Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

Specimens with Memoirs of the Less-known British Poets, Complete by George Gilfillan

Part 16 out of 20

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 2.1 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

'To save them from their evil fate,
In him was held a crime of state.
A wicked monster on the bench,
Whose fury blood could never quench;
As vile and profligate a villain,
As modern Scroggs, or old Tressilian;
Who long all justice had discarded,
Nor feared he God, nor man regarded;
Vowed on the Dean his rage to vent,
And make him of his zeal repent:
But Heaven his innocence defends,
The grateful people stand his friends;
Not strains of law, nor judges' frown,
Nor topics brought to please the crown,
Nor witness hired, nor jury picked,
Prevail to bring him in convict.

'In exile, with a steady heart,
He spent his life's declining part;
Where folly, pride, and faction sway,
Remote from St John, Pope, and Gay.'

'Alas, poor Dean! his only scope
Was to be held a misanthrope.
This into general odium drew him,
Which if he liked, much good may't do him.
His zeal was not to lash our crimes,
But discontent against the times:
For, had we made him timely offers
To raise his post, or fill his coffers,
Perhaps he might have truckled down,
Like other brethren of his gown;
For party he would scarce have bled:--
I say no more--because he's dead.--
What writings has he left behind?'

'I hear they're of a different kind:
A few in verse; but most in prose--'

'Some high-flown pamphlets, I suppose:--
All scribbled in the worst of times,
To palliate his friend Oxford's crimes;
To praise Queen Anne, nay more, defend her,
As never favouring the Pretender:
Or libels yet concealed from sight,
Against the court to show his spite:
Perhaps his travels, part the third;
A lie at every second word--
Offensive to a loyal ear:--
But--not one sermon, you may swear.'

'He knew an hundred pleasing stories,
With all the turns of Whigs and Tories:
Was cheerful to his dying-day;
And friends would let him have his way.

'As for his works in verse or prose,
I own myself no judge of those.
Nor can I tell what critics thought them;
But this I know, all people bought them,
As with a moral view designed,
To please and to reform mankind:
And, if he often missed his aim,
The world must own it to their shame,
The praise is his, and theirs the blame.
He gave the little wealth he had
To build a house for fools and mad;
To show, by one satiric touch,
No nation wanted it so much.
That kingdom he hath left his debtor,
I wish it soon may have a better.
And, since you dread no further lashes,
Methinks you may forgive his ashes.'


As I stroll the city, oft I
See a building large and lofty,
Not a bow-shot from the college;
Half the globe from sense and knowledge:
By the prudent architect,
Placed against the church direct,
Making good thy grandame's jest,
'Near the church'--you know the rest.

Tell us what the pile contains?
Many a head that holds no brains.
These demoniacs let me dub
With the name of Legion-Club.
Such assemblies, you might swear,
Meet when butchers bait a bear;
Such a noise, and such haranguing,
When a brother thief is hanging:
Such a rout and such a rabble
Run to hear Jack-pudden gabble;
Such a crowd their ordure throws
On a far less villain's nose.

Could I from the building's top
Hear the rattling thunder drop,
While the devil upon the roof
(If the devil be thunder-proof)
Should with poker fiery red
Crack the stones, and melt the lead;
Drive them down on every skull,
While the den of thieves is full;
Quite destroy the harpies' nest;
How might then our isle be blest!
For divines allow that God
Sometimes makes the devil his rod;
And the gospel will inform us,
He can punish sins enormous.

Yet should Swift endow the schools,
For his lunatics and fools,
With a rood or two of land,
I allow the pile may stand.
You perhaps will ask me, Why so?
But it is with this proviso:
Since the house is like to last,
Let the royal grant be passed,
That the club have right to dwell
Each within his proper cell,
With a passage left to creep in,
And a hole above for peeping.
Let them when they once get in,
Sell the nation for a pin;
While they sit a-picking straws,
Let them rave at making laws;
While they never hold their tongue,
Let them dabble in their dung;
Let them form a grand committee,
How to plague and starve the city;
Let them stare, and storm, and frown,
When they see a clergy gown;
Let them, ere they crack a louse,
Call for the orders of the house;
Let them, with their gosling quills,
Scribble senseless heads of bills.
We may, while they strain their throats,
Wipe our a--s with their votes.
Let Sir Tom[1] that rampant ass,
Stuff his guts with flax and grass;
But, before the priest he fleeces,
Tear the Bible all to pieces:
At the parsons, Tom, halloo, boy,
Worthy offspring of a shoe-boy,
Footman, traitor, vile seducer,
Perjured rebel, bribed accuser,
Lay thy privilege aside,
Sprung from Papist regicide;
Fall a-working like a mole,
Raise the dirt about your hole.

Come, assist me, muse obedient!
Let us try some new expedient;
Shift the scene for half an hour,
Time and place are in thy power.
Thither, gentle muse, conduct me;
I shall ask, and you instruct me.

See the muse unbars the gate!
Hark, the monkeys, how they prate!

All ye gods who rule the soul!
Styx, through hell whose waters roll!
Let me be allowed to tell
What I heard in yonder cell.

Near the door an entrance gapes,
Crowded round with antic shapes,
Poverty, and Grief, and Care,
Causeless Joy, and true Despair;
Discord periwigged with snakes,
See the dreadful strides she takes!

By this odious crew beset,
I began to rage and fret,
And resolved to break their pates,
Ere we entered at the gates;
Had not Clio in the nick
Whispered me, 'Lay down your stick.'
What, said I, is this the mad-house?
These, she answered, are but shadows,
Phantoms bodiless and vain,
Empty visions of the brain.'

In the porch Briareus stands,
Shows a bribe in all his hands;
Briareus, the secretary,
But we mortals call him Carey.
When the rogues their country fleece,
They may hope for pence a-piece.

Clio, who had been so wise
To put on a fool's disguise,
To bespeak some approbation,
And be thought a near relation,
When she saw three hundred brutes
All involved in wild disputes,
Roaring till their lungs were spent,
'Privilege of Parliament.'
Now a new misfortune feels,
Dreading to be laid by the heels.
Never durst the muse before
Enter that infernal door;
Clio, stifled with the smell,
Into spleen and vapours fell,
By the Stygian steams that flew
From the dire infectious crew.
Not the stench of Lake Avernus
Could have more offended her nose;
Had she flown but o'er the top,
She had felt her pinions drop,
And by exhalations dire,
Though a goddess, must expire.
In a fright she crept away;
Bravely I resolved to stay.

When I saw the keeper frown,
Tipping him with half-a-crown,
Now, said I, we are alone,
Name your heroes one by one.

Who is that hell-featured brawler?
Is it Satan? No,'tis Waller.
In what figure can a bard dress
Jack the grandson of Sir Hardress?
Honest keeper, drive him further,
In his looks are hell and murther;
See the scowling visage drop,
Just as when he murdered T----p.
Keeper, show me where to fix
On the puppy pair of Dicks;
By their lantern jaws and leathern,
You might swear they both are brethren:
Dick Fitzbaker, Dick the player,
Old acquaintance, are you there?
Dear companions, hug and kiss,
Toast Old Glorious in your piss:
Tie them, keeper, in a tether,
Let them starve and stink together;
Both are apt to be unruly,
Lash them daily, lash them duly;
Though 'tis hopeless to reclaim them,
Scorpion rods perhaps may tame them.

Keeper, yon old dotard smoke,
Sweetly snoring in his cloak;
Who is he? 'Tis humdrum Wynne,
Half encompassed by his kin:
There observe the tribe of Bingham,
For he never fails to bring 'em;
While he sleeps the whole debate,
They submissive round him wait;
Yet would gladly see the hunks
In his grave, and search his trunks.
See, they gently twitch his coat,
Just to yawn and give his vote,
Always firm in his vocation,
For the court, against the nation.

Those are A----s Jack and Bob,
First in every wicked job,
Son and brother to a queer
Brain-sick brute, they call a peer.
We must give them better quarter,
For their ancestor trod mortar,
And at H----th, to boast his fame,
On a chimney cut his name.

There sit Clements, D----ks, and Harrison,
How they swagger from their garrison!
Such a triplet could you tell
Where to find on this side hell?
Harrison, D----ks, and Clements,
Keeper, see they have their payments;
Every mischief's in their hearts;
If they fail, 'tis want of parts.

