Bards of Galloway

Author(s): Harper, Malcolm



"Verse comes from heav'n, like inward light;
Mere human pains can ne'er come by't;
The god, not we, the poem makes;
We only tell folks what he speaks."
THAT Galloway has been productive of literary talent Dr
Thomas Murray's History, the second edition of which
was published so far back as 1832, affords abundant proof. In
it is presented a goodly array of Gallovidians who, by their literary
works, have so distinguished themselves as to be an honour to
their native province. In its literary characters of that time
Galloway, in proportion to its size, compares favourably with
any other district of Scotland. The names of Dr Alexander
Murray, Professor of Oriental Languages, and author of the Life
of James Bruce, the Traveller; Dr Thomas Brown, Professor of
Moral Philosophy, and author of numerous philosophical and
poetical works; Lord Bankton, author of the Institutes of the
Laws of Scotland; Robert Heron, author of A Journey
through Scotland, and other works; Rev. William Mackenzie,
author of the History of Galloway; John Mactaggart, author
of the Gallovidian Encyclopædia, and Three Years in Canada;
John Nicholson, publisher of The History of Galloway, and
compiler of several works relating to Galloway History and
Tradition; John Ramsay M'Culloch, the political economist,
and others, will always hold an honourable place in the Literary
History of the province.
Since then the names of Sir James Caird, K.C.B., Sir Herbert
E. Maxwell, P. H. M'Kerlie, Dr Alexander Raleigh, and several
others may be added as having attained no mean station
in the ranks of literature. And in art and science the brothers
Faed and Professor Clerk Maxwell have shown such genius as
to make the "auld province" renowned.
It is remarkable, however, that Galloway, unlike most other
counties in Scotland, has not been fertile in producing the true
sons of poetry and song, its barrenness in that respect having
been remarked upon by almost every one whose attention has
been turned to the subject. On the long list of minor
minstrels and verse writers, which it has produced, there are very
few names — scarce half-a-dozen — whose poetic fame entitle them
to rank among the "sons of immortal verse." In a district
so well-fitted to "kindle the poet's eye and heart,"
this is rather unaccountable. The customs, amusements, and
poetic superstitions and beliefs of the peasantry, and the
varied character of its scenery — its picturesque glens and
romantic streams; the sylvan beauty of its woods and its wild
mountainous regions and pastoral hills, possess all the elements
of inspiration. In Galloway romance and tradition are not
wanting as themes worthy of the Muse; and the venerable relics
of antiquity with which its valleys are studded, by their solemn
magnificence and historical interest, ought to have fanned the
flame of true poetic genius.
The graceful charms of the Galloway lasses should also have
been as potent in inspiring the highest flights of the Muse, and
in prompting the true lyric of love, as those of Ayrshire and the
neighbouring shires that have produced such a noble muster
roll of singers as Burns, Tannahill, Motherwell, Wilson,
Anderson, and many others.
Notwithstanding so many favourable circumstances, the Galloway
Muse remained so uninspired that Allan Cunningham when
writing on the subject animadverted upon it so strongly as to call
forth at the time (1826) in the Castle-Douglas Miscellany the
strong protestations of its literary coteries. "Archie," in Chit
Chat, a sort of local Noctes Ambrosianæ, remarking "that Allan
seems to hae a grudge against oor ain Galloway that does him
little credit. We were aye his warmest admirers, nor did we
quarrel with him when he palmed his new sangs upon us for
auld sangs o' oor ain. That was a pleskie as amaist naebody
but himsel' could hae played, sae we frankly forgie him for't."
Though not a native of Galloway, Captain Alexander
Montgomery, a contemporary of Shakespeare, successfully
wooed the Muse in the district, and while he resided at Compstone
Castle, described with a master-touch some of our finest
scenery near the junction of the Tarff and the Dee. In the
ancient poem of The Cherry and the Slae, the beauties of the
scenery on the banks of the Dee were admired and sweetly sung
by him — a very natural description of the waterfall at the
Doachs of Tongland being given in the following lines:—
"To pen the pleasures of the Park,
How every blossom, branch, and bark
Against the sun did shyne,
I pass to Poetis to compyle,
In high heroic statlie style,
Quhais muse surmathes mine —
But as I lukit myne alane,
I saw a river rin,
Out 'wore a steepie rock of stane,
Syne lichtit in a lin,
With tumbling, and rumbling
Amang the rockis roun',
Devalling and falling
Into a pit profound."
There would also, no doubt, be floating in the memories
of its peasantry fugitive ballads and songs of "neglected
or unknown bards" whose names time obliterated; and
Dr Murray in his Literary History does not give a single
specimen of a ballad writer, only citing three poets as
worthy of notice, saying "that Galloway cannot boast of
any writer of great celebrity in this department." William
Gillespie, he quotes, as having attained to considerable local
fame; but it is rather surprising that up to William Nicholson's
time, Nathan M‘Kie, John Lowe, and James Muirhead, were
the only native poets who found a place among our national
lyrics, and that but by a single song each: — M'Kie, with
"Nae Dominies for me, Laddie;" Lowe, with "Mary's Dream;"
and Muirhead, with "Bess the Gawkie." The only genuinely
ancient ballad that has come down to us, referring to scenes
in the district, is "Annie of Lochryan," which is included in
our collection, the author being most probably a Gallovidian
minstrel. In Allan Cunningham's Songs of Scotland there are
other ballads referring to Galloway, its social aspects and
superstitions; but his book cannot now be taken as a reliable
authority on ballad lore; Allan having palmed off as ancient
ballads some of his own invention, misgivings arise as to the
genuineness of any of his compilation. Professor Aytoun, who
was a learned, careful, and conscientious collector, in his latest
edition of the Ballads of Scotland, gives only "Annie of
Lochryan," which shows that he, for one, had not accepted the
others as genuine.
It will thus be seen that in Galloway the muse has not been
very successfully wooed, nor is the district rich in ballad
literature. From Patrick Hannay, who published a collection
of his poems in 1622, to Nathan M'Kie and John Lowe, in
1781, is a long interval.
James Muirhead, already mentioned, with "Bess the Gawkie,"
a song which was characterised as "a production of very singular
merit, and one that could not be spared from our national
lyrics," had found more than local fame, and the Rev. William
Gillespie was the next son of song who courted the verdict of
the public, by issuing in 1805 The Progress of Refinement,
with other poems, and in 1815 Consolation, &c. He was
a man of superior talents and amiable disposition; but
his productions never laid hold on the public mind to the
extent they seemingly deserved: — the bent of his mind was
towards poetry, and his larger productions are, in many respects,
meritorious as displaying much devotional feeling; but in them
we see the poet of intellect rather than of nature; and wanting,
as they do, "the spark of nature's fire" they have not stood the
crucible of time, and are now almost forgotten. His ballads
and lyrical pieces have more heart, and by them his name will
be preserved as a writer of verses.
In 1810 some commotion was caused in literary circles, by
the publication of Cromek's Remains of Nithsdale and Galloway
Song. It was fondly hoped that by it Galloway would
take a high position in ballad literature. The book was
issued in an attractive form, and was favourably received
by the public and the reviewers. The graphic descriptions
of the manners and customs of the people, given in
the introduction, showed the writer to be possessed of great
observant powers, and a knowledge of the ways of the
peasantry only to be acquired from mingling with them.
The account given of their attachments, games, superstitions,
tradition of fairies, &c., taken from the lips of old
cottars, shows how changed is the life which we now lead,
from that amidst which our forefathers passed their days.
Before the march of cheap and sound literature, railways,
telegraphs, the bustle and hurry of commerce, and other
agencies, all tending towards a refinement of life and
manners, the old customs and superstitions of the country are
fast disappearing. Fairies are no longer believed in, and the
romance that hung around the woodland, the glen, and the
ruined fane, has disappeared. All the superstitions, beliefs, and
prejudices, so imprinted on the minds of the rural population
in olden times, have passed away. The personal attractions and
"lightsome sangs" of the mermaidens have lost their spell,
and no one is now charmed with "their melodie." The
occupation of the obliging Brownie is also gone, though
his fee was only "a cogfu' o' brose 'tween the light and the
dark," and the warlocks and witches and other "light infantry of
Satan" no longer play their cantrips among the rural population.
Everything is so entirely changed that few remnants of
national simplicity and superstition, which were so favourable
to the growth of poetic feeling, now exist: if they do, they are
only to be found in secluded districts far removed from railways
and modern customs.
In these changed circumstances it may interest our readers if
we quote an extract from the Remains of Nithsdale and
Galloway Song, descriptive of these old times.
"The condition of the inland peasantry was easy, and comparatively
affluent. Almost every one had a cow, and a few acres of land. Oatmeal,
pease, delicate mutton, fish in every stream, and milk and butter,
furnished the necessaries and some of the dainties of existence. Their
clothes were all of home manufacture. The men's dress was mostly a
fine mixed gray, from wool of natural dye — a large chequered plaid and
bonnet — their shoes were formed with leather tanned by the shoemaker;
the women's gowns were of lint and woollen, fancifully mixed,
and frequently of exquisite fineness, which is still a popular and
becoming dress. From their schools, of which there are two or three
in every parish, they learned to read and write. Having found means of
gratifying their insatiable thirst after knowledge, every book was to them
a source of pleasure; and so eager was the pursuit, that there are many
persons among them who have on their memory the rhymed exploits of
Wallace, the popular parts of Barbour, Ramsay's 'Gentle Shepherd,' and
most of his original and collected songs, with many pieces of beautiful
fugitive poetry recorded by their fathers. Add to these the Psalms of
David, and many of the finest chapters of our translated Bible. From
their fathers and from their ministers they learned to contemplate the
sacred mysteries of the Bible with submissive veneration. Unskilled in
the figurative language of poetic instruction, or lost in the raptured
soarings and sublimities of historic inspiration, they took poetic licence
for truth, and the wild, unbridled flights of Eastern personification were
the revelation of Heaven, written with the finger of the Deity. The
Bible was put into every youthful hand, with 'This is the hand-writing
of God.' Every sentence was taken as it is written in the close fidelity
of translation. Hence arose that superstitious belief in wizards, witches,
and familiar spirits, the popular creed of heathenism. The Cottars
devoutly opened the Book of God every evening, and on every Sabbath
morning, to offer thanksgivings and praises, and to instruct and
admonish their children. The holy Songs of David were committed to
memory to be allied to the church melodies. The mind received from
these a cast and impressure of thoughtful melancholy, which often
exalts it to the noblest conceptions. A rigid moral austerity, and
severity of religious conversation were the consequences of their long
struggles with English supremacy, and formed no part of their natural
constitution; on the contrary they were ever ready to mingle in the
pleasant mirth of society. Their ancient music still lingered among
them, a proscribed fugitive of religious zeal: wedded to those old songs
and ballads, the favourites of every age, it was beyond the power of
banishment. This love of music and poetry was privately fostered by
the old men and women. It had been their own delight and amusement,
and they loved to cherish the fond remembrance of other years.
They appointed meetings at each other's houses for dancing and
singing, to which, at the close of day-toil, the lads and lasses would
hasten for several miles round. Here they sung, accompanied by the
violin or lowland pipe. The old men recounted the exploits and
religious struggles of their ancestors, and mingled in the song, or joined
in the dance.
Enraptured with their music, and emulous of praise, the youths
cultivated those seeds of poesy which are more or less to be found in
every lover's heart. In the presence of those whom they loved, they
strove to excel in the strains of tender complaint or pathetic appeal,
which were sung and so much admired by their mistresses. Inspired
with such sensations, they caught up the prominent features of their
adventures, and sung of their jealousies and wooing felicities, in numbers
worthy of remembrance. To the heart of a Scottish peasant it is a
sensation of divine rapture to listen and behold his beloved lass warble,
and sweetly modulate those strains to which her tender heart and
beautiful face had imparted sympathetic loveliness. The interview at
some favourite secluded thorn, in the dew of gloaming — the stolen
looks of love; the midnight meeting of chaste affection; the secret
kiss and unheard whisper in the dancings and trystes, are the favourite
themes of poetic record. These songs were sung before the aged; and
their praise, with the kind looks of approval from their mistresses, was
a reward sufficient to stimulate to nobler exertion. Old songs were
altered to suit some more recent occurrence; their language was
frequently minted anew, and the song would take a novel appearance
from a small incident of love or a gallant exploit.
"To these public dancing trystes the daughters of the chieftains would
sometimes go in peasants' disguise; possibly to partake in the rural
felicities of unrestrained gaiety and frolic, or, perhaps, smitten with the
charms of some young peasant, they wished to listen to the natural
eloquence of love, and the fervent pathos of rustic wooing. There are
yet some remnants of songs which evidently allude to rencounters of this
kind, and many more might, perhaps, have been collected on a more
dilligent search.
"The language of the peasantry has none of that vulgar broadness so
disgusting in those sea-coast towns which commerce has corrupted.
Imagery, drawn from the select resources of nature, will clothe itself in
chaste and becoming language: the summer wind — the gloaming dew--
fall among the loose locks of a lovely maiden — the flower-tops bent
with dew — the balmy smell of the woods — the honey-combs of the wild
bee — afford fine poetic figures, which nought but profligacy can pollute
or misapply. The crimson brook-rose, the yellow-freckled lily, the red--
lipped gowan, the pale primrose, the mealy cowslip, the imbedding
thyme, are flourishing in rustic pastoral; — and the rich scented hawthorn,
the honey-leafed oak, the tasseling honey-suckle, and the bloomy
promise of the orchards and bean fields, embalm themselves in song, as
pure as the dew which the hand of evening drops on them. But the
tender eloquence of the new-paired birds, and the infant song of the
new-flown nestlings were happily caught by peasant discernment:
"The new-paired laveroc's among the bloomy howes,
Sing kindlie to my Mary while she ca's home the ewes."
The lark is a chief favourite, and being the herald of morning, sings
over head to the swain returning from the errands of love, who naturally
puts his own felicities in her mouth. The wild and mellow Mavis, the
loud-lilting Blackbird, the familiar Rose-linnet, the lively Goldspink, are
all classical songsters, whose warblings are pleasing to a lover's ear.
From the sacred pages of the Bible the peasantry drew many of their
finest ideas and imagery. It imparted a tone of solemn sincerity to the
promises of love, and gave them a more popular currency among
the aged and decorous. Another source of instruction was the select
code of Proverbs which wisdom had stored up in the progress of society;
these, being short and happily figurative, were the current coin of
primitive converse. . . . . . There is a noble daringness, and an
aspiring stretch of mind in many of the lowly rustics which might grace
a princely cavalier of the days of feudal adventure. Love-songs are
early imprinted on every mind, and music accompanies them: Nothing
then is required to make a poetic peasant, but to have his heart warmly
touched with the virgin-fingers of love. Careless and unknowing of
any fame beyond his mistress's will and approval, he writes from his
heart and soul! He writes love as he feels it; and fills his song with
those beautiful traits of real affection which lovers alone can feel or
write. In him there is no covert expression, nor overweening affectation;
nothing of that silky texture of versification, nor of those
hereditary classical images and ideas which courtly love has sanctioned.
He knows only the language of nature, and the imagery of affection.
He understands little about those unapproachable civilities of love; that
chivalrous adoration, and awe-smitten reverence of comportment which
are so much cried up by the gentle critics, and ladies of excessively
polished minds, and sickened sensibility. But the "trysted hour" at
even; the endearing and familiar confidence of the short "arm-grips"
of love; mutual promises sealed by holy kisses — these are the seeds of
lover's poesy, and the heaven which prompts inspiration!"
Some of the poems in the volume are very beautiful —
notably "The Mermaid of Galloway," of which the Ettrick
Shepherd wrote — "I cannot describe with what sensations of
delight I first heard Mr Morrison read the "Mermaid of
Galloway," while at every verse I kept naming the author." It
was given forth as a very ancient ballad, but very soon
the critical experts discovered that neither it, nor many of
the others in the collection really bore the impress of antiquity,
and that the young stonemason of Dalswinton must have
communicated to Mr Cromek, as ancient, many compositions
of his own. From the Rev. D. Hogg's Life of Allan
Cunningham, published in 1875, it is now well-known that
Cunningham, who was a man of very remarkable genius,
composed the ballads, and wrote the introduction, as well
as the descriptive notes. Aytoun refers to this, and says,
"It is a great mistake to suppose that it is an easy thing to
produce such an imitation of the old ballad as shall pass muster
for an original. The attempt has been often made, but almost
always without success. The enthusiasm of collectors is apt to
lead them astray, and sometimes impositions of a very daring
character have been attempted," and then he quotes, as an
example, the Nithsdale and Galloway Songs. As showing how
the credulity and enthusiasm of Cromek were taken advantage of
we may instance the version of "Mary's Dream," given by him
in the Scottish dialect, which he regarded as the genuine and
original form of the ballad. The confidence with which he
states his opinion as to this, and the long and elaborate criticism
and comparison of the two ballads to substantiate, the justness
of his criticism, is now amusing. Alas! poor Cromek! Little
did he suspect that "Honest Allan," in the waywardness of
his genius, practised what may now be termed an innocent
imposture, and that the Scottish version had never been heard
of until it appeared in his work. The piece, though of no
account as a specimen of an ancient Gallovidian ballad, is
well worthy of Allan's muse, as will be seen from the following
"The lovely moon had climbed the hill
Where eagles big aboon the Dee,
And like the looks of a lovely dame,
Brought joy to every bodies e'e;
A' but sweet Mary, deep in sleep,
Her thoughts on Sandy far at sea;
A voice drapt saftly on her ear,
Sweet Mary, weep nae mair for me!"
From Cromek's time nothing of any merit appeared until
Dr Thomas Brown, Professor of Moral Philosophy, published
anonymously, in 1813, The Paradise of Coquettes, which was
considered his best poetical production, a second edition of
it having been called for. By his other poetical works, The
War Fiend; The Bower in Spring, &c., he did not gain
much popularity as a poet. The Wanderer in Norway was
the next volume issued, of which his Biographer remarked:
"There are in the poem many beautiful descriptions of
external nature, and many passages of exquisite pathos. Its
most characteristic features, however, are its nice analysis of
feeling, and detection of the secret springs of conduct in
combination with the imagery and fervour of poetry." In
his day Dr Brown enjoyed some fame as a poet, but in our
time his poetry is little known, and has never taken a hold on
the popular ear. To us he is mainly known as the eminent
Professor of "refined taste, varied learning, and philosophical
From 1824 to 1836 John Gordon Barbour — "Cincinnatus
Caledonius" — gave to the world several volumes of poetry and
traditional tales. Some of the local tales were very interesting,
but the poetical effusions — most of them descriptive of the
scenery of his native land — were of such poor merit that they
have never reached a second edition. They have been long
out of print, and are now only to be found in the hands of
the curious in such literature.
The Battle of Craignilder, said to be a "very ancient
Gallovidian ballad," arranged by Captain J. Murray Denniston,
author of The Legends of Galloway, was published in 1832.
In a lengthy introduction to the piece he thus states how the
ballad fell into his hands: "About forty years ago we heard a
gipsy woman, who had been committed to Kirkcudbright jail,
for some act of petty theft, sing a verse or two of it in her cell.
This circumstance had escaped our memory, till about three
years since, when we recognised the same verses sung by a
person at a very advanced period of life, who was trying their
effect as a sedative on the passions of a brawling grandchild.
On inquiry we learned that she had learned the song from her
mother in her youth, and that it was of great length. On being
urged to repeat it she replied that there were times when she
could go over the whole of it, but that her memory failed her
on other occasions, and that at the present she could only
repeat a verse or two, which we copied down. As our visit was
purely accidental, and at a considerable distance from our
domicile, we made arrangements for having the whole of it
committed to writing at times when her recollection was least
obscured, and after a few months delay it was sent to us with a
notice that her health and mental faculties were rapidly declining,
and that it was much to be feared nothing more could
be obtained from her. It is to be regretted, therefore, that after
all our labour it is only a fragment of the original song, but
bearing the stamp of genuine Gallovidian production from its
minute detail of localities, and being evidently of great
antiquity." Such was the Editor's account of his valued
"find"; but now-a-days no one regards this ballad as a
genuine production of the floating minstrelsy of Galloway.
Capt. Denniston was not the best qualified to discharge the
duties of an accurate and painstaking editor. He was a man
of an imaginative turn, and prided himself more in showing his
skill in literary composition than in a strict adherence to the
letter of his transcripts. The scrap, said to be taken down by
Captain Denniston from the gipsy's and the old woman's recital,
being so altered and added to as to swell into a ballad of
his own composition. It is now very scarce, and on that
account valuable to Gallovidians as a literary curiosity.
In the same year John Morrison, one of Galloway's most
original characters, and a man of varied attainments,
published a small volume of poems showing much strength
of intellect and very considerable powers of description. And
contemporary with him and Gerrond, Mactaggart, and Shennan,
the master spirit of poetry appeared in William Nicholson.
There was no doubt as to the genuineness of his inspiration.
His songs, crooned over by the peasantry at "the gloamin' and
the milkin' hour," or warbled by the shepherd as he tended his
sheep on the hillside, soon became popular. One of the best
of his lyrical effusions, "The Dark Rolling Dee," was a great
favourite with the rural population. It was much admired
by the late Mr Robert Edgar, Dumfries, who was a capital
vocalist, and it is related that on one occasion, more than forty
years ago, he sang it at a social meeting in the neighbourhood,
and no sooner was it finished than one of the company, who
had been listening with more than ordinary attention, addressing
Mr Edgar, asked him if he knew who was the author of
the song. "No," was the answer. "Then I can tell you,"
said the stranger. "That song, 'Dark Rolling Dee,' was
written by me, William Nicholson, an' richt prood am I that
ye hae sung it to this company, and that it has pleased them
sae weel." The "Brownie of Blednoch" first appeared in the
Dumfries Magazine for 1825, and by it Nicholson's fame as
a poet was established, and spread far beyond the bounds of
his native district. The ballad is a perfect creation of genius,
and has been universally admired. It has been reprinted in
many collections of Scotch pieces, and in Horaæ Subsecivæ
Dr John Brown in 1858 wrote of it in these laudatory terms:—
"Here is the indescribable, inestimable, unmistakeable impress
of genius. Chaucer, had he been a Galloway man, might have
written it, only he would have been more garrulous, and less
compact and stern. It is like 'Tam o' Shanter,' in its living
union of the comic, the pathetic, and the terrible. Shrewdness,
tenderness, imagination, fancy. humour, word music,
dramatic power, even wit — all are here. I have often read it
aloud to children, and it is worth any one's while to do it.
You will find them repeating all over the house for days such
lines as take their heart and tongue." In the "Country Lass,"
and other pieces, he faithfully depicts the rural life and manners
of the cot-house and farm-house in Galloway seventy years
ago — the fidelity of the rustic pictures, which he has drawn for
us, being as graphic and true in detail and surroundings as a
Jan Steen, a Hogarth, or a Faed would have painted them.
For many years he indulged his fancy, wandering and musing
among the sequestered glens, broomy knowes, and purling
streams of his beloved Galloway, much of its natural scenery
being described in his poems and identified with his name.
Pursuing his pedlar's calling in his native province, he looked
upon Nature with an affectionate and loving heart, and was
happier lilting with his pipes to cattle and colts in secluded
glades and quarry holes than when exchanging his wares for
hard cash.
So lived and wandered William Nicholson, the Galloway
Bard. It is forty-six years since he died, and all his contemporary
singers of any note have also passed away. The
characters from which he drew his pictures for the "Country
Lass" have also all paid the debt of nature, and the reflection
that comes most forcibly to us in this review of his
contemporaries is the perishable nature of poetic fame, and
the speedy oblivion that has overtaken so many who had at
one time enjoyed considerable local renown. William Nicholson
is the only poet of Galloway whose collected works still enjoy
anything that can be called popularity. He still stands the Poet
Laureate of Galloway, for, as yet, so far as we know, no one
has appeared to dispossess him of his wreath. His works have
now extended to three editions, all of which are now so
scarce that a fourth edition would be readily taken up, while
those of all the other singers slumber on the shelves of enthusiastic
collectors of Galloway literature, to whom, and to the
antiquary, they are only now familiar.
Among the writers of poetry whose works do not admit of
extracts, and are not included in this volume, mention may be
made of Andrew Symson, minister of Kirkinner, author of
A Large Description of Galloway, drawn up by him in
1684, but which remained in manuscript till 1823. In
1703 he published a poem entitled Tripatriarchicon; or
the Lives of the three Patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, and
Jacob, extracted forth of the sacred story and digested into
English verse. He also published Elegies; but of this
latter production only one copy was known to exist in Scotland
in 1832. The elegies are thirteen in number; and eleven
of them were in honour of persons connected with the
county in which he so long resided. "His poems," says Dr
Thomas Murray, "if they deserve that name, are not entitled to
praise as compositions of merit; but they show their author to
have been a man of great simplicity and benevolence of character."
The Seasons, by David Davidson, published in 1789, and
The Maid of Galloway by James Murray, published in 1849, are
also worthy of being noted. The author of the former was a
learned teacher who kept a boarding school for young gentlemen
at Furbar, near Castle-Douglas. From early life he
wooed the muses, and his work exhibits a fervent admiration
for the beauties of external nature, and great truth in the variety
of its details of scenery. The book is now very rare, and, as an
authority on Galloway words and phrases, was often quoted by
Jamieson in his Dictionary of the Scottish Language.
Several other natives of Galloway have given their lucubrations
to the world through the poet's corner of our local
press and otherwise. We have many of those fugitive pieces
before us, but as most of them do not rise above the dead
level of mediocrity, and are now quite forgotten, no notice
of them has been taken in this work. Among the fugitive
pieces we have inserted, "The First Fee," by Robert
Kerr, and "The Battle of Spearford," by Samuel Wilson,
were the most popular, Kerr's poem having been printed
in sheets and circulated by wandering pedlars on their
rounds, far beyond the bounds of Galloway. "The Galloway
Herds," a song of thirty-eight verses, in which the
Established Clergy of the Stewatry were satirized, was published
anonymously about seventy years ago. It also was widely
known, and, to those not included in its scathing lines, was for
long a source of much amusement. There were twenty
individuals satirized in the poem, all of whom have long ago
passed away. To this generation it has no interest other than
that of a relic of olden times.
We have thus had under review all the poetical works
of departed Gallovidians known to us. Of those who are
still amongst us, tuning the poetic lyre, or who have only
recently gone from among us we will not speak. It would
be a disagreeable task, and would be invidious to point out
individuals as having specially distinguished themselves. As
Cunningham wrote in similar circumstances — "Personal
esteem might mingle with our criticism, and while we imagined
ourselves judging with candor and estimating with care we
might only be recording our own affections and partialities."
There never was an age so prolific in poets and
poetasters as that in which we now live, and, whatever barrenness
of talent in this respect Galloway may in former times
have evinced, it will now genally be conceded that, in the
recent productions of her muses she affords a number of proofs
of poetic genius and descriptive talent. In the publications of
Elizabeth J. Irving, W. Stewart Ross, Rev. George Murray,
George G. B. Sproat, Rev. S. R.Crockett, Capt. Clark-Kennedy,
James S. M'Culloch, and the Rev. D. R. Williamson, Galloway
has of late exhibited specimen of poetic talent so far above
mediocrity, as to hold forth imequivocal promise of future
eminence in this walk.
In lyrical composition the Galloway Bards seem to excel: many
of their pieces, in expression and rhythm, being so beautiful
and touching as to have a refining and hallowing influence on
the heart. In them there is much of what is so well expressed
by an old writer on Scottish lyric poetry:— "Of all kinds of
poetical composition the lyrical the most delicious, and that
for this reason: it nestles, as it were, among the simplest and
sweetest feelings of the heart, and, like music harped by a spirit
in the air, it falls among and softens and soothes our stormy
passions, until we are in love with ourselves, with the world,
and with all the beauties of external nature." For the
expression of these simple and tender sentiments, which are
the principal charm of lyrical effusions, the common dialect is
peculiarly well adapted, and it will be observed that, with the
exception of Lowe's "Mary's Dream," in nearly every instance,
the pieces that have obtained to a place among "the lays that
the world will not willingly let die," this channel of expression
has been adopted.
From the large number of contributors some of the poems
and songs, necessarily, exhibit more marked features of excellence
than others. In a work of this kind different degrees of
merit are to be expected, but it is to be hoped that most of
them "will be found to express some feeling or sentiment that
the heart delights to cherish."
In compiling this collection of specimens of the "Galloway
Bards" several pieces have been chosen from the veneration
they have secured in the hearts of the natives, handed down
for generations from parents to children; and it gives us
pleasure to rescue in this way from oblivion the effusions of
local renown "which time appeared to have swallowed up for
We have introduced into this volume many fugitive and
other pieces known to have been popular with the fathers
and grandfathers of the present generation, believing that
from these reminiscences of "auld langsyne" they will
be perused with interest by Gallovidians wherever resident,
and that in the hearts of natives sojourning in foreign climes
sympathetic chords may be struck, carrying their thoughts back
to their native land, and cares may be lightened by pleasant
visions of her valleys, streams, mountains, moors, and rivers.
We have given specimens of the Galloway poets from
the days of Patrick Hannay (1620) down to the present
time, with the view of making the volume as varied and
complete as possible. The biographical notes — in which conciseness
and accuracy have been chiefly aimed at — will prove
interesting to Gallovidian readers, and be useful for future
reference. Several of the authors were well known in the
district for their poetical talents, and some have shown such true
genius for song writing as to have found a place among the minor
poets of Scotland, in various collections of song writers. The
old favourites, such as "The Brownie of Blednoch," "The
First Fee," and "The Battle of Spearford," so long before
the public as to be now considered "household words," have
been allowed to remain as originally published by the authors,
without any attempt to modify, modernise, or improve the
phraseology, A licence to prune or amend requires to
be very judiciously exercised. In this case we have recognised
the danger, and, as a rule, steadily adhered to the
original texts.
The reader, in looking over the contents of this volume,
may have remarked how few of Galloway's songstresses are
represented. It would have been pleasing to have been able to
enrich its pages with their effusions; but in our researches very
few have been discovered who can lay claim to have
produced anything of a higher fight than what is to be found
in the commonplace "In Memoriam" — subjects unsuited
for reproduction in a volume such as this. Elizabeth Jane
Irving is the most gifted of the songstresses of Galloway who
have given their works to the public. Jean Walker, the
"Lovely Lass of Preston Mill," (Mrs Allan Cunningham), had
in her nature all the fine feelings and sentiment of the poet,
and, though she published none of her warblings in her own
name, she is supposed to have written some of the songs for
the Remains of Nithsdale and Galloway Song — "She is gane
to dwall in Heaven," "Thou hast sworn by my God, my
Jeanie," "The Pawkie Loon the Miller," and "Young Derwentwater,"
being accredited to her. To her also is attributed
the letter to Cromek accompanying the "Mermaid of Galloway,"
of which Roscoe said "it was the finest thing ever written, and
had more than the spirit of Burns." The letter reveals a
fervent lover of poetry, and a deep sympathiser with the muse
of her native land. In it she thus nobly indites a poem in
prose, brimful of patriotism:— "A weed turns a flower when it
is set in a garden. Will these songs be better or bonnier in
print? I enclose you a flower new pou'd frae the banks of
blythe Cowehill. It has long grown almost unkend of.
Gentility disna pou' a flower that blooms i' the fields: it is
trampled on as a weed when it is no' in a flower-pot. I see
you smiling at the wretched lilts of the sweet-singing mermaid.
Well, come again to Galloway. Sit down i' the gloaming
dewfall on the green merse side amang the flowers; and if a
pair of lilie arms, and twa kissing lips and witching een,
forbye the sweet music of a honey-dropping tongue, winna
gaur ye believe in the lilting glamour of the mermaid, ye may
gang back to England singing 'Praise be blest!' How will
your old-fashioned taste and the new-fangledness of the public's
agree about these old songs? But tell me, can a song become
old when the ideas and imagery it contains are drawn from
nature? While gowans grow on our braes, and lilies on our
burn banks, so long will natural imagery and natural sentiment
flourish green in song. I am, perhaps, too partial to these old
songs: it is because they recall the memory of parental endearments.
The posies of our fathers and mothers I hold it not
seemly for a daughter to let wither."
The editor would here take the opportunity of stating that
the compiling and publishing of such a work as "The Bards of
Galloway" has long been contemplated by Mr Thomas Fraser,
the publisher; and from his extensive Gallovidian library,
comprising books and manuscripts of great rarity, the most of
the pieces that make up the volume have been gathered. He
has entered most enthusiastically into the work, and has
given valuable assistance in carrying it through the Press.
Copious as these selections have been, only a small part of the
available material has been made use of, and should this volume
meet with the approval of the public, it may some day be
supplemented by another.
The Editor has cordially to thank all those who have so
kindly lent him their assistance by contributing to the work, and
has also gratefully to acknowledge his indebtedness to the
publishers who have given him permission to make extracts
from copyright works, and to all others who have furnished
books or manuscripts for the selections. To that warm--
hearted Gallovidian, and ardent lover of the scenery, history,
and tradition of his native province, Mr John Faed, R.S.A., who
so materially assisted by his advice and experience, we feel
specially indebted. Our sincere acknowledgments are also due
to Mr George Hamilton of Ardendee, F.S.A., (Scot.), for many
valuable suggestions, and Mr James Nicholson, Kirkcudbright,
who furnished us with particulars of the boyhood and early
life and habits of his uncle, the poet. Though no pains have
been spared to make this work accurate and interesting,
still there may be editorial oversights; and, in some cases,
selections may have been made, which, on after thought,
might have been improved. In regard to these, however, press
and public are the judges. The book is now intrusted to the
generous consideration of Gallovidians at home and abroad, on
whose verdict its success or failure must mainly depend.
CASTLE-DOUGLAS, 10th June, 1889.
O! GIN I e'er a sang wad croon,
Or bend my voice to ony tune,
Ae theme I'd sing a' else abune,
The hale nicht ne'er devallin'.
Juist Gallowa' frae en' to en',
Her loch an' burn, her hill an' glen,
Her lasses douce, an' sturdy men,
Frae grey-beard wicht to callan.
To live in sic a glorious lan'
Is gran'est privilege o' man,
Show me sic ither whar ye can,
Ye wan'erers owre creation.
Then sall we sing an hour an' mair,
Owre heroes brave, an' kings o' lair,
Like wham ne'er grew anither where
In ony clime or nation.
Then let us pledge juist here, an' noo,
Her horn, an corn, her yarn, an' woo',
An' a' her natives leal an' true.
To walth an' weal unendin';
An' may her sons owre a' the yirth
Aye grace the auld place o' their birth,
An' ne'er be aval-thrawn by dearth,
But meet life's cares unbendin'.
DEVORGILLA, wife of John Baliol, of Barnard Castle, founder of Baliol College, Oxford,
was daughter of Alan, Lord of Galloway, and mother of John Baliol, for some
time King of Scotland. She had caused the heart of her husband, who had
predeceased her by twenty-nine years, to be cut from his body and enclosed in a
casket of ivory; and, by her desire she was buried with the heart of Baliol in the
Abbey of Sweetheart, in Galloway, which she had founded in 1284. Hence the
monastery was called "Dulce Cor," or Sweetheart. The following is her
epitaph, written by Hugh de Burgh, Prior of Lanercost:—
"In Devorvilla moritur sensata Sibilla,
Cum Marthaque pia, contemplative Maria;
Da Devorvillam requie, Rex Summe, potiri,
Quam tegit iste lapis, cor pariterque viri."
I paraphrase the inscription thus:—
"A ladye bright rests here from mortal care and ill,
As Mary thoughtful, Martha pious, the sainted Devorgill;
We pray Thee, Highest God, to give that ladye rest
Beneath this stone, her husband's heart embalmed upon her breast."
The Abbey of Dulce Cor is one of the most magnificent and picturesque of the
monastic ruins of the British Isles.
A LADYE stood on the chancel floor,
In the years of the long ago,
While through the painted oriel
The sun-flood ebbèd slow.
For the evening sprinkled the Abbey floor
With radiance golden and red;
And solemn and grand the sun-light streamed
On the flagstones over the dead.
And the purple clouds and the evening sky
Veiled Criffel's awful brow,
And the wanton breezes mingled their sigh
With the murmurs of the Pow.
Oh, solemn and grand was the organ roll,
And the vesper hymn died away —
Away on the breath of an earthly eve,
To the bourne of eternal day.
With cope and with stole, for the weal of the soul,
The Grey Friars knelt in the choir;
Through the incense smoke God's sunlight broke
On the altar like living fire.
'Twas a sweet, sweet eve — 'twas a golden eve,
In the years of the long ago!
But the angel grace of that ladye's face
Was blended with mortal woe.
O lovely she was, O lovely she was
As the angel pure and fair;
And the radiance white of the evening light
Was lost in her heavenly hair.
But cold was the heart, icy cold was the heart,
Where her beautiful head found rest;
'Tis God's holy will, thou blue-eyed Devorgill,
And the lord of thy love's with the blest.
Oh, the heart and the sword of Galloway's lord,
Of Scotland's royal line,
In the battle van, a kingly man,
In thy girlish days were thine.
And a queenlier heart never throbbed more true,
'Mong Galloway's rocks and rills,
And a queenlier foot never dashed the dew
From the heath of the Galloway hills.
Fair were the ladyes, brave were the knights,
In the chivalrous years of old;
Grand Death's glory-dance 'fore the levelled lance,
In taffeta welted with gold!
A tinier glove never shone on the crest
Of a paladin faithful and true:
In the chivalrous tilt oft the hero grasped hilt,
O, sweet Devorgilla, for you.
"O my life — O my lord! — the heart and the sword
Of the glory of knighthood are all at my will;
But the bravest of the brave for her lord in the grave,
She'll despise, your own dearest, your own wife Devorgill
"Thy head, that now lies so low in the mould,
On the warmth of this wild heaving bosom has lain;
No head, howe'er splendid with valour or gold,
Shall evermore lie on this bosom again."
Time's night sped away to Eternity's day,
And beneath that dim chancel, all mouldered and still,
The dear heart on her breast, hushed to endless rest,
In the Abbey of Sweetheart low lies Devorgill!
But her memory comes through the Past's dim door,
Like spring's young flowers to the sunlit sod,
The ladye who gave all her days to the poor,
And her prayer-hallowed nights unto God.
Lowly she lies as the centuries roll,
Lowly she lies with the leal and the brave;
The sky is the home of her glorified soul,
And the sky is the vault o'er her grave.
And the ivy streams and the night-owl screams,
And the Pow still murmurs low,
And the wild rose creeps where the ladye sleeps
In that tomb of the Long Ago.
'MID Balmaclellan's bonny braes,
Where flows the silver Ken,
And lofty mountains kiss the skies,
John Frost has routh o' men;
They love the Queen, the State, the Laws,
And Land of Cakes, right weel,
And weel they love auld Johnnie Frost,
Who brings the roaring Spiel.
'Tis clear and cold — their chieftain calls,
And waves his mighty arm,
The Clansmen come from hill and dale,
Like summer bees they swarm;
From banks of Urr to winding Ken,
A stout and stalwart train
Of curlers keen to ply the broom,
And swing the channelstane.
With hound and horn o'er mountains wild
Let huntsmen sportive stray,
By winding stream and lonely loch
Let fishers pass the day;
But better far, when skies are blue,
Is yon bright icy plain,
Where curlers meet to ply the broom,
And swing the channelstane.
High in the lift the laverock loves
To greet the rosy morn,
And sweet the mavis pours her lay
From off the scented thorn;
But sweeter far than song of bird,
Or lady's melting strain,
The music that the curlers love —
The booming channelstane.
Oh, green's the Isle within the wave
Wherein the shamrock grows,
And bright the lands that proudly boast
The lily and the rose;
But dearer far the rugged land,
Far in the northern main,
That claims the thistle and the heath,
The broom and channelstane.
