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True, their mouths seem to be completely sealed up as to all the really stirring points. A cold-blooded, rancorous, cautious, cowardly pack! Give me the whisky bottle, North.
There's Tickler himself for you-! Why don't you grapple, as you call it, with some of those grand topics yourself, Mister Timotheus ?-Do you want the sugar ? Me?-I hate all bothering topics.
I like best to thrum away on my own old chords. Here, taste this, Baronet.
Very fair indeed. A single slice of the lemon peel, if you please.
No acid in the jug.
If you wish it, you may make a tumbler.
Pooh! I don't care a straw about it. It will do as it is. I only thought we might take advantage of Hogg's slumbers, to give ourselves the variety of a single round of punch-demy.-Have you seen Hannah More's new book ?
On Prayer ?-Oh yes, 'tis far her best. A really excellent treatise. It will live. That water could not have been boiling, Timothy. A plague on that waiter ! He thought the brass kettle would look better, and so he has half spoiled our jorum.
I never yet met with what I could call a really bad jug of toddy. This, I assure you, is quite drinkable. You have made your mouth so hot with these pontets, that nothing appears more than lukewarm to you. Try another bumper.
Transeat.--Look at Clavers. He absolutely imitates the very snore of his master.
A fine old dog, really.-By the by, have you heard how Queen Hynde is doing?
Very well, I believe; and no wonder. 'Tis certainly his best poem.
I have not had time to look into it. What with dinners, and so forth, I never get reading anything at this time of the year.
'Tis really a good, bold, manly sort of production. There's a vigour about him, even in the bad passages, that absolutely surprises one. splash, splash-By Jupiter, there's a real thundering energy about the affair.
On he goes,
Hand me the volume, Ensign.—That's it below Brewster's Journal. Thank ye.
I thought it had been a quarto.
No, no, that humbug is clean gone at all events. Mr Tickler.
No quarto poems now,
Just read the opening paragraph. By jingo, I could hear it a hundred times.
There, read it yourself. I never could spout poetry.
I flatter myself I have a good deal of Coleridge's style of enunciation about me when I choose. Shall I sport this in my most moving manner ?
Pooh! don't be a fool. Read it as it ought to be read. You have seldom read anything more worthy of being treated with respect. Take off your tipple, and begin.
ODOHERTY (reads.) “ There was a time-but it is gone ! His couch the heath on summer even, When he that sat on Albyn's throne His coverlet the cloud of heaven, Over his kindred Scots alone
While from the winter wind and sleet Upheld a father's sway; The bothy was a shelter meet. Upmix'd and unalloy'd they stood His home was in the desert rude, With plodding Pict of Cimbrian brood, His range the mountain solitude; Or sullen Saxon's pamper'd blood, The sward beneath the forest tree
Their bane on future day. His revel-hall, his sanctuary ; Nations arose, and nations fell,
His court of equity and right, But still his sacred citadel
His tabernacle, was the height; Of Grampian cliff and trackless dell The field of fame his death-bed stern, The Caledonian held.
His cemetery the lonely cairn. Grim as the wolf that guards his young, Such was the age, and such the day, Above the dark defile he hung,
When young Queen Hynde, with gentle With targe and claymore forward ilung;
sway, The stoutest heart, the proudest tongue, Ruled o'er a people bold and free,
Of foemen there was quell'd! From vale of Clyde to Orcady. The plumed chief, the plaided clan, The tale is old, but the event Mock'd at the might of mortal man,- Confirm'd by dreadful monument. Even those the world who overran Her sire had eastern vales laid waste,
Were from that bourn expell’d. The Pict subdued, the Saxon chased, Then stood the Scot unmoved and free, And dying old and loved, resign'd Wall’d by his hills and sounding sea ; The sceptre to his lovely Hynde." Child of the ocean and the wood, The frith, the forest, gave him food;
TICKLER Very beautiful indeed. There is a fine breadth and boldness of utterance about this.