Bless us, Morgan! art thou there, man!
Bless mine eyes! art thou the chairman!
Chairman to yon damned committee!
Yet I look on thee with pity.
Dreadful sight! what! learned Morgan
Metamorphosed to a Gorgon?
For thy horrid looks I own,
Half convert me to a stone,
Hast thou been so long at school,
Now to turn a factious tool?
Alma Mater was thy mother,
Every young divine thy brother.
Thou a disobedient varlet,
Treat thy mother like a harlot!
Thou ungrateful to thy teachers,
Who are all grown reverend preachers!
Morgan, would it not surprise one!
Turn thy nourishment to poison!
When you walk among your books,
They reproach you with your looks.
Bind them fast, or from their shelves
They will come and right themselves;
Homer, Plutarch, Virgil, Flaccus,
All in arms prepare to back us.
Soon repent, or put to slaughter
Every Greek and Roman author.
Will you, in your faction's phrase,
Send the clergy all to graze,
And, to make your project pass,
Leave them not a blade of grass?
How I want thee, humorous Hogarth!
Thou, I hear, a pleasing rogue art,
Were but you and I acquainted,
Every monster should be painted:
You should try your graving-tools
On this odious group of fools:
Draw the beasts as I describe them
From their features, while I gibe them;
Draw them like; for I assure you,
You will need no _car'catura;_
Draw them so, that we may trace
All the soul in every face.
Keeper, I must now retire,
You have done what I desire:
But I feel my spirits spent
With the noise, the sight, the scent.

'Pray be patient; you shall find
Half the best are still behind:
You have hardly seen a score;
I can show two hundred more.'
Keeper, I have seen enough.--
Taking then a pinch of snuff,
I concluded, looking round them,
'May their god, the devil, confound them.
Take them, Satan, as your due,
All except the Fifty-two.'

[1] 'Sir Tom:' Sir Thomas Prendergrast, a privy councillor.


We feel relieved, and so doubtless do our readers, in passing from the
dark tragic story of Swift, and his dubious and unhappy character, to
contemplate the useful career of a much smaller, but a much better man,
Isaac Watts. This admirable person was born at Southampton on the 17th
of July 1674. His father, of the same name, kept a boarding-school for
young gentlemen, and was a man of intelligence and piety. Isaac was the
eldest of nine children, and began early to display precocity of genius.
At four he commenced to study Latin at home, and afterwards, under one
Pinhorn, a clergyman, who kept the free-school at Southampton, he
learned Latin, Hebrew, and Greek. A subscription was proposed for
sending him to one of the great universities, but he preferred casting
in his lot with the Dissenters. He repaired accordingly, in 1690, to
an academy kept by the Rev. Thomas Rowe, whose son, we believe, became
the husband of the celebrated Elizabeth Rowe, the once popular author
of 'Letters from the Dead to the Living.' The Rowes belonged to the
Independent body. At this academy Watts began to write poetry, chiefly
in the Latin language, and in the then popular Pindaric measure. At the
age of twenty, he returned to his father's house, and spent two quiet
years in devotion, meditation, and study. He became next a tutor in the
family of Sir John Hartopp for five years. He was afterwards chosen
assistant to Dr Chauncey, and, after the Doctor's death, became his
successor. His health, however, failed, and, after getting an assistant
for a while, he was compelled to resign. In 1712, Sir Thomas Abney, a
benevolent gentleman of the neighbourhood, received Watts into his
house, where he continued during the rest of his life--all his wants
attended to, and his feeble frame so tenderly cared for that he lived
to the age of seventy-five. Sir Thomas died eight years after Dr Watts
entered his establishment, but the widow and daughters continued
unwearied in their attentions. Abney House was a mansion surrounded by
fine gardens and pleasure-grounds, where the Doctor became thoroughly
at home, and was wont to refresh his body and mind in the intervals
of study. He preached regularly to a congregation, and in the pulpit,
although his stature was low, not exceeding five feet, the excellence
of his matter, the easy flow of his language, and the propriety of his
pronunciation, rendered him very popular. In private he was exceedingly
kind to the poor and to children, giving to the former a third part
of his small income of £100 a-year, and writing for the other his
inimitable hymns. Besides these, he published a well-known treatise
on Logic, another on 'The Improvement of the Mind,' besides various
theological productions, amongst which his 'World to Come' has been
preeminently popular. In 1728, he received from Edinburgh and Aberdeen
an unsolicited diploma of Doctor of Divinity. As age advanced, he found
himself unable to discharge his ministerial duties, and offered to remit
his salary, but his congregation refused to accept his demission. On the
25th November 1748, quite worn out, but without suffering, this able and
worthy man expired.

If to be eminently useful is to fulfil the highest purpose of humanity,
it was certainly fulfilled by Isaac Watts. His logical and other
treatises have served to brace the intellects, methodise the studies,
and concentrate the activities of thousands--we had nearly said of
millions of minds. This has given him an enviable distinction, but he
shone still more in that other province he so felicitously chose and
so successfully occupied--that of the hearts of the young. One of his
detractors called him 'Mother Watts.' He might have taken up this
epithet, and bound it as a crown unto him. We have heard of a pious
foreigner, possessed of imperfect English, who, in an agony of
supplication to God for some sick friend, said, 'O Fader, hear me!
O Mudder, hear me!' It struck us as one of the finest of stories, and
containing one of the most beautiful tributes to the Deity we ever
heard, recognising in Him a pity which not even a father, which only
a mother can feel. Like a tender mother does good Watts bend over the
little children, and secure that their first words of song shall be
those of simple, heartfelt trust in God, and of faith in their Elder
Brother. To create a little heaven in the nursery by hymns, and these
not mawkish or twaddling, but beautifully natural and exquisitely simple
breathings of piety and praise, was the high task to which Watts
consecrated, and by which he has immortalised, his genius.


1 Stay, mighty Love, and teach my song,
To whom thy sweetest joys belong,
And who the happy pairs,
Whose yielding hearts, and joining hands,
Find blessings twisted with their bands,
To soften all their cares.

2 Not the wild herds of nymphs and swains
That thoughtless fly into thy chains,
As custom leads the way:
If there be bliss without design,
Ivies and oaks may grow and twine,
And be as blest as they.

3 Not sordid souls of earthly mould
Who, drawn by kindred charms of gold,
To dull embraces move:
So two rich mountains of Peru
May rush to wealthy marriage too,
And make a world of love.

4 Not the mad tribe that hell inspires
With wanton flames; those raging fires
The purer bliss destroy:
On Aetna's top let furies wed,
And sheets of lightning dress the bed,
To improve the burning joy.

5 Nor the dull pairs whose marble forms
None of the melting passions warms
Can mingle hearts and hands:
Logs of green wood that quench the coals
Are married just like stoic souls,
With osiers for their bands.

6 Not minds of melancholy strain,
Still silent, or that still complain,
Can the dear bondage bless:
As well may heavenly concerts spring
From two old lutes with ne'er a string,
Or none besides the bass.

7 Nor can the soft enchantments hold
Two jarring souls of angry mould,
The rugged and the keen:
Samson's young foxes might as well
In bonds of cheerful wedlock dwell,
With firebrands tied between.

8 Nor let the cruel fetters bind
A gentle to a savage mind,
For love abhors the sight:
Loose the fierce tiger from the deer,
For native rage and native fear
Rise and forbid delight.

9 Two kindest souls alone must meet;
'Tis friendship makes the bondage sweet,
And feeds their mutual loves:
Bright Venus on her rolling throne
Is drawn by gentlest birds alone,
And Cupids yoke the doves.


1 'Tis the voice of the sluggard; I heard him complain,
'You have waked me too soon, I must slumber again.'
As the door on its hinges, so he on his bed,
Turns his sides, and his shoulders, and his heavy head.

2 'A little more sleep, and a little more slumber;'
Thus he wastes half his days, and his hours without number;
And when he gets up, he sits folding his hands,
Or walks about sauntering, or trifling he stands.

3 I passed by his garden, and saw the wild brier,
The thorn and thistle grew broader and higher;
The clothes that hang on him are turning to rags,
And his money still wastes till he starves or he begs.

4 I made him a visit, still hoping to find
He had took better care for improving his mind;
He told me his dreams, talked of eating and drinking,
But he scarce reads his Bible, and never loves thinking.

5 Said I then to my heart, 'Here's a lesson for me:
That man's but a picture of what I might be;
But thanks to my friends for their care in my breeding,
Who taught me betimes to love working and reading.'


1 How fair is the rose! what a beautiful flower!
The glory of April and May!
But the leaves are beginning to fade in an hour,
And they wither and die in a day.

2 Yet the rose has one powerful virtue to boast,
Above all the flowers of the field:
When its leaves are all dead, and fine colours are lost,
Still how sweet a perfume it will yield!

3 So frail is the youth and the beauty of men,
Though they bloom and look gay like the rose:
But all our fond care to preserve them is vain;
Time kills them as fast as he goes.

4 Then I'll not be proud of my youth or my beauty,
Since both of them wither and fade:
But gain a good name by well doing my duty;
This will scent, like a rose, when I'm dead.


