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NORTH.

Instead of a carrier-pigeon.

SHEPHERD.

Just sae, sir. And that the coo, haen been bred in Eskdalemuir, had returned to the spat o' her nativity, eager to browse the pasturage on which she had fed when a young and happy quey. Howsomever, to mak a lang story short, our freen contrived to get the quarto aff Crummie's horns, and brocht it doon, neist day, himsell to Mount-Benger, when, by layin' a' our heads thegither, we cam to see inti the heart o' the mystery, which, like maist others, when severely scrutineezed, degenerated intil an accountable though somewhat uncommon fack.

Open the volume, James, at haphazard—and let the first page that meets your eyes be the text of our discursive dialogue.

NORTH.

SHEPHERD.

Sall I read it out, sir ?

NORTH.

Do, ore rotundo, like a Grecian. What seems it about?

SHEPHERD.

NORTH

The marriages of men o' genius-if I dinna mistak
Hark! and lo! [The time-piece strikes nine, and enter PICARDY and Tail,

with the materiel. They sweep away the Reliquias Danaúm," and
deposit all things needful in their place.

SHEPHERD.

Clever chiels, thae, sir.

NORTH.

SHEPHERD.

I hope, James, that Mr Moore will strike out of the volume, before it becomes an octavo, that misbegotten, misconceived, misdelivered, misplaced, and mistimed abortion

What’n a skrow o'misses, like a verra boardin'-school let'n lowse; puir bit things, I pity them-a' walkin' by themsells, rank and file, twa deep, the feck oʻthem gae'n sickly, and greenin' for hame-But no to purshue that eemage-what was you beginnin' till abuse, sir, when I interuppit you about the misses ?

NORTH

SHEPHERD.

Mr Moore's Homily on Husbands.

He says—“The truth is, I fear, that rarely, if ever, have men of the higher order of genius shown themselves fitted for the calm affections and comforts that form the cement of domestic life.” Hoots-toots ! Tootshoots! Hoots-hoots! Toots--toots !

NORTH.

SHEPHERD.

NORTH.

You are severe, James, but your strictures are just.

The warst apothegm that ever was kittled in the shape o' a paradox; and then, sir, the expression's as puir's the thocht. The cawm affections—if by them Mr Muir means a' the great natural affections, and he can mean naething else—are no the “ cement” merely o’ domestic life, but they are its Sowle, its Essence, its Being, Itsell! Cement's a sort o'lime or slime

I should not quarrel with the words, James, if their meaning —

But I do quarrel wi' the words, sir, and they deserve to bae their noses pou'd for leears. I recolleck the passage perfeckly weel, and it's as easy to rend it intil flinders, as to tear to rags a rotten blanket left by some gypsy on a nyeuck by the roadside. Tak you the byeuck, sir—for you're amaist as gude an elecutionist as Mr Knowles himself. You're twa natural readers - Wi' a' your art—therein you're aboot equal-but in action and gesture, sir, he beats you sair.

SHEPHERD.

NORTH.

“ However delightful may be the spectacle of a man of genius, tamed and domesticated in society, taking docilely upon him the yoke of the social ties, and enlightening, without disturbing, the sphere in which he moves, we must, nevertheless, in the midst of our admiration, bear in mind that it is not thus smoothly or amiably immortality has been ever struggled for, or won. The poet thus circumstanced, may be popular, be loved; for the happiness of himself, and those linked with him, he is in the right road-but not for greatness. The marks by which Fame has always separated her great martyrs from the rest of mankind, are not upon him, and the crown cannot be his. He may dazzle, may captivate the circle, and even the times in which he lives, but he is not for hereafter !"

SHEPHERD. What infernal folly's that ye're taukin', sir? I wuss ye mayna hae been drinkin' in the forenoon owre mony o' thae wicked wee glasses o' noyau, or sherry-brandy, or ither leecures in confectionary chops, and that's the effecks o't breakin' out upon you the noo, sae sune after the paws, in a heap o'havers, just like a verra rash on the face o' a patient in the measles. Eh ?

NORTH.

SHEPHERD.

The words are Mr Moore's. My memory, James, is far from being tenacious, yet sentences of extreme absurdity will stick to it

Like plaguy burrs to the tails o' a body's coat walkin' through a spring wood, alive wi' sweet-singing birds, and sweet-smelling flowers, whase balm and beauty's amaist a' forgotten as sune's he comes out again into the open every-day warld, and appear faint and far off, like an unassured dream, while thae confounded realities, the burrs, are stickin' as if they had been shued on by the tailor, or rather incorporated by the wicked weaver wi’ the verra original wab o' the claeth, sae that ye canna get rid o' the inextricable cleggs, without clipping the bit oot wi' the shears, or ruggin' them aff angrily wi' baith hauns, as if they were sae mony waur than useless buttons.

NORTH.

SHEPHERD.

NORTH.

