Imágenes de páginas

ahint him at Selkirk a' pairshels that he jalouses may conteen byeuks, “ Especially," quo' be, “thae great muckle clumsy square anes ye ca'


North. Not so with Maga?

Shepherd. Na, na! A bale o Blackwood's as light as a feather, and he swears that his beast never reests on the steyist brae gin Maga's aboard. The buyancy o' the bale, sir, gars his cart dance alang a' the ups and downs i’ the road through the Forest, like a bit pleasure yott tilting outowre the waves at Windermere Regatta.

North. Poetry!

Shepherd. I can tell you a curious tale about this quarto. It lay for the best part o' a moon amang some cheeses, at Selkirk, afore it was discovered by some weans to be a byeuck, by means o' the broon paper and the direction, and was forwarded at last to Mount Benger in a return cart loaded wi' strae. But Gudefallow clean forgot that his lordship was there, and sae by some queer mischance he got bundled up intil the laft, and mair nor a month afterwards, you may guess the surprise o' ane o' the hizzies that had gaen up for fodder, when a great big broon square paper pairshel bounced out o' her lap in the byre

North. Poor Girzzy!

Shepherd. — to the sair disappointment o’ Crummie, wha' after smellin' an' snortin' at it for a while, began cavin' her head like a depientit cretur, and then ettlin' to toss't out o' the door, gettin't entangled by the twine on the point o' ane o' her horns, she brak oot o' the byre, as if stung by a gadflee, or some divine eestrum

North. Classical !

Shepherd. - and then doon the knowe, across the holm, owre thie Yarrow, up the brae, and oot o'sicht abint the hill, richt awa like a red-deer, clean out the region o’ Yarrow a'thegither, and far awa ayont the head o' Ettrick into the verra heart o' Eskdalemuir, whar she was fun', days after, sair forfeuchan, ye may weel suppose, wi' the Beeography across her een, just as if she had been a bill gien to stickin', wi' a brodd on his griesly forehead. A'the shepherds, ye ken, sir, are gude scholars in our region—and him that first fand her was the President o' the Eskdalemuir Spootin', Theological, and Philosophical Club. Puttin' on his specs—for he's a gae auld cretur-he sune made oot the inscription in capitals on the forehead o' the beastJames HogG, Esq., Mount BENGER, YARROW, BI SELKIRK," and then in eetalics aneath—To be forwarded by the first opportunity."

North. That must have been a poser to the President.

Shepherd. It was that, sir. Nor was his perplexity diminished by the twa sma' words in ane o' the corners -" Per mail." The mail hasna begun yet to rin that road, ye ken, sir, in the shape o' a cotch, and the President himsell confessed to me, on tellin' the tale, that amang the multitude o' oot-o-the-way thochts that crooded intil bis MOORE'S HOMILY ON HUSBANDS.


brain, to account for the faynomenon,-ane o'theni was, that in this age o' inventions, when some newfangled notion or ither, oot o' some ingenious noddle, is pitten daily intil practice for expeditin' human intercourse, the coo was an express

North. Hee-hee-hee! James, you tickle my fancy, and I get slightly convulsed about the midriff.

Shepherd. Yes, sir—that the coo was an express sent by Mr. Elliot o'Selkirk.

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 make a long 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 intill the heart o' the mystery, which, like maist others, when severely scrutineezed, degenerated intil an accoontable though somewhat uncommon fack.

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

Shepherd. Shall I read it up, sir ?
North. Do, ore rotundo, like a Grecian. What seems it about?
Shepherd. The marriages of men o' genius—if I dinna mistak,
North. Hark! and lo!
(The time-piece strikes nine, and enter PICARDY and Tail, with

the material. They sweep away the Reliquias Danaum,"

and deposit all things needful in their place.) Shepherd, Clever chiels, thae, sir.

North. 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

Shepherd. 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 o' them gae'n sickly, and greenin' for hame. But no to purshue the eemage—what was you beginnin' tiil abuse, sir, when I interruppit you åbout the misses ?

North. Mr. Moore's Homily on Husbands.

Shepherd. He says—“ The truth is, I fear, that rarely, if ever, hare 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! Toots-hoots ! Hoots -hoots ! Toots--toots!

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

Shepherd. 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

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

Shepherd. But I do quarrel wi' the words, sir, and they deserve to hae their noses pou'd for leears. I recolleck the passage perfeckly weel, and it's as easy to rend it intil finders, as to tear to rags a rotten blanket left by some gipsy on a nyeuck by the road-side. Tak' you the byeuck, sir—for your amaist as gude an elocutionist as Mr. Knowles himsell. You're twa natural readers—wi' a' your arttherein you're aboot equal—but in action and gesture, sir, he beats you sair.

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

Shepherd. 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. 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

Shepherd. O' the lauchin' hyena.

North. No, James, not the laughing hyena, for he alds, “ 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 atteinpt having been made to put him into harness.

Shepherd. Mr. Muir's been thinkin' o' the zebra, or the quagga, sir.

North. But then, James, he goes on to say forth with, “ and enlightening, without disturbing, the sphere in which he moves."

Shepherd. Ay, there Mr. Muir forgets the kind o'animal he sets 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 fawrthing cawnle? It maun be a star, sir, that Mr. Muir means. Tak ma word for't, sir, it's a star.

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 bit wee 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

North. Or Jamie Hogg

Shepherd. Just sae, sir,—for that, as she hersell cam to ken by cruel experience, it a' “ends in houghmagandy!"

North. 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 bim,” (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 watch

man, 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!
North. You are not ill, my dear James ?

Shepherd. Just rather a wee squeamish, 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 o' an auld treacle bottle that has been staunnin' a' the season on the windowsole catchin' fees,—that I confess-does mak me fin' as gin I was gaun to bock. That sentence is a sample o't-sae 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 oan 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 every hour, till you become a Defunk.

North. 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 Benedicts to go to the devil ?

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

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

Shepherd. A pig's tails a quod of tobacco.

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

Shepherd. 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 somat all events not a little self-conceited; but while it might be permitted to pass without blame, or even notice, among the many clever things so assiduously set down in Pope's letter, 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.

Shepherd. I aye pity Pop.

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