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Offspring of Birmingham's creative art,
under his hat or blue bonnet, the envy of all the Now from the faithful button-holes depart.
country maidens. An attack of illness, however, To sudden twitch the rending stitches yield,
brought on by over-exertion on a hot summer day, And Enterprise again essays the field.
completely altered his countenance, and changed the So, when a few fleet years of his short span
very form of his features. His first literary effort Have ripened this dire passion in the man,
was in song-writing, and in 1801 he published a When thousand after thousand takes its flight small volume of pieces. He was introduced to Sir In the short circuit of one wretched night,
Walter Scott by his master's son, Mr William Laid. Next shall the honours of the forest fall,
law, and assisted in the collection of old ballads for And ruin desolate the chieftain's hall;
the Border Minstrelsy. He soon imitated the style Hill after hill some cunning clerk shall gain; of these ancient strains with great felicity, and pubThen in a mendicant behold a thane!
lished another volume of songs and poems under the
sheep-farming, and took a journey to the island of JAMES Hoga, generally known by his poetical Harris on a speculation of this kind; but all he had name of “The Ettrick Shepherd,' was perhaps the saved as a shepherd, or by his publication, was lost most creative and imaginative of the uneducated in these attempts. He then repaired to Edinburgh, poets. His fancy had a wide range, picturing in its of songs, The Forest Minstrel, was his first effort:
and endeavoured to subsist by his pen. A collection flights scenes of wild aërial magnificence and beauty. His taste was very defective, though he had done his second was a periodical called The Spy; but it much to repair his early want of instruction. His
was not till the publication of the Queen's Wake, in occupation of a shepherd, among solitary hills and 1813, that the shepherd established his reputation glens, must have been favourable to his poetical en collection of tales and ballads supposed to be sung
as an author. This ‘legendary poem' consists of a thusiasm. He was not, like Burns, thrown into society when young, and forced to combat with mis- to Mary Queen of Scots by the native bards of Scot fortune. His destiny was unvaried, until he had land assembled at a royal wake at Holyrood, in
order that the fair queen might prove arrived at a period when the bent of his genius was fixed for life. Without society during the day, his The wondrous powers of Scottish song. evening hours were spent in listening to ancient legends and ballads, of which his mother (like Burns's) The design was excellent, and the execution so varied was a great reciter. This nursery of imagination he and masterly, that Hogg was at once placed among has himself beautifully described :
the first of our living poets. The different produc
tions of the native minstrels are strung together by O list the mystic lore sublime
a thread of narrative so gracefully written in many Of fairy tales of ancient time!
parts, that the reader is surprised equally at the deI learned them in the lonely glen,
licacy and the genius of the author. At the concluThe last abodes of living men,
sion of the poem, Hogg alludes to his illustrious Where never stranger came our way
friend Scott, and adverts with some feeling to an By summer night, or winter day;
advice which Sir Walter had once given him, to ab-
The land was charmed to list his lays ;
It knew the harp of ancient days. O lady, judge, if judge ye may,
The border chiefs that long bad been How stern and ample was the sway
In sepulchres unhearsed and green, Of themes like these when darkness fell,
Passed from their mouldy vaults away And gray-haired sires the tales would tell!
In armour red and stern array, When doors were barred, and elder dame
And by their moonlight halls were seen Plied at her task beside the flame
In visor, helm, and habergeon. That through the smoke and gloom alone
Even fairies sought our land again, On dim and umbered faces shone--
So powerful was the magic strain. The bleat of mountain goat on high,
Blest be his generous heart for aye! That from the cliff came quavering by ;
He told me where the relic lay; The echoing rock, the rushing flood,
Pointed my way with ready will The cataract’s swell, the moaning wood ;
Afar on Ettrick's wildest hill; The undefined and mingled hum
Watched my first notes with curious eye, Voice of the desert never dumb!
And wondered at my minstrelsy: All these have left within this heart
He little weened a parent's tongue A feeling tongue can ne'er impart;
Such strains had o'er my cradle sung. A wildered and unearthly flame,
But when to native feelings true, A something that's without a name.
