although he seldom ventured to recite, he was always a fair critic and a deeply interested auditor. The young ambition of a few had led them to aspire to authorship, and they established a monthly magazine. Although the several articles were not of the highest order, they were, nevertheless, quite equal to the average periodical writings of the day. In this magazine it is believed that Hume published his first song. It had been sent in the ordinary way, signed Daft Wattie, and the editor, not appreciating the northern dialect in which it was written, had tossed it aside. Shortly afterwards, one of the managers on turning over the rejected papers was attracted by the verses, read them, and was charmed. He placed them back in the editor's box, certifying them as fit for publication by writing across them,

"Musical as is Apollo's lute,"
[Pg 185]

to which he signed his name, William Raine. This circumstance soon led to an intimate acquaintance with Mr Raine, who was a man of considerable original power, excellent education, and of a social and right manly nature. This new acquaintance coloured the whole of Hume's future life. They became fast friends, and were inseparable. The imagination of Hume was restrained by the acute judgment and critical ability of Mr Raine. When Hume published his first volume of "Songs," it would perhaps be difficult to determine whether their great success and general popularity resulted from the poet whose name they bore, or from the friend who weighed and suggested corrections in almost every song, until they finally came before the public in a collected form. The volume was dedicated to Allan Cunningham, and in the preface he says: "I composed them by no rules excepting those which my own observation and feelings formed; I knew no other. As I thought and felt, so have I written. Of all poetical compositions, songs, especially those of the affections, should be natural, warm gushes of feeling—brief, simple, and condensed. As soon as they have left the singer's lips, they should be fast around the hearer's heart."

In 1837, Hume married Miss Scott, a lady well calculated to attract the eye and win the heart of a poet. He remained connected with the house of Berwick & Co. until 1840, when, to recover his health, which had been failing for some time, he was advised to visit America, where he travelled for several months. On his return to England, he entered into an engagement with the Messrs Lane of Cork, then the most eminent brewers in the south of Ireland. To this work he devoted himself with great energy, and was duly rewarded for his labour by almost immediate success. The article[Pg 186] he sold became exceedingly popular in the metropolis; nor was he disappointed in the hope of realising considerable pecuniary advantages.

For several years he had written very little. The necessity to make provision for a rapidly increasing family, and the ambition to take a high position in the business he had chosen, occupied his every hour, and became with him a passion as strong as had ever moved him in works of the imagination.

In 1847 there were slight indications of a return of the complaint from which he had suffered in 1840, and he again crossed the Atlantic. Although he returned considerably improved in health, he was by no means well. Fortunately he had secured the services of a Mr Macdonald as an assistant in his business, whose exertions in his interest were unremitting. Mr Hume's health gradually declined, and ultimately incapacitated him for the performance of any commercial duty. In May 1851 he died at Northampton, leaving a widow and six children.

As a song writer, Hume is entitled to an honourable place among those authors whose writings have been technically called "the Untutored Muse of Scotland." His style is eminently graceful, and a deep and genuine pathos pervades his compositions. We confidently predict that some of his lyrics are destined to obtain a lasting popularity. In 1845, a complete edition of his "Songs and Poems" was published at London in a thin octavo volume.[Pg 187]


Air"The Boatie Rows."

My wee wife dwells in yonder cot,
My bonnie bairnies three;
Oh! happy is the husband's lot,
Wi' bairnies on his knee.
My wee, wee wife, my wee, wee wife,
My bonnie bairnies three;
How bright is day how sweet is life!
When love lights up the e'e.
The king o'er me may wear a crown,
Have millions bow the knee,
But lacks he love to share his throne,
How poor a king is he!
My wee, wee wife, my wee, wee wife,
My bonnie bairnies three,
Let kings ha'e thrones, 'mang warld's strife,
Your hearts are thrones to me.
I 've felt oppression's galling chain,
I 've shed the tear o' care,
But feeling aye lost a' its pain,
When my wee wife was near.
My wee, wee wife, my wee, wee wife,
My bonnie bairnies three,
The chains we wear are sweet to bear,
How sad could we go free!


Air"The Posie."

Eliza was a bonnie lass, and oh! she lo'ed me weel,
Sic love as canna find a tongue, but only hearts can feel;
[Pg 188] But I was poor, her faither doure, he wadna look on me;
O poverty! O poverty! that love should bow to thee.
I went unto her mother, and I argued and I fleech'd,
I spak o' love and honesty, and mair and mair beseech'd;
But she was deaf to a' my grief, she wadna look on me;
O poverty! O poverty! that love should bow to thee.
I next went to her brother, and I painted a' my pain,
I told him o' our plighted troth, but it was a' in vain;
Though he was deep in love himsel', nae feeling he'd for me;
O poverty! O poverty! that love should bow to thee.
Oh! wealth it makes the fool a sage, the knave an honest man,
And canker'd gray locks young again, if he has gear and lan';
To age maun beauty ope her arms, though wi' a tearfu' e'e;
O poverty! O poverty! that love should bow to thee.
But wait a wee, oh! love is slee, and winna be said nay,
It breaks a' chains, except its ain, but it will ha'e its way;
In spite o' fate we took the gate, now happy as can be;
O poverty! O poverty! we're wed in spite o' thee.


Air"Fee him, Father."

There 's mony a flower beside the rose,
And sweets beside the honey;
But laws maun change ere life disclose
A flower or sweet like Nanny.
[Pg 189] Her e'e is like the summer sun,
When clouds can no conceal it,
Ye 're blind if it ye look upon,
Oh! mad if ere ye feel it.
I 've mony bonnie lassies seen,
Baith blithesome, kind, an' canny;
But oh! the day has never been
I 've seen another Nanny!
She 's like the mavis in her sang,
Amang the brakens bloomin',
Her lips ope to an angel's tongue,
But kiss her, oh! she's woman.


Air"The Posie."

My Bessie, oh! but look upon these bonnie budding flowers,
Oh! do they no remember ye o' mony happy hours,
When on this green and gentle hill we aften met to play,
An' ye were like the morning sun, an' life a nightless day?
The gowans blossom'd bonnilie, I 'd pu' them from the stem,
An' rin in noisy blithesomeness to thee, my Bess, wi' them,
To place them in thy lily breast, for ae sweet smile on me,
I saw nae mair the gowans then, then saw I only thee.
Like two fair roses on a tree, we flourish'd an' we grew,
An' as we grew, sweet love grew too, an' strong 'tween me an' you;
[Pg 190] How aft ye 'd twine your gentle arms in love about my neck,
An' breathe young vows that after-years o' sorrow has na brak!
We 'd raise our lisping voices in auld Coila's melting lays,
An' sing that tearfu' tale about Doon's bonnie banks and braes;
But thoughtna' we o' banks and braes, except those at our feet,
Like yon wee birds we sang our sang, yet ken'd no that 'twas sweet.
Oh! is na this a joyous day, a' Nature's breathing forth,
In gladness an' in loveliness owre a' the wide, wide earth?
The linties they are lilting love, on ilka bush an' tree,
Oh! may such joy be ever felt, my Bess, by thee and me!


Air"Heigh-ho! for Somebody."

A wee bird sits upon a spray,
And aye it sings o' Menie Hay,
The burthen o' its cheery lay
Is "Come away, dear Menie Hay!
Sweet art thou, O Menie Hay!
Fair I trow, O Menie Hay!
There 's not a bonnie flower in May
Shows a bloom wi' Menie Hay."
[Pg 191]
A light in yonder window 's seen,
And wi' it seen is Menie Hay;
Wha gazes on the dewy green,
Where sits the bird upon the spray?
"Sweet art thou, O Menie Hay!
Fair I trow, O Menie Hay!
At sic a time, in sic a way,
What seek ye there, O Menie Hay?"
"What seek ye there, my daughter dear?
What seek ye there, O Menie Hay?"
"Dear mother, but the stars sae clear
Around the bonnie Milky Way."
"Sweet are thou, O Menie Hay!
Slee I trow, O Menie Hay!
Ye something see ye daurna say,
Paukie, winsome Menie Hay!"
The window 's shut, the light is gane,
And wi' it gane is Menie Hay;
But wha is seen upon the green,
Kissing sweetly Menie Hay?
"Sweet art thou, O Menie Hay!
Slee I trow, O Menie Hay!
For ane sae young ye ken the way,
And far from blate, O Menie Hay!"
"Gae scour the country, hill and dale;
Oh! waes me, where is Menie Hay?
Search ilka nook, in town or vale,
For my daughter, Menie Hay."
"Sweet art thou, O Menie Hay!
Slee I trow, O Menie Hay!
I wish you joy, young Johnie Fay,
O' your bride, sweet Menie Hay."
[Pg 192]


I 've wander'd on the sunny hill, I 've wander'd in the vale,
Where sweet wee birds in fondness meet to breathe their am'rous tale;
But hills or vales, or sweet wee birds, nae pleasures gae to me—
The light that beam'd its ray on me was Love's sweet glance from thee.
The rising sun, in golden beams, dispels the night's dark gloom—
The morning dew to rose's hue imparts a freshening bloom;
But sunbeams ne'er so brightly play'd in dance o'er yon glad sea,
Nor roses laved in dew sae sweet as Love's sweet glance from thee.
I love thee as the pilgrims love the water in the sand,
When scorching rays or blue simoom sweep o'er their withering hand;
The captive's heart nae gladlier beats when set from prison free,
Than I when bound wi' Beauty's chain in Love's sweet glance from thee.
I loved thee, bonnie Bessie, as the earth adores the sun,
I ask'd nae lands, I craved nae gear, I prized but thee alone;
Ye smiled in look, but no in heart—your heart was no for me;
Ye planted hope that never bloom'd in Love's sweet glance from thee.
[Pg 193]


Oh! years hae come, an' years hae gane,
Sin' first I sought the warld alane,
Sin' first I mused wi' heart sae fain
On the hills o' Caledonia.
But oh! behold the present gloom,
My early friends are in the tomb,
And nourish now the heather bloom
On the hills o' Caledonia.
My father's name, my father's lot,
Is now a tale that 's heeded not,
Or sang unsung, if no forgot
On the hills o' Caledonia.
O' our great ha' there 's left nae stane—
A' swept away, like snaw lang gane;
Weeds flourish o'er the auld domain
On the hills o' Caledonia.
The Ti'ot's banks are bare and high,
The stream rins sma' an' mournfu' by,
Like some sad heart maist grutten dry
On the hills o' Caledonia.
The wee birds sing no frae the tree,
The wild-flowers bloom no on the lea,
As if the kind things pitied me
On the hills o' Caledonia.
But friends can live, though cold they lie,
An' mock the mourner's tear an' sigh,
When we forget them, then they die
On the hills o' Caledonia.
[Pg 194] An' howsoever changed the scene,
While mem'ry an' my feeling 's green,
Still green to my auld heart an' e'en
Are the hills o' Caledonia.


Air"Gala Water."

My mountain hame, my mountain hame!
My kind, my independent mother;
While thought and feeling rule my frame,
Can I forget the mountain heather?
Scotland dear!
I love to hear your daughters dear
The simple tale in song revealing,
Whene'er your music greets my ear
My bosom swells wi' joyous feeling—
Scotland dear!
Though I to other lands may gae,
Should Fortune's smile attend me thither,
I 'll hameward come, whene'er I may,
And look again on the mountain heather—
Scotland dear!
When I maun die, oh! I would lie
Where life and me first met together;
That my cauld clay, through its decay,
Might bloom again in the mountain heather—
Scotland dear!
[Pg 195]


A poet and indefatigable prose-writer, Thomas Smibert was born in Peebles on the 8th February 1810. Of his native town his father held for a period the office of chief magistrate. With a view of qualifying himself for the medical profession, he became apprentice to an apothecary, and afterwards attended the literary and medical classes in the University of Edinburgh. Obtaining licence as a surgeon, he commenced practice in the village of Inverleithen, situated within six miles of his native town. He was induced to adopt this sphere of professional labour from an affection which he had formed for a young lady in the vicinity, who, however, did not recompense his devotedness, but accepted the hand of a more prosperous rival. Disappointed in love, and with a practice scarcely yielding emolument sufficient to pay the annual rent of his apothecary's store, he left Inverleithen after the lapse of a year, and returned to Peebles. He now began to turn his attention to literature, and was fortunate in procuring congenial employment from the Messrs Chambers, as a contributor to their popular Journal. Of this periodical he soon attained the position of sub-editor; and in evidence of the indefatigable nature of his services in this literary connexion, it is worthy of record that, during the period intervening between 1837 and 1842, he contributed to the Journal no fewer than five hundred essays, one hundred tales, and about fifty biographical sketches. Within the same period he edited a new edition of Paley's "Natural Theology," with scientific notes, and wrote[Pg 196] extensively for a work of the Messrs Chambers, entitled "Information for the People." In 1842, he was appointed to the sub-editorship of the Scotsman newspaper. The bequest of a relative afterwards enabled him to relinquish stated literary occupation, but he continued to exhibit to the world pleasing evidences of his learning and industry. He became a frequent contributor to Hogg's Instructor, an Edinburgh weekly periodical; produced a work on "Greek History;" and collated a "Rhyming Dictionary." A large, magnificently illustrated volume, the "Clans of the Highlands of Scotland," was his most ambitious and successful effort as a prose-writer. His poetical compositions, which were scattered among a number of the periodicals, he was induced to collect and publish in a volume, with the title, "Io Anche! Poems chiefly Lyrical;" Edinburgh, 1851, 12mo. An historical play from his pen, entitled "Condé's Wife," founded on the love of Henri Quatre for Marguerite de Montmorency, whom the young Prince of Condé had wedded, was produced in 1842 by Mr Murray in the Theatre Royal, Edinburgh, and during a run of nine nights was received with applause.

