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SMALL need have you nymphs to be trying
Diana the huntress's whim,
Tricked out in toxophilite trim.
The string of your bows to be tough, For man’s subjugation already
You've weapons enough.
For down in each delicate dimple
A world of sweet waywardness lies, And searchers, the sage and the simple,
May read what is writ in your eyes. With red lips that rival the roses,
A smile by which gods had been charmel, Neat ankles-of course, one supposes !-
You're thoroughly armed.
Leave bows to the lover of Psyche,
His arrows are terribly true,
Will surely do battle for you.
Yours the conquest would certainly be Were the arch gleam of glances love-laden
Your sole archery!
ALFRED E. T. WATSON.
Sir Robert Strange.
In the month of July, 1721, there was a merry christening company in the Cathedral of St. Magnus, Kirkwall. The Orcadean baby, born in Pomona, one of the Orkney islands, was a boy, belonging to an old, respectable, but not very well-to-do family of Strong, Stronge, Strang, or Strange, originally from Fifeshire. He was not the first child of his parents. There was no good fairy at his christening feast to foretell that he would be more famous than any of his kinfolk, that he would bear a name renowned all over Europe for his achievements in art, and that some enthusiastic admirer would cut the entry of his baptism out of the cathedral registry.
A father's part to “Bobie,” or “ Robin,” was performed by an elder half-brother, the kind and noble-hearted “Davie." From early days the fatherless boy, was doomed to study law. Meanwhile, he drew figures with any material that came to hand, and if there was anything he loved as well as drawing it was sailing about the coast of his native island and contemplating the glories of sea and sky.
This boating and sailing and the making little cruises on fishing expeditions could not be said to be an educational preparation for the law. It is all very well for a Lord Chief Justice to keep a yacht; but pulling an oar or steering a boat in the vicinity of the Orkney Islands is not likely to help a man to become Lord Chief Justice. Robin's inclination for the sad sea wave rather than for the bench or the woolsack, took so much the form of determination to serve his country and place himself afloat, that wise brother David advised that Robin should be allowed to "go to sea." The Captain of the Alborough, which happened to be "lying convenient,” consented to take his friend Davie's half-brother on board that man-o'-war, “on liking.” Robin, with a heart full of joy, went aboard, where he was consigned to the midshipmen’s berth, and to the guardianship of one Sommers in particular. The ship went southward, and Robin was not exempt from pretty severe work. It was not disagreeable, till the angry sea rose, and torrents of rain fell, and hurricanes seemed to be sweeping everything out of creation, and horrible sea-sickness was added to other horrors. It was in the worst of such moments that the kind-hearted but rather jocose captain would call Robin to him on the quarter-deck and express a hope that he liked the sea.
Through weather and incidents similar to the above, the Alborough next carried over the Swedish ambassador to Gottenburg. When the
gallant ship had successfully fought her way thither through opposing billows, Robin was one day standing, somewhat disconsolate, by the side of Sommers, who, after a little palaver with the lad, remarked, “Bob, if you have any other alternative, quit the sea as soon as you can, and you afterwards will bless me for my advice.” As the Alborough returned to England more storm-tossed than on the outward voyage, Sommers' counsel seemed more and more that of a sage, and by the time Robin had staggered ashore again—he had had about half a year of sea roughing it—he felt divorced from Thalatta for ever. But he was not much more in love with Themis than before. While he had to make up his mind he went down to Kirkwall, and gladdened his mother's heart by his sudden appearance, on a Sunday, as she came from the cathedral. Probably, he saddened it a little in the afternoon, when he begged to be allowed to go on an hour's ramble instead of going to worship. In that ramble Robin found that the voyage had, after all, taught him something. His estimate of Kirkwall was much lowered. He saw there was another world, with elbowroom for young fellows to push and accomplish their fortunes in. He thought the matter over as he took his holiday in Pomona. But this holiday time came to an end, and Robin found himself one day on a high stool, with his melancholy bosom pressed against a hard desk, like the breast of the nightingale wounding itself against the thorn. This was in his elder half-brother's office, in Edinburgh.
Robin Strange loved and reverenced that pearl of half-brothers, David, and he devoted himself to strict observance of all David required of him. But nature would break out, and when there was no supervision in the office Robin was busy etching in pen-and-ink, devising rare combinations of graceful lines with his pencil, and stowing away those contraband delights into the dark recesses of his desk when his brother and benefactor approached. Drawing deeds, leases, and covenants is one thing; drawing portraits, groups, landscapes and so forth is another. David thought the first sort of drawing was not going on as briskly as it should, but he made no complaint. By-andby he discovered Robin's artistic sketches, left out by chance, near his desk. David made no remark. The kind-hearted and thoughtful half-brother examined them carefully, in private; he felt rather proud of them, and next day, putting them under his arm, he called on Richard Cooper, the eminent English engraver, then settled in Edinburgh. He showed to Cooper Robin's handiwork, and asked him if he saw therein any future promise of greatness. Cooper looked at the drawings scrutinisingly, thought well of them, and expressed his willingness to take Robin as a pupil or apprentice. Only for good David, this could hardly have been accomplished; but David was equal to any emergency, and he found all the funds required to establish Robin with Cooper for six years, and all the advice that a young lad could require wherewith to ballast himself in the voyage of life amid breakers and temptations. This was good David's last fatherly office. He died of fever, and grateful Robin never ceased to regard his memory with a reverential affection.
