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he has himself given several particulars, gems of our literature. It is greatly to which confirm the report of those who the credit of Ramsay's character that knew him. In height he was only five he kept the golden mean in his conduct, feet four inches, of a swarthy complexion, amidst a state of society the most active and tidy in his habits, fond of his dangerous to a young man with natural food and his drink, yet averse to gluttony sociability, and that, amid the engageand drunkenness.
ments of an exacting occupation, he His vanity, which certainly appeared found time for prosecuting his literary a very prominent feature of his character, studies so as to have left not only a was probably not in excess of that of large number of poetical pieces of great most men who have won equal fame, merit, but to have pointed the way in but, allied to his frank and genial dis- the various directions in which the position, was less under control ; yet, future genius of his country was to make being without pride or affectation, he her fame familiar to the world. avoided giving offence either in his writings or conversation.
THE LEGEND OF To the formation of religious and political opinions, it is doubtful if he THE GENTLE SHEPHERD. ever applied himself with sufficient The time of the action of the drama, earnestness to have very decided con- which extends only to twenty-four hours, victions, and his times presented aspects, is shortly after the restoration of Charles in both directions, which did not make II., but arises out of events of twenty the study inviting for one of his disposi- years' previous occurrence. tion. He records himself that he was A loyalist knight, to whom the poet neither Whig nor Tory; but Chalmers, gives the character-name of Sir William in a note to this, says that he was a Worthy, proprietor (we shall assume) zealous Tory from principle, but being of the estate of Newhall, about sixteen much caressed by Baron Clerk, and miles south of Edinburgh, is obliged other gentlemen of opposite principles, to quit his native country, during the made him affect outward neutrality. protectorate of Cromwell, leaving his
Any one who compares Ramsay's infant son and heir, Patrick (Patie), in works with those of Burns, and other charge of Symon, a faithful pastoral writers of modern Scotch literature, will tenant; with strict injunctions to bring at once see how much of the initial work him up as his own son. Sir William's is due to him—work for which none of sister was married to a landed prothem was so specially qualified. Had prietor about fifty miles westward, in Burns appeared at Ramsay's time, and Ayr or Dumfries shire, and both she in Ramsay's circumstances, it is more and her husband died during his exile, than likely that he would have met the leaving an infant daughter, their heiress, fate of poor Fergusson, before he had to the care of her uncle and aunt. produced any of those unrivalled songs Mause, the child's nurse, having her which will ever remain among the noblest | suspicions roused regarding the safety of her charge, contrived to steal away with her art to turn Peggy's affections with her by night, and having got east- from Patie, and towards himself. ward the length of Newhall, to avoid Mause feigns compliance; and with discovery, left her at the door of a shep- the help of Madge, Glaud's sister, herd named Glaud ; and took a cottage | lays a plot for him, by which, through his in the neighbourhood, that she might superstitious fears, he is almost driven watch over her safety. The foundling out of his senses, and accuses Mause of is named Peggy, and brought up as raising the deil for his destruction. The Glaud's niece.
matter is referred to Sir William, before The action begins on a fine summer whom convenes the whole rustic commorning, “ beneath the south side of a munity. Having convinced Bauldy craigy bield,” or sheltering rock, when of his errors, Sir William is struck with Patie, and Roger, a wealthy companion | Peggy's resemblance to his sister, and shepherd, hold a confidential tête-à-tête inquires of Glaud as to her parentage, regarding the progress of their love who relates the story of her “finding.” affairs, Patie being in love with Peggy, Mause then clears up the mystery, and and Roger with Jenny, Glaud's only Peggy is recognised by Sir William as daughter. A corresponding dialogue his niece. This removes all objections takes place between Peggy and Jenny to her union with Patie, the Gentle Shepat the washing-green.
herd, and minor matters being settled Symon having been in Edinburgh, as might be expected, the curtain falls. learns the news of the restoration and Sir William's return, and invites Glaud and the young folk to his house characteristic features of the drama.]
[The specimens given indicate the to celebrate the event. While they are amusing themselves, Sir William, THE GENTLE SHEPHERD. disguised as a mendicant fortune-teller,
ACT FIRST.-Scene I. makes his appearance, and reads Patie's fortune ; and having found that his
PROLOGUE. injunctions were observed, makes him- Beneath the south side of a craigy bield, self known as Sir William, and claims
Where crystal springs the halesome waters
yield, Patie as his son and heir.
Twa' youthfu' shepherds on the gowans lay, The comic interlude which helps to Tenting their flocks ae bonny morn of May. enliven the piece, and leads to the un- Poor Roger granes, till hollow echoes ring ;
But blither Patie likes to laugh and sing. folding the mystery of Peggy's parentage, arises out of the presumption of a
Patie and Roger. half-witted hind named Bauldy, who
Pat. This sunny morning, Roger, cheers slights his sweetheart Neps, and makes
my blood, love to Peggy. Failing to make any And puts all nature in a jovial mood. impression by fair means, he resolves How heartsome'tis to see the rising plants, upon foul, and applies to Mause, whom To hear the birds chirm o'er their pleasing he supposes to be a witch, to help him
How halesome 'tis to snuff the cauler air, | And downa eithly wi' your cunzie part ; And all the sweets it bears, when void of If that be true, what signifies your gear ? care !
