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wounded it at Portobello, and pursued as she took the gull, “ it was very it a good way in the fields. “ Nane stupid, nae doubt; but am no thinkin' o your lies to me,” said Jenny; “ye ye would hae fund out the stupidity, may have shot at a gull in your day, had ye no been puttin in mind o't.” for aught I ken; but ye havena shot at this ane this ae half year. Ye'll Moral.- Remember, O reader! that See the mark o'my sheers on the crea- neither wisdom nor worth are always ture's wing," continued she, “and proof against cunning and knavery; every bairn in the place kens it fu' and if, in the course of your peregriweil.” It came across my mind, that nations through life, you are someJanet might be in the right after all; times disappointed in your well-foundand seeing none of the usual marks of ed expectations, reflect that even the powder and lead on the animal, and great Christopher Columbus was twice moreover finding that one of its wings gulled in one day by a foolish animal was actually cut, I delivered up my from the sea-side at Portobello, and be prize, with many apologies for my content. stupid mistake. “Ay," said Jenny,
FAMILIAR EPISTLES TO CHRISTOPHER NORTH,
ON HOGG'S MEMOIRS.* MY DEAR CHRISTOPHER,
But joking apart, of all speculations I TAKE the liberty of sending back in the way of printed paper, I should Hogg, which has disgusted me more have thought the most hopeless to have severely than any thing I have at- been, “a Life of James Hogg, by himtempted to swallow since Macvey's Ba- self.” Pray, who wishes to know any con. He is liker a swineherd in the thing about his life? Who, indeed, Canongate, than a shepherd in Ettrick cares a single farthing whether he be Forest. I shall never again think of at this blessed moment dead or alive? him without the image of an unclean It is no doubt undeniable, that the thing; and, for his sake, I henceforth political state of Europe is not so inforswear the whole swinish generation. teresting as it was some years ago. But Roast pig shall never more please my still I maintain that there was no depalate-pickled pork may go to the de- mand for the Life of James Hogg, and vil-brawn, adieu !-avaunt all man that the world at large could have gone ner of hams_sow's cheek,
on without it. At all events, it ought Pare thee well! and if for ever, not to have appeared before the Life Still for ever, Fare thee well!
of Buonaparte. What you can possibly see to admire Besides, how many lives of himself in Jamie Hogg, is to me quite a puz- does the swine-herd intend to put zle. He is the greatest boar on earth, forth? I have a sort of life of the you must grant; and, for a decent wa- man, written by himself about twenty ger, I undertake, in six weeks, to pro- years ago. There are a good many duce six as good poets as he is, from lives of him in the Scots Magazine each county in Scotland, over and above considerable number even in your own the Falkirk Cobler, the Chaunting Tin- work, my good sir-the Clydesdale smith, Willison Glass, and the Reve- Miscellany was a perfect stye with him rend Mr - I engage to draw -hisgrunt is in Waugh-hehas a bristhem all up two deep, in front of No. tle in Baldwin--and he has smuggled 17, Prince's-street, on the next day of himself in a sack of chaff into the Perpablication; and they shall march cy Anecdotes. No man from the counround by the Mount of proclamation, try has a right thus to become a puband across the Mound, back to their lic nuisance. This self-exposure is not parade. Lieutenant Juillinan shall be altogether decent; and if neither Capat their head-Mr s hall officiate tain Brown nor Mr Jeffrey will interas chaplain-and if he pleases, fere, why I will-so please to print this shall be trumpeter.
• The Mountain Bard ; consisting of Legendary Ballads and Tales. By James Hogg, the Ettrick Shepherd. The third edition, greatly enlarged. To which is prefixed, a Me moir of the Author's Life, written by Himself.' Oliver and Boyd, Edinburgh.