Smibert died at Edinburgh on the 16th January 1854, in his forty-fourth year. With pleasing manners, he was possessed of kindly dispositions, and was much cherished for his intelligent and interesting conversation. In person he was strong built, and his complexion was fair and ruddy. He was not undesirous of reputation both as a poet and prose-writer, and has recorded his regret that he had devoted so much time to evanescent periodical literature. His poetry is replete with patriotic sentiment, and his strain is forcible and occasionally brilliant. His songs indicate a fine fancy and deep pathos.[Pg 197]


Afore the Lammas tide
Had dun'd the birken-tree,
In a' our water side
Nae wife was bless'd like me.
A kind gudeman, and twa
Sweet bairns were 'round me here,
But they're a' ta'en awa'
Sin' the fa' o' the year.
Sair trouble cam' our gate,
And made me, when it cam',
A bird without a mate,
A ewe without a lamb.
Our hay was yet to maw,
And our corn was to shear,
When they a' dwined awa'
In the fa' o' the year.
I downa look a-field,
For aye I trow I see
The form that was a bield
To my wee bairns and me;
But wind, and weet, and snaw,
They never mair can fear,
Sin' they a' got the ca'
In the fa' o' the year.
Aft on the hill at e'ens,
I see him 'mang the ferns—
The lover o' my teens,
The faither o' my bairns;
[Pg 198] For there his plaid I saw,
As gloamin' aye drew near,
But my a's now awa'
Sin' the fa' o' the year.
Our bonnie rigs theirsel',
Reca' my waes to mind;
Our puir dumb beasties tell
O' a' that I hae tyned;
For wha our wheat will saw,
And wha our sheep will shear,
Sin' my a' gaed awa'
In the fa' o' the year?
My hearth is growing cauld,
And will be caulder still,
And sair, sair in the fauld
Will be the winter's chill;
For peats were yet to ca',
Our sheep they were to smear,
When my a' passed awa'
In the fa' o' the year.
I ettle whiles to spin,
But wee, wee patterin' feet
Come rinnin' out and in,
And then I just maun greet;
I ken it 's fancy a',
And faster rows the tear,
That my a' dwined awa'
In the fa' o' the year.
Be kind, O Heaven abune!
To ane sae wae and lane,
And tak' her hamewards sune
In pity o' her maen.
[Pg 199] Lang ere the March winds blaw,
May she, far far frae here,
Meet them a' that's awa
Sin' the fa' o' the year!


Once more on the broad-bosom'd ocean appearing
The banner of England is spread to the breeze,
And loud is the cheering that hails the uprearing
Of glory's loved emblem, the pride of the seas.
No tempest shall daunt her,
No victor-foe taunt her,
What manhood can do in her cause shall be done—
Britannia's best seaman,
The boast of her freemen,
Will conquer or die by his colours and gun.
On Acre's proud turrets an ensign is flying,
Which stout hearts are banded till death to uphold;
And bold is their crying, and fierce their defying,
When trench'd in their ramparts, unconquer'd of old.
But lo! in the offing,
To punish their scoffing,
Brave Napier appears, and their triumph is done;
No danger can stay him,
No foeman dismay him,
He conquers or dies by his colours and gun.
[Pg 200]
Now low in the dust is the Crescent flag humbled,
Its warriors are vanquish'd, their freedom is gone;
The strong walls have tumbled, the proud towers are crumbled,
And England's flag waves over ruin'd St John.
But Napier now tenders
To Acre's defenders
The aid of a friend when the combat is won;
For mercy's sweet blossom
Blooms fresh in his bosom,
Who conquers or dies by his colours and gun.
"All hail to the hero!" his country is calling,
And "hail to his comrades!" the faithful and brave,
They fear'd not for falling, they knew no appalling,
But fought like their fathers, the lords of the wave.
And long may the ocean,
In calm and commotion,
Rejoicing convey them where fame may be won,
And when foes would wound us
May Napier be round us,
To conquer or die by their colours and gun!


Oh! bonnie are the howes
And sunny are the knowes
That feed the kye and yowes
Where my life's morn dawn'd;
And brightly glance the rills
That spring amang the hills
And ca' the merry mills
In my ain dear land.
[Pg 201]
But now I canna see
The lammies on the lea,
Nor hear the heather bee
On this far, far strand.
I see nae father's ha',
Nae burnie's waterfa',
But wander far awa'
Frae my ain dear land.
My heart was free and light,
My ingle burning bright,
When ruin cam' by night
Through a foe's fell hand.
I left my native air,
I gaed to come nae mair;
And now I sorrow sair
For my ain dear land.
But blithely will I bide
Whate'er may yet betide
When ane is by my side
On this far, far strand.
My Jean will soon be here
This waefu' heart to cheer,
And dry the fa'ing tear
For my ain dear land.


Oh! say na you maun gang awa',
Oh! say na you maun leave me;
The dreaded hour that parts us twa
Of peace and hope will reave me.
[Pg 202]
When you to distant shores are gane
How could I bear to tarry,
Where ilka tree and ilka stane
Would mind me o' my Mary?
I couldna wander near yon woods
That saw us oft caressing,
And on our heads let fa' their buds
In earnest o' their blessing.
Ilk stane wad mind me how we press'd
Its half-o'erspreading heather,
And how we lo'ed the least the best
That made us creep thegither.
I couldna bide, when you are gane,
My ain, my winsome dearie,
I couldna stay to pine my lane—
I live but when I 'm near ye.
Then say na you maun gang awa',
Oh! say na you maun leave me;
For ah! the hour that parts us twa
Of life itself will reave me.
[Pg 203]


The younger of two remarkable brothers, whose names are justly entitled to remembrance, John Bethune, was born at the Mount, in the parish of Monimail, Fifeshire, during the summer of 1810. The poverty of his parents did not permit his attendance at a public school; he was taught reading by his mother, and writing and arithmetic by his brother Alexander,[26] who was considerably his senior. After some years' employment as a cow-herd, he was necessitated, in his twelfth year, to break stones on the turnpike-road. At the recommendation of a comrade, he apprenticed himself, early in 1824, to a weaver in a neigh[Pg 204]bouring village. In his new profession he rapidly acquired dexterity, so that, at the end of one year, he could earn the respectable weekly wages of fifteen shillings. Desirous of assisting his aged parents, he now purchased a loom and settled as a weaver on his own account, with his elder brother as his apprentice. A period of mercantile embarrassments which followed, severely affecting the manufacturing classes, pressed heavily on the subject of this notice; his earnings became reduced to six shillings weekly, and he was obliged to exchange the labours of the shuttle for those of the implements of husbandry. During the period of his apprenticeship, his thoughts had been turned to poetical composition, but it was subsequent to the commercial disasters of 1825 that he began earnestly to direct his attention towards the concerns of literature. Successive periods of bad health unfitting him for continued labour in the fields, were improved by extensive reading and composition. Before he had completed his nineteenth year he had produced upwards of twenty poetical compositions, each of considerable length, and the whole replete with power, both of sentiment and expression. Till considerably afterwards, however, his literary productions were only known to his brother Alexander, or at furthest to his parents. "Up to the latter part of 1835," writes his brother in a biographical sketch, "the whole of his writing had been prosecuted as stealthily as if it had been a crime punishable by law. There being but one apartment in the house, it was his custom to write by the fire, with an old copy-book, upon which his paper lay, resting on his knee, and this, through life, was his only writing-desk. On the table, which was within reach, an old newspaper was kept constantly lying, and as soon as the footsteps of any one were heard approach[Pg 205]ing the door, copy-book, pens, and ink-stand were thrust under this covering, and before the visitor came in, he had, in general, a book in his hand, and appeared to have been reading."

For a number of years Bethune had wrought as a day-labourer in the grounds of Inchrye, in the vicinity of his birthplace. On the death of the overseer on that property he was appointed his successor, entering on the duties at the term of Martinmas 1835, his brother accompanying him as his assistant. The appointment yielded £26 yearly, with the right of a cow's pasturage—emoluments which considerably exceeded the average of his previous earnings. To the duties of his new situation he applied himself with his wonted industry, still continuing to dedicate only his evenings and the intervals of toil to literary occupation. But his comparative prosperity was of short duration. During the summer following his appointment at Inchrye the estate changed owners, and the new proprietor dispensed with his services at the next term. In another year the landlord required the little cottage at Lochend, occupied by his parents. Undaunted by these reverses, John Bethune and his brother summoned stout courage; they erected a cottage at Mount Pleasant, near Newburgh, the walls being mostly reared by their own hands. The future career of Bethune was chiefly occupied in literary composition. He became a contributor to the Scottish Christian Herald, Wilson's Tales of the Borders, and other serial publications. In 1838 appeared "Tales and Sketches of the Scottish Peasantry," the mutual production of the poet and his brother—a work which, published in Edinburgh, was well received. A work on "Practical Economy," on which the brothers had bestowed much pains, and which had received the favourable opinion of persons of literary[Pg 206] eminence, was published in May 1839, but failed to attract general interest. This unhappy result deeply affected the health of the poet, whose constitution had already been much shattered by repeated attacks of illness. He was seized with a complaint which proved the harbinger of pulmonary consumption. He died at Mount Pleasant on the 1st September 1839, in his thirtieth year.

With a more lengthened career, John Bethune would have attained a high reputation, both as an interesting poet and an elegant prose-writer. His genius was versatile and brilliant; of human nature, in all its important aspects, he possessed an intuitive perception, and he was practically familiar with the character and habits of the sons of industry. His tales are touching and simple; his verses lofty and contemplative. In sentiment eminently devotional, his life was a model of genuine piety. His Poems, prefaced by an interesting Memoir, were published by his surviving brother in 1840; and from the profits of a second edition, published in the following year, a monument has been erected over his grave in the churchyard of Abdie.[Pg 207]


Adieu! ye wither'd flow'rets!
Your day of glory's past;
But your latest smile was loveliest,
For we knew it was your last.
No more the sweet aroma
Of your golden cups shall rise,
To scent the morning's stilly breath,
Or gloaming's zephyr-sighs.
Ye were the sweetest offerings
Which Friendship could bestow—
A token of devoted love
In pleasure or in woe!
Ye graced the head of infancy,
By soft affection twined
Into a fairy coronal
Its sunny brows to bind.
       *       *       *       *       *
But ah! a dreary blast hath blown
Athwart you in your bloom,
And, pale and sickly, now your leaves
The hues of death assume.
We mourn your vanish'd loveliness,
Ye sweet departed flowers;
For ah! the fate which blighted you
An emblem is of ours.
[Pg 208]       *       *       *       *       *
And though, like you, sweet flowers of earth,
We wither and depart,
And leave behind, to mourn our loss,
Full many an aching heart;
Yet when the winter of the grave
Is past, we hope to rise,
Warm'd by the Sun of Righteousness,
To blossom in the skies.


There is a concert in the trees,
There is a concert on the hill,
There 's melody in every breeze,
And music in the murmuring rill.
The shower is past, the winds are still,
The fields are green, the flow'rets spring,
The birds, and bees, and beetles fill
The air with harmony, and fling
The rosied moisture of the leaves
In frolic flight from wing to wing,
Fretting the spider as he weaves
His airy web from bough to bough;
In vain the little artist grieves
Their joy in his destruction now.
Alas! that, in a scene so fair,
The meanest being e'er should feel
The gloomy shadow of despair
Or sorrow o'er his bosom steal.
[Pg 209] But in a world where woe is real,
Each rank in life, and every day,
Must pain and suffering reveal,
And wretched mourners in decay—
When nations smile o'er battles won,
When banners wave and streamers play,
The lonely mother mourns her son
Left lifeless on the bloody clay;
And the poor widow, all undone,
Sees the wild revel with dismay.
Even in the happiest scenes of earth,
When swell'd the bridal-song on high,
When every voice was tuned to mirth,
And joy was shot from eye to eye,
I 've heard a sadly-stifled sigh;
And, 'mid the garlands rich and fair,
I 've seen a cheek, which once could vie
In beauty with the fairest there,
Grown deadly pale, although a smile
Was worn above to cloak despair.
Poor maid! it was a hapless wile
Of long-conceal'd and hopeless love
To hide a heart, which broke the while
With pangs no lighter heart could prove.
The joyous spring and summer gay
With perfumed gifts together meet,
And from the rosy lips of May
Breathe music soft and odours sweet;
And still my eyes delay my feet
To gaze upon the earth and heaven,
And hear the happy birds repeat
Their anthems to the coming even;
[Pg 210] Yet is my pleasure incomplete;
I grieve to think how few are given
To feel the pleasures I possess,
While thousand hearts, by sorrow riven,
Must pine in utter loneliness,
Or be to desperation driven.
Oh! could we find some happy land,
Some Eden of the deep blue sea,
By gentle breezes only fann'd,
Upon whose soil, from sorrow free,
Grew only pure felicity!
Who would not brave the stormiest main
Within that blissful isle to be,
Exempt from sight or sense of pain?
There is a land we cannot see,
Whose joys no pen can e'er portray;
And yet, so narrow is the road,
From it our spirits ever stray—
Shed light upon that path, O God!
And lead us in the appointed way.
There only joy shall be complete,
More high than mortal thoughts can reach,
For there the just and good shall meet,
Pure in affection, thought, and speech;
No jealousy shall make a breach,
Nor pain their pleasure e'er alloy;
There sunny streams of gladness stretch,
And there the very air is joy.
There shall the faithful, who relied
On faithless love till life would cloy,
And those who sorrow'd till they died
O'er earthly pain and earthly woe,
See Pleasure, like a whelming tide,
From an unbounded ocean flow.
[Pg 211]


Allan Stewart, a short-lived poet of no inconsiderable merit, was born in the village of Houston, Renfrewshire, on the 30th January 1812. His father prosecuted the humble vocation of a sawyer. Deprived of his mother in early life, the loss was in some degree repaired by the kind attentions of his maternal aunt, Martha Muir, whose letters on religious subjects have been published. Receiving an ordinary education at school, he followed the trade of a weaver in Paisley. His leisure hours were employed in reading, and in the composition of verses. He died of typhus fever, at Paisley, on the 12th November 1837, in his twenty-sixth year. His "Poetical Remains" were published in 1838, in a thin duodecimo volume, with a well-written biographical sketch from the pen of his friend, Mr Charles Fleming.

Stewart was a person of modest demeanour, and of a thoughtful and somewhat melancholy cast. His verses are generally of a superior order; his songs abound in sweetness of expression and elegance of sentiment.[Pg 212]


Air"The Soldier's Tear."

The storm grew faint as daylight tinged
The lofty billows' crest;
And love-lit hopes, with fears yet fringed,
Danced in the sea-boy's breast.
And perch'd aloft, he cheer'ly sung
To the billows' less'ning roar—
"O Ellen, so fair, so free, and young,
I 'll see thee yet once more!"
And O what joy beam'd in his eye,
When, o'er the dusky foam,
He saw, beneath the northern sky,
The hills that mark'd his home!
His heart with double ardour strung,
He sung this ditty o'er—
"O Ellen, so fair, so free, and young,
I 'll see thee yet once more!"
Now towers and trees rise on his sight,
And many a dear-loved spot;
And, smiling o'er the blue waves bright,
He saw young Ellen's cot.
The scenes on which his memory hung
A cheerful aspect wore;
He then, with joyous feeling, sung,
"I 'll see her yet once more!"
The land they near'd, and on the beach
Stood many a female form;
But ah! his eye it could not reach
His hope in many a storm.
[Pg 213] He through the spray impatient sprung,
And gain'd the wish'd-for shore;
But Ellen, so fair, so sweet, and young,
Was gone for evermore!


