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(The English OPIUM-EATER, with nuch alacrity, follows the
(Mr. North takes up a formidable position with his centre
leaning on the wood, and TICKLER in a moment is on the
shoulders of old CHRISTOPHERUS.) Shepherd. Stick steddy, Mr. De Quinshy, ma dear man--for noo comes the maist diffeecult passage to execute in this concerto. It has to be played in what museciners ca'--Alt.
(The SHEPHERD mounts the steps of the Green Flower Stand
and with admirable steadiness and precision places himself
on the shoulders of SOUTHSIDE.) North. All up?
Shepherd. I'm thinkin' there's nane missin’. But ca’ the catalogue.
North. Christopher North! Here. Timothy Tickler!
Shepherd. Stretch yoursell up, Mr. De Quinshy—and clap your haun to the roof. Isna Mr. North the Scottish Hercules ? Noo, Mr. English Opium-Eater, a speech on the state o' the nation.
(Mr. GURNEY issues from the Eur of Dionysius—and the
ENGLISH OPIUM-EatEk is left speaking.)
NO. L.—JUNE, 1830
SCENE.—The Arbour, Buchanan Lodge. Time, eight o'clock. Pre
sent, North, English OPIUM-EATER, SHEPHERD, and TICKLER. Table with light wines, oranges, biscuits, almonds, and ruisins.
Shepherd. Rain but no star-proof, this bonny bee-hummin', birdnest-concealin' bower, that seems,—but for the trellice-wark peepin' out here and there where the later flowerin' shrubs are scarcely yet out o'the bud, rather a production o' nature's sell, than o’the gardener's genius. Oh, sir, but in its bricht and balmy beauty 'tis even nae less than a perfeck poem!
North. Look, James, how she cowers within her couch-only the point of her bill, the tip of her tail, visible--so passionately cleaveth the loving creature to the nestlings beneath her mottled breast-each morning beautifying from down to plumage, till next Sabbath-sun shall stir them out of their cradle, and scatter them, in their first weak wavering flight, up and down the dewy dawn of their native Paradise.
Shepherd. A bit mavis !* Hushed as a dream—and like a dream to be started aff intil ether, if you but touch the leaf-croon that o'ercanopies her head. What an ee ! 'Shy, yet confidin'-as she sits there ready to flee awa' wi' a rustle in a moment, yet link'd within that rim by the chains o’ love, motionless as if she were dead !
North. See-she stirs !
Shepherd. Dinna be disturbed. I cou'd glower at her for hours, inusin on the mystery o’ instinct, and at times forgettin' that my een were fixed but on a silly bird, for sae united are a' the affections o' sentient natur that you hae only to keek intill a bush o' broom, or a sweetbriar, or doon to the green braird aneath your feet, to behold in the lintient or the lark-or in that mavis—God bless her !-an emblem o'the young Christian mother fauldin' up in her nursin' bosom the beauty and the blessedness o' her ain first-born!
North. I am now threescore and ten, James, and I have suffered and enjoyed much—but I know not, if, during all the confusion of those many-coloured years, diviner delight ever possessed my heart and my imagination, than of old entranced me in solitude, when among the braes, and the moors, and the woods, I followed the verdant footsteps of the spring, uncompanioned but by my own shadow, and gave
• Mavis,-the thrush.-M. Lintie,-the linnet.-M
names to every nook in nature, from the singing-birds of Scotland discovered, but disturbed not, in their most secret nests.
Shepherd. Nae sic thing. A shilfa's nest within the angle made by the slicht, silvery, satiny stem o' a bit birk-tree, and ane o' its young branches glitterin' and gliminerin' at aince wi’ shade and sunshine and a dowery opearls, is a sicht that, when seen for the first time in this life, gars a boy's being lowp out o' his vera bosom richt up until the boundless blue o' heaven!