St. John's Town's knights are brave and true
The lads of Kells are men,
While heather blooms and willows wave,
May such live near the Ken.
We'll meet them still in friendly fray,
And chant this pleasant strain, —
"Long live the lads who ply the broom
And swing the channelstane."
YOUNG Edwin's gone to Ellen's bower,
His lip has felt the parting kiss;
Soft sorrow on his brow did lower,
And teardrops mingled with the bliss:
"Farewell! I go perchance to see
No more my Ellen, nor the Cree."
Young Edwin felt the sacred glow
Of honour all his soul inflame,
And burned to meet the ruthless foe,
And earn a wreath of martial fame;
To fight for home and liberty,
His Ellen, and the banks of Cree.
For these he left his Ellen's arms,
And crossed the foaming billows o'er,
And rushed amid war's rude alarms,
The sabre's flash and cannon's roar,
For honour, love, and liberty,
His Ellen, and the banks of Cree.
And still, when loudest pealed the gun,
And fiercest rose the battle's yell,
Where densest rolled the war-cloud dun,
And the most heroes fought and fell,
He stood and shouted "Liberty!"
For Ellen, and the banks of Cree.
Alas! upon thy fatal shore,
Corunna, Edwin died at last;
He fell beside the gallant Moore,
And as to heaven a look he cast,
He faintly breathed a prayer for thee,
His Ellen, and the banks of Cree.
THE moon had climbed the highest hill
That rises o'er the source of Dee,
And from the eastern summit shed
Her silver light on tower and tree,
When Mary laid her down to sleep,
Her thoughts on Sandy far at sea,
When soft and low a voice was heard
Saying, "Mary, weep no more for me."
She from her pillow gently raised
Her head to ask who there might be;
She saw young Sandy shiv'ring stand,
With visage pale and hollow e'e;
"O! Mary, dear! cold is my clay —
It lies beneath a stormy sea;
Far, far from thee I sleep in death,
So, Mary, weep no more for me.
"Three stormy nights and stormy days
We tossed upon the raging main,
And long we strove our barque to save,
But all our striving was in vain.
E'en then, when horror chilled my blood,
My heart was filled with love for thee;
The storm is past and I'm at rest,
So, Mary, weep no more for me.
"O! maiden dear, thyself prepare;
We soon shall meet upon that shore
Where love is free from doubt and care,
And thou and I shall part no more."
Loud crow'd the cock, the shadow fled —
No more of Sandy could she see;
But soft the passing spirit said,
"Sweet Mary, weep no more for me."
'TWAS wee Auntie Jeanie that sat by our bed —
We had baith said our prayers at her knee,
She was winsome and sweet; wi' a glad smile to meet
My rosy wee brither and me.
But she left us at last; sad, sad were our hearts,
And sair, O! sae sair did we weep,
Though we held by her sleeve, thinking she couldna leave,
Till our grip slid awa' in our sleep.
We are bairnies nae langer — Johnnie noo is a man,
Working hard for my faither and me;
Yet, through monie ling years, rise unbidden our tears,
For auntie and mither was she.
It's noo but a dream — a dim dream o' the nicht,
As she glides to the foot o' my bed,
But nae smile can I trace on her twilight-like face,
Though her golden hair halo's her head.
SOUTHWICK, ever dear to me
Is thy every glen an' mountain,
Spretty howe, an' grassy lea,
Sparklin' burn an' flashin' fountain,
Woods, arrayed in dress o' simmer,
In the sunshine glint an' glimmer;
Ilka chiel an' blythesome kimmer,
A' the cares o' life surmountin'.
Weel I lo'e the prattlin' rills
That wind amang thy lanely hills,
Thy every scene my bosom fills,
Ilk scroggy knowe and shady plantin'.
Nature, when wi' lavish han'
On the warl was gems bestowin',
Didna miss, when by thee gaun,
Choicest beauties to keep throwin';
A' aroun' they're sweetly smilin',
Tedious hours awa' beguilin';
Cheery sangs frae warblers wilin' —
Flowers their artless blossoms showin'.
Weel I lo'e thy rocky shore,
Where crested waves their waters pour
Against the rugged bulwarks hoar,
Richt weel I lo'e to see them flowin'.
Southwick, dearer to my heart,
Ilka day thou'rt to me turnin',
Laith I'd be wi' thee to part,
But the thocht I'll aye keep spurnin',
True affection never withers;
May we act our part like brithers;
Lasses a' be wives an' mithers,
Love in ilka bosom burnin';
An' like ilka bank an' brae
In Nature's garb sae blythe an' gay,
May we be kept frae dool an' wae,
Nane ever lang for days of mournin'.
OUT in the quivering moonlight,
Wandering beneath the trees;
While nature is wrapt in slumber,
Silent the murmuring breeze —
Silent the wild bird's carolling,
And the humming of the bee;
All around is soft and peaceful,
All dim and shadowy.
Nought heard but our own low voices,
And the ever-rippling stream;
But earth and sky, in the moonlight,
Are beautiful as a dream!
How pure and sweet is the cloudland!
How lovely is each pale star
That, through veil of fleecy vapour,
Shine upon us from afar.
Clouds, fringed not with glowing crimson,
Nor purple, nor burning gold;
But rolling like curling smoke-wreaths
In many a misty fold.
Soft fall the tremulous moonbeams
On the deep lake's rippling breast;
On the chestnut-bordered pathway
What fantastic shadows rest!
Pencilled tracery from the branches,
Which over the wood-path arch,
From the leafless spectral branches
Of woodlands in early March.
Yet we feel that a secret power
Is working and whispering;
That Nature's quickening pulses
Feel the influence of spring.
It is not a flood of glory,
As when Autumn groweth old,
Nor the frosty sparkling moonlight
Of a winter evening cold:
It is misty, shadowy, dream-like,
And a spirit seems to brood
In silence over the meadows,
And the mountain, and the wood;
The yearly miracle working,
Till we know not why or how,
The brown fields are glowing with beauty,
With emerald every bough.
With sunlight, and moonlight, and starlight,
With dew, and with vernal shower,
Is Nature the life-stream pouring
Through the veins of leaf and flower.
When silent are wild-bee and wild-bird,
And the breezes whispering,
We feel above and around us
The restless spirit of Spring!
Working, and throbbing, and striving,
With a silent mystic sway,
Unrecked 'mid the hurry of busy life —
Unfelt 'mid the glare of day.
Earth's flowers, in the hazy moonlight,
Shut closely their cups and bells;
But our hearts in the tender moonlight
Open widely their hidden cells:
Open widely their treasure chambers,
Night-blowing- flowers have they,
Which delight in the gentle moonlight,
But shrink from the eye of day.
And the whispered thoughts we utter,
The emotions that we feel,
Like those stars through their veil of vapour,
Seem shadowy and unreal.
There is less of reason than feeling,
There is less of mind than soul,
In those soft and tender waking dreams
Which over our spirits roll.
There are pictures raised from the bygone,
And hope — which the future cheers —
With tender lingering o'er pleasures past,
And plans for the coming years.
Now the soft and fleecy cloudland
Is tinged with a deeper dye,
As a glow from the burning heather
Becrimsons the moonlit sky.
Distinct in the lurid radiance
Stands the distant mountain blue,
And fiery streaks are gleaming bright
On meadow and woodland too.
But calm and mild and lovely
Shines the moon on lake and hill:
The gentle beauty of Nature bids
Each storm in the breast be still!
Silent are wild-bee and wild-bird,
Silent the murmuring breeze,
As we wander beneath the moonlight
In the shadow of the trees!
LANGFELL, lying deep under snow on the face of it,
Never a bud on blossom or tree;
Craignair, with Urr rushing swift by the base of it,
Brawling and dark on its way to the sea.
Deep in the wood with the icy king's breath on it,
Reflecting the stars like a mirror of steel;
The loch lieth cold with the silence of death on it,
High o'er the tree tops the wild sea birds wheel.
Barren and sere with the winter sun's gleam on it,
Criffel upreareth his bare rugged crown;
Under grey skies, with the wild curlew's scream on it,
The Bienloch is cheerless, grassless, and brown.
Down in the south from the caves in the steeps of it,
The Heugh gives reply to the loud hollow roar,
Of storm tossed sea in the wild surging leaps of it,
Dashing in foam on Colvend's rocky shore.
T'WAS an eerie nicht, an' the storm-clouds lower'd,
An' the lichtnin's glent was keen,
An' the thun'er rolled, but nane were cowered
In the clachan yillhoose bien.
Weird tales were tauld, as the yill they quaffed
By the ingle's cheerie bleeze,
O' ghaists and bogles, an' loud they laughed
At Sandie Cracken's lees.
An' a wily loon in the neuk there sat —
They ken'tna whance cam' he —
An' loud he leuch at the crack, I wat,
An' was gleg in their revelrie.
"On sic a nicht, when the witches ride
An' the ghaists are a' asteer,
I trow there's nane in the kintra side
Wad the Maiden Kyrke gang near.
"Weel kent that ilka Lammas nicht,
When the twalfth 'oor is at han',
The warlocks an' bogles there hae micht
Nocht mortal can withstan'.
"An' siccan pranks by the haunted thorn
They hae the po'er to play,
That mortal man was never born
Could see, an' live till day!"
Sae said auld Tam, the souter queer;
Then young M'Culloch spak',
"I'll to the kyrke without a fear,
An' in an 'oor be back?"
Quo' the loon in the neuk wi' e'en sae bricht,
"I'll lay ye a gowden pound
Ye gang na to the kyrke the nicht
An' come back safe an' sound."
They straiket han's, the wager laid,
The youth prepared to gang,
Wi' ower lang tichts, an' warm grey plaid,
An' aik stick stoot an' strang;
But Jock o' second sicht look'd wae,
An' dool was in his e'e:
"O! nane this weary nicht maun gae
By the haunted hawthorn tree!"
Oot spak' the youth wi' lauch fu' loud,
An' heart sae bauld an' licht,
"Jock, hain advice by Haly Rood!
I'll to the kyrke this nicht.
"I vow I'll gang the nicht," quo' he,
"Though the storm be tenfold mair;
An' I'll pass by the haunted hawthorn tree,
Ay, an' cross the witch's lair!
"An' mair, intil the kyrke I'll gang,
The Haly Book I'll tak';
Tho' deils an' bogles roun' me thrang,
In ae 'oor I'll be back!"
Sae oot that fatefu' nicht he sped,
'Mang storm an' thun'ers' roar,
An' a' their daffin' noo was fled,
Syne he had passed the door.
An' dowie noo was ilka wicht,
Slow did the moments gae,
An' loud the wraith-bell jow'd that nicht,
An' filled a' fu' o' wae.
Oot spak' the stranger, an' quo' he,
"The 'oor an' mair has past!
Will ony venture oot wi' me
Intil this bonnie blast?"
But dazed were a', an' nane daur steer
Nor speak that wearie nicht;
Wi' brumstane lunt, an' fiendish leer,
He vanished frae their sicht!
Loud roar'd the storm, an' silent a',
They sat in awfu' dreid,
An' aye they heard the wraith-bell ca'
The warnin' for the deid!
An' when Licht cam' in mornin' grey,
The stormy blast was gaen,
An' forth, wi' waefu' hearts, gaed they,
An' passed the haly stane.
Wi' horror dreid in ilka heart,
They near'd the haunted tree: —
What gars ilk ane sae fearsome start? —
A waefu' sicht they see!
M'Culloch's bluidy corpse they saw,
In' the licht o' that awfu' morn,
Wrapp'd roun' in the thorny branches a',
An' the heart frae the body torn!
Oh! sicht sae sair, that they wha look
Could never smile again;
An' near the tree lay the Haly Buik
That frae the Kyrke he'd taen.
Sae lang's the quid Buik he had borne
Nae scaith could near him get,
But he'd laid it doon by the fatal thorn,
Till he'd steek the muckle yett.
What foul fiends' wark the youth did dree
That nicht, there's nane can say,
But weel kent is that hawthorn tree
Ca'd "Man-wrap" to this day.
An' certes, there are nane, I trow,
That by Kirkmaiden bide,
Will, when they hear the wraith-bell jow,
Gae oot at Lammas tide!
FAIR warbler! much I love thy lay,
So sweet, so pensive, and so mild;
Ah! sing'st thou thus by break of day
To soothe a heart so sad, so wild?
Yes! much I love thy notes to hear,
Thy hymn how sweet, at dawn of day —
'Tis like a Seraph's voice so dear,
That chases gloom and grief away.
Sing ever thus, fair warbler, sing,
At early dawn and fall of even;
Thy notes to me can solace bring,
Thy voice is like a voice from heaven.
And sing thou at my parting hour,
O, sing those lays that comfort speak,
For sure, so sweet a voice hath power
To dry the tear from sorrow's cheek.
THERE ance was a wifie cam' to the Langhill,
To seek a drap milk for a wean that was ill;
For a wean that was lyin' in bed sick an' sair —
A wean o' the Elfin race — knacky an' fair.
Sing hey! for the wee bodies out on the lea,
For the dance o' the Fairies is cheery to see.
The mistress was washin' some puddin's ae nicht,
At the Burnie Boon by, an' there saw a strange sicht:
A wife stude before her — the size o' a hen —
Though otherwise juist like the dochters o' men!
Sing hey! for the wee bodies out on the lea,
For the dance o' the Fairies is cheery to see.
Quo' the elf, "Wad ye gie me twa foe's o' a wilk,
In my can, gane ye please, o' a Kylie coo's milk!"
"Atweel ye'se get that," said the kind-hearted dame,
"But whaur dae ye live, tell me, when ye're at hame?"
Sing hey! for the wee bodies out on the lea,
For the dance o' the Fairies is cheery to see.
"I dwall," quo' the elf, "at the fit o' a knowe,
Amang the birk trees o' the bonnie Gill-howe,
An' there I hae bid syne we cam' frae the mune
That shines owre oor heids, in the blue lift abune,
Sing hey! for the wee bodies out on the lea,
For the dance o' the Fairies is cheery to see.
For thousan's o' years on the girth I hae been!
An' mony a ferlie in that time I've seen,
On sea an' on shore, baith on mountain and dale —
Tak' my word, honest dame, I could tell ye a tale.
Sing hey! for the wee bodies out on the lea,
For the dance o' the Fairies is cheery to see.
"I hae min' o' the camp owre at Rispin that stude,
Had its wa's an' its trenches bedaubit wi' bluid;
I can recollec', too, in the auld Druid's time,
O' mony a battle, an' mony a crime!"
Sing hey! for the wee bodies out on the lea.
For the dance o' the Fairies is cheery to see.
"Come wi' me an' ye'll get a sowp milk," quo' the dame,
"To refuse it wad e'en be a sin an' a shame;
Then some ither time ye may aiblins come back,
An' regale me wi' mair o' your auld-farrant crack."
Sing hey! for the wee bodies out on the lea,
For the dance o' the Fairies is cheery to see.
"Mony thanks," said the wifie, sae gabbit an' sma',
"Ye're no like the feck o' the warl'ins ava —
Sae ye'll ay' hae eneuch an' a kennin to spare,
An' ye'll wash puddin's here, ay, for twenty years mair."
Sing hey! for the wee bodies out on the lea,
For the dance o' the Fairies is cheery to see.
"O' a wee pickle snuff ye will ne'er be in want,
An' your crap o' potawtoes will never be scant;
Ye'll hae plenty o' butter, an' plenty o' eggs,
An' your kye shall be guid anes as e'er gaed on legs."
Sing hey! for the wee bodies out on the lea,
For the dance o' the Fairies is cheery to see.
Forty towmonds hae passed syne the Fairy was seen
On the broo o' a burn, where the dockans are green;
But its spaein' cam true, tho' the creatur' itsel'
Ne'er cam' back ony mair o' its stories to tell.
Sing hey! for the wee bodies out on the lea,
For the dance o' the Fairies is cheery to see.
THIS window looketh towards the west,
And o'er the meadows grey
Glimmer the snows that coldly crest
The hills of Galloway.
The winter broodeth all between —
In every furrow lies;
Nor is there aught of summer green,
Nor blue of summer skies.
Athwart the dark-grey rainclouds flash
The seabird's sweeping wings,
And through the stark and ghostly ash
The wind of winter sings.
The purple woods are dim with rain,
The cornfields dank and bare;
And eyes that look for golden grain
Find only stubble there.
But when I to the window turn
That fronts the southern plain,
Small sign of winter I discern,
Or cloud-rack fierce with rain.
Sunshine is not more clear in June,
Nor August sky more blue;
Not otherwise on summer noon
Looketh our guardian yew.
And there in leafage never sere
Stand all the solemn pines;
Nor fresher in the spring appear
Their melancholy lines.
Dark green against the southern sky
Their shaggy tops are seen;
The flooded meadow-levels lie
All silver-grey between.
Thus light and dark and dark and light
So near together come,
That you may hold them both in sight
From one small windowed room.
But while I write behold the night
Comes slowly blotting all,
And o'er grey waste and meadow bright
The gloaming shadows fall.
From all the quiet lattices
Dim lights are shining soon,
And through the crossbars of the trees
Breaketh the waning moon.
DEAR Galloway, my simple lay
Shall gladly sing thy beauty!
The minstrel's art shall bear its part,
An' may it dae its duty!
For tales o' ither days hae cast
Romantic halos roun' thee,
An' England's iron fetters fast
In thraldom aften boun' thee!
But thae auld times hae passed, ye ken,
An' only left behin' them
The mem'ries proud o' gallant men;
We tak' them as we fin' them!
Sae wi' me praise thae ancient days
O' Scotlan' aye sae glorious!
An', if like men, we fecht again,
We'll be, like Bruce, victorious!
An' when again, I cross the main,
To gaze upon thy glories,
I'll tune my ear auld sangs to hear
An' list to ancient stories!
Thy warriors auld were ever bauld,
Thy dames sae fair an' sprichtly,
Thine aulden fame hath gained a name
That aye shall glisten brichtly!
Wha wadna lo'e thy straths an' streams,
Thy miles o' purplin' heather? —
I see them often in my dreams,
Where we hae roamed together!
Noo, can ye name, as kent to fame,
In ony ancient story,
Wha dings the Bruce, in war or truce,
For honour an' for glory?
When loudly blaw the blust'rin' win's,
An' white wi' snaw thy mountains,
When winter's han' is on the lan',
An' frozen are thy fountains, —
I lo'e to think the gentle kye
Are safe within the byre;
To ken the dear auld folk at hame
Are cozy by the fire!
They're, aiblins, thinkin' noo o' me,
Though far awa' I'm roamin' —
(For peaceful cracks o' them we lo'e
Nae time is like the gloamin'!)
My faither's by yon ingle cheek —
My wither! — weel betide them! —
I see their faces through the reek!
O', would I were beside them!
Then never say, my Galloway!
That oceans love can sever:
Baith nicht an' day, though far away,
I lo'e thee, an' for ever!
My heart an' han', my bonnie lan,'
Are thine till death divide us;
For memory dear is wi' us here,
An' them we lo'e beside us!
There canna be a bonnier lan',
There canna be a fairer!
Romance an' beauty, han' in han',
Combine to mak' thee rarer.
Nae brichter leas beyon' the seas
My heart frae thee shall sever;
My latest lays shall sing thy praise,
Here's "Galloway for ever!"
I'VE warstled through my daily toil,
An' won the rest the eident earns;
Noo fareweel a' my care an' moil —
I'm happy 'mang the blithesome bairns.
The rain may pour its splashing tide,
The win' may shake the mountain cairns;
My throne is by the ingleside,
My subjects are the gleesome bairns.
The wife, weel pleased, her needle plies —
Ower a' her tender bosom yearns;
The angels, keekin' frae the skies,
Micht smile to see my winsome bairns.
If ocht o' heaven is felt below,
'Tis what the heart, responsive, learns
'Mid true affection's kin'ly flow
At hame amang the guileless bairns.
Maist outside joys hae feckless power —
They often dee when at the birth,
But Eden throws its glamour ower
The bairnies at my cheery hearth.
A' carkin' care I noo disown,
Nae anxious thocht my heart concerns;
The Queen's nae happier on her throne
Than I am here amang the bairns.
WEE Snap's a queer auld-farrant doggie!
Sedate, an' faithfu', tho' a roguie,
When brattlin' 'mang the glens sae scroggie,
On banks o' Dee;
He'd face a brock as fast's his coggie,
Tho' blin' o' an e'e.
Rough haired, lang bodied, short o' paw,
Wi' wise-like heid, an' lang strong jaw,
Nane better can lay down the law
To prowlin' cats;
Or stop sae quick 'mang stacks o' straw,
The squealin' rats.
His sire — I think they ca'd him Nettle —
Was o' sic Dandie Dinmont mettle,
That when for huntin' in guid fettle,
He'd scare the deil;
As on a fox's throat he'd settle
'Mang rocks o' Screel.
A chip o' Nettle's block Snap shows,
The dog weel-bred where'er he goes,
A' kin' o' vermin are his foes,
An' there's nae budgin';
Where'er he can get in his nose,
They hae nae lodgin'.
Wi' a' the points o' Dinmont's race —
Frae hazel e'en to mustard face —
He's o' sic nature that nae grace
He'd gie a badger,
An' is the terror 'bout the place,
O' tramp an' cadger.
In ilka craig, an' cleugh, an' glen,
Ilk fox's hole an' otter's den —
Frae Craig o' Dee to Brig o' Ken —
He's ranged wi' Rattle,
An' had in monie a roadside pen,
A teethy battle.
Like Julius Cæsar, son o' Mars,
He's come thro' monie bluidie wars —
On neck an' lug he wears the scars
O' bull an' grew,
An' pug, wi' nose turned to the stars,
An' tail cork-screw.
A slee, auld-fashioned, thoughtfu' brute,
Watchfu', an' cool, he moves aboot,
An' kens my ways baith in an' oot;
As he sits winkin',
You'd think at times the queer wee brute,
Had pow'rs o' thinkin'.
As soon as I begin to pack
My travellin' bag, he's on the rack,
Friskin' an' jumpin' on my back,
For weel he kens
There's holiday for him an' Jack,
In the Glenkens.
He's blythe when holidays come roun',
For then he's ta'en far frae the toun,
To rocky cliff or muirlan' broun,
Where hares foregether;
An' rabbits scud, an' muirfowl croon
Their sangs 'mang heather.
At hame he lies beside my seat,
Or follows closely on the street;
Tho' whyles on Saturdays he'll greet,
Wi' wistfu' e'e —
The roguie wants me to the Fleet,
Or banks o' Dee.
But whether he thinks sermons dry,
Or that precentors sing owre high,
I canna tell, but tho' I'd cry
To mak' him steer,
When I'm in Sunday suit Paul Pry,
He'll no' come near.
Reserved in manners, sometimes glum,
Few dogs auld Snap will treat as chum;
Philosopher he's ca'd by some;
Sae wise he looks,
As he sits musin' grave an' dumb,
Like clerk wi's books.
But when he chances to foregether
Wi' terrier Dick, a towzie brither,
They speak in language kent to ither
'Bout huntin' grun';
An' sometimes lay their heids thegither
To hae a run.
Awa' to Fuffock's mossy flowes,
Where 'mang auld trees the wild thyme grow
Or Greenlaw's rabbit-burrowed knowes,
To spen' the nicht;
Returnin' black as worricows,
A waefu' sicht.
But tho' Snap's got some high-bred ways,
He's no like uppish folk, wha praise
Their frien's sae lang as they've fine claes,
An' gie gran' dinners,
But wha, when riches tak' their ways,
They shun as sinners.
A faithfu', honest, steady frien',
In a' misfortunes I hae seen;
Like miser wi' his gowd at e'en
Fearfu' o' dangers,
In his affections there's ne'er been
A place for strangers.
Lang may my doggie climb wi' me,
The rocky hills o' Fleet an' Dee,
An' may his coggie never be
O' supper scrimpit;
For weel I ken he'll stick to me,
Fast as a limpit.
An' when his days come to an en',
As epitaph I'd simply pen,
What's said sometimes at death o' men
Wi' guids an' gear,
"I'll never see his like again,"
As lang's I'm here.
COME, blooming maiden, lend me thy white hand,
And I will lead thee where love waits thy coming;
For he a bower so full of sweets has planned,
That bees around it hang forever humming;
And still they suckle their delicious fare
From honey-flowers that bloom so bountifully there.
Then come, my love, and from those fair flowers take
A lesson, how to yield thy lips to plunder;
And I those bees will my instructors make,
In sucking all their sweets, before we sunder;
For they do teach that Mayflowers, growing old,
Will soon no honey have to give or to withhold.
See how that tree, longing its wealth to lose,
Seems wooing us to pluck its ripened cherries,
As if the mellow fruit it bade us use,
Ere time had sucked the rich juice from its berries;
Thou art a cherry-tree ripe berries bearing,
Then spare not what will waste in spite of all thy sparing.
Behold those brambles all so richly crowned!
How sore they tempt the babe with sights of pleasure;
But, fenced with briars his little hands to wound,
They rudely bar him from the guarded treasure:
Till with a few more suns, their moisture wasted,
A loathsome sight they show by living lips untasted.
So, blooming maiden, shall it fare with thee,
If thou wilt longer bar thy lips from mine;
For time will ravish what thou savest from me,
Doubling the loss by makin't almost mine;
Then come, my love, and yield thy lips' sweet treasure,
While yet it is with them the harvest-time of pleasure.
The lawns wood-fringed in Nature's native taste;
The hillocks dropt in Nature's careless haste;
Here poesy might wake her heaven-born lyre,
And look through Nature with creative fire. — BURNS.
ENSHRINED in woods, beside a lovely lake,
Fair Cally sleeps amid the enchanting scene,
Bathed in the morning sunshine's golden wake,
That glows and glistens o'er her velvet green.
The oak tree spreads his branches green and gay,
The laurel blooms beneath his royal shade,
The tasselled hazel and the birken spray
Weep o'er the roses in the sylvan glade.
The vocal choir sings on the leafy bough,
The bursting blossom decks the honied bowers,
The fairy scene with joy seems all aglow —
The Eldorado of the land of flowers.
Oh! lovely Cally, 'neath thy magic spell
The lords of royalty might long to dwell.
AWA' frae me, noo, Sawnie lad,
An' dinna fash me mair,
We a' ken weel your purse has gowd,
An' that your heid has lair;
But for your siller or your lair
I dinna care a flee,
My love is Tam the shepherd boy,
Wha whistles owre the lea.
Puir chiel! he canna gab like you,
Nor's cled in sic braw claes,
But what he says is sweeter far,
An' ay his dress does please;
He is the darlin' o' my heart,
And evermair will be,
My bonnie, merry, shepherd boy,
Wha whistles owre the lea.
The mornin' when he climbs the hill,
The laverocks to him sing,
An' round him a' the paitricks trip,
An' mawkins skip and spring;
They a' look blythe at my dear Tam,
But no sae blythe as me,
For he's my lovely shepherd lad,
An' whistles owre the lea.
O! happy is the sailor lad
When he comes off the sea,
An' wi' his bonnie lassie meets,
To kiss and crack awee;
But wha can happier be than me,
Aneath the hawthorn tree,
Wi' my cheerfu', harmless, shepherd lad,
Wha whistles owre the lea.
O! WHA cam' doon to yon ha' house?
Where puirtith ne'er fand bit nor bield,
But a Gaberlunzie, frail and auld,
An' his haffet-locks were bleached wi' eild.
"O! loud, loud raves the storm, guidman,
As it thuds alang the lane hillside;
It's wat an' cauld, an' I'm frail an' auld,
An', O! for pity let me bide."
"What loon are ye?" quo' the cankert carle
"That dauners here sae late at e'en;
My coffers are stowed wi' gear an' gowd,
An' I'll maybe rue an' I let ye in.
"For weel may ye gang to the Burrowstoun,
An' weel may ye wade the Milnmark ford;
For sorner thieves shall ne'er get leave
To harbour here, at bed or board."
The Gaberlunzie turned him roun',
An' he dashed aff the tear that dimm'd his e'e,
"O! fare-ye-weel, ye cankert carle,
Your floor shall ne'er be trod by me.
"This heart ne'er griened for anither's gear —
This han' ne'er grasped anither's store;
But erst in deadliest fields o' weir,
It weel could grasp the braid claymore."
He has pinn'd the bonnet out o'er his brow,
An' sped him frae the churl's doors,
When braid an' broun in melted snaw,
Frae its norlan' fells the Garpal roars.
An' the Kelpie sits on the Milnmark ford —
I wat he's a grim, an' a gruesome wight —
Frae his temples braid the faem-bells hing,
An' they glance in the flood like the glow-worm's
An' his een shoot forth sic an eldritch glare,
The otter an' wullcat flee for fear;
The tod an' the brock in the clifted rock,
They cringe the Kelpie's scraich to hear.
An' aye he watches the Deadman's weil,
Where it boils an' bullers deep an' dark —
That awsome sight, in a moonless night,
Might quail a heart though stout an' stark.
But the Gaberlunzie, frail and auld,
He buckled his belt an' the stream he tried;
But the Garpal swelled, an' his strength it failed,
He ne'er could reach the farther side.
He was borne by the spate to the Deadman's weil,
An' nane to hear his drownin' cry;
Like a bell o' faem his white locks swam —
They were seen but ance, then sank for aye.
AGAIN the breeze blaws through the trees,
The flowers bloom by the burn, Willie,
Gay Spring is seen in fairy green —
The year nae mair shall mourn, Willie.
The tender buds hang on the woods
An' lowly slaethorn tree, Willie;
Its blossom spreads, nor cauld blast dreads,
But may be nipt like me, Willie.
The frien'less hare is chased nae mair,
She whids alang the lea, Willie;
Through dewy showers the lav'rock towers,
An' sings, but not for me, Willie.
When frae thy arms, a' Nature's charms,
What pleasure can they gie, Willie?
My Spring is past, my sky o'ercast,
It's sleepless nichts wi' me, Willie.
Silent an' shy, they now gae by
That used to speak wi' me, Willie,
Nae tale, nae sang, the hale day lang —
It's a' for lovin' thee, Willie.
Wi' wily art ye wan my heart —
That heart nae mair is free, Willie;
Then, O! be kin', sin' now it's thine!
I had nae mair to gie, Willie.
But vain I've pled, for thou hast wed
A wealthier bride than me, Willie;
Now nought can heal the wound I feel,
But lay me down an' dee, Willie.
Fareweel! ye braes, an' happier days
By crystal winding Cree, Willie;
When o'er my grave the green grass wave;
O! wilt thou think on me, Willie?
WHENE'ER the sun gangs o'er the hill,
An' shades of evenin' wrap the glen,
I'll seek the wood wi' right guid will,
Where Coom rows saftly to the Ken:
The bonniest lass that e'er I saw
Keeps true-love tryst this nicht wi' me,
An' we hae 'greed between us twa
To meet beneath the birken tree.
I've lo'ed her lang, an' ken her true,
Right sure am I the gowden sun
Will wander lang through heaven sae blue,
Nor shine upon a fairer one.
Red on the wild rose hangs the hip,
White blooms the gowan on the lea —
Sae white's the breast, sae red's the lip,
I'll press beneath the birken tree.
When I saft kisses fondly seek
To print upon her smilin' mou',
The blush may mantle on her cheek,
Nae cloud will gather on her broo.
The silver moon will lend her licht
To see love sparkle in her e'e,
An' as I gaze I'll bless the sicht
In rapture 'neath the birken tree.
As lang as wee birds tune their lay
Frae 'mang the broom and scented thorn;
As lang as dew-draps gem the spray,
An' glitter in the beams of morn;
As lang as wimpling burns delicht
To wind in beauty to the sea,
I'll love the lass wha comes this nicht
To meet me 'neath the birken tree.
FAREWELL to thee, Whithorn! long famous in story,
Where kings, knights, and heroes have worshipped of
Round thy name is encircled a halo of glory,
Which millions unborn shall behold and adore.
Though thy greatness and beauty long, long have departed,
Thy ruins of grandeur still silently tell
Of sires bold and daring, devout and true-hearted;—
Dear "Candida Casa," sweet Whithorn, farewell!
Farewell to thee, Whithorn! thou scene of my childhood!
When Nature appeared in its loveliest form,
As thy burn gently wimpled through meadow and wild wood,
Or dashed like old ocean convulsed by the storm;
O! then were the moments of ecstatic pleasure —
No tears, save of joy, from mine eyes ever fell;
But now I must leave thee to search after treasure,
Far, far from thy beauties, sweet Whithorn — farewell!
Farewell to thee, Whithorn! through perils and danger,
I pass from thy fields to a bleak foreign shore —
From the loved scenes of home to the land of the stranger,
Perhaps to return to my country no more.
My heart wildly beats, and my bosom is heaving,
For constant and faithful companions here dwell;
O! where shall I find friends like those I am leaving,
Dear home of the loved ones — sweet Whithorn, farewell!
Farewell! when the barque rises high on the billow,
And dives in the deep, I'll remember thee then;
When night's guardian angels attend at my pillow,
In dreams I shall gaze on thy beauties again;
And when in a far distant land I am ranging,
The sigh of regret will continually swell, —
A heart ever filled with affection unchanging
For friends, home, and country — sweet Whithorn, farewell!
Farewell to thee, land of rock, valley, and river,
That warriors and martyrs have died to defend;
The patriot's theme may thy name be for ever,
Thy shores still unconquered till Time's march shall end!
Thy lovers are true, and thy heroes victorious;
Here virtue and freedom in harmony dwell
With Nature sublimely, majestic, and glorious,
Enthroned on thy mountains — sweet Scotia, farewell!
HAE ye seen by the moorlan', the stream, or the mountain,
A braw strappin' laddie, wi' bonnie blue een,
Aye glancin' an' bricht as twa draps frae the fountain,
That aften hae mirror'd the clear lift abune?
Nae gutterbluid he, but a brave duniwassal,
Wha stan's na abeigh at the biggest ha' door;
He is welcom'd alike at the cothouse an' castle,
For leal is my laddie, an' true to the core.
Blythe, bold, an' undaunted, he steps o'er the heather,
In kilt an' wi' sporran, an' skeindhu sae braw,
Wi tartan-brimmed bannet, an' eagle's flight feather,
My lad an' his plaidie is king o' them a'.
Oh! bonnie an' bricht 'tis when sunlicht's adornin'
The hills an' the mountains, the glens an' the wood,
But bonnier far than the smiles o' the mornin'
Is love-licht that sparkles frae een pure an' good.
Oh! wae, wae's the heart when its love's unrequited,
Life drearily ebbs wi' ilk hope a' forlorn,
But blissfully sweet 'tis when hearts are united,
When love meets pure love as the lark greets the morn;
An' though sune the frosts o' auld age belyve nip us,
The flame o' true love will keep baith hearts fu' warm,
We'll aye be knit closer wi' blessin's befit us
Frae God, wha is love an' the shield frae a' harm.
HAIL, firstling of Spring! sweetest child of the year!
Thy low drooping form to this bosom is dear;
For soon shalt thou usher a beautiful train,
The pride of the garden, the copse, and the plain.
While sleep all the fair flowery species below,
We bend with delight o'er thy blossoms of snow;
But soon shall they rise at the summons of Spring,
And the heaven-taught poet their beauties shall sing.
Ev'n now, in the mirror of memory, I view
Their charms covered o'er with the diamonds of dew;
But fancy herself, ever sportive and free,
Ne'er pencilled, O, flow'ret, a fairer than thee.
Though bred in the cold lap of winter so wild,
Spring cherisheth thee as her own sweetest child;
For much are thy beauties enhanced by the tear
That hangs on thy bosom so spotless and clear.
True emblem of modesty! fairest of flowers!
Thou nursling of tempests and cold sleety showers,
May innocence ever remember thy form,
And blossom, like thee, in adversity's storm.
AMANG the birks sae blythe an' gay
I met my Julia hameward gaun;
The linties chantit on the spray,
The lammies loupit on the lawn;
On ilka howm the swaird was mawn,
The braes wi' gowans buskit braw;
An' gloamin's plaid o' grey was thrawn
Out owre the hills o' Gallowa'.
Wi' music wild the woodlands rang,
An' fragrance wing'd alang the lea,
As down we sat the flowers amang,
Upon the banks o' stately Dee.
My Julia's arms encircled me,
An' saftly slade the hours awa',
Till dawin' coost a glimmerin' e'e
Upon the hills o' Gallowa'.
It isna owsen, sheep, an' kye,
It isna gowd, it isna gear,
This lifted e'e wad hae, quoth I,
The warld's drumlie gloom to cheer.
But gie to me my Julia dear,
Ye powers wha rowe this yirthen ba',
An', O! sae blythe thro' life I'll steer,
Amang the hills o' Gallowa'.
When gloamin' dauners up the hill,
An' our gudeman ca's hame the yowes,
Wi' her I'll trace the mossy rill,
That o'er the muir meand'rin' rowes;
Or tint amang the scroggy knowes,
My birken pipe I'll sweetly blaw,
An' sing the streams, the straths, an' howes,
The hills an' dales o' Gallowa'.
An' when auld Scotland's heathy hills,
Her rural nymphs an' jovial swains,
Her flow'ry wilds an' wimplin' rills,
Awake nae mair my cantie strains;
Whare friendship dwells and freedom reigns,
Whare heather blooms, an' muircocks craw,
O! dig my grave, an' hide my banes
Amang the hills o' Gallowa'.
WHAT charm hast thou to wake poetic fire,
Stout sentinel of Urr's green peaceful vale?
If, in thy rugged sides that can inspire
One simple theme, one note of music dwell,
O! touch to me that strain; O! tell to me that tale.
And hast thou always sternly stood alone,
And 'midst Time's mighty changes kept thy place?
Grey monument of ages, only known
And read of in thy rough unlettered face;
And, ah! how little there man's learning yet can trace.
Has winding Urr for ever washed thy feet,
And trees and flowers for ever decked thy brow?
The birds too; have they always sung so sweet?
Or are these all of yesterday? and thou,
Say, hast thou always been; or art thou only now?
Mayhap thou wert grey old when Adam fell;
But of that dire event you may not know,
Except, mayhap you still remember well
When thistles, thorns, and briars began to grow;
'Tis quite a recent thing — Six thousand years ago.
The cut-throat little history of man
May only be Time's latest news to you;
Say; what has mortal been since he began!
Is our short tale of his existence true?
One long red line of blood since Cain his brother slew.
How turned Time's millstones in our own sweet vale?
Did Roman legions here invoke god Mars?
You saw the strife that northward pressed the Gael —
The bloodshed of a hundred little wars;
Did ancient shepherds here read fortunes in the stars?
You saw that valiant little band of men,
To victory ever marshalled by the Bruce;
And brave dame Sproat, you watched her while she ran,
You heard the prayers of Saints, who scorned to truce
With persecutions rage, with bigotry let loose.
In divers ways thy rocky front — dark hill —
Is mangled with the march of human kind;
Those mighty sub-creators — mind and will —
Have nature and the human closer joined;
Man finds throughout a world, nothing in vain designed.
The dread of being trampled in earth's mud,
In every age and clime has been the same;
And thus thy rock once washed by Noah's flood,
Is moulded to perpetuate a name —
Keep memory alive, and back an empty claim.
Through every change since Adam's race began —
Thrones, empires, burst as bubbles into air;
The sick sad little story told of man,
With all his strife, love, hatred, death, despair,
Thou'st stood in all thy stern cold majesty, Craignair.
AH, where's noo the cottage that stood by the moor,
Wi' its bricht bleezin' ingle an' bonnie clean floor?
Its doun an' awa', no' a vestige appears,
Where in peace and content dwelt the widow for years.
She kept a wee coo, 'twas her leevin' an' pride,
She gethered her mouthfu' alang the roadside;
She was black owre the back, had a bonnie white broo,
An' a wee lassie herded the widow's ae coo.