1 Hush! my dear, lie still and slumber,
Holy angels guard thy bed!
Heavenly blessings without number
Gently falling on thy head.

2 Sleep, my babe; thy food and raiment,
House and home, thy friends provide;
All without thy care or payment,
All thy wants are well supplied.

3 How much better thou'rt attended
Than the Son of God could be,
When from heaven he descended,
And became a child like thee!

4 Soft and easy in thy cradle:
Coarse and hard thy Saviour lay,
When his birthplace was a stable,
And his softest bed was hay.

5 Blessed babe! what glorious features,
Spotless fair, divinely bright!
Must he dwell with brutal creatures?
How could angels bear the sight?

6 Was there nothing but a manger
Cursed sinners could afford,
To receive the heavenly Stranger!
Did they thus affront their Lord?

7 Soft, my child, I did not chide thee,
Though my song might sound too hard;
This thy { mother[1] } sits beside thee,
{ nurse that }
And her arms shall be thy guard.

8 Yet to read the shameful story,
How the Jews abused their King,
How they served the Lord of glory,
Makes me angry while I sing.

9 See the kinder shepherds round him,
Telling wonders from the sky!
Where they sought him, where they found him,
With his virgin mother by.

10 See the lovely babe a-dressing;
Lovely infant, how he smiled!
When he wept, the mother's blessing
Soothed and hushed the holy child.

11 Lo! he slumbers in his manger,
Where the horned oxen fed:
Peace, my darling, here's no danger,
Here's no ox a-near thy bed.

12 'Twas to save thee, child, from dying,
Save my dear from burning flame,
Bitter groans, and endless crying,
That thy blest Redeemer came.

13 Mayst thou live to know and fear him,
Trust and love him, all thy days;
Then go dwell for ever near him,
See his face, and sing his praise!

14 I could give thee thousand kisses,
Hoping what I most desire;
Not a mother's fondest wishes
Can to greater joys aspire.

[1] Here you may use the words, brother, sister, neighbour, friend.


The beauty of my native land
Immortal love inspires;
I burn, I burn with strong desires,
And sigh and wait the high command.
There glides the moon her shining way,
And shoots my heart through with a silver ray.
Upward my heart aspires:
A thousand lamps of golden light,
Hung high in vaulted azure, charm my sight,
And wink and beckon with their amorous fires.
O ye fair glories of my heavenly home,
Bright sentinels who guard my Father's court,
Where all the happy minds resort!
When will my Father's chariot come?
Must ye for ever walk the ethereal round,
For ever see the mourner lie
An exile of the sky,
A prisoner of the ground?
Descend, some shining servants from on high,
Build me a hasty tomb;
A grassy turf will raise my head;
The neighbouring lilies dress my bed,
And shed a sweet perfume.
Here I put off the chains of death,
My soul too long has worn:
Friends, I forbid one groaning breath,
Or tear to wet my urn.
Raphael, behold me all undressed;
Here gently lay this flesh to rest,
Then mount and lead the path unknown.
Swift I pursue thee, flaming guide, on pinions of my own.


Great man, permit the muse to climb,
And seat her at thy feet;
Bid her attempt a thought sublime,
And consecrate her wit.
I feel, I feel the attractive force
Of thy superior soul:
My chariot flies her upward course,
The wheels divinely roll.
Now let me chide the mean affairs
And mighty toil of men:
How they grow gray in trifling cares,
Or waste the motion of the spheres
Upon delights as vain!
A puff of honour fills the mind,
And yellow dust is solid good;

Thus, like the ass of savage kind,
We snuff the breezes of the wind,
Or steal the serpent's food.
Could all the choirs
That charm the poles
But strike one doleful sound,
'Twould be employed to mourn our souls,
Souls that were framed of sprightly fires,
In floods of folly drowned.
Souls made for glory seek a brutal joy;
How they disclaim their heavenly birth,
Melt their bright substance down to drossy earth,
And hate to be refined from that impure alloy.

Oft has thy genius roused us hence
With elevated song,
Bid us renounce this world of sense,
Bid us divide the immortal prize
With the seraphic throng:
'Knowledge and love make spirits blest,
Knowledge their food, and love their rest;'
But flesh, the unmanageable beast,
Resists the pity of thine eyes,
And music of thy tongue.
Then let the worms of grovelling mind
Round the short joys of earthly kind
In restless windings roam;
Howe hath an ample orb of soul,
Where shining worlds of knowledge roll,
Where love, the centre and the pole,
Completes the heaven at home.


This gentleman--remembered now chiefly as Pope's temporary rival--was
born in 1671, in Leicestershire; studied at Cambridge; and, being
a great Whig, was appointed by the government of George I. to be
Commissioner of the Collieries, and afterwards to some lucrative
appointments in Ireland. He was also made one of the Commissioners of
the Lottery. He was elected member for Armagh in the Irish House of
Commons. He returned home in 1748, and died the next year in his
lodgings at Vauxhall.

His works are 'The Distressed Mother,' a tragedy translated from Racine,
and greatly praised in the _Spectator_; two deservedly forgotten plays,
'The Briton,' and 'Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester;' some miscellaneous
pieces, of which an epistle to the Earl of Dorset, dated Copenhagen, has
some very vivid lines; his Pastorals, which were commended by Tickell at
the expense of those of Pope, who took his revenge by damning them, not
with 'faint' but with fulsome and ironical praise, in the _Guardian_;
and the subjoined fragment from Sappho, which is, particularly in the
first stanza, melody itself. Some conjecture that it was touched up by


1 Blessed as the immortal gods is he,
The youth who fondly sits by thee,
And hears and sees thee all the while
Softly speak, and sweetly smile.

2 'Twas this deprived my soul of rest,
And raised such tumults in my breast;
For while I gazed, in transport tossed,
My breath was gone, my voice was lost.

3 My bosom glowed: the subtle flame
Ran quickly through my vital frame;
O'er my dim eyes a darkness hung,
My ears with hollow murmurs rung.

4 In dewy damps my limbs were chilled,
My blood with gentle horrors thrilled;
My feeble pulse forgot to play,
I fainted, sunk, and died away.


William Hamilton, of Bangour, was born in Ayrshire in 1704. He was of
an ancient family, and mingled from the first in the most fashionable
circles. Ere he was twenty he wrote verses in Ramsay's 'Tea-Table
Miscellany.' In 1745, to the surprise of many, he joined the standard
of Prince Charles, and wrote a poem on the battle of Gladsmuir, or
Prestonpans. When the reverse of his party came, after many wanderings
and hair's-breadth escapes in the Highlands, he found refuge in France.
As he was a general favourite, and as much allowance was made for his
poetical temperament, a pardon was soon procured for him by his friends,
and he returned to his native country. His health, however, originally
delicate, had suffered by his Highland privations, and he was compelled
to seek the milder clime of Lyons, where he died in 1754.

Hamilton was what is called a ladies'-man, but his attachments were not
deep, and he rather flirted than loved. A Scotch lady, who was annoyed
at his addresses, asked John Home how she could get rid of them. He,
knowing Hamilton well, advised her to appear to favour him. She acted on
the advice, and he immediately withdrew his suit. And yet his best poem
is a tale of love, and a tale, too, told with great simplicity and
pathos. We refer to his 'Braes of Yarrow,' the beauty of which we never
felt fully till we saw some time ago that lovely region, with its 'dowie
dens,'--its clear living stream,--Newark Castle, with its woods and
memories,--and the green wildernesses of silent hills which stretch on
all sides around; saw it, too, in that aspect of which Wordsworth sung
in the words--

'The grace of forest charms decayed
And pastoral melancholy.'

It is the highest praise we can bestow upon Hamilton's ballad that it
ranks in merit near Wordsworth's fine trinity of poems, 'Yarrow
Unvisited,' 'Yarrow Visited,' and 'Yarrow Revisited.'


1 A. Busk ye, busk ye, my bonny bonny bride,
Busk ye, busk ye, my winsome marrow!
Busk ye, busk ye, my bonny bonny bride,
And think nae mair on the Braes of Yarrow.

2 B. Where gat ye that bonny bonny bride?
Where gat ye that winsome marrow?
A. I gat her where I darena weil be seen,
Pouing the birks on the Braes of Yarrow.

3 Weep not, weep not, my bonny bonny bride,
Weep not, weep not, my winsome marrow!
Nor let thy heart lament to leave
Pouing the birks on the Braes of Yarrow.

4 B. Why does she weep, thy bonny bonny bride?
Why does she weep, thy winsome marrow?
And why dare ye nae mair weil be seen,
Pouing the birks on the Braes of Yarrow?