A mind that's scrimpit never wants some What ails thee, Roger, then? what gars
thee grane? Tell me the cause of thy ill-season'd pain. Rog. My byre tumbled, nine braw nowt
were smoor'd Rog. I'm born, O Patie! to a thrawart | Three elf-shot were, yet I these illsendur'd:
In winter last, my cares were very sma,' I'm born to strive with hardships sad and Tho' scores of wathers perish'd in the
great : Tempests may cease tojaw the rowin'flood, Corbies and tods to grein for lambkins' Pat. Were your bein rooms as thinly blood ;
stock'd as mine, But I, opprest with never-ending grief, Less you wad loss, and less you wad Maun aye despair of lighting on relief. repine.
He that has just enough can soundly sleep; Pat. The bees shall loathe the flower, The o'ercome only fashes fowk to keep.
and quit the hive, The saughs on boggie ground shall cease Rog. May plenty flow upon thee for a to thrive,
cross, Ere scornfu' queans, or loss of warldly gear,
That thou may'st thole the pangs of mony Shall spill my rest, or ever force a tear.
a loss :
O may'st thou doat on some fair paughty Rog. Sae might I say ; but it's no easy
That ne'er will lout thy lowan drowth to By ane whase saul is sadly out of tune.
quench, You have sae saft a voice, and slid a
Till, bris'd beneath the burden, thou cry
dool, tongue, You are the darling of baith auld and And awn that ane may fret that is nae
fool! young. If I but ettle at a sang, or speak, They dit their lugs, syne up their leglens
Pat. Sax good fat lambs, I sauld them cleek,
ilka clute And jeer me hameward frae the loan or At the West-port, and bought a winsome bught,
flute, While I'm confus'd with mony a vexing Of plum-treemade, with iv'ry virles round; thought :
A dainty whistle, with a pleasant sound : Yet I am tall, and as well built as thee,
I'll be mair canty wi't, and ne'er cry dool, Nor mair unlikely to a lass's ee.
Than you, with all your cash, ye dowie For ilka sheep ye have I'll number ten,
fool ! And should, as ane may think, come farer ben.
Rog. Na, Patie, na! I'm nae sic chur
lish beast, Pat. But ablins, neibour, ye have not a Some other thing lies heavier at my heart,
Idream'da dreary dream this hinder night, With a' her face she shaws a cauldrife That gars my flesh a' creep yet with the fright.
Last night I play'd ye never heard sic
spite, Pat. Now, to a friend, how silly's this O'er Bogie was the spring, and her delight ; pretence,
Yet tauntingly she at her cousin speer'd, To ane wha you and a' your secrets kens : Gif she could tell what tune I play'd, and Daft are your dreams, as daftly wad ye sneer'd. hide
Flocks, wander where ye like, I dinna care, Your well seen love, and dorty Jenny's I'll break my reed, and never whistle mair.
pride. Take courage, Roger, me your sorrows tell,
Pat. E'en do sae, Roger, wha can help And safely think nane kens them but
Saebeins she be sic a thrawn-gabbit chuck,
Yonder's a craig, since ye have tint all hope, Rog. Indeed
now, Patie, ye have Gae till’t your ways and take the lover's guess'd owre true,
lowp. And there is naething I'll keep up frae you, Me dorty Jenny looks upon asquint; Rog. I needna mak' sic speed my blood To speak but till her I dare hardly mint : to spill, In ilka place she jeers me air and late, I'll warrant death come soon enough a will. And gars me look bumbaz'd, and unco blate,
Pat. Daft gowk! leave off that silly But yesterday I met her 'yont a knowe, whinging way; She fled as frae a shelly-coated cow. Seem careless; there's my hand, ye'll win She Bauldy loes, Bauldy that drives the
the day. car,
Hear how I serv'd my lass I love as weel But gecks me, and says I smell of tar.
As ye do Jenny, and with heart as leel :
Last morning I was gay and early out, Pat. But Bauldy loes not her, right | Upon a dike I lean'd glowring about, well I wat :
I saw my Meg come linkan o'er the lea ; He sighs for Neps ;-sae that may stand I saw my Meg, but Meggy saw na me; for that.
For yet the sun was wading thro' the mist,
And she was close upon me ere she wist ; Rog. I wish I couldna lo'e her—but in Her coats were kiltit, and did sweetly shaw vain,
Her straight bare legs, that whiter were I still maun doat, and thole her proud dis- than snaw : dain.
Her cockermony snooded up fou sleek, My Bawty is a cur I dearly like,
Her haffet-locks hung waving on her E'en while he fawn'd, she strak the poor cheek ; dumb tyke :
Her cheeks sae ruddy, and her een sae If I had fill'd a nook within her breast, clear, She wad have shown mair kindness to my And Oh! her mouth's like ony,hinny pear. beast.
Neat, neat she was, in bustine waistcoat When I begin to tune my stock and horn, clean,
As she came skiffing o'er the dewy green, A tartan plaid, spun of good hawslock
Scarlet and green the sets, the borders
with black ;
Weel are ye wordy o't, wha have sae kind "Then fare ye well, Meg Dorts, and Redd up my ravel'd doubts, and clear'd
e'en's ye like," I careless cried, and lap in o'er the dike. I trow, when that she saw, within a crack,
Pat. Well, haud ye there ;--and since She came with a right thieveless errand
ye've frankly made back ;
A present to me of your braw new plaid, Misca'd me first—then bade me hound My flute's be yours, and she too that's sae
nice To wear up three waff ewes stray'd on
Shall come a-will, gif ye'll tak my advice. the bog. I leugh, and sae did she ; then with great Rog. As ye advise, I'll promise to haste
observ't ; I clasp'd my arms about her neck and But ye maun keep the fute, ye best waist :
Pat. But first we'll tak a turn up to the
Will make a breakfast that a laird might
When we have ta'en the grace-drink at
I'll whistle syne, and sing t'ye like mysell.
pine, My mother (rest her saul !), she made it