Weel ken'd on the bye-road twa miles up and doon,
She lang held the favour o' ilka farm toon;
By master an' servant, by lad an' by lass,
It was "Harmless wee Hawkie, puir thing, let her pass."
The verra warst schuleboy wha gaed out the road,
Wha pelted ilk cuddy an' spanghu'd each toad,
In frien'ship an' feelin', ne'er passed but he threw
A handfu' o' grass to the widow's ae coo.
Wi' comforts contented the widow liv'd weel —
Her bing of potatoes, her kist fu' o' meal;
The least obligation she lo'ed to requite,
While the hameless an' wretched ne'er pass'd but her mite.
Wi' bonnie clean basket she gaed to the toon,
Wi' her sax pund a week amaist a' the year roun';
For milk an' for butter our wide parish through
Couldna boast sic a beast as the widow's ae coo.
But a new race sprang up an' their pride couldna bear
To see the wee coo by the road ony mair;
They threaten'd the widow wi' jail and wi' law,
An' blamed her wee Hawkie wi' things she ne'er saw;
For foplin's wha daurna their daddies displease,
Made her aft an excuse for their blood's broken knees;
Even jolly old gentlemen trottin' hame fou',
Got their broken nose blam'd on the widow's ae coo.
Sae they forced her at length to put Hawkie away,
An' sair-hearted left her to wear out her day;
When owre frail to labour, an' owre blin' to sew,
A poor parish pauper they've made o' her noo.
An' where are we better though police gae by,
To pummel our beggars or pound our stray kye?
Could market nights speak they would answer, I trew,
Far waur, for there's ten tipsy accidents noo,
For ane in the days of the widow's ae coo."
IN auld times we read o' a weapon o' war,
Whase fame an' whase terrors were blazed near and far;
Nae ane came in reach o't got aff but a scaur,
An' they hecht it the Galloway flail.
In the fore-front o' battle it ever was found,
While scores o' its victims lay writhing around,
An' the verra air trembled an' soughed at the sound,
O' the death-dealing Galloway Flail.
Our Covenant Fathers got haud o' the Flail,
At the ire o' M'Michael his enemies quail,
When through turncoats an' troopers, heid, helmet, an mail,
Crashed the terrible Galloway Flail.
In auld ballads I read hoo ane lang Geordie Grier
In the heart e'en o' Douglas bred terror an' fear;
Nae weapon had Geordie — targe, claymore, nor spear,
But an airn-soupled Galloway flail.
By lonely Craig Nilder, in fair Galloway,
The Gordon met Douglas in battle array,
An' Grier led the van in the terrible fray,
Wi' his wide-circling Galloway Flail.
Till sundown they fought, an' the Douglas fled,
An' the fierce rugged Dee was near choked wi' the dead;
While, watshod wi' gore, Geordie high o'er his heid
Swung the red-reeking Galloway Flail.
Now, thank God, for us better days are in store,
An' the airn han' o' war rives auld Scotland no more;
But we've left amang auld antiquarian lore
The won'erfu' Galloway Flail.
Yet haud up your heid, my auld province sae dear,
You've men yet, true, loyal, an' strangers to fear,
For gude an' for richt, wha will gallantly rear
A nobler Galloway Flail.
Let them look to their arms, keep them burnished an' bright,
Let their shield be high Heaven, their breastplate be Right;
Let their banner be "Truth," let their watchword be "Light,"
Let the pen be the Galloway Flail.
In the might of thy Murray,¹ O, Galloway, wake!
And the kingdoms of darkness an' error shall shake;
Then tyrants may tremble, and nations may quake,
At the voice of your Galloway Flail.
"Grave of the righteous! surely there
The brightest bloom of beauty is;
O may I sleep on couch as fair —
And with a hope as bright as his!" — EDMESTON.
THERE is a lone, sequestered place,
By placid Ken's meand'ring stream;
A spot that time shall ne'er deface
From recollection's brightest gleam.
O'ershadowed by old sycamores,
There rests the pious and the good, —
While many a tear his loss deplores,
And consecrates his solitude.
His requiem the wild birds sing,
At early morn or evening mild;
From Nature's harp his dirge notes ring —
Meet elegies for Nature's child!
"No sculptured" stone his virtues tell, —
They are engraved on many a heart;
A record far more durable
Than aught that owns man's graphic art.
Methinks I hear some swain exclaim,
While from his cheek he wipes the tear,
"The Pastor true, whose only aim
Was to do good — sleeps softly here!
"He kindly soothed the couch of pain,
Pitied the friendless and the poor;
Want never told his tale in vain,
Nor met with insults at his door."
A widow mourns the husband kind,
And beauty mourns the father dear;
But Heaven the sorrowing heart will bind,
And kindly dry the filial tear.
The Christian views with eye of faith,
The tearless land — the happy shore;
Where friends that severed were by death,
Again shall meet — and part no more,
Lone spot — round thee may flow'rs still bloom,
And breezes mild thee gently fan!
The heart is mould'ring in the tomb
That glowed with love to God and man.
WOULDST thou behold the glory of the sky?
The shadows of the night that softly sigh?
Ascend with me high Cairnsmoor's hoary steep,
While yet the moon hangs o'er the western deep;
For soft and lovely are the clouds that swim
Around to kiss her last departing beam.
Though flowers that only smile to see the light
May close their petals and elude thy sight;
Yet evening shall a richer carpet spread,
That ere in gaudy day adorn'd the mead.
The glow-worm shall his golden tresses lend,
To the wild flowers that fondly o'er him bend;
As o'er their fragrant bosoms he shall stray,
His lustre shall the dew-drop cold betray.
Pure as the beam that trembles in her eye,
For whom this faithful bosom heaves the sigh;
Fair living gem! in vain the Indian mine
Apes the bright sparkle of thy ray divine,
As with thy beams of pure celestial light,
Thou studd'st the fairy mantle of the night.
The curling mist arising from the lake,
A thousand fancy figures seems to take,
Arising from the pool, in columns white,
Illumined by the wan moon's parting light,
With solemn gesture wanders o'er the moor,
Like night's lone ghost at silent midnight hour.
Now as the setting moon withdraws her light,
I hear the various voices of the night,
For many a still small sound, till then unknown,
At solemn midnight on the breeze is thrown.
The wild fowl on the lake, the heathcock's call
To his loved mate, the distant waterfall,
Soft echo sighing to the murmuring stream,
In whispers sweeter than the lover's dream.
What though no nightingale these wilds among,
To sighing lovers shall the strain prolong,
The shepherd swain beneath the hawthorn hoar,
Or by the dark green fern that skirts the moor;
While whispering breezes in the heath bells sigh,
Like wild Æolian sounds that live and die;
While twilight half conceals the blushing cheek,
And mutual sighs and kisses only speak,
Shall pledge his vows, as warm and as sincere,
To her he loves, as Philomel were there.
While yet the stars are lingering in the sky,
The lark's first early song ascends on high;
Soft rapture swells with joy his flutt'ring breast,
To see the first bright beam that streaks the east;
As higher up the dark blue steep he soars,
His song of joy with double rapture pours;
Till in the sun's bright beam he shines afar,
In yellow lustre like the morning star;
High favour'd bird, 'tis thine alone to view,
The sun's first rays of bright celestial hue;
And when thy matin hymn of love is sung,
Convey the first glad tidings to thy young.
Resting his head beneath his ruffled wing,
Like some lone spirit sits the feather'd king
Of birds — till from his rock the rising day
Invites him to pursue his early prey;
Skims with his yellow foot extended wide,
Seizes the lamb even from its mother's side;
The sorrowing shepherd shall avenge his flock
Or on the lake's dark isle or shelving rock,
Or downwards from the beetling summit hung
His eager hand shall seize thy helpless young.
Thy callow brood shall never mount on high,
To gaze upon the sun with curious eye;
Even thou thyself too boldly may'st resist,
And with new trophies swell the plunderer's breast;
Yet still on Scotia's mountains lone and hoar,
Or on the dizzy steep or shelving shore,
Thy eyrie inaccessible shall lie,
And every effort of the swain defy.
Streak'd with grey light, the mountain steep appear
Half wasted by the lapse of nameless years;
And seems to say in triumph o'er the mead,
That higher clouds once rested on its head.
Vain empty boast ; the gentle western breeze
That scarcely stirs the network of the trees,
Unaided could the mighty conquest gain,
And lay thee prostrate with the humble plain;
But when the whirlwinds sweep, the thunders roar,
And through thy chinks the watery tempests pour,
Torn from their hold, the solid rocks give way,
While startled echo moans in wild dismay,
The waste goes on with more tremendous sweep,
And sends thy fragments wandering to the deep.
Now from the mountain steep sublime I view
The sun's bright disk of ruddy sparkling hue;
The glittering granite glancing in the sun,
Down which the trickling water loves to run,
Reflected in the morning's early beam,
Transparent showers of dazzling diamonds seem;
The wandering mist along the valleys creep,
Or round the mountain winds in level sweep,
Till every rising summit seems to view
Green islands on the waste of ocean blue;
But soon the light grey curtain disappears,
And fancy's fairy world dissolves in tears.
He who has on the mountain stood alone,
When morn's first rays or setting moonbeams shone,
When through the parted clouds the star appears,
And listened to the music of the spheres,
Has worshipped on an altar more refined,
Than ever was by human hands designed.
SIR Walter spurred his courser on,
His road was dreich, his road was dreary,
Long had he sped, and swift and long,
His steed was wet, his steed was weary.
Along the bent the viewless gale,
In pensive whisper softly sighing,
Was answered by the water's wail,
The echo of the rocks replying.
The western sun's receeding light
Shed on Loch Doon its cloudless glory,
And glistened bright on Bryant's height,
The scene of many a wizard's story.
Yet on the Doon's sequestered isle
No gliding rays were sweetly beaming,
But from its castle's ruined pile
Red gleams of shadowy lights were streaming.
Yet once, amid its sounding halls,
Had gladdened many a gallant pageant;
Now mouldered low its towering walls,
And save traditionary legend,
Nought tells of deeds of war and blood,
And feats of might, and rowt and riot;
But dreary now that solitude,
Those pathless haunts forlorn and quiet.
But still the spirits of the past
Are heard amid their ruined dwelling,
To mingle with the roaring blast,
Across the heaving waters swelling.
It was a lonely place and wild,
Sir Walter's heart was stout and valiant,
And varied thoughts the way beguiled,
Amid the hoary mountains silent.
He faster spurred his courser on,
He saw a belted knight before him,
With nodding plume and beaver down,
As sable as the steed that bore him.
"Halloo! halloo!" Sir Walter cried,
"Good company do best together,
Across the dreary mountains wide,
Whom fortune meets she should not sever."
The warrior turned not round his head,
His towering form was dark and fearful,
And trembled sore Sir Walter's steed —
That gallant steed in fight so cheerful.
And o'er the rugged wilds she fled,
The hand or reign it could not guide her,
But still with clank and sounding tread
The sable courser kept beside her.
And oft the wizard warrior spoke,
Sir Walter guessed but could not follow,
Those sounds that on the echoes broke,
So loud, so terrible and hollow.
And when they reached bleak Bryant's height
The setting beams were gently falling;
Sir Walter's fixed and powerless sight,
Astonished, marked a scene appalling.
The knight and courser thinner grew,
Thin and more thin till all displaying,
The sunbeams brightly glittered through
Those strange, transparent forms decaying.
And through their wasting bodies beamed
Loch Doon, by hoary mountains shaded,
That fairer still and fairer seemed,
As the expanding phantoms faded.
Till all to fleecy mist decayed,
That rolled the slumbering waters over,
Showed Doon's deserted walls arrayed,
Where crimson gleams at evening hover.
"Defend us heaven!" Sir Walter cried,
His steed was wet, his steed was weary;
But soon he scaled the mountain's side,
And crossed the moorlands dark and dreary.
THE gor-cocks craw doon Fairgirth shaw,
Where birk, an' broom, and hazel grow;
Sweet lovespink blooms on Douglas Ha',
And meenias 'mang the san'y knowes;
Wee e'ebright peeps on Laggan braes,
An' heartsease Clifton heughs adorn;
Nae sweeter flower, by bank or bower,
Than the bonnie lass o' the Garryhorn.
Fu' weel I ken yon darklin' glen,
Where saft the rumblin' burnie fa's;
I've pu'd the slaes alang the braes,
An' nits amang its hazely shaws;
An' weel I lo'e yon wild wood-side,
Where stan's the ivy-circled thorn,
There aft a canny hour I spen'
Wi' my sweet Nell o' the Garryhorn.
She disna share in lan's nor gear,
Her riches is a guileless mind,
A witchin' smile, an' a pawky e'e,
A heart that's tender, leal, an' kind;
It lifts ane's speerit aye abune,
Pits selfish thochts and care to scorn;
Ane's better aye for bein' wi'
The bonnie lass o' the Garryhorn.
Altho' my mailin' is but sma',
It ser's to keep me snug an' bier;
Contented I aye work awa',
Wi' lichtsome heart, an' conscience clean.
For riches I ha'e nae desire,
By idle dreams ne'er vexed nor torn;
"She's fame, she's gear, she's something mair"
To me, the lass o' the Garryhorn.
Aft hae they tried to wile her frae —
And break the troth she'd pledged to me,
To gang an' be a leddy braw,
In yon gran' toon beside the sea.
Still she's content to work awa',
To tent the kye, an' lift the corn,
An' share what Providence may sen',
To her bit hame at the Garryhorn.
Still let them try't, I ken fu' weel
That she will marry nane but me;
Sae, kennin' that, my mind's at ease,
Contented I can bide awee;
Ay, cheerfully till Father Time
Shall circle roun' that happy morn,
When kind'ly fate my joys shall croon
Wi' the bonnie lass o' the Garryhorn.
MY native stream, my native vale,
With reverence and with love I hail.
O'er me have flown twice thirty years,
Bedimm'd with griefs and charged with tears,
Since first I roved through Anwoth woods,
Or steered my bark on Solway's floods,
Or wont "my youthful limbs to lave"
In winding Fleet's pellucid wave;
'Twas then I culled Bardarroch's flowers
To deck my rustic moss-form'd bowers;
'Twas them I clomb the hazel high,
An idle and a happy boy;
Or listen'd to the mystic shell
Whence issued ocean's distant swell
That seemed the listener's lot to tell.
From Cardonness tower the owlet's screech
Mixed with the sea-mews on the beach —
Wild, shrill, and loud the gray curlew
On sands of Fleet his whistle blew;
From hazelly thicket and green glade
The finch and linnet music made;
From solitary bush and thorn
The blackbird caroll'd eve and morn;
And not a sound but did appear
The sweetest that e'er fell on ear;
And every sight that met mine eyes
Seemed as if sent from Paradise.
To rest I crept at twilight grey;
From rest I sprang at dawn of day,
Sol's earliest radiance to behold
Shoot o'er Bengairn's heath-purpled hill,
And Cairnsmore's summit tinge with gold,
His blazing chariot hidden still.
The summer day, for sport and play,
Never appeared too long;
The winter day I spent on ice,
The eve at book or song.
The speckled fry how often I
Have pulled from drumly streams;
And mawkin snared, or pheasant scared,
Beneath the moon's cold beams!
What blessedness I then enjoyed,
When youthful time was thus employed!
Alas! 'twill ne'er return!
The prudent friend, the comrade gay,
And all who led or cheered my way,
I now survive and mourn:
This tale of former happy years
I have too minutely told;
The recollection causes tears,
Although I am so old.
May never the river
Of grief forget to flow,
Remembering and numbering
The friends I've lost below!
I've numbered out the years of man —
I imitate the fabled swan;
And could I sing as sweet
Caëysters banks did never sound,
With gentler notes than would rebound
From echoes of the Fleet;
But since Apollo has denied
To me poetic fire,
The genius of the silver tide
Must wake his murmuring lyre —
Whose measures such pleasures
To me have ever given;
They'd smooth me, and soothe me,
Midway 'twixt this and heaven.
Till life has vanished, let me deem
I hear the ripple of thy stream,
And see thy beauteous vale!
O! may the earliest sound and sight
That gave my infant heart delight,
The latest be to fail!
More bright and beautiful on earth
May other landscapes shine;
For me their charms are little worth,
E'en tho' resembling thine;
Their sunlight, and moonlight,
Skies, rivers, earth, and main,
Deranged seem, and changed seem,
And glow for me in vain.
MY poor old friend laid on the shelf,
With pockets reft of scanty pelf,
What hand shall now refund ye?
Ah! there ye hang, the wrong side out,
A common piece of woollen clout,
Sic transit gloria mundi.
When you were new and I was young,
I dreamt I heard my musings sung
In splendid colosseum;
I saw you, o'er this century's bounds,
Sold cheaply at a hundred pounds,
To some high-class museum.
"The pockets! yes," I heard them say,
"Beside yon burnt Etrurian clay,
That ancient Roman jar.
This is the bona fide coat
He wore when 'Larrendill' he wrote,
And 'Lays of Runic War.'"
Poor coat, how oft I've sung in you
The "Scots lad and his bonnet blue,"
And smart "Pop goes the Weazel,"
Thinking how oft my form and face
The future world would strive to trace
By chisel, lens, and easel.
Alas, the poet's empty dreams!
Aye looking to horizon beams,
Some nearer object trips him.
Shall I e'er stand? Then, how and where?
In drawing-room or city square,
In marble, bronze, or gypsum.
If there's no Ego in our teens,
No wild pulsating heart that leans
Bold out to the ecstatic,
Then, long ere life's dull noon has come,
No trumpet blast, no roll of drum,
Can rouse from the phlegmatic.
But, poor old coat! forgive me bland;
That day I asked proud Dora's hand
Thy worn sleeves met detection;
And well I know she loved the man,
You scarce escaped the bardic ban —
You were the main objection.
And many a fête, and levée too,
Had I attended but for you —
St. Stephen's and elsewhere!
And been the Laureate long ere this,
Nor shipwrecked on the shores of bliss —
But hang me if I care!
I've held the dignity of man,
Someway between life's rear and van,
And let the craven wonder —
The lack of gold ne'er dimmed mine eye;
Thy nap worn off ne'er cost a sigh
The heart you sheltered under.
And now, old coat, a kind adieu;
Harmless I've lived and rhymed with you
By glen and burn and law;
And you have seen more real mirth
On deep blue sky and wild green earth
Than finer coats e'er saw.
Old friend, a daisy in your breast,
When skies were blue and earth was young,
My sun of life far from the west,
When heart and harp were strung,
Was joy such as a king ne'er knew,
When gems around him burned and glowed,
When o'er him captive standards flew,
When goblets flashed and red wine flowed.
By the crow nest high in the gloomy pine,
With hands and garments riven,
I shouted Bravo! to the earth below,
And Hurrah! to the flying heaven;
And the Psalms of David and songs of Burns
Rang from my Doric tongue,
Or the crashing battle lays of Scott
To the mountain storm I flung.
Over the neck in breckens
In the burning summer days,
Up to the waist in heather,
With broom flowers all ablaze,
You went with me, old garment,
By loch and waterfall,
And day was then an anthem,
And night a madrigal.
And, O! the rough unuttered joy
To paidle in the mountain stream,
And see, dim mirrored, far below
The sky shake in a world of dream;
As healthy as the hazel spray,
As sunburnt as the autumn corn,
Untroubled as the eve of day,
And happy as the laughing morn.
My head ached not, my brow was cool,
Cool as the fresh breeze of the hill;
No midnight brought the midnight lamp,
And fevered hours with Kant and Mill;
For all my thoughts were only dreams
Of rock and burn that round me lay,
And the grey mountains stern and grand
Of dear and distant Galloway.
The mist rolled up Carsegowan hill
In streaming layers of gold and blue,
And through it flashed in purple red
The reeking blood of Waterloo,²
And the wild lore of cairns and graves
Was all the learning then I knew.
And on the hill at midnight,
In weird and starless gloom,
I have knelt and kissed the heather
Dank on the Martyrs' tomb,
And peered in fierce abstraction
To life's remotest fringe,
And beat at heaven's portal
Till I broke its nether hinge;
And then I've trod the moorland
With the air of dare and die,
And yearned to follow Ritchie ³
From the heather to the sky.
Against my open Bible
My heart pulsed like a drum,
And through the riven clouds I saw
The world that is to come.
Oh! unrest of a Hekla heart,
Strong with the pulse of three:
Who never blessed so bitterly
Can never curse like me.
Maturer days came trooping on,
Good was half lost in worlds of ill,
My fevered brow was cooled no more
By the fresh breezes of the hill.
Hard conning o'er Defective Verbs,
I wore defective shoes,
And for whole months went dinnerless,
A wooing of the Muse.
Euterpe's smile brings no red gold,
The fire of Clio's lyre
Can never boil the prandial pot
Upon the household fire:
And so you were my singing-robe,
Old coat, for many a year —
Excuse me now, I use your tail
To wipe away a tear.
You warmed me aye as best you could,
When other friends were cold,
Your deepest pouch my coppers bore,
For then I had no gold.
There bits of pencil lay in store,
And scraps of paper scribbled o'er
With words from suffering wrung,
Harsh 'gainst a world that sneered at thee,
A heartless world not made for me,
That starved me while I sung;
And, as I lean and leaner grew,
I thought that you would leave me too,
So lank and loose you hung.
'Twas sad on that eventful day
When your right elbow first gave way
While I toiled on for fame;
For, weeks before, in frost and snow,
The thin old shirt I wore below
Had done the very same.
Bitter, I felt I'd stick the world,
But I'd no knife to stick it;
Gnashing, I tried to kick the world,
But I'd no shoes to kick it.
But do not wail your fate as hard,
For you've been garment to a Bard —
Be stern and proud as he;
The finest coat in Hyam's mart 4
Has ne'er been warmed by minstrel's heart,
And likely ne'er shall be.
Am I a Bard? For yes or no
Pronounced by you, big world below,
I care not one bawbee.
How best to win and lay out pelf,
And make a snug nest for yourself,
Is full well known to thee;
But if I feel the poet's blood
Surge through my veins, a fiery flood
Is better known to me
As I dash up Parnassus hill,
Over your vulgar shop and till,
In daring chivalrie,
To whisper to the starry sky,
Or woo the midnight sea.
AMAID me lov'd; her love I not respected;
She mourned, she sighed, nay su'd, yet I neglected:
Too late, too late — alas! I now repent,
For Cupid with her love hath me infected.
As erst he hers, so love my heart now burneth,
As I at her, she laughs at me that mourneth;
Too late, too late — alas! I now repent
Since her disdainèd love to hatred turneth.
On her alone doth health and hope rely,
Yet still she scorns, and doth me love deny;
Too late, too late — alas! I now repent
Since she joys in my death, I for her die.
THERE cam a strange wight to our town-en',
And the fient a body did him ken;
He tirled na lang, but he glided ben
Wi' a dreary, dreary hum.
His face did glare like the glow o' the west,
When the drumlie cloud has it half o'ercast;
Or the strugglin' moon when she's sair distrest. —
O sirs! 'twas Aiken-drum.
I trow the bauldest stood aback,
Wi' a gape and a glower till their lugs did crack,
As the shapeless phantom mum'ling spak,
"Hae ye wark for Aiken-drum?"
O! had ye seen the bairns' fright,
As they stared at this wild and unyirthly wight,
As he stauket in 'tween the dark and the light,
And graned out, "Aiken-drum!"
"Sauf us!" quoth Jock, "d'ye see sic een?"
Cries Kate, "there's a hole where a nose should hae been;
And the mouth's like a gash which a horn had ri'en;
Wow! keep's frae Aiken-drum!"
The black dog growling cowered his tail,
The lassie swarfed, loot fa' the pail;
Rob's lingle brak as he men't the flail,
At the sight o' Aiken-drum.
His matted head on his breast did rest,
A lang blue beard wan'ered down like a vest;
But the glare o' his e'e nae bard hath exprest,
Nor the skimes o' Aiken-drum.
Roun' his hairy form there was naething seen,
But a philabeg o' the rashes green,
And his knotted knees played ay knoit between:
What a sight was Aiken-drum!
On his wauchie arms three claws did meet,
As they trailed on the grun' by his taeless feet;
E'en the auld gudeman himsel' did sweat,
To look at Aiken-drum.
But he drew a score, himsel' did sain,
The auld wife tried, but her tongue was gane;
While the young ane closer clasped her wean,
And turned frae Aiken-drum.
But the canny auld wife cam' till her breath,
And she deemed the Bible might ward aff scaith,
Be it benshee, bogie, ghaist, or wraith —
But it fear't na Aiken-drum.
"His presence protect us!" quoth the auld gudeman
"What wad ye, where won ye — by sea or by lan'?
I conjure ye — speak — by the Beuk in my han'!"
What a grane gae Aiken-drum!
"I lived in a lan' where we saw nae sky,
I dwalt in a spot where a burn rins na by;
But I'se dwall now wi' you, if ye like to try —
Hae ye wark for Aiken-drum?
"I'll shiel a' your sheep i' the mornin' sune, 5
I'll berry your crap by the light o' the moon,
And baa the bairns wi' an unken'd tune,
If ye'll keep puir Aiken-drum.
"I'll loup the linn when ye canna wade,
I'll kirn the kirn, and I'll turn the bread;
And the wildest fillie that ever ran rede
I'se tame't," quoth Aiken-drum!
"To wear the tod frae the flock on the fell —
To gather the dew frae the heather bell —
And to look at my face in your clear crystal well,
Might gie pleasure to Aiken-drum.
"I'se seek nae guids, gear, bond, nor mark;
I use nae beddin', shoon, nor sark;
But a cogfu' o' brose 'tween the light and dark,
Is the wage o' Aiken-drum."
Quoth the wylie auld wife, "The thing speaks weel;
Our workers are scant — we hae routh o' meal;
Gif he'll do as he says — be he man, be he de'il,
Wow! we'll try this Aiken-drum."
But the wenches skirled "He's no be here!
His eldritch look gars us swarf wi' fear,
And the fient a ane will the hoose come near,
If they think but o' Aiken-drum.
"For a foul and a stalwart ghaist is he,
Despair sits brooding aboon his e'e-bree,
And unchancie to light o' a maiden's e'e,
Is the grim glower o' Aiken-drum."
"Puir slipmalabors! ye hae little wit;
Is't na hallowmas now, and the crap out yet?"
Sae she silenced them a' wi' a stamp o' her fit:
"Sit yer wa's down, Aiken-drum."
Roun' a' that side what wark was dune,
By the streamer's gleam, or the glance o' the moon;
A word, or a wish — and the brownie cam' sune,
Sae helpfu' was Aiken-drum.
But he slade ay awa' or the sun was up,
He ne'er could look straught on Macmillan's cup; 6
They watched — but nane saw him his brose ever sup,
Nor a spune sought Aiken-drum.
On Blednoch banks, and on crystal Cree,
For mony a day a toiled wight was he;
While the bairns played harmless roun' his knee,
Sae social was Aiken-drum.
But a new-made wife, fu' o' rippish freaks,
Fond o' a' things feat for the first five weeks,
Laid a mouldy pair o' her ain man's breeks
By the brose o' Aiken-drum.
Let the learned decide, when they convene,
What spell was him and the breeks between;
For frae that day forth he was nae mair seen,
And sair missed was Aiken-drum.
He was heard by a herd gaun by the Thrieve, 7
Crying, "Lang, lang now may I greet and grieve;
For alas! I hae gotten baith fee and leave,
O, luckless Aiken-drum!"
Awa', ye wrangling sceptic tribe,
Wi' your pros and your cons wad ye decide
'Gainst the 'sponsible voice o' a hale country-side
On the facts 'bout Aiken-drum?
Though the "Brownie o' Blednoch" lang be gane,
The mark o' his feet's left on mony a stane;
And mony a wife and mony a wean
Tell the feats o' Aiken-drum.
E'en now, light loons that jibe and sneer
At spiritual guests and a' sic gear,
At the Glashnoch mill hae swat wi' fear,
And looked roun' for Aiken-drum.
And guidly folks hae gotten a fright,
When the moon was set, and the stars gied nae light,
At the roaring linn in the howe o' the night,
Wi' sughs like Aiken-drum.
"oH, tig, tig, your mother's a Whig,
An' a carline sour is she;
As I pass her door my bluid rins cauld —
She's sae wrinkled, eerie-lookin', an' auld,
A witch she weel micht be,
The hoose an' the tenant are just a pair,
And ye're a crab o' the same Whig tree,
Tig, tig, your mother's a Whig,
An' she leeves at the en' o' the Auld Brig."
"Noo, haud your tongue, ye silly coof,
Speak nae mair thus to me,
If ye dinna quickly change your tune,
Look oot for a crack on your senseless croon,
For I'm prood, as I weel may be,
O' my mother dear, though worn and frail,
Though her biggin' is puir an' wee ;
I'm prood o' her because she's a Whig,
Though she leeves at the en' o' the Auld Brig.
"Yince she was fair as weel as young,
Wi' routh o' this world's gear,
But her guidman risked baith land and life,
In the glorious Covenantin' strife —
At which ye fain wad jeer;
As he fought for the cause on Rullion Green,
They took his life on the gibbet drear,
Then set his head on the port o' the Brig,
An' this is why my mother's a Whig.
"An' this is why she leeves close by,
In a cabin sae wee an' mean;
For dear to her are the Auld Brig stanes,
That were wat wi' the bluid o' my faither's veins;
An' ye're nocht but a gowk, I ween,
That wad speak sic like to the martyr's son,
Warnin' I gie fair, my freen;
If ye say't again, though ye look sae big,
I'll whurl ye ower the Auld Brig."
The saucy brat who the fray began,
Grew shaky, heid an' heel;
For warslin' or fechtin' nae heart he had,
Sae aff for the Vennel he set like mad —
As if chased by the very deil;
An' never since has he used his tongue
To bother or taunt the Whiglin' chiel,
Wi' "Tig, tig, your mother's a Whig,
An' she leeves at the en' o' the Auld Brig."
HAIL the dawn of Freedom breaking,
Clouds and shadows melt away!
Nations! from your slumbers waking,
Joyful greet the blessed ray!
Freedom's banner, soul entrancing,
Blazons wide its shrunken fold;
Manhood's charter still advancing,
Tyrants trembling to behold,
See yon motto proudly glancing —
"Freedom neither bought nor sold."
Not with sounding drum or tabor,
Seek we for a world's applause;
Rifled gun and burnished sabre
Lend no triumph to our cause.
Heart and brain our weapons ever,
Logic clear and reason strong,
Striving in one grand endeavour,
Aiding right, repelling wrong;
Planning, scheming, to dissever
Conquered weak from tyrant strong.
Men are men the wide world over,
Kings and despots nothing more;
Man of man should be a lover,
Never shed a brother's gore.
Mark the fruits of mad ambition —
Grief and sorrow, want and toil,
Bound in chains of dark tradition,
Circling like a serpent's coil;
Linked by gloomy superstition,
Brooding o'er some wretched broil.
Who shall say our work is treason,
Truth and justice by our side;
Wrong may triumph for a season,
Right is right whate'er betide;
Hail the march of Education —
Future history's guiding star,
Mighty friend of Arbitration,
Destined foe of hateful war,
Blending in one glorious nation
Tribes and peoples from afar.
DECEITFUL rose! thy tempting look,
With lively verdure gaily mixed,
Allured my thoughtless soul to pluck —
I pluck'd — the prickle keenly fixed.
O vice! — worst briar that ever grew,
Thus dost thou flowers and sweets display;
We pluck the flow'r — but — oh! we rue
The prickle that all shaded lay.
"WHY roam'st thou, Lord MALCOLM! thus wild thro'
the glade,
With those tears on thy cheek, and that blood on thy blade?"
"The tears are for Edith, the fairest, the best;
And that blood — would'st thou know it? — 'tis warm from
her breast.
"What! start'st thou? For thee, did she smile in her bloom?
Was she youth to thy heart? Was she light to thy gloom?
Was she all which the widow'd with gladness can see?
Was she half what her smile, what her voice, was to me?
"These hairs Time has left me. Thus, thus be they torn!
She is lifeless; and whom should I keep them to mourn?
The grey lock might gleam in my hall. — But what eye
Would view it with joy, — as when Edith was nigh?
"Well, well might I weep, tho' my tears were a flood —
But this dagger — I plung'd it, — to feed on her blood.
In that bower was she waiting — her bridegroom was slow —
I was swifter, — and widow'd the son of my foe.
"'Tis her gore — Coward, see! Dost thou shudder and start
Dost thou faint? — Dost thou fear that 'tis doom'd for thy
No, wretch! — the pure drops of her bosom were mine!
Not ev'n on my blade shall they mingle with thine.
"I loath'd thee, when most thou wert dear to the crowd,
'Twas food to my hate that thy sire could be proud.
Be this dagger its pledge! When my last sigh seems o'er,
I shall view it, and live, — but to curse thee once more."
He spoke; but no ear caught the rage as it rung;
For ANGUS had sunk, ere the dark curse he flung.
But well told the plaid, in his streaming blood dyed,
Why the chill hand it muffled was fixed on his side.
Awhile paus'd the Father. The tartan he rais'd;
And changeless and calm was his cheek as he gaz'd.
But, down the steep crag as he rush'd to the vale,
Loud, loud came his laugh, shrieking wild on the gale.
I'LL kiss your lips and I'll clout your shoon,
And I'll show you the humours o' Whithorn town,
And meikle mair or it a' be done,
If you'll marry wi' me, my Nannie.
AE Simmer's morn near dawin
I wander'd up the howe,
'Mang pearly dews yet fa'in',
An' clam' the broomy knowe;
An', strong and free,
There burned in me
A walth o' life's young lowe.
An hour had flown, or barely —
I lay my leefu' lane —
A heuk richt fell an' sairly
Had cut me to the bane;
An', rich an' red
Ayont remead,
Life flowed till nearly gane.
I heard a soun' o' singin',
Win'-wafted up the glen,
Then Peggy's step, licht springin' —
'Twas a' without her ken;
But dear was she
'Yont a' to me
Within the race o' men.
I saw her drawin' near me,
An' thocht she micht gae by,
For O, I couldna steer me,
Or gie ae warnin' cry;
But, bless her een,
My plicht was seen —
Weel cared for sune was I.
She neither skraiched nor fentit,
Nor showed me vain alarms;
My hurt she kindly tentit:
Rowed by her strong young arms
An' carefu' han'
A lichten'd ban'
Shut oot a' further harms.
A cosie bed she made me
Of broom a' fresh an' green,
Then carefully she laid me,
Nae thanks were said, I ween,
Nor word o' praise —
Nocht could I raise
But juist twa wistfu' een.
An' then her cheek grew paler,
As, wark-o'ercome, she sat;
I saw her heart wad fail her,
Her gown was a' red-wat;
Laigh in the grass
She knelt, puir lass,
An' wrung her han's an' grat.
Then aff she flew for ithers
To gie me a' their care;
They bore me to her mither's,
They durstna steer me mair —
Wi' but a breath
'Tween me an' death
For weeks I shelter'd there.
The tide whase ebb she hinder'd,
Flowed a' for her sin' syne;
But, wae's me, we were sinder'd —
Sic pearls we maun tine;
'Tis walth to me
The memory
O' ane sae Leal an' kin'.
Tho' noo the hill descendin',
An' near the en' o' the lan',
The mem'ry o' her tendin'
Is fresh aye noo as than;
I'll ne'er forget,
At Death's laigh yett,
The touch o' Peggy's han'.
AS prisoner from his grated cell would hear
The lark's song with emotion and a tear,
Look on the daisy and the heavens' blue dome,
With dreams of pleasure and the joys of home.
As from his dreary cell in envious mood
He'd view the swallow flutt'ring o'er the brood,
And in their happy flight with wistful eye,
He'd long for freedom and the power to fly.
So, from my window, gaze I out to-day
Upon the gleam of Spring's first genial ray,
On Cairnsmore's brow the fleecy clouds career,
On Boreland's woods the vernal hues appear;
The daisies gem the meads where lambkins play,
The primrose sips the dew with joy to-day,
The birds sing blythely on the banks of Dee,
But, ah! they have no joyous strains for me.
As cagèd lark strives oft, and oft in vain,
With panting breast its liberty to gain,
And with its captor pleading seems to say,
This is my birth-right, let me soar away,
Oh! let me soar to heaven to swell the strains
That greet Aurora's march o'er golden plains."
So, in my room with stifled breath, I sigh
To range the woods and climb the mountains high,
The mossy banks bright with the silver dew,
Where streams meander clear as amber hue,
To roam the breezy woods with mirthful glee,
And romp with children 'neath the spreading tree;
The moorland wild where health is on the gale,
And sweet content dwells in the rural vale.
Far from the busy hum of towns and men,
To loiter in the dingly hazel glen,
Where herds move lowing o'er the verdant hill,
And larks hold concert with the babbling rill,
Free from the vain regrets of pleasure's train,
To find a dwelling with the rural swain;
There with unclouded brow, unruffled breast,
With health and labour live "supremely blest."
Alas! to-day, I cannot hail the Spring
As was my wont; but aye its joys I'll sing,
Tho' gone the buoyant step and radiant glow
Of health, which erst did thro' my pulses flow,
As memory's leaves I turn, my spirit flies
On Fancy's gay-winged coursers to the skies,
Revisiting again those lovely scenes
That now with pleasure tinge my waking dreams.
Oh, Fancy! angel bright, thou hast the power
To cheer the heart and ease the weary hour;
To man, while in this vale below, thou'rt given,
With gleams of light, to point the path to heaven.
WHERE windin' Tarf, by broomy knowes,
Wi' siller waves to saut sea rows;
And mony a green-wood cluster grows,
And harebells bloomin' bonnie, O.
Below a spreading hazel lee,
Fu' snugly hid where nane could see,
While blinkin' love beamed frae her e'e,
I met my bonnie Annie, O.
Her neck was o' the snaw-drap hue,
Her lips like roses wet wi' dew;
But O, her e'e o' azure blue
Was past expression bonnie, O.
Like threads o' gowd her flowing hair,
That lichtly wantoned wi' the air;
But vain were a' my rhymin' ware
To tell the charms o' Annie, O.
While smilin' in my arms she lay,
She whisperin' in my ear did say,
"O how could I survive the day
Should ye prove fause, my Tammie, O?"
While spangled fish glide to the main,
While Scotland's braes shall wave wi' grain,
Till this fond heart shall break wi' pain,
I'll aye be true to Annie, O.
The Beltan winds blew loud and lang,
And ripplin' raised the spray alang,
We cheerfu' sat an' cheerfu' sang,
The banks o' Tarf are bonnie, O.
Though sweet is spring, when young and gay,
And Blythe the blinks o' summer's day;
I fear nae winter cauld and blae
If blest wi' love and Annie, O.
PURE thy soul as the virgin snow,
Mild thy look as summer's eve;
For others' faults thy tear-drops flow,
Who ne'er had cause your own to grieve.
True as the magnet to the pole,
To feeling moves thy artless breast;
There Love maintains his soft control,
There Pity makes her gentle nest.
Oft as these eyes with tears are spent,
And Sorrow dwells thy heart within,
I view thee as some angel sent,
To share our griefs without our sin.
YE green vales of Kelton that aye bloom sae sweetly,
Deep, deep is my love and affection for thee;
I've pressed to my bosom the sweetest wee blossom
That blooms on the banks o' the dark rolling Dee.
Oh, kind is my Mary, my sweet Lowland Mary,
The pride of my heart, and the flower o' the Dee;
And ne'er shall my Mary frae me part or vary,
And Jamie's her true love till death shuts his e'e.
When lav'rocks are singing 'mang dews o' the morning,
When roses are blooming delightful to see,
When green buds are springing the bleak earth adorning,
They mind me o' Mary, the flower o' the Dee.
Her mind is so loving, her beauty so moving,
And light is her heart as the lamb's on the lea,
O! ne'er shall my Mary frae me part or vary,
And Jamie's her true love till death shuts his e'e.