NORTH. Ay, indeed is there. Here, ODoherty, give me the book. You read the passage very well very well indeed. This Queen Hynde, you see, Tickler, is left in rather a difficult situation. The Norse King comes over the sea, to wed her, vi et armis, and her Majesty sets off for Icolmkill, to consult old Saint Columba, who was then and there in all his glory. She gets among all the old monks with her maids of honour about her, and pretty work there is of it. One impudent little cutty, of the name of Wicked Wene, is capitally touched off.- Lythe and listen, lordlings free-(reads.) " Come, view the barefoot group with Whene'er a face she could espy me,
Of more than meet solemnity, Kneeling upon one bended knee, Then would she tramp his crumpled In two long pilesma lane between,
toes, Where pass the maidens and their queen, Or, with sharp fillip on the nose, Up to the sacred altar stone,
Make the poor brother start and stare, Where good Columba stands alone. With watery eyes and bristling hair.
There was one maiden of the train And yet this wayward elf the while Known by the name of Wicked Wene; Inflicted all with such a smile, A lovely thing, of slender make,
That every monk, for all his pain, Who mischief wrought for mischief's Look'd as he wish'd it done again. sake;
Saint Oran scarce the coil could And never was her heart so pleased
brook; As when a man she vex'd or teazed. With holy anger glow'd his look; By few at court she was approved, But, judging still the jmp would cease, And yet by all too well beloved ;
He knit his brows, and held his peace. So dark, so powerful was her eye,
At length the little demon strode Her mien so witching and so sly, Up to a huge dark man of God; That every youth, as she inclined, Her soft hand on his temple laid, Was mortified, reserved, or kind; To feel how fair his pulses play'd ; This day would curse her in disdain, Then by the beard his face she raised, And next would sigh for Wicked Wene. And on the astonished bedesman gazed No sooner had this fairy eyed
With such enchantment, such address, The looks demure on either side, Such sly, insidious wickedness, Than all her spirits 'gan to play
That, spite of insult and amaze, With keen desire to work deray.
Softer and softer wax'd his gaze,
Till all his stupid face was blent
Low bow'd the imp with seemly grace, With smile of awkward languishment. And bumbly shew'd to acquiesce ;
Saint Oran sawin trumpet tone, But mischief on that lip did lie, He cried—Satan, avoid !-begone! And sly dissemblage in the eye. Hence !-all away! for, by the rood, Scarce had her mistress ceased to speak, Ye're fiends in form of Aesh and blood!' When form'd the dimple on her cheek, Columba beckon'd; all was still.
And her keen glance did well bewray
She mark'd thy purity sublime !"
TICKLER. Wonderfully spirited, really. Why, this is infinitely better than the narrative parts of the Queen's Wake. Hogg is improving, sirs.
NORTH. To be sure he is—He has the true stuff in him, lads. Hear again—(reads.)
“ Ere that time, Wene, full silently, No one perceived the elf's despight, Had slid up to Saint Oran's knee, Nor good Saint Oran's awkward plight. And ogled him with look so bland, So quick the motion of her eye, That all his efforts could not stand; All things üt once she seem'd to spy; Such language hung on every glance ; For Hynde, who loved her, wont to Such sweet provoking impudence.
say, At first he tried with look severe For all her freaks by night and day, That silent eloquence to sear,
Though mischief was her hourly meed, But little ween’d the fairy's skill,
She ne'er could catch her in the deed. He tried what was impossible !
So instantly she wrought the harm, His flush of wrath, and glance unkind, Then, as by momentary charm, Were anodynes unto her mind.
Stood all composed, with simplest grace, Then she would look demure, and sigh, With look demure and thoughtful face, And sink in graceful courtesy;
As if unconscious of offence, Press both her hands on her fair breast, The statue of meek innocence ! And look what could not be exprest! Of Oran's wrath none saw the root, When o'er his frame her glance would The queen went on, and all were mute.".
NORTH Yes. Stir the fire, ODoherty. But softly, don't waken Clavers.“ Gently stir.” That will do, sir. Here goes the Bard again.