I struck upon a chord was new;
When by myself I'gan to play, Hogg was descended from a family of shepherds, He tried to wile my barp away. and born, as he alleged (though the point was often
Just when her notes began with skill, disputed) on the 25th January (Burns's birthday),
To sound beneath the southern hill, in the year 1772. When a mere child he was put
And twine around my bosom's core, out to service, acting first as a cow-herd, until cap
How could we part for evermore ? able of taking care of a flock of sheep. He had in
'Twas kindness all I cannot blameall about half a year's schooling. When eighteen
For bootless is the minstrel flame : years of age he entered the service of Mr Laidlaw, Blackhouse. He was then an eager reader of poetry
But sure a bard might well have known and romances, and he subscribed to a circulating
Another's feelings by his own! library in Peebles, the miscellaneous contents of Scott was grieved at this allusion to his friendly which he perused with the utmost avidity. He was counsel, as it was given at a time when no one a remarkably fine-looking young man, with a pro- dreamed of the shepherd possessing the powers that fusion of light-brown hair, which he wore coiled up he displayed in the Queen's Wake.' Various works
now proceeded from his pen-Mador of the Moor, a The scarlet hypp and the hindberrye,
Like a little wee cloud in the world its lane;
‘Kilmeny, Kilmeny, where have you been? him by the Duchess of Buccleuch. His love of Lang hae we sought baith holt and dean; angling and field-sports amounted to a passion, and By linn, by ford, and greenwood tree, when he could no longer fish or hunt, he declared Where gat ye that joup o' the lily shecn ?
Yet you are halesome and fair to see. his belief that his death was near. In the autumn of 1835 he was attacked with a dropsical complaint; And these roses, the fairest that ever were seen ?
That bonny snood of the birk sae green? and on the 21st November of that year, after some days of insensibility, he breathed his last as calmly, Kilmeny, Kilmeny, where have you been ?? and with as little pain, as he ever fell asleep in his But nae sınile was seen on Kilmeny's face;
Kilmeny looked up with a lovely grace, gray plaid on the hill-side. His death was deeply As still was her look, and as still was her te, mourned in the vale of Ettrick, for all rejoiced in As the stillness that lay on the emerant lea, his fame ; and notwithstanding his personal foibles, or the mist that sleeps on a waveless sea. the shepherd was generous, kind-hearted, and chari- For Kilmeny bad been she knew not where, table far beyond his means. In the activity and versatility of his powers, Hogg Kilmeny had been where the cock never crew,
And Kilmeny had seen what she could not declare ; resembled Allan Ramsay more than he did Burns. Where the rain never fell, and the wind never blew, Neither of them had the strength of passion or the But it seemed as the harp of the sky bad rung, grasp of intellect peculiar to Burns; but, on the And the airs of heaven played round her tongue, other hand, their style was more discursive, playful, When she spake of the lovely forms she had seen, and fanciful. Burns seldom projects himself, as it And a land where sin had never been. were, out of his own feelings and situation, whereas both Ramsay and Hogg are happiest when they soar And in that waik there is a wene,
In yon greenwood there is a waik, into the world of fancy or the scenes of antiquity.
And in that wene there is a maike
But the air was soft, and the silence deep,
And bonny Kilmeny fell sound asleep;
She kend nae mair, nor opened her ee,
Till waked by the hymns of a far countrye, His 'Kilmeny.' is one of the finest fairy tales that ever She wakened on couch of the silk sae slim, was conceived by poet or painter; and passages in All striped wi' the bars of the rainbow's rim; the Pilgrims of the Sun' have the same abstract And lovely beings round were rife, remote beauty and lofty imagination. Burns would Who erst had travelled mortal life. have scrupled to commit himself to these aërial They clasped her waist and her hands sae fair, phantoms. His visions were more material, and They kissed her cheek, and they kamed her hair, linked to the joys and sorrows of actual existence. And round came many a blooming fere, Akin to this peculiar feature in Hogg's poetry is Saying, ' Bonny Kilmeny, ye're welcome here ! the spirit of most of his songs—a wild lyrical flow of fancy, that is sometimes inexpressibly sweet and They lifted Kilmeny, they led her away, musical. He wanted art to construct a fable, and And she walked in the light of a sunless day; taste to give due effect to his imagery and concep- The sky was a dome of crystal bright, tions; but there are few poets who impress us so The fountain of vision, and fountain of light; much with the idea of direct inspiration, and that The emerald fields were of dazzling glow, poetry is indeed an art unteachable and untaught.' Then deep in the stream her body they laid,
And the flowers of everlasting blow.