Roll on, thou dark river, thro' Kelton's fair valley,
Still pour forth thy tribute to Solway's deep sea,
And ye warbling songsters still charm with your music
My lovely sweet Mary, the flower o' the Dee.
There's nane like my Mary, my sweet Lowland Mary,
The pride o' my heart, and the flower o' the Dee;
And ne'er shall my Mary frae me part or vary,
And Jamie's her true love till death shuts his e'e.
A TALE OF 1715.
TWO nobles stood on Kenmure Green,
Beside the beech and linden tree;
And well, I ween, in Scotland wide,
A fairer sight you might not see.
The stately tower, the spreading lake,
The skirting wood and lowering hill,
Affect the heart that ne'er would part
From scene so passing sweet and still.
Smooth was the lawn — the sport was keen,
The bounding balls roll fair and free,
Till birds were silent in the glade,
And bees had left the linden tree.
The game is up; a foaming steed
Comes swiftly up the hawthorn way:
News from the Prince — he calls his clans,
And Kenmure mounts ere dawn of day.
Brave Nithsdale, too, has sprung to arms,
A bolder game the twain must try —
The stakes are now life, death, a crown,
The White Rose now shall bloom or die.
Ah! luckless step for Scotland's men,
Ah! hopeless cause for Prince and Peer,
This march must lead to toil and death,
And cost, alas, the tartan dear.
Right well they fought on many a field,
Their fame is told by many a tongue;
For tuneful bards their deeds have praised,
And tearful maids their valour sung.
On Preston's "bloody sod" they fell —
In prison lone behold them lie —
By London Tower on yon dark hill
The Lowland chiefs are doom'd to die.
At night before that day of gloom
In yonder cell an angel see —
With matchless and heroic skill
She sets her Lord of Nithsdale free.
Nor tear, nor prayer, may Kenmure save,
For him the sands of life are run;
Upon the gallant, good, and true,
The fatal axe its work hath done.
The linden and the beechen tree
By Kenmure Tower may still be seen;
Two names with coronets are still
Upon the balls on Kenmure Green.
BLYTHE young Bess to Jean did say,
"Will ye gang to yon sunny brae,
Whare flocks do feed, and herds do stray,
And sport a while wi' Jamie?"
"Ah, na, lass! I'll no gang there,
Nor about Jamie tak' a care,
Nor about Jamie tak' a care,
For he's ta'en up wi' Maggie.
"For hark, and I will tell you, lass,
Did I not see young Jamie pass,
Wi' meikle blytheness in his face,
Out owre the muir to Maggie.
I wat he ga'e her monie a kiss,
And Maggie took them nae amiss:
'Tween ilka smack pleased her wi' this,
That Bess was but a gawkie.
"'For when a civil kiss I seek,
She turns her head and thraws her cheek,
And for an hour she'll hardly speak:
Wha'd no ca' her a gawkie?
But sure my Maggie has mair sense,
She'll gie a score without offence;
Now gie me ane into the mense,
And ye shall be my dawtie.'
"'O Jamie, ye hae monie ta'en,
But I will never stan' for ane
Or twa when we do meet again,
So ne'er think me a gawkie.'
'Ah, na, lass, that canna be;
Sic thoughts as thae are far frae me,
Or ony thy sweet face that see,
E'er to think thee a gawkie.'"
"But, whist, nae mair o' this we'll speak,
For yonder Jamie does us meet:
Instead o' Meg he kissed sae sweet
I trow he likes the gawkie."
"O dear Bess, I hardly knew,
When I cam' by, your gown sae new;
I think you've got it wet wi' dew."
Quoth she, "That's like a gawkie.
"It's wat wi' dew, and 'twill get rain,
And I'll get gowns when it is gane;
Sae ye may gang the gate ye came,
And tell it to your dawtie."
The guilt appear'd in Jamie's cheek:
He cried, "O cruel maid, but sweet,
If I should gang anither gate,
I ne'er could meet my dawtie."
The lasses fast frae him they flew;
And left poor Jamie sair to rue
That ever Maggie's face he knew,
Or yet ca'd Bess a gawkie.
As they gaed owre the muir they sang,
The hills and dales wi' echoes rang,
The hills and dales wi' echoes rang,
"Gang o'er the muir to Maggie."
A FAIRY-LAND among the hills,
'Mid misty peaks and glancing rills;
Far, far away from human ills,
In dreamland, I met thee, Fanny.
O'er heath aglow with setting sun,
Thy hand in mine, — our love begun,
With hearts as fresh as when I won
Thine own leal one to me, Fanny.
Where did we go? — the twilight o'er us,
Our love our guide; the world before us:
The murmuring wind through the echoing corries
Made music with thy voice, Fanny.
Thine eye my star — was ever light
So soft, so witching, or so bright? —
The gloaming shading into night
Was never felt by me, Fanny.
The swift shrike's scream the silence broke,
The homeward raven's eerie croak
Ben Lloyal's solemn slumber woke,
I felt thee cling to me, Fanny.
The mournful owl, like gentle sigh,
Fanned thy soft cheek in passing by,
Clinging, with half averted eye,
The closer still to me, Fanny.
It was our spirits' trysted meeting
By yon grey stone, our wild hearts beating,
The old, old tale of love repeating,
So dear to thee and me, Fanny.
Dreams of a time that would not stay,
When youth was one long holiday,
And tears our sorrows washed away,
Ah! would it were so now, Fanny.
I woke — Alas! the morning star
Hung trembling o'er dark Ben Avar,
And thy sweet spirit, dim, afar,
In sadness left my view, Fanny.
The envious dawn, on light wings borne,
In purply plumage paints the morn,
And I — all lonely and forlorn —
My heart has gone with thee, Fanny.
SWEET virgin harbinger of spring!
While yet the winter scarce is gone,
Thou direst abroad thy petal fling,
In spotless dignity alone.
So worthy he, who 'mid the storm
Of moral discord, manly towers;
Whose mind no sordid aims deform,
But grows for Hope's unwintry bowers.
YE frowners on an impious land!
On one dear votaress smile contented;
What more can sternest priest demand? —
She went to church, and she repented.
MY darling country folks, how's a',
How chirt ye on through life ava'
In this tremendous clachan;
I meet ye whiles as grave as priests,
At ither times, at social feasts,
Blythe, clatterin', and lauchin'.
On brigs, in squares, in mony a street,
As I do tramp alang,
Your hardy visages I meet,
Ay, meet ye thick and thrang.
A wan'erin', a daunerin',
A curious tribe are we;
Aye travellin', unravellin',
The hale o' yirth and sea.
But let us ramble where we will,
Auld Scotland we maun mind her still —
Oor cantie, couthie mither;
Upon her heathery mountains wild,
She wishes weel to ilka child,
An' hopes we'll 'gree wi' ither;
Sae be na sweer to wag the han',
Or yet to drain the purse,
Wha winna's an unfeelin' man,
An' weel deserves a curse.
Yet guide still, your pride still,
Wi' independent grace;
Ne'er cringe, no, nor whinge, no,
Wi' slave insipid face.
Ye maistly a' do brawly ken
The nature o' the native glen,
Whar' humble virtue dwells;
Sae let us aye stick by oor creed,
Scorn an unmanly vicious deed,
An' ne'er misken oorsel's.
Let flashy blades gae skytin' by,
An' silky hizzies braw;
Let gilded coaches rattlin' fly,
Move calmly on for a'.
Nor fret then, to get then,
A "Sax-in-han'" to ca';
To whang up, an' bang up,
Amang the gentry a'.
Ye're easy ken'd, ye silly rakes,
Wha do detest the lan' o' cakes —
The lan' whar' ye were born;
Puir surface sowls that can but skim
And screw their gabs and chatter prim,
Your littleness we scorn.
Gae wa', and mimic Johnnie Bull,
Or ony else ye please;
Your rattlin' reasons in your skull
Soun' gey like bladder'd pease.
Nae mense there, nae sense there
True gomerals ye are a';
Sae dash on, an' flash on,
An' try to rise to fa'.
That roasted beef, and porter broun,
We'll no deny gae sweetly doun,
An' gude cheer for the bag is;
Perhaps e'en mair sae than oor brose,
Or bristled shanks, we may suppose,
An' e'en oor glorious haggis.
But what o' that, the mind's the thing,
Sae manly, wild, and strong;
This is the charm which makes us cling
By ither all along.
The feelin' revealin'
What words can never tell;
Sae cheerin', endearin',
What joys can this excel.
We see the bonny broomy knowes,
We hear the burnie as it rowes,
While owre the Linn it splashes;
Through gloomy wuds where Wallace ran
Owre Hielan' hills wi' yelling clan,
The raisèd fancy flashes.
The sangs we heard when we were wee
Can ony ane forget?
We think we're on our mither's knee,
A-listenin' to them yet.
Half sleepin', half weepin',
Our cradle days awa',
Ne'er mindin', yet findin',
They're no' forgot ava.
Sae let us aften ither meet,
In social unison sae sweet,
(To lauch at this a pity);
Imagination then will feed
In glorious pastures yont the Tweed,
Far frae this meikle city.
Then let us talk in gude braid Scotch,
An' crack awa' by turns;
Aft giein' to our glee a hotch,
By singin' sangs o' Burns.
Sae movin', sae lovin',
Sae glorious every way;
Pathetic, extatic,
Beyond what I can say.
An' we've a bardie o' oor ain,
Ane wha mak's nature unco fain,
A bardie, faith, nae sham;
Bred on the charming banks o' Nith, —
'Tis Allan Cunningham.
O, Allan kens oor bosoms weel,
An' a' that lingers there;
His feelin's tell him hoo we feel,
He's wi' us everywhere;
By green sea, and green tree,
An' warlocks in the wud;
Lane boweries and floweries,
On howms that bloom an' bud.
Far dearer objects than St. Paul's,
The slichtest trifle aft upcalls
A score o' happy dreams;
That glen we livèd in when boys,
And danc'd amid sweet rural joys,
The dearest place aye seems.
Nae Drury Lane is ocht to this,
Wi' a' its scenes sae bricht;
Even gay Vauxhall a naething is,
Wi' a' its sichts by nicht.
Its glancin', and dancin',
Its singin' a' sae fine;
Its dandies, and grandees,
The hizzies, and the wine.
What tribes do swarm in Lon'on here,
Frae every nation everywhere,
But English are the best;
An Englishman not Cockneyfied,
No match has he on earth beside,
We next do stan' the test;
The flashy Frank, and gilded Don,
Shrink a' afore John Bull;
As weel as the oil swiggin' Von,
Wi' creeshy, heavy skull.
Nae whud this, nor sud this
E'er anger us ava';
Yet still tho' we will tho',
Stan' by our creed an' law.
Ay, we shall stan', nor will we flinch,
Tho' fate should rive us inch by inch,
An' fling us in the Thames;
Whae'er would wish to tramp us low,
That moment we become a foe,
To play nae silly games;
Our freeborn blood will then go boil,
The manly spirits rise;
The glory o' our native soil
What Scotchman will despise.
We'll stan' a', sae gran' a',
An' if we're forc'd to fa',
We'll en' then like men then,
Wi' honour ane an' a'.
TWO lovers strayed by Dee's dark stream,
When from the gloomy pool beneath
They heard the water kelpy scream —
The fearful messenger of death,
And shuddered! for his warning cry
Has many a mind to madness driven,
And one or all are doomed to die
Of those that hear the warning given.
But saws of love were sung and said,
In illustration of their passion,
And sighs were sighed, and vows were made,
As with most lovers is the fashion.
They parted, and seem'd happy both,
The little maiden smiled adieu;
Well pleased, her lover, by an oath,
Was bound to be for ever true.
"Swear not at all," fair Juliet said,
And Shakespeare seldom speaks in vain,
Ghosts have arisen from the dead
To claim their promise back again.
Now mark the cursèd love for gold:
A lady came into that land,
And for a lover rather old,
Yet she had money at command.
I wish that we could pass it over,
And not on human frailty dwell,
But true, alas! this faithless lover
In love wild with the stranger fell;
And he has hurried to his trunk,
Pack'd and return'd the correspondence
Of this poor maid, who thereby sunk,
Beyond all hope, in deep despondence.
She wander'd by the sounding wave,
And thought she heard a voice beneath
Invite her to a watery grave,
Where all her woes might rest in death.
Her shawl and bonnet on the beach,
The comb that bound her wandering hair,
As surely said as human speech,
Her earthly race had ended there.
An hermit, wandering by the deep,
Half in the wave that lady found;
She looked so like a thing asleep,
He could not yet believe her drown'd.
Still in her cheek the mantling blood
Seem'd to unfit her for the grave,
As if some spirit of the flood
Had fallen asleep upon the wave.
Oft she had stray'd by Nith's sweet stream,
And on its flowery banks reposed,
Where now her eyes in death's dark dream
Beneath its silver waves are closed.
AS the wee flo'ers in early spring
To cheer the heart are sent,
Sae oor wee Jamie to us cam',
A hopefu' innocent.
Fair and rosy was his cheek,
An' gowden was his hair,
An' on his lauchin', sunny face
A radiance aye was there.
Like the wee snaw-draps o' the spring,
An' firstlings o' the grove,
He cam' to fill our breists wi' hope,
An' promises o' love:
To licht the weary path o' life
Wi' a' his guileless ways,
An' bring again sweet memories
O' youth an' lovin' days.
The lee-lang day he cheered oor hearts,
An' kept the hoose in glee;
Whyles rompin' roun' the big arm chair,
Or prattlin' on my knee;
Whyles makin' coaches o' the stools,
Or trying puss a race;
Whyles biggin' hooses wi' my books —
Bless his wee blithesome face!
O! hoo my heart wi' gladness thrilled
His joyfu' ways to see,
As the:love, that in his wee breist dwelt,
Shone in his beamin' e'e.
An', O! 'twas bliss for me to hear
Him lisp his faither's name,
When his wee rosy mou' would seek
A kiss when he cam' hame.
But, as I've seen the lily fair
Nipt by the east win's breath,
An' bonnie roses droop their heids
In the cauld grip o' death;
Sae owre oor wee flo'er cam' a blicht
O' witherin' decay,
An' in life's mornin' Jamie passed
Frae earth to heaven away.
An' noo, when owre me comes the thocht
I'll see his face nae mair,
The big saut tears start to my e'e,
An', O! my heart is sair.
An' oft, to licht my grief, I stray
Doun by Dee's murmurin' wave,
Where sings the mavis aye sae sweet,
Aboon wee Jamie's grave.
MY mither was wae, for my faither was deid,
An' they'd threaten'd to tak' the auld hoose owre oor
Her earnin's grew scanty, the meal was got dear,
An', the auldest o' five, I could whyles see the tear,
When she cam' hame at nicht, glisten bricht in her een,
Half hid, as if't didna juist want to be seen;
I spoke na a word, but my wee heart wad ache,
An' I wished I was big, for my puir mither's sake.
There were fermers aroun' wanted herds for their kye,
And my mither had said she had ane that wad try;
I mind hoo I trembl'd, half fear, an' half joy,
When a maister ca'd on us to look at the boy:
He bade me stan' up, an' he thocht I was wee,
But my frank, honest face, he said, pleasèd his e'e;
He wad tak' me, and try me ae half-year, an' see,
For a pair o' new shoon, an' a five shillin' fee.
We were gled to hear tell o't, the bargain was struck,
An' he gied me a saxpence o' earles for luck;
My trousers an' jacket were patch'd for the day,
An' my mither convoyed me a lang mile away,
Wi' charges an' warnin's 'gainst a' kin' o' crime,
An' rules she laid doun, I thocht hard at the time:
If the kye should get wrang, I was never to lee,
Though they sent me awa' but my shoon or my fee.
Sae I fell to my wark, an' I pleas'd unco weel —
But a word or a wave, an' I plied han' or heel;
But my troubles cam' on, for the fences were bad,
An' the midsimmer flees made the cattle rin mad;
An' in cauld blashy weather, sair drenched wi' the rain,
Whyles wee thochts o' leavin' wad steal owre my brain;
But, wi' courage, I dashed aye the tear frae my e'e,
When I thocht o' my shoon, an' my five shillin' fee.
An' Martinmas brocht me my lang-thocht-o' store,
An' proudly I coonted it twenty times o'er;
An' lang years hae fled, in a fortunate train,
But I never ance met wi' sic raptures again.
The sailor, juist safe through the wild breakers steer'd,
Proud Waterloo's victor, when Blucher appeared,
Ne'er felt what I felt, as I placed on the knee
O' a fond-hearted mither, my five shillin' fee.
I CHANCED to meet an airy blade,
A new-made pulpiteer, laddie,
Wi' cock'd up hat and powder'd wig,
Black coat, and cuffs fu' clear, laddie.
A lang gravat at him did wag,
And buckles at his knee, laddie,
Says he, "My heart, by Cupid's dart,
Is captivate to thee, lassie."
"I'll rather chuse to thole grim death,
So cease and let me be, laddie;"
"For what?" says he. "Good troth," said I,
"Nae dominies for me, laddie.
Your stipends are uncertain rents
For lady's conjunct-fee, laddie;
When books and gouns are a' cried doun,
Nae dominies for me, laddie."
"But for your sake I'll fleece the flock,
Grow rich as I grow auld, lassie;
If I be spared I'll be a laird,
And thou's be madam call'd, lassie."
"But what if ye should chance to dee,
Leave bairnies, ane or twa, laddie?
Naething wad be reserved for them
But hair-moul'd books to gnaw, laddie."
At this he angry was, I wat,
He gloom'd and looked fu' hie, laddie;
When I perceivéd this, in haste
I left my dominie, laddie.
Fare ye weel, my charming maid,
This lesson learn of me, lassie,
At the next offer hold him fast
That first makes love to thee, lassie.
Then I returning hame again,
And coming doun the toun, laddie,
By my good luck I chanced to meet
A gentleman dragoon, laddie.
And he took me by baith the hands,
'Twas help in time of need, laddie;
Let fools on ceremonies stand,
At twa words we agreed, laddie.
He led me to his quarter-house,
Where we exchanged a word, laddie;
We had nae use for black gouns there,
We married o'er the sword, laddie.
Martial music's far more fine
Than ony sermon bell, laddie;
Gold, red and blue, is more divine
Than black, the hue of hell, laddie.
Kings, queens, and princes crave the aid
Of my brave stout dragoon, laddie;
While dominies are much employ'd
'Bout lair o' Session books, laddie;
Away wi' a' these whining loons!
They look like, let me be, laddie,
I've more delight in roaring guns —
Nae dominies for me, laddie.
HERE awa', there awa',
Oot owre braid Gallowa',
In through auld Scotia,
Say, gin ye ken,
Whaur there's a place sae fair,
Whaur the flow'rs bloom sae rare,
Whaur there's sic balmy air,
As in Co'en'.
There you'll fin' hill an' dale,
Muirlan' an' mossy vale,
There on a noble scale
Mountain and glen;
Dizzy heugh, clint, an' caves,
Waterfa', ocean waves,
Rowin' sweet, gently laves
Bonnie Co'en'.
Deep in the mountain troch,
'Roun' tarn an' bonnie loch,
Harts with the soople hoch
Nimbly do sten;
Birds on the easy wing
Licht frae the heather spring,
Sweet does the mavis sing
Doon in Co'en'.
Banks wi' their mossy plaid,
Birken and hazel glade,
Pleasin's the cooling shade
That they do len';
Bracken and heather grows,
Broom 'roun' the rocky knowes,
Saftly the burnie rows
Doon in Co'en.
There you'll meet noble chiels,
Minds that can truly feel,
Hands and hearts warm and leal,
While, ere ye ken,
Hearts may receive a gaw
Frae some sweet lassie braw
That you'll meet there awa',
Doon in Co'en'.
When lassies come alang,
Words they come trippin' thrang,
Cheerily rins my sang,
Lichtly my pen;
Couthy, blythe, kind, and sweet,
Bonnie, guid, trig, and neat,
Oh! but you're ill to beat,
Bonnie Co'en'.
Noo, gin your heart be sair,
Laden wi' grief or care,
Wisely the leisure spare,
Time can it len',
Soon frae your sorrow free,
Hope lichtin' up your e'e,
Life will be given thee
Doon in Co'en'.
LOUD rang the slogan, the clansmen to gather,
It roused the dun-deer in the wood of Glenlee,
Gleam'd the bright axe and broad sword on the heather,
From darksome Loch Doon to the holms of the Dee;
Wild from his native glen
Rush'd the bold spearman then;
Rude as the storms on his mountain that blow,
Bandrol and pennant stream,
Bright on the morning beam,
Darken'd Loch Ken in its valley below.
Proudly paraded the hardy Glenkens men,
Their broad tartans wav'd in the wind of the hill,
Gordon's loud heumont cheers on his bold clansmen,
The turrets of Kenmure resound to the peal;
Swiftly Maculloch came,
Maitland and all his train,
Stout Craigengillan and haughty Knockgray,
Kennedy's bowmen true,
Muster'd on Lowran's brow —
Wood-shaded Dee ne'er beheld such array.
Flash'd the broad battle axe clear on the river,
The shouts of the war-men were heard from afar,
Loud was the banner cry — "Gordon for ever!
Lord Gordon of Kenmure, and young Lochinvar."
Dark as the winter cloud
Sweeps o'er the Solway's flood,
Scour they the valley and forage the plain;
Hamlet and village burn,
Widow and maiden mourn —
Red were their hands in the blood of the slain.
Rough was their raid o'er the Lowlands extending,
"Arouse the Glendonwyn," his warder did cry,
"Fierce from the moor are the Gordons descending —
Drumrash and Glenlaggan blaze red to the sky."
Smiling the chieftain said —
"Gordon shall rue his raid;
Keen are the lances of Orr and the Dee,
Widespread the war alarm,
Telford and Herries warn,
Livingstone, Duchrae, and hardy Macghie."
Loud yelled the war blast o'er green hill and valley,
The troopers of Dee sprung to arms at the sound,
Helmet and lance in the sun glitter'd gaily,
And swift o'er the lea did the war charger bound;
Louder the bugle sang,
Hauberk and buckler rang,
Battle brands glanc'd on the banks of the Orr,
Foremost the chieftains strode,
Waving their falchions broad,
Briskly o'er dale and down, onward they bore.
Dee's sable stream, in the vale gently flowing,
Was hid by the hazel and poplar so gay;
Red on the holms was the western sun glowing,
The gray rocks on Lowran's side mirror'd his ray:
Clansmen, your plunder leave,
See how the banners wave,
Broad o'er Glenlochar they float to the sky;
Dalesmen in jack and spear,
Ranked in the plain appear —
Kenmure, beware thee! Glendonwyn is nigh!
Dark o'er the lea were the dalesmen advancing,
Glendonwyn in front brandished high his broad sword,
Hardy Macghie with his troopers came prancing,
And fierce was the fray at the stream of Spearford:
Loud yelled the slogan's blast,
Broad sword on buckler clashed,
Spear and bright axe clove the helmets of steel;
Hissing the arrows fly,
War steed and rider die —
"Gordon for ever!" resounds o'er the field.
Mark ye yon chief, like the wild wolf of Lowran,
That tears the young kid on the banks of Loch Ken?
'Tis Lord Lochinvar — see, his foes fall before him,
The blood of the dalesmen runs red on the plain.
Briskly Glendonwyn then
Call'd to his merry men;
On rushed the sons of the Dee and the Orr;
Lances in shivers flew,
Battle-blades keen they drew —
Thick was the stream with the dark purple gore.
Long was the bloody field fiercely disputed
Till brave Lochinvar fell, by numbers laid low;
Loudly Glendonwyn the victory shouted,
As towards his mountains retirèd the foe.
Sullen the evening star
Scowl'd on the field of war;
Dying groans murmur'd on Dee's sable wave;
Still as the water sprite
Howls thro' the gloom of night,
Hov'ring are seen the pale forms of the brave.
LET ither bardies sing the praise
O' lands ayont the sea —
O' England fair, and sunny France,
And Erin's witchery:
Their music may be passing sweet,
But, oh, I tell to thee,
I wadna gie oor ain Scotch sangs
For a' the sangs I see.
For Scotland is the land I lo'e —
The land that cradled me —
An' sae I'll lo'e the Scottish tongue
Until the day I dee:
There's music kin'ly in the soun's
That learnin' canna gie;
And solace mair than words o' mine
Can ever tell to thee.
A charm that distance canna brak',
That dries the tearfu' e'e,
And wafts us back wi' lichtnin' speed
Owre land and lanely sea,
Until we grasp the loving hands,
The kindly faces see,
That aft we held, that aft we saw,
When toddlin' bairns were we.
And voices seem to hover roun',
That never heard will be,
And soothe oor spirits into peace,
Wi' heavenly melody;
Oh! dinna slicht the aul' Scotch sangs,
They're dear to you an' me;
But cherish aye their kin'ly soun's
Until the day ye dee.
COME, clink your glasses, merrily shout,
And may the roof-tree ring;
What, ho! ye varlets, there without,
Some more good liquor bring!
For Kenmure's walls are strong and stout,
And Kenmure's board is free,
And come ye here for feast or rout,
Aye welcome shall ye be!
When Edward next the Solway fords
Our castles to reduce,
If we have strength to wield our swords
We'll wield them for the Bruce!
Bid all our vassals watchful be,
And keep our armour bright,
For good King Robert's men are we,
And bravely will we fight.
And when our Northern horsemen pour
Like lightning on the foe,
Each Scottish spear shall drink their gore,
As down the varlets go:
If Southron wolves to Kenmure come,
An' come they day or night,
They'll hear the Northern lion growl,
And feel his deadly bite!
Our Scottish swords are keen and long,
And Northern hearts are bold,
Our brawny arms are just as strong
As e'er in days of old;
And foot to foot, and side by side,
Each knight and squire shall stand,
And strike for Bruce, our king and pride,
And for our native land!
When Kenmure's bugle winds a blast
From Kenmure's castle wall,
Spur, gallants, spur your chargers fast,
And head for Kenmure's hall!
And should ye come, ye trusty knights,
Our castle to defend,
We'll show those braggart English wights
How Scottish bows shall bend.
And while our archers on the wall
Have strength to bend a bow,
We'll give a welcome here to all,
And death to every foe!
When burst our knights of gentle birth
Like tempest on the foes,
Each Southron knave shall bite the earth
Who meets their deadly blows.
Then shall King Edward rue the day
He o'er the border came,
Each soldier made of English clay
Shall quake at Kenmure's name;
And ladies bright shall grace the ball
When victory shines on Bruce,
With knights of fame in Kenmure's hall
As oft is Kenmure's use.
Fill up! fill up! with blood red wine,
And let the rafters ring,
And clink with me, and drink with me,
A health unto the King!
A health to bonnie Scotland's lord,
Nor will we call a truce
Till all shall cry at camp and board
"Long live King Robert Bruce!"
'TIS morn: a softly moving breeze
Is rippling o'er the bay;
As gladly towards the flashing seas
The fisher's boat makes way;
How gloriously the snowy sail
Is bearing him along;
While his proud heart that fears no gale
Is pouring forth in song!
From the low cot that nestles white
Beside the waving wood,
A tiny window looks in light
Upon the ocean flood;
And well the fisher knows that there,
Twain eyes of azure hue,
Sweet with the love for him they wear,
Gaze o'er the waters blue.
How 'swiftly glides his boat away
Into the distance dim!
While those fond eyes that mutely say —
"I love thee," follow him!
Till, like a bird upon the wave,
It vanishes from view,
No more to bring the bold and brave
Back to the sweet and true!
'Tis night; the seas are one wide waste
Of fiercely flying foam;
A tempest terrible hath chased
Peace from her ocean home;
Like thunder on the quivering strand
The helpless waves are tossed;
The winds are wailing o'er the land
Like spirits of the lost!
O, dread and awful is the night
To her who watched so long
For him who never more may light
Her home with life and song!
In every sound the storm may bear,
As wild it wanders by,
Her eager fancy seems to hear
Her fisher's footsteps nigh!
'Tis morn; and peace is bright again
On earth and whispering shore;
And all is life and light again
That was so dark before;
Yet joyless is that fisher's home
Beneath the glittering skies,
For no proud presence yet hath come
To cheer two weeping eyes!
THERE'S a bonnie sparklin' burn rinnin' wimplin' doon a
Amang braes o' yellow broom, green an' whinny,
An' a thoosan' bonnie flo'ers kiss its waters — but I ken
That's no' what mak's the burn to me sae bonnie.
In the sauch the lintie lilts to the hidin' wee blue bell,
An' the gowan keeks frae neuks green an' sunny;
The lav'rock mounts high minstrel owre the fairy scene, but
That's no' what mak's the burn to me sae bonnie.
There's a cozy rose-kiss'd cot on the brae abune the mill,
(A dream o' peacefu' beauty mair than ony,)
That a nameless sweetness sheds owre the souchin' glen, but
That's no' what mak's the burn to me sae bonnie.
There's a witchin' winsome quean sits enthron'd amang the
Hersel' the sweetest flo'er o' a' the mony,
An' nature's vauntless beauty at her feet sweet homage pours,
While the burnie doon the dell rins sae bonnie.
Hoo sweet the spreckl'd mavis sings his carol thro' the glen,
Owre the simmer hum o' bees seekin' honey,
An' the blackbird's gloamin' note — but it's a' for her I ken,
An' for her the burnie rins aye sae bonnie.
Ilka blade, an' leaf, an' flo'er on its ferny-feather'd banks
Wears the imprint o' a smile, sweet an' sunny;
Ilka shade, an' form aroun', aye wi' ane sae sweetly links,
An' that's what mak's the burn to me sae bonnie.
OH, grand bounds the deer o'er the mountain,
And smooth skims the hare o'er the plain;
At noon, the cool shade by the fountain
Is sweet to the lass and her swain.
The ev'ning sits down dark and dreary;
Oh, yon's the loud joys of the ha';
The laird sings his dogs and his dearie —
Oh, he kens na he's singin' ava.
But, oh, my dear lassie, when wi' thee,
What's the deer and the maukin to me?
The storm souchin' wild drives me to thee,
And the plaid shelters baith me and thee.
The wide warld then may be reeling,
Pride and riches may lift up their e'e;
My plaid haps us baith in the sheeling —
That's a' to my lassie and me.
SWEET is the blossom o' the hawthorn tree,
The bonnie milky blossom o' the hawthorn tree,
When the saft westlan' wind, as it wanders o'er the lea,
Comes laden wi' the breath o' the hawthorn tree.
Lovely is the rose in the dewy month o' June,
An' the lily gently bending beneath the sunny noon;
But dewy rose, nor lily fair, is half sae sweet to me,
As the bonnie milky blossom o' the hawthorn tree,
Oh, blythe at fair an' market fu' aften I hae been,
An' wi' a crony frank an' leal, some happy hours I've seen;
But the happiest hours I e'er enjoyed, were shared, my love, wi'
In the gloaming 'neath the bonnie, bonnie hawthorn tree.
Sweetly sang the blackbird, low in the woody glen,
And fragrance sweet spread on the gale, light o'er the dewy
But thy saft voice an' sighing breath were sweeter far to me,
While whispering o' love beneath the hawthorn tree.
Old Time may wave his dusky wing, an' Chance may cast his
And the rainbow-hues of flatterin' Hope may darken in the sky;
Gay Summer pass, an' Winter stalk stern o'er the frozen lea,
Nor leaf, nor milky blossom deck the hawthorn tree :
But still'd maun be the pulse that wakes this glowing heart o'
For me nae mair the spring maun bud, nor summer blossoms
An' low maun be my hame, sweet maid, e'er I be false to thee,
Or forget the vows I breathed beneath the hawthorn tree.
THE music o' the year is hush'd
In bonny glen and shaw, man;
And winter spreads o'er nature dead
A winding sheet o' snaw, man.
O'er burn and loch the warlock frost
A crystal brig has laid, man;
The wild geese screaming wi' surprise,
The ice-bound wave ha'e fled, man.
Up, curler, frae your bed sae warm,
And leave your coaxing wife, man;
Gae get your besom, tramps, and stanes,
And join the friendly strife, man.
For on the water's face are met,
Wi' mony a merry joke, man,
The tenant and his jolly laird,
The pastor and his flock, man.
The rink is swept, the tees are mark'd,
The bonspiel is begun, man;
The ice is true, the stanes are keen,
Huzza for glorious fun, man!
The skips are standing at the tee,
To guide the eager game, man;
Hush, not a word, but mark the broom,
And tak' a steady aim, man.
There draw a shot, there lay a guard,
And here beside him lie, man;
Now let him feel a gamester's hand,
Now in his bosom die, man;
Then fill the port, and block the ice,
We sit upon the tee, man;
Now, tak' this in-ring, sharp and neat,
And mak' their winner flee, man.
How stands the game? It's eight and eight,
Now for the winning shot, man;
Draw slow and sure, an' tak' your aim,
I'll sweep you to the spot, man.
The stane is thrown, it glides along,
The besoms ply it in, man;
Wi' twisting back the player stands,
And eager breathless grin, man.
A moment's silence, still as death,
Pervades the anxious thrang, man,
When sudden bursts the victor's shout,
With holla's loud and lang, man.
Triumphant besoms wave in air,
And friendly banters fly, man;
Whilst, cold and hungry, to the inn,
Wi' eager steps they hie, man.
Now fill ae bumper, fill but ane,
And drink wi' social glee, man,
May curlers on life's slippery rink,
Frae cruel rubs be free, man;
Or should a treacherous bias lead
Their erring course ajee, man,
Some friendly in-ring may they meet,
To guide them to the tee, man.
COY Beauty's blush is passing sweet,
And sweet the bashful smile she wears;
But love and admiration meet
In Beauty glistening thro' her tears.
Most sweet the cowslip in its dews,
Most sweet the sun thro' showers appears,
Most sweet the meads where streamlets ooze,
And sweetest Beauty in her tears.
On earth one object is divine,
The heart which Sympathy endears,
'Tis Beauty's self at Pity's shrine,
With roses glistening thro' her tears.
O! GALLOVIDIA fair! my mountain home!
Thy charms are ever rising in my mind;
Thy beauties haunt me wheresoe'er I roam,
Thy sylvan glades, for ever left behind.
O! Gallovidia! dearer to my breast
Thy streams meandering through the daisied plain,
Than all the beauteous islands of the west,
That rise resplendent from the azure main.
O! Gallovidia! o'er thy rocky wild
The red deer, sportive, gambols in his pride,
O'er crag on crag in awful grandeur piled,
By wooded glen and rugged mountain side.
O! Gallovidia! by a distant sea
I think I hear the wavelets on thy shore;
Their gentle ripplings lead my thoughts to thee,
Recalling scenes now lost for evermore.
O! Gallovidia! in my midnight dreams
Thy rivers murmur softly in my ear,
The song-birds warble by thy silvery streams,
And wake my slumbering spirit with a tear.
O! Gallovidia! when the voice of death
Shall set my weary soul for ever free,
The sounds I falter with my dying breath,
O! Gallovidia! they shall be of thee.
DEAR Nathan, as we now have reason
Soon to expect a frosty season,
And as you're blest with health and vigour,
To bear the greatest cold and rigour,
Suppose that you and I together
Should make a match 'gainst proper weather —
Six 8 on a side is a right number,
When more they pleasure do encumber;
Besides, you would not find it easy
To find a seventh that would please ye.
The next thing now we have to settle
Is where to fix the field of battle;
And as we play for beef and hens,
They are most plenty in Glenkens:
A land which flows with milk and honey,
My meaning is meat, drink, and money.
With you it is quite the reverse,
As all the three are very scarce:
If you agree to play this match,
You'll send an answer with despatch —
Just now I have no more to say,
But I am yours by night and day.
(Signed) KENMURE.
MY Lord, as Phœbus with his rays,
Makes rudest deserts fair,
So simplest themes handled by you,
Assume a charming air.
Crossmichael has a decent pride
In striving with the great,
For war's grim terror we'll prepare,
Whatever be our fate.
Twice six we can bring to the field,
And such a numerous band
Is not amiss, as one might think,
When great things are on hand.
Remote your territories are,
Tiresome our march will be;
Yet all this shall not hinder us
Your rich Canaan to see.
We'll meet you in your Netherlands
At Airds, on banks of Dee;
The boatman there shall do his best
A dinner to supply.
The milk and honey, beef, and hens,
Have charms for Epicures;
Yet no impression can they make
On generous minds like ours.
We mean to eternise our fame
By conquering lords and gods,
And to let all the regions see
Great Homer sometimes nods.
You know our temples are adorned
With laurels fairly won;
The race of glory we design
Incessantly to run.
We hope our conquests will go on,
As they have done before,
Till Lowran, lofty Lowran sinks,
And Dee shall glide no more.
The Capitol of Rome, they say,
By geese, which gaggled loud,
Was saved, and nought but some such
Can keep you unsubdued.
Mistake us not, Kenmure, we have
Exalted thoughts of you;
But brave commanders without men
Wonders can never do.
A haggis of enormous size,
Large as your Bennan hill;
A moorland Willy might devour,
And yet at ice want skill.
It gives Crossmichael mighty pain
To think that the same blow
Which lays your army in the dust
Must strike their General low.
Great Sir, a monument we'll rear
Expressive of your fame;
And say "Tho' Kenmure conquered was,
Kenmure was not to blame.
"The leader of Glenkens was brave,
Crossmichael ay shall say;
Kenmure did all a man could do,
Yet Kenmure lost the day."
Engraven, with an iron pen,
On some firm rock, shall be
The annals of your sad defeat,
To instruct posterity.
(Signed) N. M'KIE.
THOU bully of the icy plain,
Whose laurels flourish most
Like your grey corn 9 in time of rain
That withers in a frost.
Big words may fright a cowardly crew,
Who have the hearts of hens;
I mean the folks that dwell near you —
There's none in the Glenkens.
Our highland lads will make a match
With you whene'er you please:
I'm sure a Tartar you will catch,
They'll beat you with great ease.
Therefore, good Sir, be wise in time,
And follow my advice —
Amuse yourselves sometimes with rhyme,
But never try the ice;
For if you dare with them engage,
You'll find as great an odds,
As giants did, who once did wage
A war against the gods.
Your stones they'll raise into a cairn
On some adjacent height,
That parishes around may learn
There Nathan lost the fight.
(Signed) KENMURE.
IN slumber's dark and silent hour,
The wandering spirit mounts the gale,
Rides in the tempest's cloudy power
In triumph to her native vale;
No shrilly blast with angels flies
On keener wing to Paradise,
Till joyful in the morning dream
She hears her foaming mountain stream.
From the grey rock's embattled brow
The waving ash a welcome smiles,
The reedy lake expands below
With all her green embosomed isles.
The heart beats high, I view you near,
Scenes of my love, how blest, how dear!
Your heathy hills and valleys rude
Shall live in deathless gratitude.
Nursed in your low and humble shade,
Your genius stilled my infant cry;
Aërial notes around me played
The storm's deep pausing melody.
Tones from that harp's Æolian sound,
Which on his cloudy mountains throned,
The spirit of the desert pours
An anthem wild o'er lonely moors.
The ferny vale in Fancy's ear
In wild applausive echoes spoke;
The startled eagle screamed with fear,
Procumbent o'er his native rock;
The gray gosshawk, of piercing eye,
Shriek'd his lone terrors to the sky;
The streamy mountain, glittering bright,
Frowned in the moon's retreating light;
While Cree, from hills whose wide domain
To Scotland's throne a Hero gave,
Rolls her dark torrent to the main,
To sink in Wigtown's distant wave:
Her mountain stream my soul shall cheer,
While softer memories, still more dear,
Waked by fair Fancy's kindling art,
Shall beam in ardours round my heart.
Scenes of my love, though far removed
From all that earliest hope inspired,
From all my infant bosom loved,
From all my artless heart admired,
How oft when sleep, in triple chain,
Pourtrays your towering cliffs again,
I bless the hour with kindlier glow
Than sober truth shall ever know.