“ Scarce had he said the word, Amen, Had, by that maiden's fond intent, When petulant and pesterous Wene Been wholly by the roots uprentKneeld on the sand and clasp'd his • The path of truth !-O God of heaknee,
ven! And thus address'd her earnest plea : Be my indignant oath forgiven ! • O, holy sire ! be it my meed
For, by thy vales of light I swear, With thee a heavenly life to lead; And all the saints that sojourn there, Here do I crave to sojourn still,
If ever again a female eye, A nun, or abbess, which you will ; That pole-star of iniquity, For much I long to taste with thee Shed its dire influence through our fane, A life of peace and purity.
In it no longer I remain. Nay, think not me to drive away,
• Were God for trial here to throw For here I am, and here I'll stay,
Man's ruthless and eternal foe, To teach my sex the right to scan, And ask with which I would contend, And point the path of truth to man. I'd drive thee hence, and take the fiend!
• The path of truth !' Saint Oran cried, The devil, man may hold at bay, His mouth and eyes distended wide ; With book, and bead, and holy lay ; It was not said, it was not spoke,
But from the snare of woman's wile, 'Twas like a groan from prison broke, Her breath, and sin-uplifted smileWith such a burst of rushing breath, No power of man may 'scape that gin, As if the pure and holy faith
His foe is in the soul within.
•0! if beside the walks of men, And ere they won the Sound of Mull, In green-wood glade, and mountain-glen, The beauteous group grew mute and dull. Rise weeds so fair to look upon,
Silent they lean'd against the prow, Woe to the land of Caledon!
And heard the gurgling waves below, Its strength shall waste, its vitals burn, Playing so near with chuckling freak, And all its honours overturn.
They almost ween'd it wet the cheek; Go, get thee from our coast away, One single inch 'twixt them and death, Thou floweret of a scorching day? They wonder'd at their cordial faith! Thou art, if mien not thee belies,
During the silent, eiry dream, A demon in an angel's guise.'
This tedious sailing with the stream, • Angels indeed !' said Lachlan Dhu, Old Ila Glas his harp-strings rung, As from the strand the boat withdrew. With hand elate, and puled and sung Lachlan was he whom Wene address'd, A direful tale of woe and weir, Whose temple her soft hand had press'd; Of bold unearthly mountaineer; Whose beard she caught with flippant A lay full tiresome, stale, and bare, grace,
As most of northern ditties are : And smiled upon his sluggish face. I learn'd it from a bard of Mull, A burning sigh his bosom drew!
Who deem'd it high and wonderful; Angels indeed !' said Lachlan Dhu. 'Tis poor and vacant as the man;
• Lachlan,' the Father cried with heat, I scorn to say it though I can. • Thou art a man of thoughts unmeet! Maid of Dunedin, thou may'st see, For that same sigh, and utterance too, Though long I strove to pleasure thee, Thou shalt a grievous penance do. That now I've changed my timid tone, Angels, forsooth!-O God, I pray, And sing to please myself alone; Such blooming angels keep away!. And thou wilt read, when, well I wot, Lachlan turn'd round in seeming pain, I care not whether you do or not. Look'd up to heaven, and sigh'd again! Yes, I'll be querulous or boon,
From that time forth, it doth appear, Flow with the tide, change with the Saint Oran's penance was severe;
Or yvhat are waters, winds, and seas,
Not when they would, but when they can, No one could ever learn his crime; Fit emblems of the soul of man! Each keen inquiry proved in vain, Then let me frolic while I may, Though all supposed he dream'd of The sportive vagrant of a day; Wene.
Yield to the impulse of the time, Alas, what woes her mischief drew Be it a toy, or theme sublime; On Oran and on Lachlan Dhu!