While beaus and belles parade the streets
On summer gloamings gay,
And barter'd smiles and borrow'd sweets,
And all such vain display;
My walks are where the bean-field's breath
On evening's breeze is borne,
With her, the angel of my heart—
My lovely Menie Lorn.
Love's ambuscades her auburn hair,
Love's throne her azure eye,
Where peerless charms and virtues rare
In blended beauty lie.
The rose is fair at break of day,
And sweet the blushing thorn,
But sweeter, fairer far than they,
The smile of Menie Lorn.
O tell me not of olive groves,
Where gold and gems abound;
Of deep blue eyes and maiden loves,
With every virtue crown'd.
I ask no other ray of joy
Life's desert to adorn,
Than that sweet bliss, which ne'er can cloy—
The love of Menie Lorn.
[Pg 214]


Air"The Banks of the Devon."

O say not o' war the young soldier is weary,
Ye wha in battle ha'e witness'd his flame;
Remember his daring when danger was near ye,
Forgive ye the sigh that he heaves for his hame.
Past perils he heeds not, nor dangers yet coming,
Frae dark-brooding terror his young heart is free;
But it pants for the place whar in youth he was roaming;
He turns to the north wi' the tear in his e'e.
'Tis remembrance that saftens what war never daunted,
'Tis the hame o' his birth that gives birth to the tear;
The warm fondled hopes his first love had implanted,
He langs now to reap in his Jeanie sae dear.
An' aften he thinks on the bonnie clear burnie,
Whar oft in love's fondness they daff'd their young day;
Nae tear then was shedded, for short was the journey
'Tween Jeanie's broom bower and the blaeberry brae.
An' weel does he mind o' that morning, when dressing,
In green Highland garb, to cross the wide sea;
His auld mither grat when she gi'ed him her blessing—
'Twas a' that the puir body then had to gi'e.
The black downy plume on his bonnie cheek babbit,
As he stood at the door an' shook hands wi' them a';
But sair was his heart, an' sair Jeanie sabbit,
Whan down the burn-side she convoy'd him awa'.
Now high-headed Alps an' dark seas divide them,
Wilds ne'er imagined in love's early dream;
Their Alps then the knowes, whare the lambs lay beside them,
Their seas then the hazel an' saugh-shaded stream.
[Pg 215] An' wha couldna sigh when memory 's revealing
The scenes that surrounded our life's early hame?
The hero whose heart is cauld to that feeling
His nature is harsh, and not worthy the name.


The land I lo'e, the land I lo'e,
Is the land of the plaid and bonnet blue,
Of the gallant heart, the firm and true,
The land of the hardy thistle.
Isle of the freeborn, honour'd and blest,
Isle of beauty, in innocence dress'd,
The loveliest star on ocean's breast
Is the land of the hardy thistle.
Fair are those isles of Indian bloom,
Whose flowers perpetual breathe perfume;
But dearer far are the braes o' broom
Where blooms the hardy thistle.
No luscious fig-tree blossoms there,
No slaves the scented shrubb'ry rear;
Her sons are free as the mountain air
That shakes the hardy thistle.
Lovely 's the tint o' an eastern sky,
And lovely the lands that 'neath it lie;
But I wish to live, and I wish to die
In the land of the hardy thistle!
[Pg 216]


Robert L. Malone was a native of Anstruther, in Fife, where he was born in 1812. His father was a captain in the navy, and afterwards was employed in the Coast Guard. He ultimately settled at Rothesay, in Bute. Receiving a common school education, Robert entered the navy in his fourteenth year. He served on board the gun-brig Marshall, which attended the Fisheries department in the west; next in the Mediterranean ocean; and latterly in South America. Compelled, from impaired health, to renounce the seafaring life, after a service of ten years, he returned to his family at Rothesay, but afterwards settled in the town of Greenock. In 1845, he became a clerk in the Long-room of the Customs at Greenock, an appointment which he retained till nigh the period of his death. A lover of poetry from his youth, he solaced the hours of sickness by the composition of verses. He published, in 1845, a duodecimo volume of poetry, entitled, "The Sailor's Dream, and other Poems," a work which was well received. His death took place at Greenock on the 6th of July 1850, in his thirty-eighth year. Of modest and retiring dispositions, Malone was unambitious of distinction as a poet. His style is bold and animated, and some of his pieces evince considerable power.[Pg 217]


Air"Humours o' Glen."

Though fair blooms the rose in gay Anglia's bowers,
And green be thy emblem, thou gem of the sea,
The greenest, the sweetest, the fairest of flowers,
Is the thistle—the thistle of Scotland, for me!
Far lovelier flowers glow, the woodlands adorning,
And breathing perfume over moorland and lea,
But there breathes not a bud on the freshness of morning
Like the thistle—the thistle of Scotland, for me!
What scenes o' langsyne even thy name can awaken,
Thou badge of the fearless, the fair, and the free,
And the tenderest chords of the spirit are shaken;
The thistle—the thistle of Scotland, for thee!
Still'd be my harp, and forgotten its numbers,
And cold as the grave my affections must be,
Ere thy name fail to waken my soul from her slumbers;
The thistle—the thistle of Scotland, for me!
On the fields of their fame, while proud laurels she gathers,
Caledonia plants, wi' the tear in her e'e,
Thy soft downy seeds on the graves of our fathers;
The thistle—the thistle of Scotland, for me!
[Pg 218]


Air"Love's Young Dream."

Oh! hame is aye hamely still, though poor at times it be,
An' ye winna find a place like hame in lands beyond the sea;
Though ye may wander east an' west, in quest o' wealth or fame,
There 's aye a pulse within the heart beats hame, hame, hame,
Oh! there 's aye a pulse within the heart beats hame, hame, hame.
There 's gowd in gowpens got, they say, on India's sunny strand,
Then wha would bear to linger here in this bleak, barren land?
I 'll hie me ower the heaving wave, and win myself a name,
And in a palace or a grave forget my Hieland hame.
'Twas thus resolved the peasant boy, and left his native stream,
And Fortune crown'd his every wish, beyond his fondest dream;
His good sword won him wealth and power and long and loud acclaim,
But could not banish from his thoughts his dear-loved mountain hame.
No! The peasant's heart within the peer beat true to nature still,
For on his vision oft would rise the cottage on the hill;
[Pg 219] And young companions, long forgot, would join him in the game,
As erst in life's young morning, around his Hieland hame.
Oh! in the Brahmin, mild and gray, his father's face he saw;
He thought upon his mother's tears the day he gaed awa';
And her he loved—his Hieland girl—there 's magic in the name—
They a' combine to wile him back to his far Hieland hame.
He sigh'd for kindred hearts again, and left the sunny lands,
And where his father's cottage stood a stately palace stands;
And with his grandchild on his knee—the old man's heart on flame—
'Tis thus he trains his darling boy to cherish thoughts of hame.
Oh! hame is aye hamely, dear, though poor at times it be,
Ye winna find a spot like hame in lands beyond the sea;
Oh! ye may wander east or west, in quest o' wealth or fame,
But there 's aye a pulse within the heart beats hame, hame, hame,
Oh! there 's aye a pulse within the heart beats hame, hame, hame.
[Pg 220]


Peter Still was born in the parish of Fraserburgh, Aberdeenshire, on the 1st day of January 1814. At the time of his birth his father rented a farm, but, being unfortunate, he was compelled to seek the support of his family by manual labour. With a limited education at the parish-school of Longside, whither his parents had removed, the subject of this memoir was sent, in his eleventh year, to tend cattle. When somewhat older, he found employment as a farm-servant; but having married in his twentieth year, he afterwards followed the more precarious occupation of a day-labourer. Of a delicate constitution, he suffered much from impaired health, being frequently, for months together, confined to the sick-chamber. During the periods of convalescence from illness, he composed verses, which he gave to the world in three separate publications. His last work—"The Cottar's Sunday, and other Poems"—appeared in 1845, in a handsome duodecimo volume. He closed a life of much privation and suffering at Peterhead, on the 21st March 1848.

Of sound religious principles and devoted Christian feeling, Still meekly submitted to the bitterness of his lot in life. He was fortunate in arresting the attention of some, who occasionally administered to his wants, and contributed, by their patronage, to the increase of his reputation. His verses are largely pervaded with poetical fervour and religious sentiment, while his songs are generally true to nature. In person he was tall and slender, of a long thin countenance, large dark blue eyes, and curling black hair.[Pg 221]


Air"Lord Gregory."

I never thocht to thole the waes
It 's been my lot to dree;
I never thocht to sigh sae sad
Whan first I sigh'd for thee.
I thocht your heart was like mine ain,
As true as true could be;
I couldna think there was a stain
In ane sae dear to me.
Whan first amang the dewy flowers,
Aside yon siller stream,
My lowin' heart was press'd to yours,
Nae purer did they seem;
Nae purer seem'd the draps o' dew,
The flowers on whilk they hung,
Than seem'd the heart I felt in you
As to that heart I clung.
But I was young an' thochtless then,
An' easy to beguile;
My mither's warnin's had nae weight
'Bout man's deceitfu' smile.
But noo, alas! whan she is dead,
I 've shed the sad, saut tear,
And hung my heavy, heavy head
Aboon my father's bier!
They saw their earthly hope betray'd,
They saw their Jeanie fade;
They couldna thole the heavy stroke,
An' baith are lowly laid!
[Pg 222] Oh, Jamie! but thy name again
Shall ne'er be breathed by me,
For, speechless through yon gow'ny glen,
I 'll wander till I die.


Air"John Todd."

"Ye needna' be courtin' at me, auld man,
Ye needna' be courtin' at me;
Ye 're threescore an' three, an' ye 're blin' o' an e'e,
Sae ye needna' be courtin' at me, auld man,
Ye needna' be courtin' at me.
"Stan' aff, noo, an' just lat me be, auld man,
Stan' aff, noo, an' just lat me be;
Ye 're auld an' ye 're cauld, an' ye 're blin' an' ye 're bald,
An' ye 're nae for a lassie like me, auld man,
Ye 're nae for a lassie like me."
"Ha'e patience, an' hear me a wee, sweet lass,
Ha'e patience, an' hear me a wee;
I 've gowpens o' gowd, an' an aumry weel stow'd,
An' a heart that lo'es nane but thee, sweet lass,
A heart that lo'es nane but thee.
"I 'll busk you as braw as a queen, sweet lass,
I 'll busk you as braw as a queen;
I 've guineas to spare, an', hark ye, what 's mair,
I 'm only twa score an' fifteen, sweet lass,
Only twa score an' fifteen."
[Pg 223]
"Gae hame to your gowd an' your gear, auld man,
Gae hame to your gowd an' your gear;
There 's a laddie I ken has a heart like mine ain,
An' to me he shall ever be dear, auld man,
To me he shall ever be dear.
"Get aff, noo, an' fash me nae mair, auld man,
Get aff, noo, an' fash me nae mair;
There 's a something in love that your gowd canna move—
I 'll be Johnie's although I gang bare, auld man,
I 'll be Johnie's although I gang bare."


The bucket, the bucket, the bucket for me!
Awa' wi' your bickers o' barley bree;
Though good ye may think it, I 'll never mair drink it—
The bucket, the bucket, the bucket for me!
There 's health in the bucket, there 's wealth in the bucket,
There 's mair i' the bucket than mony can see;
An' aye whan I leuk in 't, I find there 's a beuk in 't
That teaches the essence o' wisdom to me.
Whan whisky I swiggit, my wifie aye beggit,
An' aft did she sit wi' the tear in her e'e;
But noo—wad you think it?—whan water I drink it
Right blithesome she smiles on the bucket an' me.
[Pg 224] The bucket 's a treasure nae mortal can measure,
It 's happit my wee bits o' bairnies an' me;
An' noo roun' my ingle, whare sorrows did mingle,
I 've pleasure, an' plenty, an' glances o' glee.
The bucket 's the bicker that keeps a man sicker,
The bucket 's a shield an' a buckler to me;
In pool or in gutter nae langer I 'll splutter,
But walk like a freeman wha feels he is free.
Ye drunkards, be wise noo, an' alter your choice noo—
Come cling to the bucket, an' prosper like me;
Ye 'll find it is better to swig "caller water,"
Than groan in a gutter without a bawbee!
[Pg 225]


One of the most gifted and hopeful of modern Scottish song writers, Robert Nicoll, was born at Little Tulliebeltane, in the parish of Auchtergaven, Perthshire, on the 7th January 1814. Of a family of nine children, he was the second son. His father, who bore the same Christian name, rented a farm at the period of his birth and for five years afterwards, when, involved in an affair of cautionary, he was reduced to the condition of an agricultural labourer. Young Nicoll received the rudiments of his education from his mother, a woman of superior shrewdness and information; subsequently to his seventh year he tended cattle in the summer months, to procure the means of attending the parish school during the other portion of the year. From his childhood fond of reading, books were his constant companions—in the field, on the highway, and during the intervals of leisure in his father's cottage. In his thirteenth year, he wrote verses and became the correspondent of a newspaper. Apprenticed to a grocer and wine-merchant in Perth, and occupied in business from seven o'clock morning till nine o'clock evening, he prosecuted mental culture by abridging the usual hours of rest. At the age of nineteen he communicated a tale to Johnstone's Magazine, an Edinburgh periodical, which was inserted, and attracted towards him the notice of Mr Johnstone, the ingenious proprietor. By this gentleman he was introduced, during a visit he made to the capital,[Pg 226] to some men of letters, who subsequently evinced a warm interest in his career.