Take Hogg, and scrape him well for now? Draw upon him at sight, or at half an hour, and pray what does he six months' date no effects. prove to be? Why, a very ordinary But I had no intention, when I took common-place animal, in my humble up my pen, to write one syllable about opinion, as one may see on the longest Hogg's genius, as it is called. And pray, day of summer, namely, the 22d of what is in his life?-absolutely nothing. June. In all these lives of his, he He has been in this world, it appears, keeps drawling and drivelling over his fifty years, and his existence has been want of education. He could not write, one continued bungle. But the selfhe says, till he was upwards of twenty conceit of the man is incredible. Lord years of age. This I deny. He can- Erskine is a joke to James Hogg, not write now. I engage to teach any and often must he have a sore heart forthcoming ploughman to write bet to think what the worthy world will ter in three weeks. Let Hogg publish do without him some twenty years a fac-simile of his hand-writing, and hence, when he hops the twig. His the world will be thunderstruck at the death will be remembered like a total utter helplessness of his hand. With eclipse of the sun, no doubt; and the respect to grammar, is Hogg aware of people about Selkirk will date any this one simple fact, that he never event according to its distance in time wrote a page approaching to grammar from the death of Hogg.-" I rememin his life? Give him a sentence, and ber it well-it was the year of the naforce him, at the point of the sword, tional bankruptcy."-"Ay, ay-the to point out an accusative, and he is a year Hogg died of the cholic.” dead man.
Pray, was your friend asleep during Now, I ask you, Christopher, and the twenty years he herded sheep in other good people, if such a man as Ettrick, and Yarrow, and Polmoody? this has any title to be compared with How do shepherds employ themRobert Burns. The Ayrshire Plough- selves? Of this he tells us nothing. man could write long before he was Day after day-year after year, seems twenty. He held the plough before he to have passed over his head in a state was in his teens-he threshed corn at of mystification, and the honest man thirteen-all the girlsin Coil werein love is no more able to give an account of with him before he was twenty-some them than an old ram, or his dog of them to their cost,--and, at twenty- Hector. Now, all shepherds are not four, he published a volume of poems, such dolts. Many of them are excontaining, the Twa Dogs, The Cot- tremely clever, long-headed, sagacious, tar's Saturday Night, &c.-works that well-informed people; and in the prehave made him immortal. After all, sent case, the wonderful thing is, that he was not a great poet; but he knew Hogg.could have lived so long among what he was about.
such an intelligent class of men, and To hear Hogg and Burns spoken of appeared in the world so utterly igin the same year, and written of in the norant as be is. This is the view of same volume, is sickening indeed.- the subject, which I maintain must Some silly gentleman has done this, be taken by all sensible people who Christopher, in your own Magazine. read his Memoirs,--and I feel confiWhy, the idea of such a comparison is dent that Hogg himself will be startled engugh to make a horse laugh—it is to find that it is the true one, if he enough to set the whole British cavalchuses to clap his large, grey, unry into a guffaw.
meaning eyes on this part of the MaCome now, Christopher, and be ho- gazine. Dest with me. Do you believe that Well, then-this prodigy tires of there is a man living who can repeat a the shepherd's life, and comes jogging single line of Hogg's? If there be, send into Edinburgh; he offers his ballads for a metaphysician to him instantly. and balderdash, at sundry times, and Cut off his head, and transmit it to in divers manners, to all the bookselSpurzheim. What the devil is his poe- lers in Edinburgh, high and low, rich try, as you call it, about? Tell me that, and poor, but they are all shy as and I will write a sheet in your Maga- trouts during thunder-not one will zine every month gratis. Jamie has bite. No wonder. Only picture to no ideas. For, if he had, are you so yourself a stout country lout, with a credulous as to believe that one or two bushel of hair on his shoulders that would not have spunked out before had not been raked for months, en. veloped in a coarse plaid impregnated or manners than a child. I was a sort of with tobacco, with a prodigious mouth- natural songster, without another advanful of immeasurable tusks, and a di- tage on earth. Fain would I have done alect that set all conjecture at defiance, something ; but, on finding myself shun. lumbering suddenly in upon the eles ned by every one, I determined to push my gant retirement of Mr Miller's back etirement of Mr Miller's hook