That her youth and beauty never might fade;
And they smiled on heaven when they saw her lie (From the Queen's Wake.')
In the stream of life that wandered by;
And she heard a song, she heard it sung,
She kend not where, but sae sweetly it rung,
It fell on her ear like a dream of the morn.
*0! blest'be the day Kilmeny was born!
The sun that shines on the world sae bright,
A borrowed gleid frae the fountain of light;
Then Kilmeny begged again to see The friends she had left in her own countrye, To tell of the place where she had been, And the glories that lay in the land unseen. With distant music, soft and deep, They lulled Kilmeny sound asleep; And when she awakened, she lay her lane, All happed with flowers in the greenwood wene. When seven lang years had come and fled, When grief was calm and hope was dead, When scarce was remembered Kilmeny's name, Late, late in the gloamin Kilmeny came hame! And oh, her beauty was fair to see, But still and steadfast was her ee; Such beauty bard may never declare, For there was no pride nor passion there; And the soft desire of maiden's een, In that mild face could never be seen. Her seymar was the lily flower, And her cheek the moss-rose in the shower; And her voice like the distant melodye, That floats along the twilight sea. But she loved to raike the lanely glen, And keeped afar frae the haunts of men, Her holy hymns unheard to sing, To suck the flowers and drink the spring, But wherever her peaceful form appeared, The wild beasts of the hill were cheered ; The wolf played blithely round the field, The lordly bison lowed and kneeled, The dun deer wooed with manner bland, And cowered aneath her lily hand. And when at eve the woodlands rung, When hymns of other worlds she sung, In ecstacy of sweet devotion, Oh, then the glen was all in motion ; The wild beasts of the forest came, Broke from their bughts and faulds the tame, And goved around, charined and amazed; Even the dull cattle crooned and gazed, And murmured, and looked with anxious pain For something the mystery to explain. The buzzard came with the throstle-cock; The corby left her houf in the rock; The blackbird alang wi' the eagle flew; The hind came tripping o'er the dew; The wolf and the kid their raike began, And the tod, and the lamb, and the leveret ran; The hawk and the hern attour them hung, And the merl and the mavis forhooyed their young; And all in a peaceful ring were hurled : It was like an eve in a sinless world ! When a month and a day had come and gane, Kilmeny sought the greenwood wene, There laid her down on the leaves so green, And Kilmeny on earth was never mair seen!
Stranger of heaven! I bid thee hail!
Shred from the pall of glory riven, That flashest in celestial gale,
Broad pennon of the King of Heaven! Art thou the flag of wo and death,
From angel's ensign-staff unfurled ? Art thou the standard of his wrath
Waved o'er a sordid sinful world! No, from that pure pellucid beam,
That erst o'er plains of Bethlehem shone, * No latent evil we can deem,
Bright herald of the eternal throne ! Whate'er portends thy front of fire,
Thy streaming locks so lovely paleOr peace to man, or judgments dire,
Stranger of heaven, I bid thee hail! Where hast thou roamed these thousand years!
Why sought these polar paths again, From wilderness of glowing spheres,
To fling thy vesture o'er the wain? And when thou scal'st the Milky Way,
And vanishest from human view, A thousand worlds shall hail thy ray
Through wilds of you empyreal blue! 0! on thy rapid prow to glide!
To sail the boundless skies with thee, And plough the twinkling stars aside,
Like foam-bells on a tranquil sea ! To brush the embers from the sun,
The icicles from off the pole; Then far to other systems run,
Where other moons and planets roll! Stranger of heaven! O let thine
Smile on a rapt enthusiast's dream; Eccentric as thy course on high,
And airy as thine ambient beam ! And long, long may thy silver ray
Our northern arch at eve adorn; Then, wheeling to the east away,
Light the gray portals of the morn!