Wing the thin air or starry sheen, Sweet maiden, I thy verdict claim; Sport with the child upon the green; Was not Saint Oran sore to blame
Dive to the sea-maid's coral dome,
Or fairy's visionary home;
Nature's unstaid, erratic child,
That glimmers o'er the forest fen, Full hardly would thy poet thrive! Or twinkles in the darksome glenHarsh is his song that's flay'd alive! Can that be bound ? can that be rein'd ? Then let us breathe the grateful vow, By cold ungenial rules restrain'd? That stern Saint Oran lives not now. No!--leave it o'er its ample home, The sun went down, the bark went The boundless wilderness, to roam ! slow,
To gleam, to tremble, and to die, The tide was high, the wind was low; 'Tis Nature's error, so am I!"
Heyho ! the jug, the jug!
There-why all this is quite the thing-the very thing. Is the poem equal, North?
NORTH. Of course not. 'Tis Hogg's. There are many things in it as absurd as possible—some real monstrosities of stuff—but, on the whole, this, sir, is James Hogg's masterpiece, and that is saying something, I guess. There is a more sustained vigour and force over the whole strain than he ever could hit before; and though, perhaps, there is nothing quite so charming as my Bonny Kilmeny, that was but a ballad by itself--while here, sir, here we have a real workmanlike poem-a production regularly planned, and powerfully executed. Sir, James Hogg will go down as one of the true worthies of this age.
Who doubts it? Keep us all, the jug is out again ! Come, Christopher, I'll try the thing once more, if you'll read, while my fingers are at work.
Nay, nay, fair play's a jewel. Give me the materials, Tim. Here, Sir Morgan, you shall read, while I create. Give me the bottle, I say.—This shall be ditto?
ODOHERTY ένα σφισιν εμβασιλευη !» –hem ! " Whoe'er in future time shall stray These ruins shall be dear to fame, O'er these wild valleys west away, And brook the loved, the sacred name. Where first, by many a trackless strand, Nay, look around, on green-sea wave, The Caledonian held command;
On cliff, and shelve, which breakers lave; Where ancient Lorn, from northern On stately towers and ruins grey, shores
On moat, and island, glen, and bay; Of Clyde to where Glen-Connel roars, On remnants of the forest pine, Presents in frowning majesty
Old tenants of that mountain reign; Her thousand headlands to the sea : On cataract and shaggy mound, O, traveller! whomsoe'er thou art, On mighty mountains far around Turn not aside, with timid heart,
Jura's fair bosom, form'd and full ; At Connal's tide, but journey on
The dark and shapeless groups of Mull; To the old site of Beregon;
Others far north, in haze that sink, I pledge my word, whether thou lovest Proud Nevis, on Lochaber's brink, The poet's tale, or disapprovest,
And blue Cruachan, bold and riven, So short, so easy is the way,
In everlasting coil with heaven. The scene shall well thy pains repay; View all the scene, and view it well, There shalt thou view on rock sublime, Consult thy memory, and tell The ruins grey of early time,
If on the earth exists the same, Where, frowning o'er the foamy food, Or one so well deserves the name.* The mighty halls of Selma stood.
Thou still may'st see, on looking round, And mark a valley stretching wide, That, saving from the northern bound, Inwall’d by cliffs on either side,
Where stretch'd the suburbs to the muir, By curving shore, where billows broke, The city stood from foes secure. And triple wall, from rock to rock; North on Bornean height was placed Low in that strait, from bay to bay, King Eric's camp, o'er heathery waste; The ancient Beregonium lay.
And on Barvulen's ridge behind, Old Beregon! what soul so tame Rock’d his pavilion to the wind, Of Scot that warms not at thy name? Where royal banners, floating high Or where the bard, of northern clime, Like meteors, stream'd along the sky." That loves not songs of Selma's time? Yes, while so many legends tell Of deeds, and woes, that there befell,
By Jericho, this is almost as good as a bit of Marmion. Fine mouthable apophthegms, as he would call them.
NORTH. The Shepherd has some grand notes about the Celtic capital of Beregon, or
* Selma signifies The Beautiful View; Beregon, or Perecon, as it is pronounced, The Serpent of the Strait.