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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 intro
duced 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. Some times 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, cota tages 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 moor. 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 • auld 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 donfestic 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 tempes. tuous for the kirk, changes the cottage of the shepherd into the temple of God.
“ With such glad and peaceful images in my heart, I
travelled along that dreary moor, with the cutting wind in my face, and my feet sinking in the snow, or sliding on the hard blue ice beneath it—as cheerfully as I ever walked in the dewy warmth of a summer morning, through fields of fragrance and of flowers. And now I could discern, within half an hour's walk before me, the spire of the church, close to which stood the manse of my aged friend and benefactor. My heart burned within me as a sudden gleam of stormy sunlight tipt it with fire and I felt, at that moment, an inexpressible sense of the sublimity of the character of that greyheaded shepherd who had, for fifty years, abode in the wilderness, keeping together his own happy little flock.”
“ And here is another of a summer-storm in the Highlands still more highly wrought; indeed, so very poetical, that the language in several places has all the sweetness and rhythm of verse.”
- An enormous thunder cloud had lain all day over Ben-Nevis, shrouding its summit in thick darkness, blackening its sides and base, wherever they were beheld from the surrounding country, with masses of deep shadow, and especially flinging down a weight of gloom upon that magnificent Glen that bears the same name with the mountain, till now the afternoon was like twilight, and the voice of all the streams was distinct in the breathlessness of the vast solitary hollow. The inhabitants of all the straths, vales, glens, and dells, round and about the monarch of Scottish mountains, had, during each successive hour, been expecting the roar of thunder and the deluge of rain ; but the huge conglomeration of lowering clouds would not rend asunder, although it was certain that a calm blue sky could not be restored till all that dreadful assemblage had melted away into torrents, or been driven off by a