Page images
PDF
EPUB

Old Shakespeare receive him with praise and with love, And Beaumonts and Bens be his Kellys above.

Here Reynolds is laid, and, to tell you my mind,
He has not left a better or wiser behind.
His pencil was striking, resistless, and grand;
His manners were gentle, complying, and bland;
Still born to improve us in every part-
His pencil our faces, his manners our heart.
To coxcombs averse, yet most civilly steering,
When they judged without skill he was still hard of hear-

ing; When they talked of their Raphaels, Correggios, and stuff, He shifted his trumpet, and only took snuff.

JAMES BEATTIE

FROM THE MINSTREL; OR, THE PROGRESS

OF GENIUS

Fret not thyself, thou glittering child of pride,
That a poor villager inspires my strain;
With thee let pageantry and power abide:
The gentle Muses haunt the sylvan reign;
Where through wild groves at eve the lonely swain
Enraptured roams, to gaze on Nature's charms.
They hate the sensual, and scorn the vain,

The parasite their influence never warms,
| Nor him whose sordid soul the love of gold alarms.

Though richest hues the peacock's plumes adorn,
Yet horror screams from his discordant throat.
Rise, sons of harmony, and hail the morn,
While warbling larks on russet pinions float;
Or seek at noon the woodland scene remote,
Where the grey linnets carol from the hill:
O let them ne'er, with artificial note,

To please a tyrant, strain the little bill, But sing what Heaven inspires, and wander where they

will!

And yet poor Edwin was no vulgar boy.
Deep thought oft seemed to fix his infant eye.
Dainties he heeded not, nor gaud, nor toy,
Save one short pipe of rudest minstrelsy;
Silent when glad; affectionate, though shy;
And now his look was most demurely sad;
And now he laughed aloud, yet none knew why.

The neighbours stared and sighed, yet blessed the lad; Some deemed him wondrous wise, and some believed him

mad.

In truth, he was a strange and wayward wight,
Fond of each gentle and each dreadful scene.
In darkness and in storm he found delight,
Nor less than when on ocean-wave serene
The southern sun diffused his dazzling sheen.
Even sad vicissitude amused his soul;
And if a sigh would sometimes intervene,

And down his cheek a tear of pity roll,
A sigh, a tear, so sweet, he wished not to control.

When the long-sounding curfew from afar
Loaded with loud lament the lonely gale,
Young Edwin, lighted by the evening star,
Lingering and listening, wandered down the vale.
There would he dream of graves, and corses pale,
And ghosts that to the charnel-dungeon throng,
And drag a length of clanking chain, and wail,

Till silenced by the owl's terrific song,
Or blast that shrieks by fits the shuddering isles along.

Or when the setting moon, in crimson dyed,
Hung o'er the dark and melancholy deep,
To haunted stream, remote from man, he hied,
Where fays of yore their revels wont to keep;

And there let fancy rove at large, till sleep
A vision brought to his entrancèd sight.
And first, a wildly murmuring wind 'gan creep

Shrill to his ringing ear; then tapers bright,
With instantaneous gleam, illumed the vault of night.

Nor was this ancient dame a foe to mirth.
Her ballad, jest, and riddle's quaint device
Oft cheered the shepherds round their social hearth;
Whom levity or spleen could ne'er entice
To purchase chat or laughter at the price
Of decency. Nor let it faith exceed
That Nature forms a rustic taste so nice.

Ah! had they been of court or city breed,
Such delicacy were right marvellous indeed.

Oft when the winter storm had ceased to rave,
He roamed the snowy waste at even, to view
The cloud stupendous, from th' Atlantic wave
High-towering, sail along th' horizon blue;
Where, midst the changeful scenery, ever new,
Fancy a thousand wondrous forms descries,
More wildly great than ever pencil drew-

Rocks, torrents, gulfs, and shapes of giant size,
And glittering cliffs on cliffs, and fiery ramparts rise.

'In black array

Thence musing onward to the sounding shore,
The lone enthusiast oft would take his way,
Listening, with pleasing dread, to the deep roar
Of the wide-weltering waves.
When sulphurous clouds rolled on th' autumnal day,
Even then he hastened from the haunts of man,
Along the trembling wilderness to stray,

What time the lightning's fierce career began,
And o'er heaven's rending arch the rattling thunder ran.

Responsive to the sprightly pipe when all
In sprightly dance the village youth were joined,
Edwin, of melody aye held in thrall,
From the rude gambol far remote reclined,
Soothed with the soft notes warbling in the wind.

Ah then all jollity seemed noise and folly
To the pure soul by fancy's fire refined !

Ah, what is mirth but turbulence unholy
When with the charm compared of heavenly melancholy!

LADY ANNE LINDSAY

AULD ROBIN GRAY

When the sheep are in the fauld, and the kye at hame,
And a' the warld to rest are gane,
The waes o' my heart fa’ in showers frae my e'e,
While my gudeman lies sound by me.

Young Jamie lo’ed me weel, and sought me for his bride;
But saving a croun he had naething else beside;
To make the croun a pund, young Jamie gaid to sea;
And the croun and the pund were baith for me.

He hadna been awa' a week but only twa,
When my father brak his arm, and the cow was stown

awa';
My mother she fell sick,—and my Jamie at the sea-
And auld Robin Gray came å-courtin' me.

My father couldna work, and my mother couldna spin;
I toiled day and night, but their bread I couldna win;
Auld Rob maintained them baith, and wi' tears in his e'e
Said, “Jennie, for their sakes, O, marry me!'

My heart it said nay; I looked for Jamie back;
But the wind it blew high, and the ship it was a wrack;
His ship it was a wrack-Why didna Jamie dee?
Or why do I live to cry, Wae's me!

My father urged me sair: my mother didna speak;
But she looked in my face till my heart was like to break:
They gi’ed him my hand, though my heart was in the sea;
Sae auld Robin Gray he was gudeman to me.

I hadna been a wife a week but only four,
When mournfu' as I sat on the stane at the door,
I saw my Jamie's wraith,—for I couldna think it he,
Till he said, 'I'm come hame to marry thee.'

O sair, sair did we greet, and muckle did we say;
We took but ae kiss, and we tore ourselves away:
I wish that I were dead, but I'm no like to dee;
And why was I born to say, Wae's me!

I gang like a ghaist, and I carena to spin;
I daurna think on Jamie, for that wad be a
But I'll do my best a gude wife aye to be,
For auld Robin Gray he is kind unto me.

[merged small][ocr errors]

JEAN ADAMS

THERE'S NAE LUCK ABOUT THE HOUSE

And are ye sure the news is true,

And are ye sure he's weel ?
Is this a time to think of wark?

Ye jauds, fling by your wheel.
Is this the time to think of wark,

When Colin's at the door?
Gi’e me my cloak! I'll to the quay

And see him come ashore.

For there's nae luck about the house,

There's nae luck ava;
There's little pleasure in the house,

When our gudeman's awa'.

Rise up and mak’ a clean fireside;

Put on the muckle pot;
Gi'e little Kate her cotton gown,

And Jock his Sunday coat:

« PreviousContinue »