5 A. Lang maun she weep, lang maun she, maun she weep,
Lang maun she weep with dule and sorrow,
And lang maun I nae mair weil be seen
Pouing the birks on the Braes of Yarrow.

6 For she has tint her lover lover dear,
Her lover dear, the cause of sorrow,
And I hae slain the comeliest swain
That e'er poued birks on the Braes of Yarrow.

7 Why runs thy stream, O Yarrow, Yarrow, red?
Why on thy braes heard the voice of sorrow?
And why yon melancholious weeds
Hung on the bonny birks of Yarrow?

8 What's yonder floats on the rueful rueful flude?
What's yonder floats? O dule and sorrow!
Tis he, the comely swain I slew
Upon the duleful Braes of Yarrow.

9 Wash, oh wash his wounds his wounds in tears,
His wounds in tears with dule and sorrow,
And wrap his limbs in mourning weeds,
And lay him on the Braes of Yarrow.

10 Then build, then build, ye sisters sisters sad,
Ye sisters sad, his tomb with sorrow,
And weep around in waeful wise,
His helpless fate on the Braes of Yarrow.

11 Curse ye, curse ye, his useless useless shield,
My arm that wrought the deed of sorrow,
The fatal spear that pierced his breast,
His comely breast, on the Braes of Yarrow.

12 Did I not warn thee not to lue,
And warn from fight, but to my sorrow;
O'er rashly bauld a stronger arm
Thou met'st, and fell on the Braes of Yarrow.

13 Sweet smells the birk, green grows, green grows the grass,
Yellow on Yarrow bank the gowan,
Fair hangs the apple frae the rock,
Sweet the wave of Yarrow flowan.

14 Flows Yarrow sweet? as sweet, as sweet flows Tweed,
As green its grass, its gowan as yellow,
As sweet smells on its braes the birk,
The apple frae the rock as mellow.

15 Fair was thy love, fair fair indeed thy love
In flowery bands thou him didst fetter;
Though he was fair and weil beloved again,
Than me he never lued thee better.

16 Busk ye then, busk, my bonny bonny bride,
Busk ye, busk ye, my winsome marrow,
Busk ye, and lue me on the banks of Tweed,
And think nae mair on the Braes of Yarrow.

17 C. How can I busk a bonny bonny bride,
How can I busk a winsome marrow,
How lue him on the banks of Tweed,
That slew my love on the Braes of Yarrow?

18 O Yarrow fields! may never never rain
Nor dew thy tender blossoms cover,
For there was basely slain my love,
My love, as he had not been a lover.

19 The boy put on his robes, his robes of green,
His purple vest, 'twas my ain sewin',
Ah! wretched me! I little little kenned
He was in these to meet his ruin.

20 The boy took out his milk-white milk-white steed,
Unheedful of my dule and sorrow,
But e'er the to-fall of the night
He lay a corpse on the Braes of Yarrow.

21 Much I rejoiced that waeful waeful day;
I sang, my voice the woods returning,
But lang ere night the spear was flown
That slew my love, and left me mourning.

22 What can my barbarous barbarous father do,
But with his cruel rage pursue me?
My lover's blood is on thy spear,
How canst thou, barbarous man, then woo me?

23 My happy sisters may be may be proud;
With cruel and ungentle scoffin',
May bid me seek on Yarrow Braes
My lover nailed in his coffin.

24 My brother Douglas may upbraid, upbraid,
And strive with threatening words to move me;
My lover's blood is on thy spear,
How canst thou ever bid me love thee?

25 Yes, yes, prepare the bed, the bed of love,
With bridal sheets my body cover,
Unbar, ye bridal maids, the door,
Let in the expected husband lover.

26 But who the expected husband husband is?
His hands, methinks, are bathed in slaughter.
Ah me! what ghastly spectre's yon,
Comes, in his pale shroud, bleeding after?

27 Pale as he is, here lay him lay him down,
Oh, lay his cold head on my pillow!
Take aff take aff these bridal weeds,
And crown my careful head with willow.

28 Pale though thou art, yet best yet best beloved;
Oh, could my warmth to life restore thee,
Ye'd lie all night between my breasts!
No youth lay ever there before thee.

29 Pale pale, indeed, O lovely lovely youth;
Forgive, forgive so foul a slaughter,
And lie all night between my breasts;
No youth shall ever lie there after.

30 A. Return, return, O mournful mournful bride,
Return and dry thy useless sorrow:
Thy lover heeds nought of thy sighs,
He lies a corpse on the Braes of Yarrow.


Crawford Muir, in Lanarkshire, was the birthplace of this true poet. His
father was manager of the Earl of Hopetoun's lead-mines. Allan was born
in 1686. His mother was Alice Bower, the daughter of an Englishman who
had emigrated from Derbyshire. His father died while his son was yet in
infancy; his mother married again in the same district; and young Allan
was educated at the parish school of Leadhills. At the age of fifteen,
he was sent to Edinburgh, and bound apprentice to a wig-maker there.
This trade, however, he left after finishing his term. He displayed
rather early a passion for literature, and made a little reputation by
some pieces of verse,--such as 'An Address to the Easy Club,' a convivial
society with which he was connected,--and a considerable time after by
a capital continuation of King James' 'Christis Kirk on the Green.'
In 1712, he married a writer's daughter, Christiana Ross, who was his
affectionate companion for thirty years. Soon after, he set up a
bookseller's shop opposite Niddry's Wynd, and in this capacity edited
and published two collections,--the one of songs, some of them his own,
entitled 'The Tea-Table Miscellany,' and the other of early Scottish
poems, entitled 'The Evergreen.' In 1725, he published 'The Gentle
Shepherd.' It was the expansion of one or two pastoral scenes which he
ad shewn to his delighted friends. The poem became instantly popular,
and was republished in London and Dublin, and widely circulated in the
colonies. Pope admired it. Gay, then in Scotland with his patrons the
Queensberry family, used to lounge into Ramsay's shop to get explanations
of its Scotch phrases to transmit to Twickenham, and to watch from the
window the notable characters whom Allan pointed out to him in the
Edinburgh Exchange. He now removed to a better shop, and set up for his
sign the heads of Ben Jonson and Drummond, who agreed better in figure
than they had done in reality at Hawthornden. He established the first
circulating library in Scotland. His shop became a centre of intelligence,
and Ramsay sat a Triton among the minnows of that rather mediocre day
--giving his little senate laws, and inditing verses, songs, and fables.
At forty-five--an age when Sir Walter Scott had scarcely commenced his
Waverley novels, and Dryden had by far his greatest works to produce
--honest Allan imagined his vein exhausted, and ceased to write, although
he lived and enjoyed life for nearly thirty years more. At last, after
having lost money and gained obloquy, in a vain attempt to found the
first theatre in Edinburgh, and after building for himself a curious
octagon-shaped house on the north side of the Castle Hill, which, while
he called it Ramsay Lodge, his enemies nicknamed 'The Goose-pie,' and
which, though altered, still, we believe, stands, under the name of
Ramsay Garden, the author of 'The Gentle Shepherd' breathed his last on
the 7th of January 1758. He died of a scurvy in the gums. His son became
a distinguished painter, intimate with Johnson, Burke, and the rest of
that splendid set, although now chiefly remembered from his connexion
with them and with his father.

Allan Ramsay was a poet with very few of the usual poetical faults. He
had an eye for nature, but he had also an eye for the main chance. He
'kept his shop, and his shop kept him.' He might sing of intrigues, and
revels, and houses of indifferent reputation; but he was himself a
quiet, _canny_, domestic man, seen regularly at kirk and market. He had
a great reverence for the gentry, with whom he fancied himself, and
perhaps was, through the Dalhousie family, connected. He had a vast
opinion of himself; and between pride of blood, pride of genius, and
plenty of means, he was tolerably happy. How different from poor maudlin
Fergusson, or from that dark-browed, dark-eyed, impetuous being who was,
within a year of Ramsay's death, to appear upon the banks of Doon,
coming into the world to sing divinely, to act insanely, and prematurely
to die!

A bard, in the highest use of the word, in which it approaches the
meaning of prophet, Ramsay was not, else he would not have ceased so
soon to sing. Whatever lyrical impulse was in him speedily wore itself
out, and left him to his milder mission as a broad reflector of Scottish
life--in its humbler, gentler, and better aspects. His 'Gentle Shepherd'
is a chapter of Scottish still-life; and, since the pastoral is
essentially the poetry of peace, the 'Gentle Shepherd' is the finest
pastoral in the world. No thunders roll among these solitary crags; no
lightnings affright these lasses among their _claes_ at Habbie's Howe;
the air is still and soft; the plaintive bleating of the sheep upon the
hills, the echoes of the city are distant and faintly heard, so that the
very sounds seem in unison and in league with silence. One thinks of
Shelley's isle 'mid the Aegean deep:--

'It is an isle under Ionian skies,
Beautiful as the wreck of Paradise;
And for the harbours are not safe and good,
The land would have remained a solitude,
But for some pastoral people, native there,
Who from the Elysian clear and sunny air
Draw the last spirit of the age of gold,
Simple and generous, innocent and bold.