In 1834, Nicoll opened a small circulating library in Dundee, occupying his spare time in reading and composition, and likewise taking part in public meetings convened for the support of Radical or extreme liberal opinions. To the liberal journals of the town he became a frequent contributor both in prose and verse, and in 1835 appeared as the author of a volume of "Poems and Lyrics." This publication was highly esteemed by his friends, and most favourably received by the press. Abandoning business in Dundee, which had never been prosperous, he meditated proceeding as a literary adventurer to London, but was induced by Mr Tait, his friendly publisher, and some other well-wishers, to remain in Edinburgh till a suitable opening should occur. In the summer of 1836 he was appointed editor of the Leeds Times newspaper, with a salary of £100. The politics of this journal were Radical, and to the exposition and advocacy of these opinions he devoted himself with equal ardour and success. But the unremitting labour of conducting a public journal soon began materially to undermine the energies of a constitution which, never robust, had been already impaired by a course of untiring literary occupation. The excitement of a political contest at Leeds, during a general parliamentary election, completed the physical prostration of the poet; he removed from Leeds to Knaresborough, and from thence to Laverock Bank, near Edinburgh, the residence of his friend Mr Johnstone. His case was hopeless; after lingering a short period in a state of entire prostration, he departed this life in December 1837, in his twenty-fourth year. His remains, attended by a numerous assemblage, were consigned to the churchyard of North Leith.[Pg 227]

Possessed of strong poetical genius, Robert Nicoll has attained a conspicuous and honoured niche in the temple of the national minstrelsy. Several of his songs, especially "Bonnie Bessie Lee" and "Ordé Braes," have obtained an equal popularity with the best songs of Burns. Since the period of his death, four different editions of his "Poems" have been called for. The work has latterly been published by the Messrs Blackie of Glasgow in a handsome form, prefaced by an interesting memoir. Nicoll's strain is eminently smooth and simple; and, though many of his lyrics published after his decease had not the benefit of his revision, he never falls into mediocrity. Of extensive sympathies, he portrays the loves, hopes, and fears of the human heart; while he depicts nature only in her loveliness. His sentiments breathe a devoted and simple piety, the index of an unblemished life. In person Nicoll was rather above the middle height, with a slight stoop. His countenance, which was of a sanguine complexion, was thoughtful and pleasing; his eyes were of a deep blue, and his hair dark brown. In society he was modest and unobtrusive, but was firm and uncompromising in the maintenance of his opinions. His political views were founded on the belief that the industrial classes had suffered oppression from the aristocracy. The solace of his hours of leisure were the songs and music of his country. He married shortly prior to his decease, but was not long survived by his widow. A monument to his memory, towards which nearly £100 has lately been subscribed, is about to be erected on the Ordé Braes, in his native parish.[Pg 228]


There 's nae hame like the hame o' youth,
Nae ither spot sae fair;
Nae ither faces look sae kind
As the smilin' faces there.
An' I ha'e sat by mony streams,
Ha'e travell'd mony ways;
But the fairest spot on the earth to me
Is on bonnie Ordé Braes.
An ell-lang wee thing then I ran
Wi' the ither neeber bairns,
To pu' the hazel's shining nuts,
An' to wander 'mang the ferns;
An' to feast on the bramble-berries brown,
An' gather the glossy slaes,
By the burnie's side, an' aye sinsyne
I ha'e loved sweet Ordé Braes.
The memories o' my father's hame,
An' its kindly dwellers a',
O' the friends I loved wi' a young heart's love
Ere care that heart could thraw,
Are twined wi' the stanes o' the silver burn,
An' its fairy crooks an' bays,
That onward sang 'neath the gowden broom
Upon bonnie Ordé Braes.
Aince in a day there were happy hames
By the bonnie Ordé's side:
Nane ken how meikle peace an' love
In a straw-roof'd cot can bide.
[Pg 229] But thae hames are gane, an' the hand o' time
The roofless wa's doth raze;
Laneness an' sweetness hand in hand
Gang ower the Ordé Braes.
Oh! an' the sun were shinin' now,
An', oh! an' I were there,
Wi' twa three friends o' auld langsyne,
My wanderin' joy to share.
For though on the hearth o' my bairnhood's hame
The flock o' the hills doth graze,
Some kind hearts live to love me yet
Upon bonnie Ordé Braes.


I winna bide in your castle ha's,
Nor yet in your lofty towers;
My heart is sick o' your gloomy hame,
An' sick o' your darksome bowers;
An' oh! I wish I were far awa'
Frae their grandeur an' their gloom,
Where the freeborn lintie sings its sang
On the Muir o' Gorse an' Broom.
Sae weel as I like the healthfu' gale,
That blaws fu' kindly there,
An' the heather brown, an' the wild blue-bell
That wave on the muirland bare;
An' the singing birds, an' the humming bees,
An' the little lochs that toom
Their gushing burns to the distant sea
O'er the Muir o' Gorse an' Broom.
[Pg 230]
Oh! if I had a dwallin' there,
Biggit laigh by a burnie's side,
Where ae aik tree, in the summer time,
Wi' its leaves that hame might hide;
Oh! I wad rejoice frae day to day,
As blithe as a young bridegroom;
For dearer than palaces to me
Is the Muir o' Gorse an' Broom!
In a lanely cot on a muirland wild,
My mither nurtured me;
O' the meek wild-flowers I playmates made,
An' my hame wi' the wandering bee.
An', oh! if I were far awa'
Frae your grandeur an' your gloom,
Wi' them again, an' the bladden gale,
On the Muir o' Gorse an' Broom.


Oh! the bonnie Hieland hills,
Oh! the bonnie Hieland hills,
The bonnie hills o' Scotland O!
The bonnie Hieland hills.
There are lands on the earth where the vine ever blooms,
Where the air that is breathed the sweet orange perfumes;
But mair dear is the blast the lane shepherd that chills
As it wantons along o'er our ain Hieland hills.
Oh! the bonnie Hieland hills.
There are rich garden lands wi' their skies ever fair;
But o' riches or beauty we mak na our care;
[Pg 231] Wherever we wander ae vision aye fills
Our hearts to the burstin'—our ain Hieland hills.
Oh! the bonnie Hieland hills.
In our lone and deep valleys fair maidens there are,
Though born in the midst o' the elements' war;
O sweet are the damsels that sing by our rills,
As they dash to the sea frae our ain Hieland hills.
Oh! the bonnie Hieland hills.
On the moss-cover'd rock wi' their broadswords in hand,
To fight for fair freedom, their sons ever stand;
A storm-nursed bold spirit each warm bosom fills,
That guards frae a' danger our ain Hieland hills.
Oh! the bonnie Hieland hills,
Oh! the bonnie Hieland hills;
The bonnie hills o' Scotland O!
The bonnie Hieland hills.


The bonnie rowan bush
In yon lane glen,
Where the burnie clear doth gush
In yon lane glen;
My head is white and auld,
An' my bluid is thin an' cauld;
But I lo'e the bonnie rowan bush
In yon lane glen.
My Jeanie first I met
In yon lane glen,
When the grass wi' dew was wet
In yon lane glen;
[Pg 232] The moon was shining sweet,
An' our hearts wi' love did beat,
By the bonnie, bonnie rowan bush
In yon lane glen.
Oh! she promised to be mine,
In yon lane glen;
Her heart she did resign,
In yon lane glen;
An' mony a happy day
Did o'er us pass away,
Beside the bonnie rowan bush
In yon lane glen.
Sax bonnie bairns had we
In yon lane glen—
Lads an' lassies young an' spree,
In yon lane glen;
An' a blither family
Than ours there cou'dna be,
Beside the bonnie rowan bush
In yon lane glen.
Now my auld wife's gane awa'
Frae yon lane glen,
An' though summer sweet doth fa'
On yon lane glen—
To me its beauty's gane,
For, alake! I sit alane
Beside the bonnie rowan bush
In yon lane glen.
[Pg 233]


Bonnie Bessie Lee had a face fu' o' smiles,
And mirth round her ripe lip was aye dancing slee;
And light was the footfa', and winsome the wiles,
O' the flower o' the parochin, our ain Bessie Lee!
Wi' the bairns she would rin, and the school laddies paik,
And o'er the broomy braes like a fairy would flee,
Till auld hearts grew young again wi' love for her sake—
There was life in the blithe blink o' bonnie Bessie Lee!
She grat wi' the waefu', and laughed wi' the glad,
And light as the wind 'mang the dancers was she;
And a tongue that could jeer, too, the little limmer had,
Whilk keepit aye her ain side for bonnie Bessie Lee!
She could sing like the lintwhite that sports 'mang the whins,
An' sweet was her note as the bloom to the bee—
It has aft thrilled my heart whaur our wee burnie rins,
Where a' thing grew fairer wi' bonnie Bessie Lee.[27]
And she whiles had a sweetheart, and sometimes had twa,
A limmer o' a lassie; but atween you and me,
Her warm wee bit heartie she ne'er threw awa',
Though mony a ane had sought it frae bonnie Bessie Lee.
[Pg 234] But ten years had gane since I gazed on her last—
For ten years had parted my auld hame and me—
And I said to mysel', as her mither's door I passed,
Will I ever get anither kiss frae bonnie Bessie Lee?
But Time changes a' thing—the ill-natured loon!
Were it ever sae rightly, he 'll no let it be;
And I rubbit at my e'en, and I thought I would swoon,
How the carle had come roun' about our ain Bessie Lee!
The wee laughing lassie was a gudewife grown auld,
Twa weans at her apron, and ane on her knee,
She was douce too, and wise-like—and wisdom's sae cauld;
I would rather hae the ither ane than this Bessie Lee.

[Pg 235]


Archibald Stirling Irving was born in Edinburgh on the 18th of December 1816. His father, John Irving, Writer to the Signet, was the intimate early friend of Sir Walter Scott, and is "the prosperous gentleman" referred to in the general Introduction to the Waverley Novels. Having a delicate constitution, young Irving was unable to follow any regular profession, but devoted himself, when health permitted, to the concerns of literature. He made himself abundantly familiar with the Latin classics, and became intimately conversant with the more distinguished British poets. Possessed of a remarkably retentive memory, he could repeat some of the longest poems in the language. Receiving a handsome annuity from his father, he resided in various of the more interesting localities of Scottish scenery, some of which he celebrated in verse. He published anonymously, in 1841, a small volume of "Original Songs," of which the song selected for the present work may be regarded as a favourable specimen. He died at Newmills, near Ardrossan, on the 20th September 1851, in his thirty-fifth year. Some time before his death, he exclusively devoted himself to serious reflection and Scriptural reading. He married in October 1850, and his widow still survives.[Pg 236]



The wild-rose blooms in Drummond woods,
The trees are blossom'd fair,
The lake is smiling to the sun,
And Mary wand'ring there.
The powers that watch'd o'er Mary's birth
Did nature's charms despoil;
They stole for her the rose's blush,
The sweet lake's dimpled smile.
The lily for her breast they took,
Nut-brown her locks appear;
But when they came to make her eyes,
They robb'd the starry sphere.
But cruel sure was their design,
Or mad-like their device—
For while they filled her eyes with fire,
They made her heart of ice.
[Pg 237]


Alexander Abernethy Ritchie, author of "The Wells o' Wearie," was born in the Canongate, Edinburgh, in 1816. In early youth he evinced a lively appreciation of the humorous and the pathetic, and exhibited remarkable artistic talent, sketching from nature with fidelity and ease. His parents being in humble circumstances, he was apprenticed as a house-painter, and soon became distinguished for his skill in the decorative branch of his profession. On the expiry of his apprenticeship, he cultivated painting in a higher department of the art, and his pictures held a highly respectable place at the annual exhibitions of the Scottish Academy. Among his pictures which became favourites may be mentioned the "Wee Raggit Laddie," "The Old Church Road," "The Gaberlunzie," "Tak' your Auld Cloak about ye," and "The Captive Truant." His illustrations of his friend, Mr James Ballantine's works, "The Gaberlunzie's Wallet" and "The Miller of Deanhaugh," and of some other popular works, evince a lively fancy and keen appreciation of character. He executed a number of water-colour sketches of the more picturesque and interesting lanes and alleys of Edinburgh; and contributed to the Illustrated London News representations of remarkable events as they occurred in the Scottish[Pg 238] capital. He died suddenly at St John's Hill, Canongate, Edinburgh, in 1850, in the thirty-fourth year of his age. Ritchie was possessed of a vast fund of humour, and was especially esteemed for the simplicity of his manners and his kindly dispositions. He excelled in reading poetry, whether dramatic or descriptive, and sung his own songs with intense feeling. He lived with his aged mother, whom he regarded with dutiful affection, and who survives to lament his loss. Shortly before his death he composed the following hymn, which has been set to appropriate music:—

Father of blissfulness,
Grant me a resting-place
Now my sad spirit is longing for rest.
Lord, I beseech Thee,
Deign Thou to teach me
Which path to heaven is surest and best:
Lonely and dreary,
Laden and weary,
Oh! for a home in the land of the blest!
Father of holiness,
Look on my lowliness;
From this sad bondage, O Lord, set me free;
Grant that, 'mid love and peace,
Sorrow and sin may cease,
While in the Saviour my trust it shall be.
When Death's sleep comes o'er me,
On waking—before me
The portals of glory all open I 'll see.
[Pg 239]


Air"Bonnie House o' Airlie."

Sweetly shines the sun on auld Edinbro' toun,
And mak's her look young and cheerie;
Yet I maun awa' to spend the afternoon
At the lanesome Wells o' Wearie.
And you maun gang wi' me, my winsome Mary Grieve,
There 's nought in the world to fear ye;
For I ha'e ask'd your minnie, and she has gi'en ye leave
To gang to the Wells o' Wearie.
Oh, the sun winna blink in thy bonnie blue e'en,
Nor tinge the white brow o' my dearie,
For I 'll shade a bower wi' rashes lang and green
By the lanesome Wells o' Wearie.
But, Mary, my love, beware ye dinna glower
At your form in the water sae clearly,
Or the fairy will change you into a wee, wee flower,
And you 'll grow by the Wells o' Wearie.
Yestreen as I wander'd there a' alane,
I felt unco douf and drearie,
For wanting my Mary, a' around me was but pain
At the lanesome Wells o' Wearie.
[Pg 240]
Let fortune or fame their minions deceive,
Let fate look gruesome and eerie;
True glory and wealth are mine wi' Mary Grieve,
When we meet by the Wells o' Wearie.
Then gang wi' me, my bonnie Mary Grieve,
Nae danger will daur to come near ye;
For I ha'e ask'd your minnie, and she has gi'en ye leave,
To gang to the Wells o' Wearie.
[Pg 241]


One of the simplest and most popular of the living national song-writers, Alexander Laing, was born at Brechin on the 14th May 1787. His father, James Laing, was an agricultural labourer. With the exception of two winters' schooling, he was wholly self-taught. Sent to tend cattle so early as his eighth year, he regularly carried books and writing-materials with him to the fields. His books were procured by the careful accumulation of the halfpence bestowed on him by the admirers of his juvenile tastes. In his sixteenth year, he entered on the business of a flax-dresser, in his native town—an occupation in which he was employed for a period of fourteen years. He afterwards engaged in mercantile concerns, and has latterly retired from business. He now resides at Upper Tenements, Brechin, in the enjoyment of a well-earned competency.