own fortune independent of booksellers, shop, or the dim seclusion of Mr John
ho whom I now began to view as beings obOgle! Were these worthies to be
noxious to all genius. My plan was, to blamed if they fainted upon the spot, which I certainly was rarely qualified, when
be begin a literary weekly paper, a work for or run out yelling into the street past the above facts are considered. I tried the monster, or, in desperation, flung Walker and Greig, and several printers, themselves into safety from a back offering them security to print it for me. window over ten stories ? Mr Hogg No; not one of them would print it with speaks of his visits to booksellers' shops out a bookseller's name at it as publisher. at this period with the utmost non- "D-n them,' said I to myself, as I was chalance. What would he himself running from one to another, the folks have thought, if a large surly brown
here are all combined in a body.' Mr bear, or a huge baboon, had burst open
Constable laughed at me exceedingly, and his door when he was at breakfast, and
finally told me he wished me too well to
encourage such a thing. Mr Ballantyne helped himself to a chair and a mouth
th- was rather more civil, and got off by subful of parritch? would not his hair scribing for so many copies, and giving me have touched the ceiling, and his un- credit for £10 worth of paper. David der jaw fallen down upon the floor? So Brown would have nothing to do with it, was it with those and other bibliopoles. unless some gentlemen, whom he pamed, It was no imputation on their taste should contribute. At length, I found an that they, like other men, were sub- honest man, James Robertson, a bookseller ject to the natural infirmity of fear. in Nicolson Street, whom I had never beNo man likes to be devoured sudden, fore seen or heard of, who undertook it at ly in the forenoon--and the question,
the question once on my own terms; and on the lst of in such a case, was not respecting the
September, 1810, my first number made principles of poetical composition, but four
its appearance on a quarto demy sheet, price
four-pence. the preservation of human life.
“A great number were sold, and many Baulked in his attempt at publica- hundred delivered gratis ; but one of Ro. tion of poetry, Hogg determines to bertson's boys, a great rascal, had demand. set the town on fire. To effect this ed the price in full for all that he delivered purpose, he commencés a periodical gratis. "They shewed him the imprint, that work called the Spy, in which he pro- they were to be delivered gratis ; . so they poses to treat of Life, Manners and are,' said he ; ' I take nothing for the deMiller. This, I humbly presume to livery ; but I must have the price of the think, was gross impertinence. I have a paper, if you please.' copy of the Spy, and it is truly a sicken
* This money, that the boy brought me,
consisting of a few shillings and an iming concern. The author makes love
mense number of halfpence, was the first like a drunken servant, who has been and only money I had pocketed, of my turned out of place for taking indecent own making, since my arrival in Edinburgh liberties in the kitchen with the cook- in February last. On the publication of wench. The Edinburgh young ladies the two first numbers, I deemed I had as did not relish this kind of thing, it many subscribers as, at all events, would " Was thought coarse even by the Blue - secure the work from being dropped ; but,
Stockings of the Old Town, after warm on the publication of my third or fourth whisky toddy and oysters ; so the Spy number, I have forgot which, it was so inwas executed, the dead body given up de
decorous, that no fewer than seventy-three to his friends where buried, remains subscribers gave up. This was a sad blow a secret until this day.
for me; but, as usual, I despised the fas.
tidity and affectation of the people, and Hogg looks back on this enterprize
continued my work. It proved a fatal overwith feelings of evident exultation, ill sight for the paper, for all those who had disguised under mock humility. Just given in set themseves against it with the take notice how he glories in his utmost inveteracy. The literary ladies, in shame!
particular, agreed, in full divan, that I “ And all this time I had never been would never write a sentence which deserence in any polished society-had read ved to be read. A reverend friend of mine next to none-was now in the 38th year of has often repeated my remark on being told my age, and knew no more of human life of this Gaping deevils ! wha cares what they say! If I leeve any time, I'll let them the smallest departure from good taste, or see the contrair o' that.'