An apt and a picturesque illustration. When Mr Moore speaks of the spectacle of a man of genius “tamed and domesticated in society,” he must have been thinking

O’ the lauchin' hyena.

No, James, not the laughing hyena, for he adds, “taking docilely upon him the yoke of the social ties;" 'and, I believe, neither the laughing nor the weeping hyena-neither the Democritus nor the Heraclitus of the tribe has ever been made to submit his shoulders to the yoke-nor, indeed, have I ever heard of any attempt having been made to put him into harness.

SHEPHERD. Mr Muir's been thinkin' o' the Zebra, or the Quagga, sir. But then, James, he goes on to say forthwith, "and enlightening, without disturbing, the sphere in which he moves.”

SHEPHERD. Ay, there Mr Muir forgets the kind o’animal he set oot wi', and whether he was a lauching hyena, as I first surmeesed, or a zebra, or quagga, why, by a slip o' the memory or the imagination, he's transmogrified either intil a star or a watchman, "enlightening, without disturbing, the sphere in which he moves,"-maist probably a star ; for a watchman does disturb “the sphere in which he moves,” by ever and anon crawin'.oot something about the hour—at least folk hae telt me that it's about the hour, and the divisions o' the hour, that the unhappy somnambulists are scrauching ;—whereas, as to enlightening the sphere which he disturbs, what can you expeck, sir, frae a fawrthin cawnle? It maun be a star, sir, that Mr Muir means. Tak ma word for't, sir, it's a star.

NORTH.

NORTH.

But, James, Mr Moore adds, " that it is not thus smoothly or amiably immortality has been ever struggled for or won.”

SHEPHERD, There again, sir, you see the same sort o slip o' the memory or the imagination ; sae that, no to be severe, the haill sentence is mair like the maunderin' o'an auld wife, sittin' half asleep and half paraleetic, and aiblins rather a wee bit fou frae a chance drappie, at the ingle-cheek, lecturin' the weans how to behave theirsells, and mair especially that nae gude's ever likely to come either frae reading or writing ungodly ballants, like them o' Bobby Burns

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NORTH

Just sae, sir ;-for that, as she hersell cam to ken by cruel experience, it a' "ends in houghmagandy!"

I fear, James, the star won't do either. For Mr Moore inditeth, that " for the happiness of himself (the Poet aforesaid, and those linked with him, he is on the right road,” which is not the language men use in speaking of a star, or even a constellation. And in the sentence that follows, he is again a good Christian; but not one of “ the great martyrs separated by Fame from the rest of mankind,” as may be known from her “marks not being to be found upon him," (he is no witch, James,) and from the want of a crown on his temples. Still, whether a laughing hyena, a zebra, a quagga, a star, or a watchman, he "may dazzle,” Mr Moore tells us, “may captivate the circle, and even the Times in which he lives, [Mr Moore himself, I believe, does so,] but he is not for hereafter;" and this, James, is a specimen of fine writing in the philosophy of human life!

SHEPHERD.
O hoch ! hoch! hoch! O hoch ! hoch! hoch!

NORTH.
You are not ill, my dear James ?

SHEPHERD. Just rather a wee quawmish, sir. I can stammach as strang nonsense as maist men; but then there's a peculiar sort o'wersh fuzionless nonsense that's gotten a sweaty sweetishness aboot it, no unlike the taste o' the puirest imaginable frost-bitten parsnip eaten alang wi' yesterday's sowens, to some dregs dribbled oot of an auld treackle bottle that has been staunnin' a' the season on the window-sole catchin' flees, that I confess does mak me fin' as gin I was gaun to bock. That sentence is a sample o'tsae here's to you, you Prince o Jugglers.--Oh! but that's the best you hae brew'd these fifty years, and drinks like something no made by the skill o' man, but by the instinck o' an animal, like hinny by bees. We maun hain this jug, sir; for there'll never be the marrow o't on this earth, were you to leeve till the age o' Methuslah, and mak a jug erery hour, till you become a Defunct.

Tolerable tipple.-Besides, James, how can Mr Moore pretend to lay down an essential distinction between the character of those men of genius, who are born to delight the circle in which they move, and to be at once good authors and good men, delightful poets and admirable husbands, and those who are born to win a crown of immortality as bards, and as Benedicks to go to the devil ?

SHEPHERD.
Na. You may ask that wi' a pig's tail in your cheek.

With a pig's tail in my cheek! What is the meaning and origin, pray, of that expression?

NORTH.

NORTH.

SHEPHERD.

A pig's tail's a quod o' tobacco.

NORTU.

SHEPHERD.

Oh! - According to this creed, Poets born to delight their circles, must always be trembling on the brink of marriage misery.

And mony o' them tumble ower, even according to Mr Muir's ain theorem. For the difference if there be ony-can only be a difference o' degree--Sae wha's safe?

NORTH.

