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Good lack! I hope thou'rt not dead, currant bush,
To have no red currants when August comes,
'Twas pleasant to pluck the luxuriant strings
In tempting clusters, ruddy and ripe,
O! never glanced gems upon beauty's neck
And I mind me well, six months ago,
The busy group of sisters small,
Who prattled and danced round thee.
And surely thou wert right pleased, currant bush,
nie Dundee." As we are desirous that our readers should not exist a month longer without unravelling the wanderings of this princely stream, we are glad to present them with the following graphic sketch of its beauties by one who knows them well.
Poor bush! I pity thee much ;-and more
But not as it once has shone!
THE BEAUTIES OF THE TAY, AND ITS TRIBUTARIES.
Where's the coward that would not dare
To fight for such a land !—Marmion.
Is there a Briton who has visited the Alpine scenery of Switzerland, the Italian lakes, or the banks of the Rhine, and who yet remains ignorant of the beauties of the first of British rivers? Let him take the earliest opportunity of correcting his omission, and of making him. self acquainted with the loveliness of the Tay, and its tributary streams.
If he follows my advice, he will convey himself, on foot, should he really wish to enjoy his tour, to the comfortable inn at Tyndrum, which I would recommend as the starting-post. Here he may watch the infant Tay struggling through the wild and romantic solitudes of Strathfillan, and coming into existence, as it were, under
the guardianship of the saint, whose memory is still pre
served in the recesses of Breadalbane.
In the whole range of creation, there is nothing more truly beautiful than a noble river; and what country more rich in rivers than Scotland? There is the Forth, which takes its rise from a small clear pool at the foot of Benlomond, and, after winding, for miles, like a silver thread through the wild and beautiful scenery of Stirlingshire, expands below Alloa into a broad and majestic sheet of water, rolling on slowly and silently to the German ocean. There is the Clyde, glittering in silver cascades through Lanarkshire, sweeping past Glasgow, giving beauty to Dunglass and Erskine House, laving the deep foundations of Dunbarton rock, supplying water to a hundred lochs, and at length mingling with the mighty Atlantic below the Cumbray Isles between the peaks of Ailsa and of Jura. There is the Tweed, the very Avon of our land, with its classic tributaries, the Gala Water and the Teviot, whose “wild and willowed shore” lives in immortal song. There is the Esk, or rather the Esks -the north and the south-tracing their origin up to the Grampian Hills, and, after finding their way, by different channels, through their native shire of Angus, meeting for the first and last time, just as they are passing into their common grave in the neighbourhood of Montrose. There are the Don and the Dee, the noblest of our Highland streams, whose course lies among rocks, and moors, and glens, and heathy hills, softening the stern aspect of the mountains of Mar Forest, and giving a softer beauty to the vale of Braemar. There are the Nith and the Annan, rolling on in placid quiet to the boisterous Solway-the streams which Allan Cunningham loves, and which we love too for his sake. There is the Devron, a river which hath for us a thousand happy associations, awaking at every turn the romance of youth, the chief ornament of Banffshire, making luxuriant the sweet valley of Forglen, sweeping round the foot of the green hill on whose brow stands the cottage of Eden, winding among the woods of Mount Coffre, sleeping in liquid crystal under the bridge of Alva, and finally meandering on through the noble parks of Duff House, as if loth to leave them for the rude billows of the Murray Frith. And last, though not least, there is the Tay, taking its source in the distant mountains of Breadalbane, and, after gliding under the nine-arched bridge of Perth, enriching the Carse of Gowrie, and flowing through a Caledonian Arcadia, until it swells into a frith, and ceases to exist "betwixt St Johnston and bon-gal, where the vale widens, previous to the junction of the
Proceeding eastward from Strathfillan, the traveller gradually finds himself in Glendochart. In the upper part of this glen, there is much variety in the scenery; the woods of Innerardoran, Lochdochart, with its island and ruined castle, and the stupendous masses of Benmore, by which the valley is bounded on the right, combining to produce a very diversified landscape. The lower part of Glendochart is more monotonous in its character, but the eye is at length relieved by the striking, yet simple, grandeur of Macnab's burying-ground, with its dark grove of pine-trees standing in the midst of the foaming torrent. After passing the bridge of Killin, the rude but sublime scenery of Glendochart is almost instantly exchanged for one of the most lovely landscapes which can be seen in Scotland. In front are the beautiful grounds of Kinnell, and beyond them Loch Tay, winding to the eastward, round the base of the lofty Benlawers. On the right, the eye is arrested by gently-swelling banks, clothed with rich plantations, among which, and looking to the lake, is the delightful residence of Auchmore. On the left, the Lochay slowly winds its way to join the lake through the gorge of a valley, almost unequalled in beauty, overhung by the magnificent woods which crown the heights of Finlarig, with the frowning ridge of Ben Cailliach in the back-ground. The Lochay is the first tributary of any consequence received by the Tay; and in the lower part of its course, it forms a remarkable contrast to the fierce impetuosity which characterises the de→ scent of the Dochart.