from the question, was sure to draw down “My publisher, James Robertson, was disapproval, and where no good saying ever a kind-hearted, confused body, who loved missed observation and applause. If this a joke and a dram. He sent for me every do not assist in improving the taste, I know day about one o'clock, to consult about the not what will. Of this I am certain, that publication ; and then we uniformly went I was greatly the better of it, and I may down to a dark house in the Cowgate, where safely say I never was in a school before. we drank whisky and ate rolls with a num. I might and would have written the Queen's ber of printers, the dirtiest and Icanest- Wake had the Forum never existed, but looking men I had ever seen. My youthful without the weekly lessons that I got there, habits having been so regular, I could not I would not have succeeded as I did.” stand this ; and though I took care, as I Now, you and I have been together thought, to drink very little, yet, when I in St Caecilia's Hall, Niddry Street, went out, I was at times so dizzy, I could scarcely walk ; and the worst thing of all
at meetings of this Society, called the was, I felt that I was beginning to relish
Forum, and am I wrong in saying, that it was a weekly congregation of
the most intrepid idiots that ever brayI write now, Christopher, to direct ed in public? Hogg tells us, « it was your attention to the next grand ära established by a few young men, of in the life of this extraordinary man,- whom I was one of the first!” This is and let us have it first in his own a gross anachronism. He was at this words.
time an old man, of two score and up" The next thing in which I became wards. Here he says, “ he felt the deeply interested, in a literary way, was the pulse of the public," and gauged "preFORUM, a debating society, established by cisely what they would swallow and a few young men, of whom I was one of what they would not !" Suppose, my the first. We opened our house to the pub. dear Christopher, that you, or any lic, making each individual pay a sixpence, other medical man, (you seem to have and the crowds that attended, for three years dropped the M. D.) by way of feeling running, were beyond all bounds. I was the pulse of christian patients, should appointed secretary, with a salary of £20
practice on the left legs of a gang of a-year, which never was paid, though I gave away hundreds in charity. We were ex.
jack-asses at Leadburn-hills ! or judge ceedingly improvident; but I never was
of the swallow of a convalescent young so much the better of any thing as that so. lady, by amusing yourself with feeding ciety ; for it let me feel, as it were, the a tame cormorant? or prescribe toa dowpulse of the public, and precisely what they ager, fat, fair, and forty, as if you were would swallow, and what they would not. James Stuart flinging oil cakes to the All my friends were averse to my coming Dunearn ox? The Public unquestionforward in the Forum as a public speaker, ably has a large and a wide swallow, and tried to reason me out of it, by repre- and a pretty strong bouncing pulse of senting my incapacity to harangue a thou- ber on But the Public would have sand people in a speech of half an hour. I had, however, given my word to my asso
retched, scunnered, * vomited, swarfciates, and my confidence in myself being
ed, † fallen into successive convulsions, unbounded. I began. and came off with become comatose, and died under one flying colours. We met once a-week: I tenth part of the perilous stuff that spoke every night, and sometimes twice the was both meat and drink to the same night ; and, though I sometimes in- Forum. The Forum got fat and pursy, curred pointed disapprobation, was in gene- red in the face, with a round belly, ral a prodigious favourite. The characters under circumstances that would have of all my brother members are given in the reduced the Public to a walking skelelarger work, but here they import not. I ton. The pulse of the Forum was have scarcely known any society of young heard like the tick of an eight-day men who have all got so well on. Their pro- clock. 60 in the minute, slow but sure, gress has been singular; and, I am certain,
when thatof the poor Public would have people may say as they will, that they were greatly improved by their weekly appear.
been 150. The Forum heard unmoved, ances in the Forum. Private societies sig. what would have driven the Public for nify nothing; but a discerning public is a ever into the deepest retirement, the severe test, especially in a multitude, where cell, or the cloister. Why, in con
* See Dr Jamieson once morc.