When the Kye comes Hame. Come all ye jolly shepherds
That whistle through the glen, I'll tell ye of a secret
That courtiers dinna ken; What is the greatest bliss
That the tongue o' man can name? 'Tis to woo a bonnie lassie When the kye comes hame. When the kye comes hame,
When the kye comes hame, 'Tween the gloamin and the mirk,
When the kye comes hame. 'Tis not beneath the coronet,
Nor canopy of state, 'Tis not on couch of velvet,
Nor arbour of the great'Tis beneath the spreading birk,
In the glen without the name, Wi' a bonnie, bonnie lassie,
When the kye comes hame. There the blackbird bigs his nest
For the mate he lo'es to see, And on the topmost bough,
0, a happy bird is he! * It was reckoned by many that this was the same comet which appeared at the birth of our Saviour.-Hogg.
To the Comet of 1811. How lovely is this wildered scene,
As twilight from her vaults so blue Steals soft o'er Yarrow's mountains green,
To sleep embalmed in midnight dew! All hail, ye hills, whose towering height,
Like shadows, scoops the yielding sky! And thou, mysterious guest of night,
Dread traveller of immensity!
Then he pours his melting ditty,
neighbouring proprietor, but shortly afterwards And love is a' the theme,
became factor or land-steward to Mr Miller of DalAnd he'll woo his bonnie lassie
swinton, Burns's landlord at Ellisland. Mr CunWhen the kye comes hame.
ningham had few advantages in his early days, When the blewart bears a pearl,
unless it might be residence in a fine pastoral and And the daisy turns a pea,
romantic district, then consecrated the presence And the bonnie lucken gowan
Has fauldit up her ee,
Draps down, and thinks nae shame
When the kye comes hame.
That lingers on the hill-
And his lambs are lying still ;
For his heart is in a flame
When the kye comes hame.
Rises high in the breast,
Rises red in the east,
That the heart can hardly frame,
When the kye comes hame,
In this love without alloy,
To nature's dearest joy!
Wi' its perils and its fame,
When the kye comes hame,
and the genius of Burns. His uncle having attained
some eminence as a country builder, or mason, When the kye comes hame.
Allan was apprenticed to him, with a view to join
ing or following him in his trade; but this scheme The Skylark.
did not hold, and in 1810 he removed to London, Bird of the wilderness,
and connected himself with the newspaper press. Blithesome and cumberless,
In 1814 he was engaged as clerk of the works, Sweet be thy matin o'er moorland and lea! or superintendent, to the late Sir Francis Chantrey, Emblem of happiness, the eminent sculptor, in whose establishment he
Mr Blest is thy dwelling-place
continued till his death, October 29, 1842. O to abide in the desert with thee!
Cunningham was an indefatigable writer. He Wild is thy lay and loud,
early contributed poetical effusions to the perioFar in the downy cloud,
dical works of the day, and nearly all the songs Love gives it energy,
and fragments of verse in Cromek's Remains of Where, on thy dewy wing,
Nithsdale and Galloway Song (1810) are of his Where art thou journeying?
composition, though published by Cromek as unThy lay is in heaven, thy love is on earth. doubted originals. Some of these are warlike and
Jacobite, some amatory and devotional (the wild O’er fell and fountain sheen,
lyrical breathings of Covenanting love and piety O'er moor and mountain green,
among the hills), and all of them abounding in O'er the red streamer that heralds the day, traits of Scottish rural life and primitive manners. Over the cloudlet dim,
As songs, they are not pitched in a key to be Over the rainbow's rim,
popular; but for natural grace and tenderness, and Musical cherub, soar, singing, away!
rich Doric simplicity and
fervour, these pseudo-anThen, when the gloaming comes,
tique strains of Mr Cunningham are inimitable. In Low in the heather blooms,
1822 he published Sir Marmaduke Maxwell, a draSweet will thy welcome and bed of love be!
matic poem, founded on Border story and superstiEmblem of happiness,
tion, and afterwards two volumes of Traditional Blest is thy dwelling-place
Tales. Three novels of a similar description, but O to abide in the desert with thee!
more diffuse and improbable-namely, Paul Jones,
Sir Michael Scott, and Lord Roldan, also proceeded ALLA
from his fertile pen. In 1832 he appeared again as CUNNINGHAM.
a poet, with a 'rustic epic,' in twelve parts, entitled ALLAN CUNNINGHAM, a happy imitator of the old The Maid of Elvar. He edited a collection of ScotScottish ballads, and a man of various talents, was tish songs, in four volumes, and an edition of Burns born at Blackwood, near Dalswinton, Dumfriesshire, in eight volumes, to which he prefixed a life of the December 7, 1784. His father was gardener to a poet, enriched with new anecdotes and information.
