Page images
PDF
EPUB

An' that a thousand ways;
Best on the pipe he plays,
Is merry, blyth, an' gay,
• An' Jeany fair,' he says,
• Has stown my heart away.
Had I ten thousand pounds,
I'd all to Jeany gee,
I'd thole a thousand wounds
To keep my Jeany free :
For Jeany is to me,
Of all the maidens fair,
My jo, and ay shall be,
With her I'll only pair.
Of roses I will weave
For her a flow'ry crown,
All other cares I'll leave,
An' busk her haffets round;
I'll buy her a new gown,
Wi' strips of red an' blew,
An' never mair look brown,
For Jeany'll ay be new.
My Jeany made reply;

Syn ye ha'e chosen me,
Then all my wits I'll try,
A loving wife to be.
If I my Colin see,
I'll lang for naething mair,
Wi' him I do agree
In weal an' wae to share.'

Although the “ Fortunate Shepherdess” was received so favorably among the learned, its circulation appears, at first, to have been slow. A second edition was not called for till 1778; but since then, editions have multiplied, and the work is now among the most valued of the cottage classics throughout all that part of the north east of Scotland, where the Buchan dialect is spoken.

The second edition was dedicated, by Ross, to the Duchess of Gordon, in terms which indicated a sense of obligation ; but the favoors received could not have been great, which still left the best pastoral poet of his age to depend on the drudgery of a country-school for the means of subsistence.

Ross seems to have continued his court to the Muses till long after the divine flame had left him. His grandson, the Rev. Alexander Thomson, minister of Lentrathan, in Forfarshire, informs us,* that doring “ the days of old age and infirmity,” he composed a poem, entitled “ The Orphan,” and signified his intention of committing it to the press, together with others of his productions ; but was prevailed upon by Dr. Beattie, one of his best friends, to relinquish a scheme, that seemed to endanger the reputation which he had already acquired.

A. T.

* Campbell's Introduction to the History of Poetry in Scotland.

ARMSTRONG.

The banks of the Liddel, in Roxburghshire, have the honor of giving birth to John Armstrong, one of the most learned and polished poets our country has produced.

Such the stream, On whose Arcadian banks I first drew air. Liddel till now, except in Doric lays Tun'd to her murmurs by her love-sick swains, Unknown in song; though not a purer stream Through meads more flow'ry, more romantic groves, Rolls towards the western main. Hail, sacred flood ! May still thy hospitable swains be blest In rural innocence; thy mountains still Teem with the fleecy race; thy tuneful woods For ever flourish ; and thy vales look gay With painted meadows and the golden grain.

Book III. Art of Preserving Health.

Armstrong's father was minister of the parish of Castleton, through which the Liddel flows. After going through the usual course of education at Edinburgh, with more than ordinary reputation, young Armstrong took the degree of M. D. on the 4th of February, 1732. His thesis, the subject of which was De Tabe Purulente, was published as the forums

of the university require. Armstrong sent a copy of it, three days afterwards, to Sir Hans Sloane, accompanied by the following ingenuous letter in the Latin language. * “ Vir eruditissime dignissimeq.

Indolis tuæ suavitatem late celebratam, plurimum commendat, quod juveni obscuro, neq. tibi noto, patrocinio tuo favere haud dedigneris. En, studiorum suorum primitias, qualescunq. sint, tibi tremulà manu offert. Ut munusculi prelium (quod sentio quam sit exiguum) aliquo modo patroni dignitati responderet-sed absit tyroni talis spes. Lenitate atq.candore tibi propriis solis confido. Hisce innixus, opusculum tenue, incultumq. te benignè acceptarum spero. Interim, ut, probitatis exemplum atq. philosophorum cælibus decus, diu vivas atq. valeas obnixè precatur.

Tui observantissimus,

JOANNES ARMSTRONG. Dabam Edinburgi, 7° die Februarii, A.D. 1732.

To Sir Hans Sloane, Bart. President to the Royal Society and Colledge of Physicians, London."

Whether this letter attracted any notice from the learned president, we are not informed. It appears, that two years afterwards, Dr. Armstrong transmitted to the Royal Society a paper on the “ Alcalescent disposition of Animal Fluids," which was read, though not printed, in their transactions. It is preserved among the MSS. of Dr. Birch, then Secretary of the society, in the British Museum, (No. 4433.)

* Sloane MSS. No. 4036.

It seems, that while a student, Armstrong bad begun to pay his court to the Muses. One of his first attempts was a descriptive sketch, in imitation of Shakespeare, which, he informs us, met with the approbation of Thomson, Mallet, and Young. He wrote, also, about this period, part of a tragedy in imitation of Shakespeare.

In 1735, we find him in London attracting some notice by a humorous fugitive piece in 8vo., entitled An Essay for abridging the study of Physic; to which is added, a Dialogue between Hygeia, Mercury, and Pluto, relating to the practice of Physic, as it is managed by a certain illustrious society; as also an Epistle from Usbeck the Persian to Joshua Ward, Esq.” It was dedicated “ to the Antacademic Philosophers, to the generous despisers of the schools, to the deservedly celebrated Joshua Ward, John Moor, and the rest of the numerous sect of inspired physicians, by their most devoted servant and zealous admirer.” This work was said, at the time, to exhibit the very spirit of Lucian; but now that the impostures which it exposed are forgotten for others of greater novelty, but little of this spirit can be discovered. The satire is just, but wasted on ephemeral topics.

In 1737, he published “A Synopsis of the History and Cure" of that class of diseases which furnish

« PreviousContinue »