At Cooper's, of course, there was no necessity for Robin to hide his art, as when he was with David, where, as he says in an autobiographical fragment, “I began, as it were in a private way, to amuse myself with drawing, keeping everything as much as I could out of sight." Cooper's house, however, was not a well-ordered house when Strange first entered it, and Cooper was still a bachelor ; that is to say, it was in some degree too jovial. There was rule, but it was not enforced. The time was one when hard drinking was a part of manhood, and this led to a somewhat disorderly regimen in pretty well every household. Cooper's was not worse than others. He was hospitable, which meant that there was much solid eating and deep drinking of claret and toddy at night, with early refreshers in the morning. In such a house there would be rather saucy maids and love-making apprentices. Strange seems to have been singularly little affected by the general air of dissipation. But this dissipated air was not to be found in the office or study. Strange observed and regretted it in the house. True love, however, set the house itself straight, orderly, comfortable, and happy at last. Cooper had the good luck to become altogether captive to the charms of one of those plain, not to say “ ugly” women, who exercise such abiding fascinating influences over men for whom merely pretty girls or handsome maidens or beautiful women have only temporary attractions. Whether it be charm of expression, charm of voice, of manner, of stronger mind, or of all these put together, it is undoubtedly true that these women bear with them a power peculiar to themselves, and are the most lovable women thåt men could desire to pass their lives with. Young Mrs. Cooper was one of these charming plain women. She came into Cooper's home like a good genius. Disorder fled before her. The old tippling gossips of the old bachelor nights kept altogether away. They did this spontaneously, feeling that there could be no sympathy between them and the gentle pure-minded lady, who was thoroughly “mistress” of her house, and with a better idea of true hospitality than had prevailed in the days, or rather nights, of strongly-brewed cups and roystering choruses. The change came pleasantly upon the spirit of Strange. Not so upon a fellow-pupil named Hay. This ne'er-do-weel loved to haunt the glimpses of the moon with boon companions; to keep out (in spite of home rule) till the “wee sma' hours ayont the twal',” and especially to go philandering with the maids. Strange acquired more reverence for women by observation of what this true woman, Mrs. Cooper, could effect, and he worked all the more to good purpose, with more zeal and more enthusiasm, because, after duty in the office, there was a lady, with home comforts, in the house. In both Strange laid the foundations of his own fame and his own home happiness. His work with Cooper included a wide range of engraving, and this led Strange into a wide range of study, and the result of both was of the greatest advantage to himself and to the world of art; we may add also to the world that loves art, and has had the highest enjoyment from the contemplation of his works.
About the close of the year 1741 Strange had completed his apprenticeship, and began to look around for the opportunity which only the wise know how to seize. He was not of the quality of his fellowpupil Hay, who went about “ bedaubed with lace and with a sword by his side." What he did, however, is not very clear ; but in one respect, which is clear enough, he did exceedingly well. He fell in love with Isabella Lumisden about the year 1744. This young lady was one of the heartiest of Jacobites. Strange was not very strong on the point of politics, but when the resolute Isabella declared, when the '45 was at hand, that she would not acknowledge him for her lover unless he would fight for her Prince,"Strange became Isabella's slave and Charles Edward's soldier.
Isabella wished her lover to do what her father William Lumisden had done in 1715, namely, his best to unseat a King George and put in his place a King James. The sire was likely to look with more favour on a loyer who was a Jacobite. Isabella's brother Andrew, & lawyer, had gone in for the Stuart, and Isabella herself went in for the same cause heart and soul, and gave her lover to it to boot, so that the devotion was complete. One of the first services which Strange rendered to the cause was in his professional way. At his residence in Stewart's Close he engraved, by commission of Charles Edward, then in Edinburgh, a portrait of the Prince. It was a half length, framed, as it were, by an oval window, on the stone ledge of which was inscribed a legend, taken, not quite correctly, from Virgil : “Everto missus succurrere sæclo.” This portrait, engraved to further the Stuart cause and to render familiar the features of Charles Edward, was the first work which Strange executed on his own account. His next service was artistic too, but it was of more dangerous quality, and might have cost him his life, even if he had never taken up arms. The Jacobite Prince was sadly in need of money. His idea was to have recourse to a paper currency, to pay his men and to purchase whatever he needed. How could Strange help him? The young artist drew a sketch for a promissory or bank note. Between an English rose and a Scotch thistle was a plain compartment, in which the value represented by the note was to be put in by the proper authorities. The Prince and his “right hand,” the infamous Murray of Boughton, who afterwards bought his life by giving evidence