To Murray's Family Library he contributed a series But I'll water't wi' the blude of usurping tyrannie, of Lives of Eminent British Painters, Sculptors, and An' green it will grow in my ain countrie. Architects, which extended to six volumes, and Hame, hame, hame, hame fain wad I be, proved the most popular of all his prose works. O hame, hame, hame, to my ain countrie! His last work (completed just two days before his o there's naught frae ruin my country can save, death) was a Life of Sir David Wilkie, the distin. But the keys o' kind heaven to open the grave, guished artist, in three volumes. All these literary That a' the noble martyrs wha died for loyaltie, labours were produced in intervals from his stated May rise again and fight for their ain countrie. avocations in Chantrey's studio, which most men Hame, hame, hame, hame fain wad I be, would have considered ample employment. His O hame, hame, hame, to my ain countrie! taste and attainments in the fine arts were as remarkable a feature in his history as his early The new grass is springing on the tap o' their graves ;
The great are now gane, a' wha ventured to save, ballad strains; and the prose style of Mr Cunning. But the sun through the mirk blinks blithe in my e’e, ham, when engaged on a congenial subject, was I'll shine on ye yet in yere ain countrie.' justly admired for its force and freedom. There was Hame, hame, hame, hame fain wad I be, always a freshness and energy about the man and Hame, hame, hame, to my ain countrie! his writings that arrested the attention and excited the imagination, though his genius was but little under the control of a correct or critical judgment.
[Fragment.) Strong nationality and inextinguishable ardour
Gane were but the winter-cauld, formed conspicuous traits in his character ; and
And gane were but the snaw, altogether, the life of Mr Cunningham was a fine
I could sleep in the wild woods, example of successful original talent and perse
Where primroses blaw. verance, undebased by any of the alloys by which the former is too often accompanied.
Cauld's the snaw at my head,
And cauld at my feet,
And the finger o' death's at my een,
Closing them to sleep. • Where gang ye, thou silly auld carle ?
Let nane tell my father, And what do ye carry there?'
Or my mither sae dear, • I'm gaun to the hill-side, thou sodger gentleman,
I'll meet them baith in heaven
At the spring o' the year.
She's Gane to Dwall in Heaven. "I trow thou to be a feck auld carle,
She's Will ye shaw the way to me?'
gane to dwall in heaven, my lassie,
She's gane to dwall in heaven: And he has gane wi' the silly auld carle,
Ye're owre pure, quo' the voice o' God,
For dwalling out o' heaven!
O what'l she do in heaven, my lassie!
O what'l she do in heaven? He drew the reins o' bis bonnie gray steed,
She'll mix her ain thoughts wi' angels' sangs, An' lightly down he sprang:
An' make them mair meet for heaven.
She was beloved by a', my lassie,
She was beloved by a';
An' took her frae us a'.
Low there thou lies, my lassie,
Low there thou lies; “Thou killed my father, thou vile South'ron!
A bonnier form ne'er went to the yiri,
Nor frae it will arise!
Fu’ soon I'll follow thee, my lassie,
Fu' soon I'll follow thee; Draw out yere sword, thou vile South'ron!
Thou left me nought to covet ahin',
But took gudeness sel' wi' thee.
I looked on thy death-cold face, my lassie,
I looked on thy death-cold face;
Thou seemed a lily new cut i' the bud,
An' fading in its place.
I looked on thy death-shut eye, my lassie,
I looked on thy death-shut eye;
An'a lovelier light in the brow of heaven
Fell time shall ne'er destroy.
Thy lips were ruddy and calm, my lassie, When the flower is i' the bud, and the leaf is on the Thy lips were ruddy and calm; tree,
But gane was the holy breath o' heaven
To sing the evening psalm.
There's naught but dust now mine, lassie,
There's naught but dust now mine; The green leaf o' loyalty's begun for to fa',
My saul's wi' thee i' the cauld grare, The bonnie white rose it is withering an'a';
An' why should I stay behin'!