But waft my soul, thou lingering gale,
Oft to yon mountain's heathy side,
Above my humble parent vale
Ascending in its noblest pride.
Though, in the wandering tide below
The gold of Tagus never glow,
The jewel, Youth, of brighter gleam,
I found it in the sandy stream.
THERE were four wee weans roun' a cothoose door,
The pride o' a mither's e'e,
And aye when their dad cam' hame at e'en
It was wha to be on his knee.
But the Death King cam', till a wee boy sits
At the cothoose door his lane —
For Bell and Bob, and the babby noo,
To anither worl' are gane.
A mither sits in the wee back room,
An' her face is happit owre;
An' she whispers, "Come, my dear wee Tot,
Ye're the only ane o' four."
For into her arms the Death King cam',
While she nursed her sickly wean,
An' she laid it doon, when the breath had fled,
For her only hope was gane.
Wee Tot cam' ben, an' he looked in the bed,
But a wee deid face he saw;
An' he cries, "Oh, mither, what's wrang wi' the weans
When they're takin' them a' awa';
"What made ye lay the babby doon,
An' tak' me on your knee?
Look, mither, he's gettin' awfu' caul',
An' there's something in his e'e.
"Will they tak' awa' the babby noo,
As they took wee Bell afore?
An' mither, dy'e think they'll be guid to them
Awa' on the ither shore?
"The minister said, when he prayed last nicht,
They wad leeve in a mansion gran';
But hoo does he ken if he wasna there,
Or met wi' a mansion man?
"An' they shut wee Bell in a wee black box,
Till her face we couldna see;
An' my faither, someway, couldna speak,
An' a tear was in his e'e.
"An', mither, ye keepit her Sunday claes,
An' ye dressed her awfu' queer;
An' they took her awa' to the kirkyaird first —
Could she no' hae gane up frae here?
"An', mither, dy'e see hoo white an' caul',
An' hoo quate the babby lies;
I wunner if Bell 'ill wait for him
On the fit-road up the skies."
"Oh, wheest, wee Tot," the mither said,
"For I'm a' begrutten owre:
But where is the heart that wadna greet
When there's only ane o' four?"
Oh, mither! oh, bairn, it's a gey hard lot
When your three wee flo'ers are ta'en,
An' ye're apt to think folk dinna care
When it's only a cothoose wean.
Nae doot but there's some micht soothe your woe
When it lies in their po'er sae weel,
But the rich for the rich, and the puir for the puir,
Is an awkward way to feel.
If the rich could enter the wee thack hoose,
An' the puir man enter the ha',
'Twad be liker the worl' it was meant to be,
An' a better worl' for a'.
But when grief comes in to a lowly hame,
We should ever bring to min'
That it micht hae been puir wee cothoose weans
That oor Saviour blessed langsyne.
For the cothoose wean wi' the big man's heir
Aye meets when this life is owre;
Sae, mither, ye shouldna' mourn sae sair
Tho' ye've only ane o' four.
FROM strong recollection, what pleasant reflection,
When I think upon the sweet days of my youth,
Before grief had wounded, or cares me surrounded,
Or knowing my life was to run so unsmooth.
When harmless excursions, and cheerful diversions,
No boundless ideas had begun yet to soar,
Ere sorrows had teazed me, my fishing rod pleased me,
Which makes me to sing of the Water of Orr.
Untainted the breeze waves the sweet blooming heather,
Whilst lambkins are skipping on yonder green hills,
Where I and my school fellows oft met together,
And charmed with the sound of the clear purling rills.
How easy the task that my teacher then gave me,
My mem'ry retained it for once reading o'er,
But cares without number, disturb my sweet slumbers,
Since I left that clear crystal stream callèd Orr.
The low-roosted lark, in a fine summer morning,
How sweetly he sings when he soars to the sky,
Bright Phœbus mounts up, the high mountains adorning,
The plover and moorcock melodiously cry.
I changed to hard fortune from innocent sporting,
Thro' perilous dangers on far distant shore,
But thousands of treasure, are not like the pleasure,
In youth, I enjoy'd on the Water of Orr.
ACORD unseen binds to the natal soil
Our willing hearts. Than of the gossamer,
Though filmier far, we own its mighty power:
Nor yields the harpsicord to beauty's touch
More rapturous response, than yields our hearts
Whene'er this cord in after life is struck,
Though earth's diameter should intervene
Betwixt us and the spot that gave us birth.
This solemn churchyard scene might striking seem
To many eyes, because perchance 'twas new:
To me it charms possessed more potent still —
The decent order; the religious awe;
The air devout that marked the old and young,
All spread in deepest silence o'er the sward,
(A living multitude amongst the graves
Of their departed friends), feelings recalled
By time well nigh effaced; — recalled the years
Now far remote of childhood, when I first
Seated myself upon a sloping bank
Which faced the tent with those whom, while they lived,
I loved, and (though the place which knew them once,
Them knows, alas! no more) whose mem'ries shall
Ever be cherished by my grateful heart,
With all the tenderness of filial love:
The feelings, too, recalled of early life,
When leaning o'er a stone with moss o'ergrown,
I traced the words, the solemn words it bore,
And, weeping, read of "faithful martyrs slain,
By cruel Clavers and his bloody band;"
And read again, and felt the generous burst
Of indignation mingling with my tears.
On hallowed ground I stood, and silver Ken,
In gliding near my feet, still seemed to sob
As in remembrance of those days of blood;
But even in days of blood, beloved stream!
Thou witness wert to scenes of heavenly joys,
Even on this troubled earth. On Sabbath morn,
Ere yet the lark her matin song had raised,
The voice of Psalms, commingling with the roar
Of the deep linn near Earlston's ancient towers,
"Mournful yet pleasant," reached the listening ear
Of mountain shepherd, telling him that those
Whom unrelenting tyranny oppressed,
Were, 'midst the rocks, or in the wild wood's glade,
At early dawn, in spite of peril, met,
To praise with joy their covenanted God.
Well might these early feelings be recalled,
For even the scenery some resemblance bore:
And though of scenery in childish years
I took no note, unconsciously, perchance,
I felt even then its influence on my mind.
Daily I saw the rich and fertile vale,
Through which irriguous flowed the silver Ken;
And rural Grennan Bank, and Molloch Hill,
And lovely Glen of Holm, where Garpel pours
'Twixt wooded cliffs her almost hidden stream.
Daily I saw Glenlee's romantic glades
With oaks bestudded, which have bravely stood
Innumerous brumal blasts; while, like the leaves
Which autumn strews, the fleeting sons of men,
Race after race have quickly passed away. —
Daily I saw dark Lowran's high-peaked hill,
And Kenmure's noble towers, near which the Ken
Expands her waters to a beauteous lake,
As if to shew her grandeur and her strength,
Ere she her name surrenders to the Dee.
Daily I saw the circling range of hills,
Of every size and shade, around the vale:
But little thought I in those early years
How much of beauty all I saw contained.
I wist not that in hills of various shade —
In glens, and winding stream, and fertile plain,
In coppice-skirted lake — there was so much
To fill the heart with exquisite delight.
Yet when I chanced to pass beyond the range —
The narrow range of what in boyish years
I daily saw — my mind I felt impressed;
Whether on holiday, with tapering rod
And fly deceptive, I, well pleased, explored
The scenery wild round classic Lochinvar;
Or wandered farther still to wilder scenes,
Where, midst the savage grandeur of the hills,
Gloomy Loch Dungeon rolled her Alpine waves.
Nor with the savage and the wild alone
Was I impressed. In my mind's eye, a glade —
A sunny glade — I see, which well I wot
A little rural paradise appeared.
With happy schoolmates I had sallied forth
On bright autumnal morn, to range the woods,
With hope of bringing home for Hallowe'en,
Of hazel nuts rich store. Without intent,
I from my comrades strayed, and wandered on
Through tangled thicket, and through bosky dell,
Until a place I reached where the dense wood
Impervious seemed; yet here I lingered not:
With eyes close shut, and hat well flapped, and head
Low bent, through thorny brakes I forced my way;
And when my eyes I opened, I beheld
A scene of sylvan beauty, such as since
In all my wanderings I have never seen.
A woodland glade it was of small extent,
And shape irregular; with gentle slope
Inclining to the south. Of velvet moss
The carpeting was formed, and here and there
A little hillock rose, covered with moss
Of finer texture, and of richer hue.
A stone there also was, half sunk, and half
With ivy and with fragrant woodbine clothed —
Under its pendant front, a bubbling spring
Of limpid water rose, and down the glade
In tiny stream, — now gurgling half-concealed, —
Now o'er the polished pebbles purling flowed:
The woods around beamed with a smile of joy,
Seeming bedecked in holiday attire;
For autumn's bounteous hand arrayed them now
In robes of richest tints and sweetest hues.
A stilly silence reigned — save when the wing
Of balmy zephyr lingering as he passed,
The gentlest rustling raised amongst the leaves,
Meaning, I ween, a little to abide —
When roused by hollow roar of Ken's hoarse voice
Coming from Earlston's deep and rocky linn,
He flapped his filmy wings, and floated on.
Intranced I stood, and round and round I gazed
In happy wonderment. But fear at last
Mingled with my delight. Can such a glade,
Thought I, be void of habitants? Here form
The fairy folks their nightly ring. Here, dressed
In robes of green, they deftly dance
When shines the moon; and here, perchance, even now
They lurk unseen amidst the velvet moss.
With hasty step, into the thickest wood
Precipitous I plunged, and at my heels
The Elfin King I thrilling seemed to hear.
Through bush and brake I rushed, nor looked behind
Till, by their jocund laugh, my mates I found,
Whom with delight I joined; but felt ashamed,
Or of my fears, or of my joys to tell.
RESPECTED friend, I wish thee well; —
We've been through years together:
While o'er life's ocean thou dost sail,
May'st thou have pleasant weather.
WHEN sitting on the auld hearth
My een whyles fill wi' tears,
When voices frae the hazy past
Come soundin' doun the years.
They talk to me o' youthfu' days,
An' manhood in its prime,
Afore I felt the heavy han'
O' that auld carle, Time.
My step is slower on the road,
It's no sae firm and bauld;
I'm like to trip amang the stanes —
I think I'm turning auld.
Ah, me ! that auld grey heid o' mine,
When young, was gowden fair,
But noo, alack, the kirkyard flo'ers
Are blooming freshly there.
I hear a voice that nane can hear,
It fa's sae calm an' sweet,
The little children's cheerie lauch,
The patter o' their feet;
But noo their din I canna thole,
It makes me fret and scald;
Whan I was young it wasna sae —
I'm mayhap growin' auld.
My auld clay biggin's turnin' frail,
The roof-tree's bendin' sair,
The han' o' time has left its mark
In curves an' bends o' care.
My speerit whyles tak's langin' looks
Through chinks in that auld wa',
It totters whan the win's are loud,
I fear it's gaun to fa'.
Sae like a sair worn garment noo
That's cuttin' at the fauld,
An' a' aboot the seams is bare —
I'm surely growin' auld.
I feel like some frail lanely tree
That's bendin' in the blast,
It's kindred a' are deid an' gane,
An' lang it canna last.
My autumn's sun is sinkin' low
Doon in the gowden west,
I hear a gentle whisperin'
That speaks o' comin' rest.
I sune will pass the bound o' time,
The river deep an' cauld,
An' walk the Amaranthine shore —
There youth will ne'er grow auld.
A LITTLE mound of earth is gently swelling
Above the level of the churchyard green;
A nameless grave — the last, the lowly dwelling
Of him who dreamless sleeps beneath unseen.
No monument hath he — and none is needed —
In sculptured grandeur rising o'er his head;
He lived, he died, and now he lies unheeded,
A dweller in the city of the dead.
Not all unheeded is the life departed —
Dust unto dust the soul to him who gave —
One mourner, old and lone and broken-hearted,
Hides her sad tears beside the old man's grave.
Too weak to cross the path to where he sleepeth,
With help she totters to the cottage door,
Or by the window pane her vigil keepeth,
Waiting till they shall meet to part no more.
Waiting the prayed for hour when she beside him
Shall rest her aching head in welcome sleep;
To wake with him where nothing can divide them,
And God shall wipe all tears from eyes that weep.
A home of peace was theirs, for each would render
Unto the other that which blessed their lot;
A wealth of love so pure, so true, so tender,
It hallowed all within their humble cot.
That well-known cot, where early sunbeams, glancing,
Rest on the much-loved spot, and kindly smile;
Where o'er Fleet's lovely bay the wavelets, dancing,
Leap aye in merry mood round Ardwall's Isle,
For many years their home, till death, unbidden,
Met the old man one night upon the shore, —
Spread o'er him his dark wing, and he was hidden —
The place that knew him once knows him no more.
A peaceful home old mother earth hath given
To her poor child, come home to her own breast;
Weary and way-worn, though so rudely driven
To her embrace, he quietly doth rest,
In old Kirkandrews, where the field flowers, growing,
Fling to the summer air their sweet perfume,
And restless waves for ever ebbing, flowing,
Sing their wild lullaby beside his tomb.
The wind, among the gravestones softly creeping,
Breathes in low sighs the grief it fears to tell;
The clouds in sable garb bend o'er him weeping,
Sent by the moaning sea he loved so well.
A thousand faithful stars keep watch above him,
And seem, while glancing in night's azure crown,
As if from heaven's windows friends that love him,
With ever wakeful eyes, look fondly down.
And in the twilight dim, when lightly tremble
Shadows from angel wings on turf and stone,
Beside the churchyard gate old friends assemble,
And talk in kindly mood of him now gone.
The children as they play subdue their gladness,
The skylark as it mounts forgets its song,
The murmur of the brook seems touched with sadness,
As to the old mill wheel it creeps along.
That old mill wheel, how painful is its drumming,
As wearily it travels round and round;
How wearily the bees around are humming,
The flowers bend, drooping, on the parched-up ground.
We think it to the stricken heart will borrow
From all things sympathy, and seek relief
In the fond thought that others share its sorrow,
Tinging all nature with its own dark grief.
ANCE John was laird o' crooked tree,
O broomy knowes, and gowany lea —
Yes, John was laird o' a' the three,
An' what's he noo?
Hired for a cotman's canny fee
To haud the pleugh!
When John was laird, frae far and near
The neebors cam' his wit to hear,
And sat fu' glorious owre their beer
While health's were quaffin',
Then Johnnie's stories, tell't sae queer,
Set a' a-lauchin'.
On market days, if at the toon,
The laird was socht for roun' an' roun',
His airt o' dealin' was sae soun'
That scores they socht him,
His skill on stock for to lay doon
Afore they bocht them.
When loaded ice did crack an' rair,
The laird he was a trusty player,
An' as a skip he aye was there
To show the place;
At meetings a' he filled the chair
Wi' easy grace.
If frost stood lang, an' hard as steel,
An' wark grew scarce in every fiel',
The laird wad then tak' on a spiel —
An' folks were shure
'Twad be for twa-three lade o' meal,
To gie the puir.
Some hearts are kind, but John's was rare,
And ilk' distress his purse did share,
E'en bills he signed — frae black despair —
To save his frien's;
At last the laird himsel' grew bare,
An' lost his means.
In yon wee hoose beside the glen
Noo John his scanty days maun spen' —
There's no' as much as but an' ben
In yon wee cot;
So John's gudeman o' but ae en' —
That's a' that's o't.
Hoo times are changed, I do declare!
Sin' John's grown puir he's socht nae mair;
The man they followed everywhere
Kens naething noo,
He tint his wit as he grew bare —
Sae he maun pleugh.
Noo a' the fops aboot the place —
Ay, a' that brainless dirty race —
Noo canna look John in the face,
But nimbly ply
The whip an' reins to men' the pace
As they gang by.
Dark winter nichts, wi' sugh an' roar,
They come just as they cam' before;
On them they ha'e their yearly splore,
An' play their cairds;
But John's no asked — they've lost his door —
It's no a laird's.
Awa' wi' goold; gie me the man
Wha Nature's voice can understan',
I'd grasp him frien'ly by the han',
For weel I'm sure
A nicht wi' him wad e'en be gran',
Altho' he's puir.
ALONE I walked the wild wood-side,
Where autumn breathed her airy breeze;
The silver moon-shine, far and wide,
Beamed glimmering through the branching trees.
The birdies now, on leafless bough,
Their carols gay had laid aside;
Grave silence reigns through woods and plains
With me along the wild wood-side.
Far-roaring Dee burst o'er his rocks,
While distance tuned his swelling moans,
O'erhung with oak, and ivied locks,
Where owls screeched out their wailing tones.
The fragrant bean was withering seen,
And flowery hawthorn's bloom decayed;
No heavenly dew shall then renew,
Till Spring revive the wild wood-side.
Now sleep her patent spell hath drawn,
And charmed creation into rest,
Save only thoughtless, hapless man,
Where guilt or love disturbs the breast.
Sweet Peace! descend — be thou my friend,
And white-robed Innocence my guide;
And teach me clear my course to steer,
Poor wanderer, by the wild wood-side.
Ye twinkling stars, that shine afar,
To me unknown's your distant race;
Ye comets, on your fiery car,
That wander through the boundless space,
Can Science scan your voice to man,
As through the concave blue ye glide,
And teach such views to vagrant muse,
That wanders by the wild wood-side?
Where now the distant landscape sweet?
Where now the busy haunts of men?
The chill dews o'er the grey grass creep,
The reapers now have left the plain.
With every blast the leaves fall fast,
As down the stream they mournful ride:
Changed Nature here looks pale and drear
With me along the wild wood-side.
Again the lamp of day shall burn,
With harmony the woods shall ring;
The annual wheel of time shall turn,
With all the rosy hues of Spring:
But man, when laid in lonely bed,
His griefs and joys are laid aside;
He ne'er again shall view the plain,
Or beauties of the wild wood-side.
OVER the loch, as the sun goes down,
The white sea-mew is skimming,
And the purple skies their glorious dyes
On the watery lens are limning;
The fisher his dredging net draws home,
For his all-day toils are ended,
And, helm in hand, he steers to the land,
With sail like a bow that is bended.
Over the loch, with fluttering wings,
The soft night-breeze is roaming,
And all things seem to nod and dream,
In the dim sweet light of the gloaming;
No sound is heard, save the slumb'rous surge,
In rythmic murmurs telling
Of the echoing caves old ocean laves,
Where the mermaid has her dwelling.
Over the loch the wan moon pours
A flood of silvery glory,
While scenes and skies on my fancy rise,
That gleam in the olden story,
Of phantom ships that skim the main,
Of whispers softly falling —
Strange sounds that creep o'er the weird lone deep,
The seaman's soul appalling.
On thy face, when the blust'ring tempest king
In his wrath thy bosom scourges,
I love to gaze, and to mark the race
Of thy vexed and foaming surges;
And fair art thou on summer days,
With white sails thickly gleaming;
But sweeter now, with thy sleeping brow,
In the placid moonshine dreaming.
NOW do the birds, in their warbling words,
Welcome the year;
While sugar'd notes they chirrup through their throats
To win a pheare;
Sweetly they breathe the wanton love
That Nature in them warms:
And each to gain a Mate doth prove
With sweet enchanting charms.
He sweetly sings, and stays the nimble wings
Of her in th' air,
She hovering stays, to hear his loving lays
Which woo her there:
She becomes willing, hears him woo,
Gives ear unto his song:
And doth as Nature taught her do,
Yields, su'd unto not long.
But Cœlia stays, she feeds me with delays,
Hears not my mone:
She knows the smart in time will kill my heart
To live alone:
Learn of the birds to chuse thee a pheare,
But not like them to range:
They have their mate but for a year,
But sweet, let's never change.
The Turtle-dove let's imitate in love,
That still loves one:
Dear, do not stay, youth quickly flies away,
Then desire's gone.
Love is kindest and hath most length,
The kisses are most sweet,
When it's enjoyed in heat and strength,
When like affections meet.
Suggested by ALMA TADEMA'S Painting — "A READING FROM HOMER."
Royal Academy Exhibition, 1885.
NOT Homer's lays to ancient Greek
On Sunium's marble lying,
In sweeter, grander tones could speak
To warrior bold, or maiden meek,
Than Burns, among his moorlands bleak,
Who sang in strains undying.
The shepherd, 'mid his mountain land,
The cow-boy and the hind,
The artisan with horny hand,
All bless the peasant-bard whose wand
With magic witched their native strand. —
All own his master mind.
Words gave he to the bashful swain:
He sweeter made the May
When lovers met — will meet again —
The old, old song, the old refrain —
The twilight hour that breaks the strain
Of weary, toilsome day.
The poorest cottar o'er his lays,
Since life's hard strife began,
Forgets its slavish, drudging ways,
Forgets its dark and sunless days,
And lifts his eyes to God in praise,
To feel he still is man.
The sire bequeathed unto his son,
True pride and manly sense; —
Could thrift and toil life's fight have won,
That father, when his days were done,
Could not have left his gifted one
A nobler 'heritance.
THREESCORE and sixteen rolling years
Have o'er me wheeled their rounds,
But still my age with rapture hears
Sweet Music's magic sounds.
Last night, when Sleep his poppies shed,
And wrapped me in his pall,
Methought I was by Friendship led
To Saint Cecilia's Hall.
The Muses there, in bright array,
Around me seemed to close;
Apollo, too, the god of day,
In fancy's vision rose.
The notes of Harmony there flowed —
I stood in wonder mute;
My soul to her sweet influence bowed,
Subdued by harp and lute.
Anon by Fancy's potent wand
Another dome was reared,
And to my sight another band
Of minstrels soon appeared.
A sun-bright halo shone around,
Fringed with ethereal fire;
The harp of Orpheus seemed to sound,
And great Apollo's lyre.
Forms, old and young, before me stood,
And vanished in their turn;
A lovely form, in mournful mood,
Now warbled "Anna's Urn."
My heart then felt a smarting twinge,
A palpitation sore;
The door turned quickly on its hinge —
I saw these forms no more.
The lark, sweet herald of the morn,
Had waked the vocal throng;
The blackbird whistled on the thorn,
And all I heard was song.
TWAS where the heath-clad mountains rise
To kiss the fair soft autumn skies,
I first beheld, wi' raptured eyes,
The rose amang the heather.
Out o'er Bengray the setting sun
Proclaimed another day was done,
But eve's deep shadows seemed to shun
The rose amang the heather.
Her form was fair wi' queenly grace,
An' love lit up her winsome face —
Now frae my heart could ocht efface
The rose amang the heather?
Aroun' her brow, sae white an' fair,
Fell braids o' bonnie raven hair,
Her footstep was as licht as air,
Amang the purple heather.
An' O! my heart wi' love was fou',
I langed to pree her bonnie mou',
Just like a rose-bud wat wi' dew,
My rose amang the heather.
I whispered o' my heart aflame,
An' spiered gin she wad share my name,
An' cast a halo roun' my hame —
My rose amang the heather.
Fu' blate she sighed, but couldna speak,
While heaven's ain blush suffused her cheek,
But her dark een, sae saft an' meek,
Said "We will live together,"
Noo in my haudin', bien an' braw,
She reigns, the honoured queen o' a',
An' I'll aye tent nae ill befa'
My rose amang the heather.
THE Carlinwark Loch, wi' its bonny green isles,
An' bricht rushy nooks where the sun sweetly smiles,
The haunts o' the wild duck an' wee coot sae slee,
Is dear to my heart as the years past me flee.
As musin' I stray on this snell winter gloamin',
Thro' plantains o' Isle an' the lane Lover's loanin';
To weave in its praise a bit ballant or sang,
Hoo the visions o' young days come croodin' sae thrang.
The days when wee callants wi' faces sae bricht,
Ne'er oot o' a mischief frae mornin' to nicht;
As we paidled, an' played sic queer frolics an' pranks,
In a' loops o' the loch famed for powheads an' stanks.
Roun' the craft o' the Buchan, an' a' Causeyen'
We kent ilka haunt o' the wee cutty-wren,
An' no' a wasp's byke 'tween the Kirklan' an' Screel
But smelt o' oor powder, ca'd pluffs o' the deil.
In spring, when the birdies o' love were a' singin',
An' ilk' shady bank had wee primroses springin',
Hoo aft we played truant in Cuil's rushy meads
To herry the water-hen's nests 'mang the reeds.
An' for nests o' the yorlin' in laneliest glade,
For the cushats in plantain or darksome fir shade,
Or the hoolets in biggin's ca'd hames o' the fays,
We had nose o' the beagle in thae early days.
An' in lang days o' simmer hoo fleetly we ran
To the auld brig o' Buchan to fish in its stran',
Or to douk at the Shaul Point we'd scamper awa',
As owre the loch's breist the saft South wuns would blaw.
Syne in autumn we gaed to the Castle-Gow'r braes,
To gether the brambles, the nits, an' the slaes;
In oor scramblin' 'mang bushes no' carin' a plack
Tho' oor claes were a' tattered an' torn frae oor back.
In the deep shady glens, where the wee bashfu' flowers
Hung a' droukin' wi' dew, 'neath the willows' green bowers,
We would linger, weel pleased wi' the wee burnie's soun',
Till 'mang bricht rosy clouds the big sun was gaun doun'.
Wi' the wee heather linties we'd whussle an' sing,
Till the braw wuds o' Gelston wi' music would ring;
An' whyles far frae hame we would tarry sae lang
That oor mithers would change baith oor tune an' oor sang.
An' in winter, when landscapes in sadness were cast,
An' flo'ers drooped their heids in the cauld nippin' blast,
Wi' a smile we gied wee dowie robins a crumb,
As ilk' mornin' an' nicht to oor window they'd come.
When in dark dreary nichts there cam' oot o' the wast,
The cauld sleety showers, or the rain-dreepin' blast,
Hoo we laucht when the loch, lippin' fu' at our feet,
Brocht the swans up to look at auld wives in the street.
But O! when King Frost owre the landscape would reign,
An' the curlers met frien's on the loch's icy plain,
Hoo we'd bang frae the schule an' like fairies would glide,
Wi' oor pikes in gay bands to the lang slipp'ry slide!
An' when oot on the ice in a gran' jingo ring,
Hoo we made a' the wuds wi' oor voices to ring;
Sae that then oor wee faces were pictures o' health
Mair dear to oor mithers than the hale warl's wealth.
O! the schule days were joyous; to us in the warl'
There was then nae sic bodie as care — cankered carle;
For if mither whyles flyted, an' at us he'd stare,
Wi' oor kites he was sent fleein' up in the air.
Tho' noo saxty simmers an' mair I hae seen,
An' in web o' my life monie burbles hae been,
Thae mem'ries o' young days hae aft had the po'er
To lichten life's burden, tho' ever sae dour.
'Bout oor loch there's a charm that nae ither can gie;
Ilk' bank, an' ilk' craig, an' ilk' loanin' an' tree,
Are sae linket an' twined wi' auld memories dear,
That whyles, tho' the heart's licht, there starts up the tear.
Nae lochs o' the Hielans', wi' torrents an' rills,
Where roam the wild deer 'mang the gran' tow'rin' hills,
Are sae fair as oor ain, when the sun's sinkin' doun,
An' in its calm bosom is mirror'd "the toun."
O! I lo'ed it when young, an' I loe it when auld,
Tho' my locks noo are grey an' my pow's gettin' bald;
Sae, when in life's sunset wi' me a' is o'er,
May I sleep in the lanely kirkyaird on its shore.
THERE is a spirit that imparts
Its presence to all things we see;
That pours a glory o'er our hearts
Drawn from the world that is to be;
There is a gracious gift of God
Sent down in mercy from on high,
That lifts our fancies from the sod
To that dear life which cannot die.
All things are beautiful by Love, —
The tender flowers of summer birth,
The dim seen stars that from above
Gaze, like her myriad orbs, on earth;
Each landscape shines with fairer rays
Than stream-like shower from silver skies,
When Love walks thro' the winding ways,
With maiden form, and angel eyes!
A balmier breeze perfumes the air,
With memories of the primrose dells;
A mellower music everywhere
Through dewier woodlands floats and swells;
When like the murmur of the sea
Upon some sweet, mysterious shore,
Love's weird and wondrous melody
Moves thro' our senses evermore!
Yea, every thought is glorified
By her high influence divine,
When radiant Love, the starry-eyed,
Like moonlight on our life doth shine;
And joyful is the soul that feels
The witching magic of her spell,
As thro' his hopes the vision steals
Of that fair form he loves so well
How beautiful her sunlight seems
In childhood's eyes of gentlest hue!
How tenderly her spirit dreams
In looks of lovers deep and true!
But chiefly her pure presence brings
To age a sweetness from the Past,
As in the old man's heart she sings
Of One he loveth to the last!
But fairer far His love divine,
Who gleams thro' all the glowing year;
Whose sacred influences shine
In every gift we hold most dear.
O, mighty Parent of all power,
O, Fountain of all things that be, —
Be Thou our pathway till that hour
When Death shall lead our lives to Thee
FAREWELL, ye Hills of Galloway,
Where I've been wont to stray, —
Farewell, ye Hills of Galloway,
My home of childhood's day.
A distant land now claims me,
But thither though I roam,
My throbbing heart will beat with joy
For thee, my hilly home!
Ye heathery Hills of Galloway —
Ye woods of oak and pine —
Ye little foaming cataracts,
Ye all are friends of mine:
The eagle haunts your highest peak —
The swan your lake below;
And herds of stately deer are fed
Where Fleet's dark waters flow!
Ye cloud-capt hills of Galloway,
Where wildest breezes blow,
The mists of Heaven that rest on you,
A weather-beacon show.
The peasant dwelling in the vale,
Reads in each rock and dell
Aerial lore — vicissitudes
That coming change fortell.
Ye ancient Hills of Galloway,
How changed your aspect now,
From what it was in former times —
When round your rugged brow
One universal forest waved —
The native moose-deer's home,
And where the hardy wild Scot loved
In liberty to roam!
Ye ancient Hills of Galloway,
How proudly now ye rise
Above the rude and lonely graves
Of former enemies!
How proudly now your bosoms swell,
In freedom's present hour —
Though studded close with remnants still
Of what was Roman power.
Ye sea-girt Hills of Galloway,
How nobly forth ye stand —
As if defying every foe
To gain your ancient strand.
There's liberty in every breath
That stirs your forest tree!
There's liberty in every wave
That greets you from the sea.
Then, farewell! farewell! Galloway,
My blessing with thee rest, —
I go to visit other climes —
I go to be their guest.
For not another spot shall claim
A dearer name from me,
My only true — my native home,
Sweet Galloway — is thee.
BABBLE on, bonnie burn! o'er thy rough rocky bed,
Oh! how sweet is thy low liquid music to me,
Softly singing me back into years that are fled,
To dream over old dreams, that must dreams ever be.
From life's madness how sweet for one hour to be free;
Away calm from the bubbles earth's beauties that mar,
Thy pure wavelets to list', singing down to the sea,
And drink deep of thy peace, bonnie Burn o' the Barr!
With thy murmuring meander, instinctive I turn
To the scenes away back in the shadows that lie,
When I sailed my wee boats on thy stream, bonnie Burn!
And my wee water-wheels, thy pure bubbles ran by.
Bright aroma of days that like bubbles, too, fly,
Coming down through the veil, and yet seeming afar,
And the present and past, with their grief, and their joy,
Meet and blend on thy banks, bonnie Burn o' the Barr!
Every bush, bud, and bough, every rock, nook, and dell;
Every carol of birds, ringing sweet in the glen,
Has, unconscious, some heart-treasur'd story to tell —
Some bright sunbeam of life to waft back from some then,
And flash onward a ray to some long look'd-for when;
Peering dim through the mist like a tear-clouded star,
Ever changing, yet twinkling, unstable as men;
But how bright on thy banks, bonnie Burn o' the Barr!
Linking heart with thy beauties, how subtle the tie,
(With what numberless threads, to what numberless things,)
When the scent of a flow'r shall revive an old joy,
And an old world arise on a butterfly's wings;
The clear note of the thrush, in the alder that sings,
Floating glad into years lined with many a scar —
And the hoary old ash to the old bridge that clings,
All are linked to heart-throbs, bonnie Burn o' the Barr!
To thy low gentle sound in the long summer sun —
Soft and sweet on the breeze as the flow'r odours lie —
Let me whisper a love to one heart only known —
A love born on thy banks — a love nurs'd with thy sigh.
In thy wild winter's rage, as thy waters rush by,
Rock-lash'd white into foam with its loud ceaseless roar;
I see life's stormy path from which duty can't fly,
Not for me the calm shades, bonnie Burn o' the Barr!
Babble on, bonnie burn! to the sea babble on,
Tho' untouched by the wand of the poet — sweet spell —
Tho' to fame, and historic achievements unknown,
On thy wild rugged banks what bright heart dews have fell,
On thy diamond-crest waves what enchantments there dwell,
All unsung, all unseen, amidst life's fitful war,
Oh! the bless of an hour, by thy dream-haunted rill,
Babbling down to the sea, bonnie Buns o' the Barr.
BENEATH the sweltering heat at noontide's blaze
Our boat's keel grated on the shell-strewn strand;
The sun sent down his scarcely slanting rays,
And bathed in lustre this unhappy land
Of cloven basalt, and of yellow sand,
Where leprous outcasts from their fellow-men
Are shut for ever from the great world's ken.
Then slowly climbing through the sultry hours,
Through tangled brushwood, and through deep ravine,
Where brooklets babbled, and where trailing flowers
Festooned the hoary cliffs with lustrous screen,
Of gold and crimson, flush'd with emerald sheen,
We halted high up on a shattered edge
Of Kalawao's bare and barren ledge.
Far, far below us, in the evening gloom,
We caught first glimpses of this awful vale,
And shuddering gazed upon the living tomb
Where fetid odours taint the passing gale,
And hideous forms, unwearied, sob and wail;
Where men and women, doomed to slow decay,
With envious eyes see comrades pass away.
What awful mockery it seemed to be
To climb down crags through cataracts of bloom;
To wade breast deep amidst a shimmering sea
Of gorgeous blossom, and of shining plume,
To pass from life unto a fearful doom,
And deep within their inmost soul to feel
That on them Death had set his livid seal!
From out the huts that dot the vale below
What dusky, weird, and loathsome forms appeared,
Their tawny bodies flecked with spots of snow,
Their goggle eyes misshapen, glazed, and bleared,
Their skins all shrivelled, wan, and seared;
Each feature fades, and leaves remotest trace,
Or faintest semblance of the human face.
When daylight dies, and evening shadows dim
Droop slowly down upon the plague-stained isle,
The trem'lous music of the evening hymn
Floats faintly upward; for a little while
The stricken ones the weary hours beguile —
Forget their sorrows, and the leprous rust:
Souls singing as the bodies fade to dust.
A chapel stands within a grove of palms,
Where Father Damien, with a gentle grace,
Leads quavering voices in the evening psalms.
The reverend father, with his saint-like face,
Contented dwells among the afflicted race —
Contented dwells within this living tomb,
Knowing that he must share the leper's doom.
Cut off for ever from the great world's strife,
Parted for aye from those to him akin,
He left the world, and now devotes his life
To children suffering for the father's sin;
To guide and lead them, so they yet may win
The golden crown, and find them peace and rest,
Freed from life's ills, in mansions of the blest.
Shall he not win unto himself a name
Who fights against a dark insidious foe,
Much more than they who up the ascent to fame
Through weltering fields of blood and carnage go?
Shall he than them a brighter record show,
Who bravely battles with the fever's breath,
And daily faces pestilential death?
Closed up within this sad and lonely land
The holy father passes to and fro;
Speaks peace and comfort to his stricken band,
Who weep around him while their hearts o'erflow,
For soon on high he'll wear the robes of snow —
Some other voice will chant the evening psalms
Within the holy chapel of the palms.
WHILE I do Hope my thoughts do high aspire,
In deep Despair these hopes are quickly drown'd;
Sometimes I burn with an Etnean fire:
Sometimes I freeze — I swim, straight sink to ground.
O, since such changes in my love I find,
Death change my life; or Love my Cœlia's mind.
WI' Nature's charms an' oor to spen',
There's ne'er a valley that I ken,
In Britain's Isle frae en' to en',
Can match the Glen o' Physgill.
In it the mavis bigs his nest,
In it, methinks, he sings his best,
While fair the flowery banks are drest
That line the Glen o' Physgill.
Hoo richly blooms the briar there!
An' honeysuckle fills the air
Wi' perfume sweet, beyond compare,
Through a' the Glen o' Physgill.
The burnie, 'mang the mossy knowes,
On whilk the bracken trimly grows,
Beneath its bosky awnin' rows,
To weet the Glen o' Physgill.
In shady bowers by rustlin' wa's,
An' roofs bedecked wi' ruby haws,
Love's fervid whisper often fa's
Within the Glen o' Physgill.
Nor could a mair enticin' spot
For breathin' sic a tale be got,
Than whar the siller daisies dot
The grassy Glen o' Physgill.
Unlike the clamour heard in toons,
Delightfu' are the sylvan soun's
The breezes bear alang the boun's
That mark the Glen o' Physgill.
An' even when the billows' roar
Resounds alang th' adjacent shore,
Its muffled by the trees afore
It raiks the Glen o' Physgill.
Nae artificial parks for me,
Hooever snod or gran' they be:
I'm better pleased, by far, to see
The cosy Glen a' Physgill.
HEY for the haymaking weather!
Hey for the meadows green!
Scythemen all swinging together,
Swish of the blades so keen.
There go the ranks of the mowers,
Sweeping the swathes behind,
Bending as tall meadow flowers
Bend in a westerly wind.
To the east their heads are inclining
For a last strong kiss from the sun,
And a draught of his early shining
Just once ere their life is done.
Dragon-flies hover and shiver,
Over the gnat-haunted pool;
Cows are knee-deep in the river,
Flicking the flies in the cool.
Stridently down in the meadow
Stone upon steel is laid;
Down where the grass is in shadow,
Some one is sharpening his blade;
With hey for the haymaking weath
Hey for the meadows green!
Scythemen all swinging together,
Swish of the blades so keen.
Here come the haymaking lasses,
Bonneted safe from the sun,
Merrily tossing the grasses,
Wild roses every one.
Brown are their faces haymaking,
Bright as this summer's day;
Strong are the arms that are raking
And shaking the new-mown hay.
Rare is the haymaking weather,
Strong with the strength of June;
Lasses and lads together,
Sing to a haymaking tune.
Singing and swinging and bringing
Hay from the meadows green,
Maying and playing and haying,
All are most pleasant, I ween.
All in the haymaking weather,
Lumbering along the ways,
The wains in a row together
Creak home in the longest days.
With hey for the haymaking weather
Hey for the meadows green!
Scythemen all swinging together,
Swish of the blades so keen.
Rattling and battering and clattering,
The hay waggons cumber the road;
Rustling and hustling and bustling,
The hay-mow swallows the load.
But somehow the haymaking riot
Dies into silence soon,
For I am possessed with the quiet
And drowse of the afternoon.
And in the dim hay-loft, a-glimmer
With motes in the slant sunbeam,
If the world gets dimmer and dimmer,
Who shall chide if I sleep and dream
Of the lazy haymaking weather,
The drowsy meadows green,
Scythemen all swinging together,
Swish of the blades so keen?
WHA but lo'es the bonnie hills,
Wha but lo'es the shinin' rills;
Aye for thee my bosom fills —
Bonnie Gallowa'.
Land o' darkly-rollin' Dee,
Land o' silvery windin' Cree,
Kiss'd by Solway's foamy sea —
Bonnie Gallowa'.
Wreathes o' glory roun' thee weave,
Gory land o' fearless Thrieve,
Heroes' deeds your sons achieve —
Bonnie Gallowa'.
Ance ye had a king your ain,
Wha your laurels ne'er wad stain,
Focht your foes wi' micht an' main —
Bonnie Gallowa'.
Wha 'mang Scotia's chiefs can shine?