Mr Laing early wrote verses. In 1819, several songs from his pen appeared in the "Harp of Caledonia"—a respectable collection of minstrelsy, edited by John Struthers. He subsequently became a contributor to the "Harp of Renfrewshire" and the "Scottish Minstrel," edited by R. A. Smith. His lyrics likewise adorn the pages of Robertson's "Whistle Binkie" and the "Book of Scottish Song." He published, in 1846, a collected edition of his poems and songs, in a duodecimo volume, under the designation of "Wayside Flowers." A second edition appeared in 1850. He has been an occasional contributor to[Pg 242] the local journals; furnished a number of anecdotes for the "Laird of Logan," a humorous publication of the west of Scotland; and has compiled some useful elementary works for the use of Sabbath-schools. His lyrics are uniformly pervaded by graceful simplicity, and the chief themes of his inspiration are love and patriotism. Than his song entitled "My Ain Wife," we do not know a lay more beautifully simple. His "Hopeless Exile" is the perfection of tenderness.[Pg 243]


Air"The Cock Laird."

The dark gray o' gloamin',
The lone leafy shaw,
The coo o' the cushat,
The scent o' the haw;
The brae o' the burnie,
A' bloomin' in flower,
An' twa' faithfu' lovers,
Make ae happy hour.
A kind winsome wifie,
A clean canty hame,
An' smilin' sweet babies
To lisp the dear name;
Wi' plenty o' labour,
An' health to endure,
Make time to row round aye
The ae happy hour.
Ye lost to affection,
Whom avarice can move
To woo an' to marry
For a' thing but love;
Awa' wi' your sorrows,
Awa' wi' your store,
Ye ken na the pleasure
O' ae happy hour.
[Pg 244]


Air"Lass, gin I come near you."

"Lass, gin ye wad lo'e me,
Lass, gin ye wad lo'e me,
Ye'se be ladye o' my ha',
Lass, gin ye wad lo'e me.
A canty but, a cosie ben,
Weel plenish'd ye may trow me;
A brisk, a blithe, a kind gudeman—
Lass, gin ye wad lo'e me!"
"Walth, there 's little doubt ye ha'e,
An' bidin' bein an' easy;
But brisk an' blithe ye canna be,
An' you sae auld an' crazy.
Wad marriage mak' you young again?
Wad woman's love renew you?
Awa', ye silly doitet man,
I canna, winna lo'e you!"
"Witless hizzie, e'en 's you like,
The ne'er a doit I 'm carin';
But men maun be the first to speak,
An' wanters maun be speerin'.
Yet, lassie, I ha'e lo'ed you lang,
An' now I'm come to woo you;
I 'm no sae auld as clashes gang,
I think you 'd better lo'e me."
[Pg 245]
"Doitet bodie! auld or young,
Ye needna langer tarry,
Gin ane be loutin' o'er a rung,
He 's no for me to marry.
Gae hame an' ance bethink yoursel'
How ye wad come to woo me,
An' mind me i' your latter-will,
Bodie, gin ye lo'e me!"


Air"Lass of Arranteenie."

I 've seen the smiling summer flower
Amang the braes of Yarrow;
I 've heard the raving winter wind
Amang the hills of Barra;
I 've wander'd Scotland o'er and o'er,
Frae Teviot to Strathbogie;
But the bonniest lass that I ha'e seen
Is bonnie Jean of Logie.
Her lips were like the heather bloom,
In meekest dewy morning;
Her cheeks were like the ruddy leaf,
The bloomy brier adorning;
Her brow was like the milky flower
That blossoms in the bogie;
And love was laughing in her een—
The bonnie lass of Logie.
I said, "My lassie, come wi' me,
My hand, my hame are ready;
[Pg 246] I ha'e a lairdship of my ain,
And ye shall be my ladye.
I 've ilka thing baith out and in,
To make you blithe and vogie;"
She hung her head and sweetly smiled—
The bonnie lass of Logie!
But she has smiled, and fate has frown'd,
And wrung my heart with sorrow;
The bonnie lass sae dear to me
Can never be my marrow.
For, ah! she loves another lad—
The ploughman wi' his cogie;
Yet happy, happy may she be,
The bonnie lass of Logie!


Air"John Anderson, my Jo."

I wadna gi'e my ain wife
For ony wife I see;
For, Oh! my dainty ain wife,
She 's aye sae dear to me.
A bonnier yet I 've never seen,
A better canna be;
I wadna gi'e my ain wife
For ony wife I see.
Though beauty is a fadin' flower,
As fadin' as it 's fair,
It looks fu' well in ony wife,
An' mine has a' her share.
[Pg 247] She ance was ca'd a bonnie lass—
She 's bonnie aye to me;
I wadna gi'e my ain wife
For ony wife I see.
Oh, couthy is my ingle-cheek,
An' cheery is my Jean;
I never see her angry look,
Nor hear her word on ane.
She 's gude wi' a' the neebours roun',
An' aye gude wi' me;
I wadna gi'e my ain wife
For ony wife I see.
But Oh, her looks sae kindly,
They melt my heart outright,
When ower the baby at her breast
She hangs wi' fond delight.
She looks intill its bonnie face,
An' syne looks to me;
I wadna gi'e my ain wife
For ony wife I see.


Air"O tell me the Way for to Woo."

O sweet is the calm dewy gloaming,
When saftly by Rossie-wood brae,
The merle an' mavis are hymning
The e'en o' the lang summer's day!
[Pg 248] An' sweet are the moments when o'er the blue ocean,
The full moon arising in majesty glows;
An' I, breathing o'er ilka tender emotion,
Wi' my lovely Mary, the Maid o' Montrose.
The fopling sae fine an' sae airy,
Sae fondly in love wi' himsel',
Is proud wi' his ilka new dearie,
To shine at the fair an' the ball;
But gie me the grove where the broom's yellow blossom
Waves o'er the white lily an' red smiling rose,
An' ae bonnie lassie to lean on my bosom—
My ain lovely Mary, the Maid o' Montrose.
O what is the haill warld's treasure,
Gane nane o' its pleasures we prove?
An' where can we taste o' true pleasure,
Gin no wi' the lassie we love?
O sweet are the smiles an' the dimples o' beauty,
Where lurking the loves an' the graces repose;
An' sweet is the form an' the air o' the pretty,
But sweeter is Mary, the Maid o' Montrose.
O Mary, 'tis no for thy beauty,
Though few are sae bonnie as thee;
O Mary, 'tis no for thy beauty,
Though handsome as woman can be.
The rose bloom is gane when the chill autumn's low'ring;
The aik's stately form when the wild winter blows;
But the charms o' the mind are the ties mair enduring—
These bind me to Mary, the Maid o' Montrose.
[Pg 249]


Air"Miss Forbes's Farewell to Banff."

Ye 've seen the blooming rosy brier,
On stately Dee's wild woody knowes;
Ye 've seen the op'ning lily fair,
In streamy Don's gay broomy howes:
An' ilka bonnie flower that grows,
Amang their banks and braes sae green—
These borrow a' their finest hues
Frae lovely Jean of Aberdeen.
Ye 've seen the dew-ey'd bloomy haw,
When morning gilds the welkin high;
Ye 've heard the breeze o' summer blaw,
When e'ening steals alang the sky.
But brighter far is Jeanie's eye,
When we 're amang the braes alane,
An' softer is the bosom-sigh
Of lovely Jean of Aberdeen.
Though I had a' the valleys gay,
Around the airy Bennochie;
An' a' the fleecy flocks that stray
Amang the lofty hills o' Dee;
While Mem'ry lifts her melting ee,
An' Hope unfolds her fairy scene,
My heart wi' them I'd freely gie
To lovely Jean of Aberdeen.
[Pg 250]


Air"Alas! for Poor Teddy Macshane."

Oh! where has the exile his home?
Oh! where has the exile his home?
Where the mountain is steep,
Where the valley is deep,
Where the waves of the Ohio foam;
Where no cheering smile
His woes may beguile—
Oh! there has the exile his home.
Oh! when will the exile return?
Oh! when will the exile return?
When our hearts heave no sigh,
When our tears shall be dry,
When Erin no longer shall mourn;
When his name we disown,
When his mem'ry is gone—
Oh! then will the exile return!


Air"O rest thee, my Darling."

On the airy Ben-Nevis the wind is awake,
The boat 's on the shallow, the ship on the lake;
[Pg 251] Ah! now in a moment my country I leave;
The next I am far away—far on the wave!
Oh! fare thee well, fare thee well, Glen-na-h'Albyn!
Oh! fare thee well, fare thee well, Glen-na-h'Albyn!
I was proud of the power and the fame of my chief,
And to build up his House was the aim of my life;
And now in his greatness he turns me away,
When my strength is decay'd and my locks worn gray.
Oh! fare thee well!
Farewell the gray stones of my ancestors' graves,
I go to my place 'neath the foam of the waves;
Or to die unlamented on Canada's shore,
Where none of my fathers were gathered before!
Oh! fare thee well, fare thee well, Glen-na-h'Albyn!
Oh! fare thee well, fare thee well, Glen-na-h'Albyn!
[Pg 252]


Alexander Carlile was born at Paisley in the year 1788. His progenitors are said to have been remarkable for their acquaintance with the arts, and relish for elegant literature. His eldest brother, the late Dr Carlile of Dublin attained much eminence as a profound thinker and an accomplished theologian. Having received a liberal education, first at the grammar-school of Paisley, and afterwards in the University of Glasgow, the subject of this sketch settled as a manufacturer in his native town. Apart from the avocations of business, much of his time has been devoted to the concerns of literature; he has contributed to the more esteemed periodicals, and composed verses for several works on the national minstrelsy. At an early period he composed the spirited and popular song, beginning "Oh, wha's at the window, wha, wha?" which has since obtained a place in all the collections. His only separate publication, a duodecimo volume of "Poems," appeared in 1855, and has been favourably received. Mr Carlile is much devoted to the interests of his native town, and has sedulously endeavoured to promote the moral and social welfare of his fellow-townsmen. His unobtrusive worth and elegant accomplishments have endeared him to a wide circle of friends. His latter poetical compositions have been largely pervaded by religious sentiment.[Pg 253]


Oh, wha's at the window, wha, wha?
Oh, wha's at the window, wha, wha?
Wha but blithe Jamie Glen,
He 's come sax miles and ten,
To tak' bonnie Jeannie awa, awa,
To tak' bonnie Jeannie awa.
He has plighted his troth, and a', and a',
Leal love to gi'e, and a', and a',
And sae has she dune,
By a' that 's abune,
For he lo'es her, she lo'es him, 'bune a', 'bune a',
He lo'es her, she lo'es him, 'bune a'.
Bridal-maidens are braw, braw,
Bridal-maidens are braw, braw,
But the bride's modest e'e,
And warm cheek are to me
'Bune pearlins, and brooches, and a', and a',
'Bune pearlins, and brooches, and a'.
It 's mirth on the green, in the ha', the ha',
It 's mirth on the green, in the ha', the ha';
There 's quaffing and laughing,
There 's dancing and daffing,
And the bride's father 's blithest of a', of a',
The bride's father 's blithest of a'.
[Pg 254]
It 's no that she 's Jamie's ava, ava,
It 's no that she 's Jamie's ava, ava,
That my heart is sae eerie
When a' the lave 's cheerie,
But it 's just that she 'll aye be awa, awa,
It 's just that she 'll aye be awa.


My brothers are the stately trees
That in the forests grow;
The simple flowers my sisters are,
That on the green bank blow.
With them, with them, I am a child
Whose heart with mirth is dancing wild.
The daisy, with its tear of joy,
Gay greets me as I stray;
How sweet a voice of welcome comes
From every trembling spray!
How light, how bright, the golden-wing'd hours
I spend among those songs and flowers!
I love the Spirit of the Wind,
His varied tones I know;
His voice of soothing majesty,
Of love and sobbing woe;
Whate'er his varied theme may be,
With his my spirit mingles free.
I love to tread the grass-green path,
Far up the winding stream;
For there in nature's loneliness,
The day is one bright dream.
[Pg 255] And still the pilgrim waters tell
Of wanderings wild by wood and dell.
Or up the mountain's brow I toil
Beneath a wid'ning sky,
Seas, forests, lakes, and rivers wide,
Crowding the wondering eye.
Then, then, my soul on eagle's wings,
To cloudless regions upwards springs!
The stars—the stars! I know each one,
With all its soul of love,
They beckon me to come and live
In their tearless homes above;
And then I spurn earth's songs and flowers,
And pant to breathe in heaven's own bowers.


O yes, there 's a valley as calm and as sweet
As that vale in whose bosom the bright waters meet;
So bland in its beauty, so rich in its green,
'Mid Scotia's dark mountains—the Vale of Killean.
The flocks on its soft lap so peacefully roam,
The stream seeks the deep lake as the child seeks its home,
That has wander'd all day, to its lullaby close,
Singing blithe 'mid the wild-flowers, and fain would repose.
[Pg 256]
How solemn the broad hills that curtain around
This sanctuary of nature, 'mid a wilderness found,
Whose echoes low whisper, "Bid the world farewell,
And with lowly contentment here peacefully dwell!"
Then build me a cot by that lake's verdant shore,
'Mid the world's wild turmoil I 'll mingle no more,
And the tidings evoking the sigh and the tear,
Of man's crimes and his follies, no more shall I hear.
Young Morn, as on tiptoe he ushers the day,
Will teach fading Hope to rekindle her ray;
And pale Eve, with her rapture tear, soft will impart
To the soul her own meekness—a rich glow to the heart.
The heavings of passion all rocked to sweet rest,
As repose its still waters, so repose shall this breast;
And 'mid brightness and calmness my spirit shall rise,
Like the mist from the mountain to blend with the skies.
[Pg 257]


John Nevay, the bard of Forfar, was born in that town on the 28th of January 1792. He was educated at the schools of his native place, and considerably improved himself in classical learning, at an early age, under the tuition of Mr James Clarke, sometime master of the Burgh School, and the friend and correspondent of Burns. Fond of solitary rambles in the country, he began, while a mere youth, to portray in verse his impressions of the scenery which he was in the habit of surveying. He celebrated the green fields, the lochs and mountains near the scene of his nativity, and was rewarded with the approving smiles of the family circle. Acquiring facility in the production of verses, he was at length induced to venture on a publication. In 1818 he gave to the world a "Pamphlet of Rhymes," which, obtaining a ready sale, induced him to publish a second small collection of verses in 1821. After an interval devoted to mental improvement, he appeared, in 1834, as the author of "The Peasant, a Poem in Nine Cantos, with other Poems," in one volume, 12mo. In the following year he published "The Child of Nature, and other Poems," in a thin duodecimo volume. In 1853 he printed, by subscription, a third volume, entitled "Rosaline's Dream, in Four Duans, and other Poems," which was accompanied with an introductory essay by the Rev. George Gilfillan. His latest production—"The Fountain of the Rock, a Poem"—appeared in a[Pg 258] pamphlet form, in 1855. He has repeatedly written prose tales for the periodicals, and has contributed verses to Blackwood's Magazine and the Edinburgh Literary Journal.