* * * * *

The winged storms, chanting their thunder psalm
To other lands, leave azure chasms of calm
Over this isle, or weep themselves in dew,
From whence the fields and woods ever renew
Their green and golden immortality.'

Yet in the little circle of calm carved out by the magician of 'The
Gentle Shepherd' there is no insipidity. Lust is sternly excluded, but
love of the purest and warmest kind there breathes. The parade of
learning is not there; but strong common sense thinks, and robust and
manly eloquence declaims. Humour too is there, and many have laughed at
Mause and Baldy, whom all the frigid wit of 'Love for Love' and the
'School for Scandal' could only move to contempt or pity. A _dénouement_
of great skill is not wanting to stir the calm surface of the story by
the wind of surprise; the curtain falls over a group of innocent,
guileless, and happy hearts, and as we gaze at them we breathe the
prayer, that Scotland's peerage and Scotland's peasantry may always thus
be blended into one bond of mutual esteem, endearment, and excellence.
Well might Campbell say--'Like the poetry of Tasso and Ariosto, that of
the "Gentle Shepherd" is engraven on the memory of its native country.
Its verses have passed into proverbs, and it continues to be the delight
and solace of the peasantry whom it describes.'

Ramsay has very slightly touched on the religion of his countrymen. This
is to be regretted; but if he had no sympathy with that, he, at least,
disdained to counterfeit it, and its poetical aspects have since been
adequately sung by other minstrels.


1 Farewell to Lochaber, and farewell, my Jean,
Where heartsome with thee I've mony day been;
For Lochaber no more, Lochaber no more,
We'll maybe return to Lochaber no more.
These tears that I shed they are a' for my dear,
And no for the dangers attending on weir;
Though borne on rough seas to a far bloody shore,
Maybe to return to Lochaber no more.

2 Though hurricanes rise, and rise every wind,
They'll ne'er make a tempest like that in my mind;
Though loudest of thunder on louder waves roar,
That's naething like leaving my love on the shore.
To leave thee behind me my heart is sair pained;
By ease that's inglorious no fame can be gained;
And beauty and love's the reward of the brave,
And I must deserve it before I can crave.

3 Then glory, my Jeany, maun plead my excuse;
Since honour commands me, how can I refuse?
Without it I ne'er can have merit for thee,
And without thy favour I'd better not be.
I gae then, my lass, to win honour and fame,
And if I should luck to come gloriously hame,
I'll bring a heart to thee with love running o'er,
And then I'll leave thee and Lochaber no more.


1 The last time I came o'er the moor,
I left my love behind me;
Ye powers! what pain do I endure,
When soft ideas mind me!
Soon as the ruddy morn displayed
The beaming day ensuing,
I met betimes my lovely maid,
In fit retreats for wooing.

2 Beneath the cooling shade we lay,
Gazing and chastely sporting;
We kissed and promised time away,
Till night spread her black curtain.
I pitied all beneath the skies,
E'en kings, when she was nigh me;
In raptures I beheld her eyes,
Which could but ill deny me.

3 Should I be called where cannons roar,
Where mortal steel may wound me;
Or cast upon some foreign shore,
Where dangers may surround me;
Yet hopes again to see my love,
To feast on glowing kisses,
Shall make my cares at distance move,
In prospect of such blisses.

4 In all my soul there's not one place
To let a rival enter;
Since she excels in every grace,
In her my love shall centre.
Sooner the seas shall cease to flow,
Their waves the Alps shall cover,
On Greenland ice shall roses grow,
Before I cease to love her.

5 The next time I go o'er the moor,
She shall a lover find me;
And that my faith is firm and pure,
Though I left her behind me:
Then Hymen's sacred bonds shall chain
My heart to her fair bosom;
There, while my being does remain,
My love more fresh shall blossom.




A flowrie howm[1] between twa verdant braes,
Where lasses used to wash and spread their claes,[2]
A trotting burnie wimpling through the ground,
Its channel peebles shining smooth and round:
Here view twa barefoot beauties clean and clear;
First please your eye, then gratify your ear;
While Jenny what she wishes discommends,
And Meg with better sense true love defends.


_Jenny_. Come, Meg, let's fa' to wark upon this green,
This shining day will bleach our linen clean;
The water's clear, the lift[3] unclouded blue,
Will mak them like a lily wet with dew.

_Peggy_. Gae farrer up the burn to Habbie's How,
Where a' that's sweet in spring and simmer grow:
Between twa birks, out o'er a little linn,[4]
The water fa's, and maks a singin' din:
A pool breast-deep, beneath as clear as glass,
Kisses with easy whirls the bordering grass.
We'll end our washing while the morning's cool,
And when the day grows het we'll to the pool,
There wash oursells; 'tis healthfu' now in May,
And sweetly caller on sae warm a day.

_Jenny_. Daft lassie, when we're naked, what'll ye say,
Giff our twa herds come brattling down the brae,
And see us sae?--that jeering fellow, Pate,
Wad taunting say, 'Haith, lasses, ye're no blate.'[5]

_Peggy_. We're far frae ony road, and out of sight;
The lads they're feeding far beyont the height;
But tell me now, dear Jenny, we're our lane,
What gars ye plague your wooer with disdain?
The neighbours a' tent this as well as I;
That Roger lo'es ye, yet ye carena by.
What ails ye at him? Troth, between us twa,
He's wordy you the best day e'er ye saw.

_Jenny_. I dinna like him, Peggy, there's an end;
A herd mair sheepish yet I never kenn'd.
He kames his hair, indeed, and gaes right snug,
With ribbon-knots at his blue bonnet lug;
Whilk pensylie[6] he wears a thought a-jee,[7]
And spreads his garters diced beneath his knee.
He falds his owrelay[8] down his breast with care,
And few gangs trigger to the kirk or fair;
For a' that, he can neither sing nor say,
Except, 'How d'ye?--or, 'There's a bonny day.'

_Peggy_. Ye dash the lad with constant slighting pride,
Hatred for love is unco sair to bide:
But ye'll repent ye, if his love grow cauld;--
What like's a dorty[9] maiden when she's auld?
Like dawted wean[10] that tarrows at its meat,[11]
That for some feckless[12] whim will orp[13] and greet:
The lave laugh at it till the dinner's past,
And syne the fool thing is obliged to fast,
Or scart anither's leavings at the last.
Fy, Jenny! think, and dinna sit your time.

_Jenny_. I never thought a single life a crime.

_Peggy_. Nor I: but love in whispers lets us ken
That men were made for us, and we for men.

_Jenny_. If Roger is my jo, he kens himsell,
For sic a tale I never heard him tell.
He glowers[14] and sighs, and I can guess the cause:
But wha's obliged to spell his hums and haws?
Whene'er he likes to tell his mind mair plain,
I'se tell him frankly ne'er to do't again.
They're fools that slavery like, and may be free;
The chiels may a' knit up themselves for me.

_Peggy_. Be doing your ways: for me, I have a mind
To be as yielding as my Patie's kind.

_Jenny_. Heh! lass, how can ye lo'e that rattleskull?
A very deil, that aye maun have his will!
We soon will hear what a poor fechtin' life
You twa will lead, sae soon's ye're man and wife.

_Peggy_. I'll rin the risk; nor have I ony fear,
But rather think ilk langsome day a year,
Till I with pleasure mount my bridal-bed,
Where on my Patie's breast I'll lay my head.
There he may kiss as lang as kissing's good,
And what we do there's nane dare call it rude.
He's get his will; why no? 'tis good my part
To give him that, and he'll give me his heart.

_Jenny_. He may indeed for ten or fifteen days
Mak meikle o' ye, with an unco fraise,
And daut ye baith afore fowk and your lane:
But soon as your newfangleness is gane,
He'll look upon you as his tether-stake,
And think he's tint his freedom for your sake.
Instead then of lang days of sweet delight,
Ae day be dumb, and a' the neist he'll flyte:
And maybe, in his barlichood's,[15] ne'er stick
To lend his loving wife a loundering lick.

_Peggy_. Sic coarse-spun thoughts as that want pith to move
My settled mind; I'm o'er far gane in love.
Patie to me is dearer than my breath,
But want of him, I dread nae other skaith.[16]
There's nane of a' the herds that tread the green
Has sic a smile, or sic twa glancing een.
And then he speaks with sic a taking art,
His words they thirl like music through my heart.
How blithely can he sport, and gently rave,
And jest at little fears that fright the lave.
Ilk day that he's alane upon the hill,
He reads feil[17] books that teach him meikle skill;
He is--but what need I say that or this,
I'd spend a month to tell you what he is!
In a' he says or does there's sic a gate,
The rest seem coofs compared with my dear Pate;
His better sense will lang his love secure:
Ill-nature hefts in sauls are weak and poor.