Heroes o' the Douglas line,
Maxwells, Gordons, a' are thine —
Bonnie Gallowa'.
Land o' birk and rowan tree,
Land o' fell and forest free,
Land that's aye sae dear to me —
Bonnie Gallowa'.
AS gloaming was drawing her veil o'er the mountains,
And tinging with azure the far-distant hill;
And, save the small rills from their moss-covered fountains,
The lone face of Nature was silent and still.
How sweetly the stream of the valley meander'd,
And sweet was the scent of the hawthorn tree;
Thus, allur'd by the beauties of Nature, I wander'd
To where the small streamlet was lost in the sea.
And there sat a maiden lamenting her lover,
Responsive she sighed to the slow heaving wave:
"Thy cares and thy sorrows, dear Edward, are over,"
She said, "though the wild weltering deep is thy grave.
Oh! thine was a bosom once fraught with affection,
Yes, thine was a heart that to friendship was dear;
Pure virtue had found in thy bosom protection,
Thy bright eye to pity denied not a tear.
Oh! hope, gentle hope, thou art gone, yes, for ever —
No more thy bright beams can illumine my mind,
For in this torn bosom shall flourish for ever
Wild stems of despair with distraction entwined.
Roll slowly, roll slowly, thou dark heaving billow,
Roll slowly along o'er the bed of the brave:
Oh! move not his head from his soft sandy pillow,
But heap the soft sea weeds along by his grave.
And mine be the task, in the stillness of gloaming,
To view the smooth waters that cover his bed;
And when the winds blow, and the billows are foaming,
Oh! then shall the tears of remembrance be shed."
I HAVE raised thee again to the light, Old Oak,
And thy huge dark trunk appears
From the bed where thy age, or the light'ning's stroke,
Had laid thee some thousand years.
Was't the wind, or the wave, that thou couldst not brave,
Or when or how didst thou fall?
I have much, old tree, to inquire of thee,
And would thou couldst answer me all.
Didst thou flourish in a distant time unknown,
Ere man walked the world erect,
When the giant Mammoth and Mastodon
Would range through the forest uncheck'd;
Or did'st thou spread thy broad crowned head
In days when the human race,
In their pomp and pride, stretch'd far and wide
O'er earth's gay flowery face.
Then gallants, vigorous, stout, and bold,
Yet seven score years had seen,
Did they dance with the girls, a hundred years old,
Beneath thy bows when green?
And the man who had seen eight centuries pass,
Whose eyes were turning dim,
Did he rest in thy shadow? Alas! alas!
I should liked to have talked with him.
Wast thou a tree when the waters arose,
And deluged our world below?
Were the nestlings drowned on thy topmost boughs
Four thousand years ago?
The parents that on weary wing filled the air,
And the men that long did scoff,
Did they clutch at thy twigs in their dark despair,
While the wild waves washed them off?
Or did'st thou bend o'er a barbarous race
In a much later date and day,
Who sought thy shade as the worthiest place
To kneel to their gods, and pray?
Has the altar rude by thy old trunk stood
When men would in vain implore?
Has the victim bled, and thy roots been fed
With the dark rich human gore?
But in vain, old tree, do I ask of thee,
Thou hast long, long lain unknown:
Thou hast flourished somewhere, thou hast once been
But thy date and thy history's gone;
And such is our lot, soon unseen — forgot
When my bones may be cast on the green,
It is but like a day till the living will say—
"Ah, look here where some dead man's been."
PROUD monast'ry of ancient time!
That strik'st the soul with awe profound,
Whose ruined battlements sublime
Are with thick mantling ivy crowned:
Scarce dares the rook to gaze around
From the dread summit of thy walls;
While trembling fragments oft resound
Far through thy long arch'd echoing halls;
Where the winds, howling wild and rude,
Appal the timid heart of pensive solitude.
Ye shrines to superstition reared,
Where in the times of Gothic night
The holy brotherhood, rever'd,
Led through these halls the taper'd rite.
And now oft in the wan moonlight
The ghosts of full arm'd knights are seen,
Who for the Cross awoke the fight
Far on the plains of Palestine:
Now 'neath the fractured vault their ashes rest,
Where the long whispering grass waves o'er the warrior's
Alike, dread ruin, lords it wide
O'er the gay seat or humbler bower;
Destroys the temple's sacred pride,
And heaps in dust the cloud-topt tower.
Here, where oft in the midnight hour
Devotion struck her silver lyre,
And praising hosts were heard to pour
Such strains as woke the soul on fire,
Now o'er the sod that hides the slumb'ring saint
The grey owl to the moon breathes still her hated plaint.
Yes! where the altar stood rever'd
The lowing herd unconscious strays;
And oft the goat, with snowy beard,
Looks o'er the window's fractured base;
And where oft to Jehovah's praise
Peal'd the loud organ long and deep,
Now on the pipe the shepherd plays,
Or on some tombstone falls asleep;
Nor dreams of death, though stretched o'er his cold bed,
Nor dreads the tottering walls impending o'er his head.
Halls that to Scotia's injured Queen
The last sweet night of freedom gave,
Ere had she cross'd yon billows green
That Cumbria's distant mountains lave.
Sad hour that bade her tempt the wave,
And bore her from her natal lands,
To find no peace but in that grave
Dug by her murderers' bloody hands.
Oh! had thy walls, oh shrine, her flight withheld,
Whose matchless woes alone her matchless charms
Ye battlements that look to Heaven,
That in your wrecks your grandeur show,
In vain six hundred years have striven
To lay in dust that grandeur low;
And yet full many an age must flow
Ere shall these long arch'd vistas fall;
Though where chiefs sat now thistles grow,
And nettles hide the sculptur'd wall;
And holy men have led the sacred mass
Where the rank hemlock waves o'er the thick-tufted grass.
Be mine when evening's lively hues
Paint thy long aisles with glowing red,
Dundrennan, through thy courts to muse,
Where sleep the long-forgotten dead,
Since were thy deep foundations laid
By Gallovidian Fergus' hands,
Have twice twelve hundred monarchs swayed
The sceptre o'er these smiling lands.
Yet thou must sink at last destroyed by years,
And the plough tear the soil which thy proud structure
WHEN as I wake I dream oft of my dear,
And oft am serious with her in my sleep;
And am oft absent when I am most near,
And near when as I greatest distance keep.
These wonders love doth work, but yet I find
That love wants power to make my Mistress kind.
IN my lanely cot by the shore the nicht,
I'm sittin' my leefu' lane,
As the howlin' win's an' the soughin' sea
Are makin' a weary mane;
An' frae the auld wa's on the Castle hill
I hear the hoolets moanin',
An' the corby's eerie croak in the wuds
Doun in the Kirkdale loanin'.
An' fearsome's the glare o' the licht'nin's flash
Frae the dark and gruesome sky,
That looms owre the cliffs o' the Raven's Ha',
Where the sea-maws wildly cry;
An' dowie an' wae at the hearth the nicht
I sit in the auld airm chair:
The tears are bedimmin' my sleepless e'e,
An' my heart is throbbin' sair.
An' it's no' for my auld gudeman in his grave,
Or wee Annie by his side,
In the lanely yird on the breist o' the brae
Beside Cree's silvery tide;
But it's for wee Willie I lo'ed sae weel
As my auld heart's only joy,
That's gane awa in a sloop frae the bay,
To serve as a cabin boy.
Wee Willie, that cam' when his faither de'd,
An' sorrows wi' me were rife,
Like a wee bricht star in a winter's sky,
To cheer my gloamin' o' life,
To shed roun' the ingle a heartsome glow,
In the winter nichts sae lang,
An' to cheer my heart in the simmer days,
Mair than the birdie's sang.
Oh! my heart is wae when I think he's oot
In the awsome ragin' blast,
May-be noo clingin', a' droukit wi' spray,
To the high an' dizzy mast;
An' shiverin' sair in the pitiless storm,
Wi' his face baith wan an' pale,
'Bune the tempest's roar an' the moanin' sea
He cries wi' a feeble wail.
Or roun' by Cruggleton's stormy point,
Wi' the frichtfu' rocks sae near,
He's lab'rin' sair 'mang the big sea waves,
Till he's like to swarf wi' fear.
Oh! the bitter tear's in my e'e the nicht,
An' my breist is beatin' sair,
As owre me comes the dreadfu' thocht
I'll see wee Willie nae mair;
For, the day, as I wauner'd roun' the shore,
In a kin' o' a waukrife swoon,
I thocht I heard cries o' despair frae a ship
In the howe o' a wave gaun doun';
An' the nicht, wi' the sea-maw's eerie cry,
An' the dashin' snawy faem,
Oh! wae is my weary heart as I pray
That Willie was safely hame.
"O WHA will shoe my bonny feet?
Or wha will glove my hand?
Or wha will lace my middle jimp,
Wi' a lang, lang linen band?
"And wha will kame my yellow hair
Wi' a new-made siller kame?
And wha will be my bairn's father,
Till love Gregory come hame?"
"Your father'll shoe your bonny feet,
Your mother glove your hand;
Your sister lace your middle jimp,
Wi' a lang, lang linen band;
"Mysel' will kame your yellow hair
Wi' a new-made siller kame;
And the Lord will be the bairn's father,
Till Gregory come hame."
"O gin I had a bonny ship,
And men to sail wi' me,
It's I wad gang to my true love,
Sin' he winna come to me!"
Her father's gi'en her a bonny ship,
And sent her to the strand;
She's ta'en her young son in her arms,
And turn'd her back to land.
She hadna been on the sea sailing,
About a month or more,
Till landed has she her bonny ship
Near to her true-love's door.
The night was dark, an' the wind was cauld,
And her love was fast asleep,
And the bairn that was in her twa arms,
Fu' sair began to greet.
Lang stood she at her true-love's door,
And lang tirl'd at the pin;
At length up gat his fause mother,
Says, "Wha's that wad be in?"
"O, it is Annie of Lochroyan,
Your love, come o'er the sea,
But and your young son in her arms,
Sae open the door to me."
"Awa, awa, ye ill woman,
Ye're nae come here for gude;
Ye're but a witch or a vile warlock,
Or mermaid o' the flood!"
"I'm nae a witch, nor vile warlock,
Nor mermaid o' the sea;
But I am Annie of Lochroyan;
O open the door to me!'"
"O gin ye be Annie of Lochroyan,
As I trow not you be,
Now tell me some o' the love-tokens
That pass'd 'tween thee and me."
"O dinna ye mind, love Gregory,
When we sate at the wine,
How we changed the napkins frae our necks,
It's no sae lang sinsyne?
"And your's was gude, and gude eneugh,
But nae sae gude as mine;
For yours was o' the cambrick clear,
But mine o' the silk sae fine.
"And dinna ye mind, love Gregory,
As we twa sate at dine,
How we chang'd the rings frae our fingers,
And I can show thee thine?
"And yours was gude, and gude eneugh,
Yet nae sae gude as mine;
For yours was o' the gude red gold,
But mine o' the diamonds fine.
"Sae open the door, love, Gregory,
And open it with speed;
Or your young son, that is in my arms,
For cauld will soon be dead!"
"Awa, awa, ye ill woman,
Gae frae my door for shame;
For I hae gotten anither fair love,
So ye may hie ye hame!"
Fair Annie turned her round about —
"Weel, since that it be sae,
May never a woman that has born a son,
Hae a heart sae full o' wae!"
O hooly, hooly gaed she back,
As the day began to peep;
She set her foot on gude ship board,
And sair, sair did she weep.
Love Gregory started frae his sleep,
And to his mother did say,
"I dreamed a dream this night, mither,
That maks my heart right wae.
I dreamed that Annie of Lochroyan,
The flower of a' her kin,
Was standing mournin' at my door,
But nane would let her in."
"Gin it be for Annie of Lochroyan,
That ye mak' a' this din;
She stood a' last night at your door,
But I trow she wan na in!"
"O wae betide ye, ill woman!
An ill death may ye dee,
That wadna open the door to her,
Nor yet wad waken me!"
O quickly, quickly raise he up,
And fast ran to the strand;
And then he saw her, fair Annie,
Was sailing frae the land.
And it's "Hey Annie!" and "How Annie!
O Annie, winna ye bide!"
But aye the mair that he cried "Annie!"
The faster ran the tide.
And it's "Hey Annie!" and "How Annie!
O Annie speak to me!"
But aye the louder that he cried "Annie!"
The higher raise the sea.
The wind grew loud, and the sea grew rough,
And the ship was rent in twain;
And soon he saw her, fair Annie,
Come floating through the faem.
He saw his young son in her arms,
Baith toss'd abune the tide;
He wrang his hands, and fast he ran,
And plunged in the sea sae wide.
He catch'd her by the yellow hair,
And drew her to the strand;
But cauld and stiff was every limb,
Afore he reached the land.
O first he kiss'd her cherry cheek,
And syne he kiss'd her chin,
And sair he kiss'd her bonny lips,
But there was nae breath within.
"O was betide my cruel mother,
An' ill death may she dee!
She turn'd fair Annie frae my door,
Wha died for love of me!"
TO-DAY I heard the voice of Spring
Come mellow from the mavis' throat;
I saw the lark extend her wing,
And, soaring, sing the cheerful note.
I saw the Robin leave the door,
And perch upon the lofty tree,
Believing winter's blasts were o'er,
He woo'd his love in melody.
The chirling partridge, cow'ring, ran,
To seek himself a loving mate,
Less fearful of destructive man,
Whose killing time is out of date.
I saw the snowdrops rear their heads,
Beside the wreaths of fading snow,
And heard the ploughman cheer his steeds,
And guide the soil-preparing plough.
I saw the early lambs forsake
The watery grass, and lightly play,
And round the knolls their races take,
As if it had been flow'ry May.
The rye-grass fields, and early wheat,
Are green and fresh, and sweet to view;
And now the sun, with kindly heat,
Begins to warm the earth anew;
While Nature thus proclaims the Spring,
Shall man be silent in the praise
Of Him who taught the birds to sing,
And taught the earth her flow'rs to raise.
Is this the spring of life with me?
Ah, no ! my spring has long gone by;
Ev'n Summer, with his leafy tree,
Hath left me to the autumn dry.
Doth Autumn find me bearing fruit,
Or only leaves of sickly hue?
Am I adhering to the root,
And drawing sap, and comfort too?
Ye who are in the spring of life,
Remember spring will soon go by;
Begin betimes the holy strife,
And you are sure of victory.
Ye who in summer's manly prime,
Are strong to wrestle, fight, and run,
Improve with care your precious time,
Begin, if you are not begun.
And you, whom Autumn's dull decay,
And yellow leaf, hath warning given,
Must ye be told to run, while day
Affords a hope of reaching heaven?
Ye who in winter's chilling blast,
Are shaking, withering, falling down,
Your day of grace is nearly past,
Yet strive by faith to win the crown.
TELL me whose courser, all harnessed so bright,
Is led to yon stall by the yellow moonlight?
For red are his sides with the spur and the lash,
And his teeth the white foam from the bridle bit dash;
A mantle of mist has enveloped him round,
And slowly he walks with his eye to the ground:
A field has been lost, and a kingdom been won,
Ere ever poor charger so much was undone.
The steed may recover ; but never again
His rider shall rule him with lash or with rein,
For bright was the moon when he rode through the grove,
Where the fairies were met for the revels of love;
And the gleam of his eye, and the gold of his hair,
And the rose of his cheek, that was blooming and bare,
Attracted the fairies with whoop and halloo,
Through forest and valley the boy to pursue.
Through forest and valley the boy they pursued,
He gained in the plain, aud they gained in the wood,
Till through the deep river his courser he spurred,
And the whoop of the fairies no longer he heard.
But when he had mastered the forest and flood,
His visage was robbed of its bloom and its blood;
And soon as the hall of his kindred he won,
He bade them lament, for his race it was run.
WE were two lovers — joined by wonderous ties,
One will, one mutual soul, we seem'd to share;
Not music's sounds in sweeter concord rise,
And every thought was unisonal there.
We sought not wealth, nor envied grandeur's smile;
The glare of palaces, and walks of power,
Possess'd no charms — we shunn'd the specious toil,
The state of dust, and glitter of an hour.
For us the world no pause of quiet had known,
We came not, kings, to trouble your repose;
No blast of fate had shook the peaceful throne,
Nor widowed matron wail'd her country's woes.
We only ask'd, in life's unnotic'd shade,
Retir'd from noise, to pass our mutual days;
For pride's high scenes, to tread the private glade,
Unseen by envy, and unknown to praise.
Where stands the villa lowly on the lawn,
Where steals the rivulet, silent, through the grove,
Delightful walks! the labour of my hand!
'Twas all we ask'd — with you to live and love.
There, unperceiv'd, our years might roll away,
There, unmolested, might our hearts explore
The dear, dear bliss of many a future day,
Nor fate nor fortune e'er divide us more.
THE cauld, cauld winter's gane, luve,
Sae bitter an' sae snell;
And spring has come again, luve,
To deck yon leesome dell.
The buds burst frae the tree, luve;
The birds sing by the shaw;
But sad, sad is my dowie heart,
For ye are far awa'!
I thocht the time wad flee, luve,
As in the days gane by;
While I wad think on thee, luve,
And a' my patience try;
But, O! the weary hours, luve,
They wadna flee ava,
And they hae borne me nocht but dule,
Sin' ye hae been awa'.
Waes me! they're sair to bide, luve,
The dirdums ane maun dree,
The feelings wunna hide, luve,
Wi' saut tears in the e'e.
And yet the ills o' life, luve,
Compar'd wi' joys are sma', —
Sae will it be when ye return,
Nae mair to gang awa'.
AS I passed her cottage door,
There sat little Katty More;
Round her neck and shoulders fair
Rippling hung her golden hair.
At my step she raised her head,
And her blue eyes, laughing, said,
"Did you, young man, ever see
A fresher little maid than me?"
And I answered, straight and plain,
"No, nor never shall again;
Never mouth so sweet as this!"
Stealing, as I spoke, a kiss.
Then she turned with look askance,
Half bashful and half proud the glance,
When I, between her and the door,
Stepped, and kept my Katty More.
So I soothed her wounded pride,
Stood with her blushing side by side.
Half within, half out, that door,
I won my little Katty More.
THE flag of Percy, Douglas set
Beside his tent, to thereby whet
An appetite for war;
But two days passed, and Percy still
Rested his army down the hill,
And viewed it from afar.
But soon a thirst for vengeance keen,
A thirst, though curbed, that would be seen,
Found vent as waned the sun:
For Percy swore, that Douglas dark
Should feel his blade, and bear his mark,
Ere many hours had run.
So, in the moonlight soft and clear,
Nearer and nearer, without fear,
They came where Douglas lay;
And all at once upon the air
'Twas cry of "Percy" everywhere,
And Scots sprang up at bay.
At shout from Douglas, waves of steel,
Like avalanche, made foemen reel —
The English paused apace;
And soon again, ere they could form,
The Scots, fierce as a mighty storm,
Bore on them face to face.
Then bent they as before a blast,
The Scots, still furious and fast,
Shouted their watchword clear;
But soon struck down the Douglas lay —
The silent moon at close of day
Looked on the scene so drear.
"Lift up my banner, bear it high,
Let 'Douglas' be the battle cry,
Nor say that I am slain:
Raise ye aloft the Percy's flag,
Fight well with battle axe and dag —
Victorious be again."
"And 'Douglas' will the watchword be,
My Scots, aye true, will fight for me —
They know not how to yield.
Revenge, revenge my blood!" he said,
And, these words spoken, Douglas — dead —
Lay stretched upon the field.
The Percy's army oft in vain
Tried well to rally up again,
Their pennon still in view:
They back and farther back were borne,
And prisoners were, ere came the morn,
The gallant Percy too.
Heroic Douglas won the field,
'Twas Douglas only made them yield;
For in each Scottish heart
The honoured name infused its glow,
Its fire, and fury, in each blow,
The Douglas had his part.
THERE'S a leaf in the book of the damask rose
That glows with a tender red;
From the bud through the bloom to the dust it goes,
Into rose dust fragrant and dead.
And this word is inscribed on the petals fine
Of that velvety purple page —
"Be true to thy youth while yet it is thine
Ere it sink in the mist of age,
"Ere the bursting bud he grown
To a rose nigh overblown,
And the wind of the autumn eves
Comes blowing and scattering all
The damask drift of the dead rose leaves,
Under the orchard wall.
"Like late-blown roses the joy-days flit,
And soon will the east winds blow;
So the love-years now must be lived and writ
In red on a page of snow.
"And here the rune of the rose I rede,
'Tis the heart of the rose and me —
O youth, O maid, in your hour of need,
Be true to the sacred three—
Be true to the love that is love indeed,
To thyself, and thy God, these three!
"Ere the bursting bud is grown
To a rose nigh overblown,
And the wind of the autumn eves
Comes blowing and scattering all
The damask drift of the dead rose leaves
Under the orchard wall."
BESIDE yon bonny wimplin' rill,
That murmurs through the birken glen,
We'll meet at e'en when a' is still,
Whaur nane may see, an' nane may ken.
When gloamin' fa's, steal through the green,
An', wait beneath the trystin' tree,
An' e'er the mune's first blink be seen,
I'll doun the glen to meet wi' thee.
Whaur gowans keek wi' modest mien,
Sae sweet the dewy grass frae 'mang;
We'll walk 'neath Luna's silv'ry sheen
Till late at e'en, ne'er thinkin't lang.
To me there's nane hae charms like thine,
Thou'rt never absent frae my heart,
Oh! gently whisper thou'lt be mine
For ever mair, till death us part.
WHERE are the shells my childhood sought,
With eager haste — nor sought in vain —
With pearl and silver sheen inwrought?
For these are plain.
This is the beach, and that the bay;
There rolls the pure and placid tide;
Unchanged it is; — but where are they,
My childhood's pride?
There lay the curious glittering throng;
Each crystal form its crevice kept,
Like beauteous birds, when tired of song,
The bright things slept.
Where are they now? Gone with the glow
Which gladdened boyhood's early hours;
All scared and scattered long ago,
These ocean flowers!
Far drifted from the rocky bed,
Like exiles o'er the distant sea,
Or in its dungeon caverns hid
From light, and me.
And now a most degenerate race,
Who claim no kindred but the name,
Usurp their ancient dwelling-place,
And feel no shame.
I will not call them vulgar — mean,
For Nature's humblest works I prize:
I mourn the shells of glistering sheen,
Not these despise.
Oh, for the shells my childhood sought,
With eager haste — nor sought in vain —
Of graceful form — with beauty fraught —
Of silver stain!
And thus in melting mood I sighed,
And scarce could stay the trembling tear,
Till George, who guessed the truth, replied,
"The shells are here!
You mourn them fled, or changed; but no!
For these your wond'ring boyhood ranged:
Or plain, or pearled, they aye were so —
'Tis thou art changed."
I CAN love and love entirely,
And can prove a constant friend:
But I must be lov'd as dearly,
And as truly to the end:
For her love no sooner shaketh,
But my fancie farewell taketh.
I cannot endure delaying,
I must have her quickly won:
Be she nice (though not denaying),
By her leave I then have done:
For I am not yet at leasure,
To dwine for a doubtful pleasure.
My eyes shall not still be wailing,
Where I'm answered with neglect:
My hurt is not at her hailing,
Who my pain doth not respect:
He's a fool that seeks relieving,
From her glories in his grieving.
With beauty I will not be blinded,
Yet I will none foul affect:
With wealth I will not be winded,
If behaviour be defect;
Beauty stained such love dieth,
Wealth decayed such love flieth.
Gifts do good, yet he is silly
That therein expendeth store,
If he win not, tell me, will he
Not be meetly mock'd therefore?
It is better to be keeping
Than to sow not sure of reaping.
As I would not words he waring
Where there's no assurance had;
So I would not gifts be sparing,
Where I woo and know shall wed.
Giving so is no decreasing,
I have hers in her possessing.
Be she rich, and fair, and gained;
If I fickleness do find,
My desires are quickly wained,
I can steer with other wind.
For virtue, I have vow'd to chuse her,
When that fails I will refuse her.
DARK rolling Dee, with thy heath-covered mountains,
Thy wild rugged rocks by yon black birken glen,
That claim'st thy supplies from the cold mossy fountains,
And minglest thy treasures with low-spreading Ken:
Scenes of my youth, where my wishes oft wander,
Where the traces of nature my bosom first warmed;
For low on thy banks, where thy waves sweet meander,
Spreads the low blushing rose that my fancy has charm'd.
How fain would I woo thee, sweet flower, to my bosom,
And sever thy stalk from its first native stole,
Where the kind breath of love should invite thee to blossom,
Though the chill blasts of winter around us should howl.
Beauty might fade in the days of December,
But the noon-tide of friendship around us should beam;
The fervour of youth I would fondly remember,
And shield thy sweet blossoms by Dee's winding stream.
THOU nameless loveliness, whose mind
With every grace to soothe, to warm,
Has lavish Nature bless'd, — and 'shrin'd
The sweetness, in as soft a form!
Say, on what wonder-bearing soil,
Her sportive malice wrought thy frame, —
That haughty Science long might toil,
Nor learn to fix thy doubtful name!
For this, she cull'd, with eager care,
The scatter'd glories of her plan, —
All that adorns the softer Fair,
All that exalts the prouder Man:
And gay she triumphed. Now no more
Her works shall daring systems bound;
As tho', her skill inventive o'er,
She only trac'd the forms she found.
In vain, to seek a kindred race,
Tir'd thro' her mazy realms I stray. —
Where shall I rank thy radiant place?
Thou dear perplexing creature, say!
Thy smile so soft, thy heart so kind,
Thy voice for pity's tones so fit,
All speak thee Woman; — but thy mind
Lifts thee, where Bards and Sages sit.
The Sirens thus, in softness strong, —
Half maid, half fish, — with charmful art,
Breathe o'er the pausing surge their song,
And soothe the distant sailor's heart. —
Home fades upon his soul. — The sea
From his turn'd helm swift-flashing flies. —
He lands, — and, as we gaze on thee, —
Views the fair Monsters, — hears, — and dies.
I DINNA like the Meg o' mony feet,
Nor the brawnet Conochworm,
Quoth Mary Lee, as she sat and did greet,
A-dawding wi' the storm;
Nowther like I the yallow-wym'd ask,
'Neath the root o' yon aik tree,
Nor the hairy adders on the fog that bask;
But waur I like Robin-a-Ree.
O! hatefu' it's to hear the whut-throat chark
Frae oot the auld taff-dike;
And wha likes the e'ening singing lark,
And the auld moon-boughing tyke?
O! I hate them, and the ghaist at e'en
Ne'er the den o' puir Mary Lee,
But ten times waur lo'e I, I ween,
That vile cheel, Robin-a-Ree.
O! sourer than the green bullister,
Is a kiss o' Robin-a-Ree,
And the milk on the tade's back I wad prefer
To the poison on his lips that be;
He has ruined me, the de'il's-needle,
He has kill'd puir Mary Lee,
Whan my heart awa' he did wheedle,
Nae mair saw I Robin-a-Ree.
Ere that my lum did bonnily reek,
Fu' bien and clean was my ha';
At my ain ingle cheek my spawls I could beek
Whan that swaul'd the wridy snaw.
O! ance I liv'd happy by yon bonny burn —
The warl' was in love wi' me;
But now I maun sit 'neath the cauld drift and mourn,
And curse black Robin-a-Ree.
Then whudder awa', thou bitter biting blast,
And sough through the scrunty tree,
And smoor me up i' the snaw fu' fast,
And ne'er let the sun me see;
O! never melt awa', thou wride o' snaw,
That's sae kind in graving me;
But hide me aye frae the scorn and guffaw
O' villains like Robin-a-Ree.
THE sun has set, the gloamin's come, the day has glided by,
The lassies, liltin' through the broom, are ca'in' hame
their kye;
I'll dauner doun the clachan brae to meet the ane I lo'e —
My wee, wee bruckit lassie, that milks her mammie's coo.
Wha wadna lo'e this wee bit thing, sae winsome and sae free,
The smilin' dimple o' her chin, her merry twinklin' e'e;
Her hair sae artless hangin' doun, but shaded frae her broo —
My wee, wee bruckit lassie, that milks her mammie's coo.
Yestreen, when up the Mulloch Knowe, I set her on my knee;
Says I — "Wee Jessie, will you leave your frien's and come wi'
She lap doun on the grass, and cried — "I wadna gang wi' you
My wee, wee bruckit lassie, that milks her mammie's coo.
And when I asked her for a kiss, she turned and looked sae shy,
Affected wonder in her face, sae modest and sae coy;
Then, wheelin' roun', she stamp'd her fit — "Sic tricks I'll no
aloo" —
My wee, wee bruckit lassie, that milks her mammie's coo.
She gangs on Sundays to the kirk, sae bonnie and sae braw,
And, haith, my wee thing bears the gree, the belle amang
them a';
But then she winna court wi' me, she's far owre young to woo —
This wee, wee bruckit lassie, that milks her mammie's coo.
A TATTERED drunkard staggers along,
He falls in the melting snow,
The scorn and the jest of the passing throng
That scoff at his self-sought woe.
Ah! little they think that the withered cheek
That lies on the mud-stained ground,
Was a mother's pride and was soft and sleek,
And ruddy, and bright, and round;
That the lips now cursing the Powers above
Had been tutored to praise and prayer,
Or that tear-dimmed eyes still look with love
On a lock of his once bright hair.
He rises, he staggers along again.
He dashes against the wall,
He struggles to steady his steps — in vain!
He can only rise to fall.
Till a woman goes past, with a cold hard face,
But a heart still soft and warm,
For she turns and pities his dire disgrace,
And she leads him away from harm.
Oh ! why in her eyes do the tear-drops start,
As she looks on the drunkard there?
Oh! she treasures in love on her once light heart,
A lock of his bright brown hair.
She shudders! she knows him! with heart distress't
She shrinks in the deepest shade;
What thoughts arise in her tortured breast
As she looks on the wreck she made!
For she loved him once, and his heart was hers
In her joyous and youthful days:
Oh! bitter remorse her heart bestirs,
As she thinks o'er her selfish ways;
Looking back to the eve when he told her his love,
That wretched outcast there,
When she took that token of endless love,
That lock of his bright brown hair.
What sweet sad thoughts of the buried past
Now crowd her accusing mind!
What clouds of sorrow her heart o'ercast!
For he once was good and kind.
She had told that wretched ruined man
That she loved him heart and soul,
Then threw him aside in a selfish plan,
For a higher and brighter goal;
And he plunged in vices to smother his love,
And he drank to drown his care,
And she scorned him, yet treasured all else above
That lock of his once bright hair.
Deeper and deeper he plunged in sin,
Lower and lower he fell, —
Dropt like a star from the sphere she was in,
Where he lighted she ne'er could tell.
She had blighted his heart, and the one she prized
Had as cruelly spurned her own;
Though loved awhile, she was soon despised,
And her cherished hopes o'erthrown.
Oh! she lifted her tearful eyes above
As she sank in her dark despair,
And she treasured with deeper and purer love
The lock of that once bright hair.
Oh ! it lights up a glow in her cheerless heart
As she looks on that keepsake now;
And the scalding tears from her blue eyes start,
As she thinks of her broken vow:
Reproaches rise in her aching breast,
As she treasures that token still,
And she kisses it fondly, and sinks to rest
With a sad but enraptured thrill:
Her dark lone heart it lies above,
Ah! fondly she keeps it there,
And her tear-dimmed eyes still look with love
On that lock of his once bright hair.
SOME lure the pike in dark Loch Urr,
Some grayling seek in Daer,
Some salmon find in silver Ken,
But give me Lochinvar;
Launch, boatmen, launch the "Mary-Anne,"
Rest now the dripping oar,
The westland winds the waters curl,
White nymphs 11 are on the shore.
Let Criffel boast of Kindar's lake,
Hard by the Solway sea,
Lone Lochinvar, 'mid lofty hills,
Is dearer far to me;
When purple heath and brackens green
Adorn the mountain side,
Then let me drift past Helen's Isle,
And rock upon thy tide.
Let Duchray sheep browse on the hill,
The swan float on its way,
Let moor-cocks claver to their mates,
And plovers pipe their lay;
But, boatmen, blythely guide thy bark
To each enticing bay,
And let me ply the gentle art
From morn till close of day.
Where specks of foam bedeck the wave,
There let "the fancy" 12 sweep,
There let the woodcock's mottled wing
Rouse fishes from the deep!
The pliant rod now bends in air,
The line reels gayly out,
Now, boatman, now, with ready arm,
Land safe the yellow trout.
I loved thee when my locks were brown,
I love thee still when old,
I love thee for thy waters blue,
And for thy chieftain bold,
Who swam the Esk on steed the best,
Nor stopp'd for stone or scaur,
To win the bride from whom there sprang
The Lords of Lochinvar.
CAULD blaws the win' alang the street,
Wi' dark December's blindin' sleet;
But licht's my heart when gaun to meet
My bonnie, winsome Jessie.
Her face is fair, her heart an' mind
Are innocence an' wit combin'd,
An' aye to me sae sweet an' kind
Is bonnie, winsome Jessie.
My faither's jeers, my mither's scorn,
My tittie's spleen maun a' be borne;
Because, forsooth, I'll stay till morn
To coort my winsome Jessie.
Oh, could they ken what raptures sweet,
Enchain my heart wi' bliss complete,
Those sacred moments when I meet
My bonnie, winsome Jessie.
But spite o' a', or kith or kin,
Wha in my Jessie fau'ts may fin',
The heart I've won, the han' I'll win
O' bonnie, winsome Jessie.
An' by her charms, that roun' me wove
The mystic ties o' tender love,
The heart that's hers can never rove
Frae bonnie, winsome Jessie.
UPON the banks o' winding Æ,
That rolls upon her rocks sae grey,
And overflows its meadows gay,
Lives bonnie Mary Coldstream.
Her cheeks are of a bonnie pink,
Her hair's amaist as black as ink,
Twa bonnier een did never wink
Than those of Mary Coldstream.
Her looks they pierced me to the heart,
She wounded me with Cupid's dart,
Frae her I couldna think to part, —
The bonnie Mary Coldstream.
She fill'd me out a cup of tea,
Frae her I couldna haud my e'e,
She aye grew blate as I grew free, —
The modest Mary Coldstream.
Her buttered bannocks she bade me eat,
Says she, "Turn round and warm your feet,"
By this time I was like to greet
For love o' Mary Coldstream.
She tauld me I wasna weel bred,
Nor even up to courtin' trade,
Ance to suppose that she would wed, —
The bonnie Mary Coldstream,
Quoth I, "My dear, I wadna mean
The bonniest lass I've ever seen
To be my bride, since I hae been
Wi' as guid as Mary Coldstream.
"I've been in Erin and in Wales,
I've toss'd upon the sea in gales,
I'm come o' decent folks, what ails
The saucy Mary Coldstream.
"I play the flute and fiddle weel,
I wish you heard me play a reel,
Your feet you'd rattle on a deal,
My bonnie Mary Coldstream.
"I'll tell you mony a funny joke,
You'll laugh till ye be like to choke;
I'll ring the bell wi' merry stroke,
My bonnie Mary Coldstream."
"There's no a lass in Annandale,"
Says she, "that can resist your tale;
I'll tak' ye lad, play up a reel,
And dance wi' Mary Coldstream.
"We'll live together on the Æ,
We'll walk upon yon flowery brae,
But ye mauna soun' your praises sae
When ye get Mary Coldstream."
"As lang as Æ joins Annan's stream,
As lang as Moffat's waters teem,
Till Milk's dark riv'let turns to cream,
I'll love my Mary Coldstream."
"As lang as kirks hae bells to ring,
As lang's precentors chant and sing,
While ghaists about kirkyards shall hing
I'll be your Mary Coldstream."
NOW o'er the hill, and on the lough,
The simmer shines sae gairy;
The hunter stens o'er burn and brae,
And I'll gae see my Mary.
Ahint yon knowe I ken she sits,
Her e'e peeps by the side o't;
I trow her heart is beating high —
O, weel kens mine the bide o't.
O, lassie! are ye in my arms?
Is this thy cheek sae lo'esome?
Is this thy lip? I hear my heart —
O, tak' me to thy bosom,
Ye're a' my ain, my bonnie doo —
I'll aye be thine, my dearie —
And ae fain heart atween us twa,
Shall never, never weary.
GALLIN' sting wi' en'less ding,
The chapman's life harasses, O,
It hails frae Jean, enchantress quean —
His Juno 'mang the lasses, O.
He worships still wi' a' the skill
He learnt at Cupid's classes, O;
Ae winsome dear, perfection near,
Bricht loadstar nane surpasses, O.
Her grace's claw can roun' him draw,
As magnet can its victim, O,
He's powerless noo as threedless screw,
To triumph owre love's dictum, O.
His heart's on lowe could iceberg thow,
Sune set it's wa's a' rinnin', O,
Love's peerie string frae Cupid's fling,
Desire has set a spinnin', O.
As priests' ramhorns made bed o' thorns,
To Rahab's toun's-folk pester, O,
Sae can her will his peace unstill,
Distraction mak' his maister, O.
What wad he gie his saul to free
Frae black suspense's clutches, O,
An unco sum that micht benumb
A miser's crave for riches, O.
Wad she consent to 'yes' gie vent,
His pangs would tine their fizzin', O,
In ecstacy he'd cry, "Hear ye,
Joy's Sun at last has risen, O."
FORGET-ME-NOT! what sweeter name
To flower or floweret may belong, —
With which to deck a wreath of fame,
Or, haply, woo a poet's song?
Forget-me-not! what words more sweet
To linger in the lover's ear;
For answering echoes to repeat,
For her who drops a parting tear?
Forget-me-not! what kindlier phrase
To lisp ere wafted o'er the main;
To light the long and lonesome days,
Before we hasten home again?
Forget-me-not! what nobler end
Than to have lived, and loved, and sought,
That so our life and death may blend,
And bloom a sweet "Forget-Me-Not?"
CHILL o'er the mountain heath the east wind blew,
Mute sat each feathered minstrel on the spray,
As near my father's loved abode I drew,
I met who told me he was lifeless clay!
Farewell! pale form, no more my father dear —
Thy eyes no more a father's love reveal,
Thy lips no more kiss off my falling tear,
Thy ear no more approves my fond appeal.
Deep in the dust that hoary head must rest;
Green o'er that bosom dewy grass shall grow;
Those knees, my infant seat, with cold earth pressed,
Must be unclimbed the mouldering turf below.
Suns yet shall rise and set, and nature bloom
As fresh and beauteous as it bloomed before;
But ah! how dark and dreary is the tomb!
There shines no sun — there nature blooms no more.
Thus mourned the Muse a tender parent lost,
While all the soul to grief was freely given;
But midst the ocean where the barque was tossed,
An anchor lay whose chain was fixed in heaven.
Hope, radiant seraph, calmed the rising storm
Which shook the heart with sorrows 'whelming power;
Faith gave a substance to each shadowy form,
And showed a sky where tempests never lower.
SEEDS by the wayside!
By wanton winds borne;
Sweet flowerets blooming,
'Mid thistle and thorn;
Scorned by the many,
Beloved by the few,
Trod down by the careless,
Yet springing anew.
Flower of the wayside,
High mission is thine;
Sweet little preacher
Of lessons divine;
We loved you in childhood,
We cherish you yet,
Bright gleaming letters
In Heaven's alphabet.
There are rosy-tipped daisies,
Forget-me-nots blue;
Pale fragrant primrose,
And wild violets too,
Peeping and creeping
'Mid thistle and thorn;
The flowers of the wayside
Laugh gardens to scorn!
Songs by the wayside!
In the flower hums the bee;
Above sings the skylark,
Chirps the wren in the tree;
Robin and linnet
Warble sweet in each bush,
In the pines by the wayside
Sing blackbird and thrush.
Seeds by the wayside!
