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thistle, till

In Britain's shield

The northern star mingles with George's beams.
Consorted light! and with Hibernia's harp
Breathing the spirit of peace and social love,
Harmonious power! the Scottish thistle fills
Distinguish'd place, and guards the English rose.

The plan of this episode, and the political sentiments of which it is made the vehicle, are alike deserving of praise. History might supply us with a more authentic origin for our national emblem, but it could not supply us with one more fraught with moral purpose, or more accordant with every patriotic feeling. The blank verse which the author has adopted in this poem, does not seem to have been altogether adapted to his powers; yet a reader must be struck with the felicity with which more than one of the passages which have been quoted are modulated.

The only piece which Hamilton wrote in his native language was "the Braes of Yarrow," designated by Mr. Richardson, as "one of the finest ballads ever written." Another critic, whose opinion of the ancient ballad poetry of Scotland must be allowed to have considerable weight, has passed a very different judgment upon it. "It is," says Mr. Pinkerton, “in very bad taste, and quite unlike the ancient Scottish manner, being even inferior to the poorest of the old ballads with this title. His repeated words and lines causing an eternal jingle, his confused narration and affected pathos, throw this piece among the rubbish of poetry." Although a warm participator in Mr. Rich

ardson's general admiration of Hamilton, I am inclined, in this instance, to agree with Mr. Pinkerton. The jingle and affected pathos of which he complains, are indeed sickening.

Lang maun she weep, lang maun she, maun she weep, Lang maun she weep with dule and sorrow, &c.

Then build, then build, ye sisters, sisters sad,
Ye sisters sad, his tomb with sorrow, &c.

It is for those who ean attune their voices to such rant, to discover where the pathos of it lies. Simplicity and melody were never surely so departed from before.

There exists in MS. a fragment of a poem by Hamilton, not published in his works, called the "Maid of Gallowshiels." It is an epic of the heroi-comic kind, intended to celebrate the contest between a piper and fiddler, for the fair Maid of Gallowshiels. Hamilton had designed to extend it to twelve books, but has only completed the first and a portion of the second. Dr. Leyden, who owns himself indebted to the friendship of Dr. Robert Anderson for his knowledge of this MS. gives the following account of it in his preface to the "Complaynt of Scotland."-" In the first (book) the fiddler challenges the piper to a trial of musical skill, and proposes that the maid herself should be the umpire of the contest."

Sole in her breast the favourite youth shall reign, Whose hand shall sweetest wake the warbled strain ; And if to me the ill-fated piper. yield,

As sure I trust, this well contested field,

High in the sacred dome his pipes I raise,
The trophy of my fame to after days;
That all may know as they the pipes survey,
The fiddler's deed and this the signal day.

All Gallowshiels the daring challenge heard,
Full blank they stood, and for their piper fear'd;
Fearless alone he rose in open view,
And in the midst his sounding bagpipe threw.

"The history of the two heroes is related with various episodes; and the piper deduces his origin from Colin of Gallowshiels, who bore the identical bagpipe at the battle of Harlaw, with which his descendant resolves to maintain the glory of the piper race. The second book, the subject of which is the trial of skill, commences with the following exquisite description of the bagpipe."

Now in his artful hand the bagpipe held,
Elate, the piper wide surveys the field.
O'er all he throws his quick discerning eyes,
And views their hopes and fears alternate rise.
Old Glenderule, in Gallowshiels long fam'd
For works of skill, the perfect wonder fram'd;
His shining steel first lopp'd, with dexterous toil,
From a tall spreading elm the branchy spoil.
The clouded wood he next divides in twain,
And smoothes them equal to an oval plane.
Six leather folds in still connected rows
To either plank conformed, the sides compose;
The wimble perforates the base with care,
A destin'd passage opening to the air;
But once inclosed within the narrow space,
The opposing valve forbids the backward race.

Fast to the swelling bag, two reeds combin'd, Receive the blasts of the melodious wind. Round from the twining loom, with skill divine Embost, the joints in silver circles shine; In secret prison pent, the accents lie, Until his arm the lab'ring artist ply: Then duteous they forsake their dark abode, Fellows no more, and wing a sep'rate road. These upward through the narrow channel glide * In ways unseen, a solemn murmuring tide; Those thro' the narrow part, their journey bend Of sweeter sort, and to the earth descend. O'er the small pipe at equal distance, lye Eight shining holes o'er which his fingers fly. From side to side the aërial spirit bounds: The flying fingers form the passing sounds, That, issuing gently thro' the polish'd door, Mix with the common air and charm no more.

This gift long since old Glenderule consign'd, The lasting witness of his friendly mind, To the fam'd author of the piper's line. Each empty space shone rich in fair design: Himself appears high in the sculptur'd wood, As bold in the Harlean field he stood. Serene, amidst the dangers of the day, Full in the van you might behold him play; There in the humble mood of peace he stands, Before him pleas'd are seen the dancing bands, In mazy roads the flying ring they blend, So lively fram'd they seem from earth t' ascend. Four gilded straps the artist's arm surround, Two knit by clasps, and two by buckles bound. His artful elbow now the youth essays, A tuneful squeeze to wake the sleeping lays.

With lab'ring bellows thus the smith inspires
To frame the polish'd lock, the forge's fires;
Conceal'd in ashes lie the flames below,
'Till the resounding lungs of bellows blow;
Then mounting high, o'er the illumin'd room
Spreads the brown light, and gilds the dusky gloom;
The bursting sounds in narrow prisons pent,
Rouse, in their cells, loud rumbling for a vent.
Loud tempests now the deafen'd ear assail;
Now gently sweet is breath'd a sober gale :
As when the hawk his mountain nest forsakes,
Fierce for his prey his rustling wings he shakes;
The air impell'd by th' unharmonious shock,
Sounds clattering and abrupt through all the rock.
But as she flies, she shapes to smoother space
Her winnowing vans, and swims the aërial space.

G. R.

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