Perhaps it is owing to the extreme richness and variety of the scenery at the west end of Loch Tay, that the mid, dle part of this fine sheet of water does not possess such attractions as might be expected; but, as if to compensate for this temporary and comparative deficiency, (for it is only comparative,) the eastern extremity appears to vie with the west in beauty, although the character of each is essentially different; that of the former being, perhaps, more artificial, but not the less pleasing on that account, while that of the latter is altogether more wild and natural.
Following the course of the Tay as it issues, now a noble stream, from the lake, we pass the princely grounds of Taymouth, and find ourselves in the finely wooded valley of Strath Tay, studded on every side with various ancient castles and modern country seats. Here, on the right, the Lyon joins the Tay. Glenlyon, a very long and narrow valley, running from the most western part of Breadalbane, nearly parallel to Glendochart and Loch Tay, contains, within itself, some fine specimens of Highland scenery; and the banks of the Lyon at Fortin
Lyon and the Tay, may, for romantic beauty, challenge a comparison with any similar scene in the island. Further down the strath, on the right, the Tay receives the waters which have hurried to join it over the rocks and among "the birks" of Aberfeldy. At length we reach Logierait, at the junction of the Tay and the Tummel. The situation of this ancient residence of the Earls of Atholl is magnificent beyond description-just what we should expect in the castle of a Highland baron of old, guarded by two broad and rapid rivers, and at the same time watching, with jealous care, two of the principal entrances to the Highlands. The course of the Tummel is, comparatively speaking, so little known, that it merits a more particular description.
The traveller who has journeyed from Dalmally or Tyndrum to the King's-house, on his way to Glencoe, will recollect, between King's-house and Inveroran, a black, dismal-looking moor, with several small lakes scattered through it, stretching far to the east, and bounded on the south and north by lofty mountains. That desolate moor is the moor of Rannoch, and from these lakes a river proceeds, to lose itself at last in Loch Rannoch, which receives also, near the same place, the waters that flow from Loch Ericht. Loch Rannoch is the least known, but not the least beautiful, of the Perthshire lakes ;-the view to the south, when travelling along the northern bank of the lake, is particularly fine; for, besides that the southern shores are clothed with a great variety of beautiful wood, there is to be seen on the rising grounds behind, the remains of one of the ancient pine forests of Scotland, while, at a greater distance, Schiehallion rears his beautifully conical peak to complete the landscape.
Issuing from Loch Rannoch, at the village of Kinloch, the river proceeds through the district of Bunrannoch to Loch Tummel, exhibiting, in its course, all the beauties which are usually found in Highland rivers. Soon after leaving this lake, and foaming down Strath Tummel in a number of cascades, it is joined at Faskally, by the united waters of the Garry and the Tilt, after they have escaped from the romantic Pass of Killiecrankie, and a little further down it meets the Tay at Logierait.
scenery to surpass that to which I have thus feebly attempted to introduce him?
ted from that town. Even with the full recollection of Campbell's magnificent address to the Rainbow, we fear not to present our readers with the following lines by Mr John Nevay on the same subject. They came to us with the letter which we subjoin:
There is nothing which pleases us more than to meet with a fresh poetical mind. There is a poetical mind in Forfar, else the following verses could never have emana
Forfar, March 17th, 1830. Sir, If you condescend to look at these verses, I desacred hour, when the tragi-comic drama of poets and voutly pray the Muses that it may be in that merry, but rhymesters is performed, wherein some, for their intrusion "behind the scenes," receive a mortal drubbing, whilst others, for their fair and honourable wooing, are wedded each to the Muse he loves, by the power of your immortal SLIPPERS. I am, sir, your very humble servant, J, NEVAY,
From this latter place the majestic river rolls along, through a succession of splendid landscapes, to Dunkeld, where it is joined by the Brand. The scenery here is too well known to require description.
It will be sufficient to mention the names of the remaining rivers which join the Tay before it reaches the These are, on the left, the Isla and the Ardle, and, on the right, the Amond and the Earn. Were I to attempt to describe the scenery on each of these branches, it would savour of repetition, as all Highland straths and glens have a certain resemblance to one another, although, doubtless, each has its own peculiar beauties. I shall, therefore, content myself with drawing the attention of the stranger to the situation of PERTH, as seen from the heights to the southward of that town. When gazing onlysed unless destined to come into contact with the gethis scene of matchless beauty, containing all the various nial light which emanates from the EDITOR IN HIS SLIPfeatures that a painter could desire, from the rich culti PERS. From the many compositions which have reached vation in the neighbourhood of the town, to the blue us of late from the western shores, we proceed to select a Grampians in the distance, with the Scottish Tiber roll- few with which we think the public will be pleased. ing at my feet, I found myself involuntarily spouting We have already introduced Mr William Mayne to our the stirring lines which I have placed at the head of this readers. We think the following one of his most sucpaper; and I would now, in the words of the same poet, cessful efforts, poetical as they all are: ask him who has surveyed, as I have done, the beauties of the Tay and its Tributaries, commencing with the rugged fastness of Breadalbane and the desolate bleakness of the moor of Rannoch, and ending with Perth and the Carse of Gowrie,
THE OVERWHELMED ISLE.