From the labour of a long career of honourable industry, John Nevay is now enjoying the pleasures of retirement. He continues to compose verses with undiminished ardour, and has several MS. poems ready for the press. He has also prepared a lengthened autobiography. As a poet, his prevailing themes are the picturesque objects of nature. His lyrical pieces somewhat lack simplicity. His best production—"The Emigrant's Love-letter"—will maintain a place in the national minstrelsy. It was composed during the same week with Motherwell's "Jeanie Morrison," which it so peculiarly resembles both in expression and sentiment.[Pg 259]


My young heart's luve! twal' years ha'e been
A century to me;
I ha'e na seen thy smile, nor heard
Thy voice's melodie.
The mony hardships I ha'e tholed
Sin' I left Larocklea,
I maun na tell, for it would bring
The saut tear in thine e'e.
But I ha'e news, an' happy news,
To tell unto my love—
What I ha'e won, to me mair dear
That it my heart can prove.
Its thochts unchanged, still it is true,
An' surely sae is thine;
Thou never, never canst forget
That twa waur ane langsyne.
The simmer sun blinks on the tarn,
An' on the primrose brae,
Where we, in days o' innocence,
Waur wont to daff an' play;
An' I amang the mossy springs
Wade for the hinny blooms—
To thee the rush tiara wove,
Bedeck'd wi' lily plumes.
When on the ferny knowe we sat,
A happy, happy pair—
Thy comely cheek laid on my knee,
I plaited thy gowden hair.
[Pg 260] Oh! then I felt the holiest thocht
That e'er enter'd my mind—
It, Mary, was to be to thee
For ever true an' kind.
Though fair the flowers that bloom around
My dwallin' owre the sea—
Though bricht the streams, an' green the bowers,
They are na sae to me.
I hear the bulbul's mellow leed
Upo' the gorgeous paum—
The sweet cheep o' the feather'd bee
Amang the fields o' baum.
But there are nae auld Scotland's burds,
Sae dear to childhood's days—
The laverock, lintie, shulf, an' yyoite,
That taught us luve's sweet lays.
Gin' thou e'er wauk'st alane to think
On him that's owre the sea,
Their cheerfu' saft luve-lilts will tell
My heart's luve-thochts to thee.
Lat joy be in thy leal, true heart,
An' bricht smile in thine e'e—
The bonnie bark is in the bay,
I 'm coming hame to thee;
I 'm coming hame to thee, Mary,
Wi' mony a pearl fine,
An' I will lay them in thy lap,
For the kiss o' sweet langsyne.
[Pg 261]


Thomas Lyle, author of the highly popular song, "Kelvin Grove," is a native of Paisley. Attending the philosophical and medical classes in the University of Glasgow, he obtained the diploma of surgeon in the year 1816. He commenced medical practice in Glasgow, where he remained till 1826, when he removed to the parish of Airth in Stirlingshire. The latter locality afforded him abundant opportunities for prosecuting his favourite study of botany; and he frequently proceeded at early dawn to great distances in quest of curious or rare plants, so as to gratify his peculiar tastes without interfering with the duties of his profession, or the conveniences of his patients. At an earlier period of life, having cherished a love for the ancient national music, he was in the habit of collecting and noting such of the older airs as were rapidly passing into oblivion. He was particularly struck with one of these airs, which he deemed worthy of more suitable words than those to which it was commonly sung.[31] At this period he often resorted, in his botanical rambles, to the wooded and sequestered banks of the Kelvin, about two miles north-west of Glasgow;[32] and in consequence, he was led to compose for his favourite tune[Pg 262] the words of his beautiful song, "Kelvin Grove." "The Harp of Renfrewshire" was now in the course of being published, in sixpence numbers, under the editorship of his college friend and professional brother, John Sim, and to this work he contributed his new song. In a future number of the work, the song appeared without his name, as was requested, but with some unauthorised alterations. Of these he complained to Mr Sim, who laid the blame on Mr John Murdoch, who had succeeded him in the editorship, and Mr Lyle did not further prosecute inquiry on the subject. On the retirement of Mr Murdoch, the editorship of "The Harp of Renfrewshire" was intrusted to the poet Motherwell, who incautiously ascribed the song to Mr Sim in the index of the work. Sim died in the West Indies before this period;[33] and, in the belief that the song had been composed by him, Mr Purdie, music-seller in Edinburgh, made purchase of the copyright from his representatives, and published the words, with music arranged for the piano by Robert Archibald Smith. Mr Lyle now asserted his title to the authorship, and on Mr Sim's letter regarding the alterations being submitted to Messrs Motherwell and Smith, a decision in favour of his claim was pronounced by these gentlemen. Mr Lyle was shortly after invited by Mr Smith to contribute songs for the "Irish Minstrel," one of his numerous musical publications.

In 1827 Mr Lyle published the results of his researches into the song literature of his country, in a duodecimo volume, entitled "Ancient Ballads and Songs, chiefly from Tradition, Manuscripts, and scarce Works, with Biographical and Illustrative Notices." Of this work, the more interesting portion consists of[Pg 263] "Miscellaneous Poems, by Sir William Mure, Knight of Rowallan," together with several songs of various merit by the editor.

Having acted as medical practitioner at Airth during the period of twenty-eight years, Mr Lyle, in the close of 1853, returned to Glasgow, where he soon found himself actively employed by the medical boards of the city during the prevalence of the Asiatic Cholera. At the present time he is one of the city district surgeons. A man of the most retiring dispositions, he has hitherto avoided public reputation, and has written verses, as he has studied botany, solely for his amusement. He will, however, be remembered as the writer of some exquisitely sweet and simple lyrics.[Pg 264]


Let us haste to Kelvin Grove, bonnie lassie, O!
Through its mazes let us rove, bonnie lassie, O!
Where the rose in all her pride,
Paints the hollow dingle side,
Where the midnight fairies glide, bonnie lassie, O!
Let us wander by the mill, bonnie lassie, O!
To the cove beside the rill, bonnie lassie, O!
Where the glens rebound the call
Of the roaring water's fall,
Through the mountains rocky hall, bonnie lassie, O!
O Kelvin banks are fair, bonnie lassie, O!
When in summer we are there, bonnie lassie, O!
There the May pink's crimson plume
Throws a soft but sweet perfume
Round the yellow banks of broom, bonnie lassie, O!
Though I dare not call thee mine, bonnie lassie, O!
As the smile of fortune 's thine, bonnie lassie, O!
Yet with fortune on my side,
I could stay thy father's pride,
And win thee for my bride, bonnie lassie, O!
But the frowns of fortune lower, bonnie lassie, O!
On thy lover at this hour, bonnie lassie, O!
Ere yon golden orb of day
Wake the warblers on the spray,
From this land I must away, bonnie lassie, O!
[Pg 265]
Then farewell to Kelvin grove, bonnie lassie, O!
And adieu to all I love, bonnie lassie, O!
To the river winding clear,
To the fragrant-scented breer,
Even to thee of all most dear, bonnie lassie, O!
When upon a foreign shore, bonnie lassie, O!
Should I fall midst battle's roar, bonnie lassie, O!
Then, Helen! shouldst thou hear
Of thy lover on his bier,
To his memory shed a tear, bonnie lassie, O!


The night-wind's Eolian breezes,
Chase melody over the grove,
The fleecy clouds wreathing in tresses,
Float rosy the woodlands above;
Then tarry no longer, my true love,
The stars hang their lamps in the sky,
'Tis lovely the landscape to view, love,
When each bloom has a tear in its eye.
So stilly the evening is closing,
Bright dew-drops are heard as they fall,
Eolian whispers reposing
Breathe softly, I hear my love call;
Yes, the light fairy step of my true love
The night breeze is wafting to me;
Over heathbell and violet blue, love,
Perfuming the shadowy lea.
[Pg 266]


The harvest morning breaks
Breathing balm, and the lawn
Through the mist in rosy streaks
Gilds the dawn,
While fairy troops descend,
With the rolling clouds that bend
O'er the forest as they wend
Fast away, when the day
Chases cloudy wreaths away
From the land.
The harvest breezes swell,
And the song pours along,
From the reapers in the dell,
Joyous throng!
The tiny gleaners come,
Picking up their harvest home,
As they o'er the stubble roam,
Dancing here, sporting there,
All the balmy sunny air
Is full of song.
The harvest evening falls,
While each flower round the bower,
Breathing odour, now recalls
The lover's hour.
The moon enthroned in blue
Lights the rippling lake anew,
And the wailing owls' whoo! whoo!
From the glen again, again,
Wakes the stillness of the scene
On my adieu.

[Pg 267]


James Home, the author of "Mary Steel," and other popular songs, was born, early in the century, on the farm of Hollybush, about a mile south of Galashiels. During a period of about thirty years, he has been engaged in the humble capacity of a dry-stone mason in Peeblesshire. He resides in the hamlet of Rachan Mill in that county, where, in addition to his ordinary employment, he holds the office of postmaster.

Home has not ventured on a publication, and latterly has abandoned the composition of verses. In youth he was, writes a correspondent, "an enthusiast in love, music, and poetry." A number of his songs and poetical pieces, which he had addressed to friends, have long been popular in the south of Scotland. His song entitled "This Lassie o' Mine" has enjoyed an uncommon measure of general favour. His compositions are replete with pathos; he has skilfully told the lover's tale; and has most truthfully depicted the joys and sorrows, hopes and fears of human life. Some of his best pieces appear in the "Unknown Poets" of Mr Alexander Campbell,—a work which only reached a single number. Of mild dispositions, modest manners, and industrious habits, Home is much respected in private life. Of a somewhat sanguine complexion, his countenance betokens superior intellectual power. He enjoys the comfort of a suitable partner in life, and is a respected office-bearer of the Free Church congregation at Broughton.[Pg 268]


I 'll think o' thee, my Mary Steel,
When the lark begins to sing,
And a thousan', thousan' joyfu' hearts
Are welcoming the spring:
When the merle and the blackbird build their nest
In the bushy forest tree,
And a' things under the sky seem blest,
My thoughts shall be o' thee.
I 'll think o' thee, my Mary Steel,
When the simmer spreads her flowers,
And the lily blooms and the ivy twines
In beauty round the bowers;
When the cushat coos in the leafy wood,
And the lambs sport o'er the lea,
And every heart 's in its happiest mood,
My thoughts shall be o' thee.
I 'll think o' thee, my Mary Steel,
When har'st blithe days begin,
And shearers ply, in the yellow ripe field,
The foremost rig to win;
When the shepherd brings his ewes to the fauld,
Where light-hair'd lasses be,
And mony a tale o' love is tauld,
My thoughts shall be o' thee.
I 'll think o' thee, my Mary Steel,
When the winter winds rave high,
And the tempest wild is pourin' doun
Frae the dark and troubled sky:
[Pg 269] When a hopeless wail is heard on land,
And shrieks frae the roaring sea,
And the wreck o' nature seems at hand,
My thoughts shall be o' thee!


Oh, hast thou forgotten the birk tree's shade,
And this warm, true heart o' mine, Mary?
Oh, hast thou forgotten the promise thou made,
When so fondly 't was pressed to thine, Mary?
Oh, hast thou forgotten, what I ne'er can forget,
The hours we have spent together?
Those hours which, like stars in my memory, yet
Shine on as brightly as ever!
Oh, hast thou forgotten that moment of bliss,
So fraught with the heart's full feeling?
As we clung to each other in the last embrace,
The soul of love revealing!
Oh, hast thou forgotten that sacred spot,
Where the farewell word was spoken?
Is the sigh, and the tear, and all forgot,
The vow and the promise broken?
Then for ever farewell, thou false fair one;
Though other arms caress thee,
Though a fairer youth thy heart should gain,
And a smoother tongue should bless thee:—
[Pg 270]
Yet never again on thy warm young cheek
Will breathe a soul more warm than mine,
And never again will a lover speak
Of love more pure to thine.


Air"The Last Rose of Summer."

When the maid of my heart, with the dark rolling eye,
The only beloved of my bosom is nigh,
I ask not of Heaven one bliss to impart,
Save that which I feel with the maid of my heart.
When around and above us there 's nought to be seen,
But the moon on the sky and the flower on the green,
And all is at rest in the glen and the hill,
Save the soul-stirring song of the breeze and the rill.
Then the maid of my heart to my bosom is press'd,
Then all I hold dear in this world is possess'd;
Then I ask not of Heaven one bliss to impart,
Save that which I feel with the maid of my heart.


Oh! the land of hills is the land for me,
Where the maiden's step is light and free;
Where the shepherd's pipe, and the hunter's horn,
Awake the joys of the rosy morn.
[Pg 271]
There 's a voice in the wind, when it comes from the lake,
That tells how the foamy billows break;
There 's a voice in the wind, when it comes from the wood,
That tells of dreary solitude.
But, oh! when it comes from the mountain fells,
Where the Spirit of Song and Freedom dwells,
Where in youth's warm day I woke that strain
I ne'er in this world can wake again.
The warm blood leaps in its wonted course,
And fresh tears gush from their briny source,
As if I had hail'd in the passing wind
The all I have loved and left behind.


Tune"Wattie's Ramble."

O, saw ye this sweet bonnie 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 sae happy as me.
[Pg 272]
It 's no that she dances sae light on the green,
It 's no the simplicity marked in her mien—
But, O! it 's the kind love that speaks in her e'e
That keeps me aye 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 in a saft melting kiss—
On earth sure there 's naething is equal to this.
I have felt every bliss which the soul can enjoy,
When friends circle round, and nought to annoy;
I have felt every joy which 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 with soul in a saft melting kiss,
On earth sure there 's naething is equal to this.
[Pg 273]


James Telfer, an ingenious prose writer and respectable poet, was born about the commencement of the century, near the source of the river Jed, in the parish of Southdean, and county of Roxburgh. Passionate in his admiration of Hogg's "Queen's Wake," he early essayed imitations of some of the more remarkable portions of that poem. In 1824 he published at Jedburgh a volume of "Border Ballads and Miscellaneous Poems," which he inscribed to the Bard of Ettrick. "Barbara Gray," an interesting prose tale, appeared from his pen in 1835, printed at Newcastle. A collected edition of his best productions in prose and verse was published at London in 1852, with the title of "Tales and Sketches." He has long been a contributor to the provincial journals.

Some of Mr Telfer's ballads are respectable specimens of this class of compositions; and his tales in prose are written with much vigour, the narrative of "Barbara Gray" being especially interesting. For many years he has taught an adventure school at Saughtree, Liddisdale; and with emoluments not much beyond twenty pounds a-year, he has contrived to support a family. He has long maintained a literary correspondence with his ingenious friend, Mr Robert White of Newcastle; and his letters, some of which we have seen, abound with curious and interesting speculations.