Shepherd. Whisht–0 whisht! For 'tis felt to be something far beyond the beauty o’the maist artfu' contrivances o' mortal mau,-and gin be be a thochtfu' callant, which frae wanderin' and daunderin' by himsell, far awa' frae houses, and ayont the loneliest shielin' amang the hills, is surely nae unreasonable hypothesis, but the likeliest thing in natur, thinkna ve that though his mood micht be indistinck even as ony sleepin' dream, that nevertheless it maun be sensibly interfused, throughout and throughout, wi' the consciousness that that nest, wi’ sic exquisite delicacy interwined o' some substance seemingly mair beautifu' than ony moss that ever grew upon this earth, into a finest fabric growin' as it were out o' the verra bark o' the tree, and in the verra nook-the only nook where nae winds cou'd touch it let them blaw a' at aince frae a' the airts,—wadna, sirs, I say, that callant's heart beat wi' awe in its delicht, feelin' that that wee, cosy, beautifu', and lovely cradle, chirp-chirpin' wi' joyfu' life, was bigged there by the hand o' Him that hung the sun in our heaven, and studded with stars the boundless universe ?
Tickler. James, forgive my folly
Shepherd. That I do, Mr. Tickler—and that I wou'd do, if for every peck there was a firlot. Yet when a laddie, I was an awfu' herrier! Sic is the inconsistency, because o' the corruption, o' human natur. Ilka spring, I used to hae half-a-dozen strings o' eggs
Tickler. 6 Orient pearls at random strung."
Shepherd. Na—no at random--but a' accordin' to an innate sense o'the beauty o' the interminglin' and interfusin variegation o' manifold colour, which, when a' gathered thegether on a yard o'twine, and dependin' frae the laigh roof o' our bit cottie, aneath the cheese-bank, and aiblins' atween a couple o’ hangin' hams, seemed to ma een sae fu’ o' a strange, wild woodland, wonderfu', and maist unwarldish loveliness, that the verra rainbow hersel lauchin' on us laddies no to be feared at the thunner, looked nae mair celestial than thae eggshells ? Ae string especially will I remember to my dying day. It taper'd awa' frae the middle, made o' the eggs' o' the blackbird-doon through a' possible vareeties—lark, lintie, yellow-yite, hedge-sparrow, shilfa, and goldfinch -aye, the verra goldfinch hersel', rare bird in the forest—to the twa
ends so dewdraplike, wi' the wee bit blue pearlins o'the kitty wren. Damn Wullie Laidlaw for stealin' them ae Sabbath when we was a' at the kirk! Yet I'll try to forgie him for sake o' " Lucy's Flittin'," and because, notwithstanding that cruel crime, he's turned out a gude husband, a gude father, and a gude treen'.
Tickler. We used, at school, James, to boil and eat them.
Shepherd. Gin ye did, then wouldna I, for ony consideration, in a future state be your sowle.
Tickler. Where's the difference ?
Shepherd. What! atween you and me? Yours was a base fleshly hunger, or batred, or hard-heartedness, or scathe and scorn o the quakin' griefs o' the bit bonny shriekin' burdies around the tuft o' moss, a' that was left o' their herried nests; but mine was the sacred hunger and thirst o' divine silver and gold gleamin'amang the diamonds drapt by mornin' on the hedgeraws, and rashes, and the broom, and the whins— love o' the lovely-desire conquerin' but uo killin' pityand joy o' blessed possession that left at times a tear on my cheek for the bereavement o' the heart-broken warblers o' the woods. Yet brak' I not mony o' their hearts, after a'; for if the nest had five eggs, I generally took but twa; though I confess that on going back again to brae, bank, bush, or tree, I was glad when the nest was deserted, the eggs cauld, and the birds awa' to some ither place. After a' I was never cruel, sirs; that's no a sin o’mine,-and whenever, either then or since, I hae gien pain to ony leevin' cretur, in nae lang time after, o' the twa parties, mine has been the maist achin' heart. As for pyets and hoody-craws, and the like, I used to herry them without compunction, and flingin' up stanes, to shoot them wi' a gun, as they were flasterin' out o' the nest.
Opium-Eater. Some one of my ancestors—for, even with the deep. est sense of my own unworthiness, I cannot believe that my own sinsas a cause—have been adequate to the production of such an effectmust have perpetrated some enormous-some monstrous crime, punished in me, his descendant, by utter blindness to all bird's nests. .
Shepherd. Maist likely. The De Quinslys caine ovre wi' the Conqueror, and were great criminals. But did you ever look for them, sir ?
Opium-Eater. From the year 1811-the year in which the Marrs and Williamsons were murdered*—till the year 1821, in which Bonaparte the little—vulgarly called Napoleon the Great-died of a cancer in his stomach
Shepherd. A hereditary disease-accordin' to the doctors. Opium-Eater. - did I exclusively occupy myself during the • Mysterious murders in London, the guilty doers of which were never discovered.-M.