"Where shall he find in foreign land"
TO THE RAINBOW,
Ethereal child of dark and bright,
Rainbow! thou art like the rapt bard's thought,
A thing all beauty, and softness, and fire,
We are inclined to think that the living poets of the "west countrie" have been brought into notice principally through the medium of the Literary Journal. A few of them write occasionally elsewhere, but never so well as when they write for us. Their efforts seem to be para
By William Mayne.
Oh, how the fancy loves to brood
Amid her own fair imagery;
Then, after journeying a time
That on the soft grass they may lean,
Save some sweet insect's hum at even,
Along a fair and flowery shore,
Which God first planted on the earth,
As though they own'd a heavenly birth.
Or the most tender sighs of heaven;
To one of those delightful isles,
Which round man's dwelling darkly coils;
One of those islands was my own,
Three children grew our steps around,
As fair as aught which blooms below, And from their guileless hearts we found
Still sweeter streams of gladness flow : They grew around their mother's breast,
And clung there, like the smiles of morn, Which on the rose's soft leaves rest,
And even its loveliness adorn.
Be like those streams so calm and clear,
From a dark lake, unblest and drear,
Alas! alas! who could have thought
That island's breast, which seem'd so fair,
That death in secret revell'd there?
'Twas evening, and sleep's gentle wing
My wife my arm was fondly thrown,-
And its dread billows sweeping on,
Like him who spurns a worthless foe,
As up I bounded from their flow.
At thought of them, the loved, the fair,
To where I fancied was the isle;
No longer shed its blessed smile!
I know no more, for frenzy cast
Its friendly darkness o'er my mind,
The ocean had in store behind.
Which there, even there, with madness smote,
Which made my wild regardless soul Back from my heart's embraces roll.
The beams of the succeeding morn
Upon me threw their calm disdain, And show'd me cast a thing of scorn Upon the world's cold coast again; The ocean safely roll'd above
That solitary isle of love,
And hid it in its secret breast
O'er where that isle was wont to be,
Where peace might sit and rule the sea;
Which sometimes made me strangely start, As if I saw, the waves beyond,
The wife and children of my heart. Away! the ocean wrapt them deep Within a dark unbreaking sleep.
From another Glasgow bard, whose sonnets in general find acceptation in our eyes, we have been favoured with the following communication:
Sir,-Slippers have long been appropriated to the feet, and for you it has been reserved, to show of how great benefit they may be in the more dignified service of the head. In your SLIPPERS, you have found room for both brains and feet,-a rhymester and a punster may be pardoned for making the remark. 1 have heard they are all sole; and no one can doubt there is the principle of life in them who judges from the last, and indeed from all. Perhaps, when you next resign the editorial pen to your SLIPPERS, you will be kind enough to recommend the prefixed Sonnet to their notice and indulgence. I am, sir, &c. NEIL CROSS.
Here is the sonnet alluded to:
"T. B. J." is another Glasgow poet; but he has written this time in prose, and poets often write very sensibly in prose. We are not quite sure that we agree with the opinions contained in the following paper; but as it is fair that all sides of a question should be stated, and as the motto on our title-page shall never be lost sight of by us,-" Here's freedom to him that would write,"—we are well pleased to give a place to this temperate and candid communication:
A DEFENCE OF SACRED POETRY.
Poetry's highest achievements were made long ago by the inspired writers. They breathed and burned from the lips of Job and of the Prophets, and were hallowed by the lyre of David. In after times, they were also revealed in the gloom and glory of the apocalyptic visions. From the admirable adaptation of such subjects to poetry, in imitation of the inspired authors, many writers of sublime genius have taken their plan, and characters, and scenery, from Holy Writ. Against such, however, there has been, and now exists, a loud outery; and to show the injustice of the censures heaped upon writers of sacred poetry, is the object of the following remarks.