"Oh, will ye walk the wood wi' me?
Oh, will ye walk the green?
[Pg 274] Or will ye sit within mine arms,
My ain kind Jean?"
"It 's I 'll not walk the wood wi' thee,
Nor yet will I the green;
And as for sitting in your arms,
It 's what I dinna mean."
"Oh! slighted love is ill to thole,
And weel may I compleen;
But since that better mayna be,
I e'en maun thol 't for Jean."
"Gang up to May o' Mistycleugh,
Ye saw her late yestreen;
Ye'll find in her a lightsome love
Ye winna find in Jean."
"Wi' bonny May o' Mistycleugh
I carena to be seen;
Her lightsome love I'd freely gie
For half a blink frae Jean."
"Gang down to Madge o' Miryfaulds,
I ken for her ye green;
Wi' her ye 'll get a purse o' gowd—
Ye 'll naething get wi' Jean."
"For doity Madge o' Miryfaulds
I dinna care a preen;
The purse o' gowd I weel could want,
If I could hae my Jean."
"Oh, yes! I 'll walk the wood wi' thee;
Oh, yes! I 'll walk the green;
But first ye 'll meet me at the kirk,
And mak' me aye your Jean."
[Pg 275]


"Sweet summer now is by,
And cauld winter is nigh,
The wan leaves they fa' frae the tree;
The hills are white wi' snaw,
And the frosty winds blaw,
And I maun gie over the sea, Mary,
And I maun gie over the sea.
"But winter will gang by,
And summer come wi' joy,
And Nature again will be free;
And wooers you will find,
And mair ye 'll never mind
The laddie that 's over the sea, Mary,
The laddie that 's over the sea."
"Oh, Willie, since it 's sae,
My heart is very wae
To leave a' my friends and countrie;
But wi' thee I will gang,
Though the way it be lang,
And wi' thee I 'll cross the saut sea, Willie,
And wi' thee I 'll cross the saut sea."
"The way is vera far,
And terrible is war,
And great are the hardships to dree;
And if I should be slain,
Or a prisoner ta'en,
My jewel, what would come o' thee, Mary?
My jewel, what would come o' thee?
[Pg 276]
"Sae at hame ye maun bide,
And should it sae betide
That a bride to another ye be,
For ane that lo'ed ye dear
Ye 'll whiles drap a tear;
I 'll aften do the same for thee, Mary,
I 'll aften do the same for thee."
The rowan tear down fell,
Her bosom wasna well,
For she sabbit most wofullie;
"Oure the yirth I wad gang,
And never count it lang,
But I fear ye carena for me, Willie,
But I fear ye carena for me."
Nae langer could he thole,
She tore his vera soul,
He dighted her bonnie blue e'e;
"Oh, what was it you said,
Oh my ain loving maid?
I 'll never love a woman but thee, Mary,
I 'll never love a woman but thee!"
The fae is forced to yield,
And freedom has the field;
"Away I will ne'er gang frae thee;
Only death shall us part,
Keep sic thoughts frae my heart,
But never shall part us the sea, Mary,
But never shall part us the sea."
[Pg 277]

[Pg 278]



The Modern Gaelic Minstrelsy.

[Pg 279]


One of the most learned of the modern Gaelic song-writers, Evan Maclachlan, was born in 1775, in a small hut called Torracaltuin, in the district of Lochaber. After struggling with many difficulties in obtaining the means of education, he qualified himself for the duties of an itinerating tutor. In this capacity it was his good fortune to live in the families of the substantial tenantry of the district, two of whom, the farmers at Clunes and Glen Pean, were led to evince an especial interest in his welfare. The localities of those early patrons he has celebrated in his poetry. Another patron, the Chief of Glengarry, supplied funds to enable him to proceed to the university, and he was fortunate in gaining, by competition, a bursary or exhibition at King's College, Aberdeen. For a Greek ode, on the generation of light, he gained the prize granted for competition to the King's College by the celebrated Dr Claudius Buchanan. Having held, during a period of years, the office of[Pg 280] librarian in King's College, he was in 1819 elected master of the grammar school of Old Aberdeen. His death took place on the 29th March 1822. To the preparation of a Gaelic dictionary he devoted the most important part of his life. Subsequent to his decease, the work was published in two quarto volumes, by the Highland Society, under the editorial care of Dr Mackay, formerly of Dunoon. The chief amusement of Maclachlan's leisure hours was executing translations of Homer into Gaelic. His translation of the third book of the Iliad has been printed. Of his powers as a Gaelic poet, an estimate may be formed from the following specimens in English verse.[Pg 281]


The first stanza of this song was the composition of a lady. Maclachlan completed the composition in Gaelic, and afterwards produced the following version of the whole in English.

Not the swan on the lake, or the foam on the shore,
Can compare with the charms of the maid I adore:
Not so white is the new milk that flows o'er the pail,
Or the snow that is shower'd from the boughs of the vale.
As the cloud's yellow wreath on the mountain's high brow,
The locks of my fair one redundantly flow;
Her cheeks have the tint that the roses display
When they glitter with dew on the morning of May.
As the planet of Venus that gleams o'er the grove,
Her blue rolling eyes are the symbols of love:
Her pearl-circled bosom diffuses bright rays,
Like the moon when the stars are bedimm'd with her blaze.
The mavis and lark, when they welcome the dawn,
Make a chorus of joy to resound through the lawn:
But the mavis is tuneless, the lark strives in vain,
When my beautiful charmer renews her sweet strain.
When summer bespangles the landscape with flowers,
While the thrush and the cuckoo sing soft from the bowers,
Through the wood-shaded windings with Bella I 'll rove,
And feast unrestrained on the smiles of my love.
[Pg 282]


These verses are allegorical. In the character of a song-bird the bard relates the circumstances of his nativity, the simple habits of his progenitors, and his own rural tastes and recreations from infancy, giving the first place to the delights of melody. He proceeds to give an account of his flight to a strange but hospitable region, where he continued to sing his songs among the birds, the flocks, the streams, and cultivated fields of the land of his sojourn. This piece is founded upon a common usage of the Gaelic bards, several of whom assume the allegorical character of the "Mavis" of their own clan. Thus we have the Mavis of Clan-ranald by Mac-Vaistir-Allister—of Macdonald (of Sleat) by Mac Codrum—of Macleod, and many others.

Clan Lachlan's tuneful mavis, I sing on the branches early,
And such my love of song, I sleep but half the night-tide rarely;
No raven I, of greedy maw, no kite of bloody beak,
No bird of devastating claw, but a woodland songster meek.
I love the apple's infant bloom; my ancestry have fared
For ages on the nourishment the orchard hath prepared:
Their hey-day was the summer, their joy the summer's dawn,
And their dancing-floor it was the green leaf's velvet lawn;
Their song was the carol that defiance bade to care,
And their breath of life it was the summer's balmiest air.
When first my morn of life was born, the Pean's[37] silver stream
Glanced in my eye, and then there lent my view their kinder gleam,
[Pg 283] The flowers that fringed its side, where, by the fragrant breezes lull'd,
As in a cradle-bed I lay, and all my woes were still'd.
But changes will come over us, and now a stranger I
Among the glades of Cluaran[38] must imp my wings and fly;
Yet gratitude forbid complaint, although in foreign grove,
Since welcome to my haunt I come, and there in freedom rove.
By every song-bird charm'd, my ear is fed the livelong day,
Now from the hollow's deepest dell, now from the top-most spray,
The comrades of my lay, they tune their wild notes for my pleasure,
And I, can I refrain to swell their diapason's measure?
With its own clusters loaded, with its rich foliage dress'd,
Each bough is hanging down, and each shapely stem depress'd,
While nestle there inhabitants, a feather'd tuneful choir,
That in the strife of song breathe forth a flame of minstrel fire.
O happy tribe of choristers! no interruption mars
The concert of your harmony, nor ever harshly jars
A string of all your harping, nor of your voices trill
Notes that are weak for tameness, that are for sharpness shrill.
The sun is on his flushing march, his golden hair abroad,
It seems as on the mountain's side of beams a furnace glow'd,
[Pg 284] Now melts the honey from all flowers, and now a dew o'erspreads
(A dew of fragrant blessedness) all the grasses of the meads.
Nor least in my remembrance is my country's flowering heather,
Whose russet crest, nor cold, nor sun, nor sweep of gale may wither;
Dear to my eye the symbol wild, that loves like me the side
Of my own Highland mountains that I climb in love and pride.
Dear tribes of nature! co-mates ye of nature's wandering son—
I hail the lambs that on the floor of milky pastures run,
I hail the mother flocks, that, wrapp'd in their mantle of the fleece,
Defy the landward tempest's roar, and defy the seaward breeze.
The streams they drink are waters of the ever-gushing well,
Those streams, oh, how they wind around the swellings of the dell!
The flowers they browze are mantles spread o'er pastures wide and far,
As mantle o'er the firmament the stars, each flower a star!
I will not name each sister beam, but clustering there I see
The beauty of the purple-bell, the daisy of the lea.
Of every hue I mark them, the many-spotted kine,
The dun, the brindled, and the dark, and blends the bright its shine;
[Pg 285] And, 'mid the Highlands rude, I see the frequent furrows swell,
With the barley and the corn that Scotland loves so well.
       *       *       *       *       *
And now I close my clannish lay with blessings on the shade
That bids the mavis sing her song, well nurtured, undismay'd;
The shade where bloom and cresses, and the ear-honey'd heather,
Are smiling fair, and dwelling in their brotherhood together;
For the sun is setting largely, and blinks my eye its ken;
'T is time to loose the strings, I ween, and close my wild-wood strain.

[Pg 286]



One of the bards of Cowal is believed to have been born in the parish of Inverchaolain about 1750; his family name was Brun or Broun, as distinguished from the Lowland Brown, which he assumed. He first appeared as a poet by the publication, at Perth, in 1786, of a small volume of Gaelic poetry, dedicated to the Duke of Montrose. The subsequent portion of his career seems to have been chiefly occupied in genealogical researches. In 1792 he completed, in two large sheets, his "Historical and Genealogical Tree of the Royal Family of Scotland;" of which the second edition bears the date 1811. This was followed by similar genealogical trees of the illustrious family of Graham, of the noble house of Elphinstone, and other families. In these productions he uniformly styles himself, "Genealogist to his R. H. the Prince of Wales, for Scotland." Brown died at Edinburgh in the beginning of the year 1821. He had formed a respectable connexion by marriage, under circumstances which he has commemorated in the annexed specimen of his poetry, but his latter years were somewhat clouded by misfortune. He is remembered as a solicitor for subscriptions to his genealogical publications.[Pg 287]


The poet had paid his addresses to one of the sisters, but without the consent of her relatives, who ultimately induced her to wed another. After a lapse of time the bard transferred his affection to another daughter of the same distinguished family, and being successful, was compensated for his former trials.

The sundown had mantled Ben Nevis with night,
And the stars were attired in the glory of light,
And the hope of the lover was shining as day,
When Dunolly's fair daughter was sprited away.
Away she has gone at the touch of the helm,
And the shadows of darkness her lover o'erwhelm—
But, would that his strength as his purpose was true,
At Dunolly, Culloden were battled anew!
Yes! did they give courtesy, did they give time,
The kindred of Cowal would meet at the prime,
And the Brunach[40] would joy, in the succour they gave,
To win him a bride, or to win him a grave.
My lost one! I'm not like the laggard thou'st found,
Whose puissance scarce carries the sword he has bound;
In the flush of my health and my penniless youth,
I could well have rewarded thine honour and truth.
Five years they have pass'd, and the Brunach has shaken
The burden of woe that his spirit was breaking;
A sister is salving a sister's annoy,
And the eyes of the Brunach are treasured with joy.
[Pg 288]
A bride worth the princesses England is rearing,
Comes forth from Dunolly, a star reappearing;
If my heart in Dunolly was garner'd before,
In Dunolly, my pride and my pleasure is more.
The lowly, the gentle, the graceful, the mild
That in friendship or charity never beguiled,
She is mine—to Dunduala[41] that traces her stem,
As for kings to be proud of, 'tis prouder for them,
Though Donald[42] the gracious be head of her line,
And "our exiled and dear"[43] in her pedigree shine.
Then hearken, ye men of the country I love!
Despair not, unsmooth though the course of your love,
Ere ye yield to your sorrow or die in your folly,
May ye find, like the Brunach, another Dunolly.

[Pg 289]


The Rev. Dr Stewart was born at Appin, Argyllshire, in 1751. His mother was a daughter of Edmonstone of Cambuswallace, the representative of an old and distinguished family in the counties of Perth and Stirling; and his father was brother of Stewart of Invernachoil, who was actively engaged in the cause of Prince Charles Edward, and has been distinguished in the romance of Waverley as the Baron of Bradwardine. This daring Argyllshire chief, whom Scott represents as being fed in the cave by "Davie Gellatly," was actually tended in such a place of concealment by his own daughter, a child about ten years old.

On receiving license, Dr Stewart soon attained popularity as a preacher. In 1779, being in his twenty-eighth year, he was ordained to the pastoral charge of the parish of Strachur, Argyllshire. He died in the manse of Strachur on the 24th of May 1826, in the seventy-fifth year of his age, and the forty-seventh of his ministry. A tombstone was erected to his memory in the parochial burying-ground, by the members of the kirk-session. Possessed of superior talents, a vast fund of humour, and a delightful store of traditional information, he was much cherished by a wide circle of admiring friends. Faithful in the discharge of the public duties of his office, he was distinguished among his parishioners for his private amenities and acts of benevolence. He was the author only of one song, but this has attained much favour among the Gael.[Pg 290]


No homeward scene near me,
No comrade to cheer me,
I cling to my dearie,
And sigh till I marry.
Sing ever O, and ra-ill O,
Ra-ill O,
Sing ever O, and ra-ill O,
Was ever a May like my fairy?
My youth with the stranger,[44]
Next on mountains a ranger,
I pass'd—but no change, here,
Will sever from Mary.
What ringlets discover
Their gloss thy brows over—
Forget thee! thy lover,
Ah, first shall they bury.
Thy aspect of kindness,
Thy graces they bind us,
And, like Feili,[45] remind us
Of a heaven undreary.
Than the treasures of Spain
I would toil more to gain
Thy love—but my pain,
Ah, 'tis cruel, my Mary!
[Pg 291]
When the shell is o'erflowing,
And its dew-drops are glowing,
No, never, thy snow on
A slander shall tarry.
When viols are playing,
And dancers are Maying,
My eyes may be straying,
But my soul is with Mary.
That white hand of thine
Might I take into mine,
Could I ever repine,
Or from tenderness vary?
No, never! no, never!
My troth on 't for ever,
Lip to lip, I 'd deliver
My being to Mary.