_Jenny._ Hey, 'bonnylass of Branksome!' or't be lang,
Your witty Pate will put you in a sang.
Oh, 'tis a pleasant thing to be a bride!
Syne whinging gets about your ingle-side,
Yelping for this or that with fasheous[18] din:
To mak them brats then ye maun toil and spin.
Ae wean fa's sick, and scads itself wi' brue,[19]
Ane breaks his shin, anither tines his shoe:
The 'Deil gaes o'er John Wabster:'[20] hame grows hell,
When Pate misca's ye waur than tongue can tell.

_Peggy._ Yes, it's a heartsome thing to be a wife,
When round the ingle-edge young sprouts are rife.
Gif I'm sae happy, I shall have delight
To hear their little plaints, and keep them right.
Wow, Jenny! can there greater pleasure be,
Than see sic wee tots toolying at your knee;
When a' they ettle at, their greatest wish,
Is to be made of, and obtain a kiss?
Can there be toil in tenting day and night
The like of them, when loves makes care delight?

_Jenny_. But poortith, Peggy, is the warst of a',
Gif o'er your heads ill chance should beggary draw:
There little love or canty cheer can come
Frae duddy doublets, and a pantry toom.[21]
Your nowt may die; the speat[22] may bear away
Frae aff the howms your dainty rucks of hay;
The thick-blawn wreaths of snaw, or blashy thows,
May smoor your wethers, and may rot your ewes;
A dyvour[23] buys your butter, woo', and cheese,
But, or the day of payment, breaks and flees;
With gloomin' brow the laird seeks in his rent,
'Tis no to gie, your merchant's to the bent;
His honour maunna want, he poinds your gear;
Syne driven frae house and hald, where will ye steer?--
Dear Meg, be wise, and lead a single life;
Troth, it's nae mows[24] to be a married wife.

_Peggy_. May sic ill luck befa' that silly she,
Wha has sic fears, for that was never me.
Let fowk bode weel, and strive to do their best;
Nae mair's required--let Heaven make out the rest.
I've heard my honest uncle aften say,
That lads should a' for wives that's vertuous pray;
For the maist thrifty man could never get
A well-stored room, unless his wife wad let:
Wherefore nocht shall be wanting on my part
To gather wealth to raise my shepherd's heart.
Whate'er he wins, I'll guide with canny care,
And win the vogue at market, tron, or fair,
For healsome, clean, cheap, and sufficient ware.
A flock of lambs, cheese, butter, and some woo',
Shall first be sald to pay the laird his due;
Syne a' behind's our ain.--Thus without fear,
With love and rowth[25] we through the warld will steer;
And when my Pate in bairns and gear grows rife,
He'll bless the day he gat me for his wife.

_Jenny_. But what if some young giglet on the green,
With dimpled cheeks, and twa bewitching een,
Should gar your Patie think his half-worn Meg,
And her kenn'd kisses, hardly worth a feg?

_Peggy_. Nae mair of that:--dear Jenny, to be free,
There's some men constanter in love than we:
Nor is the ferly great, when Nature kind
Has blest them with solidity of mind;
They'll reason calmly, and with kindness smile,
When our short passions wad our peace beguile:
Sae, whensoe'er they slight their maiks[26]at hame,
'Tis ten to ane their wives are maist to blame.
Then I'll employ with pleasure a' my art
To keep him cheerfu', and secure his heart.
At even, when he comes weary frae the hill,
I'll have a' things made ready to his will:
In winter, when he toils through wind and rain,
A bleezing ingle, and a clean hearth-stane:
And soon as he flings by his plaid and staff,
The seething-pot's be ready to take aff;
Clean hag-abag[27] I'll spread upon his board,
And serve him with the best we can afford:
Good-humour and white bigonets[28] shall be
Guards to my face, to keep his love for me.

_Jenny_. A dish of married love right soon grows cauld,
And dozins[29] down to nane, as fowk grow auld.

_Peggy_. But we'll grow auld together, and ne'er find
The loss of youth, when love grows on the mind.
Bairns and their bairns make sure a firmer tie,
Than aught in love the like of us can spy.
See yon twa elms that grow up side by side,
Suppose them some years syne bridegroom and bride;
Nearer and nearer ilka year they've pressed,
Till wide their spreading branches are increased,
And in their mixture now are fully blessed:
This shields the other frae the eastlin' blast;
That in return defends it frae the wast.
Sic as stand single, (a state sae liked by you,)
Beneath ilk storm frae every airt[30] maun bow.

_Jenny_. I've done,--I yield, dear lassie; I maun yield,
Your better sense has fairly won the field.
With the assistance of a little fae
Lies dern'd within my breast this mony a day.

_Peggy_. Alake, poor pris'ner!--Jenny, that's no fair,
That ye'll no let the wee thing take the air:
Haste, let him out; we'll tent as well's we can,
Gif he be Bauldy's, or poor Roger's man.

_Jenny_. Anither time's as good; for see the sun
Is right far up, and we're not yet begun
To freath the graith: if canker'd Madge, our aunt,
Come up the burn, she'll gie's a wicked rant;
But when we've done, I'll tell you a' my mind;
For this seems true--nae lass can be unkind.


[1] Howm: holm.
[2] Claes: clothes.
[3] 'Lift:' sky.
[4] 'Linn:' a waterfall.
[5] 'Blate:' bashful.
[6] 'Pensylie:' sprucely.
[7] 'A-jee:' to one side.
[8] 'Owrelay:' cravat.
[9] 'Dorty:' pettish.
[10] 'Dawted wean:' spoiled child.
[11] 'Tarrows at its meat:' refuses its food.
[12] 'Feckless:' silly.
[13] 'Orp:' fret.
[14] 'Glowers:' stares.
[15] 'Barlichoods:' cross-moods.
[16] 'Skaith:' harm.
[17] 'Feil:' many.
[18] 'Fasheous:' troublesome.
[19] 'Scads itself wi' brue:' scalds itself with broth.
[20] 'Deil gaes o'er John Wabster:' all goes wrong.
[21] 'Toom:' empty.
[22] 'Speat:' land-flood.
[23] 'A dyvour:' bankrupt.
[24] 'Mows:' jest.
[25] 'Rowth:' plenty.
[26] 'Maiks:' mates.
[27] 'Hag-abag:' huckaback.
[28] 'White bigonets:' linen caps or coifs.
[29] 'Dozins:' dwindles.
[30] 'Airt:' quarter.

We come now to another cluster of minor poets,--such as Robert Dodsley,
who rose, partly through Pope's influence, from a footman to be a
respectable bookseller, and who, by the verses entitled 'The Parting

'One fond kiss before we part,
Drop a tear and bid adieu;
Though we sever, my fond heart,
Till we meet, shall pant for you,' &c.--

seems to have suggested to Burns his 'Ae fond kiss, and then we sever;'
--John Brown, author of certain tragedies and other works, including the
once famous 'Estimate of the Manners and Principles of Modern Times,' of
which Cowper says--

'The inestimable Estimate of Brown
Rose like a paper kite and charmed the town;
But measures planned and executed well
Shifted the wind that raised it, and it fell:'

and who went mad and died by his own hands;--John Gilbert Cooper, author
of a fine song to his wife, one stanza of which has often been quoted:--

'And when with envy Time transported
Shall think to rob us of our joys;
You'll in your girls again be courted,
And I'll go wooing in my boys;'--

Cuthbert Shaw, an unfortunate author of the Savage type, who wrote an
affecting monody on the death of his wife;--Thomas Scott, author of
'Lyric Poems, Devotional and Moral: London, 1773;'--Edward Thompson, a
native of Hull, and author of some tolerable sea-songs;--Henry Headley,
a young man of uncommon talents, a pupil of Dr Parr in Norwich, who,
when only twenty-one, published 'Select Beauties of the Ancient English
Poets,' accompanied by critical remarks discovering rare ripeness of mind
for his years, who wrote poetry too, but was seized with consumption, and
died at twenty-two;--Nathaniel Cotton, the physician, under whose care,
at St Alban's, Cowper for a time was;--William Hayward Roberts, author of
'Judah Restored,' a poem of much ambition and considerable merit;--John
Bampfylde, who went mad, and died in that state, after having published,
when young, some sweet sonnets, of which the following is one:--