It is alleged by wise and good men, that works of imagination, founded upon Scripture, tend to hurt the mind of the reader by mingling in his memory Truth with Fiction. To this objection it may be answered, that the poet should never bring forward any thing contradictory to divine truth,-his embellishments should all coincide with, and flow naturally from, those passages on whic his plan is founded. If, however, a bold fancy shoul overcharge the history with improbability, such, from it very nature, must be easily apparent, and have no power t hurt the cause of virtue. Thus, Milton's description o the devil's manner of tempting our first parents, althoug! not precisely according to the text of Scripture,—if í should assume in the mind of any the place of revelation is not calculated to produce any evil tendency.
Another and more frequent objection to poetry founde upon sacred subjects is, that it is sinful and dangerous t touch upon, or attempt to embellish, the Word of God
To this we think it a sufficient answer, that the histo-
Instead of being prejudicial to the interests of religion, we believe sacred poetry, on the contrary, to produce the very opposite effect. Being arrayed in the garb of Fancy, the lessons of Revelation may be, and are, made to recommend themselves to the hearts of the heedless and unthinking. Medicine is administered to perverse children by being mingled with something more palatable; so, also, may be administered the medicine of the mind. In hours, too, of melancholy musing, and even upon still and solitary Sabbaths, have not the best men and Christians found a languor steal over them in monotonously poring upon the Bible? In such seasons, who has not found a pleasing relief in turning to the Paradise Lost of Milton, -the Messiah of Klopstock,-Gessner's Death of Abel, -Pollok's Course of Time,—or John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress?
No rule in Aristotle's Art of Poetry is accounted more excellent than that in which he states that a fine poem should be founded upon the probable and the marvellous. If this be true, the subjects of Scripture have these peculiar requisites ;-the mind having faith in their facts, and wonder at their miracles and events. There is a style of poetry which may be called the intellectual,-it describes men and manners, the power and the pathos of the feelings. There is another, and at present more favoured style, which dwells chiefly among the simple and sublime beauties of nature. But the highest style of poetry, in our opinion, is not that which discloses pictures of real life or of nature. Reality is not the realm in which the fancy loves best to expatiate; she loves to wander amid the unmeasured fields of possibility; to create beings and landscapes beyond the sun and the sphere of day;
disappearing; and that language, and ideas, and subjects of loftier character, will take their place. Moral beauty is the greatest and only true source of the sublime. And what can give finer scope for moving the deepest feelings than when the poet shall treat of religious hope and fear, the mysterious and the infinite, death and immortality, the greatness of Truth, and the beauty of Virtue? Let the writer of Sacred Poetry, then, continue with courage, and whatever the cant of criticism may say, let him be assured he will meet with a hearing from the religious and tasteful public. Let him take the advice of the blind master of English song, and seek a fitness for his studies" by devout prayer to the Eternal Spirit that can enrich with all utterance and knowledge, and send out his seraphim with the hallowed fire of his altar, to touch and purify the lips of whom he pleases." Glasgow.
"Above the stir and smoke of this dim spot Which men call Earth."
T. B. J. Returning now to the vicinity of Edinburgh, the subjoined poem, which we think fanciful and amusing, has come to us from a mysterious place near Dalkeith:
A SONG OF WITCHES HEARD BY A BENIGHTED TRAVELLER IN
A HIGHLAND GLEN.
There reigns at present in matters poetical a perverted taste for subjects from ordinary life, for simplicity and familiarity of language, which has degraded the art of poetry in the eyes of many of its most genuine admirers. But it is hoped that the milk-and-water poetry is fas
Huzza for our Prince!-for no Prince is so great,
An earthquake's commotion they catch by the mane,
If any one harm them, they swear in their ire,
No rowan-tree can scare them, 'tis popular error-
Some dance on a rope; in a twinkling they whirl
Now on earth, now away on the rim of the moon.
It is the duty of imaginative writers to be always giving the mind a view of something brighter and better than what is here; to bring forth speculations on the past or the future, and, by their spell, to etherealize them into a dim and shadowy effect. It is as if it were kindly al-But the souls have fled far from the regions of day. lowed to man, when driven from the paradise of earth by the sky-tempered sword of the Archangel, to awake, by the power of his fancy, a mental Eden of bliss and beauty. The all-engrossing interest which religious subjects have, fits them admirably for the attention of the poet. Homer seems to have known this when he interwove his nobly-invented Iliad with the mythology of his time. If this was the effect in the heathen writer, how much more must it be so with the more lofty revelations of Christianity! It has been said by the judicious Addison, that to be great in its subject and its character are the first essentials of a fine poem. Where can there be found such store of great subject and character as in the writings of
Into hare, cat, or greyhound, themselves they transform---
It is done! it is done! let us up through the air,
Six Edinburgh poets remain upon our list. Come thou first, Mr D. MacAskill, a name we have seen before, though we have never seen its owner. Thomas Haynes Bayly, popular as he is, might have written the following verses with credit to himself :
LINES TO HER WHO BEST CAN UNDERSTAND THEM.
By D. MacAskill.
Hath wreathed that waist of thine;