[Pg 292]


Angus Fletcher was born at Coirinti, a wild and romantic spot on the west bank of Loch Eck, in June 1776. His education was chiefly conducted at the parish school of Kilmodan, Glendaruel. From Glendaruel he went to Bute, in 1791, where he was variously employed till May 1804, when he was elected schoolmaster of Dunoon, his native parish. His death took place at Dunoon in 1852. The first of the two following songs was contributed anonymously to the Weekly Journal newspaper, whence it was transferred by Turner into his Gaelic collection. It soon became popular in the Highlands, and the authorship came to be assigned to different individuals. Fletcher afterwards announced himself as the author, and completely established his claim. He was the author of various metrical compositions both in Gaelic and English.


Thy wily eyes, my darling,
Thy graces bright, my jewel,
Have grieved me since our parting
At the kirk of Glendaruel.
'Twas to the Kirkton wending
Bright eyes encounter'd duty,
And mavis' notes were blending
With the rosy cheeks of beauty.
Oh, jimpsome is her shapely waist,
Her arms, her instep queenly;
[Pg 293] And her sweet parting lips are graced
With rows of ivory inly.
When busy tongues are railing,
Lown is her word unsaucy,
And with modest grace unfailing
She trips it o'er the causey.
Should royalty prefer me,
Preferment none I crave,
But to live a shepherd near thee,
On the howes of Corrichnaive.
Would fortune crown my wishes—
The shealing of the hill,
With my darling, and the rushes
To couch on, were my will.
I hear, but not instruction,
Though faithful lips are pleading—
I read thy eyes' perfection,
On their dew of mildness feeding.
My hand is swiftly scrolling,
In the courts of reverend men;[46]
But, ah! my restless soul in
Is triumphing my Jean.
I fear, I fear their frowning—
But though they chased me over
Where Holland's flats[47] are drowning,
I 'll live and die thy lover.

[Pg 294]


Versified from the Gaelic Original by the Author.

Beneath a hill 'mang birken bushes,
By a burnie's dimplit linn,
I told my love with artless blushes
To the lassie o' the glen.
Oh! the birken bank sae grassy,
Hey! the burnie's dimplit linn;
Dear to me 's the bonnie lassie
Living in yon rashy glen!
Lanely Ruail! thy stream sae glassy
Shall be aye my fav'rite theme,
For on thy banks my Highland lassie
First confess'd a mutual flame.
What bliss to sit, and nane to fash us,
In some sweet wee bow'ry den!
Or fondly stray amang the rashes,
Wi' the lassie o' the glen!
And though I wander now unhappy,
Far frae scenes we haunted then,
I'll ne'er forget the bank sae grassy,
Nor the lassie o' the glen.
[Pg 295]


Aboon, above.

Aumry, a store-place.

Baum, balm.

Beuk, book.

Bicker, a drinking vessel.

Burnie, a small stream.

Caller, cool.

Cled, clad.

Clud, cloud.

Couthy, frank.

Daffin', merry-making.

Dighted, wiped.

Doit, a small coin.

Doitet, dotard.

Douf, sad.

Dree, endure.

Dwine, dwindle.

Fauld, fold.

Fleechit, cajoled.

Fykes, troubles, anxieties.

Gaed, went.

Gar, compel.

Gate, way.

Glour, look earnestly.

Grannie, grandmother.

Grat, wept.

Grit, great.

Haill, whole.

Haud, hold, keep.

Heuk, reaping-hook.

Hie, high.

Hinny, honey.

Hizzie, Hussy, a thoughtless girl.

Ken, know.

Knows, knolls, hillocks.

Laith, loth.

Lift, firmament.

Lowin', burning.

Minnie, mother.

Parochin', parish.

Pu', pull.

Roos'd, praised.

Sabbit, sobbed.

Scour, search.

Slee, sly.

Speerin', inquiring.[Pg 296]

Swiggit, swallowed.

Syne, then.

Thole, endure.

Toom, empty.

Troth, truth, vow.

Trow, believe.

Tyne, lose.

Unco, uncommon.

Wag, shake.

Waur, worse.

Ween, guess.

Yirth, earth.

Yowes, ewes.




[1] A flock of sheep.

[2] See Minstrel, vol. iii. p. 186.

[3] "Songs of the Ark, with other Poems." Edin. 1831. 8vo.

[4] "The Christian Politician, or the Right Way of Thinking." Edinburgh, 1844, 8vo. This work, now nearly out of print, we would especially commend to the favourable attention of the Religious Tract Society.—Ed.

[5] "Poems, Songs, and Miscellaneous Pieces." Edinburgh, 1847, 12mo.

[6] This song, set to music by Mr Peter M'Leod, was published in a separate form, and the profits, which amounted to a considerable sum, given for the purpose of placing a parapet and railing around the monument of Burns on the Calton Hill, Edinburgh.

[7] This exquisite lay forms a portion of "The Cottagers of Glendale," Mr Riddell's longest ballad poem.

[8] This song was composed by Mrs Inglis, in honour of the Ettrick Shepherd, shortly after the period of his death.

[9] Printed for the first time.

[10] Of this song a new version was composed by Burns, the original chorus being retained. Burns' version commences—"Hark the mavis' evening sang."

[11] This song was addressed by Mr Jamieson to Miss Jane Morrison of Alloa, the heroine of Motherwell's popular ballad of "Jeanie Morrison," and who had thus the singular good fortune to be celebrated by two different poets. For some account of Miss Morrison, now Mrs Murdoch, see vol. iii. p. 233.

[12] A MS. copy of this song had been sent by the author to the Ettrick Shepherd. Having been found among the Shepherd's papers after his decease, it was regarded as his own composition, and has consequently been included in the posthumous edition of his songs, published by the Messrs Blackie. The song appears in Imlah's "May Flowers," published in 1827.

[13] The chorus of this song, which is said to have been originally connected with a plaintive Jacobite ditty, now lost, has suggested several modern songs similar in manner and sentiment. Imlah composed two songs with this chorus. The earlier of these compositions appears in the "May Flowers." It is evidently founded upon a rumour, which prevailed in Aberdeenshire during the first quarter of the century, to the effect, that a Scottish officer, serving in Egypt, had been much affected on hearing a soldier's wife crooning to herself the original words of the air. We have inserted in the text Imlah's second version, as being somewhat smoother in versification. It is the only song which we have transcribed from his volume, published in 1841. But the most popular words which have been attached to the air and chorus were the composition of a student in one of the colleges of Aberdeen, nearly thirty years since, who is now an able and accomplished clergyman of the Scottish Church. Having received the chorus and heard the air from a comrade, he immediately composed the following verses, here printed from the author's MS.:—

Oh, an' I were where Gadie rins,
Where Gadie rins, where Gadie rins,
Oh, an' I were where Gadie rins,
At the back o' Bennachie!
I wish I were where Gadie rins,
'Mong fragrant heath and yellow whins,
Or, brawlin' doun the bosky lins
At the back o' Bennachie;
To hear ance mair the blackbird's sang,
To wander birks and braes amang,
Wi' friens and fav'rites, left sae lang,
At the back o' Bennachie.
How mony a day, in blithe spring-time,
How mony a day, in summer's prime,
I wil'd awa' my careless time
On the heights o' Bennachie.
Ah! Fortune's flowers wi' thorns are rife,
And walth is won wi' grief and strife—
Ae day gie me o' youthfu' life
At the back o' Bennachie.
Oh, Mary! there, on ilka nicht,
When baith our hearts were young and licht,
We've wander'd whan the moon was bricht
Wi' speeches fond and free.
Oh! ance, ance mair where Gadie rins,
Where Gadie rins, where Gadie rins—
Oh! micht I dee where Gadie rins
At the back o' Bennachie.

"The air," communicates the reverend author of this song, "is undoubtedly old, from its resemblance to several Gaelic and Irish airs. 'Cuir's chiste moir me,' and several others, might be thought to have been originally the same in the first part. The second part of the air is, I think, modern." The Gadie is a rivulet, and Bennachie a mountain, in Aberdeenshire.

[14] In the "Cottagers of Glendale," Mr H. S. Riddell alludes to two of Tweedie's brothers, who perished among the snow in the manner described in that poem. The present memoir is prepared from materials chiefly supplied by Mr Riddell.

[15] At the request of one Roger, a music-master in Edinburgh, who had obtained a copy of the first two stanzas, a third was added by Mr Robert Chambers, and in this form the song appears in some of the collections. Mr Chambers's stanza proceeds thus:—

In southern climes the radiant sun
A brighter light displays;
But I love best his milder beams
That shine on Scotland's braes.
Then dear, romantic native land
If e'er I roam from thee,
I'll ne'er forget the cheering lay;
O Scotland's hills for me!

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

[17] We have to acknowledge our obligations to Mr Robert Chambers for many of the particulars contained in this memoir.

[18] Printed from the author's MS., in the possession of Mr H. S. Riddell.

[19] Printed for the first time from the original MS.

[20] We are indebted to William Pagan, Esq. of Clayton, author of "Road Reform," for much of the information contained in this memoir. Mr Pagan kindly procured for our use the whole of Mr Allan's papers and MSS.

[21] In Blackie's "Book of Scottish Song," this song is attributed to the Rev. George Allan, D.D. It is also inserted among the songs of the Ettrick Shepherd, published by the Messrs Blackie. The latter blunder is accounted for by the fact that a copy of the song, which was sent to the Shepherd by Mr H. S. Riddell, as a specimen of Mr Allan's poetical talents, had been found among his papers subsequent to his decease. This song, with the two immediately following, appeared in M'Leod's "National Melodies," but they are here transcribed from the author's MSS.

[22] Printed, for the first time, from the author's MS.

[23] Printed for the first time.

[24] Captain Doyne Sillery was born in Drogheda, Ireland, of which place his father was mayor during the Rebellion of 1798, and where he possessed considerable property. He was descended from one of the most ancient and illustrious families in France, of which the representative took refuge in England during the infamous persecution of the Protestants in the sixteenth century. On the reduction of priestly power in Ireland by Cromwell, the family settled in that portion of the United Kingdom. The family name was originally Brulart. Nicolas Brulart, Marquis de Sillery, Lord de Pinsieux, de Marinis, and de Berny, acquired much reputation from the many commissions in which he served in France. (See "L'Histoire Généalogique et Chronologique des Chanceliers de France," tom. vi. p. 524). On the maternal side Captain Sillery was lineally descended from Edward Hyde, Earl of Clarendon, the famous chancellor.

[25] Admiral Sir Charles Napier.

[26] Alexander Bethune, the elder brother of the poet, and his constant companion and coadjutor in literary work, was born at Upper Rankeillor, in the parish of Monimail, in July 1804. His education was limited to a few months' attendance at a subscription school in his sixth year, with occasional lessons from his parents. Like his younger brother, he followed the occupation of a labourer, frequently working in the quarry or breaking stones on the public road. Early contracting a taste for literature, his leisure hours were devoted to reading and composition. In 1835, several of his productions appeared in Chambers' Edinburgh Journal. "Tales and Sketches of the Scottish Peasantry," a volume by the brothers, of which the greater portion was written by Alexander, was published in 1838; their joint-treatise on "Practical Economy" in the year following. In 1843, Alexander published a small volume of tales, entitled "The Scottish Peasant's Fireside," which was favourably received. During the same year he was offered the editorship of the Dumfries Standard newspaper, with a salary of £100 a-year, but he was unable to accept the appointment from impaired health. He died at Mount Pleasant, near Newburgh, on the 13th June 1843, and his remains were interred in his brother's grave in Abdie churchyard. An interesting volume of his Memoirs, "embracing Selections from his Correspondence and Literary Memoirs," was published in 1845 by Mr William M'Combie.

[27] The last four lines of this stanza are not the production of Nicoll, but have been contributed for the present work by Mr Alexander Wilson, of Perth. The insertion of the lines prevents the occurrence of a half stanza, which has hitherto interfered with the singing of this popular song.

[28] We are indebted to Mr James Ballantine, of Edinburgh, for the particulars contained in this memoir.

[29] "Glen-na-h'Albyn, or Glen-more-na-h'Albyn, the great Glen of Caledonia, is a name applied to the valley which runs in a direction from north-east to south-west, the whole breadth of the kingdom, from the Moray Firth at Inverness to the Sound of Mull below Fort-William, and is almost filled with lakes."

[30] The title of this song seems to have been suggested by that of a ballad recovered by Cromek, and published in his "Remains of Nithsdale and Galloway Song," p. 219. The first line of the old ballad runs thus: "Oh, who is this under my window."—Ed.

[31] The former words to this air commenced, "Oh, the shearing's no for you, bonnie lassie, O!"

[32] The wooded scenery of the Kelvin will in a few years be included within the boundaries of the city, which has already extended within a very limited space of the "grove" celebrated in the song.

[33] See vol. iii., p. 226.

[34] Contributed by Mr Lyle to the present work.

[35] This song was formerly introduced in this work (vol. ii. p. 70) as the composition of the Ettrick Shepherd. The error is not ours; we found the song in the latest or posthumous edition of the Shepherd's songs, p. 201 (Blackie, Glasgow), and we had no reason to suspect the authenticity. We have since ascertained that a copy of the song, having been handed to the Shepherd by the late Mr Peter Roger, of Peebles, Hogg, with the view of directing attention to the real author, introduced it shortly after in his Noctes Bengerianæ, in the "Edinburgh Literary Journal" (vol. i. p. 258). Being included in this periodical paper, the editor of his posthumous works had assumed that the song was the Shepherd's own composition. So much for uncertainty as to the authorship of our best songs!

[36] Portions of the first and second verses of this song are fragments of an older ditty.—Note by the Author.

[37] The stream that flows through Glen Pean.

[38] The Gaelic name of Clunes, where the bard was entertained for many years of his tutor life.

[39] Cowal is that portion of Argyllshire bordering the Frith of Clyde, and extending inland to the margin of Lochfine.

[40] Brunach—The Brown, viz., the poet himself.

[41] The Macdougalls of Dunolly claim descent from the Scoto-Irish kings who reigned in Dunstaffnage.

[42] Supposed to be the first of our Christian kings.

[43] Prince Charles Edward.

[44] Invernahyle removed with his family to Edinburgh, and became very intimate with the father of Sir Walter Scott. He seems to have made a great impression on the future poet.

[45] Festivals, saint-days.

[46] The poet waxes professional. He was session-clerk and clerk-depute of presbytery.

[47] The war was raging in Holland, under the command of the Duke of York. The bard threatens to exchange the pen for the sword.

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