'Cold is the senseless heart that never strove
With the mild tumult of a real flame;
Rugged the breast that music cannot tame,
Nor youth's enlivening graces teach to love
The pathless vale, the long-forsaken grove,
The rocky cave that bears the fair one's name,
With ivy mantled o'er. For empty fame
Let him amidst the rabble toil, or rove
In search of plunder far to western clime.
Give me to waste the hours in amorous play
With Delia, beauteous maid, and build the rhyme,
Praising her flowing hair, her snowy arms,
And all that prodigality of charms,
Formed to enslave my heart, and grace my lay;'--

Lord Chesterfield, who wrote some lines on 'Beau Nash's Picture at full
length, between the Busts of Newton and Pope at Bath,' of which this is
the last stanza--

'The picture placed the busts between,
Adds to the thought much strength;
Wisdom and Wit are little seen,
But Folly's at full length;'--

Thomas Penrose, who is more memorable as a warrior than as a poet,
having fought against Buenos Ayres, as well as having written some
elegant war-verses;--Edward Moore, a contributor to the _World_;--Sir
John Henry Moore, a youth of promise, who died in his twenty-fifth year,
leaving behind him such songs as the following:--

'Cease to blame my melancholy,
Though with sighs and folded arms
I muse with silence on her charms;
Censure not--I know 'tis folly;
Yet these mournful thoughts possessing,
Such delights I find in grief
That, could heaven afford relief,
My fond heart would scorn the blessing;'--

the Rev. Richard Jago, a friend of Shenstone's, and author of a pleasing
fable entitled 'Labour and Genius;'--Henry Brooke, better known for a
novel, once much in vogue, called 'The Fool of Quality,' than for his
elaborate poem entitled 'Universal Beauty,' which formed a prototype of
Darwin's 'Botanic Garden,' but did not enjoy that poem's fame;--George
Alexander Stevens, a comic actor, lecturer on 'heads,' and writer of
some poems, novels, and Bacchanalian songs:--and, in fine, Mrs Greville,
whose 'Prayer for Indifference' displays considerable genius. We quote
some stanzas:--

'I ask no kind return in love,
No tempting charm to please;
Far from the heart such gifts remove
That sighs for peace and ease.

'Nor ease, nor peace, that heart can know
That, like the needle true,
Turns at the touch of joy and woe,
But, turning, trembles too.

'Far as distress the soul can wound,
'Tis pain in each degree;
'Tis bliss but to a certain bound--
Beyond, is agony.

'Then take this treacherous sense of mine,
Which dooms me still to smart,
Which pleasure can to pain refine,
To pain new pangs impart.

'Oh, haste to shed the sovereign balm,
My shattered nerves new string,
And for my guest, serenely calm,
The nymph Indifference bring.'


This writer was born at Burton-on-Trent, in 1705. He was educated at
Westminster and Cambridge, and studied law at Lincoln's Inn. He was a
man of fortune, and sat in two parliaments for Wenlock, in Shropshire.
He died in 1760. His imitations of authors are clever and amusing, and
seem to have got their hint from 'The Splendid Shilling,' and to have
given it to the 'Rejected Addresses.'


----Prorumpit ad aethera nubem
Turbine, fumantem piceo. VIRG.

O thou, matured by glad Hesperian suns,
Tobacco, fountain pure of limpid truth,
That looks the very soul; whence pouring thought
Swarms all the mind; absorpt is yellow care,
And at each puff imagination burns:
Flash on thy bard, and with exalting fires
Touch the mysterious lip that chants thy praise
In strains to mortal sons of earth unknown.
Behold an engine, wrought from tawny mines
Of ductile clay, with plastic virtue formed,
And glazed magnific o'er, I grasp, I fill.
From Paetotheke with pungent powers perfumed,
Itself one tortoise all, where shines imbibed
Each parent ray; then rudely rammed, illume
With the red touch of zeal-enkindling sheet,
Marked with Gibsonian lore; forth issue clouds
Thought-thrilling, thirst-inciting clouds around,
And many-mining fires; I all the while,
Lolling at ease, inhale the breezy balm.
But chief, when Bacchus wont with thee to join,
In genial strife and orthodoxal ale,
Stream life and joy into the Muse's bowl.
Oh, be thou still my great inspirer, thou
My Muse; oh, fan me with thy zephyrs boon,
While I, in clouded tabernacle shrined,
Burst forth all oracle and mystic song.


--Solis ad ortus
Vanescit fumus. LUCAN.

Blest leaf! whose aromatic gales dispense
To Templars modesty, to parsons sense:
So raptured priests, at famed Dodona's shrine,
Drank inspiration from the steam divine.
Poison that cures, a vapour that affords
Content, more solid than the smile of lords:
Rest to the weary, to the hungry food,
The last kind refuge of the wise and good.
Inspired by thee, dull cits adjust the scale
Of Europe's peace, when other statesmen fail.
By thee protected, and thy sister, beer,
Poets rejoice, nor think the bailiff near.
Nor less the critic owns thy genial aid,
While supperless he plies the piddling trade.
What though to love and soft delights a foe,
By ladies hated, hated by the beau,
Yet social freedom, long to courts unknown,
Fair health, fair truth, and virtue are thy own.
Come to thy poet, come with healing wings,
And let me taste thee unexcised by kings.


Ex fumo dare lucem.--HOR.

Boy! bring an ounce of Freeman's best,
And bid the vicar be my guest:
Let all be placed in manner due,
A pot wherein to spit or spew,
And London Journal, and Free-Briton,
Of use to light a pipe or * *

* * * * *

This village, unmolested yet
By troopers, shall be my retreat:
Who cannot flatter, bribe, betray;
Who cannot write or vote for * * *
Far from the vermin of the town,
Here let me rather live, my own,
Doze o'er a pipe, whose vapour bland
In sweet oblivion lulls the land;
Of all which at Vienna passes,
As ignorant as * * Brass is:
And scorning rascals to caress,
Extol the days of good Queen Bess,
When first tobacco blessed our isle,
Then think of other queens--and smile.

Come, jovial pipe, and bring along
Midnight revelry and song;
The merry catch, the madrigal,
That echoes sweet in City Hall;
The parson's pun, the smutty tale
Of country justice o'er his ale.
I ask not what the French are doing,
Or Spain, to compass Britain's ruin:
Britons, if undone, can go
Where tobacco loves to grow.


Oldys was born in 1696, and died in 1761. He was a very diligent
collector of antiquarian materials, and the author of a Life of Raleigh.
He was intimate with Captain Grose, Burns' friend, who used to rally him
on his inordinate thirst for ale, although, if we believe Burns, it was
paralleled by Grose's liking for port. The following Anacreontic is


Busy, curious, thirsty fly,
Drink with me, and drink as I;
Freely welcome to my cup,
Couldst thou sip and sip it up.
Make the most of life you may--
Life is short, and wears away.

Both alike are, mine and thine,
Hastening quick to their decline:
Thine's a summer, mine no more,
Though repeated to threescore;
Threescore summers, when they're gone,
Will appear as short as one.


Robert Lloyd was born in London in 1733. He was the son of one of the
under-masters of Westminster School. He went to Cambridge, where he
became distinguished for his talents and notorious for his dissipation.
He became an usher under his father, but soon tired of the drudgery, and
commenced professional author. He published a poem called 'The Actor,'
which attracted attention, and was the precursor of 'The Rosciad.' He
wrote for periodicals, produced some theatrical pieces of no great
merit, and edited the _St James' Magazine_. This failed, and Lloyd,
involved in pecuniary distresses, was cast into the Fleet. Here he was
deserted by all his boon companions except Churchill, to whose sister he
was attached, and who allowed him a guinea a-week and a servant, besides
promoting a subscription for his benefit. When the news of Churchill's
death arrived, Lloyd was seated at dinner; he became instantly sick,
cried out 'Poor Charles! I shall follow him soon,' and died in a few
weeks. Churchill's sister, a woman of excellent abilities, waited on
Lloyd during his illness, and died soon after him of a broken heart.
This was in 1764.

Lloyd was a minor Churchill. He had not his brawny force, but he had
more than his liveliness of wit, and was a much better-conditioned man,
and more temperate in his satire. Cowper knew, loved, admired, and in
some of his verses imitated, Robert Lloyd.


The harlot Muse, so passing gay,
Bewitches only to betray.
Though for a while with easy air
She smooths the rugged brow of care,
And laps the mind in flowery dreams,
With Fancy's transitory gleams;
Fond of the nothings she bestows,
We wake at last to real woes.
Through every age, in every place,
Consider well the poet's case;
By turns protected and caressed,
Defamed, dependent, and distressed.
The joke of wits, the bane of slaves,
The curse of fools, the butt of knaves;
Too proud to stoop for servile ends,
To lacquey rogues or flatter friends;
With prodigality to give,
Too careless of the means to live;
The bubble fame intent to gain,
And yet too lazy to maintain;
He quits the world he never prized,
Pitied by few, by more despised,
And, lost to friends, oppressed by foes,
Sinks to the nothing whence he rose.

