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And make their shoon as black as slaes,
Their stockings white as snaw;
He likes to see them braw.
There are twa hens into the crib
Hae fed this month and mair,
My Turkey slippers I 'll put on,
My stockings pearl blue —
For he 's baith leal and true.
Sae sweet his voice, sae smooth his tongue,
His breath 's like caller air;
foot has music in 't,
And will I see his face again?
And will I hear him speak ?
In troth, I 'm like to greet.
EDWARD GIBBON. 1737-1794. By birth, education and manners, Gibbon was a true English gentle
He was, from early youth, a close student; but his attention was more given to miscellaneous reading, especially of a historical kind, than to science. Educated a Protestant, he embraced the Roman Catholic religion, returned to the Protestant church, and afterwards died an infidel.
The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire is his great work, the success of which was almost unparalleled, successive editions being rapidly called for, and the work being soon found on every table, and almost on every toilette. He is considered equal to Hume and Robertson, in most of the essential qualifications of a historian, and in some superior. According to his own statement, his first rough manuscript, without an intermediate copy, was sent to the press, and not a sheet of it was seen by any person but himself and the printers. He had long been meditating some historical work, and whilst at Rome his choice was determined by the following incident, to which is subjoined his reflections on closing the work.
GIBBON’S ACCOUNT OF THE COMMENCEMENT AND
CONCLUSION OF HIS GREAT WORK. In Rome, as I sat musing amidst the ruins of the Capitol, while the bare-footed friars were singing vespers in the temple of Jupiter, the idea of writing the decline and fall of the city first started to my mind. * * * * It was on the day, or rather night, of the 27th of June, 1787, between the hours of eleven and twelve, that I wrote the last lines of the last page, in a summer-house, in my garden. After laying down my pen, I took several turns in a berceau, or covered walk of acacias, which commands a prospect of the country, the lake and the mountains. The air was temperate, the sky was serene, the silver orb of the moon was reflected from the waters, and all nature was silent. I will not dissemble the first emotions of joy, on the
freedom, and perhaps the establishment of my fame. But my pride was soon humbled, and a sober melancholy was spread over my mind, by the idea that I had taken an everlasting leave of an old and agreeable companion, and that, whatsoever might be the future date of my history, the life of the historian must be short and precarious.
GIBBON'S FIRST LOVE. I HESITATE, from the apprehension of ridicule, when I approach the delicate subject of my early love.
I need not blush at recollecting the object of my choice; and though my love was disappointed of success, I am rather proud that I was once capable of feeling such a pure and exalted sentiment. The personal attractions of Mademoiselle Susan Curchad were embellished by the virtues and talents of the mind. Her fortune was humble, but her talents were respectable. Her father lived, content with a small salary and laborious duty, in the obscure lot of minister of Cressy. In the solitude of a sequestered village, he bestowed a liberal, and even learned education, on his only daughter. She surpassed his hopes, by her proficiency in the sciences and languages; and in her short visits to some relations at Lausanne, the wit, the beauty, the erudition of Mademoiselle Curchad were the theme of universal applause. The report of such a prodigy awakened my curiosity; I saw and loved; I found her learned without pedantry, lively in conversation, pure in sentiment, and elegant in manners; and the first sudden emotion was fortified by the habits and knowledge of a more familiar acquaintance. She permitted me to make her two or three visits, at her father's house. I passed some happy days there, and her parents honorably encouraged the connection. In a calm retirement, the gay vanity of youth no longer fluttered in her bosom ; she listened to the voice of
i truth and passion; and I might presume to hope that I had made some impression on a virtuous heart. At Cressy and Lausanne, I indulged my dream of felicity ; but on my return to England, I soon discovered that
father would not hear of this strange alliance, and that, without his consent, I was myself destitute and helpless. After a painful struggle, I yielded to my fate; I sighed as a lover, I obeyed as a son; my wound was insensibly healed by time, absence, and the habits of a new life. My cure was accelerated by a faithful report of the tranquillity and cheerfulness of the lady herself, and my love subsided in friendship and esteem. The minister of Cressy soon afterwards died; his stipend died with him ; his daughter retired to Geneva, where, by teaching young ladies, she earned a hard subsistence for herself and her mother; but in her lowest distress she maintained a spotless reputation, and a dignified behavior. A rich banker of Paris, a citizen of Geneva, had the good fortune and good sense to discover and possess this inestimable treasure ; and in the capital of taste and luxury, she resisted the temptations of wealth, as she had sustained the hardships of indigence. The genius of her husband has exalted him to the most conspicuous station in Europe. In every change of prosperity and disgrace, he has reclined on the bosom of a faithful friend ; and Mademoiselle Curchad is now the wife of M. Necker, the minister, and perhaps the legislator, of the French monarchy.
THOMAS Moss. --1808. Mr. Moss was a clergyman, and the author of a collection of miscellaneous poems, from which the following, that has been admired for its pathetic and natural sentiment, is taken.
Pity the sorrows of
old man ! Whose trembling limbs have borne him to your door, Whose days are dwindled to the shortest span;
0! give relief, and Heaven will bless your store. These tattered clothes my poverty bespeak,
These hoary locks proclaim my lengthened years; And many a furrow in my grief-worn cheek
Has been the channel to a stream of tears.
Yon house, erected on the rising ground,
With tempting aspect, drew me from my road; For plenty there a residence has found,
And grandeur a magnificent abode. Hard is the fate of the infirm and poor!
Here, craving for a morsel of their bread, A pampered menial forced me from the door,
To seek a shelter in a humbler shed.
0! take me to your hospitable dome ;
Keen blows the wind, and piercing is the cold ! Short is my passage to the friendly tomb,
For I am poor, and miserably old. Should I reveal the source of every grief,
If soft humanity e'er touched your breast, Your hands would not withhold the kind relief,
And tears of pity could not be repressed.
Heaven sends misfortunes — why should we repine ?
'T is Heaven has brought me to the state you see; And your condition
may be soon like mine, The child of sorrow, and of misery.
A little farm was my paternal lot ;
Then, like the lark, I sprightly hailed the morn; But ah! oppression forced me from my cot,
My cattle died, and blighted was my corn.
My daughter once the comfort of my age !
Lured by a villain from her native home,
And doomed in scanty poverty to roam.
Struck with sad anguish at the stern decree,
Pity the sorrows of a poor old man!
Whose trembling limbs have borne him to your door ; Whose days are dwindled to the shortest span ;
0! give relief, and Heaven will bless your store.
THOMAS HOLCROFT. 1745-1809.
Holcroft's father was a shoemaker, and his mother dealt in greens and oysters ; and he himself, at different times in his youth, acted as pedler, stable-boy, shoemaker, and strolling player. At the age of thirty-five, his first work, a novel, appeared. Soon after, he published other novels, of some celebrity in their time, but was most distinguished for his large number of dramatic pieces, of which, The Road to Ruin ranks among the most successful of modern plays. In his novels, a prominent object seems to have been, to paint the views and sufferings consequent upon the existent institutions of society. The following song of Gaffer Gray is from the novel, Hugh Trevor.
Ho! why dost thou shiver and shake,
“'T is the weather that's cold,
'Tis I'm grown very old,
doublet is not very new, .
Then line thy worn doublet with ale,