Pope, it seems, once said, that to follow poetry, as one ought, one must forget father and mother, and cleave to it alone.” This was not very reverent in Pope, perhaps a little impious or so-at all events not a little self-conceited; but while it might be permitted to pass without blame, or even potice, among the many clever things so assiduously set down in Pope's letters, it must be treated otherwise when brought forward formally by a brother bard to corroborate a weak and worthless argument on the nature of genius and virtue, by which he would endeavour to prove that they are hostile and repugnant.

I aye pity Pop.

In these few words is pointed out, says Mr Moore," the sole path that leads genius to greatness. On such terms alone are the high places of fame to be won-nothing less than the sacrifice of the entire man can achieve them!”

SHEPHERD.

NORTH.

SHEPHERD.

Sae to be a great poet, a man maun forget—bonny feedy forget-mind no in the scriptural sense, for o' that neither Pop nor Muir seem to hae had ony recollection, or aiblins they would hae qualified the observe, or omitted it,father and mother, sisters and brothers, freens and sweethearts, wife and weans, and then, after havin' obleeterated their verra names frae the tablets o' bis memory, he is to set down and write a poem worthy an immortal crown! Oh the sinner! the puir, paltry, pitifu', contemptible, weak, worthless, shamefu', shameless, sowleless, heartless, unprincipled, and impious athiest o' a sinner, for to pretend, for the length o'time necessar to the mendin' the slit in the neb o' his pen, to forget a' that-and be a-Poet.

NORTII. James--James-James-be moderate

SHEPHERD. I'll no be moderate, sir. A’sorts o' moderation hae lang been ma abhorrence. I hate the verra word-and, for the year being, I aye dislike the menister that's the Moderator o' the General Assembly.

But be merciful on Mr Moore, James. Do not extinguish altogether the author of Lalla Rookh.

I wadna extinguish, sir, the maist minute cretur in the shape o' a poet, that ever twinkled, like a wee bit tiny inseck in the summer sun. I wad rather put ma haun intil the fire, sir, than to claught a single ane o' the creturs in ma neeve, as ane might a butterfly wi' its beautifu' wings expanded, wavering or steadfast in the air or on a flower, and crush his mealy mottledness intil annihilation. Na-na-let the bit variegated ephemeral dance his day

- his hour—shining in his ain colours sae multifarious and sae bonny blent, as if he had dropped doon alang wi' the laverock frae the rainbow.

NORTH.

SHEPHERD.

NORTH.

What? Thomas Moore !

SHEPHERD.

I'm no speakin' the noo o' Tammas Muir-except by anither kind o' implication. 'Sin' I wudna harm a hair on the gaudy wings o' an ephemeral, surely I wudna pu' a feather frae them o' ane o' the Immortals.

NORTH. Beautiful-James.

SHEPHERD.

NORTH.

Mr Muir’s a true poet, sir. But true poet though he be, he maunna be alloo'd to publish pernicious nonsense in prose about Poets and Poetry, without gettin't across the knuckles till baith his twa hauns be as numb as lead. Let you and me convict him o' nonsense by the Socratic method. Begin the Sorites, sir.

The Sorites, James ! A good Poet must be a good man—a great Poet must be a great man.

SHEPHERD. Is the law universal in nature ?

NORTH. It is, and without exception. But sin steals or storms its way into all human hearts and then farewell to the grander achievements either of genius or virtue.

SHEPHERD. A man canna imagine a' the highest and holiest affections o' the heart, without having felt them in the core--can he, sir?

NORTH

SHEPHERD.

No.
A man, therefore, maun hae felt a' that man ought to feel, afore he
Yes.

NORTH

SHEPHERD.

Can what?

NORTH

Can be enrolled among the

" Phæbo digna locuti !"

SHEPHERD. But can a man who has ance enjoyed the holiest affections o' natur, in his ain heart, ever cease to cherish them in its inmost recesses ?

NORTH Never.

SHEPHERD. But is it possible to cherish them far apart, and aloof frae their natural objects ?

NORTH

Impossible.

SHEPHERD.

But can they be cherished, even amang their natural objects, without being brocht into active movement towards them, without cleaving to them, as you may see bees cleaving to the flowers as they keep sook, sookin' intil their verra hearts?

NORTH.

SHEPHERD.

NORTH.

They cannot.

Then Mr Muir’s dished. For colleck a' thae premises, inferences, conclusions, admissions, axioms, propositions, corollaries, maxims, and apothegms intil ae GREAT Truth, and in it, beside a thousan' ithers, will be found this ane

“The sacrifice o' the entire man is the sacrifice o' the entire poet.”

Or, in other words, the man withouten a human heart, humanly warmed by the human affections, may as weel think o' becoming a poet, as a docken a sun-flower. Mr Muir's dished.

NORTH.
Mr Moore forgets, that without the practice of virtue, virtue

"Languishes, grows dim, and dies;" and that, without the indulgence of action, so do the highest and holiest

SHEPHERD.

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