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LIFE OF THE ETTRICK SHEPHERD.
And the light a pure celestial beam;.
In yon greenwood there is a waik,
In that green wene Kilmeny lay,'
Till waked by the hymns of a far country. She has awakened in fairy-land, to which, at the age of twenty, (and here Hogg has deviated from the ordinary tradition of a mere child being taken away,) she had been conveyed, as being so stainless, in soul and body, where she never may know sin nor death : welcomed by the immortal spirits of “the better land," who desire her, should she again seek the mortal world, to tell of the signs which should be shown her,-portentous of the times that are and that shall be.
They lifted Kilmeny, they led her away, .
Shall wear away, and be seen nae mair,
From the top of a mountain green, in “ the land of thought,” Kilmeny sees a succession of visions, chief among which are her own Scotland, with bonny Queen Mary, and her misfortunes ; there, too, the foreshadowing of the Revo lation which deluged France with blood, and other signs of the coming time. The conclusion is too beautiful to be abridged:
Then Kilmeny begged again to see
With distant music, soft and deep,
And oh her beauty was fair to see,
LIFE OF THE ETTRICK SHEPHERD.
The dun-deer wooed with manner bland,
When a month and a day had come and gane,
Three editions of the Queen's Wake went off in a few months. Goldie, ita publisher, failed, and Hogg's share of profits appeared likely to be smal! But William Blackwood undertook the disposal of the work, treating Hogg so generously, that the poet actually received double what he was to have had from Goldie.
At this time (1813) John Wilson was in Edinburgh, personally known only to Scott and a few others. Hogg, who much admired his “ Isle of Palms," wrote to him inviting him to dinner. He accepted the invitation, dined at Ambrose's, (a small tavern where Hogg lodged,) and, says Hogg,
“i foun:l livu so much a man according to my own heart, that for many years we were seldom twenty-four hourş asunder, when in town.". He afterwards visited Wilson, in Westmoreland, where he met Wordsworth, Southey, and Coleridge. .
visos . i After vain efforts to obtain a commission in the militia, or an appointment as Excise-officer, Hogg wrote to the late Duchess of Buccleugh, entreating her to speak a word to the Duke's agent to take him (Hogg) as tenant for a small farm in Ettrick. It was considered impossible to grant this request, but the Duke and Duchess intimated an intention of bearing him in mind. The Duchess died very unexpectedly, in August, 1814, and shortly after, when Scott happened to mention the Ettrick Shepherd, the Duke said, “ My friend, I must now consider this poor man's case as her legacy.” Soon after, the Duke presented him with the rent-free life-cccupancy of the farm of Altrive Lake, in his well-beloved Braes of Yarrow. That he might stock his farm properly, and start free of debt, a subscription copy of The Queen's Wake, in 4to, and with illustrations, was published for his benefit. After Hogg became his nominal tenant, he frequently dined with the Duke of Buccleugh, who appeared greatly to enjoy his society. By his death, in 1819, Hogg lost a powerful patron and friend. ... ..
The Queen's Wake was not written until the poet was past forty. In the next six years, between 1813 and 1819, Hogg wrote and published The Pilgrims of the Sun, The Hunting of Badlewe, Mador of the Moor, and the Poetic Mirror, Dramatic Tales, The Brownie of Bodsbeck, Winter Evening Tales, Sacred Melodies, The Border Garland, and the Jacobite Relics of Scotland. That is, fifteen volumes of poetry and prose, in little more than six years.
**** ! ! The Poetic Mirror, as published, was a curious travesty upon the more idea of a book. Hogg conceived the idea of obtaining a poem from all the living authors of Britain, and publishing them in one volume. He made very general applications, and among the poets who actually contributed were Southey, Wilson, Wordsworth, Lloyd and others. 'Byron and Rogers promised, (the former intimating that “Lara” was written expressly for him,) but Scott refused to send one line. Hogg, who knew that the Collection, minus Scott, would be valueless, earnestly urged him to reconsider his refusal. Scott continued firm. Hogg thereupon sent him “a very abusive letter," (which, L. khart tells us, commenced, “ Damned Sir,” and ended with, “ Believe me, siz, yours with disgust,”) and all intercourse between them ceased for some mcths, until it was renewed on Hogg's solicitation, never again to be broken.
The poems which Hogg had received did not possess such striking merit as to lead to any hope of their publication being profitable. Hogg had mainly relied on Byron' and Scott; the first did not, the other would not, write for him. In this dilemma, Hogg, who did things like nobody else, fancied that he
could write “ better poems than had been or would be sent, and this so coinpletely in the style of each poet, that it should not be known but for his own production.” Hence came The Poetic Mirror, or Living Bards of Britain. The imitation of Scott (an Epistle to Robert Southey) was written by Thomas Pringle. All the rest was dashed off by Hogg, in three weeks. The imitations of Byron "and" Wordsworth were “capital, and so is Hogg's Gude Greye Catte,” an imitation of-himself ! · The publication of “ The Spy” had given Hogg such a taste for periodical literature, that he had long in view the commencement of a monthly magazine, in Edinburgh. Speaking to the late Mr. Thomas Pringle on the subject, he found that gentleman previously possessed with the same idea. They agreed to work together, with Mr. Gray as Editor—which would have been a good choice. But, on mentioning the matter to Blackwood, the publisher, they found that he, also, had a similar plan. What followed, more properly belongs to, and is related in my History of Blackwood's Magazine. When commenced, in April, 1817, Pringle and a Mr. Cleghorn weré editors, and Blackwood soon' quarrelled with them ; they went over to Constable, carrying contributors and subscribers with them. Hogg, who had jocosely written The Chaldee Manuscript, offered it to Blackwood, who had also obtained the support of Wilson's pen.' A bout two-thirds of the Chaldee MS., as published in Blackwood, för October, 1817, was written by Hogg ; the rest, chiefly consisting of bitter personalities on the Edinburgh Whigs, was chiefly supplied by Lockhart. It raised a terrible outcry, was withdrawn, apologized for, and ultimately boasted of. But the idea, and most of the execution, was Hogg's, and always claimed by him.!". " .. . .'
In 1820' Hogg married Miss Margaret Phillipsăà sensible, affectionate wonán.* Of this marriage the now surviving fruits are three daughters. Upon the mother, after nearly twenty years of widowhood, in which poverty had ever been her companion, a pension of £50 a year has lately been settled, nominally by the Queen of England, but actually out of the public fund of £1200 a year upon which the government are allowed to draw to relieve suffering merit. It is out of this fund that Mademoiselle D'Este, daughter of the Queen's uncle (the Duke of Sussex) and now wife of Lord Truro, the ex-Chancellor of England, receives two annuities, each of £500, “ in consideration of her just clains on royal beneficence,"--a payment of £1000 a year for life, which, if made at all, should have been from the Queen's own means, and not out of the source (already too limited for a great nation) whence distressed literary, artistic and scientific merit is to be cared for. '',
Soon after his marriage, Hogg became tenant of Mount Benger, a farm
• The newspaper announcement was as follows: “ April 23, 1820, at Mouswald Mains, Anaandale, James Hogg, Esq., author of The Queen's Wake,' &c., to Miss Margaret Phillips, third daughter of Mr. Peter Phillips, farmer there."