Carelessly strewn,
Springing in loveliness,
Blooming unknown;
Flowers of deep feeling,
Fruits of high thought,
Grow by the wayside,
But perish unsought.
Grief by the wayside,
Disappointment and pain,
Summer and winter,
Sunshine and rain;
The thorn has its flower,
And the rose has its thorn;
There are gems in dark places,
And tares in the corn.
Life by the wayside,
Like a rainbow appears,
Wondrously mingling,
Smiles blending with tears;
All alike needed,
The storm and the shower,
To ripen and mellow
The fruit from the flower.
Seeds by the wayside,
We plant as we go,
For good or for evil,
For pleasure or woe.
May the seeds which we scatter
Spring up in bright flowers,
Which shall blossom for ever
In Paradise bowers!
COME listen to me, my cronie leal,
An' I'll tell ye a tale ye maun aye conceal;
Wha think ye has set my wee heart in a low,
But a hoyden lass wi' a carroty pow?
This lovely lass is straucht an' lang,
An' owre the riggs like a grue can gang,
Her grey, grey een sae wildly row,
An' waves sae bright her carroty pow.
O! mony a bonnie lass I've seen,
An' owre the lugs in love I've been,
But a' was nocht to this burnin' low
For the hoyden lass wi' the carroty pow.
This heart o' mine, oh, dear! oh, dear!
Will ne'er again be itsel', I fear;
Red links o' love aroun' me glow,
For the hoyden lass wi' the carroty pow.
FAIN wad I whistle, but ye wadna come,
Bonnie Miss Kennedy, lo'esome and braw,
High wad I spiel to thee, low wad I kneel to thee,
Bonnie Miss Kennedy, fairest o' a'.
Fain wad I steal thee a blink o' my e'e,
Fain wad I whistle frae e'enin' to dawn;
Hoo could I meet wi' thee, yet no' be sweet wi' thee,
O! for your heart and a grasp o' your han'.
Fain wad I whistle, though ilka ane heard,
Fain wad I whistle, tho' nae yett agee, —
Stirrin' the Scottish heart, stronger than love thou art,
Oh! for the Scottish tongue, lassie, and thee.
Wha wadna whistle and watch the back stile,
Wha wadna whistle tho' thou wertna near —
Gem o' the little isle, o' for thy pawky smile,
Hunners wad whistle if thou wert to hear.
Wha could mak' licht o' your beauty and bearin'?
Wha coort anither? — it couldna be me;
Queen o'er our Scottish sang, liltin' the worl' alang,
Oh! for a Burns an' a lassie like thee.
Fain wad I tent if I cam' to coort thee,
Bonnie bit lassie wi' broo like the snaw —
Wi' singin' sae cheerie ye've made my heart wearie,
Bonnie Miss Kennedy noo thou'rt awa'.
HAIL! beauteous Lake, bright on whose slumbering flood
Shines the fair image of the heavens imprest,
The inverted forms of rock, and hill, and wood,
Dancing to every wind that heaves thy breast.
O'er thee dark Lowran frowns begirt with mist,
Where thundering torrents dash from height to height;
The whispering reeds soft by the waves are kissed,
That mark thy circling verge with sparkling light.
Oft, when a boy, around each tiny cove,
I in the rocking skiff was wont to sweep,
To marvel as thy banks appeared to move,
And mock my shadow rising from the deep;
And all thine echoes wake with songs of love,
With bosom pure as thine when all thy billows sleep.
LADY, whose voice makes beautiful the past,
When thy fair presence is no longer near!
Winter is dead; the singing-time at last
Hath brought the vernal splendours of the year;
From the deep grove the merle's wild melody
Floats to the raptured ear, as some loved strain
Of other days, whose memory comes to me
Fragrant with friendships, as the mighty main
Is blessèd with the sun's bright beams to-day,
Beauty and gladness are my comrades here;
Yet more than any charm of woodland lay
Thine own sweet music to my heart is dear;
For there is that in thine enchanting song
Which only to th' immortal may belong!
WHEN gloomy winter's frost an' snaw,
By cheery spring were fleyed awa',
An' simmer ruled owre glen an' shaw —
Ae nicht aboot the gloamin',
I watna hoo it happen'd sae,
My beuk nae pleasure wad me gie,
And sae I saunter'd roun' the brae —
Amang the alders roamin'.
Frae westlan' skies a gowden sheen
Cam' shimmerin' owre the meadows green;
Alang the plantin's leafy screen
The rosy tints were glancin';
Fu' sweetly sprang the flo'erets roun',
The birdies sang their merriest tune,
Abune the burnie, trottin' doon,
The merry midge was dancin'.
The hoolet hoo'd abune the Linn,
The cushat coo'd the firs within,
The rabbits joukit oot an' in,
The puir bit timid maukin'
Was busy nibblin' on the sward,
An' e'ed me wi' a keen regard,
As roun' the knowe, by Tibbie's yard,
I leasurely was walkin'.
I dauner'd to the Kirklan' style,
Then sat me doun to rest awhile,
In hopes an' oor awa' to wile
Frae cares that were sae teasin'.
'Twas health to breathe the balmy air,
An' sweet to see the flo'erets fair,
A rich and varied feast was there,
Baith sense an' fancy pleasin'.
I'd no' been lang when lookin' roun',
I saw a lass come trippin' doun,
Wi' lovely locks o' bonnie broun
A' owre her shouthers wavin',
A blythesome quean she seem'd to be,
An' bonnie I could plainly see,
Thinks I, "noo, here's a lass for me,
Gin I just hae the havins."
I kin'ly for her weel did spier,
Syne ca'd her love an' bonnie dear,
An' said "My lassie dinna fear,
There's naething shall befa' ye.
Noo dinna start that gait an' glow'r,
For sin' I hae ye in my pow'r,
Afore I'll rise to let ye owre,
Ye'll tell me what to ca' ye."
Quo' she, "I think ye arena blate,
Sin' ye maun ken, they ca' me Kate,
Noo, let me by or I'll be late,
An' maybe get a scalin'."
"Weel, weel, I winna keep ye lang,
But owre the gate wi' you I'll gang;"
Sae roun' her waist my arms I flang,
To keep her just frae fa'in'.
'Tis something mair than passin' strange,
Hoo circumstances roun' us range,
While aften, in their vagrant change,
There's naething to oor likin';
It seems a po'er aye guides oor han',
E'en though we cunnin'ly should plan,
Believin' that, what need we then,
Just hae sae muckle fykin'.
Still, urchin' Cupid, wi' his wiles,
Does play us unco pliskies whiles,
An', slitherin' sleely, aft beguiles
The heart o' saunt an' sinner.
Afore we reach'd the elfin howe,
My verra saul was in a lowe,
Sae, in my heart, I made a vow,
That quickly I wad win her.
I prais'd her neatly fittin' goun,
Her lovely locks o' bonnie broun;
An' said there wasna in the toun
A lady half sae bonnie.
Like simmer lilies was her broo,
Her lauchin' e'en were bonnie blue,
Her cheeks were rosy, an' her mou'
Was sweeter far than honey.
I whisper'd saftly in her ear
It mak's me blythe to meet ye here,
O! will ye come an' be my dear,
Or maun I ask anither.
I hae a mailin' hoose an' a',
I'll gie ye gowd an' busk ye braw,
Just say ye will, noo come awa' —
Speak oot an' dinna swither.
"Baith kye an' naigies ye sall fin',
An' servants at yer nod to rin;
An' min', it's no' to every yin
That I wad mak' sic proffer."
Quo' she, an' smilin' as she spak',
"'Tis gude to ken o' gear an' plack,
I really think I wad be slack,
Did I no' tak' yer offer."
Scarce spak' the word, when rosy flush,
Saft mantlin' owre her cheeks did rush,
And she, to hide the tell-tale blush,
Pretended to be saucy.
But 'twadna do — my arms, in haste,
I clasp'd aroun' her yieldin' waist,
An' closely to my raptur'd breast
I press'd the bonnie lassie.
"O, what is honour, wealth, or state
To me, or smile o' fickle fate,
I swear to thee, my bonnie Kate,
My love shall aye be honest,
By mountain, glen, an' stream aroun',
An' by the sun, an' a' abune,
The starnies, an' yon bonnie moon
That blinks her blessin' on us."
Then, lest the bargain yet micht slip,
I seal'd it on her rosy lip,
An' sune we gat the mystic grip
Afore gude maister Ewen.
An' noo, as time gangs slippin' by,
Tho' cares spring up, an' roun' us lie,
An' troubles whiles oor bosoms try,
There's ne'er a thocht o' ruein'.
SAW ye my true-love on yon misty mountain,
Or down the dark glen was he chasing the deer,
Or heard ye his staghounds on Raeberry hunting?
He promis'd ere now to ha'e met wi' me here.
But why beats my heart as the leaves rustle o'er me!
Ah, why heaves my bosom the sigh o' despair!
Ye maids o' the Solway my laddie restore me,
Entice him nae langer frae May o' Craignair.
Tall is my love as the pine o' Balcarie,
An' fleet as the rae on the wild mountain side,
But far is his way o'er the moorland sae dreary,
The glens they are deep and the streams rowing wide;
But ne'er will he lea'e me for sake of another,
Nor break his fond vow, were she ever sae fair;
Then haste thee my laddie; oh, haste to thy lover,
For dear is MacDougal to May o' Craignair.
Lang did she look o'er the dark-waving heather,
As lanely she sat by the auld aiken tree
That shades the gray rock, where they aft met together,
But gallant MacDougal nae mair did she see;
He fought with the band o' the bauld mountain robber,
His braidsword was bluidy, and broken his spear;
He sleeps in his plaid 'neath the cairn o' Bentudor,
Far, far frae his true-love, the maid o' Craignair.
WHEN the dew is on the grass,
And the lark sings overhead,
'Tis the sweetest of all hours
When the morning sunbeams shed
Shy glances o'er the meadows,
O'er the hills and mountains free,
Chasing from our life all shadows,
Swift as lambs skip o'er the lea.
A merry life have we, my lads; a merry life have we;
I'd barter such not with a lord for home of high degree.
In noontide when the sun is hot,
I hie me to a shade,
Where wild thyme and forget-me-not
Adorn the mountain glade,
I leave my crook, and tune my reed
To charm the lambkins near;
While collie acts as sentinel,
To keep the passes clear.
A merry life have we, my lads; a merry life have we;
I'd barter such not with a lord for home of high degree.
When sunset from the rosy west
Adown the mountain slope
Comes wrapping all the land to rest,
It but renews sweet hope
Within my breast; for soon the hour
Draws near, when vows are paid —
When milkmaid at the hawthorn bow'r
I'll fold within my plaid.
A happy life have we, my lads; a happy life have we;
I'd barter such not with a lord for home of high degree.
HOW sweet 'tis to wander alone in the gloaming,
When the air is perfumed by the newly mown hay;
And listen, while thus you are carlessly roaming,
The blackbird and thrush blithely sing from the spray.
And sweet 'tis to stand on the brow of yon mountain,
And gaze on the ocean, the woodland, and plain;
And sweet in the desert the clear sparkling fountain
To the long parching lip of the African swain.
And sweet to the mind is the dream of the morning,
When the regions of fancy are open to view;
Sweet the hope of our youth, in bright colours adorning
Each scene of our life — too, too sweet to be true.
And oh, it is sweet to behold the young blossom
Of childhood expand to the dawning of truth;
But sweeter than all, to the wanderer's bosom
Is his far distant home, the dear home of his youth!
ROW, maidens, row,
And deftly ply the oar
'Neath the waters so bright
In the merry moonlight
Till we win to the eastern shore.
Merrily, merrily row,
For our bark is stout and strong,
'Tis made from a mighty pine that stood
In ancient Buchan's fairy wood
Full many a year and long.
Then row, sisters, row,
And swiftly the boat shall fly,
As our way we take
O'er the bonnie lake,
Beneath the starlit sky.
Then row, maidens mine,
And cleave we the dancing wave,
For the feast is spread
And the wine runs red
In the royal Bruce's cave.
Merrily maidens row,
And urge the boat along,
While the harp's gay sound
Is echoing round
In chorus of the song.
Then merrily maidens row,
Let us haste to the trysting cave,
For the minstrel's art
Shall cheer the heart
Of Bruce and his followers brave.
Oh speed the bonnie bark,
Nor let our voyage be long,
We will cheer, as of old,
Those warriors bold,
With Scotland's patriot song!
Maidens, cease your toil,
For our bark bath reached the strand,
Our shallop moor
To the rocky shore,
And lightly spring to land!
SWEETEST little birdie,
Cosy in thy nest,
Softly sealed in slumber,
Peacefully at rest.
Little fancies filling
Mind without a care,
Little fairy visions
Seen in beauty there.
Search the world all over,
Find what most is fair,
To a babe in slumber
It can ne'er compare.
Oh! the angels linger
O'er the sleeping fair,
Tracing their own graces
In the sleeper there.
Tell me, little dreamer,
Of thy visions bright;
Do the angels greet thee,
Smiling in thy sight?
Do the fields of glory,
With their beauteous flowers,
Woo thee back to wander
In their vernal bowers.
Stay, oh stay! and leave not
Hearts that love thee well;
Deign still yet to cheer us
With thy gladsome spell.
Ha! that smile so gentle,
Say, what gave it birth?
Did it flash from heaven
Joy to give to earth?
Could we but decipher
Symbols thus so dear,
Might we not discover
Heaven is very near?
Dearest little children,
God's own gifts, are given
To reclaim us, wandering
From the fold of heaven.
Sweetest little cherub,
With thy golden hair,
And the roses blooming
On thy cheeks so fair.
May thy guardian angel
All through life be nigh,
Safe through snares to lead thee
To thy native sky!
AS through the battle's clang and jar,
The liegeman strives wi' manly daring,
His gude steel blade, a brand o' war,
High o'er the field o' carnage flaring.
Great is the patriot's hero soul,
But greater far his worth revealing,
When, reached at last the peacefu' goal,
He stoops to hame and hamely feeling.
So in life's deidly clash and stour,
Its wrestlings grim and bondage galling,
When yielding to the fatefu' power,
On ilka side our frien's are falling,
We firmer clutch Truth's keen-edged glaive,
And tighter brace the shield of honour,
And humbly great, and wisely brave,
Ring roun' high Duty's meteor banner.
But welcome comes the truce to toil,
Those sweet bright blinks o' mirth and pleasure,
When friendship treads the mazy coil,
To music's gayest, liveliest measure;
Then Youth and Age, wi' tresses white,
Join hands across Time's parting ocean,
And, ane in heart, they drink delight
Frae mutual springs o' glad emotion.
Still, as the circling years spin roun',
Fond memory's chequered threads entwining,
I joy as now, their course to croun,
Wi' happy faces roun' me shining;
Fresh cheeks where rosy health is limned,
Clear glancing e'en nae airt can borrow,
Oh, may their lustre ne'er be dimmed
By ae saut drap o' bitter sorrow!
SWEET mouth, red lids, broad unwrinkled brow,
Sworn troth, woven hands, holy marriage vow,
Unto us make answer, what is wanting now?
Love, love, love, the whiteness of the snow;
Love, love, love, and the days of long ago.
Broad lands, bright sun, as it was of old;
Red wine, loud mirth, gleaming of the gold;
Something yet awanting — how shall it be told?
Love, love, love, the whiteness of the snow;
Love, love, love, and the days of long ago.
Large heart, true love, service void of sound,
Life trust, death trust, here on English ground,
As in olden story, surely have we found!
Love, love, love, the whiteness of the snow;
Love, love, love, and the days of long ago.
PUIR ell-wan' Johnnie canna sleep,
Since Jeanie gaed awa',
The saut tears thro' his winkers dreep,
His een's like meltin' snaw.
He's blearie and weary,
The chiel's gane nearly doylt,
Wi' mournin' and yearnin',
His fair physog is spoilt,
Like Willie Wagtail on a stane,
Ae minute he's no steady,
If he should think she's fairly gane,
His craig might blin' a wuddy.
Like swallow, he'd follow
Her if he could but flee,
If near him she'd cheer him,
His summer she would be.
Love owre him sits like clockin' doo,
And brings to life emotions
That canter his hale system thro'
Elyctrifyin' notions.
He's bathin', 'maist seethin'
In love's caloric pool,
He's swashin' and splashin'
'Maist like to cast his hoole.
"Had I the wings o' whaup, I'd flee,"
He aft says to himsel',
"To whaur my Jeanie's hid frae me,
Wi' her I lang to dwell."
He's prayin' and sayin'
"Let ten days be as yin,"
He's anxious — contentious —
That time should quicker rin.
She'll soon be to oor clachan back,
Should nae minyar o'ertak' her,
His mind will then be aff the rack,
When handy he can smack her.
He'll daft be, and saft be,
Her mou' he'll slaver ower,
He'll slaik her and straik her,
And test his courtin' power.
Few could her disposition match,
Her marrow wad tak' walein'
To find amang a county batch,
In silk and ermine sailin'.
She's han'some, her ransom
Were she a slave he'd steal,
A tyro, brisk hero,
For her a heugh he'd spiel.
He may her kirsen "Hephzibah"
(A dear delichted in),
Here lassies he counts gawkies a',
She's gowd, they're barely tin;
He'd buy her and tie her,
His neck for jewel roun',
Could it be, it wad be —
His love's gey near its noon,
There's thraldom in her dark brown een,
They've fairly Johnnie glamour'd,
His heart they've ower to bondage gien,
Its shackles they hae hammer'd.
They've witched him and hitched him,
He canna help himsel',
He's feeble; unable
To break their magic spell.
1. MURRAY — p. 51.
Dr Alexander Murray, the celebrated Oriental Linguist.
2. WATERLOO — p. 68.
On the summit of Carsegowan Hill, Kirkcudbrightshire, there is a rude granite
monument in memory of the battle of Waterloo.
3. RITCHIE — p. 69.
Richard Cameron was affectionately known in Covenanting and subsequent times
as "Ritchie." He and the major portion of his little band fell fighting at Airds
Moss in 1680. He was the founder of that austere sect of Scots Presbyterians
known as the Cameronians. Tradition reports that the celebrated covenanter,
Alexander Peden, once sat down on Cameron's grave, and, with his head bare,
and his eyes turned up to heaven exclaimed "O, to be wi' Ritchie!" In 1689
the Cameronians raised a regiment to support William III. In 1712 they renewed
their public covenants.
4. HYAM'S MART — p. 70.
Hyam was one of the best-known tailors in Glasgow in the author's college days.
5. MORNIN' SUNE — p. 74.
On one occasion, Brownie had undertaken to gather the sheep into the bught by an
early hour, and so zealously did he perform his task, that not only was there not
one sheep left on the hill, but he had also collected a number of hares, which
were found fairly penned along with them. Upon being congratulated on his
extraordinary success, Brownie exclaimed, "Confound the wee grey anes! they
cost me mair trouble than a' the lave o' them."
6. MACMILLAN'S CUP — p. 75.
A communion cup, belonging to John M'Millan, founder of the body lately known
as the Reformed Presbyterian, now in union with the Free Church of Scotland —
a church in Castle-Douglas bearing his name. Mr M'Millan was minister of
Balmaghie for more than two years, and was deposed for his nonconformity to
the Established forms of Church Government in December, 1703. He died on
1st December, 1753, at Broomhill, in Lanarkshire, at the venerable age of 84 years.
This cup was treasured by a zealous disciple in the parish of Kirkcowan, and
long used as a test by which to ascertain the orthodoxy of suspected persons. If,
on taking the precious relic into his hand, the person trembled, or gave other
symptoms of agitation, he was denounced as having bowed the knee to Baal, and
sacrificed at the altar of idolatry; and it required, through his future life, no
common exertions in the good cause, to efface the stigma thus fixed upon him.
7. THE THRIEVE — p. 76.
A farm in the parish of Penninghame, belonging to William Dunbar of Mochrum.
8. SIX ON A SIDE — p. 129.
It was supposed that Lord Kenmure had only six good players in his district.
9. GREY CORN — p. 132.
Crossmichael was once said to produce no grain but a kind of oats called grey
10. BLOODY BAND — p. 141.
Epitaph on the martyrs' stone in Dalry Churchyard, over the bodies of Robert
Stewart, son of Major Stewart of Ardoch, and John Grierson, slain by Claverhouse
in 1684.
11. WHITE NYMPHS — p. 211.
White breakers, like the "Finnart Maids."
12. THE FANCY — p. 212.
The author's favourite fly-hook, known as the "Murray Fancy" — woodcock
wing, red hackle, and yellow body, with green banner at the bend of a small
JAMES MATTHEWSON was born at Dalbeattie in 1846. On
leaving school, where he showed an aptitude for mathematics, he was
apprenticed as a granite hewer, and still follows that trade. For a
number of years he has been a contributor to the local papers in prose
and verse under the names of "Glenshalloch," "Dub-o'-Hass," and
"Dauvid Millhench." He is the author of Chronicles of a Galloway
Peasant, a series of ten papers published in the Kirkcudbrightshire
Advertiser some years ago; and The Wife o' Powbraid , published as
a serial in the Dalbeattie and Colvend Visitors' Guide, in 1886.
WILLIAM STEWART ROSS was born in the village of Kirkbean
on 20th March, 1844. From boyhood he exhibited such intellectual
vigour and precocity of character, as to be distinguished among his
schoolfellows. Very early in life poetry had to him peculiar charms,
and his memory was so retentive that when in his ninth year he
could recite long extracts from the Psalms of David as well as many
of Burns' songs. His juvenile compositions appeared in the pages of the
Dumfries Herald and Dumfries Standard, then edited by Thomas Aird
and William M'Dowall, both men of poetic genius and high literary
attainments. In 1861 he obtained an appointment as teacher of the
Parish School of Glenesslin, Dunscore, and about a year afterwards was
chosen chief assistant master in Hutton Hall Academy. After a sojourn
there of about two years, he proceeded to Glasgow University with the
intention of studying for the church. His university career, however,
was doomed to come to a sudden termination. The subject of our note,
judging from his writings, seems to have been an unceremonious youth,
and at college having maintained his opinions on theological and other
subjects with that bold and defiant fierceness that characterised his early
life, he fell foul of the Professors. In these circumstances he gave up
all thoughts of the ministry, and bidding adieu to the College, adopted
"the thorny path" of literature as a profession. "The career of genius
is rarely that of fortune or happiness," and W. S. Ross, before he
reached the successful position that he now occupies, was well schooled
by the vicissitudes that usually attend the life of the man of letters.
His pen has seldom been idle; for, besides numerous contributions
to the monthly magazines and daily and weekly papers, he is author
of the following pretentious works, which show him to be a scholar and
a thinker, as well as a gifted poet: — System of Elocution; The Last
Century of British History; A Text Book of Grammatical Analysis;
A History of Scotland; and a large number of other works. His
poetical works are The Harp of the Valley; Lays of Romance and
Chivalry; Isaure, and other Poems.
REV. GEORGE MURRAY, late minister of Balmaclellan, was born
in the Royal Burgh of New-Galloway in 1812, and educated at the
parish school there. From thence he proceeded to Edinburgh University
to study for the Church. During the first session he gained an essay
prize in the Humanity Class, which brought him under the notice of
Professor Pillans, who got for him a tutorship in Ross-shire. While there
he became acquainted with Hugh Miller, from whose companionship he
derived much benefit. The two youths mused and botanized together,
Murray thus acquiring a passion for botany, which, when settled in his
native district, was a life-long pleasure to him. Later on at college he
secured a prize in the class of Professor Wilson, with which success
he gained the respect and friendship of the great "Christopher North,"
to whom, in after years, when on a visit to Galloway, he was host, and
acted as guide in his rambles through the district. After labouring with
success as assistant and successor to the Rev. Gavin Cullen, minister of
Balmaclellan, and as minister of the parish of Girthon, he was called to
Balmaclellan in 1851, where he continued a faithful pastor until his
death on 22nd April, 1881, in the forty-fourth year of his ministry.
Mr Murray was the model of a country clergyman, devotedly attached
to his flock; kind hearted and genial, he shared in all their joys and
sorrows, and, passionately fond of rural sports, he mingled in the
innocent pastimes of his parishioners, and was respected and beloved
by them in return. He was a zealous antiquary, and was for many
years a "corresponding member" of the Society of Antiquaries for
Scotland. Among the bards of Galloway he holds an honoured place.
Publication — Sarah Rae, and other Poems, Greenock, 1883.
JOHN HANNAH was born at Creetown on the 10th November, 1802.
When a lad he lived several years with Captain James Murray Denniston,
author of Legends of Galloway, &c., whom he frequently accompanied in
fishing and shooting excursions among the moors and lochs of Galloway.
On leaving school young Hannah proceeded to England, and followed
the occupation of a Scotch trader. He died at Burton-on-Trent,
2d February, 1854. A volume of his poems, entitled Posthumous Rhymes,
with a memoir and portrait, was privately printed at Beccles in 1854.
JOHN LOWE. — No ballad has been more popular in Galloway than
"Mary's Dream." There is a "simplicity, a pathos, and a sublimity"
about it that strikes a sympathetic chord in every heart. The author
was born at Kenmure, parish of Kells, in 1750. His father was gardener
to Mr Gordon of Kenmure, son to that unfortunate nobleman, who, in
the rebellion of 1715, forfeited his life in the cause of the exiled House of
Stuart. Having at the Parish School acquired the rudiments of classical
learning, he, when quite a youth, was desirous to become a scholar ; but
the narrowness of his father's circumstances did not enable him to carry
this laudable ambition into effect, and at the age of 14 he was apprenticed
with John Heron, weaver in New-Galloway, father of the
historian. He removed to the University of Edinburgh in the year
1771, and was then introduced as tutor to the family of Mr M'Ghie
of Airds, where he composed those verses that have conferred immortality
on his name." Lowe's intention on proceeding to college
was to enter the Church, but having been engaged as tutor to the
family of a brother of "the illustrious" Washington, he crossed the
Atlantic, and his views in that direction were not prosecuted farther.
After various vicissitudes of fortune in the new world, forgetting
his first love on the banks of the Ken, he married a Virginian lady,
and died in 1798, in the 48th year of his age. His two most distinguished
effusions were "A Morning Poem," of a descriptive and
pastoral kind, and "Mary's Dream." The story of this latter poem,
which was founded on truth, is interesting, and was thus given by
Gillespie and others: — "Mary, of the family of Airds, had been promised
in marriage to a gentleman named Alexander Miller, a surgeon, who was
drowned at sea. The impression which such an event must in any case
have made upon the mind of a poet was, in the instance before us,
rendered deeper from the circumstance that the sister of Mary had
inspired Lowe with feelings of a tender kind. The subject, therefore,
was one which could not fail to call forth all the energy of which he was
capable, and accordingly the poem is regarded as one of the happiest
THOMAS FAED, Royal Academician, was born at Barlay Mill, Gatehouse-of-Fleet,
on 8th June, 1826, where his father was an engineer and
millwright. He studied under his brother, Mr John Faed, then a
miniature painter in Edinburgh; also in the "Trustees' Academy"
there, under Sir William Allan, P.R.S.A.; Thomas Duncan, R.S.A.;
Alexr. Christie, R.S.A.,; and lastly, John Ballantyne, R.S.A. He
took annual prizes in various departments of Art. The earliest work
he exhibited in public was a drawing in water colours, "The Old
English Baron." He soon after commenced oil painting, exercising
his brush chiefly on homely subjects. Mr Faed became an associate
of the Royal Scottish Academy in 1849, exhibiting there annually, and
executing, among other approved pictures, the popular one of "Scott
and his Friends at Abbotsford." He settled permanently in London in
1852, and exhibited at the Royal Academy, in 1855, "The Mitherless
Bairn;" in 1856, "Home and the Homeless;" and in 1857, and subsequently,
"The First Break in the Family," "A Listener ne'er hears guid
o' himsel'," "Sunday in the Backwoods," "His only Pair," "From
Dawn to Sunset," "The Last o' the Clan," "Baith Faither and Mither,"
"The Gamekeeper's Daughter," "No Rose without a Thorn," and
many other popular pictures, most of which have been engraved.
Mr Faed was made an Associate in 1859, and a member of the Royal
Academy in 1864. He is also an Honorary Member of the Royal
Scottish Academy, Edinburgh, and an Honorary Member of the
Imperial Academy, Vienna. Mr Faed has also a taste for literature,
and occasionally woos the muse. His contributions to the London
journals and the local papers have been frequent.
JAMES K. SCOTT was born at Hardgate, in the parish of Urr, in
1839. From his youth he was passionately fond of music, and in after
years devoted much of his leisure to the study and practice of harmony,
in which he was so successful that a number of his compositions have
a place in musical publications. He died in Edinburgh in 1883.
Publication — Galloway Gleanings, Poems, and Songs, Castle-Douglas,
ELIZABETH JANE IRVING was born at Beechy Grove, in the
parish of Tongland, in July, 1842. Being of a studious disposition, she
so improved her general education as to be qualified to undertake the
duties of a teacher of English in a school at Amsterdam, where she now
resides. Publication — Fireside Lays, 1872.
CHARLES H. EWART is a native of Dalbeattie, and was born in
1837. His calling in early life as a sailor led him to see a deal of the
world, and he is well informed as to the various countries in which he
travelled — especially the Hawaiian and Sandwich Islands, where he
had a lengthened sojourn. He is a frequent contributor to the "Poet's
Corner" of the local newspapers under various names.
DAVID M'KIE was born in 1841, and spent the greater part of his
early life in Whithorn. He is now a banker in Edinburgh.
ANNA M'GOWAN was born at Dalry, Galloway, about the year
1812, her father being minister of the parish. Of a poetical turn of mind,
her leisure hours were spent in writing verses. Among her friends she
was known as a lady of amiable disposition, passionately fond of
domestic animals. She died at St. Mary's Street, Kirkcudbright, in
1865. Publication — Poems, Edinburgh, 1855.
JAMES FLEMING CANNON. — Born at Whithorn 19th May, 1844.
From early years he had the faculty of rhyming, some of his juvenile
pieces appearing in the local prints. He still continues to court the
Muse, occasionally contributing local sketches in prose. Mr Cannon
now resides in Edinburgh.
REV. SAMUEL R. CROCKETT. — Born at Duchrae, parish of
Balmaghie, Kirkcudbrightshire, in 1859. He was educated at the F.C.
School, Castle-Douglas, and before proceeding to college, to qualify for
the ministry, was a pupil teacher there. As tutor to a gentleman, he
travelled for some years on the Continent, and from the time he left
school has been devoted to literary pursuits, especially poetry — his contributions
to the monthly magazines, and occasionally to the local papers,
being remarkable for their scholarly refinement and delicacy of feeling.
Mr Crockett is now settled as Free Church minister of Penicuik.
Publication — Dulce Cor, being Poems of Ford Bereton, London, 1886.
KENNEDY of Knockgray, Carsphairn, eldest son of the late Colonel
John Clark-Kennedy, C.B., was born in 1851. He was educated at
Eton, and at the age of fifteen showed his literary bent by organising and
conducting a magazine under the title of the Eton Review. After leaving
Eton, he travelled for some time on the Continent, and on returning
to England gave his time mainly to the study of Natural History, contributing
largely to The Field, Land and Water, The Zoologist, and
kindred periodicals. Afterwards, he made a six months' tour in Africa,
Palestine, &c., the records of which were published in various magazines.
Being destined for the Army, he, in 1870, obtained a commission in the
Coldstream Guards, and became lieutenant in 1872, captain in 1874,
quitting the service the same year. In 1877 he visited Norway and
Lapland, and published the results of his travels. Many of his songs and
papers on Scottish sports, &c., have appeared in Baily's Monthly, The
Army and Navy Gazette, and other periodicals, as well as in the local
journals. Publications — The Birds of Berks and Bucks, by an Eton Boy
(circa 1867); To the Arctic Regions and back in Six Weeks, 1878; Robert
the Bruce — a Poem Historical and Romantic, 1884.
GORDON FRASER was born in Wigtown in 1836, and has since
resided there. For many years he has acted as correspondent and
reporter to the local and daily newspapers, and is looked to as an
authority on subjects historical and antiquarian — relating to the district
in and around the Royal Burgh of Wigtown. Publications — Sketches
and Anecdotes of Wigtown and Whithorn, 1877; Lowland Lore, 1880;
Poems, 1885; Story of the Wigtown Martyrs, 1885; Davy Dumpytail, or
the History of the Wigtown Crows.
MALCOLM M'LACHLAN HARPER is a native of Castle-Douglas,
where he still resides, a "notched and cropt scrivener, one that sucks
his sustenance, as certain sick people are said to do, through a quill."
He has no early or late reminiscences interesting to the public. Author
of Rambles in Galloway, Edinburgh, 1876; Memoir to 3rd Edition of
William Nicholson's Poems, 1878; Editor and writer of introduction
and notes to this work; and for many years a contributor of poetry, and
prose articles on various subjects, to the local and other papers.
REV. WALTER PATERSON, a grandson of the prototype of Sir
Walter Scott's "Old Mortality," was born, it is believed, in the parish
of Balmaclellan in 1789. When a lad he and his brother Nathaniel
entered as students at the University of Edinburgh, and very soon his
ability brought him under the notice of Professor Pillans, who procured
for him teaching in the evenings in the city. A family to whom he was
thus introduced engaged him as tutor, and accompanying them to the
Western Islands of Scotland, the wild traditions that he there gathered
from the natives so aroused his imaginative faculties that, in after years,
he gave expression to many of them in his poems. During his college
career he fell in love with a young lady, who afterwards jilted him,
which, from his sensitive nature, he took so much to heart as to cause
him to leave his native land. On the completion of his University
curriculum, he proceeded to the Continent to some literary employment,
and eventually was appointed Professor of English in the University of
Jena. After a lengthened stay in Germany, he obtained a presentation
to the parish of Kirkcurd, in Peebleshire, where he continued till the
Disruption, when he seceded, and opened a Free Church there, remaining
till his death in 1850. Publication — The Legend of Iona, with other
Poems, Edinburgh, 1814.
GEORGE G. B. SPROAT was born at Nethertown of Almorness,
Buittle parish, in 1858. He began to rhyme very early in life, and has
been a prolific writer of verse. His contributions to the Kirkcudbrightshire
Advertiser and other local papers, under the nom de plume of
"Venetia" are frequent. In 1888 he published a volume of poems,
which was soon out of print. Publication — The Rose o' Dalma Linn,
and other Lays o' Gallowa', Castle-Douglas, 1888.
JOHN MACTAGGART, author of that quaint book, the Gallovidian
Encyclopedia, was born at Lennox Plunton, in the parish of Borgue, on
26th June, 1791. At Kirkcudbright Academy he studied Mathematics,
and made such rapid progress that at the examination "he laid all the
school below him, and so obtained the premium." In his thirteenth year
he left the school “with disgust," but still entertained a great fondness
for books. In 1817 he entered the University of Edinburgh to study
Mathematics and Physical Science, his favourite pursuits; but having
attended two sessions he decided not to return, stating in his own rugged
way that he "never received any good from attending the University. I
was there told nothing but what I had before gathered." Remaining
at home for a few years employed in agricultural pursuits, he composed
his singular work, The Gallovidian Encyclopedia. Mr Mactaggart
entered into a literary enterprise with a friend in London, but
on its proving unsuccessful, he, in 1826, was engaged by Mr Rennie,
the engineer, as clerk of works to the Rideau Canal, in Canada, where
he distinguished himself by his strong natural abilities and integrity
of character. In 1828 he returned to England with his constitution
much impaired, and on his arrival published his Three Years in
Canada, a work containing much scientific research. His character, as
given in Murray's memoir, was "enthusiastic, generous, disinterested.
Of books he was very fond; his taste was not naturally good; and he
seems never to have exerted himself to cultivate or improve it; his
friendship was warm and lasting; he hated duplicity or dishonour; he
was regardless of the impression his opinion might make upon others,
provided they were the real convictions of his own heart. Poetry was
one of his earliest studies, and many specimens of his compositions in
this department may be found in his Encyclopedia." He died on 8th
January, 1830, Publications — The Scottish Gallovidian Encyclopedia,
London, 1824 — Reprint, Edinburgh, 1876; Three Years in Canada,
London, 1829 (2 vols).; Osborne and Symington on the Weigh-beam — a
SAMUEL WILSON was born at Burnbrae, in the parish of Crossmichael,
26th May, 1784, of which place his uncle, and subsequently his
father, was proprietor. He received the rudiments of his education at
the school of his native parish, and afterwards attended Glasgow
University for one session at least. On the death of his uncle he
returned to his native place, engaging in various employments, amongst
others that of a wood merchant. On his father's death, in 1810, he
succeeded to the small property of Upper Clarebrand, to which he
retired, and where he kept a grocer's shop till within a year or two
of his death on 9th Jannary, 1863. Mr Wilson from his youth was
literarily inclined, and often courted the Muse. Several of his pieces
are well known in the district, his song, "May o' Craignair," being so
popular as to be still frequently sung. He was a regular correspondent
of the Castle-Douglas Miscellany, in which periodical most of his poems
were from time to time published. He had a great taste for antiquities,
and often travelled long distances to visit places of historical or antiquarian
interest; and his knowledge of the Gaelic language, which he
could write and speak correctly, proved of great service to him in his
WILLIAM NICHOLSON, the Galloway bard, was born at Tannymaas,
in a cottage situated partly in the parish of Borgue and partly in
Twynholm. His father, James Nicholson, a native of Dumfriesshire,
was a carrier from the town of Dumfries to various parts of the
Stewartry. When on a journey from Dumfries with wines, &c., for the
laird of Borgue, about 1760, he met Janet Houston, daughter of Samuel
Houston, then tenant of Meikle Carleton (now Earlston, the seat of Sir
William Gordon). They were shortly afterwards married, and settled in
the village of Kirkandrews, in after years removing to the Eel Holes, a
cottage in the neighbourhood of Barncrosh. In his day James Nicholson
was known to possess considerable powers of observation, a
large fund of anecdote, and great fondness for music. He was
well acquainted with many of the characters now famous in Galloway
history. "Old Mortality" was an acquaintance, and Billy
Marshall, the famous Gallovidian gipsy or tinkler, who died 28th
November, 1792, at the advanced age of 120 years, was an occasional
visitor at his house. Mrs Nicholson was also a woman of character.
She was remarkably fond of poetry and the ballad literature and
traditional stories of her native land; and, being endowed with a most
retentive memory, she could repeat many of them. Mrs Nicholson was
twenty years younger than her husband. They had eight of a family.
William was the youngest, and was left much in the society of his
father and mother, from whom he must have acquired many of the
ideas and expressions which appear in his works. At the small village
of Ringford, near Kirkcudbright, he received his limited education.
From childhood he had a love of literature, and as a mere boy
possessed a store of chapbooks, songs, ballads, &c., which he pored
over with an earnestness known only to the boy of genius. "Nothing
was more common for him, even in winter, when a new book had
fallen into his hands, than to forsake the 'bleezing ingle and the clean
hearth-stane,' and betaking himself to the lee-side of a hedge or
planting, remain there for hours together, to all appearance as regardless
of the cold as if no such thing existed." The time came when
William Nicholson, in order to earn a livelihood, must choose a
trade; and, from his defective vision, being unfitted to be a
ploughman, or shepherd, it was decreed that, with a capital of one
guinea, he should begin life as a packman. In Nicholson's time this
trade was an important one, and often proved remunerative when conducted
with prudence. But in the worldly wisdom generally
characteristic of the class to which he belonged, he was sadly
deficient. Indolence, indecision, and thriftlessness were the frailties of
his nature, and these, joined to a wayward fancy that caused him to
muse with the poet's eye over every fine piece of scenery he came to,
caused him seriously to neglect his interest. So, when the time
came that the pack failed him, and "hungry ruin held him in the
wind," his life was a series of misfortunes. His health was impaired,
and his mind became so clouded as to be subject to strange hallucinations,
principally on points of religion and morals. But over the
habits and eccentricities of his later years it is better to cast the
mantle of charity, which "hopeth all things and thinketh no evil,"
and "gently scan our brother man." In the preface to his works he
solicits the charitable judgment of the public in estimating his poems,
so we would be disposed to judge kindly in regard to his life, tenderly
o'er-lapping his "thoughtless follies" with the mantle of oblivion,
forgetting him as the thriftless pedlar and wandering piper, and only
remembering the man of genius and the poet. In his works William
Nicholson appears, though under many disadvantages, a remarkable
man. His compositions on their first appearance made a favourable
impression on the public mind, and his claims to rank as the first of
Galloway's bards were generally acknowledged in his own day.
