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And with the sun doth folde againe ;
Then jogging home betime,
Or sings some merrie ryme :
Nor lackes he gleeful tales to tell,
Whil'st round the bole doth trot;
Till he to bed hath got.
Theare sleeps he soundly all the night,
Forgetting morrow cares,
Nor uttering of his wares,
Or stormes by seas, or stirres on land,
Or cracke of credite lost,
Shall still defray the cost.
Wel wot I, sooth they say
Whose cattel he doth graize.”
“ As a contrast to this picture of the shepherd lad, let me read to you his companion, from Bishop Earle's work, which I have already quoted."
“ The plain country fellow is one that manures his ground well, but lets himself lye fallow and untilled. He has reason enough to do his business, and not enough to be idle or melancholy. He seems to have the punishment of Nebuchadnezzar, for his conversation is among beasts, and his tallons none of the shortest, only he eats not grass, because he loves not sallets. His hand guides the plough, and the plough his thoughts, and his ditch and land-mark is the very mound of his meditations. He expostulates with his oxen very understandingly, and speaks gee, and ree, better than English. His mind is not much distracted with objects; but if a good fat cow come in his way, he stands dumb and astonished, and though his haste be never so great, will fix here half an hour's contemplation. His habitation is some poor thatched roof, distinguished from his barn by the loopholes that let out smoak, which the rain had long since washed through, but for the double ceiling of bacon on the inside, which has hung there from his grandsire's time, and is yet to make rashers for posterity. His dinner is his other work, for he sweats at it as much as at his labour; he is a terrible fastner on a piece of beef, and you may hope to stave the guard off sooner. His religion is a part of his copy-hold, which he takes from his land-lord, and refers it wholly to his discretion : yet if he give him leave he is a good Christian to his power, (that is,) comes to church in his best cloaths, and sits there with his neighbours, where he is capable only of two prayers, for rain and fair weather. He apprehends God's blessings only in a good year, or a fat pasture, and never praises him but on good ground. Sunday, he esteems a day to make merry in, and thinks a bag-pipe as essential to it as evening prayer, where he walks very solemnly after service with his hands coupled behind him, and censures the dancing of his parish. His compliment with his neighbour is a good thump on the back, and his salutation commonly some blunt curse.
He thinks nothing to be vices, but pride and ill husbandry, from which he will gravely dissuade the youth, and has some thrifty hob-nail proverbs to clout his discourse. He is a niggard all the week, except only market-day, where, if his corn sell well, he thinks he may be drunk
with a good conscience. He is sensible of no calamity but the burning a stack of corn, or the overflowing of a meadow, and thinks Noah's flood the greatest plague that ever was, not because it drowned the world, but spoiled the grass. For death he is never troubled, and if he get in but his harvest before, let it come when it will, he cares not.”
“ The Scotch,” said Egeria, with the volume of · Lights and Shadows' in her hand, “ seem resolved to write up their manners, their scenery, and their annals. There is nothing in the whole course of literary history so extraordinary as the earnestness with which the descriptive authors of Scotland have devoted their pens and powers to the illustration of their beloved country. In the Gentle Shepherd, and songs of Allan Ramsay, we have the feelings and the pastoral life of the south-country swains expressed and delineated with an easy simplicity and truth that beggars in comparison all the pastoral poetry written since the Song of Solomon ; and Burns has done quite as much for the manners, habits, and amusements of the farmers. We shall look in vain, among all the other literature of Europe, for any thing so truly national, worthy of being compared with the pictures which they have introduced of rustic Scottish life, or with the correct expressions which they have given to the sentiments of the shepherds and the hinds of Scotland.
“ In this volume, the author has obviously chosen a different strain of the same subjects. He has not attempted to describe individual scenes nor particular persons, nor the peculiar sentiments of any of the various classes into which the lower orders of the Scottish people are still divided, but has selected, with a poetical eye, certain graces and beauties that may here and there be found scattered among them all, and formed them into compositions of singular elegance and pathos. There are, indeed, few passages in descriptive poetry more finely conceived than this sketch of a snowy morning.”
“It was on a fierce and howling winter day that I was crossing the dreary moor of Auchindown, on my way to the manse of that parish, a solitary pedestrian. The snow, which had been incessantly falling for a week past, was drifted into beautiful but dangerous wreaths, far and wide, over the melancholy expanse-and the scene kept visibly shifting before me, as the strong wind that blew from every point of the compass struck the dazzling masses, and heaved them up and down in endless transformation. There was something inspiriting in the labour with which, in the buoyant strength of youth, I forced my way through the storm--and I could not but enjoy those gleamings of sunlight that ever and anon burst through some unexpected opening in the sky, and gave a character of cheerfulness, and even warmth, to the sides or summits of the stricken hills. Sometimes the wind stopt of a sudden, and then the air was as silent as the snow_not a murmur to be heard from spring or stream, now all frozen up over those high
moorlands. As the momentary cessations of the sharp drift allowed my eyes to look upwards and around, I saw here and there up the little opening valleys, cottages just visible beneath the black stems of their snowcovered clumps of trees, or beside some small spot of green pasture kept open for the sheep. These intimations of life and happiness came delightfully to me in the midst of the desolation; and the barking of a dog, attending some shepherd in his quest on the hill, put fresh vigour into my limbs, telling me, that, lonely as I seemed to be, I was surrounded by cheerful though unseen company, and that I was not the only wanderer over the snows.
“ As I walked along, my mind was insensibly filled with a crowd of pleasant images of rural winter life, that helped me gladly onwards over many miles of
I thought of the severe but cheerful labours of the barn—the mending of farm-gear by the fire-sidethe wheel turned by the foot of old age, less for gain than as a thrifty pastime—the skilful mother making Cauld claes look amaist as weel's the new-the ballad unconsciously listened to by the family all busy at their own tasks round the singing maiden--the old traditionary tale told by some wayfarer hospitably housed till the storm should blow by—the unexpected visit of neighbours on need or friendship or the footstep of lover undeterred by snow-drifts that have buried up his flocks ;—but, above all, I thought of those hours of religious worship that have not yet escaped from the domestic life of the peasantry of Scotland—of the sound of psalms that the depth of snow cannot deaden to the ear of Him to whom they are chanted—and of that sublime Sabbath-keeping which, on days too tempestuous for the kirk, changes the cottage of the shepherd into the temple of God.
“ With such glad and peaceful images in my heart, I