Napoleon's death was caused by cancer of the stomach, the same complaint, it is said, which had been fatal to his father. His body was opened by the English physicians, in the presence of Antommarchi, (his own medical attendant, sent to him from Italy by his family), and the above was their report. No doubt his bodily ailments had been aggravated by the mental tortuents inflictod on bim by the tyranny of Sir Hudson Lowe, his jailor.-M.
spring-months, from night till morning, in searching for the habitations of these interesting creatures.
Shepherd. Frae nicht till mornin'! That comes o' reversin’ the order u natur. You micht see a rookery or a heronry by moonlichtbut nu a wren's nest aneath the portal o' some cave lookin' out upon a sleepless waterfa' dinnin' to the stars. Mr. De Quinshy, you and me leeves in twa different warlds--and yet it's wonnerfu' hoo we under. staun ane anither sae weel's we do--quite a phenomena. Wben I'm soopin' you're breakfastin—when I'm lyin' doon, after your coffee you're risin' up—as I'm coverin' my head wi' the blankets you're puttin' on your breeks—as my een are steekin' like sunflowers aneath the moon, yours are glowin' like twa gas-lamps, and while your mind is masterin' poleetical economy and metapheesics, in a desperate fecht wi’ Ricawrdo and Kant,* I'm heard by the nicht-wanderin' fairies snorin' trumpet-nosed through the Land o' Nod.
Opium-Eater. Though the revolutions of the heavenly bodies have, I admit, a certain natural connexion with the ongoings of
Shepherd. Wait awee-nane o' your astrology till after sooper. It canna be true, sir, what folk say about the influence o' the moon on character. I never thocht ye the least mad. Indeed, the only fawte I bae to fin' wi' you is, that you're ower wise. Yet we speak what, in the lang run, wou'd appear to be ae common language-I sometimes understaun you no that verra indistinctly—and when we tackle in our talk to the great interests o' humanity, we're philosophers o'the same school, sir, and see the inner warld by the self-same central licht. We're incomprehensible creturs, are we men—that's beyond a doot ;-and let
* It is somewhat amusing to find Ricardo and Kant thus coupled. David Ricardo (born a Jew, but becoming Christian on his marriage) had accumulated a large fortune, as a member of the London Stock Exchange, before he commenced authorship. The perusal of Adain Smith's Wealth of Nations inade him a political economist, and his connexion with the Bank of England, of which he was a Director, drew his attention to the currency question, and led him to commence a series of letters in the Morning Chronicle (then the London organ of the Whigs) on the causes of the depreciated value of bank-notes as compared with the metallic currency. These letters, which appeared in 1810, were collected into a pamphlet and elicited much controversy, which ended in the appoiniment of a Parliamentary Bullion Committee, whose report confirined his own views. He produced other works on currency and finance, and his Principles of Political Economy and Taxation placed him high among writers of a certain class. He held Malthus's views concerning population. He was some years in Parliament, rarely speaking except on questions of finance and commerce, and then listened to with attention as an authority. He died in 1823.Immanuel Kant, a native of Prussia, became Professor of Logic and Metaphysics in the University of Konigsberg when he was 46 years old,.but had published his Universal Natural History and Theory of the Heavens, fifteen years earlier-in this he is said to have anticipated several of the subsequent discoveries of Sir William Herschel, particularly the planet which bears his name. Not until 1781, when he was 57 years old, did he produce his Critical Inquiry into the Nature of Pure Reason. In 1783 appeared the second part, called Prolegomena for future Metaphysics. He died in 1804, having lived to see his critical philosophy popular in his native Germany. Nearly all his extensive writings are metaphysical, and his system as enounced by himself, has been described as "more remarkable for the obscurity of the phraseology and the subtlety of its reasoning, thar for any practical good in morals."- Kant had never been more than 7 German (32 ordinary) ni les out of his native Konigsberg. In society he was chatty and anecdotal. In stature small; in features handsome. He was not merely lean but dry. He was fond of the pleasures of the table-thinking, no doubt, with Johnson, that the good things of life were not intended for block heads only.-Between Kaut and Ricardo there is no similitude :-one was ever in the clouds, the other was content to rest upon i he earth.-M.