+ Once more.
parison with the Forum, the Public the Forum, where Hogg learned to feel has all the sensitive delicacy of a pri- the pulse, and gauge the swallow of vate person.
the Edinburgh public. “Here it was," But lest I should be suspected of ex- quoth the swineherd, “ that the smallaggeration-who composed the select est departure from good taste was sure society of the Niddry Strcet Forum ? to draw down disapproval !!!!!!!!! Young groeers, redolent of cheese, !!!!!" No doubt, even in the Forum, comfits, and tallow-candles, who dealt it was possible to go too far, and Hogg out their small, greasy, fetid sentences, was, I know, often hissed. It is said, as if they were serving a penny customer that even among apes and monkeys, across the counter with something odi- there are rules of good breeding, and ous in brown paper,-precocious ap- that the better bred ones are often exprentices,-one of whom, in all proba- cessively irritated at the mews and bility, had made or mended the presi- chattering of their less decorous bredent's unpaid breeches,-occasional thren of Ape kind. young men obviously of little or no pro- But the truth is, that Hogg never fession, who rose, looked wildly round could speak at all in the Forum. He them, mattered, sunk, and were seen no used to read ribald rhymes about marmore,-nowand then a blunt bluff buta riage and other absurdities, off whitycher-like block-head,routing like a bull brown paper, stuck up on a niche, ona market-dayin the Grass Market, with a farthing candle on each side of stray students of medicine from the sis- him, which he used to snuff in great ter-island, booming like bitterns in the trepidation, with his finger and thumb bog of Allen,-long-faced lads from instantly applied to his cooling mouth, Professor Paxton, dissenters from every in the midst of the most pathetic pasthing intelligibleamongmen,-laymen sages, cheered by shouts of derisive from Leeds, and Birmingham, Hull, applause that startled Dugald M'Glaand Halifax, inspired with their red port shan and his cadies beneath the shadow wines, and all stinking like foxes of the of the Tron-Kirk. He has no more strong Henglish-accent,-pert, prim, command of language than a Highprating personages, who are seen going lander had of breeches before the 45; in, and coming out of the Parliament and his chief figure of speech consistHouse, nobody knows why, or where. ed in a twist of his mouth, which fore, - mealy-mouthed middle-aged might certainly at times be called elomen, of miscellaneous information, mas- quent. He had recourse to this view ters of their matter, all cut and dry, dis- of the subject, whenever he found himtinguished as private pedagogues, great self fairly planted, so that a deaf specas grinders, and powerful in extempo- tator of the debate would have supraneous prayer, - now and then a shri- posed him stuck up in a hole in the velled mummy, apparently of the wall to make ugly faces, and would reign of George the II. with dry dusty have called for a horse-collar. Was leathern palate, seen joining in the de- that a situation in which “the smallbate,- stickit ministers who have set- est deviation from good taste would tled down into book-binders, composi- have drawn down disapproval ?" tors, or amanuenses to some gentlemen On the decline and fall of the Foliterarily disposed,--apothecaries deep rum, James Hogg looked once more in dog-latin, and tenderly attached to abroad over the world, and, his brilwords of six or eight syllables, such as la. liant career of oratory being closed, titudinarianism, -asprinkling of moist Poetry once more opened her arms to members from mason-lodges, drop- receive his embrace. He wrote the ping in when the discussion is about Queen's Wake; and wishing to astohalf-seas-over,--and finally, for there nish some of his friends with a rehearis no end to this, a few players and sal, the following scene is described as scene-shifters, (for on Friday night the taking place. theatre is shut,) assiduous in their no- « Having some ballads or metrical tales ble endeavours to revive the study of
* past me, which I did not like to lose, Shakespeare, and making the Forum
m I planned the Queen's Wake, in order resound with screeds of blank verse, that I might take these all in, and had qut of mouths as unmerciful as leaden it ready in a few months after it was first spouts on a rainy day.
proposed. I was very anxious to read it to Such is a most imperfect enumera- some person of taste, but no one would tion of a few of the component parts of either read it, or listen to me reading it,