M'Diarmid, Mactaggart, and Dr John Brown wrote highly eulogistic
reviews of his works, and the Press notices on the appearance of the
third edition of them in 1878 were such as to show that they are now
more highly valued than they had ever been even by Nicholson's own
contemporaries. For some years before his death the harp of the bard
had been unstrung, and little was known of him beyond the bounds of
his native parish. He died at Kildarroch, Borgue, on 16th May, 1842,
and his remains rest in the picturesque churchyard of Kirkandrews.
Publications: — Tales in Verse and Miscellaneous Poems, descriptive of
rural life and manners — Edinburgh, 1814; Do., Second Edition, to
which is prefixed a Memoir of the Author — Edinburgh, 1828; The
Poetical Works of William Nicholson (Third Edition), with a Memoir
by the editor of this volume, Castle-Douglas, 1878.
ANDREW DENNISTON, better known in Galloway as a musician
than a poet, was born in Whithorn on the 29th September, 1822. In
his tenth year, being blind, he was sent to the Asylum for Tuition of the
Blind in Liverpool, and having remained there for about two years,
returned to his native place. In 1849 his career as a teacher of music
began, and he has prosecuted his profession with so much success that
his name is well known in the south-west of Scotland. He still lives at
MRS LOUISA ROBERTSON is the youngest daughter of the late
William Scott, Auchencairn. She now resides at Blinkbonny, Peebles,
and her contributions to the local journals, both in Peebleshire and
Galloway, and occasionally America, under the signature of "Louisa,"
are numerous.
ROBERT MALCOLMSON was born at Kirkcudbright in 1792 or
1793, and received his education there. His first published piece of
poetry was inserted in the Liverpool Courier in September, 1808,
In 1813 he commenced a correspondence with the Dumfries Weekly
Journal, which continued for two years. He afterwards contributed to
the columns of the Dumfries Courier, and furnished a series of descriptive
sketches of Galloway antiquities to Sir Walter Scott. In
1826 he wrote papers for Bennet's Dumfries Magazine, and furnished
numerous notes to the History of Galloway, supplying the account of the
raid of Paul Jones on St. Mary's Isle. In Dr Trotter's Derwent
Water, a sonnet of Malcolmson's is inserted, and several of his pieces
have a place in Peter M'Kinnell's Mountain Dew. He is believed
to have written the reply to the Galloway Herds. He was drowned
in the harbour at Kirkcudbright on 5th February, 1848.
THOMAS MOUNSEY CUNNINGHAM was born at Culfaud, on
25th June, 1766. He, as told in Hogg's Life of his brother Allan,
"received the first elements of his education at a dame's school, kept by
one Nancy Kingan, whose stock of instruction consisted in the alphabet,
the shorter catechism, the Psalms of David, and the Proverbs of
Solomon. Spelling was considered useless, and a mere waste of time.
Writing and arithmetic she did not pretend to, and as for grammar
she had never heard of it. Her great boast to any occasional visitor to
her seminary was, 'the bairns when they lea' my schule hae unco
little to learn o' the Bible.'" Having finished with Dame Kingan,
Thomas was next placed under the tutorship of Dominie Gordon
at Kellieston. On completing his education, young Cunningham
was, at his own desire, apprenticed to a millwright in the neighbourhood,
and, continues Mr Hogg, "he now began cultivating the
acquaintance of the muses, and submitted his poetical productions from
time to time to the inspection of his father, who was proud of his son,
and gave what counsel and encouragement he thought judicious." On
finishing his apprenticeship, he proceeded to England to push his fortune,
and for a considerable time followed desultory employment in his trade
in the provinces until he had the good fortune to become managing clerk
in the establishment of Sir John Rennie, the celebrated London engineer.
His muse, which for some years lay dormant, awoke more vigorous
than ever, and he frequently contributed poems to the pages of the Scots
Magazine, which, at the request of the Ettrick Shepherd, he allowed
to be inserted in The Forest Minstrel. Several of his songs have attained
great popularity; "The Hills o' Gallowa'" was the great song of the
day, and is still well-known in the South of Scotland. He had also a
literary bent, and in 1817 contributed interesting articles to the
Edinburgh Magazine on ancient and modern times, under the title of
the "Literary Legacy." But it was as a writer of lyrics in which he
excelled. His extremely sensitive temperament, impatience of criticism,
and whimsical turn of mind were against his success in literature. In
private life he was esteemed very highly by a wide circle of friends. He
died of cholera on the 28th October, 1834.
JOHN S. SMITH is a native of Creetown, and was born in 1849; but
has nearly all his life resided in Dalbeattie. He is a granite hewer, but
having literary tastes has taken an active part in the work of the
Dalbeattie Literary Society, holding for a year the office of president.
Several of his writings have appeared in the local papers.
ROBERT KERR was born at Midtown of Spottes, Urr parish, in
1811. At an early period of life he showed poetic talent, and as he
advanced in years the cultivation of the gift was not neglected. His
longest poem, "Maggie o' the Moss," was published in Nicholson's
Traditional Tales of Galloway in 1843, and about the same time "My
First Fee," and "The Widow's ae Coo" appeared in the Dumfries
Courier. Mr Kerr, in the latter part of his life, became a farmer.
On his death, at Redcastle, Haugh-of-Urr, on 30th September, 1848,
Mr John M'Diarmid, the editor of the Dumfries Courier, wrote a
very appreciative obituary notice, and, as a "tribute to departed worth
and genius," re-published "My First Fee," remarking that "he had
been charmed with it, in common with many others, as was proved by
its re-publication in distant and more influential journals." We would
here note that the authorship of this poem has recently been disputed.
The Rev. P. Mearns, Coldstream, in editing poems by Jas. Hyslop, author
of the Cameronian Dream, published in 1887, supposes Hyslop to have
been the author of "My First Fee," giving as his reason that "Mr
Alexander Rodger, of Greenock, an early acquaintance of Hyslop's,
repeatedly refers to this poem in his MS. sketch of Hyslop." To
Robert Kerr the authorship of the poem has always been credited,
and the meagre testimony produced by Mr Mearns for Hyslop, when
placed against the evidence in Kerr's favour, will only go to strengthen
the belief that the latter is the author. First, we have Robert Kerr's
MS. book, in which he had written the poem along with many others
of his own composition; second, the popularity of the piece in Kerr's
own lifetime, and the general belief of the district that he was the
author; third, Mr John M'Diarmid's acknowledgment of him as the
author when at his death he re-published the poem in the Dumfries
Courier; and fourth, most convincing of all, the statement of Mr James
Nicholson, printer, Kirkcudbright, that, about 43 years ago, Robert
Kerr handed him, by his own hand, the poem to be printed in slips,
and that, to his knowledge, it was then popularly known as Kerr's poem,
and as such widely circulated. We believe Robert Kerr to be the author
of the poem, and take this opportunity of producing evidence in his
favour, though in the Stewartry it is perhaps unnecessary to substantiate
his claim.
J. S. M'CULLOCH was born at Burnfoot, in the parish of Carsphairn,
in 1855. On leaving the village school he became a stonedyker
among the Galloway wilds; and spent his spare hours in the pursuit of
knowledge, occasionally wooing the muses. Publication — Poems: Local,
Lyric, and Miscellaneous, Edinburgh, 1885.
PETER M'KINNELL. — Born at Auchencairn in 1795, resided some
time in Dalry, and afterwards in Liverpool, where he died in 1844.
Publications — Entertainment for Leisure Hours, 1823; The Doric Reed,
1825; Mountain Dew, 1830.
JOHN MORRISON was born in the parish of Terregles in 1782,
but when about five years old came with his parents to the farm of
Fellend, near Ringford, Tongland parish. In early life Morrison
displayed a taste for painting and poetry, and, from the native strength
of his intellect, made rapid progress in the study of any subject to
which his attention was directed. He studied painting under Nasmyth
in Edinburgh, and, returning to Galloway, perambulated the towns in
the province and elsewhere, painting portraits and occasionally landscapes
— some of his works showing very considerable artistic power.
In after years he followed the profession of an engineer and land
surveyor, and in the years 1810-1812 executed surveys and plans of
Portpatrick Harbour, and many of the great roads in Scotland and
Wales for Telford and Rennie. He was also an enthusiast in literature,
and his poems, published in a small volume, exhibit in many
places poetic power. He was also, in his day, considered somewhat of a
humourist, and was famed for his pointed satirical remarks. With
Sir Walter Scott, Hogg, and other eminent literary men of his time, he
was on familiar terms. William Nicholson and Morrison were kindred
spirits, and numerous stories — some of them entertaining — are told of
the two worthies when they met. He died at Glentarth Cottage,
Tongland, on 7th June, 1853, aged 71 years. Publication — Poems,
Edinburgh, 1832.
REV. WILLIAM GILLESPIE was born at Kells Manse, where
his father had been minister for 42 years, on 18th February, 1776. He
received the rudiments of his education at New-Galloway School.
From boyhood he was studiously inclined. With his love of poetry he
had also artistic tastes, showing such facility in drawing that a sketch
he made of Kenmure Castle, when about 14 years of age, was engraved
and sold in the print shops. He entered the College of Edinburgh in
1792, and was such a diligent and exemplary student as to gain the
esteem of the various professors under whom he studied. He was a
member of the Academy of Physics, instituted by Brougham, Birkbeck,
and other young men of genius. He also attended the medical classes,
and, having finished his college education, was licenced as a preacher
by the Presbytery of Kirkcudbright. On his father's death, in 1806,
he was appointed his successor, and at the Manse, with the exception
of holiday excursions to the lakes of Cumberland, London, and a
journey to Paris, he almost constantly resided, performing with great
acceptance the duties of his office. He was chaplain to the Stewartry
of Kirkcudbright Yeomanry Cavalry, and a member of the Highland
Society. He died on the 15th October, 1825, and was buried in Kells
Churchyard, his character and attainments being thus given by his
biographer: — "Mr Gillespie, in conversation, was witty, sprightly,
enthusiastic, and intelligent; his manners mild and polished. He was
a warm friend, and a man of sound principle and integrity in all the
relations of life. His mind was naturally of a superior order, and had
been highly improved by reading and study. His genius was altogether
of a poetical turn: his sermons, his whole character displayed this.
Yet his own compositions have not been successful productions. The
prevailing defect of his poetry is uniformity, and a want of originality
and vigour." Publications — The Progress of Refinement: an Allegorical
Poem, with other Poems, Edinburgh, 1805; Consolation, with other
Poems, Edinburgh, 1815; The Rebellion of Absalom: a Sermon, 1821.
JAMES CAMPBELL was born at Irelandton, in the parish of Twynholm,
in 1834. He now resides in Dalbeattie, and for a number of
years has contributed poetical pieces to the local papers.
Rev. DUGALD STEWART WILLIAMSON, son of the Rev. John
Williamson, Twynholm. — Born in 1803; licenced by the Presbytery of
Kirkcudbright, 26th June, 1826; presented to Tongland Parish Church
in June, and ordained 20th September, 1832; died 8th March, 1859, in
the 56th year of his age, and 27th of his ministry. As a man of original
mind and literary ability he was widely known in his time. Publications
— Five Single Sermons, 1837-47; Metrical Paraphrase of the Book of
Revelation, Kirkcudbright, 1838; Rivers of Galloway: a Poem in Parts
I. and II., Dumfries, 1840-41; Thoughts on the present Scarcity of
Salmon, Stranraer, 1852; Account of the Parish of Tongland, in the New
Statistical Account.
PATRICK HANNAY, A.M., was the son of Alexander A'Hannay,
uncle of Patrick of Sorby, who was a burgess of Wigtown, and
obtained the lands styled Kirkdale and Browith, Kirkcudbrightshire,
26th November, 1532. In the lines by John Marshall to Patrick
Hannay, the poet, reference is made to his grandfather, Donald Hannay
of Sorby, which refers to a period not later than 1573. His descent is
further supported by Nesbit in his system of Heraldry, A.D. 1722, who
not only states that the poet was a grandson of Donald Hannay of
Sorby, but gives from the frontispiece of his book of poems a description
of his coat of arms, by which it is clearly shown that his father was the
third son of Hannay of Sorby. He appears to have taken up his abode
in London. He is said to have served in a military capacity under Sir
Andrew Gray, a Colonel of foot, and General of Artillery to the King of
Bohemia. He had taken his degree of Master of Arts previous to 1622.
As an author, he holds a good position among the minor Scottish poets.
His book became so rare that only six copies could be traced some years
ago, and what was originally worth a few shillings brought at sales £42
to £96. Under the editorship of the late David Laing, LL.D., &c.,
Signet Library, Edinburgh, a new edition was printed and presented to
the members of the Hunterian Club, Glasgow, by, and at the expense
of, Mr Thomas Russell of that city. With this edition is a memoir
written by Dr Laing, who was assisted in his investigation by Mr
M'Kerlie, author of Lands and their Owners in Galloway, Publications
— Two Elegies on the occasion of the death and funeral of Queen
Anne of Denmark, 1619; A Happy Husband, 1619; The Nightingale;
Sheretine and Mariana; Elegies on the Death of Queen Anne; Songs
and Sonnets, 1622.
WILLIAM M'DOWALL was born at Maxwelltown on 21st July,
1815, and received his education at the Academy, Dumfries. As a
youth he was apprenticed to a bookbinder; but his literary tastes being
early displayed, he quitted that trade for the profession of a journalist,
and in 1846 was appointed editor of the Dumfries and Galloway
Standard, which he conducted up to the day of his death, 28th Dec.,
1888. Mr M'Dowall was a man of varied mental gifts. As a provincial
journalist he had a high reputation, and in the field of local history and
archæology he was a reliable authority. Publications — The Man of the
Woods, and other Poems, 1844 — Second Edition, 1882; History of the
Burgh of Dumfries, 1867 — Second Edition, 1873; Burns in Dumfriesshire,
1870; Memorials of St. Michael's, 1876; The Mind in the Face,
1882 — Third Edition, 1888; Chronicles of Lincluden, 1886; Among the
Old Scotch Minstrels, 1888.
DR JAMES TROTTER, fourth son of Dr Robert Trotter, Dalry,
was born at Auchencairn, Kirkcudbrightshire, in 1842. Like his father,
he is possessed of antiquarian tastes and a literary and poetic cast of
mind. He first began to write in the Kirkcudbrightshire Advertiser, his
poetical contributions, and racy and humorous prose articles, being
numerous. Dr Trotter is joint-originator of Fraser's Blyth and Tyneside
Comic Pictorial Annual, in which, and other magazines of the Border
Counties, many productions of his pen have appeared. He is now
resident in Northumberland. Publications — The Banks of Humford
Mill, 1872; The Clachan Fair: a Descriptive Poem, by "Bartholomew
Powhead, Esq.," Edinburgh, 1872.
JOHN GORDON BARBOUR, well known as a man of original
mind, was born at Gordonstoun, in the parish of Dairy, in 1775. Like
his ancestors, he was an extensive farmer, but much of his time was
devoted to literary pursuits. This bent — literature — was early displayed,
and, being in easy circumstances, he was enabled to gratify his taste in the
furnishing of his library with many valuable works. An ardent admirer
of the patriots, martyrs, and minstrels of Caledonia, he "was accustomed,"
writes a correspondent in the Dumfries Herald at the time of
his death, "to leave his retired dwelling on the banks of the Garple,
and indulge his passion for romantic scenery by frequent tours to the
Highlands and the lakes of Cumberland." To some of the great
men of his day he was known. With the Ettrick Shepherd he was
well acquainted, and more than once the author of the Isle of Palms
visited his dwelling. Mr Barbour, under the nom de plume of Cincinnatus
Caledonius, from time to time gave to the public the labours of
his pen. He was gifted with considerable powers of description, and
in his prose writings, mainly composed of legends and traditions which
he gleaned in his rambles, are many graphic descriptions of scenery.
His poems also exhibit a warm sensibility to the beauties of nature, but
they have never become popular, and are now little known. He died at
Bogue on 12th February, 1843, and his remains lie in Dalry Churchyard.
Publications — Lights and Shadows of Scottish Character and Scenery,
1824 — second series, 1825; Tributes to Scottish Genius, 1827; Evenings
in Greece, and Baronial Promenades, Edinburgh, 1829; Helvetic Hours:
a Series of Poetical Pieces, descriptive of the Sublime Scenery of
Switzerland and the Simplon, Edinburgh, 1831; Unique Traditions,
1833; Dialogues of the Dead, chiefly of the modern, 1836; Queries connected
with Christianity, 1824.
THOMAS BROWN, M.D., youngest son of the Rev. Samuel
Brown, minister of Kirkmabreck parish, was born in the Manse there on
the 9th January, 1778. Dr Brown from infancy had a great love of music,
and from the time he was able to read, books became a passion with
him — the powers of his memory being always so very great that he
remembered almost, without an effort, any passage that interested
him. His father died when he was about a year old, and his mother
removed with her family to Edinburgh, where he received the rudiments
of his education. In the middle of his seventh year he was placed in a
school at Camberwell, where he was looked upon "as a little prodigy
for the extent of his knowledge." In 1792, when sixteen years of age,
he returned to Edinburgh, and, entering the College, "commenced a
career, though not noisy, yet as distinguished as has fallen to the lot of
any contemporary of his own country." For several years Dr Brown
attended the usual literary and physical classes of the University, and
there was no subject in literature or philosophy that did not engage his
attention. At the age of nineteen he was an active member, and for
sometime secretary, of the Academy of Physics, an association which
then had on its list of members many names distinguished in the
history of letters. In 1803, after having attended the usual medical
course, he took the degree of M.D., and practised as a physician in
Edinburgh, and in 1810 was elected joint-Professor of Moral Philosophy
with Dugald Stewart. From his earliest youth Dr Brown had been a
votary of the muse. Amid his severer pursuits poetry was his favourite
study, and he gave several volumes to the world, which are now scarce
and little known. He died at Brompton, 2nd April, 1820, and his remains
are interred in Kirkmabreck Churchyard. An account of his life and
writings, by the Rev. David Welsh, minister of Crossmichael, was
published in 1825. Publications — Observations on the Zoonomia of
Erasmus Darwin, 1798; Poems, 2 vols., 1804; Observations on the Nature
and Tendency of Mr Hume's Doctrine concerning the Relation of Cause
and Effect, 1804 — Second Edition, 1806; Third Edition, 1818; A Criticism
on the Charges against Mr Leslie, 1806; Examination of some Remarks
in the Reply to Dr John Inglis to Professor Playfair,1806; The Renovation
of India; The Paradise of Coquettes: a Poem, 1814 — Second
Edition, 1818; The Wanderer in Norway: a Poem, 1815; The War
Fiend, with other Poems, 1816; The Bower of Spring, and other Poems,
1817; Agnes: a Poem, 1818; Emily, and other Poems — Second Edition,
1819 ; Lectures on the Philosophy of the Human Mind, 4 vols., 1820;
System of the Philosophy of the Human Mind, 1820.
JAMES M'GILL, born at Curghie, Kirkmaiden, Wigtownshire, in
1859. He served an apprenticeship in the Union Bank, Castle-Douglas,
and for a short time acted as accountant in the Edzell branch of the
Bank. He died at Castle-Douglas on 14th January, 1879.
REV. JAMES MUIRHEAD, D.D., of Logan, author of "Bess the
Gawkie," was born in Buittle Parish, in 1742. Licensed by the Presbytery
of Kirkcudbright in 1765. In 1769 he was presented to the parish of
Urr, and was ordained minister of that parish on 28th June, 1770. He
received the degree of D.D. from Edinburgh University in 1796, and died
16th May, 1808. He was a mathematician and a naturalist, and his
scholarship was extensive. Being a proprietor and a freeholder in the
Stewartry, he was lampooned in an election ballad by Burns, and
retorted with one of Martial's Latin epigrams, giving a free translation
touching on Burns's private affairs, which the poet, it is said, felt keenly.
Publications — Account of the Parish of Urr (Sinclair's Statistical
Account); A jeu d'esprit in the shape of a translation of Martial's
ode, Ad Vacerram.
REV. NATHANIEL M'KIE, son of the Rev. William M'Kie, minister
of Balmaghie, maternal uncle of the heroine of "Mary's Dream," was
licensed by the Presbytery of Kirkcudbright in September, 1737; called
to Crossmichael Parish Church 17th May; and ordained 23rd August,
1739. He got a new church built in 1751, and died 26th January, 1781,
in the 66th year of his age, and 42nd of his ministry. "He was noted for
simplicity of character, and plain, uncultivated manners, superstitious
credulity, and great eccentricity." Publications — Some Thoughts on the
Sacred Ministry, &c.: a Sermon, Edinburgh, 1741.
JOHN KELSO KELLY. — Born at Portwilliam, Wigtownshire, 2nd
March, 1864. At school he was considered an apt scholar, and when 14
years of age was apprenticed as a pupil teacher. At present Mr Kelly
is a teacher in Edinburgh. Publications — Thoughts on Solitude, 1886;
Pebbles from the Brook: being Miscellaneous Poems, with Notes, Edinburgh,
REV. DAVID R. WILLIAMSON, born at Kirkmaiden in 1855, where
his father had been minister for some years. On leaving the Parish
School, where he received the rudiments of his education, he went to
Edinburgh University as a divinity student, and on being licensed as a
preacher, acted for some time as assistant to the parish minister of
Dryfesdale, Dumfriesshire. In November, 1881, he was appointed
colleague and successor to his father, on whose death, in 1888, he
became minister of his native parish. Mr Williamson is a prolific
writer of verse, and for many years has been a frequent contributor to
the various magazines and journals of the country. Publication—
Poems of Nature and Life, Edinburgh, 1888.
ROBERT COUPER, M.D., was born at Sorbie, in Wigtownshire, on
the 22nd September, 1753. In 1769 Dr Couper entered the University
of Glasgow to qualify for the ministry, but, having relinquished the
idea of entering the Church, he attended the medical classes, and in
1788 took the degree of M.D. As a medical practitioner he was settled
for some time in Newton-Stewart, and afterwards at Fochabers. He
died at Wigtown on the 18th January, 1818. Publications — The Tourification
of Malachi Meldrum, Esq., 1803, 2 vols.; Poetry, chiefly in the
Scottish Language, 1804, 2 vols.
WILLIAM M. HETHERINGTON, D.D., LL.D., was born on the
Galloway side of the Nith in 1805. As a student at the University of
Edinburgh he was distinguished. He was always devoted to poetry,
and amidst his severer studies found relaxation in the composition of
verses, chiefly celebrating the national manners, and the interesting
scenes of his nativity. In 1836 he was ordained minister of the parish
of Torphichen, in the Presbytery of Linlithgow. He took a leading part
in the non-intrusion controversy, and joined the Free Church at the
Disruption. In 1848 he became minister of Free St. Paul's, Edinburgh;
and in 1857 was appointed Professor of Exegetical Theology in
the Free Church College, Glasgow. He died in May, 1865. Publications
— Twelve Dramatic Sketches, founded on the Pastoral Poetry of
Scotland; The Fullness of Time; History of the Church of Scotland;
The Minister's Family; and other publications chiefly on theological
HENRY DUNCAN, D.D., the founder of Savings Banks, and the
promoter of various schemes of social economy, was born in Lochrutton
Manse, where his father was minister, on 8th October, 1774. He entered
as a student the College of St. Andrews, and in 1799 was ordained minister
of the parish of Ruthwell, Dumfriesshire. In 1809, Dr Duncan originated
the Dumfries and Galloway Courier, which he conducted during the first
seven years of its existence. In 1823 he received the degree of D.D. from
St. Andrews University. He died at Comlogan, 12th February, 1846.
Publications — A Pamphlet on the Socinian Controversy, Liverpool, 1791;
Three Single Sermons, Edinburgh, 1803-40; An Essay on the nature and
advantages of Parish Banks, Edinburgh, 1815; Letter to John H. Forbes,
Esq., Dumfries, 1817; Letter to W. R. K. Douglas, Esq., M.P., on the bill
brought into Parliament for the protection and encouragement of Savings
Banks, Dumfries, 1819; Letters to W. R. K. Douglas, Esq., M.P.,
advocating the abolition of commercial restrictions, 1820; Letter to the
Managers of Banks for Saving in Scotland; The Young South Country
Weaver, second edition, 1821; The Cottage Fireside, or the Parish Schoolmaster,
fourth edition, 1821; William Douglas, or the Scottish Exiles,
3 vols., 1826; Letters to the Parishioners of Ruthwell, on Roman Catholic
Emancipation, 1829; Presbyter's Letters on the West Indian Question,
1830; Account of the Remarkable Runic Monument, preserved at
Ruthwell Manse, 1833; Letters to the Rev. Dr George Cook, on the
Assembly's enactment relative to Patronage and Calls, 1834; Sacred
Philosophy of the Seasons, 4 vols., 1835-36; Letter to his Flock on the
Resolution at the Convocation, 1842; Account of the Parish of Ruthwell,
New Statistical Account. He also contributed to the Edinburgh,
Encyclopedia, Christian Instructor, Transactions of the Royal Society,
and the local journals.
DR ROBERT TROTTER, eldest son of Dr Robert Trotter, Dalry;
author of Herbert Herries: A Tale of Dundrennan Abbey; was born at
Dalbeattie in 1833. On leaving school, where he began to show his
poetical turn by writing verses, he passed several years abroad. On his
return to this country, he entered Glasgow University as a medical
student, and distinguished himself by taking special honours in the
various examinations. On becoming qualified, Dr Trotter commenced
practice in the town of Bedlington, Northumberland, afterwards removing
to Wigtownshire, where he remained for four years, and was a
frequent contributor of poetry, and prose articles on antiquarian and
archæological subjects, to the local papers. Dr Trotter is now a
medical practitioner in Perth. Publications — Galloway Gossip Sixty
Years Ago, 1887; A Voyage to the Glenkens.
JOHN GORDON (Lord Kenmure) was born in 1750. He served as
a captain in the 17th Foot, and in 1824 the forfeited dignities and titles
were restored in his person by Act of Parliament. He died without issue
on 21st September, 1840, in his 91st year. The title has remained
dormant since the death of Adam, ninth Viscount, in 1847.
DR ALEXANDER MURRAY, the celebrated linguist, was born at
Dunkitterick, on the water of Palnure, half way between New-Galloway
and Newton-Stewart, on 22nd October, 1775. His father and grandfather
had been shepherds, and he spent his early youth as a shepherd
boy amid the moorland wastes around Cairnsmore and Loch Grannoch.
Young Murray in the acquisition of knowledge had many difficulties, but
with the burning thirst and enthusiasm of genius they were overcome.
It is related that ere he reached his eighth year "his fame as a boy for
wonderous reading was the discourse of the whole glen." He received
his first lessons in reading at home, and afterwards at New-Galloway
school, where he made such rapid progress as to astonish his teachers,
and all with whom he came in contact, with the power of his natural
abilities. Being near-sighted, he was unfitted to follow the calling of his
fathers, and in his twelfth year was employed in teaching by the
neighbouring farmers at their houses. Before he was nineteen years of
age he showed such facility in acquiring languages that he had a fair
knowledge of French, German, Greek, Latin, Hebrew, and Arabic.
About 1794 he entered the University of Edinburgh as a divinity student,
and astonished the professors with his varied acquirements. In 1802 he
was appointed editor of the Scots Magazine, and also contributed several
papers to the Edinburgh Review. When at college he was a member of
the Literary Society, and was intimately acquainted with Jeffrey and
Campbell, the poet, and others whose names are famous in literary
history. Before he had completed his University curriculum he had
mastered nearly every European language. In 1806 he was appointed
assistant and successor to the Rev. Dr Muirhead, minister of Urr, on
whose death in 1808 Mr Murray succeeded to the full incumbency. At
Urr Manse he composed his History of the European Languages, and in
1812 he was elected Professor of Oriental Languages in the University
of Edinburgh, the degree of D.D. being conferred on him. He died on
15th April, 1813, in the 37th year of his age, and was interred at the
north-west corner of Greyfriars' Churchyard, Edinburgh. A monument
was erected near his birth-place in 1834, on which in September, 1877, a
suitable inscription was placed. Publications — Outlines of Oriental
Philology, 1812; Letters to Charles Stuart, M.D., 1813; History of
European Languages, 1803, 2 vols.; edited Bruce's Travels to Discover
the Source of the Nile, with Life of the Author, 1804, 7 vols.
JOHN GERROND. — Born 11th November, 1765, at Gateside of Bar,
in the parish of Kirkpatrick-Durham. From his father, who had written
several small poetical pieces, Gerrond believed he had "a hereditary
right to rhyming." When about ten years of age he removed with his
parents to Causewayend, now Castle-Douglas, where he was bound
apprentice as a blacksmith. Gerrond left this country for America in
1793, and to the second edition of his poems is prefixed a somewhat
interesting account of his life and travels. He returned in 1799, and
died in the neighbourhood of Castle-Douglas about seventy years ago.
His poem of the "Peat Moss" has an illustration by J. Burnett, but none
of his verses show much, if any, poetic talent. His work is now scarce,
and only known to a few in the district. Publications — Poems on several
occasions, chiefly in the Scottish Dialect, Glasgow, 1802; Poems (second
edition), 1808; Works, 1811-1815; The New Poetical Works of John
Gerrond, the Galloway Poet, Dumfries, 1818.
DAVID LANDSBOROUGH was born at Dalry, Kirkcudbrightshire,
in 1782. He received his early education at Dumfries Academy, and
studied for the church at Edinburgh University. In 1811 he was
ordained parish minister of Stewarton, Ayrshire, and died in 1854. He
devoted much of his leisure time to the study of botany and conchology,
chiefly in connection with Arran and the Cumbrae shores. Publications
— Arran: A Poem in six cantos, 1828; Second Edition, 1847; Excursions
to Arran, Ailsa Craig, and the Two Cumbraes, two series, 1847, 1851;
Ayrshire Sketches, originally contributed to the Scottish "Christian
Herald:" A Popular History of British Sea Weeds, 1849; second edition,
1851; A Popular History of British Zoophytes, 1852. He also contributed
papers to Dr Harvey's Physicologica Britannica.
JAMES M'KIMM. — Born at Hardgate, parish of Urr, early in the
present century, and resides there. He has frequently contributed verses
to the local papers.
JAMES M'MILLAN was born at Gatehouse-of-Fleet about 1820; but
in early life left his native place for business in Walsall as a Scotch
traveller, where he still resides.
JAMES LEWIS. — Born in 1835, at Riddlebank, Kinharvey, parish
of New Abbey, and now resides at Corsock Village, Kirkcudbrightshire.
JAMES CAMPBELL (Hottsbridge) was born at Barnwalls, Balmaclellan
parish, in 1853. He showed ability as a scholar, and is now
head-master of Hottsbridge School, Ecclefechan, Dumfriesshire.
REV. JOHN WIGHTMAN, D.D., son of William Wightman,
Glaisters, Kirkgunzeon, was born in 1762; licensed to preach in 1790;
and ordained parish minister of Kirkmahoe, Dumfriesshire, 21st
Sept., 1797; died 14th July, 1847. An account of his life and times
was published by Rev. D. Hogg in 1873. Publications — Eleven Single
Sermons, Dumfries, 1812-41; Practical Lectures on the Two Epistles of
Paul to the Thessalonians, Edinburgh, 1834; Practical Discourses and
Sacramental Addresses, Edinburgh, 1849; Three Articles signed
"Censor" (Edinburgh Christian Institute ii.); Account of the Parish
of Kirkmahoe (New Statistical Account).
WM. G. M'GILL. — Born in the parish of Old Luce, Wigtownshire, in
1851, and now resides at Knockallan, near Castle-Douglas. A contributor
to the "Poet's Corner" of the local papers, and occasionally
prose articles on general topics.
WILLIAM TRAIN, son of Joseph Train, the antiquary, and correspondent
of Sir Walter Scott, was born at Newton-Stewart in 1816 or
1817. Mr Train was for some time Inspector of the National Provincial
Bank of England, and afterwards Surveyor of Taxes at
Haddington, where he died in 1849. In Blackie's edition of The Songs
of Scotland two of his songs have a place.
JOHN FLEMING was a native of Whithorn, and resided there,
instructing the youth of the village in the three R's, till his death in 1851.
It is believed that his brother Andrew, a stonemason by trade, was the
author of several of the pieces in the volume published by John. In
the Songs of Scotland, by Blackie, one of the songs is given. Publication
— Poems, Glasgow, 1838.
ROBERT SHENNAN was born at Muil, in the parish of Kirkpatrick--
Durham, in 1782, and died at Barmoffity, in the same parish, on 27th
December, 1868. Publication — Tales, Songs, and Miscellaneous Poems,
Descriptive of Rural Scenery and Manners, Dumfries, 1831.
JOHN MACKENZIE, D.D., son of Ninian Mackenzie, Clayholes,
Stranraer, studied for the ministry at Glasgow University, and was
ordained parish minister of Portpatrick in 1773. He died, father of the
Synod of Galloway, 21st December, 1836, in the 93rd year of his age, and
64th of his ministry. Publications — The Love of Pleasure inconsistent
with Reason, &c.: a sermon, Edinburgh, 1772; Sermons, Edinburgh, 1800;
Ocean, Stella and other poems, 1816; Sermon xiv, Scotch Preacher iii.;
Account of the Parish of Portpatrick (Sinclair's Statistical Account).
REV. DAVID MILLIGAN GILLESPIE, brother of Rev. William
Gillespie, born at Kells Manse about 1782, and died at Dumfries in 1859.
JOSEPH HEUGHAN was born at the village of Auchencairn,
Kirkcudbrightshire, in 1836. When a youth he was apprenticed as a
blacksmith, and still follows that trade in .his native village. He early
began to write verses, most of which are remarkable for the uncouth, old--
fashioned Galloway words they contain, and for their richness in Biblical
and classical references. Occasionally he contributes verses to the local
Annie of Lochroyan ... 186
The Rose of the Briar ... 80
The Snowdrop... ... ... 96
Lord Malcolm ... ... ... 81
The Saint... ... ... ... 97
The Non-descript, ... ... 205
The Lass o' the Garry-horn 60
Bonnie Co'en ... ... ... 111
Kate's Wooing ... ... ... 225
CAMPBELL, J., Hottsbridge (LV).
Loch Ryan ... ... ... 154
Strife and Rest ... ... 236
The Langhill Fairy ... ... 21
The Glen o' Physgill ... 173
The Exile from Galloway 25
Kenmure's Welcome ... 117
Lady Alice Graem's Song 232
The Sheeling ... ... ... 123
My Mary ... ... ... ... 216
From Two Windows ... 23
Idyll of the Hayfield ... 174
The Damask Rose ... ... 199
The Hills o' Gallowa' ... 45
An Emigrant's Farewell ... 41
Curling Song ... ... ... 125
Winter ... ... ... ... 15
Molokai ... ... ... ... 170
Wee Auntie Jeannie ... 9
A Dream ... ... ... ... 95
Burns... ... ... ... ... 156
The Wooing of Katty More 196
Song ... ... ... ... ... 178
Among the Bairns ... ... 27
To a Sleeping Baby ... 234
Water of Orr ... ... ... 139
Mary Coldstream ... ... 214
The Wizard ... ... ... 57
Innocence ... ... ... ... 89
The Tears of Beauty ... 127
Dundrennan Abbey ... ... 181
Sonnet — Loch Ken ... ... 224
GORDON, JOHN, Lord Kenmure,
Challenge to N. M'Kie ... 129
Rejoinder to Nathan ... 132
Ellen and the Banks of
Cree ... ... ... ... 7
The Home of Youth ... 231
Song. — A Maid me lov'd 71
Song. — Now do the Birds 155
Sonnet ... ... ... ... 172
Sonnet ... ... ... ... 183
Song. — I can Love ... ... 202
The Joys of Spring ... ... 86
Wee Jamie ... ... ... 105
The Carlinwark Loch ... 161
Willie, the Wee Cabin Boy 184
O, Sweet is the Blossom ... 124
Lass wi' the Carroty Pow 222
Amor Redivivus ... ... 217
The Wooer's Plicht ... 238
Moonlight ... ... ... ... 12
The Wayside ... ... ... 220
Oor Ain Scotch Sangs ... 116
A Wish ... ... ... ... 144
Forget-Me-Not ... ... 218
The Widow's Ae Coo ... 48
My First Fee ... ... ... 107
The Old Moss Oak ... ... 179
Glenkens ... ... ... ... 140
Ance a Laird ... ... ... 149
Mary's Dream ... ... ... 8
The Galloway Flail ... ... 50
Bonnie Winsome Jessie ... 213
The Brigend Widow ... 77
The Shell-gatherer ... ... 201
Mary, the Flower of the Dee 90
Rose amang the Heather 159
On Hearing a Bird Sing 20
Stella... ... ... ... ... 194
A Legend of Kirkmaiden 16
Nae Dominies for me ... 108
Answer to Kenmure ... 130
M'Kimm, JAMES (LII).
Growin' Auld ... ... ... 145
The Pastor's Grave ... ... 51
The Departed ... ... ... 147
Shepherd owre the Lea ... 35
Twa Words to the Scotch
Folk in London ... 97
Mary Lee's Lament ... 206
Verses to the Snowdrop... 44
Galloway ... ... ... ... 1
Peggy ... ... ... ... 83.
On Ascending Cairnsmuir 53
Ballad ... ... ... ... 103
Bess the Gawkie ... ... 93
My Native Vale ... ... 134
Broom and Channelstane 5
The Birken Tree ... ... 40
Kenmure Bowling Green 91
Lochinvar ... ... ... ... 211
Song: Again the Breeze 38
The Brownie o' Blednoch 72
Fragment of a Song ... 82
The Banks of Tarf ... ... 88
The Wild Wood-side ... 152
Dark Rolling Dee ... ... 204
Chloe, ... ... ... ... 33
The Fairies ... ... ... 193
I'll Hide in his Plaidie ... 43
Douglas at Otterburn ... 197
The Merry Shepherd ... 230
Ross, W. S. (II).
Devorgilla... ... ... ... 2
The Poet to his Old Coat 65
Southwick, ever dear to me 10
The Wimplin' Rill ... ... 200
A Scene in February, 1830 191
Craignair ... ... ... ... 46
Song ... ... ... ... ... 122
The Barr Burn ... ... 168
Sonnet on Cally ... ... 34
The Only Ane o' Four, ... 136
Song — Bonnie Gallowa' ... 177
Fain wad I Whistle ... ... 223
The Hills of Galloway ... 166
The Cauld Winter's Gane 195
Song of Freedom... ... 79
The Wee Bruckit Lassie 208
Galloway ... ... ... 128
Hair — A Galloway Tale... 209
An Old Man's Dream ... 158
My Father's Death ... 219
A Poem of the Sea ... 120
A Song of Love ... ... 164
To a Musician ... ... ... 224
The Fleet ... ... ... 62
The Gaberlunzie ... ... 36.
The Battle of Spearford ... 113
May o' Craignair ... ... 229


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Bards of Galloway

Document Information

Document ID 115
Title Bards of Galloway
Year group 1850-1900
Genre Verse/drama
Year of publication 1889
Wordcount 61921

Author information: Harper, Malcolm

Author ID 106
Forenames Malcolm
Surname Harper
Gender Male