O glorious trade! for wit's a trade,
Where men are ruined more than made!
Let crazy Lee, neglected Gay,
The shabby Otway, Dryden gray,
Those tuneful servants of the Nine,
(Not that I blend their names with mine,)
Repeat their lives, their works, their fame.
And teach the world some useful shame.


Of Carey, the author of the popular song, 'Sally in our Alley,' we know
only that he was a professional musician, composing the air as well as
the words of 'Sally,' and that in 1763 he died by his own hands.


1 Of all the girls that are so smart,
There's none like pretty Sally;
She is the darling of my heart,
And she lives in our alley.
There is no lady in the land
Is half so sweet as Sally:
She is the darling of my heart,
And she lives in our alley.

2 Her father he makes cabbage-nets,
And through the streets does cry 'em;
Her mother she sells laces long,
To such as please to buy 'em:
But sure such folks could ne'er beget
So sweet a girl as Sally!
She is the darling of my heart,
And she lives in our alley.

3 When she is by, I leave my work,
(I love her so sincerely,)
My master comes like any Turk,
And bangs me most severely:
But, let him bang his belly full,
I'll bear it all for Sally;
She is the darling of my heart,
And she lives in our alley.

4 Of all the days that's in the week,
I dearly love but one day;
And that's the day that comes betwixt
A Saturday and Monday;
For then I'm dressed all in my best,
To walk abroad with Sally;
She is the darling of my heart,
And she lives in our alley.

5 My master carries me to church,
And often am I blamed,
Because I leave him in the lurch,
As soon as text is named:
I leave the church in sermon time,
And slink away to Sally;
She is the darling of my heart,
And she lives in our alley.

6 When Christmas comes about again,
O then I shall have money;
I'll hoard it up, and box it all,
I'll give it to my honey:
I would it were ten thousand pounds,
I'd give it all to Sally;
She is the darling of my heart,
And she lives in our alley.

7 My master, and the neighbours all,
Make game of me and Sally;
And, but for her, I'd better be
A slave, and row a galley:
But when my seven long years are out,
O then I'll marry Sally,
O then we'll wed, and then we'll bed,
But not in our alley.


David Mallett was the son of a small innkeeper in Crieff, Perthshire,
where he was born in the year 1700. Crieff, as many of our readers know,
is situated on the western side of a hill, and commands a most varied and
beautiful prospect, including Drummond Castle, with its solemn shadowy
woods, and the Ochils, on the south,--Ochtertyre, one of the loveliest
spots in Scotland, and the gorge of Glenturrett, on the north,--and the
bold dark hills which surround the romantic village of Comrie, on the
west. Crieff is now a place of considerable note, and forms a centre
of summer attraction to multitudes; but at the commencement of the
eighteenth century it must have been a miserable hamlet. _Malloch_ was
originally the name of the poet, and the name is still common in that
part of Perthshire. David attended the college of Aberdeen, and became,
afterwards, an unsalaried tutor in the family of Mr Home of Dreghorn,
near Edinburgh. We find him next in the Duke of Montrose's family, with
a salary of £30 per annum. In 1723, he accompanied his pupils to London,
and changed his name to Mallett, as more euphonious. Next year, he
produced his pretty ballad of 'William and Margaret,' and published it
in Aaron Hill's 'Plain Dealer.' This served as an introduction to the
literary society of the metropolis, including such names as Young and
Pope. In 1733, he disgraced himself by a satire on the greatest man then
living, the venerable Richard Bentley. Mallett was one of those mean
creatures who always worship a rising, and turn their backs on a setting
sun. By his very considerable talents, his management, and his address,
he soon rose in the world. He was appointed under-secretary to the Prince
of Wales, with a salary of £200 a-year. In conjunction with Thomson, to
whom he was really kind, he wrote in 1740, 'The Masque of Alfred,' in
honour of the birthday of the Princess Augusta. His first wife, of whom
nothing is recorded, having died, he married the daughter of Lord
Carlisle's steward, who brought him a fortune of £10,000. Both she and
Mallett himself gave themselves out as Deists. This was partly owing to
his intimacy with Bolingbroke, to gratify whom, he heaped abuse upon Pope
in a preface to 'The Patriot-King,' and was rewarded by Bolingbroke
leaving him the whole of his works and MSS. These he afterwards
published, and exposed himself to the vengeful sarcasm of Johnson, who
said that Bolingbroke was a scoundrel and a coward;--a scoundrel, to
charge a blunderbuss against Christianity; and a coward, because he durst
not fire it himself, but left a shilling to a beggarly Scotsman to draw
the trigger after his death. Mallett ranked himself among the
calumniators and, as it proved, murderers of Admiral Byng. He wrote a
Life of Lord Bacon, in which, it was said, he forgot that Bacon was a
philosopher, and would probably, when he came to write the Life of
Marlborough, forget that he was a general. This Life of Bacon is now
utterly forgotten. We happened to read it in our early days, and thought
it a very contemptible performance. The Duchess of Marlborough left £1000
in her will between Glover and Mallett to write a Life of her husband.
Glover threw up his share of the work, and Mallett engaged to perform the
whole, to which, besides, he was stimulated by a pension from the second
Duke of Marlborough. He got the money, but when he died it was found that
he had not written a line of the work. In his latter days he held the
lucrative office of Keeper of the Book of Entries for the port of London.
He died on the 2lst April 1765.

Mallett is, on the whole, no credit to Scotland. He was a bad, mean,
insincere, and unprincipled man, whose success was procured by despicable
and dastardly arts. He had doubtless some genius, and his 'Birks of
Invermay,' and 'William and Margaret,' shall preserve his name after his
clumsy imitation of Thomson, called 'The Excursion,' and his long,
rambling 'Amyntor and Theodora;' have been forgotten.


1 'Twas at the silent, solemn hour
When night and morning meet;
In glided Margaret's grimly ghost,
And stood at William's feet.

2 Her face was like an April-morn,
Clad in a wintry cloud;
And clay-cold was her lily hand,
That held her sable shroud.

3 So shall the fairest face appear,
When youth and years are flown:
Such is the robe that kings must wear,
When death has reft their crown.

4 Her bloom was like the springing flower,
That sips the silver dew;
The rose was budded in her cheek,
Just opening to the view.

5 But love had, like the canker-worm,
Consumed her early prime:
The rose grew pale, and left her cheek;
She died before her time.

6 'Awake!' she cried, 'thy true love calls,
Come from her midnight-grave;
Now let thy pity hear the maid,
Thy love refused to save.

7 'This is the dumb and dreary hour,
When injured ghosts complain;
When yawning graves give up their dead,
To haunt the faithless swain.

8 'Bethink thee, William, of thy fault,
Thy pledge and broken oath!
And give me back my maiden-vow,
And give me back my troth.

9 'Why did you promise love to me,
And not that promise keep?
Why did you swear my eyes were bright,
Yet leave those eyes to weep?

10 'How could you say my face was fair,
And yet that face forsake?
How could you win my virgin-heart,
Yet leave that heart to break?

11 'Why did you say my lip was sweet,
And made the scarlet pale?
And why did I, young witless maid!
Believe the flattering tale?

12 'That face, alas! no more is fair,
Those lips no longer red:
Dark are my eyes, now closed in death,
And every charm is fled.

13 'The hungry worm my sister is;
This winding-sheet I wear:
And cold and weary lasts our night,
Till that last morn appear.

14 'But, hark! the cock has warned me hence;
A long and late adieu!
Come, see, false man, how low she lies,
Who died for love of you.'

15 The lark sung loud; the morning smiled,
With beams of rosy red:
Pale William quaked in every limb,
And raving left his bed.

16 He hied him to the fatal place
Where Margaret's body lay;
And stretched him on the green-grass turf,
That wrapped her breathless clay.

17 And thrice he called on Margaret's name.
And thrice he wept full sore;
Then laid his cheek to her cold grave,
And word spake never more!


The smiling morn, the breathing spring,
Invite the tunefu' birds to sing;
And, while they warble from the spray,
Love melts the universal lay.
Let us, Amanda, timely wise,
Like them, improve the hour that flies;
And in soft raptures waste the day,
Among the birks of Invermay.

For soon the winter of the year,
And age, life's winter, will appear;
At this thy living bloom will fade,
As that will strip the verdant shade.
Our taste of pleasure then is o'er,
The feathered songsters are no more;
And when they drop and we decay,
Adieu the birks of Invermay!

Book of the day: