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prisoners in the ditches, the execution of Hanno, the Barbarians enclosed in the Defile of the Battle-axe, the hideous holocaust to Moloch, and the death of SalammbÔ, are literary gems of the purest water. It is a pity that such a work should be to some extent marred by a number of unsightly typographical errors.

ROBERT BURNS: An Anniversary Poem. By DUNCAN

MACGREGOR CRERAR. Marcus Ward & Co., Limited,
London, Belfast, and New York.

This little work consists of a poem composed in connection with the celebration, at New York, of the 126th anniversary of the birth of our national poet, Robert Burns. The author has selected a number of the best known of Burns' songs and poems as his texts for a series of highly pleasant and smooth-flowing reflections on the life, character, and songs of Burns. That Mr. Macgregor Crerar is a poet as well as a patriot, remains not to be told to the readers of the Celtic Magazine, for our pages have more than once been enriched by the labours of his muse. The work before us will certainly enhance his reputation in both respects in the estimation of those who may be fortunate enough to secure a copy. His appreciation of the work of Burns is no mere manifestation of national partiality for him as a Scotsman. Mr. Crerar enters with kindred feelings into the sentiment of the poet; while, at the same time, his bosom glows with pardonable pride as he touches on the best known songs and poems of Burns, which have supplied solace and inspiration to Scotsmen all over the world. We do not in the slightest degree detract from the merits of Mr. Crerar's own work when we say that the great charm of the book is the great number of admirable sketches with which it has been illustrated. In point of fact, the whole get up of the work is a perfect luxury of printing and artistic labour. Mr. Crerar, for the text, and Messrs. Marcus Ward & Co. for the delightful finish and the quaint neatness with which they have turned out the work will, we are quite sure, earn high commendation from all who possess it.


VII Mhios.]

AN T-IUCHAR, 1886.

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(Continued.) XVI. JOHN MACLEOD, known among his own countrymen as “Ian Breac,' or Speckled John, was served heir in special to his brother on the rith of August, 1664, and infeft in the estates of the family held of the Crown on a precept from Chancery, and in Glenelg, on a precept of clare constat, from the subject superior at the same time. John Breac, one of the most popular of the Macleods, was, according to his contemporaries, a model Highland Chief. His good qualities of head and heart are commemorated in the songs of his country. He kept a bard, harper, piper, and fool at his residence of Dunvegan Castle, all of whom were most liberally provided for, and treated with all the respect and consideration due to them in those days. His bard was the famous Mairi Nighean Alastair Ruaidh, whom he had recalled from her banishment in Mull. To his second son Norman, who afterwards succeeded John's brother, Roderick, as Chief of the Clan, she composed her famous “Cronan," one of the best and most peculiar poems in the Gaelic language. In another of her compositions Mary says that she nursed five Chiefs of the Macleods and two Lairds of Applecross. She is said to have died in 1693,

at the great age of 105, in the same year in which died her favourite Chief, John Breac Macleod, of whom we now write.*

John's harper was the famous Clarsair Dall, Roderick Morrison, the son of an Episcopalian minister in the Island of Lewis, born, brought up, and educated as a gentleman ; and Macleod always treated him as such. He is said to have been the last man in the Highlands who possessed the combined talents of poet and harper and composer of music in an eminent degree. Of his musical attainments no specimens have been preserved from which we can, in the present day, judge of his merits, but several of his poems have been preserved, and they conclusively prove that he possessed poetical talents of a very high order.

John Mackenzie explains how Rory the Harper became acquainted with Macleod, and the manner in which he was afterwards treated by that genuine Highland Chief. Morrison's superiority as a musician, Mackenzie says, and his respectable connexions, served him as a pass-word to the best circles in the North. He was carressed and idolized by all who could appreciate his minstrelsy. Induced by the fame of his fellow-harpers in Ireland, he visited that country. On his return to Scotland he called at all the baronial residences in his way. The nobility and gentry of Scotland were at the time paying Court to King James at Holyrood Palace. The harper wended his way thither, and during that visit to the Scottish Capital, "he met with that sterling model of a Highland chieftain, John Breac Macleod of Harris,” · who at once eagerly engaged him as his family harper. During the Harper's stay in Dunvegan Castle, he composed several beautiful tunes and songs, and among the rest that fascinating melody known as “ Feill nan Crann," which originated out of the following incident: Roderick, sitting one day by the kitchen fire, chanced to let drop the key of his harp in the ashes, and he began to rake among the cinders with his fingers to pick it up, when Macleod's wife, a daughter of Sir James Macdonald of Sleat, entered the room and asked one of the servants “ Ciod e tha dhith

John Mackenzie, in the " Beauties,” says that she was born as early as 1569, but this is impossible, from what we know of her after-life. Mackenzie is unfortunately inaccurate in alm all he says regarding her and those to whom she composed her poems. There was no “Sir Tormod ” Chief in her day, or, indeed, any Macleod Chief of that name.

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air Ruairidh" ? (What is it that Rory seeks ?) The maid replied, “Tha a chrann; chaill e'san luath e-(His key; he lost it in the ashes.") Ma ta feumair crann eile 'cheannach do Ruairidh. (Then another key must be bought for Rory), replied the lady: when the gifted minstrel, availing himself of the more extended meaning of the word crann, forthwith composed the tune “clothing it in the words of side-splitting humour," and at the same time representing all the kitchen maids as ransacking all the shops in the kingdom to procure for him his lost crann, or key.

Soon after this the celebrated minstrel must have left Dunvegan, for shortly after we find him occupying the farm of Totamor, in Glenelg, which his patron, whose property Glenelg then was, granted to him rent-free. He remained there until he was removed by John Breac's successor; and many of his best musical and poetical pieces were there composed.

The harper "was fondly attached to his patron, whose fame he commemorated in strains of unrivalled beauty and excellence. The chieftains of the Clan Macleod possessed, perhaps, greater nobleness of soul than any other of the Highland gentry; but it must be observed that they were peculiarly successful in enlisting the immortalising strains of the first poets in their favour-our author (the harper) and their own immortal Mary, Rory's elegy on John Breac Macleod, styled 'Creach na Ciadain,' is one of the most pathetic, plaintive, and heart-touching productions we have read, during a life half-spent amid the flowery meadows of our Highland Parnassus. After deploring the transition of Macleod's virtues, manliness, and hospitality from the earth, he breaks forth in sombre forebodings as to the degeneracy of his heir, and again luxuriates in the highest ingredients of a Lament. 'Oran Mor Mhic-Leoid,' in which the imaginative powers of the minstrel conjure up scenes of other days, with the vividness of reality, is a masterpiece of the kind. It comes before us in the form of a duet, in which Echo (the sound of music), now excluded, like himself, from the festive hall of Macleod, indulges in responsive strains of lamentation that finely harmonise with the poignancy of of our poet's grief."* This last-named song was composed after the * The Beauties of Gaelic Poetry and Lives of the Highland Bards. By John

Mackenzie, pp. 85-86.

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